Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pom-Pom Coloring Matching

So this is pretty quick and easy to set up.  I just used an egg crate and some paint.  Just paint the inside of the egg holders various colors to match the pom-poms.  This is great for fine motor, counting, color matching/sorting and problem solving.

You could also add some tweezers or chop sticks for the child to pick up the pom-poms for an added challenge.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pumpkin, Rubber Bands, and Golf Tees

When I saw some really cool Hands on Pumpkin Math, over at Fun A Day, and what her kids did with push pins, rubber bands and a pumpkin, I knew that would be right up our alley! 
I wanted to give the kids the opportunity to use the hammers and golf tees, since it such a great experience in hand/eye coordination and fine motor skill.  So, I put out the pumpkin, rubber bands, golf tees and wooden hammers. 

I did show them how to stretch the rubber bands from on peg to the other, and then they took it from there.

It was a great effort in team work, cooperation and lots of language skills too!  Thank you so much for the inspiration, Fun A Day!  

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Linky Shapes from the Dollar Tree

I'm quite fond of popping in the Dollar Tree to find some good deals.  I saw these in the toy aisle and grabbed 5 packs.  There are so many activities you can do with them.

Just some of the ways we have been exploring with them:
Sort them by color
Sort them by shape
String them together
Create Patterns
Make necklaces
Make bracelets
Use them to measure lengths

I placed some on my copier and made some pattern cards for the kids to follow too.

I covered them in clear contact paper so they would last a little longer. 
These are a great deal.  If you have a Dollar Tree near you, go grab some.  Your kiddos will gain some great skills using them....counting, patterning, color recognition, fine motor, problem solving, creativity....for cheap, cheap!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Pipe Cleaner Spiders

My son brought home a book from school about spiders the other day.  It had pictures of all sorts of different ones, hairy, smooth, big, little, all different colors.  I thought it would be a good extension is we each made our own unique spider.  We used pipe cleaners, pony beads, and straws cut into small pieces. 
We twisted 4 pipe cleaners together, then formed the spiders body by squishing the pipe cleaners together.

Then we pulled apart the legs and adjusted them so we could put on the beads and straws.

This was great for their fine motor skills and also expressing their creativity in creating their very own spiders.  I love how they look.  You could also use play dough and pipe cleaners for a different creative opportunity.
Here are some other great spider crafts,
These silly spiders from Preschool Playbook
and these super cute egg carton spiders from Go Graham Go
Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Experiments

Humpty Dumpty is probably one of my most favorite nursery rhymes to explore with kids.  There are just so many activities and experiments that naturally go along with it.  We started by reading the rhyme and I found a animated cartoon song of it on YouTube for the kids to watch.  That was followed by an amazing discussion as to why Humpty was sitting on the wall in the first place.  

Next, each child choose a plastic egg and created their own "Humpty Dumpty".
We each built a wall for Humpty and tried balancing him on it to see if an egg could actually sit on a wall.  As you can see, the kids got very creative with their walls in order to balance him on it.  Very important problem solving and critical thinking going on in these pictures.

Our next experiment wasn't really about the nursery rhyme, but it was a fun experiment to try.  We decided to find out if Humpty likes floating in salt water or fresh water.  We used two pitchers, one with tap water in it and the other we dissolved salt into.  Then we plopped Humpty (a real, fresh egg) in the pitchers. We learned that the salt makes the water more dense so the egg was able to float in it. After a discussion, the children determined that he liked floating in the salt water, but liked to dive to the bottom of the tap water. 

Our next experiment was to figure out if Humpty would survive a fall.  Again, we used the plastic eggs.  We stood on chairs and dropped the eggs onto the bare floor.  Lo and behold, he cracked open.  One of the kids suggested we try it on the carpeted area, because maybe it would cushion his fall.  So we took the chairs to the carpet and tried the experiment again.

The carpet did break his fall!
Finally, we drew before and after pictures of Humpty, him sitting on the wall and what happened and how he felt after his fall.

I love exploring the nursery rhymes with young children.  There is so much to learn from nursery rhymes.  One, they are a connection to our past. I'm sure you learned them as a kid. My mom taught them to me, so I know her mom taught them to her.  They are great for learning rhythm and rhyming words. Most importantly, they are fun!  Most make very little sense and are quite silly. 
I wonder which nursery rhyme you remember best from being a kid? 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our Visit to the Great Salt Lake/Antelope Island

This summer we took a day trip out to Antelope Island, Utah which is surrounded by The Great Salt Lake.  The Great Salt Lake is a remnant of the great ice age lake, Lake Bonneville. The lake contains between 4.5 to 4.9 billion tons of salt, most of which is simply common salt.  I've read that it is 10 times saltier than the ocean. 
I was very eager to go for a visit, but had read and heard horror stories about the lake.  That the stench of sulfur was overwhelming, that the bugs would eat us alive, etc.  Our experience was the complete opposite of that. 
When we first drove onto the island, you could smell sulfur, but it wasn't overwhelming and after a bit, we didn't even notice it at all. It was a hot day in July when we went, so maybe all the bugs were taking a vacation somewhere nice and cool, because I didn't notice any of those either.

When we finally got down to the lake's edge, we noticed these brine flies ( those black dots on the water above).  Apparently, they border the entire edge of the lake.  They do not bite and they move out of the way as you walk.  I thought they were fascinating.  They did not swarm or bother us at all, like your common house fly.

I was anticipating the water to be cold but was pleasantly surprised that is was about 80 degrees.  Perfect!  After we walked out past the rocks, the sand was nice and soft.  You had to walk for quite a while to get into the water very deep.  From what I've read, the lake is only about 16 feet or so deep. 

The water is too salty for fish and other animals to survive in.  However, the lake is home to thousands of pink brine shrimp, brine flies and millions of native birds.  The water is so crystal clear, that you can see these tiny shrimp swimming all over. 

The salinity is so great that you can literally float like a cork.  It is something I highly suggest anyone who visits the Salt Lake to try.  An absolutely amazing experience.

The only negative is getting the salt water in your eyes or mouth.  Not fun at all!

Our hair and clothing were stiff with salt when we came out of the water.  Luckily, there are showers at the top by the parking lot to rinse off at.  You can see the residual salt on my son in the above picture.

We had an wonderful time visiting The Great Salt Lake.  The views are gorgeous, whichever way you look.  In my opinion, it is a MUST DO if you are in the area during the summer!

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