Monday, April 25, 2011

SMMART READING: Letter Matches

Okay, so break out the magnetic letters, or foam letters, or even letter stickers for this activity. Write a few words down that your child can sound out, write down spelling words for school, or write down a few letters that your child can match.

Have your child place the magnetic letters on top of the written letters in each word, or place a letter sticker above each letter of a word.
Easy fun!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Scrabble? Bananagrams? Magnetic letters, perhaps?  Any of these will do.

Hide one letter tile or magnetic tile in a plastic Easter egg.  Hide the letter filled Easter eggs throughout the yard or living room.  Let your child go for a letter hunt and fill her basket.

Now as you open the eggs together, have your child say a word or two that starts with that letter.  Encourage your child to sound out the word and spell it.

Refill each egg, and let your child hide the eggs this time.  Now, hunt!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tube Tunnel and Chocolate Bunny Ears Probabilities
Nothing like probability to jump right into the Easter Candy festivities! I've said before, it's always a triumph when our children "work" for their candy.

This was a super fun activity to do with my girls. The 2 1/2 year old LOVED rolling her gumball down the tubes over, and over, and over... She would hear the "plink" of the gumball into the plastic bowl and run over to see which bowl it landed in.

At times one side was favored, but after some adjusting it was hard to say just what side the gumball would shoot out.
So, first you need to build your tube tunnel. Hopefully you've been saving up those paper towel and toilet paper rolls! Use masking or duct tape to secure the first tube to the back of a chair, the counter, or somewhere elevated.

Tape tubes together until you have formed a tunnel. For a little fun and variation, you can even make a tunnel with several entrances and exits for more variation. When you feed two routes together, cut a hole in one tube and snip off the end of the other tube at an angle. Insert the angled tube into the hole. This allows for a pretty clear tube route (so the inserted tube doesn't block the route). Be sure to secure the tube tunnel onto an object for stability in a few places along the tunnel route. Place a bowl under each exit.
Now let your child roll a small rubber ball, gumball, holiday candy or other small round object through the tube. Keep track of how many times the ball falls into the right/green bowl or into the left/red bowl during 10 runs. What number of times did the ball roll into the green bowl? ...and into the red bowl? Multiply that number by 10 and this is the percentage of times that outcome was realized.  So, the ball rolled and landed in the right/green bowl 4 times out of 10...that's a 40% outcome! 
Probability is the measurement of how likely an event (one or more outcomes of an experiment) is. (
Probability of an Event Equation:
The probability of event A is the number of ways event A can occur, divided by the total number of possible outcomes.
P(A)= The Number of Ways an event can occur
...........The Total Number of Possible Outcomes

P(red bowl) = 1 (#ways ball can fall into red bowl) =1/2
......................2 (Total number of bowls)
This is a bit over a young child's head, but it's helpful to understand a bit of the concept so you can teach PROBABILITY.
Now, this Chocolate Easter Bunny activity will help illustrate the principle of Probability again.

Cut off the tips of the ears on a hollow chocolate Easter bunny.  Have you child drop a jelly bean into one of  the bunny's ears.  Ask your child to predict which ear the jelly bean will drop out of.  Will it be the ear that is closest to the face or to the tail (on a sideways looking bunny-If you have a forward facing bunny, you need to mark one ear to differentiate between the two...maybe an extra notch or bite from the top).

Flip the bunny upside down, taking care to not tilt one way or the other.  Notice which ear the jelly bean drops from and record your observations during 10 different attempts/trials.  Your child can keep track on a piece of paper.

Now help your child label a piece of large square grid graph paper ( at the bottom with the two possible outcomes..."Nose-side Ear"/or "Shorter Ear" or "Tail-side Ear"/ or "Longer Ear".  Let your child glue a jelly bean onto each square that this outcome occurred.  Now you'll have a very yummy graph.

Keep in mind, these activities are for learning purposes and obviously, the flip of your hand on the chocolate bunny or the sleek exact glide of the ball/Easter candy in the paper towel tunnel are not going to offer the perfectly exact and equal settings....but eating the candy after these activities sure will be fun!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Super Fun way to play with your food!

Build your own jelly bean flipper with a lever (spoon), duct tape and a fulcrum (Duplo lego, wooden block, cup or some other toy or object that you can hold still when your child is flipping).  Twist a piece of duct tape into a cord. Slide a spoon inbetween the cord and the fulcrum.  Tape both ends of the cord down on either side of the spoon (don't tape the spoon) to secure the spoon in place.   The height of your fulcrum may determine the distance that the jellybean is hurled.  You are creating a "first class" lever...if you want to learn more about 1st, 2nd and 3rd class levers, check out this link (

Now place a jelly bean into the spoon's cradle and quickly apply force to the handle end of your lever/spoon.  This will propell the jellybean into the air.

Use masking tape to put a line down on the carpet or place a stick in the grass to separate two areas outside.  Now, with each flip, record the number of times (out of 10) that the jellybean landed on the side closest to you, or on the other side of the tape away from you.

You can help your child graph the number of times that the jelly bean landed on a certain side, or just determind the percentage of times that the jelly bean landed on one side or the other.  If the jelly beans landed on your side 7 times (7 X 10 = 70%), even though there is a 50% probability that it will land on this side.

Flip those brightly colored jellybeans outside in the grass, and your child will have a super-fun time "hunting" where they landed.
Remember...Probability of an Event Equation:
The probability of event A is the number of ways event A can occur, divided by the total number of possible outcomes.

P(A)= The Number of Ways an event can occur
.........The Total Number of Possible Outcomes

P(launch) = 1 (#of ways can be launched)  ..........
  2(# of sides it can land on)
        is=to 1/2 or 50%


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