Tag Archives: early childhood

Spirulina Ice & Chisel

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ice and chisel

After our fun with spirulina playdough, I had been thinking about something I had pinned awhile back and how perfect it would suit this hot weather. The pin was frozen ice with dinosaurs and the hours of fun using a chisel to get them out. Since we do not have any dinosaurs, I debated about using his animals. I did not want to ruin them in the water, and I wasn’t sure if it was a great idea to be freezing animals since this kind of goes against what I believe. I mean, in no other circumstance would I be freezing animals, but then I thought about how much Zaedyn loves his animals and how it would be a great way for him to help save them.

I decided to freeze the animals in water, and add some colour on top after it was frozen. I was a little bit impatient letting it freeze for long enough though. I mixed a bit of spirulina into water, poured it on top, and placed the container back in the freezer. Since I did not wait long enough, the top layer mixed with the layer beneath. It actually worked out perfect to create more of a blue ocean, and the spirulina did not stain the animals.

The next day, we found the animals frozen in the freezer and brought them outside with Zaedyn’s hammer and chisel. He was very curious and uncertain about what we were doing, but he was also very interested. After showing Zaedyn what to do, he had a bit of fun, but also wanted Mummy’s help. We made sure to be very careful not to hurt our animals while trying to save them. Zaedyn loves to hold the hammer around the other way for some reason. No matter how many times you help him turn it, he makes sure to show you that is not the way he likes to do it. It was great to see him exploring with this new activity. He loved seeing the ice crack, and he had the biggest smiles on his face when the animals were free.

This is a great exploration activity for hand/eye coordination, understanding properties of water, perseverance, and having a bit of fun. Of course there are always more learning opportunities that arise with each child! I would love to keep doing this with Zaedyn and see how different or similar things go. Let me know if you do this with your children, or if you end up trying it. It is such a simple, yet fun learning opportunity that is great for warm weather (or even cold) and as an alternative to using hammers at a workbench.

Regrowing Mint: Water or Soil?

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Ever wonder if this actually works? I have never tried to regrow mint as it does seem to grow in abundance on its own, but I wanted to regrow some cuttings for the tamariki at the centre. With summer coming, the teachers are sorting out the garden with intentions of building a sensory area including herbs.

Mint is a hardy plant that can be easily grown by children. It makes a great addition and aromatic aspect to playdough or clay by adding hot water to fresh mint leaves and using as an essence. Add mint to water in ice cube trays and freeze. This adds a twist of a natural sensory aspect to the understanding of the physical properties of water leading to curiosity, contribution, and exploration. I am sure that the tamariki will love picking mint from their garden and knowing that they helped it to grow. This also adds to their sense of responsibility and sustainability as they develop an appreciation for the environment. There are even more learning opportunities through science concepts, collaboration, patience, and observation. The list goes on.

Gardening provides children with a real sense of purpose and a meaningful way to explore nature.

I may have cut the mint a bit longer than I should have, but I was very surprised and excited as I walked past and saw the roots. I did not know if the cuttings would regrow and was uncertain as to whether or not they should be in water or soil, but it looks like this was a success. We will continue to watch the roots grow before planting them.

Anyone else need mint? Would love to hear if anyone else has tried this, or can share successful or unsuccessful experiences regrowing plants from cuttings.

***tamariki means children

Fascination of a Quiet Book

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Haka

Haka Quiet Book

Alphabet

Alphabet Truck

Vegan Picnic

Surf

Numbers Surfing Theme

Butterflies

Butterfly Numbers

Traffic Light & Road

Dress the People

Shape Matcher

What an awesome prezzie Zaedyn received back in April for his 1st birthday. I love how unique it is to us & how Zaedyn is able to relate to the truck, waves, & vegan picnic, making connections to the world around him. This morning he was so fascinated playing with his quiet book. Most of all, he was just curious and playful in his exploration. There are many learning opportunities through counting in English & Te Reo, fine motor skills with buttoning, velcro, zips, learning colours and about traffic lights, roads & traffic signs, ABCs, shapes, & healthy vegan food. I look forward to seeing what other dispositions and learning will occur as Zaedyn continues to play with his quiet book.

Who is the talented person responsible for this learning tool? Read more about the making of our quiet book & other sewing ventures with AfricanKiwi.

The Value of Baking for Children

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Baking

I am curious

Taking an Interest

Baking

Excitement of Mixing

Coconut

Being Involved – Pouring the Coconut

Baking

Stirring ~ Yum!

Senses

Exploring

Cookies

Observing

Vegan

Ready to try our vegan bikkies. Yum!

vegan

Vegan Bikkies using Linseed, Sunflower, & Almond (LSA)

The smell of banana fills the air and my puku is feeling full thanks to Zaedyn’s curiosity and exploration with baking vegan bikkies. What a wonderful experience and enjoyment through the process of baking.

Baking is a foundation for learning through taking an interest, exploration, creativity, independence, curiosity, observation, playfulness, sensory experience, language development, mathematics, health, nutrition, science, fine motor skills, and so much more.

Horoi o ringaringa. The first thing we did was wash our hands and talk about the importance of washing our hands before baking. Back in the kitchen, I loved watching Zaedyn become curious and take an interest in the bowls, measuring cups, spoon, and ingredients in front of him. He was very happy and excited. I observed as he was beginning to understand this process and be involved in pouring and mixing. He must have figured out through his senses that this was going to be some yummy food as he observed and licked his lips.

I do not believe in putting anything past tamariki. They continue to amaze me in how clever and knowledgable they are, and I do not think that it is ever too early to introduce concepts. Learning is constant and their minds work in miraculous ways. Therefore, I still talk about mathematic concepts such as volume and measurement, health and nutrition through washing our hands and eating healthy food (minus the chocolate!), science concepts such as adding the wet to dry ingredients and cooking/temperature, using appropriate language to support literacy development, and supporting dispositions through providing opportunities.

Yum! Although I helped, I was very impressed with Zaedyn’s baking skills through his own learning as well as the yummy outcome of vegan bikkies to enjoy. I look forward to building upon these concepts and learning by providing more opportunities for Zaedyn to explore.

Do your children or children you look after enjoy baking? Any other valuable skills to share?

If you are interested in the recipe, see my post Vegan ABC Banana Cookies. We did not have any nut butter made up or nuts to make some so we adjusted the recipe using Linseed, Sunflower, and Almond (LSA) with a bit more oil.

A Different Kind of Water Wall

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With the excitement of summer coming and a bit of sunshine amidst all of the rain and wind today, a quick look around in the shed ended in this makeshift attempt of a water wall, if you can call it that. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. Warm water, funnels, cups, PVC pipes, and the curiosity of infants. I cannot wait to see what resources we can collect and new ways we can put them together to create an inviting and challenging space for tamariki to learn.

Most tamariki love playing with water. There is something magical about the natural element of water through the variety of opportunities, endless resources and open ended play, and the smiles it puts on children’s faces.

“It is not about the blocks or the dough. It is about the activity being the vehicle for the acquisition of the disposition to learn” ~Margaret Carr (2008)

This quote provides great reflection when thinking about the importance of dispositions toward children’s ongoing learning and the activities we set up or resources that we provide. Water helps to develop multiple dispositions such as curiosity, playfulness, resourcefulness, and collaboration. Not all children enjoy water. For some, water play might be about the confidence that develops. Although the water space might remain the same throughout the day, each child’s play will result in learning that is different to those that they are playing alongside. Isn’t that fascinating? As a teacher, it challenges us to be thinking on so many levels and supporting each child’s needs to further develop their individual learning. I am excited for summer and all of the wonderful activities and learning to come.

Check out Let the Children Play for other ideas on creating a water wall and other inspiring play ideas.

Washing the house and cars on a rainy day? Here is a quick look at some of the water play Zaedyn enjoyed over the weekend…

Hose

Mud

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.” ~E.E. Cummings

Carr, M. (2008) Presentation to Hui Topu – Professional Development for Early Childhood Education. May 28th, Wellington.

Thailand Post

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     Zaedyn and I have been waiting patiently for our parcel to arrive. Different postal services are always bringing packages to work. Knowing that we had a special parcel coming for us, I have been very curious and excited; however, none have been for us. Then when I went into the staff room for morning tea, I saw a slip in my locker telling me that I needed to pick up my package. I get them sent purposely to work so that I do not have to go downtown to get them, but of course they decided to deliver my package out of hours. Oh well. Still excited knowing what had arrived, Zaedyn and I went downtown at lunch to collect our special delivery from Thailand: Rattan Balls.

     Zaedyn was watching intently as I opened the box. He began talking as he does and making lots of funny noises to show that he was curious and excited as well. If only you could hear him. He would pull one out, examine it closely, show me, and throw it off to the side as he had a look at the next one he pulled out. He explored the rattan balls and was very playful as he made his own fun. They are also great for developing gross motor skills as he has already been practicing throwing and kicking them around. I can see the fun we are going to have in our exploration with these.

     So how and where did I find these? I had been searching online to find my Mum a birthday present and somehow ended up seeing these rattan balls on Etsy. I seem to get sidetracked when it comes to Pinterest and Etsy. Anyways, listed for indoor and outdoor decoration as many people would use them for, I instantly thought how cool these would be as a natural resource for Zaedyn to explore and even learn his colours. I have been interested in buying him some rattan balls, but I had never seen bright ones like these before. My one concern was what was used to make them these colours. Although I am not sure exactly, I was assured that they were safe. The products are hand made when ordered, good customer service, and they even made us 25 instead of 20 for only $10.78 NZD. Even with an extra $13.95 for shipping, these are well worth it. I am always looking for natural learning resources that are appealing and provide tamariki with opportunities to learn through nature as they develop an understanding about their world. We even found a special basket to put them in with a koru on the front. To me, this represents the growth that will come with new ideas and opportunities in Zaedyn’s ongoing learning through nature.

     Not sure how we always look for presents with no luck, but Zaedyn almost always seems to end up with something new. Anyways, It was time to go back to work, and Zaedyn decided to bring his sunnies along. What a beautiful sunny day it was again until the few thunderstorms passed in the late afternoon. We must be getting closer to summer!