Sunday, 19 November 2017

Giveaway time!

I’ve created this math card game that’s very easy to use: the kids can work independently or in small groups and match all the flashcards that represent the same number. It will help those who don’t recognize numbers yet, or those who need to work on counting. I’ve added flashcards related to all four seasons, so you can change the centre according to the month you’re using it.

To enter a chance to win this game, leave a comment here or on the Grumpy Dumpling FB page saying why you would like to have it. Three winners will be announced next Sunday, November 26.

Printable Door Signs

We often have meetings in different classrooms, so we needed some door signs to let people know. So I made these free printables

I suggest printing them out, laminating them, then punching holes on the top and adding a nice ribbon.

Click on the image to download the freebie

Friday, 3 November 2017

Pumpkin Exploration and Eruption

I think that one of the most important responsibilities of a teacher is to get kids excited about learning and exploring. Their curiosity will also fuel their desire to learn. They will want to learn because enjoy the process, not for the results.

Teaching science is one of those subjects that has the power to do just that! Consider that by using some inexpensive products you probably already have at home, your kids could learn about density, composting, recycling, climate changes, and different chemical reactions! It opens the doors to so many questions and new ideas!

The kids in our group love exploring with all senses: by touching, smelling, seeing, tasting, and hearing they will remember easily what ingredients we used and what happened. Of course, not all of them are very eager to smell vinegar or poke a gooey green egg, but at least they observe what happens when others do it. We try to encourage them to observe and learn through hands-on activities.

The exploding volcano experiment is a classic, but this time we made it inside of a pumpkin. First, we cut the pumpkin and hulled the seeds. The kids got to smell and touch the pulp and the fibrous strands and we left them overnight to dry. The seeds also make wonderful math manipulatives (but you have to keep an eye on the kids).

Thanks to Nea for taking this photo! :)

After getting everything out and rinsing it a bit, we placed baking soda, a bit of red food colouring, and then the kids took turns in pouring vinegar over that. The most fun part was poking the bubbles!

We talked with the kids about the ingredients used and their other uses, about parts of a pumpkin, and about the fact that vinegar and baking soda react and make the volcano erupt (it’s a bit too much to explain the kids about the reaction between a base and an acid, so we stopped at that this time).

Here’s the volcano we made two years ago:

Monday, 30 October 2017

A Halloween Adventure!

The children are so excited about Halloween that we had to organize lots of other themed activities until our party this Wednesday. It’s all they have been thinking about since October started: monsters, ghosts, pumpkins, and scary costumes!

Apart from a couple of crafts, coloring pages, and science projects with pumpkins and ghosts, my colleague prepared this creepy Halloween hunt in the basement of our daycare. It turned out amazing and most of the children were eager to go to the cellar and explore the place. I could barely wait for my turn to go in!

The story started last month, when the kids names our soft toy (a tiny badger) “baby Miru”. They made him (the kids decided it’s a boy) a bed to sleep in, fed it, and took care of it. But one morning, baby Miru disappeared. We suspected it went in the cellar, because the door was open – and it never is. Because it’s dark in there, we took flashlights, but there were also some candles, so it wasn’t pitch dark. The kids found the first red note on the ground. It said: “Follow the spiders”. Apart from spider decorations, there was also fake spider web, and different objects that Miru had left behind (baby bottle, toys that he liked, etc.), along with some clues on red notes.

Baby Miru after he was found

In small groups (4-5 kids and two teachers at a time), they went looking for clues and finally found baby Miru. He had been playing in there with his twin sister, but then he fell asleep in one of the corridors, in his tiny basket. He was probably too tired!

The kids who were a bit scared wanted to go in with the lights on, and that was, of course, fine. It was such an amazing adventure, that they couldn’t wait to tell their parents in the afternoon.

Nea, my colleague, decorated the cellar with fake spider web, spiders, candles, and toys

One child from every group could read the clues found by the others

Spooky, isn't it?
If you likes this activity, you might also like reading about:

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Silk Paper Paintings

Our group loved exploring this new painting technique. It kept their little hands busy and engaged for a long time: first with cutting, then with spraying water over the silk paper. When the paper dried, we removed the silk paper to uncover the spots of colour.

We used the paintings to make invitations for our Autumn Coffee event with the parents. They could also be cut like autumn leaves, or heart cards for friends.

If you liked this post, maybe you would be interested in reading more about process art:
The Benefits of Process Art
The Perfect Playdough Recipe

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Counting Games with "Seven Steps"

These are two easy an engaging activities that you can do to get your children to recognize numbers and count well, pairing each number with one object. By using props (magnetic wand, coins, straws and paper plates) while singing this song (Seven Steps from Super Simple Learning) they will acquire a better grasp on numbers and quantities because they will be directly involved.

This is how the first activity goes

Ask the children to help you place the numbers in the correct order on the floor. Then, place five rows of magnetic coins: on the first, second, and fifth rows place seven coins, and on the third and fourth place only three. While singing the song, one child at a time gets to collect the coins with the wand while the others are singing. Make sure that the pace is slow enough for counting. For counting backwards, just repeat the entire thing. Once you show the kids how this works, they can play in pairs.

 The second activity

You will need some straws or drum sticks and numbered paper plates (I used the same wooden numbers and stuck them with blue-tack). One child gets to hit the plates while the others sing the song. If the children recognize numbers well, you can place the plates in a different order. Also, to make the game more active, spread the plates throughout the room. The kids will have a blast!

 If you liked this post, you might also want to read:
What are manipulatives and where to get them?
A fun musical vocabulary game from Super Simple Learning