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September 2017

Shaving Foam and 💧Water 🌈 Beads 🙌🏻Sensory Play (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇)

Sensory play is extremely important for children, where they get to explore different mediums such as water, sand, play dough, rice, etc., while stimulating various senses, triggering neuron connectivity and learning through play in the process. Today, we are exploring shaving foam and hydrogels (water beads).  

DSC_0119We are using a 12-pack water beads combo (buy here). Just add water and watch them grow! (See a video of water beads growing here "Sensory Exploration with Hydro Gel ❤️️ Water Beads (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)."

DSC_0119First, children added food coloring to the shaving foam. 

DSC_0121In about an hour, hydrogels fully expanded, ready to be added to the foamy mix. 

 Through this sensory play exploration a child is stimulating:

  • the tactile sense of🖐🏻touch by manipulating different feelers and by feeling the texture of the foam and gel beads,
  • the visual sense of 👀 sight by discriminating the colorful rainbow array,
  • the olfactory sense of 👃🏻smell (the shaving foam's fragrance permeated the space),
  • the only sense that was omitted, was the sense of 👅 taste (neither of the fillers are edible).  

DSC_0119We ended up with a beautiful foamy array of rainbow colors and different textures. 
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During the sensorial work, a child, what Dr. Maria Montessori called:  a "sensorial explorer,"  is able to concentrate on the refinement of all the senses, from visual to stereognostic. Manipulation of different textures and fillers triggers sensory stimulation, which strengthens neuron-connectivity and spurs neuroplasticity (the production of new connections between neurons and new neurons themselves), which in turn increases brain's agility. Also, with sensory bins, the cleanup is minimal since everything is contained in a tray, tub, tin, box, or any other container.

DSC_0135 Sensory play is definitely a favorite here!

For more on Hydrogels, see here a video post "🌊Ocean 🌋Volcano 💦HydroGels Lava Lamp powered by 💥Alka Seltzer (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)." 

We used red hydrogels in our "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study" - read here

For more on color mixing, read here "💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water)."

For more on sensory bins, see here "✨The Universe 👋🏻Sensory Bin (🌌COSMOS Unit Study)." Also, read here "🌽 Corn Sensory Bin with 🔤 Alphabet Letters (Sensorial + Language Activity)," and read here a post "Valentine's inspired Love ❤️️ Sensory Bin," and  here our "Christmas-inspired Shredded Paper Sensory Bin with a Math twist."


🖐️Sandpaper 🔢 Numbers (Montessori 🔢 Math 101 🎥 Series 🎇 Curriculum)

Sandpaper Numbers (buy here) is a lesson that is in a math area but is a mixture between the Sensorial area in Montessori classroom and math. Sandpaper numbers are very easy to make at home: all you need is sandpaper, trace numbers, cut them out and glue on a cardstock.

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The purpose of this lesson is for the child to learn the symbol/numeral that represents the number. What makes this traditional Montessori lesson so special is that the child learns with so many different senses: 🖐️ touch, 👁️sight, 👂hearing, learning the name. First,  the child 👁️ visually sees the number, the child also develops his/her tactile senses by tracing it: that is feeling it sensorial with touch, and finally, the child learns the name of the symbol of the number.

To introduce the sandpaper numbers to the child, you would start with three numbers at a time (with smaller children you may want to start with just numbers one and two), and you will present a 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson. (For details on Montessori 3🅿️🌠 Three Period Lesson, see a post here.) 

How to present a 3️⃣🅿️🌠Three-Period Lesson: (start with 3 numbers at a time, e.g presenting numbers 1-3):


🔹Period 1: choose a number and while tracing that number say: “This says 1. Would you trace 1?"; "This says 2" ... etc
🔹Period 2: "Will you show me 1…2…3 ”?
🔹Period 3: “What is this?" 

This lesson can last a while: start with numbers one and two, and then start adding more numbers as the child gains confidence. If the child loses an interest, simply put away the lesson and come back a few days later.

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Math can be mundane and tedious, so to make an activity fun, I came up with these few extensions that add a "play-and-learn" dimension to the activity.

Silly Numbers Game:

While keeping the numbers visible, add some fun by giving simple directions: put three on your head, turn two upsides down, hide one behind your back etc. This game was a big hit when Adrian was about 2 years of age: he thought the directions were hilarious! 

Another Extension is the game called:  Crazy Mixed Up Numbers:

Take sandpaper numbers one through ten (or just start with one through three) turn numbers upside down and rearrange, mixing them up. Then, invite your child to knock:

"Knock-Knock – who is there? What is this number?”

Once the child turns over the number, invite him/her to name the particular number (resembling of a 3rd Period Lesson). This activity can be modified for older children as well, using larger numbers, like 100, 200, 300 etc.

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I think if you make learning fun, engaging and hands-on,  your child will keep coming back to the lesson: learning effortlessly, with grace, and most importantly, caring on the love of learning.  

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DIY Sandpaper Numbers:

Sandpaper Numbers are also easy to make at home.
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What you will need:

  • green cardstock to resemble the traditional Montessori Sandpaper Numbers
  • sandpaper from your local hardware store,
  • scissors (children are also using a paper cutter for more precision)
  • and glue.

 Having your child make or help you make these DIY Sandpaper NUmbers will only ignite the excitement, promoting interest and engagement.

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 By sensorily feeling the number, the child is able to perceive the symbol through senses other than just visual. 


 

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For more extensions, see here a post "🔢 Number 📶 Extensions with sandpaper, sensory tray, marbles, play dough, counters, and spindles." Also, see here a post "Spindle Box & Sandpaper 🔢Numbers Extensions (Montessori Math).

DSC_0226.JPGSee here Adrian exploring sandpaper numbers at two years old in a post "🖐️Sandpaper 🔢 Numbers Early Montessori Math."

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"Sandpaper Numbers Extension" post (read here ) offers different ideas on how to use marbles (above) and crayons/chunky wax blocks (below) to keep sandpaper numbers interesting and captivating. 

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And what about painting numbers with water? See below:

DSC_0623See here a post "💧Water 🖌️ Brushing 🔢 Numbers."

For more on Montessori Math Lessons, read here "Early Math" post, which explains briefly which Montessori materials are to be introduced first and in what order.


🌊Ocean 🌋Volcano 💦HydroGels Lava Lamp powered by 💥Alka Seltzer (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)

Today, we are experimenting with the concept of density of liquids, the properties of carbon dioxide gas and its reaction with hydrogels. So, how about making a water beads lava lamp powered by Alka-Seltzer?

DSC_0048What you will need: 

🔹colored water (we are using blue food coloring to simulate the ocean),
🔹vegetable oil,
🔹blue hydrogel beads (buy here),
🔹Alka Seltzer (or any other fast dissolving tablet).

DSC_0048

When you add💧water to the oil: what happens to the two liquids? Oil and water are immiscible, meaning that they will not mix together since the force of attraction between the molecules of the same liquid is greater than the force of attraction between the two different liquids. So, you end up with beautiful dancing bubbles in a home-made lava lamp!

DSC_0049Now, what will happen when you add Alka Seltzer to our "lava lamp"?

Science mystery💡revealed: Alka-Seltzer tablet reacts with water to make carbon dioxide gas. These bubbles attach themselves to the water molecules (and hydrogels), causing them to float upwards. When the bubbles pop, the water droplets sink back to the bottom, creating an "ocean volcano!"

The oil and water do not mix, but rather the oil breaks up into small little drops, which float on the surface because water is heavier and denser than the oil. So, while the water is sinking to the bottom, the oil is rising to the top, bringing the hydrogels along, creating a beautiful display of bubbles and gel-beads going up and down. 
DSC_0049 🔹Subject: early Chemistry;

🔹Skills a child is developing: mathematics, observation, and visual skills;

🔹Concept: density, immiscibility.

DSC_0049Unfortunately, this lamp does not last long, unless you keep adding Alka Seltzer.

See here a similar science experiment "Lava Lamp: Oil vs 🌈 💧Water Density Immiscibility ⚗️Experiment with 💥Alka Seltzer (Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)."

For more on 💧hydrogel beads, read here "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study."

For more on the property of water, see here "Pour 💦it in! Liquid Illusion (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)."

For more on science experiments:

  • See here a video-post "Float or Sink❓Tangerine 🍊 Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)." Also, see here "Walnut Shell ⛵Sailboats 💦Water Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇). "
  • For baking soda experiments: see here "Magic Balloon (Baking Soda and Vinegar Reaction) Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇," and here a video-post "🌋 Erupting Volcano Science Experiment 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇."
  • Also check out here  "💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water)."
  • For more on color-mixing, please see here " 👔 Father's Day🎈Balloon Color-mixing DIY Craft (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇). 

✂️ DIY 🍂Fall Inspired 🖼Puzzle

Puzzles are an excellent tool for enhancing your child’s cognitive and mental development, by stimulating intellectual abilities such as critical reasoning through fine-motor manipulation. I encourage Adrian to complete at least one puzzle a day (at his level: 48-60 pieces does not take him⏳ long). Julia, on the other hand, works with large quantity piece puzzles (she is currently working on MonaLisa 300 pc puzzle buy here), so we always have a puzzle on the floor that she is working on.

Surely, children have their favorite puzzles to which they go back to and assemble over and over again, but there is nothing like an excitement of assembling a new puzzle for the first time. So, what about making a puzzle! This✂️ DIY is very simple, quick and inexpensive. Use a vivid 🖼picture from a catalog, calendar or even a large picture of the family/children and cut it in pieces, creating a DIY puzzle. 

DSC_0107I am using is a double-sided 🍂 Fall picture I found in a catalog. With this type of DIY puzzle, you can adjust the level of  📈📉difficulty based on your child's age.


DSC_0107I laminated the picture for durability and used paper-cutter for cutting.
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With smaller children, 📉choose a bright image with many distinct objects and cut it in fewer pieces (2 or 4 squares) or simply cut the picture vertically, for easier assembly.  

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📈With older children, the smaller the pieces, the harder it will be to assemble the puzzle, so cut it accordingly to your child's level.
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Offer a child to assemble the puzzle.

For more on puzzles, read here "Jigsaw Puzzles Roundup for a Three-Year-Old," and for more on the importance of puzzles read here a post  "National Puzzle Day."

Also, see here "Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets 🎥 (Inside of the BODY Unit Study)."

Adrian really enjoys the Solar System puzzles (see here) a post "🌌COSMOS Unit Study." 

For logic puzzles, see here a video of Adrian assembling Color Code in a post "Color Code Logic Puzzle Game (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 101 🎥 Series 🎇)," and here "Wooden Tangram Puzzle at 41 months."


DIY 🔶Orange Slime🕯️Light Table (🎃Halloween Inspired 🙌🏻 Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 101🎥Series)

We love sensory play, where a child explores different mediums such as sand, play dough, rice, beans, etc., while stimulating various senses, triggering neuron connectivity and learning through play in the process. So, what about making a Halloween inspired sensory orange slime!
DSC_0088What you will need:

  • paint (we are using washable fingerpaints - buy here),
  • soap or shampoo,
  • cornstarch,
  • a ziplock plastic bag,
  • a spatula.

DSC_0088We added cornstarch to make the "slime" a little denser.
DSC_0088Make sure the zip-lock does not leak.
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DIY 🕯️light table:

  • a container,
  • a string of lights (we are using orange 🎃Halloween lights),
  • any transparent surface to cover the container (we are using a glass shallow dish; you can also use a plastic cover from that container or anything else flat and see-through).

This activity is similar to tracing on sand (like with Montessori Touch & Trace Sensory Writing trays), which can be used as a precursor to writing before a child can actually hold a pen. With an older child, offer to trace numbers or letters or chid's name and observe how the letters magically disappear as the slime bonds back together. 

DSC_0001And, don't forget to have fun!

For more on sensory play, see here a video post how we made a sensory tray "How 🎥 to Make Montessori Sensorial ✍️Tracing Tray," and here a video post "Mother's Day 💐 Montessori Touch & Trace Sensory Writing Tray 🎥."