Welcome To Home Learning From Birth

Welcome To Home Learning From Birth

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mini Cakes and a special visit!

In the school holidays we had a lovely visit from some of our Montessori friends Julian, Alyxia and Elodyn. Julian has many adventures with her two beautiful daughters and we shared stories of our love of parenting and learning from each other.
You can find Julian's blog here...
After we showed the girls around our place and had a play we sat down to some mini cakes. These little cuties would be great for any tea party or playdate. I gave the girls two oreo's, some icing and a few decorations.Then the decorating fun began!

Here is the lovely Alyxia sprinkling some sprinkles on her mini cake. Once you have iced and decorated the mini cake just use a sharp knife to cut a slice out and enjoy your party!

Shoelace box

We had been reading the lovely Golden book "The shoelace box" at bedtime as it is one of Tara's favourites. Such a lovely story for the preschool age and so the next day we made our own shoelace box to practice for school next year...

We needed one shoe box,some ribbon of all widths,textures and colours and scissors

With the scissors i made two holes about 2 inches apart. The ribbon i tied together at the ends and
threaded through the holes.Having different colours helps distinguish when folding and crossing. Tara found the thick satin ribbons easiest and in time will manage the thinner ones.
 One happy girl after tying her first shoelace!

Origami sight words

I remembered folded paper games from when i was younger and they were always so much fun at school so i googled the instructions to remind me how to fold them...
On each section i added a word for Tara to read and then in the last section that you open up a little note like "Your a star!" "You get a big hug" "one extra book at bedtime for you!"
We made big ones and small ones and even a tiny one for Mason with colours on it to choose from.

 If you have never played one before they are very simple. Using your thumb and pointer, you move the origami open and shut. You ask a friend to choose a word, colour, number or whatever you have on your origami and the you move the origami open and shut to spell the word, colour or number.You do this again on the inside then open the triangle up to reveal the last message. Give it a go,fun for all ages!

Dino toothbrush holder

Sometimes you just need a little incentive to get kids WANTING to brush their teeth!
I picked up this plastic dinosuar second hand from the local baby and kids markets with the exact plan of what to do with it....Hand it to daddy to make. I'm not familiar with drills and tools (Mason is still teaching me the difference between excavators and dump trucks!) so i asked Daddy to put two holes through the middle to fit a toothbrush. Daddy came back with two holes plus added another for drainage underneath to prevent mould-clever thinker!

I think the little man was pleased as punch!

Lego Crayons

Ok, so word is on the street that this years party for my kids will be a LEGO party!
So in true organised style, we decided not to leave all the preparations till the day before and to start organising favours and other non perishables asap! 
We found this silicone brick mould on ebay (i think it was $5 including postage from hong kong?) Filled it up with crayons that were broken and placed it in the oven at 150 degrees celcius for about 15-20mins or until melted. Very carefully then we placed the whole mould into the freezer overnight.

In the morning we popped them out of the moulds and there we have our Lego crayon bricks to add to our gift bags.

Couldron of fish

Mason got into the Halloween season this year too with his couldron full of fish!
With his fishing rod, he caught a magnetic fish and pulled it out to tell me the colour he found. Great little game for toddlers to increase their attention spand, vocab and fine motor.

Pumpkin sight words

Tara is really enjoying reading. It may have something to do with how mummy jumps up and down,squeezes her tightly and says how proud i am of her but yes she is happily reading a book each night to me and extending her sight words as she goes.
Being Halloween and all,i made up a pumpkin full of sight words during October she used them for lots of games and activities.
1.Place the sticks in a line and play long jump whatever you land closest to,you need to read-parents can get involved too!
2.Chooses a word a day and if one person says that word you have to pick a stick from the pumpkin and read it aloud.
3.Pick a colour each night before bed and run through all the words then swap colours the next night.
So many ways to get reading without even realising!

Halloween 2012

Happy Halloween Peeps love Tara & Mason

Friday, September 28, 2012

Grape construction

We had tried marshmallow construction a few months back but after our fruit cake we had a few grapes left over that we thought we would see how constructing towers of toothpicks and grapes would work out! Tara really enjoyed it,Mason was a little to young to get the hang of it but it was yet another activity that provided language opportunities about shapes and height.

Mathematical bottletops

Our collection of bottle tops seem to grow at the same rate as used toilet rolls! Fast! To reduce,reuse,recycle...we decided to make a mathematical problem solving game. I marked out the bottle tops with numbers 1-12 as well as the + - and = signs. I made up an equation and Tara had to choose her bottle top answer. Then she made one for me and so forth. Its a great little activity that can grow with your child. leaving out a part of the middle of the equation or adding times by or percentages.

"Fruit" cake

Recently one of Tara's preschool friends had her last day at school so we decided to make her a little going away cake that was allergy friendly,yummy and healthy!
This tower of fruit is a watermelon, rockmelon and pineapple carved out of its skin and held together with one wooden skewer. I also used cookie cutters(and some play dough cutters!) to create shapes to "stick" to the tower.These stay in place well as the juices help it stick together. Tara practiced her sequencing by threading the grapes in order of red and green onto wooden skewers then Mason added a strawberry at the end. I then stuck these into the watermelon base. Lastly i cut up some leftover fruit and placed it around the base.
This idea is great for first birthday parties or those tricky parties with children allergic to wheat/dairy/egg etc.

Garden bed rock labels

We have been in the garden planting our spring vegetables. Most of them were from seed so to help us remember what we planted and where the children made these rock labels. We collected some smooth rocks that we found around the property then Mason painted the whole rock  in one colour.We dried them in the sun and then Tara used a permanent marker to draw the picture that corresponded to the word i wrote on the rock. She then painted her drawing in and we finished them with a spray of glitter spray to protect them from the elements.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shaving cream x2

I have been revisiting my older posts to remember some of the activities Tara enjoyed at Mason's age and the shaving cream caught my eye. We "borrowed" some of daddy's shaving cream and added some blue and red food colouring to capture Mason's interest with the sensory component and Tara with the colour mixing component. This photo captures the essence of the play...Tara thrilled to be exploring and loving the wonder of it all while Mason very unsure and hesitant. It reminds me of how different each little being can be!

Lego maze

Lego is such a versatile activity. We have days where Tara will create houses and play with her "Lego Friends" for hours while Mason will find the closest Lego motorbike and zoom it around the house. There are many educational Lego ideas out there but after a trip to Rouse hill Regional Park and an afternoon spent exploring the maze they have there, i made up a Lego maze on the Lego table and Tara used her "Lego Friends" to work their way to the end.
Your maze can be made easier or harder by how narrow you make the path and use any Lego man, or as Mason did a motorbike to find your way through the maze!

Snail races

YaY! For Spring time. We are spending most of our weekends outside enjoying this amazing Sydney weather and while digging up our old veggie patch to make room for a bigger one plus a kids sensory and pizza garden,and a free form sandpit and a rock garden and oh the list goes on with ideas for outdoor play!-anyway, Tara came across the first snails we have seen here. Thank goodness we don't see many because my strawberries are just starting to bloom and i know they have a sweet tooth like me!
So both the children enjoyed watching, touching and eventually playing with the new friends we found. I have great memories of snail races from my childhood and so when Tara got out her chalk and made her own snail race track it bought a smile to my face!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

DIY chalkboard lunchbox

I purchased one of these lovely old fashioned stainless steel lunchbox tins with dinosaurs which seems to be Mason's favourite at the moment but you can source them easily and cheaply on eBay. I coated the inside of the lid with two layers of plain chalkboard paint which i found at bunnings. I let each layer set outside for a 24 hours and i also let the tin air outside for a week before wiping down with vanilla fridge cleaner to be sure the chalkboard smell was gone. I also use a clear lunchbox inside my tin to hold the food just to keep the chalk dust away from his food but when he opens his lunch now i am able to send him a little message of love without wasting paper notes and an added bonus with tin lunchboxes is you can add magnets for them to keep busy when finished lunch. Great way to help "theme" up your lunchbox for school...

DIY Coloured snowmen

 We don't get snow on our property so when i saw on the news that there was snow falling 2 hours away and it was nearly the last day of winter i knew our mission was to hunt it down!
As if it was all planned, just as we arrived in the town that was known to have had a snowfall we spotted a park with left over snow scattered around.
Perfect for the kids first snow experience!
We made our first ever snowmen and even bought some food colouring which we added to a water bottle to colour our own unique snowmen. The kids loved feeling the hard snow and watching the ice melt as we tipped the coloured water on it.Nothing like experiencing hands on learning outside with mother nature, this sure beat any expensive trip to the snowfields for us!

Golf tee hammering minus marbles

I set up a golf tee activity for Tara when she was younger (http://homelearningfrombirth.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/golf-tees-and-marbles.html) and this one is similar but i excluded the marbles as Mason is only 20 months and our activity shelves are left for use during the day without supervision but i thought we would revisit it as Hammering is a favourite with the boys!

In a plastic container i flattened out some plasticine to form a thick layer. It is best to use plasticine as it wont dry out if left on a shelf. In anther container i left some golf tees and a hammer along side.
I took one tee and pressed it into the plasticine then picked up the hammer and tapped the tee until it moved deeper into the plasticine. Then repeated.

Coloured counter matching

These plastic coloured math counters come in handy in so many activities and so cheap to purchase if you search on eBay so i grabbed a variety of colours and placed them on a tray with a square of paper that i stuck on some matching coloured sticky dots. I showed mason how to place on plastic counter onto the matching coloured sticky dot and he continued to finish the activity alone. Great for developing pincer grip when picking up small items and colour recognition.

Foam stickers

Have you ever noticed these foam stickers with paper backing while shopping? They seem to pop up everywhere lately. Discount shops and at even coles/woolies. Well Mason has taken a liking to them and they are a great tool for advancing fine motor skills. His tiny hands work hard to peel the backing off the sticker with patience and determination and then place them onto a piece of paper. Our Montessori shelves now have a try with these accessible to him at all times. Pick up a pack if you see them as they are a handy activity to have for card making too!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spring!!! Edible flower lollipops

Spring is two days away and we are getting in the spirit by making some yummy edible flower lollipops. These make great class gifts or treats for fete stalls.

We picked some nasturtiums and gently tore off each petal ready to use. Then we lined a tray with baking paper and placed the lollipop sticks on the tray leaving plenty of room between each. We placed the nasturtium petals at the end of the sticks then got to work making the candy!

Candy directions- Add 2 and 1/3 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 cup cold water in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high. Boil, without stirring, for 12 to 15 minutes or until mixture turns golden. Set aside for 1 minute or until bubbles subside.

When bubbles subside gently pour the mixture over each nasturtium to form a freehand circular shape. Let cool for an hour at room temp then gently peel away from baking paper...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sparkles squishy

Toilet rolls! They seem to multiply at our house very quickly! I'm forever trying to find new ways to use them and this one got the kids AND our pets excited!
Tara calls this "Sparkles Squishy"
Ever since she started eating sushi, she misheard me and still to this day calls sushi-squishy and i just cant correct her its too cute!
Sparkles is her 9 month old guinea pig who loves squishy so i set up a tray of veggies cut into strips and the kids stuff their toilet rolls full of them.
Squishy completed!
Sparkles cant decide what to eat first! She will sometimes nibble on the toilet roll but that is fine, roll and all she enjoys her squishy!

Tapioca Pearl tub

If your familiar with water beads, you will know how many learning experiences they can provide and how much fun you can have. There are however some who find it hard to use a material in play that is not really used for eating. Here i have found the perfect solution....Tapioca Pearls!

These gorgeous little beauties are FOOD! Found at your Asian grocer sometimes called Boba and are used for making bubble tea which i think was originated in Taiwan. Only cost me a $2 per pack so i purchased 3 packs and put them uncooked into the tub with chopsticks,spoons,bowls and tweezers to use for transferring. These are hard when uncooked so supervision is important but once cooked i think any age would be suitable!
I put out a paint tray and Tara sorted the colours

After the dry pearls exhausted themselves in play, we cooked them up as per the directions on the pack. Very simple just place them in a pot of water and once they have risen to the surface they are ready.
Drain them and you can see they are VERY similar to waterbeads,squishy,rolly and a little more mushy!

We thought we should try the recipe of bubble tea and peach tea with bubbles but both kids thought it was very beautiful but a little strange :/

Playing with them was much more fun. They found them stickier than waterbeads but for all the carers that just cant bring themselves to use waterbeads these are a great alternative

They were soo sticky we found we could stick them to paper and make a picture from them..check out Mason's tummy to see HOW sticky they get!
These lasted us nearly two days,they are food so will not last that long at room temperature but they were a great addition to our weekend and bought up plenty of conversations about other countries foods and tastes!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spiderweb find

I had noticed on Pinterest an idea of using string or wool to make a spiderweb laser game where children had to navigate their way through without touching the string. I loved the idea and wondered how i could make it more educational.

 I made the spiderweb with some wool i had leftover and tied it to all the furniture in the room. Then i scattered some items on the floor and sat at the end of the web and asked Tara to find all the items that started with a certain letter.
This got her thinking, moving and having a laugh. Body awareness and knowing how to move your body around objects effectively is a skill that is learnt at all ages. This activity can be altered for younger children by asking to "find the blue objects" for example and for older children "find the land animals"