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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Watercolor Number Cards

When my sons were little and just learning their colors, we would often paint with only one  color on wet paper, often called the wet-on-wet technique, which allowed the color to range from strong and bold to soft and light all in one  stroke. After many, many of such paintings, we found ourselves with a lot of pretty paper.  It became too much of a good thing, so I set out to think of other uses for the colorful paper. I found several ways to reuse the paper and one of our favorites is making number cards.
I cut up the watercolor papers into 3" x 4" then wrote 3 inch tall numbers on each card.  Next came the challenging part; using my very limited artistic skills, I drew plant, birds, stars, etc. to correspond to the number.  Soy & beeswax crayons, like the ones pictured from A Toy Garden, are bold enough to stand out on the watercolor paper.  In the end I also did a sign for each of the four processes (+ - x  ÷ ), = and an extra #1.

Little Shane likes to count the objects on the card to make sure they match the number, while Aidan practices his math facts with the cards.  We can also use them as story prompts for Aidan who is learning creative narration. For example: On a clear sunny day (card #1) I went walking in a forest (#3) and saw birds hopping all around (#8).  When I went to investigate...



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rhythm of the Home - spring edition

Are you looking for ways to celebrate the renewal of spring through creative pursuits, simple recipes, easy crafts, and light-hearted reflections?  If so,  then I invite you to visit the seasonal magazine Rhythm of the Home.

A Crafty Soiree

There are 4 categories: warmth, play, celebration and connection, each filled with delightful ideas and thoughts from a variety of bloggers.  This season, How the Sun Rose has a submission titled Storytelling with Moving Pictures

Come relax, be inspired, and enjoy the warming season with us at Rhythm of the Home.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We Have a Winner

After seeing a post by Cedar Ring Mama about River Rock Math,  I decided we need our own math river pebbles and to use them to choose the winner of the Kite Paper from A Toy Garden.


Little Shane pulled out a little pebble...


and pulled out number 6.

Congratulations to Kim of the blog Garden Tenders.  You left comment number 6 and win the kite paper.  I hope you have as much fun making paper window stars as I did and that they brighten you days as well.  Please contact me with shipping information.

Our next giveaway is coming soon from Oak Meadow.  Follow along of GFC, twitter, or facebook for updates.

Friday, February 22, 2013

This Moment



A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Creative Learning on Friday Link Up #3

Welcome to Creative Learning on Friday.  We had some great ideas shared last weeks, from a beautiful Starry Night artist study, to a fun Word-a-Pillar for early readers, to imaginative Peg Dolls perfect for storytelling, and so much more.  I look forward to what creative learning you share with us today.

Please post the Creative Learning button on you blog so others can share in the inspiration.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sand Paper Letters

When my oldest was four, it became obvious that he had challenges with fine motor skills and he began meeting with an occupational therapist twice a month for two years.  He spent his half hour with her cutting, drawing, tracing and picking things up with tweezers. He enjoyed his time with his OT and I sat back and observed, asking questions of why and how and learned so much about a child's physical development.  One of the things that stood out to me is how repetitive movement influences the way the brain is hardwired.  Does that make sense?  The OT explained that by doing a specific motion (i.e. writing an "L" from top to bottom) the same way over and over again will set the motion to be automatic so we won't have to even think about it.  It makes sense.  I just hadn't thought of it before.
As my son began to write, it was important to teach him the proper way to write the alphabet and have him do the letters the same way each time.

This summer, when I decided to homeschool, I learned about the Montessori method. Although we chose the Charlotte Mason method, I still liked a lot of what Montessori had to offer in the way of a hands-on approach to learning. Now that my younger son is interested in writing I want to make sure we teach him how to write the proper way from the beginning, so taking an approach from the Montessori method, I made sandpaper letters.  They are so tactile, which is wonderful for young children who still associate so much of who they are and their relationship to the world through their five senses including touch.

The first time he played with his sandpaper letters, he was fascinated by their feel and intrigued by the puzzle of exactly how to form the letters. They held his attention much longer than any worksheet ever would.

Begin with a fine grain sandpaper, 3x5 cards, pen, and a ruler

Draw and cut out letters that are 2 3/4 inches across and 3 inches tall.
Glue them on to a 3x5 card and write arrows showing the child the
direction to trace, the letter, using numbers to show them which
 step to do first, second and third.

Show your little one how to look for the number 1 and to
follow the arrow to complete the first step, and then find
the number 2 to complete the second step, and so on. 

Don't be surprised if children run off with the cards to a quiet place where they can solve the mysteries of writing on their own and in time, their letter tracing cards can be used as spelling cards.
As a variation or extension, try writing lowercase tracing letters in puffy paint - still tactile and colorful.
Or, after your little one traces the sandpaper letter, have them write the letter in sand, salt, or cornmeal.
Happy writing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Collect Moments

Spring is coming.  I know it is.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Waldorf Paper Window Star Tutorial & Giveaway


Outside our window are muted hues where in another season would be vibrant colors.  Last night I decided that I was simply tired of grey winter days. Out came a rainbow of kite paper and Tomas Berger's book Window Stars.  After an evening of folding and gluing, and folding and gluing, we have COLOR!

 Paper stars are fun to make, and like our number wheel, they make beautiful geometric designs.  If you look close near the blue and green stars, you can see that I hung crystals among the stars.  On bright sunny days the rainbows of light shining through the stars and crystals will dance around the room.


Want to make your own? Here is a simple window star tutorial:
(Click on the picture to zoom in.)

You can use tissue paper, but in my experience, kite paper is best.  Don't have kite paper?  Well,  I am please to say, Sonya, from A Toy Garden is offering one lucky reader a block of 100-count kite paper.  Yes, that's right. It is our very first giveaway! (With more to come in the next several weeks.)

For the last 12 years at www.aToyGarden.com, Sonya has offered an extensive selection of mostly hand-made toys made by her, crafters in Northern California, around the United States, and around the world. Whenever possible, she purchase directly from the artisans. In general, these toys are made from wood, cotton, wool, silk, and other natural and high-quality materials and are open-ended, leaving lots of room for the child to develop and use his/her own imagination and imitation skills. A few items are just plain fun and she couldn't resist offering them to you. Sonya offers quick shipping, Free Gift Wrap, and fabulous customer service! A Toy Garden is filled with wood toys, dolls, puzzles, quality books, art supplies, woolen undergarments, and so much more!

A Toy garden
You have 5 ways to enter.  You may choose only one or take advantage of all 5.
1. Follow How the Sun Rose via GFC (see the sidebar), Twitter, or Facebook and tell me that you did so in the comment section of this post.  Be sure to include your user name.

2. Follow A Toy Garden's facebook  page and note it in the comment section.

3.  Link up to our latest Creative Learning Link Party with a submission from your blog and note it in the comments -or- if you do not have a blog, leave a link in the comment section of a favorite craft from your pinterest boards.  

4. Sign up for A Toy Garden's email list and note it in the comment section.

5. Tell others about this giveaway via your blog, facebook, or twitter account and note it in the comment section.
On Saturday, February 23rd, my youngest son will choose a random number to win the set of kite paper.  I have more giveaways on the way. The next is from Oak Meadow. Be sure to  come back and see what treasures await.

Giveaways for Kids Monday at B-Inspired Mama
Family-Friendly Giveaway Linky

Friday, February 15, 2013

Creative Learning Link Party #2

Welcome to Creative Learning on Friday. Our first link party was a great success and I look forward to reading your creative ideas and applying them to our own learning adventure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Great Backyard Bird Count is coming

Have you ever participated in The Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)?  It is a great way to look forward to spring as we observe our feathered friends.  They are here, all around us.  We just need to slow down and look for them. 

Like our cat...

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual event (February 15-18) that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are.  Anyone can participate by creating a free account at The Great Backyard Bird Count website, observing birds in your neighborhood, and logging them on the GBBC data sheet or the tally sheets from the Notebooking Fairy.  Your observation can last from 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the time you want to take.  At the end of the day, record your results at the GBBC website where you will find many resources including prizes, games and coloring pages for kids,  a photo contest, and more.

One of the best ways to see many birds is to have a bird feeder.  If you do not have time to build one, don't forget the tried and true pine cone covered in peanut butter and rolled in bird seed. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.

Creative Learning on Friday Link Party

Welcome to our very first Creative Learning on Friday linky party!  I am thrilled to host a gathering of bloggers who are finding creative ways to help children learn. I look forward to being inspired by what you all have to share.

This is a case of the more, the merrier, so please add the "Creative Learning on Friday" link party button to your blog and invite your blogging friends to participate.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skip Counting Number Wheel - Waldorf Math

I could see early on in our homeschool journey that math was going to be a challenge for our son who was fine with 2+2=3. Fortunately, I knew a bit about how math is taught in Waldorf schools and it has saved us from many possible frustrating math moments.  One of our biggest successes with Waldorf math is skip counting, which will make multiplication so much easier.  One technique we us is saying the numbers as we wrap yarn on a ring board that has 10 pegs numbered 0-9. (It is a great fine motor exercise as well.)

skip counting the 1's  (1, 2, 3, etc.)

2's (2, 4, 6, 8, etc.)

3's (3, 6, 9, 12, up to 30) -to wrap for 12 & up use
the single digit number (i.e. 12 wraps on the 2,
15 wraps on the 5, etc)

4's (4, 8 12, etc)

5's (5,10, etc.)

Beyond 5 the numbers become mirror images of earlier numbers (6 wraps around the same numbers as 4, 7 matches 3, 8 matches 2, and 9 matches 1.)

To make your own number wheel, purchase a round wood disc, and a dowel rod, both of which can be found at craft stores  (Ours has a 5" diameter.) To figure out where to drill the holes, wrap a piece of string around the outside diameter of the disc & cut it where the ends meet.  Measure the string and divide it by 10 & you will know how far apart to drill the holes. Drill 10 small holes, glue in 1/2 inch dowel rods, write on the numbers and you are ready to go.

Our kids are fascinated as they wind the yarn around the pegs to find that simple math can lead to beautiful design.

We have several other ways we practice Waldorf math and skip counting that I will be sharing in future posts.

Saturday, February 2, 2013



Today is Candlemas - the midway point between the beginning of winter and the beginning of spring.  For some this celebration holds deep spiritual meaning, but since we have little ones in the house ours is more about the doing.  We will have dinner by candlelight and perhaps make some of our own candles.  As a family we will look toward the approaching warmer weather and look at the direction we as a family want to go (i.e. spend more family time outside, vacation plans, etc.)

Since we also live in Pennsylvania, we have Groundhogs Day all over the media. Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so according to tradition, spring is on it's way.

I am up for that.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

This Moment

A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.
A single photo.
A moment to treasure.
The contents of this blog, including text, original photos and ideas are the sole property of the author. If you intend to use my text or images, please link back to this blog and give credit to How the Sun Rose. Please do not republish an entire post or post photos of my family. A notification email would be greatly appreciated too!