Monday, 10 June 2013

Teach & Play - Using Cast & Paint Chalk for Creativity, Reading Strategies and Math Skills!

Discovery Toys recently launched their Summer Flyer filled with creative summer toys and books. One item that is sure to add fun to your days - no matter if it is sunny or raining - is the Cast & Paint Chalk! And, as with most DT products, this kit promotes the development of essential skills in a fun way!
Buy it here (and more besides!)
Now, don't diss chalk before you have a chance to hear about this great kit, or how you can use it! Cast & Paint is more than your average box of side-walk chalk.... the kit contains everything the children need to make 24 colourful chalk pieces in 6 fun shapes... which means mixing ingredients and colour experiments! While children figure they are "just doing crafts" they are actually using their creativity to design their pieces and choose their colour combinations, as well as boosting their comprehension of scientific concepts (states of matter; transformation), perfecting their ability to follow directions (to make the chalk), and learning how colours combine! The chalk mold is re-usable and replacement casting material (non-toxic, by the way) is available to prolong the fun :-)

So, that, in a nut shell, is the rainy-day aspect of the Cast & Paint Chalk kit.... and the benefits it provides while making the chalk.... But there's more! There is SO much you can do with your children outside with chalk on a sunny day! Let's think beyond the standard doodles (which promote creativity!) and hopscotch (number concepts/motor skills!) and consider some of these ides:

Letter Recognition - essential pre-reading skill:
  • Alphabet Hopscotch - jump from one letter to another.... have children identify letters as they go.
  • Upper-Lower Case match up - fill driveway with the upper and lower letters of the alphabet (don't put the matches TOO far apart!) and have your child jump from little a to big A, little b to big B and so on....

Sight Words - essential reading skill:
  • Word Scramble - start with writing out the letters to short, common words, as they improve switch to bigger words, or the added challenge of un-scrambling 2 short words at a time (o g c d a t = "dog" and "cat" for example)
  • Word Jump Maze - you write sight words on the pavement, then direct your child to jump from one end of your grid to the other by calling out sight words... they can only jump to the words you call as they move from one end to the other. 

Math Skills and Number Concepts:
  • Sidewalk Math (addition/subtraction/understanding of number line) - draw a number line with numbers 1-10, 1-20 or whatever matches your child's abilities. Have your child start at their age, then walk plus 2 steps... so X plus 2 is? Then take that number and have them add on or take away steps, always reinforcing the math sentence before moving on to a new one (ie: child starts at 5... 5 + 2 =7, then have them take away/walk back 3 steps... so 7 - 3 = 4, then add on/walk forward 2 steps, so 4 + 2 = 6 and so on). 
  • Math Grid (multiplication/division and understanding of mathematical terms) - create a 4 x 4 block grid on the pavement. Write various numbers (aim for those that are products and quotients of other numbers) in the squares. Direct your older child to go to the product of 5X5, or to the square root of 16 or to the quotient of 80/8, etc.
Do you play with sidewalk chalk with your kids? What games do you play?

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