Monday, 29 October 2012

Toddler teach baby animals!

My almost 3yrold and 1yrold are beginning to interact together alot more lately and it's delighful to watch. They love to spin around on the rocker together, roll balls together, my 3 yrold loves to read him stories, although he tries to steal the book to eat!
Pretty much anything Miss M does is immensly entertaing and joyful for the H man!
This makes her a wonderful teacher for him as whatever she does he wants to do also.
On this day she was teaching him all about animals!
Age: 6months - 6yrs
We used some animal picture cards.
These ones have photos so a great representation of the animals.
Here you can find some Printable animal pictures!
We also used some plastic animal as I knew H man would want to chew on something and have something to hold!
Miss M then set about matching the toy animals to their photo card, while H man busily chewed on some more animals!
Then it was time to share with H man.
"Here Harrison, this is a cow, it says MOOOOOO"
"The cow lives at the farm with the farmer who makes milk from the cow, MOOOOO"
Here's the Lion
"The lion goes ROAAAARRR!"
"The elephant goes brhhhhhh"
Wow that looks like fun!
This game is so much fun!!
This game was alot of fun for both ages!
It gave my toddler the opportunity to gain confidence and feel great that she could teach her little brother so much.
It helped consolidate her knowledge and was great for her oral language!
This game was very amusing and fun for the H man!
Alternative: You can still do this activity with just one child. If your children are older they could take it turns 'teaching/speaking' to each other and telling everything they know about an animal. One is the speaker and the other the listener!
We finished by singing songs about animals and making songs up too!
I hope you enjoy,
play and learn

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Playdough Ice Cream Fun!

Playdough is so much fun! There are so many ways to play with it and so many learning opportunities. My favourite playdough tasks are the open ended variety and letting children decide what they will do, how they will play and where it will go.
It all started with ...
our plain white play dough left over from our nature dough play.
I spilt the dough into 4 and added a pipette (eye dropper) of food colouring to each plate for Miss M to colour her own playdough!
Squeezing in the colour...
Kneading it through!
Be prepared for coloured hands! It does wash off.
Adding the colour and kneading it through was a very tough fine and gross motor workout, strenghing muscles in the hands, arms and sholders!
This was enough play with playdough for one day Miss M decided!
The next day she wanted to play again and I decided to get out some glitter for her to add!
Her play quickly turned to making ice creams! Ice creams and cakes are her favourite things to make with play dough. Surprisingly they are also her favourite food.
So I got out some scents to add to the dough also, we used peppermint essence, lavender oil, and vanilla essence. Just a few drops of each to one of the colours each.
We made some cones from 1/2 circle paper rolled up and tape.
Cut up some egg cartons to make sundae cups!
Busy hands,
working hard!
I added some pom poms and patty cases but as you can see they were hardly touched.
Needless to say ,I couldnt possibly pretend eat another icecream for a week!
After all this ice cream making, it was time for a story!
This is a great one for memory and oral language that I have used in my classroom with children aged 4-6.
It, ah, turned out a little differently with an almost 3yr old but was still fun.
For the story you will need,
a felt ice cream cone
some felt circles in various colours
(in a PP class with 24 student aged 5-6 I do this with half a class at a time (otherwise there is just too many flavours to think off- just choose enough to suit the ability of your child)
A felt board or on the floor is also fine
We used a blanket on the floor today.
The story goes,
One very hot day (child's name) wanted some ice cream. She/he went to an ice cream shop and said to the person
"may I please have some ice cream" (encourage child to say this part)
"Yes, here try this flavour" (Get child to chose a coloured circle and decide what flavour it will be)
(Child's name) took a lick.
"mmm I like ________ flavour but it's not my favourite" (encourage child to say this part)
Here try this flavour- and keep getting the children to add flavours.
So it will start for example "I like strawberry flavour, but it's not my favourite" then it might be 'banana, strawberry' 'spearmint, banana, strawberry' 'chocolate, spearmint, banana, strawberry' so on
We got this far into the story and that was it. Miss M insisted this WAS her favourite flavour and she didnt want anymore lol! Also this was very creativly named "pink and green flavoured icecream" haha but that is her age and ability speaking. To be honest she's only ever had vanilla or 'pink' icecream in real life. We have talked about different flavours in her playdough play and her icecream shop but she hasnt experienced them- why change a good thing hey!
This is what it looks like with more flavours! It looks pretty impressive with 10+ flavours.
If your after a simple  play dough recipe here is a video tutorial from Kate at laughing kids learn. This is the exact recipe I use and have used for years in my classroom.
Looking for more play dough fun? Check out this link from Deb at Learn with Play at Home!
Happy Playing,

Cooking and Oral Language Development

Cooking: there aren't too many children who don't like to cook!
Cooking is a wonderful experience for children, it's hands on, involves lot's of steps, has an outcome (that's usually yummy) and it's lots of fun.
Cooking also has many learning opportunities, intergrating across a number of learning areas.
Most of us will know how cooking can help develop math skills such as counting, measuring,weighing, area, shapes and number recognition.
We are aware that it can develop fine motor skills and self independent skills.
It can be wonderful for developing social skills such as turn taking, sharing and working together.
It's creative and artisitc.
Then there's the oral language,
here are some ways cooking experiences help develop language and how you can support this in your children.
During cooking experiences there is generally constant chatter about what you are doing, seeing, smelling, tasting and what comes next.
It's often conversational and relaxed.
It develops comprehension. There are lot's question asking and question answering opportunities for you child. They are also required to follow simple instructions and directions. "Add the sugar and the flour and mix"
It develops and introduces new vocabulary and gives children opportunity to use these words in a hands on situation.
It supports semantic development such as labeling objects and identifying functions and attributes of these objects. "This is a grater"
 They get the opportunity to use these objects first hand.
But perhaps the most important of all (and which is sadly most often forgotten)
is sequencing simple events in an oral retell!
Cooking is such a wonderful experience for developing this skill as the children have experienced each step 1st hand!
It's fun, so it's motivational as they cant wait to share with everyone what they have baked!
At around 3yrs of age the ability to sequence a simple set of events emerges.
Miss M was a week off 3yrs of age and handled this really well with some mindful strategies to support her.
Remember: children need opportunities to practice these skills, which is what I am aiming for here.
I'd like to share with you how I did that now, so that perhaps you can do something similar with your own children.

Firstly I chose a recipe that only had 3 distinct steps (remember she is only very young and I'm wanting her to retell these steps in her own words), it also made a nutrious and yummy lunch which was a bonus!
I took a photo of each step and printed them out.
I had 3 cards labelled 1st, 2nd and 3rd and had her select the photo that showed what we did 1st and glued it onto the 1st card. We did the same with 2nd and 3rd. During this task I was doing alot of modelling for her "first we grated the vegies and then we added the eggs"
We did this task only an hour after the experience so it was very fresh in her mind.
We popped these into frames I picked up from Ikea and now she had her very own picture cues to support her.
She had alot of fun sequencing them in the correct order.
She was able to use the pictures to help her use her own words and retell the cooking experience.
I certainly wouldnt go to this much effort for every cooking experience. You could also draw pictures together of what you did first, then what did you do and finally what happened. Encourage your child to retell all steps at once.
Here she is using her picture supports to assist her as she retells the experience to her Dad at dinner time!
In the classroom I would use hoops and get the children to jump through the hoops retelling the steps in the sequence. One for the beginning, one for the middle and one for the ending and concluding.
We used my number ladder instead as I don't have three hoops, however the result was exactly the same.
She got very clever at saying
"Today we made fritta's. First we grated the vegies and then we added eggs and then we cooked em and we flipped em too"
I've used these frames for other sequencing tasks. Here I had printed out pictures of her tooth brushing routine. There were 4 pictures for her to put in order here as I was focusing on her ability to sequence and although there was lot's of talk on what she did 1st and what came next the outcome wasnt an oral retell.
You could do any number of routines such as bedtime or morning routines for you child to sequence.
By retelling steps your child is developing their oral narrative skills.
The easist narratives for children to retell are those which involve common every day routines and procedures. By practicing orally you will be giving your child the very best headstart when it comes to the written form.
Educators will tell you, children who have a rich spoken vocabulary, who can converse, can retell events and experiences and can explain their point of view are usually better equiped when they come to the task of learning to read and write.
Happy cooking and speaking,

Friday, 19 October 2012

Frame it Collages

Miss M loves doing collages. Here's an alternative way to create pictures that can be done again and again. It does not require glue and can be done with materials that are tricky to glue or cannot be glued.
The frame really helps their work standout and gives them an area to work within however is not neccessary!
I love the ikea frames and they're really cheap!
I simply take the backing and plastic cover off and just use the wood frame!
I also like to get some felt to work on. It makes a great background, offers a different texture to paper and holds or grips the objects nicely.
This is also not neccessary
We reused our basket of natural objects collected from the garden from our nature dough!
Carefully placing the items where she wants them and telling me what she's doing at the same time.
I ask questions to get a deeper level of understanding and to challenge her. She's using these objects to represent real things. The white flowers are clouds, one of the rocks is a sun, the smaller rocks are grass and she's making a tree.
Interesting that she is using objects found in the outdoors to create an outdoor scene.
You could use any number of objects to create pictures.
Here we have some glass pebbles or wishing stones!
We played a recognition game with letters and numbers.
We took it in turns to make letter or number shapes with the pebbles and the other had to say what letter or number it was. In my case guess as it wasnt always obvious what letter she tried to make, however this M was very impressive!
You could use more commercial objects to make your pictures also, popsticks, matchsticks, pipecleaners, pompoms, buttons, jewels etc
The best part is you can make your pictures again and again and again.
Take photos of your child's collages as memories and type up or add text of what they said about their picture in their own words.
They will make great keepsakes and memories.
Have fun,
Enjoy and Play

Cherubs cous cous Sand

If your little one is anything like mine (puts EVERYTHING in his mouth), then sandpits are most likely out of the question for awhile.
This is a super fun, alternative sensory experience that will have your little using all their senses.
Oh, and it's safe and yummy to eat!
Age: 6months +
All you need is some cou cous.
Any brand will do and prepare as packaging suggests.
If you'd like to add a twist to this sensory experience you could add some herbs or spice like ginger, parsley or basil.
I made up 2 cups of dry cous cous as I wanted quite alot.
I have also done a similar experience with a smaller amount in the highchair.
Looks good enough to play with!
I left it in a bowl to start with to see what the H man would do with it.
I put it and him in a plastic tub to keep it all contained.
Oooh whats this!
Make sure your little one is clean, fresh nappy, clean hands and feet etc. I would of put him in with just a nappy on however it was just a touch cool.
Grabbing handfuls!
Straight in the mouth!
Sprinkle, sprinkle
Miss M wanted a play too.
Why not sprinkle it all over your little brothers head!
If you squish it you can mould it!
What is this stuck to my fingers?
I helped him stand up so he could feel it on his feet.
It was just hard to take a photo
Play on a high chair tray with smaller amounts.
Add herbs or spices for flavour and scent.
Mix vegie puree through it and finger paint!
Have lot's of fun!
Enjoy and Play