Kindergarten Home School Week 12: Tuesday

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Travis’s Writers’ Workshop wrapped up today, the first of the “lasts” for his kindergarten year which is so hard to believe! Before we got to that, though, I wanted to start his day on a super fun note to avoid yesterday’s mishaps. So…

9-9.30: Math: After a workbook page on addition with marshmallows, I surprised Travis with a bag of the real thing (Dandies vegan minis). We put together each math “sentence” with the marshmallows, after which Travis got to eat them of course!

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Then (because why not on a random Tuesday?) we made proper s’mores with graham crackers and chocolate squares, plus put together an old favorite STEM activity: a marshmallow launcher. Honestly, Travis was more into playing with the marshmallows than eating them, but I let him have his gooey fun.

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9.30-10: Writing. Now it was time to wrap up Writers Workshop, something Travis has fought me on during home school. I challenged him to turn the latest page in his Star Wars writing book into a little story. He phonetically wrote one sentence, drew a picture, and then added his name and title on a cover.

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I played up the moment with great excitement, saying now he was an author with a book! This did produce a moment of pride.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. We made a straw fountain on the patio to cool off!

10.30-11: ELA. I thought just for a second I might convince Travis to roll dice in a sight word game, but he bailed on it quickly. On the other hand, he did a great stint on Lexia. (Little sister kept busy with stickers!).

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11-1: Lunch/free play.

1-1.30: Social/emotional. After watching a read-through of the story We’re All Wonders, Travis filled out a chart with a kind word or compliment for each classmate. I was proud of the thought Travis put into this assignment from his teacher.

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1.30-2: Science. After filling out a workbook page about the seasons, Travis and I celebrated spring with some seed planting!

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His teacher had dropped off supplies on the front porch, enabling us to plant the following 4 seeds: pumpkin, sunflower, bean, and pea. The kids loved mixing up the soil with water on the patio!

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Travis helped scoop it into cups, dig small holes for the seeds, and add them to the cups.

2-2.30: Outdoors. We headed to the park for exercise and fresh air. And fit in a scavenger hunt, too!Home School 61 n

Scavenger Hunt

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The purpose of this particular scavenger hunt for Travis, besides just the thrill of seeking for and finding a toy, was to use his directional words. He and I headed to the park with a plastic dinosaur along for company, and took turns guiding one another on the hunt!

For the first round, he hid the dinosaur while I counted to 20. I then asked him to guide me to the hiding spot using lots of descriptive words. Should I go forwards, left, or right?

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Should I look under the truck or inside it? Should I got around or in front of the tree?

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The idea with this particular hunt is not to trick the other person, but to be each other’s guide. It’s a great skill builder for kindergartners learning map reading skills.

Travis loved it so much he wanted to play multiple rounds. He was especially excited to find dinosaur high up in a tree one time!

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Early Morning Fun

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I’ve heard stories of magical children who wake up and occupy themselves solo before their parents come in to get them each morning. Does this sound like a fairy tale to anyone else? Certainly it’s never been the case for my son!

But Veronika has shown herself capable of waking up and chatting with her stuffed animals for about 30 minutes before she grows restless enough to call out for me. Right now, this collection of “friends” is the only thing in her crib at night.

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I hoped the addition of a few small toys might stretch our mornings even longer! So before she went to sleep, I chose a few toys with specific criteria:

  • They had to be soft, in case she rolled onto them in the night
  • They had to be quiet, so they wouldn’t disturb anyone else while she played
  • They had to lend themselves to solo play, meaning items she can keep busy with all by herself without growing frustrated or needing assistance.

To wit, I used a ribbon toy expressly designed for busy solo play. I also added a fabric book with lots of flaps and textural elements, and a few small bug toys that she really enjoys, like a butterfly and ladybug. I tucked these into the corner of the crib. Here was hoping…

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She noticed them as she lay down to sleep. Uh oh, now I worried they would keep her awake! But luckily she settled right down. In the morning, I peeked at her in the monitor. Ladybug and butterfly were in her hands!

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It was hard to tell if she had kept busy with the book and ribbon toy. Both were moved from where I had left them, but I wasn’t sure if she had really played or just tossed them.

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Either way, I intend to keep this up! The plan is to mix up the toys once a week or so to keep things fresh. Does your toddler keep busy solo in the crib in the morning? Please share any tricks in the comments!

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Straw Fountain

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Here’s a quick STEM experiment that will technically teach your kids about centrifugal force (i.e. the same technology used in commercial water pumps, such as a laundry machine when it’s draining). But even the science is too advanced for your child, there’s the pure fun of spraying water!

To put together the “fountain”, cut a straw to about 2/3 of its length. Snip two holes at even intervals, sniping into but not through the straw, so it now has three segments.

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Poke a hole in the middle of the center segment with a needle, and then insert a skewer. Fold the other two segments down toward the tip of the skewer; you now have a triangle. Tape it all in place.

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Fill a glass with water and head some place where it’s okay to get wet! Our patio was perfect. To activate the fountain, just roll the skewer between your palms.

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Unfortunately it was really hard to capture photos of the fountain in motion, because Travis couldn’t quite master the trick of rolling the skewer quickly enough to make the triangle spin. When I showed him how to do it, on the other hand, our fountain worked fantastic but Travis kept stepping back to avoid getting wet and didn’t take any pictures!

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Still, it was well worth the effort to make this craft. The D.I.Y. “sprinkler” was just right for a warm spring morning!

Super Quick Sticker Art

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Looking for a quick way to occupy a toddler’s endlessly curious hands? Look no further than the top drawer of your desk for office supplies!

To wit, Veronika loves the stickers in her big brother’s home school workbook, but I can’t let her have them. Thinking quickly to avoid a tantrum today, I pulled out office dot stickers, the kind you can buy in bulk from any drugstore or office supply store.  And that was it!

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I gave her a few sheets of colored construction paper and just let her start sticking stickers all over.

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Older toddlers might want to be deliberate with their stickers, either grouping them by color, or making a pattern, or lining them up in straight rows. You can even encourage sticker piles, aiming to have your child place one circle directly atop another. For Veronika at a year and half old, this activity was just about pulling them off the sheet and pressing them onto the paper.

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She was so happy to do so!

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When she seemed on the verge of losing interest, I added anther office supply: pens and markers!

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At first I showed her how to draw right on the dots. But okay, this was too advanced for her coordination. Instead, she loved using the markers all around the dots.

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She even tried using two markers at once!

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And best of all, she was very busy.

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Sponge Bath

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Veronika recently painted with sponges, and since we had leftovers from the pack, we decided to continue the fun in the water!

A sponge is the perfect cheap toddler bath toy. First there’s the obvious fact that it’s, well, a sponge! It will hold a large amount of water and toddlers love squeezing them out. Veronika delighted in the squishy sound that it made whenever she did this, as well as the bubbles that foamed up if she squeezed them under water.

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Then there’s the fact that they stick to the side of the tub. It’s almost like playing with big wet stickers!

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Plus sponges play right into your toddler’s love of cleaning. My tub was sparkly clean by the end of Veronika’s bath!

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For learning fun, cut the sponges into shapes before adding them to the tub. It can be a bit tough to cut into thick sponges, but luckily Veronika didn’t mind that my circle and heart were a little crooked.

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We also talked briefly about the different colors, but honestly I mostly sat back and let her play! An extra long bath never hurts.

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