15 Halloween Craft activities to help your child develop fine motor skills

Halloween is coming up this weekend, so why not get into the spirit of it by completing some craft activities with your child based on this theme.

Craft activities help children develop so many different skills, in particular their fine motor skills. Each of the 15 craft activities listed below will help your child develop their fine motor skills in an enjoyable way.

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills are small movements that are achieved by using the smaller muscles in the hands. Some of these skills include cutting, doing up buttons and handwriting. Highly developed fine motor skills will influence the speed and accuracy of the task performance.

15 Halloween Craft activities

1. Spider head band

spiderheadband

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Scary Jars

scaryjars

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Witch’s hair

witch's hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Paper Plate Pumpkin

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5. Cotton Bud Skeleton

cottontip-skeleton

 

 

 

 

 

6. Spiders Web

spiders web

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Hand print Witch

handprintwitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Apple Pumpkin Stamping

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9. Paper plate Black cat

blackcat

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Witch’s Hat food

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11. Scary Tree

tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Pumpkin Lantern

pumpkin lantern

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Mason Mummy jars with tea lights

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14. Glow stick eyes

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15. Paper mache bowls

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Why not try one of these with your child. Happy Halloween Everyone.

Until Next time …

Kelly Pisani

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10 Ways To Help Your Child With Math

The teaching of Mathematics has changed significantly over the past 20 years. No longer are we focusing on ensuring children learn processes but ensuring that children understand concepts and have a variety of strategies to solve mathematical problems.

FDPpuzzlesIt can be quite difficult for parents during Math homework time as the problem solving methods that they were taught are very different to how their children are being taught.

Below is a list of 10 ideas that parents can use to help teach Mathematics to their child.




1. Always have maths equipment at home that is easily accessible

CountingChildren need to participate in real world mathematics. This means Mathematics is part of every day life and children need to engage with it in order to be a successful person in our society. It is important to have rulers, scales, measuring cups, tape measures and calculators at home to enable children to use them when they need it. Children need to see adults and help adults when using mathematical equipment as well. This could include, helping to cook by measuring ingredients or helping to use a measuring tape to see how long something is in the home.

2. Use Mathematical Language in your everyday conversation. 

imgres-5It is very easy to fall into the trap of using the same words to describe many things. A classic example of this is the word “big”. Using big to describe the height of something or the length of something or the weight of something or the volume of something does not give the child enough exposure to mathematical language. Adults could use words like “tall” or “high” to describe height, “long” or “short” to describe length and “heavy” or “light” to describe weight. It is important that we use to the correct language to help our children form the right understandings about these mathematical concepts.

3. Give your child time to answer a question

searchAs parents and educators, our main role in educating our children is to facilitate learning not to determine what a child will learn and how a child should learn. Children need time to process questions and process what they need to do in order to solve a task. They need to go through a few steps (even though it may not be the most efficient strategy) it is important to give them time. If we always rush in to “help”, the child will always come to expect this and not try to use any strategies that they do have. If your child comes to you with a question, try and think of another question to ask them that will guide them to the answer. For example, if a child asks you what is 33 + 99, you could ask them if they know what 99 is close to. Then encourage them to go back and think about that and see if they can come up with anything.




4. Always ask how they got to an answer

images-1We may be elated to see that a child has solved a question correctly but getting the correct answer does not really give the teacher or parent much information about their mathematical thinking around a particular concept. We must always ask the child to explain how they solved it. If they can explain their strategy and tell you why they did it, it will prove that they have a very solid understanding about that concept. For example if the student solved the above addition task by saying 132 it shows that they have an understanding of addition. But what level of understanding do they have? Asking them to explain how they got to their answer will shed more light onto this. For example if they said “I drew 99 lines and added another 33 lines and then counted them all”, this shows a very low level strategy to solve an addition problem. If they said “I added 9 and 3 and that was 12, then I put the 2 down and put the 1 near the 9 and then added 9, 1 and 3 which was 13. I then wrote 13 next to the 2 which gave me 132.”, it shows that they have learnt the process of pen and paper trading, but they do not have a good understanding of why they are doing this process. If they said “99 is close to 100 so I just added 100 and 32, because I took away 1 from 33 so I could make it 100”, this shows a very high level strategy that is efficient and shows a solid foundation. Yes they all got it correct but their problem solving strategies explain a lot about the child’s level of understanding.

5. Worksheets

imgres-3Thinking about the information above, it is obvious why worksheets (drill and practice) do not help a child understand a concept. Worksheets and mathematical text books are all about practising processes over and over again until it becomes second nature. Worksheets do not allow conversation about how they solved a problem as it is very limiting and its whole purpose is to teach a process strategy not the concept. It is far better asking a child to record as many number problems that would equal to 20 as they can. This open ended task invites the child to show what they know and areas that they need further development. This question could be asked at children of all ages as the depth of answers should increase with the age of a child. For example it would be expected that children in Year 6 could use fractions, decimals, basic algebra, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction and squared numbers in their answers.

6. The Number Triad

searchIt is important for children to have a strong number sense as this is essential for all areas of Mathematics. Children need to be able to understand the three parts of a number, also known as the number triad. They need to know what the number looks like (symbol), how to read the number (words) and be able to make that number (quantity). As parents and educators, we can expose them to lots of numbers in the environment eg number plates, house numbers and speed limit signs, we can ask them to read numbers that we come across eg read a telephone number that you need to type into a phone and we can constantly ask them to make a number with a collection eg ask them to get you 14 potatoes for a potato salad you are making. All three areas of a number need to be developed to have a strong number sense.

7. Ask the teacher

teacher-meeting-467x267[1]If you are struggling to work out the best way to help your child in a particular area for Mathematics just ask their teacher. Most teachers are more than happy to help by running mini maths lessons for parents to help them understand the way Mathematics is taught in the 21st century classroom.

8. The relationship between Literacy and Numeracy

imgresMost children struggle in Mathematics due to the language of Mathematics. They may not be familiar with particular terms so it necessary to ensure that a child is comprehending the words in a maths task just as much as the mathematical concept behind it. If a Mathematics question is asking a student to find the second least favourite food in a survey, they need to have a good understanding of the words “second” and “least” before they can even attempt to answer the problem.

9. Compare things

imgres-1Encourage your child to compare the size, shape or orientation of objects. Get them to order items from largest to smallest or lightest to heaviest. This should be done during their play. For example, if they are playing with containers in water get them to try and order the containers from the container that holds the most water (largest volume) to the container that holds the least (smallest volume)




10. Develop all areas of Mathematics

imgres-2It is easy to just develop the Number concepts such as Place Value, Fractions, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. Equal time needs to be placed on other areas of Mathematics like Measurement (length, area, volume/capacity, mass, time), Data (surveys, graphs, charts) and Space and Geometry (3D, 2D, Position). All these areas need to be developed in context. It needs to mean something to the child in order for them to learn and understand it.

I hope these 10 ideas have given you something to think about.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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10 Ways To Help Your Child Learn To Read

Reading is a skill that is developed over time. As parents and educators we are always looking for simple ways to help children learn this important skill while doing everyday activities.

The first thing I want to inform all parents is “TO PUT DOWN THOSE FLASH CARDS” Flash cards have no context. This means that the words are just said with no meaning behind it. Reading is about understanding language and knowing how language is put together. Flash cards do not teach either of these.

That said, it is important for children to learn simple sight words to help them read. These words are learnt best in a context (ie in a text). You can play many games with sight words to make it more interesting and engaging for your child.

If you want your child to have a deep understanding about learning to read, follow my 10 easy steps and your child will be well on their way.




1. Let your child see you reading

imgresChildren at a young age learn more through actions than words. Seeing an adult read is very powerful as children will realise the importance of reading to survive in our world.

 

2. Visit your library

imgres-1Let your child choose a book and read it together. Show them that reading is a wonderful skill to have that can open up many worlds to them. Show them books that you liked as a child and tell them why you liked them.

 




3. Enjoy reading with your child.

imgres-2Reading is part of many bedtime routines in households everywhere. Often due to this routine, reading is only viewed as an activity before bed by many children. It is important to grab a book at any time of the day and have fun reading it with your child. Laugh at humorous moments or change your voice for different characters.

4. Find rhyming words together

imgres-4Rhyming is very important when learning to read. It helps a child hear different sounds and consequently be able to write different words. Point out rhyming words when you have a conversation if any come up. Find rhyming words in texts you read together.

5. Play appropriate word and reading games with technology

imgres-5Children love using technology so why not find some educational games to play with your child that will help them learn about reading at the same time.

 




6. Set aside a place for reading

imgres-3It is lovely to have a comfortable spot in your house allocated to reading stories. It might be in a corner or on a big armchair. This makes the experience of reading more special for your child.

 

7. Pointing out words that begin with a certain letter

imgres-6Playing “I spy” or asking your child to point out pictures in a text that begin with a certain sound will help focus your child’s knowledge about phonics.

 

8. Ask children questions about the text they read

imgres-7Asking questions before, during and after reading a text is very important for children to build their knowledge about comprehension strategies. Asking questions like “What do you think will happen next?”, “What was your favourite part of the story and why was it your favourite?” and “Why did the character make that choice” will deepen their understanding about the text.

9. Read out loud to your child

imgres-8Children need to hear good phrasing and fluency when reading. All children under 12 years old benefit from hearing adults read.

 

10. Finding common words

imagesWhen you have finished reading a text, turn back to a few pages and ask them to point out some words for you.

 

If you endeavour to do some or all of these ideas, it will significantly increase your child’s success at learning to read. Children need to understand the importance and purpose of reading in our world before they can begin to do it themselves.

I hope you were able to take something away with you from this blog. Maybe you have a small child at home or a child who is about to start school next year that would benefit from some of these ideas.

Stay tuned to Creating A Learning Environment for the weekly blogs. Next week the blog will be dedicated to 10 ways to help your child with Math.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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