Saturday, November 28, 2015

Popsicle Stick Puzzle

O caught me cutting up a picture of her cousin into slices.
Had it not been for this project I was in the process of making, I would have been in massive trouble!

I was prepping this puzzle for Baby C, so she could play with Popsicle sticks while O was working on her Clothes Peg Spelling.
Instead, O hid the Clothes Peg Spelling game for her own uses and got to work on Little W's Photo Puzzle!

Clothespeg Spelling

O's hungry for words.
She copies them from books.
She's constantly asking us how to spell words.
We're constantly writing sentences she dictates onto one of the chalkboards.
When I found this clothes peg project on 'How We Learn' I got right to work making a Busy Bag for $0.75!

You could easily write the Dolch Sight Words (from one of the various lists they have split into levels of learning).
Instead we decided to write some of the two, three and four letter words that O asks about frequently.
Sticking to the childs high interest, not adult intentions.

I included the upper case letter on one side of the peg and it's lower case equivalent on the reverse.
We had enough clothes pegs for nearly two rounds of the alphabet, but it has ended up being more confusing, since 52 pegs have to get sorted (26 would have sufficed.)

And I have not seen the set since I handed it over!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Daily Doodle: Dreaming Caterpillar

I chanced upon this drawing and fell in love.
The caterpillar is dreaming about a leaf, complete with a dream bubble!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Shapes Collage & Transparent Paper

 Paper Love

Last year I was collecting stock online and came across 100-sheets of transparent paper.
With a massive list of projects for the light table, I ordered the paper thinking it was transparency paper (flimsy plastic). As it turns out, it's strong tissue paper and we've used it many times for beautiful collage work.
 Window Art
For re-usable light table manipulatives, I cut out several shapes and made them permanent with lamination.
Even before cutting out the pieces, it served as window art!
Similar to O's 'Geometric Suncatcher'

Once the shapes were prepped, O and Baby C went to work overlapping pieces on our newest Light Table.

Then we used the transparent paper for collage art.
We used 'My Heart is Like a Zoo' as well as Charley Harper's 'Animal Alphabet' both of which combine geometric shapes to create animals.

We followed up our creative work with a reading of 'Shapes That Roll'
a ridiculously clever poem loaded with information about geometry.

Met Textiles. This beautiful piece is featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and would be an ideal beginner or advanced sewing project.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mini Book Necklaces

 Mini Book Love!
Tiny Book.
Huge Hit!

Inspiration abound, I put together these tiny felt necklaces that double as reading material!
Starting with 'Leafcutter Designs' for inspiration.
I LOVE this company (seed coins! teeny parcels! mini letters!). Alas they are American, so no-can-do this side of the continent.
For 'Poem in Your Pocket Day' we created mini felt envelopes, courtesy of this creative company!

Then inspiration from Tiny Journal Necklace and the Mini Book of Major Events

Felt is ever-forgiving (mostly due to it's lack of fray) so I took our plush beige felt for the inside cover and a squirrel-y gray for the jacket. To add the ribbon necklace, I found the halfway by folding the beige felt and inserted the ribbon, before sewing the jacket and inner cover together.

Step 1 
(Jacket, Inside Cover & Ribbon Necklace)
 Step 2
(Inside Page, sewn top and bottom ONLY)

The inside page will be used to secure the paper booklet, which must be held in place, but can be replaced with new stories/pictures. 
For that reason, I simply sewed a few stitches in the top and bottom centerfold.

Then I measured paper strips to slide in, measuring 1 1/2 by 4 inches to be held snug yet removable.
Stack a few strips of paper and sew down the center.
Slide them into place.

These will sleep in our 'Story Jar' as we grow and our imaginations develop (mine included!) so they can be used time and again.
Good for Daily Doodle's, story-telling, alphabet reference, field notes, keeping thoughts and sketches!


Frosty in a Bath

 Frosty Warming Up! 

Leftover rice becomes one of three things in our house:
~tasty curry
~rice pudding
~Japanese Bento characters!

The latter was the case yesterday when we formed Frosty swimming in lentil soup!
Traditionally, sticky rice is used for Bento creativity, but we heated up basmati with double the water to create the stickiness necessary to form shapes. 
Then cut features out of nori sheets and a long carrot nose.

First Snow Slushies

 First Snow
It happened.
The inevitable Canadian white stuff.
Despite the light coverage, O & Baby C were thrilled and could not get on their snow pants fast enough.

 First Snow Slushies

When their cheeks were rosy and they could no longer feel their fingertips, we filled up some cups with snow (plus a few blades of grass and Fall leaves for good measure).
We added a splash of apple cider to their Snow Cup and they were in First Snow Heaven.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Doon Village Christmas

A trip to the museum is a fully loaded lesson every time.
We frequent this museum in particular, because there is something for everyone and always new things to discover.
They hosted a Village Christmas for homeschoolers.
The place quickly filled up with a strong community of families that learn from home (lots of which takes place outside of home!)

It was particularly chilly so Baby C dressed accordingly, in her over sized cow tuque!

Inside the Village Variety they had a host of Christmas gifts from the early 1900's on display; tiny China tea sets, dainty embroidered handkerchiefs, vintage dolls and a miniature wood stove that fully functions as an original Easy Bake Oven!

Of the many times we visit this museum every year, this was the first time I have taken a tour in the actual indoor museum! Essentially, it's a historical timeline of our local community.

In light of current world issues and Canada's current debate about our willingness to safely welcome refugee's, I was taken by the entrance exhibit which features immigrants and their stories.

Surrounded by stories, suitcases and travel tickets is a screen that plays the stories of immigrants from around the world and their first impressions of our country. 
As a child that learned to speak two languages, I became my families translator.
Everything was new.
People are polite and helpful.
I was worried that I would have to give up my culture, but it's okay to practice your customs here.

 Listening In
They host a number of hands-on displays and not just exhibits to examine and read about.

 Vintage Combine

When you take a good look around, it's hard to imagine how much work went into collecting all these pieces and bringing them in for history lessons. Giant antique combines, village homes brought from Peterborough and restored safely, family heirlooms. They cover a little of everything; food & farming, sports, arts, dress, transportation, medical.

One section is devoted to changing fashions from the early 1900's to present day.

In this photo, young people are gathered at a Waterloo Dance.
The ladies have removed their shoes and the men must choose the shoes that will belong to their dance partner!

I looked down at my own attire and asked if my husband would pick the practical owner sporting these boots!
Long Day Done

Cargo Rice Sensory Tray

Cargo Rice

It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest items from around the house provide the most play time.
The cargo rice happened by accident. 
I was tossing a bag from the back of the fridge, when I realized it might be fun to combine with tractor play.
We emptied the bag onto a baking sheet and the next hour was complete immersion.
All for a wee cup of rice. 

Cotton Balls & Foil (Ice Rink).  
Shaving Foam & Cornstarch. (Warm Snow).


Friday, November 20, 2015

Gak (Borax-Free)

Gak recipes are abundant, but I had yet to find a Borax-free concoction until I discovered Asia Citro's ingredients.
We definitely had to alter our quantities to the point where I do not know how much of each cornstarch and shampoo was used! Honestly, I think we never achieved actual Gak consistency, but we made a dough that was extremely fantastic to play with.

It literally melted in your hands, from a somewhat solid heap.
It broke off clean and dry like a piece of chalk.
It can be rolled, cut, name it.
The best part is it saves for a long time in the fridge for continued use.
Just wet your hands and get down to play time.

Name in Braille

'Teacher by the Beach' featured a Braille Name Writing activity to help us with our Braille Cell learning.
In this lesson, they used glue to form the cell dots.
Instead we used foam stickers, cut into dots and corresponding alphabet stickers to write O's name.

I gave O all the letters of her name, or so I thought.
"You forgot the L, Mom!"
I asked her to space them well, so we could differenciate between letters when she added the Braille dots.
Lightly in pencil, I made the 6-cell pattern, so she could count and place stickers.

All the while, Baby C had a bowl of animal foam stickers that she used for making art.
She then closed her eyes to feel and identify!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Learning Braille: Playdough Braille Cells

One thing led to another (the definition of unschooling!) and we found ourselves prepping for little lessons in Braille. I found this lovely activity from 'Path to Literacy' that I thought would be a good starting point

Our first task was to print out a Braille Alphabet.
Once we took a look, it was clear that The Braille Cell is crucial in understanding how a tactile alphabet functions.

Then we remained blindfolded to count the bumps on the backside of the 6-well paint trays.

We had made Rice Cereal Playdough for this project, but it hardened up overnight and was challenging to work with. So instead, we resorted to a bag of play dough Grandma made us last year. I numbered the 6-wells so that it was easier for O to remember the cell number.
Even though this was a little side lesson in math, it was actually cheating because we were using our vision.

As I called out numbers, O filled the appropriate cells.
O noticed that none of the Braille Alphabet seemed similar to the shapes of the visual alphabet.
For example, "V" (cell 1, 2, 3, 6) makes the shape of an "L".
We agreed the Braille Alphabet would be tricky to memorize.

We also discussed how the loss of one sense (sight) heightens your awareness of other senses.
Someone who cannot see, is likely a keen listener and probably depends more on taste, touch and smell than we often do.

We incorporated this library loan, 'The Black Book of Colors'  by Menena Cottin into the lesson.
All the pages are black, except for the white text.
To accompany the text, is the Braille translation and the opposite page features a raised illustration!
It's brilliantly done, but our fingertips were VERY unskilled at guessing what the illustrations were!

'Floating Feathers'

Ten Tips. Path to Literacy includes a page of Ten Tips to learn Braille, with some lovely tactile activities and suggestions.