Posted in Learn with Stickers, Learning Opposites, Sorting Activity, Vocabulary - Toddler & Preschool

Same or Different – Developing Visual Discrimination

Learning Same or Different is one of the essential math basics for preschoolers. We always have enough stickers at home because the girls love stickers and they play with it all the time. We have done few learning activities using stickers before – it is easy to set up and fun to learn with. So i decided to go with stickers for this activity too – perfect for preschoolers, develops visual discrimination & vocabulary skills.

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What you need

  • Stickers
  • Paper
  • Scissors

How to

  • Pick the stickers according to your kids interest & ability to look and find the difference. I picked princess stickers- my LOs favourite. Made sure they were not too small and avoided stickers with same characters but different backgrounds. (would do that as we get to the next level)
  • Stick two of the same design or different designs next to each other on a white paper or cardstock.
  • Stick the pairs one below the other. Once done, laminate the paper for durability. Cut the pairs using scissors.

I wrote the words same & different on a cardstock, gave it along with the sticker cards to Miss A(3.5 yrs) and asked her to find which pair looks same and which looks different. 

She tried to identify the words same, different and placed the “Same” and “Different” labels on each side of a tray. Then looked into each card and decided if the pictures on the card are the same or different and sorted it on the appropriate sides of the tray. Every time i asked her, ‘how do you know it’s different’ or ‘why do you think it’s the same’. Then she would explain what she noticed. Sometimes she just replied, ‘because mummy, you see it looks same’ 😜. She found this activity interesting – kept repeating it for a while. Later this changed into a story telling activity – A & D(2.5 yrs) looked at each sticker card and made up very interesting princess stories. 

Posted in Fine Motor Activity, Learning Opposites, Montessori, Sensory Play, Vocabulary - Toddler & Preschool

DIY Sound Boxes – Montessori Inspired

Sound Boxes are amazingly fun and very simple to make. It helps your LOs hone their auditory senses, practicing sound discrimination and improving vocabulary skills.

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What you need

  • Empty containers – i used drinkable yogurt bottles.
  • Pantry items
  • Hot glue (optional)

How to

  • I picked five bottles each with different color caps – red & blue.
  • Fill the bottles with pantry items. I used rice, black eyed peas, dry penne pasta, cotton buds and dry sago.
  • Fill each item in one red and one blue bottle almost 3/4th of it.
  • If you don’t want kids to open the bottle, you can choose to hot glue the caps. However i skipped it – read on you’ll see why.
  • Your sound boxes are now ready to use.

This activity was very interesting for Miss A(3.5 yrs). She thoroughly enjoyed it. Heres what we did.

1 – Contrasting Sounds

  • I shook the ‘loudest’ box near each ear – then A repeated the same. The dry pasta was the loudest.
  • I shook the ‘softest’ box near each ear – then A repeated the same. The cotton buds box was the softest.
  • We discussed about loud & soft sounds.

2 – Matching Sounds

I let A do this all by herself.

  • She picked one red box, shook it and observed the sound. 
  • Then shook each blue box, until the pair was found. Every time she said, same or different.
  • Once the pair was found, she put it aside. Repeated until all the boxes are matched.
  • After all the boxes had been matched, A checked them again.
  • Once she confirmed all are matched, i let her open each bottle to see which item made that sound – also checking if the boxes are matched perfectly.
  • She spoke about each item, what it was, how it felt and then closed the box. – this is why i didn’t hot glue the caps.

3 – Grading Sounds

  • I took red boxes, shook them to find the ‘loudest’, put it aside. A shook it to listen.
  • I shook the rest to find ‘next loudest’ and put it next to the ‘loudest’. A shook them & compared the sounds.
  • We continued grading until ‘softest’. 
  • Grading loudest to softest – Pasta, Peas, Sago, Rice, Cotton buds. Although rice & sago, pasta & peas were too close. Just depends how much you fill in the box.
  • Then, A repeated this with the blue boxes, using red as a key.

Miss D(2.5 yrs) loved to shake the box and hear the sound it made. She enjoyed opening the box, pouring the contents out then filling it in the bottle & closing it. That was a great sensory fine motor activity for her.

          Posted in Fine Motor Activity, Learning Opposites, Montessori, Sensory Play, Vocabulary - Toddler & Preschool

          DIY Texture Balloons – Montessori Inspired

          Texture Balloons is a fun tactile sensory activity for toddlers & preschoolers. These are very easy to make and a great way to work on their vocabulary – language development. This texture matching activity is perfect to explain the sense of touch.

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          How to

          • Use a funnel to fill the balloon with any random items(pantry items works best) and tie them close. 
          • Fillers we used – Rice, Sugar, Black eyed peas & Water beads.
          • We used orange and gold balloons. Filled each item in one orange and one gold. 
          • Let the kids touch & feel the balloons to match the pairs. 

          Miss A(3.5yrs) squeezed one orange balloon and then squeezed all the gold balloons to find which matches the orange balloon. Once she found the match she put them side by side. She repeated this until she matched all the pairs. We then spoke about how the balloons felt – soft or hard, bumpy, squishy, crunchy, etc. Each time she felt two balloons she would say if they are same or different. She matched all the balloons perfectly.

          Miss D(2yrs) loved to squeeze all the balloons. She just liked to feel the different textures and talk about how they feel. We dint try to match the balloons.We then discussed about the sense of touch – how we use our hands to touch and feel things – one of our five senses.

          The water beads balloons were my LOs favourite pick. They simply loved squeezing it. Everytime they squeezed it, the water beads popped out. It was so irresistible, i had to try. We all loved squeezing & squishing the beads. It felt so therapeutic- much like a stress reliever.

          Note: If you dont use good quality balloons there are chances, the balloons might tear when you do this activity – the party balloons from walmart seemed to work fine. With a lot of squeezing and throwing, our balloons are still in good shape. We will be adding more textures to this activity.

          Posted in Learning Opposites, Science Activity, Vocabulary - Toddler & Preschool, Water Table Play / Water Play Activities

          Sink or Float – Preschool Science

          Last weekend we did a fun experiment! We put a bunch of items in a bin filled with water to see if they would sink or float. It’s a great hands-on science activity for preschoolers and really gets them thinking. Ever since we did this activity my LOs keeps asking me to do it again.

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          Whether an object sinks or floats in a liquid depends mainly on two factors: density and buoyancy. Preschoolers should be encouraged to observe whether the same objects will sink or float every time – that there is consistency in the way the objects behave. This activity helps kids categorize a variety of objects according to observable characteristics.

          Here’s how we set up our sink or float science experiment.

          What you need 

          • Container or storage bin
          • Water
          • Objects collected from around the house

          How to

          • Fill a large container with water. We used a toy storage bin.
          • Collect items to test out. 
          • We used stainless spoon, eraser, toy car, acrylic leaf, plastic scissors, plastic easter egg, plastic fruit, small bouncy ball, wooden block, lego, puzzle piece, toy happy man. I made sure to collect two of each, so both kids get to see what it does – float or sink.
          • Suggested materials for this activity – wood, metal, plastic, aluminum foil, apples, oranges, plastic bottles, toy blocks, paper, bathtub toys, plastic forks, rubber balls, soda-bottle caps, pencils, erasers, and sponges.

          Everytime Miss A(3.5yrs) dropped an item inside we tried to take a guess and observe what it did. We thought lego will sink, but it floats! This was really interesting for her. She learnt new words float and sink and knows what it means. 

            For Miss D(2yrs) its was fun dropping items in water. She did observe each item to see if which item went down(sinks) or which item stayed up(floats) But was more interested in dropping them in and picking it up back from water.

            We had a sheet with words sinks & floats written on it. A did this experiment all by herself and sorted the items in the respective columns. D & me sorted items by looking at which goes down & which stays up. Later the paper got wet, so we had to use a large bin. We kept repeating it for a while – rechecking by putting just the items that float and just the items that sink. This little science activity was a big hit with my kids.

            Note: Do this in a place where you don’t mind getting wet and easy to clean up. I used a tray below the water bin to hold spills, but we still got the floor a little wet. If the weather is good you might consider taking it out. We will definitely be doing this again on a warm day outside in our water table. 

            Posted in Learning Opposites, Sorting Activity, Vocabulary - Toddler & Preschool

            Opposites – Learning Activity for Toddlers & Preschoolers

            What are Opposites & Why Teach Opposites

            Opposites are pairs of words that have different meanings (e.g., big/little, fast/ slow, happy/sad). These words are part of basic concepts. Understanding them is important so that they can be successful with listening, speaking, reading, writing, and math. Learning and comprehending basic word pair opposites allows kids to gain new vocabulary as well. For example, when kids comprehend the opposite word pair of hot/cold, they can then expand their vocabulary with words such as warm/cool. Therefore, when they understand and use opposites, they are better prepared to function in educational and social settings.

            This week we learnt basic opposites. Listed below are some activities which we tried using items we found at home, rhymes and other play ideas.. Learning made simple & fun 😀 Do share your ideas with us.. 

            1. Learning opposites – Using things around us

            • First I picked the word pairs we will be learning. Start with simple ones. 
            • Our pick – Big & Small, Front & Back, Hot & Cold, Top & Bottom, Full & Empty, In & Out, On & Off.
            • Use flash cards or print out images you can find online or create free hand drawings to illustrate the opposites. I used both online images & hand drawn on a paper with sharpie & laminated them.
            • Then, I put together few items that match the word pairs in a tray.
            • I presented them to Miss A (3yrs).She tried to name the cards by looking at the images.
            • Then picked out the opposite word pairs ( matching opposites) & Placed them on a small box. 
            • For each opposite pairs, i let her pick the matching item from the tray and display it on the box. This was a little challenging for her. But she found it interesting. With little to no help she was able to do them all. For Miss D(23 months) it was a good start to see & learn new words.  We will be adding more opposite word pairs to our learning.

                2. Learning opposites with Rhymes 

                This was our favourite – Open shut them

                3. Exercise

                Exercise is always fun for kids. Learn opposites along with it. For eg. Lift the leg HIGH and then drop it LOW. Take a BIG step and then a SMALL step. Move Back one step, move Forward one step. This will help them to learn the opposites while having fun. Miss A & Miss D loved to do it.

                4. Play I Spy 

                For eg. If you say “I spy something that is old”. Your LO will respond “I spy something new.”

                5. Story time

                Let them tell a silly story using as many opposites as possible. Miss As favourite..Too much giggling, I say.. 😀

                6. Match the Opposites

                Shuffle & place the cards( used above in activity 1) on the floor. Let your LOs match the pairs. Or use online printables where they draw a line to match the opposites.
                 Other activities you can try to help your toddlers & preschoolers learn opposites: 👍

                • Cut out pictures from magazines, books or use flash cards that show opposites (e.g., big window/small window, big dog/small dog).
                • Pick a concept word and let them go around the room and identify the opposite word (e.g., heavy/light, on/off). 
                • Give a box/basket and let them collect objects that are opposites, name the pairs of opposites and describe their differences.