This is my place for writing down ideas for teaching kids. You'll find things I have tried, things I am thinking about trying, and reviews of educational products. My own kids are young so most of the information is for preschool age children. I hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Homemade Gak

Okay, here is the gak recipe I promised. Seriously fun to make and the kids play with it forever. I got the recipe and the picture here. So if you are looking for more detailed directions look there. But here is basically how it's made.

Take one 8 oz container of Elmer's Glue-All. Dump it into a bowl. Refill the bottle with water and dump that into the bowl as well. Mix them together.
In a separate bowl or cup, mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp Borax. It doesn't have to mix completely, just kinda mix it around. Then gradually mix the borax solution into the glue solution. Your kids will want to have their hands in the bowl to help mix, and to feel the gak form. It happens immediately and is really fun to play with as it does. Roll the ball of gak around in the bowl and knead it a bit to let all the glue solution interact with the borax. That's it! Really easy and really fun!

Some notes:
1. I had never heard of Borax before about a month ago and now I am seeing recipes calling for it all over the place (I even used it to make my own laundry detergent recently). It is pretty easy to find in the laundry section of most stores. Short of that you might try Amazon. It's cheap too. I big box cost me about $2. 
2. This stuff generally cleans up pretty easily if you soak it with water, but Last time I made it I decided to dye it bright purple. That made it a bit more messy, so... color at your own risk. 
3. Thing1 and thing2 had a friend come over and play with them. She had the fun idea to stick dried beans in the gak. That gave it an interesting texture. Kind of fun.
4. You can store this in a Ziplock bag, but my experience has been that it gets dirty pretty fast so I've never been able to keep it for more than a few days. 

Now go have some fun with your kids. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dragon Fruit and other Exotic Foods

I like to make my kids try new foods. So when we're at the store and see something strange looking, it's hard to resist. We have tried several strange fruits, but I will say that the dragon fruit we ate this morning was probably the strangest. I didn't know that nature made things that were so bright pink. The picture really doesn't even do it justice. Strange. Thing one tasted it on principle because it was pink but she didn't like it. Thing two loved it. She ate all of hers and then anything that anyone else would share. I liked it pretty well, it was kind of like a combination between a pear and a mango... maybe.

Anyway, today's learning idea... Go to the store with your kids, find something strange looking that they want to try and buy it. It's a great way to expand their food horizons.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The letter B

So... I have gone over many of the letters with thing 1 and she remembers some of them, but some seem to be a little harder for her to recall. Repetition is important, right? Sooooo... I have been trying to do "letter days" with thing 1 and thing 2 to make the learning processes easier and more fun. Basically I just try to think of a whole bunch of things that start with whatever letter I want to teach about that day and we do/ learn about those things. We did the letter B the other day and boy was that fun! 

 B word numero uno was bubbles. This project started out with me trying to get them to dip a bunch of straws that had been banded together into the bubble solution and then blow bubbles that way. But "the things" had a much cooler idea.  do you ever blow bubbles in your milk with a straw. Yeah. try doing that with bubble solution! Can you say cool?! This kept both thing 1 and thing 2 busy for longer than anything else I have ever seen (except possibly homemade gak-- I'll share that one next time).It also made surprisingly little mess.  So yeah, B is for bubble.

 Next we did some coloring. I think I've mentioned before that thing 1 is an avid colorer. So I printed off some letter tracing pages and some worksheets with things beginning with B. Thing 1 loved it. Thing 2 was finished really fast so she moved on to the next B word (or phrase I suppose): "Building with Blocks"

Anyway, you get the idea. It was a fun morning for everyone. The TV stayed off and if it helped a bit with reading readiness, well then that's an added bonus.
Now go have some fun with your kids!