And we have. We slid back into school after a week off, well really, I couldn’t be kept away and last Friday, Elizabeth and I sat down and did some workbook pages together. I’ve also been reading The Montessori Manuel by Dorothy Canfield Fisher to see if the Montessori method is a path I am interested in taking, and though I don’t know as I’m considering purchasing a Montessori Apparatus any time soon, I was inspired to do a little activity inspired by Marie Montessori’s blind-folded activities that she often used. Rather than blind-folding the kids, I put a bunch of stuff in paper lunch bags, matching items were divided with one of each in each of two bags, and had the kids pull the items out together without looking at them. I tried to get Elizabeth to guess what the items were without looking, but she wouldn’t go that path, so I did it, as she organized some bags for me. Seeing how easy matching was for her, I then chose related but un-matching items. This entertained us for a few days over the weekend. Paul, seeing how messy we were making things, went his own messing-up route and threw all the toys out of the toy-box so that he could get into the toy-box and play, a few times over.
But, we sure were having fun, so let the mess come!
Monday, we began back into normal school, and so for President’s Day (I know that it’s come and gone), we checked out some sites on the iPad about the presidents, as well as used a magnifying glass to observe coin presidents. Everything is more fun with a magnifying glass! Elizabeth did especially enjoy one site that we used on pbskids.org, in which she ‘applied’ to be president, and then got to make choices about what to do during her first day in office. We’ve done this a few times since then too.
Tuesday, we delved into Black History Month, and read about Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. I have found that slavery and segregation is quite difficult to explain to a 5-year-old because of the injustice and violence of it; indeed, they are abstract terms in our day and age, but since my husband is very dark skinned from his Garifuna heritage, it helped to give us a point of reference to use. I also turned it around to how she would feel – a 5-year-old does understand unfairness, so that was also a point of reference. When we finished our work for the day, we returned to the PBS Kids link and became president again.
Thursday, we had a great time. I had had some plans made for school, but Elizabeth we busy doing ABC stickers when I came up from putting Paul down for a nap and invited me to participate, so how could I say no? We then set to coloring and she asked how crayons were made. I had a guess, but deciding that we ought to pull out the iPad and look it up. We found a YouTube page of Mr. Rogers explaining how they are made that was very descriptive, and interesting I might say.
Well, I had come across directions on making your own crayons by melting broken-up pieces down in metal cans and then cooling the wax in small cups. At the time I had thought that it seemed like a fun activity that I could do sometime, and I stored the instructions in a file in my brain. Now I have no idea where the instructions came from though I have looked for them, but instruction-less, we forged ahead and set to making our own. …They turned out pretty brown, but we don’t mind. Since they seemed to mix together most while being poured from the can, I tried to dry one can-full in-can, but had to use a hammer to pound it out, which shattered it. At any rate, it was a fun experiement.
Which reminds me, that though we ‘took a break from school,’ school never really stops here, it was really about my involvement in Elizabeth’s activities last week that changed. She is ‘experimenting’ as ever with colors and color blending. Most of the experiments that have been produced so far involve food coloring: dying eggs, making ice cubes, spraying snow, and adding colors to milk mixed with water. It’s messy, but I let Elizabeth take the lead on her project’s methods, and so she is boldy following her own creative ideas. I’m thinking that at some point, we need to throw the scientific method into the foray, but for now, it’s pressure-less fun.
What else have we been doing?:
- Playing Learning With Homer, which I did end up paying to open
- Having a friend over for a play date
- Hanging out with my Grandma while I went grocery shopping
- Starting our next unit about the seasons and weather
- Excavating a snow fort in the front yard
Share your thoughts: How do you explain slavery and segregation to young children? What would you do if you were president for a day? Have you done any creative winter fun?
Do you know how to make crayons? If so, point me in the right direction! Please! 🙂