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Straw Game

 

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Here is a no cost, low prep fine motor activity for you to try with your little ones!

All you need is an empty box; jumbo straws; a skewer or sharp object to poke initial holes; scissors.

Simply poke holes all over the box with the tip of the skewer (make sure little hands don’t get in the way). Each straw should be cut in half so children can have better grip(but I did not cut as I needed to re-use the straws for other activities and My daughter Layla could handle long straws!) I love the size of these jumbo straws. The colours are attractive to little ones as well. Next, I used scissors to make a small cut inside each hole.

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Get your toddler(s) to explore the holes and try to push the straws in the holes on their own. You might notice that your toddler  uses a variety of grasps on the straws while manoeuvring them into the holes. That’s totally fine! This age is all about using the hands to explore and learn through trial-and-error.

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Layla was a little too young to successfully get the straws into the holes, so once she was done pulling, I quickly put the straws back in and she went back to taking them out.

This particular straw-and-cereal box fine motor activity can be used to practice and promote a wide range of fine motor skill

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Pipe Cleaner Fun !

 

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I was so excited to do this fine motor again again with Layla! Rayes did this activity when he was just barely three. Layla seems to enjoy this at 14 months !!

This is a very simple activity. One of the most basic fine motor activities actually. All you need is pipe cleaners and a colander!

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This activity is an ideal challenge for the child who is able to grasp objects with their whole hand or with thumb and index finger, but isn’t quite ready for more refined fine motor activities such as lacing beads on a string. As with many activities, taking the pipe cleaners out is easier than putting them back in, so it provides a natural grading of challenge for kids at a variety of skill levels. However, you might be surprised at how interested your little one may be at trying to place them back in the holes after they have been quickly ripped out.

Putting the pipe cleaners in encourages precise hand movements and higher level hand-eye coordination than lower level play skills such as stacking two blocks or placing pegs in a board.

Have fun trying  with your toddler.

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Story Elements

I have recently been working on retelling story and understanding story elements with my four-year-old.This activity combines art and literature, which will help those visual and tactile learners.

Children will also be able to understand and internalise ideas,practice reading skills, discuss literary elements, analyse story structure, and learn from characters.

What you need:
  • Construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Pencil
What you do:

Choose a picture book that your child really enjoys. First read the book with them. You can also listen to the story on the CD or watch it on youtube!

Then, discuss the different parts of a story. There are five main parts of a story to focus on with young learners. You will need to define each part (element) of the story to your children:

l-124444You can include more or less, depending on the age of the learner. I have only introduced setting; characters; and plot to my four year old. I feel that theme and point of view might be a little too abstract for younger minds

After you have gone through the story with your child, you will illustrate each of the elements or parts of the story and create a book.  For some children, this might be a project they want to do again and again.

For my first project with Rayes, he chose Big Hero 6. A few days later we worked on Spiderman and Fireman Sam. It looks like he wants to explore more and i can’t wait for our next book!

Fireman Sam : Hero Next Door

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The Amazing Spiderman

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Big Hero 6 : Team up

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Egyptology – Mummification

Ancient Egypt is a fascinating subject for children. My son, Rayes, loves to discover the wonders of Ancient Egypt through reading! There are seemingly a million books on this topic, but his favourites so far have been :

  • National Geographic Kids – Everything Ancient Egypt
  • I Wonder Why Pyramids Were Built
  • 1000 Facts Ancient Egypt
  • Usborne Young Readers – Tutankhamun

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One of the most memorable things about Ancient Egypt for kids, has to be the well-preserved mummies they left behind! Rayes used the information that we gleaned from these books to come up with a list that we could use in our own mummification activity.

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I thought long and hard about how we could incorporate a hands-on activity for mummification. Someone suggested we mummify a chicken,   fruits or veggies. But ultimately I really I wanted to do something that had more to do with the ritual aspect of mummification. So, we decided to mummify Barbie!

First we gathered our materials:

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I cut out little organs from pieces of craft felt. I taped the heart to her chest because that was the only organ that got to stay with the body. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart contained the soul and in the afterlife it was judged accordingly.

We started with the removal of the brain which was pulled out through the nose with a special tool (we used tong). The brain was deemed unimportant by the Ancient Egyptians and discarded immediately.

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 Removal of the brain through the nose

The other organs, however, were removed and preserved in canopic jars. I didn’t have time to prepare the canopic jars. Canopic jars were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the rituals of mummification processes to hold the internal organs of the deceased that was going to be mummified. The jars had lids or stoppers that were shaped as the head of one of the minor funerary deities known as the Four Sons of HORUS.

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Removal of the organs 

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Organs removed kept in the canopic jars

Next, we covered the body with salt. The Ancient Egyptions used Egyption salt called ‘natron’ to treat the body. The body and organs were then left in this solution for 35 days to allow the necessary chemical changes to occur.

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Salting the body

After salting, we brushed the body with oils.

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Brushing the body with oil  

Then the process of wrapping began… We used a few strips of white crepe papers found in my art supplies. You could also use white linens!

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Wrapping the body 

Then it was time to put on the death mask and “pray over the body”. Rayes prayed that this mummy will soon get to play with all her favourite toys in the afterlife.

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All wrapped…

The Ancient Egyptians placed mummies in wonderfully built tombs. The tombs were painted with nice scenes from the deceased person’s life. We kind of fudged a bit on the whole sarcophagus/tomb thing. But hey you got to work with what you got and what we had was an empty shoe box.  

Mummies were often buried with many of their belongings that might be needed in the afterlife. So we placed jewels and accessories in the tomb/shoebox. Barbie was ready to be welcomed into the afterlife accompanied by her favourite things! Rayes paid his final respects.. Goodbye dear friend..

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VOLCANOES

Learning about volcanoes is always  super fun!!

We read several books and watched eruptions on youtube. We talked about some science behind; how volcanoes are formed, why volcanoes exist and what causes them to erupt. When exploring about volcanoes with children, it is also important to discuss how they affect people and how we are safe and not anywhere close to any active volcanoes.

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For a little history lesson, we talked about memorable volcano eruptions in history from Pompeii, to Paricutin, to Mt. St. Helens. We pointed out these volcanoes in books we read and I showed him some related videos on youtube.

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Volcano Picture Set Cards and Parts of Volcano Cards

My son really enjoyed  the books about volcanoes, but he was really excited to see and talk about pictures of volcanoes, so I prepared Volcano Picture Set Cards and Parts of Volcano Cards for him.

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Volcano Picture Set Cards

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Parts of Volcano Cards

We also watched nomenclature cards on Parts of Volcanoes on youtube. You can go to this link to view the video.

Baking Soda eruption

Of course we had to do the classic vinegar and baking soda volcanoes. My son loved this. So exciting !! It took several times to get it right and we used up all of the vinegar and baking soda!!

188280990To make vinegar and baking soda volcanoes, pour some vineyard and red food colouring in a small container and then add baking soda for an eruption. You can pile up dirt or play dough or sand around the container to make it look more like an actual volcano.

Personal experience

While I was on the subject of volcanoes, I tried to relate our own personal experience with the the help of photos and videos taken during our trip to National Park on the Big Island, Hawaii two years ago.

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Happy Birthday Rayes

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I can’t quite believe that you are 4 years old today. Four years ago I became a mother and with that came the huge responsibility of raising a newborn you. I hope I’ve done a good job so far and I’m so grateful that you came into my life, our lives, that day.

Everyday you amaze me with how much you know. You are reading and writing and love nothing more than looking at books or puzzles with numbers or letters in them. You are truly a human sponge!

You know your own mind and know what you want which can make you a stubborn child but I’m sure will stand you in good stead in later years to truly go out there and make something of yourself. I know you will make us so proud! you are already showing you have the makings of becoming someone really, really amazing.

You are caring and thoughtful, always making sure we’re all OK and asking if we “had fun”.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday today. You’ve been waiting to be 4 and I wonder how long it will be before you are wishing you were 5. I for one will not be wishing your life away as you are growing up far too fast.

Happy Birthday Rayes.

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River

I always wanted to do something new with water besides sprinkler, water balloons, or pool. So I trieed something different and this activity was fun! All you need is foil! Just turn the water on and form the river around it.

Rayes took the serious job of relaunching the boats and changing the flow of the river by reshaping the foil. We played till about late evening then we just rolled up our foil to save for another day. Our neighbours were giving us strange looks… but we had fun! 😉 😉

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