Mold and Paint

Mold and Paint toys are super fun activities for four year olds. At this age they have better hand control and will enjoy doing a bit of mixing.

After mixing the plaster of Paris and water we place it on the Ninja Turtle mold.  

After 30 minutes to an hour, it dries to it’s shape. That part alone, Joshua felt like he accomplished something.

The next fun challenge is to paint the mold. He says he likes Raphael so he will make his Ninja Turtle be the red one.

And after making it dry, this new art work will be displayed on Daddy’s table as a gift from Joshua. Oh, he had to sign the back by writing his name too.

These mold and paint are neat gifts and a good art and crafts activity to do with your pre-schooler.

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Plant Life

A great way to understand the cycle of plant life is for our children to see it first hand. So part of our science study is to truly see the cycle from seed to plant.

We took some monggo seeds and see what happens in 5 days. This project takes a little patience… Because we observe what happens every day.

Day 1 – We soak seeds in water. We leave it out where the sunlight can reach it. Three major things my children learned is that life needs air, water, and sunlight to thrive.

Day 2 – we observe many of the seeds grew in size and their old cover starts to wear off.

Day 3 – we see roots starting to grow out of the seed. This time we move them to their cups with soil. Don’t forget to make holes underneath so water do not drown the seeds.

Day 4 – The good Lord has brought showers and some hours of sun.  So we left our monggos alone. We let our little farmer play some golf instead! 

Day 5 – My little farmer was so elated to see that his seeds have now grown with stems and leaves. Many of them have rooted themselves well.

What a joy for kids to understand the reality of life and nature. We may plant, we may water the seeds, but truly it is God who causes the growth! 

Volcano Project

My son had a sudden interest to understand earthquakes because of the recent 7.2 Magnitude earthquake we experienced a few weeks ago. We went through some interesting YouTube shows to help explain what happens in an earthquake.

Part of our science subject, we started to look at tectonic plates moving causing these shakes. But it went further to why the crust moves and that the earth has a mantel and core were liquid rocks, metals, and minerals. From this it got him interested to understand about lava and volcanoes. And this started our Volcano Science project.

We first got a soft drink can and cut out the top to make it like a cup. Then we cut out some old folder into strips and made it as the outline of our paper mache mountain. Then with some newspapers and glue & water, we started shaping our mountain.

Next day, after drying our mountain, we began painting on it. This activity was fun for the kids! 

After painting we had to get the Main ingredients to make our lava. You see inside the earth’s crust are some molten rocks and some will come out of a volcano when it erupts.

 Homemade lava is made of 3/4 hot water, 3 drops of red colouring, 2 table spoon liquid detergent, 2 Table spoon baking soda and 1/4 cup vinegar.

This activity was super fun as they were seeing the lava quickly spew out of the volcanoes mouth.

Here is our video on how it all happened!

Score for Chore!

Joshua is in the age where it is easy to let him follow some instructions. I want him to be more independent and give him a sense of responsibility, so I thought of doing a weekly chore chart!

We both agreed that he has to complete a set of chores everyday and when the week is over, if he does all his responsibilities he gets a reward from the grocery.

So for the first week, we agreed on 4 chores he has to complete everyday.  His chores included washing his plate and utensils, bathing himself, putting his clothes in the bin, and cleaning up his toys. As his Mom, I have to remind him if he did his chores. If he forgot, I would remind him to complete his task. If he completed it, he gets to put a smiley face on his chart.

His chart is also reported to his dad at the end of the day. He feels really accomplished that he got to complete his work. Together with my help, Joshua designed his chore chart folder by putting family cut outs of which some of them he painted.

At the end of the week, he completed it and he did great! It’s a fun and good way to do chores at home.

Homeschool Schedule for my 4 year old

Just this January, I decided to give a bit of structure to our homeschool. I created a guide on what would do everyday. For a four year old pre-schooler, a good 30 minutes to 1 hour of focused time is all we need for every subject I am teaching.

For English and Writing we do letter writing, sounds of letters and try some small word reading. Honestly, my son does not enjoy  writing, but we encourage him to try. We also do a lot of language by asking questions and answering them, doing imaginary stories, and talking about feelings.

For Science, my son loves anatomy. We bought from a bookstore posters of lungs, internal organs, teeth, and more. We discuss this and he really enjoys it. After our session, Joshua would go to his dad and explain what he understood. 

For Piano, we enrolled Josh in Gray tones school of music. I love their curriculum for kids his age. It is a mix of play and music familiarization and playing the piano.

For Math, we do a bit of number practice 1-100 and concept of addition and make Johua write numbers. We also play a math app on the iPad where it introduces fractions, addition and subtraction and sequencing.

For Arts, I have to find ways to be creative… we do painting, we create animals, we do drawing. Lots of materials are found on Pinterest. One should take a look there and get inspired! This is a sample of what we made recently — butterflies using toilet paper rolls and some colored paper and pens.

For Values we discuss bible stories, and themes like sharing, caring for each other etc.. I love the Bible for Kids app by youversion.com. They make the stories come alive with their graphics and it is easy for kids to understand. We discuss what we read and then find ways to apply.

We also insert some physical activity for Joshua and so we enrolled in swimming at the Bert Lozada Swim School. It is a one hour swimming session where our 4 year old learns the skill on swimming and survival.

What Joshua has a lot of is play. He plays blocks, he plays with clay, he plays with toys and his sister. They watch their favourite movies, they sing and dance…. they fight, they make up, they laugh and play some more.

I am not strict on my son or on myself. We are enjoying the journey of discovery and learning together. Sometimes, I don’t follow my schedule and it is okay. Our pace sometimes is fast, sometimes it’s slow. We go on my child’s pace. As a homeschooling mom it is a discipline not to look at what others are doing and comparing my child with theirs. As a parent-teacher my goal is for my child to learn and enjoy learning.

So far by God’s sustaining grace, we are doing okay.

Celebrating Milestones with Google Photos

Our children each have their time. And every milestone is worthy of tight hugs, praises, and applauses. 

Remember your baby’s first smile, first time to grab your finger, first roll over, first tummy time, first crawl, first babble, first food, first time to say “mama” or “papa”? — ahhhh so many firsts! 

My son Joshua started his baby steps at 10 months. Anna began to do that at 12 months. Each child has their own time. As much as we like to compare, God made each child unique and special from the other.

  

Joshua has great verbal skills and Anna is great with her fine motor skills. Both like to sing and dance. Most of these we record through photos and videos. But the problem is how we store these precious moments?

Good thing, Google has this app called google photos. I learned about it when I was researching where I can upload my photos from my phone so I don’t lose them. 


There were other apps, but I really find google photos most useful and I will tell you why…

1. Downloading the app is free. If you are an android or iOS user you can download the app for free.

2. It syncs with your phone photos when you open the app. You also have free storage and can buy more storage when you have used up your free 5 GB storage.

3. It is attached to your email if you have a gmail account.

4. It helps organize for you. You can organize by date, by themes or by faces. We were able to make a quick collages with this app. Type swimming and all the photos with swimming will be shown to you. 

5. It can make movies for you and reminds you of what happened in the past year.

6. It helps you free up your phone photo storage. If you can’t take anymore photos or videos it means you have used up your phone’s internal storage. With Google photos it assists you by informing you what photos have been uploaded to the google photos cloud so you can erase it on your phone. You need not worry because you have it backed up!

I feel like an advocate for Google photos because I have been using this for years! I am truly happy with it and I know other moms and dads will be able to make good use of this application as their family memories grow!

Addition Concept for 4 year olds…

They say 4 year old boys like math and girls like writing and phonetics. In our case, Joshua was assessed in Eye Level ( a supplementary education provider) and he was better in his math than writing or reading in English. So, I decided that his math continues with me at home.

So what happens during our Math time? We do a lot of playing. We have dice games on a poster filled with numbers 1-100. We drop the dice randomly on the poster and on whatever number it falls on you have to read it out loud! Example the dice fell on 76, Joshua has to say “seventy-six”. It’s a fun game with kids his age!

Next, we start going through the addition concept with some tools. I bought this Math Discovery Kit in Amazon when I was in the US and this has been very helpful.

There are many ways to use the kit. Recently, we used it to learn and practice Addition.

The tools make the addition concept easy to understand. The method looks fun and enjoyable to do for 4 year olds.

Placing and counting these circular buttons help Joshua visualize the meaning of the number. When he reads out  “nine plus six equals”, he starts getting curious what number it will be.  When he finishes counting all the buttons he is confident he got the right number and so he starts writing.

This is enjoyable stage and hopefully we are off to a good start. I pray that I can truly teach him well to love math and be good at it.