Friday, May 24, 2013

Prepared: Practical life activities

In this post I am including only Practical Life activities that don't come up in our daily lives.  These are prepared activities for the kids to explore and learn. If you are interested in true practical life activities (those that make our life easier like the ones in which kids are taking care of themselves, and the environment, please see my other post: Authentic: Parctical life activities

Today it is already over 85F here in Campton Hills.  I decided that since the kids truly love water AND because they are always making a huge mess inside with it, it was time for us to move water activities to the outdoors.
I looked around my kitchen for all the materials I could use, and came up with 8 water transfer/poring activities.
Here they are:

This is how the kids found all the activities. I placed them on the steps to the deck. They came out from the garage and just look up to the stairs!  My son's gleaming face was priceless.  Some of the activities we had tried indoors, some were brand new to them.  I started to present each activity and the one who ask for it could have a turn. I moved to another activity with the other child.  Then, I waited until one of them asked for another activity.  I showed that activity just to the interested one and let him/her have a try.  We were outside for about two and a half hours and each had a chance to try some but not every single one. Combined, I presented each one of the activities.  Now a close up of the activities from top to bottom:

pouring water inside a watering can.

pouring water inside a tall pitcher using a big funnel.

pouring water inside a small jar with small funnel.

Transferring water using turkey baster.

Transferring water with small dropper.

Transferring water using two stainless steel 3 oz creamers

Transferring water with sponge.

Transferring water with a ladle.

I am sure the kids' favorite part was clean -up.  For once, they got to just dump the water in the grass.  They loved it.  We will have a repeat of the water activities with some friends as soon as it gets hot again.

Week of 5/20:

Here are this week's practical life activities.  Please remember that we do practical life everywhere in the house.  This are just additional activities set up for the kids to explore exercises that don't come up during their daily living.   Activities based on caring for oneself, and the environment happen when and where they need to happen.  For example we cook in the kitchen, so we do food preparation activities there.

I found the golf tee activity from the e-book: Montessori at home.  My adaptations to the activity are: using soft foam instead of the flower arrangement blocks, and I also use the fruits from the sorting pie instead of the marbles.  I just used what I had in hand.  I must say that the fruits are made of a plastic/rubber type material that is easy for my son (only 2 y/o) to place them on the golf tees. 
Next, I have a cutting activity.  I recycled the little metal tub to put the clippings.  Both the kids love cutting. I am only leaving the safe scissors out  for the little guy.  I provide the other scissors (metal and pointy) to my daughter only when I am able to watch her cut. I placed a bunch of strips of a thicker quality paper for them to cut.  

I took out our lacing cards.  My goal is to demonstrate for my daughter the different lacing patterns. She has mastered lacing around the orange.  We are working on the style around the cracker and the pizza.  The next activity is my son's favorite.  We are back at the clips!  He loves to put this on the spice rack and then spin it.  It helps with his hand dexterity.   

More about everyday learning:

I found this puzzle at our local library.  It is a progression puzzle showing how we eat a banana.  My kids don't particularly like bananas.  To my surprise, they both wanted to peel and see if they could match their banana to the one in the puzzle.  And yes! they ate them to make them equal!

This is just a simple picture of how we use the skills from our activities.  I have been giving my daughter a small saucer to pour her own milk in her cereal.  It is so cute to see her help herself.  Also I have noticed that she is using more milk this way.   

Week of 4/29

Our practical life exercises:

Transferring water with a dropper.  I  picked this activity (and two shot glasses) because it needed very little water.  My kids LOVE transferring exercises but are very messy with them.  I vacuumed a lot of rice from one of our last activities.  I am hopping that as the weather turns to be nicer, maybe I can put some transferring materials on the deck! bring on the mess kids!  The next activity is copying a pattern with buttons. I use a laminated sheet of paper with squares, and Velcro stickies on the sheet and on the buttons.  I started with my pattern for them to copy; but I hope they'll make their own pattern and challenge each other to copy it.

In the lower shelf I kept the peg boards and pieces just because they are still using them.  I added this two activities.  One is using the mini fuzzy pompoms for transferring with a small wooden spoon to an ice tray shaped like mini apples.  My son loves this one.  The last activity is to continue using the clothespins.  My son likes them but has a hard time.  I found a stack of cards for teaching clothing by seasons.  I only put out spring clothing.  The kids tend to work on it together.  It is nice to see them enjoy one activity without any fighting!

Week of 4/15

Back to the weekly routine
This week's practical life activities came mostly from a peg game board we got for my son's birthday.  Here is a link to get it... There are many ways to use it! 
We also got an extra peg board (to avoid constant fights)
Here are the activities the kids are working on:

Here are the activities ready on the shelves: on the top, separating the pegs by colors (red and yellow) using the  tongs.  One is red for the red pegs, and the other is yellow.  Next is separating by color again and arranging them in the small boxes.  This is a repeat of a well- loved activity.  The only difference is that this time they are separating the pegs.  Underneath, there are two big trays with a popcorn holder.  Both trays have a container (blue or red) with pegs of different colors, a thick foam board in blue, and some thin shape boards.  The yellow tray on the left is for my son (2 y/o). He uses the smaller thin boards to fill up with pegs.  The purple tray on the right is for my daughter (3.5 y/o).  She uses the bigger thin boards to build.  The pink tray on the bottom has extra thin boards and a shoe lace.  The kids use them as lacing cards.  See the next picture.

This is what they are shown to do.  What they actually do varies =P
My son likes to cover the thin boards completely, but he uses mixed colors instead.  My daughter likes to also fill up the thin boards before stacking them up.  Both kids love to lace the extra pieces. There are so many activities from just one toy!  One thing that has helped a ton to keep the pegs from getting lost is that each one of the kids uses their rug for the activity.  They end up sharing or switching pegs. 

My daughter is really into painting these days. I used two of her old pacifier holders to hold the page on her easel.  She loved it. I tried to make it look as close to an actual artist's as possible.  She has her own color wheel, the paints she picked at a store, and a ton of old paint brushes. She loved this bear, and picked it from the computer.

Then she moved onto painting her own picture.  She was painting for a half an hour! Afterwords, she helped me clean and dry the paintbrushes.  She put them in their own spots to be ready for next time!  I always hesitated when it came to giving paint to her, thinking she was going to make a mess.  She has earned her privilege! She is a neat painter!

Week of 4/8

These are the practical life activities for this week:

I will try to post every week from now on.  Some things I see from other blogs (I will get better at making the correct reference), other ideas are from a trip to the dollar store or going over the manuals I am getting in my online class. This first picture is of how my kids find the material.  This week I found a plastic piggy bank.  My son got a ceramic one for his birthday and wanted to put coins in it all the time. I only let him do this when he was with me for fear he was going to break it.  When I saw this piggy for only $1! I was thrilled! I am using magnetic mini dollar bills instead of coins, to avoid a potential chocking hazard.  My son once put a nickle in his mouth!  Both kids love putting money in.  My three year old daughter learned how to open the bottom and take the money out to start the activity again.  Next to it, you see a flower with mini suction cups for the bathtub with some pompoms that are very hairy.  My daughter likes to put the little pompoms in place.  We still have the locks and the keys because they love them and still use them.
Then a transfer activity using a open mouth cup, and a smaller mouth tall pitcher with a funnel.  So far I have vacuumed tons of rice! But the kids really love this activity and are very good at taking turns. Right next to it, is a cow pin activity.  My son loves cows... please see the result picture bellow.  And finally the super sorter.  I finally took it out for them to use.  So far a favorite. 

To save time, I took this one picture of what the kids are suppose to do with the material all in one place.  The kids will never see this as they take every tray out to work on one activity at a time.  But this is for you to see  it in action. 

I bought this on sale at Toys R Us for $12.99.  I did not put all the pieces out yet. I use the sorter by fruit type and color and only added 20 pieces.

Week 4/1

Please note that the following activities do not last very long on their shelves.  I only have two kids and if they are over it, I move to another activity. I also don't do much in terms of holidays themes.  It is just my style. I admire and respect other's.

Here are supplies for lacing, locks, transferring with a spoon, the sneaky squirrel game shortened version, color coding game, using clothes pins, and a basket of stacking toys for my 2 year old. Underneath, we have small board books, some fabrics made into rugs, and pretend dressing frames.  The containers with white lids have felt figures (our board is on the far right by the wall), and some pretend toys.
On the top shelf, the one not in the picture, I have diapers wipes, and essentials for my two year old.  Here is a close up of some of the activities.

Here you have the clothespin by color on a flower.  I got this flower for free with an order placed online. I knew I kept it for a reason!
Looking at the lock picture I noticed my two year old must have taken one lock.  I usually have 5!

Here is another practical life area.  We are growing cilantro, basil, and parsley on the top (check out the hand lenses in yellow and green). We have it on the top with an indoor growing lamp since it is still to cold to be outside. We move the pots down for the kids only when supervised so my 2 year old is not tempted to put soil everywhere.  Next down is a shelf with their eating utensils, and their snacks.  They can go an help themselves.  We do have a designated time for snacks to keep them eating their regular meals. If you are curious: under it all is a huge bin with a lot of fisher price little people farm related toys.  My kids adore this toys.  

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