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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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?

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?

Pretend play and money counting

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Hannah enjoys playing pretend. One of her aspirations is to be a store keeper. One day, she chanced upon a toy cash register in a magazine and begged to buy one.

Being a frugal mom, I decided to show Hannah how to make one instead. First, we collected three boxes of varied sizes. We were lucky to have found a box that could slide open – perfect for storing coins.

Next, we wrapped the cartons with Mala paper and stuck them together with double-sided tape. Then, the fun bit: decorate!

While I drew the “buttons” and the “scanner”, Hannah decorated the exterior with stickers and random doodles.

Hannah decided to set up a book store and wore her craft apron. I guessed that must be her uniform ~ hee!

What’s a store without a name right? So, we created a signboard with the wipe-and-swipe magnetic board.

Before we can open our shop, this little shopkeeper has to first learn how to identify money; starting with 50 cents and a dollar.

Now, time to put our cash register to the test!

Hannah welcomed her first customer and showed me her books on display. She, being the shopkeeper with excellent customer service, recommended(subsequently insisted that I buy) several of her favourite reads.

We played several rounds before she decided to call it a day.

All in all, the cash register “survived” Hannah’s rough handling and she stopped asking me to buy things for her. The buzzword has since changed to “make”!

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 🙂

Counting numbers 1-10

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I started out teaching Hannah numbers using ABCJLM’s apple tree number poster.  To make the “fruits”, I’ve used orange stickers (easily available at stationery stores), and stuck the posters at the activity corner so that Hannah reviews the numbers every time she walks past it.

Now at 22 months, Hannah is able to recognise the numbers and say them both in English and Mandarin.  She started to identify 1-3 in Spanish too! I had introduced her to Spanish while Daddy was on a work trip in Spain. 

I’ve also realised she started to count backwards i.e. 5 to 1 recently.  I think that’s because I often give her a 5-seconds or 10-seconds countdown before we move on to our activity.  Sometimes, when she’s into one activity, it’s difficult for her to move to another.  So I would explain to her that we’ll move to the next activity after I’m done counting.  This gives her time to adjust and prepare herself for the next activity.