Object Box Alternative

This past week I thought I would try again with Miss Oh and letters.
She knows their names and most of the sounds.  We play I Spy to help with sound recognition and for fun, but other than that and the odd bit of writing Miss Oh is just not that bothered about them.

It isn’t a great concern to me.  She likes books and having stories.  She likes me to point out the words.  She even asks me to write messages for her to copy, especially for cards she makes.  So it isn’t as though she is totally disinterested.   But I thought I would give it another nudge with a different game.  This is a home made alternative to the Object Boxes.  For those unfamiliar with this aspect of Montessori, here is a link to some details about it and a working example of someone using it.

Now I don’t have the luxury of access to lots of miniature objects.  Cost and actual existence of them being the main issues.  Unlike our American cousins we simply don’t have the population base to stock lots of these little knick-knack toys and at a tiny cost too.
So, my home made version was part I Spy, Treasure Hunt and Object Box.

I took a medium sized basket and added one of the sandpaper letters to it.

Empty M
Empty M Basket

Then Miss Oh was asked to go find 5 objects from around the house that started with the “muh” sound.  And this is what she brought back.

M items

And for those of you who can count, yes there are only 4 objects.  I would be the fifth, but it is hard to be in and take the photograph at the same time without a tripod.

We took turn about.  Miss Oh chose another of the starting letters (c, m, a, t) for me to find, and it made me more aware of how difficult the game can be, despite obviously knowing a large number of nouns.

And here is her other effort, the C box.

C items

She really enjoyed this, so it will be on the list of games to continue to play while Master Oh is having his middle of the day siesta.

What games do you play for fun that helps your kids learn about their language?
I’d love to know.

The Bard’s Birthday

In deference to my roots, and in recognition that today is the birth date of Scotland’s most renowned poet, here is a piece of poetry for you to enjoy.  If you are attending a Burns Night I hope you enjoy the haggis and neeps as well as a wee dram.

Scots Wha Hae

Scots, Wha Hae.
Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victorie!

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour:
See the front o’ battle lour,
See approach proud Edward’s power –
Chains and slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave? –
Let him turn, and flee!

Wha for Scotland’s King and Law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand or freeman fa’,
Let him follow me!

By oppression’s woes and pains,
By your sons in servile chains,
We will drain our dearest veins
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!
Let us do or dee!

Icebergs in the bath

Ahoy matey.   Icebergs off the starboard bow*.

This morning Miss Oh Waily helped me make colourful icebergs for tonight’s bath.
It provided a nice practical life, in real life, activity after breakfast.  Using her little white jug she poured water into the ice cube trays and learned about overfilling, wiping up and scooping out excess.  After that she moved on to unscrewing the caps on the food colouring bottles and then shaking or squeezing the bottles so that they dripped into the right cube segments.  Once each colour was dripped, she stirred the cubes up to evenly spread the colour, put the lids back on the bottles and started again with a new colour.  She also got to use her maths skills by counting four cubes of colour at a time.**

Here she is in action.

Starting Point
The Starting Point
Pouring Water
Pouring the Water
Adding Colour
Adding the Food Colouring

Then this evening they were upended out into a box for distribution in the bath.  Half for each Oh Waily child’s bath.***

Here they are.

Frozen Results
The Frozen Results
All Out
Miss O tipping them out

They worked pretty well.   The yellow ones overpowered the other colours somewhat and they didn’t last all that long, but the kids enjoyed the changing bath colour.
The original idea came from Pinterest.  This pin, in fact.  I am also tempted to ramp it up into something like this pin and perhaps this other one might be in my future too.

While making the cubes this morning it also occurred to me that it might be interesting to add some raspberry essence to the pink or red cubes next time.  That might be something to try out.  I’ll let you know how it goes if I do it.

* yes, I know.  Pirates mixing with Star Trek parody.
** in the Home Ed world this would be called unschooling.  Learning through real life opportunities.  Funny, I thought it was just natural to talk about these things as you did them.
*** previously they bathed together but Master Oh is going through the hitting, grumpy, possessive phase that some toddlers need to.  Sharing a bath is now fraught with peril and potential meltdown material.  Ms & Mr Oh Waily prefer not to end the evening on that sort of note.

Today in history: 1925 – Robert F.Kennedy was born.

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?
– Robert F.Kennedy

Children & Chopsticks

This week I re-introduced the use of chopsticks to the Oh Waily children.
They have been shown these before, but neither of them seemed to have the motor skills needed to control them at the time.  Naturally this caused some frustration and I therefore shelved the idea for a while.   Since that first time, however, Gran Oh Waily found and sent down to us a whole bag of very nifty “throw-away” style bamboo chopsticks.  These I thought would work best for Master Oh Waily.

Take one small child, add two small bowls full of pom poms, a pair of flat bamboo chopsticks and place on a floor mat. Hope they wait long enough to take a photograph and this is what you get.

Eager to Go
Eager to Go

Unfortunately what started out as a small split before we began succumbed to the rough and ready treatment of a two year old boy. By the end of the transferring back and forward they were only good enough to throw in the rubbish. Even with dodgy chopsticks Master Oh does a great job.  Still, when the bag is unpacked at the new house I know I have a ready made activity that is interesting and still challenging.
And now trips out for Yum Cha just require me to pack a pair of these and we’ll all be able to feed ourselves.  Hurrah.

Pinch & Squeeze
Pinch & Squeeze







Following on the successes of her younger brother, Miss Oh Waily had to have her turn too.   Mr Oh Waily, as you may recall, was recently in Singapore and one of the very nice little gifts he brought back for the children was a pair of chopsticks for each of them.  Master Oh can handle them, but the are much harder for him than these flat bamboo ones.
Here, though, Miss Oh Waily has new found skills.

Starting Point
Starting Point

Meet Miss Long Legs. She’s Miss Oh Waily’s new set of chopsticks. As you can see she has been loved a little bit too much already. One ponytail bit the dust within hours of ownership. The second ponytail was taken care of by Little Brother a day after these photographs were taken. So she has had a short back and sides and is now like a pink version of Little Brother’s Master Long Legs.

As you can see below, Miss Oh Waily is still showing lots of ambidextrous skills. She definitely writes with her left hand, but everything else is up for grabs. Left hand skills here were stronger than right, but both were still capable.

Left Handed
Left Handed
Right Handed
Right Handed







And once a younger brother decides to use the pom poms as confetti, this apparently can turn into a useful skill instead of doing it the boring way with your own fingers.

Picking Up
Picking Up

Today in history: 1960 – Neil Gaiman was born. (British author)

Life – and I don’t suppose I’m the first to make this comparison – is a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.
– Neil Gaiman