Indoor Fun with Floor Markers

The weather here in Manitoba has been nasty. Today frostbite may occur on unprotected skin in as little as 2 minutes! School buses are not running it is so cold with the wind chill; below -40 all day.

The flowers went out to play in the snow yesterday and lasted all of 10 minutes, their Papa lasted 15 minutes! With the lack of established trees on our property, there is nowhere to hide from Old Man Winter.

Therefore we need indoor activities to use up excess energy. As a teacher in England, wet play was always dreaded. Not getting out to run around is an issue for many children and adults alike. Luckily we have lots of space in the basement and plenty of toys to play with.

The invitation:  Floor Markers

Indoor Fun with Floor Markers

The Floor Markers we used are:

They are very reasonably priced, durable and can be used in so may ways.

Daisy took charge and designed a path to follow.

This involved a little trial and error as spacing and order of markers were adjusted.

Trying out the path

The girls declared the activity to be completed on each marker with feet simply requiring feet, hands requiring hands and a bunny hop, and the polyspot markers required different things depending on the flower. Daisy jumped and turned a 360. Rose enjoyed a simple jump. You can see her catching air below.

Rose catches some air!

Turning a 360 and landing on the polyspot marker.

In action

Close to the finish line.

Nearing the end

And the tickle monster attacks at the finish.

And the tickle monster!

What do you do to use up some excess energy in winter?

Process Based Christmas Cards

Christmas card making can be hit or miss in our house. If we start it too late it is stressful and I understand why people buy cards. If we leave enough time and don’t have to work under pressure, it can be very enjoyable.

This year I decided to go with something both girls could do. The focus was on the initial step: making collage art. Supplies were limited to Christmas colours and included:

  • Scrap green paper (printed on one side)
  • watered down glue
  • glue brushes
  • tissue paper (red, green, gold, cream)
  • glitter glue (green and gold)

Instructions were minimal:

  1. use the brush to cover your sheet of paper in glue
  2. add tissue paper you like, varying colour
  3. add more glue to seal all your tissue paper
  4. add glitter glue

Sticking on tissue paper

Daisy began in a very organised manner, so we discussed how it would be great to see different colours on the trees. For this to happen she had to rip the tissue smaller and spread out her colours.

Crazy sticking

Rose seemed to love the randomness of the gluing where ever she wanted.

orgeous finished product

The finished works of art were beautiful and it felt almost a crime to cut them up!

Production line

The next evening we glued trees on cards. Rose had lots of help with this. She managed 3 or 4 herself.

Triangles on cards

With a star and truck added, our cards are almost complete.

A “be merry” stamp inside and a name will finish the task. Breaking this activity into smaller steps makes it fun and rewarding.

Be Merry!

Arctic Play with Bubber

Between working for Quality Classrooms and studying for my Masters in Education the blog posts have become fewer. The flowers; Daisy and Rose went into full time daycare for the first time last September. As a result, opportunities to schedule structured activities have slipped. I need a reminder… mama, stop and play!

Last night I set up an play invitation, using

The flowers were hopping up and down with excitement as I set up the tray, requesting to play.

Arctic-Play-with-BubberAnd they got straight into serious play!

Hands-in-bubber

Daisy made a den for the wolves and Rose’s animals began to fight and scold each other, the whale hit the rabbit with its tail.

A great conversation started on who ate who, and we were able to discuss how some animals are eaten by humans and people living in the Arctic often use the skin of the animals for clothing and shoes as well as other parts of the animal. I introduced the terms herbivore, carnivore and Inuit.

We also talked about how the animals are built to live in such a cold climate with warm fur, sometimes even on their feet.

Detail-on-figuresThe detail on the figures is wonderful. Here the people are making their way back to their igloo (scale doesn’t seem to be an issue when you are 3 and 6).

Snow-wonderlandThe wolves stuck together during play. Daisy declared they were mama and baby.

Wolf-denThe wolf den.

Hiding-bunnyCan you spot the bunny Rose put to sleep?

Putting-the-animals-to-sleeAs the play was winding up the girls put all the animals to sleep. For Daisy this meant laying them on their side. For Rose it involved covering them with Bubber.

And the light on the light table was turned out.

A much more relaxed mama was able to go put her flowers to bed and work on an assignment!

Making Puppet Hats

This is an activity I have been wanting to try out with the flowers for a while so the lead up to Christmas seemed like the perfect opportunity. We are not in Christmas mode yet but getting close.

Puppet Hat

Puppet Hats can be made into dolls, children, fairies, or angels. Check out the options and a ‘how to’ video at Quality Classrooms.

Colouring in Puppet Hats

The video suggested using liquid colours and pipettes but we used washable markers.

Spraying our Puppet HatsUsing the water spray was very exciting for Rose!

Adding details to our Puppet HatsWe added the details, eyes, nose and mouth the next morning when the paper was dry and the head and wings had been added. As you can see Daisy was not quite awake. Rose wakes up bouncing!

Modelling our Puppet HatsProudly modelling our Puppet Hats.

Daisy demanded hair, claiming the bald look was not for her fairy.

Craft Hair - Brown

We could use craft hair to make our fairies into angels for Christmas.

We were practicing and will try a fairy next time. Here is the one I made earlier:

Puppet Hat

Tee hee! What will your children make their puppet hat into?

Celebrating Learning Disabilites Month

October is Learning Disabilities (LDs) Awareness Month across Canada. According to Stats Canada, learning disabilities are the fastest growing type of disability not associated with aging. How does this affect us as educators?

It is our responsibility to know what learning disabilities are and how to best support our students. The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada has great resources to inform our learning and teaching. We have eleven Learning Disabilities Associations to choose from and your nearest one can be selected here.

So how do we celebrate Learning Disabilities Awareness Month?

“An educated and understanding teacher can ease many of the hurdles a child with a learning disability experiences in the classroom” as quoted by the Learning Disabilities Association of Manitoba.

Now is the time to share your knowledge and understanding of learning disabilities with your peers, students and parents. The Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario has a great poster to promote understanding of LD’s:

Awareness-Month-Poster_w

Enjoy sharing your knowledge and understanding this Learning Disabilities Awareness Month!

Crocodile Hop Review

We are always on the look out for games both children can play at the same time. Crocodile Hop fits into this category. It is labelled 3+ but can be extended to be suitable for pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.

Crocodile Hop Floor Game

The activity guide explains how to play the game 3 different ways and includes 4 activities aimed at developing specific learning objectives.

We started with a basic game variation.

Crocodile Hop

The first job was to figure out the die. One indicated colour and the other shape. They took turns naming the colour or shape, Rose being gently corrected by Daisy if needed. Daisy decided on rules. I wanted to intervene but forced myself to allow her to decide on the ground rules.

The crocodile was on both dice and she decided rolling the crocodile meant you had to go back to the start… a long game perhaps?

However she also decided to use both die and this should make the game quicker.

Crocodile Hop

Using both die gave a colour and shape. Rose and I practised finding shapes and colours, and the game began. A recommendation is to wear shoes or have bare feet. The vinyl floor mat can be slippery.

Crocodile Hop

Daisy helped Rose find the next shape and colour she had rolled.

Crocodile Hop

And of course they rolled lots of crocodiles.

Lots of fun and the girls are eager to try out other games and activity options for the Crocodile Hop.

Rock Play with a dump tuck and people

Sometimes it amazes me how few toys children need to play. Imagination always helps!

Rock Play with a dump truck and people

I heard giggles and silly voices outside the window a few weeks ago and crept out to snap a few pics, without disturbing play.

Boma was taking orders for rock deliveries. Daisy and Rose were building communities from the rocks and other found materials.

Daisy had established a TV room. Her people were sitting on a couch (leaf) and watching  TV.

Rock Play with a dump truck and people

It looks like a cozy, social entertaining space.

Rock Play with a dump truck and people

Rose had also created a living room and her people were “chatting”.

Rock Play with a dump truck and people

Whenever the girls wanted to build a new room or make a path, they put in a rock order with Boma.

Boma, in a very convincing, official voice, announced delivery and arrived with the dump truck full of rocks.

This focused play continued for nearly 40 minutes.

Apparently all you need are:

  • Rocks
  • A Dump truck (I like this one)
  • People (the ones the kids used were old counters from a game; theses are my current favourite)
  • Leaves

Happy rock playing!