Rose has started kindergarten and is loving it. She is eager to learn and loves to read and write. Her reading is mostly of the illustrations at the moment and she loves her quiet reading time. Writing she is also eager to partake in but her confidence is low. She is hesitant to write many letters without support even though she knows her upper case and lower case letters and their corresponding sounds.
To encourage her to write, with less frustration over letter formation, we are using Tracing Letter Stamps as a guide for writing.
When sounding out a word Rose selects the letters, checks her choice with me and then stamps. Yes this child is a perfectionist. Daisy would have been happy to choose her own letters and would then argue her choice was right if I corrected her. Rose hates to make a mistake and the stamps seem to be helping to build her confidence as an emerging writer.
When she has completed a word or sometimes a sentence she writes on top. For this I do try to watch and correct, to ensure she does not develop incorrect letter formation habits. Bad habits can be difficult to break as we all know. At this age, once the movement is committed to kinaesthetic memory it is much more difficult to alter.
Rose seems much more content with writing when using stamps as a reinforcement with letter formation. A happy writer is much more likely to write!
Tracing stamps are available in lower case and upper case sets as well as numbers and signs for math.
Check them out here.
If you are interested in upper and lower case letter activities check out this post: matching-lower-and-uppercase-letters
Playmais is a modeling material which we have used on many occasions. It is easy to pull out and requires little set up or clean up. All we use is a little bowl of water, and either a knife or scissors. Messy trays are great as they keep the bricks contained and can be run under the tap after.
Playmais is made from corn and 100% biodegradable. To stick the bricks together it only takes a little water, too much water and the brick melts.
Here Rose is creating and learning how much water to use. If water is too much a cloth that comes with the bricks is perfect to apply a small amount of water. She enjoyed making flowers.
The instruction booklet comes with great ideas on what and how to build but for an initial play the flowers used their imagination.
A puppy was created:
As was a horse and rider:
Next time we will try the instructions and see what creations we can come up with.
Here is the lowdown on Playmais:
Playmais is a natural children’s modeling material which sticks with just water. Made from corn. 100% biodegradable. It is available in three sizes:
- 1350 piece set includes 4 sponges, 4 knives and a teacher instruction book
- 3150 piece set includes 5 sponges, 5 knives and teacher instruction book
- 6300 piece bulk set(no tools)
And also in the Playmais Edu Mosaic Set:
Experience PlayMais in a new size and a new shape! Create and design a mosaic with the new PlayMais Eduline Mosaic. The new small PlayMais Mosaics open up a new activity. This will expand the potential of PlayMais enormously. Children are introduced to a variety of designs and colours with the help of 48 educational craft cards to stick PlayMais on. Therefore, kids develop creativity, and motivation is boosted by quick success! Includes 12,000 mosaics, 48 craft cards and 6 sponges.
We promise to come back and share our other creations!
As with the larger version the many uses of these mini Bilibo are only limited by your imagination. Here you can see the full size Bilibo in action and the mini version here! They are pretty cool videos.
I was very excited to try them out and gave them to my children with a mission: find different ways to play with these! They happily accepted.
Rose began organizing them.
Then had them leap frog jumping over each other.
In the garden the flowers made potions with liquid water colour paints and…
…grass and mud!
Next the Mini Bilibo made their way to the sand box.
These versatile and colourful mini versions of the Bilibo are a great addition to any play space! Check them out here.
So you may expect the following information to show a geoboard being used in the traditional way with elastic bands. Apparently that was not as appealing to my grade 2 daughter as these beautiful counters and beads:
I did leave out rubber bands but they were ignored.
Instead the counters and beads seemed to be more attractive.
The counters are part of this Manipulative Kit for Light Table:
and the beads are from this Giant Transparent Beads kit.
The counters look amazing:
These geoboards are transparent and can be purchased at Quality Classrooms here and are perfect for the light table. They also come in 5 x 5 and 11 x 11 and a variety of colours.
Maybe next time we will use them for what they have been designed for!
Or maybe we will just find another awesome use.
Who knew geoboards could look so great!
It is that time of year. The garden is screaming for attention and love and the children are… no only kidding! But finding the balance between doing garden chores and ensuring the children are safe and entertained can be a challenge. I like the balance of playing and doing activities with my children and having them entertain themselves, leaving time for me to enjoy my time. Independence is key as well as them understanding why gardening is so much fun!
The flowers have their own fairy garden in the yard. This is what it looked like last year:
and have made portable fairy gardens in the past.
They help choose and plant flowers and herbs every year.
We also take time every few days at this time of year to see what is popping up in the perennial bed. Tulips are about to bloom and hostas and lilies are shooting up all over the place! In a month’s time it will look something like this pic from last year.
Raised beds are a wonderful way to grow vegetables in a more manageable way. I had lots of gardens when we first moved out of the city but could not keep up with the weeds. This is much more manageable and therefore fun, rather than a chore.
In the background you can see a sand box,which is a great distraction for kids and adults alike and the pallets are the beginnings of a clubhouse. More info on that will follow.
Toys are cleaned as they are pulled out of winter storage under the deck. Yes they have a lot of toys but many were picked up at garage sales. The Cozy Coup we got Rose for her first birthday (from Quality Classrooms) and Freddy is now loving it. The little patio is the only alternative to grass and gravel for miles. We installed it a few years ago and it is well used as a road for ride-ons, bikes and scooters and as a canvas for chalk creations!
Here are some great plant and garden ideas you can find over Quality Classrooms and inspiration from Pinterest.
How do you keep your children interested in the garden?
I love printing. There is something very satisfying about being able to recreate your masterpiece again and again. Recently while teaching a mixed media art class we printed using Scratchfoam Board and printing inks.
Rubbings using crayons and newsprint paper were stimulation for design ideas. Feathers, buttons, shapes, ribbons and fabrics were among the many objects students captured for inspiration.
Students were asked to make a design on paper. The paper design was transferred onto their Scratchfoam Board using a pencil and pressing lightly. When happy with their design, the students pressed harder with their pencils to push the design deeper into the Scratchfoam Board without punching right through (a challenge).
Applying printing ink was the next step. A Messy Paint Tray keeps the paint contained while still enabling the students to use a Lino Roller to spread and apply the ink.
Placing and smoothing the foam evenly was next. Then the foam was carefully removed.
The students were advised not to use letters and words due to the planning needed to reverse the lettering. One student was determined (even used the window to trace) and succeeded!
Ink colours were chosen and some blended colours.
The Scratchfoam Board was washed and reused by some students so different colours could be applied.
Happy and proud artists!
To start printing you will need: