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

Fabulous Daiso Finds for the Kids

Singapore Daiso Fabulous Finds for the Kids

Last week, I shared five fabulous Daiso finds for the home.  I’m glad to have received many replies from you and how you love Daiso!  THANK YOU!

A quick summary for those who may not be familiar with Daiso: this brand started off as a 100-yen shop in Japan.  Now, you can find Daiso in many countries, like Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Canada and the U.S.  Most of the items are often tagged at a fixed amount.  For Singapore at least, everything cost $2.

This week, I’ll be sharing five great finds for our children!

1. Play Dough and Modelling Clay

You might have already known the benefits of allowing your child play with dough. Besides improving their fine motor skills, playing with dough helps with the child’s creativity and imagination.  It’s a great tool to develop their mathematical and language skills too!   My daughter seems very calm whenever she plays dough. Ohm…

Daiso sells play dough and modelling clay.  They come in a variety of colours and are non-toxic.  You could get a set with the dough cutters or just a bucketful of colourful play dough. As they come wrapped in plastic packaging, you’ll need to store the dough in air-tight containers to prevent them from drying out.

For play dough ideas: The Carrot Seed activities, Learning the Alphabet, Making Animal Tracks, Moses Bible Activity

 

2. Musical Instruments

Jing-jang! Cling-clang! If you’re looking for simple musical instruments like triangle,recorders, tambourine, castanets or bells, Daiso has them all!  While we often make our music instruments, I’m clueless as to how I could make a triangle without scrap metal parts or a bell without jingle bells.  So you could imagine my excitement when I saw these musical instruments!

Fabulous finds at Daiso Singapore for the kids

3. Jigsaw Puzzles

The first set of jigsaw puzzle bought for Hannah came in a pack of four; each set of varied degree of complexity. The first set comprises six pieces and gradually increases until the last set with 20 pieces. Then, we progressed to a 36-piece jigsaw puzzle (shown in the picture).  Your children could even create their own jigsaw by purchasing Daiso’s 25-piece blank jigsaw pieces. These make great, unique gifts for family and friends.

 

4. Fishing Game

The grandmother bought this fishing game last year and it has always been Hannah’s go-to game from time to time.  I’d spread the sea animals around the “sea” and have her fish them.  For each successful catch, she names each sea creature and its colour in Mandarin (Mama’s subtle way of getting Hannah to speak Mandarin more often).  You could also play this game as part of the “Ten Little Fish” extension activity.

 

5. Beach and Sand Toys

Hannah loves the beach and sandbox play! She could spend hours digging in the sand, building sand castles and creating sand aircrafts with the moulds.  These beach and sand toys make ideal companions for any beach or sandbox play.  Because they don’t cost much, I don’t feel too bad if her toys get lost in the sand, or when she had forgotten to whom she lent the toy too.

 

I know many of us would agree that a list five finds is never enough!  There are many other great buys for kids waiting for me to discover. 🙂

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?

Games to Teach Children their Name

Teach_Children_Their_Names_HomeschoolCrafts

Hannah has been learning how to spell her name over the past weeks. Although it’s part of  3 Year ABC Jesus Loves Me curriculum, I follow the lesson plans loosely.

Besides learning to spell her name through a song (see my previous post), Hannah plays the following games:

  1. Put letters of her name in correct order
    I write letters of Hannah’s name on pieces of paper.  Then, have Hannah sort her name in the correct order.  I try not to interfere when she’s trying to piece her name together.  So even if she seems uncertain, I’ll ask her to try again.  If she still has trouble piecing them correctly, we’ll go through the name song to jog her memory.
  2. Pick the correct letters of her name and put them in correct order
    Once Hannah is able to put the letters of her name in correct order, I threw in extra letters, and she has to pick the correct letters and piece them together.  Again, we’ll recite the name song if she needs help.
  3. Arrange her name in correct order with the capital letter in front
    Now that Hannah is comfortable arranging the letters of her name in order, I introduced her name in lower case, and teaching her that the first letter of her name should be a capital.  There are still times, she’ll still get confused and put the capital letter “H” at the end.  I’ll correct her by  putting the capital letter in front.

It’s such an exciting period of learning to read and write!  If you have any other suggestions to help Hannah read and write, please share them with me.

DIY Clothes Peg Number Match

ClothesPegMath1_HomeschoolCrafts

To help Hannah revise her numbers from 1-10, I came up with a matching game using clothes pegs and dot stickers.  I reckoned most mothers have played something similar with their children before.

I had previously made number cards using a cereal box and number stickers (bought from scrap-booking shop).  Hannah hasn’t played with them for a while so I decided to recycle them for our game.  Using leftover dot stickers, I wrote the numbers, stuck them on the clothes peg and had Hannah match them.

ClothesPegMath2_HomeschoolCrafts

There are many variations of matching games you could try:

  1. Number word to digit (I’m going to try this next)
  2. Capital letter to lower-case letter
  3. Number dots to digit or number word
  4. Peg colour to word
  5. Number of pegs to digit
  6. Spelling

The list is endless!  Just do a quick search on the Internet and you know what I mean.  I’m starting to love my pegs already! Never underestimate the humble clothes peg ~Hee!

P/s: I love this set of rainbow coloured pegs.  They just brighten up my laundry days 🙂

DIY Alphabet and Colour games – reusing bottle lids

20130604-223235.jpg

Like most mothers, I lack sleep. On nights when Hannah doesn’t sleep through, I’d wake up bleary-eyed while she’s all energized even with just a few hours of sleep. So, I turn to chicken essence for a perk-me-up.

And what do I do with my empty chicken essence bottles? I recycle the glass jars and re-use the lids to entertain Hannah.

Here are two games I’ve done thus far:

(1) Knowing the ABCs
You’ll need lots of bottle lids for this one. But you may skip creating the entire alphabet and just focus a few letters at a time. I’ve made the alphabet in lower case, using pipe cleaners (re-used from previous alphabet craft).

You could do both upper and lower cases as a matching game. Alternatively, flip the lids over and you have a memory game.

For starters, I’m introducing letter recognition to Hannah. I’ll ask her to find me a letter. That helps me identify which lower-case letter(s) she needs more help in.

(2) Colour and groupings
You could stick coloured paper or patterned paper on the lids and then have your child identify or match them.

I used the lids to introduce colours to Hannah when she was younger. Now, she groups the colours accordingly. I’m intending to expanding the set as she learns more colours.

These are just some quick to make, educational and cheap alternatives for your children to enjoy.

DIY children’s puzzles

IMG_1511

Buying puzzles can be pretty expensive especially if there’s a tendency for the child to get bored after playing a couple of rounds. With an empty tissue box at hand, I decided to make one on shapes. It took me less than 20 minutes to complete (I was chatting with my husband and making it at the same time). I have to admit, the puzzles aren’t as fancy as those in the store but it serves its purpose and of no cost!

I started with a two-piece puzzle then “upgraded” them by cutting them into fours.  Some of the pieces are little worn out now (due to Hannah’s constant bending) but I’m glad she is still playing with them 🙂

IMG_1512

This puzzle was created using ABCJLM’s template.  I pasted the template on to empty cardboard pieces and used cellophane tape to go round each piece several times (my cheaper way of “laminating” the pieces).

After making these puzzles, I’ve now started collecting empty cereal and tissue boxes in hope to make more puzzles for Hannah. 

How have you used empty cardboard boxes to keep your little one occupied?

Left, right, left and right

IMG_0663

The footwork diagrams for ballroom dancing gave me an idea to help Hannah learn left and right.

Using an empty cereal box, I traced Hannah’s left and right shoes.  After which, I labelled the left and right in three languages (English, Mandarin and Malay).  The footprints led to a platform with the word, “Bounce!”.  Hannah was learning to bounce at around 19-20 months so that gave her some incentive to walk on the footprints.

To further enrich learning, I taught her the nursery rhyme, “Goosey, Goosey Gander” where a sentence in the lyrics mentions a left leg.  So whenever I said “left leg”, Hannah would lift her left leg.

While my husband found the nursery rhyme inappropriate for a child, I thought we shouldn’t read too much into the lyrics.  Moreover, I was taught this rhyme in kindergarten, and I grew up fine 🙂

Here are the lyrics:

Goosey goosey gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers,
So I took him by his left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

Learning to blow with a straw

Taught Hannah (16 mth) to blow and drink from a straw. We played games like picking up pieces of stickers with the straw.

IMG_0026