Music Software for Kids

When my children were very young we borrowed the Mozart's Magic Flute computer game from the library and I was very impressed. Players take young Mozart on a journey to restore the color to the land. Identifying the instruments in the orchestra by listening is only one of the challenging musical activities.  Here is a sample of the game.

It was such a wonderful game I wanted to purchase it to introduce it to my youngest child who was too little to play before. Since it's so old I was worried about it working on my computer. Set of 3 Music Games, Windows Only CD-ROM

My husband was able to get one of the games to run, and it did require a little extra effort. He had to install an old version of macromedia player, copy the CD to the hard drive and disable the virus checker during installation. It worked. Unfortunately he couldn't get the other two to work.

My kids still love the game and so do I, but I would only recommend purchasing this game if you have a very old computer, as it has not been updated to run on new systems.


Human Body - Week 25 - Reproduction

Week 25: We made a model of the reproductive system.

A human body study would not be complete without covering the reproductive system. During the past year we began our human body unit study with cells and progressed through the body covering the digestive system, the nervous system, liver, spleen, circulatory system and so much more. Kids are naturally curious about reproduction and incorporating the topic as part of the human body study seemed natural.

Reproduction is a highly personal topic especially in regards to what we tell our kids. In our house we have been honest and answered all of the very detailed kid questions. Therefore, before beginning this lesson the kids had a good understanding of reproduction. In fact, the two oldest kids witnessed their sister's birth.

From our prior discussions the kids knew that daddies put babies into mommies bellies with their penis. When sperm go in they search for an egg inside the mommy. Mommies have three holes; one for urine, one for feces and one for babies. Daddies have two holes; one for feces and the other is for urine and sperm. Babies go in and out through the same hole. Daddies get to decide when babies go in, but mommies have to say it's alright.

All the kids knew was discussed mostly in the car over the course of several years and through many questions............ (I'm taking a deep breath.)

The reproductive system is the only human body system that takes a boy and a girl to make it work. All the other systems are contained within our bodies. I taught this lesson much like my numerous other human body lessons. We made a model using craft supplies and household items and talked about what the model represented and how the body worked.

First we made simple models of boy parts and girl parts.

Girl Parts
The red liquid (water with red food coloring) represented blood. The plastic bag was the uterus. Two yellow straws were stuck into the plastic bag near the top and represented the fallopian tubes and the pink straw at the bottom was taped into a hole in the bag and represented the vagina. There was also a bowl of tiny beads to represent the eggs (not pictured above, but can be seen below).

Boy Parts
The two glasses of yellow liquid (water and yellow food coloring) represented the testes. The syringe represented the penis.
The girls handled the girl parts and my son took care of the boy parts. The girls had a lot to do. We began with a uterus full of blood and then began counting. (1-28 to represent a 28 day cycle.)

As we counted from 1 to 5 the blood was drained from the uterus (menstruation).

We continued counting. At 14, a small bead (egg) was placed into one of the straws (fallopian tubes) which traveled to the plastic bag (uterus). Red water (blood) filled the uterus as we counted from 15 to 28.

No fertilization took place. We began counting again from 1 to 5 blood while blood and the egg drained from the uterus.

Up to this point my son did not have any tasks, but kept himself busy playing.

Finally we told him it was time. At 14 another egg traveled down the fallopian tube and he was able to add some yellow water (sperm) to the uterus.

I told the kids that if the water turned orange they would get a baby, because that meant that the sperm had found the egg.

So he put in yellow water several times and the girls wanted him to.

They got a baby and the girls wondered how it was going to fit through the straw. I told them that normally it stretches, but they would have to put a hole into the plastic bag (uterus) to get it out. We didn't talk about c-sections, but it would have been a good opportunity.

They got a baby bird?

This project turned out to be a very relaxed way to talk about an uncomfortable subject. As they get older we will begin to talk about STD's and other related topics, but I think this is definitely enough for now. The activity raised a few more questions, but it answered many more than it raised. My favorite quote came from my six year old daughter at the end; "I don't like the girl part. It's messy." If she only knew how insightful she was.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading about our reproduction activity. I hope you enjoyed it and didn't find it too uncomfortable.

This is the last post in our human body unit, but there is much more science to come. Over the next few weeks I have some Astronomy posts planned and then will be moving onto Earth Science.

This post is linked to: 
Pin-Me Linky
Sun Scholars
Family Fun
Kitchen Fun
Just Winging It
Jenny Evolution
A Mama's Story
The Mommy Club 
The Chicken Chick

Human Body - Week 24 - Muscles

Week 24: The kids located muscles in the body and took turns as physical trainers explaining exercises to target those muscles.

Muscles enable us to move and it is very important to exercise them to keep them strong.

For this week's human body study each child had a list of four muscles. Their task was to figure out where the muscles were, create exercises that targeted the muscles and train the family.

Muscle List
Latissimus Dorsi
Gluteus Maximus

 To identify the muscles my son immediately turned to the computer.

My daughter turned to a book. Both methods worked well.

 He's doing push-ups to strengthen his pectoral muscles.

 The frontalis muscle is in the forehead. She is raising her eyebrows to strengthen the frontalis.

Push-ups with hands forming a small triangle was my husband's idea for strengthening the tricep muscles. It was very challenging.

 He's doing a bicep curl using the chair as weight.

I was surprised by how difficult it was for the kids to connect body movement to specific muscles. By the end I think they got the idea. They definitely learned the locations and scientific names of a few muscles in the body and had some fun doing it.

Rome Unit Study - Roman Numeral Bingo

Week 6: We played Roman Numeral Bingo.

Roman numerals are still used sometimes. Clocks and dates are common places to find them. Knowing how to read them makes it more fun to discover Roman Numerals.
Before playing Roman Numeral Bingo we talked about the ancient city of Pompeii. The kids read the books Pompeii...Buried Alive! (Step into Reading) , Vacation Under the Volcano (Magic Tree House, No. 13) and The Buried City of Pompeii: Picturebook and watched the video How The Earth Was Made..... Vesuvius.

The main focus of the video was the science of Vesuvius. Today the lava chamber under the volcano far exceeds its footprint and it is still active. When it erupts, it will not be a good day for the city of Naples. It obviously shows the horror of the day so I would recommending previewing this video before showing it to children.

Then we played Roman Numeral Bingo. Please feel free to print the game for personal or classroom use.

First we went over a few basics of Roman Numerals.
I=1          V=5
X=10       L=50
C=100     D=500

Roman Numerals are built with place value. Numbers 1-8 are built with the letters I and V. Tens values of 1-8 (10, 20, 30,....80) are built with the X and L. Hundreds values of 1-8 (100, 200, 300,...800) are built with the C and D. Thousands values are built with the M.

Nines are made from the letters in the first column; I, X, C and M. IX=9, XC=90, CM=900.

Looking at the letters that make up the place value digit, a smaller letter value preceding a larger letter value means subtract. For example; XL = 50-10 = 40. A larger letter value followed by a smaller letter value means add. For example; DCC=500+100+100 = 700.

The word ROMAN is printed across the top of the Bingo board.
The R column contains the values 1-9.
The O column contains the values 10-99.
The M column contains the values 100-999.
The A column contains the values 1000-4000.
The N column contains all numbers.

Reading the winning numbers back was an added challenge.

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
 ** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Tic-Tac-Toe Handwriting Practice

Playing Tic-Tac-Toe to practice handwriting is so motivating to children.

They gladly write their letters over and over again in hopes of winning the Tic-Tac-Toe game.
Instead of playing with X's and O's, parents can select any letter kids need to work on. Another variation is to play with shapes. Stars, triangles or even numbers.

Learning through play is the best way.

To see our other educational math and writing activities please visit our Math Page and Reading and Arts Page.

This post is linked to:
Share-It Saturday
Hip Homeschool Hop
Trivium Tuesdays
Tuesday Tots 
Capri +3
Tots and Me

Knifty Knitter

The Knifty Kniter is a peg loom that makes knitting easier. The looms come in various sizes and shapes. We have used the large circular looms to create hats. Kids as young as five or six can create hats on these looms with a little guidance.

We used two strands of yarn held together as one to make the knitting go a little faster and create a thick hat.

First the yarn was tied onto a peg on the front of the loom. Then it was wrapped around each peg.

The yarn was wrapped around each peg a second time.

This special pointy tool was used to take the bottom loop off the peg by bringing it over the top loop. Fingers work almost as well as the tool. Then the yarn was wrapped around the pegs again and the process was repeated.

When the hat was about eight inches tall the yarn was threaded through the remaining loops, pulled tight and then woven into the underside of the hat to secure it and prevent unraveling.

Last year my six year old created leg warmers using a smaller peg loom. The smaller looms also create nice scarves. The scarves are tubes, but worn folded flat into long rectangles.

This post is linked to:
Frontier Dreams
Favorite Things
Reading Confetti
The Self-Sufficient HomeAcre

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Hands-On Pre-Algebra Activity

Here's the pre algebra math challenge I gave my son. Given a cup which holds exactly 3 units and a cup that holds exactly 5 units, measure 4 units.

We still have a set of MEASURE UP!® Cups by Discovery Toys from when the kids were babies. They are each marked with a number and are proportional. I gave my son the 3 cup and 5 cup, some water and an empty glass.

At first he was a bit angry and asked repeatedly for the 1 cup, but eventually he settled down and took the challenge. Rather quickly he came up with two valid solutions.

First he filled the three cup and then filled 1/5 of the 5 cup. I wrote what he did on paper for him.

3 + 5(1/5) = 5

Next he filled the 5 cup and used the water in the 5 cup to fill the 3 cup so he was left with 2 in the five cup. He saved one-half of the water and added it to the 3 cup. Again I wrote his solution.

(5-3)/2 + 3 = 4

Although he had solved the problem twice he wasn't able to measure exactly. In both cases he estimated amounts of water; 1/5 in the first solution and 1/2 in the second.

I let him think about it over night and in the morning he came up with a third solution. He filled the 5 cup and used the water in the 5 cup to fill the 3 cup so he was left with 2 in the 5 cup. He saved the 2 and repeated the process so that he had 4.

2 x (5-3) = 4

There are many more hands-on math activities on our Math Page.

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Kitchen Fun

Speed! - Skip-Counting by Twos

Kids as young as four are learning to skip-count by playing Speed!.

The ability to skip-count makes learning multiplication much easier. Susan, a homeschooling mom who purchased Speed! less than two weeks ago made my week by emailing me this sweet story and video of her son skip-counting by twos.  

"I just wanted to thank you for creating Speed!  Here is a video of our son, aged 4 years, from tonight.  He is counting by twos in sequence for the second time--the first time being just before I grabbed the Ipad.  This is a direct result of your game!  He insists on playing Speed! every night, and he loves beating his daddy. He's starting in on Three Speed. It's really amazing!"

Susan uses the Montessori approach of discovery in learning. Activities such as learning numeric symbols with the sandpaper numerals, "making ten" with the red and blue rods, learning to add and subtract with the red and blue rods, working with the golden bead material and manipulating numbers in the decimal system are just a few elements.

The set of Speed! cards contains decks for skip-counting by numbers two through nine. With young children it is often helpful to play Speed! using a regular deck of cards, with the kings, queens and jacks removed, where aces are one. This teaches the basic idea of the game. Susan did this and it was a great way of setting her son up for success with Two Speed. Now, after only two weeks, he's playing Three Speed.

"He's always enjoyed numbers, so that was a plus.  Your game, however, has taken him to another level."

Thank you Susan and all the other parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and teachers who have purchased Speed!

Happy Holidays 

This post is linked to:
Show and Share Saturday
Sun Scholars
Hip Homeschool Hop
Capri +3 
2 Posh Lil Divas

Human Body - Week 23 - Bones

Week 23: We used ear cleaners to make a skeleton.

The human body contains 206 bones and many of them are in the hands and feet. Bones are not just there to hold us up, but are very much alive. They produce cells in the bone marrow and contain veins and nerves.

Two episodes of The Once Upon a Time Life series focus on bones.

The Bone Marrow

The Bones and the Skeleton

By watching the videos, the kids learned a lot about the functions of the bones and how they work. The kids at Gummy Lump studied bones and muscles using several different activities. I modified the bone activity slightly to create our activity.

Using the book Human Body (DK Eyewitness Books) the kids cut, bent, and glued ear cleaners onto an outline sketch of a person.

To create the outline the kids traced around a doll.

She's working on the spine and rib cage.

The goal was for the kids to become familiar with major bones in the body and come away with a better understanding of what's inside.

The finished models were labeled and I was thrilled when my son helped his sister.

Hands-on activities from cells to the digestive system and more are all on our Science Page.

This post is linked to: 
Little Bins for Little Hands
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