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Nature studies

On our rumblings through a nature park with friends we picked up some frogspawn on Sunday. I have never hatched or grown frogs at home before, all I remember from my childhood there were always tons of them in the country house, and a few were always swimming in our water butt (don’t ask me how they were getting there), so I had a chance watching them develop.

I was very happy to have found the frogspawn, so after we got home – I found an empty jar, added some rainwater, some pond weed from the local pond and scoured our home library for books and our toys for frogs.

Here’s our new Nature shelf

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And here are our future froggies on their 4th day

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Some of them are out of their slimey eggs and just floating about, and the eggs are floating about by themselves. I know they are supposed to eat their eggs but that needs to happen before they are out. So either I am misinformed or I accidently forced them out of the eggs while pouring them in, adding water and weed etc. Not sure what to do with empty eggs, leave it or take it out? Maybe they still need to feed on it?

Mya is keeping a journal and drawing spawn’s progress in it, as she doesn’t like to write.

 

 

Bribery learning. Yes or no?

I am still struggling with how to approach to pocket money and things that kids really want but it’s nowhere near their birthday or Christmas, which for my kids all comes pretty much at the same time, and then – whole year of  waiting for next Christmas. But kids interests change so often. And I don’t want them to get some presents just because they want them. I don’t want to give them rewards for doing chores – because things need to get done around the house by all family members without rewards. And I don’t want to give rewards for homework because this should be something of a habit and learning should be for the sake of learning and a feeling of getting better at something and not for rewards.

Mya wants a stunt scooter, and since I am at war with myself about how to get her one I thought of getting her collect rewards for extra learning that she normally struggles with – Russian and Maths. So in a space of two weeks she should do a bit of maths and a bit of Russian every day for 15-20 minutes. I know it might backfire, but I think if she struggles with these subjects and puts a bit more effort in with my help, of course it will get much easier for her in the future and she’ll feel less reluctant to do things that became easier to understand. This is my theory. Yesterday she asked me herself to do some Russian with her to get her stickers, and wanted to do few extra tasks in Mathletics which I didn’t ask her to do. She just got sucked in and started liking it! Same with Russian – we tried to follow a book with tasks to do, but then she deviated from the task and started to make her own words, which I didn’t mind, as long as she was doing it in Russian 🙂

 

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She was making words with letter blocks (Zaitsev’s blocks) first and writing them down, then asked me for Russian script movable alphabet and started experimenting with it. After struggling to find all the letters for her name (in Russian type face letters are significantly different from script, also capital and lower case look very different, all that an the fact that some letters look like English letters but sound and mean completely different) she adapted some of the letters to write her name with them in English 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in literacy and writing

 

Maths milk tops and “stained glass” geometry

Little person has been practising her quantity and number pairing with our milk-top dots

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and doing our favourite shape-sticking today when the sun showed up for a little bit. I have cut up some more file folders as the old one’s colours have faded from the sun. I like the stained glass effect. The brighter the colours the better.

We used these wallets. You don’t have to use geometric shapes, just any shapes you like that will inspire your child to make a picture. You will also need a small spray bottle for spraying on the window to stick the shapes on (can use a travel spray bottles from a pound shop) and a cloth for spillages or when water runs down the window.

I have been busy making some teen and tens Montessori boards (made from cardboard).  And I finally finished Sandpaper cursive letters, only mine are made from corrugated holographic card (anything shiny goes, and neither of us likes the feel of sandpaper)

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Maths

 

Little bit of maths

We have been trying to do a bit of maths here and there. It is not our strongest subject.

Here’s Mya’s picture using geometrical foam stickers. I bought a big bag of glitter foam stickers (yes, anything with glitter goes, no matter how much it drives me nuts!). This picture actually turned out the best and I didn’t help Mya at all. She thought it through and created a landscape with houses, trees and skies. She usually just puts stickers everywhere without a plot of a picture at all, just like a hungry person would eat anything that’s on a table. On the left – Neva 2,5 y.o. loves geometric stickers as well.

 

We’re nearing Halloween now and I dug up my last year’s activity books from Home Bargains. They didn’t attract any interest last year at all. Maybe I just didn’t open them on the right pages. This time Mya has successfully cracked the code on all four pictures and we did some maths with our trusted tiles, I explained how to do an exchange for 10’s for easy counting and seems as if some of it actually went in.

Earlier in the month we were practising Place value  and Number bonds using stickers, tiles, dominoes and a flip chart. She got bored at the end and just started to play with tiles. Ah, well, at least she understood what I was on about.

The lesson on skip counting in tens using Golden Beads made from Christmas bead garland – Mya was counting and cutting them herself!)  and flip chart went swimmingly and she was so proud of herself counting in tens so fluently that she kept telling everyone. She still keeps these on her desk and occasionally does this by herself, now backwards as well. The other day we were reading book I bought on Amazon Sir Cumference and all the kings Tens and we were using the beads and the flip chart along with the book to count the guests. I really want to buy all the books in these series!

 

We also love our 3D geometric figures. Hopefully I will install the light table for the girls so they can play with the transparent 3D shapes on it. Here – Mya made her task to match 3D shapes from all the sets we have

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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Time for cooking with kids

Somehow, during school year we don’t have much time or imagination for cooking. It’s mostly cupcakes. This summer break we have done some more adventurous (for kids) cooking, and most of it was initiated by Mya. So far – she wanted to learn how to cook potato chips, two-colored shortbread biscuits, sugared rose petals and marshmallows.

I really like the break from cupcakes.

For Potato chips (it was late dinner and I didn’t take any pictures) – she independently peeled a potato with ceramic peeler and I showed her how dicer works. She was very exited about it and immediately peeled another potato to slice it into rings! We’ve put it in a zip-lock bag with a bit of oil and herbs and she really enjoyed shaking it before pouring the contents on the baking tray. She then helped by topping and tailing runner beans with her ceramic knife. Mya was very proud of making contribution to the dining table.

She saw a picture of sugared rose petals and wanted to make her own. We cut a couple of the prettiest roses from the garden, then I found a recipe that used syrup instead of raw egg and she enjoyed making it, but in my opinion it didn’t turn out well – the petals stuck to the baking paper and completely lost their shape. If anyone have a good recipe for that – please share.

When making two-tone shortbread I managed to squeeze some maths on measurements and fractions. Really loving this trio of books Kitchen Table Maths by Dr. Wright . Really good guide for teaching maths for someone like me who was never very good at it.

Today we made marshmallows (cheating and using a kit from Sainsbury). Surprisingly – it didn’t have any unusual or difficult ingredients, so we might attempt these again from scratch, and Mya suggested that next time we could experiment by putting some flowers or berries in it.

On the crafting front – Mya has asked me to make her a map-printed dress. I’m onto it. I think I have to research digital printing on fabric. It sounds like it might be cheaper than buying fabric with prints that interests me..

 

 
 

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The brightest dress she owns!

Mya picked out of my Craft box these polo shirts and stated that she would like a dress from all of them…

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I have accepted the challenge.

 

I picked a Polo shirt with the smallest collar to use as my base for the dress. I planned to make the top out of it, then attach all the other bits to it – skirt, sleeves. I turned it inside-out and traced the outlines of my t-shirt template onto it (see my previous post on how to make easy template).

 

I cut it out but unfortunately the length of the top was finishing just where all the logo’s on the shirt were. The logos were embroidered so they wouldn’t have behaved well in a seam or with another applique over them – and I didn’t want any logo’s on the dress. So I cut the strip with the logos off on the front and back of the top, then traced the cut-off strip on the sleeves of the blue polo shirt and stitched it to the top of the dress – this is how it happened to be two coloured instead of one colour.

I wanted a long-sleeved dress, so I cut the sleeves of the orange shirt and used the whole length of it including the hem. Then I traced the rest of the sleeve on the blue polo shirt and stitched the blue bit of the sleeve to the seam of the orange sleeve on the inside using zig-zag seam on my machine.

I opened up the top of the dress and stitched the sleeves to it, then starting from the cuff of the sleeve pinned the sleeve and side together and stitched each side.

Then I measured the waist width and cut out a rectangle for underskirt from an orange Polo shirt – this is where all the ruffles would be attached. I had quite a few orange shirts – they were used for uniform, logos were cut-out, and fronts were heavily stained and unusable, but the backs were perfectly fine, so I used a few of these on this project.

To make ruffles a bit puffier I used 3 widths of a T-shirt for each colour. I used a straight stitch on my machine then gathered it by pulling one top side of the thread as I did here, but I divided the width in two and pulled from both sides to avoid putting too much stress on the thread, so it doesn’t break when gathering.

I then attached the first ruffle to the top of the skirt rectangle, and pinned the skirt to the top of the dress. I used zig-zag stitch to attach the skirt and also a straight stitch just to make sure. I was helping myself with a screwdriver to flatten the ruffles and move the material along because it was stalling sometimes and not moving along in the machine.

I wanted ruffles to gradually get longer so to each new tier I added 1cm in width. I then attached ruffles to the skirt to make sure that the top of each ruffle was about 1cm under the bottom of the top ruffle.AS you can see from the picture I was helping myself along with a screwdriver to flatten the material and help it move in the machine when doing ruffles, it was stalling a bit.

I only hemmed the ruffles with cars as it was not a knit so it was fraying at the bottom, the rest I left as they were – these knits don’t fray at all.

My daughter likes cars and trains a lot, so I bought a piece of fabric with cars which I used for the top ruffle. Then I found this nice applique of a camper van and I hand- stitched it to the top of the dress.

The dress was ready. One happy little girl wore it for a few days in a row after school!

 

Gooey Stretchy stuff

We went today to a Science Zone workshop Gooey Science today. Girls were reluctant to go (in a funny sort of mood, not sure why) but enjoyed it at the end. They did a few experiments there – girl’s favorite I think was Elephant’s toothpaste. There were a lot of ooohs and ahhs and general screeching, which always means success. At the end Mya excitedly told her dad “we were making foam from living creatures!!!” – I am not revealing any more, you have to go to their workshop!

Gooey science at Science Zone UK - little scientists at work

Gooey science at Science Zone UK

One of the experiments, however, reminded me something we made about a year ago, and I never actually published it on the blog, so here’s a copy of my old Facebook post.

We made this slime today.

We played with it for 2,5 hours! I had as much fun as Mya

This is really streeeeeeetchy And rolly and really glittery! Glitter galore!

We were watching how gravity was stretching it. We tried wrapping it round things

And were experimenting how long it will stretch before breaking off

This is what we made it from. I didn’t give it to the toddler she still puts things in her mouth.

Glittery slime supplies

Glittery slime supplies

We put it in a empty butter spread plastic tub and played with it on many occasions. It is still playable, 1 year after.

It doesn’t stick at all, the only thing that stays on the hands is glitter and it’s difficult to wash to washing liquid off the hands – they keep being “soapy”

The only fail with this is it smells a lot with washing liquid, I wouldn’t give it to a younger child due to it being made with washing liquid – prolonged contact might be not good for the skin. I chose to use Formil Non-Bio washing liquid as most of the recipes of that type call for Borax or Liquid starch, and none of them appear to be available in UK to general public nowadays, so it was interesting doing the recipe with Borax at Science Zone to see the difference. The one we made at Gooey Science today was more rubbery (some of it even bounced!), easily tear-able and less stretchy and was sticking to the hand much more initially, but still was lots of fun.

What is your slime recipe? Please share your pictures and links!

 
 
 
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