Multiplication and Times Tables

Tips, tricks and strategies to make recall of multiplication number facts faster and more accurate.

Learning times tables or multiplication facts can be a challenge. It is often a struggle for children to recall them and they can be very boring and tedious to learn. So I thought I’d put together a collection of tips, tricks and strategies to make recall of multiplication number facts faster and more accurate.

Usually schools start by teaching the 2,5 and 10 times tables, followed by the 3,4 then the 6,7,8,9s. I don’t believe the 11s and 12s are taught anymore.

My approach is more 2,5,10 (which most children learn early on), followed by 11,9. Then 4,3. After that they will be able to fill in most gaps when it comes to 6,7,8s. I find this easier because the 11s and 9s have some tricks that make them easier to learn and therefore boost the confidence of the student learning them.

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Here are a few confidence boosting tips/tricks to help your child learn their multiplication facts:

Tips, tricks and strategies to make recall of multiplication number facts faster and more accurate.
The original image can be found here: http://www.theowlteacher.com/teaching-multiplication-shortcuts/

2x Doubles

4x Double 2s

5x Half 10 times tables

9x Using the finger trick (see trick below)

10x Write a zero on the end

11x Write the same number twice

The original image can be found here: https://reliefteachingideas.com/2014/02/18/number-sense-craftivity/
The original image can be found here: https://reliefteachingideas.com/2014/02/18/number-sense-craftivity/

8×8=64 – I ate (8) and (x) ate (8) until I was sick (6) on the floor (4).

56=7×8 – Consecutive numbers, 5,6,7,8.

6s are easy enough if you think about it being one set more than the 5s.

The original image can be found here: http://laughterandconsistency.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/freebie-five-for-friday.html
The original image can be found here: http://laughterandconsistency.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/freebie-five-for-friday.html

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It is important to be able to instantly recall the multiplication tables and that is only made possible by practising them a lot. Here are a few ways of doing that:

Times Tables raps or songs – TV or radio adverts with jingles are effective because they stick in our head. Times tables raps are much the same. You can find songs on CD, i-tunes, YouTube or with a simple google search.

Rote learning – Though it is boring, it can be very helpful to write and re-write a set of multiplication tables until they are retained and can be instantly recalled.

Posters – You can purchase large posters of the multiplication tables to display in your child’s room but you can also have your child create their own set to display in a location that is regularly visited, such as the toilet.

Games – Online and off line games are a great way to make learning these important number facts fun. You can practise with flash cards, dice or simple playing cards. Hit the Button is a favourite online game of mine but there are many others that can be found with a quick search.

Real life practise – Asking your child to solve multiplication equations in real life settings helps them to understand the importance of learning their times tables. Whether you are preparing dinner, hanging washing or organising a birthday party, there are plenty of opportunities to multiply.

Modelling using various materials – Creating arrays and grouping everyday items is a great way to make the times tables come to life. Using play dough, peas, beads or toys to show the various sums might help to make the multiplication tables easier to remember because they can be linked to a visual memory.

Teaching others – Encouraging older students to teach their younger siblings or school mates a set of multiplication tables is a great way to cement the number facts in the older child’s mind while also helping the younger child.

You can find the original image here: http://missgiraffesclass.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/how-to-teach-arrays.html
You can find the original image here: http://missgiraffesclass.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/how-to-teach-arrays.html

You can find more tips and fun ways to practise multiplication facts by heading over to Flying Sprout’s Times Tables Pinterest board.

Fun with Painters Tape

Flying Sprout pinterest blog Painters Tape

I’m not much the home reno type so had never even heard of painters tape until two years ago.

I was reading a blog post on suggested items to pack for entertaining children on long haul flights and saw this tape recommended. It peaked my interest, I bought a roll and have since fallen in love with the stuff!

There are loads of fun activities kids can do with painters tape which, unlike regular masking tape, will not leave a sticky residue or be hard to remove. Here are a few winners:

Letter or number writing – Write numbers, letters and words on any surface, practise making sums or spelling key words.

name art

Make a bridge – Your child might like to take up the challenge of creating a bridge using only painters tape. The challenge can be extended by testing the load limit of the bridge.

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Create a road on the floor – Use the tape to draw out a road along the floor, you could include round abouts or make a whole town. Use toy cars to race or drive along the road.

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Draw shapes on the wall – Young children can learn about shape properties, older kids might like to measure the perimeter and area.

shapes

Maze – Older children might like to plan out then create a maze using the tape. You might like to make a maze for younger children to drive cars or walk toys around.

maze

Races- Instead of a maze, your child might like to create a race track. They could then use a straw and pom-pom, blowing the pom-pom around the race course.

racing

Marble/rolling – As a children, my brothers and I would play marbles in the hall way room. Painters tape is handy to draw a circle and lines.

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Create an obstacle course – Tape some kitchen or toilet rolls to the wall and have a marble race through the course.

marble run

Tape painting – There are so many options here, just search on Pinterest. The idea is that you stick tape onto a canvas in order to create blank space once it is removed. You may like to creates a geometric pattern or write your child’s name, they then paint, splatter or colour all over the canvas. When the artwork is dry, the paint is removed an voila! Masterpiece!

painting-fabric-with-latex-paint-Hearts-And-Sharts-Crafting-Chicks

For many more great ideas and links to all the above activities, head on over to Flying Sprout’s Pinterest Board dedicated to all things painters tape.

I’d love to hear your experiences and suggestions, do you use painters tape with your little ones?

The Advantages of Puzzles

Flying Sprout pinterest blog graphics (15)

When I hear the word ‘puzzle’ I immediately think of a picture in pieces that needs putting back together. Then I think about logic puzzles, word problems, tangrams….there are lots of different puzzle types I have used with students in the classroom and many I enjoy doing myself. According to Wikipedia, ‘A puzzle is a game, problem, or toy that tests a person’s ingenuity or knowledge.’

Traditional wooden puzzles are a common sight in most homes with small children and for good reason; they are a great toy to engage young children in play. There are many, MANY more advantages to puzzles and, many different types of puzzles that are equally as engaging as those first wooden ones. Here are a few (all listed puzzle types are clickable links):

There are many advantages to puzzles and, many different types that are as engaging as those first wooden puzzles. Here is a list of puzzle types and advantages.
Different puzzle types

To see more great examples, head over to the Flying Sprout Pinterest page.

The Advantages of Puzzles

Some puzzles are great fun, others can be immensely frustrating but they all have their benefits. Here are a few:

Satisfaction of achievement

Completing a task is satisfying and often, the more challenging the task, the greater the feeling of achievement once it is completed. This sense of satisfaction is a great way for children to build an understanding that hard work pays off and brings its own reward.

Patience and persistence

Persisting and having patience when faced with a challenge is not always easy but, as mentioned above, it brings great satisfaction when approaching tasks with a level head and having success.

There are many advantages to puzzles and, many different types that are as engaging as those first wooden puzzles. Here is a list of puzzle types and advantages.

Problem solving strategies

Different puzzles require different approaches in order to solve them. When completing maths, word and logic problems at school children are often encouraged to think carefully about the right strategy to use. These include acting out the problem, drawing a picture, writing a list, looking for a pattern, simplifying the problem, creating a table, working backwards, guess and checking, writing a number sentence or using and using objects.

Hand eye coordination and fine motor skills

Physical puzzles are a great way for children to practise their hand eye coordination and develop those all important fine motor skills.

Fun and rewarding

Puzzles can be used to reinforce learning or they can be used as a fun, rewarding activity. Great satisfaction comes from completing puzzles and this is lots of fun.

Building dept of knowledge on a subject

Whether learning new skills, practising, revising or consolidating understandings, there is a place for puzzles.

Quiet concentration

Some children are naturally quiet, while others take a little more encouragement. Puzzles give all children an opportunity to work with quiet concentration, either on their own or cooperatively with others, to complete tasks.

There are many advantages to puzzles and, many different types that are as engaging as those first wooden puzzles. Here is a list of puzzle types and advantages.

Goal setting

Setting and achieving small goals is rewarding and reinforces the idea that, with hard work and focus, you can achieve your larger goals.

Self correction

Many puzzles are, particularly physical ones, are self correcting. They are either right or they aren’t, so children can work out immediately if they have solved the puzzle.

Skill development

Many puzzles encourage the use of skills that children aren’t necessarily using everyday, skills that are very important such as critical thinking, logical thinking and spatial reasoning.

 

If you have a few spare minutes and enjoy a challenge, have a go at this collection of puzzles.

For more like this, head over to: https://www.puzzles-to-print.com/rebus-puzzles/rebus-puzzles-page-1.shtml
For more like this, head over to: http://www.free-for-kids.com/brain-teasers.shtml
For more like this, head over to: http://www.free-for-kids.com/brain-teasers.shtml
For more puzzles head on over here: http://www.mathinenglish.com/PagePL2P26to30.php
For more puzzles head on over here: http://www.mathinenglish.com/PagePL2P26to30.php

Making Bath Time Fun for Kids

The bath can be much more than a place to wash. It can be a place to play, explore, learn and relax. Crayons, bubbles, food dye, ice, toys and treasure hunts can make the humble bath a blast!

Having a bath is more than a necessity for most kids, its a fun time to relax and play.

When we don’t have early morning activities i’ll often let my son have a long bath and and some watery fun. There are many things we do to make bath time special, here are a list of them:

Bath crayons – I remember having special crayons when I was little and I’ve bought them for my son too. Kids can draw on the glass, the tub, tiles or on them selves and the colour washes off easily. They can draw and scribble, write letters, numbers, practise spelling words or solving sums, play Pictionary, Hangman (or the child friendly version I call ‘The Ladybird Game’), Noughts and Crosses…they can write and draw as they would on paper. The bath crayons pictured below are available here.

The bath can be much more than a place to wash. It can be a place to play, explore, learn and relax. Crayons, bubbles, food dye, ice, toys and treasure hunts can make the humble bath a blast!
Available at Target

Bubble bath – A bath full of bubbles is just good, clean fun! Of course it’s nice to sit in mountains of bubbles but your children (and you) can also put the bubbles on their face and head to give the appearance of facial hair, fill small plastic container with bubbles to make cappuccinos or cup cakes and play shops, hide as much of themsleves in bubbles as possible, scoop up hand fulls and blow them off or clap to make the bubbles scatter away.

Food dye – I saw a friend of mine comment on her son loving blue water in his bath and was instantly inspired to try it out. We’ve had blue water, green, purple, red (not my choice!) and everything in between. It’s great fun and all it takes is a few drops or regular food colouring. Adding the colour and watching the water swirl and dye disperse is a great experience for the little ones too.

The bath can be much more than a place to wash. It can be a place to play, explore, learn and relax. Crayons, bubbles, food dye, ice, toys and treasure hunts can make the humble bath a blast!
Food dye in the bath

Measuring capacity – taking a few, various sized containers into the bath and pouring water from one to another is a great way to develop an understanding of capacity. Encouraging your child to predict, order and test out theories as to which container holds the most water, how many cups it might take to fill the rectangular container etc is great fun and real-life learning.

Find and seek underwater – Taking toys into the bath is great, but losing them under the bubbles and having to find them is even better. Your child might like to search with their hand under water or they could wear goggles or even a snorkle while they go exploring for the lost ‘treasures.’

bath toys rubber ducky bath time fun

Washing toys – Whether its giving a doll a bath or scrubbing a dirty monster truck, washing toys is far more fun for the little ones than washing themselves.

Sea themed toys – Fish, animals, boats, mermaids and pirates are great toys to play with in the bath. Of course any waterproof toy would be fun but these ones are especially good because they encourage small world play. The pictured toys are available from here.

The bath can be much more than a place to wash. It can be a place to play, explore, learn and relax. Crayons, bubbles, food dye, ice, toys and treasure hunts can make the humble bath a blast!
Available from iHerb

Melting ice blocks -In Summer we made coloured ice cubes with a dinosaur in each. Once the ice cube was added to the water it melted fast, the colour of the water changed and the dinosaur was free. You can use ice to discuss the different states of water, different coloured ice and water to discuss primary and secondary colours or frozen creatures in big ice blocks to make bath time last a little longer.

Eating – When babies start eating solids it is a messy time in most house holds. Ours was no exception! Spaghetti was especially fun and particularly messy! I once heard of a mum (or maybe it was a dad?) who put their young one in an empty bath with a bowl full of messy food. The child could make as much mess as they wanted and cleaning up was a breeze!

Singing – I must admit, I’ve never really been much of a singer (trust me, that is a good thing!), however I do love to break in to song at bath time….’Splish splash I was taking a bath, all about a Saturday night….’ I sing, my son splashes, we act it out and have a crazy good time. If you have any great bath time songs please share them below! I’d love to add a few to my list!

As you can see, the bath can be much more than a place to wash. It can be a place to play, explore, learn and relax. What are your child’s favourite bath time activities?

The bath can be much more than a place to wash. It can be a place to play, explore, learn and relax. Crayons, bubbles, food dye, ice, toys and treasure hunts can make the humble bath a blast!

The Benefits of Playing with Play Dough

Playing with play dough is a wonderful tactile experience that is a treasured part of childhood. Manipulating, moulding, rolling out and cutting the colourful dough is not only fun and relaxing, it is assists with building vital life skills too!

Playing with play dough is a wonderful tactile experience that is a treasured part of childhood. Manipulating, moulding, rolling out and cutting the colourful dough is not only fun and relaxing, it is assists with building vital life skills too!

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Manipulating play dough strengthens those all important fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are those that involve the use of small muscles in hands, fingers and thumbs. By strengthening these motor skills children are then more able to hold a pencil and write, cut with scissors, do up buttons, tie shoelaces and correctly use a knife and fork….all fundamental skills they’ll use throughout their lives.

 

As well as being a fabulous material for building fine motor skills, play dough play allows, even encourages, freedom of expression and imagination. Children can create anything they like when playing with the mouldable dough. There are no rules when it comes playing with play dough (except maybe keep it off the carpet!).

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Image from Freepik

Play dough is also a great activity to have on hand for times when your child might be getting tired, frustrated or just generally in need of some quiet time. It is a safe way for them to express them selves and take out frustration in a productive, harm-free way. Tactile stimulation with play dough can be calming and has great benefits for children with hyposensitivity.

 

Children are able to engage all their five senses when playing with play dough. They can see the different colours and creations, feel the play dough change shape as it is moulded, smell the unique fragrance, hear what it does when squeezed or thumped and…lets be honest, as kids most of us had a taste of that salty home made play dough when we were little! Sensory play encourages curiosity as children explore the world through their five senses. Investigating and exploring what play dough can do is, in some ways, even an early scientific investigation.

 

Having play dough available is great when it comes to building numeracy and literacy skills in a fun way. Children can represent different numbers, letters and make sums by using number stamps, forming small balls or rolling out long, thin snakes which can be twisted to form the desired shape. Play dough is also handy for alphabet and spelling activities with letter stamps.

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Play dough is also useful as a tool when learning about colours and shapes. It comes in a huge range of colours so can be helpful when your little one is learning to identify different colours. Primary colours can be mixed to create secondary colours too. Children can make shapes, either flat or 3D, easily with the use of play dough. Flying Sprout’s Tomato Busy Bag uses plasticine, rather than play dough, to build colour and shape skills.

tomato bb pic

Play dough play lets adults be kids too. Playing freely with your child is a wonderful bonding activity and play dough allows you to be working on the same level. Unlike Lego for example, there are no ‘right ways’ of connecting pieces together and any play dough creations made by you are likely to still have a child-like quality to them.

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Image from Freepik

This simple product makes a wonderful gift! Of course there is the popular brand we all know, Play Doh, but I have recently come across a glorious small business which creates beautiful smelling play dough, Happy Hands, Happy Heart. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to check out Emma from Happy Hands, Happy Hearts, she has an amazing Instagram feed featuring very clever play dough art!

 

If you’d prefer to make your own at home, here is a great play dough recipe that doesn’t require cooking!

 

As you can see, I’m a big fan of play dough and believe it definitely offers your child more than a few minutes of quiet play time!

What You Can Do at Home to Help Your Child Learn at School

There are many things, besides structured homework, you can do with your child to help their academic development that are incidental, don’t feel like ‘work’ and are fun for both of you.

In addition to making awesome Busy Bags 😉 I am primary school teacher with 8 years experience and currently work as a tutor so I know a thing or two about helping students learn outside the classroom.

Now that the school year is underway your child has probably come home with some kind of homework that they’re expected to complete. While I don’t love the idea of homework as a whole, the importance of reinforcing skills, particularly reading, cannot be underestimated.

You might find it hard to make time to do anything other than read with your child each night and the burden of homework might rest heavily on your shoulders. What ever you do though, please don’t ignore it completely. Provide your child with a quiet space for them to complete their reading and homework. If spending an hour a week sitting down with your child to work through their homework sounds too challenging, consider blocking out smaller amounts of time. Four 15 minute sessions is much easier to manage than one whole hour of uninterrupted learning.

Mother and daughter helping daughter with her homework

If you and/or your child are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of homework, please talk to their teacher, they may be able to work out some alternative arrangements.

There are many things, besides structured homework, you can do with your child to help their academic development that are incidental, don’t feel like ‘work’ and are fun for both of you.

Many of the recommendations below are suggestions I wrote in reports for my Year 1 students. They are simple activities that can be done in a stress-free way and may be of great help to your child.

 

Reading

  • Reading skills should be supported through nightly reading of the take home book. When reading with your child, encourage them to use different strategies. Help them to read for meaning by asking questions about the text. If a word does not make sense, suggest they re-read the whole sentence/passage to try and understand what the word might mean.
  • Borrow a variety of books from the library. You can check out levelled texts to correspond with the books they are bringing home from school but be sure to also borrow books that are of interest to them. Developing a love of reading opens up a world of possibilities.
  • Read a variety of texts together and at every opportunity. Read newspapers, brochures, menus, shopping lists, catalogues, information on TV adverts, cereal boxes etc. The more your child is exposed to different text types in real life environments, the more value they’ll see in learning to read.

Child holding a open book on white background

Writing

  • Provide your child with fun and entertaining opportunities to trace, colour and write. These activities should help to develop their fine motor skills, in turn leading to better letter formation and neater writing.
  • Practise letter names and sounds with your child by making play dough letters, writing with crayons in the bath or cutting out letter shaped cookies.
  • Help your child practise pronouncing, sounding out and spelling words they regularly use as well as new words they come across.
  • Place word lists in a position at home where they will be seen regularly. Practice reading and spelling from word lists, play games and identify sounds.
  • Encouraging them to write cards and journal entries gives a meaningful way to practise writing well punctuated sentences.
  • Encourage your child to practise writing detailed and interesting letters or postcards to friends and family. You might also consider giving them a scrapbook in which they could write, record thoughts and collect memories.
  • Use Flash cards of letters or common words to build familiarity and help your child to learn sight words.
  • Consider using magnetic letters on the fridge to form words and sentences.

 

Maths

  • Practice basic number facts through quizzes, flash cards and questioning when there are a few spare minutes, such as while preparing meals or during car journeys.
  • When opportunities arise, ask your child to assist you to work out real life problems modelling the solutions e.g. “If I we have 25 grapes to share between the 5 of us, how many will we each get?”
  • Support your child’s numeracy development and number fact recall by encouraging them to play board games like snakes and ladders and work through online math activities such as Mathletics*
  • Practise counting and mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) using counters, paddle pop sticks or beads. I have a large collection of Busy Bags targeting specific mathematical skills. You can find them here.
  • Find mathematical opportunities everywhere; add the digits on number plates, measure ingredients when cooking, read the time on analogue clocks, count down to events on the calendar, look for shapes and numbers to read in every day locations.
  • If your child is finding a concept challenging, borrow some books on that particular theme e.g numbers, colours, time.

School supplies with calculator

Mathletics and Reading Eggs

Most kids love having access to an iPad or computer and there are many great apps or programs that are both fun and educational. Reading Eggs and Mathletics/Mathseeds are paid programs but are definitely worth the investment. Your child can work through short, engaging lessons at their level and develop base level literacy and numeracy skills before building upon them. You might find your child already has access to these programs through their school. I highly recommend signing up for a free trial to see if you and your child likes the program. (After your free trial you will be offered a discounted rate to subscribe, though maybe not immediately so hold out a little while if you’d like to save a few dollars.)

 

It doesn’t need to be stressful or overwhelming when it comes time to help your child with academic learning outside of school. Hopefully you can see from the suggestions above that there are are plenty of opportunities to extend everyday activities to make them richer learning opportunities.

If you’re after more ideas and pre-prepared activities to help your child with their learning, head on over to Flying Sprout’s online store to browse the full range of fun and educational activities.

Screen Free Activities To Keep Kids Cool On A Hot Day

I love the idea of sitting under the air conditioner all day and watching movies but that’s just not possible in my house with a toddler and well, lets be honest, it's not ideal. So….here’s a list of simple activities to keep your children entertained while keeping cool on those scorching Summer days.

Australian Summers can be HOT so keeping cool and calm is a priority, especially when the school holidays are stretching on and you’re running out of ideas for how to entertain the kids.

I love the idea of sitting under the air conditioner all day and watching movies but that’s just not possible in my house with a toddler and well, lets be honest, it’s not ideal. So….here’s a list of simple activities to keep your children entertained while keeping cool on those scorching Summer days.

 

Sensory Play

Quiet activities are a great option when the weather is really hot (or wet, or cold). Activities that allow your child to use their hands to manipulate materials are great for the development of fine motor skills, encourage imaginative play and are wonderfully calming.

*Play dough – play dough can be made at home or bought. It can be moulded with the hands, flattened, rolled, cut or stamped.

*Water beads – these tiny little balls absorb water and grow. They are soft, colourful and fantastic to play with.

*Coloured spaghetti – cook a few batches of spaghetti with a little food dye, let it cool and play away.

*Rainbow rice – rice can be dyed a rainbow of different colours with some food dye and a little vinegar.

*Bubbles – watching bubbles floating through the air is simple but always special.

play dough hot day

Bring The Outdoors In

When the outdoor environment isn’t welcoming, just bring the fun inside!

*Indoor forts – build a cubby inside using sheets draped over clothes horses, chairs or tables then make it cozy with cushions and soft toys.

*Inside picnic – pack a picnic basket full of goodies, set up a rug on the floor and have a special picnic in the living room.

*Treasure hunt – write clues and hide objects around the house for your children to find.

 

Water Play

Playing with cool water is the best way to escape the Summer heat but there are many more options than visiting a public pool.

*Paddling pools – set up a small pool, clam shell, tub or even bucket at home for your children to splash in.

*Washing dishes – washing dishes with cool water and plenty of bubbles can be fun on a hot day.

*Playing in the bath – having a long, cool bath is a great way to pass time.

*Floating/sinking – encourage your child to explore the concept of floating and sinking by making boats and testing the properties of different objects.

*Bath crayons – drawing in the bath tub or on their bodies with special bath crayons and soaps is a great way for your children to get clean and be creative.

*Paint the house/fence – give your child a bucket of water and a paintbrush, set them up in a shaded area and encourage them to ‘paint’ the fence or house.

*Wash  a car – using water from the hose and bubbles from a bucket to wash the car is cooling and helpful.

baby hot day activity water bucket

Cooking

If you cant stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Right? Or maybe not. If you choose simple foods that don’t require heat, the kitchen can be a great place to pass the time on a hot day. Think non-bake slices, icy poles, dips, smoothies or cheesecakes. Yum!

 

Out of the house

Sometimes the heat is just too much and a change of scene is needed so a trip out of the house is needed.

*Drive – if your car has air conditioner sometimes being stuck in traffic is the coolest place to be.

*Forest walk – head up into the hills and go for a walk in some well shaded forests, the temperature is sure to be much more bearable.

*Shopping centre – shopping centres are temperature controlled and will always be cool on a hot day.

*Gallery – visit a gallery and immerse your children in the arts.

*Museum – spend some time learning new and interesting facts in a lovely cool museum.

*Library – local libraries have fabulous kids sections, take some time to browse the shelves before borrowing some books to enjoy at home.

*All you can eat lunch – spend a hot afternoon in a cool restaurant grazing on the delicious foods, all you can eat style restaurants are perfect for this.

museum kids activity

More suggestions…

*Busy bags – these are a great way to learn while having fun and keeping cool.

*Stories – grab a few favourite books and enjoy reading them as a family.

*Performance – encourage your children to put on a performance; sing, dance or act out a favourite book

*Board games – pull a classic game out of the cupboard and play together.

*Card games – teach your children a new game or play an old favourite.

*Arts, craft, painting & drawing – the possibilities are endless.

*Stickers – peeling stickers off a page and sorting them or sticking them down to form an image can take a while to do and is often very satisfying.

*Lego – build a big tower, a house or other design. Lego is fantastic for imaginative play and motor skill development.

keep cool art

Dolls, cars, dress ups…..the list goes on. For more great ideas head on over to Flying Sprout’s Pinterest page and look at all the clever options to keep your little ones cool and calm on those hot Summer days.

 

Busy Bag Review by Finding Myself Young

Finding Myself Young is a fantastic website and blog written by a lovely lady named Toni.

I was very lucky to have Toni contact me, saying she’d like to feature Flying Sprout’s Busy Bags on her weekly Mummy Must Have review. I was even more lucky to have her write such wonderful things about my products!

You can find the blog post here. While you’re there I encourage you to read through her other reviews and discover some amazing must have items for your little one to enjoy.

You can also follow Toni on Instagram, @finding_myself_young.

happy little kids

Learning is Fun with M&M’s and Skittles

Skittles and M&Ms are a fantastic learning resources! Not only are they extremely motivating (who doesn’t want to eat a handful of lollies!?) they can help your child learn maths, English and science concepts.

With the end of school, parties and Christmas fast approaching, lollies will be in abundance. Before you think of stashing some away when your kids aren’t looking, consider this; Skittles and M&Ms are a fantastic learning resources! Not only are they extremely motivating (who doesn’t want to eat a handful of lollies!?) they can help your child learn maths, English and science concepts.

M&M Skittles Maths Learning FunA single mini bag of M&Ms or Skittles (the ones you buy as a multi pack) can provide loads of activity options for the little ones. You won’t need much else either, maybe just a piece of paper and some coloured pencils or textas!

Listed below is an activity to suit any of your kids aged 2-12 year olds so add a multi pack of Skittles or M&Ms to your shopping list now, then read on!

 

Predicting – Before opening the packet ask your child to predict how many lollies will be inside and what colours they will be.

You might ask: Why did you choose that amount/those colours? After opening it; were you right? Were you close? Why or why not?

toddler maths lollies

Colour Sorting – Sort the lollies according to colour.

You might ask: What colours do you have in the packet? What are some colours you don’t have? Which colour do you have the most of? Which do you have the least of?

 

Patterns – Lay out a pattern and ask your child to fill in the next few colours or fill in the missing lolly in a pattern. Alternatively, they might like to create their own pattern.

You might ask: How did you know that was the answer? Can you think of any different colours that would also be correct?

 

Counting – Ask your child to count the total number of lollies in the pack.

You might ask: If you had one more lolly, how many would you have? What if you had 2 more? 10 more? 3 less? etc

 

Graphing – Line the lollies up to create a graph. Have your child draw an outline around the lollies using the right coloured pencil/texta. Depending on your child’s skill level you might like them to rule up a proper bar graph, line graph, create a pie graph, label the graph correctly or even create a graph in Excel

You might ask: Which colour are there the most of? Which colour has the least? Which colour are there only 2 of? How many more yellow are there than green?

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Creating sums – Ask your child to create some sums (addition and subtraction is great to start with.) Depending on the number of lollies in their packet, your child may also be able to create some division or multiplication equations.

You might ask: If you added all the blue and yellow lollies together how many would there be? If you took all the green ones out of the packet, how many would be left? If you ate 3 of the red ones, how many would be left for me to eat?

 

Probability – The probability of an event occurring can be described in words (impossible, likely, certain) or with values (1/2, 20%, 3/15). Ask your child to describe the likelihood of particular colours being pulled out off the packet.

You might ask: If all the lollies were to be put back in the packet and I pulled one out randomly, what colour is it most likely to be? What is the chance of me pulling out a yellow lolly? Which colour is it impossible for me to select? Which colour has a 1 in 4 chance of being selected? There is a 20% chance orange will be selected, true or false?

 

Fractions – Calculate the fraction of each colour as part of the whole packet.

You might ask: What fraction of the packet is yellow? Can you simplify any of the fractions? What are some equivalent fractions for the red lollies?

 

Percentage – Ask your child to calculate the percentage of each colour as part of the whole packet of lollies.

You might ask: What percentage of the packet is green? If you ate all the red, green and yellow lollies what percentage of the lollies will be left?

 

Adjectives – Have your child randomly select a lolly with their eyes closed. Ask them to describe the smell, the taste and texture in as much detail as possible before guessing which colour it is. Encourage them to use all 5 senses and create a list of adjectives for each colour/flavour.

You might ask: Can you describe the lolly so that someone else would be able to picture it without seeing it? Can you explain the difference in colours without using the exact colour words?

m&m activities for kids

Tell a story – Ask your child to make up a story from a lolly’s point of view, encourage them to consider what the lolly would be experiencing.

You might ask: What is the structure of a good story (narrative)? What is the problem in your story? How will it be resolved? Who are the characters? What is the lolly thinking/feeling/seeing/hearing?

 

Experiment – Process: Place the lollies around the rim of a white bowl or plate. Slowly add water to the centre of the bowl until it reaches the lollies. Observe what happens.

Before adding water, encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen. After adding water have them look closely and make verbal observations about what they notice. For more detail on the experiment click here.

You might ask: What do you think will happen? Why? During the experiment- What can you see? Why do you think this is happening? After the experiment– Did it happen as you expected? Can you think of other situations where the same thing happens? Would you like to try the experiment with next?

 

Many of these activities can be done with any selection of coloured items such as coloured popcorn, jelly beans, gummy bears, Smarties or Fruit Loops. The items certainly don’t need to be edible for your child to work through the maths activities. Beads, sequins, pop poms or coloured craft sticks are great alternatives.

 

Learning is lots of fun when it is relaxed and especially when it is based around food! This Silly Season, consider buying some colourful lollies for your child to use as a learning tool.

50+ Activities to Make Spelling Fun

Make learning fun with this huge collection of spelling activities. Your child can clap, whisper, bake, sing and stomp their way to spelling success. Learning to spell and practising spelling words has not traditionally been a fun task. It’s time that changed!

Make learning fun with this huge collection of spelling activities. Your child can clap, whisper, bake, sing and stomp their way to spelling success. Learning to spell and practising spelling words has not traditionally been a fun task. It’s time that changed! Let’s move away from rote learning, chanting and testing and learn to spell by using Morse code, creating word searches and writing in shaving foam!

Help your child choose activities to suit their personality; do they like using the computer, singing or food? With more than 50 suggestions of fun ways to practise spelling words, there is sure to be an activity to suit them!

letters on a line

Active

  • Bouncing ball – Spell out the words while bouncing a ball.
  • Clapping – Spell out the words while clapping your hands.
  • Hop – Spell out the words while hopping.
  • Stand and sit – Spell out the words, standing up when a consonant appears and sitting down for each vowel.
  • Stomp – Say each word while stomping your feet.
  • Shake it – Spell your list, shaking your head when a consonant appears and clapping for each vowel.
  • Air writing – Use your fingers to write each word in the air as you spell it out.
  • Sign your words – Use sign language to sign your words!
  • Finger tracing – Use your finger to spell out each of your words one letter at a time on your Mom or Dad’s back. Swap over so you get to feel the words spelt on your back.
  • Other handed – If you are right-handed, write with your left, or vice versa.
  • Body letters – Spell your words by forming each letter with your whole body.
Yoga body letters
Image courtesy of Freepik

Computer

  • Type your words – Type all of your spelling words on the computer or on a typewriter.
  • Spread sheet – Use Excel to type your words into separate cells. Then make each cell a different font, colour, and size. Finally, let the computer sort them into alphabetical order!
  • Type your words in Word Art – Type your words into the computer using your favourite colours and fonts.
  • Online games – Visit Spelling City, type in your list of words and play games using your words.
  • Building words – Use buildings, shaped like letters, from around the world to type your words.
  • Word search – Create an online word search with all of your words, print it out then find them all!

Creative

  • Paint – Paint your words on a big piece of paper then hang them on an easel or wall.
  • Etch-A-Word – Use an Etch-A-Sketch to write your words.
  • Picture words – Draw a picture and write your words in the picture.

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Tactile

  • Delicious words – Write your words in whipped cream, icing or anything else you can eat!
  • Clean words -Write your words in shaving cream on a counter or other surface that can be cleaned easily.
  • Dirty words – Write your words in mud or sand.
  • Moulded words – Use clay, plasticine or play dough to spell your words.
  • Pasta words – Write your words by arranging alphabet pasta.
  • Bake – Make, bake and eat your words using cookie cutters to shape the letters.
  • Chalk – Write your words on a concrete surface using chalk.
  • Pipe cleaners – Use pipe cleaners to create each letter of your spelling words.
  • Lego – Build Lego letters to spell the words from your list.

lego letter

Mathematical

  • Telephone Words – Translate your words into numbers from a telephone keypad.
  • Morse Code – Convert your words to Morse code.

Searching

  • Favourite books – Search for the words in your favourite books.
  • Scrabble – Use Scrabble tiles or magnetic letters to spell your words.
  • Ransom words – Write your words by cutting out letters in a newspaper or magazine and glue them on a paper.
  • Magazine words – Use an old magazine or newspaper to find each of your spelling words. Cut them out and glue them on a piece of paper.
  • Define – Use a dictionary to find the definition of your spelling words.

Writing

  • Trace around – Neatly write out one of spelling words. Take a coloured pen and draw an outline around the word, closely following the shapes of the letters.
  • ABC Order – Write your words in alphabetical order. Then write them in reverse alphabetical order.
  • Story writing – Write a story using ALL of your spelling words.
  • Single sentences – Write a sentence for each spelling word.
  • Black/White boards – Use chalkboards or write and wipe boards to write your words on.
  • Colourful words – Use two different colour pencils to write your spelling words. Use one colour to write the consonants and the other for the vowels.
  • Backwards words – Write your words normally, then backwards.
chalk spelling
Image courtesy of Freepik

Breaking Down Words

  • Vowels – How many vowels in each word?
  • Syllables – How many syllables in each word?
  • Phonemes – How many phonemes in each word?
  • Consonants – How many consonants in each word?
  • Swat words – Write out your spelling words in big letters on a big sheet of paper. Give your parents clues “The first letter is _ and the last letter is _.” See if they can “swat it” with a fly swatter!
  • Words without vowels – Write your words replacing all vowels with a line.
  • Words without consonants – Write your words replacing all consonants with a line.
  • Pyramid words – Write your words adding or subtracting one letter at a time. The result will be a pyramid shape of words.
  • Words-in-words – Write one spelling word at a time then write as many words as you can using the letters of your original word.
A letter matching activity from Flying Sprout's Grape Busy Bag.
A letter matching activity from Flying Sprout’s Grape Busy Bag.

Musical/verbal

  • Sing – Sing your spelling words to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Whisper – Spell the word aloud, whispering each vowel.
  • Sing Them Loud, Sing Them Soft – Have your Mom or Dad sing the letters of a spelling word to you in a loud voice. You echo the spelling and then sing it again softly. Then both of you sing the word in the voice you choose!
  • Song writing – Make up a fun song to teach the spelling of a word.
  • Cheer your words – Pretend you are a cheerleader and call out your words.
  • Sound Words – Use a recording device to record your words and their spelling. Play back your recording, checking to see that you spelled all the words correctly.
Photo courtesy of Freepik
Photo courtesy of Freepik