Paint Chip Reading Fun

Paint Chip Reading Fun @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Paint Chip Literacy Fun @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Unfortunately I didn’t count on something she loves much more than reading–snipping!  As I’ve said before, Em love to cut, so those beautiful white lines were just calling her name, and it wasn’t long before she had cut all my paint chips to pieces.  Oh, well, just another way to play with her fine motor skills!  At least we could talk about what sounds the letters make as she went along!

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Building With Toothpicks & Marshmallows

Today we are building structures, shapes, and letters with toothpicks and marshmallows!

Building With Marshmallows @ Rub Some Dirt On It

This activity has no rules and no guidelines.  Just make sure you have plenty of supplies because somehow they seemed to disappear every time I turned my back…

Em started making letters right off the bat, spelling her name, and to my surprise and delight, mine!

Building With Marshmallows @ Rub Some Dirt On It Building With Marshmallows @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax was a bit more abstract.  He called his creations Mr. Crazy and Mr. Messy.

Building With Marshmallows @ Rub Some Dirt On It IMG_9255

After a bit I helped them create shaped structures…

Marshmallow Shapes @ Rub Some Dirt On It

…and Jax made a giraffe.

Building With Marshmallows @ Rub Some Dirt On It

This kept them busy for such a long time, got their creative juices flowing, helped them thinking logically and randomly, and helped their fine motor skills.  Oh, and did I mention, they are tasty, too?  I couldn’t ask more for my crazy kiddos!

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Do Bubbles Freeze? An Experiment

Jax’s love of science experiments continues, and so we pulled out our handy dandy journals and asked ourselves the question,

Freezing Bubbles Experiment @ Rub Some Dirt On It

First we wrote some important data in our journals, such as the outside temperature (11 degrees F) and our hypothesis regarding whether or not the bubbles would freeze, and if so, how long it would take.  Jax thought it would take 10 seconds.  Em thought it would take 5.

When it came to the actual experimenting, the kids stayed inside and watched through the sliding glass door as Mommy braved the freezing weather to determine if bubbles would indeed freeze.  It took several tries because I, being a total wimp, was staying too close to the house and sheltering the bubble with my body.  It wasn’t until I went out into the raw wind that we got the results we were looking for.

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It took about 30 seconds, but when it did happen, I was as excited as the kids.  Watching the icy pattern swirl across the bubble’s surface was really amazing.  And I was surprised and impressed by the solid texture of the bubble when it popped.

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The kids wrote their findings in their journals and talked about the experiment all afternoon.

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Em was impressed with the pattern on the bubble, which of course reminded her of Elsa and Frozen, and therefore she dubbed this experiment her favorite one yet.  Jax liked it, too, but wished it has lasted longer.  Baby H just wondered why I was outside and whether or not the slider was tasty.

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 Conclusion: Not so much.

Since then we have been keeping a list on the refrigerator of things that we wonder as a family.  Jax wonders how the heater works and whether fish sleep.  I wonder how deer survive the winter.  It’s been a nice way to channel all his inquiring-minds-want-to-know energy, and gives me a list of ideas and experiments for the future.  I have my hands full with wonderful fun as they question all the amazing phenomena and how they work in this world of ours!

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Butcher Paper Map

My little guy has a BIG imagination.  There is really nothing that I enjoy more than listening to Jax narrate his Playmobil battles, superhero conquests, or construction at the Hess vehicle work site.  One thing that can make him lose interest, though, is his lack of setting–while he’s comfortable helping his imaginary comrades have lengthy conversations, he often lacks spontaneity in the turn-this-table-into-a-battleship arena.  He’d rather me just buy him a battleship, and Mommy isn’t always in the mood to drag castles and whatnot up and downstairs.  So sometimes I need to orchestrate a little playspace to let his imagination run wild–and to help his independent play last a little longer!

Butcher Paper Town @ Rub Some Dirt On IT

So this time I used our trusty butcher paper–which has given us so many hours of fantastic play–and we made a map of our town.  Just the major landmarks and thoroughfares, with friends’ houses and ours clearly marked so that we could better coordinate the troops, who were apparently preparing for some sort of invasion.  The two of us did it together, which was a very cool conversation about what goes where and eventually I hope soon he’ll be able to write the words himself.

Butcher Paper Town @ Rub Some Dirt On IT

He had the most hilarious ideas–and requests!–determining that the best place to house the troops was the local elementary school, the rendezvous point should be the town square,  and of course he determined that the best place to trap bad guys was on the ski lift of the local ski hill.  One bad guy per lift, then he would trap them all up in the air.  A keen strategist, that Jax.

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Butcher Paper Town @ Rub Some Dirt On IT

He even knew when to call in the cavalry.

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Finally, after he exhausted all his creative fun, I simply folded the butcher paper town and stored it away for another day, another battle.  I saved myself a little time and energy for next time, and Jax and I had a lot of fun working and talking together.  Reason #3870 why every house needs a roll of butcher paper for hours of creative fun, and yet another opportunity to listen to my boy and his always entertaining narrations!

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Learning To Read With Spelling Puzzles

Em is still learning to read, and I am still trying new ways to keep her interested since she absolutely loves doing puzzles and all things fine motor.  It was a huge success for both kids, as Jax couldn’t resist the lure of a new game (and to teach her everything he knows).

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So basically Em and I put together a dollar store puzzle, and then I flipped over chunks of it and wrote the words she’s working on the back, one letter per piece.  Then I highlighted them in different colors so she would be able to find the ones which go together easily since there were so many of the same letters for the different words (several a’s and t’s, for example). 1

Once she had the three letters of the same color, she had to assemble them correctly to read the word.  It was a fun way to sneak some literacy into an activity she was completely intrigued about–doing a puzzle upside down so she had to put it together without seeing the picture?  She loved the challenge, and Jax had a lot of fun helping her with the words.

Spelling Puzzles @ Rub Some Dirt On It

He even put them in word family groups (-at words, -ar words, etc) in the end.  Well, knowing Jax, of course he did.

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Isn’t learning fun?

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Sight Words Mix-Up Cups

Em has recently asked me to teach her to read, and she is picking it up incredibly well; she is also not the type of kid who wants to stare at flash cards (unlike her brother). I found this idea to do a sight word mix-up game here and gave it a try with both her and Jax.  It was a huge hit!

I wrote words on the outside of paper cups that Em is comfortable reading and others that are slightly challenging.  I made separate cups for Jax with words at his level.  I enticed the kids to come with the offer of a snack, then lined three cups up on the table and hid one of our little Schleich animals underneath one of them like an old-fashioned parlor trick.

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The kids had to read the cups, then guess which cup had the duck underneath.  If they were right, they got a Teddy Graham.  If they were wrong, I moved the duck and they tried again.

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They really loved it and played much longer than I anticipated!  They ate their entire snack piece-by-piece at the table while practicing Em’s sight words.  She even told me she really loved this game.  And it’s one you can do again and again if you hold onto those cups until the kids master those particular sight words, then make some new ones!  A great way to keep learning fun (and tasty)!

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Upcycled Holiday Scrap Letters

If you have a fine motor loving kid like Emmy, this will be a real delight and may take most of a morning.  Jackson was less enthusiastic, but we had success nonetheless.

Upcycled Holiday Scrap Letters @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then just clean up the paper that hangs over the edge of your cardboard and make sure no brown spots are showing, and you have a sturdy collage of color that you saved from the trash or recycling bin (at least for a few days).  And the kids were really proud of their handiwork!

Upcycled Holiday Scrap Letters @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Upcycled Holiday Scrap Letters @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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