Make Me a Match

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Veronika loves counting out two of any object, especially when we read books and look at the pictures. “One bicycle, two bicycle,” she might say or, “One bird, two bird.” So today I decided to give her a 3-D quiz on the same concept!

I put a variety of objects in a small box, making sure the items weren’t toys per se, including coasters, square magnatiles, empty paper towel tubes, and canning rings. I put one of each item in the box and then scattered the second from each set along a tape “trail” leading away from the box.

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I called Veronika over to the box with excitement. “Here’s a coaster!” I said. “Can you find me a match?” “Match” was a new word in her vocabulary, so I rephrased my question in the way that was more familiar. “One coaster… Two coaster.” She looked where I pointed to the second and beamed with pride. Now she got it, and she set off down the road to make a match.

One canning ring…

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Two canning rings!

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One paper towel tube…

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Two paper towel tubes! I see you!

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In this way she aced every single item on the list.

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This was a great little lesson for teaching the concept of a pair.

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Nursery Rhyme Productions

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Today Veronika and I played around with the classic nursery rhyme of Jack and Jill, not just as rhythmic and musical play, but by also acting it out. This was great both for her gross motor skills and for developing imaginative play. You might even consider it her first theater performance!

First, I simply refreshed her memory about the rhyme, since it’s not one we sing that often:

Jack and Jill went up the hill,

To fetch a pail of water.

Jack fell down and broke his crown,

and Jill came tumbling after.

We also watched a cute cartoon version of the song, and then it was time to act out her first role! On the first two lines, I helped her climb up onto a step stool.

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On the last two lines, she climbed down and then filled a bucket with “water” (actually scraps of blue fabric). Torn blue construction paper or blue tissue paper would also work as pretend water.

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Well she absolutely loved this whole process. She wanted to climb up onto the stool over and over, and graduated to doing it without my hand for support.

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Then it was time to work on climbing down “all by self”, too.

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Plus the bucket and fabric scraps were great fun to play with, nursery rhyme or no.

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She enjoyed the game so much that we’ll have to think of which nursery rhyme to use next for Veronika’s second “play”.


Water Wheel

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This homemade water wheel is easy to make and works so well, arguably even better than the version that Travis put together from a recent Kiwi Crate.

The set up was largely a grown-up job, as it involved hot glue and scissors. Trace an empty ribbon spool onto a plastic lid (such as from a non-dairy yogurt container). Cut out the plastic circle and hot glue onto the spool.

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Pierce a hole through the center with a push pin.

Now use plastic condiment cups as the spokes of your water wheel; hot glue these around the spool as close together as possible. Insert a skewer through the hole you made with the push pin, then slip a straw over the skewer for comfort.

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Time to spin!

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We headed outside and used a recycled water bottle to pour water over the contraption. The water wheel worked so well, even though I had worried gaps between the condiment cups might mean poor performance.

We even later took it up to bath time as a tub toy! Want more water experiments? Check out some of our previous fun with water.

Summer Scavenger Hunts

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Summer is here and school is out, but there’s still so much to learn on any excursion outdoors. To wit, we headed off on a nature hunt today with a three-part agenda for exploration.

First, I simply announced that we were off to explore: What did Travis hope to find? After some initial thought, he settled on butterflies and bees. To make the hunt exciting, I gave both kids their own little notebook to draw in (though obviously little sister’s drawings would be more of a scribble), a pencil to take notes, and a magnifying glass. It was time to look and discover!

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Travis was soon rewarded with a white butterfly, plus lots of bees buzzing among the flowers.

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He loved pausing on a bench to draw a flower!

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For the second part of the hunt, I gave his search a little more direction with a list of things to find. The categories and his answers were:

  • Something wet: a puddle on a rock
  • Something scratchy: a plant stem
  • Something soft: fern leaves
  • Something slimy: wet lichen on a tree
  • Something pretty: flowers
  • Something dry: tree bark
  • Something from a tree: a leaf on the ground
  • Something tall: a rock
  • Something hard: a tree trunk
  • Something blue: a blue jay

He enjoyed the challenge a lot, and pulled out the magnifying glass for most of the items he found.

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“I see something tall!” he shouted proudly, running to a big rock.

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Oddly, the hardest to find was something slimy, though we thought a recent rain storm might have turned up lots of worms.

For the final part of the lesson, it was time for a rainbow hunt. I recommend bringing along paint chips (free at hardware stores) for this activity, and working your way through ROYGBIV. Travis very carefully compared his samples to the flowers and other items that he found, rejecting these flowers as not a true yellow for example.

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He took it very seriously until each color was checked off the list!

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How are you enjoying nature so far this summer? Please share in the comments!

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