On our Earth walk yesterday we saw dozens of trees covered with white blossoms so today for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning we made something white–popcorn.
Popping corn is an activity that involves all the senses. We could hear the popcorn starting to pop and then more pops and more until it was quiet again. Then another one popped all by itself. The nose smells it all over the house. The eyes watch carefully for the first one and open bigger as the popcorn almost makes a waterfall. Best of all is the touching and tasting. Careful, it might still be hot.
There is a wonderful song about popcorn popping on the apricot tree. It was written in the late 1950’s by Georgia Wahlin Bello of Salt Lake City. She was inspired by her son who did indeed look out the window and say that. Lee echoed those same words about some neighborhood trees as she said “It looks like popcorn on the tree but it isn’t really popcorn. It just looks like popcorn.” When we came home after our walk we looked up some videos and listened to the song. Then we sang it too. For kids who are curious, it’s a great time to talk about seasons and how trees change. This is what some do in the springtime. Are there any popcorn trees in your area that can blossom into fun and learning?
A play-of-the-day came with the unplanned spring activity of picking dandelions but it had some powerful learning and simple fun. When my 4 year-old helper came with me to a friend’s house, we had some tea at the table and noticed a package of bubble-tea straws, the really big ones.Four colors of straws came home with us. On our way to the car we stopped to pick some dandelions while Lee clutched the straws in her hand.
Needing somewhere to put the dandelions she slid them into the straws. Three dandelions filled the first straw, then another 3 were added to another straw. Content with her own plan, she carefully chose just the right flowers and just as carefully made sure each straw had 3. Proudly she showed me all four.Using the opportunity, we counted each straw and yes there were 3 dandelions. Then we put them on the step and counted them. To make it easier, I put 2 straws on the left and 2 on the right. It was easy to see 3 + 3 making 6 flowers. That was enough, it was time to go. This brief activity of making groups with straws and flowers may soon be forgotten, but these early kinds of experiences will create the foundation for learning the math concepts of addition, multiplication, and division farther down the road. This was definitely child-led play with a teachable moment.
There may be some of these moments at your house today. Can you and your child make some groups of things for fun and learning?
Kids have fun getting things and themselves messy and dirty and they also have fun cleaning up. Cleaning can be both fun and learning, too. The list below is only a few of the ways that kids can ‘spring clean’.
Small plastic toys spend a lot of time on the floor. With a small cloth and some warm, soapy water in the sink let your child wash a few cars, trucks, trains, blocks, toy dishes or whatever else may need a rinse.
It’s easier for kids to wriggle under beds than adults. Turn your child into a vacuum that will reach any lost items that are hiding there in the dark.
Transformed to be a giant machine and armed with a laundry hamper send your child around a room to pick up anything off the floor or that needs to go somewhere else.
Tongs are fun to use to pick up duplo and lego or other small toys off the floor and pop them back into toy bins.
Vacuums come with built-in sounds. Mops can also be dirt vacuums and kids can supply the sounds. What sounds can a mop make? Vroosh?
Figuring out where something belongs uses lots of deep thinking. First kids have to match an item to its category and then remember where things go. Good for brains. The activity and exercise are good for bodies. Social skills include learning how to be part of a team and cooperate with others. Emotionally children gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in their efforts.
Teacher Tom has a very popular blog and over 10,000 FB likes. On a recent post, he wrote:
“I tell our parent-teachers that I consider clean-up time to be the core of our curriculum. This is the most concrete way that the children begin to make the school their own in the only way that anyone ever truly takes ownership of anything: by assuming responsibility for it.”
While he is talking about school, the same dynamics happen at home. What are some activities that your child can do for spring-cleaning fun and learning?
Our first-day-of-spring walk for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning while connecting to nature had to get shortened to a quick dash. Actually, the weather here was more like all 4 seasons in a day. The cool, crisp spring morning became a sunny, wonderful noon, warm enough to hint at summer. The afternoon turned colder … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Spring Fun and Learning→
Reading and sharing books with kids is a powerful kindergarten readiness activity. Did you know that kids who have been read to at home have a “brain-bank account” of about 5,000 books by the time they enter school? Just picture how much that will help in learning to read. These kids already know: how a … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks, Books, and Olympics→
As our children play and learn they develop more than kindergarten readiness. This month, I’ve been highlighting learning activities with rocks; physical development, language, colors, sizes, shapes, science experiments, collecting, counting, patterning, art and other skills. But this is a rock activity that goes even beyond and into developing business skills. Bella has turned ordinary rocks into … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Young (Very) Entrepreneur→
The ingredients of this bottle are rocks plus kindergarten readiness learning and fun. Just a minute or two on Pinterest is all it takes to find many super ideas for discovery or sensory bottles for kids. Since this month’s posts are learning activities with rocks, how about filling a bottle with rocks, stones and pebbles? … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks in a Bottle→
Chalk is a soft porous rock that can be used for some kindergarten readiness learning and fun. I just discovered on Pinterest (some hours ago) several new ideas to add to old favorites. Drawing on the sidewalk, or driveway when the cars are safely out of the way, is great for really big pictures or giant letters. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Chalk is a Rock→
It’s almost the Opening Ceremonies and time for some kindergarten readiness and Olympic fun. I remember 2 years ago at the Winter Olympics when one of the symbols was the Inukshuk. This figure is made out of rocks and is used to point the way to others. The inukshuk is an ancient form of communication … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks & Goes To Olympics→
Have you wondered why kindergarten readiness and other developmental assessments sometimes ask kids to name shapes? This basic information gives an idea of the level of children’s learning. For instance, shapes belong together in groups so they can be used to tell if a child can categorize using similarities and differences. There is a great deal of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rock Shapes→