Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Finger Wrist Bracelet for Kids

LC described her jewelry design as "a finger wrist bracelet for kids." Explaining her original Pop Beads creation, she said "it doesn't need to be just one finger in there, it can be two. My rule is to never wear it for 13 year olds or 14 year olds or grownups." Then, she ran off to complete her next self-initiated project, so a grown-up had to model this piece; sorry we didn't follow your rule LC...but snapshots were needed for this blog.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In Her Words (March 2013)

LC: "I love taxes....am I being positive?"

(Yes, I've filed my taxes, woo-hoo.)

**

LC: "I know how to spell on and off because it says it on the radio. Why on has same letters as no, but backwards?"

**

I was on Amazon.com and LC was looking over my shoulder. She noticed at the bottom of each review it asks "Was this review helpful to you?" and a user can click "Yes" or "No" and those are words she already recognizes...so she asked me:

LC: "Why it says no and yes on Amazon?"

**

When doing math with a double digit number, she uses whatever she can find around her to figure out the answers to the questions she asks herself...whenever she is inspired to do some addition or subtraction (not prompted by me). Recently, she used her lap harp and when she ran out of strings to count, she imagined how many there would be if there was space on the instrument for an additional string:

LC: "15 plus 1 equals 16....I did it with the strings!"

**

The last few months she has become interested in fashion. When looking at a headband with three flowers on it, she proclaimed:

LC: "Triple flower headband."

She knows the word double because of the game Zingo, we've played that game for two years. Sometimes two identical picture tiles come out at the same time, like two kites, for example, and we like to yell "double kites!" I didn't know she knew the word triple, so that's a nice surprise. I like that she is building her vocabulary not by memorization or someone forcing her to learn the words they want her to learn that week. Kids learn quickly (and for the long term) by playing and pursuing their interests.

**

LC: "Whose job is it to make the music for the movies? In real life there's no music in the movies and someone makes it?"

Me: "Composers create the original music for films."

LC: "I want to be a composer."

**

Watching the rather awful movie (I personally dislike films where real animals are made to look like they're talking) Snow Buddies...there was an adorable boy with longish hair in the cast...

LC: "Is that a girl?"

Me:  "No, it's a boy."

LC:  "But he has a high voice..."

Me: "He is maybe 11 years old...his voice will get deeper when he is a teenager. A girl's voice will get a little deeper, but boys usually have a bigger voice change."

**

Me: "Will you be this cute when you grow up?"

LC: "Yes, I will be this cute even when I grow up, but my voice might be lower, so it may not be this cute."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring!

 
(one of LC's love notes...she makes a different one every day and surprises me with it...)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Clothing Collage

I was about to throw away a children's clothing catalog in the recycling bin when I thought of the idea of cutting out some accessories, dresses, pants, shirts, skirts, leggings, shoes etc. I put the paper pieces into a bowl and mixed them up. LC chose the items she liked and assembled some outfits together on a large sheet of paper, using a glue stick. Then she decided to draw in details...like heads, faces, arms etc. using a pencil.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Feeling the Power of Math

LC: "Did you feel my power?"

(Yes. Power at her fingertips, thanks to static electricity! She always asks this question when she delivers a bit of shock, it makes me laugh.)

I sat LC down twice (about 5 minutes each time) and taught her the basic concept of adding and subtracting...using whole grain oats Cheerios (still one of her favorite snacks, since she was a tot). Weeks later, she came up to me, telling me she figured out how to add and subtract numbers by herself. I rarely see her using her fingers to count...so, I asked her if she is doing the math inside her head and she said "no, I just know it."  I don't think she memorized the answers because a) we only sat down twice to do this, a while ago, so it wasn't like daily drills to reinforce the concept...and b) she is using different numbers each time and will respond if I play along and throw in some other numbers, too...and c) she is going a step further in terms of adding three numbers together, not just two...and also telling me various combinations that equal the same number.

(Update: When it got to double digit numbers below...she told me she was counting the holes in the Carr's whole wheat crackers, to add beyond 10.)

For example, here's a snippet of what she recited today...

LC said: "I figure this out...
5 plus 2 is 7
3 plus 2 is 5
2 plus 5 is 7
2 plus 2 plus 1 is 5
9 plus 1 equals 10...
2 plus 2 equals 4 AND 3 plus 1 equals 4
3 plus 3 equals 6 AND 4 plus 2 equals 6
...
5 plus 5 equals 10 AND 9 plus 1 equals 10, why they both equal 10, why???
10 plus 1 is 11...
10 plus 2 is 12...
10 plus 4 is 14...
3 plus 3 plus 3 equal 9
10 take away 1 is 9...
9 take away 1 is 8...
8 take away 1 is 7...
...
If we take one more away from 3 it's 2...
and if we take one more away from 2 it's 1."

When she is ready for fractions...I guess I should buy some interactive math manipulatives, for hands-on self-study. Though pieces of toast and flatbread (and filling a measuring cup) will work pretty well.

Her self-directed interest in numbers (no quizzes, no worksheets, no pressure) started a long time ago with counting (forward and backward) and then writing numbers down...but math also made a surprise appearance when she was creating art, as I posted in July:

http://petekkent.blogspot.com/2012/07/counting-happy-face-people-with-index.html

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Playstix...Groovy-to-Connect!

I'm happy we found this building set a few months ago at a toy store in Park Slope. It was $25 for the 150 piece plastic Popular Playstix set (which is really not enough pieces to build more than one big structure). With grooves that interlock when one Playstix piece is placed across another, it makes it easy for little kids to stack and build whatever they might imagine. She plays with this every day, building a few things and describing what she has made.

LC: "A scary monster. A robot scary monster. That's why he doesn't have any hair. Robots don't have hair."


LC: "A person with a shirt on, walking on grass...and a baby looking out the window."


LC: "A machine making a present."


I enjoy seeing LC use her imagination and with the Playstix grooved design, she can think and build with ease.




But sometimes one needs inspiration...and in that case, she turns to the Idea Booklet that came with the set. Since the different length Playstix pieces are color-coded, even four and five year olds can look at the model examples and build them without help from a grown-up. All of the creations shown above were from LC's pure imagination. All of the below photos show structures inspired by the Idea Booklet.

For example, she made a bed, three chairs and a bench (all shown below the booklet page):





She made a car similar to the pictured model:


She made a step bridge just like the one in the booklet:


After kids have mastered the building skills (we're talking probably by six years old)...they can incorporate the Playstix "Snap and Lock." You see, if you don't do the snap and lock (and none of the above, by the way, use this feature) then the structures can fall apart (you can't really play with it). Which is fine by LC...as long as she has a photo to document it, she moves on to the next creation. She looks forward to creating something new.

But the "Snap and Lock" is very cool:


With step-by-step guidance, she was able to lock pieces in place...but it was not as much fun, since she wasn't exploring the toy on her own. I prefer that she have unrestricted creativity at this age and not feel like she has to memorize steps.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crescent Moon Collage

LC gave this collage to my brother as a birthday present. LC ripped up colorful paper and glued the layered pieces onto a sheet of construction paper. Then, I cut out the shape of a crescent moon and placed the black construction paper over the bottom sheet so the collage fills the empty space. LC loves to look at the moon in the sky and asked for a crescent shape. I suppose one could frame it, as well, but I simply glued the bottom and top sheets together. I got the idea from a project LC worked on at Moomah a year ago.