Saturday, November 11, 2017

Make and Play: Taking Learning Home

I am so impressed with the math skills my 3 year old is learning thanks to the help of Mother Goose Time.  Last year, when Sweet Pea was 2, we usually skipped out on the Make and Play crafts that were in our unit kit.  This year though, we are not skipping them!
Here's why:

  1. The Make and Play's can be great games to take home and reinforce math! 

Last week, Sweet Pea decorated all 12 mushroom caps, and I hot glued them to cut pieces of thick straw.  We then stuck all 12 mushrooms in play dough and drew cards numbered 1-10 to subtract that many mushrooms from our patch, each time asking,
"How many are left in the patch?

You could easily turn this into an addition game by starting with an empty patch of play dough, drawing a card (ie. 3), placing that many mushrooms, drawing another card (ie. 5), and placing that many mushrooms.  Then have your little one count and see that 3+5=8.

Here's a little video of this in action:

What a fun game to play at home with the family!

2.  The Make and Play's become puppets to use in other lessons.

Our first lesson in our Rainforest unit was on Jaguars.  During our Make and Play, Sweet Pea turned the letter J into a Jaguar. which you can see below.  When she finished, I just hung it up in her playroom, but it became a puppet in our monkey lesson 5 days later...


In our monkey lesson, I sang a rhyme provided by MGT and the Jaguar would scare Monkeys off the vine or tree.  Sweet Pea loved this game and was really into using her Jaguar to scare the Monkeys.  

Here's a little clip of it in action:

3. Make and Play's can become toys to help explain concepts learned during the day.

If you missed our Leafcutter Ant day, be sure to read about it here.
On that day, we made a Make and Play Leafcutter Ant from an egg carton.  The paint was still wet, so the other day, Sweet Pea finished creating her ant.  She played with it throughout the morning making it carry leaves to build a nest.  Explaining leafcutter ants is a tough concept for preschoolers, but by being able to use a toy, parents can easily see what little ones are trying to tell them.

Make and Play's are not just crafts, but great ways to take the learning home!
So before you trash that craft project that was brought home, be sure to ask and talk to your preschooler about it and see how you can use it at home.

When kids see that the home and school are incorporated, it becomes understood that learning happens all the time- everywhere.

Have fun Making and Playing!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Becoming a Leafcutter Ant

Everyday her imagination grows.
About 3 days a week, Sweet Pea has "Quiet Time" instead of nap time, which has helped her mind grow so much in terms of imagination and learning how to play by herself.
I think having this Quiet Time has helped her in being able to role play more often, which is exactly what happened this afternoon as we pretended to be Leafcutter Ants from our Rainforest unit with Mother Goose Time.

Since it's just me and my girl, we don't do the Community Challenge without some modification. 
Today, it was me, a 34 week pregnant momma, crawling on the floor with my girl pretending to be a Leafcutter Ant.  My back is now paying the price, but it was totally worth it for the memories. <3
I let her be the leader and we discussed how ants usually travel in a line.  We took some of our leaves we used from last month's weather unit and crawl to a designated spot to build our nest.  
When I took a much needed break, my girl continued to be a Leafcutter Ant and I caught her on video:

She absolutely LOVED pretending to be a Leafcutter Ant!
We started our day with this role playing game, and she ended her day playing this game with Daddy.

After taking a much needed break (for momma), she began our Make and Play craft: creating an ant.
However, we still are waiting for the paint to dry to finish making him. 
Then she can make her new toy role play moving leaves from one place to the other!  
She's going to love it!

While the paint dried, we made some fingerprint ants on the cover of her My Little Journal. 
The fingerprint is the body, then a circle is drawn for the head and 2 lines for the antenna.
I love her drawings.


Time to be Leafcutter ants again!
This time I encouraged her to bring her leaves to the lightbox to make her nest.
Once she finished that, we dug out some ants from our bin of manipulatives from Mother Goose Time and played with them and the leaves.

I recently became an Usborne consultant, and purchased the shine-a-light book, 
It is the absolute most PERFECT book to go along with this unit from Mother Goose Time.
We found the page about Leafcutter ants and counted them using our flashlight.

Time to be Leafcutter ants again!
Daddy came home and the first thing out of Sweet Pea's mouth was:
"Hi Daddy! Wanna play leafcutter ant game with me?"
How could he resist?

They built their nest underneath the coffee table.
She's the leader again, naturally.
I love when he gets to participate in the learning adventure with us.

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