Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Fun with Letter of the Week - Letter L

We did quite a number of hands-on activities for Letter L, which include lemon printing, making a paper plate ladybird, a lion mask, a homemade lava lamp, and lacing letter L with shoelace. I will share three of them here.

Lemon Printing

I introduced the word 'lemon' and let David hold a lemon in his hand. I asked him about its colour and texture. Next, I cut it into half, then asked him to smell it and tell me whether he liked the smell. I squeezed out some of the juice (so the lemon prints to be produced later can have a more defined outline) and let him taste a bit of it. I explained to him that lemons taste sour but have a fragrant smell.

In the steps above I had adopted a Montessori approach in trying to engage David by letting him learn through his sense of sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. There is an emphasis on sensory learning in Montessori education as one of the underlying beliefs is that children learn more by touching, seeing, smelling and tasting than just by listening. I personally feel that this is a reasonable and sensible approach to teaching young children. God has given us the five senses to experience and explore His creation. Without any of these senses we would feel handicapped in some ways in life. Thank God for giving us our senses to enjoy what He has created and to function normally in this world!

These are the materials I prepared to do this activity:
- a lemon, cut into half and partially juiced.
- a muffin tray with two parts containing different colours. I used green and yellow watercolours. You may use other receptacles for the paints as long as the base of the half lemon can fit nicely into it.
- a piece of drawing paper

And the fun can begin!

David was quite fascinated by the process of dipping the half lemon into paint and stamping it onto paper. He took some time to get used to gripping the lemon firmly and was rather deliberate in his actions for his first piece of work. When he was done he immediately asked for another piece of paper to continue the activity. He became more proficient at it and was stamping faster and in a more orderly manner on his second piece of work.

In between the printing process, he would stop and examine the half lemons as in the photo below. Hmm... I wonder what was going through his little mind?

When he was done, he spent some time playing with the half lemons. Throughout the whole activity, the kitchen was filled with the sweet fragrance of lemon. What a delightful bonus to our letter of the week activity!

Make a Lava Lamp

Have you ever felt the mesmerizing effects of watching a lava lamp? The repeated rising, sinking and morphing of large coloured bubbles in what seems to be extremely viscous liquid. Since we were doing the letter L, I thought it would be cool to do a lava lamp experiment at home!

The homemade lava lamps that I found online mostly require the use of Alka Seltzer tablets, which are not commonly found in Singapore. As I searched further I realised salt can be used in place of Alka Seltzer.

These are the steps to making a 'lava lamp' at home:

1. Fill a glass bottle about two-thirds full with water.
2. Drop a a few drops of food colouring in and mix. (Lighter colours are better as the effects would be clearer.)
3. Fill the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil, leaving about half an inch at the top of the bottle.
4. The most fun part is this step: Scoop some salt and pour it into the bottle. Observe and be amazed!

David watched the the bubbling effect intensely and the moment it stopped, he immediately added another scoop of salt to see the whole process again. I lost count of the number of times he added salt to the bottle. When I said it was time to stop, he burst into tears :(  He stopped only after I managed to distract him with some other activity. That's not quite a happy ending, but it showed how much the activity meant to him. Though he was too young to understand the science behind the whole experiment, his observation and involvement in the activity stirred in him a sense of wonder and curiosity. I think that alone means a lot to the development of a child.

Make a Lion Mask

Another activity we did for letter L was to make a lion mask. I got this idea from the website 'Crafting The Word Of God'. You may go to this link for the instructions and template: https://craftingthewordofgod.com/2013/03/19/daniel-in-the-lions-den/

The first step was to colour a paper plate yellow. I gave him a sponge brush and he used it to paint the plate with yellow watercolour.

Next, he used the same sponge brush and colour to paint the printed lion's face template yellow.

When he was done, I cut out the eyes for him and he used a glue stick to apply glue to the plate (after it had dried). He pasted the lion's face onto the plate. I helped him cut out the "mane" from the given template and he helped to glue them onto the rim of the plate.

Ta-da! Happy playing!

And that concludes my lengthy write-up of our activities for Letter L!

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