Friday, May 30, 2014

Ain't Gonna Paint No More

Have you seen the book "I Ain't Gonna Pain't No More!" by Karen Beaumont and David Catrow? I absolutely adore it!  It is one of my favorite books to pull out for literature based art activities for little kids.  We intended to do the activity outside, but with the poor weather we just laid out a blanket in the living room instead. In fact we've done the activity twice now.  Once in 2011 and once in 2012.  It's an activity that members of our homeschool group love and keep requesting it. 
The book follows the song "It ain't gonna rain no more" tune and is a story about a little boy who loves to paint and paints his whole body.  After reading the story we turned the kids loose with some watercolor paints and let them do a little body painting of their own.  I always dribble water on top of the watercolor pallets a few minutes before giving them to the kids.  That way the paints are moist and ready to be used and the kids aren't required to use a cup of water which is so easily spilled.  I just keep a waterbottle handy ready to re-wet any paints that get all used up.  What a fun and easy activity.  Clean up is super easy - just toss the blanket into the washing machine and the kids in the tub or sprinklers and your good as new!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are You Ready? Game Show Giveaway from Lakeshore Learning

We were given the fantastic opportunity to review the new "Are You Ready?" series of assessment games from Lakeshore.  We picked "Are You Ready for First Grade?" because it fit our current needs.  This game is a fantastic way to get a quick glimpse of what didn't sink in or what I accidentally forgot to teach CJ during the Kindergarten year.   It's set up like a game show and for each grade level you get 6 different games that let your child earn pretend cash for each math and language question answered correctly.  CJ and EMan LOVE money and were giddy with excitement as they learned the rules to the game.  In fact, before starting the game I overheard CJ say, "EMan, let's finish the laundry fast so we can play the earning money game!"  The put away their laundry in record time. 
We had a great time playing this game.  Each game has a set of 33 cards that you set up on the game board.  Your "contestant" gets to pick a card and if they answer it correctly they get the amount of money listed on the card.  This inspired CJ to pick the highest valued cards right off the bat.
If they get an answer incorrect you make note of the card number to reference later.  I'd highly suggest pulling out their journal or writing book to use for this game.  There are a few cards that specify to write something: such as their name, the alphabet or an answer. 
 We finished the first game quite quickly and CJ wanted to move onto the second game and earn more money right away!  There is only enough money to get all of one game's answers correct, then the money must be recycled for the next game.  There are, however, certificates for what they've won at the end.  The best part is that you get to fill in the reward to something that fits your family.
After you've played one or all six games you head to the game site here and start the Post Game Assessment on the right hand side.  Lakeshore makes it easy for you to type in the number cards that were incorrect.  The website then identifies Skills to Develop with a short description of what that skill encompasses.  It also provides free printable activities and additional Lakeshore products that target that skill.  I took pictures of my computer through this process, but they turned out terrible and unhelpful.  Just trust me that it's awesome to get immediate feedback and a few work pages to go over with your kid(s).  It's a perfect homeschool companion.   
Now we'll be ready for 1st grade for sure!  Will you?  We're giving away our set and would love to see it go to a family who will love it like we did.  Scroll down and enter to win today!

This great game is available in levels K-5.  To get $10 off any Are You Ready? Game Show(R), enter code 9141 at checkout or click here for a store coupon!  Expires 7/31/14.