Homeschool Favourites | April 2016 |

As homeschoolers, we are always on the look out for new products to enhance our children’s learning experience.

I thought it would be fun to share some of our homeschool discoveries; things that we’ve enjoyed using this month in our homeschool.



Please note: You do NOT need to buy any of these products to be a good mum, or give your child a good education!!! The chances are you’re already doing a great job with our without these products! However, if you are looking for something new and want to see what we’ve been using, please read on!

April’s Homeschool Favourites

Watch This Video for an overview of all these products:

Rush Hour Logic Game

This game has provided hours of entertainment for our family. It is a classic logic game, where the aim is to get the red car out of the traffic jam by moving the sliding blocks/cars out of the way. 

There are different levels of difficulty, and it come with a handy draw-string bay to keep the pieces together. 

Homeschool Favourite Rush Hour
What I loved most about this game is that even though it’s fun, it felt like it was making my son think! I mean REALLY think

It’s a great way to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, and exercise little (and not so little) minds. 

Fun Dough Arabic Letters

This play dough set contains cutters for all the Arabic letters, various shapes, as well as a rolling pin, various molds and tools.

Everything inside is good quality, it’s easy to use and the play dough even smells like bubble gum!

Homeschool Favourite Arabic Fun Dough
Homeschool Favourite Arabic Fun Dough
We have used this set in our homeschool to teach our children Arabic. If you are interested in seeing what activities we did with this play dough set, CLICK HERE
Homeschool Teach Arabic With Play Dough

Now that spring is upon us, we are spending more time outdoors. In particular, an important part of our homeschool curriculum is the study of nature.

We’ve been using these binocularsto identify birds, trees, and also to look at the stars. It has added a wonderful new dimension to our homeschool.

Muslim Homeschool Favourites Binoculars

A Drawing a Day

This colourful book by Usborne is filled with instructions on how to draw 366 different things; animals, vehicles, buildings, food…Plenty to keep your children interested.

It give simple step-by-step directions that make it easy for children to follow along and work independently.

There is plenty of space to draw in the book itself, and the pages tear out easily. It is very child friendly and lots of fun! I would recommend it for children over 5 years-old.

I hope you enjoyed seeing what products we’ve been using in our homeschool this month. I’d love to hear what some of your favourite products are. 

Please let me know in the comments below.

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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

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Nature Study in the City – March 2016

We all want our children to spend more time outdoors. However when you live in a city, connecting our children to nature can be difficult.

In this series of blog posts, I hope to inspire you with some ways you can teach your children about the natural world, and give you some creative activities to do indoors or in a city garden.

Nature Study in the City

Spending time outdoors in a natural environment has been proven scientifically to benefit children.

Since the release of the book Last Child in the Woods, which brought attention to the developmental effects of nature on our children, there have been multiple studies that prove likewise.

Some of the benefits of outdoor play include:

  • Supports development intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and
    physically (Kellert, 2005).
  • Encourages creativity: Studies show that children engage
    in more creative forms of play in the green areas. (Bell and Dyment,
    2006).
  • Improves Concrentration: Exposure to natural settings increases
    children’s ability to focus and enhances cognitive
    abilities (Wells, 2000).
  • Improves Academic Performance: Children who partook in outdoor
    science programs had an improvement in their science results by 27% (American Institutes for Research, 2005).
  • Reduces ADD symptoms (Kuo and Taylor, 2004).
  • Improves eyesight (American
    Academy of Ophthalmology, 2011)
  • Encourages healthy eating  (Bell &
    Dyment, 2008) 
  • Reduces stress  (Wells and
    Evans, 2003)

Book Recommendation

Before we start, I want to let you know that we have been using this vintage nature book, Looking At Nature, by Elsie Proctor, as our primary text.

It is fantastic. Unlike most nature books, it is not just pages of facts, but it also poses lots of questions for the children to answer and gives great ideas for outdoor activities and experiments.

This is what we have been doing this March:

Observing Germination

We began this month with a trip to the supermarket to by some compost and plant seeds. I read in the book Looking at nature
, that Sunflowers
Nasturtiums
and Runner Beans
are easy to grow…we’ll soon see!

Nature Study in the City

I decided to begin with an activity I remember doing at school. We filled jars with kitchen roll, and then carefully pushed two Runner Bean
seeds in the gap between the glass and the tissue. Then we added enough water the to jars to make the tissue damp, and left them on a sunny window-sill. 
Within 5 days this is what we saw:

Nature Study in the City

The children drew what they saw for their Nature Notebooks, and we discussed all the parts of the plant and what plants need to grow. They learnt the words germination, shoot and tap root.

Nature Study in the City

Nature Study in the City

This is something you can do indoors, in a small space, and at very little expense!  

Began Planting Our Children’s Garden

This year I am giving a part of our small garden to the children. They will be responsible for growing the plants in that patch, weeding, watering etc.  If it works…it’s going to be a fantastic source of learning opportunities
The boys planted their Sunflower Seeds
, and left them in our cold-frame to grow.

Nature Study in the City

Nature Study in the City

Looking for catkins

Thankfully we have a number on trees on our road that have catkins. We collected what we could find, and brought them home to identify.
Nature Study in the City

Visited our City Parks

At this time of year, there is so much to see in the park. The daffodils are blooming, the birds are back and building nests, and everything is stirring back to life!
We spent several hours looking for the first signs of spring. The boys drew some daffodils for their nature notebooks, and I just allowed them to explore. The only rule we have in the park is ….You Are Not Allowed To Walk On The Path! 


Nature Study in the City
Drawing daffodils

Nature Study in the City
Playing hide-and-seek! He’s  counting…

Nature Study in the City
He’s hiding!


They found this muddy pond and were in there wading through the murky water…They loved it!

Nature Study in the City

I hope this will encourage you to get out into nature with your children, wherever you live. 
What activities have you done outdoors with your kids? Do any of you have any recommendations for other plants we can put in the children’s garden? Please let me know in the comments below 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Make sure you don’t miss the next in this series!
I’m hoping to get it out the same time next month insha’Allah. 

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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

Linked up to Homeschool Creations and The Hip Homeschool Hop

My Five Favourite Homeschoolers on Youtube

Watching other homeschool mums on Youtube has been such a fantastic source of information and inspiration.

Many of these homeschooling families share their schedule, curriculum choices, and give you a glimpse into their daily lives.

Muslim Homeschool Picks for Youtube

I often will watch these amazing ladies whilst I’m folding laundry or washing dishes.

For busy mums Youtube can be a great way to find information and new ideas.

If I’m having a tough day with the children, I like to watch other home educators to lift my spirits: a little ‘pick-me-up’ when things are getting rough!!!

Here are my Five Favourite Homeschoolers on Youtube:

Full Time Wife Life

Abby, from Full Time Wife Life, has some lovely day-in-the-life videos, as well as awesome planning and scheduling tips for the homeschool day.

=

MsBasimah24

A recent discovery of mine, MsBasimah24 is full of energy, positivity and totally real! I love her videos, and can’t wait to see more from her:

A FarmHouse Full

Nicci, from A Farmhouse Full, is a mum of seven (soon to be eight mashAllah). As well as homeschooling, she makes videos about pregnancy, her garden, and frugal living.

Erica Arndt

Of all the Youtube homeschoolers, Erica Arndt is probably the most famous. Her blog is packed full of incredible resources, and is well worth checking out! On Youtube, she talks about homeschool curriculum, organisation, amongst many other things.

Habeebee Homeschooling

From the inspirational Ameera Rahim, the Youtube channel Habeebee Homeschooling talks about home education from an Islamic perspective. There are only a few videos, but they are full of insight mashAllah.

Those were my favourite Youtube homeschool channels.

And finally…

Don’t forget to check out MY Youtube channel too!


Our Muslim Homeschool



Do you watch any homeschool moms on Youtube? Which channels would you recommend to other home-educators? Please let me know in the comments below.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my favourite Youtube channels. Make sure you don’t miss the next blog post by Subscribing to my mailing list.

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love.

Allah Calligraphy Craft

This Islamic Craft for Muslim Kids is easy to do and looks so beautiful!

We simply glued sequins  and buttons to a calligraphy colouring page of the word ‘Allah.’

We are thinking of putting them in frames and displaying them in the children’s rooms 🙂

 

Islamic calligraphy craft for Muslim Children

These colouring pages were from the Ibraheem Toyhouse website.

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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love.

 

Vikings Homeschool Unit Study

What is it about Vikings?!?… Kids love them!
In this blog post, I will show you what Resources we used to teach our Kindergarten (Year1) and Preschool kids about Vikings, and hopefully give some ideas about how to teach this unit study in your homeschool.
Vikings Homeschool Unit Study
As my eldest is only 5-years-old, I do not include too much written work in our unit studies. Instead the focus is hands-on learning and literature. However, if your children are older, you could certainly add in notebooking, lapbooks or even creating a poster of what they have learnt.
This is how we taught my Year 1 (Kindergarten) student about the Vikings:

1. Library Books

As with all our unit studies, the first thing we did was head to our local library to see what they had on the subject. We found this great book of World History by Dorling Kindersley. 
Vikings Homeschool Unit Study
I  encouraged the boys to look through the relevant pages, and read aloud anything that intersted them. This is an old edition, but this History Book by the same publishers looks great too!

2. Day at the Museum

Another thing I always try to incorporate into our unit studies, are field trips to museums or historical sites. Our local museum was holding a ‘Viking Day.’ The boys got to try on a replica Viking helmet, look at maps and art work featuring the Vikings, and make these awesome Viking helmets: 
Vikings Homeschool Unit Study
Vikings Homeschool Unit Study

3. Map Work

My son has a ‘thing’ for maps! So I used this interest in maps and world geography to help him learn about the Viking conquests. This FREE printable we used can be found HERE

Vikings Homeschool Unit Study

4. Literature

We also try include some children’s literature to go along with our unit study:
Vikings Homeschool Unit Study

My eldest son read the easy reader Viking Adventure from the Oxford Reading tree. I love this series and would recommend it for any children who are learning to read, but are not ready to tackle chapter books yet.
Also, during this week, I read to the children from the book Viking It and Liking It (Time Warp Trio)
It’s incredible how much information children can absorb from stories and books. At this age, there is no real need to TEACH ….only to READ!

5. Online Resources

The BBC has compiled an excellent collection of video clips and resources that we looked through. The videos of the VIking ships really captured my boys imagination! You can check these out by clicking HERE

If you have any Viking Resources for children that you would like to share with us, please leave a comment below! 

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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

Teach ARABIC with PLAY DOUGH!

This post is sponsored by Desi Doll Company Ltd

Every child loves play dough! Make learning Arabic fun for
your kids by teaching through play….Teach Arabic with Play Dough!


Teach Arabic with play dough



Teaching Arabic to young children can be done in two ways:
through natural exposure to the language (conversations, story books, songs etc.) and
through play.

In my humble opinion, workbooks and written curriculum have limited
value in young children. Instead, for preschool and kindergarten children,
Arabic can be learnt through play.

Here are 5 ways to teach
Arabic with play dough
:

Letters

An obvious place to start is teaching your child the Arabic letters.
Teach Arabic with play dough
For these activities, it helps if you have a poster or book displaying Arabic letters nearby. We used a wooden puzzle to help the children visualise the letters.
The play dough can be moulded into the shapes of the letters:
Teach Arabic with play dough
Alternatively, you can now get play dough cutters in the shapes of the Arabic letters. This set by Desi Doll company was fantastic! 
The letters came out really clearly and my kids found them very easy to use. On top of that, the play dough smells like candy!
We began by doing a ‘Letter Hunt’ where all the cutters were placed in the middle, and I would call out a letter and the kids had to find it! 
“Find me the letter Raa!”
“Find me the letter Meem!”

Teach Arabic with play dough

Then we used the cutters themselves to make the individual letters of the Arabic alphabet.

Teach Arabic with play dough

The children were eager to write their names in the play dough… as well as all their friends!

Colours

Whilst the children are playing with the play dough it is very easy to casually teach the colours as you go along. 
What colour is this?” 
“Shall we make it in Burtaqali (Orange) next time?” 
“Where is Azraq (Blue)?”
Teach Arabic with play dough


Numbers

Play dough makes a great manipulative, and it is easy to mould into counters.
We used simple ball shapes, but you could use any shape/animal that appeals to your child.
We used these counters to count to  ten in Arabic and then ask:

“How many balls are there altogether?”
“How many ball are Asfar (Yellow)?” etc.
Teach Arabic with play dough


Shapes

Using the shape cutters and knives in our play dough kit, we were able to make a variety of shapes to to help the kids learn their names in Arabic.
Teach Arabic with play dough

Teach Arabic with play dough


Spell out Vocabulary

This activity was by far the most successful of all! 
We used the letter cutters to spell out new vocabulary words; such as the parts of the face and body, food, animals etc. My five-year old really enjoyed spelling out the names of the Prophets (Peace be upon them).
  
Combining the sensory experience and manipulation of the play dough, with a purposeful spelling exercise, seemed to massively improve their memorisation of new words. This technique would be particularly effective for children who are tactile learners. 
Teach Arabic with play dough
On top of that, it was so much fun! The children get so excited when I bring this play dough set out!

Play dough is also a great way to increase hand strength in preschool children, and improve their fine motor and bilateral coordination skills; so they will be ready to learn to write in the coming school years. 
If you are interested in buying the play dough set we used, visit DESI DOLL COMPANY for more information.

Teach Arabic with play dough


How have you used play to teach the Arabic language?
What games or toys have you found useful?
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below 🙂



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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

New Homeschool Mum…Don’t Give Up!

The transition into home education can be a difficult one. Many families struggle when they first start homeschooling, especially with time management.


“How can I get all the cleaning, cooking, and do everything else, as well as teach my children?
I just never seem to be able to get on top of things?
I just don’t have the time to do it all.” 





Home education does not suit every family, but before you give up homeschooling, here are a few tips that I have learnt to help a struggling homeschool mum:

1. Look for the Wisdom

The difficulties you face in your home, with your children, are no less of a trial or test than the difficulties people face at work. Acknowledge that your problems are real problems, worthy of your concern and find comfort in the fact that Allah tests those he loves.

It is narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) said:
“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people, He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His Pleasure; but whoever is discontent with that earns His Wrath.” (al-Tirmidhi – 2396)

If you are finding difficulties in your homeschool, begin by making duaa and praying Istikaraah.

2. Get Organised

Write to-do lists, get a homeschool planner, organise your homeschool material in whatever way works for your family. Not only will these things help you to get more done, but they will also help you to realise how much you are already achieving. This feeling of accomplishment and purpose should not be taken lightly. Everyone needs to feel that they are being productive and achieving something in their day.

Watch this for some Homeschool Organization tips:

If you do not feel organised now, take a week off school. Use the time to get everything ordered and planned out in a way that will make your homeschool run more smoothly. Then you can start again the following week on a more positive note.

3. Lower Your Expectations

What? Did I read that right?
Yes, you did!

I know this may sound harsh, but you have to lower your expectations, especially if you are just starting to homeschool, or if you have small children at home. You cannot expect your house to be as clean or your meals to be a spectacular (mine never were….mediocre at best!) as they were before you began to home educate your children.

Every ‘lesson does not need to be perfectly planned and executed. Many children retain more from self-directed, not teacher led, learning.  By adjusting your teaching style, you are allowing your children time to ‘discover’ things themselves and re-igniting the love of learning that they lost in school.

You are only human and you have the same 24 hours that the rest of us have. As soon as you  LET GO and stop putting pressure on yourself, the better you will feel and the happier you and your family be insha’Allah.

Just to clarify…I’m not saying you should live in squalor and let your children run wild! However, give yourself a break! Your homemaking and your school days will improve as your time management does.

4. Give Yourself Time

It takes time to adjust, establish new routines and to find your ‘groove.’ It also takes time for children to get used to the new routines.

Try to move gently, with patience, into this new phase in your life. Everything does not need to come together all at once. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes. Just learn from them …and move on.

Thank you so much for visiting us here at Our Muslim Homeschool! 

What do you think?

Should we lower our standards and just allow time to fix everything? 
How much time should be allow before we give up and send our kids back to school? 
How do you organise your homeschool?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below 🙂



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In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love.

Peace and Love.

Book Review | Elizabeth Lymer

This review will be looking at the work of a British Muslimah
author, Elizabeth Lymer, who has written numerous works of Islamic children’s
literature
.

Muslim Children Book Review: Elizabeth Lymer
It is so exciting to see more and more Muslim children’s
books
available for the English-speaking market. In my experience, there is a
lot of children’s literature available for Muslim kids, but so much of it is
dry and uninspiring.

Fear not… Elizabeth Lymer has brought a whimsy and charm
back into Muslim Children’s Books!

These books are beautiful! The intention behind them, and sincerity
of the author, shines through. They are a testimony to how talented and creative
our Muslim sisters are…and that makes me so happy!

There is a very whimsical sweetness in the way she writes and in what she chooses to write about which is utterly charming!

The messages and stories these books tell have real worth
and merit, and are far more deserving of a place on your bookcase, than any of
the ‘modern fluff’ that is so readily available today.

I will be reviewing three books written by Elizabeth Lymer:

Hector Hectricity and the Missing Socks,
Muslim Lullabies &
Baby Traveller Bismillah
.


So let’s get started!

Hector Hectricity and the Missing Socks

This sweet story is about a family who find that their socks
keep going missing, and about how they find the monster that is taking them. It
teaches children to first make duaa to Allah (swt) and then ask others for
help.

It is a funny and silly story that kids will love; but underneath the
silliness is a really important lesson about turning to Allah (swt) and
trusting in Him.

It also has a knitting pattern in the back in case anyone
fancies knitting themselves some rainbow socks!

Elizabeth Lymer Review
Enjoying Hector Hectricity!

I would recommend this book for children aged 2-5.

This book has just launched! You can purchase a copy of this book from the IHRC Shop
or Amazon 

Muslim Lullabies

In this collection, Elizabeth has written new
Islamically-themed lyrics
to well-known English lullabies.

 All the lullabies have themes from the Quran within them and teach bedtime practices from the Sunnah.

It is such a wonderful experience to sing beautiful songs of dhikr to send your baby to sleep. It has been so special to sing these lullabies to my children and create those magical memories together.

One of my favourites
is:

 Hush Now Habibty (To the tune of Rock-a-bye, Baby)

“Hush now, Habibty,
Let yourself rest,
Snug in du’as
That you will be blessed,
Guarded from evil
Of the dark hours,
By Allah’s protection
And perfect power.

If you’re not sure how the tune is supposed to sound, Elizabeth Lymer has also produced an accompanying video on Youtube to help!


However, if you are not familiar with English children’s lullabies, then I
think you would struggle to use this book. Although if you live in the U.S. Muslim Lullabies is also available to buy on Audio CD.

The book itself is dedicated to sister Maria Zain, who passed away in 2014, along with a link to help support the six children she left behind.

Elizabeth Lymer Review
They got the giggles!!!
I sincerely recommend this book to anyone with young children (under 3’s); or if you know someone who is pregnant, this would make a fabulous gift for their new baby.

This book would be a great addition to your home library and hopefully a means of creating beautiful memories with your children.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this book CLICK HERE

Baby Traveller Bismillah

This simple book is aimed at babies aged newborn-18months.
It introduces children to the five senses, to different modes of transport, and
to dhikr.


The word Allah is repeated frequently throughout the book. I hope that my baby will be saying Allah soon …because of this book!

The words
our children hear, and the stories we read them, do leave a lasting impression.
I am certain that hearing this book, and the dhikr it contains, will impact
positively
on her and leave a lasting imprint on her heart…insha’Allah.

To purchase this book:
UK customers CLICK HERE
US customers CLICK HERE 

Elizabeth Lymer Review
Enjoying his new book!

I’m getting a bit emotional writing this review because I really feel
like Elizabeth Lymer has gifted our children something incredible…Something
that will truly enrich their lives
. It is such a blessing…May Allah reward her!

For more information about Elizabeth Lymer and the numerous books she has written, CLICK HERE to visit her website.


Thank you so much for visiting our blog. 

If anything is unclear, or you need more information, please leave a comment for me down below and I will do my best to answer your questions insha’Allah.

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In need of your duaas.

Peace and Love.

Disclaimer: This review was NOT sponsored. Although Elizabeth Lymer sent me  complimentary copies of these books, all opinions expressed are genuine!


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Product Review | Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Read

This DVD is a brilliant educational resource for Muslim children. We have been using it in our Muslim Homeschool as part of the kid’s Islamic Education…and they LOVE IT! 

Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Read aims to teach Muslim children the basic foundations of Tajweed, Recitation of Quran.


Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Read is the second DVD produced by Imanination Studios. It uses the lastest technology  to produce exceptional quality animation. The graphics are SO much better than anything else on the market! It’s very impressive!

CLICK HERE to read the REVIEW for their first DVD Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Pray

The whole concept behind th e DVD is very clever. Sumaya is upset because she doesn’t know how to read the Quran; so her brother, Ali, offers to help. They visit a Tajweed teacher, who takes them on an adventure around his ‘Tajweed Factory.’ Each room features a special invention that teaches a different rule of recitation. It’s SO MUCH FUN!

There’s an ‘Echo Blaster’ to teacher Qalqalah, a ‘Stretching Zone’ to teach vowel elongation, the ‘Ghunna Lift’ and many more!

Watch this clip of the DVD:

There is NO MUSIC in this DVD. Imanination have gone to great lengths to ensure the authenticity of the material they produce. However, as with any Islamic educational product, I would always advise you to check the material with a religious teacher you trust.

All Quran and duaas are written very clearly in Arabic with translation and transliteration.The Arabic pronunciation is excellent, and the way the characters recite is SO BEAUTIFUL. It certainly captured my children’s attention!

I was pleased to see that it also taught some etiquettes of reading Quran and going to the Masjid.
I would recommend this DVD for children aged 6+ who have begun learning Quran. The DVD moves at a fast pace and will work well to reinforce the rules of Tajweed that your child has already learnt, as well as introducing them to new concepts. 
Imanination have also produced an FREE APP to go along with the DVD:

Overall I feel that Ali and Sumaya: Let’s Read is a truly innovative product. It make learning tajweed fun and exciting, whilst maintaining the utmost respect for the Quran itself. 

If you need more information or would like to buy this DVD, just CLICK HERE! 

If anything is unclear, or you need more information, please leave a comment for me down below and I will do my best to answer your questions, or pass you onto someone from the company insha’Allah.

Make sure you don’t miss the next blog post by Subscribing to my mailing list.

For a daily look into our homeschooling day follow me on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.

Peace and Love.

Disclaimer: This review was NOT sponsored. Although Imanination Studio sent me a complimentary copy of this DVD and the posters, all opinions expressed are genuine!


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 Our Muslim Homeschool: Ali and Sumaya Review

Preschool Activity: Popcorn Construction Site!

In our homeschool, I am always trying to find a way to keep my preschooler entertained while I teach his elder brother. This preschool activity worked amazingly! It entertained my three year-old for almost two hours. He had a lot of fun and we got some homeschooling done!

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site

[I know technically its not popcorn, but that sounds a lot better than ‘un-popped corn construction site’!]

This activity is brilliant for encouraging imaginative play. It also works you child’s fine motor skills and is a fabulous sensory experience!

It’s not hard to set up. Just empty a bag of un-cooked corn (rice or lentils would work well too) into a shallow wide tray and add some construction vehicles!

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site
Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site

Preschool Activity Popcorn Construction Site
Please give it try and let me know in the comments how you get on. What other activities do you do with your preschooler whilst your elder children study? I’d love to get some new ideas. 🙂
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Thank you so much for stopping by!

Please remember us in your duaas.


Peace and Love.

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