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Fruit on a Straw!

I got this great idea from a friend who served them at a party. I watched my girls dive straight into them and gobble them up eating many fruits they refused to at home. I decided to have a go and get the girls involved in making them hoping this would encourage them to eat more fruit and so far it has worked!

What you need:

Fruit cut in to bite sized pieces

Straws – I cut them in half

With the children’s help thread the fruit onto the straws and serve. It’s that simple 🙂

It is a great activity to encourage children to try new things, builds fine motor skills and patterning skills. Also builds conversations and language skills as you can discuss the fruit you are using, the colours of the fruit and talk about food likes and dislikes.

Ocean Playdough

 We have been talking a lot about recycling as Olivia has been talking about it at Preschool. With world’s Ocean day coming up on the 8th of June I thought we could explore the ocean.

We have talked about swimming in the ocean and what we can do to take care of the ocean. To further this discussion we have made some playdough and added some sea creatures to make it more ocean like.

This was my first attempt at making cooked playdough and I am really happy with how it worked out. It is a much smoother dough than the uncooked recipe I usually use. If you haven’t made your own playdough before this is defiantly something you should try.  The only problem I had was I didn’t have any blue food colouring so we have a green ocean.

 

What you need:

A batch of playdough(recipe below)

Sea creatures (I got a bag of about 8 creatures for $1 from Big W)

How to make the dough:

2 C Flour

1 C Salt

2 tbsp Oil

4 tsp Cream of Tatar

1 1/5 – 2 C Water

Food colouring

Mix the food colouring in with the water.  Add all the ingredients , but the water, to a large sauce pan and stir.

Over low heat slowly add the water until all combined.

The mixture may be sticky at this stage but as you continue to stir it will firm up.

Once the dough is coming away from the pot turn out on to the bench and lightly knead.

The dough should be stored in plastic wrap or a plastic container in the fridge.

  

The girls enjoyed this activity they made sand castles big waves and made patterns with the star fish.

We will do this activity again tomorrow and I will add some rocks from the garden and some blue crape paper.

Once the playdough is getting old and drying out a little I will add sand to if add another texture and to continue on with the ocean theme.

Flower Card

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It’s Thomas’ Nana’s birthday today so yesterday we made this very special card for him to give her. It’s really easy and fairly quick to make and looks really sweet.

What you need:

Cardboard cut into a rectangle and folded to make card

Cardboard or paper to do prints on

Green, yellow and other coloured paints of your choice (depends what colour flowers you would like)

What you do:

Paint child’s hand and make handprint. Be sure to lightly push each finger down to ensure print is made.

Dip fingers in paint to do finger print flowers making a yellow finger print in the middle of each flower.

Allow to dry and write your message on.

We did this in a bit of a hurry and I didn’t leave the handprint to dry before doing the flowers. If I did this again, I would let the hand print dry as we got a couple of smudges when we did the finger prints.

This would make a great mothers day card too.

Happy mothers day to all the mum’s out there!

The Benefits of Bubble Blowing

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We all love bubbles. They are pretty amazing aren’t they. The way they start as just some liquid and form a wonderful colourful floating sphere that floats away and pops in mid air. Just watching bubbles is both rewarding and relaxing and something all children seem to love.

Did you know that blowing bubbles can have a calming effect on children?

The exercise of blowing the bubble encourages children to practice deep breathing which has calming effects on the body. So next time your kids are having a bad day, are tired or irritable (they all have them). Instead of fighting a losing battle, get out the bubble mixture, get them blowing bubbles and have some fun. You’ll both feel better, more relaxed and able to face the day.

There are plenty of store bought bubble mixtures that don’t cost a great deal but if you prefer to make your own, here is a recipe from the Questacon website in Canberra.

  • 3 parts dishwashing liquid (Morning Fresh works well)
  • 7 parts hotwater
  • 1 part glycerol (or sugar)

The glycerol helps the bubble to last longer, by preventing them from drying out. Glycerol is available from pharmacies and some supermarkets. If you cannot get any glycerol, use sugar instead.

Mix the ingredients very thoroughly. The batch used by the Maths Squad was mixed for around half an hour. If you are making a large amount, try an electric drill with a paint-stirrer attachment, or even a bent piece of coathanger wire. Otherwise a flat stick works fine.

Some other benefits of blowing bubbles:

  • Blowing bubbles is a great turn taking activity for children who have trouble taking turns
  • Great for encouraging language in children. Before you blow the bubbles, encourage your child to say “go” when the bubbles pop, model the word “pop”
  • The activity of blowing bubbles is also good for strengthening muscles in the mouth. Children who have delayed speech may benefit from this.

ANZAC Day Poppies

ANZAC Day is a tricky one to talk about with young children. Talking about war and people dying is not something that we really want to expose to the very young too early and yet ANZAC Day is such an important day in Australia and one that children should have some concept of.

Finding activities that introduce children to the concept of ANZAC Day is a great way to open it up for discussion in an age appropriate way. Last year we made ANZAC biscuits using my Nan’s recipe. That was pretty special and we will probably do this again this year but I wanted to do a little more than just make biscuits.

I saw these poppies on a blog called  A Little Delightful. You can download and print the poppies from here which I did but I wanted to do something that was a little bit more hands on so drew some of my own (based on the template) and Thomas and his little friend painted them with red paint.

We talked beforehand about ANZAC Day and I told Thomas that ANZAC Day was about remembering the soldiers. We looked up ‘soldiers’ in our children’s dictionary. There are some lovely children’s books around about ANZAC Day. You can see a comprehensive list at My Little Bookcase.

What you need:

White cardboard

Red poster paint and paint brush

Black paper cut into small circles

Green pipe cleaners

Sticky tape

Glue stick

What you do:

Trace and cut out poppies. Depending on the age of your children, they may or may not be able to help with this process. Thomas at 3 is a little bit too young to be able to cut out a flower. We are still working on snipping :-).

Have you child paint the poppies with the red paint.

When the poppies are dry, place some glue in the middle and stick on one black circle. Attach a pipe cleaner to the back of the poppy with sticky tape.

Create your own display for ANZAC Day :-).

How do you discuss this important day in our history with your children?

Stained Glass Window

We were in the mood for a bit of craft this afternoon but I was in the mood to not make a lot of mess! This activity was perfect. Thomas got to do some cutting and sticking and there was barely any clean up afterwards.

What you’ll need:

Some cellophane of different colours

Contact

Coloured paper

Scissors

What you do:

Using a piece of coloured paper (ours was square but you could do any shape you like), cut out the middle leaving a border around the edge. I left a border of about 2cm.

Cut a piece of contact slightly bigger than the coloured paper and place the coloured side down onto the contact.

Cut cellophane into strips.

If your child is old enough, they can use child sized scissors to snip small pieces of cellophane to stick onto the window, otherwise you can do this step.

Then all you do is stick the coloured cellophane onto the contact. When you are finished, fold over the excess contact around the border and stick onto a window.

This activity is great for colour recognition, fine motor skills and scissor development.

I love to introduce and cement children’s understanding about different concepts using books. Children’s books can help children learn in so many different ways. If you would like to extend your child’s understanding or interest in colour, here are some examples of great books that explore colour:

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See” by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle,

“Nana’s Colours” by Pamela Allen,

“Rainbow Peekaboo” by DK books

“Wow said the Owl” by Tim Hopgood

and for something a little different,

“The Black Book of Colours” by Menena Cottin.

These are just a few books with colour as the central theme. I’m sure there are many more. Do you have any favourites?

Sock Pairing Game

Ok, so this activity is probably a bit of a no brainer but I hadn’t thought of doing it before (not sure if that means I don’t have a brain – sometimes it certainly feels like it!)… I thought there might be more of you out there who hadn’t thought of the educational benefits (other than teaching responsibility) of getting your children to help out around the house.

Thomas was a little unwell today and therefore a little clingy. I needed to put some washing away in his room and he wanted me to come and play with him. He started picking up his socks so I asked him to find the pairs. At first he wasn’t really sure what he was doing but as soon as he had done one pair he got the idea. Some of them were quite similar so he really had to pay attention to the detail on the sock and search for the right one.

He then turned it into a basketball game – when I folded the pair of socks over, I gave them back to me and he threw them into the drawer and got a “goal”. It kept him happy and I was able to get the rest of the washing put away. Win-win…

When he was finished he wanted to do more. I will definitely be leaving the socks for him to put away next time!

This basic mathematics activity helps children to develop colour recognition, classification skills, concentration, language skills, scanning and finding an object, memory skills and paying attention to detail as well as learning about responsibility and looking after their own things.

For young children you could start with 2 or 3 pairs and have them find the matching one. Thomas matched about 10 pairs this morning.

I found this picture online and I just had to share it with this post :-).