Aluminium Canvas!

My budding artist has been doodling and drawing everywhere everyday! She has often requested for blank paper, and she will engage herself for an interrupted hour just engrossed in penning her thoughts into pictures, and even drafting her own storybook with illustrations. Besides running out of spare paper for her indulgent interest, I thought of giving her another medium to work with, and to spark some alternative way of working with other materials.

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I saw this idea online, and thought I should it out with my enthusiastic artist! The steps are pretty easy, and the results stunning!

First, recycle a paper board, and tape a thick string to form lines/compartments on the board. That way, you create a little matrix pattern on it. Make sure to tape them down securely on the back of the board.

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Next, you place the aluminium foil over the patterned board, and press down where the lines are. This will make the dividing lines more visible.

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The last part is the most fun segment for my little one. She could not wait to start doodling and drawing with the permanent pens of different colours. She created circular patterns, and also drew figurines and characters on her ‘storyboard’. She was so captivated by the new experience of using different surface to draw on!

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The end product is really stunning, and the aluminium canvas makes for a wonderful window display for my child’s playroom!

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Lego Word Families!

 Language Development

Word families are groups of words that have a common spelling pattern – they have some of the same combinations of letters in them and a similar sound. Words like cat, hat, and fat are a family of words with the “at” sound. Children progress as better readers when they can identify chunks in words like word families (e.g. Words ending with -at, -in) In teaching word families, children learn how to blend sounds (like c-at, b-in). It helps them to decode words faster, improving their word recognition skills as well as spelling skills. Reading books with lots of rhymes like Dr Seuss also helps develop their phonological awareness.

For emergent readers, after they have mastered the phonics sounds, they can proceed to learn word families or words that rhyme. Some word families you can start with are -at, -in, -ig, -an, -ing, -ot. Helping my active learner master the word families is a major milestone in her language acquisition process. To make the learning fun and enjoyable, this simple Lego game requires little preparation and money! It is also a good idea to recycle some of the Duplo Lego bricks that your 4/5 year-old has outgrown!

Simply write out some word family words on sticker labels and group them according to colour.

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Then lay them out on a tray, and invite your learner to listen to each word you read.

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Model the blending for your child. Example: “/C//A//T/”

Find words that rhyme. Stack them up accordingly.

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This simple activity requires listening skills, and builds phonemic awareness/ strengthen their grasp of the sound structures in words families.

Seeing the patterns in the spelling will further prepare them for spelling skills in future.

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Given my preschooler who is always brewing up imaginative ideas. she imagined the Lego characters to be having a competition, and she positioned each character who came in first, second and third in a race! Guess who is the winner? 🙂

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For more word families activities, check out the following ideas we had!

Using Scrabble Chips to teach word families!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/teaching-word-families-using-scrabble-chips/

Word families Game using paper rolls and balls!

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/word-families-with-balls-and-toilet-rolls/

Wooden Blocks Word families- Onset and Rimes

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/word-families-blocks/

10 activities on teaching word families

https://playhood.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/10-fun-activities-on-word-families/

Fairy Dust Playdough Set

We are all familiar with how play dough has captivated children of all ages! They are fabulous for fun and learning! Here are 5 ways how it helps your child to develop!

1. Fine motor skills

Play dough is ideal for building the tiny motor skills through your child manipulating the malleable material by rolling, pressing, pinching, chopping, shredding and much more!

Poking in objects into the play dough requires focus and coordination.

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2. Develops creativity and imagination

Play dough provides endless possibilities for imaginative play and can represent anything in the mind of a child!

3. Great for building Cognitive skills!

Using play dough with letter shapes us great for letter recognition, and inserting small objects like buttons into play dough can be used for counting! Children can use the play dough to compare sizes, length and thickness. They can roll little balls and learn one to one correspondence, and even addition. They can also sort the balls by colour! iThe choices for learning are limitless!

4. Making Play dough- Great for Science concepts!

When you make play dough with your child, your child gets to be amazed by the process of mixing different ingredients into something gooey, and sticky! They learn to use their senses to learn about texture, and see the process of transformation of different materials!

5. Great for Language Development

Pretend play with play dough contributes greatly to your child’s language play. Interacting with play dough, your child taps on her imagination and comes up with play scripts, where she conceives ideas for a social scenario, and uses her vocabulary and functional language to verbalise and ‘act out’ her ideas. She engages herself in social dialogues and learn to think of solutions to problem-solve.

Our Fairy Dust Play Dough Setup

My little darling has been preoccupied with the theme of fairies in the woods, their magical journeys and fantasies of adventure and wonder.

To encourage creativity, I like to use open-ended materials for her to tap on her imagination and encourage originality.

This thematic fairy-dust playdoh set is easy to set up! And is perfect for a whole afternoon of make-believe and pretend play!

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Presenting the materials on a tray is like an invitation to play! which no child can resist!

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My little one immediately was captivated by the myriad of materials, and started coming up with her ideas as to how to use the materials. As she picks out the different materials, she used adjectives to describe the twigs and the paper flowers. She also started coming up with incredulous ideas about how a fairy has wings, and was  playing in the Pixie Garden. To make the fairy, she had to first used her palm to roll the play dough, and then estimate how to make a big and smaller ball. To join the parts together, I suggested to her using a sharp long object, and she immediately picked out the twig. To create the wings, she selected the angel wing embellishment and pressed it hard to make it stay. Using the eyes and twigs as hands, she completed the look of her little make-believe fairy!

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Next, to create the setting for the main character, she decided to make a garden! She stayed on task for a prolonged period of time trying to actualise her ideas for the garden! She flattened the dough to create grass and ground for the fairy to stand on. Then she inserted flowers and twigs to make it natural looking. She also added in little garden creatures like butterflies and worms. This was a great opportunity for me to use thematic vocabulary like different garden animals! To complete the garden look, she started referring to Tinklebelle story about pixie dust. She then sprinkled some glitter into the play dough and the wonder happened!

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Look at her little Fairy Garden with her Fairy! I love how this process of  creating art and actualising her ideas!

The process of creation far supersedes the finished product!

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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? 🙂

Frozen Snow Globe!

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

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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To make the snow globe, you simply need:

1. Recycled glass jars

2. Figurines of the characters/ stickers

3. Glitter, sequins, little buttons

4. Distilled water

5. Glycerin (optional)

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Step one:

Recycle your jars from the baby food, jam jars, or buy a cheap one from Daiso.

Simply choose your favourite figurines and glue them on the jar lids securely.

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Step Two:

Add the distilled water and a little glycerin to prevent the flakes from falling too quickly.

Then add the shimmer glitter, sequins or white ‘snow’ to create the snowy effect.

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Step three:

Secure the lid tightly and close the jar. Turn it upside down repeatedly and let it snow!

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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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For this simple craft idea, you only need:

1. Ice-cream sticks

2. Glue

3. Embellishments such as spangles, glitter, adhesive gemstones, buttons or glitter glue, etc

4. Ribbons

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First, just glue the ice-cream sticks together diagonally to form the snowflake
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Then, embellish and decorate it by sticking or pasting spangles, gemstones or buttons to create the blue and white  theme for the snowflake!

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Add pattern on it by using glitter glue to draw on it! you can also use glue and sprinkle glitter powder on it!

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Lastly, just add a ribbon to hang the ornament, and it will look so lovely by the window!

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Frozen Fun!

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.

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

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.

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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My girl was super thrilled to experience the Frozen fun! It is extremely sensorial and tactile as she holds the cold cubes in her hands! The huge ice blocks are also great for building ‘ice-palace’  for princesses and ‘resting places” for the animals. In watching the ice melt away gradually, she is also picking up the science concepts of ‘melting’, ‘freezing’  and ‘condensation’.

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Importance of Pretend Play

The musical Frozen also comes alive when she enacts the scenes from the movie with her princess dolls. Pretend play is great for language development, and enhances their social skills for friendship and conflict resolution. I love how the conversations between the Frozen sisters evolved into one that resolves around kindness and kinship! She also used new vocabulary that expresses emotions, appearance, apparel and values. Through pretend play, I also got to catch a glimpse into her own thoughts and perceptions of relationships, dreams and even fears. She was scared of the ice monster, and told she sees it in her room sometimes. That actually explained why she refuses to sleep alone in her room! She also said that a princess treats people with kindness, which is a message I have been reinforcing to her when we talk about being a princess.

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Why not try this out at home? It’s free and completely fun for your little one! 🙂