It’s Shaky Egg Time!

It’s Shaky Egg Time!

It’s that time of year when fillable plastic Easter eggs are on the store shelves and you have the opportunity to make your own shaky eggs. Shaky eggs are very easy to make.

Take a plastic egg and fill it with items that make noise when shaken. I have used plastic coated paperclips, rice, small Legos, pebbles & metal washers as filler. Use whatever makes a sound that you like. I only used a small amount of filler so that 80% of the egg was just air. Then I used a small amount of glue to seal the egg. I also place cellophane, colored masking or washi tape around the opening for peace of mind. Decorate the egg as you wish with colored permanent markers and stickers.

For very young children try attaching a plastic spoon to the egg so that it has a handle.

Enjoy your shaky eggs!

Miss Sarah

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Get the family together and make a Leprechaun Trap

 

Irish folklore tells of Leprechauns granting wishes to people who capture them, but be careful! Leprechauns are tricky.

Grab your craft supplies and have fun with glitter, boxes, streamers, holiday lights or whatever you choose. Most traps I’ve had the pleasure of viewing are green and about shoebox size. There have been nets, holes, false bottoms and foliage. Let your child’s imagination run wild and let them build whatever makes their heart smile.

Traditionally Leprechaun traps are place out the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Often Leprechauns will leave gold chocolate coins, real coins and small toys. But your Leprechaun can leave what is appropriate for your family.

Miss Sarah

 

Wintry Watercolor Project

At last week’s Creativity Lab, the freezing temperatures matched our frosty art project! We created a lovely wintry scene, using watercolors and salt to create texture and movement within the painting. Even the littlest learners enjoyed this project, learned about color mixing and composition, and were able to create beautiful finished products.

All you need for this project are:

  • Watercolors (Crayola or similar is fine- nothing fancy!)
  • Painter’s Tape (1/4″, or if wider, cut into 1/4″ strips)
  • Salt
  • Black Crayon

Begin by laying thin strips of tape from top to bottom of the page, about 1 1/2″-2″ apart. These will be your birch tree trunks. Tear short pieces of tape and add these to create branches.

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Next, paint the entire surface of the paper with plain water- you want your paper to be nice and wet in order for the paint to blend and work well with the salt. Then paint watercolors over top of the water, blending colors such as blue, purple, red or pink and even green to create a wintry color palette. After you’re done painting each section, sprinkle salt over the paint. It will give the painting a fun “frosty” look and texture, and your kids will be amazed as they watch the salt soak up the paint! If the painting is already too dry, the salt will not activate properly- so if this happens, just sprinkle a little more water over it until you get the effect you want.

Let your paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Gently peel up the painter’s tape. Using a black crayon, outline each trunk and the branches and make some short horizontal lines to show the texture of a birch tree.

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Now for the final step: using a very diluted gray, paint the left-hand side of the trunks and branches to create the natural shadows and coloration of birch-tree trunks.

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Congratulations!

You’ve created a lovely winter birch-tree painting!

Here’s a beautiful example my student Joelle made:

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Miss Janna

Book Gift Giving

Books make great gifts for children but it can be difficult to know what is age appropriate, especially if you are not with the child on a regular basis. Going through many pictures books at a bookstore can be a lot of fun but it can also be overwhelming. Below is a guideline to help you in choosing a book for a little one.

For infants to children about 9 months, the word to keep in mind is simple. Their eyesight is developing so books with simple pictures is a must. Look for board books, or books with indestructible pages as babies are reaching out and grabbing. Touch and feel books work great with this age group as are books that feature babies. Simple text and rhythm and rhyme help to keep a child’s interest.

Once the child is crawling and starting to walk—up to 18 months, add books with simple stories with bright illustrations. Rhymes and songs are great to share. As children start to say simple words, find books with objects they can easily find and point to. You’ll probably want to still keep with board books with this age group.

Toddlers are developing their attention span. They like books that have some action in them. Look for books with simple plots, sounds and repetition. They will become more involved in the story, pointing at things, repeating words and asking questions. Books that introduce colors and numbers are good too.

Preschoolers can sit still between 5-10 minutes for a picture book if you have their attention. They are interested in the world around them and are starting to ask questions including for books they want to hear read such as dinosaurs, trucks, trains, TV characters. Sounds, action, repetition are still of interest but you can also start picking out books with more involved plots. Introducing ABC books can be fun for preschoolers as well as some simple information books.

Kindergarteners and older preschoolers will enjoy longer stories, fairytales, and participation books. Your child may enjoy hearing chapter books as well, so starting with chapter books that have some pictures may be a good transition.

The above list is not a hard and fast rule, and you may discover that some books that appeal to Toddlers still have a great appeal to children in Kindergarten. You can also give a favorite book to a child to be shared with them when they are older. What is important, is that you like the book you are giving to the child. After all, you want to share a book you enjoy!

Miss Christina

Coding

Coding. That’s something with computers, right? But what’s this about young children doing coding? It turns out, coding is just a way of thinking that we start doing at an early age. I’ve just let the term “code” freak me out. There are many ways for a child to develop those coding skills without looking at a computer for those parents wishing to limit screen time. Being surrounded by technology, learning how to code becomes more and more necessary in life and just like a foreign language, it is easier to learn at an early age. That’s because creating a code is like a language –  a special language that tells a computer or robot what to do. Turn left, go straight. clap three times. Coding helps children with problem solving and logic. The ability to direct technology instead of just using it, builds confidence and skills that will help children later on in school and in careers where there is more and more demand for technology.

At our November 1st Exploratorium we started with very basic coding concepts using a variety of coding kits that will be available to try out in the Children’s Dept the week of Thanksgiving and then will be available to check out at a later date. This is a great way for your child to get started with the concept of coding before purchasing items that are more complicated. Some of the new items we have available include:

 

Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar, Cubetto Educational Coding Robot, Learning Resources Learning Essentials Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity Set and an Ozobot.

A basic game to play with your child that demonstrates coding basics at no cost is a form of Simon Says. Simon says, if I clap my hands, then you stomp your feet. Or, if I nod my head, then you nod your head. Simon is the programmer, everyone else in the group becomes the computer.

Ready for something more complex? Place a black checker somewhere towards the far side of a checkerboard. Place a few red checkers on the board to act as obstacles. Place another black checker in the lower left corner of the board. Now direct the lower left black checker to the other black checker using only these simple directions: Go Forward, Turn Right, Turn Left, Repeat. The checker can move only 1 square at a time. It does not matter if the square is black or red.

An example:

Go Forward

Repeat

Repeat

Turn Right

Go Forward

Turn Left

Go Forward

Repeat

 

Continue until you reach the black checker. Write down the instructions, step by step.

Now place the black checker back to the lower left corner and follow your written instructions. Did it work? If it didn’t, go back and figure out where you went wrong and try again. If it did work, then you just wrote your first piece of successful code!

 

In January we will have another coding program for Exploratorium that will be a bit more advanced than last weeks program. In the meantime stop by the children’s desk to try out the basic coding program kits we have.

Miss Christina

Nursery Rhyme Time: Humpty Dumpty

 

 

Humpy Dumpty sat on a wall…

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….

Can you complete the rhyme?  We find that many adults are not familiar with children’s  nursery rhymes anymore, but there are good reasons that they should be!

Learning nursery rhymes help children develop language and vocabulary – and help them form the foundation for learning to rhyme words on their own.  Many nursery rhymes also contain phrases that start with words that all have the same beginning sounds, so this helps children begin to become aware of the sounds of their language.

As children learn these traditional rhymes, they exercise and stretch their memory skills, which helps them prepare to memorize future materials, such as the alphabet, sight words, or math facts.

So, brush up on your nursery rhymes, and teach them to your children!

To get you started, here’s the full rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men,

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

To extend the fun of learning the rhyme, here’s a craft you can make with your child. I created the pattern based off this craft my son Adam made over 20 years ago!

  1. Color and cut out the Humpty Dumpty body and legs.
  2. Color a sheet of paper to resemble a wall.
  3. Glue Humpty’s legs to the wall.
  4. Attach Humpty’s body to the legs with a brad.
  5. As you say the rhyme Humpty can swivel as he falls!

Have fun! To learn more, here are links to good web articles on why nursery rhymes are important:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/nursery-rhymes-not-just-babies

http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/the-surprising-meaning-and-benefits-of-nursery-rhymes/

https://www.themeasuredmom.com/10-reasons-why-kids-need-to-know-nursery-rhymes/

Miss Teresa