Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Easy Nap Time Activities for Older Kids

We've been here just over a week and I just haven't had the time to get lesson plans up and running, but, that doesn't mean that we stop learning! Henrik has decided that he's a once or twice a week napper these days. That means 1. He's exhausted by bedtime at 7:30 and 2. I've got to do something with this big boy while his brother sleeps. We've done a few activities like puzzles (Thornado likes to take apart puzzles as we do them) and painting a car bank for his allowance (it wasn't washable paint so Thornado wasn't allowed near it), but I decided that even though the playroom/school room wasn't up and running didn't mean I couldn't have fun learning with Hanky!

So, we did a few simple things that anyone can do and you can do it without finding the craft box!

White Board Fun

There's something really fun about white boards so when one of the first things I came across while I was unpacking boxes was our white board, I got really excited. My boys LOVE to use them. It's like they can be the teacher, boss or "at work" when they use it. Plus, I don't let them use markers often so maybe that's part of the thrill. This one actually belongs in the play/school room in our house so it was perfect that we used it. I started with simple things, like asking Henrik to make different shapes and to just draw different things. I then asked him to write his name. He has a little trouble with the letters at the end, but he's coming along! One of the things I learned through Handwriting Without Tears was that children should start at the top and move towards the bottom when they write. I don't always write like that, and neither does Henrik. But we have another App that does it too, Letter School, so I try to have him mock that style. Both of these tools suggest that connecting dots is the best way to have children focus on the part of the letter that is tricky for them. It worked with Henrik too.

I noticed that with him, he will start to write a letter and think that it is that letter even in it's abstract form. It's funny to me because he knows all of the upper case letters and almost all of the lower case letters but he still things an S has about five curves. We'll get there. The best part about this activity was that Henrik was able to see his progress and focus on how to make all of the letters fit. He realized that he made his I too large and he erased it on his own so that the K had room. Little things like that make me really proud. And he was proud too when he wrote his own name! 

 Alphabet Parking Lot

I've seen a lot of versions of this on Pinterest but this is the one I created. Henrik loves cars. He loves to park them, and he's always looking for a parking lot on floor rugs that have roads on them. I'm not sure why he has this obsession with parking, but I figured I'd take advantage of it.

I found some construction paper and made parking lots with each of the letters of the Alphabet. On one side I wrote lower case letters and on the other side I made upper case letters. I made sure that the letters wouldn't be across from one another so he'd have to try to find the match. Since I wanted to work on the lower case letters, I asked him to find each of the letters and park a car there. We then tried to find a car that matched (little b had a red car so big B had a red car) to place in the corresponding parking spot. We did this activity for a long time. Henrik moved each of the sheets around making roads that they cars could go on and we sang the Alphabet Song as we drove from lot to lot.

Reading IS Fun!

Henrik has had an interest in reading for the past few weeks. And actually, he often picks out a sign or a word from somewhere and says, "Mom, I've got to read this word before we can keep going" so we sit and try to sound out the words that he finds. He's getting pretty good at his letter sounds too. We use a few tools for that. We've actually done Zoo-phonics and watch The Letter Factory and both of those are great tools for coming up with the letter sounds in a fun and sing-song way. 

I love this toy. It's the Melissa and Doug See And Spell Board. Henrik loves it because he knows what word he's trying to spell before he starts. The letters are puzzle like so if he grabs the wrong letter he can quickly figure it out because the letter won't fit. Once the puzzle is full, we sound out each letter until he can piece it together to get the word we're trying to spell. I wish you could see his face when he sounds out the word! He's so excited! 

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