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Sight Word Bathtub Basketball

My son started school this year. A huge milestone for us all. It has been an emotional few weeks settling in to this new routine and for the most part it has been quite stressful. He comes home from school in very bad moods and is absolutely starving. I’m sure most children are very similar so to add homework into the mix this week has been interesting to say the least.

I know lots of people disagree with homework in Kindergarten especially and I can see where they are coming from but really, the homework that is coming home is a home reader and sight words. It’s not pages of worksheets and projects. It’s a little book and some words to look at.

As parents, we should all be reading to our children every day anyway. Mem Fox recommends that children be read a minimum of 3 books every day. Obviously some days that’s not going to be possible but it’s really not a lot of time out of your day.

The sight words on the other hand I thought might be an interesting challenge. So I decided to make a little bit of fun out of it. Enter Sight Word Bathtub Basketball… Bit of a mouthful I know!

Bathtub Basketball

I have been getting into the routine of getting Mr 5 into the bath pretty much as soon as he gets home (after he’s had something to eat). I find that it relaxes him for the afternoon and gets rid of any pent up stress from the day. I put into the bath some epsom salts and lavender oil. These things help with his relaxation and also are supposed to help with sleeping (I’m not convinced but I’m not prepared to give it up either!). Bath time is a fun time in our house. We like to put food colouring into the water for an added sensory experience.

On Monday I pulled out some ping pong balls that I had put away and wrote each of the sight words that Mr 5 had brought home that day on a ball and put them in the bath with the bath basketball hoop that we’ve had for a long time. He loved saying the words on the ball as he threw them into the hoop. I didn’t pressure him at all but made it into a fun game! Best part… Homework and bath done! You could mix it up with some different coloured ping pong balls as well…

Get creative with your kids homework and it won’t be a chore for them. Yes it’s hard at the end of a long day but with our help it doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive!

By the way, we had coloured the water yellow on this particular day. It doesn’t look good in the photo but it’s not what you’re thinking…😉

Easter Bunny Ears

I have made these with my girls every Easter. When we do our Easter egg hunt on Easter morning both girls wear there ears and use their Easter bunny baskets (Post on how to make these is to come soon!)

Cardboard

White paper or white paint

Glue

Collage material to decorate

Cut out a strip of cardboard about 5 cm wide and long enough to fit around your child’s head. Then cut out two bunny ears and attach them to your cardboard.

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I made mine out of a thin cardboard box then covered them in white paper. This was much easier than painting them white as it meant the girls could get straight into decorating them!

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Now it’s time to decorate! I find its best to leave the cardboard flat at this stage and once it dry you can staple the ends together to make a hat. Today we used texta’s to colour in the ears then glued cotton wool onto the middle of the ears.

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The finished product….

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HAPPY EASTER!!

Letter to Santa

I thought I would share this activity with everyone as Christmas is on its way and writing a letter to Santa is something my girls look forward to this time of year.  You can send your letter and use the service provided by Australia Post (details below) or you can reply to your children’s letter pretending to be Santa🙂

I sit individually with both girls and write our letters. Lara tells me what she would like to write and I write it for her then she draws pictures for Santa. Olivia who is learning to write, writes some words herself and adds her pictures.  Once the letters are written the girls decorate them using pens, pencils, textas or paint.

Australia Post provides for Australian residents where you can post your letter in a red post box and Santa will reply. You can also down load Santa letter templates either coloured or black and white.  For more information see http://auspost.com.au/personal/letters-to-santa.html

Once your letters are written, addressed and stamped we walk down to the local letter box and post them. It is not long before Santa sends a letter back which is a very exciting day at our house!!

This is a great activity to do with children as it promotes language and literacy, creativity and imagination.

Washing Dolls

This activity is a fun one to do now that the weather is getting warmer.

What you need:

Dolls

Shampoo/bubble bath

Face washers

Towels (I used hand towels)

Large container to use as a bath.

1/3 Fill the large container with warm water and add the bubble bath, put the dolls in and they are ready for their bath! Once they are all clean dry them off with the towels. This activity can also been done with a tea set or to get the kids involved with washing their toys.

Ensure this activity is always supervised and once you are finished empty the container of any water.

   

Body Outlines

This activity came about after my girls thought it would be a good idea to roll the new roll of paper across the lounge room and dance all over it. The paper ended up crinkled and ripped in places and wouldn’t fit on the easel (it was bought especially as it fits the easel…) So we had to come up with something to do with all this paper.

Olivia is very much into tracing her hands so we thought we would do this on a much larger scale.

What you need:

Large piece of paper (or two stuck together)

Textas

Scissors

Put the paper on the ground and ask your subject to lay down.

Once they are in position trace around them.  Once you have traced around them cut out the body shape.

Now decorate it!

Today we used textas only but you can decorate them with all sorts of materials e.g. paint, collage materials, magazine cut outs – to make funny faces or material scraps.

My girls lay flat but you can lay in any position and have some fun with the shapes. Once these were done my girls hung them on their bed room doors.

    

Playdough Roadway

We have all been quite sick of late. Thomas is on his second bout of the flu and we are all suffering complete cabin fever. So in the interests of staying sane just one more day I thought we would make some playdough and have some fun this afternoon.

I have recently come across The Imagination Tree’s 4 minute no cook playdough and am loving it. I’ve never been very good at making playdough but this one is a winner (that’s also where the inspiration for this activity came from).

My little man who does not love playdough spent nearly an hour playing with this activity. Not bad for someone who isn’t feeling very well. Worth noting also is how quickly Daddy came over to play! My hubby usually steers clear of any playdough or painting but today he was right in there. Together they were creating traffic jams and putting holes in the road that the cement mixer had to come and repair… Was really gorgeous to be watching.

If you click on the link, you will be taken to a wonderful post about the Benefits of Playdough from The Imagination Tree shared during their “Playdough Pledge Week”. There’s also some wonderful suggestions of things you can add to playdough to enhance creativity and learning. Take a minute to have a look. I’m sure you’ll be inspired!

City Map/Drawing

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I saw this idea over at The Imagination Tree as one of their “invitations to play”. It definitely looked like something that would go well in our house.

My little man is not very interested in arty/crafty activities and while that doesn’t stop me doing them with him, it does make it difficult to maintain his attention for any great length of time. Do you have trouble engaging your boys in drawing/painting activities? It’s quite common but it is still important that boys get exposure to these sorts of fine motor activities in order to develop their pencil grip and literacy skills.

Which is why this activity is great. For us, it combined Thomas’ interest in cars as well as his imagination at the same time as developing his fine motor skills. Win/win. We also did this as a family which was even nicer. It’s not often that Daddy gets involved in our craft activities.

This is what we started with

Really easy to do…

All you need is:

A large sheet of paper (as big as you like)

Textas (or any drawing implement)

Floor space (preferably floor that can be scribbled upon and cleaned easily because inevitably it will happen as we discovered!)

Cars

Imagination

What you do:

Draw a road on to the paper and put the cars and textas on and let your child create their own little city…

This is our end product

Let you child guide the play and play alongside them. Thomas decided he wanted to draw a park with a swing and his preschool. He needed to put a speed bump outside the preschool so we cut a toilet roll in half and taped it on.

This is the preschool. We had to put in a car park and Thomas ‘wrote’ a ‘P’ for parking in each parking spot. I love this emerging literacy. When children begin to learn that a mark represents a word or a letter – such an exciting time! We also had to put in a pedestrian crossing and a fence around the preschool to “keep the children safe”. 

We added to this for days. I left it on the floor for about a week and it evolved. it started to get a bit ripped and tatty so I pulled it up so we can play with it again.

After a couple of days we added some little people to the play map as well. We had a lot of fun with the children going to preschool and to the park!

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