Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Cathedrals, strawberries and foxes (and more!)

I'm afraid this post is going to be a bit of a muddle. Just a snapshot of a few things we have been doing.
 
A few weeks ago, we tried Paint Dough, from the book First Art by Mary-Ann Kohl that I have mentioned previously.
 
It's basically liquid salt dough with paint added. It's perfect! Squeeze directly out of the bottle onto a sturdy surface. The colours don't mix and you can layer the paint. A nice experience!
 


We went on holiday recently and since we came back, Finn has been building with his blocks as if he had never seen them before! The picture below shows his model of Europe, decorated with artefacts from our Europe continent box.


A few days ago, freshly out of bed, he told me he would like to build a church with his blocks. We looked at pictures of churches and cathedrals in some books, and Notre Dame cathedral caught his eye. He recognised it from the book The man who walked between the towers. I showed him an interactive visit to Notre Dame on our tablet so that he would get a sense of its shape and size.


Below is what he built. It has no depth at all, the blocks are arranged on a line. But if you look closely, you will see what he worked on: Symmetry. That's what he got from looking at the pictures in the books. I feel that this is just the start of a bigger exploration of architecture. He seems really interested in visiting a real church as well, which we will do very soon. I'm thinking about taking drawing materials with us on our visit so we can truly observe the symmetry that interests him so much.


Strawberries are ready! So much fun on our first Pick your own visit of the season. There was lots of talk about how strawberries grow and why the plants at the farm look nothing like the ones in our garden (sigh...)


A couple of evenings ago, as I was lying in bed with Finn to help him settle down, I remembered how I would count to 10 before leaving when he was younger, and how that simple routine had taught him to count. I thought he could count to 11 or 12 now, so I asked him if he would like to do some counting with me. He agreed and I said I would count to 13, and then it would be his turn. He listened to me carefully. When it was his turn, he counted all the way up to... 19! Without hesitation, without a mistake! We both laughed so much as neither of us knew he could do that! It was a really sweet moment. Over the next days it was apparent to me that he was more confident with numbers as he couldn't stop counting things.  
 
He has also shown an interest in clocks, so to help him learn to read a clock (we have ordered this one for him), I thought I could see if he was interested in learning the symbols for higher numbers, starting with teens.
 
I have been thinking that he may enjoy our DIY version of the Montessori coloured stair (I would like him to become familiar with it so I can introduce Seguin Board A, to learn about teen symbols). I got it out with no expectations - it seems to be the only way anything may work nowadays - and he really got into it!
 
I showed the bead bars to him in the triangle shape before mixing them all up for him to build the triangle by himself again. He has never, ever, been interested in the number rods, so I wasn't sure at all this would be appealing to him, but it was! He sweetly commented on how nice the pink bar looks :)
 
After he had finished the triangle, we did a bit of a memory game to associate the number of beads to the colours as it will help him with the Seguin Board later on. He could remember the colours of the first four bars but lost interest afterwards. I was quite pleased with how this presentation went nonetheless!


And lastly, Finn and I have been reading Fantastic Mr Fox for the second time in a few weeks. He is understanding the story and role of each character differently this time. This morning he recreated a scene from the book in his sandpit. There you can see the three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, who have stick guns in their hands, and an excavator digging away at the hill where Mr Fox and his family are hiding. Finn really surprised me when he made his own version of the story where the farmers get the fox! (In case the story is unfamiliar to you, the foxes are supposed to get away!)


A lot more has been going on here for us, with plenty of learning and new experiences, but that will have to wait for another post.

Friday, 12 June 2015

A quick cooperative number game

 
Finn and I played a fun game today following one of those increasingly rare strikes of inspiration!
 
This is a game that includes movement, memory, number recognition, speed and cooperation.
 
You will need:
 
- a timer (I used my phone)
- two sets of numeral cards
 
 Preparation:
 
One set of cards remains at one end of the house (downstairs for example), mixed up and face down. The other set is placed at the other end of the house (upstairs for us), face up, in a row. 
 
 

You and your child play together to beat the timer. Set the timer to 5 minutes. Both of you sit by the scattered pile of face down number cards. Pick one each, trace it, and race to the other end of the house as fast as you can to get the matching one! You are not allowed to bring the card you turned over with you, you have to remember it. When you get back downstairs, place the two matching cards together and turn over a new number. Continue in this way until all the cards have been matched and you have beaten the timer!

Excitement guaranteed! (not recommended right before bedtime)

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