Texture (visual & tactile)
First up is Visual Arts; TEXTURE. Ask the kiddos to feel different things like a soft blanket, smooth furniture, bumpy lamp shades, etc. and ask them to describe how they feel. Tell them that we use the work /t/texture to describe how an object feels, or looks as though might feel. Texture is one of the seven elements of art! There's lots you can do with texture and I'll share a few ideas that I like to do.
It's fun to get some household items with different textures and put them inside a sock or brown bag so that the kids can't see them - only feel them. It helps for them to develop the textile sense without preexisting knowledge guiding their responses. Eg. A child touching a teddy bear would likely describe it as having a soft and cuddly texture because teddy bears are 'known' to be soft and cuddly. If you do this activity, encourage them to just 'feel' the object instead of grabbing it.
If you have any sand, let them play with the sand for a while - make sure your tray/dish has edges!! Help them to come up with some descriptive words to explain the texture (gritty, hard, etc.). Add some water and have them describe the texture; does wet sand feel the same as dry sand? Let them try to make some sand sculptures! After that, if you have play dough, let them have a go at that, and kinetic sand too if you have it! Let them play, but talk about how it feels.
If you're really ambitious, there are some very cool projects out there. Click the pics for more info, or design your own based on these examples :) I'd love to see what you made!
Making one of these projects can be a whole day fun learning experience. I highly recommend filling your day with projects like these so you can have a task for the kids to do when they are looking for stimulation :) Plus you can do a bit of clean up while you gather materials from around the home!
That was really the 'sciencey' (yes I made that word up) part, but you can't really do the artsy part if you don't start with the Science! (they need to understand physical texture in order for them to comprehend artistic, or implied, texture. So without further ado, implied texture...
Hold up something like a blanket (you can even use a picture of something you want them to describe) and have them tell you what it feels like without touching it! I like to use my TURTLE shell for this activity (and throw in a bit more Science!) but anything you have will get the point across! And the point is, texture is not only how it physically feels, but also how it looks like it might feel. This is implied texture.
I like to cut up some squares of paper (and staple them together at the end to make a book) or crease (by folding then unfolding) a paper into 6 or so rectangles. The kids would each take a square or rectangular paper section and place it on a surface that is not smooth and rub it with a crayon (or a pencil works too). Most littles will need some practice to master this. Be sure they hold the crayon on the side (so it's horizontal) and use pressure when rubbing. They may need help holding the paper in the same place so it doesn't move. Painters tape is good for that!
There is so much you can do with implied texture. One fun idea is to can make imprints in play dough. Search the house for different things you can use!
Texture Turtles are a fun one for the littles!
Older kids will LOVE a mixed media art project! Set them out to do some research on texture in mixed media and watch some how-to videos on You Tube! There are many wonderful ideas out there! See what inspires them! Provide them with a board (even a piece of cardboard or cereal box will do if the project isn't too 'wet' as I have seen some projects become) and help them to find some materials around the house. Sometimes it can be overwhelming so you can help narrow it down (if they need help) with a topic (eg., spring)
Music - Tempo
It's nice to talk to the kiddos a bit about what tempo is; let them know that music can be played in different speeds, or TEMPOS, and you are going to introduce 4 of them.
I like to draw a staircase and put the words going up, even though they can't yet read them, for many reasons. One being that it helps the kids see that there are different levels of TEMPO.
Start with Adagio; I like to say it's like the train leaving the station; a bit slow off the start. Next up the steps is moderato (the goldilocks of tempos...not too fast, not too slow...just about right!), followed by Allegro (fast) and finally Presto (snap!). They will probably all like to try snapping now, though most of them likely haven't mastered that skill yet (they've gotta start somewhere might as well be during a music lesson :))
Ok so now for fun...first, pick a song. I like to start with Twinkle Twinkle
Sing the song together. Then sing it a little faster. And faster. And presto! How fast can they sing it? (Note that many littles will have difficulty going really fast. This is normal and takes a while to master the skills).
If you wish you can incorporate some rhythm sticks or drums (or pots and pans) for them to demonstrate the different tempos. Finish it off with them marching to various tempos.
It's nice to follow up the lesson with a quick video to reinforce the concepts learned! Today would be a great day to watch some Little Einstein episodes!! Don't be disappointed if the littles don't remember the names of the tempos (though many will remember presto from the snap!). They have learned that music can go fast or slow!
Drama - Don't Use that Tone of Voice with Me!
The tone of our voice can change the meaning of the words we speak! Play around with the kiddos asking them to respond to your question with the same word, but using different tones so that the meaning changes. You can prompt them if they are having troubles with this on their own, by asking them to show you how you would change your voice to sound "negative" or "sad" or "nervous" or "mad" etc.
Example, you can ask, "Do you want a cookie?"
A "no" response can change from not wanting one, to disgust, to indecision, to a joking/sarcastic no that actually means yes, etc.
You can also show them how emphasizing different words can change the tone as well! There is a fun activity (and free printable) at Encourage Play!
Laura from Evergreen
I've started this page during the COVID break to help the kiddos continue learning at home. Most activities can be done with kids of all ages if parents vary the level of content, participation and discussion appropriate to each child! (differentiated instruction). Before the break we were at letter S. Visit our facebook page for letter A-R activities at https://www.facebook.com/evergreenacademy.ca/