Spying Glowing, Bubbly Space

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R was 18 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

The Magic School Bus – Lost in the Solar System by Joanna Cole & Bruce Degen – The length of this story was too much for R, but she enjoyed flipping through the pictures. This is a great book for older kids and was often a favourite choice for my kindergarten and grade one students. There are also lots of text features, such as thought bubbles and speech bubbles that are particularly enjoyable for older kids.

Activity:

1. I Spy Space Bag

IMG_0967 IMG_0962Initially, R wasn’t sure what to do with the I Spy bag.  She shook the bag and tried to pull it a part to get at the objects hidden inside.  I showed her how to shake the bag and reveal different objects.  Together, we spotted and pointed to the stars, the moon, an astronaut and a rocket.  R especially loved the bag when I showed her that it glowed in the dark.  Her reaction upon seeing the objects glow was, “wow’! Continue reading

Felt and Food Rockets

R was 18 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

The Moon by Melanie Chrismer – The Moon is a book that is part of a series of books about the solar system.  R was not interested in me reading the book to her, so we just explored the pictures. Now and again, I read bits and pieces of the information on the page.

Song:

I practiced a new poem with R called Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! I recited it while she played and she loved saying “moon” and “zoom” with me!  She thoroughly enjoys songs and poems and loves to sing along, even if she doesn’t know the words.  She will often scurry about and dance in circles while she sings.

Activity:

1. Space Small World in a Bin

IMG_0863As R gets older, she is beginning to play imaginatively more and more.  Open-ended activities such as these are perfect for stimulating imaginative play.   Find out more about open-ended activities here.  While she plays, she often recreates familiar scenes and sounds and is beginning to tell a story with her play.  Other times, she enjoys pointing to and naming objects she has encountered before. Continue reading

Getting Lost in the Milk Way

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R was 18 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

The Planets in Our Solar System by Franklyn M. Branley – The vibrant illustrations kept R engaged while I read this long book.  Along with the many facts about the solar system, there is a description of how to make a solar system mobile, a planetary distance activity and a variety of other activity ideas.

Activity:

1. Milky Way Marble Run

IMG_0801R thought this activity was hilarious.  She enjoyed placing the marble down on the board and watching it roll around while shouting “wooo”.  Sometimes she just dropped the marble into the centre and would look up at me with a mischievous grin.  I kept the board up on both of our legs and showed R how to rock the board back and forth to make the marble move.

INSTRUCTIONS:
I made the marble run by putting circular hot glue lines onto cardboard and covering the entire surface with aluminum foil before painting it.  I used my black and white paint dabbers to paint the surface and added yellow paint spots to represent stars.  I cut a hole in the centre so that it could be the target for the marble run.

Extension Activities:
a. Instead of using hot glue, the marble run track can be made with small cut up pieces of straw that get taped down.  This way, a child can be involved in the constructing process without worry of using a hot glue gun.  Before starting the construction phase, show the child photos of the milky way galaxy, a sample of a marble run using straws, a demonstration of how to tape down the straws (add a strip of tape over the straw) and allow the child to problem solve how to align the straws into a circular arrangement so that the marble can find its way all the way into the hole. Continue reading

Bursting Sunshine in Space

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R was 18 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Mad About Rockets, Stars and Outer Space by Sarah Creese – Mad About Rockets, Stars and Outer Space is a fantastic nonfiction book about all things space. There are tons of facts, labelled diagrams, a search and find page and a clue and question page.  You also get some bonus stickers with this book!

Activity:

1. Outer Space Play Dough

IMG_0717I cooked up some outer space play dough and added tons of course and fine glitter to it (to my husband’s dismay!) to give it the look of a star-filled galaxy.  The glitter also adds a textured feel to the extremely soft play dough.  I invited R to enjoy this sensory activity by presenting the play dough in a metal cake tin with glow-in-the-dark stars and astronauts.  To stimulate her senses further, I added vanilla to the dough.  R had so much fun with this activity!  During the play, we sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” together and she joyfully played for an hour!

To encourage language development, we practiced using the word star as R placed the starts into the dough.  I pointed to and named each astronaut and R just listened as she is still unable to say this new vocabulary word.  After the initial introduction to the play dough, I allowed her to play as she pleased with only a few interruptions from me that involved adding more language to her play.

I adapted the play dough recipe from Fairy Dust Teaching.  Here’s how to make this awesome outer space play dough at home! Continue reading

Top Stay-At-Home Mom Blogger Nomination!! Please Vote for Us!

I received an unexpected email today informing me that I had been nominated as a Top Stay-at-Home Mom Blogger after being personally selected by a panel of judges over at VoiceBoks.com!  This comes as a complete and utter surprise and I am so very grateful to be presented with such a nomination!

I have so thoroughly enjoyed sharing my thoughts, ideas and research findings with you all that this feels more like play than work for me!  Blogging has given me a new outlet for my incessant need to teach, since I decided to stay at home with my daughter, and I hope to continue along on this journey to the best of my ability.

How you can be a part of our journey!

If you have enjoyed reading our posts, please vote for us once a day between July 21-August 21!  You can VOTE DAILY, so click the badge at the top of this post or click here, scroll to Developing the Whole Child (in the number 8 position) and click the little heart in the top right corner!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued support!

If at the end of this period, I am declared the winner of my category, I have a chance to go up against bloggers from all categories for blogger of the year!  But, I don’t want to get ahead of my self!  The nomination in itself is a huge, huge honour!!

I have also been nominated for a Liebster Award twice this year and I couldn’t be more excited!

Long Term Benefits of a Play-Based Early Childhood

“Research shows that children who engage in complex forms of socio-dramatic play have greater language skills than nonplayers, better social skills, more empathy, more imagination, and more of the subtle capacity to know what others mean. They are less aggressive and show more self-control and higher levels of thinking.

Long-term research casts doubt on the assumption that starting earlier on the teaching of phonics and other discrete skills leads to better results. For example, most of the play-based kindergartens in Germany were changed into centers for cognitive achievement during a wave of educational “reform” in the 1970s. But research comparing 50 play-based classes with 50 early-learning centers found that by age ten the children who had played in kindergarten excelled over the others in a host of ways. They were more advanced in reading and mathematics and they were better adjusted socially and emotionally in school. They excelled in creativity and intelligence, oral expression, and “industry.” As a result of this study German kindergartens returned to being play-based again. Continue reading

Scooping Snow

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R was 17 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Weather Words and What They Mean by Gail Gibbons – Gail Gibbons writes many informative books on scientific topics and this is another great one!  R liked to point at different pictures and would say stuff to me in her baby talk.  I would name the object she was pointing at for her.

Activity:

1. A Cup of Rain

IMG_0193I used two simple ingredients to make the snow!  I used one box (4 lbs) of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda from my fridge and slowly added vegetable oil to it until the baking soda started holding form.  I then stored it in the fridge until R was ready to play with it.  I gave her an ice cream scoop and rubber spatula to explore with and promote motor skills.  She loved scooping the snow from one bowl to the other and squishing it between her fingers!  After the child is done playing, store the snow in a ziplock bag to use again and again!

Extension Activities:
a. Encourage Imaginative Play.  Set up an ice shop with the child.  Ask the child the following open-ended question: What do you need to start an ice cream shop?  Have him/her add appropriate items and then use the snow as a part of the ice cream store.
b. Develop Literacy and Numeracy Skills.  With the ice cream shop, encourage the child to label different flavours of ice cream with their names and add a price as well.  Continue reading