Fill a plastic container partway with water and add a couple of drops of food coloring. Mix.
Repeat with the number of colors you’ve chosen to work with.
Encourage your child to use the eyedropper to move colored water from one plastic container into an empty container and then add another color to see what happens.
When she makes a new color, have her choose the two colored circles that made the new color and glue those to circles onto a sheet of paper of the new color. For instance, if she mixes red and yellow to get orange, have her glue a red circle and a yellow circle onto an orange piece of paper.
Repeat with different colors until she’s either tired of the game or you’ve created as many color combinations as you can.
This is a game Story invented to pass the time in the car on the way to and from school. She calls it the Bad Guy Game. The rules are simple. The players take turns coming up with something that bad guys do. Repeats are not allowed, ever. So, for instance, our game would go something like this:
Me: Um, bad guys cut horses’ tails off so they have nothing to swat the horseflies with.
Story: Bad guys tear the roofs off houses so that when it rains everyone gets wet.
Me: Um, well, uh … oh! Bad guys take the wheels off cars so no one can drive anywhere.
Story: Mommy, you said that the day before yesterday. Try again. <sigh>
Me: Oh yeah. Okay. Um …
Story: Think, Mommy. Do you want me to go for you?
Me: No, no, I’ve got this. Just give me a minute. Okay, bad guys take all the puppies away so there are no furry friends to play with.
Story: I don’t like that one.
Me: Me either, but they’re supposed to be bad guys!
Story: My turn. Bad guys take down all the flags and let the colors run out so that you don’t know what country you’re in.
Yeah, Story usually wins.
Nurture the experience:
This game can stir the imagination and go in places you never dreamed of—which is so very important (and fun!) for both you and your child. Give the brain a good workout! A hidden gem though is the opportunity to explore cause and effect. Instead of allowing for a simple answer such as, “Bad guys steal the moon,” press further. What happens as a result of the moon being stolen? What is the effect? The accuracy of the effect isn’t so much the issue—in fact, the sillier the better! Making that connection is what counts here.
P.S. There is no such thing as a Good Guy Game. No matter how hard I try to get it started, it never goes anywhere. I guess good guys just don’t interest Story like bad guys. Foreshadowing? I certainly hope not!
I’m Thinking Of …
This is another great game for car rides. Akin to I Spy, one player describes something she is thinking of using three descriptors, and the other player(s) must guess what it is. An example scenario follows:
Story: I’m thinking of something that (1) is round, (2) is part of the Milky Way, and (3) has plants on it.
Me: The Earth?
Story: Yes! Good job, Mommy!
In our car, winning only takes place when the player is able to guess correctly. This serves a couple of purposes. First, Story is very competitive and it helps her to take joy in someone else’s success. Second, it keeps the descriptors at a level that is actually realistic.
Nurture the experience:
Take note of the descriptors your child uses and see if there are any opportunities to enhance the discussion. In the example above, I could use the opportunity to talk about how her description of “round” could have also been “a sphere” and the differences between the two. I could have asked her to further describe the Milky Way. Or, I could have wondered aloud why only the Earth has plants on it, encouraging her to think and speculate.
Scribble stories are a great way to spend some time boosting your and your child’s imaginations. Grab a large piece of white paper–the bigger, the better. Pin it up to a wall or lay it out on a table. You and your child each choose a marker, different colors. Your child scribbles over the whole sheet of paper for about 10 seconds, depending on how big the page is. You then place your marker’s tip at exactly the spot your child’s marker stopped and continue the scribble for another 10 seconds. Repeat this one more time each.
Each of you stand back and try to find three to five objects each. (This is kind of like finding shapes in the clouds.) Outline each object with a different-colored marker to make it stand out, and write down the objects at the bottom of the page. Once you have six to ten objects, you’ll begin your story. You will tell a story, using all the objects you found in the scribbles. Your child begins the story, and then you continue the story, each taking turns until you come to the end.
In our scribble story, Story and I found a giant pig’s foot, two balloons, a sea monster, a snow-covered mountain, waves, a fish, a figure eight, and vikings on a sleigh. The story that resulted was a wild adventure incorporating balloons on Balloon Island that had been deflated by a giant pig; vikings on a quest continuously shouting, “Glory or death!”; a sea monster that was afraid of nothing except the pig; and a happy ending that resulted in the resurrection of the poor balloons.
Nurture the experience:
Obviously, this is a great way to sharpen the imagination. This is also a great opportunity to discuss art and perspective. Different people see different things in each piece of art, automatically personalizing the piece to their lives. Or, if you want to focus on the story side of this game, you could explain the elements of a story: a beginning, middle, and end; plot; characters; setting; conflict; theme; and so on. Every game is an opportunity to teach. All you have to do is take advantage of it!
We first discovered Moon Sand at a local church Easter festival. Unlike sand, the texture is soft, and you are able to easily mold it. The sandboxes are perfect for summer and could easily be used inside during the winter months (with a little bit of clean up). The sandcastle opportunities are endless! (more…)
I can’t take credit for the craft. It was a project that Riley brought home from daycare, but it was too cute not to share! Her class spent the last week learning all about different insects, highlighting one each day. This day they learned about bees and nurtured the experience with a honeycomb craft using honeycomb cereal. Clever!
What you’ll need:
Construction paper; whatever color you’d like. I suggest not using black or yellow since the bees would then blend into the background.
Black and yellow markers. If you don’t think you can draw an adequate bee (which is the case for me) then try stickers.
One box of Honeycomb cereal
1) Glue Honeycomb cereal pieces in the center of the paper to create one large honeycomb.
2) Draw bees (or stick bee stickers) around the honeycomb.
Nurture the experience:
Let’s learn about bees! It’s summertime, so there is no doubt we’ll be seeing a lot of bees flying around. What are the differences between the types of bees that your little one will be seeing? Why are some bees large and fluffy and the others are small and skinny? What is a hive, and what is the hive’s purpose? Start talking with your child about the differences while using the proper words to describe them. Spend some time on Google exploring different videos about bees to help put it in context for your child. Some good videos include:
This book is targeted for beginning readers with simple words and sentences. This is a nonfiction piece with large, vibrant pictures. It will help your little ones get an up-close look at bees without the danger of the stinger!
After your child’s first bee sting, it is likely that she will not be as fond of these little insects as she once was, but what if there were no bees? This book takes the journey of what would happen to the ecosystem if there were no more bees. While also making a connection to science, you can also make this an empathy lesson. We may not always like certain animals or individuals, but each has its place and purpose.
This simple craft has very few guidelines. Perfect for toddlers or small kids but engaging enough for older siblings to paint along. Holiday coming up? Use a holiday-themed shape! A ghost for Halloween, a pot of gold for St. Patrick’s Day. We’d love to see your creations!
1) Cut strips of tape, both large and small. You will need the smaller pieces to make rounded edges.
2) Place tape on the canvas in the shape of your choosing.
4) Let the painting completely dry and remove tape. That’s it!
Nurture the experience:
This is a great opportunity to weave in a lesson on shapes. Begin on a scrap piece of paper and draw, or have your child draw, a series of shapes. Heart, circle, triangle, square, rectangle, etc. Take the time to point out important characteristics of each. For example, you could say “The triangle has three sides, one, two, three. How many sides does this square have?” Use their answers to build on the differences between each shape. The square has four sides and so does the rectangle. What makes them different?
After some time discussing similarities and differences between the shapes, draw the image that you will be putting on the canvas. Ask your child what shapes she sees that make up this image. This type of questioning can help your child begin to use shape recognition skills.