Friday, January 30, 2015

Beginning Sounds Match Up

My five-year-old's alternative kindergarten teacher has been working with the kids on phonics and I'm blown away by how fast my son is picking them up. While he's pretty good at remembering each letter's sound, I wondered how he'd do identifying the beginning sounds of words.

To test him, I grabbed 12 household items (e.g. iPad, apple, scissors, puzzle pieces, LEGOs, etc.) and placed them around the edge of our round kitchen table.

Then I grabbed the letter cards I made for the Alphabet Blackout game (the link to download them free from Google Drive is in the blog article). I only gave him the twelve letters that started the words for each object on the table.

It was up to him to circle the table and place the correct letter card next to each object. He worked so hard to get them right, slowly saying the words out loud and then looking through his small stack of cards.

He only struggled with the orange (O) and yarn (Y). All the others came to him fairly easily.

We'll definitely be doing this activity again. It's cheap, simple, and requires 5 minutes of prep, which is perfect for a busy parent!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Simple Machines: DIY Pulley

We went to a local manufacturing museum recently. The boys loved it. One of the hands-on exhibits had them pulling weights attached to a pulley to simulate horsepower. They roamed the museum but kept coming back to pull those ropes.

That moment precipitated this one.

We made our own pulley with supplies we had at home.

paper punch
empty ribbon spool
empty, clean small plastic bowl (e.g. empty fruit cup, etc.)
pencil or small wooden dowel rod
tape (optional)
small objects to put in the bowl

Step 1
Punch three holes around the edge of the bowl, making an invisible triangle between them.

Step 2
Tie short lengths of yarn onto each hole. Gather them about 4 inches above the bowl and tie together. Make sure the bowl is level. Snip the excess yarn.

Step 3
Tie a long length of yarn onto the knot binding the three yarn lengths. Wind the yarn around the empty ribbon spool.

Step 4
Add something to the bucket (e.g. LEGOs, erasers, etc.).

Step 5
Thread the pencil through the spool hole and place between two stair spindles.

Step 6
Use tape to secure the ends of the pencil, if desired. (This was especially helpful for my 5-year-old.)

Step 7
Regulate the speed with which you lower the bowl by holding the end of the yarn and slowly releasing it, making the spool spin.

Step 8
Listen to your kids exclaim how cool this is!

This idea came from Kids Activities Blog.

Monday, January 26, 2015

After School Linky (1-26)

Welcome to the party!

I hope you are finding lots of ways to make learning fun, even if the weather won't cooperate with outdoor lessons. Last week's party provided loads of ideas. 

Here are just a few of my favorites.

 DIY Quicksand Science at Waddlee-ah-Chaa

Family Game Night: Build a Letter at Growing Book by Book

 Flashlight Scavenger Hunt at Best Toys 4 Toddlers

 I Spy … Sight Words! at A Teachable Year

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Color Theory for Kids {free printable color book}

I'm taking continuing education night classes in graphic design. A few nights into the class, we spent three hours on color theory. It was crazy cool and I had an inkling my boys might find it interesting too.

I made them a fun interactive book to complete. It explains the color wheel, primary and secondary colors, complementary colors, and tints and shades. We used our DIY marbleized paper as the cover!

downloaded PDF of the book
heavyweight cardstock
crayons, colored pencils, or markers
unconventional paper punch
paint (red, yellow, blue, white, and black as well as any additional

I've got two PDF files for you to choose from. The first is for those of you who want to print double-sided. Download the 6-page PDF here.
On the back of the PDF's page 1, print page 4.
On the back of the PDF's page 2, print page 5.
On the back of the PDF's page 3, print page 6.

For those of you who don't want to mess with figuring out how to reinsert the paper properly in the printer, here's another PDF for you to download. You can toss the cover page and just staple the pages in the corner like a short stack of activity pages.

Print pages on heavyweight cardstock since some pages require painting. Trim them along the dotted line. Use an unconventional paper punch to punch a hole in the page with the color wheel spinner as well as the arrow spinner. Cut out the spinner and attach to the color wheel with a brad.

To make the pages into a book, arrange the pages and fold in the center.  Carefully and loosely, trying as best you can not to crease the pages too much, fold under the back half of the book so it can fit in a stapler. Staple twice along the fold.

Now hand over the book and some art supplies and watch your kids learn color theory!

Note: If you're doing the book in one sitting, I recommend only using paint on the tints and shades pages, so that there's no down time for drying. My boys mixed the paint colors on the equations pages and then colored the answers in marker. I also used small clipboards to hold the pages open while they painted.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DIY Marbleized Paper

Our art projects have to have a serious wow factor. My boys don't have the interest or the patience to work on a piece gradually over several days. Mixed media that seems as much like magic as it does art is right up their alley.

Marbleizing paper is so much fun and surprisingly easy, too!

Before I provide a supplies list and instructions, I need to issue a disclaimer. This project stinks (literally, not  figuratively). You HAVE to work in a well-ventilated area. What you can't see in my pictures are the two windows that I threw wide open to dissipate the fumes. Nail polish smells B-A-D.

Supply List
Watercolor paper (or another paper of heavy weight)
Nail polish in as many colors as you'd like
A disposable pan that your paper will fit into
Plastic to cover your work surface
Well-ventilated space
Tool to swirl the colors with (we used the wooden ends of paintbrushes)

1. Fill your pan with an inch or two of water.

2. Gently drizzle nail polish in the pan. The goal is to pour it thin enough that it sits on the surface of the water.

3. Add another color (or two or three).

4. Drag your tool through the nail polish until you get the desired effect.

5. Softly lay your paper on top of the water and press the corners slightly to make sure they pick up the color.

5. Carefully peel the paper off the water and set face-up to dry. We let our marbleized masterpieces dry for a full 24 hours and since they were still pretty stinky, I put them on our screened in porch outside. The more time passes, the less fragrance they emit.

There are lots of opportunities for learning with this activity. Talk to your kids about the history of marbleized paper, ask questions like "why does some of the nail polish stay on top of the water?," "Why does it cling to the paper?," etc.

Aren't they stunning?

Stop back later this week to see how we are using our marbleized paper!

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