Friday, September 02, 2011

Counting shells

The last time I was on long leave from work, the twins were about 20 months and I discovered how to make coloured pasta shells and decided they were the best toy/ learning tools/ entertainment system etc. Two years on, I am once again on leave and I still love pasta shells. My repertoire for what I can do with them has grown.

Added to my arsenal are the big egg cartons. Together with a couple of flash cards and we've got a game for the kids. It's colourful, it's entertaining and it's educational. I have tricked a reluctant Jordan to read in this manner and I have tricked a dexteriously clumsy Evan into manipulating his fingers to drop relevant numbers of pasta shells into the relevant rows.

And it's a great game for them. We play it early in the morning or in the half an hour between getting them ready for school and going down to catch the bus.

I like doing these sorts of things for them because real sets that do the same thing cost a whole lot of money. This way, I get to save the money, recycle items, make colourful pasta shells and custom make it to the needs of my kids. I had decided that not only did my kids need to be able to count (1 to 5 is easy for them), I wanted them to be able to read the cards, follow instructions and carry out the combined tasks.

So what is needed is
1. A 6 x 5 egg carton
2. A bag full of pasta elbows (preferably the cheap ones).
3. Hand and body lotion for sensitive skin.
4. A pack of white debate cards and a pack of coloured cards.

We got a few note cards. Coloured ones for the corresponding colours. 6 cards with the numbers spelt on it (6 because the egg carton was a 5 x 6 carton). The twins needed to

a) Draw one card from each pile
b) Combine the cards to read something like "four yellow"
c) Proceed to find four yellow pasta shells and place them one by one in the egg carton
d) Place the cards at the end of the row
e) Go on to the next one until the entire egg carton is filled with different coloured, different numbered rows of shells.

I am certain one can use the egg carton and pasta shells for other Math related activity. I suspect that introducing division on this would be a lot easier and fun with this. But that's a while more. For now, I am trying to enjoy the bright hues of food colouring colour on the pasta shells.

It's time to make another batch of it soon. Baby Muffin-zilla has crushed and stomped on more than I care to remember.

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