Kindergarten Home School Week 6: Monday

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You’ll notice from the photo above that the kids are just playing and that’s because (shhh, don’t tell Travis!) it’s actually vacation week. But like many parents, I’m finding it easier to have structure to this week instead of a free-for-all. That said, I’m going lighter on the reading and math, and heavier on alternative activities, which means more time just to play. Travis, meanwhile, thinks I’m just a super cool home school mom!

9-9.30: ELA. I asked Travis to do 2 letter pages in his workbook (we’re up to R and S) before a few minutes on Lexia. He also watched an online read of The Rainbow Fish. He interspersed all this with lots of joining in on little sister’s play dough and squishy bag play. It was nice to watch them play together!

Porcupine Playdough (10)

9.30-10: Math. Travis did about 20 minutes in the online math program Dreambox.

10.30-11: Recess/snack.

11-11.30: Gym. We set up an electricity circuit¬†powered by… his body! For double the exercise, we played Fitness Go Fish again.

11.30-1.30: Long lunch/free play. While little sister napped, I sat down with him to go through a packet about Covid-19 and children’s emotions. I could tell he really benefited from the process.

1.30-2: Science. He checked out the Smithsonian zoo’s live animals cams, and proudly colored in an ‘I spy’ activity. We learned quite a bit about naked mole rats!

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2-3: Outdoor time: A local arboretum was the perfect spot to run around.

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3-4: Movement: Little sister had an online baby gym class, so Travis did some yoga. I also encouraged him to spend this quiet time “reading” picture books. But (hazards of homeschooling two kids!) he was more interested in Veronika’s gym class and she was more interested in his books.

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Puzzles and popping bubble wrap rounded out the day.

Circuit Workout

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Travis needed to get his wiggles out today, so I knew he needed a game that would get him moving. This was a fun suggestion from Kiwi Co., where instead of building a battery circuit, your kid gets to be the the electricity zipping around the “wires”.

To set up a life-sized electrical circuit, choose a round object to be a light bulb and a rectangular object to be the battery. Make a rectangle on the floor from painter’s tape to connect them, being sure to leave a little gap along the top.

Circuit Exercise (1)

For the switch, we used a book. When the book is open, the circuit is complete. But if it’s closed… Oh no, the electricity can’t zip through!

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Travis laughed at this little role-play. He started out at the “battery” and ran to the “switch” book.

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Finding it open meant hopping across, running a circle around the light bulb, and then dashing back to the battery.

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If the book was closed, he had to freeze. Keep playing until you’ve worn out your kid-sized battery of course!

Strawberry, Blueberry, & Banana Smoothie

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This easy smoothie packs a healthy, fruity punch, and the purple color is fun for kids! The quantities below make four generous portions. Halve the recipe if you don’t want as big a batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup apple juice
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and process until smooth.

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Squishy Bag

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Sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned way to entertain a toddler, and today this squishy bag was it. There is nothing fancy here, just good squishy fun.

The mixture inside is similar to a finger paint recipe I’ve made. Bring 3 cups water to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together 4 tablespoons cornstarch and about 3 tablespoons water to form a paste. Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling water and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes; the mixture will look like Vaseline.

Remove from heat and stir in food coloring. I divided my batch in half so Veronika could have red and green.

Squishy Bag (1)

Let cool slightly before transferring to zip-top plastic bags. Seal (I recommend duct tape along the top for added security) and then it’s time to play!

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I gave the bags to Veronika while the mixture inside was still warm, but not hot. Be sure to check the temperature with your own hand, first. This added a tiny temperature lesson to the activity.

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She really loved the way this one felt!

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She also was delighted when I showed her how to make shapes, which will linger for a few moments in the goo. A “V” for Veronika was easy.

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A star (her favorite shape) was a bit harder to make clearly, but she loved that we tried!

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Then I showed her how to hold the bags tightly at one corner and squeeze, which was a delight.

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Squeeze!

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Eventually the mixture inside was completely cold, but she still enjoyed squishing about for a while. Next time I would do this particular sensory bag in snack-size zip-top baggies, as I think it would be easier for her hands.

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Porcupine Playdough

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Play dough is a great way to keep little hands busy no matter what, but if you want to add an extra element of fun, make it spiky… by designing little “porcupines”!

I cut paper straws into small pieces for this activity. You could also use craft sticks but I liked that I could vary the length of the straws. Some pieces were short and stubby and some were longer.

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Of course Veronika has no actual idea of what a porcupine is, but she sure does know that pushing straws into blobs of play dough was good fun!

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I demonstrated first, and she took right to it.

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Pulling them out was its own challenge, since the straws will stick a little. A good way to work those little muscles!

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She grew momentarily confused at one point when there was no where else to stick a straw in this play dough blob.

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Phew! I presented her with a new ball of play dough just in time!

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The game can easily continue with no more variation than this, but chances are it will turn into more free-form play dough play. Perfect for when big siblings are busy doing school work online!

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