Make a Snowman Lamp

This is a ‘sharing’ activity. I suggest you watch the video with your child then make the Lamp together. A glass jar is used and so care and supervision is essential. Children learn so much by sharing an activity. As you are making this together you will talk and ask and answer questions introducing new vocabulary. Memory will be improved as will their organisational skills and ordering and fine motor skills. Children will learn how to use different glues, about cutting and sticking, about safety., about making mistakes and trying again.

Very small children will be able to stick blobs of cotton wool onto the ball to make the head and will enjoy placing the eyes and buttons in 0lace.

What you need:

A glass jam jar.

Some cotton wool or stuffing from inside a pillow.

For the head: I used a string bauble I had left over from last year but a plastic ball would work fine.

For the hat: – Sticky backed foam sheet in black and a glittery colour (I used red) you can manage with black card and ribbon

White glue plus a stronger glue for the eyes and the hat if you are using card.

Eyes.

A scarf. I used the glittery red foam but you could use ribbon or a thin strip of fabric.

An LED light . I used a LITE cube.

A tip:

Only use a thin layer of cotton wool on the body so the light shines through.

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Painting with Glue


This is fun for any age and the process can be adapted in so many ways for different effects. It is very versatile and even completely unplanned and random application of the glue by very young children, results in really great abstract pieces of art. (See below).


The best surface to use is a canvas board but very hard card works well too.

For small children use a small plastic container of glue which they can squeeze easily.

In the video I used a cheap set of paints produced for children.

Better results will be achieved with watercolour and acrylic paints give a stronger colour.

Glue can be applied to a white board or the board can be painted first and you can use as many layers of glue as you like.

Watch the video below:
PAINTING WITH GLUE 


For more Art and Craft ideas and learning videos see my channel:  http://tinyurl.com/funjumbles

Fine Motor Skills 

What are Fine Motor Skills ? 

The term Fine Motor Skills refers to the use and control of all the small movements we do with our hands and fingers (and feet and toes). A new baby has very little control of its hands and fingers but by about five or six months it is able to grasp an object with its whole hand.  At twelve months it will be able to pick up small objects using its thumb and index finger. This is the stage when babies repeatedly  ‘practice’ (often to our annoyance!) picking things up and dropping them. By the age of four most children can use a crayon, stack shapes, turn over pages and cut with scissors.

All these actions require the use of muscles in our hands and fingers.  Generally speaking the stronger the muscles the better are our fine motor skills and as our motor skills develop so does our hand and eye coordination.

In the Kitchen 
There are lots of activities which help to strengthen the muscles of the hand and fingers and also help with coordination and some of the easiest and most fun happen in the kitchen. Children love helping to cook and bake and it is a great way for them to strengthen their hand muscles in addition to absorbing many basic mathematical and scientific concepts.

If you think of all the different ways we use our hands when preparing food. Whisking cream, kneading dough, stirring soup, rolling pastry, spreading butter. The list is endless.

Even picking up small pieces of food involves fine motor skills and the more practice toddlers have the stronger their muscles will become. But we do need to ensure that we demonstrate the correct ‘tripod’ grip. Once children get into a habit of picking things up the wrong way, for example in the fist, it is difficult to correct. 


There are some very ‘fun’ activities involving food. 


Why not make mini fruit and veg or cheese kebabs using straws. The fruit needs to be firm rather than over ripe. Pears, firm bananas and kiwi, apple, Melon and avocado work well and half grapes or cherries or tomatoes can be used as the end pieces. 


Even placing pieces of bread of toast on a plate of scrambled egg to make a fun face is great practice and improves hand-eye coordination.


Playdough is a great medium for strengthening little muscles and for hand-eye coordination.

Practice the tripod grip when pulling pieces apart .


Exercise other muscles by squeezing and rolling and pressing.


One activity I’ve found very popular is illustrated here.  Different types of lines and circles are drawn on sheets of clear plastic. An assortment of wavy and straight lines, long and short lines plus different sizes of circles can also be incorporated into a design or simple picture.

Then pieces of playdough can be made into the correct shape and size to fit over the lines and dots.

Threading beads, pasta, rubber washers infact anything that has a hole and is safe is great fun. I like to have a lidded plastic box full of pasta tubes, beads, washers, together with plastic cord, coloured string, straws and pipe cleaners.


Children will happily play with this assortment oblivious to the fact that they are not only practising fine motor skills and improving hand-eye coordination but are also developing their creativity and learning about texture, colour and even basic number concepts! Not to mention absorbing lots of new vocabulary.

Understanding Numbers

It’s very common to hear young children counting. They count up and down steps. They count cars passing. They count the number of people sat round the table. But do they really understand what numbers are?  It’s unlikely because basic number concepts and number conservation are not easy to acquire and so it’s important to start early.

How can we help?

Children learn best through play so letting them play around with a few counters or bricks is a good start. Begin with one number. Have it as the ‘number of the week’ . Place visual prompts around the house. Magnets on the fridge. Mats on the tables. Toys etc.

For example if its number 3.

  • Have 3 magnets on the fridge. Encourage your child to change the pattern. This will help them to develop an understanding of the number. To realise that three magnets remain three no matter what pattern they make.
  • Set the table for a tea party with three place settings. Help them to put out three spoons, three plates etc.
  • Make ‘cakes’ from playdough and give each toy three cakes.
  • It’s fun to make your own board games. They don’t need to be elaborate or fancy!  For very  small children I like to make them without numbers. (See the video).  Children love ‘action’ games so a board game where actions have to be performed is great fun.  Keep the numbers on the dice low. Maybe just 1 2 and 3.  When the dice is thrown then the counter is moved that number of places and the action shown on the square is performed the same number of times.  So, for example, if you throw 3 you move 3 squares and if the square indicates to clap hands then you clap hands 3 times!
  • Going out on a number hunt is fun. It can also be very useful for parents when they have to do something boring as it keeps the child’s attention!  Numbers are everywhere. On clocks, car number plates, doors, signs. Spotting the number of the week on such an excursion is a great way to reinforce number recognition.
  • Shopping is good for practicing real life maths.   Children can be asked to put a certain number of  items into the shopping trolley. This activity will also keep them from getting bored and cranky!

Don’t pay out lots of money on number resources. Very effective ones can be made at home using resources you already have in the house. Let the children help to make them and encourage them to come up with suggestions for new ones.

The Bouncy Egg

A fun, simple and effective investigation with eggs.

All you need is two eggs, cider or white wine vinegar and two clear containers.

The experiment needs to be left for 18 to 24 hours.

All my programmes are designed to motivate children to ask questions, to predict, to reason.

This video is in two parts. The first explains how to set up the experiment and asks children to predict WHAT they think will happen to the eggs. Then they do the experiment and try to think WHY it happened.

The second part is the explanation put very simply. I suggest you stop the video between the two parts.

Adult supervision is required

Click on this link to watch the video

Balloon Drum

Easy and fun.

Bought musical instruments for young children are very colourful and adaptable but you can’t beat helping your child to make a musical instrument and a good first one is a drum.

I made this one it’s my little granddaughter from a burst balloon and a coffee mug but an empty canister would do just a# well. She played with it for ages. We tried out different drumsticks, wooden spoon, metal spoon, chopstick, paintbrush and achieved very different sounds. Then I clapped out simple rhythm patterns and she tried to copy.

Then all the toys arrived and had a go! It was great fun and that’s where learning starts , with play.

Hands! New Sunday Challenge

Hands may look boring but just look what you can make with them!

With a little practice, young children given a chunky pencil, felt tip or crayon can draw around their hand. They will find it even easier to draw round yours.

The outlines can then be coloured or patterned and cut out to,make collages or funny people, creatures, trees or flowers. There’s no end to the creativity.

Older children can be challenged to find a different way to texture each of the fingers.

Progress from drawing round a normal hand-spread to moving some of the fingers to suggest dogs, rabbits etc. Just like when you use your hands to make shadows on the wall.

This is a fun family activity which can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities.

It improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills and creative thinking.

Fun with Autumn Leaves

There are SO many things you can do with Autumn leaves!

First go our and ENJOY them. Let the kids have fun crushing them under foot, jumping in the. Throwing them in the air. Watch. Listen. It’s a fun way to learn so many new words. How do they feel? Which words describe the sounds they make? How many colours can you see?

Then collect and press some in old magazines .

Then they can be used to make spoon people or table decorations or collages or beautiful lamps.

Preparation 

It’s a good idea to take an old book out with you when you go collecting because fallen leaves curl up very quickly. If you take a book then you can slip the leaves between the pages.  Then, on returning home, the book can be placed under something heavy or between other books on the bookshelf until you are ready the use the leaves.

On today’s programme (click on the link below) you will see how to make models and pictures and a lantern but there are lots more things you can do and there will be more ideas in our next programme. The programme is designed to inspire and motivate young children and is introduced by the JUMBLES puppets. Watch it together and then …have fun!

                        Click here for the AUTUMN LEAVESg programme


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