This year, Zeah is Prep age. Kids at Prep in our state are 4-6 years old. Or I could just tell you that last month, Zeah turned five! We plan our 'schoolwork' around themes. So as well as doing some basic literacy and numeracy activities, and learning to swim, and lots of play and mess-making, Zeah learns about a different theme each term.
Term 1 was Oceans, and some of the activities included:
Castle & Kite, KiwiCo and My Creative Box activity boxes have all been huge blessings since I started a new job while still studying fulltime. I'm working casually this year (and mostly home-based) in Community Engagement, which is a dream job for me! I'm studying Sustainability online via the University of Tasmania - Sociology, Indigenous Lifeworlds and Engaging with Sustainabilty units this semester - all three are quite content-heavy with plenty of written assessments! I only have another month or so to go until I get a break...
Autumn is harvest time. Embrace nature’s abundance...
Immersing children in the rhythm of the seasons assists their unfolding as spiritual beings in a physical world. Recognising rhythms – night and day, the seasons, lunar cycles, festivals and traditions – have become less important to us as humans. For our ancestors, these were the essence of life.
If you have not yet set up your own seasonal table or shelf, as described in previous Seasonal Fun columns, it is a wonderful way to explore the ways that our environment changes through the year; and to display works of art, items from nature and books. If you have a table, it is now time to pack some of your summer items away (don’t forget to photograph the display first) and gather items for autumn. Our world abounds with gifts in autumn, take a walk with your child to gather a variety of seeds and coloured leaves for your display and craft activities.
Nature walks can be enjoyed from babyhood. Usually,...
Because we have a little one of school age now, I thought I'll try to share a series of regular blog posts showing some things we're learning about. Perhaps some of the resources and activities we do will help inspire other families.
Zeah is very interested in Time at the moment. She has asked for a watch for her fifth birthday, and is often asking questions relating to the concept of time.
TIP: Place a standard analogue clock in a living/playing area of your home, and refer to it often, eg: "It's nearly 2 o'clock, we need to get ready for swimming now."
This past week, we started doing some activities and we read a book to support her interest. Here are some of the items we've used...
These rainbow timers from Junior Learning measure 1, 2 and 5 minutes and assisted with estimating and comparison of how long different things take at at our place. I got them online for about $10 last year.
This book, Just a Second by Steve Jenkins has beautiful...
Zeah got a couple of craft kits for Christmas from My Creative Box. The boxes contain several activities each, and everything needed to do each one. The packaging is all compostable/recyclable and there seems to be minimal waste in the one we've started (Oceans).
Some activities I need to help her with, others she can do alone once I set it up (she's 4). Overall, this is a great Aussie business encouraging learning and creativity! The Oceans box has inspired informal themed learning for Zeah over the past couple of weeks.
If you want to try these, here's a $10 off voucher.
We were lucky to visit the Cairns Aquarium and the beach over our Summer Holiday, so Zeah has been doing the Ocean-themed Creative Box activities, watching Octonauts and Nemo, and generally immersing herself in all things marine!
Grow sunflowers planted in a circle with an opening as a doorway, or tents made with climbing beans… A living place to play! Flowers and vegetables like nasturtiums, cherry tomatoes and purple beans to pick and eat while outdoors. Make daisy or dandelion chains and mini fairy gardens.
Use the bath tub or paddle pool with bark, walnut or seed pod boats. Explore science with hoses, funnels, cups, coloured water and float or sink fun. In a bucket or tub wash dolls clothes and blankets or dress-up items and dry them in the sun. If you have a sandpit, recreate the beach with water, twigs and shells. Imaginative play has endless possibilities and water will entertain most children for most of a long, hot afternoon…
Seashell windchimes using driftwood, sew buttons onto hats or dye them bright colours, watercolour painting, pinwheels,...
I appreciate art & craft for kids inspired by nature, using natural and recycled ingredients. I prefer my children not be exposed to art & craft products which contain ingredients they shouldn’t be putting on their skin (or in their mouths, as they do!). I don’t want to add to landfill once the fun is over, so ideally what we consume when being creative will return to the Earth.
We don’t need to buy expensive natural kits or products to choose nature craft. Instead of looking in a discount store at the over-packaged foam, plastic and glitter items, head outdoors to find treasures you can use.
There are books in the library, and many websites dedicated to creating from nature, but it’s great to be inspired by the items you find, and your child’s imagination. Ephemeral art is a creation that happens once, not with the intention of creating something to keep. It might be a mandala created from leaves during a picnic, or a funny face made from...
Spring is time to sow the seeds of new beginnings. Begin any family traditions you have had in mind.
Give the garden an overhaul. Feed it well, mulch and prepare for planting. You may be interested in finding a guide for planting by the moon. There are special calendars designed to show the most appropriate times for particular kinds of garden tasks. Old gardeners simply advise – when the moon’s going up (waxing) it’s time to plant above-ground crops. After the full moon, when it’s waning, it’s time to plant your root crops (like carrots and potatoes). If you planted some bulbs earlier in the year, you may be lucky enough to have flowers blooming already! Enjoy the warm afternoons and get dirty in the garden with your little ones. If your garden is a potted one - transplant, feed and try some...
I loved themed learning at any age! From reading Teddy Bear's Picnic and eating outdoors with babies, right through to teens writing essays inspired by concepts in a sci-fi movie they watched or novel they read...
Last week I read The Rainbow Fish to Zeah and the little ones I babysit, then we did some simple related activities.
The Rainbow Fish, with his shimmering scales, is the most beautiful fish in the ocean but he is proud and vain and none of the other fish want to be his friend—until he learns to give away some of his most prized possessions.
Sometimes the activity is so simple it's completed by the end of the story, and other times, we can spend a week or more immersed in the theme of a much-loved book.
When I looked online for activities related to The Rainbow Fish, there were hundreds of free ideas including arts & crafts, colouring pages, worksheets, games, loose parts play, snack ideas, and more! Learning like this is a little like a...
Recently, I shared a review of a printable resource to learn about Money from Teachers Pay Teachers (which also has heaps of cool freebies too, if you want to sample what's available). Then I reviewed the Barefoot Investor for Families. To continue with the money theme check out this collection of over 60 resources. From this Australian government site families can learn about budgeting, charity, advertising, enterprise, sustainability, consumerism, investing, savings goals and more.
If you do unit studies, or project-based homeschooling, Consider including practical topics like money in your home learning journey... it's relatively easy to gather resources and children love to learn about real life. Some other subjects we've covered in other 'real life' units include:
Rather than a rigid curriculum, the projects have been a conscious choice to include the...