Thursday, 29 May 2014
Saturday, 24 May 2014
Friday, 16 May 2014
Saturday, 10 May 2014
New ingredient and packaging? Relaunch.
Officemate got a new haircut? Ooh what's with the relaunch?
|This is why. And sometimes this is still true.|
Thursday, 8 May 2014
I'm notoriously a math-hater and may have passed on the dislike to my daughter by osmosis in my tummy. Unlike other play we do, bringing in math practice takes more brain cells from me.
That's why I get a little kick that one of the more popular posts on this little space is our beginner round-up to using number sticks at home. (Thank you, Living Montessori Now for the link-up)
If anyone out there dreads teaching math like me, I hope sharing these simple tools and tricks will help make things easier and *gasp* even fun.
|Click here to see how else we use timers in play|
Make a line of 'puzzles' that help make math concepts of addition and subtraction familiar. I watched this and this video on Education Unboxed for this idea. Keep in mind these only work after mastering what rod represents what number.
|This one teaches "what is one plus (a number)?" Just count on.|
|This one teaches the concept of subtraction : "what rod fits in the space?"|
The timer makes it a game! Turn it over and try to do as much puzzles as you can.
Put a little bell at the end to 'ding!' when she's done.
|She didn't quite grasp the concept of addition yet here - find one stick that's the same length|
as the two sticks. But she rang that bell with gusto!
Another way to use number sticks to help visualise numbers and concepts (rather than memorising) is to bring it out in real-life applications. You know, important stuff like waiting for Plants vs. Zombies 2 to slowly update...
|Put down a hundred square to represent the end goal of 100%. |
Then build the numbers with tens and unit sticks as it keeps going.
|Let them build the number on the screen : this one was 68%|
|Almost there! The excitement was contagious.|
|Also a great opportunity to reinforce the number bonds of ten which we were learning|
during this time. What goes with eight to make a ten? Two! Now we made another ten!
Doesn't that make so much sense?! It's called building number sense, which leads to mental math later on. Kids would be able to do this much better if they have a strong understanding of the concept of our decimal system.
Lucky our children! I'm pretty sure my math struggles are because of that lack of foundation too. And now when numbers fly over my head during meetings, I can't keep the blank expression off my face. Haha.
I wonder if it's too late for me?
Friday, 2 May 2014
Of all the play that we do, mixing colours is the one that never gets old. It's fun and messy and magical. We've been doing it since she was one!
Which means this is going to be a big round-up.
When she was younger and color-mixing was new, play always ended up in brown.
|Which is fine, didn't make a difference in the exploration or lessons!|
The best materials, I've found, are poster paint. Water-colour sets are cheaper but too frustrating for toddlers to start with. Divert the toy budget to this, and you won't be sorry!
|Get a complete set, and it's enough to last a year : |
Crayola washable poster paint (Gymboree, 750 pesos)
ELC poster paint (99 pesos for a huge bottle - this is the best!).
What you do with paint is pretty self-explanatory so let me move on to our other favourite material: good old food colouring.
|We keep ours in both the dropper and a trigger-spray bottle diluted with water. |
The spray bottles from Beabi are really easy for toddler-strength.
Nothing could be simpler. Instead of structured lessons which she gets in her Montessori school, I like to let her play at home with a little help from suggestive materials.
|Slap some paper on a tray and get exploring. If you have some water-colour paper use that.|
This one is all over Pinterest!
|The idea is to let the primary colours travel through the kitchen tissue and see them mix together |
in the empty glasses in-between. It takes about ten minutes so leave it and check back.
I wasn't blogging back then so I only snapped pictures of the play afterwards!
|Irresistible to any child : learning through touch too.|
|Irresistible in my house: |
There's every opportunity for colour lessons while you play.
One mad heatwave in the summer last year, we dragged in the plastic pool (construction was going on outside) and pretended to be scientist chefs:
|She was at this for a whole afternoon. Yes the water will get coloured, and that's okay!|
|Potions for sale, lady?|
We've saved up a good amount of random glass jars to make this colour-mixing potion activity a regular set-up outdoors:
|This is my go-to playdate activity. Everyone loves it and the kids get occupied for a good hour.|
|We've done the colour-mixing inside the pool many times since. It sparks a lot of pretend play too.|
It's easy to find simple ways to keep the play fresh:
(Note: Montessori methods teach one sense at a time, so maybe do this only when the kiddos have learned the basics well)
|Bring out small toys as "ingredients"|
|Add another sensory element : smell. I had used expired Listerine for the blue colour here, |
but you can also add in water-based scents or artificial flavour with a nice smell.
|Turn the pool into a bubble bath and mix up pretty bubble colours!|
(We use Lush bubble bars, but they are pretty pricey so this is a rare event)
|Magical isn't it?|
No round-up post of mine would be complete without sharing how I adapt these activities into leave-behind play trays for Ladybug Girl to play with while I'm at the office. As usual these are very busy-mom-friendly to do with very little prep work!
Here's a simple one to make the colour-wheel concept something real for a child:
|The idea was to mix up the primary colours in the white sticker label to make the secondary colours.|
She was too excited to do the tray when she saw it the next morning, so I didn't get a chance to take a "before" photo.
|We had this water-colour set where you could pop out the colours. So I stuck them on an acrylic sheet (from a cheap picture frame), and then stuck white label stickers to make the rest of the wheel.|
And that's the round-up, folks. I hope this post wasn't too heavy. There's never enough time to write about all the individual activities that have worked for us, so I'm grateful to you for following this little space along even though I only post weekly (at best!).
As we say in office jargon: go for fewer, bigger and better. Haha.
Have a happy summer! Our compressed summer workweek begins -- whoopeeeeeee!