Why? Why are there more yellow flowers?

WHY? My daughter once asked me why there were more yellow flowers than white. To be honest I’d never even noticed! But, yes, she was right. When I looked around there were more yellow flowers. Why? I hadn’t a clue so I threw back the question! “I don’t know. Why do you think it is?” Young children are SO much better than us at answering their own difficult questions! Back came the answer, ‘Maybe it’s because the bees prefer yellow flowers?’ A pretty good hypothesis to start with. So from there we got into a conversation about what the bees were doing on the flowers and was it just bees or did other insects visit flowers and why? Then of course came an even more difficult question! “But how can we find out?” Well, by then it was getting rather near to tea time and my mind wasn’t really on bees and flowers. But daughter being very persistent would not let it go! To cut a long story short she decided to test out her colour theory by placing clear plastic dishes with a sugar solution on a selection of different coloured card. Then I got on with making the tea while she sat there like a statue counting how many insects visited the different coloured ‘flowers’! The result? Was her prediction correct? Try it and see!

Hands!

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

Link to video with activities

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.

Story Writing

I recently ran a series of story writing workshops for children between the ages of seven and ten.

The challenge I set was to design a series of characters around fruit and vegetables and to use these characters in a short story that a very young child (aged about two or three) would enjoy.

The first workshop centred on looking at picture books designed for younger children. We disused the language, the use of rhyme and repetition and the use of illustrations to help tell the story.

During the second workshop the children drew and described their characters using pencil crayons.

The third workshop was about writing an introduction.

The fourth and fifth workshop covered the development of the plot.

The sixth workshop was about writing a good conclusion.

The seventh workshop concentrated on illustration.

During the eighth and ninth workshop we published our stories using the ‘Book Creator’ app.

The tenth and last workshop gave everyone the opportunity to share their story to the rest of the group.

In order to guide the children through the whole story writing and illustrating process I followed the challenge myself and during the ten week period wrote five stories myself about the little folk who lived on ‘ Five a Day Hill’

The illustrations of all five books are in Pencil Crayon as this was the medium used by the children during the workshops. It is also the medium available in most homes. One of the books also uses digital images created using free apps easily manipulated by seven year olds.

You can listen to the narrated story of PEDRO PEAR using the link below. I chose this story because it was and still is, one of my granddaughter Maia’s favourite. (Aged three).

She loves joining in with the many repetitions especially the ‘BOO’ and ‘YIKES’!!

LINK TO THE NARRATED STORY OF PEDRO PEAR

Fun with Ice

Young children are fascinated with ice and will enjoy and learn from this simple activity. It’s a great opportunity to introduce some new vocabulary.   Older children will be fascinated in simply experimenting with a solid block of ice but for twos and threes there is more incentive if you freeze lots of little objects in the ice. Choose a variety. Ones that float and ones that sink. Even little chocolate eggs wrapped in foil work well. This extends the learning.

Freeze the water. Gather together some small containers and fill with salt, food colouring and water and tiny scoops and dropper or syringe. 

When you are ready turn out the ice onto a large tray. Have ready kitchen paper and cloths and protective clothing! 

Of course as soon as small children spot the objects they will want to get them out. Especially the chocolate eggs!  But it’s surprising how long ice takes to melt and young children get bored very quickly! 

That’s where the salt comes in. If salt is sprinkled on followed by food colouring then they will be able to watch while the salt carves out little rivulets in the ice.  It’s a good opportunity to talk about salt and how we sprinkle it on ice paths in the winter.  If you use liquid watercolours in place of food colouring then the variety of colours is extended and you also have a lesson in colour mixing. 

When the fascination wears off they can resort to dripping first cold water and then warm water over the ice. Again lots of opportunities for learning.  

The most important thing is that do everything themselves. Dripping on the colour, sprinkling on the salt. Don’t dictate what they should do,rather ask open ended questions. Questions that motivate. Questions that challenge. You can hide the water until they have experimented with the salt and colours! 

 It may look like a disorganised mess but they ARE learning by playing and observing. Try again in six months and you will see that they tackle the activity differently.  

Floating Eggs

What? Why? How? 

Children need to e challenged not spoon-fed with facts! 

They need to question. To predict. To investigate. This is the first of a series of challenges for children. They are suitable for children from about four years upwards.  Children learn by ‘doing’ and all the challenges are simple enough for them to perform themselves with adult supervision. 

This first challenge is all about floating and density. 

The first video shows the challenge. 

The second video repeats the investigation and then answers the questions. 

My suggestion is that you watch the first video then perform the challenge asking the questions 

Later the second video giving the solutions can be watched.

Sunday Challenge. What can you make from …….? 

Last week’s challenge was to imagine what it would be like to be very tiny. 

So tiny that you could live in a hole in a tree or crawl into a snail shell. 

See the link below for some ideas of how the Jumbles tackled this challenge. 

Today’s Sunday Challenge