Encouraging Building

MagnaTiles have always been the most played with toy in my home and daycare.  I’m amazed at the structures the kids build and as my kids get older they build even more creative ways and things I wouldn’t have thought of.  Recently I added something fun that has increased the building level even more.  Hexbug Nanos.  The kids adore them and will spend an hour or more building mazes and houses for them.  Having something that actually moves around your structure really changes the way they build and think about their buildings as opposed to the stationary toys they usually put in.

This is one of the blogs that first inspired me to get a couple Hexbugs with my son’s ToysRUs gift certificate which we hadn’t used yet.

I do recommend getting extra batteries as they get used up fast.  They look like real bugs as they run around the mazes and structures.  We have the V2 ones but climbing up only really works with the Hexbug play sets so the original ones are just as good for mazes and such.

This is the “house” Pumpkin 1 built for her Hexbug.

 

 

DIY Mirror Table

As a homeschooling mother I’m always adapting, always learning, always trying to improve.  Lately I’ve been incorporation more Reggio into our lives.  I find it has many similarities with Montessori but allows more open-ended exploration and more of the arts.

Mirrors are used a lot in Reggio.  They allow the child to view themselves and to view their work from different angles.  They promote exploration with reflections and symmetry.  We had this little table in our room and I thought it’d make a great mirror table.  A trip to the dollar store later it was all set up.

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The table is this one from Walmart.  It’s only $15 CAD.

The mirrors are from the Dollar Store.  They’re $2 each and are about 9 3/4″ squares.  I also got some command strips for hanging pictures frames.

The mirrors fit perfectly on the table leaving a little ledge for the standing up ones.

What I did was attach 4 to the table with the command strips so that I could later remove them without damaging the table.  I put them on to one side so that there was a rim of the table to balance the standing up ones on.  For those I put two at a 90% angle and taped them and then taped one on either end.  I put them up on the table and taped the backs to the table.  Two strategically placed pieces of tape on the front two end pieces keep them from sliding back.

And now the exploration can begin.  The first thing Pumpkin 1 said was, “Mommy I made a star!”

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Follow my Pinterest Board for more Reggio homeschooling ideas:

Music – Staff

Pumpkin 1 is learning piano from her Gammie.  We also have a set of Montessori Bells.  I was trying to think of a way to teach the staff and I saw a Pinterest post with the person using gems with the letters on them.  We have a pile of gems and Pumpkin 1 loves playing with them.

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I printed off one staff and wrote the letters on it.  I did print off a treble and bass clef but haven’t laminated them yet.  I wrote the note names on the back of the gems with permanent marker.

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I introduced matching them to the bells and then how we can write the music we play using the staff.  Pumpkin 1 has tried writing her own music for the piano so she really liked this.  That’s one key area of Montessori music that different from music lessons – the children are given the opportunity to write their own music.  Creativity is such a huge motivation for learning something.  How often do we learn and study something so that we can express our creativity – knitting or crochet, painting, playing an instrument, carving, sewing, writing.  Being able to express ourselves is a fundamental human desire across all cultures.  In the Reggio approach there is a lot of importance given to “the hundred languages of the child” which is all the different ways and mediums in which a child communicates and expresses himself.

If you can’t afford a set of Montessori bells, you can pick up a set of hand bells.  If possible spray paint them so they’re all one colour so that the child learns to use their ears rather than their eyes to differentiate between the sounds.

Real Tools

My daycare kids and Pumpkins love to play doctor.  This play is enhanced with the use of real doctors tools.

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I had to sneak the photo so I wouldn’t disrupt their play.

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Waldorf promotes using natural toys that aren’t too realistic to inspire the imagination and to not awaken the dreamlike state of the child whereas Reggio encourages the use of real tool for children.  It’s up to you which way you lean for your family.  Here is a wonderful Reggio inspired blog that discusses real tools:

http://www.playathomemomllc.com/2013/12/creating-play-spaces/

I purchased our doctor’s kit tools from Amazon.  Click the picture for the Amazon link.

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I also put in some medicine measuring spoons and medicine dispensers that look like a needle I picked up from the grocery store pharmacy section.

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What are some other real tools you could give to your children to enhance the depth of their play?