Teachable Moments: Hobby Month

Since January is Hobby Month, it is a good time to encourage children to start a new hobby. By this, I don’t mean taking on another sport or team event, but something that they can do by themselves to entertain themselves (without a computer or TV). Hobbies can help them to develop a strong interest in something. Who knows, maybe it will lead to a career someday.
Potential hobbies:
Crafts: these don’t have to be messy or costly.
• Puppet making (have them make paper bag puppets of book characters and put on a play!)
• Sewing
• Beading
• Candle making
• Origami
• Model making (cars, airplanes, etc.)
• Making just about anything out of anything! (Make as high a structure as you can that will support a one-pound book…out of straws and pins).
• For some really cool ideas on making things that teach science (kids won’t know they are learning), visit http://www.sciencetoymaker.org/ (Great in classrooms too!)
Art
Painting (finger, watercolor, markers, crayons etc.)
There are lots of “how to draw books” available from your library or bookstore
Making stained glass (kits available in craft sections)
Cooking and baking: younger kids can make lots of edible things using only a microwave. More on “kids in the kitchen” next week.
Birding: (see previous Teachable Moment—eBook code still valid)
Nature Journaling: Give the kids a notebook for them to write, draw and paste goodies that they’ve found.
Collecting something: this doesn’t have to be stamps or coins! What interests your child? Are they interested in animals? Let them collect pictures of animals and make a scrapbook or put on a bulletin board. A few old nature magazines or a new subscription to one might help encourage them to learn a little more about them.
Rocks (or shells?) Get a good identification guide to help them learn and sort.
Here is a one-week code to access Sylvan Dell’s related titles as auto-flip, auto-read, 3D-page-curling, and selectable English and Spanish text and audio eBooks:
Code expiration date: 01/11/2010
Please click on the following link:
http://www.sylvandellpublishing.com/ebooktrials.php?e=ZT6M9B
Available titles:
Julie the Rockhound: When a young girl finds a sparkly rock buried in the dirt and discovers that it cleans to a beautiful quartz crystal, she is fascinated and becomes a “rockhound.” Join Julie as her dad shows her how to dig for minerals and explains the wonders of crystal formation. Combining clever wordplay with earth science, young readers learn about Earth’s most abundant mineral ‘treasure.”
Sort it Out!: Packy the Packrat’s mother has had enough! It’s time that he sorts through his ever-growing collection of trinkets and puts them away. Told in rhyme, the text leads the reader to participate in the sorting process by categorizing Packy’s piles of things according to like characteristics and attributes.
You can access the For Creative Minds section for all the books here (in English and Spanish): http://sylvandellpublishing.com/ForCreativeMinds.htm and the free, 20-40 pages of teaching activities here: http://sylvandellpublishing.com/TeachingActivitiesPage.htm
Please look for these books at your library or favorite bookstore too.

Make Your Own Nature Scrapbook
Find a spot outdoors to sit and observe nature; a park, the beach, a lake, the woods – it can even be your own backyard.
Look around. Write down the words that describe what you see.
What type of day is it? Is it windy, sunny, or cloudy? Has it just rained or snowed? Is it hot or cold?
What time of day is it? Is it early morning, noon, late afternoon or evening?
Do you know the name of that plant or bird or flower? If you don’t, be careful when you describe or draw it. You can look up the name when you get home.
• What color is it?
• What size is it?
• What shapes (circles, triangles, rectangles) are there in the bird beaks, feathers, leaves, shells, rocks, or sticks, etc.?
• Is it smooth, rough, hard, soft, slimy, or scaly?
Now close your eyes and let your other senses take over.
• What do you hear?
• What do you smell?
• What do you feel?
• Now open your eyes and write everything down.
Your observation is done! Now you are ready to go back home and gather your thoughts into sentences and write or draw in your nature notebook.
If you want, add clippings, pressed flowers, leaves, etc. Photographs are fun, too!
Food for thought: Would your observations change at different times of the day or if the weather was different? If you can, try to observe the same thing at different times of the day or at the same time over several different days. Are your observations the same or different? Why or why not?

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