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Monday, October 17, 2016

A is for Apple

I love showing our awesome parents what we do each week and sharing with them the learning that went behind the projects that the kids take home. Most of these projects have more detailed posts that I have done before so I am posting a link for each one. Please take a minute to click on the links (the title of each activity) to see what we did and how we did it during letter A week.

Counting the dice pips so she knows how many apples to pick.

Practicing fine motor skills.
Use tongs to pick up apples and drop them in the can.
 Apple Seed Counting (Free Printable)
Practicing number identifying, writing the number, and adding the right amount of seeds to each apple.

Taste testing different types of apples.

Identifying numbers and picking apples
We rolled a 12 sided dice, said the number, and picked that apple


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Frugal Fun - Tip of the Month

 As the weather is turning colder and more wintry, Saturdays can sometimes rough to know what to do with your kids. It isn't as easy to say, "Go play outside!" 

One thing that my kids and I love to do is the free kids workshops at our local hardware stores. We have tried them at Home Depot and Lowes. They are usually offered once a month on the same Saturday each month. They often relate to upcoming holidays. I don't know if they do the same one nation wide, but you should check it out!
Workshop image
November's project at Home Depot is this Veteran's day helicopter.

Each workshop provides your child with an apron, a wooden project, a pin for that project and a space to work. Each project is usually assembled with nails, glue, and a hammer and even the littlest toddler can complete it with help from mom and dad. They sometimes provide paint or specialized stickers to decorate your project. 

Lowes requires that you preregister and from our experience, Home Depot is on a walk in basis.

I don't know about your house, but my kids are almost never allowed to use a hammer at home so these workshops are a big deal for them because they really get into that DIY spirit. 

So go check out if your local store offers this fun opportunity. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Shape Zoo

Image result for color zoo
Last week we read the book Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert. 

We used this mentor text to learn about shapes and how we can use shapes to make different pictures. Before the class, I asked the kids what their favorite animal was. I printed a picture of each of those animals and worked with the kids one on one to talk about what shapes might be used to make that animal. I had a variety of shapes precut in different sizes to help the kids talk more easily about what shapes might be used. We looked at ears, noses, and eyes to talk about what shape might be used. The kids did an amazing job. Here's what they came up with. 


 Shapes are some of the first math concepts that young kids learn and they tend to love them. We always take some time at the beginning of the year to review shapes and practice working with them. I know I have said it before, but this year's class is amazing! We have already started talking about octagons and pentagons because they are just so darn awesome. Here are some of the fun things we did working on shapes the last few weeks. 

Pipe cleaners and straws were a favorite center for our shape learning kids. The great thing about this center is that it lends itself to 3-d shapes as well. Brandon and Jaxon are working on making squares. You can see a cube that Connor and I made in the background. In the foreground you can see a heptagon (7 sided shape) that Valerie made. Lucy made a pentagon and made the connection that it looks like a house. Pretty cool shape learning going on there. To check out how we did this center, click here for more detailed instructions. 

You all know that I can't sing enough praises about pattern blocks. They are so amazing for teaching different subjects like fractions, angles/geometry, colors, and of course shapes! Today we worked on matching and fine motor skills by building premade pattern block pictures. As you can see the kids were really engaged and also really proud of themselves when they finished. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you are still working on how to control your hands and fingers to do hard things, putting those blocks in just the right place without disturbing the rest of your picture can be a hard thing. Do you know what else is a hard thing for them?  Turning the block in just the right way as you put it in just the right place. It's a good thing that these kids can do hard things! We found our pictures a long time ago and I don't have the link, but if you google "printable pattern block pictures," lots of great ideas come up.

 Learning numbers and shapes? Yes, please. We played this game where the kids worked on counting the dots on a side of a die and matching it to the shape for that number, then coloring that shape on their robot. As you can see, we didn't finish during class, but I gave kids the option of taking it home for "homework" and they all brought it back.

I know that all of you have these shape block toys at home. Ours is a little more advanced because it has shape holes on 5 sides so you have to turn the cube to match the shape. These are a great way to talk about shapes! The kids learned fun words like trapezoid and rhombus while working on their matching skills. I know these toys often gather dust in a closet, but pull yours out and open a dialogue about shapes with your young ones. They will have a lot of fun.