Friday, August 14, 2015

An Eggy Experiment

For our letter E science activity I knew we had to do another experiment. And, why not throw some more E's in there and make it an egg experiment? I found some fun ideas on Science Sparks, and we decided to go for it. First we gathered our materials.
-Distilled Vinegar
- An Egg
- A glass container big enough to hold the egg
- A measuring cup (optional, I wanted Erik to be able to pour the vinegar without handing him the whole jug)
 Put the egg in the glass and cover it with vinegar. Leave it for several days (I think ours was 5-6 days) while you observe. 
The egg will get air bubbles on the shell when it starts reacting with the vinegar. For us this happened almost right away. We observed the bubbles both visually and by listening to the bubbles pop.
 While we haven't actually sat down and discussed all the steps in the Scientific Method, I still try to get Erik thinking by discussing what we're observing and making some hypotheses. We even get Daddy in on the guessing, just to make it more fun. We made up a chart showing what we thought would happen and taped it to the wall above our egg jar. Dad guessed the shell would go away and the egg would break. Mom guessed it would become see-through. Erik guessed that it would bounce and break.
 I didn't get any pictures of the end result, but it was really neat. The egg shell dissolves (we had to gently rub off the residue with our fingers) and the egg swells up inside the remaining membrane until it's noticeably bigger than it started out.
After making our observations about the end result, we decided to go a step further and go with another idea from Science Sparks. We carefully removed our egg from the vinegar and I let Erik drop it (gently) into the empty kitchen sink. His guess was right. We were able to bounce it a few times before it broke and ran down the drain.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Letter E Activities

So we haven't (and are not going to) finished all the activities we had planned for the letter E, so this will be a mix of things we did do, and things that you might find interesting that I never got around to doing. Links either take you to a post about our experience or to somewhere else with fun ideas for the letter E. Links will go active as I get posts up over the next few days.


Language Development:
                Letter E books
Math Concepts:
                Measuring with an egg carton
                Count the Eggs              
Science:
                Dissolve and bounce an egg                   
Creative Arts:
                Elephant letter E craft/plasticegg printing

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dance a Dot or a Dash

The idea for this activity came from my book, How to be your Child's First Teacher. We've gotten so many fun ideas from this book!

We started out by talking about how some sounds are more like dots. They are short, quick, sometimes even jerky. This is called Staccato. Other sounds are more like a line or dash. They are long and smooth. This is called Legato. You can try to make samples of these sounds (with your little one's participation of course) by using your voice (something like saying la la la vs. laaaaaaaa). If your kids are like mine they'll love making silly noises. You could even take turns making noises and having the other person decide if your noise was a dot or a dash. From there, ask them how to make dot-like movements with their bodies (jumping, clapping, etc), and dash-like movements (spinning, moving hands/arms through the air, etc).

Once you've got the idea down, the real fun starts. I found this video on you-tube that has some good, up-beat examples of staccato and legato music, but you could find your own if you'd prefer. Then, you get to have a dance party right there with your cute kiddos. Listen and decide if the music is playing "dots" or "dashes", then try to move your bodies accordingly. 
Erik is attempting to demonstrate a "dot" movement by jumping. 
Sharli wasn't so sure about all this craziness, but Erik had fun. Unfortunately it's hard to take pictures of moving/dancing children while you are also moving/dancing, so you'll just have to try this one out for yourself and see it in action.
Moving around the room in long smooth "dash" movements. 

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Letter D Books

We love trying to come up with books to supplement each letter theme. If you need help coming up with ideas for you to use here are some good places to look for letter themed books: The Measured Mom and Crystal and Co.
Some of our favorites this time around were:





The Dora the Explorer book would have gone nicely with our Doctor's Office imaginative play if I'd ever gotten that together like I had hoped to. Oh well.

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Letter D Duck Craft

As I was planning our letter D theme, I saw this duck craft and knew it was the one for us! Erik has never been a big fan of coloring so instead we decided to paint our duck. We started out revisiting our Dot Painting technique from a day or two before, but Erik just wanted to dive in and the cotton swabs quickly fell by the wayside. 
After our letter D had dried, we cut it out and glued it onto a fresh sheet of paper. Great chance for some fine motor skills!
I gave Erik the duck's body parts (which I had cut out of construction paper), and he glued those on as well.
Last, but not least, the feathers! We found these at WalMart for cheap, and there are lots left to play with.
Finished!
We came up with a short description for his duck so we could incorporate some lower case D's into this, and then hung him on the well next to our other ABC animals.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dot Painting, Exploring Pointillism

For our letter D art activity, we explored Pointillism, or Dot Painting as we called it. 

Let's gather our supplies:
Paint (we were out of store-bought paint, so we made some of our edible finger paint and it worked great)
Cotton Swabs
Paper (I traced clipart of things that started with D, as well as the letter D, but I also gave Erik some blank pages to explore with too.)
After demonstrating the idea of "dot" painting, I turned Erik loose with the paint and let him dot away. Or not, whatever suited him. He dotted for a while, but (as always) it was just a matter of time until this morphed into finger painting, and body painting, and just general mess making. 
 It was fun to talk about the sound the letter D makes while exploring a new art technique. This took some fine motor skill and hand/eye coordination, which makes it a great physical learning experience as well as a creative one.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Throw Back Thursday, Edible Finger Paints

We needed some paint for one of Erik's letter D activities, so we made some edible finger paint. After Erik was done with the paint, we took Sharli to the bath tub and gave her some to play with too. It's a good thing it's edible!




 Sharli loved painting so much she decided to roll in it! It was about this point we got rid of the diaper and washed the mess down the drain. One thing about this paint is (being flour and water after all) that it can be hard to wash off once it dries, and is not much fun to get out of hair. So, as soon as the mess started getting all over, it was time to be done.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Deal A Story

This is another activity given to us by my amazing mother-in-law. It is very simple to put together, and the odds are good that you already have what you need right in your home. 
Let's gather our materials:
Playing cards with numbers on them (regular face cards, UNO cards, Rook cards, Skip-Bo Cards, whatever you have)
That's it! Piece of cake, right? No prep, although this is a game that requires your participation. 
 So how do we play?

Deal two or three cards facedown to each player. Choose a child to turn over a card and name the number on it. Use the number as you begin telling a story. Then continue, each turning over a card and saying it's number to incorporate into the story. For example: (child turns over a ten) "Ten little rabbits went to town." (child turns over a two) "They went to two houses looking for food." (next card is a five) "At the second house they met five kind children." (next card is a seven) "The children gave them seven carrots." Continue the story using the number cards. Older children can take turns being the storyteller, adding to the story on their turn.


*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Exploring Density (Sink or Float)

For our letter D science activity I followed the lead of this post and we did an exploration of Density. This was super easy to set up, and kept both kids entertained for a long time. 

Let's gather our supplies:
A selection of toys and other objects, some that will sink and some that will float
A large container to fill with water
A piece of paper that says "sink" and on that says "float"

 We took this activity outside because I wanted to be able to turn the kids loose to have fun without any worries about messes. We could have also done this in the bathtub and it would have worked great. 
The first thing we did was talk about what it means to sink or float. Then we took all the toys out of our bin while hypothesizing on how each one would behave in the water.
 Erik was thrilled to turn on the hose and fill up our tub. Sharli wasn't too sure what was going on yet, but we were outside so it must mean something good!
 Then we tested each item and placed it on the paper that described what it had done. Sharli just splashed around and had fun.
 After we'd tested all our objects, I just turned the kids loose with the water and sat back and watched. Water free-play is one of our favorite activities. Almost no prep, and SO much fun!
 There is so much to be learned from just exploring with water. Fine motor skills such as scooping and pouring, spatial awareness when deciding if water from one container will fit in another, hand-eye coordination, sensory awareness, social skills like cooperation (when you've got more than one child involved), language development as you discuss things like cold or wet.
 Since this day, Erik asks often if we can play with density again (he actually uses the word density, it really stuck with him). He also loves to test all his bath toys to see if they'll sink or float. This was a hit in a major way!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Letter D Activities

Here's our lesson plan for learning with the letter D. We had lots of fun with this one, hope you do too!


Language Development:
                Letter D Books

Math Concepts:
                Deal a Story

Social Studies:
                People in our Community; Doctors
                      *So I never did make the Doctor's Coat and Stuffed Animal Bandages that I had planned for this one, but I wanted to share the ideas in case you want to give it a go. We also have this fun Dr's kit that Erik's Grandma gave him to round out our imaginative play. 

Science:
                Density Experiment

Health and Physical Development:
                Dance a Dot or a Dash

Creative Arts:
                Letter D Duck Craft
                Painting with Dots

Friday, March 13, 2015

Community Clean-Up

Over the last week or two Erik and I have been discussing the meaning of "community". We talked about how a community is a group of people who live near each other and help each other out. As we've gone about our daily lives I point out people/places in our community and we talk about how they help everyone else. For example, our tiny town has one little store/gas station, where one can go to buy basic grocery items, treats/sodas, gas, and few other miscellaneous things. Erik and I talked about how nice it is that we can go get an ice cream bar or some gas any time we want/need to. We talked about the library, the church, the park, the ranger station (remember, we live in a tiny town at the edge of a wilderness area, even the ranger station is an significant part of our community).

We also talked about how it's important for everyone to help out to keep our community nice. Even little kids like Erik can help pick up trash from the park or on the side of a quiet road. The plan is to go to the park with a bag for trash and see if we can fill it up. Unfortunately, between the flu, the weather, and the everyday business of life, we have yet to make it to the park.

I am hopeful that this coming week is finally going to work out for us to get this done, and when it does happen I'll be sure to share some pictures and details of how this went. For now, we're going to move on to the letter D here on the blog, since there's no point in waiting to post new material until we meet this one goal.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

TBT: The Carrot Conclusion

So this week we're going back to our Carrot on a String experiment to show you our results.

So, in case you missed the set up, here's what we did (you can go back to the first post for full details):




We made sure to water the carrot several times a day, and to move it to a warmer location at night in case things got too cold that close to the window. Each day Erik checked the carrot to measure its progress. Finally, on about day four this is what we had:
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Wait for it.....
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 Yum, right? So, good job to my Grandma, who hypothesized that it would rot. She is the winner!
Now, as any good scientist would, we didn't let this stop us. We analyzed where our experiment may have gone wrong, designed a few improvements, and gave it another shot.

I was worried from the beginning that coring out the top of the carrot like we did would remove the part of the carrot that we were hoping to have grow. So, this time we did two carrots, one with only half of the top cored out, and the other with a very shallow hole cored out of the entire top (so basically the same as our first experiment, just with less water holding capacity). I was hoping that one (or both) of these methods would create enough of a space to hold water while still leaving something left to grow.

 These were strung up in the window and given the same treatment as our first carrot. We waited several days, with Erik checking our progress each day. By day four this was our result:
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Did you really think I'd just show it to you?
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So, I guess this whole project was a great way for Erik to get introduced to the scientific method, as well as to learn that not all experiments turn out as you had hoped they would.
Maybe my kid is weird, but somehow we didn't feel this experiment lived up to this statement from the original source: "In a few days your kids will love the results." Maybe most kids like rotting carrots, who knows.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Counting Caterpillars


This adorable little math activity came to us by way of my mother-in-law, who is amazing. Included in the little zip-top baggie was a set of instructions, three felt leaves, and a pile of adorable little pipe cleaner caterpillars. Making this busy bag would be pretty easy, here are the supplies you would need:
- A copy of the instructions
-Three leaves cut out of green felt 
-Pipe Cleaners (the puffier they are, the better!)
-Glue

 Using wire cutters or scissors, cut your pipe cleaners to approx. 2 inch lengths. Fold the ends over just enough to tuck in the sharp ends. Glue some googly eyes on, and viola!
Erik had a lot of fun with this one. We did a few math questions (pictured above: Which leaf has the most caterpillars), then I let him play with the caterpillars for a few minutes. He named them all after characters in the Clara Caterpillar book we borrowed from the library this week, it was pretty cute. 

I love activities like the that are visually appealing, entertaining, and SO easy to put together!

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links.