Disaronno 

I’ve re-published this post after seeing the supermarket had lots of DISARONNO on the shelves yesterday. It’s obviously very popular around Christmas . It’s definitely a craft for adults . Rather fiddly and very messy but fun and it turned out really well. I used a flashing ‘litecube’ for the photographs but any type of LED light would work. .

For more fun but easier Crafts with string see my post:

Make string Baubles 

This link takes you to a video showing how to make string Baubles..


Below is a bowl made in the same way as the string Baubles using a balloon as a base. 

Advertisements

Fun shape Art and Maths activity

Young children are naturally creative and love drawing and painting and making things.

They will enjoy the activity shown in the video above and learn some new shape and size  vocabulary at the same time.,

Recognising shapes within objects  improves observational skills and is a good grounding for drawing and sketching.

Although designed for preschool aged children this activity can be adapted to suit any age depending on the chosen object.

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.

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.

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.

Learn and have Fun with Bubbles

img_8890

Bubbles are so much fun and kids love them. It’s incredible too how often we come into contact with bubbles during our every day lives without even thinking about it. Bread making, whipping up cream, whisking egg whites, fizzy drinks, washing etc etc.

We see them and use them so often that we take them for granted.

But to children , they are MAGIC!

There is so much to be learnt from bubbles but to kids it’s all just good fun. A perfect example of learning through Play.

The theme of one of my learning programmes for preschool children has a theme of Bubbles. If you haven’t watched it yet you can use the link below to view.

BUBBLES. Stories from Jumble House

If you are looking for some more activities on the ‘bubble ‘ theme then here they are! I’ve made short videos on most of the activities so just click on the links to view.

Why are bubbles different colours?
My kids loved this activity!
We half filled a bowl with water and added lots of soap to make masses of strong bubbles. Then we placed our hands under a pile of bubbles and walked around inside and out observing how the colours changed. Children will realise quickly what is happening but they won’t probably know the term ‘reflecting ‘ so this is a good  opportunity to introduce and explain.

Are bubbles always round?



No matter how you try the bubbles you blow will always be round because they are free. There is nothing pushing on them. But, look at the shape of the bubbles on a bubble print. There lots of bubbles are squashed together and so push each other into all kinds of shapes.  Can you make a square bubble?  With a bit of an effort yes!  Learn how on the link below: 

Can you make a square bubble?

Where else do you find bubbles?
Play a game, ‘Spot the Bubbles ‘ . It can last a whole week!
There are bubbles everywhere!

Make some bread.  Yeast produces bubbles when it is given warmth, sugar and liquid. Make some bread using fresh yeast then they can appreciate the process.
Click on the link below the photo to watch how to make delicious ‘ Yummy Srummy Good for my Tummy Bread’!!


Make Bread with Maisie Jumble

Bubbles on the surface of a pond or lake.

Ask questions later like: ‘where do you think they come from?  ‘what is in the water that produces these bubbles? ‘

Click on this link to find out more:  What’s making the bubbles?

Some foods have bubbles.   Just look at a block of Aero chocolate!

Bread. Chocolate Mousse  You can make a fun bubbly jelly too.

So how do we get the air into the liquid?
Here are some good ways to demonstrate this:
Whipping   (cream and egg whites)
Blowing
Steam-like for Cappuccino.
Using a milk frother – .These little milk frothers are really good and providing the milk isn’t too hot Children can make themselves a frothy milk drink.

Bubbles, air and frothy milk 


Early Learning
Of course, while your little ones are discovering bubbles they will also be learning basic scientific and mathematical concepts like temperature, weighing and measuring, density AND accumulating lots of new words.

Letter recognition and pre-reading skills


Young  children are so ‘open’ to learning. They are creative, inquisitive and just love learning new things.  In the preschool days their learning is at a level they will never experience again as is their enthusiasm to learn. They are learning new concepts with every turn of their heads, to them learning  is play and learning through play is fun not just for them but for parents too.

There’s no need to buy expensive equipment. No need to enlist them in special playgroups.

Just a small amount of time spent making a few resources and playing together is sufficient. They will learn so much and will be content to play on their own afterwards.

Letter recognition is an important pre-reading skill and one that can be acquired through play. There are so many fun activities to help with this. The old traditional game ‘I Spy with my Little Eye’  remains one of the best and requires no preparation or resources. It is great on shopping trips and journeys and children love it!  With very young children beginning to learn sounds it is best to say ‘ ……something beginning with the sound ‘a’ or ‘d’ rather than the letter name.

The way the sound is said is very important. We tend to add an ‘rrr’ to our letter sounds which makes for confused soekking later. You know what I mean? We should say b.b.b.bor. baby but it sort of comes out like bur.bur.for baby! Cur.cur.cur for cat! Etc.. it’s a good idea to visit a good phonic site where you can practice the correct sounds. Here is one I recommend: 

Sound pronunciation

When my eldest was two I decorated the walls of her bedroom in lower case letters in pastel colours of paint.  I don’t remember how this started but I do remember that her bedtime routine, in addition to a story, was to recite the letters painted on the walls.  She refused to go to sleep till this had been done!  We started with just three letters and when she knew these a new one was added. I guess it’s not everyone’s idea of good decor although it did look pretty and was cheap.and easy too!
Other less permanent ways of learning letter sounds and names are explained on my video which you can find by following the link below:

Letter Recognition Activities
I really hope you find the video useful.
Please take a look at the others in the same playlist.  They are all for parents of young  children.

Your children may enjoy the art and craft and science programmes. Everything is free.

Thanks for taking the time for reading this.

Judi Brereton.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: