Friday, March 22, 2013

Bi Carb Easter Egg Experiments

This was another activity from our Easter Afternoon Tea that went down well with the kids. My girls love playing with bicarb and vinegar, I often give them a small jar of each and they sit outside making it fizz and bubble.
To put an Easter twist on this activity I filled some plastic eggs ($1 a bag from the dollar shop) with bicarb so the kids could break them open into the vinegar. There was lots of mixing and experimenting going on!


* plastic eggs
* bicarb soda
* white vinegar
* cups and spoons

note: adding food colouring could add even more fun to this activity.

The plastic eggs were easy to fill with bicarb and close up again.

The girls enjoyed cracking them open. 

Adding vinegar to make it fizz!

Lots of pouring, scooping and mixing going on.

This was definitely an outside activity! The play table has never been cleaner :)

Easter Pom Pom Necklace

We had a little Easter Afternoon Tea here for the girls and a couple of their mates recently and these pom pom necklaces were a great activity for the kids to have a go at. Not only was it easy to set up and inexpensive, it's also great for fine motor practice and the end result is something they can take home.


* assorted pom poms 
* child safe needle
* embroidery thread


I put the pompoms in one large basket so the kids could easily reach and sort through to find the ones they liked.
We threaded their child safe needles with embroidery thread and tied the thread to the eye of the needle so it wouldn't slip off.

The girls pushed their needles through the pom poms to make a colourful Easter necklace.

The end result was very cute.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Play Room Tour PART 2 - Learning Area

Recently I posted about the Shop Corner in the girls playroom, the first post in a series about how the room is set up. The Learning Area is along the same wall and is our designated spot for our 'weekly topic' and other learning activities as well as a place where the girls like to use their Duplo and LEGO.
Each week they both decide on a subject they want to learn more about and we collect information together. We have looked at Japan a few times because Bubble is fascinated with it and have also covered topics like volcanoes, the water cycle and space. This week we are investigating Australian Lizards after the girls saw a Blue Tongued Lizard crossing one of our local streets and wanted to know more about him.

The smaller whiteboard on the left is where we accumulate information about whatever we are learning about that week.
The girls like to stick things up there as we finish them and at the end of the week we take it all down and put it into a binder to look back at later.

Down the end of the table we keep the ant farms and a basket containing things like tweezers, magnifying glasses, magnets, weather cards and other exploratory materials.

The whiteboard gets used for a lot of different activities, lately we have been using it for matching and number games (dot to dot). The girls also love doing big drawings on it and using it to practice the things they are learning about (like drawing flags or creating their own solar systems).

The desk area is made up of three LACK side tables in a row which provides storage underneath for vessla boxes which hold some of the girls construction toys.
The tables are the perfect height to either sit or kneel at making it a great area for learning or playing in. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Useful Box

Like most Australian kids I grew up watching a show called Play School. One thing that has always stuck in my mind was their 'Useful Box', it was a box full of every weird and wonderful craft item known to man that the hosts would empty out and create toys and play scenes with. I thought it was really cool.
We now have a Useful Box in our home and not only do my kids love creating all sorts of things from the bits and pieces inside it, it also provides a place for me to dump all the loose parts that I know could be used but that don't really 'fit' anywhere in the craft storage area.
We have all sorts of things in our Useful Box; ribbon, twine, scrap fabric, pegs, fishing line, bag ties, yoghurt tube lids, buttons, rocks and sticks collected from playgrounds, googly eyes, parts of broken toys and the inside of an old clock. You name it and you'll probably find it floating around in there somewhere.
The girls love nothing more than emptying it onto the floor and making all sorts of things; a doll playground, a milk bottle robot, sculptures, gluing bits onto card to make collages, treasure hunts. The things they invent using the stuff in the Useful Box is endless!


* storage tub
(ours is a vessla from IKEA, they fit perfectly into our bookshelf)
* odds and ends that can be safely reused, the more unusual and interesting the better!

The contents of the Useful Box are forever changing as things are used and added.

Some of the odds and ends inside the Useful Box at the moment.

Do you have a Useful Box at home or remember the one on Play School?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Clay Easter Necklaces

It's been a while since we have made anything with clay, so I thought the girls might enjoy an Easter version of the Clay Necklaces we made for Bubble's teachers a few years ago (link here).
The girls really enjoyed the different texture and smell the clay had compared to play dough and it took them a little practice to figure out how to work it into shapes and make it flat.
We will leave these Easter creations to dry for a few days and then paint or decorate them.


* air drying clay 
(we buy ours for $4 a block from our local dollar shop)
* Easter cookie cutters
* greaseproof paper
* wooden skewer
* beads for decoration

Other activities made with clay:

Be sure to put down a protective sheet, clay can get messy! 

 The girls really enjoyed feeling and smelling the clay.
We put down sheets of greaseproof paper to work on so the clay wouldn't stick to the table.

The girls used cookie cutters to make Easter shapes and also made some themselves shaping the clay by hand.

We used wooden skewers to make holes in our Easter shapes so they can be make into necklaces once they are dry.

The girls wanted to add eyes to their animals so we got out the beads and they pushed them into the wet clay.

It will be a few days before they dry, we will be back with an update!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Letter Sound Sorting (Gross Motor Activity)

This game is very simple and a great way to strengthen letter recognition and sound skills. We used the letters 'c' and 't' because we have been working on those in particular this week.
Lately Squeak has been exhibiting a high level of self stimulatory behaviour in the form of hand flapping and clapping. It has been becoming so frequent that it is a problem for her so we have been including upper body strengthening exercises as often as possible throughout the day to help her regulate and provide sensory input (check here for more information about Autism and self stimulatory behaviour).
Her brilliant OT suggested using the scooter board so we have been incorporating this into our learning as well as skis and a peanut ball. This game can be played any number of ways; you could use your child's bike or scooter, skateboard, or a physical movement such as jumping or skipping.


* two tubs for sorting our letter sounds
* letter sound picture cards
(document at the bottom of this post)
* scooter board, skis and peanut ball

We used two tubs for our letter sorting, Squeak is young and still learning her letter names and sounds, but you could use as many as you think your child is capable of. Each tub was labelled with a different letter (we are working on 'c' and 't' this week so those are the letter sounds we used).
I then used Google Images to find silhouettes beginning with 'c' and 't', printed them and then cut them into cards. I deliberately used pictures and no written words because I wanted her to focus on the letter sound. The document we used is at the end of this post.

We laid our picture cards face down and Squeak picked them up one by one. She had to identify the picture and letter sound then sort it into the correct tub. To get between each tub she used either the scooter board or peanut ball to strengthen her gross motor skills (and make it way more fun :D).

Scooter boards are a great way to build upper body strength and co ordination.

The peanut ball is another great gross motor tool and more stable for younger kids than the rounder gym balls or hoppers. 

Bubble used the scooter board and skis which require much more strength.

Letter Sound Pictures