Thursday, April 14, 2011

So - Before Five in a Row

So we use a book called Before Five in a Row which is actually a lovely resource for people with small children. I think it's helpful even if you don't plan on homeschooling.
The idea is not that you're "teaching" them as such, but you're getting them ready for learning and nurturing a love for learning.
It uses children's books to introduce new concepts, activities and discussions for you do do with your child.I will admit that I find some of the books used in it are a bit outdated but so far Bear has loved most of the ones we've bought, even if I haven't, and Evie is starting to enjoy them too!
I think it's very easy to carry the concept across to other books if you prefer, it's just a nice resource for giving parents an idea of where to start.

There is also a treasury of ideas in the second half of the book, just on fun things to do with small children.

So - What did we do today?
In the last day or 2 Bear has pulled out Blueberries for Sal again, and today I decided to start one of the activities he wasn't quite ready for the first time we read it...classification cards!
Teaching kids to classify items into groups is a great logical thinking exercise.
So basically the idea is to make your own animal classification cards, using animals from the book you're reading at the time, to eventually build up a nice selection of cards for your child to play with.

As we're reading Blueberries for Sal I took pictures of a bear, a partridge, a crow...and I decided to add a blueberry bush too, just for fun!

So - What did we use?
Pictures
Cardboard
Scissors
Glue stick
clear contact paper (optional)

I had a look through our magazines but didn't find pictures of the animals I needed, so I ended up grabbing some images from google & printing them out.
I also cut some different coloured A4 card into 4, so we have a bunch of cards the same size.
Then Bear and I cut out the pictures I printed.
Bear applied liberal amounts of glue to the pictures and stuck them on the cards.
Voila - There you have a classification card!
Then the rest is all optional, but as we are trying to work on the concept of the alphabet a little I drew the letter each picture starts with e.g. "Bb" for Bear.
Also because I want them to last a little while I decided to cover them in clear contact paper just to make them a little more durable.

Sadly no photos today, I'll try take some next time Bear has them out, but just in case you have no clue what I'm talking about, they're basically homemade versions of these:

So - What now?
Now we were ready to play. We laid out the cards and then I would ask him to choose all the ones with fur, or beaks, or leg.
He seemed to enjoy it and even came up with his own suggestions, grouping together the cards of the same colour, or animals with the same colour etc.
I think it will only get more fun as we add more and more cards to the bunch.

Then we read the book again and when we came across each animal in the book, Bear found the right card to match and showed it to Evie to so she could see.

So - What did we learn?
Some of the things we learnt during this activity:
  • Shapes - as we were cutting them out we talked about square & rectangle shapes. How they are similar and how they are different. We looked around to find other things that were squares and rectangles, like the oven, dining room table, wash basket etc.
  • Fine motor control - Bear was using his scissors again and he did all his own gluing and sticking
  • Alphabet - we drew some letters, said them phonetically and then said the animal's name.
  • Identifying various birds/animals - crow, partridge etc
  • Classification - as mentioned above, we played a game and grouped our cards according to different things
  • Colours - well Bear already know all his basic colours very well, but he spent some time commenting on the different browns of the animals and spent some time grouping cards according to colours.
So - what about our Evie, well we all read the book together again and let her have a good look at all the animals, and after we all went for a walk to the shop to stretch our legs!

Now if only everyone would nap so the parentals can keep their sanity :)

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