Learning with Play

Scibble Art and Family Time

I have discovered a book that I absolutely LOVE! It is called the Artful Parent and many of you may know of Jean’s work from her blog, The Artful Parent. When I opened this book, I knew immediately that this was an art book that we could do! The activites are simple, and a bit different from the average kids art projects. The goal of these projects is to promote freedom of creativity while allowing children to try new things at the same time! I love that the projects are pretty and look like real art, not just kids projects! While looking through the book I found so many project that I knew we had to do. In fact, the other evening we did one of them that worked out SO well! The project was almost a game. The kids and I each got a piece of paper and a marker. For one minute we each scribbled on the paper any way we wanted. Then we passed the papers around to the person next to us. Next we had four minutes to look at the scribbles and find a picture in them. We used crayons to color it in. It was so cool to see what each person found in the others persons scribble! Here are some that we did:

DSCN3251Pup’s Scribble~ Bunny’s Art

DSCN3252Bunny’s Scribbles~ My Art

DSCN3253My Scribbles~ Pup’s Art

DSCN3254

DSCN3255

DSCN3256

DSCN3257

DSCN3258Pup’s Scribbles~ My Art

DSCN3259Bunny’s Scribbles~ Pup’s Art (Mermaids)

DSCN3261My Scribbles~ Bunny’s Art (Mermaids)

DSCN3263Bunny’s Scribbles~ My Art

DSCN3264Pup’s Scribbles~ Bunny’s Art (Giraffe)

DSCN3265

My Scribbles~ Pup’s Art (Fish)

 

What loved so much about this project is that the girls loved it, then had a chance to be really creative, and it was SO easy for me to just do it spur of the moment! A lot of the projects in the book require a bit more preparation, bit there are some others that are really easy to get together! It was such a great way to spend some fun family time with the girls while not needing a whole lot of prep. I think that we are going to have alot of fun this year with projects!
Do you have a favorite resource for art with kids? I would love to hear your favorites!
 Happy Summer!

 

Bunny’s Watepark

Yesterday Bunny had an idea to use hula hoops to create a tunnel over the slide to make it like a waterpark. I am not sure exactly where this idea came from, but she was working so hard on it! She tried to prop the three hula hoops up with each other, she tied them to the top and then together, and she tried using Pup as a prop! 😉  Unfortunately she really couldn’t quite figure it all out. It was Daddy to the rescue! She explained her idea and together they brain stormed an idea that was easier (ok…safer maybe)! The result made Bunny so happy she was glowing! She LOVED it! It was just what she was thinking (she didn’t know the slide would lift up and she really needed more rope). It only too a few seconds for her to beg for the sprinkler to be set up so she could try it. I of course said yes! After being told we were the best parents in the world, the water park was open for business! Bunny and Pup had the best time playing! I think that all the work Bunny put into it made it all the more exciting! Something that she thought up in her head, she was playing on!

Here is her First Design:

DSCN2964

DSCN2967

DSCN2966

DSCN2970

DSCN2974

DSCN2976

DSCN2978

DSCN2981

DSCN2983

DSCN2986

DSCN2993

DSCN2995

DSCN3001

DSCN3013

So there you have some of Bunny’s summer engineering fun! She loved to build things into bigger, better things! I love that our outdoor environment allows her to find the things she needs to start making things on her own (this brain child happened while I was cleaning up dinner)! As Bunny gets older and we move away from the traditional Montessori work, I can still see how making sure that we keep with those Montessori essentials is so important! Having an environment that has materials available is something that has made our world what it is!

  I have also been noticing that Bunny has been paying a lot of attention to how things work. I think she may really love to take something apart, like a radio or vacuum or something like that! Right now…we are going to keep slipping and sliding.! That is until there is a hole in the yard or someone gets a bruised hinny! Happy Summer!

Now I know that this isn’t all traditional Montessori work, but it is summer! So if you are looking for some more amazing Montessori fun, be sure to stop by Montessori Monday! We are there! We are also hopping over to Link & Learn! Stop there for some summer fun ideas!

Happy First Day of Summer

DSCN2779

DSCN2787

DSCN2792

DSCN2799

Today is the first day of summer and we spent it in a very summery way! We had some friends over and spent the day playing outside! I carried our Ocean fun outside again today by making some Oobleck for the kids. Bunny has been saying how she only wants to do science, so I made sure that I explained the science behind how the molecules behaved and she felt like we really did science! (I didn’t know how it work, but this blog shared their knowledge). We also made some hypothesis about what we thought some ocean animals would do if they were placed in the oobleck. Bunny thought that they would float, they didn’t. It was interesting to see how the liquid really baffled them! Plus it was full of sensory fun! This is really an outside fun thing. The best part of it had to be that it just hosed right off! So how did I make it? Simple:

~ 2 Boxes of Corn Starch (or six cups)

~ 4 1/2 cups of water

~ Few drops of food coloring

Mix it all together in a big bowl. It should look watery on top, but be solid on the bottom. When you scoop it up, it should be hard and almost dry, but as it sits in your hand it will “melt”. Then its ready to play! There is a ton of interesting science involved with all of this, and a lot of opportunities to talked about states of matter and making hypothesis! Have you tried this before? What do you love best about this? Share your ideas! I hope your summer kicked off to a lot of fun too! Happy Summer!

 

You cant always plan!

DSCN2409

DSCN2411

A couple of days ago I thought that it would be fun to set up the girls dolls into a beach scene so when they woke up in the morning it would be ready to play! Bunny has been crying that she is board and Pup is starting to do the same. I thought that they would love to find something new, and they did!

DSCN2414

DSCN2416

DSCN2417

I  thought that they would be all set for hours of fun, but that isn’t what happened. They played, but quickly lost interest and even cleaned it all up. Hmmm….what went wrong? Well I was thinking that play only really becomes a concentrated effort when the child chooses it themselves, or when it is a group effort between other kids. Why? Well maybe because I set up a world for them made from my mind and imagination. It wasn’t their world. This pre-set up play didn’t capture their minds and become a part of their world. It was fun for them to visit, but not stay for a long time.  So play then must be something that reaches something deep inside the child. Play is essentially no different then Montessori materials. If fact Maria Montessori often called the work that a child was doing play. So is this then the missing link to getting rid of boredom? Maybe instead of making a world for the child to visit, we should be bringing ideas for them to work into their own world. For example, instead of making a beach scene, I could read books, make sure the craft area has shells and sand to work with, make a matching game with fish figurse, bring out the kiddie pool for some ocean fun! These ideas are feeding their imagination so then they can create when they want, what they want, and play that way! So….instead of planning out play, I am going make sure that I prepare ideas instead! Has anyone else noticed the same things with your kids play time? I would love to hear what you have observed!

Bubbly Goodness!

Today we had some end of the year fun with our homeschool group and we thought some bubble exploration would be fun! It was such a fun thing to see what blew the best bubble and how to make the most bubbles! The kids loved it and the adults….well sometime good fun is messy! 😉 Want to see?

DSCN2421

DSCN2424

DSCN2428

DSCN2434

DSCN2441

DSCN2443

DSCN2450

DSCN2454

DSCN2456

DSCN2460

DSCN2492

DSCN2505

Exploring Bubble has a ton of ways of great learning fun! Try different bubble blowers to see what makes the biggest bubble. You can use different bubble solutions to see which is best! You can use household object to see what makes a bubble. And you can explore surface tension as you try to move bubble without popping them! In fact there are a million ideas! I have a whole Pintrest board with ideas on it! So stop over there for more ideas! It is a super summer fun! Do you play bubbles much? Share your favorite bubble play idea in the comments (please, I have about a gallon of bubble to still use here)! Happy Summer Playtime!

Telling Stories

DSCN1881

Today the girls and I headed to the beach! It was a beautiful sunny 70 degrees here, so we packed a quick lunch and headed out! We played in the waves, ate sand ice cream creations, and told stories together. This last part is something that I have been doing with the girls and they are loving it! Who knew! I don’t think that I am a particularly gifted story teller, but the girls are always captivated. We have a little girl named Jane who goes on adventures! Sometimes she learns something like when she went up into a cloud and learned about the water cycle, and sometimes they are just made up like when Jane swam with her new mermaid friend! The girls love this little dark haired girl and the great thing is that a new story can happen any time no matter where we are! So today Jane built a sand castle that she shrunk to fit inside an met a princess. She climbed into a rock cave and met a hermit crab who took her to his secret beach spot. She met a seagull named Sandpiper who took her to see the ocean from the sky. And she took a ride on a dolphin with her mermaid friend! Jane had a very busy day and I had a perfect moment, laying on the beach, telling stories to my girls! I have a feeling that Jane will be with us for a while! She is connecting us through her adventures and inspiring us to greater creativity! When I tell the stories, the girls are engrossed yet offer up details to add about what is going on! We are building the story and memories together all at the same time!

DSCN1774

DSCN1786

DSCN1792

DSCN1793

DSCN1795

DSCN1799

DSCN1803

DSCN1818

DSCN1819

DSCN1824

DSCN1825

DSCN1840

DSCN1850

DSCN1863

Do you tell stories at home? What are they about? Do you find that it offers your family a way to connect and grow together? This is a new idea for me! I would love to hear your thoughts on this! I hope you take a moment to share in the comments!

Rolling Along

The other day, after we talked about simple machines, we hit the hardware store. While we were there, Bunny saw some wheels and wanted them so badly! So I got them for her! Today she pulled them out to make something. It took a few minutes for me to show her how to pre-drill the holes and how to screw in the screws, but she really got into it! She was able to attach the wheels all by herself and was really proud of her rolling board! (That is what she made) Even Pup wanted to try using the screw gun to screw some screws into a board!

I love learning new things with the girls! Do you have plans to do new things with your kids this summer? How about a Bucket List? Share your ideas below!

Puzzle Time!

Yesterday my girls were given some puzzles and today they spent the day building! It started first thing this morning and continued on and off into the afternoon! What amazes me is all the thinking and learning that happens when are building. Bunny could do them pretty easily, but Pup was pretty challenged! I spent time building with them too, so it was fun for everyone! I guess we need a few more puzzles!

DSCN1741

DSCN1735 DSCN1737

DSCN1739

DSCN1742

DSCN1749

What is your favorite way to play and learn with your kids everyday?

Simple Machanics

This past week the girls have been finding simple machines all over without even knowing it! They rigged up a pulling system on their play house, and made marble runs on the steps! So I decided that it was a good time to present them with the names of the simple machines that they were using all over the house! So this morning I read a book about simple machines that explained (in a bit too much detail) what each simple machine was and how it worked. Bunny was fascinated! She immediately started to see the simple machines around the house! She told me she thought that the hinge on the door was a lever, and that there was an inclined plane on the stairs. So I challenged her to get some stuff out of the garage to make a simple machine. She got right to work and so did Pup. What they made was a more complicated version of the marble run she had made on the stairs earlier in the week! I loved seeing how know this new information made her start to look at things she saw differently. I am interested to see what this new information produces in her work as she keeps exploring. Here is what they have done so far!

DSCN1714

DSCN1712

DSCN1715

DSCN1720

DSCN1718

DSCN1721

DSCN1728

DSCN1731

DSCN1732

As you can see, they have been learning through play and it has been amazing to watch! I would like to get some cards describing the different simple machines for a reference. Do you ever have moments where your kids are learning even though they think they are playing? I think its one of the best part of homeschooling!

 I also wanted to let you know that I am so happy that some of you have taken a moment to vote for me over at the Top 25 Homeschool Blogs! I just wanted to let you all know that it  means the world to have you voting for me! The voting is still open and you can vote once a day! Plus you can vote for more then one of your favorite bloggers!

I am linking up over at Montessori Monday and The Hip Homeschool Hop! So be sure to stop by there and see some of the awesome ideas!

Look For the Learning

Well I spoke too soon about my summer science plan! Today the girls were off working on their own project and when I got to see their results, I was amazed. They were detailed, well thought through, and full of deep learning experiences. What I was able to see, was not just a great project, but real learning. They were problems solving, doing geometry, creating simple machines, and taking an abstract pictures and turning them into something real. Bunny read a Lego book and decided that she wanted to build Olivia’s House. She spent the whole morning figuring out how to make her creation look like the picture, including a second story! Pup worked really hard today making a road with a ramp for her cars. She was so proud that it all lined up and worked!

 This is when I realized that my summer science plan was a little too much. I had plans yesterday to make all these wonderful learning boxes, but honestly they don’t need them or even want them. In fact it is a reminder to me that I need to relax! They are still learning with or without my amazing lessons! 🙂 I think that maybe their own free exploration with the aid of a few books and a random little definition would be more then enough.

When I began homeschooling I wanted my kids to love learning, to find joy in discovery, and to try new things. That is exactly what they are doing right now. It may not be in our school room, during school time, but it is happening here in our day to day life. It is a part of their life. That is what I should have seen when we were at the library and they choose a million books about a million things. They love to find out new things and that was my homeschooling goal. But as I looked at their creations, I realized that although my goal has always been to have real learning, knowing about the Montessori prepared environment has really allowed that to be possible in a daily way. The girls know where everything they need is, and they can try something and find everything that they need! It make a huge mess sometimes, but is it is a good learning mess! 🙂 What I need to do it make sure that I am finding the learning that is happening. It is a different way to see what the kids are doing. If I take a moment to see what they are learning and not just what they are doing, I think that I will be able to make sure that they have the bits that they may need and give a small lesson if the moment is right. Plus it is a way to make me stop and really look at them. Their play, and crafting is an expression of their true selves. The are showing me who they are in their work. They don’t need  me to create a million projects, they just need me to pay attention to the projects and learning that they are already doing! Happy Schooling and Learning!

 

holthauserica@mailxu.com natibrandee@mailxu.com