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Writing with magnets

I have been decluttering recently and came across a big tub of mixed magnetic construction sets that are not being played much with nowadays. I watched them playing with it and realised why. While it seemed like a good idea to me to combine all magnetic sets into one box (MagMax, Geomag, Magnetix and other assorted bits of unknown origin) because the parts looked very much the same, it didn’t work because there were subtle differences (just a few mm) in ball, rod and inserts sizes which meant that the figures that girls were trying to build kept falling apart if a part of a different set was used. It was very frustrating for them, so they quit it altogether.

I will be getting read of the lesser quality ones and will keep the better ones of one brand only and will build up the collection overtime instead by combining sets from the same brand.

But, before I have passed unwanted ones to the charity shop – we have done this fun activity:

Not all the letters could be built, letters with angles are the most difficult ones as magnets don’t stay at an angle, they tend to snap back

 

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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in literacy and writing, Maths

 

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Pop the letter!

We really like Styrofoam! We save white and black underlays from pizza and trays from fruits, and this is what we do with them:

First, we write on them with chalks (if black) or markers (if white), then we take a cocktail stick or something pointy and we start popping small holes along the lines, or drawing over the lines with the sticks.

It works great for fine motor skill development! They like the popping sounds, and after they are done with drawing – they usually entertain themselves with breaking the trays. Each time it breaks with a loud pop they squeal and giggle and keep going until only small bits are left.

At some point we used those bits as well to make wind chimes / outside tree decorations/ bird scares on a veggie patch together with the cut-up bits of drinking straws that we made when doing straw cutting exercise . They make a soft bell-like sound or maybe a whisper if you listen carefully.

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We tried cutting them with scissors for cutting practice – it works too!

Really want to try doing some Styrofoam etching with them next. Need a half decent roller for that and pigment ink. Anyone got some knocking about they don’t need?

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Crafts, literacy and writing, Maths

 

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Hot days in the garden

Hot days in the garden are definitely over. It turning very blustery here, but we’ll remember the fun and will repeat it next summer.

I have prepared this one day in advance with my younger child. She enjoyed pouring water into ice lollies moulds, choosing food colouring and dropping the colours in, watching the colouring drop to the bottom (when we shortly talked about density) then stirring the colour to dissolve it in the water. We didn’t have many colours of food colouring, so we used some old dried-out markers (washable) to make the colours that we wanted by dipping the nibs into ice-lolly moulds. I was expecting them to draw on paper, so I thought it would be ok. Don’t use anything that cannot be ingested if your child still puts everything in the mouth. I didn’t tell her what it was for.

 

Then we put them in the freezer. Next day I taped a piece of paper on a cardboard in the garden brought the ice moulds out, warned girls that these were not for eating and demonstrated how to draw on paper. They were very involved to begin with. As ice started melting slightly we did a bit of Pollack – I showed them how to do splats.

It was very hot and they were running around with not much on (hence not many pictures in this post), so it didn’t take much time for them to try painting with ice lollies on themselves. They wrote ABC and numbers on themselves, taking turns to write on each others backs and guess the letter or a number, then just started crazy painting their feet and hands and doing prints. You should’ve heard them laughing!

Definitely something I recommend doing!

Some colours came out very dull, I seem to be very unlucky with my food colouring. Can anyone recommend a brand of food colouring that produces great bright results?

 
 

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Favourite activities. Bath mats and fine motor skills.

For quite a few of our favourite fine-motor skills activities we have been using ordinary bath mats. We started with small ones of different colours and used them for coloured bead sorting. The younger person started doing it with fingers, then progressed to measuring spoon/melon ball spoon, the older one first was using sugar tongs, then progressed to tweezers. Tweesers are not so easy with wooden Pony Beads, and we broke few plastic tweezers, then I started giving my older daughter smaller, plastic beads and this seems to work.

We also used coloured water and pipette to fill the suckers.

After a while I thought a challenge was in order, so I pulled out a big transparent bath mat and filled up some pots with food colouring, laid some pipets out (mine are re-purposed from some baby medicine) and quietly left it in the middle of the patio…

Smaller person wanted to have a go immediately, she was just experimenting with how much droplets can one sucker cup hold, then she tried mixing few different colours of droplets in one cup and so on.

Her sister came in from school and wanted to have a go too. She first was working on making colour patters, then decided to make a picture.

All in all – good concentration and maths (patterns) practice! And creativity of course!

beads and bath mats

Arranging pony beads on bath mats

 

Chalks in the garden

If your kids like drawing with chalks but apart from a chalk board you have no space for them to go wild and your garden is covered in grass like ours – pick up a large cardboard from a recycling centre – this will do the trick!

 

Extension on activities. Wing it!

What to do if all the spelling boards in the set has finished, but the child still wants to spell and there are letters left? Wing it!  🙂

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in literacy and writing

 

Stained glass crafts

Here is an easy and fun craft you can do with bits of clear plastic and permanent markers.

I have collected clear plastic trays from fruit and other groceries and yoghurt pot covers for this craft and a massive set of Sharpies was going cheap at supermarket.

To do this you need to draw the outline of your drawing on one side of the plastic and let the child colour on the other side (otherwise the outline will be smudged by other markers).

 

If you are not good at drawing – you can trace over a picture in a colouring book like we did, or just let kids do their own design.

We drew butterflies and glued them to some thin bouncy grass-type sticks and kids were playing with them all day “flying them around”.

Additionally you can do some nature studies and print real butterfly designs to trace and decorate.

Girls couldn’t get enough of this, they’ve drawn on all the plastic bits I’ve collected.

Just make sure you protect your work place because they are permanent markers, and don’t let kids draw on themselves. Good luck!

 

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