Guest Post: Homemade Beads in 3 Ways

This week, we learn how to make beads. Hannah loves dressing up. The girly girl in her enjoys wearing necklaces and bracelets. So when Jessica from Education.com shared this idea with me, I just had to try them with my girl! 

Education.com provides parents,homeschoolers and teachers with fun learning resources e.g. worksheets, lesson plans, digital games, an online guided learning platform, and more. Over to Jessica:

beads-preschool-homeschool-crafts

Stringing beads is a fun way to give boredom the boot. And most preschoolers, both girls and boys, enjoy taking a crack at it.

Beyond fueling creativity, beading also has another trick up its sleeve: it helps young kids practice patterning, or sequencing, which lays the groundwork for math, reading, and science. You can buy a sack of beads at any craft store. But here are 3 inexpensive ways for kids to make their own beads, from scratch.

Continue reading Guest Post: Homemade Beads in 3 Ways

Letter C Week: Coffee, Counting and Cows

Letter of the Week: C is for Coffee Painting

Coffee Painting

Did you know that you can find inexpensive”paint” around the house?  Coffee is one of them!

For our letter “C” week, we used this aromatic powder as our paint medium.

Materials:

Coffee grounds or instant coffee (which we’ve used)
Drawing paper
Bowls
Paintbrush
Crayons

Instructions:

1. Soak coffee grounds or instant coffee crystals in water. The longer the grounds steep in the water, the darker the “paint”.  This allows you to achieve different gradients of “paint”.

2. Draw with crayons.  Try drawing with white crayon for a different effect.

3. Dip paintbrush into coffee and “paint” over the crayon drawings.  You might like to try waiting for one layer of the coffee to dry before painting the second layer.  It’ll create a darker shade.

Extension Activity:

Coffee grounds make a wonderful medium to discuss about our five senses.  We talked about the smell, colour and feel of coffee grounds.  Hannah loved the aroma!

Letter C Week: Counting with Utensils

Counting with Utensils

C is for counting.  We don’t own any counting manipulative so I decided to count our spoons and forks!  Other than counting the number of forks and spoons, Hannah was to decide which was more and counted its difference.

Reading List

Here are some of the books we read during the week:

  • From Grass to Milk by Stacy Taus-Bolstad: The book discusses the production of milk – from a cow to its processing, transporting and packaging.  It’s an easy to understand book to help Hannah understand how her milk gets to the store.
  • My First Biography: Christopher Columbus by Marion Dane Bauer: We enjoyed reading this series by Scholastic very much.  It provides an overview of the characters without overwhelming the little reader with too much facts.
  • Letters Around the World: Canada by Andy Orchard: The book introduces Canada from a child’s perspective whilst providing facts about the country’s climate, history, geography, festivals and culture.

Linking up with:

Wordless Wednesday Hop

Mama to 5 Blessings

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Letter of the Week: F is for… | A Sink or Float Science Lesson

Letter F Week: Sink or Float Science Lesson

F is for Float!  Our letter of the week activity includes a preschool science lesson on density and buoyancy.  With all her whys, whys and more whys, I decided to let Hannah try for herself why some things sink and some float.

We carried out this experiment after reading, “What Floats?: Floating and Sinking” by Jim Pipe:

1. Sink or Float Experiment

Gather your materials:

Fruits e.g. apple and orange
Plastic bowl
Metal fork
Pebble

Make a prediction:

Before putting the item into the water, Hannah had to guess if the item would sink or float.

Test your prediction:

Hannah places the item into the water to find out the result.  When she felt the apple and orange, she thought they would sink given that they were heavy.  But both fruits floated!

Classify items:

Finally, we classified the items under “sink” or “float”.

2. Peeled vs Unpeeled Orange Experiment

Another experiment that we read in “What Floats?: Floating and Sinking” was of the orange and its orange peel.  We decided to test this out too.  The first time we placed a whole orange in the water, we recorded that it floats on the water surface.  Next, we peeled the orange skin and placed it into the water again.  This time, the orange sank.

Why is this so?

As explained in the book, the orange peel has tiny air pockets which help give the orange a lower density than water, making it float to the surface. Removing the peel meant that we have removed all the air pockets therefore, increasing its density than that of water, making the orange sink.

3. Building a Sail Boat

To finish off, we did a craft which we’ve done last year – building a sailing boat using a jar lid, dough, straw and paper.

Oh, and have fun splashing the water around after that! 🙂

The Grouchy Ladybug Activities

The Grouchy Ladybug Activity - Telling the Time

L is for ladybug.  In this week’s letter-of-the-week, we read the story, “The Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle.

Studying the Ladybug

To start off, we drew a picture of a ladybug. We studied the insect’s body and structure.  Ladybugs have round or oval-shaped domes.  They have six short legs and two antennae.

Manners and Conduct

After reading the story, we discussed what were the things the grouchy ladybug did that weren’t very polite, and why we should treat others with respect.  We dig deep into our feelings, discussing how we’d felt if someone treated us in a grouchy, impolite manner, and how we should treat others the same way we’d like them to treat us.  I found the best time to talk was after Hannah’s nap, where she’s not too distracted and feeling refreshed.

Comparing Size

In “The Grouchy Ladybug“, we came across different animals and insects that were bigger than the grouchy ladybug.  We compared their sizes and arranged them in order; from the biggest to the smallest.

Telling Time

I downloaded a template of the clock faces from DLTK and had Hannah pick the corresponding clock face as we re-read the story.  This would be a good book to introduce time by the hour.  This was a good review for Hannah, as she was already familiar telling the time by the hour.  Hannah enjoyed this activity very much, and requested to play this game several times during the week.

If you have younger children, you might like to start off with this ladybug activity, which we did when Hannah was 2.  Having to bed rest most of the time, these activities were easy to implement and I could play with Hannah without moving much.

Do you have any other The Grouchy Ladybug extension activities to share?

Things May Not Be So Complicated After All…

It’s week 2 of homeschooling with our new curriculum; focusing on character education.  It’s summer all year round in Singapore so I thought we’d skipped the break, and head straight on.  I’m hoping to cover as much as I can before the baby arrives in October.  Then, I’m pretty sure Hannah will have ample time for free play.

For the first week, we covered the creation story while focusing on the character trait: orderliness. Hannah fondly remembers the mobile we did last year, and requested if we could make another one this time round.  And so we did.

As we moved on to number counting,  the little girl remembered counting apples on our apple tree posters, that I made early last year.  She was then 22 months.  I had kept extra copies of the apple tree (from ABC Jesus Loves Me’s 2-Year Curriculum) and decided to let her paste paper flowers on the trees.  You can get the punches at $2 from Daiso.

This was one impromptu go-along activity with the book “Chicka Chicka 1,2,3”.  (See our other Chicka Chicka activities here)

Counting 1-10 activities.

As I watched Hannah paste her flowers, I recalled reading posts by other homeschoolers on ABCJLM’s forum on whether certain activities would be too easy for their children since they already knew their numbers, shapes and colours.  And if they should be doing a more advanced exercise.

I’ve come to realise that sometimes we, as parents, overcomplicate things.  Through these two activities with Hannah, I’ve come to understand that it’s okay to let the children have activities that aren’t challenging.  The activities that they find joy and bring memories are the ones they’ll enjoy most (or is it the other way around?)

As a homeschool mom, I totally understand their concerns and the need for a child to be challenged to develop his skills.  In my opinion, however, instead of focusing solely on developmental progress, it’s alright to incorporate activities that they have no problems completing.  Just let them have some fun! Moreover, it serves as a good recap for them.

Don’t we enjoy doing things that are easy and fun too?

Math Books for Preschoolers: Counting and Comparison

Math books for preschoolers that teaches counting and comparison

I’ve always been a little afraid of Math, possibly because I struggled with the subject as a kid.  As I embark on homeschooling, I knew this is one area of weakness I have to come face-to-face with.  One of the ways to get Hannah thinking about numbers, without realising it’s a lesson – through books.

These two picture books have been great tools for teaching counting and more-few comparison:

"Apples up on top" by Dr. Seuss

1) Ten Apples up on Top by Dr. Seuss

As we read the book, I’d stop to ask Hannah questions like:

  1. the number of apples on each animal’s head;
  2. compare who had the most apples and who had the fewest.

We also had fun imagining apples on our heads!  Hannah would throw one of her “apples” to me and I’d ask her how many apples had she left.

This was my morning surprise for Hannah: she had to close her eyes and leaned against the wall, before opening her eyes with “apples” on her head.

Ten Apples Up On Top Activity: apples on our heads

More “Apples up on Top” activities:

 

2) Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson

It hasn’t been easy searching for books that count up to 20.  Most of the counting books stop at 10. Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 is one book that counts up to 20, then introduces in 30 to 100 (in tens).  This is one book we’ve been reading every single day of the week.

Our accompanying activities include:

  1. arranging the numbers from 0 to 20 in a number line;
  2. saying out loud the numbers in English and Mandarin (we also tried saying in Bahasa);
  3. sticking corresponding number of dot stickers to each number indicated on paper;
  4. identifying which is fewer/more among two numbers (I randomly chose two pieces of paper to compare, after we completed activity 3.)
  5. going over the numbers from 0 to 100; found at the back of the book.

Math Books for Preschoolers: Chicka Chicka 1,2,3

More “Chicka Chicka 1,2,3” activities:

 

If you know of any other Math books that teaches little ones to count up to 20 or more, please share the titles with me. 🙂

Inch by Inch Activities

Here’s another classic children’s story that we enjoyed!  I borrowed the Chinese edition of Leo Lionni’s “Inch by Inch”.  By far, this has been Hannah’s favorite Chinese story.

The book title is “一寸虫”, which literally means an inch worm.  The illustrations are beautiful, the storyline is simple for Hannah to remember, and best of all, she took interest in measuring everything in the house after the reading!

“Inch by Inch” Activities

We did three activities for “一寸虫”.  Needless to say, Hannah enjoyed activity 3 the best!

Measuring with “inch worms”

I cut green pipe cleaners exactly an inch long.  Then we used it to measure the “Inch by Inch” book.  Hannah didn’t enjoy this activity.  She was more keen to use them for her cooking instead. 😛

Inch by Inch activity: painting an inch worm

Painting Grass

I wanted Hannah paint a picture of the inch worm crawling among the grass.  First, I stuck an inch worm on a piece of paper. Then I showed Hannah how to use a fork to create the grass blades.  As you can see, Hannah preferred splashing the paint rather than painting them in neat rows. Haha!

 

Measuring with Tape Measure

Now for Hannah’s favorite!  It’s the easiest activity that needs no preparation.  Just a tape measure and she’s off measuring everything.  From her feet, to her arm, coffee table, and every other furniture she finds.  As there were two measurements on the measuring tape, I showed her the difference between inches and centimeters.  We learned that 1 inch = 2.5 cm.

 

Overall

We both enjoyed our activities, especially when they are rather easy to clean-up and require little or no preparation.  It’s also a great book to get little ones started on Math too!

As I reflected on our activities, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, we adults tend to over-prepare and complicate matters.  We print, cut, glue, prepare all the learning materials, hoping to see our kids enjoy them.  Yet, most of the time, kids would prefer the simple stuff where they can imagine, wander around and have fun! Do you agree?

Letter of the Week: N is for….

The “Letter of the Week” theme is very popular among preschoolers (do a google and you’ll find out how many parents are doing this!)  I don’t blog every “Letter of the Week” activities, just those that we had a lot of fun (and mess) creating.

Letter N Crafts

Letter of the week - N theme

N is for Newspaper

We searched in the newspaper for words that begin with the letter “N” and we would stick them on our letter “N” poster.

N is for Nest

Our nest looks more like peas and spaghetti! LOL!  You try making your little nest using:

  1. Yarn
  2. Pom-poms
  3. Adhesive felt
  4. Colored glue pens
  5. White glue
  6. Ikea’s Mala paper or any thick paper

Hannah slopped glue all over the paper, and pasted the yarn.  This is the “nest”.  To make the chicks, I cut pom-poms in half and pasted them onto our nest.  I used adhesive felt to make their little beaks.  Then dot some colored glue for their eyes.  Leave them to dry.

Because the little girl used a whole LOT of glue, it took some time to dry.  While waiting, she decided to use water color to paint the background.  Final product? A red mama bird and her green chicks!

N is for Nativity

Instead of the manger, we made the angel who announced to the shepherds that Christ was born.  We used shapes to create the angel – 2 ovals, 1 circle and 1 triangle (a great way to review shapes).  Using florescent colored glue pens, I showed Hannah how to create stars.  We ended up with colored glue all over the table, hands, clothes and all…

N is for Nightingale

Hannah enjoyed reading “The Emperor and the Nightingale” (Usborne First Reading edition).  The story was simple for her to follow along and she was able to mimic the various animals mentioned in the story e.g. the frog, the cow and the golden mechanical nightingale.

We also learned about Florence Nightingale through the Popcorn: History Corner series.  Written by Kay Barnham, it’s an easy reading for little children to learn about the people in history.  There’s even a page that teaches children how to make a sling.

N is for Nightingale

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Three_Billy_Goats_Gruff_HomeschoolCrafts

G is for goat.  Our letter of the week theme continues with the letter “G”.  And one of our readings, includes Paul Galdone’s,  “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”.  This is a charming rendition of a classic fairy tale – simple for a preschooler to understand and the illustrations are beautiful.

After reading the story aloud, we tried to create the “trip trap” sounds that the Gruffs made, by hitting two plastic cups on the table. Then we “trip trap” along as we re-read the story.

Hannah enjoyed the story very much and asked to read it over and over again.  After the third or fourth consecutive reading (phew~), we built a bridge out of blocks and used our friendly Mr. Spiderman as the troll while our three plastic farm goats became the Gruffs.  I asked Hannah to be the voice  of the goats while I became the evil Troll, but our little girl volunteered to be the evil troll instead. Haha!  It was adorable watching Hannah speak in her low small voice, trying to imitate the troll.

For the activity sheets, I downloaded a free Three Billy Goats Gruff Pack from 3dinosaurs.com.  I didn’t print the entire activity pack; just the patterns and spotting the difference.

Besides that we learned:

  1. difference in size:”little”, “medium” and “large”;
  2. difference in volume: “small”, “medium”, “loud”;
  3. difference in age: “youngest”, “middle” and “eldest”; and
  4. skip-counting in 3’s.

It was a fun-filled week for the both of us!  Now, who’s that I hear trip-trapping…?

Week 3: Adam + Eve and Letter “A”

Adam_Eve_Activities_HomeschoolCrafts

In week 3, we learned about the fall of man – the story of Adam and Eve.  This week is also the first week to introduce a letter of the week (in line with ABC Jesus Loves Me curriculum).

While sourcing for accompanying materials for the letter of the week, I’ve found three other sites that provide excellent learning materials, plus they are FREE!

(1) Hubbard’s Cupboard  (I’ve been using their materials and ideas since the start of our homeschooling year)

(2) Confessions of a Homeschooler  (This curriculum provides many fun activities and beautiful learning materials.  You could also purchase their curriculum.)

(3) This Reading Mama  (This reading curricula was recommended by a family friend.)

We don’t do all the activities listed in the websites.  There are way too many, and Hannah hasn’t developed the ability to do some of the activities e.g. writing or forming sentences.  I’d pick activities that she enjoys doing and a more challenging one for the week.  This allows her to build her confidence as she tries something out of her comfort level.

Here are the activities we did for letter “A”:

(1) “A” is for Adam
“Hubbard’s Cupboard” ties in a letter of the week with a Bible story.  We found this a useful way to remember both the story and the letter.

(2) Counting Apple Seeds
Hannah doesn’t like counting pictures or anything that’s 2D.  She prefers counting things that she can hold.  Normally, she would count one or two pictures and then says she doesn’t want to do it anymore.  This time, I was glad she took the effort to count the apple seeds from 1-10.  This set was taken from “Confessions of a Homeschooler”.

(3) Dot-a-dot “A”
Hannah loves dot-a-dot painting!  She was excited to dot the letter “A”.  This was printed from “Confessions of a Homeschooler”.

(4) Dot-a-dot “At”
In “This Reading Mama” curricula, you will find the introduction of sight words in every letter pack.  In the “A” pack, it includes the sight word, “at”.  The original activity calls for the child to poke along the word with a push-pin or toothpick.  We tried and gave up after several attempts.  Hannah seemed unsure where to poke, even after I showed her the first round.  She was conscious as to how far each poke should be, and how deep the toothpick should go.  Eventually, she became frustrated and didn’t want to do it.  I then changed it to dot-a-dot and she complied to complete the activity.  Then again, she was still rather hesitant as to how far apart the dots should be!

(5) Creating an “A” Book
This was also taken from “This Reading Mama”.  The printable allows you to form a little book with things that start with “A”.  Each sentence has the sight word, “at”.  After reading to Hannah once, she said, “Hannah try.  Hannah want to try.”  She pointed to each word, and started reading them slowly.  The sentence structure is repeated i.e. “Look at the…” so it allows her to learn each word, while building her confidence as a reader.

Creation_Books_HomeschoolCrafts

Our weekly reading basket was filled with books that discussed about rules.  God gave a rule or instruction to Adam and Eve, for their good.  Similarly, there are rules we should observe.  E.g. traffic, library and safety rules. Rules or instructions are meant for our good.  They keep us safe.

On a side note, I found a lovely book, “Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise” by Tomie De Paola in the library.  It illustrates God’s wonderful creation and how everything was formed to praise God.  It’s a great addition as we study the book of Genesis.

See if you can get hold of this book.  I’m sure your little one and even, the not-so-little will enjoy it too!