Friday, January 25, 2013

Australian Animal Facts Hide & Seek

This activity was a follow up to the Silhouette Matching game we played earlier in the day. The girls had lots of questions about the animals so we had a fact finding treasure hunt to learn a little bit more about them.


* flag napkins (optional)
* animal facts
* animal pictures
* blutac (sticky tack)

 I printed out some fun facts for each of our native animal pictures and cut them into strips.
I also had some Australia Day napkins that I found in Spotlight recently for $1.50/pack which had the flag on them. We cut these up to create some mini flags for our Australia Day treasure hunt.

I hid each animal fact with a flag around the girls toy room for them to find.

Some were nice and easy for little Squeak to find and others were a lot trickier for Bubble to hunt for.

We spaced out our animal pictures on the whiteboard leaving room for the animal facts to go along side.

As the girls found each fact I would read it out and they could then match it to the right animal on the board and stick it on. 

We ended up with a board full of fun facts to learn about each animal.

Australian Animals - Whiteboard Silhouette Matching

Bubble and Squeak both love using the whiteboard so we did some silhouette matching today using some Australian native wildlife. It was great for fine motor practice and problem solving as well as a good speech workout while we practiced saying some of the trickier animal names.


* whiteboard 
(you could also use the front of your fridge or a window)
* whiteboard marker
(or chalk if using a chalk board)
* animal pictures
* animal silhouettes
(I searched for ours on Google Images and then printed them out)
* blutac (sticky tack)

Using blutac we attached our animal silhouettes to the top of our whiteboard and the animal pictures to the bottom. Be sure to mix up the order to make it a bit trickier to match them up.

Using whiteboard markers the girls took turns to match the silhouettes and pictures by drawing connecting lines.

They had fun mixing up the picture orders for each other and playing over and over. We said the animal names and worked on their pronunciation as we matched them up.

Learning States - Chalk Outline Activity

This activity was very simple but great fun, and all we needed was chalk. After we'd finished practicing our states the girls sat outside after lunch with their toys pretending to drive and fly all over the country. Great for learning and also imaginary play!


* chalk
* concrete area
* Australian states puzzle (optional)

Using chalk I drew a big map of Australia with the state lines included on our outdoor concrete area. It's not very exact but roughly correct! :)

I called out random state names and the girls took turns finding the right place. We used different actions to make it even more fun (ie: "drive to Queensland", or "jump to Western Australia").

We have a wooden map of Australia puzzle so we brought it out to do some matching.

The girls matched each little state puzzle piece to it's corresponding place on the chalk map.

We also spent some time talking about which states our friends and family lived in and what animals/fruits/cities were located in each one as well.

Tongs & Foam Letters - Australia Day Sight Words

The girls and I did some Australian themed sight words today using foam letters and water. It's summer here and the weather is lovely and warm (28'c and climbing!), so a water activity was perfect. We also threw in some tongs in honour of the greatest Aussie tradition of all - BBQs :)


* foam letters
* plastic tub full of water
* window
* various tongs
* paper and pen
* blutac (sticky tack)

We thought up some Aussie words together and spelt them out on flashcards cut from paper.

Then we filled our tub with water and foam shapes and I put out a tray with different types of tongs for the girls to experiment with.

We then used blutac to attach the sight words to an outside window. 
The girls had a great time fishing around in the water with the tongs, picking up each letter and sticking them to the glass.

This was a great fine motor activity and a good way to learn some patriotic words for the day :)

Australia Day - Jumping Kangaroo Races

Happy Australia Day to all of our Aussie readers! 
We have been doing lots of Australia themed activities today in celebration and this one is by far the girls favourite.
We actually did this activity years ago with aeroplanes (link to Elastic Aeroplanes post here) and I thought the girls would enjoy an Australia Day version using kangaroos instead. Squeak was only a baby when we first played this game so it was a first for her and she loved it!


* paper
* pens/textas/crayons
* scissors
* glue
* thin elastic
* dining chair or barstool

To start with I drew some kangaroo outlines on paper for the girls to colour in. You could print them from the net but I just traced them from the computer screen.

Once the girls had finished colouring their kangaroos we cut them out with scissors.

We folded some paper to make our launcher (see Elastic Aeroplanes post here for photo instructions on folding your launcher) and glued the kangaroos to one side. On the other we wrote the names the girls had given their kangaroos.

To make our slingshots we upturned some bar stools and tied our elastic around the legs. You could use a small table or chair for this too, or use an actual slingshot.
* Be sure to place the elastic way down the legs so it doesn't slip off when they pull back on it.

We set up one slingshot station for each of the girls so they could race their kangaroos.

They slid their launchers over the elastic, pulled back and let go to watch their kangaroos jump right across the room!

Squeak loved this part and would give herself a count down before letting her kangaroo go.

Once all the kangaroos had jumped we would check to see who had gone the furthest and who had done the fanciest 'jump'.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Streamer Volcano - Scissor Skills

Bubble and Squeak have become interested in volcanoes again after a recent visit to a museum in the city. There are a million questions from both of them; "why is there smoke?", "can you go inside a volcano?", "where does the lava go?".
Today we incorporated some fine motor practice for Squeak and some imaginary play into our volcano theme by making some from streamers and cardboard tubes. 
We also made some more Play Dough Volcanoes, because the day wouldn't be complete without a bicarb and vinegar eruption, would it :)


Streamer Volcano
* cardboard tube
* length of red streamer
* scissors
* tape or blutac (sticky tac)

Play Dough Volcano
* playdough 
(great recipe here)
* plate
* shot glass or similar
* bi carb soda
* white vinegar
* red food colouring

Previous volcano activities:


We had a look at how a volcano works and what happens when they erupt.

I gave the girls a toilet roll tube, a pair of scissors, a long length of red streamer and some tape each and they got to work snipping their streamer into short lengths to make 'lava'.
Squeak needs a bit of practice with her fine motor skills and despises practicing with scissors, so this activity was a great way to get her interested in using them. 

Both the streamer cutting and the taping part of this activity were a really good fine motor workout.

 I was interested to see that Bubble (almost 6) stuck all of her streamers inside her tube while Squeak (almost 4) stuck hers on both the inside and outside.

One streamer volcano.

Both of the girls also love dinosaurs and they wasted no time setting them up with their volcanoes for a play.

To make our play dough volcanoes we made up a double batch of uncooked play dough. 

Then we placed a shot glass in the middle of a plate and moulded play dough around them to create our volcano shape.

The girls loved that the play dough was still warm. After they were happy with the shape they decided to decorate them with toy snakes.

We took our volcanoes outside onto the grass and the girls spent ages filling the middle of their volcanoes with bi carb and then pouring in the vinegar (coloured with red food colouring) to make it 'erupt' over and over.

 The girls always love this activity, I'm pretty sure they'd still be out there if we hadn't run out of vinegar!
I read somewhere that adding a few drops of dish washing liquid to the bi carb creates a better foamy effect but we are yet to give this a try.