Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Scavenger Hunt

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Spring is officially here so we get to do one of our favorite things: go on walks after dinner. There is so much happening during this season... plants are growing, birds are chirping, bugs are crawling. So why not use this time to develop literacy and observation skills?

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Go for a walk and encourage children to observe all the sights, smells, and sounds of spring with this fun free printable. They can mark off the items they perceive with their senses as you walk.

Materials needed:
Spring Scavenger Hunt printable
Pencil
Clipboard (for easy marking while walking)

As you walk, encourage children to use all of their senses to cross off items on the scavenger hunt list. They can hear a bird chirp, smell a flower, see a spiderweb, or touch a tree with new leaves. For an added activity, you can always provide children with a digital or disposable camera for them to capture their scavenger hunt findings.


This activity can also provide a prime time to impress with children respect for nature. We can observe all it has to offer. But we should leave it unchanged from when we first found it. 

Making literary connections to activities can help to bring topics closer to home for young learners. Here are some of our favorite books to read about Spring for preschoolers:



If you're ready to take your spring sensory walk, download the scavenger hunt printable using the link below. 


Click the link below to download 


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Cloud Airplane Learning Activities for Preschoolers

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It's the Spring Break season and so many people are taking trips to distant destinations. That's what makes this airplane and cloud math activity perfect for young learners. It combines learning with things that interest a lot of children.

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Materials needed:
Counting Clouds Activity Mat
10 cotton balls
Laminator (if desired)

Instructions:
  • Print the Counting Clouds Activity Mat printable. (Printing in “high quality” is suggested so that the colors are vibrant.)
  • Laminate, if desired. This will ensure the activity mat can be used by multiple children or even annually during certain thematic units. 
  • Cut out the cloud number cards. 

Prepare an invitation to learn for children by setting up the activity on a tray or cookie sheet. I’ve found this to be an excellent way to encourage young learners to become interested in an activity.  Cookie sheets can assist in keeping activity pieces together in one place. (You can find affordable cookie sheets at your local dollar store.) Set the scene further by placing some plastic airplanes around the trays.


Activity Objectives:
This activity teaches young learners one-to-one correspondence, which is the ability to assign one number to each individual item. With this skill, children understand that each number represents a corresponding number of items. 

To introduce this activity, you can encourage children to draw a number card and place the corresponding number of clouds in the sky. Once completed, the "clouds" can be counted to ensure accuracy.



You can supplement this activity with books about clouds and airplanes for kids. There are many fun books that can be used to supplement this activity. Here are some of our favorites:




There are also several other activities that can be done to expand on this one.  Some of them are:
Let children create their own cloud book like this one.
Create puffy paint clouds using this tutorial.
Lay on a blanket and watch the shapes the clouds create.
Create stories based on what you see in the clouds.
Practice addition and subtraction with this passenger math activity.


Click the link below to download 




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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Island Born: Exploring Culture with Children

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Where we come from can often tell our story. Our heritage is an inherent part of who we are. That's what makes the new book, Islandborn, by Junot Diaz, such a gem. It tells the story of a young girl who looks for her roots and find pride and joy in them. Find out how we translated this into an activity that pertains to our family. And a quick "thank you" to Penguin Random House books for sending us a copy of this beautiful book to preview!

(This post contains Affiliate links. I make a small percentage to keep this site running when you purchase. More here.)


Islandborn talks about how children explore their countries of origin. But the key character, Lola, doesn't remember the island on which she was born. So she talks to key people in her life that can fill her in on the beauty, magic, and tradition of her home country.

This book is lovely.... just beautiful. But, our family genealogy is quite diluted and we don't identify with any specific nationality. So I thought it would be a wonderful way to explore the only home country that my children know....America.

To do this, my son and I explored what it meant to be born in the United States and together created a collage on what growing up our country is all about. 

Materials needed:
Posterboard
Paint and/or markers
Glue sticks
Internet images
Family pictures
Digital photo editing program (optional for the graphic design option)

You can do this project one of two ways. The first is what I call the "old school" method. Let children put together a poster board that reflects what they know/how they feel/what they think about their country of origin. They can print out pictures from the internet, use family photos, and incorporate script to fully encapsulate their thoughts.

The second way this activity can be completed is to allow grade-schoolers to create their own digital art project that displays their thoughts/memories on their home country. This is the option we chose and to do this, my son utilized images we found through searches on Pixabay and assembled them with PicMonkey. Not only did this give him a chance to explore his American heritage, but it also gave him some practice in graphic arts.

Here's what he came up with:


Where we come from is not an island, or a foreign country from which we can draw identity and family traditions from. Instead, the United States is our home, our "island", the only one our family has known for generations. I try to teach my children to appreciate and support the USA for what is truly supposed to be... a place where people from multiple backgrounds that can live collectively and still hold tight to the traditions of their culture (like the children in the book). That's what makes books like Islandborn so important in the landscape of children's literature. It's vital that children of color see representation of themselves in the characters they read about in books. Likewise, it's important that children who aren't exposed to much diversity see main characters who aren't exactly like them to teach them acceptance of those who don't look or live like they do. Multiculturalism in literature is a win-win situation for all children so long as the books are free from stereotypes, racism, and misinformation.


Get your copy of Islandborn here. And find more books that promote multiculturalism at these links:



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