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.



Ages: 2-6+
(Maddie is 3.5y/o here. See the bottom of the post for ideas to simplify or extend for younger or older children)

Materials: Recycled cardboard tubes, recycled cardboard, marbles/small balls, blu/uhu tac & stickytape



If you don't have cardboard tubes you can make your own from cut up cereal boxes. 
Good fine motor skills and coordination required for little kids to do this. Give assistance where needed.



Use blu/uhu tac to affix your cardboard tubes to the door/window



The great thing about building your own Marble Run is that there is a lot of trial-and-error, therefore problem solving is required. We tried many different combinations. The testing was just as much fun as making it.



Gross motor skills involved in reaching and stretching up high.
She discovered that you did have to push the tube quite hard to ensure it stuck in place and stayed there



Putting the marbles in the top then quickly getting down the bottom to watch it fly out never got old.
I'll admit, even I couldn't draw myself away from watching it haha



This is how our finished run looked after lots of attempts and this one worked every time
This was made with very little assistance from me



Handy Tips:

- Simplify this activity for younger children by setting up a small run for your child. Encourage them to get involved with deciding how to place the tubes and if their suggestions will not actually allow for the marble run to work, go with it, let them try it their way and let them learn through experience that it won't work, then ask them if they can think of any better ways or show them how it will work.

- Extend this activity by having your child experiment with different angles to achieve different speeds. Time the marble's journey through your run and work on extending or decreasing the time.

- Mix it up by using a variety of different recycled materials to add interesting parts to your marble run. Try things like cut up plastic bottles, foil, plastic containers etc.

- Supervise young children with marbles. They can be a choking hazard. You may want to use small (larger than swallowing size) balls instead of marbles with younger children but always still supervise. (Plus... if you're there, you get to be an important part of their experience)

- Talk to your child about what they are making and experiencing in order to develop their cognitive skills (thinking) and language development. Not to forget the important bonding that takes place between you both.

- Ask Questions such as, "Why do you think the marble keeps shooting out of there?" "How can we make the marble go through this part?" "Why doesn't the marble keep moving here?" "How can you slow the marble down?" etc




Happy playing,
Debs :)



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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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