Math Exploration – Final Pinecone Roundup

Today I am going to complete my Pinecone activity Roundups with Math activities!  Please check out my post on Pinecone Art Activities as well as Pinecone Science Activities.  I’ve had a lot of fun gathering ideas for different curriculum elements using natural materials that our youngest learners inquire about.  Fall has definitely hit New England and it was great to be able to bring nature inside and get those little minds inspired and little fingers engaged!

The first place I visited was Nurture Store: Creative Kids Learning for their Math Station.  I love that their math station leaves room for it to be an independent activity, group activity, or teacher directed activity, so many choices!  An investigation sheet leaves room for various questions, that you could come up with ahead of time, or come up with together as a group.  Then there is room for an estimation, as well as the actual answer.  Teaching young children how to estimate, and then test their answer is a valuable tool!  Cathy then goes on to use various tools to help identify answers.  Some of these tools included a ruler, tape measure and kitchen scale.  So many great conversations and ways to incorporate new math vocabulary!  What a rich math station.

Pinecone Math Station from the Nurture Store

Next I stopped over to Living Montessori Now, where they had some great ideas for math time outside!  By bringing chalk outside they had a whole huge canvas to use!  The possibilities are limitless.  Here Deb used the pinecones as math counters and children were able to match the correct number of pinecones to the written numeral.  She also recommends bringing two colors of chalk, that way younger children can trace numbers that you write.  Excellent way to think outside the box!

Outdoor Math Station with Living Montessori Now

And finally I stopped over at Toddler Approved where they created a Simple Counting Game of Pinecone Toss.  This not only included our math skills, but also hand eye coordination, bonus!  Kristina set out three bowls, big – 1 point, medium – 2 points, and small – 3 points.  Children took turns rolling a die, based on the number they rolled they tossed that many pinecones and tried to get the most points.  So for example, if they rolled a 3 and tossed all 3 pinecones into the furthest bowl they would have a total of 3 points.  If they tossed 3 pinecones, missed 2, and got the 3rd into the smallest bowl they would also get a total of 3 points.  Children can practice writing their numbers, or even tally marks, as they keep track of their scores.  What a simple and basic game, but I can see it being a lot of fun!

Pinecone Toss over at Toddler Approved

I hope that you all enjoyed my three Roundups on various pinecone activities.  Who knew that there were so many ways to use nature in the classroom?  In one day you could incorporate a Math, Science and Art activity into the classroom all with nature.  Let me know if you try any of these, and what your children think!

As a reminder, if you gather your own pinecones and want to get rid of bugs, sap, or other grit before using them with children, this is a great article to walk you through how to properly clean and preserve them.

Happy pinecone hunting!

Art Eploration – Pinecone Round Up

Last week I completed a Science Exploration – Pinecone Round Up post.  Since fall is finally here, it was a great round up of simple activities to do with young children when you find pinecones out in the natural environment.  But there are so many more ways that we can bring nature inside of the classroom!  This week I decided to stick with the pinecone theme and do a roundup of Art Activities for you.  I hope you give some of them a try!
The first stop I made was over to Freebie Finding Mom where they made Homemade Pinecone Bird Feeders.  What a fantastic idea!  We would have to tweak their recipe a little bit, because we do not use nut products in our school due to allergies.  But I know that we can find an alternative.  Not only will children enjoy participating in this project, but by placing the bird feeders out side of a classroom window, we can incorporate a whole new set of learning opportunities, spark curiosity and observation.  This is a fabulous way to bring nature into the classroom and create something new.

Homemade Pinecone Bird Feeders from  Freebie Finding Mom

My next stop was over at Craftionary where they had their own collection of 30 Kids Fall Crafts.  There were a lot of good ones, but my favorite was this little pinecone guy.  Can’t you just imagine the amount of fun young students would have creating these?  I can see them enjoying the process, but then expanding their learning to imaginary play afterwards.  You can provide any number of materials and see how they choose to create their own characters.  Each child would have something unique and different.  So much fun!

Pinecone Monsters over at Craftionary

Over at Kiboomu they shared a great Pinecone painting activity as well as an Autumn Song.  I definitely see us incorporating both into our classrooms.  Songs are a really great addition to any lesson at the Early Education level.  I love how they used the pinecones as paintbrushes.  This adds a whole new texture for young artists.  Depending on what pinecones we have collected they can inquire and investigate about whether they will all make the same strokes, will different sizes matter, if you roll them on the paper will it look different than if you brush them?  I can think of so many ways to expand on this learning experience!

Pinecone painting and Autumn song over at Kiboomu Kids Songs

Teach Preschool took another spin on Pinecone Painting, where the children got to actually paint their own pinecones.  This was a great use of fine motor control.  I like how she also incorporated different materials for them to use.  By adding mod podge to the paint it dries with a shine, and allowing the children the independence to use glitter (very brave!) is great.  It sounds like the children kept coming back to complete more pinecones, so I’m sure the activity was a hit!  What a great way to make painting new and exciting!

Pinecone Painting over at Teach Preschool

Finally, I stopped over at How to Build It, because let’s be honest, art projects aren’t just for children! I can’t believe how a little bit of spray paint dress these pinecones up!  This would be an awesome pop of color for a center piece!  I would love to try this for my house!!

Spray Painted Pinecones at How to Build It

Also, if you are planning on doing any of these, or other, pinecone crafts you should properly clean them first.  This helps to get rid of bugs, sap, and other grit.  I found a great article over at Tip Nut on how to prepare and preserve pinecones.  Have fun!!

Spring = difficulty with Spray Paint

I ended up playing hooky from work today, lets call it a mental health day.  And boy was it needed!

My car will finally be done this afternoon and I can pick it up after a home visit with a student.  I haven’t heard the final bill yet…and I’m cringing just thinking about it.  But hopefully all will be good.

Instead of sharing my “to do” lists, I’d like to share my “done” list!  Today was a productive day!

It started with submitting my final graduate paper.  Man, does it feel good!  Maybe one day I’ll finish the whole masters, but for now I’m happy with the certificate I set out to complete!  5 classes finished, with excellent grades, and paid in full.  Halleluia!

You’ll never guess what else I finished!  The bathroom walls are completely finished!  Let’s not talk about the wood work…floor…or ceiling.  Celebrate the walls!

 Not the best lighting, it makes them look washed out a bit.  But at this point, not an inch of me cares, they’re finished!  I’ll try to take some better pictures tonight after the sun has gone down.  HUGE project to cross off of my list.  I know that the bathroom isn’t nearly finished yet…but that was a big step!

While cleaning and packing things I got stuck with a bookcase dilemma.  This was the color of my bookcase:

Cute when I was younger, but not quite the look we’re going for now.  But it’s a sturdy bookcase that is still perfectly functional.  I washed that puppy up and let it dry overnight.

Then I chose a white spray paint that didn’t require any primer.  I was excited to give the spray paint a chance, particularly since each coat only needs 15 minutes to dry (WAY better than waiting 4 hours for paint from a can to dry before you can do another coat).

The worst thing about spray painting in spring, at least here in MA, is that it’s windy…and goes from a beautiful sunny day to rain storms in a matter of minutes.  I’m glad I got as far as I did today, because the next sunny day isn’t supposed to be until next Tuesday!  That barely gives me any time until we move to finish her up!

But I digress….here is the progress!

After the first coat of spray paint:

Then after a second coat:

 And then I got smart and decided to stick the beast up on some old saw horses for better access, particularly to the bottom half:

Now I was in business!  I’m certainly not the world’s best spray painter, hence the drips:

But I was able to complete this so quickly, as opposed to waiting for hours during dry time.  I also liked that I didn’t need to do 2 coats of primer…followed by 2 coats of paint in order to cover up that ugly blue.

It did however take me 3 cans of spray paint…and it still has a blue-ish tint!

But I’m totally ok with that.  Already it looks better than it did at first, and my ultimate goal is to have a white exterior, and have the inside and shelves be the color of the bathroom.  Luckily I have 3/4 of a gallon of left over paint!  That will almost definitely be waiting until after the move though.  There’s only so much I can cram into the next week and a half!  I’m exited to show you all the final final reveal…but don’t expect it any time soon 🙂

Here’s a peak at what my garage is looking like these days:

Another small cabinet that needs to be repainted…but that also won’t happen until after the move.  And there’s our brand new couch hiding in the background covered in plastic.  Good thing since all the green pollen is starting to attack!

While I was out spray painting in the back yard I came across some awesome tiny pinecones:

I grabbed a bag and started collecting:

That’s a large ziploc…not a tiny sandwich bag by the way.  I’m excited, but really happy I have many many months before deciding what kind of fall themed craft they will turn into.  Stay tuned!

Hope everyone is enjoying May so far, 9 days until my birthday.  Just sayin’  🙂

Simply Living