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Saturday, July 26, 2014

MAKING BOARD GAMES

We spent an afternoon making a board game for ourselves. I drew the pathway, and we took turns drawing and writing things on the spaces. This is a fantastic way to practice whatever skills the kids need to work on. You can make it as hard or as easy as you want.

You can use board games to practice:

-addition facts
-identifying numbers
-letter sounds
-sight words
-reading sentences
-rhyming words
-shapes
-patterning
-and lots of other ideas!


Whether you are putting reading or math skills or just fun things on the game, this is a wonderful creative activity for kids to hep with. He wanted to pick all the "bad spaces." He came up with "Oh no, you fell in a volcano! Go back four spaces!" and "You got robbed! Go back two spaces!" and a lot of other funny ones. I put a few silly things on some spaces, like "Say I love tickling hippos three times" or "hug or high five someone" or "do five jumping jacks." We had a blast playing and he couldn't WAIT to show his Mom when she got home. I would HIGHLY recommend this activity :)

SKITTLE SCIENCE

More science experiments for us! I love using things that happen while we're playing or exploring to prompt experiments or projects. B had spilled some skittles on the deck the week before. Most of them had been cleaned up but there were a few left. They didn't melt or change shape at all for a whole week until it rained. When it rained they turned into these weird little puddles. I told B I thought we should do an experiment and see what exactly happens when you put skittles in water. I looked up skittle experiments and found this one...

FLOATING S EXPERIMENT!

We put four different colored skittles into a bowl of water, evenly spaced apart from each other. We watched as the color started to spread out of each skittle. Amazingly (I think I was more excited than B was) the colors didn't mix (!!!!) and the letter S floated off each one! COOL!!!!!!

 We also tried the experiment later with milk. It didn't really work. Or, if it did, we couldn't see it through the milk. Tried and tested.

Sight word fun!

Since B and I were together all year at school, I know which sight words we need to practice over the summer. I try to come up with fun ways to practice the sight words so here's a few ways we've worked on them over the last few weeks!

1. WATER BALLOON SIGHT WORDS
We made a whole basket of sight word water balloons and then had a battle. Before either of us could throw a balloon we had to read a sight word!

2. SIGHT WORD TARGETS: I put sight words on sticky notes and stuck them up all over the fence. B used his nerf gun to shoot at the words. I made a list of the sight words, and he would tally how many times he hit each one. BOOM. sight words and tallying. (and target practice :)

3. SIGHT WORD HOPPING: I made sight word lily pads and put them all over the floor. B can hop from pad to pad and read the words. If you don't feel like making lily pads you can just write them on sticky notes!

4. SIGHT WORD SLAP IT: put sight words on sticky notes (catching a theme here?) and stick them all over the floor or table. Read a word and the kiddo can either slap it with their hand or they can use a fly swatter if you're brave!

5. SIGHT WORD HUNT: I put sight word sticky notes all over the house and then gave B a clip board with numbers 1-20 written on a piece of paper. He went around the house and wrote down words he could find. (There were 20)

6. SIGHT WORD SCRAMBLE: I gave him a list of sight words and then gave him color coded sight words that I had cut apart. He had to rearrange the letters to spell the sight words and them mark them off the list as he finished.

7. I SPY SIGHT WORDS: I gave B a piece of paper from a magazine and a highlighter. He highlighted any sight words he found.

We've done a lot of reading practice but these were some of his favorites!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Spontaneous Back Yard Science!

MOSQUITO BABIES.

Well. We went out into the backyard to check out the situation with the baby pool and B looked into the old grimy water and said there were worms swimming in it. I looked inside and saw TONS of tiny black things swimming around. B's mom gave us her ipad to use that day so we looked up what we saw. Apparently they were mosquito babies. B was super interested in them and this turned into a FOUR HOUR project. Not even joking. B wanted to move the mosquito babies to a bucket of water so we could watch them "and keep them safe." So he spent two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon using a cup to catch the babies and transfer them to the bucket. When he was done he had probably moved two hundred of these things. We spent a long time just watching them (covered in bug spray just to be safe) and observing what they were doing. We came up with a list of questions and things to look up on the ipad, then we drew pictures of them and wrote down what we learned!




Questions:
How long do mosquito babies stay babies?
What do they eat?
Can they breathe under water?
How many eggs can their mom lay?

We had such a good time finding out answers to the questions, and learned even more than we set out to. We found out that the little stinger looking things on the mosquito babies' "bottoms" are actually breathing tubes that they bring to the surface when they need air. We found out that the moms can lay 3000 eggs at a time. We found out that the babies are only babies for about 4 days. And lots more!

The fantastic thing about being with 1 child (not that you can't do this in the classroom, but it's more difficult and there are more time constraints on your day) is that we were able to spend the whole day doing a kindergarten level "research project" that was simply prompted by something he found in the backyard. I would HIGHLY recommend looking around your yard and finding something to research or observe for the day. We came up with an "I wonder jar" where we could write any questions down that we had and choose something to research during the week.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

FIZZING AND BUBBLING

B is ALL about science experiments. And we're big on using things we have at the house already. So for today...fizzing experiments!!!

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR FAIL

When we first decided to try a fizzing experiment, we looked in the pantry and found baking soda and vinegar. Only problem was the vinegar was apple cider vinegar and it was REALLY old. With the idea that the experiment may not work, we decided to give it a shot anyway. So. We put water and vinegar into a ziplock baggie. Then we put baking soda into a folded paper towel (folding it into a little pouch, sort of). We went outside and talked about what we thought was going to happen. Then, with B at a safe distance, I dropped the "pouch" into the baggie and sealed it. I ran back to sit with B. We were so excited about what might happen that we were literally hugging each other in anticipation haha! Then we waited. ....and waited.....and waited. Okay it started to bubble a little after three minutes or so, then get a teensy bit fizzy inside the bag. The bag VERY slowly started to fill with air. When it was totally filled with air we waited for it to POP, only instead it made a tiny little hole in one spot and slowly let the air back out. So a little disappointing, but we talked about the fact that experiments don't always work out the way you think they will, and that's why they are just experiments :)

*We tried again with regular vinegar, and it filled up much faster but still didn't explode. If anyone has a suggestion for making something actually pop then let me know!

FIZZING ICE CUBES

I made ice cubes with baking soda and water and food coloring. The next day we went outside and put the ice cubes on the ground. It works better if they are just a little thawed. Then I gave B a little cup of vinegar and let him pour it over the icecubes. They make this cool fizzing swirly stuff!




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dollar tree science

I love dollar tree. I know they are awesome for random things for my classroom but had no idea they had stuff for science experiments. I had given B THREE WHOLE DOLLARS and told him he could pick three things to buy. He was so excited but wanted to make a careful decision so we were in there for almost 30 minutes while he contemplated what to get, and even put things back on the shelf when he found something more worthwhile. I got so excited about some things we found that I told him i'd get some with my money too. SO. Here's what we got at dollar tree:

GOO EXPERIMENT

We bought 1 box of goo. It comes as a powder and claims you can do the experiment in the bathtub and end up taking a bath in pink goo, but I was concerned (with good reason) that it would ruin this family's bath tub so I decided we'd do it in a plastic bin in the back yard.

We hypothesized about what it would look and feel and smell like. We mixed water with the powder and slowly watched it turn to a gelatinous substance. B is a sensory sensitive kiddo at times so I wasn't sure if he would want to touch it more than once. Oh boy was I wrong. I turned around to get my camera for a second and found him STANDING in the tub. And this was a small plastic tub we used. He was standing in it and throwing handfuls in the air. He was so excited about his project and the feeling of it!!!




Word to the wise: be careful where you do this. We did it on the deck and ended up with goo ALL over the deck. I tried to hose it off but adding water makes the goo thicker. It comes with a secondary powder you can add to (supposedly) turn it back into water, so I tried that also. It didn't seem to do anything. I used a dustpan and a lid to try and scrape up as much as I could, then had to basically let it dry up so I could scrape/sweep the rest off the deck later that day. I think this could be a super great project if we had used a) a bigger tub and b) done it on top of a tarp or trashbags. Let me know if you get the thing from dollar tree and try it in a bathtub because I think that would be hilarious.

GROW EXPERIMENTS

We also bought a couple of grow experiments. We got fish, lizards and a snake. We measured each of these with unifix cubes and recorded how long they were. Then B wrote down how long he thought each of them would be in three days. We left them in the water and checked on them each day, recording the changes!




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer learning!

I'm a Kindergarten teacher and I'm used to working with kids on a schedule. B and I tried some "free choice" days the first week I was nannying but I was a little bored with hotwheels after four hours so...THE SCHEDULE! I obviously allow lots of time for play and free choice and relaxing, and there are definitely days when I can tell that B needs to be on his own for awhile. That being said, the basic gist is a mix of ideas I use in my classroom and things I think work well for B. We start the day off with taking his brother to daycare. The rest of the day is a combination of "pickles, ketchup and mustard." "Mustards" are things he "must" do. These are his chores around the house. "Pickles" means he gets to "pick" something to do. I wanted to make sure we were hitting a few different things so I broke these up into three pickles groups. Yellow, Green and Blue. "Ketchup" is when we play "catch up" on school concepts we learned this year. I know it sounds confusing but it works really well for B and I. I haven't actually tried the ketchup pickles mustard thing in my classroom but I think it would work out later in the year! I'll take a picture of the schedule to post soon but here's what I think I have on it:

8:45: Take W to daycare
9:00: Pick 2 mustards (I have the choices on a separate chart)
9:15: Pickles-Yellow list
10:00: Technology Time
10:30: Ketchup!
11:00: Pick 2 mustards
11:15: Pickles-green list
12:00: lunch
12:30: reading time
1:00: pick 2 mustards
1:15: free choice!
2:00: technology time
2:30: Ketchup
3:00: pickles-blue list
3:45: reading time/free play
4:45: pick up W from daycare
5:15: TV time
5:30: Mommy comes home!