Kindergarten Home School Week 5: Tuesday

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On the heels of a trulydifficult Monday, we had a Terrific Tuesday around here. Travis loved school today and was up for every bit of it. Color me one proud mama.

9-10: ELA. For Tuesday writer’s workshop, we watched a read-through of Plant a Little Seed for an Earth Day unit. He then got busy writing a recap (first, next, last), using full sentences and periods, and he was so proud of the picture he drew. Baby sister, meanwhile, was happy with chalk. Travis was on such a roll that he requested extra time on the Lexia spelling program, after.

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10-10.30: Recess/snack. Travis went off collecting rocks. Baby sister was happy with pom poms. I was happy in the sunshine.

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10.30-11: Emotional Learning. Travis watched another read-through (How Full Is Your Bucket), and then we discussed the story and ways to fill our own emotional “buckets” each day. He drew himself playing a game nicely with his little sister!

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11-12: We took a STEM break to make LED magnets!

12-1: Lunch/free play.

1-2: Outdoor time: We turned a beautiful spring day into a nature scavenger hunt.

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Travis enjoyed checking off items on the list his teacher provided, as well as finding novelties like a square-shaped stick!

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Little sister squeezed in some nature learning, too.

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2-2.30: Acting: After a quick watch of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, Travis built a bridge so we could act out the story. His involved two stools and a big cardboard box. Kids might also like making a bridge from smaller objects like Legos or building blocks. Then we acted out the billy goats gruff!

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This led to an inventive afternoon of pretend play, leaving me free to make dinner. So hurray for Terrific Tuesday.

LED Magnets

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Okay, this is likely the last time Travis and I will play with LED lights and batteries for a while, but we’ve had lots of fun with them this month. Of all our light-up projects, this was the simplest. But by now Travis is an expert!

To start, we needed to make magnets using a silicone mold and hot glue. We have a mold in fun rocket and planet shapes that was perfect.

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Because it required squirting a lot of hot glue into a relatively wide receptacle, this was the first time I let Travis use the gun solo. He was so proud! You’ll likely go through three or four glue sticks to fill a couple of molds.

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Let the glue cool slightly, but before it’s completely set, push an LED light in. Make sure the wires are still sticking out.

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Glue the positive (longer) leg of the LED to a circular magnet. Attach a 3V battery to the magnet with small pieces of tape so that it touches this positive leg, and then tape the other (negative) leg of the LED to the negative side of the battery.

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Perhaps you can use these magnets to hang up any home school work!

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Here’s our planet in action:

Toddler Nature Walk

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This game can grow with your child. Initially, it’s a fun way to teach the name of nature objects. Later, it can become a guessing game or a sorting game, once your toddler firmly has a few of nature words under his or her belt.

For the easiest variation on a nature walk today, I asked Veronika to pick up treasures and fill a paper bag we’d brought along. Of course she didn’t entirely understand, but she certainly loved bringing me sticks and dropping them in!

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I rounded out the collection with other items we spotted, like leaves, tall grasses, pine needles, acorns, and seed pods.

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Once we were home, we took our treasures to the back patio. For older kids, have them reach into the bag and guess what they are feeling; you can even use a blindfold, if your child wants to! At seventeen months old, it was easier to dump the bag out in front of Veronika and hand her one item at a time.

“Leaf,” I could say, for example. She is a parrot these days, and loved practicing new words right back to me, as we then discussed the color or texture.

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When I gave her grass, she immediately grabbed it…

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…and ran to return it to the grass just off our patio, an amazing insight to her little brain!

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There was definitely some new vocab here, including words like “acorn” and “bark”. I sorted our items into piles so she could better understand each new word.

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In sum, we got a nice pause in the spring sunshine, and a little lesson all in one!

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Musical Chalk

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This game is the toddler version of a musical art project I recently did with big brother Travis. This time, I sat Veronika down with a long piece of craft paper on the kitchen floor… the bigger the better! I gave her pieces of chalk and turned on some upbeat music in the background.

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Then I invited Veronika to make the chalk “dance”. I showed her how to draw big loops and swirls to the happy music. Obviously toddlers will be too young to vocalize how a song makes them feel, but babies have an intuitive understanding of rhythm and will likely take on the tone of whatever is playing.

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To make chalk less messy on little hands, try wrapping one end in masking tape. This definitely increased the amount of time she was happy to play with it.

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I set out a little dish of water about halfway through her play. Dipping chalk in water makes for bolder, smudgier colors, and she loved the way this looked.

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Of course don’t be surprised if your little dish of water gets upended, which is just fine, too.

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The music kept playing in the background, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Did she alter her strokes because of it? It was hard to say, but the game was a great intro to emotional learning, while we made messy art in the meantime!

Pom Pom Squeeze Water Play

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Here was the perfect game to play on the patio with Veronika while big brother had “recess” today. It not only involves great sensory elements, but also builds fine motor skills from squeezing.

I first laid down a towel, both for comfort and to absorb any spilled water as we played, then I set out a shallow tray filled with pom poms. Because Veronika still puts small objects in her mouth at times, I used only large ones. Use a variety of pom pom sizes for older toddlers!

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First I just let her play with the dry fluffy pom poms, because she loves them. Then I filled the tray with a little warm water (use cold water if it’s a hot day!). The pom poms will almost immediately become saturated.

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I pointed out to her that they felt differently now, and then I showed her how to squeeze out the pom poms over a cup.

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“Squeeze!” I said, and she echoed me and clenched her fists around a few of them.

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She also of course loved splashing her hands in the warm water.

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She sometimes squeezed the pom poms over the cup, and sometimes just tossed them in.

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Older toddlers and preschoolers will really enjoy the challenge of squeezing out water until the cup is filled to the brim! It turns out pom poms can hold a lot of water.

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Then there’s the fun of pouring the water back out of the cup and starting over.

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Or the fun of transferring pom poms from one cup to another.

 

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Or just swishing all those pom poms around in the shallow tray endlessly. In sum, this one is sure to keep your toddler busy!

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