Elmer Day

Elmer Collage

Elmer Day Activity

The little one has always loved Elmer. We love everything about Elmer – his friendliness, his ability to make the elephants laugh and of course, his colours.

S wanted to celebrate Elmer’s day just like all those elephants did in his book.

As we didn’t fancy painting ourselves in rainbow colours we decided to think up equally colourful activities to do. These are the ones we came up with.

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) ,Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

Pre preparation / Invitation

This activity is an accompaniment to the “Elmer” Book. A reading of the book is highly recommended to enjoy the activity more

Our favourite Elmer and Elmer Day stories (amazon links)

  1. Elmer ( UK Amazon Link)
  2. Elmer Again (UK Amazon Link)
  3. Elmer’s Day (UK Amazon Link)
  4. Elmer’s Special Day (UK Amazon Link)

What we did

Activity 1 :

We just printed out a free Elmer colour by numbers and filled in the different squares.

Color by numbers
Elmer Color By Numbers

 

Activity 2 :

This was our favorite activity.

Trace an outline of Elmer. I traced it on one side of laminating paper.

Trace the Elmer
Elmer Trace
Trace the Elmer
Trace the Elmer

Cut the crepe paper into small bits ( square shaped) and try to create an Elmer collage.

Elmer Activity

We did this on a light box, to add the light effect.

Elmer Collage
Elmer Collage
Elmer Collage
Elmer Collage

Skills we learnt

I have always liked colouring by number activity – It teaches patience and what beautiful end results perseverance can have

The collage activity is trying to recreate Elmer for the little ones – their version of a colorful elephant, it’s a lot of fun

Elmer Collage
Elmer Collage

We then closed the top of the laminating sheet over the collage and laminated the collage. It makes a wonderful sun catcher :)

 

How to make Colour (ed) Salts ?

Coloured Salts

Little Yash is going through art and craft ingredients faster than I can make them. I try to give him ingredients of different textures – I love colour salt because it is easy to make, is cheap and more importantly can be made in atleast two textures ( Fine and Rocky)

Step 1 : Get the Ingredients Ready

The only two ingredients you need are :

  1. Salt
  2. Paint ( Any spare paint you have or for more milder colours use food colouring)
Coloured Salts - Ingredients
Coloured Salts – Ingredients

Step 2 : Just add a little colour in the salt and mix it up.

Coloured Salts
Mix the colours

Wait for it to get completely mixed in to see if you have got the right shade.

Coloured Salts
Coloured Salts

If you need it lighter, add salt. If you need a darker hue, add a little more of the colour. My kid loved this mixing process.

Coloured Salts
Coloured Salts

We have previously used this to make a rainbow bottle, salt art and some Rangoli..

What Next ?

Give only the 3 primary colours to an older child and he can mix up all colours of the colour wheel

 

Fractions Origami

Fractions Origami

Little Yash is all into Fractions these days. So when I found this round-cut craft paper, I couldn’t resist a “Do your fraction invitation”

Recommended Age

Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

Fractions Origami
Fractions – Round-Cut Shapes

 

  • Craft Paper ( I found some ready-made round-cut ones, but you can easily cut this out ready for the activity)
  • Post-Its ( for the invitation)
  • Scissors
  • Colour Pens

Pre preparation / Invitation

Leave an Invitation to represent 1-1/2-1/4 and 1/8

Fractions - Our Invitation
Fractions – Our Invitation

What we did 

Little Yash loves fractions, he always links it up to his other favourite “Pizza”

I asked him if he can represent the fractions with the paper ( I expected him to cut it out into fraction shapes or colour it out – I had left a scissor and some colour pens out). For the younger children, cut/ colour one fraction as an example

To my surprise he just folded the paper. And it was perfect

Fractions Origami
Fractions Origami

 

Fractions Origami
Fractions Origami – Halfway There!

Skills we learn

It’s a great activity to understand the concept of fractions, very simple but effective.

Fractions Origami
Fractions Origami

What Next

We love the fraction blocks and the number snap game – This is very useful to explore the more complex fractions

 

 

The Alphabet Den

alphabet corner

We are day 26 of the fortbuilding challenge hosted by building blocks and acorns.  For the challenge, we want to show you our lovely learning corner. We set the tent up when we need some quiet learning place.

It’s quick to put up ( and take down) and needs no special equipment. If you have a flight of stairs in the house, all you need is quite simply an old sheet, some sturdy string and some clothes clips.

things needed

What we did:

We tied a piece of string criss-cross across the handrails.

criss cross across handrails
criss cross across handrails

 

Step 2 was to drape it with a sheet & hold it together with clothes pins

drape
drape

 

Step 3 : Make a door to this magical stairs

the door

 

That’s it – our learning stairs is ready.

 

alphabetden_landing

the inside
the inside

 

For the alphabets : We have a large collection of alphabet goodies which we use in our learning activity. I have included some good links of what we have in the post. I will try to post out the actual activity soon.

Our Alphabet Goodies
Our Alphabet Goodies

 

Food Colour Play

Food Colour Play

Colour Play

Food Colour Play

 

Exploring colour is always a favourite activity at ours. I wanted to expand my son’s love for colour and introduce him to colour theory.

This is the first of three activities that we did to learn about the colour wheel, primary, secondary and tertiary colours.

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

things you need
things you need
  • Food Colouring ( Primary Colours Red, Blue and Yellow are mandatory colours, other colours are optional)
  • The Light Box ( Optional)
  • Transparent bottles / containers

Pre preparation / Invitation

I set out all the food colours and the bottles with a jug of water on the light box.

What we did 

Little S started by pouring water into the bottles, using a syringe to put in a few drops of food colour into each bottle.

Just getting Started
Just getting Started

As this was an exploratory activity, we made more colours by mixing the different colours on top of the light box.

Now the Blue
Now the Blue
makes green
Blue and Yellow makes Green

As we randomly mixed colours, I talked to him about the primary colours, how he was now mixing them to make different secondary colours.

Colours and Light Play
Colours and Light Play

We had a lot of fun – I had set this out as a sensory activity, a very calming quiet activity around bedtime. This activity doesn’t need much of a set up and is easy to clean afterwards. The use of light, gives the colours a translucent hue making it an absolute delight.

sensory play

Skills we learn

This quite sensory activity is great introductory activity to learn colour mixing and the wheel – talk about primary, secondary and tertiary colours. We are planning to build it up to a more formal lesson in colour theory.

Colour mixing
Colour mixing

The colour mixing activity is a free flowing activity, make it up as you go – It helps build good fine motor skills ( we pour and use the syringe)

The colours that we ended up with
The Colours : Ta-Dah !!!!

What Next

This activity is day 18 of a 31 day sensory challenge hosted by Adventures of Adam. They have some amazing activities presented there (by lovely bloggers we follow ) to try.

Winter solstice – Summer its on its way

We had a lovely day today at the Royal Observatory. A birthday treat for a space mad, newly 4 year old S.

If you are in London,the observatory is a  must-see. There is a lot going on here on any given day, and there is something for everyone. My 4 year old had a lot to keep him engaged and busy –  The planetarium was the highlight of his day.

We had timed the event to coincide with the winter solstice – It led to a good talk about a sun (helio) centric universe, revolution, rotation, change of seasons and the earth 23.5 degree tilt.

We talked about the solstice and how today, the 21st of December was the shortest day , with just 8 hours of sunlight.

Came home and looked up – how the solstice is celebrated in different parts of the world.

In this post, I wanted to share this video, which is the best resource I have come across on the solstice and what it means – Summer its on its way

 

winter solstice
winter solstice

Image source and more information here – http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html

 

A bottle full of Rainbow-ness

I wanted to build my little S’s confidence with cutlery . I wanted him to him learn the skill without food being in the play.

I have found an answer in this Montessori inspired motor activity !

S calls this his “Bottle full of Rainbowness” and is full of special fairy rainbow dust

A bottle full of Rainbowness
A bottle full of Rainbow-ness

 

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

  • Colored Salt
  • A transparent bottle / Jar
  • Spoons ( different size spoons to increase complexity)
  • Sealant (optional)

Pre preparation / Invitation

Prepare a few colored salts – I mix food coloring/ water color with salt and leave it to dry overnight. This gives me brightly colored salt in different colors

When adding food color or salt, only add a few drops as this makes the salt very moist and takes a long time to dry

(We used the 12th bottle left over in the dozen we bought – we used the other 11 for our 11 Pipers piping. I had a lot of color salt left over from our Diwali activity, so that became the main ingredient of the play)

What we did 

Little S started spooning the different colors into the bottle.

Each color had a different spoon ( different sizes, differently shaped spoons)

Start of with a small spoon, then a medium spoon and finally a large spoon – S’s confidence increased with every spoonful ! 

The thin spoons first
The thin spoons first

This makes beautiful layers of colors – You can top it off with some sealant to keep the layers tight and locked

With medium sized spoons
With medium sized spoons

Now to get yellow into the rainbow

Yellow Salt with a larger spoon now

Skills we learn

Motor Control, Independence

Missing Numbers

The little numberphile wants a number Christmas tree for Christmas. He wanted a number tree and wanted to make it himself –  I left him with all the stuff  he thought he needed (I was cooking nearby).

When I went back to check on him after 10 minutes, I  was amazed by the matrix he was building and by the missing numbers game he was playing with himself.

I wanted to share this activity as an example to show how kids use everyday stuff around us as learning props – how kids learn, evolve and adapt to the tools that they have

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years)

Things needed

We bought a good pack of fluorescent stars to make a personal reward jar, but we re-purposed the stars for this activity

Pre preparation / Invitation

This activity is actually a precursor for the number christmas tree activity

What we did 

We started out by writing random numbers as S couldn’t decide what numbers he wanted on the tree

Number Sequence activity
Number Sequence activity – first wrote up random numbers ( his favorites)

Then S saw that he had some of the numbers but was missing others,

Missing Numbers
Find out what the missing numbers are – 1-20 matrix

so he arranged them in a matrix from 1-20 in 4 rows and began filling the missing numbers till we had 1-20

Missing Numbers
Missing Numbers – Filling it up

Skills we learn

I think is a good activity for a kid learning to write his numbers. The key skills are – Writing and Practicing numbers, Number sequence

Missing Numbers
Missing Numbers – Almost Done

What Next

Our number Christmas tree is on its way !

Eleven Pipers Piping ( Celebrating the 11th day of Christmas)

The Eleven Pipers Piping
The Eleven Pipers Piping

The 11th Day of December – Our turn at the Bloghop to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. There are ten amazing crafts before us, check them out at the bottom of this post.

In line with the recurring theme on the blog (to make learning fun), we have used this adorable pipers post to teach us some craft, a little maths and some science. Hope you enjoy the post.

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) for the craft, the song and the tradition

Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age – the craft, Song, Tradition with some maths and science

Things needed

For the Elves :

11 Pipers Piping - Things needed
11 Pipers Piping – Things needed
  • Some Bottles – We bought a dozen from the local kitchen stores, this is the amazon link for something similar ( affiliate)
  • Pipe Cleaners ( thick and thin ones)
  • Felt ( we used the forest shades – green, olive, brown and leaf green)
  • Craft papers ( for the Hat and the legs)
  • Baubles (for the head)
  • Pompoms
  • Straws
  • Glue / Gluedots, tape, scissors

For the Music,Maths and Science:

11 Pipers Piping - Things needed ( for the music))
11 Pipers Piping – Things needed ( for the music))
  • Water
  • Syringe ( 5ml)
  • Spoon, Fork or a butter knife

Pre preparation / Invitation

Get the Pipers ready.

Making the Pipers
Making the Pipers

 

If you don’t need the 11 pipers, it shouldn’t take you as long. Once you have everything ready, a bottle piper takes about 10-15 minutes to make.

Piper Making Steps
Piper Making Steps
  1. Cut rectangular strips of the felt, to make a smock for the bottle.
  2. Fold the strip in half and make slits at the center of the strip (approximately)
  3. Take a thick pipe cleaner and tie it around mouth of the bottle ( to make dangling arms, cut at a suitable length)
  4. Push the slit around the mouth of the bottle (above the pipe cleaner)
  5. Secure the smock with a thin pipe cleaner
  6. With some glue, stick a cut ( ¼ of) straw to both ends of a pipecleaner to represent a pipe held by both arms
  7. Use a bauble for the head
  8. Fold a diagonal piece of craft paper into a cone shape and make an elf hat for the piper
  9. Fold a strip of craftpaper into a ladder and stick it to the bottom of the bottle to make legs
  10. Stick pompoms to the other end to make shoes for the piper
  11. Display the eleven

The Eleven Pipers Piping The Eleven Pipers Piping

 

What we did 

The Song : A quick intro to the The Twelve Days of Christmas

Little S and I talked about the song and the tradition ( I have attached links here for reference). We also watched the song on youtube. The tune and the repeating pattern is very catching and we were humming along in no time

The 12 Days of Christmas Song
The 12 Days of Christmas Song

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol that enumerates in the manner of a cumulative song a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. (Wiki)

For the Song – Youtube & the Religious Interpretation

The Maths (Measurements, Times table and counting in 5s) :

Making 11 pipers is hard work, so we took a break between step 5 and 6 and did this fun experiment.

We numbered the pipers from 1 to 11 with stickers on back

Numbering our pipers from 1- 11
Numbering our pipers from 1- 11

Using the 5 ml syringe, we filled in the 11 bottles in increasing order (Piper one has 5 ml, piper 2 has 10 ml and son on to piper 11 with 55ml)

S helped write down how many syringes were needed to fill each bottle and how many ml did that make ( A good exercise to count in 5s and run through your 5 times table)

How many ml in each bottle (piper) ?
How many ml in each bottle (piper) ?

Now to make music like the pipers : (The science)

Place the bottle in a line from 1 – 11 (It’s important to use the same size bottle for this experiment)

We used a spoon to tap/strike on each bottle and observed the sound/music

Making Music
Making Music

S could clearly see that the more the water in the bottle, the pitch was lower (and more melodious according to him). Less water would mean that there is less overall weight and hence the pitch is much higher. ( More water would mean more vibrating mass, hence lesser pitch)

We tapped the bottle in random order to make music ( just like our 11 pipers)

Try this with 4-5 bottles (with atleast a 20ml difference in volume of each bottle) and you could easily play a tune

Skills we learn

Song, Tradition and some craft. We used the bottle to make music learing some Maths (Measurements, Times table and counting in 5s) and some science ( sound, the concept of pitches)

What Next

As our elves are now ready, we want to use them to talk about emotions ( in a post soon) and also use them as holiday elves

Hope you enjoyed the post, please check back tomorrow for Learning and Exploring Through Play’s 12 Drummers Drumming

 

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

This post is part of a festive blog hop series for the ’12 Days of Christmas’ – a lovely collection of craft ideas hosted by Silly Sparkles!

Click on the image above to follow each of the 12 Days of Christmas craft ideas!

Taking part in this blog hop are:

Silly Sparkles – A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Because Babies Grow Up – 2 Turtle Doves

Learning and Exploring Through Play – 3 French Hens

Messy Little Monster – 4 Calling Birds

Multicrafting Mummy – 5 Golden Rings

Swords and Snoodles – 6 Geese a Laying

Craft Ideas for Kids – 7 Swans a Swimming

Three Foot Cooks – 8 Maids a Milking

Making Memories in the Chaos – 9 Ladies Dancing

Adventures of Adam – 10 Lords a Leaping

Play Explore Learn – 11 Pipers Piping

Learning and Exploring Through Play – 12 Drummers Drumming

Playing Shop ( & Learn) – Counting , Addition,Multiplication, Money, Roleplay

We had this amazing Shop given to us as a gift – My S likes playing shop. It has money, counting and roleplay… Very much down S’s way. And this is how we play & learn with it

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) ,Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

  • Something to sell ( We had easter eggs, leftover from Easter)
  • A shop or a box to play shop (optional)
  • A price list
  • A shopping list

Pre preparation / Invitation

Get the shop ready. Write down some shopping lists. Print out a price list, to add some counting and addition in

What we did 

Playing Shop ( & Learn) - Counting , Addition,Multiplication, Money, Roleplay
Playing Shop ( & Learn) – Counting , Addition,Multiplication, Money, Roleplay

We started taking turns being the shopper / shopkeeper.
The shopper selects items he wants to buy ( At this stage, you could write down a shopping list – 2 purple eggs, 5 blue eggs etc)
The shopkeeper counts the items out, makes a total and gives an invoice.
The shopper checks the total and pays the money ( we use play money)
And so on…

Skills we learn

Counting , Addition,Multiplication, Money, Roleplay

What Next

For an older child, simple addition and multiplication problems like these can be introduced in play.
Eg: If I buy 3 blue eggs, 2 green eggs and 1 yellow egg, how many does that make? If 1 egg costs 2p, how many will 5 eggs cost ?

The Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Hop

12-days-banner

I’m joining up  with 11 lovely bloggers  in a Christmas blog hop – to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Check back everyday for some awesome ideas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol that enumerates in the manner of a cumulative song a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. (Wiki)

For the Song – Youtube & the Religious Interpretation

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop

This post is part of a festive blog hop series for the ’12 Days of Christmas’ – a lovely collection of craft ideas hosted by Silly Sparkles!

Click on the image above to follow each of the 12 Days of Christmas craft ideas!

Taking part in this blog hop are:

Silly Sparkles – A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Because Babies Grow Up – 2 Turtle Doves

Building Blocks and Acorns – 3 French Hens

Messy Little Monster – 4 Calling Birds

Multicrafting Mummy – 5 Golden Rings

Swords and Snoodles – 6 Geese a Laying

Craft Ideas for Kids – 7 Swans a Swimming

Three Foot Cooks – 8 Maids a Milking

Making Memories in the Chaos – 9 Ladies Dancing

Adventures of Adam – 10 Lords a Leaping

Play Explore Learn – 11 Pipers Piping

Learning and Exploring Through Play – 12 Drummers Drumming

The 12 Days of Christmas Song

The 12 Days of Christmas Song

Lights and Shadows – A Preschool Science Activity

Light and Shadow

S has always been a fan of shadow play. When he was a little toddler, we used a torch light and a wall in a darkened room to keep him entertained for hours. Around last year, he started exploring shadows. I vividly remember him telling me a few months ago, “look mummy, my shadow, there is no light in my shadow !”

These are some of our light games

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) ,Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

  • Translucent objects ( We used colour bottles ) – Rainbow blocks are very good for this
  • Opaque / Solid Objects
  • Artificial light sources – light box, torch light, table lamp etc

Pre preparation / Invitation

Early Mornings and midday ( with the sharp sunlight) seems the best time to play

What we did

We started playing in the sunlight at different times of the day and at different light conditions. Try the same with artificial light sources.

When are shadows longer?
When are shadows longer?

Talk about the properties of light

  1. Where does light come from – Sun, torch etc ( a light source)
  2. What is a shadow – shadow is the absence of light, shadow is formed when light is blocked
  3. How do we see – light is reflected off objects and reaches our eyes, which is why we cant see in the dark
  4. What makes a shadow – What is opaque, transparent and translucent ( use a lot of props to show them the difference, at this stage a basic understanding is good, knowing the words are not as important, I think)
  5. Keep a smaller object behind and in front of a larger opaque object ( see why there is no shadow and a shadow on the bigger object )
  6. See when shadows are longer and when they are shorter ( move closer and away from the light source)
Translucent objects - Lights and Shadows
Translucent objects – Lights and Shadows

Then talk about how it makes you feel

  1. How do you feel about the dark
  2. How do you feel about the light

Talk about how light is important

  1. Why is the light important ?
  2. Why do we need the sun?

Explore artificial light sources 

Exploring Artificial Light sources
Exploring Artificial Light sources & Translucent objects

If you have other questions we could talk about, please let me know in the comment section – we are always looking for an opportunity to learn

Skills we learn

Light, Shadows and everything inbetween

What Next

For an older child, try the same with deeper concepts – reflection ( light on smooth surfaces), light travels in a straight line, the concept of refraction ( A prism may be a good idea)

I will follow it up with a post on rainbows (another subject my preschooler loves)

Binky Linky

 

Counting Rhymes & Songs – Make the numbers come alive

I had a message from a lovely lady who reads my blog – my first ever letter for the blog. Totally thrilled. Thank you for following my blog.

Question from the reader : How do you engage with a baby / toddler and make play a learning experience? 

I will write more on what worked for us, but from the top of my head, “Counting Rhymes and Songs” – Songs that teach numbers, counting, adding, subtracting.

Also, I have tried to enact every song using props, especially with counting songs as you can see items being added or taken away. I think this makes the numbers come alive for the toddlers

One of our favorites in “Ten in a Bed” – I had a set of 10 wooden dolls (keychains) which we rollover with the song.

But this can be easily done  with a set of 10 toys that the child has. Put them in a row and roll them over with the song.

10 in a bed

10 in a bed

This is one of my favorite counting songs – it goes upto 10 (  most children’s songs only go upto 5) , one can do the counting with the song and then take it away. The song can also be extended to add the toys back to 10.

I will try and add a list of counting songs soon.

Parts of a plant – A glitter glue adventure

Parts of a plant - with cupcake cases and glitter glue

Did some gardening this weekend. S helped me dig up all the weeds. He loved looking at the root system.

I have tried to follow it up with a “parts of a plant” activity, to extend his understanding

Recommended Age

Toddlers (1.5 years to 3 years) ,Preschoolers (3-5 years) ,Primary age

Things needed

  • Cupcake case
  • Glitter glue
  • Playdoh
  • A4 Sheet / Laminating sheet ( for the light box- optional)
  • Glue

    Parts of a plant - with cupcake cases and glitter glue
    Things needed

Pre preparation / Invitation

Just collect the things needed – activity does not need a lot of preparation.

A study of an actual plant from the garden, before or after the experiment would increase comprehension.

S helped me plan out what the plant should look like

Parts of a plant - with cupcake cases and glitter glue
Drawing a plan for the activity

What we did

We first did the activity on a A4 sheet but this also works well on a transparent sheet on a lightbox

Take a cupcake case and glue it as a centre piece on the sheet – the flower. With the glitter glue, draw the stem ( or use bendy straws), the leaves and the root system.

Parts of a plant - with cupcake cases and glitter glue
Named Parts

Press some playdoh in the centre of the cupcake case (and press the little mustard seeds/grains in if you want seeds).

Name the parts of the plant.

Parts of a plant - with cupcake cases and glitter glue
Parts of the Plant

Also talk about the functions of the different parts

  1. How the root anchors the plant to the ground
  2. How the stem distributes water and the nutrients
  3. The leaves make food
  4. A bud blooms into a flower
  5. Flowers make fruits and seeds etc

Then talk about what a plant needs and why it needs it

  1. The Sun for the light to make food
  2. Water/ Rain for the plant
  3. The Soil for the anchor and nutrients
S's plant - He drew around it to make it a rose
S’s plant – He drew around the flower to make it look like a rose

Finally talk about how plants help us

Skills we learnt

Understanding the natural world.  Understanding how plants help us.

What Next

For an older child, try the same with deeper concepts.  We are trying to grow a plant in a transparent container