We home school and we do a lot of lessons on the computer. While they all enjoy that method of learning, mixed with workbooks and textbooks, now and then I shake things up a bit. I find my activities on blogs, visiting with mom friends, and sometimes I just rack my brain.
I dubbed today Fun Friday and got up early and started setting up the table. Armed with a vinyl tablecloth I set up the following areas.
The first tub has water beads in it. Water beads are cheap and are used in vases for flowers. They are tiny, non toxic, and when soaked in water grow to the size of a marble. They are cold and wet feeling without being very wet at all. Don’t let your little one eat them but they are fun to just feel and scoop and sort if you find them in different colors. When you first open them they are the size of a tiny bead. Soak them in cold water overnight and voilà you are good to go with a morning surprise.
I have a love hate relationship with sand. I don’t want it IN my house. So I opted for dry hands and cornmeal. I pulled out measuring cups, added a scoop, some tweezers that I don’t like, some colored counting squares (put anything you want in it) and let the treasure hunt begin. This turned out to be far more successful than any other medium I have tried (rice, beans, aquarium gravel, noodles). They liked the soft texture and it wasn’t overly messy but I think it could be if they hadn’t been calm and curious. Corn meal is cheap and this bin has 3 small partial bags poured into it. So 1 large bag is probably more than enough for a bin of digging fun.
The next area involved a cookie sheet and a canister of salt. Give them some flashcards with ABC’s, shapes, numbers etc and let them finger write in the salt. I am encouraging dry hands for all of this today. NO water or tongue-licked hands needed.
Next, I made a rows and columns sheet and laid out sticker books. They are to add the stickers to the squares and then cut them out. I cut out the rows first so it was just a matter of cutting small sections of lines to separate each sticker. Snip! Snip!
Easter Putty from Dollar General was next and apparently is mold-able and you can stick a straw in and blow it up. My teenager enjoyed WOW-ing the little girls with this trick. She pulled out a cylinder that she uses for clay sculpting, used it as an elaborate straw, and rolled the water beads through the tube to be embedded into the center of the gel-like putty. This looked pretty cool.
OH NO, NOT MATH:
I wanted to sneak in some math so I used note cards to make booklets. Then I gave them dice to write numbers they count and roll and to write addition problems. I have a 4-year old and a 7-year old so this made the activity good for both ages.
Lastly, I printed these neat paper dice templates and all sorts of people out there on the blogs design these and share them for free. I made a second set of booklets out of stapled together note cards and the idea is that they roll the dice and draw the images with a pencil. As of 11:39 am they haven’t started this lesson yet. Everything else is seeing some serious fun time.
So I set this “Learning Center” up at the dining room table and each area is positioned at a chair.
1. Only one person in a chair doing an activity at a time. (No yelling over their creation being ruined by a helper.)
2. NO WATER or wet hands. I did not want cornmeal paste or clumped salt, or wet paper. I only want to shake the cloth and vacuüm the floor at the end of the day.
Hope your everyday has a discovery of some kind.