A Four year old’s Solar System

My son loves science! He is especially interested about the solar system. His dad brought home a Space book and he was thrilled. We read about the 8 planets and we went page by page.  

Since he learned about the 8 planets song, Joshua has been asking me to help him make his solar system. I have sort of procrastinated on the request until the other day. With play doh and white Carolina paper, we followed the look of every planet from his Space Book.

I drew on pencil and Joshua had to fill the planets with play doh. Once he completed it, he had to write also the title of his project. This activity made him remember the name of the planets and he also practiced his writing.

This project was real fun to make and Joshua made it as a gift to his dad. But I decided to post it in their room and write on it so both Joshua and Anna could read and remember the solar system every day.

 

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Excellent Service!

We came back from Australia and my heart has been full. I have nothing but praises for the Sydney hotel we stayed in.

Traveling with 2 young children means traveling heavy. It means expecting occasional melt downs, and setting aside your own personal expectations. Reality it is tiring but also super fulfilling.

So let me tell you about our trip. When we arrived in Sydney, the kids were already feeling a little tired from the plane ride. It was not helping that the taxi drivers there drive fast and press heavy on the brakes. My children were complaining that they were car sick.

Arriving at Sofitel Wentworth, my son was crying because his stomach was upset from the taxi ride and he was ready to vomit. The bellboy who picked up our luggage was quick to give my son bottled water.  Anna was also about to start a melt down and so I walked with her to the front desk to check in. Their front desk happens to be a Filipino and she was super accommodating. She gave Anna chocolates while we were being processed to get to our room.  She offered me Accor membership and gave us a special deal for breakfast. She also gave us a guide where to walk around. It was such a pleasant check in experience.

However going up to our room, Anna started to snap and cry. She was tired and she was behaving in such a disobedient manner. We were getting impatient with her and warned her a discipline would come. As we arrived to our room, Marcus the bell boy saw Anna in full crying mode. I was of course embarrassed that I could not keep her quiet. Marcus was kind to help us with our luggage and strollers.

About 30 minutes later, we had a knock at the door. When we opened it was Marcus with a teddy bear for Anna! He asked for Anna and gave her that gift and encouraged her not to cry anymore and to enjoy her stay in Sofitel. I was so impressed by their genuine kindness.

Sydney is beautiful and our hotel is a 8 minute walk to see the Harbour Bridge and a 12 minute walk to the Opera House. The hotel location is so conveniently close to many beautiful museums by walk or by train.

But what got me most on this trip is Sofitel’s service and hospitality. On our last evening in Sydney, we came home almost 11pm. I decided to process our check out and book a ride to the airport. As I was checking out, the front desk assisted another guest making me wait for my bill. My little girl wanted to rest and I really wanted to settle the bill first because we leave by 9 am. The front desk seeing my change of mood, was very apologetic. When the front desk staff completed my check out, he gave me chocolates again and apologizing for the delay. I thanked him and I rushed upstairs to finish packing again.

The next morning, I woke up early and I saw this letter on the floor.

I call this thoughtfulness — great hospitality. I felt so special and sincerely cared for by the people who work in this hotel. This gesture just made me want to vote them as the best hotel we experienced in Australia.

SOFITEL Sydney Wentworth, I salute you for your warmth and excellent service! I will never forget Sydney because of you!

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.

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.