Pinterest Tuesday

Pinterest Tuesday- Colorful Fizzy Liquid Chalk

Fizzy Liquid Chalk- The Boundless Homeschool

Pinterest Tuesday

That name may change, but for the meantime, I am calling this new series of posts “Pinterest Tuesday”.  My boys always love the days where we create new fun things.  I’ve been pulling ideas from Pinterest for as long as I have been a mom  (is there anyone who doesn’t use Pinterest?).  Usually they all work out well, or I can at least salvage it and make it work out in the end.  Rarely have we had any fails.

Often times I find myself avoiding these fun experiments because of the prep time and the MESS.  And I just want to kick myself because these are fun memories my boys are creating.  They LOVE this stuff.  So I am forcing myself to step out of my cleanish comfort zone.  We are going to attempt (at least) one Pinterest activity every week.

This week I knew I wanted to do something fun that the boys could help me prepare, but preferably something outdoors. I need to slowly ease into the mess thing, right? I decided on liquid chalk, because it hadn’t rained in forever, and the old chalk on our driveway, from a month and a half ago, was fading out.  A few pins mentioned using vinegar to make everything fizzy, so that’s what we went with.  Tanner is in a big chemistry phase at the moment, and this is right up his alley.

Some pins used squirt bottles, others used balloons.  I went the muffin tin and paint brush route, for Wesley mostly, since he enjoys painting.  I’ll most likely invest in squirt bottles for future activities.

The recipe I settled on was simple.  Equal parts baking soda, corn starch, and water.  I used 1/3 cup of each ingredient, for each boy.  It seemed a little thin to me so I added more baking soda.  But I wouldn’t do that again.  I ended up having to stir it a lot to get every thing to mix, and if anyone has played with ooblek, or other non-newtonian liquids, it’s hard work stirring that.  It would have been fine sticking with the original recipe. Once it was all mixed, I poured the liquid into the muffin tin and let my boys choose which colors they wanted to use.  We used what I had on hand, which was food coloring.  But I have ordered washable liquid watercolors to use next time, so I won’t have to worry about it staining clothing.

Mixing Fizzy Liquid Chalk

Colorful Fizzy Liquid Chalk

Painting Fizzy Liquid Chalk

The boys went to town painting the driveway.  I was actually surprised how vivid some of the colors were! I’m not sure if that’s due to the gel food coloring we used or the powders in the recipe.  Once the chalk was dry, I gave the boys little cups of vinegar and an eyedropper.  They loved how the chalk fizzed when the vinegar touched it.  It took Wesley a little longer to grasp that concept, he preferred just pouring the vinegar out all at once.

Fizzy Liquid Chalk Painting

Fizzy Liquid Chalk Paint

Fizzy Liquid Chalk

The driveway was so colorful.  The boys were so proud of their creations.  And because it just makes since, the sky opened up and we had a downpour rain storm, literally within minutes of finishing.  So everything, including the chalk from last month, disappeared.  But the boys enjoyed playing in the rain, and it made clean up that much easier.

So I’d say our first week of Pinterest Tuesday was a success!  Making this fizzy liquid chalk was fun for all of us!

Homeschool Basics

Tot School- What we did in our home

“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” -George Dorsey

When I wrote my ‘Why We Homeschool‘ post I explained how Tot School is really how I fell in love with the idea of homeschooling.  I loved being able to watch my children learn.  And I truly loved the fact that it was all play based.  It is so important for children to play.  There is absolutely no need for anything structured so early. I still have a mostly play based homeschool and my 5 year old is doing kinder/1st grade work.  Just because it’s “play” doesn’t mean it’s not learning.  In this post, I will show you a lot of examples of activities we did when my boys were doing Tot School. (Disclaimer, the picture quality will not be that great.  Most of these pictures were taken on a phone several years ago. Also, there are quite a few ideas with pictures in my Homeschooling with Toddlers post)

Tot School Trays

So, make it fun!

Make it colorful, make it noisy, make it messy! The one thing both of my boys loved the most, and still do, is sensory activities.

The very first sensory boxes I made for both boys were color based.  Each week we would spend learning one color.  You don’t have to have anything special.  With Tanner, I literally walked around the house and gathered little things that matched the color we were learning.  Toy cars, pipe cleaners, small stuffed animals, blocks, flash cards with colorful pictures, etc.  The fun came as the kids dumped everything out.  I also love using sensory bins with a”base”, such as: dry beans, large buttons, string, dry oatmeal, dried and colored rice and pasta. I then throw little manipulative toys, cards, etc into the base.  It can be a natural/nature learning experience as well, using sand, rocks, dirt, snow, and water/ice.

Tot School Sensory Bins Color sensory bin collage

I created a lot of different activities for the boys to do as well.  A favorite was popsicle stick shoebox puzzles.  I made one with colors, and one with shapes.  I also made a few puzzles that had velcro and magnetic backs.  It helped little fingers assemble the puzzle easier.  There is no need to spend a lot of money on this either.  You can even print out a coloring page twice.  Color and cut out the pieces of one, and let the child place the colored pieces on top of the black and white picture (like in the garden/flower image below).

Tot School Color Trays Tot School Shoe Box Puzzles

Tot School Activities

In the above picture you can see the oil drip pan we purchased for under $15.  We used that as a magnet board.  I hot glued magnets to colored pompoms, and sewed magnets into little felt shapes.  I always incorporated the colors and shapes each week.

Some other manipulative toys I created were really easy and made from trash.  An empty, clean parmesan cheese container is perfect for fine motor.  We used large popsicle sticks for the large opening, and coffee stir sticks for the small openings.  I also used a cleaned icing tub and a baby puff container.  I cut a small hole in the lid for fine motor control. The boys pushed pompoms into the containers through the hole.  Another idea, flip a colander over and have your toddler try to stick pipe cleaners into the holes.  It’s hard work for a 1-year old.

Tot School Fine Motor

Felt is a fun item to use in tot school, as well.  You can create your own felt board and felt pieces.  Some people use pieces to tell stories.  I used felt to learn shapes.  You can create a body outline and cut out pants and shirts out of different colored felt and allow your child to match the clothing on the felt child to the clothes he or she is wearing.

Tot School Felt Shapes

Some tips:

Don’t make tot school (or even preschool) structured.  It will only cause issues in the future for both you and your child.

Some topic ideas: colors, shapes, numbers, and holidays

Keep it simple.  Don’t force too much in one day.  Sometimes our learning was 10-15 minutes, and that is ok! Don’t get frustrated, their attention spans are so short.

Make the activities easily accessible.  Put the activities on trays, or in bins, on a low shelf or table top.  You may find your child playing with them many times throughout the day.

And once again, because I can’t stress this enough, make it fun! Play, play, play!

Tot School Shoe Box Puzzle

 

 

Printables

{FREE Printable} Playdoh Mats- letters, numbers, & shapes

Free Playdoh Mats- Letters, numbers, shapes

Learning while playing, what could be better?

Number 20 Playdoh Mat

I am a big fan of play based learning.  Although I’ve “done school” with my kids since they were very small, it was never a strict sit-down type of learning.  It’s fun for the kids, and for me!

Preschooler playing with playdoh mats

Preschooler playing with playdoh mat

My boys love playdoh.  Homemade, store bought, food based, it doesn’t matter.  Playdoh mats were always one of my favorites to use when I first started totschool with both boys.  It’s so easy. Just print them out, laminate them (or place them in a plastic page protector), and you’re done! We also use them with dry erase markers (in the page protectors), to work on fine motor writing skills, and sometimes my boys will just use crayons and markers to color them.

 

I’ve created 3 sets of {FREE} playdoh mats: letters, numbers, and shapes.  I hope you enjoy!

Playdoh Mats- Letters

Playdoh Mats- Numbers

Playdoh Mats- Shapes