This morning Nyella woke me up wearing a witch hat. This was not scary at all. When her and Merryn decided to become witches for the day, I knew we had found our theme. The trick to extending their learning in an engaging way for kids so it doesn't seem like work is listening to what they are interested in. You can take any theme and plug it into this equation to make a mini-learning unit.
1) Find the theme they like
2)Language: Listen to their play. Are they making up stories orally? Could you help them write it down as a script? A picture story? A comic? Could you take pictures of this learning and have them write about that picture? Are they interested in research? Help them read or watch videos of their favourite animals and then write down facts about what they have learned. Do they like building? Have them create a plan for what they are building and describe what they have built in writing.
3) Art: You can google any art idea on this theme. As my kids love to draw. I use Kids Art Hub on youtube which shows you how to draw a wide range of characters.
4) Movement: Cosmic Kids Yoga on youtube has an extensive list of videos around so many different topics.
5) Math: You can google math around any theme and so many ideas will pop up. I promise!
6) Stories: Hunt through your bookshelves to see if you have any stories on the theme. You can also go on youtube to look for videos of online readings.
I love www.storylineonline.net because actors read the stories and they use so much expression.
The witches started the day by making potions. We decided to have some fun and mix baking soda, vinegar in food colouring. We also put some food colouring in our bubbles to see if it would make them green. While we stirred the kids started reciting spells. I had Merryn write hers down later on.
As our snack that day we made pattern skewers of monster flesh and newt eyeballs. We also had a witches brew. Later on we drew all the things we had put in our cauldron that day and instructions for how to cook it.
Later on in the day we learned to draw witches and a black cat on Kids Art Hub on youtube. This inspired a 5 finger story as well. For a 5 finger story you tell 5 details to match your picture.
Over the course of the day the kids pretended to be witches for about 8 hours. A big part of this time was them playing in role on their own. They need this undisturbed time to play and be creative. At the end of the day they convinced me to put on a witch's costume as well. This was the highlight for them. When I joined them in their play. Work in the primary grades is using play and making work through play. This makes the experience fun for everyone.
Following a child's interest is the most engaging way to extend on their learning. Here I have posted some every day activities that can draw from various strands across different age groups. Remember each child has different interests so the key to working with your child is to follow their lead and ask the right questions.