Today, Nathan and I experimented with different phases of matter. Yep, even a 19 month old can begin learning about solids and liquids just by using watermelon. To do so, we began with watermelon fresh off the rind. In its solid state, we ate a few pieces, but could observe liquid escaping with each bite. We then took the left over watermelon pieces and blended them in the food processor to form a liquid. Next, we filled a few small Dixie kiddie cups 3/4 of the way full. We then placed them in the freezer. After 2 hours, we inserted a popsicle stick in each. Left overnight, they were ready to eat again–in their frozen, solid state!
We’re waiting for a warm sunny day here in Germany so we can head outside and enjoy our watermelon pops. I will be back with a picture update once that happens. Hopefully the pops won’t get frostbitten in the freezer while we wait. Germany is known to get a lot of rain. A LOT…
In keeping with our watermelon theme this week, I wanted to teach by toddler a fun song that was either about watermelons or at least mentioned them. The first song that came to mind was the classic “Down By the Bay”. I quickly went to You Tube and was happy to find a sweet little video for us to watch and sing along to (check out our favorite kids songs–with videos!).
I then wanted to create some visuals to use for all of the other times that we will sing the song and not be watching the video. I was pleasantly surprised to find a pdf from kizclub that already had visuals as well as the printed song and vocabulary cards! Because my son is a toddler, we are only in need of the animals to use as visual aids (but what a super resource to use with older children!).
From the pdf, I can print the page that contains the animals (you can choose from color or black and white), paste them onto card stock, wrap them in contact paper to ensure their safety, and then cut them out. As we sing the song, my son can then learn to identify the animals we are singing about. As he starts to show comprehension, I can make it a game and present the animals in a field so that he has to independently choose. This is such a great activity for young children. It can be used for songs, for nursery rhymes or even simple books. One tip when implementing the identification…begin with a field of 1-3 items. This means that you only want to lay out 1-3 items in front of the child when they are learning identification. This provides the child with a reasonable amount of choices and visual stimuli without overwhelming them. As they start to master the activity and can quickly and confidently choose items in the field, more choices can be added.
My son LOVES listening to music (he gets it from his mom). It doesn’t matter if he hears a commercial playing on the radio or a song playing overhead in a store, he will start movin’ and shakin’ to the rhythm he hears. It really is the funniest thing to look in my rearview mirror and see him in his carseat with is little head bobbing. To foster that enormous love for music, I am always in search of good kid songs, nursery rhymes, and Christian music. We particularly enjoy watching some of the music videos for kids on You Tube. I have to admit that there are some really awful ones on there. Awful because the voice of the person singing is not pleasing to the ears or the animation is weird, too fast or too overwhelming for even my adult eyes. The best kids songs we have found, with videos, are by a company called Barefoot Books. They actually sell beautifully illustrated books with CD’s that feature some classic songs like these…
This cute little toddler craft is super simple and only requires a few materials.
To get started, you will need:
2 large paper plates
red and green washable paint
dry watermelon seeds
glue (I used Tacky)
Have your child paint (by hand or with a brush) each paper plate. One should be green and the other red. Once dry, cut out the center of the red paper plate. Using a Q-tip, dab the center of the green paper plate with glue. Place the red circle that was cut onto the center of the green plate. Using the Q-tip and glue, glue seeds to red portion to resemble the inside of a watermelon. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to count out those seeds with your little one!
Building blocks, also referred to as “blocks” or “toy blocks”, have been around for decades and for all good reason. Their simple design and construction encourage a host of developmental skills, which make them the ultimate educational toy. In order to maximize the educational benefits of building blocks, try these 10 building block activities to aid in building your child’s development:
Stack em’–The most obvious way to use building blocks is to allow your child to simply stack them or build with them (it doesn’t matter if it is in an ordinary or extraordinary way)
Knock em’ down–Small children, in particular, are known for their enjoyment of knocking things down. Building blocks are no exception.
Sorting–Learning how to sort objects, or categorize objects, is a fundamental skill critical for understanding the world. Sorting with building blocks can be done by color, shape, or size.
Experiment–A great way for small children to learn the laws of physics is to experiment with objects. Building blocks are great for this purpose because they are shaped like many of the objects found in our daily lives (sippy cup=cylinder, toy box=cube, etc.). Experiment by testing each block to find out if it: slides, rolls, can be stacked, teeter totters, etc.
How do they fit?–Not all blocks are treated the same. Using an empty, clean and dry juice container, have the child test each block to see if it fits through the mouth of the bottle. This activity not only teaches patience and perseverance, but the child will learn that some blocks have to be rotated for passage through.
Make faces–This is my favorite activity using building blocks. I love that it allows for creativity, but it also teaches the parts that make up a face and the spatial sense involved in where those parts are in relation to one another.
Mathematical operations–Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. All can be taught with a simple set of multi-colored building blocks.
Counting–What a simple, versatile, yet completely appropriate activity that couldn’t be more crucial to a child’s development. With a set of multi-colored building blocks in hand, the counting opportunities are virtually endless–count how many blocks in all, count how many by shape, color or size, count according to how it moves or doesn’t move…should I go on? Count backwards, skip count by 2’s, by 3’s, or by 4’s, play a game where some are taken away and then count to see how many were taken. I think that’s enough for now…
Form letters–Create individual letters or create simple words. This is a great phonics activity for young ones. When teaching letters, it is always best to begin with the capital letters. Although you may find it difficult to create some of the letters using building blocks (I was not able to create the curved ones–“S”, “G”, “C”, etc.), the majority of them can be made.
Pretend Play–By far, the best way to use building blocks is to engage your child in pretend play. Boys and girls alike enjoy pretending and it is through this symbolic play that they learn about the world around them and develop their language.