Friday, February 26, 2016

Sci Fri: Magic Pipe Cleaners

"How can we make pipe cleaners move without touching them?"
We introduced this question as I presented O & Baby C each with a clear soap bottle of 1" pipe cleaners.
Baby C told me, "Fill the bottle with water!"
True! Adding water would absolutely make the pipe cleaners move!

When I gave them each a magnet, O set straight to work, 'pulling' the pipe cleaners along the side. She even figured out that laying the bottle on it's side would prevent the pipe cleaner from losing it's magnetic grip, so she could coax them out of the bottle mouth!

Baby C took a much more direct route and stuck the magnet-on-a-string straight into the bottle!

She was very disappointed with O's discovery and immediately returned to her own solution; dipping the magnet straight in!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Storytelling Basket

Clever Fox turned out to be very well received last week, so we continued with the Storytelling theme by creating a prompt basket similar to The Imagination Tree

Adding to the intrigue, I covered the tray with a blue silk, which ended up being used as ocean water.
We included Small World Toys, such as finger puppets, Animalz, felted rocks, wooden stumps & mushroom as well as felt cakes.

O asked if I would start the story. The first character I picked up (the squirrel), naturally became the main character. He saw a magical "Cake Island", but couldn't figure out how to reach it.
Once I presented this initial problem, O and Baby C picked up the story from there.

Baby C was very animated about telling us what was happening to the forest creatures along the way, including a run in with a rattlesnake! She seemed to be the one adding the plot twists!!

After the island was no longer part of the story, the "ocean water" was used as a blanket.

I witnessed several interesting aspects of storytelling unfold, completely child-led.
They discovered...
~main characters and supporting characters, included themselves
~used props in open-ended ways (the tray was both an island and later a serving plate, while the silk became an ocean and then blanket),
~presented both problems and solutions (how do the animals get across the ocean? find paddles, use rocks as stepping stones, make a boat, fly...)
~used their imagination, so events and solutions were not always practical in real life, but possible in the realm of story-telling
~told a story in succession of events
~contributed to the story as a team and worked (sometimes) easily with each others plot twists
~language development (I had no idea Baby C knew the word 'rattlesnake'!)
~repetition (when one part of the story became well-loved,  enter Rattlesnake who eats everything! it was repeated throughout the tale)

The biggest challenge for O was getting Baby C to take a breath, so she could add her creativity!

Tell Me a Story.
Spinning Yarns.
Mini Book Necklaces.
Story Dice. 
Telling Tales Festival. 
Forest Diorama.
Puppet Theatre.
Shadow Puppet Theatre.

Character, Setting, Plot. This lovely little gift came from a fellow homeschooler and friend, "The Tea Party in the Woods". It's a sweet read and great start for introducing main characters (as Kikko is in colour while the rest of the drawings are generally black and white), setting (wintry forest) and theme. 
We read this story after attempting our own, as the props are similar (forest animals, cakes!) and it was easy to pick apart the components that make a story.

Playdough & Toothpick Math

Simple prep for an easy math minute, the Imagination Tree featured a counting activity with playdough and toothpicks.

Instead of wooden number plates, we brought out number stamps for marking playdough.
As O and Baby C rolled balls, I stamped a number they had to mark with corresponding toothpicks.
I created an extra challenge for O by presenting her with numbers in the teens.

Baby C is just learning to recognize numbers, so she needed a little partner work.
That didn't take away from her feeling all-important using toothpicks and being included in our math lesson!

To Be Two

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Daily Doodle: The Witch

O evidently loves scary stuff.
She wants to hear scary stories, read scary books and look at scary pictures.
She likes to freak herself out!

When Tinkerlab holds a Sketchbook Challenge, we attempt incorporating this into our Daily Doodle time.
For 2/22, the prompt was the word, 'Curvy'.
This is what O came up with!

Her Description:
"This is a witch.
She made herself that tall.
She gives children medicine (in her sack on the right), to make them fall asleep so she can eat them.
She already has some babies in her tummy."
(Silly) Me: "Awww. How cute."
(O turns to me with a serious face.)
"No, mom. Because she ATE THEM!"

Then she continued to draw a kid entering the witches mouth!!

Yikes! Watch our Grimm Brothers!

Vegan Bites: Blueberry Muffins

'Crazy Vegan Kitchen' has a fabulous blueberry muffin recipe that we tweaked a bit for our own kitchen, replacing sugar with maple syrup, changing the temperature and time, using a Chia Egg instead of Flax, but we definitely did not omit the lemon zest!! Good thing!

O has been asking, "Why can't you make blueberry muffins? It's easy. Just make muffins and put blueberries in them."
She was very willing to help with the process and eager to taste the results.

Berry Blueberry Muffins
~1/4c coconut oil
~1T maple syrup
~lemon zest
~1c blueberries
~1T arrowroot starch
Over low heat, combine oil, syrup, zest and berries. Once mashed, stir in starch and set aside.
~2 1/2c flour
~2 1/2t baking powder
~1t salt
Sift dry.
~1c maple syrup
~2T chia seeds
~1/3c olive oil
~1c rice milk with 1T apple cider vinegar ("buttermilk")
Mix wet ingredients and fold into dry with...
~1c blueberries

Fill muffin cups. Add spoon of lemon zest jam on top and swirl with a chopstick.
Bake at 375 from 20-25 mins.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sci Fri: Robotic Hands

The making of the Robiotic Hand was a two person project and neither one of those people was O or Baby C!
After tracing O's hand, we went to work with elastic, plastic straws and yarn to put together the tendons and bones!

Then we got to work trying out Robotics!
It was very tricky to figure out which tendons to pull on in order to get the fingers to bend.
Once we got the hang of things, we worked on some Sign Language!

Sign Language. Incorporating ASL is a great way to demonstrate the importance of our hands!

Five Little Monkey's. Whenever we get the chance to borrow or buy scholastic Storybook Treasure's, we're in. They are basically books on DVD. This one included ASL!

Teach Your Baby to Sign. Lovely illustrations and photographs of small children signing. Both O & Baby C will flip through this book on their own and search for signs they recognize.

American Sign Language Dictionary. This is one of the best signing books I've come across. It has illustrations and explanations of how the sign came to be understood.

Sing A Song. I learned a few simple signs and taught this to my former students. O & Baby C are learning it now and I catch them trying it on their own time!

You Are My Sunshine. Also a fantastic song to throw in a few signs. 

Lemonade. Baby C picked this one up immediately!

Yarn Painting

Combining some writing exercise with some art, we found an idea for Yarn Painting.
O interpreted the project in her own unique style with her initials.

The Letter C

But the truly intriguing part of this process was using white glue.
Baby C's level of concentration peaked when the glue dried on her fingers and she shed like a snake!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Clever Fox Storytelling

'How Wee Learn' instantly had me interested when I noticed a feature on Storytelling.
I was anxious to read the tale of the Clever Fox, until I discovered halfway through the article, the story is no longer posted publicly, but can be purchased for sale. Though I'm all for supporting artists, I wasn't interested in forking out $10 for a story, when I knew it would be more productive to come up with something in a combined effort.

After we made Foxy ( and strung together a pipe cleaner of patterned beads (hello math!), I asked O & Baby C to select three animals to take part on 'stage'.
Rabbit, deer and owl were cast, after some strong negotiations!

We positioned the actors in the Forest Diorama as the set.
Then I inquired about activities they might find the actors engaged in, when Foxy arrived.
"Rabbit is eating lettuce."
"Deer is playing checkers."
"Owl is writing letters."

Then we had to find ways that Foxy could get into a little mischief.
And lastly, alternatives to his mischievious behaviour.

After O & Baby C co-wrote the script, my only job was to string it along in a story!
We used the beads, as suggested in 'How Wee Learn', to walk Foxy through the reminder to "Stop and Think Think Think" before taking angry actions.
My audience was completely captivated as their plot came to life!

Unfortunately, I will not remember the story word-for-word tomorrow, (my guess is that my audience will correct me when necessary!)


Show Me A Story. One of my favourite purchases for the homeschool library. Emily Neuburger introduces 40 handwork activities to combine with story-telling. Paired with the book below, these are fantastic tools for capturing the art of story.

Tell Me A Story. True to Waldorf Education, this book separates stories by seasons. Storytellers have contributed their home-spun tales, making this a diverse read. Stories are short and can be combined with lessons, or introduced when families are struggling through an issue at hand. If you are nervous about ad-lib, this is a great starter.

Aesop's Fables. These have been on O's top ten since she was two. Animals come to life in these classical tales about morals. Illustrations in Charles Santore's version are lifelike!

Rainbow Felted Rocks

'Twig and Toadstool' have no lack of Waldorf goodies, particularly felt treats. These Rainbow Rocks are no exception.

Collect smooth river stones in several sizes then wash them well with soap and water.
Wrap with roving wool, squirt with liquid dish detergent and agitate to the point of felting, by rubbing and rolling in your palms.

Not only are they a pretty addition to a Nature Table, but a useful resource for size comparison and counting.

Calming Wool Felt Necklace

Garlands galore! These are a soft and simple way to spruce up a weary winter.
We used ours to make a Calming Necklace, by dousing it with Lavender oil,  inspired by these air fresheners.
You can also use them as fragrant dryer balls.

Roving Wool serves very well for winter activities; it's soft, warm and easy to work with.
The colour range available is just plain pretty!

There are several tutorials you can search for to make felt balls.
The basics are:
~ flattening a strip,
~drizzling with liquid soap and
~rolling gently into an orb

Once your orb tightens into a smaller ball, you can dunk in warm water and squeeze out the excess.
Basically, you are working to agitate the fibers to mesh together.
If you are good at ruining wool sweaters in the wash, this is the project for you!

You can intro an old washboard to further encourage agitation.
Once the balls are the size you like, allow them to dry.
Drip a few drops of your favourite essential oils and string into a bracelet or necklace.

Museum Trip.
Where does wool come from? What is involved in the process? Gets hands on with your materials and their sources.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Easy Weave

With a load of projects lined up using wool and felt, we decided to start with something simple; the Easy Weave.
All you need is a shape of cardboard and some scraps of yarn.
Cut some nicks around the cardboard edges for grasping your yarn strands.

We bunched our yarn strands into their own piles to prevent tangling!

Handiwork is the basis of Waldorf education.
There is great value in using your hands to create, but also to develop the motor skills necessary for hand-writing.
Loads of advanced projects can be found below!

Intro to Weaving.
Circle Weave.
Carboard Weave.
Clipboard Weave.
Matchbox Weave.
Hula Hoop Weave.
Stick Loom.
We have incorporated a giant version on this in our backyard art studio, from a find in the forest.
Wood Frame Weave. 
Homemade Looms.!&utm_campaign=20150704_m126450796_Summer+Fun+and+Outside+Play!&utm_term=Unique+Homemade+Weaving+Looms+for+Kids 
Children's Artwork.

Extra Yarn. Modern classics, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen team up for this sweet 'fairy tale' about a girl with a magic box of yarn and a penchant for making things!

Stringalongs. Auntie gifted us this instant DIY book that gets plenty of attention from busy fingers!

Daily Doodle: Willow

 At least once a year, we create Body Tracings.

We're always amazed at how tall our babies silhouettes turn out traced on paper.
Not to mention, the clever little additions drawn on by the body's owner!

Baby C decorated her nails with rainbow stickers and purple polish!

O adorned herself with head and neck jewels and designed a long sleeved dress!

We paired this artwork with a reading of 'Willow' the little girl who defies her art teachers instructions and creates from her minds eye.