Friday, May 22, 2020

Such a Busy Week!

Memorial Day, Bike Day, and Shavuot, Oh My!

Celebrate Memorial Day on Monday
  • Make an American flag cake (and explore shapes, counting, patterning, and fractions at the same time -- if you use strawberries instead of raspberries you can cut them in half or in quarters)

Join Us for Bike Day on Wednesday
  • Check your weekly email for all the details!

Celebrate Shavuot on Friday

Friday, May 15, 2020

STEAM Challenge - A House for the Three Little Pigs

This activity will keep you busy all week!

Read a variety of Three Little Pigs books. Ask your child how the books are the same and how they're different. Ask which one is their favorite and why. Act out the story together. Have them tell you the story in their own words. Write and illustrate a family version of the story together.

Take a walk around your neighborhood and notice all the different kinds of houses. What do all houses have in common? How are some houses different from other houses? When you get home, draw pictures of the houses you saw. Draw a picture of your own house. Draw a picture of your dream house.

Ask why the pigs' straw and stick houses blew down but their brick house didn't. 

  • straws, skewers, craft sticks, toothpicks, pencils, crayons, wood pieces, sticks, coffee stirrers, leaves, paper cups, etc.
  • tape, binder clips, rubber bands, glue, paper clips, staplers, etc.
  • scissors
  • Legos, blocks, K'nex, etc.
Build different kinds of houses using different materials. Predict which ones will blow down (and why). Test out your theory by trying to blow the houses down! Use your breath, a paper fan, or an electric fan.

When the houses fall down, try re-building them so that they don't blow down the next time. Keep trying!

Remember, it's not about building a strong house the first time. It's about figuring out why some houses fell down and others didn't. What kinds of materials are strongest? Which design is sturdiest? 

It's also about overcoming frustration and realizing that we've learned something even when our experiment has failed. We learned what didn't work. (Thomas Edison usually gets credit for that quote.)

As always, the best questions to ask during this process are: Why do you think that happened? What would happen if . . .? 

Have fun!

From: Making and Tinkering with STEM, Solving Design Challenges with Young Children by Cate Heroman (NAEYC, 2017)

Friday, May 8, 2020

Staying Busy with Stuff You Have at Home

Literacy: Name Game
  • On index cards, write each letter of your child's name
  • Mix the cards up and have your child put them in order
  • Once they've mastered their first name, play with their last name, their middle name, and family members' names
Numeracy: Egg Carton Counting
  • Write the numbers 1-12 in the spaces in an empty egg carton
  • Give your child raisins, cheerios, or other small items
  • Have them fill the spaces with the correct number of items
Problem Solving: What Will Grow?
  • Talk with your children about how plants grow
  • See what they know and fill in the gaps in their understanding
  • Conduct an experiment to deepen their understanding
  • Fill cups with dirt
  • Plant orange and apple seeds, unpeeled garlic cloves, chunks of potatoes, beans, etc.
  • Also plant dried fruit, cereal, egg shells, cheese, etc.
  • Make predictions and see what happens! 
Motor: Hot Lava Game
  • Spread pillows or small towels around the floor
  • Have your child jump from pillow to pillow (or towel to towel)
  • Don't fall in the hot lava!
Arts and Crafts: Painting Without a Paintbrush
  • Paint (or print) with toothpicks, cotton balls, Q-tips, cut-up sponges, plastic spoons or forks, bubble wrap, yarn, magnetic letters, etc.
Music: Make a Shaker
  • Decorate an empty water bottle and fill it with beans, popcorn kernels, buttons, pony beads, etc.
  • Cut a paper plate in half and staple the edges together, decorate, and fill with same as above
Drama: Clean Out Your Closet AND Create a Dress-Up Corner
  • Your child will LOVE dressing up in your old skirts, scarves, dress shirts, jackets, ties, costume jewelry, hair accessories, and shoes and playing with your old briefcases, wallets, purses, keys, and cell phones
Social-Emotional: Plan a Party
  • Involve your child in planning a ZOOM party
  • Who to invite?
  • When to meet?
  • Where to meet? (everyone's backyard or kitchen, a nearby park?)
  • What to eat? (everyone makes a fruit salad? or pizza?)
  • What to sing/play/or talk about? What's the theme?
With thanks to The Preschooler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner for the inspiration

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