Celery Experiment

celery experiment

The celery experiment.  Do it.  It’s easy and it’s fun and it’s SCIENCE!  A million other people have done it (and taken better pictures), but here are the cliff notes:

  1. Go to the grocery store and buy celery.  I hear they sell it there.  What it is doing there among the normal people food?  Do people actually eat it?  I guess they don’t have a science experiment store.
  2. Fill a glass with water and a few drops of food coloring.
  3. Cut off a stalk of celery and put that bad boy in the cup.

And there you go.  You’re officially a scientist.  Now you get to use big words like “hypothesis” and “observation” and jot things down in your notebook.  I’m sorry, I meant OBSERVATION journal!

The National Science Teachers Association website has a wonderful scientific explanation of the experiment and follow-up questions that you can discuss with your child.

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Painted Glass Vases

kid painted glass vases

Last year for Mother’s Day we made these kid-painted vases for the grandmothers and great-grandmothers.  I was happy to find a use for the plethora of glass vases that take up residence in my kitchen cabinet.  I swear, even though I rarely buy flowers, they just seem to multiply up there!  Maybe it has something to do with the microwave beneath them.  Hmmm…   Where were we?  Oh yeah.  My girls are big fans of painting, so they loved it.  Big Sis liked picking out “the perfect vase” for each grandmother and great-grandmother.  And even if the painting looks like a mess (ahem, Little Sis’s small vase in front), it will still be a cherished modern art masterpiece by any grandma.

15 Ways to Learn with Playdough

Ah, playdough.  How many ways can we learn with you?  Let me count the ways.

  1. counting- Make and count objects.
  2. patterns- Make a pattern and see if your kiddo can continue it.playdough patterns
  3. addition and subtraction- Use playdough to illustrate story problems.  Make a nest with five eggs in it.  What happens when you add two more eggs?  How many do you have now?
  4. guess the animal- Make animals and take turns guessing what it is the other person made.guess the playdough animal
  5. pretend picnic/tea party- Make playdough food and good conversation during a pretend picnic.
  6. textures- Play around with different materials to make imprint textures.  Use lots of good adjectives to describe them.playdough textures
  7. write letters– Practice writing letters in playdough for a new handwriting experience.
  8. form letters- Make 3D letters to feel their shapes.playdough letters
  9. 2D shapes- Play “Name that shape!”  Count sides and corners of shapes.
  10. 3D shapes- Make and compare 2D and 3D shapes.2D and 3D playdough shapes
  11. colors- Let’s be honest.  Playdough mixing happens whether we want it to or not.  Make it a learning opportunity to make new colors.
  12. hide and seek-  Bury objects in have your child be the archaeologist or paleontologist.  Use toothpicks and paintbrushes to carefully uncover the buried toy.playdough dinsoaurs
  13. cutting- Practice cutting by rolling playdough into “snakes” and cutting them into little pieces.
  14. match the imprint- Make imprints using objects and then have your child match the object to the imprint.dinosaur imprint
  15. retell stories– Make characters to retell and act out books.  How about re-creating The Three Little Pigs?

What is your favorite way to learn with playdough?

Paper Towel Writing

paper towel writing

 

What is even better than paper towel art?  Paper towel learning!  Just write with markers on a paper towel.  Then use an eye dropper filled with water to “explode” the words into art. I think this would be a great way to get reluctant writers to practice handwriting.  Watching water transform their words is built-in motivation.  And how easy would it be to set your kiddo up with a paper towel and marker to practice her spelling words at breakfast?

Use paper towel writing to practice:

  • letters
  • numbers
  • his own name
  • sight words
  • spelling words

Balloon Number Line

What can you do with leftover birthday balloons?  How about make a number line?  This is an easy game that gets kids moving and works on math skills, too.

  1. Write numbers 1-10 on ten balloons with a sharpie.  (I also wrote some letters to see if my three-year-old knew the difference between numbers and letters.)
  2. Scatter the balloons around your backyard or around your house.
  3. Ready, set, RUN and get a balloon!
  4. Bring it back to a central location to make a number line.  Ask questions to help little kids figure out where to place their balloon.  Should 10 be on the left or right?  Is 3 before or after 4?  Should 8 be closer to 1 or 10?

Variations for older kids:

  • Write numbers 1-20
  • Skip count by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s
  • Write random numbers 1-100

backyard number balloon game

IMG_9545

IMG_9547

Common Core Standard

(kindergarten- Know number names and count sequence)

Rooster’s Off to See the World- Activities

Rooster's off to see the world activitiesRooster’s Off to See the World by Eric Carle is a second-grade reading level book.  It is a wonderful read aloud to younger kids, especially when read with other Eric Carle favorites.  It tells the story of a rooster who wants to travel and asks several animals to come along with him.

(Common Core Standards appear in italics.  They correlate with specific standards in different grade levels.  These standards are used in almost every school in the country.  Click the Common Core tab above to learn more.)

  • Practice math- Do verbal or written story problems following along with the story.  1 rooster + 2 cats+ 2 frogs+ 4 turtles+ 5 fish = how many animals in all?  When the animals leave, write the subtraction problems.  (first grade- Solve word problems that call for addition of three whole numbers whose sum is less than or equal to 20)
  • Read with voice- This book makes a great read aloud.  Try out different voices for each of the animals.  Pay attention to words the author uses such as purred, snapped, or complained.  (second grade-Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.)
  • Alternatives to said– This activity goes along with reading with voice.  Make a list of all the words used instead of “said.”  Talk about why the author used these different words.  See if your child can use some of the new words in her writing.
  • Act it out- Use puppets or yourself to act out the story.  Maybe you could be the rooster and your child play the part of the other animals.
  • Write the sequel– The story ends with rooster dreaming about a trip around the world.  Where would he go?  What would he do?  Have your child make up the rest of the story and you can write it down.
  • Text to self connection- Ask your child to explain when he has felt like the characters in the story- excited for a trip, lonely, or homesick.  (first grade- Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly)

Paper Towel Art

paper towel art

Paper towel art is a super easy.  First, draw with markers on a paper towel.  Then, drop water on it with an eye dropper.  That’s it.  Markers alone are enough to get my daughters excited about a project.  Then the water really upped the “wow” factor!  So just give your kids a paper towel, markers, and water and you are free to make dinner without anyone hanging on your legs.*  And for clean-up, you’ve already got a paper towel handy. 🙂

My daughters might have inherited their marker love from me.  I had make some paper towel art of my own:

marker paper towel art

markers paper towels and water

*Results may vary.  I’m not responsible for any burnt dinners or kids that get stepped on.