Sidewalk Chalk Mark Making

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While big brother was busy using chalk for a school assignment, Veronika made chalk marks of her own today! Originally, I thought it might just be fun for her to use chalk on a bench, as opposed to pavement, for the novelty of the drawing surface. But this also turned out to be the first time that she announced she had drawn a specific thing!

First, we simply started chalking side by side. I made a few recognizable objects for her like a star and heart, and pointed them out.

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Moments later, she told me this red mark was a bird! “Tweet tweet!” she said. “Red bird!”

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I knew she was being deliberate, because she picked up blue next and said, “Blue bird!” as she scribbled.

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From there she was off and running. She told me she was drawing Daniel Tiger, rainbows, and more.

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Of course none of her marks would be recognizable as such, but it was the intent that amazed me coming from an eighteen month old.

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She looked so proud of her work. We’ll have to chalk on non-traditional surfaces more often!

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Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Tuesday

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The word of the day, my friends, is beleaguered. If I wasn’t wrangling a reluctant Travis into doing his lessons, I was calming toddler tantrums (the classic kind, like throwing all the crayons because she wanted a marker instead). But we made it through and carved out pockets of fun! Here’s how:

9-9.15: Social Studies. Travis did a quick workbook page on living versus nonliving resources, drawing examples of each on a farm. I didn’t extend the play, but was proud to see him think carefully before drawing.

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9.15-9.30: STEAM. After reading about submarines in his encyclopedia, we made one! It was so complicated it merited its own blog post.

9.30-10: ELA. Travis preferred to practice handwriting in his Star Wars workbook instead of a school assignment about persuasive writing and ice cream. I did have him talk me through how he would persuade someone that lemon ice cream is the best flavor, and hit on the main points of persuasive writing (tell your opinion, tell a story, etc.). He finished with 10 minutes on Lexia.

10-10.30: Snack/recess.

10.30-11: Math. After a page skip-counting droids by 10 and filling out a chart that counted by 10s to 100 we extended the play by making droids out of play dough.

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11-1: Lunch/free play.

1-2: Social/emotional learning. Travis watched a read-aloud of Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler and then we headed off on a walk to leave kind notes on a bench! Here Travis has spelled out “Be brave.”

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Tuesday is his short day, so we ended there.

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His story tonight was The Napping House, a silly favorite.


Big or Little Sorting Game

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This is one of those activities that you shouldn’t expect your toddler to get ” right” on the first try. Rather, it’s about introducing concepts. Today, I set out a variety of items that come in two sizes: big, and little! It was up to Veronika to determine which was which.

You can play with just about anything, and I included: big book and small book, big car and small car, big ball and small ball, big dinosaur and small dinosaur, big sock and small sock, and more!

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“This is the big ball,” I told her, emphasizing the word big with my hands apart and using a big voice, too.

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“This is the small ball,” I told her next, and used a tiny high voice and put my hands close together. Then I asked her, “Can you hand me the big ball?” or, “Which is the small ball?” Repeat with all of the sets!

Don’t worry if your toddler pauses to play along the way. Veronika wanted to leaf through the books at one point, or drive the cars around. It’s fine if your child just wants to arrange items!

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You can also add the interim step of “medium”. With nesting boxes, we lined them up in size order. At 18 months old, I had to do this for Veronika, but older toddlers can proudly solve the challenge themselves.

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Then we got sillier and decided to make big feet and little feet. Big brother helped with the tracing on a long sheet of craft paper, and we labeled our prints big and small.

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How have you taught the concepts of big and little? Please share in the comments!

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This project is slightly tricky, but if done correctly the propeller will really spin and push your bottle “submarine” forward around a bath or basin of water. Full disclosure: ours didn’t quite work, but the principle was there! Meanwhile Travis learned a bit about how submarines really float or sink.

To make the submarine, start with a small empty water bottle. Poke a hole in the bottom with a push pin. Straighten a paper clip and insert in the hole, but then you’ll need to re-bend the tip of the paper clip from the inside. This was tricky, and I managed to push it down with a pencil.

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Now draw a propeller shape with 4 blades on the top of a yogurt container (or similar container). Cut out, then poke a hole in the center with the push pin. Poke a hole in the center of the bottle’s cap, too.

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Insert a second paper clip into the cap so that the loop will be inside the bottle once the cap is screwed on. Loop an elastic around this hook and the paper clip on the bottom of the bottle. Poke the cap’s paper clip through the propeller as well, and then bend the end of it to hold everything in place.

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To weight the bottle properly on top, glue two pennies to the ends of a craft stick. Secure this to the bottle with a rubber band.

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We were ready to give it a try! Wind up the rubber band by spinning the propeller around; ideally it will unspin once you let go in a basin of water. Unfortunately, ours didn’t behave quite as we hoped!

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What we were able to experiment with, however, was the real way that submarines dive and emerge. Tanks fill with water to make the submarine heavier and it sinks; when those tanks are pumped out, the submarine rises again. Travis experimented with filling our bottle and then dumping the water out, to see these differences.

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And then of course it just becomes a fun water toy! In sum, a great little STEM experiment.