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Learning At Home Activities

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Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Pour and Fill
You will need:

Plastic bottles - different shapes and sizes
Plastic Jugs
Plastic Funnels

Directions:

Collect up different size plastic bottles, plastic funnels and jugs for bath-time maths.
Have fun pouring water into the bottles, whilst playing talk about; Filling the bottle to the top, “Is it nearly full?”, “How many little bottles of water does it take to fill this big bottle?”, “Shall we fill it half full?”.
You can add some stretch and challenge by marking up quantities with a permanent marker pen or coloured waterproof tape. For example, marking up 250ml on a 500ml bottle, and marking up 50 ml units on a 200ml bottle.
If you have 2 different shaped bottles that hold the same amount ask your child which one he/she thinks will hold the most water. Help him/her test out to see what happens.

Tip:

Playing with water in this way helps children explore capacity and volume.
Talking with your child as they fill up bottles helps them develop understanding of mathematical terms associated with capacity and volume in ways that are meaningful.
Exploring how the volume of water stays the same regardless of the size or shape of a container is an important mathematical concept to develop. This is referred to as conservation of volume; having the ability to understand that redistributing liquid does not affect its volume. Children usually master this at around the age of seven years.
Children are likely to think that a tall narrow bottle contains more liquid than an equal amount in a short fat bottle. Through playing with water and different shaped containers that hold the same amount, children will begin to explore conservation of volume.


Age Groups: Infant, Toddler, Preschool
Writing in the Sand
You will need:

Sand - or a sunny beach
A stick or index finger

Directions:

Use a stick to make marks in the sand - vertical and horizontal lines, circles and crosses are good to start with.
Encourage your child to copy you then ask him/her to make marks for you to copy.
Talk about the marks and letters you make and the movements you do to make them. “I’m starting here, then going down, then stop”. “I’m starting here then going round and round and round”. “I’m going to make M for Mummy”

Tip:

This helps your child develop skills and confidence in forming and connecting the curves, vertical, horizontal and zig-zag lines that form the bias of letter shapes.
Starting big then gradually working down to smaller develops as your child’s hand and eye co-ordination skills and manual dexterity skills mature and integrate.
As your child associates the language of the mark or letter shape with the action of forming these, he/she will be getting kinesthetic feedback which is essential for any motor action.
Kinesthesia is the knowledge of where each body part is and direction in which it is moving.
It is an important component of motor control for legible handwriting.


Age Group: Preschool
Christmas Thank You Letters
You will need:

A pen or pencil
Writing Paper
Envelopes

Directions:

A thank you letter to family and friends will always be much appreciated and is a great activity to do on a quiet day soon after Christmas.
Settle down together and create a list recalling the gifts received from family and friends. This recalling activity is good for building memory skills. A wise tip is write a list on Christmas day of the gifts received and who sent them. If your child needs some help remembering you could prompt memory recall by saying, “it was something beginning with L”, “something you can build with…”
If your child is at the stage of copy writing, write down what your child wants to say in the thank you letter then they can copy this onto the paper. Say the words out loud as you write as this helps your child to see that spoken word can be spoken.
If your child is at an earlier stage of making marks you could write the letter leaving spaces for them to draw a picture of the gift they received or cut pictures from a catalogue to stick in to the spaces.
If your child is a more confident writer you could introduce a junior dictionary to help them find the words they need.
Fold the letter to fit into an envelope then use your address book to help your child find the address to send it too. Stick on a stamp then wrap up warm to go out and post the thank you letters in the letter box.

Tip:


Age Group: Preschool
Salt Dough Christmas Decorations
You will need:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of salt
1 cup of water
A rolling pin
Shaped Christmas cutters
Glitter and decorations
Ribbon

Directions:

Make some salt dough together mixing I cup of flour with I cup of salt and adding up to I cup of water a little at a time until the dough is pliable but not sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes on a floured surface then roll out flat with a rolling pin. Add more flour to the surface and the rolling pin to avoid the dough sticking.
Use Christmas shape cookie cutters such as stars, trees and angels and cut out a range of shapes. Place these on grease proof paper on a baking tray then carefully make a hole in the top of each shape. Bake the salt dough shapes at 100 degrees Celsius for about 2 to 3 hours until hard. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Decorate with PVA glue and glitter or paint with shiny water based paint. When dry thread Christmassy ribbon through the holes. Tie a knot then hang on your tree year after year.

Tip:


Age Group: Preschool
Making Christmas Tree Cards
You will need:

A4 card folded in half
A5 Envelopes for posting the cards
Green card cut into equilateral triangles – small, medium and large.
Red card for background
Glue sticks
Sparkly decoration pieces – buttons, glittery items, bits of tinsel, sticky stars. (Craft aisles in large supermarkets and craft shops stock a good range of craft pieces)
Pens for writing greetings inside and addressing the envelope.

Directions:

Cut out lots of green triangles in small, medium and large sizes. If your child is able to cut you could invite them to cut the triangles out. Lay them out and talk about the sizes and how you could place a medium size one on top of a big one then a little one on top of the medium size one. Stick the triangles onto the folded card then decorate the tree with the sparkly pieces.

Tip:

For variation you can use silver or gold card and create stars by sticking a triangle upside down on top of another triangle –making magic turning triangles into stars!

Supporting Mathematical Learning
This activity has lots of mathematical learning opportunities making maths fun and enjoyable. Folding the rectangle card in half – match the short side to the other short side and the corners together. Talk about how many sides and how many corners, how many long sides and how many short sides. The properties of a rectangle - two long sides and two short sides. Matching the size of the card to the size of the envelope – the same shape and the same size. Talking about the properties of the triangle - how many sides and how many corners. Different size triangles small/little, medium/middle size, big/large. Size language of bigger than and smaller than. Positional language such as on top, below, underneath, in the middle, in between.