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Outdoor Classroom Day

kids hats online

Outdoor Classroom Day

Everyone knows how important being outside for our health is, but did you know the impact of taking classes outside?

Outdoor Classroom Day is today and it’s all about getting the kids outside to expand their learning opportunities.  From getting closer to the environment and filling their senses with spring to enjoying any lesson outside as a class under a tree.  Being outside every day is important for our mental health and well being and for movement, vitamin D and more.

If you’re enjoying Outdoor Classroom Day today, don’t forget to pack the hats and jackets so the kids are ready for any weather Mother Nature throws at them.

Happy Outdoor Classroom Day!

Natalie

 

Make Your Own Fidget Spinner

Fidget spinners are the latest craze and I’m sure, like me,  you have endured the never-ending requests from the kids to buy one.  I was almost sucked in last week but must admit I’m over these crazes which cost money and never make a comeback.  I know I’m getting old when I start to tell my kids that crazes in my day used to make a comeback every year so you just tucked it back in the cupboard until it was time for the relaunch.  Yo-yo’s, elastics, jacks, marbles and swap cards were what I remember seeing every year of my childhood.

Master 9 loves Lego so when I told him I’d found instructions on how to make your own LEGO fidget spinner he couldn’t wait to get to work.  Unlucky for him I think our vacuum had acquired some of the parts he needed but that just meant he had to come up with his own.  After about 5 minutes he emerged with his very own fidget spinner and got to work starting on a fidget cube.

LEGO Fidget Spinner

Make Your Own Fidget Spinner

If you would like the official LEGO instructions you can download them here.  Otherwise, show the kids the pictures and let them come up with their own spin of a fidget spinner.  Fidget spinners assist some kids who need help regulating their senses and emotions and fidget toys also restore calm and focus for kids who are overwhelmed in their learning environment.  LEGO is another great tool to assist with that so why not build one out of LEGO and have a discussion with the kids about why some kids and people find fidget toys a help in their life.

Happy Creating!

Natalie

 

Cool Online Activities for the Holidays

Cool Online Activities for the Holidays

Cool Online Activities for the Holidays

The Christmas tree is packed away and the holidays are in full swing.  We’ve enjoyed staying home and catching up with friends and family but when I go back to work I a little plan to for the kids to keep their brains in school mode.

I recently discovered a great online educational resource at ABC Splash.  They have digibooks, games and activities for every age group based on school subjects.

Master 8 loves his games so I’m going to be setting him up with some Coding activities.  Miss 10 loves literacy, maths and fashion so I think I will set her up with Fashion Design, Maybe she will make a new product to add to our School Uniforms Online?  So while I work away the kids can keep their brains ready for Back to School without any of the moaning because it’s fun.

How are you going with the holidays and what activities have you got planned for the kids?

Natalie

 

Handpainted Library Bags

Schools, clubs, and teams are always fundraising to support the kids involved.  From Fairs to selling chocolates or manning a BBQ at your local store there is always something going on.  The kids helped me make these fun library bags for Christmas gifts last year but they would be a fantastic fundraising idea.  You could either have it as an activity and run a workshop for the children who want to join in or just paint them and sell them at your fair.  Either way, they are a great looking bag for library books, park visits or shopping.  If you’d like to try something different then give this activity a try.

Library Bags

Handpainted Library Bags

What you need;

How to create:

  1. Wash and iron the calico bags to help the paint stick to the fabric.
  2. You can use a pencil to outline a design or the kids can freehand a design.
  3. If you are using a stencil, lightly spray the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and position onto the bag, then smooth over with your hands.
  4. Set out all of your equipment and get the kids busy with the painting.
  5. Allow for the paint to dry and then iron over the design with a hot iron, no steam.

Note:  If you have acrylic paint on hand then you can purchase a fabric fixative which you add to the acrylic paint so it becomes fabric paint.

Have some fun selling handmade treasure at your next spring fair.

Natalie

Book Week Costumes

Book Week Costumes

Book Week Costumes

Book week is one of my kid’s favourite events on the calendar and this year is no different.  Miss 10 is trying to work out which character has the best fashion so she can look her best and Master 8 is trying desperately to convince me that his costume needs to have swords involved, not happening!

Last year Master 8 went as Darth Vader and we made this really easy costume using his clothes so he was warm and comfortable and didn’t have to wear a flimsy nylon costume on a 2-degree day.  If you’ve got a Star Wars fan in your house and are still looking for ideas then maybe this one could be your sanity saver.

Here’s what we used:

What we did:

  1. I measured the chest panel size for Master 8 and cut out a square of black paper to fit.
  2. Cut two small rectangles out of green and red paper.
  3. Cut out two small rectangles and 2 line rectangles out of white paper.
  4. Using the red paper cut out four thin rectangles and one small rectangle.
  5. Glue the shapes onto the black piece of paper as you can see on the paper.
  6. Let it dry then laminate the chest panel.
  7. Using 1000 mile tape, tap the chest panel on and then cut strips of tape to match the image above.

We used a waistband from his Darth Vader costume but you could also make this using the tape and paper.

What book characters are your kids dressing up as this year?

Natalie

 

 

 

ACTIVITY: Sensory Spelling Words

ACTIVITY: Sensory Spelling Words

ACTIVITY: Sensory Spelling Words

We are nearly halfway through the school year, and that is when interest in homework and spelling list can wane for us.  While we have enjoyed sight word swat, sight word toss and sight word salad we need some assistance with our spelling words.

Cue the creative buzz that engulfed my brain a couple of weeks ago.  My kids love to do craft, love painting, and it’s something that I have to be in the mood to do.  This spelling game ignites the senses all while practising spelling words winning!

There are two ways you can play this game, and both have worked for us.  You need the same sensory bag of paint, here’s how you do it.

What you need:

  • 2 large snaplock bags
  • Paint – 1 or 2 colours – finger paint is best
  • Wide masking tape
  • Spelling list

How to make a sensory bag:

  1. Simply add a small amount of paint, about a 1/8 cup, into one of the snaplock bags. You need to be able to move the paint around so don’t fill it.  Squeeze the air out and seal the bag.  Secure the bag with some sticky tape.
  2. Insert the bag of paint into another snaplock bag.  Again squeeze out the air, seal the bag and secure the opening with sticky tape.

You’ve just made a sensory paint bag.

How to play the game:

  • Once your child has written their spelling words for their homework, pull out your paint bag and ask them to write each word on the sensory bag using their finger.  Once they have written a word, ask them to rub out the word and start with another word.
  • Another way you can play this game is to write out the spelling words, or use sight words and sticky tape them onto the table or a placemat and place the paint bag on top.  Ask your child to say and spell the word as they find it.

I hope you enjoy some literacy fun with the kids doing this activity; it is easy and fun!

Natalie

Glow Egg Hunt

Glow Egg Hunt

Glow Egg Hunt

Every year we have an Easter egg hunt in our house as the Easter Bunny leaves them in the craziest places.  To get the kids all excited about Easter, not that they need much help, we enjoyed a night time hunt, and it was so much fun!  If you’re going to give this a go, be sure to let the kids know there is nothing inside the egg to eat.

To make the Easter Egg hunt glow here is what you need;

  • Plastic Easter Eggs that open (spotlight, Woolworths, etc. sell them in the Easter section)
  • Short glow sticks
  • Sticky tape

Simply snap the glow sticks, so they are glowing, place them inside the egg and secure the egg with tape.  Hide the eggs and let the kids loose to collect all the eggs.  There is no end to this game just keep hiding them while they still glow.

Happy Easter Egg Hunting!

Natalie

Sight Word Salad

Sight Word Salad

Sight Word Salad

Learning to read can be a difficult for some children while others just seem to race through the reading levels.  Miss 9 was a racer while Master 7 has taken longer to gain the skills but has just hit a love of reading stage which is very rewarding.

To help children to learn there’s quite a lot, you can do.  Firstly having books as part of their world from a young age is a bonus.  We have always read to the kids as part of their bedtime routine so they know it can be a fun and rewarding skill to have.   Another important thing to do is role model your love of reading.  Role modelling reading has been difficult for me as I’m not a reader, and I’d choose something else to do instead but if you are a reader then take the time to let the kids see you reading, even if it’s just the local paper or school newsletter.

A big thing that has helped Master 7 is sight words.  I find that when we do them regularly it helps his reading and writing immediately, and he seems to take another stride forward.  Of course just reading the words is not enough to get him excited so I’ve had to get creative with our words.  We’ve enjoyed Sight Word Swat, Sight Word Toss, and here we’ve created Sight Word Salad.

It’s quite easy, simply grab a big salad bowl, your sight words on cards, paper or whatever, we had the table tennis balls left over from the toss game, so we used those.  Grab a pair of tongs and have the child read out the word they grab with the tongs.  If they get it wrong, throw it back in the salad and toss it around again.  Master 7 loved this game so if your little one has to do sight words as part of their homework then have some fun with it and show them that reading is enjoyable rather than hard work.

Natalie

Christmas Gift Bags

Decorated-Library-Bags

Choosing gifts for teachers can be tricky at this time of the year.  I’m always trying to think of something meaningful to give but sometimes I get stuck and all I can think of is a coffee mug but there’s only so many mugs a teacher can have, even if they do love coffee!  I’ve certainly had my fair share of blunders such as giving a teacher a box of Lindt chocolates only to find out she can’t eat sugar.  I wonder what she did with the Easter eggs we gave her that year as well, no doubt the staff room had an influx of chocolates to share.

Anyway this year I’m getting the kids involved and we’re painting on a calico library bag so that the teacher will always have something to remember my kids.  We might put a little something in the bag, we’re yet to decide on that but one thing’s for sure the kids had a ball making these and I’m pretty proud of their efforts.

What you need;

How to create:

  1. Wash and iron the calico bags to help the paint stick to the fabric.
  2. You can use a pencil to outline a design or the kids can freehand a design.
  3. If you are using a stencil, lightly spray the back of the stencil with spray adhesive and position onto the bag, then smooth over with your hands.
  4. Set out all of your equipment and get the kids busy with the painting.
  5. Allow for the paint to dry and then iron over the design with a hot iron, no steam.
  6. You have one Christmas gift bag ready to give away or add a special treat to.

Note:  If you have acrylic paint on hand then you can purchase a fabric fixative which you add to the acrylic paint so it becomes fabric paint.

Enjoy making some Christmas gifts and craft with the kids.

Natalie

GAMES: Knucklebones

Knucklebones

Apart from being freaked out by the adult’s stories of sheep’s bones being used for this game it was actually one of my favourite playground games.  Miss 9 enjoys taking a game or activity to school to share with her friends so we have been doing the rounds of elastics, trading card games, chatterboxes and now we’re moving onto knuckles.

It’s quite a fun game and great for fine motor, hand-eye coordination and social skills such taking turns, playing fair and helping each other out.  The best part apart this activity is that I could easily have them in my dress pocket all day and ready to play at any minute.

I bought Miss 9 a set of knuckles but they seem a little larger for her hands so it might take a while to perfect this game.  I’m on the lookout for jacks as they were another fun games except for when the spikes dug into you through your dress pocket!

If you want to know how to play knuckles the instructions are here.  If you’re after a video on how to play jacks then this one if really helpful.

What games did you enjoy playing at lunch time?

Natalie

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