Sort and Play Cups #giveaway

We had the opportunity to play with these Sort and Count Cups from Quality Classrooms.

Fred enjoyed putting the colured discs into the bowls, sorting and matching by colour.

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Rose went a step furhter and discussed how she was mixing the primary colours to make new colours:

Sort & Count Cups

She made a turtle, dramatically making it lose its shell.

Sort & Count Cups- turtle

Sequencing by colour and number was next.

Sort & Count Cups- sequencing

Putting two cups together with discs inside made great sounds and an entertaining showers of discs!

Sort & Count Cups- shower

Dramatic cheeks!

Sort and Count Cups- Cheeks

And of course a cup of tea with your pinky finger sticking out is a necessity.

Sort and Count Cups- Tea

Here is the low down on the Sort and Count Cups:

Sort & Count Cups

Children can learn to sort and count with this simple design that can be played in a variety of ways. Play instruction and cotton bag included. Ages 18 months+.

Sort and Counts Cups is a Plan Toy and as such is made from a combination of natural rubber wood and PlanWood™. PlanToys® are made from natural rubber wood trees that no longer produce latex. To keep the wood pure, no fertilizer is added to the soil three years prior to cut the trees down.

To strengthen the wood, PlanToys® uses a chemical-free kiln-drying process. PlanWood™ is another high quality, safe and sustainable material in our toy-making process. This material will be used in harmony with our solid rubberwood.

PlanToys® is assembled using a certified E-Zero formaldehyde free glue in place of traditional toxic wood glue. PlanToys® commits itself to find the best eco-friendly material. The organic color is not only good for children but also for our environment. PlanToys® does not use chemical dyes containing lead or any other heavy metals.

Recycled paper and Soy ink are used for our printed materials. Soy ink is more readily biodegradable and can be recycled more efficiently than standard chemical ink.

Feeling great about the sustainability of our children’s toys makes parents happy too!

Win a Sort and Count Cups!

Comment below sharing your favourite game or activity to promote sorting, matching or counting, then you will be entered to win. Winner will be randomly selected after 5:30 pm CST on Thursday July 7th, 2016. Must be a Canadian resident to win.

What is your favourite game or activity to promote sorting, matching or counting?

Go!

 

 

Paint Nite Style Party for Children

Complaints that Mama was getting to go to Painting Parties while children missed out were countered by having a “Paint Nite” style birthday party for 9 year old Daisy. She is an avid artist and was very excited to host a painting party for her friends.

Guests were asked to bring an art smock or old shirt and when they all arrived we headed down to the basement to the spare bedroom aka The Art Studio!

Everything was ready and waiting ahead of schedule and included:

Easels and canvases were purchased from the dollar store. Paintbrushes were from Quality Classrooms and were great quality.

Beginner Brush Set

They were an affordable starter pack and the different colours made it easier to direct artists to pick up a particular sized brush.

Paint was a mixture of tempera and then for the white we used acrylic. I did notice the white on top pulled colour from the background which you can notice in the completed painting. When looking at paint night style paintings they usually layer darker colours on top, probably for this reason.

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Here the artists are adding green to their background. A simple painting of a panda was chosen to tie in with the theme Daisy wanted. As I painted the example, prior to the party, I noted the stages and steps. In the style of a paint night party, I talked through each step and emphasized the importance of enjoying the painting and not comparing with each other. Everyone’s painting will be different and we are all artists.

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Then bamboo was created with white paint. This was the perfect time for supper which allowed the paint to dry.

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After tummy’s were full, back to painting. The black paint was great for coverage but even the white acrylic struggled. As mentioned earlier, I recommend dark colours for top layers when working in a tight timescale.

We noticed the easels were designed for smaller canvases so they did cause an indentation on the canvas while painting. I am wondering if they could be adapted to a bigger canvas? …next time!

Paint-nite-blog-4The finished Panda by Daisy. One of the artists mentioned that this painting was easy when it was broken down into steps and you were guided through it. What more of an endorsement does this style of painting need? This party was a lot of fun and the entertainment from the guest artists was awesome! As they painted they told ghost stories, sang and chatted. It was a wonderful glimpse into the life of a 9 year old!

 

 

 

 

Easter and Spring Favourites

It is that time of the year; spring! The snow is a mushy mess, everything is dirty but the promise of a summer of beautiful prairie sun filled days, is just around the corner.

We love spring and every year there are some activities that are inevitable.

We clean the outdoor toys:

Sneaky poductive water play

We make birds nests:

We plan the garden (including the fairy garden):

We play with Easter knick-knacks!

We grow seedlings:

peat-pots

Maybe try an April fools trick?

We do a cute craft such as these wee fluffy chicks:

wee-fluffy-chicks

How are you celebrating this spring and Easter season?

 

Early Reading Language Resources we Love!

Rose is in kindergarten half time and her reading and writing is developing in leaps and bounds. She is reading sight words and simple readers but her confidence is low. When she is not in kindergarten she wants activities to complete with Granny. These are a mixture of independent tasks and those which will need Granny help!

Matching Upper and Lower Case Letters

This is a great activity Daisy enjoyed at the same age. Correct letter formation is important to know at an early age to ensure a student’s kinaesthetic (movement) memory commits to well formed letters. It is more difficult to unlearn an incorrect method.

Identifying Initial Sounds with Alphabet Objects

Alphabet Objects

With 3 objects for each letter sound, sorting these objects requires phonics skills.

 

Making words with Word Building Pebbles

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Letter pebbles are great for the visual and tactile reminder of letter formation and their sounds. As Rose lifts the pebbles she makes the letter sound and places in order to make a word.

Playing with Word Families

This post involves Daisy making cvc words from a game and dice.

Using Letter Tracing Stamps

Tracing letter stamps

We all know writing goes hand in hand with reading. Read about how Rose uses letter stamps here.

Using Build-A-Sentence Cubes 

/build-a-sentence-cubes

With six colour coded sentence structures and  a related high frequency word on all six sides, there are lots of sentence options with these cubes.

Writing Sentences with Sentence Strips

Writing Sentences

This paper is fabulous for disccussing letter formation as we did here.

The invitation

The colour recognition of “dirt, grass and sky” adds an extra step, helping a student remember the letter structure.

Playing Spot It! Basic English.
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As well as reinforcing sight word recognition, this game is just pure fun!

Of course one of the main activities Rose does is READING!

 

 

Painting Snow

Painting-Snow

Snow is abundant at the moment, presenting the perfect canvas. It was a little chilly so we brought the snow into the warmth.

The invitation:

Painting Snow

The Aqua Flo Brush Set is only $3.75 and seemed like the ideal way to paint snow (and I really wanted to try them!).

I corresponded the watercolour paint inside to the handle colour to make choice easier for the boys but the colour actually corresponds to brush side.

Painting Snow

A gentle touch was needed otherwise the paint flowed quickly.

Painting Snow

The boys had greater sucess due to their inability to squeeze hard! A look of pure joy that seems to say “Look what I can do!”:

Painting Snow

Concentration! Theo was very proud to show his mama his art when she arrived.

Painting Snow

A word of warning: Ikea smocks are not waterproof if they have been washed. We will be getting washable smocks from Quality Classrooms and will let you know how they do.

Tell tale sign of Rose concentrating is the tongue out.

Painting Snow

Daisy as usual had a plan and executed it methodically.

Painting Snow

She was a little disappointed in the ‘black’ areas due to too much paint being applied. Less is more is definitely the trick with the watercolour paint. The paint did get on hands but washed off easily with soap.

Painting Snow

The Aqua Flo Brush Set is available in a set of 3, 12 or a classroom set of 36. 

Assorted Aqua Flo Brush Set

The watercolour paint is now available in metallic, and glitter. We used Washable Watercolour Magic. 

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Give snow painting a try, it is a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate our wonderful winter!

 

 

Testing Watercolour Pencils

I enjoyed using watercolour pencils as a child and loved that moment when you added water and your art turned into a painting. As with many things the memories from childhood are a little betraying. While teaching an art class recently, I was disappointed by the watercolour pencils I tried with my students. They seemed grainy and not very vibrant.

Watercolour Pencils (24)

I was then challenged to try out different brands to see if the brand I had tried were weak or if my memory was failing me.

watercolour-pencils

The four brands were:

  • Prang
  • Crayola
  • Lyra
  • Sargent Art

The girls got straight down to “work”!

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We used a printed colouring sheet and dived it into four sections. We took care to use the allocated brand of watercolour pencil in the correct section.

Comments included:

  • Prang- soft and makes chips or dust, kinda crumbly, it is hard to colour lightly
  • Crayola- it has a hard lead, you have to press down hard
  • Lyra- doesn’t erase easily, I like it best because it doesn’t dust
  • Sargent Art- it has a hard lead, it takes too long to cover

These comments were shared while colouring. We did try to erase them all. Lyra was the most difficult to erase, while the rest were more successful. As you can see from the photo we were on a rough surface, not dissimilar to a school desk I imagine.

The excitement of adding water was quite the thrill!

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The wonderful no spill water pot saved the day.

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The girls enjoyed watching the colours blend together as they used paintbrushes and water. They did need to wash their brush off after each colour change but the results were beautiful.

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Our favourites in terms of blending power as you added water, were probably the Crayola and Lyra with the Prang and Sargent Art coming close behind.

Yes, apparently my memory has failed me. While the watercolour pencils did what they needed to I was thinking more of these I think….

Watercolour Crayons

I guess I will have to try them next!