Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stumbling into cool learning tools

Theft is my shtick.

I'm not creative enough to have great ideas of my own very often, so I've learned the fine arts of discovery and mimicry.

But there are occasions when I stumble onto ideas or activities or books that prove to be great tools in helping my kids learn or be more active or improve their awesomeness.

One of these recent stumbles is the book The Deep Blue Sea by Audrey Wood.  It is a perfect book to read to a preschooler and a kindergartener because they can both read aloud.  The color words are actually colored, so when we get to those M can chime in with "purple" or "blue" because he sees the color.  But the other words are simple and repetitive enough that G can read them (with occasional help from mom).  Talk about two little dudes who feel immensely proud of themselves for reading a book together!

The other stumble is making sidewalk obstacle courses for the kids, which even N enjoys.  Each square of sidewalk gets a different path route.  One square might be small rectangles that wind around the perimeter before ending at the start of the next square.  The adjoining sidewalk square consists of small circles with a break in between where I have made squiggly blue lines for water marks (so the kids have to jump over the ocean).  The next two sidewalk squares are white puffy clouds that the kids have to leap to, with the sun or other planets in between so they must leap over these obstacles to get to another cloud.  I've even done some circles with numbers or letters in them.  The kids can only jump onto the first letter of their first name or their age.

These chalk obstacle courses run from our driveway almost to our neighbors, which is a good 20+ squares.  In just a couple weeks I've used up a bucket of chalk that I've had sitting in the garage for years.

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