Creating Aboriginal Art using Pom Poms

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We have been reading my all-time favourite book “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds. The endearing story is about a boy who turned from a reluctant learner to an inspired artist! My girl was so captured by the story that she said she wanted to make dots and create art. My mind somehow wandered to the art method of aboriginal art, where I remembered the aboriginal artwork I saw during my time living in Sydney, Australia.

1. Samples Of Aboriginal Art

As a tuning-in activity, I showed her some aboriginal art and we talked about the dots of different sizes and colours that make up the image.

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2. Materials

I thought about how to make dots on paper, and the idea of using poms poms and pegs struck me. So this simple setup consist of:

1. pom poms

2. Clothes pegs

3. paint

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4. Dot painting templates

(examples: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/bf/7d/0a/bf7d0a8d49706fbec33075857ffc2267.jpg)

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Since my little girl’s interest is in princesses, I sourced out these templates online of Belle and Cinderella. With all the materials set up, she knew at one glance that we were going to make dots.

3. Demonstration

Showing her how to use the clothes pegs to secure the pom pom, and dipping into the paint was my favourite part. My little artist wore  the look of wonder on her face.

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This activity is so great in developing fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. The array of colours allow for choice and the child gets to learn how to focus and complete the dot painting independently.

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If you have this little paint pots, it is also great for this art process, and less messy! Just dip the pom poms in!!

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4. Creating her own aboriginal art!

Once she has gained confidence and developed mastery on how to make the dot prints, we then proceeded to creating our own aboriginal artpiece.

She wanted to make a fish, and with the outline I drew out, she traced the lines with dots, and filling in the spaces with more dots! Very soon, the picture of the fish emerged.

It was so rewarding seeing whole art process of her exercising her own autonomy of the choice of colours, the intrinsic motivation of seeing her project completed!

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Why not try this simple and beautiful way of creating and appreciating art forms with your little one? 🙂

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10 Frozen Fun Activities!

 10 Frozen Fun Activities!

The insane popularity of this Disney movie has gotten kids singing the theme songs in the malls, classrooms and kids’ playdates.

Tapping on my little girl’s interest in the movie hit Frozen, I have decided to capitalise on that to come up with 10 different sensorial and learning activities!

1. Pretend Play

My 3 year old has been so captivated by the characters in Frozen movie, that she does all kinds of pretend play with her princess dolls.

I enjoy watching and being amused by the play scripts my girl comes up with whenever she is engaged in pretend, dramatic play. The latest being the conversations and songs between the Frozen sister, Elsa and Anna

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2. Making a Snowflake!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/snowflake-ornament/

Tying in with the Frozen Movie craze, my gal has been fascinated with the idea of snow despite our hot humid weather all year round.

I thought why not let her experience deeper with the concept of snow by making a snowflake ornament, with the colour theme blue, so as to add to her Frozen props for role-play!

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 3. Frozen Ice!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/frozen-fun/

I thought to make the play scene more elaborate and sensorial, why not create some frozen fun for her with some ice blocks and ice cubes?

To make the ice blocks, simply recycle your plastic containers, add some blue food colouring and freeze it overnight! And you are ready to enact the play scene!

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4. Frozen Snow Globe!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/frozen-snow-globe/

One of my favourite activities is to come up with a snow globe, based on the theme of snow and winter throughout.

The shimmering magic of snowfall is always transfixing, whether s it winter or not for your season.

These globes allow your child to create a wintry scene straight out of their own imagination.

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5. Storytelling with the books!

Nothing like retelling this heartwarming plot through the use of books! Allow your child to experience the depth of the characters and seeing the story come alive through the use of beautiful illustrations!

6. Olaf Marshmallow!

Kids will love this food making activity! Just get marshmallows, chocolate chips, raisins and some orange icing and they are ready to make the adorable snowman that is also edible!

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7. Olaf Sushi!

Thanks to my sister-in-law who ingeniously created this incredible Olaf Sushi! This is too cute to be eaten, but my girl gobbled it all up in no time!

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8. Stickers

Why not add some magnetic tape on the Frozen character stickers and create props for the children to enact scenes from the story on magnetic whiteboards?

9. Making an Olaf Snowman!

You can create a Olaf tray where the child has to assemble the different Olaf snowman body parts together!

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10. Colouring & Drawing

For some quiet seat work, colouring is great for them to focus and fill the pages of their favourite characters with colour! Drawing the characters out also stretches their imagination and builds their attention to details. We were at a play date when the kids started drawing the characters on white sheets and even on paper plates!

For colouring pages, just google Frozen Colouring Pages

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Have an icy blast with the kids with these activities! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Maxilla-Book Review and 5 Book Activities!

Book Review- Maxilla

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When my friend, Lianne first contacted me to do a blog write-up for her newly published book, “Maxilla”, I couldn’t be prouder of her! I have always been an ardent fan of local writers and illustrators, as I strongly believe they have so much to offer in terms of creating a local context for children to relate their daily experiences to, as well as showcasing their storytelling and artistic flare. So you can imagine how elated I was to receive this book! By our very local writer!

In this picture book, Lianne recounts her own boy’s magical experience with a caterpillar, and how a greater lesson of letting go comes through the storyline. The main character, Reuben found a caterpillar in the garden, named it Maxilla and hoped to see it transform into a butterfly. However, he found out that Maxilla can only survive in a natural habitat, otherwise it may die. Reuben is then confronted with the tough decision of whether to set it free or keep it.

Although this picture book resembled the theme in the all-time favourite- The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it carries a deeper, more personalized meaning for young children. Children can easily relate to Reuben’s struggles of letting go, especially when they want something so badly. And the embedded message is when you choose to let go and do what is best, you may just be surprised with something remarkable!

My first reading with my little 3-year old was amazing. She was enthralled and captivated by the colourful, realistic illustrations. She could also relate with the main character in the story as we too had an amazing encounter with some caterpillars once! She could recall her past experience of watching her caterpillars metamorphosise into moths.

5 Awesome Activities Based on Maxilla

This book is rich in its potential to bring forth several learning objectives in terms of language, math and science! Based on this book, I have come up with 5 activities for my preschooler girl.

1. Caterpillar Art

For this simple art activity, simply re-use your little tea cups or bottles to make circle prints for the caterpillar! My little girl had so much fun making adjacent circles and seeing the caterpillar emerge in no time! She then requested to paint the caterpillar body green, as she recalled the illustration from the book Maxilla. She said she wanted the same caterpillar as Reuben in the story.

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2. Counting Caterpillar

The idea of using the circles to learn counting came to mind straight away when I was thinking up of a math-related activity to do. Simply write consecutive numbers on circle cut-outs, and you can create several caterpillars with numbers from 1 to 10, 10 to 20, and so on. Your child will be extremely motivated to line the numbers in sequence to create the caterpillar! It’s a great way to teach your child how to count using one-to-one correspondence!

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3. Subtraction Story

For older children, your child can come up with a subtraction story, where they imagine the hungry caterpillar eating up food items. You can use food cut-outs as visual aids for your child, and simply write out a subtraction story. Then come up with a subtraction sentence and number bond representation for the story. This method helps to contextualize learning for your child since it is a book-based activity, and also interests your child to pick up beginning concepts of subtraction. I did this activity with my class of 6-year olds and they love it!

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4. Butterfly Snack

I saw this lovely idea online and decided to try making some butterfly snacks for my girl and her classmates. We went to the supermarket to browse through the selection of nuts and cereals, and turned out to be a very enriching experience of getting to know the various types of nuts and cereals! She then worked with me to decorate the clothespins and her eyes sparkled when I put it together to make into butterflies! It is a wonderful way to entice your little one to eat healthy!

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5. Butterfly Kit

This is probably our favourite activity to do! Learning science is simply about tickling your child’s curious mind. Providing a sense of wonder and curiosity is the first steps to getting your child excited about learning about the objects around them. This picture book is ideal in introducing the theme of insects or caterpillars to your child! You can easily get a butterfly kit from Oh Farms, and let your child have an experience of caring for their very own caterpillar and watching it turn into a butterfly! Through it, the lesson on the life cycle of a butterfly takes on greater meaning as they  experience it first-hand for themselves! Remember to document the whole process with photos and dialogues with your child, and it can become a long-lasting memory for your child!

You can find out more about purchasing your butterfly kits from this website http://www.ohfarms.com.sg/products/butterfly_kits

Author Biography

Lianne Ong is a freelance writer who writes primarily about parenting, education and fashion. Maxilla was written based on events that happened when her family was living in California. She now lives in Singapore with her husband and two children, Reuben and Phoebe.

Maxilla Book

Grab a copy of Maxilla picture book at all major bookstores in Singapore (Kinokuniya, Times Bookstore and MPH Bookstores) at only SGD $10.60!

For our overseas readers, it is also available worldwide at MPH Online!

For more information on Maxilla, do visit the Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/MaxillaTheBook

(FYI, I do not receive any monetary reward for writing this book review! It’s all for the love of supporting our local writers! 🙂

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This blog post is published in The Preschool Survival Kit Magazine distributed to all preschools in Singapore. 

 

Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark: The Story of God’s Protection

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Story-telling session with my girl

Once there was an old man named Noah, who had a very very looooong beard. He loved God and was the nicest person in the whole city. One day, God warned Noah that a terrible storm is coming.

God told Noah, “The big flood is coming and it will rain for many, many days.  Everything is going to be destroyed. I want you to build an ark where you and your family and all the animals can be safe.”

Noah asked God,” What is an ark?”

God replied, “It is like a boat which is very big (stretches hands wide), and is very high (stretch your hands towards the ceiling). It is made of wood and will take very long to build. You must start right away!”

Mr and Mrs Noah listened to God and started building the huge ark. It had a super big door and a window at the top for everyone to look up to God, instead of looking at the storm around.

Their neighbours saw what they were doing and started laughing at them. “What a silly idea! There is no rain or storm in sight, why are you so foolish?”

However, after the ark was finished, God told Noah, “The storm is coming anytime now! Quick, get your family and choose two animals of each kind and gather them into the ark!

When Noah’s family and the animals went into the ark, God shut the door, and the sky became filled with dark clouds. Noah and his family could hear loud thunder (thunder sound) and then there was one drop, two drops , three drops of rain that went pitter patter! And soon, it became a thunderstorm and there was water all around. The dry land could no longer be seen, and the water covered the whole earth.

All this while, Noah, his family and the animals were all safe and dry in the ark! Noah’s ark is warm and cosy and there was plenty of food.

After it rained for forty days and forty nights, the sun began to shine! Noah sent a raven to look for dry land, but the raven only sees water. Noah waited for a few more days, and sent out a dove. It brought back an olive branch, and Noah knew the flood is over.

“Yay!!! The flood is over!” shouted Noah’s family and the animals. Noah said, “Let’s get out of the ark! The animals are really stinking up the whole place!”

And so the animals went out of the ark, and roamed the dry lands. God made a rainbow in the sky and told Noah, “Whenever you see a rainbow, you will remember my promise that I will never flood the earth again. I promise not to be angry with man anymore.”

Discussion 1: We are protected whether we are good or bad, because we are in the Ark.

Dramatization: children can role-play the following scenario of the animals in the Ark.

Bird: Wow, look at the flood outside! Thank God we are safe in the ark!

Elephant: (boasting) You know, even if I am not in the Ark, I can use my trunk to suck up all the water and I will still not die.

Goose: (laughing) Hahaha, You know I can fly for forty days and forty nights in the sky and I will never be tired.

Mouse: (looking out at the storm outside) Oh no oh no!! The storm is too great! I think we are all going to die in the Ark and drown in the sea!! God help!!!

Children, do you know that even when the animals boast in themselves, or be fearful and have no faith in God, they are all still safe in the Ark and will be protected from the flood? Jesus is the Ark, so when we are in Jesus, we are protected from all the evil and bad things in the world. Whether we are good or bad, we do not need to fear because we are in Christ, and Jesus will still protect us.

Discussion 2: “Protect” means to cover

Have a child wear a poncho or raincoat. Then have two or three children to shoot water with water guns at the child in the raincoat. After that, take out the raincoat and show that the child is still dry and clean.

Children, do you know the word ‘protect’ means to cover? God is our best protector. Like the raincoat, He always covers us and shields us from all bad things that come at us. No evil can touch us or hurt us because we are in Jesus.  We can be protected from disease, accidents, disasters, or evil because Jesus always protects and covers us.

Craft Work

Just print out an ark template, and some animal cut-outs. Paste them and put it on an ice-cream stick!

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My 3 year-old with her Noah’s Ark craft work after the story-telling session.

 

 

 

10 Activity Ideas for Goldilocks And The Three Bears!

Based on the much-loved tale of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, we have come up with 10 perfect activity ideas for your little preschooler at home or children in your classroom. Your children will love reading this classic and doing these activities as fun extensions!

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Skills covered in these activities:

A. Fine motor skills such as weaving

B. Math skills such as counting, comparing sizes, and one-to-one correspondence.

C. Language skills such as using adjectives, antonyms, word recognition and narrative language for pretend play. 

Go read the fairy tale and immerse your child in these wonderful 10 activity ideas!

1. Antonyms (Opposites)

Allow your child to learn about opposites such as hard, soft, cold, hot, rough, smooth, by using this sensory bin as touch game. Fill a basket with objects of opposites, and watch how your child use her senses to differentiate the opposite properties. This is also a great sorting activity!

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2. Counting using One-to-one correspondence

The number 3 is mentioned repeatedly throughout the story- 3 bears, 3 beds, 3 chairs and 3 bowls. The book is a great context for your child to learn counting, using one-to-one correspondence in this counting game. The number chart helps your child to visually understand comparison of quantities for each number and concepts such as “more” or “less”. Simply use some bear biscuits and a number chart and your child will be delighted to try it out, and gratify herself with a nice treat after!

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3.  Weaving Bear

This is a Montessori-inspired practical activity! Cut out a bear figure and use a one-hole puncher to make holes for your child to weave through! It trains your child’s fine motor skills and concentration. My girl had tons of fun toying with the shoe lace and pulling it up and down through the holes!

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4. Pretend Play!

Having this sensory bin will definitely appeal to your child to do some pretend play and role-play. Re-enacting the story is made fun with these concrete, hands-on props! Pretend-play is great for your child to practice skills like story-sequencing, recalling events, using a narrative script as well use of new language words from the book. My girl was parroting the repetitive phrases/ language chunks as she re-tells the stories with lines from the story like ” This porridge is too hot! This chair is too hard!” Its wonderful to see how the story comes alive in my preschooler’s pretend play script and dramatization with the props!

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5. Comparing Sizes

To teach concepts of big, medium and small, I came up this matching activity with picture cards of varying sizes. My little preschooler loves assigning the right size of objects to each respective bear character and indirectly learning how to arrange objects according to size. You can also introduce matching with word cards like “Big” “Medium” “Small”.

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6. Role-play using Magnetic Characters

This is another way of getting your child to do pretend play or role-play. Simply put magnetic strips behind the characters and the props and your child is ready to engage herself with some story-telling on the magnetic easel board.  Great activity to occupy your child!

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7. Contextual words

Create this simple sensory bin , where picture cards are hidden in rice, beans or pom poms! Learning new words becomes fun and sensorial when your child gets to dig out the right picture card to match the word. Learning new words never get this fun!

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8. Scavenger Hunt

Get your child busy searching  for objects around the house by going on a scavenger hunt. These words are extracted from the story and I printed them out to make word cards. Get your child to take a photo of the object with a camera, print it out and get your child to match the photo with the word!

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9. Readers’ Theatre

Readers’ Theatre is a great way to dramatise the story with a group of children! Get ready some scripts, masks for the main characters and you can have a theatre show right there!

10. Read, Read, Read!

Your little one will never tire of reading this book over and over again! These book-activities are sure to get your child craving for more readings! Your  child is sure to pick up new concepts from each new reading, and you will be surprised how quickly your child can internalise new words when learnt contextually from the book!

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 This blog post is published in The Preschool Survival Kit Magazine distributed to all preschools in Singapore. 

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Sensory Bin with Picture book characters & Props

Goldilocks and The Three Bears- Book-based Activities

This is our second week into book-based activities on Goldilocks And The Three Bears. By this time, my girl is so familiar with the story plot that she can narrate the sequence of events with her own words, and I thought it will be an appropriate time to introduce a sensory bin with some props and handmade characters for her to immerse herself in role-play and imaginative play!

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Benefits of Pretend Play!

There are so many benefits to your child doing pretend play! It facilitates:

  1. Imaginative thinking and discovery
  2. Abstract thinking and problem-solving
  3. Application of Life Skills
  4. Social Skills development
  5. Learning “Theory of mind” where they do perspective-taking
  6. Confidence in communicating their ideas and thought ( through story-sequencing & narrative script and use of new words acquired

There are many types of pretend play like dress up, imitation of adults and adult life, acting out stories, role-play or using materials to create play.

Her Pretend Play!

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She was smiling with a look of surprise on her face when she approached the sensory bin. She was elated to meet the characters which I made from paper-cut outs and toilet paper rolls. She immediately started naming the characters- Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear and Goldilocks. as she explored the sensory bin, she also noticed I poured some rice and beans for her to interact with. Since the bears loved porridge in the story, she took on the role of Mama Bear and started cooking porridge for the bears. She particularly was engrossed with pouring and transferring rice into each bowl using the scoop. This is one good example of using fine motor skills in the process of pretend play.

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After cooking, she decided that she must set the table for the bears. She arranged the bowls and assigned each bowl to each bear according to sizes. She also allocated one spoon to one bowl which allows her to apply the Math skill of one-to-one correspondence. She also used adjectives like “biggest” and “smallest bowl to describe the size of the object. She re-enacted the whole scene in the book where the bears tried the porridge and exclaimed ,” It is too hot!” “It is too cold!”. This kind of re-telling using her script narration hones her language skills of story sequencing and sentence construction. 

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With the episode of Goldilocks trying out the chairs, she cleverly places the character Goldilocks over the prop, and was amazed that it fitted perfectly! She then positioned Baby Bear over the chair with the soft cushion. Upon realising that the cushion there probably signify that the chair is soft, she then changed the character to Mother Bear. She was doing recalling of the story, which is the script she wanted to enact. In her second telling of the story on another day, she actually swapped the characters to sit on the chair as she re-invented the storyline to create a twist. She said the baby bear likes to sit on soft chairs and so Mummy bear let him.

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Try creating a sensory bin based on your child’s favourite picture book! The experience for imaginative play is very enriching!

 

Goldilocks & Three Bears- Counting Bears

Learning Counting with little bears!

This is another extension activity based on the much-loved book “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

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One of the main concepts we can draw from this story is the Math concept of quantity in counting. The number 3 is a repetitive number mentioned in the story- 3 bears, 3 bowls, 3 chairs and 3 beds. So to reinforce my girl’s counting skills, I came up with this simple thematic activity of having her to count bear biscuits on a number chart, and then having her to eat it all up upon completion of the activity!

To prepare the learning tray, simply print out or draw squares to represent the quantity for each number. The number chart aids the visualisation and comparison of the quantities for each consecutive number. You can get bear biscuits or any small treats for the little one to enjoy.

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My little girl was really motivated to get started upon seeing her favourite snack! She placed the first bear biscuit on the chart with number one and I counted with her. She practiced her one-to-one correspondence skill by placing one biscuit one at a time as she counts. For young preschoolers who are beginning to count, you will have to model the counting with them. Over time, they will be able to assign one number to one object. This chart also aids their visual discrimination of the varying quantities, and concepts of more or less.

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My little preschooler sure had a Beary good time with the little bears!