Science, Math & Reading All in One

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We just did a great little activity that my kids, from ages three to seven, loved.  It involved math, science and reading and it only cost me $1.

I filled a pie pan with water for each of them and sprinkled in plastic letters or numbers from a dollar store magnetic set.  Each pan of water was geared towards  what each child is currently working on.

I left the pans of water outside to freeze overnight, and this morning we got to work excavating.

Here’s the Science Lesson:

I asked them a few questions to get them started, but they took it from there.

How do you get frozen objects out of a block of solid ice?  First they decided to try using tools:  a butter knife, a sharper knife (don’t worry, it’s a kid-safe knife).  That chipped a bit of ice away but not much and the letters were in danger of getting stabbed and broken.

What do people use to melt ice on sidewalks and roads?  Salt!  They loved pouring salt on the ice.

Then they wondered, would pepper melt ice?  They decided yes, because it’s spicy, so they tried it. No, pepper does not melt ice, they concluded.

How about pouring on warm water?  Yup, that helps a lot.

The most effective thing, they discovered, was to run the block of ice under hot water in the sink.

 Then they got to work playing with what they’d found in the ice.  Firefly, my 7 year old made multiplication equations. The Unifix cubes on the left are what he used to figure out the problem.

He tried to come up with as many combinations as possible with the numbers that were in the ice, then we added more numbers. Lots of great multiplication practice. Now, had  I asked him to do this in writing, on paper, oh the whining, can’t you just hear the whining?  On the other hand, “dig plastic numbers out of ice and make equations” got this reaction:  “This is so cool, Mom!”

The Queen Bee, my 5 year old,  made up words from the -ot family with her treasures from the ice.

She loved this and immediately wanted more magnets to work on more word families. She spent a lot of time doing this. After -ot, I gave her -at, -it, -in, and an. Whenever she put a letter in front that didn’t spell an actual word, we called them silly words and sounded them out anyway (gat, uin, wot, etc.)

Love Bug, my 3 year old, got a handful of random letters to work on letter recognition.  He pretty much didn’t want to play with his letters or make any guesses as to what they were once he freed them from the ice. It was more about the process of getting them out for him. That’s okay. I just exclaimed excitedly, here and there, “Oh, look, you got a letter D out of the ice!”  and “Wow, now you have a letter P, like p-p-p-popcorn and p-p-p-purple!”

He very much enjoyed sprinkling salt on the ice, running the ice block under water, and freeing the letters.

The day prior to freezing the letters and numbers in the ice, we put them into the little infant blow-up pool, along with some water, and went fishing:

That was fun, too. Love Bug loved fishing the letters and out sticking them to our magnetized door.  His siblings loved spelling words with them and helping him get the letters out. They were a little tricky with these fishing rods. Next time we will attach a larger magnet to the end of the string. This one couldn’t support the weight of some of the letters.

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