Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dancing Rainbow Sticks

 Spring is in the air! This season cunjours up thoughts of budding flowers, April showers and rainbows. To get our muscles moving and develop our creativity, we made some dancing rainbow sticks and took them to the park to explore. The dancing rainbow sticks were so easy to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.


Who can play?
Children aged 3 years. As with all activities it depends on your child's age and stage of development.

Ensure that the stick you use is not sharp and depending on your child's age and stage of development, alter the length of the stick (shorter for younger children)
Supervision is needed at all times. 

What do you need?
1. A stick
2. Ribbons in various colours
3. Rubber band
4. A wide open space

What did we do?
1. The first thing we had to do was to create our dancing rainbow sticks. This was done by simply attaching several pieces of colored ribbon, with a knot to the top end of a short stick. 
To give extra support, I placed a rubber band around the knot...and there you have it... Your completed  dancing rainbow stick.


2. All that is left to do now is take it to the park and explore. Below are a few ideas of how we played with it;

We attached it to the top of the climbing structure and watched the ribbons blow in the wind. We discussed why it was moving and what direction the wind was blowing.


I would hold the dancing rainbow stick and run with it. Bee loved trying to catch it, reaching high and low.


We would make straight lines, curves and swirls with the ribbons and attempt to write letters in the air.


Another favorite was to just run and let the ribbons fly and flap in the wind behind you. I love the sense of freedom in this photo.


The fun did not stop when we started to head for home. The ribbons were removed and placed in Bee's hair, as she wanted to be just like 'Repunzal'


What did we learn?
Physical- Developing large manipulative skills as you make small/large movements in the air and waving the rainbow stick. Fine manipulative skills when attaching the ribbons to the stick.
Art and Design- Creating your own game with the stick and dancing. Colour recognition.
Communication and language- Following directions such as, Can you catch it on the floor or up in the air? 
Literacy- Writing letters in the air with the ribbons. 
Personal, Social and emotional- Fun and enjoyment when playing with the rainbow stick and with you. Developing relationships.
Knowledge and understanding- Learning about weather conditions and elements.
Mathematical-  Counting the ribbons on the rainbow stick. Measuring the ribbons. Shape and space awareness.

Possible Next Steps:
1. Make shapes in the air with the dancing rainbow sticks
2. Why not add music to the play. Experiment with different styles for example, slow music will encourage slow movements and upbeat music will encourage your child to dance faster.
3. Encourage your child to take the ribbons off the stick and reattach. This will develop their fine manipulative skills.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Magic Chinese Writing

We learnt about Chinese writing today, as we continue on our quest to discover and learn about Chinese culture. A great way to introduce this was to read The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann. It has some great examples of Chinese symbols and has a lovely story line. It was a big hit with Bee (and me)
Instead of just experimenting writing Chinese symbols with felt tip pens, we decided to make it fun by using a 'magic' crayon and paint.

Who can play?
Children 3 years and above, depending on their age and stage of development.

What do you need?
  • Example of Chinese writing. We chose to look at the writing in the book, The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann, however you can download images of Chinese writing from online.
  • Paper
  • Red Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Candle
  • Newspaper to protect table surface
  • Apron to protect clothes
What did we do?
  1. We snuggled up on the sofa and read My Pet Dragon and discussed how Chinese words look different than English. We talked about how they looked like drawings rather than a group of letters, that make a word. The book was a great example as it actually placed the Chinese symbols into the pictures.
  2. Whilst looking at the Chinese symbols we tried to replicate them on a piece of paper with a candle. We talked about the shapes of the symbols and tried to read the English word underneath. At first Bee did not think that this would work as she said "I can't really see my writing"
  3. Once we had finished making our marks on the paper, it was time to unleash the magic. Taking the paint brush, that she had dipped in the red paint, Bee made horizontal sweeps over the marks she had made with the candle. She looked so surprised with the results. The paint did not adhere to the wax that the candle had left behind on the paper...revealing her magic writing!!! 
  4. Bee continued to cover the paper with the red paint, until all her symbols were revealed.
Possible Learning Outcomes:
Literacy- Writing for a reason. Mark making. Learning about the different forms of writing in other countries.
Communication and Language- Reading stories together and recognizing familiar words. Talking about what they are writing. Answering questions about the book.
Physical- Fine manipulative skills when writing and painting. Hand eye coordination. 
Mathematical- Looking at the different shapes of the Chinese symbols. Spacial awareness.
Personal, Social and Emotional- Fun and enjoyment. Pride from finished product. Enjoying being with someone special and having quality time when reading the book together.
Knowledge and Understanding- Learning about the Chinese culture and how they use a different form of writing for communication.
Art and Design- Creating their own masterpiece. Using tools for a purpose and experimenting with different media, such as paints and wax.

Possible next steps;

  • Depending on your child's age and stage of development you could try to write a sentence using the Chinese symbols
  • Practice writing skills and write a letter for a friend with the candle. Add a note asking the friend to paint the paper (using watery paint) to reveal the message.
  • Look at other written languages such as Arabic and Egyptian hieroglyphics and compare the differences.