Monday, August 16, 2010


Check out this fun activity where your child can follow the Ringling Brother's Circus Train around the country.

Children are asked to move their finger "four squares east and two squares north" along the grid placed over a map of the United States to learn the circus train's route. This activity incorporates counting, familiarizes your child with a grid, and will help practice him practice the directions North, South, East and West.

Adapt this activity to practice right, left, up and down for younger children, or keep the directional vocabulary for older children. Give your child a piece of graph paper. Mark the starting square and ask your child to "move three squares east and then two squares north". Draw a circle in that square. Continue on "four squares east and one square north" and draw an "x" in that circle". You can lead your child to practice colors by using markers to fill in the squares the requested color, practice writing letters and numbers, practice drawing shapes...

Let your child compare your graph paper key with his efforts to see if he created a similar picture.  This is a great introduction to help your child become familiar with using graph paper.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

SMMART SCIENCE: Making Spiderwebs
Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival
The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners all the time. This month our theme is “English”, including Speaking, Listening, Reading and Viewing. I think our bloggers have covered all of these and there are lots of resources and game ideas, plus a giveaway. Please read through to the end to find links to the other participating blogs.
I remember working on craft projects in elementary school and rubbing the glue all over my hands, and then letting them dry. Then I would peel the dried glue off of my hand in as big of pieces as possible to see the mold I had made of my fingerprints and the lines of my you remember doing this too?

Well, we were working on some project that involved glue...and instead of leaving her glue to dry after my daughter rubbed it between her hands, she kept patting her hands together quickly to feel the sticky-stick between them.

Pretty soon, the drying sticky-stick didn't want to let go and strings of drying glue were being spun through the air. She was creating "spider webs" in the air. They looked pretty cool, and she had a great time making them.
This would be a fun activity to do with your child as you share a few facts with them about spiders and their webs:

-Types of webs: Tangled, Orb, Sheet, Gum-footed, Horizontal Line, Bolas and Triangle

-Spiders have silk spinning glands called spinnerets, at the tip of their abdomen.

-Web-Spinning spiders only use the tips of their legs when creating their webs so that their body doesn’t come in contact with the web and get stuck. They use a middle claw and the bristles on their leg tips to hang onto a single thread that keeps them balanced until their web is fully made.

-Each spinneret on the spider is different from the other and used for making several kinds of silk: attachment disk silk (leaves a zigzag pattern and gives strength to the dragline), a strong dragline or safety line silk (gives the spider an anchor point), orb web spiral line (gives the web strength and stretchiness to catch flying prey), glue-like sticky catching silk (traps and keeps captured prey on the web), swathing silk (for wrapping and immobilizing prey), tangling cribellate silk (tangles the bristles, spines and claws of prey) and a protective egg sac silk (to keep baby spiders safe).

-Webs get dirty and torn, so lots of spiders make a new one every day. They don't waste the old one, though--they roll it up into a ball and eat it!

Check out this link to discover how a wheel web is formed...very cool pictures too:

See ya, Spidey!

  • CatWay at Adventures With Kids is Magnifying It by playing with magnifying glasses and microscopes to help your child explore the world of the very small.

  • Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now was never very scientifically minded. One year, though, we participated in a homeschool co-op science fair. Two months later we moved and didn’t have the opportunity to participate in a science fair again. But that experience was a great learning opportunity – and, yes, it actually was fun!

  • Monique from Your Cheeky Monkey is commencing on the road of learning about the Human Body (both inside and out). Find out a few of the things we are doing to learn about our amazing bodies!

  • SMMART Ideas shows how you can enjoy making these sticky spiderwebs with your child, learn how spiders actually make their webs and other arachna-facts!

  • Amanda B at HomeAge says that science is not her forte, but for young children the world is one big science lesson. How do we answer all their questions so that these answers are meanings rather than facts?

  • Narelle from A Bunch of Keys has some simple kid friendly activities to do to help attract birds into the garden.

  • Deb from Science@home's daughter has decided to be an alienpologist, and she's reflecting on all the different ways kids are exposed to ideas and fun activities.

  • Staci at Teaching Money to Kids has a simple sorting activity that kids can do anywhere to get them to observe and compare.

  • Ash from Mm is for Me have been running their own family Science Week with lots of fun activities.
Thanks for visiting our carnival, we hope you find some interesting new blogs.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

SMMART READING: Tub-Time Worksheets

WHAT?!? Yes! Even in the Tub... such a slave driver!
No, not all the time...but sometimes...

I can't believe I've never been told by ANYONE yet about this marvelous phonics learning site: . Click on the "Parents" link and scroll down to the ABC Practice Pages. Here (FREE!) before your eyes you can click on any letter and find a myriad of learning worksheets. Browse the site for other printables. There are fun online games and books to help teach your child phonics and reading- (FREE!)

Okay, so here's what I propose: Slap some contact paper on a worksheet that you print out. (I would print out another worksheet and put that one on the back of the first=double sided.) Tape that lovely up onto your tile tub wall...and give your child a washable marker to use.

"Let's play a little Tub Game!!!!"...this is the phrase that you must use with bubbling enthusiasm. Your child will squeal with excitement at the thought..and then...even get to use a marker. BONUS! In our dům (not dumb, but Czech for "house"), the marker is a rare priviledge...but if it's normal fare in your casa, then perhaps you can up the anty with a sparkle marker or something else that's fancy pants.
Such fun...and washable fun at that!

(BTW, will you please leave a comment if you have another MARVELOUS learning site that I have yet to learn about? I can feel accepted and in-the-loop!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

SMMART BABY ART: Color Walk...or Crawl

Colors, Textures, Sounds...

Place different colored clothing, blankets, jackets, fabric remnants, papers in a long path from room to room. Then "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" as you let your baby crawl or practice walking along the different textures and colors.

Share the color names of each piece of the path with your child, if the fabric is smooth or rough or slippery. Does the fabric make a sound when you step on it?

Older children will love walking along this colorful pathway that connects several rooms together. Ask your child to stand on a "blue" piece of the path. You can practice "dark blue and light blue", or ask your child to find other opposites like "shiny" and "dull", "wrinkled" or "straight/ironed", or "patterned" and "plain".

When it's time to clean up, help your older child sort the path into piles of "color", "texture" or "type of clothing".


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