Learn your Name with Playdough and Pompoms

Sep 28, 2012


Play dough is a wonderful sensory experience for children and one that most will thoroughly enjoy.

Today we're combining a couple of our favourite tactile materials 
with an easy way to practice Name Recognition, Letters and Spelling. 

This activity is also great for promoting fine motor skills and can also be used to focus
on colours and patterns.

Ages: 2-6+
(Maddie is currently 3.5. See the Handy Tips at the bottom of the post to either Simplify or Extend this activity)

Materials: Playdough, Pompoms, Rolling Pin and Pencil

Roll out the playdough and using the pencil, write in your child's name



Start covering the lines with pompoms to show your child what to do. We used mini pompoms here.



Children place the pompoms to cover the lines to spell out their name using their pincer grip. 
Add tweezers for an added challenge.



Pom-pom name. Discuss the letters and order. 



Use to practice single letters



Using larger pompoms




Handy Tips:

- To simplify this activity, start with single letters, such as the first letter of your child's name. Using larger pompoms will be easier for less advanced fine motor skills as they are easier to grab. When teaching single letters try to start with letters that have meaning to them (like the first letter of their name) and letters that generally have only 1 sound (eg S, M, F etc)

- To extend this activity, have your child do the writing in the play dough with the pencil. You could always do a very faint outline and have your child trace over the top to make the lines themselves if they're not confident at letter formation

- To begin again, simply scrunch the dough back into a ball and re-roll out.

- Use this same idea for teaching sight words or numbers

- Mix it up by providing different materials to cover the lines with such as beans or beads etc.

- Include further areas of learning by talking about and focusing on covering each letter with a particular colour or by encouraging simple patterns.


Want more ideas for Learning Letters?
Try our most popular and comprehensive post ever on the subject: The A-Z of Learning Letters. 90+ Activities
or, try making some fun Alphabet Goo!

How about some different fun Learning with Playdough?
or, how about this fun Invitation to Play with playdough and some other materials?





Happy playing,
Debs :)



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Q-Tip (cottonbud) Painting. Learning Numbers

Sep 25, 2012


Once again we're at our favourite activity, painting. Today it's painting with Q-Tips (cotton buds) and I've included a Printable 1-10 Number Template if you'd like to include some number learning.

Ages: 2-6+
(M was 3.5 here. See the bottom of the post  for details to simplify or extend for younger or older children)


Materials: Paints, Q-tips (cotton buds), Paper and a copy of THIS number template if you'd like to include extra learning.

Click HERE to download a copy of this basic 1-10 Number Template


With your child, identify and count each of the written numbers
Have your child place the corresponding amount of dots in each square.


Encourage your child to use whatever colours they like but ensure that each time they change colours, they re-count the dots they've already done and then count-on from there to add the remaining dots.
(eg. 1, 2, 3, 4 blue dots... So, you have 4..., 5, 6, 7, 8 yellow dots)

Using just 2 colours can be good as it allows your child to see 2 different amounts of dots making one total amount. (Eg. 4 blue dots and 4 yellow dots make 8 dots. So 4 and 4 is 8. Try other combinations, 3 & 5, 2 & 6 etc.)

Maddie really enjoyed this. For her, it's not about learning, it's about having fun, being challenged and achieving things



Time to get creative with some free painting

Use different Q-tips for colour mixing


Look at and discuss the different shapes and textures achieved by painting with a Q-tip


Try creating simple dot pictures


This entire picture had a running dialogue. From animals walking around to waterholes and jungles (Can't you tell?). Story telling through painting can be so therapeutic.


Try painting with multiple Q-tips at the same time


Look at the patterns and colours.
This would be cool for making your own wrapping paper or crafting paper



Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by simply allowing free painting with the Q-tips. For some basic number recognition, counting and one-to-one correspondence, try focusing on 1 number at a time

- Extend this activity by challenging your child to find as many different colour combinations as they can for the same number. (eg, how many different ways can you make 8 dots using 2 colours, 3 colours, 4 colours etc.)

- Mix it up by making a garden picture and having each of the petals done with a q-tip. Each flower could have a different number of petals for the child to count and paint.


- Remember that sometimes children just create, they don't need it to be a specific item at the end. It could just be an abstract creation. Allow this and don't push them to think they must paint something "real."


- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- 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.





Happy playing and learning,
Debs :)



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Cardboard Tube Marble Run

Sep 23, 2012


Today we made our own, simple Marble Run from cardboard tubes. 

It was great that such a simple and fun activity could include so many different learning areas like learning about gravity, angles, construction, problem solving, fine motor skills, eye tracking, speed and more.


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Bambino Box Review and Giveaway!

Sep 21, 2012



Who doesn't love getting parcels in the mail?

Well, I certainly do. There is something exciting about having something delivered to your house and the anticipation of ripping it open to discover the delights within. 

It's even more exciting when the actual contents of the package are completely unknown!


This, is the exciting new concept behind Bambino Box

This fun new Australian company has been working tirelessly to bring you a  new subscription service designed to deliver the best products and latest finds for babies and children from birth to age 4.

Each month, you receive a box full of great full sized products, delux sample size products and other standard sample size products for you to have, use and test.

The idea is to showcase some of the greatest and latest baby products to hit the market and your box is individually packed to suit the age and gender of your child. (So don't worry, no 0000 clothing for toddlers or food for newborns)


We were lucky to be sent their first month's box to review and this is what we found.




I was instantly drawn to this gorgeous knitted beanie from Buddha Baby
Valued at $22.95 this beanie alone is worth more than the price of the month's box!


I wasn't the only one delighted with it!
The quality of the beanie is exceptional and it really is so sweet. 


Some of the other great products we found in our September box were:


Dream Baby Mag locks. (RRP $44.95)

I must admit we already had our baby locks in place but I quickly replaced some of them with these ones as they're so much better! haha. I love how from the outside you can't see the locks at all and they are quicker for me to get into with the key than the last system we were using!



Look, something for Mum too! 
I won't pass up a nice hot Nerada Organic Herbal Tea



Phoenix Trading Greeting Card Pack (RRP $10)

This lovely gift set is going to come in handy with heaps of my friends pregnant at the moment!
This pack included some gender neutral baby wrapping paper, a card and a gift tag. I checked out the rest of their range and their are some gorgeous designs



Plus all of these things!
A discount coupon and Samples from Milk Baby and PURE Papaya Ointment as well as other special offers and coupons just for Bambino Box subscribers




Overall, I was really impressed with the quality and value-for-money that you got with Bambino Box.

The whole concept of being mailed out a new surprise box full of goodies each month that will suit your babies new stage of development is a really clever one and would be fabulous for new mums or as a pregnancy gift!



Your Chance to Win

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Bambino Box Australia, 1 lucky Learn with Play at home reader will win a 


FREE ONE MONTH SUBSCRIPTION to Bambino Box!
including delivery

That's a fabulous box full of amazing products and samples, delivered straight to your door for free!


How to Enter:

Go to the Bambino Box website and then leave a comment below with the name of one of their fabulous Partners.

Terms and Conditions:

- 1 winner will picked at random
- The competition will be open from Fri 21st Sep, 2012- 10am AEST Friday 28th Sep, 2012
- Please ensure that you leave a valid email address or have your comment linked to your email so that we can contact the winner.
- Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be drawn
- Sorry, this competition is only open to Australian Residents


Good luck!

Debs :)




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Printable Duplo Number Cards. Plus 5 fun ways to use them!

Sep 19, 2012

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Lego Duplo is probably the #1 most used toy in our house at this stage, with an 11 month old and a 3.5 year old.

It's also such a fabulous learning tool. The other day I thought I'd make some fun number cards for the kids to play with.

We've really enjoyed playing with them and can see just how many uses they can have for early maths learning. Therefore, we just had to share them with you. :)


Free Printable Duplo Number Cards

Instructions For Printing: 

Click on each of the images below to take you to the document. (The Duplo Cards are saved as 3 different files in Google Docs. (1-4) (5-8) and (9,10,0) You'll need to open the 3 images to save all of them)

At the document, click File and then Download. Save the image to your computer and print copies as required.

For extra durability and usage, laminate the cards. If you don't have a laminator you could always cover with contact paper.

Please Note: When you open them in Google Docs, the picture may seem small but the file size is actually quite large. Once you have downloaded the documents to your computer, you will be able to print them full size. If all else fails, drop me an email and I'll send you a copy :)


Click to Download numbers 1-4

Click to Download numbers 5-8

Click to Download numbers 9,10,0





5 Fun Ways to use the Duplo Number Cards

1
Use them for Number Recognition, Reading Numbers and Counting.

Make a tower with corresponding number of blocks
For added colour recognition and cognitive processing, make the tower using the same colours as pictured



2
 Use them for Comparing Values

Which is the bigger/smaller number? Which is the tallest/shortest tower? Which has more/less blocks?



 3
Use the blank card to write numbers on
(If laminated, use a dry-erase/whiteboard marker)

Make numbers greater than 10



 4
Practice Addition and Subtraction
eg 10 blocks and 2 blocks make 12 blocks



5

Use the large number shapes to trace over and practice letter writing




Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity by just playing with the cards and making the corresponding towers

-Extend this activity by playing more games with the cards, ie. Memory, Matching Pairs (need to print 2 sets for these type of games). Focus on reading and recognising the written number and on adding 2 or more number cards together

- Add a dice for extra number recognition and roll and find the matching card. Roll 2 dice, find both cards and make a tower. Play in pairs to see who makes the bigger tower 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. If they are breezing through single digits, start to focus more on double digits



More Fun Maths for Kids 



Happy playing,
Debs :)



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Early Maths with The 3 Bears. Fun Counting and Grouping Activity

Sep 17, 2012

math activity, kids maths, fun maths, early numeracy

This activity will help children to model basic numbers and use counting and grouping strategies to demonstrate and verbalise relationships between basic numbers. In this case, the numbers 1-3.

Using the well loved and well known tale of Goldilocks and The 3 Bears will help engage your child and also give them a greater understanding, meaning and depth.


Ages: 2-6+



Materials: Book/s of Goldilocks and The 3 Bears, 3 teddy bears, Materials for props such as bowls, chairs and beds (eg. Cardboard boxes, plastic containers, stickytape, playdough, kitchen items, material etc)



Incorporate Literacy in this activity and give it greater depth by first reading the story of Goldilocks and The 3 Bears. For this activity we read 2 different versions. 
(One by Emma Chichester Clark that I really like because of it's gorgeous illustrations and the way it's written to see it more from the Bears point of view and pointing out the flaws in the actions of Goldilocks. The other was a traditional retelling in a nursery collection entitled "Once Upon A Time" and Illustrated by Susie Lacome.)



How many Bears are there? 
Encourage one to one correspondence by pointing to each Bear as they count.


How many bowls will you need?
*Note: I provided more than 3 bowls so that counting and grouping was required.



Make sure that each Bear has 1 bowl each and give these to the bears.

She then matched 1 spoon for each bowl from a pile of spoons. 

This type of one to one correspondence and grouping is important for children to master and is often a starting point when teaching maths to young children.



Encourage role play and letting them get involved in the game. 
Every focus of the activity does not have to be counting. Here she loved spending time working her hand-eye coordination to fill each of the bowls with "pom pom porridge"



To enhance the learning and add number recognition skills, I put a pile of our number cards* out on the table and had her find the card that matched the amount of bears.
*To see how to make these number cards, see the bottom of the post








The number 3, represented in a variety of ways. Ways that make sense to children.



 Bed time for the 3 Bears. I provided a range of different sized boxes/plastic containers etc and various sized pieces of materials.



Challenge your child to find and correspond the right sized container to make a bed for each bear.
Use this time to talk about Small, Medium and Large.



Introduce ordering by having your child place the bears in their beds in order from the smallest to the largest.





Handy Tips:

Simplify this activity by encouraging the play and by assisting your child in counting out the props and corresponding them to each bear. Young children will have a ball simply going on the mission to find 3 bears. A daddy, a mummy and a baby bear. Start with this and play along together. You can also provide only 3 bowls/spoons etc and concentrate on the grouping and one to one correspondence of each item. ie. each bear gets one bowl and one spoon.

Extend this activity by using recycled materials to make extra props like chairs etc and be sure to talk about and encourage all the different math learning areas from counting, grouping, ordering, sizing etc

- Further enhance this activity and add extra learning areas by having children act out the entire story. This type of role-play encourages memory, literacy skills, drama etc.

Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "bigger/larger," "smaller," "medium" etc This will help with their language development.

-Ask questions to help connect their understanding and use vocabulary to give them words to describe what they're doing, eg. "Daddy Bear is so big! He needs a big bed. Can you find a big bed for Daddy Bear?" "Are there any beds that are larger than that one?" "How many blankets are you going to need?"

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.




DIY Number Cards
DIY Number Cards, Sticker Number Cards




Materials: Cardboard, Dot stickers, Black Marker, Laminator and laminating pouches (If you want to make them to last.. these pictured are a couple of years old, a bit bent but still going great)

Directions: Write the numbers on squares of cardboard. Stick the corresponding amount of dot stickers on each card. For added fun, use a marker to add some simple little details. For added durability, laminate the squares.

Hint: Make 2 sets of numbers so that you can play matching/memory games with the cards.




Looking for more fun Real Life Math activities for kids?




Happy playing and learning,
Debs :)



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