I have several parents of students I’ve been sharing with recently about various ways for kiddos to use Duplo for learning… so I thought I would share a few ideas here that could benefit everyone!
Did you know – you can write on Duplo with sharpie marker, and it can be erased with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or finger nail polish remover? So you can put whatever letters you’d like on blocks and kids can use them to practice reading sight words, or building even more difficult spelling words! This idea can last all the way up through elementary or middle school as a more interactive way to practice words!
You can have your child create word family/rhyming words with Duplo, too!
By writing whole words on blocks, and adding punctuation, your child can start building complete sentences and even making short stories with their Duplo blocks! Have your older child help you think of words to write on the blocks – practice which words are nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, pronouns, etc… and after you write the words, your student can sort them by word types! This is also a great way to practice labeling sentence parts, etc! So many things you can do with this to meet many needs.
Looking to use Duplo with math? Here’s an easy idea for using the dots to add, but you can also easily use Duplo to teach multiplication concepts, as well! And of course, you can always take away Duplo for math as well!! And just think – you could use it for non-standard measurement, sorting by colors or size, patterning, counting by twos, graphing, and fractions, too!
The possibilities are truly endless.
And don’t forget to let your kiddos play with Duplo to build their creativity! 🙂
ENJOY, and please – share with me any ideas you and your kiddos come up with!
Y’all, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve written. Because, well, life. I think I probably have started the last umpteen posts that way, if I’d go back and read them. But seriously, life. Three busy kids and assistant teaching two days a week has a way of keeping me busy. We’re getting set to start building our new house, and finally getting settled into the rhythm of life living in our rent house. This week is our Spring Break, and I must admit that yesterday threw me for a loop. I had one fun outing planned for each day this week, but that was it. I mean, that was IT. I had nothing else planned. I didn’t really think about the weather forecast for rain several of our days off, or what that would do to all of our spirits. So they had done pretty much everything I had thought of for them to do including our outing for the day, and it was only 2pm. Seriously. I had pulled out worksheets, given them a craft project to make a Leprechaun trap from recycled materials, everything I could think of… I thought I might lose my mind if they kept asking me for more activities! Yesterday was ROUGH, y’all. Because I really don’t want to turn the tv on or let them have their kindles for the whole day… but they did end up with about three hours of screen time. (Which I’m not proud of, but honestly admitting!)
So this morning I decided to get smart. I pulled up my Pinterest boards and went through my sensory activity pins. And I was reminded of all the cool, fun things I used to do before I was too busy to make stuff for my kids. Or maybe lately I’m just too busy to care… hmm. Need some self reflection there. I determined we’d see what we had at home already, and then would grab a few things at Walmart to make our week a little more exciting. So I’m combining here some things we pulled out and did yesterday, some things we’re doing today, and then some links to some activities we’ll be doing later in the week.
Hopefully these ideas will keep your kiddos busy bees this spring – through rainy days, holidays, and any other “I’m BORED!” moments! (Although I did hear a great idea recently from an older, more experienced mom – she said if her kids ever say, “I’m BORED!” she gives them a rag and has them clean the baseboards. BRILLIANT!!! I plan to do that later in the week… maybe we’ll get some spring cleaning done around here, too!)
More Activity Links To Check Out!
Here are some more links to things we’ll be doing later in the week (I won’t promise a blog post because, well, life!) And also, if you’re just looking for some fun time fillers, be sure to check out Doodle Art Alley – Samantha is an AMAZING artist and does some brilliant work. She shares TONS of it for FREE on her website – all of it is there just ready for you to download and print! I printed off a bunch of stuff today and not only did I color with the Bigs earlier, Becca and I enjoyed Cody joining us this evening after the Littles had gone to bed in coloring bookmarks! We’ll take them and laminate them later this week and then she can use some, and share some with friends when she goes back to school!
We also picked up at Walmart a new super fun Paint by Sticker book – the kids love those! If your kids haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them for fine motor and numeral recognition practice… and plus they are just downright fun! Here’s one from Amazon (again, no longer an affiliate, just sharing for your benefit!) that we have and the kids love!
So between all of this and a ton of wonderful books, fun outings planned to a couple of parks, and a plan to hit up Dollar Tree for some window clings, some more stickers, and hopefully an easy crossword puzzle book for Becca… I think we’ll survive the rest of the week, and be better set up for some successfully fun weekends in the future, as well! 🙂
So guess what, y’all? I’m back! Not long before I quit writing last year, we found out we were… SURPRISE!!!!… pregnant! And then last fall, I got back into the classroom at a fabulous private preschool in San Antonio – teaching three days a week as an assistant to a simply amazing teacher who has become a great friend as well as coworker. I absolutely LOVE teaching Pre-K, and look forward to getting back to teaching this summer for a few days of summer camp, and then to diving back in in the fall. So anyway, on February 2nd, Mirielle (a French name that means miraculous, because, she really is, ya know?) was born… and the rest of her story is yet to be written! I’m sure God has an amazing plan for her life!
Now, I’m starting a new adventure in my life – not only being a mom of THREE, but also I have now set a new path for my career! My master’s degree is in curriculum development, and I have long loved creating products for my own classroom, so I figured my maternity leave would be a great time to join the wonderful set of teachers on the fabulous website – Teachers Pay Teachers.
The very first free product I’m offering is a cute little book I’ve titled, “My Colors.” It’s rainbow inspired for the spring, and was created specifically with Gray in mind, because he really wants to learn how to read, and since he knows his rainbow colors, I thought a simple little reader might help him pick up the color words as sight words. Instead of merely creating a book on plain paper, we did a super fun art project to tie it all together, and then because Sis wanted to get involved, she colored her own copy of the book for me to use to show y’all as a sample!
And here’s how we did the art! Y’all, it’s so simple, it’s like falling off of a log! I put some rainbow paint colors in an old egg carton, and made stampers from folded paper towels and clothes pins. First, I had Gray do the craft part – the specific stamping of the colors in order – one purple spot in the middle, surrounded by blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. I showed him on my plate how to do it, first. Then, I let him loose and let him just create art! He used the sponges, his hands, and even asked for a paint brush! I love that he was exploring with the textures, and we talked about how each material he used made different marks on the plates. We had such great discussions, and he was happily occupied for a good 45 minutes! (Total mom score!! Right??) (Sidenote – did you notice how I called this activity both a craft AND art? Check out my post here about the difference between process art and crafts...)
How to Assemble Your Books: To put any of these books together, you’ll want to first make sure your plate is thoroughly dry, then fold it in half, and cut. If you’ve done the rainbow circle, it magically becomes a rainbow! You can simply add a cloud and it becomes much like this craft from Fantastic Fun and Learning. Or, keep going and turn it into a book cover! Take your colored “My Colors” book, and cut it in half. Then, placing the bottom left corner of the book pages in line with the bottom left corner of your rainbow plate, cut around the top to make the arch. Make sure the pages are all in rainbow color order, and then staple in the bottom left corner. Use a sharpie to write your title and name, and then enjoy reading your book over and over!
Thank you for checking out this post! If it’s your first time to visit, welcome! I share lots more on Facebook, so be sure to click on over and “like” my page. I’d also love for you to follow my Teachers Pay Teachers page – as I’ll be adding lots of files in the coming weeks and months! I love teaching preschool, and I love that now I get to share with y’all the fun things I’m creating! I’ll also be throwing a few older kid downloads out there as well, when I make little things for Sis! So you won’t want to miss anything – I won’t always do a blog post for every file. If you have something you’d love to see me create, or a topic you’d love to see covered here on the blog, please be sure and let me know! Just shoot me an email any time – I’d love to hear from you!
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of this blog! It also contains links to previous posts to give you even more ideas…
It’s that time!! Fall is upon us, and here in South Texas we’ve finally had a couple days with highs below 80F! It’s actually jacket weather in the early mornings, and it’s going to be time very soon for this gardener to get back outside and clean up my flower beds that turned to weeds in the heat of the summer. Becca has been feeling the change in the air, too… and has been begging to get outside and explore again, which is awesome!
A few weeks back (in the heat of the summer when we spent a LOT of time in the cool of The DoSeum), I came across this book in their library and fell in love. (A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston) I ordered it for “such a time as this” and the other day we pulled it out to read before going on a seed hunt! Becca was so excited to see our Texas Mountain Laurel seeds on the front cover- since our property is simply covered in Mountain Laurels! I love that the author incorporates LOTS of different plant seeds, talks about how various seeds are transferred and planted naturally, and also shows timelines of how long various seeds take to sprout and produce fruit! The illustrations by Sylvia Long are gorgeous, and it’s definitely a page turner that Becca loved – she begged to read it again when we got back inside, and also used it as a reference guide on our walk when she had questions. (And I can’t wait to get more of Dianna’s books – she has several that I’ve added to our wishlist!)
So what did we do exactly? First, we read the book. Then, we grabbed a bucket and headed outside with Daisy. We looked everywhere for seeds. At first, she was just seeing Mountain Laurels and acorns on the ground. But then her eye started getting more keen and she started looking AROUND instead of just down. And then she started looking UP! She was amazed at all of the seeds everywhere! We collected seeds along our way through our nature trail (we live on an acre and a half of very wooded land), and then before we came inside, I showed her that Daisy had been collecting seeds for us, too! What a fabulous way to see how animals transfer seeds! She was in awe. (If you don’t have this availability on your property, take a trip to your local wooded park or along the bank of the closest stream, etc.)
So, we brought our seeds inside, and then sorted them by the seeds that were obviously just seeds, and by what looked to be seeds inside seed pods. We talked about how the pods don’t drop their seed until just the right time, and she explored opening a couple of the pods and discovered that they didn’t all have seeds! One had a spider web, and it appeared the spider had probably eaten the seeds early on. Another had shriveled, tiny seeds. And yet another had a whole, healthy seed. It was a great way to talk about how appearances on the outside aren’t everything – all of the seed pods looked the same on the outside. She was ready to move on to a different activity, so I didn’t dwell on the character lesson, but the seed did get planted, so to speak. 😉
There was also a door left open to do more research about seeds – she wasn’t sure if the flowers that had seeds in their centers were considered seed pods or not, and she wasn’t sure about a couple of the weeds that we collected – and wants to know how their seeds get transferred. So, there is plenty of room for more discussion and research, which we will do at the library next time.
There is also room to go back and review the sunflower life cycle unit that we did last fall – so glad I laminated everything! 🙂 (not an affiliate link, just giving credit where credit is due – it’s a great unit she has set up!)
What are you doing to get your kids outside as the weather begins to turn cooler? Here are some other fall ideas you might enjoy!
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!
Most of my posts here are about homeschooling Becca, but this one is all about what to do with the little ones… and highlights what I do to keep Gray occupied so Sis can learn. (And SHHHH! he’s learning, too!) Keeping your toddler occupied while your older child does homeschool is NOT easy! But hopefully a few of these ideas will inspire you and be helpful on your journey!
One thing we really struggle with with Gray is that he still likes to put things in his mouth – a lot. I can’t just give him an activity and pay total attention to Sis. So, I have to very carefully select what he does when I’m busy with her. He loves our pop beads set – so when I’m teaching her, I pull out only the large beads on a tray and let him sit on the bench right next to me in our family room (which doubles as our homeschool room).
If we are doing something downstairs at the dining room table, he gets to do play dough next to me, and loves to make prints in the dough. We have little stackers, dominoes, construction trucks, and dinosaurs that all make awesome dough stamps, not to mention our fabulous cookie cutter set. He can stay occupied with play dough for almost an hour! (Plus, I make my own dough, so I can make it any color I want, and he loves to take two different colors of dough and squish them together… which works on those fine AND gross motor skills all at the same time!)
Back upstairs in the family room, we have a little Duplo table (this is the one I’d like to get once we move up to only Legos) and some diaper boxes full of Duplos that Gray loves to build with. Then we also have big wooden blocks (that my dad made for me when I was little!) with which he can build larger-scale items. We also keep crayons and coloring books readily available so that he can color when Sis is illustrating – because nothing is more exciting and makes you feel big and important like coloring when Sis is coloring. And he has been enjoying playing with window clings that I got from Dollar Tree!
There are so many fabulous things you can get your little ones excited about that are going to stretch them and help them grow their fine AND gross motor skills.
Pretend play is so important for little ones, and Gray is all about pretending. He is fairly quiet with his pretend play, so he doesn’t distract Sis too much. If you have a louder child who likes to play really loudly, you might want to skip this section and move on down to the academic ideas, leaving the pretend play for non-school times.
Gray loves our new set of felt dinosaurs. He likes to tell little stories with the dinosaurs, and can either use the portable board with which they came, or can use the larger cork board that I covered with felt that is up in our family room. I love that both kids can stand together at the easel and play, or he can play alone right next to me while she works. He also loves to drive his cars and trains on the activity rug that sits on the floor next to me, and cook “meals” for us in their kitchen, which is across the room. (This link is to a similar set – ours is no longer sold.)
He also loves to grab a reusable shopping bag and pretend he’s shopping, play dress up, and play with Little People figures. The beauty of doing school in our family room is the multiplicity of options to keep him entertained. We do not choose to have the tv on during school time. That is far too distracting for Becca.
Sometimes there is just no other way than to teach her with him sitting in my lap or standing right next to me. (His love language is touch.) For those times, I have some little academic activities that aren’t distracting to her that I can do with him while she is working independently. We have number puzzles matching the numerals 1-10 to their values, and he can sometimes do 1-5 alone. Sometimes he gets frustrated when they don’t fit exactly together (fine motor work!), but I can help him.
He also loves our pattern block shapes that I made out of thick colored card stock and laminated. I use them with Sis as math manipulatives, and he also loves to sort them out and try to count them. You can print your own here for free!
I have also laminated some little basic puzzles that have come out of magazines the kids get – he loves to put the three pieces together to make the trucks, and can put them together wrong to be silly and it’s ok, so he feels very successful with those.
I love the Target dollar section. Sometimes I get surprised and find a $3 item that I love and just have to have, but normally I stick to the $1 stuff. I got some really neat felt sticker numbers there (for $1), and placed one each on a set of 10 index cards so that he can actually FEEL the number, and attempts to put them in order.
He loves so much the big bin of Scrabble letter tiles at the DoSeum, so I finally bought this set so that he can play with the letters at home – and Sis can use them for spelling practice! They are both so excited to have their own letter tiles at home now! Sis also enjoys playing Scrabble Jr, so this now gives him letter tiles to play with, without messing up the board while we are playing!
I hope that you find these ideas helpful, and I so appreciate you purchasing via my affiliate links! What helpful hints do you have to share? What do you like to do with your toddler? And which of these ideas that I’ve shared are you ready to try this week? Let me know! I love to hear from you! Send me comments, and please be sure to head over to my Facebook Page to get involved in the discussion!