Friday, August 22, 2014

Racing ABCs Game

Our youngest son (who just turned 5 years old) can be convinced to do anything if it's a race. It has been this way for awhile now, and while we're certainly not trying to turn everything into a competition, whenever possible to use it as motivation, we do.

This little game is an example.

To work on counting and review some letters, I grabbed six small matchbox cars and a die. I labeled the cars with six different letters. I printed the letters on sticker paper, but simple masking tape and a fine-tip permanent marker works just as well.

After printing the game board on cardstock and taping it together, he was ready to race! (Click the image to download a 2-page PDF of the game board for free from Google Drive.)

To put him in the mood for our game, we read The Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca. It was the perfect pairing for this activity!

Here's how we played.

All cars were placed to the left of the starting line.

My son rolled the die and counted the dots on the side of the die that landed on top.

Then he found the numeral on the game board.

"What car is in that lane?" I asked.

"The 'S' car!" he'd reply and then moved the race car one space forward.

He continued to roll, count, find the lane on the game board, announce the letter on the car, and move it until one car (the "G" car) passed the finish line and won the race!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paper Plate Ball

Both my boys had birthday parties in the last two weeks. With parents and siblings invited to both, we bought a surplus of cake plates so we wouldn't be short. Well, of course, we had extras. Lots of them.

We could either buy more cake or make an awesome polyhedron. I chose the latter. It's less calories.

My oldest son looked at me like I was crazy when I gave him a stack of paper party plates and a stapler and said, "Let's make a ball!"

The paper plate polyhedron requires 20 disposable paper plates. The smaller your plates, the smaller the ball. We used dessert plates and our ball ended up to be about 1 1/2 feet diameter.

Here's how we did it.

First do your best to flatten 20 disposable paper plates. You will need five for the top, five for the bottom, and 10 for the middle.

All the plates need to be folded the same. Make three folds in each plate, folding in the sides so the middle of the plate is an equilateral triangle.

I made my son a template to help him fold.

Begin stapling the flaps of five plates together, until they form the following shape. (We used two staples on each flap.) This is the ball's top.

Repeat to make the ball's bottom with five more plates.

Now to make the middle. Staple the flaps of the plates together so that the points of the triangles alternate up and down so you have a strip of 10 plates.

Bring the ends of the strip together and staple so it's shaped like a donut.

Set the top on your paper plate donut and line up the plate flaps. Staple in place.

Flip over and add the bottom, lining up the flaps, and stapling. Voila! You're done!

At the precise moment we finished, a neighbor boy came over. He was equally as impressed as my sons and I.

Want to up the challenge? Show kids a finished example and ask them to replicate it without instructions. Or simply see what they can come up with using the folded plates. I love the sculptural effect! One part art, one part engineering … now that's what I call some great after school learning!

Want to make a different polyhedron? Want a harder project? Check out this one made entirely out of cut paper!

Monday, August 18, 2014

After School Linky Party (8-18)

Welcome to the After School Linky Party!

Wow. My sons are headed back to school today. Where did the summer go?
Thankfully, we don't have to quit having fun just because school's back in session. This linky has loads of ideas to keep learning hands-on.

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's link up.

The Bear Without a Buddy: Teaching Odd and Even at Empowering Parents to Teach.

How to Make: Pizza Box Easel at Munchkins and Moms.

FREE Place Value Top It Game at Boy Mama Teacher Mama.

Rolled Paper Art at ArtClubBlog.

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and grab our after school button to include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Balancing Stick Figure

This activity is perfect for talking about balance, counter balance, and center of gravity with your kids. It takes only a few minutes and a handful of supplies.

What You Need
1 hex nut (ours was 3/8 inch)
4 wooden craft sticks
hot glue
Wire (ours was 18 gauge copper wire)

How to Build It
Using a hot glue gun, glue the four craft sticks in the configuration of a stick figure.

Cut a length of wire approximately 12-15 inches long. Wrap one end around the leg of your stick figure. Wrap the other end of the wire around the hex nut.

Shape the wire so it's curved and looks like the letter C.

Now simply place the wire-wrapped leg of the stick figure on your finger and be amazed. The figure will balance there with ease.

If he's tipping forward or backwards, adjust the curve of the wire and reposition him.

This quick craft elicited loads of oohs and aahs at my house. I think the highlight was when both of my sons tried to find various places to set the balancing man - ranging from the edge of the kitchen table to the top of my husband's head (yes, it actually DID balance there too!).

This great activity came from Curt Gabrielson's book Stomp Rockets, Catapults, and Kaleidoscopes: 30+ Amazing Science Projects You Can Build for Less than $1. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

3D Kandinsky-Inspired Melted Cups Art

It's been ages since I snuck some art history into our after school learning. This project combines mixed media, three-dimensions, and melting (yep, that's right - melting!) - all of which made this a little more palatable for my art-avoiding oldest son.

Wassily Kandinsky is considered the pioneer of abstract art. His works were perfect to explore with my son who has the opinion that if your art doesn't look like real life, it's no good. We talked a lot about the criticism that Kandinsky must have faced.

We looked at a gallery of his work online and stopped at his color study of concentric circles. This was the work that inspired our activity.

What you Need
9 oz clear plastic tumbler solo cups
Permanent markers in a broad range of colors
Parchment paper
Construction Paper (optional)
Hot glue (optional)

What to Do
Color the outside of the cups with bands of color using permanent markers. Start by coloring a circle in the middle of the cup's bottom and continue outward using a variety of colors in varying thicknesses.

When you're done, use scissors to trim the lip of the cup off.

Place the cups two inches apart on a parchment paper-lined jelly roll pan.

Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F. for a few minutes. Then put the pan of cups into the oven and watch the magic happen through the window on the door.

Our cups didn't flatten completely, but the translucent colors of the marker became vivid and solid. The effect was truly magical.

To finish, cut colored squares of construction (or cardstock) paper. Glue to a piece of flat cardboard or mat board, and with hot glue, adhere the melted cup circles. Display in a shadow box frame.

To enhance my fourth grade son's understanding and appreciation for Kandinsky's art, we read a wonderful fiction book by Barb Rosenstock. The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art explains beautifully the wonderful integration of music and art in Kandinsky's work by watching his interest in art grow and develop from the time of childhood.

This project was inspired by the mobiles on Arts for Life.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...