Weekly Kids' Co-op

May 31, 2012

Welcome once again to the Weekly Kids Co-op.

 Last week we had over 200 activity ideas linked up!
 I wonder what fabulous ideas we will see this week?


Featured 
Here are a few of my favourites from last week



This moving and thoughtful post from Crayon Freckles

and

This fun and colourful button sorting activity from Creative Playhouse


If you were featured this week, grab a featured button



And now onto this week's linky party

Don't forget to link up your kid friendly activity. Can't wait to check them out :)





Debs :)

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Alphabet Goo

May 30, 2012


Kids love Water Beads. They are sensory, squishy, bouncy, colourful, rolly-poly balls of fun!

Generally when the kids are done playing with them though, they don't really resemble balls any more. They are much closer to GOO!

So, what to do with them once they are mush? The easiest thing of all is just to throw them on the garden. They will dry up and disappear, BUT, if you'd prefer to get one last activity out of them, why not try this?

crushed water beads, letter activity
Alphabet Goo! Add some basic letter recognition learning to this fine motor, sensory activity.



The invitation to play. 
Bowl of crushed water beads with magnetic letters inside. Tweezers for grabbing. Bowl of water for cleaning. Tea towel for drying.



Practicing fine motor skills using the tongs/tweezers to find and grab out the letters.
It's fun but tricky thanks to the slippery, slimy goo.



Cleaning the letters. Swirling the water round and round.



Drying the letters with the tea towel



Discuss the found letters. Do they know any of the names? Sounds? Words beginning with? etc



Ditching the tweezers, time to squish the goo between your fingers



I turned my back and guess what? 
Now all the water from the cleaning container is in with the crushed water beads!



She loved swirling it round and round and round with a spoon.



Adding a plastic cup to the goo soup! Lots of filling and pouring. 
It's fun to watch the chunky bits plop back into the mixture.


Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by enjoying the sensory and fine motor components but don't put such a huge focus on the letter learning. If your child doesn't know any letters or sounds yet, there is still no harm in letting them search for them and just telling them what they've found.

- Extend this activity by including letters of basic (or more advanced) words. Have the child find, wash and dry the letters and then see how many words they can make from them.

- Mix Up this activity by including different objects to hide in the goo. Numbers, animals, coloured buttons, whatever.. it's up to you and what you're wanting to focus on.

- Some children aren't into the messy, gooey stuff which is why you'd include the tweezers/small tongs. This allows them to still play/learn without getting messy.

-Talk with your child about the process and order. "Which comes first? Drying the letters or washing them?" etc. 

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests.

***Water Beads should not be ingested so parental supervision with children who might be tempted to eat them is required***



Debs :)


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Cooking with Kids: Zucchini Slice

May 28, 2012



Looking for a healthy but delicious way to get some veggies into your kids?


Cooking with kids, healthy food, vegetables for kids

Try making them this easy Zucchini Slice... or better still, let THEM make it



Ingredients
  • 2-3 Zucchinis (2 large or 3 small)
  • 2 Carrots 
  • 1 Brown Onion 
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Grated Tasty Cheese 
  • 6 eggs 
  • 3 Bacon Rashes (optional)
  • 1 small can of Corn Kernels (optional)


Preheat your oven to 180°C

Crack the eggs into a bowl. Note how baby learns by watching



Lightly whisk the eggs



Take the time to talk about, learn and explore the different vegetables



Grease a 16cm x 26cm tin/dish. Perhaps to find the closest sized dish your children could help measure



Grate and chop all the vegetables (and bacon) and add to a bowl. You or your children could do this depending on their skill level.



Measure and add the grated cheese



Measure and add the flour



Add the lightly beaten eggs


Combine all the ingredients well


Pour into your lightly greased dish


Bake in your preheated 180°C oven for 30-40 minutes or until it is set the whole way through.


Allow to cool slightly before serving and watch your kids eat it all up.



Handy Tips:

- Allowing your children to help with the cooking from an early age holds incredible learning opportunities. From important maths concepts (such as timing, measuring, counting, comparing, weighing etc.) to learning safety skills, processes, healthy food choices, vocabulary, organisation and much more. Get them in the kitchen as early as you can and start stimulating their senses and letting them learn through observation.

- Use this time to talk about "Sometimes foods" and "Everyday foods" as well as learning about the different vegetables

- Simplify this activity by pre-chopping, grating and measuring  the ingredients yourself and allowing your child to do the pouring and mixing.

- Extend this activity by having your child attempt all the steps and processes independently

- An alternate zucchini slice recipe. This one uses oil so isn't as healthy but we've made this version as well and it's delicious. This is the version I make for parties.

- Continue to talk with your child about the methods they are using and the easiest ways to do them. Remember that practice makes perfect!

- We followed this basic recipe and just added in the corn. Other recipes call for oil or other things but we wanted to share this healthier version as this is the way we make it for the kids.

- For individual sized portions ready to go, bake in a muffin tray.




Debs :)

If you haven't come over to play with us on facebook yet, we'd love to see you there. Hey, we're also on Twitter now too. You can also subscribe (top right) so that you don't miss any fun activities.

Soft Toy Toss

May 25, 2012


If you have a mountain of soft toys at your house like we do perhaps using them for some gross motor development  (otherwise known as, a fun and easy indoor throwing game) might appeal to your little one.

kids gross motor skill game, throwing practice



All you need are soft toys, a piece of masking tape and a toy bucket/basket/laundry hamper etc.


 Use your masking tape (or anything you have on hand, a skipping rope for example etc) to make a line for your child to stand behind. 


 She practiced throwing over-arm


Jumping for joy after getting it in


 Practicing her under-arm throw



Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by having the tub/bucket etc. much closer and using instruction and directions to help your child learn to throw. Encourage them to watch where they want the toy to land; follow through with their arm in the direction they are trying to throw etc

- Extend this activity by moving the tub further away from your child. Ask them questions about the different toys they are throwing. Why did that toy only land that far when you threw it the same as the previous toy? This engages their thinking and encourages them to think about the most effective toss for different types of toys. Some toys are heavier, some are lighter, bigger, smaller etc. This makes a difference to how they need to be thrown and the force behind the toss. Discuss this with your child. You could also incorporate some measuring to see how far away the tub is from the line and how much further away you can move it after each level.

- Practicality- Using a larger space in your house for something like this is a good idea and just remembering not to have them aiming towards your finest Ming vase goes without saying :) Perhaps reminding them that this is a set up activity and that we don't play this game inside with other items or without permission.

- Control- Encourage them to demonstrate control. If they can't manage the control and they aren't actually aiming for the tub etc. perhaps try again at another time. This will save your sanity (and house).

- Skills- reinforcing the gross motor skills and hand eye coordination needed for this task is important so that your child can improve their skills.

- Keep Playing- Move the tub further and further away from your child to challenge them until they can no longer make the distance. Learn with them. Do they need to adjust their throwing style for a further distance?



Debs :)


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Weekly Kid's Co-op

May 24, 2012


Welcome once again to the Weekly Kids Co-op. Last week we had close to 180 activity ideas linked up!

I wonder what fabulous ideas we will see this week?

The Weekly Kid's Co-op


Featured
Here are a few of my favourites from last week

If you've been wondering what all the fuss is about "Sensory Play." then this great post will simply show you through the why's and how's so that your child can learn through sensory experiences also. (It's really easy!)


Here she reinforces the 2nd language her boys are learning by making placemats out of some of the things they are focusing on. I've seen this idea using scanned pages from picture books but I really love how she shows you how you could use this to help consolidate whatever area of learning your child is interested in or focused on. 

and

Seriously, how cute are these? These handprint garden markers are so adorable and are a great activity to do with the kids as an extension to gardening together. We enjoy some gardening together and my daughter loves seeing what we've grown. We'll be making some of these to add to our pots for sure.


If you were featured this week, grab a featured button



You're also welcome to link up your kid friendly activity below. Can't wait to check it out!

And now... on to this week's link up. Enjoy!











Debs :)

If you haven't come over to play with us on facebook yet, we'd love to see you there. Hey, we're also on Twitter now too. You can also subscribe (top right) so that you don't miss any fun activities.


Activities and Food for a Play date

May 23, 2012




Playing with peers is so important for children. The amount of peer learning that takes place is amazing as is learning an understanding of self within a group and the best ways to deal with and cooperate with others.

Here I'm sharing some activity and food ideas for a play date that was set up for 4, three year olds (3 boys and 1 girl. Obviously the food and activities could be used with children of varying ages.



Invitations to play 
(Activity ideas)
Activity for play date.
Water Beads, cups, bowls, spoons, containers


Playdough, popsicle sticks and wooden farm animals


Imaginative play. Dress Ups. Doctors


Home made playset. Blue glass beads, rocks, sticks, twigs, felt, leaves, flowers etc


Baby Play



Let's Play and Learn Together
 The boys exploring the water beads for the first time. Quite the sensory experience


What are you doing with the play dough? Learning new ideas from one another



 Collaborative imaginative play
(t's pretty funny for everyone when the "sick patient" has a "sore butt" and therefore needs a butt injection.


Burning off a bit of energy
(Three year-olds certainly have A LOT to spare!)



 Fun for baby too!


The Food
Exploring Apples. 
Tasting plate. Apples 4 ways. Back- 3 types of apples. Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Golden Delicious. Which is your favourite? Bottom Left- puréed apple, Middle- Apple chips, Bottom right- apple cinnamon crumble mini muffins.


 Nutrition for busy, growing kids

 They dug right in!


Who knew that Pirates ate Purée? 


This was the only time our fabulous 4 were quiet!


Want more food and activity ideas for a playdate? Check out some of our other ideas here.


Handy Tips:

- A little bit of planning and thought before your house is descended upon will help make your playdate run more smoothly

- Depending on the age of children, modify the snacks and activities accordingly

- I buy my Water Beads off ebay (love shopping from home!) but they are also available at flower shops, markets and more and more variety shops. I recommend waiting for a good day to do this outside if it's the children's first experience with them.

- Don't be upset if the children are more interested in everything else in your house than the activities you've set out. Just being in a new environment is a learning experience for children and they will get to your activities eventually

- To contain mess, try setting out individual activities on their own blanket/mat. This can help the children see and recognise boundaries and can keep toys with lots of parts (eg Lego) all together and a breeze to clean up at the end.

***- Water Beads should not be ingested so parental supervision with children who might be tempted to eat them is required***


Happy playing,
Debs :)



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