Saturday, 16 January 2010

Let it snow part 3

I think I've finally finished the snow unit with Iona, as the past 2 days' rain has washed the last snow away. On Thursday I made the most of it before the cold ended and the rain began, and took Iona out to play in the snow.

We went into the front garden first, where it was still pristine, and I showed her how when we walked in the snow it left footprints. I photographed mine, Daddy's and hers, and showed her a nice trail of cat footprints.

I also let Lori out into the garden and tried to photograph her prints but she ran around like a mad thing and so didn't leave any good enough ones! Unfortunately, Iona most wanted to go for a walk down the road, preferably in the middle of the road, and preferably on her own, so it all ended it tears when this wasn't allowed!
Next I took her into the back garden (from where she wouldn't be tempted to escape!), so she could play a bit more. Once she'd got hold of Lori's frameball she was happy to run around there, chasing after Lori, but she didn't seem very interested in my attempts to make a snowman. I showed her how to make a snowball, though. After we'd done playing outside we went back in, where Iona found that there was still a piece of snow stuck to her mitten. I rescued it from her and kept showing it to her as it got smaller, explaining that the snow was melting and turning back to water.
I explained more to Iona about snow melting yesterday, when we walked to the car to go to the Children's Centre. It was fairly slushy by then, and she very much enjoyed splashing in the resulting puddles.
Then, today, as I said, I finished making Iona's lapbook on snow. I printed out the photos of the footprints, and made a flip book of them. In addition, I found a website from which I could print out a world map ( and printed out an outline map of the world. I coloured in blue (and Iona helped) the "areas where there is a lot of snow", and marked on it the names of the people who lived in the American and European Arctics (I had read to Iona during the week from a book about Arctic peoples), as well as a pointer showing where we lived. During the evenings this week I have also read "The Snow Queen" to her.
Overall, this has been my most successful unit study, possibly because I had a deadline of trying to get it finished before the snow went. I've tried to do a bit of work on it every day with her, and feel that it's really focussed my mind and given me ideas to cover things (such as forgiveness) that I probably wouldn't have tried yet. It's also the first lapbook that I've finished making.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Let it snow some more.

Iona and I have been continuing our unit study on snow. I found some resources on the net yesterday, such as video of polar bears and photos of arctic animals. Some very helpful sites were: and The second of these reminded me of a technique I learned at Sunshine Club last year - mixing shaving foam and PVA glue (with paint, too, if wished) produces home-made puffy paint. I printed a photo of Daddy outside our house, then helped Iona paint on the white puffy paint to make a snowscene. To be honest, it didn't much resemble a snowscene when she'd finished with it, as she preferred rubbing the paint off the picture and around her hands, but she enjoyed it!

Next, I decided to do some combined craft and numeracy work. I gave Iona a roll of cotton wool, and put glue in 1-5 snowman shapes on 5 sheets of paper. I then encouraged her to stick bits of cotton wool on them, all the while reinforcing the words "snowman" and "1" to "5". I drew faces on all of them and labelled them, then at bedtime stuck them up on her wall. Later, this afternoon, we went to story time at the library. In the children's area the wall is painted with a mural of a snowscene with a snowman, and during the session Iona suddenly pointed at it and said "snowman"!

While Iona was asleep this afternoon I made a flip book on "Animals that live in the snow", with photos from the computer and names written by me, which I showed her when she woke up. I also gave her a printed snowflake with the words "If we say "I'm sorry" to God he will make us as clean as snow", for her to colour. Finally, I printed out a photo of a 4-inch snowflake and wrote on it "A snowflake has 6 points". I labelled the points 1-6, reading the numbers out loud as I did so. Iona stunned me by saying each number, right up to 6 before I did each time, proving that she now knows the order of numbers 1-6!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Talking of dogs

I think Iona has finally started stringing words together, albeit with pauses between them for Mummy to acknowledge each. Yesterday, she said "Lori" (our dog's name), then, after a pause, "gone", then, after another pause "kitchen". Another milestone passed!

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

The snow this year has been as thick as I've ever known it (I think it was this deep down south in '81). Consequently, I decided to concentrate less for the moment on the "Where do I live?" unit and improvise one on "Snow" (although I've not really planned it).

To begin with, I helped Iona make snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and wool, as we did last year at Sunshine Club. I twisted 3 pipe cleaners into a 6-pointed star, tied some white wool at the centre, then got Iona to help me wind it round and round them, tying it off at the top. After that, I squeezed PVA glue over it, and Iona shook blue glitter over it (while it was inside a box to reduce mess). She loved the shaking, and got upset when it was time to stop! The end result now hangs up in her bedroom, helping to make up for having to take the Christmas decorations down.

We have walked in the snow, with me explaining how the snow sounds and feels crunchy, and Iona has played a little in it, although at its thickest she didn't like falling on her hands and knees in the cold!

One of our most successful activities was making meringue snowflakes. I got the idea from the Disney FamilyFun website (, and while the mix was a bit too liquid to do more than simple 6-pointed star shapes, they were fairly easy to make, and very nice for us all to eat. Iona helped me to beat the egg whites (we don't possess a mixer, so it all had to be done by hand), and loved saying she was "mix"ing and also learning the word "whisk".

While doing this unit, I've taken the opportunity to expand Iona's counting from "one, two" to up to 6. She can't go beyond 3 yet, but it's been a good numeracy opportunity.

The unit has also gone well with the book I've started reading Iona at bedtime, which is a much simplified version of one of my all-time favourite books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The start of it features a lot of snow, so I'm able to refer her back to what we've seen and played in during the day.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

When did my baby grow up?!

I know I've probably been saying this for months, but when did my little baby become a fully-fledged, walking, talking, on-the-cusp-of-reading toddler?!! I can't believe how she's suddenly copying nearly every word we say, and remembering them later. On top of that, she's understanding far more than I thought any 20-month-old could. Since Christmas I've started a project with her on houses, and am working in an exercise book with her entitled "Where do I live?". I've put in photos of her house, her uncle's house that we visited in December, and her grandparents' house that we visited just after Christmas, and she loves looking through it, talking about it. I also put a small map of the country in, with an arrow pointing to the area where we live, saying "I live in [town]". Today she handed me the book to read to her again, so I started by reading the title "Where do I live?". She immediately answered with a word that sounded very like the name of our town! I thought I must be imagining the similarity, so I checked by reading her the page that said "I live in [town]", and she again repeated the name of the town, exactly like before. So suddenly, she doesn't just understand the question "Where do you live?", but even knows the right answer - amazing!