Saturday, August 28, 2010

Playing with magnets


* magnetic wand
* assortment of small metal and non metal objects

I recently bought a magnets kit and today we had a play with it and a chat about the basic principles of how magnetic fields work (about opposites attracting and like poles repelling). We spread out an assortment of small objects, some metallic and some not, and Bubble had fun using the magnetic wand to see what stuck and what didn't.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Suction Pad Activities (fine motor skills)

I have seen this idea of using an eye dropper on suction pads many times on Montessori Blogs and learning sites, and have been wanting to try it out with Bubble for ages. She finds fine motor activities really challenging so I thought it would be a great exercise, but decided to try using marbles first to get her used to the idea before trying out the eye dropper. It was pretty tricky for her but she got better and better as she went along, and most importantly she enjoyed it. We'll be practicing this one for weeks to come I think!


* coloured water
* suction pads
* eye dropper

Sun Jars

We recently bought the girls a Sun Jar each for their bedrooms and are so impressed with them! They are standard glass jars which are frosted and have a solar panel built into the top. You leave it outside or on the windowsill throughout the day and at night it uses the stored solar energy to light up. I love the idea of a little bit of the sun being 'caught' in a jar to use at night, and even better it's a free way to light the girls rooms softly. The jars have a blue or orange colour mode, I love the orange though as it looks so warm and inviting.

Charging up the Sun Jar during the day.

Squeak watching the glow of the Sun Jar.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Texture Balloons

Bubble has quite a few sensory sensitivities so we do a lot of games to try and familiarise her. Today we made these texture balloons and she really enjoyed the different feel of them and using them for creative play (they were everything from drumsticks to rabbit ears :-D).


* balloons
* funnel
* pourable things with very different textures (ie: flour, cornflour, rice, lentils, dried chickpeas, sand, sawdust)

Place the funnel in the top of the balloon.

Bubble trying to see where the flour went :-)

Fill the balloon with your chosen filling, leaving enough room to tie it off.

Two of our balloons, one rice one flour.

Balloons and static electricity

Bubble and I used balloons today to learn about static electricity. She was enthralled by the way her hair stuck to the balloon when we rubbed it across it and sat for a long time trying out different angles and rubbing techniques. I explained to her as simply as I could that there was a build up of things called 'electrons' when we rubbed the balloon on her hair, and that made her hair look like it was sticking to it.

Other ideas: for older children you could draw pictures of how protons, electrons and neutrons work in creating static electricity and how opposites attract.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sheet Painting

This is a fun and simple activity for even the youngest painters, and super easy to clean up! We spread a waterproof tablecloth along the ground and then along the balcony railing hung up a white bedsheet (this could easily be done along a fence, wall or clothesline). I put out pots of water coloured with food colouring and paintbrushes and the girls got busy.
It's safe if taste testing happens or if any gets on delicate skin and faces, and the bedsheet simply washes clean in the washing machine after the fun is over.


* white bedsheet
* water and food colouring
* paintbrushes
* waterproof drop sheet
* tape and pegs for securing the sheet

* we also used plastic bottles filled with water to hold down the sheet, since it was a very windy day here when we did this activity!

Other ideas: spray bottles filled with coloured water are also great to use on the bedsheet for older kids, and a great way for increasing hand strength and dexterity.

Please note: some temporary staining of skin or clothes may occur so dress in painting clothes.

Water Beads

I came across these water beads at the markets recently and bought a pack to use as a sensory activity. They start out as tiny little beads but when placed in water they swell over a period of about 8 hours until they fill a 1 litre capacity. They are non toxic, dont go mouldy and if left they eventually shrink back down to the tiny bead size again and can be reused over and over. Bubble loved watching the water beads swell and grow and once they were full size she spent hours playing cooking and counting games with them.
We only bought the one pack at the time but I have since found them on Ebay selling as 'Bio Gel Water Beads' so have ordered a heap of colours for us to play with in future. They feel and look amazing!

You can see how tiny the little beads start out.

We used a glass bowl so that the girls could watch the beads growing.

After 4 hours the beads had grown a lot!

After 8 hours they were huge and almost filled the bowl.

They feel wonderful, a great activity on a warm day.