Friday, November 19, 2010

Learning by Heart – Week 6

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom”
– Henry Ward Beecher

I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago, but computer problems delayed me a bit.  Just thought I should explain why there are Halloween pictures at the end. :)

helping rake leaves M is 4 years old 



Well, the hit of the week was dropping colored water:colored water dropping This is how I had it set up for him (we were doing letter F things this week).  M loved this activity so much, it merited its own post, here.  If you’d like to keep your child busy for hours, go read it. ;)  Ok, I can’t promise that your child will be as into this as mine was, but I definitely say give it a try!

Mini peg board and marbles
, for fine motor skills:peg board and marbles set upThe idea was to place pegs in the peg board, then use the tongs to place a marble on top of each peg; turns out it was too difficult to get the marbles on the pegs with the tongs, so M used his fingers.  The marbles are all a clear, light blue.  When they are placed on the colored pegs, look at what happens to them: marbles change colors!They change colors!  And, you can’t see this in the photo, but there are tiny air bubbles in some of the marbles that make them *sparkle* on top of the pegs.  Very, very cool.  We were fascinated by this (I really didn’t know this would happen!).

Sand art pictures,
which are always a hit, good for fine motor skill development, and so simple for me to prep:  sand art activityThe yellow pages have shapes on them that you can’t quite see in the photo.  Various sections peel off and reveal sticky cardboard, which the child then fills in with the colored sand.

Apple Basket Game, for counting and fine motor skills:apple basket game To play this, we separated out the apples into two groups of ten.  We took turns rolling the die, then used the tongs to grab the apple stems and place that many apples back into the basket.  Whoever got all of their apples into the basket first won.  We played this once, then M was not interested in it again.  This basket and set of apples was given to me, and I’d sure like to come up with some interesting things to do with it.  Ideas??

Mr. Turkey Heads:mr.turkeyheads_thumb[6] These were used with cutouts of Mr. Potato Head parts (pic below, before they were cut out), and M loved making them! We did something similar with Mr. Pumpkin Heads for Halloween and M had been begging to do some more. mr.turkeyheads1_thumb[4]

Fuse Beads,
for fine motor skills, and fun ;)  :fuse beads airplane                       Another airplane, besides the 5 he’s already made.

M continues to love using his fuse beads to create things.  We are being overrun with plastic bead creations here.  And recently he discovered that they make small glow in the dark fuse beads (biggie beads are pictured above, small ones below).  That’s right – glow in the dark.  Can you even imagine how glorious a 4 year old boy thinks this is?  So, he’s been busy with these babies quite a bit:glow in the dark fuse beadsAnd yours truly has been kept busy ironing these little buggers.  I’m ready to put them away!

New F and G objects for our phonics box

f and g phonics box objects   football, fish, frog, flowers, flag, giraffe, guitar, girl, gorilla, elephant, and cake.  (Hee hee, I’m not sure how elephant and cake got in there!)

By the way, if you are interested in finding miniature objects a great place to look is at the decorative buttons at Michael’s.  I found some very cool things there!  (But, oh, how I wish a Hobby Lobby was nearby!)

Lowercase f letter craft,
a frog on a log with his leg dangling down:

little f letter craftThe letter crafts have officially lost M’s interest.  This was the only one of 4 that he did this week.  Ah well, we may pick them up again some time.  For now we’ll take a break, and focus on other ways to sharpen letter knowledge. 

As a little aside here, it is easy to get discouraged when he is not interested in something I planned; BUT I am trying, trying, trying to remember that there’s no need to learn it all now.  Simply exposing him several times to various skills is all he needs academically at this point (quite honestly, academics in general aren’t really necessary at this age.  This should all be just for fun!).  Even more importantly, he needs patience, love, and for me to listen to him with a mother’s heart.  If we accomplish nothing that I’ve planned, but we did snuggle and read books together, then we had a successful day!

Polishing Pennies with vinegar and salt (from The Wonder Years), a little science, a little practical life work:polishing penniesThis was another big hit and he worked on these pennies for over an hour!  Some he let soak in the vinegar, some he cleaned with q-tips.  The white cloth is there for rubbing each penny dry after it’s been cleaned.  The copper in the pennies oxidizes because of the oxygen in the air, and makes them look dirty.  Vinegar is an acid that removes the oxidized copper and reveals the shiny, pretty copper underneath.  Does he understand all this?  I’m not sure, but he did have fun!



A fun counting activity with pennies (I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post):counting with pennies activity

Our nature center class, where we got to touch a turtle and a snake, and take a hike to see some beautiful nature. :)

nature center, beaver pond           The beavers have brought all this wood to the middle of their pond so they have food in winter without having to travel far from home.  You can see the very edge of the beaver lodge at the top of this photo.

nature center, pond overlookIt looks like the end of autumn is beginning in this picture, and now that we have several inches of snow, I’m pretty sure that’s true.


Mixing vinegar and baking soda, to kill many a dinosaur with red hot lava from a volcano: dinos in volcanoActually they just said “ow” a lot because their feet were a little hot.  M is too gentle of a soul to really want them to die from his volcano. :)

To prove this point, here’s a couple of photos taken during M’s free play this week… Superman and The Thing (from the Fantastic Four, if you know your superheroes), who apparently got a little tired and needed to nap, and so used cotton balls for pillows.  :)  Seriously, is that not sweet?!  naptime for super heroes (1)Superman was lucky enough to even get tucked in with his cape for a blanket. 

naptime for super heroesWhen this guy bangs into something he yells, “It’s clobberin’ time!”, but M insists he is saying “It’s cooperating time!”.  Hee hee. :)  

Here’s my little Superman on Halloween, all buff because he has a coat on underneath his costume:halloween 2010 He was flying high, let me tell you, after all that candy!   

I’m linking this post up to Preschool Corner and Weekly Wrap-Up; be sure to check them out!

Have a beautiful day! :)



  1. Vinegar and copper make a POISON!!!! please do not do this as it is absorable through the skin! My mother would soak the old copper pennies in vinegar to make a copper sulfite compound to treat ring worm. She said drinking the solution would KILL you. It is sold in farm supply stores to kill things in ponds. This is not a safe activity yet I see it everywhere! I love all your other activities and ideas. i really enjoy your blog. I don't want to be discouraging just thought everyone should be warned because I see this polishing activity alot. Please understand I am writting this to you because I am concerned not to be upsetting to you in any way.

  2. What a fun learning time! I will have to try that color dropping activity. I think Sammy will love it!

  3. A lot of great ideas...I'm going to have to look for the sand art:) Have a great Weekend!

    Forest Rose

  4. I thought about getting my nephew some fuse beads for Christmas. So he enjoys them? I may have to do that. I'm stopping by from the Preschool Corner link up.

  5. You did so many wonderful things this week. This was a great post. This is my first time to your blog, and I'm following you now!

  6. KJ - my son LOVES fuse beads. There are printable patterns you can do with them too (search "perler fuse bead patterns" on google). We started off with the biggie beads, and depending on the age of your nephew, I'd get those first. Now M loves the little ones too, but it's definitely more of a fine motor challenge for him to grab those little ones. He's 4yrs, 3mos old, if that helps! I definitely recommend them and the biggie beads have a lot of good patterns for boys!

  7. Mitten Mom - I appreciate your comment! I know that copper acetate, which is the chemical that is produced by copper and an acid, can be poisonous, but I think ONLY if swallowed (??). I make sure M knows not to taste anything without permission (not to mention I am supervising all the time). I wonder why all the science books have this as one of the experiments if it's truly dangerous? I will have to find a science teacher and pick their brain on this before doing it again. Thank you for the heads-up!

  8. Great stuff! Love the marbles and pegs. Over here from Preschool Corner.


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