“Hands On” Learning Tip

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The boys will take this morning’s homeschool lesson with them all day-on their hands. Simply writing or drawing on your kiddo can be a handy way to help them remember a new concept. Plus, it’s super versatile!

After discussing Maxwell’s sight word of the day “and” I wrote it on his hand and told him every time he found and showed me the word I’d give him a high five on his and hand.

For little brother, he got his shape of the day-triangle.

Other ideas for “hands on” learning:
1. Left vs right
2. Letter of the day
3. Number of the day
4. Color
5. Shape
6. Sight word
7. Vocabulary

Classroom in the Kitchen: Making Edible Legs

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We’ve been learning all about the body; our most recent topic has been muscles and bones. It’s hard for kids to understand that there are things inside of them since they can’t see it.  So, with the help of some simple ingredients we explored the most basic elements of the legs-bones, muscles, fat, and blood- in our kitchen, and ended the lesson with a tasty snack!

Materials:
Premade pizza dough (skin)
Marinara (blood)
Mozzarella cheese stick (bone)
Shredded cheddar cheese (fat)

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Objective: (for 3-5 year olds)
Child will be able to identify skin, fat, bone, and blood.
Child will be able to briefly explain the function of:
Skin-helps us feel
Blood-sends oxygen and nutrients around our body
Bone-helps us stand up and makes blood
Muscles-helps us move

A note on objectives: these are variations on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and are likely very similar to objectives for prek in most states. The expectation is not that the child will master the objective after just one lesson, but rather that they are simply working towards mastery over time

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“Grow Your Own” Graphing Activity: Our Spooky Skeleton Graph

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A $1 grow your own skeleton, our October Body Unit, some chart paper, and a couple of makers made for a weeks worth of morning math and science learning. Oh, and a magical end of week skeleton surprise.

Graphing of one kind or another is a common fixture of the circle time routine in many preschool classrooms. Our three person classroom had been graphing the weather, but a wild little brother put an end to that by ripping down as many posters as he could before I could stop him. Instead of mourning our lost weather chart I took the opportunity to explore the other ways I could integrate math and scienc.

Materials:
A “grow your own” toy– You know, the things you put in water and they grow. We used a skeleton, but you could just as easily use an animal, person, or whatever. Wish We’d Bought One of These Bigger Ones
A large bowl of water in a place the kids can’t easily get to and mess with in between measurements
Chart paper
Markers

Objective:
Child will be able identify and name basic body parts (head, neck, ribs, arms, legs, skull, hips, legs, feet)
Child will be able to recognize and record change over time
Child will compare objects by size
Child will be able to make logical predictions

A note on objectives: these are variations on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and are likely very similar to objectives for prek in most states. The expectation is not that the child will master the objective after just one lesson, but rather that they are simply working towards mastery over time

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Monster Slime: Marvelously Messy Sensory Play

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Sensory Play is an essential part of early childhood learning and getting messy is one great way to involve all of the senses-enter EDIBLE MONSTER SLIME!

Spending time stimulating their senses helps children develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively.

PBS Parents Website

There a tons of Edible Slime Recipes online, but really it just needs to be green and goopy. The edible part is pretty important here because my 20 month old will be joining in the fun and he can’t help but use his sense of taste!  I had planned on making the Chia Slime recipe on the link above, but when I got to the store and realized that Xantham Gum was $13 for a small container I decided a less slime like recipe with cornstarch would be just fine.

On Chia Seeds:
I feel like the Chia Seeds I’ve been using in my cookies, oatmeal, and cereal have been keeping a secret from me. In addition to having manifold health benefits, these tiny seeds turn into fabulously slimy little tapioca-esque beads.

No-Cook Edible Chia Seed Slime Recipe:
Baby Spiders
1/2 cup Chia Seeds mixed with 1 cup of warm water and allowed to “grow” for at least an hour
Monster Boogers
1/2 cup corn starch mixed with green food coloring and between 2 tbsp and 1/4 cup of water. Just play with the ratio until the mixture is thick enough to pick.

I had the boys “pick the monster boogers” and put them into the baby spider brew –classy I know.

Then I went to the kitchen and pulled out anything edible that looked remotely ewwy, gooey, creepy, or crawly.

Add-ins:
-Frozen Peas “Frozen Bugs”-these are so great for sensory contrast of hot/cold
-Green sprinkles
-Karo Syrup –this really invited their sense of taste
-Lentils

Utensils:
Having an assortment of cups, bowls, spoons, and whisks allows little ones to experiment with moving the slime from one place to another.

¡WARNING!
Do not do this inside unless you want a seriously impossible mess to clean up.
I recommend any location where you can clean up by simply hosing everything-including the kids-down after you’re all done. The food coloring I used even stained their hands a bit and took some scrubbing to get off, but we had fun 🙂

Cut-out Spider Web with Step-by-step Instructions

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If you have paper and scissors you can make Halloween decor or a web to accompany your reading of The Very Busy Spider.

1. Fold Rectangular Paper to form a triangle and long a rectangle
2. Cut off long rectangle
3. Cross outer corners of folded triangle across center point
4. Fold in half one more time
5. Cut a U-shape into the thickest part of the triangle.
6. Cut u-shapes along the fully folded edge of the triangle DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THRU
7. Unfold and VOILA!

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Your emerging scissor  user can even help on step 6 and a fully functioning scissor user could make a spider web of their very own! 

Go Away, Big Green Monster! Monster Face Craft

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It’s October! Monsters, skeletons, and Jack-o-lanterns are the perfect spooky characters to help us learn “All About the Body”. This week we’ve been learning about the face- the features, where they are, and what they do.

The book Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly is the perfect book to bring together learning and Halloween fun. Each page of the book features a different part of I’ve monster’s face. After reading the book I had the boys identify each part of the face and glue it on the monster in the correct location (well in Patrick’s case not quite correct). The other great thing about the book is its broad appeal. Ages birth-5+ would enjoy and learn from “Go Away, Big Green Monster”.

I just cut out the pieces the night before. The “long blueish green nose” was just blue because come one-who has teal construction paper. You could cut the purple hair out squiggly looking, but I thought it’d be a good fine motor activity for Maxwell to squiggle his own.

This activity is great for teaching:
—Position words (the nose goes ABOVE the mouth BELOW the eyes etc)
—Facial Features (I had Patrick 20 months point to each part of his face)
—Fine motor skills (squeezing the glue and precisely placing the pieces)
—Literacy (the book is pretty simple but great)

This video on YouTube is a great extension song-the boys ask for “the monster song” all the time.
Video: Go Away,  Scary Monster! Go Away!

A Petting Zoo and a Letter B Activity at Maxwell’s Grade A School

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Today was Maxwell’s 8th day (4th week) of his two day a week Mother’s Day Out Program. He went on a Letter B hunt and the school rented a petting zoo for all of the kids because they learned about the 6th day of creation when God made all of the animals (it’s in a church).

We-could-not-be-more-happy with the school. Maxwell is excited to go every day and every day his teachers plan something special. This week they’re focusing on the letter B and the teachers had the kids make Binoculars to go on a B hunt where they collected things starting with the letter in their handmade B Box Backpack. Too sweet right.

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A few weeks ago they collected 7 snacks each representing a day of creation  (the theme of the whole school chapel time that day).

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Academically, Maxwell isn’t super challenged but I’m very grateful they’ve been working on scissor skills and writing-both skills I struggle to give him one on one instruction due to an overly interested little brother.

The most important factor in the skills 2 favor is that Maxwell is associating school and learning with fun and friendship.

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More on our choice to send our son to a Mother’s day out program twice a weeek in homeschool:
Connecting Homeschool and Schoolschool

Choosing to Send My Son to a Two Day a Week Mother’s Day Out Program

Strategies to Build Confidence and investment on the first day of school and beyond