Archives

There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Today’s activity is a great example of how to add purpose and comprehension to an art project.  It’s illustrates exactly, how to turn fun into learning, how to engage and excite a child’s natural curiosity and how to prepare a child so that an activity is meaningful to them.  I hope you enjoy this post as much as we did!

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Ocean Animals

Activity DescriptionOceanic Wall Mural (Sensory): Get a large canvas or large piece of poster paper as the basis for your mural.  Gather bubble wrap (different sized bubbles would be great) and cut them into manageable pieces (suitable for your baby).  Paint the bubble wrap blue (use different shades if desired) and stamp it onto the poster paper to make the ocean back ground.  Then glue/stick/draw on ocean animals and plants to complete the mural.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative Development

Specific Skill: Making a print

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months + 1 week

This activity had two parts (because we had to let the paint dry before we could add plants and ocean animals)

Part 1 – Making a print

1.  I briefly explained that we were going to make a big picture of the ocean to put up on our wall. It’s a new concept so they weren’t quite sure but they understood that it involves water.  So I explained to them that we were going to make the bubbles in the water for our picture.

2.  I demonstrated how to paint the bubble wrap and press it onto the mural. Then it was their turn!

O & M painting the bubble wrap

O & M painting the bubble wrap

O presses it onto our mural

O presses it onto our mural

Taa Daa!  O made a print

Taa Daa! O made a print

M makes a print too

M makes a print too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Once the background was dry, I added seaweed and coral and tried to explain what they are. Then we set that aside to dry.

Several prints later.....

Several prints later…..

Mom adds coral and seaweed

Mom adds coral and seaweed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2 – Completing the mural

4. The first part of our warm up involved looking at a plush globe we have (Hugg-A-Planet). I just tried to convey that the coloured parts are where people live and the blue parts are the ocean where the fish live.

Hugg-A-Planet - Thanks Auntie M - we love it!

Hugg-A-Planet – Thanks Megs – we love it!

M put the whale on the ocean part of the globe

M put the toy whale on the ocean part of the globe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. For the second part of the warm up, we watched the BBC’s Blue Planet (not the whole thing, I fast forwarded to relevant parts).  I tried to convey that the ocean is an enormous body of water that many, many fish live in.  I paused the documentary several times to further explain concepts (like showing the seaweed and the coral and how the smaller fish like to live/eat/hide there and the ocean animals).  They were really excited saying things like, “Look, yellow fish. Wow, really big!”blueplanet

6. Now that they had a pretty good understanding of the ocean and a lot of practice with the vocabulary (ocean animals), we started to complete our mural. I showed them the stickers we had and asked them to name each one. I talked to them about space on the paper (a concept they are beginning to understand) – because we didn’t want all the stickers in one little area.

The materials we had to work with

The materials we had to work with

7. Then I let them loose!

…fine motor skills at work

M peels the sticker backing

M peels the sticker backing

M delicately places an octopus sticker

M delicately places an octopus sticker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…..spacing and placing the stickers

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

An orange fish

An orange fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……the final product

A close up of one section

A close up of one section

Another section

Another section

We love our ocean mural

We love our ocean animals mural

 

 We had a great time doing this activity together! They were so excited to show it to Mr. Y when he got home; talking all about it! They really learned a lot!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

Fizz-tacular Painting Activity

Looking for a fun and easy twist on your regular painting activity?  This one is a sensory delight!  It’s perfect for reviewing and learning colours, it includes elements of science and encourages artistic expression!  Perfect for all ages.

On alternating Fridays I blog about the final activity of our current theme 

This week’s Theme:More Colours

Activity Description: Science Experiment: Fizzy painting activity!

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language, creative, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, social, emotional

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 24 months

1.  I explained to the girls that we were going to do a painting activity with ‘special paint’.

2. Prepare the paint:

In a container, I added the following: Juice crystals of desired colour, 1/4 cup of baking soda, a squirt of clear dish soap and I slowly added water to get the consistency that I wanted.  A thicker consistency of paint allows for more textured painting and can be sprayed multiple times for more fizzy-fun.  Our four colours this week are: pink (pink lemonade crystals), orange (kool-aid), brown (iced-t crystals) and purple…I used purple kool-aid but it was far from purple…more of a green I would say!

 

Home-made, scented, fizzy paint!

Home-made, scented, fizzy paint!

3. Review the colours & paint away!!

Mommy demonstrates

Mommy demonstrates

M goes straight for the pink

M goes straight for the pink

O painting with 2 brushes

O painting with 2 brushes

Mommy makes a lion

Mommy makes a lion

O adds some last minute touches

O adds some last minute touches

 

 

Voila!

Voila!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. This painting activity is not over yet!  Now for more fun, let’s make it fizz! (spray with vinegar)

Mommy demonstrates.  Oh wow, says M!

Mom demonstrates. Oh wow, says M!

M does some spraying

M does some spraying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O wants to make it fizz too!

O wants to make it fizz too!

Time-out! O found a sticker (which trumps EVERYTHING)

Time-out! O found a sticker (which trumps EVERYTHING)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fizz-tacular fun was had by all!

Fizz-tacular fun was had by all!

This painting activity kept them occupied for AGES!!!  They kept saying, “more paint mommy, more fizz mommy”. We will definitely be doing this one more often!

If you’re doing this activity in the winter, you could easily do it in a shower or bath! The mess would wash right down the drain!

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

There’s Orange on Your Face!

Halloween provides a wonderful opportunity to teach and reinforce the colour orange!  Today’s post is an amalgamation of two activities that centre around pumpkin carving. One is an emotional learning activity that involves looking at pictures of jack-o-lantern faces and interpreting the different emotions that are displayed in each (a template is provided in the curriculum package) – then choose one to carve!  The other is a social learning activity that involves reading a book to help explain sustainability concepts and how to reduce waste (this also becomes a part of the pumpkin carving experience – the reason I could not separate the two activities).  I chose to focus on the social learning activity for this post.

 

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: More Colours

Activity DescriptionStory Time: Before carving a pumpkin face [Today’s Emotional Learning Activity] read a book that explains how pumpkins grow and about what can be done with the flesh and seeds (instead of just throwing them away).  Roast some pumpkin seeds, make a pie, save some seeds for planting.  Book Ideas: Pumpkin Circle (Levenson), My Pumpkin (Noonan), From Seed to Pumpkin (Pfeffer), I Like Pumpkins (Smath)

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Social Learning

Specific Skill: Learning about sustainability and reducing waste

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 23 months + 3 weeks

 

1.As the activity describes, we read some books together to discuss the life cycle of a pumpkin, the parts of a pumpkin and all the things that can be done with a pumpkin.  Here are two of the books we read.

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson

Pumpkin Circle, by George Levenson

From Seed to Pumpkin, by Jan Kottke

From Seed to Pumpkin, by Jan Kottke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  We began the pumpkin carving exercise.  For the sustainability/reducing waste theme, we focused on collecting the seeds for roasting/eating and for planting…..

The first glimpse…. I kept telling them, oooh, look, it’s just like in the books we read!  They were saying “seeds”, “seeds in here!”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scraping & separating the seeds…. “Yucky”, M kept saying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washing & straining the seeds… “Clean the seeds now”, says M.  “Get soap?”, asks O!  “No, just water.”, I tell her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set the seeds to dry… We will roast them once they are dry.  I don’t think they will be able to eat them (choking hazard) so I guess I’ll cut them a small piece to taste and then ask them if we should package the rest up as a snack for Daddy to take to work.  (I know they will say yes…anything for Daddy!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

2.  After completing the emotional learning exercise described in the introduction of this post, we set to carving the pumpkin face.  They chose a happy face.

Daddy carves, we poke/pull out the pieces…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taa Daa!  We learned about emotions, about sustainability and reducing waste, we had fun, and now we have this mesmerizing  jack-o-lantern (our first ever!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Happy Halloween to all of our readers who enjoy this tradition!!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

Paint-sicles!

From birth, our children are natural scientists, mathematicians and artists.  This is because they are constantly making efforts to understand (and express their understanding of) their world.  When we provide an enriching and supportive environment for our babies, they intuitively use that opportunity to absorb everything they possibly can.  Today’s activity is an example of an easy-to-implement, hands-on project that will engage your baby in a fun and creative way and that will help develop your baby’s sense of joy and wonder….and as a result…probably yours too!

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: African Animals

Activity DescriptionIce Cube Painting (Sensory): Make ‘paint cubes’ and use them to paint a picture of lions and/or make an independent piece of artwork.

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Creative

Specific Skill: Exploring different art mediums

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 22 months + 2 weeks

1. Preparation:

Put a small amount of paint* in each cube

Put a small amount of paint* in each cube

Add water to each cube

Add water to each cube

Mix water and paint*

Mix water and paint*

Add handles and put in the freezer

Add handles  (I used Q-tips) & put in the freezer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taa Daa! Frozen paint cubes!

Taa Daa! Frozen paint cubes!

*To make ‘paint’ you can use juice crystals, food colouring (which are both edible) or actual tempera paint (which is what I used)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. To warm up, we reviewed the vocabulary by playing with our African animal figurines and we sang a song included in the activity plan.

3.Since we are learning about lions today, I provided them with a lion colouring page (which is a template included in the Reaching Roses activity plan) and let them paint it!

Eager little hands!

Eager little hands!

M starts painting

M starts painting

Getting the hang of it!

Getting the hang of it!

Great job O!

Great job O!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
4. Now it’s time to let them create some original pieces of artwork!

"Circle' said M as she draws circles!

“Circle’ says M as she draws circles!

M's masterpiece

M’s masterpiece

Having fun!

Having fun!

O could NOT get enough of this activity

O could NOT get enough of this activity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOW!  They spent a considerable amount of time creating with these frozen paint cubes.  I knew they would like it but was surprised by the level of enthusiasm and excitement.  We will definitely do this again!!

 

Want to check out some more sensory ideas?

(15-18 mths) Click here! (18 -24 mths)Click here!

 

This post was based on an activity included in the Reaching Roses curriculum.  Click here to learn more!

 

 

How Do We De-ice Airplanes?

Playing with ice is a simple, inexpensive and stimulating sensory learning activity.  It is an engaging activity on its own but I added a couple of little twists in order to help promote our language learning objectives and to add more dimensions of experimentation and discovery.  It was a hit, I know your children will enjoy it too!

It was a long weekend in Canada so we were out of town, arriving home only last night.  This is an activity we did last week from the Transportation activity plan from Reaching Roses; it was mildly focused on planes but included all four of our weekly vocabulary words.  Next week we will begin with a new activity plan (all about vegetables).

Mondays and Wednesdays I choose one activity we did today from the Reaching Roses curriculum and share our experiences (starring my twin babies)

 This week’s Theme: Transportation

Activity Description Frozen Fun (sensory): Take some toy planes (and other modes of transportation), place them in a container with some water and put them in the freezer ; if desired, add food colouring.  Your baby can help you do this. Once frozen, place the ice into a warm bath, water table or wading pool  and let your baby explore the properties of ice.  Watch as they try to figure out what happens as the ice melts (and if you added food colouring, they will marvel at the diffusion of colour).

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Cognitive

Specific Skill: Experimentation and discovery

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 19 months + 3 weeks

Part One – Icing the planes (and other modes of transportation)

1. It’s was a rainy day so we did a lot of lead up to this.  We read books, we pretended to be trains, planes, cars and boats (moving quickly and slowly – emphasizing the activity plan’s secondary vocabulary), we did transportation puzzles and we sang songs!

2.  We put our transportation toys into coloured water (while wearing dress-up hats), placed them into the freezer and waited…..

 

Ready to add colour

Ready to add colour

M adds blue

M adds blue

M adds yellow

M adds yellow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O adds red

O adds red

O adds green

O adds green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy made orange and purple.  Ready for the freezer

Mommy made orange and purple. Ready for the freezer

Part Two – Playing with ice! (We did this part on a hot, sunny day but you could easily do it in a bath tub).

  • Looking at the ice!  Since they took part in making the ice, they were so excited when I took it out of the freezer to show them.  I heard them saying, “WOW”, “cold ice” and “car stuck”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

  • Place the iced vehicles into warm water!  They were so excited by the diffusion of colour and were trying to catch it or grab it with their hands (learning that this is not possible)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Play, experiment, discover!
O took an interest in the orange iceberg containing a plane

O took an interest in the orange iceberg containing a plane

O dips it in and out of the water, noticing that the plane is becoming more visible

O dips it in and out of the water, noticing that the plane is becoming more visible

O discovering that it is not so easy to pull something out of ice

O discovering that it is not so easy to pull something out of ice

M takes a look at this plane too

M takes a look at this plane too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cousin E, joins the fun!

Cousin E, joins the fun!

Cousin E, has almost complete de-iced a plane!

Cousin E, has almost completely de-iced a plane!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, adding colour and freezing something into the ice adds extra layers of discovery and learning opportunities for ice-play.  Try it with your little one!

 

Want to check out other stimulating sensory activities suitable for 18-24 months?  Click here!