Saturday, 31 March 2012

Eggs and Estimating

This week we've had the plastic eggs out for a bit of Easter/Spring play.  Whilst we were playing we did some estimating of relative weights, filling our eggs with different amounts of coins and trying to decide which one is heavier or lighter.

Estimating is a core concept underpinning many aspects of Maths (and everyday life for that matter) and it's amazing how much fun it is to do with preschoolers as it's all about play and exploring and I'm all up for finding ways to make Maths fun!

I gave them a load of colourful plastic eggs and some egg boxes.  

The girls loved sorting and resorting all the eggs into different boxes.
Also see here for our Baby Play: Eggs and Egg Boxes

Little chick also took them apart and enjoyed making towers.

Then I suggested we put some things into the eggs and Mummy's purse was emptied all over the floor.

She then added varying quantities of coins to some of the eggs.  

Each egg was put back together,

and then we set about estimating, comparing the different eggs, trying to work out which one was the heaviest and which one was the lightest and comparing the ones in between and trying to put them in order of heaviest to lightest.  

I was really surprised how much Little Chick enjoyed trying to work this all out and how often she was right.

We then checked our estimated order by weighing each of the eggs on the kitchen scales.  

Each egg was then assigned a post-it note and I asked Little Chick to read out the numbers on the scales and I wrote them on the paper.

We then lined up the eggs with their respective weights written in order of weight. We opened up each of the eggs and counted the number of coins in each.  We found the heavier ones had more coins (despite filling the eggs with a mix of coins of different sizes and weights).  To be more scientific we probably should have used all the same coins, but as Little Chick is still quite young we didn't explore further about the coins being different weights or anything.

This was really simple and fun activity, it's great when Maths is practical and hands on too and also just part of playing together.  

What have you played with eggs?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Chocolate Egg Nests

In the run up to Easter how about having a go at these super easy, classic chocolate egg nests.

All the ingredients you need are:

some milk and dark chocolate depending on your preference (I like a mix of the two)
some shredded wheat cereal
a packet of mini eggs

(afraid I'm not at all precise with quantities - I tend to just make it up as I go along) 

Simply melt the chocolate in bowl in the microwave and in another bowl crush up the shredded wheat, add together until you have a sticky gooey mess.  Then transfer spoonfuls to paper cupcake cases and add a few mini eggs for decoration.

Perfect for a quick and easy cooking activity to do with little ones and you could always line a basket with tissue paper and give some of these as an Easter gift (if you can manage not to eat them before they leave the kitchen!) 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Tissue Paper Water Painting

We had a great time doing this Tissue Paper Bleeding Art from The Imagination Tree.  It was such a simple, fun activity to do.  Using watercolour paper and cut up bits of tissue paint, you 'stick' the pieces of tissue paper onto the paper and then paint on some more water to get as much of the colour running as possible, then leave to them dry and 'bleed' through to the paper.  Once completely dry you just lift off the pieces of tissue paper to reveal a beautiful collage of coloured prints.

I love how simple it is to do and because it's painting with water it's easy to clean up afterwards. (Although you do have to watch out as the tissue paper does transfer well onto things - we used an old bit of lino flooring to cover our carpet and there are still some pink patches that didn't clean up so I would definitely recommend covering the surface you are doing it on.)  

Shoeshine loved the painting, I was amazed at how much water the paper could hold - you could almost pour the water off by the time she'd finished!  I let them create their own pictures, letting them get on with it,  I also encouraged them to cover as much of the paper as possible with bits of tissue paper and that it was OK to have bits that were overlapping. 

 Although my 3.5 year old was adamant that in her picture all the pieces need to have their space - so we just went with that! 

And this is Shoeshine's finished picture, above.

This was a great activity for both the girls to independently create their own art work.  I'm always trying to encourage them to create whatever they want when we do art and to enjoy the process of making pictures rather than having a set outcome that needs to be achieved.  This is a really lovely activity for this and there is definitely no 'wrong' way of doing it and it's really manageable for younger ones (Shoeshine is 20 months).  This time I just cut up the tissue paper into random shapes, but next time we do it I think I might let Little Chick do some of the cutting up - the girl LOVES her scissors! And Shoeshine some tearing up as I think they'd enjoy that part of it too. 

The next day the pictures had dried and the tissue paper had started to lift off, so we removed it all to be left with a gorgeous collage of prints underneath.  Little Chick was amazed to see the picture revealed underneath all the tissue paper as initially she though her picture had gone wrong because when she saw the picture in the morning with all the tissue paper starting to lift and she thought she hadn't stuck it down properly!

We'll definitely be doing this one again and I can't wait to try this technique with some other colours of tissue paper too.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Pink Play Dough Cake Shop

This was pure pink, girlie, play fun with pink play dough, cupcakes cases, candles and cake accessories to do our very own play dough cake shop. 

Recently we made some lovely vanilla scented pink play dough, using the no cook play dough recipe from The Imagination Tree, and a few drops of vanilla extract to make it smell delicious - perfect for some pretend baking.

To make our cake shop we added some cupcake cases, heart cutters, a pink silicone heart shaped ice cube tray, rolling pins, candles, coloured sticks and some beads sticks for decoration. 

Both girls got busy making cupcakes, cookies and birthday cakes.

 - all with lots of decorations!

And here are some of the beautiful and delicious cakes made in the bakery of our shop.

I loved watching the concentration and detail that went into decorating the cakes.

Shoeshine meanwhile made some cakes and cookies.  She just loves squishing and squashing the play dough. Adding all the sticks and then taking them all out again.

By the end of the afternoon we had quite a selection of cakes in our shop. There was some pretend tasting, asking what I'd like to buy and there was of course lots of singing happy birthday with the birthday cakes.  I had so much fun playing this with the girls I'm not sure who had more fun!

This time we played we spent the majority of the time making and decorating our cakes, but the opportunities for creative play with play dough are endless.  Next time I'd love to set up more of a proper play kitchen area for the cooking of the cakes with baking trays and an oven.  Or I'd love to extend the play to more of a proper cake shop, with price lists, money play and serving in the shop. With two little girls in the house I'm sure we'll find time for some of this soon!
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