Monday, July 23, 2012

Fine Motor Skills



Developing fine motor skills should be an essential in every child's life. Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable such functions as writing, grasping small objects, cutting with scissors and fastening clothing. However working on fine motor skills has been sitting on the back burner in our home until recently. Since I am now homeschooling my toddler and preschooler I decided to give the girls plenty of opportunity to develop these skills. Here are a few of the activities that we use in our classroom.




Sorting pipe cleaners into empty spice containers.






Sorting toothpicks into empty spice containers.





Punching holes with a hole punch. (This requires a lot of strength. If your child can't do it encourage her to keep trying.)




Taping paper dots to paper. This may sounds silly but for a child it takes a lot of concentration to get the tape lined up over the dot. (Tip: For the dots, punch a bunch of holes with a hole punch. Use a variety of color to make it fun. )





Cutting paper strips with scissors. (Keep the squares for various color sorting and matching activities)



Sorting paper with clothespins. 



Stacking paper squares and pinning them together with paperclips.




Squeezing balloons filled with play dough. (Great for strengthening hand muscles)




Hammer golf tees into Styrofoam.




Place washers over golf tees with tweezers.




Place beads or marbles on top of golf tees with tweezers.





String beads onto pipe cleaners.





Sort beads by color using tweezers.




Stretch rubber bands on a geoboard.






Tracing letters.





Gluing paper






Tracing chalk shapes with paintbrush and water






There are so many ways to

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nature Walk - Discover Somthing New

With the nice weather we have been enjoying lately, the girls and I decided to go on a nature walk.


Here are a few things we discovered on our wonderful hike.

The girls love pointing out all of the lichen growing on the rocks. Most people see this stuff and mistake it for moss but it is so much cooler.



We found a ton of bird nest. Several of them even had baby birds.


This little guy is something that I have never seen before yet the day of our hike they were all over the place. After some research we discovered it is a red velvet mite. They spend most of their time underground and only come out only after heavy rainfall. They are great for the environment cause they feed on eggs of nasty pests like aphids. This could explain why I have yet to see any aphids around here.

Have you made any new discoveries lately? I would love to hear about them!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Relaxing Week.

The weather finally dropped below three digits so the girls and I ended up playing outdoors most days.

I handed each of the girls a bucket of water and a paint brush. Jocelyn tried 'painting' the entire patio but was disappointed when the water started disappearing faster than she could paint it. I used this as an opportunity to explain evaporation and later that evening we read Follow a Raindrop. 





The girls also traced the chalk shapes on the sidewalk.  They were amazed at how the chalk turned brighter when they painted it.


I found this fun bug pack at 3 Dinosaurs for Jocelyn to work on. She is obsessed with bugs!!

We also went of a fun nature hike however I am having trouble getting the photos off of my phone so I'll have to share those adventures in another post.





Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CAN'T is a 4 Letter Word.

We have been working on a lot of fine motor skills the last few days. (I'm working on a post right now with a ton of ideas for fine motor skills that I will be sharing soon) One of the things that we worked on was using a hole punch. When Jocelyn first tried the hole punch she started crying saying that she can't do it. One thing that I do not tolerate is when my kids say they CAN'T do something. I want my girls to believe that it is possible to achieve the impossible. So whenever I hear the words "I can't" I try my hardest to prove to the girls that they can. With that being said, when it comes to school I want the girls to have fun with learning. Therefore I don't like to force them to do anything that they do not want to. I did however encourage Jocelyn to try the hole punch a couple more times. Her next try she was able to punch out some of the circle but she could not punch it out completely. Jocelyn seemed to be happy with her progress so I decided to put the hole punch away that way we could end the project on a good note before she got frustrated again.

Several times throughout the past few days she has asked to try the hole punch again. Never once did I ask her to. She just got it out on her own, worked at it till she was tired and then put it away. Today was no different, we were having free time when she asked to try the hole punch again. Five minutes later she came up with the biggest grin on her face to show me that she had punched several holes all on her own. It was such a proud moment for her and an even prouder moment for me. Not so much the fact that she was able to punch holes on her own but the fact that she took it upon herself to keep trying and she never gave up. It's moments like these that I know I must be doing something right.

Monday, July 9, 2012

BUZZZZZZ....

It is 107* as I write this post. The girls and I were lucky enough to wake up early Monday morning to enjoy some outside fun before the heat became too unbearable.


I drew a bunch of shapes on our driveway with some chalk. I would then call out a shape and the girls had to run to that shape. I know it sounds simple but the girls had a blast with it. Jocelyn has the basic shapes down and is working on her pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. Serenity only new what a circle was when we started this game but by the end she was running to the shapes faster than Jocelyn was. Funny thing was, she was a pro at finding the pentagon and octagon yet had trouble with the simple shapes such as square and triangle.


The girls also made these adorable bumble bees from Totally Tots (we made the alligator A's last week).

Friday, July 6, 2012

Germs!!

The girls' favorite activity this week was by far the germs.

I put some glitter on my hands with a small amount of hand sanitizer (to make the glitter stick) then we took turns shaking hands and going around the room touching everything. We talked about how easily it is to spread germs, how they enter our body and make us sick, the importance of coughing/sneezing into a Kleenex or the inside of our elbow if we don't have a Kleenex and good hand-washing practice.


Then we made some germs with craft paper. Jocelyn originally glued a smile onto her germ but then she turned it upside-down. When I asked her why he is sad she said "He makes people sick so nobody likes him and he has no friends."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Independence Day!!

Ok I know its a little late but I just wanted to share these wonderful flags the girls made yesterday.



I also found this printable map at coloring-page.net. We talked about the states as the girls colored them in. Serenity got board after the 5th state but Jocelyn colored most of her map.



A friend of ours gave us this foam puzzle. I found the same one at office depot for $1. First we sorted all of the states by colors then the girls helped me put the pieces back together. Jocelyn enjoyed trying to find each state on her coloring page map before adding it to the puzzle.




Monday, July 2, 2012

First Day of School!!!

Today was our first day of school!!
Not officially. I say that because the girls are still young. I won't consider it official until Jocelyn is school age and we have to actually report that we are homeschooling.
However, Jocelyn has been begging to start school and of course Serenity wants to do whatever her older sister does. Therefore, we decided to start a little early
I am using this opportunity to figure out the girls' strengths and weaknesses, what we need to work on and what they already know, as well as their likes and dislikes. This way when Jocelyn officially starts kindergarten we will have a clear picture of our goals and what we need to work towards.

Here are a few highlights from the day.
 "First Day of School" drawing and name. Jocelyn's drawing is so light that I could not get it to show up in the photos. It's a picture of her and sister sitting at the table, tracing their names. Serenity just drew some scribbles on a piece of scratch paper. Don't you just love that smile?

 
Name Tracing. Both girls did really good with this. Serenity surprised me with how well she could trace. I was expecting more scribbles.

Our class pet. I found this guy while cleaning out the garage a couple days ago. When I first found him he had just started his cocoon. I woke up the next morning to this. Looks like a big clump of hair. I've never seen one like it before. The girls are really hoping for a butterfly but I'm betting on a moth.

Clothes pin matching. I found these fun printables at Confessions of a Homeschooler. Jocelyn loved this and did it 3 times. Serenity counted a few of the spaces and I helped her match them with the correct number.

Position. We lined the dinosaurs up (we also used other objects not shown) then I would ask questions such as; "Which dinosaur is behind the blue one?", "Can you place the large dinosaur next to the green one?", "How many dinosaurs are in front of the orange one?"
Jocely was curious about what dinosaurs eat so this activity then led to a discussion about plant eaters and meat eaters in which Jocelyn decided to act out the meat eaters chasing the plant eaters.

Gluing. The girls were handed some paper with dots on it. They added a small amount of glue to each dot and then pressed a piece of paper on to the glue. We started wih glue sticks and then moved up to Elmer's glue. At the end of the day Jocelyn told me that this was her favorite activity.




Painting sticks. We went for a walk and gathered up 20+ sticks. When we got back the girls had a blast painting them. Although I think Serenity got more paint on her than she did on the sticks. You can't tell in the picture but she painted her underarms blue. These sticks will be used for a few counting activities later on.



Greater than less than. I drew two squares on our dry erase boards and places some beans in each square. Jocelyn then select which square had more beans and placed the alligator accordingly. I was surprised at how fast she picked up on this and how much she loved it. She thought it was fun to make the alligator eat the beans!

Site word practice. Jocelyn used some mess free painting bags to practice her site words. She did each word a couple times then I just let her play with the paint for a while. She liked squishing it with her fingers more than anything.





Teeth brushing. I stuck some play dough (plaque) in large legos (teeth) and gave the girls some yarn (floss) to clean the plaque out. I took a bunch of photos but they were erased when I transferred them to the computer. I got the idea HERE. Then after lunch the girls brushed their own teeth and we talked about the proper way to brush and how long they should brush for.

Music. The girls played with maracas, handmade rain sticks, drums (empty cans and spoons) and took turns at the piano. Jocelyn played the first few notes of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' but then decided to make up her own music. 

After school was over with both girls kept asking to do more. I'll take that as a good sign.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our first day of homeschooling.

Happy Homeschooling!!

I will be linking up to THESE fun parties.
Be sure to check them out and get inspired.