HANDS THAT MEASURE
Hands are an interesting way to explore size and measurement. Some simple ways to explore size, length and width can be done around the house by simply using hands. You first need to get you child and anyone else you want to involve in this activity to make a template of their hands. Next, they need to draw around the hands and cut them out. 4/5 hands are usually plenty. Once you have the cut outs here are a few activities you can do:
Activity 1. HAND ORDERING:
Order the different hands according to size. Children can collect and draw around different members of the families hands and then once the templates have been cut out order the hands from the biggest to the smallest or from the longest middle finger to the shortest middle finger.
Activity 2. MEASURING OBJECTS AROUND THE HOUSE
Make sure that the same hands are grouped together and go and measure different items of furniture and objects with the hands. This is also a great way to introduce concepts such as half, a quarter etc. They can even measure the same objects with different sized hands.
HANDS THAT MAKE
After sorting and measuring is over ,it seems a shame to leave all those hands lying around the house. These hands make a perfect leaves to create a tree. You need to help your child draw and cut out a tree trunk and with glue stick the hands to the trunk to make the leaves, bringing a different twist to the whole idea of a family tree.
For more creative math fun visit our pattern matching post Sock Extravaganza
İstanbul is a rich and vibrant city for people of all ages. For some it may be daunting with young kids but İstanbul offers many wonders for the inquisitive toddler mind. This is the first part in our Toddler’s guide to İstanbul. Each guide entry will offer some cheat sheets of interesting facts as well as directions of how to get there Our first experience and destination is The Basilica Cistern in Sultan Ahmet.
What’s great about the Basilica Cistern for young kids?
It takes them into a softly lit underground world that they have never experienced before. It allows them to explore the history of a place. It is also not to big or overwhelming for young legs to maneuver (although some parts are slippery so some attention is needed). There are fish swimming in the water and two carved Medusa heads that interest them.
The Basilica Cistern Interesting Facts for Toddlers
- Built by Emperor Justinian I in 6th Century CE
- Before running water and taps, this held the water for the people who lived near by.
- No one knows the origin of the Medusa heads (But kids are fascinated by the fact that one is upside down and one is on its side).
- Medusa: Although most of the story of Medusa might be a bit bloody or scary for the average 3-4 year old, the facts that I felt I could share were that she is a Gorgon sister, it was not safe for people to look at her, and people created large stones of her head to protect them from bad things.
- People forgot about the Cistern during Ottoman times.
1-A fun activity was to play spot the difference with the two Medusa heads as they are close to each other.
2-Search for the fish who appear and disappear. How many different coloured fish are there? Which fish is the biggest?
3-Throw a coin into the water and make a wish.
4-Count a row of pillars.
Entrance Fee: Free for kids under 12. Adults are 10TL, but teachers and students can enter for 5TL
Getting there: If you are living in or visiting İstanbul by far the best way is to ditch the car, get out of the traffic and use public transport. Coming from the Anatolian side of İstanbul there is now the Metro option from Kartal to Kadiköy which connects you to a boat to the Karaköy/Eminönü port, or alternatively the overground train from Gebze to Haydarpaşa (Kadıköy) where you can directly connect to a boat to Karaköy/Eminönü (to the European Side). On the boat you can feed the seagulls and see so much on the bosphorous. Be prepared for the flood of questions. From Karaköy or Eminönü take a tram in the direction of Zeytinburnu to the Sultan Ahmet stop. From there walk down and you will see a sign pointing to the left for the cistern. Cross the small sqaure on the left with the fountain and walk down the steps. You will see a very small stone building which is the entrance to the cistern.
Good music is good music and in my experience if the music is of an excellent quality children of whatever age will enjoy it. I have found this to be the case with opera. While most young children would have difficulty sitting through a full length opera this does not mean that they cannot enjoy excerpts of opera or opera workshops focused at young children. Sydney Opera House and the San Fransico Opera seem to be at the forefront of these initiatives with regular activities and in the case of the San Fransico Opera they even have downloads to explore story lines and characters. However, what if you don’t live anywhere near the Sydney Opera House or other proactive and family friendly opera centres? How could you go about introducing it? Here are a few ways that have worked for me and my kids:
1-A light introduction through cartoons: By far the favourite and repeated request is Bugs Bunny’s Long Haired Hare. a principal aim of this has been to raise children’s awareness that opera exists and has provided a spring board to real operatic singers.
There is also the great 6 minute Chuck Jone’s Bugs Bunny animation for older children and adults of What’s Opera, Doc? reportedly based around Wagner‘s Ring Cycle. This was also awarded one of the top 50 animations of all time.
2-Pavorotti and the Three Tenors: Anything individually or collectively seems to go down well. Children are often amazed by the combined power of the Three Tenors.
3-Certain Operas and extracts that have gone down well so far:
- The Magic Flute -Mozart
- Carmen – Georges Bizet
- Figaro – From the opera the Barber of Seville – Gioachino Rossini
4-A BBC Animation: the BBC created an animation of the Magic Flute for kids. To watch the Animated version with activities based around it I have taken inspiration from Playing by the Book’s Post entitled Stories in Tune The Magic Flute
I will close here and wish you the best on your opera journey with your kids.
For other music ideas you might like our post The Magical Power of Classical Music on a Child’s Life.
We have been enjoying alternative fairy tales with Mr Men and Little Miss Story Treasury by Roger Hargreaves to celebrate over 40 years of Mr Men! Who was the first character to be created in the Mr Men series? Why was he created? When was the first Little Misses created? For answers to these questions and links to the whole Mr Men and Little Misses story collection click here or alternatively click on the pictures below:
For each central character of a book there are some simple activities to do with your kids. Here are some of our favourites:
1:Mr Topsy Turvy: After reading Mr Topsy-Turvy we usually play two-three games:
a-Inside Out and Back to Front: We turn our clothes inside out or back to front and the we do everything opposite. So if one of us says forward the others in the game must walk backwards. If the next person says run fast then the other players need to go slow and so on.
b-Brain stimulation game: If it is Mr Topsy Turvy time we draw with our other hand and change the hand we usually eat with.
c-Backwards Codes: With older children you can also do the game of talking backwards, which becomes a secret code and creates hours of entertainment. Read the rest of this entry
Over the last two months my boys have mastered the laptop mouse so now they can play and do computer activities more freely. A friend of mine who works professionally in computer game education reminded me recently of a few things: Read the rest of this entry
We have moon fever in our house. Serious moon fever. Barış is obsessed with the Moon. A month ago on the way home from creche he huffed and stopped walking. Then he started pointing at the sky and was nearly in tears. It turned out that the thing that had really upset him was that he hadn’t seen the Moon. He was quite upset. He asked me quite frankly, “mummy where is it?”. Now that is a tricky question to answer particularly when it is dark because the answer needs clouds and these are hard to see at night. I took a deep breath and explained to him that the Moon was there but he couldn’t see it because of the clouds. At this point he started jumping up and down on the pavement, “clouds!? clouds!? Mummy you are joking, where are the clouds”. Fortunately while quickly scanning the night sky I noticed a cloudless patch of dark sky where the color was slightly different and explained he could tell where the clouds were with the change in color. I took a deep breath thinking I was off the hook when he then asked, “Why isn’t the moon there then?”. Thinking how to explain this one, frantically I reminded him of the Sun and asked was it always in the same place and he said ‘no’. I asked him ‘Why?’ and he looked at me with his big dark eyes and said in a matter of fact way, “Well because we (The Earth) is moving, we go around the Sun”, so then I went on to explain “the Moon also moves around us so we see it in different places”. He got it.
So now we are on full Moon alert and every time he sees it we all need to stop and admire it. Despite Moon madness in our house we have always explored the Moon. Here are some resources you can use to explore the Moon: Read the rest of this entry
Mix and Match Sock Fest
The humble drawer of socks, the ones where if my kids get a minute to sneak off and do something mischievous by singing a song and throwing them around the room when I have been distracted for a couple of minutes, gave me the inspiration for a game that uses math, matching and hunting around the house. We call this game “Oh no I’ve lost my sock”. We pick about 15 pairs of socks, some from their draws, some from mine and some from dad’s. We go to the living room and undo them and create two separate piles, one pile of each different sock. We then hide one pile of socks in different places. Sometimes I hide it or they hide it. Sometimes we have two teams. One team hides while the other plays in another room and then they come and find. We put the other pile of socks in a washing basket or bag and one of us pulls out a sock each and we have to go and find it. When it is found we bring it back and put the two socks together and put them in the found pile. When all the socks have been found we sort them into who they belong to and then deliver them back to the appropriate draws. For other activities: Read the rest of this entry
I was reading several posts today from different blogs. One from the Ministry of Letters describing the situation of a little girl who read a book perfectly using all of her phonics skills but when asked about who she would most like to have tea with from the story, she replies ‘the dog’. The post goes on to say:
Her heart was obviously not behind the statement and I realised that it hadn’t occurred to her recently (or perhaps ever) that reading can be incredibly enjoyable.
This went around in my head all day. How incredibly sad when reading can be so much fun and expansive. It allows you to explore the world and beyond that, leading you on unexpected journeys. Sometimes phonics takes over every area of reading, maybe due to the opaque nature of the English alphabet. 32 vowel sounds represented by 5 letters seems to push us towards more phonics. But this is what I loved about this post is that: Read the rest of this entry
Well since joining the Weekly Kid’s Co-op of at least 40 blogs in the last two weeks, Ways2play have taken many twists and turns on this fantastic journey and discovered places of play of all description, which continue to inspire. Here are some of our favourite highlights of this ongoing and exciting adventure: Read the rest of this entry
Fun, inexpensive and available in all shapes and sizes. It allows for self play, pairs and groups of children and adults (i.e. me) to brush the ball. To enjoy this game you need some small cheap hand brushes and dust pans from your dollar, pound or lira store and a ball. A soft ball is essential particularly if you live in an apartment and are playing inside, as the ball can sometimes make too much noise. Also, if the ball leaves the floor it means nothing gets broken. Balloons also work. With our dustpan and brush we play the following brush the ball games : Read the rest of this entry