Thursday, December 31, 2015

Rewind 2015

2015 had been a year of mixed bag emotions. But before we start our throw back 2015, I have few confessions and updates (Its always been the first paragraph of all my blog post isn't? :))

Confession No#1 - Apologies for not doing Unwind series regularly. I should have done it. I got tonnes of good feedback and followers. I knew when I started its time demanding and challenging to keep the blog posts keep coming. But while researching for blog posts my mind was absorbing loads of information and ideas that let to the whole new world of thinking. Me and my little partner found that we were getting more and more hooked to researching about countries and all the fun ways of learning associated with it. So, yes Unwind series is not going to stop but it is going to get a face lift as a separate website and as a product. YES!!!!! We are soon launching geography based product. So you can consider this as Update No#1 as well :)

Update No#2 - We are no longer living only in the world of lego's and cars. We have opened our doors for Barbies and Princesses too by welcoming our little angel SHREYA in May. Did you notice when I had posted last?. So now you guys understand my reason for absence :). Our baby doll is already 7 months now. 

And I finally get some breathing time to blog, create, cook and think beyond diapers and nap times.

Thank god, I didn't change the name of the blog from killingtimeinkongsberg after we moved to Stavanger. Yes!!!! We did another shift this year from Stavanger to Asker :). So I decided to keep the blog name same. Who knows, we might go back to Kongsberg once again. That is  the BIG lesson learnt this year, life is never the same way you expect. Be prepared to embrace the change, adapt and flourish.

Why get attached to a place you left?. Are we missing the 3 years of friendship we developed? Are we missing the busy routines we had there? Are we missing our roots attached there? Well, as I mentioned in the beginning, its a mixed bag. Especially after buying your own apartment which you bought after "love at first sight". The whole process of bank evaluation, house search, layout discussion, bidding, giving that YES nod, furnishing, shopping was an awesome experience. Lucky our tenants enjoying the little home we built with so much joy and care. We are the family who loves Darwin theory of "survival of the fittest". We have already started adding loads of love and decor to our new nest here in Asker. 

Our Prince Charming schooling is the whole reason behind this series of activities. It just looks like yesterday that I left in a playschool with a grieving heart. But now he is a six year old handsome boy going to grade 1. We knew he will adjust and start liking the shift just like the previous moves but he just not only made it he aced it. He is now thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of his school, friends, weekend and after school activities. What more does a freaking mother wants other than that smile on our kid's face both before leaving and coming from school. So trust God, Always all goes well in his plan.We just need to execute it without doubting him.

The baby, the shift, the new school, the new routine left his little or literally no time to explore a new country this year except for a 2 hours transit in Dubai airport (hahaha). But we did get loads of time to spend with friends. Friends were like god sent angels who were helping us like our own siblings during the pregnancy, the house shift, furnishing the new house, and what not. We always pat our backs for winning the hearts of so many good people. And when you live away from your family, Friends are Family. We are all geared up to catch up with our exploration to new countries in 2016 with the passports and residence card for the little darling just arrived.

Well, all along 2015 where I was staying home most of the time and running like a headless chicken trying to keep my offspring's happy, clean, disciplined and busy, a lot of thinking, researching, studying and experimenting was going along in the left side of my little brain. The all new geography kit, relaunch of online jewelry store, our new found love towards board games and puzzles, exploring new mediums of crafting and the desire to explore vegetarian cuisines  across the globe is definitely going to keep us busy in the year 2016. And oh yah, I have to get back to my routine 8-4 day job sometime soon!!!. 

With so many good things happening either planned or unplanned, the one thing I miss the most - my piece of heart in India. Yes, my little niece (let me call her niece so that you guys don't get shocked when I say my other daughter). When I last saw her in Jan 2015, she was literally a little bundle rolling on the bed but now she is a running angel who is keeping everybody around her on their toes just because she has learnt that art of keeping her toes on the floor. How much I missed watching her rolling, crawling, standing, walking and now running has no words to explain in spite of seeing her doing everything over picture and videos.

Wishing all my dear friends, family and followers a very happy and prosperous 2016!!!. Stick to your goals, be happy and keep people around you happy. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Unwind #WordsworthWednesday - B Sight Words and Beach games

Welcome back to the second post about Sight words. Love these three months of sun and fun. Although schools are closed for most of the time, summer offers tons of opportunities for practicing skills in an active and fun way. Also remember when teaching them sight words,

Make it achievable
Teach a small number of sight words at a time. If your child is sent home a list of 5 words or 10 words, take your time learning them over the week. To start with, introduce only 2 words. Once those 2 words are mastered, add 2 more. Kids can feel overwhelmed by a whole list of words that they don't know. It's great to build their confidence by having them master a small set at a time.

Make it fun
Kids are often tired after a day at school (particularly at the beginning of kindergarten/prep). To help gain kids' interest in learning after school, it is worth putting some effort into fun activities for teaching sight words.

But now since sun and fun are both out, 

Lets see some of the fun activities we can have while tanning ourselves in the sun

Beach ball - Next time you head to the beach, ensure you don't forget your beach ball. Using a Sharpie permanent marker, write sight words on a beach ball.  Have your child throw the ball in the air and then catch the ball.  Have her read the words that touch her hand. 

 Hopscotch - Hopscotch with a twist!  Create an old fashioned hopscotch board on your sidewalk and write sight words in each square.  Have your child read the sight word each time she hops on a square.

Sand Writing - Shravan loves writing his name in the wet sand all the time we go to beach. We do it everywhere -  when it snows, when we want to tell daddy that our car needs a wash or when we are just out of hot shower in the mirror. So why not use the same technique to learn sand writing? :)

Dig for Rocks - Write the words on stones and bury them in the sandpit or a bucket of sand or in a defined area in the beach. Dig in the sand to find the stones. Read each word as you find them.

Have fun in the sun and here goes the B Sight Words to have fun in the beach :)


Friday, May 8, 2015

Unwind #TuesdayTravel - Denmark Part 1

Before we move from Canada to Denmark and know why Denmark this time, we promise we will share our Canada Lapbook soon

Now that we have learnt most of the things about Canada (for his age :)) we had the discussion of what next? First we wanted to do USA, then he changed his mind to India and then suddenly he wanted more LEGOs (trust me, my boy is a LEGO freak, I will try to make a collage of all his legos and share in his Denmark lapbook), there was the usual hungama at home. finally he announced OK, I want to go to Legoland (he is  just 5.5 years, and have been there twice already), when we said you need to wait another year or so for the third trip, he declared OK let me start learning Denmark. And thats how we travelled from Canada to Denmark.

As usual lets begin with identifying Denmark on the World map and Europe Map. If you have a handy Globe in their desk, start using that as well. A 3D view really helps. (For Folks in Norway, TGR shop has a Globe Sharpner for 20NOK, if you are looking for a cheaper version).

Next is Flag. Here you go with the coloring pages and some fun activities related to flag.

Denmark and no LEGOs ;)

You can try to do the Denmark Flag as well using Hama Beads similar to the one we tried in Canada.

and here we go with simple word search 

If your kids love puzzles (For us, having Puzzles, Legos, Hama Beads and Coloring Pages are MUST :))

Check out this online jigsaw puzzle

Keep exploring Denmark with your kid, we will be next week with more crafts :)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Unwind #MondayMath - Number Matching

We now know our One Two Three's and how to identify them in different form, lets quickly do another round of fun activity just to ensure we can match different forms together.

Go with your kids interest, if they like to play with you in the kitchen while you are cooking, you can pull something from your pantry on the dinning table and ask them to have fun.

If they are Lego freak like my kiddo, try these

Try this, if your kid can do this, we are ready to move on :)

If you don't have hands-on flashcard and have some patience, try making this at home with your kid, They would love to participate in cut and paste

Happy Matching and Counting!!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Unwind #ThursdayThrill - Solar System Part 2

Welcome back to #ThursdayThrill. Last week we had an introduction to Solar System.

Lets start with some colors. Show them pictures of solar system where original colors are depicted so that it is easy for them to remember and help them distinguish planets faster.

If you have bigger kid who can do some simple math, this could be fun.

We made a Solar System Hat which involved cut+paste+color. So this really keeps the kid engaged for an hour or so and they really have a final product to play with.

Follow the hyperlink to get the step by step instruction.

If your kid loves play dough, making a solar system model using play dough could be really fun. Its not that complicated as they just have to make balls of different size in colors accordingly.

Or you can try this pom pom solar system mobile.

Bigger kids can try these worksheets and have a copy of these cool facts to learn more just beyond the names of the planet


Do google to find more facts about the planets. And we do flip around the book named "The Magic School Bus - Lost in the Solar System" at bedtime. Grab a book from your local library and allow the kids to flip through the pages.
Have fun in the space!!!!

Unwind #WordsworthWednesday - Introduction to Family Words

Last week we got introduced to sight words. Hope you tried some of those techniques. I shall share more on the coming weeks. Lets do Family words and Sight words in parallel so that it doesnt become boring to kids.

Word families, sometimes called phonograms or chunks, can really help emergent readers begin to understand the language by providing some predictable patterns within words.When learning to read, patterns are important. Children recognize word patterns and this makes it easier when sounding out words. 
For example, let us consider the "an" word family. First, show "an" to the child and have them repeat the sound. Then show the word "man" and demonstrate how you can "read" the word by first making the "m" sound and then the "an". Repeat it slowly and then more quickly. Now continue with some other members of the "an" family such as can,fan,pan,ran,van etc.,.
There are around 35-40 Family words. Lets introduce one by one to them. Mastering these 40 Family words make them know around 500-600 words even before they become independent readers.
First lets see some ways to introduce family words to kids instead of making them sit in a desk with paper and pencil.

There are lot more fun ways, start exploring these. Shall share more the coming weeks. Also use the attached chart to start With Family words. With another 2-3 similar charts, your kid will be more excited than you to explore words.
Share your experience so that others also get more Information and motivation to try with their kids.

Unwind #TuesdayTravel - Canada Part 2

I hope you guys got some time to try few of our introduction to Canada activities. Thanks for all the comments and emails. This week, we shall do some craft based on Canada.
Kids are always fasinated byanimals. Shravan used to play a world puzzle with animals on it all over instead of country names. So it gave in a high level overview of what animals are found in which continent/country.

Beaver is the national animal of Canada. So we did a paper plate beaver face.

Paint the paper plate brown. Use the attached template for their eyes, nose and mouth. If your kid is not really small enough, allow them to cut and paste. It might not come out perfect, but I prefer leaving it to their choice so that they will definitely learn tomorrow if not today.

I also taught him about the other animals found in Canada. We did few coloring pages and then flashcards of all the animals. Beaver, Canadian Goose and Moose to name a few.

Then we moved on to the national symbol of Canada - The Maple Leaf. I gave him a printout and he immediately started cutting and coloring. Well, we are still hunting for a maple leaf in the neighbourhood. Now that summer is here, we might find something soon. I asked him to collect one good leaf and preserve it.
My boy is a lego boy. Anything with lego, I am sure he would love it. After some googling, I found a CN Tower made of Lego. Used the concept to teach him the important places in Canada. Show them the pictures of Niagara Falls, CN Tower and Rockie Mountains to start with.
I wanted to slowly introduce history to Shravan but not with so many facts and dates. But with some interesting stories and pictures to show. I ended up in Totem Poles. We used a tissue paper holder and did lot of cut+paste+coloring.

We also learnt about Canadian Capital, Currencies, Sports. I also introduced him to Word Search.

I shall share Pictures of we making these craft and the simple lapbook Shravan managed to make.

Happy touring Canada.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Unwind #MondayMath - Numbering different ways

Last week we saw few methods as to how we can introduce numbers to kids. I just listed a few so that you can try those or explore more on the same line.
Now that the kids can recognize their 123s (You can try these number Boards to get them more hands on)
They soon come with another challange of recognizing the same number in different forms. So introduce the other possible ways also so that it becomes easy for them when they start counting, matching and other math workbook activities.

Teaching your children to count on their fingers

Make them open one finger everytime they say a number to start with. Then you can make them identify the number by how many are open and how many are closed. This is their basis for Learning counting.

Using Dice to identify numbers

Dice is another common and fun way to introduce number counting to kids.

You can familarise kids to dice using boardgames. Snake and ladder would be an ideal to start with.
If your kid is fond of drawing, try this.


Once they get famaliarised, we can check so by asking them to match them with numbers.

Identifying numbers using Objects

Most of the Math Activity books use different Objects when it comes to counting and matching. Objects make kids glued, fun for them and they just start counting without realising they are doing numbers. So explore different Objects of their interest.

Practice these until next week, we shall do number matching using all the techniques we have learnt these two weeks.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Unwind #ThursdayThrill - Solar System Part 1

So what next? ofcourse its Science. But being a kindergartner, Shravan still hasn`t heard or realised what he is learning is Science. I just tell him lets do Solar System or Lets do something in water or Lets play With magnets.

It really doesn't make any difference to him while learning about Canada or learning about Solar System. Because we follow the same pattern, loads of coloring, cut & paste, Puzzles, play With clay, legos, beads and so on.

First step, is creating interest to learn about something. Shravan saw this video I think almost 2 years back while learning rhymes and I am sure he still likes it. So start with this if you are going to introduce Solar system to your kid.

My obvious next search is for puzzles. Puzzles keeps him glued for sometime. Also I really like his technique of doing puzzles. First and Foremost, he always finishes it. Never gives up halfway, even if he does so, he always announce that it has to be left as it is and he will do the rest next day. His technique of filling a jigsaw puzzle is never random, he thinks a bit before putting a piece in its place. So I thought this playtime really helps him improve his concentration and spatial reasoning skill.

He has been doing this puzzle for almost an year now but somehow missed to click him doing. Will soon share a pic of the puzzle.

Try to get some posters and stick on their room. Seeing it everyday really helps. Try to print something catchy and colorful. Shravan has this in his room. 

Flash Cards are another option to learn more. We play swap the card, I have this, Who have this?, We keep inventing games every time or rather he invents most of the time :)

If you dont have a store bought one (We try DIY most of the time), check this PDF. Its free and fantanstic.

Let me save the craft work we did for the next post.