3 Great Easter Crafts To Do In The Classroom or Home

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Easter is approaching quickly, so we are launching our first blog of our Easter series with this blog “3 Great Easter Crafts To Do In The Classroom Or Home”. This series will be packed full of craft ideas and Easter food ideas that you will be able to share with your child at home or all of your class at school. All the ideas in the series are inexpensive, creative and focus on fine motor skills.




In this first blog I share 3 Great Easter crafts that would be an engaging task for any child. They all use equipment that most people have in their homes or classrooms already so there is no need to wait. Each activity would also be a great present for a parent, grandparent, friend or relative.

Easter Egg Salt decorations

IMG_3063These colourful Easter egg decorations are a great activity for children of all ages. Using a basic dough recipe, you create egg shapes to be cooked in the oven. Once done, let the children use their creative juices to create some masterpieces. These dough Easter eggs should not be consumed and can only be used for decorative purposes.

 

What you need

1 cup of plain flour, Half a cup of water, Half a cup of salt, bowl, paint, straw, string/ribbon

Step 1

Mix the three ingredients together to create a dough. Roll out dough to about 2 cm in thickness.

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Step 2

Using an egg ring (or circle cookie cutter) to cut circles out of the dough. Shape the dough into an egg shape.

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Step 3

Using a straw cut a small hole on the top of each egg shape. Place on tray and cook on a low heat for 1-2hrs (120 degrees C or 250F)

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Step 4

When cooled, paint eggs with different patterns. When the paint is dry, threat ribbon or string through hole to hang up.

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Paper Plate Easter Egg Basket

IMG_3060These cute paper plate Easter Baskets are a great activity for children of all ages. For younger children, an adult’s help will be needed to tape the basket together. You could fill the basket with Easter eggs, pretend chicks or just leave it empty with shredded paper.

What you need

2 paper plates, sticky tape, shredded paper/cotton wool/tissues, ribbon, craft glue

Step 1

Prepare the paper plate. Cut on the 4 lines indicated and fold on the dotted lines.

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Step 2

Stick both of the sides up with sticky tape. Cut the handle out of the middle of the other paper plate.

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Step 3

Fasten the handle to the basket with tape. Use craft glue to attach the ribbon over the handle and around the basket. Fill with anything that you want.

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Carrot Footprint

Use this simple orange footprint or the child to create a carrot artwork. This could be used for an Easter card, canvas print or for inside a photo frame. A great idea for the younger children.

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I hope you have become inspired to try one of these at home or in your classroom. They are all easy, inexpensive and creative and will be an engaging task for any child. Next week I will continue this Easter series with another blog focusing on creative Easter ideas.

Part 2 of the Easter craft series can be found by clicking on the link below:

Easter ideas and crafts for the home and classroom - Part 2

 

Please remember to share this blog to spread the word about Creating A Learning Environment.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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5 Activities that take less than 5 minutes to set up

Today’s blog is all about activities that can be completed at home or in the preschool environment that are inexpensive and take less than 5 minutes to set up.

  1. Washing dolls clothes

394cebee56f601f934f28f6e465d0195Children love playing with bubbles. Why not combine this with some fine motor activities that aim to strengthen the smaller muscles in the child’s hand. Fill up a large tub with water. Use some dishwashing liquid for bubbles. Put all the dolls clothes in a washing basket, tie up some string for a clothes line and have some pegs handy. Children will manipulate the clothes and then have to use their strength to squeeze the excess water out. They will hang it on the string and use their pincer grip to attach a peg. Kids love water, mess and fun. This activity has all three elements. Make sure you keep an eye on them as water can pose a danger.




2. Building towers

0f0c2793e597ed284da8e933f784429aPut a variety of objects in a pile and tell your child to go and experiment building towers or whatever they want with the objects. The objects could include cardboard boxes, sponges cut up, tupperware containers or paddle pop sticks and play-dough. Children will learn about how structures work, patterns that you can use and using their small muscles in their hands to manipulate small objects. After they have made some towers, get them to try making a city, farm, airport or what ever their imagination can come up with.

3. Cardboard Box and washable texta

Toddler-Art-ActivityChildren love drawing, especially on themselves. This is a great one for them to experiment with using a tool to write with. A texta is a great tool as it is thicker than a pencil and helps children develop their small hand muscles. A box will be a success for you as it contains your young one and their mess. Make sure the texta is safe for children and is easy to wash off.

4. Matching lids and containers

090554357c8fd9bdeee3396dae944ae6Take all the lids off their containers and mix them up. Have your child try and work out how to put them all back together. You can do the same thing with small containers that have a screw top lid. Children love taking the lids on and off and matching the correct lid with the container. This activity would be targeted for a child over the age of 3 years. Screwing lids on and off can be a difficult skill at first but with practise they will master it.

 

5. Washing dishes

5eb364c1ceb51bac368140553dea7bd8Give the child some water, a scrubbing brush, sponge, some play plates, cutlery, cups, containers and chopping boards and let them make mess. Give them a tea towel to dry the dishes after they are washed.

 

 

 

As a mother, I know how important time is. These activities all take less than 5 minutes to set up but can give your child hours of fun while learning important concepts at the same time. Why not try one of these activities each day to see which one your child engages with the most.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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3 Great Stations for Preschoolers and Toddlers

Keeping children engaged in tasks for longer than 10 minutes, can seem like an impossible feat especially if the children are aged between 2 and 5 years old. In this latest blog I look at 3 great stations that parents and educators can set up that are inexpensive, quick and do not require a whole lot of thought.

These stations focus on pre literacy and numeracy concepts in a play setting. Children learn new concepts through investigation, trial and error and by just experimenting. I have used all 3 of these stations at my home with my 2 and 4 year old and they continue to love it each time I set it up. What a 2 year old will learn from the station will be different from what the 4 year old will learn. It is a perfect activity that allows a variety of age groups to work at the same task.




Station 1 : Water Pouring Station

imgres-3Children will learn about quantities (half full, empty, full, overflowing), the technique of pouring, how containers hold different amounts of liquids and how we can use tools, like funnels to assist in pouring liquids from one container to the next. As a parent or educator it is important for the child to lead this play. You can assist with asking them questions or guiding them to try different things. It is important for the adult to model great sentences when playing with the child in order for the child to build their own vocabulary and experiment by using these new words in their own sentences. For example - “I filled the container all the way to the top”, “This container holds more water than that container”

What you need for this station: A variety of containers (different shapes and sizes), measuring cups, water (can be coloured), medicine droppers, funnels.

Station 2 : Scooping Station

2cc03f6322933824f08c83451400b725This station continues developing the concept of space by using dry ingredients. Children will learn about the capacity of different containers and the technique of scooping. This station will also develop their sensory skills by incorporating a variety of dry ingredients that have different textures. As with the station above, allow the child to lead, but the adult can point out things to the child or simply play next to them so they can observe what the adult is doing.

What you need for this station: dry ingredients (rice, flour, dried peas/corn kernels, sugar, pasta, cereal, icing sugar, salt etc), variety of containers, different size scoops (washing powder scoop, measuring cup, measuring spoons)




Station 3 : Gardening Station

76af339b0226249c36f87c19f557a706This station is a very messy station but well worth it for a child’s development. You could give the child a variety of gardening tools, soil, seeds, pots, plants and vegetables to experiment with. This is a great time to share the lifecycle of a plant with your child. This station may even develop into a herb or vegetable garden. The possibilities are endless.

I hope these 3 stations have given you some inspiration to set up one in your classroom or home. Next week we will focus on another 3 stations that aim to foster pre literacy and pre numeracy skills. If you found this blog to be helpful please share to spread the word about the exciting things happening at CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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6 tips to help your child have a solid understanding of counting

Counting is an interesting concept that I find many people have a misunderstanding about. Counting may seem simple but it requires a high level of thinking in order to have a strong foundation of number.

Many parents come to me for advise when their child begins to struggle with Mathematics during school. It is important to gather data on what concepts the child is having difficulty with. Usually a child has formed a misunderstanding or has not gained an understanding about a particular Math concept. Counting is one concept that can cause children a lot of grief later in school if they do not have a strong understanding in this foundational concept.

So what should we as parents and educators be helping our children do when it comes to counting? Below is a list of 6 tips that parents and educators can use to ensure that their child is gaining a strong foundation in counting.

Tip 1: Importance Of Rote Counting

imagesRote counting, which means counting without equipment and any help is the first stage of building a strong foundation in learning to count properly. From the age of 2, children should be observing adults counting often through everyday life experiences. I know my 2 year old son hears me count to three many times in a day before he goes to timeout. Children will begin to emulate adults and start to count, even if it is their own version, mixing lots of the numbers up. Encourage your child to count with you while you are doing your fruit and vegetable shopping (count the potatoes as you put them in the bag) or going up or down stairs.

Once children are able to count to 20 by themselves, they have already succeeded in achieving the first stage in counting. It is hoped that by the time the child is 5 - 6 years old, they should achieve this stage. However there are some 3 year olds that would also be able to achieve this step. It is all about modelling and practice.




Tip 2: Number Mispronunciations 

imagesOnce children become confident with counting, they begin to count faster and numbers begin to sound joined together. If a child is not pronouncing their numbers correctly, it may cause misunderstandings in Mathematics later on. The most common mispronunciation is the “teen” and “decade” numbers.

Many younger children will sound like they are using decade numbers for the teen numbers.

eg 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 20, 21, 22

This may seem harmless but it can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. When asked questions like “What number is after 16?”, they will say 70. I try and reinforce the correct pronunciation with the idea of “angry numbers” and “Tea numbers”

I ask the child to show me an angry face and get them to realise what their mouth is doing. (Usually teeth together, mouth slightly apart and stretched). I tell them that this is what the mouth has to do for the angry numbers also known as teen numbers.

I then ask the child to show me how they can pretend to drink tea. (Usually a pincer grip, thumb and pointer finger together, and flicking the wrist). I get them to do this action for the decade numbers “ty” aka tea numbers. 30, 40, 50 etc.

This will help the child distinguish between both the decade and teen numbers. It is also important for us, as adults to pronounce our numbers correctly as children need to hear it, in order to say it.

Tip 3 - Counting forwards and Backwards

For some reason, many children are only exposed to counting forwards and not backwards. Both ways are essential for counting yet as educators and parents, we tend to favour forward counting and give our children little or no experience with counting backwards.

Counting backwards is important for a number of reasons. The most apparent is for the concept of subtraction. Children are more likely to be able to answer the question of what is one more of a particular number, then what is one less of that same number. To work out one less, they usually take one object away and then have to recount all the objects again.

To help your child, start with a particular number of toys on the floor, say 16 and get them to pack them away back in the container. Help them start with the number 16, as they put one away say 15 left, as they put another away say 14 left etc.

Practising to count backwards with make a huge impact on their understanding of how numbers work. Try not to count larger numbers, but instead opt for counting backwards. It will be tricky at first, but once they understand it, they will flourish.




Tip 4 - Use equipment

imgresIt is important for children to see objects in order to help them develop their one to one correspondence. This means that they can point to an object and say a number, then point to the next object and say the next number in sequence.

To develop one to one correspondence, children need to organise their equipment in a logical way. If a child does not know where to start I tend to guide them into putting them in a line or putting them in a pile and they can move the object across while counting.

Using board games is a great way to develop the concept of counting. With my four year old, I play trouble and snakes and ladders a lot. She is now able to move her players piece two and three places without even counting as she has a solid understanding of two and three.

It is essential to focus on small numbers for one to one correspondence for a long time. Once they are really confident with numbers under 10, they should be able to transfer this knowledge to all other numbers.

Tip 5 - Encourage faster ways of counting

images-1Counting by ones is only an efficient strategy for children if there are only a few objects. Help your child understand the idea of counting by twos and why we would count by twos. You could count pairs of socks, people’s legs and people’s eyes by two’s. Let them see a number line so they can visualise the idea of skipping a number.

Once your child has mastered counting by 2’s (both even and odd numbers), get them to count by 5’s and 10’s. Make sure you always start at a different number so they gain the understanding that counting by 5’s is saying every 5 numbers. Eg Counting by 5’s could be :13, 18, 23, 28, 33, 38

Tip 6 - Get rid of the number chart when they are learning to count

imgres-1Using a number chart can really confuse a child. I tell all the educators and parents I work with to get rid of the chart and replace it with a number line. Numbers need to be viewed as linear as they increase over time. A chart can confuse a child as you need to count row by row.

The number charts can make a return however, when the child is in Year 3. By then they understand the concept of how numbers work and will not be confused by how the chart is constructed.

I hope everyone has enjoyed this week’s blog and has learnt something new to take away and try with your child or class. Next Tuesday night we will be having an interactive Q and A on our facebook page for anyone seeking advise or answers about any educational concern they may have. Further information about this will be posted on our facebook page. Make sure you like our page to always receive the latest information from our website and blog.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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