S – IS FOR STRAW SPACESHIP

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The delight of flight. A small engineering experiment using air pressure to launch your spaceship into the stratosphere!

  • Cut a pair of matching paper sides for your space craft.
  • Glue a toothpick between the 2 sides (taking care that to leave a pocket for the straw to be inserted later – as shown in the image below).
  • Let the glue dry and decorate your space craft.space1

Now for the launch!

  • Take the spaceship and place it on a bent straw (toothpick in straw, paper on outside of straw)
  • Count down 10 – 9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1…. BLAST OFF!
  • Take a deep breath and launch with a short sharp blow!

Watch as the children shrill with excitement, and dash to make some more. My own offspring wanted to see what shapes would fly best (circle spaceships, square ones etc.) we then measured the flight height against a wall (building on an understanding of numeracy as well as introducing the idea of a controlled test.)

For those more ready for a true investigation into air pressure try different sized straws and see how that effects the air pressure.

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S – IS FOR SPAIN

Holla, for our first country we’re heading to Europe to visit sunny Spain!

To start our journey we found the shape of Spain, then located it on our world map and drew the country outline on our information board. I was impressed that even the 3yo took great care to shape her country, and while she still draws very basic repeated shapes for human figures, her abstract shape recognition (for the shape of the country) was rather close to the image she was copying. This is a great mental mapping and fine motor exercise, the more they use the skills, the more it will translate to other areas of their learning.

We then found some facts about Spain. With a goal throughout this process to show my kids different ways of finding information, this time we watched a short educational video for kids. Despite the narrative and visual quality of the film being slightly cringe worthy for me, the blandly presented content really impacted the kids. They went on to create a book about Spain, each page detailing something that they particularly remembered about the country. Sleeping in the day while the shops are closed, playing soccer, and dressing up to dance were a big hit.

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We also played Soccer in the sun, made castanets, danced to Spanish music and ate Spanish food. I’ll write about these in future posts, but for now put Spain on the map and go on a fact finding mission to see what your children learn.

Find your free vector map of spain here.

S – IS FOR SEAHORSE

Fascinating creatures (technically fish rather than horses – as you may have guessed!) these funny looking things have eyes that move independently, no stomach, suck shrimp up their snout and are the only creature where the males carry the young full term (that’s right, egg from mum gets given to dad and he does the rest!)

As always, I did a little research before introducing the topic, but instead of dictating the facts you fine, instead hold back and ask what the kids know about seahorses. Mine told me they live in the seaweed, dance together and are lots of different colours… So we got colouring. (This amazing artwork by English designer Rachel Russell is great for a little advanced colouring).

Seahorse by English designer Rachel Russell.

As we coloured we talked about more things we knew about Seahorses, and my fact finding mission came in handy. If we came across a question we didn’t know we found the answer together – because learning how to learn is more important than the facts they are learning.

Then we stuck our coloured seahorse in our animal frame and filled in our creature questions.

We later headed to the beach and created a giant seahorse out of sand, to the museum where we found a preserved seahorse, and built a seahorse sculpture out of paper, balloons and lots of PVA glue – I’ll detail these things in future posts, but for now enjoy colouring and investigating the seahorse with your future young marine biologist.

(This is a good point to load up on a few very brief and easy facts before you start.)

INTRODUCING THE LETTER – S –

The first focus letter; simple to draw and recognise, relatively easy to say, and surrounded by fun activities that spark the imagination.

Letter: S

Creature: Seahorse

Country: Spain

Focus learning areas: Space and Sea.

In the following posts I will detail more activities surrounding each of these areas, but for now simply pop your S printables (from earlier in the year, find them here) in your mail box. Take your young one with you to check the mail and watch their eyes light up with surprise as we start this yearlong adventure!

SETTING UP FOR SIMPLE SUCCESS.

A New Year starts and so too does our early years program. Each fortnight we will be looking at a different letter, country, animal and a whole bunch of other integrated learning areas that are linked to that letter. But fear not, this isn’t just about getting kids to learn their ABCs, the alphabet simply forms a convenient framework for a range of other learning areas – so they will explore, create and learn about the world… and happen to learn their ABC’s and 123’s too!

Before we kick off with the letter of the fortnight let’s get a few simple things set up to ensure the rest of the year is as simple as possible for the parents and teachers:

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