Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scavenger Hunt, Free Printable Cards!

Recently, I had three wriggly, wryly, restless kiddos...all at once. It was post-lunch, things were getting dicey indoors. Time to move it outdoors and go for a simple scavenger hunt.

This is why I save containers (like these empty chalk containers), for moments like this.
I printed and laminated the entire set, lots of different uses.

Check out the rest of the free printables they have. I especially like the alphabet and veggie/fruit ones- , they're very artful and different from most free printables found online.

Now, back to our hunt...collecting items from the backyard. Each kiddo had a card, when they found their item, they got a new card in order to find a new item.

 Once everyone was all done gathering...

we grouped our items together and placed them on the corresponding cards. We talked about vocabulary and different rocks, plants and stones. We also talked about same word meaning (stone=rock).

Then, we had some fun with collecting more stones...

Here's another activity we did recently, using the 'Ice' card from Mr. Printables.

Transfer ice from jar to smaller container using scoop.

When she was done transfering back to the jar, we let it sit outside in the sun for a while...

so the ice could melt.

 My tot was surprised to see the transformation. We used the 'Water' card here and included a dropper for  water transfer.

Now, to find an activity for the 'Fire' card...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Let's Spill Milk!

It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles Shaw. I found this story inside a classroom literature book we picked up for cheap & was inspired.  If you see any classroom literature books (usually discarded from schools & in thrift stores), grab them! They most always contain award winning children's literature/shorts inside...like this one. A creative read on clouds and how they can appear to be different things.

I thought it would be fun to take this book literal and spill some milk as we read the story and studied the clouds.

So, we got a cookie sheet and a little cup of milk lined up outside. She knew right what to do & dumped it out before I could even ask her to (a natural mess maker).

Is it spilt milk, or is it a whale spouting water?
I loved that the milk poured out into something she could really identify!

It sometimes looked like spilt milk, but it wasn't spilt milk.
The story goes through all the things that this 'white matter' looked like...and in the end,
they were all identified as clouds.

We took time to lay down and look up at the clouds.
She told me that milk was up high in the sky. It does look like milk up there, doesn't it?
What else do you see?

Next, we made cotton ball clouds. Blue construction paper for the sky, cotton balls and glue.

It was a VERY cloudy day at our house..big heaps of clouds.

We loved this little project study, it was so much fun & it's something we plan to do again

You can find this book at your library or on Amazon, I highly recommend this activity.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Filter Flowers

I realized that our interior windows needed a good cleaning...so I enlisted the help of my tot. It's funny, she thinks this 'cleaning business' is fun! I heard a nasty rumour that this phase will not last long.
What goes great with a squeaky clean window? Why artwork that streams light, of course!
Last year we did some wax crayon hearts that worked great (here) , but today we needed something simple and fast.

So, we drug out daddy's coffee filters, grabbed some water colors and markers.
I'm sure bleached coffee filters (white) would work better, but we used what we had on hand...unbleached.

Let them dry....

Tape 'em up to a window or on glass door & enjoy.

We also grabbed some window markers to make grass, stems, leaves...

and lots and lots of crazy weeds and grass...

the packaging indicates the window markers will wipe off easily...we shall see, but for now---we enjoy the purdy flowers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mud Pies!

Ah, the culinary art of making mud pies!

If you haven't done this - you haven't lived!

Yes, it's messy...but the fun and memory making is oh so worth it.

I thought it was high time I passed on this culinary skill to my toddler. I spend a fair amount of time gardening and on yard work, so this is a perfect 'busy' activity for her to do while I'm doin' stuff nearby as well.

So, here's what I came up with. I repurpossed an unused storage container.

I used a black sharpie and a red paint pen to transform it into a stove/oven. To make the circles, I traced around a yogurt container and free handed the rest (10 minutes, so easy!).

I used a paint pen to jazz up an old bucket we had, for use as a mud mixing bucket.

Here's what's stored inside the container/stove.

Cheap and unwanted cookware. A little thrift store pan, small bread loaf, heart pan and old pan from a toaster oven we no longer have (works perfect for square pie pan). Also have a few utensils for stirring and spreading.

Now, this does get messy...it's mud! So, we set up our station on our back patio near the garden hose. This way we can hose everything off (including my girl) before returning indoors.

We have a bucket of dirt (you can use potting soil or dirt right from your yard), an empty bucket for whatever and a big bucket full of water (with a cup inside for pouring).

Next, we grabbed some ingredients/decorations from the yard- various flowers, grass.

Let's get mixin'!

Fudge brownies?

 or a fancy cake?

Busy little hands baking up a storm.

Official food critic.
He seems put off.
He's a DOG, what does he know about fine culinary masterpieces? Psht!

 Smelling and saying "Yummers, almost done!"

The aftermath...yep, it's dirty.

Easily hosed off...

Back on the bench for next time
(when Daddy takes his turn in the mud)!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Montessori Knock Off- Studies on the Cheap

It seems that learning is more fun when you have accessories! If you read my blog, you know my affinity to thrift stores for many DIY Montessori type learning materials.

I found these cheap little stamps a while back & then I happened to come across this book a few months later (under $4 for all). Perfecto. Let's learn about animal tracks.

We matched the track stamp to the animal it belonged to.

We talked and read about each one as we went.

Then, we stamped a page full of tracks & after, tried to recall what animal they belonged to without looking at the book.

Here's another one we did on the cheap.

Thrift store coloring books (new) and thrift store plastic animals (washed first, of course).

We matched 'em up with coloring pages from the book.

We read about each animal (short info on each) from an animal dictionary we had on hand.

 Then we studied the similarities between the toy animal and the animal on the coloring sheet. There were three kiddos, so we sat in a circle and rotated animals and sheets so that everyone could closely inspect each one.

Lastly, we colored our pages!

This activity from beginning to end was 30 minutes. This is great concentration for toddlers!

For those who wonder, no I don't shop all the time (even though I'd really like to), or really even think these activities out to great detail ahead of time. They just eventually match up and I try to work them in when I can.

I go to a thrift store or dollar store about once every couple of months (if I'm needing fresh material). I have my eyes open for  learning materials in the categories of (Practical Life, Sensory, Language, Math, Botany/Science/Nature...). I also 'google' for ideas- and I  spy on the expensive  Montessori materials to find a way to make our own version.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?