Homemade Fun!

On one of our recent rainy days, a couple of the staff at CFL decided to try our hand at making homemade chalk, bubbles, paint, and gak. What initially began as two staff members quickly became three, then four, and finally five. It was hard to resist joining in! We were laughing, talking, mixing, and measuring in the kitchen, hard at work testing recipes, when our new Operations Director walked by. After watching us for a bit he asked, “So, what does this have to do with literacy?”

Well….

Research recognizes that the home environment and parent-child interactions are an important influence on a child’s literacy development.

Positive and meaningful parent and child interactions can lead to enhanced language, literacy, and emotional and cognitive development. (Jacobs p. 193)

So, when you and your child…

  • talk together and make plans for the day
  • read through a recipe book together and decide which recipe to make
  • talk about the ingredients and what they are
  • write a grocery list together and talk about the words you are writing down
  • go to the grocery store and notice the different road signs or count the red cars along the way
  • read your grocery list together to make sure you have everything you need
  • read the recipe together and measure out ingredients and talk about the fun things you will do with your chalk, bubbles, paint, or gak…

…you are providing your child with rich literacy experiences and positive interactions that strengthen family bonds and promote literacy development.

Here is the recipe for homemade watercolour paints we made.  Enjoy!

 

Homemade Watercolour Paints

  • 4 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • Food colouring (liquid or gels)
  • Container to keep your paints in – you could use an ice-cube tray, mini muffin tin, small plastic cups, plastic egg carton, etc.

 

1.  Mix your baking soda and vinegar together and wait for the fizzing to stop. It’s handy if you mix in a container that has a spout.

2.  Add your corn syrup and cornstarch, and mix well until the cornstarch has dissolved.

3.  Pour into your containers.

4.  Add the colours using toothpicks and popsicle sticks, and stir for about a minute to make sure the colour is mixed in.

5.  Let your paints “set up” and dry, which could take up to two days, before using.

 

Some Ideas:

Use your paints to make cards for the people you love!

Make family portraits, then host an art show.

Decorate large sheets of paper for colourful placemats.

 

What kinds of things do you plan on making this summer?

 

Recipe adapted from the following site:

http://happyhooligans.ca/

 

References:

Handbook of Family Literacy ( 2nd ed.)  Edited by Barbara Hanna Wasik

Routledge, New York, 2012.

Rain Rain Go Away!

Rain rain go away, come again another day

If you don’t, that’s OK, I built a blanket fort today!

 

Need something to do with the kids when it rains for days and days on end? Turn your cabin fever into a fun activity!

Supplies needed:

1. Imagination

2. Blankets (the more the better)

3. Furniture (coffee tables, couches, chairs, etc)

4. Rubbermaid totes, cardboard boxes, or recycled materials

5. People of all ages

6. (OPTIONAL) Flashlights, books, and teddy bears!

When I was a kid, we built many, many blanket forts. We learned so much from this activity: how to share, be creative, cooperate, compromise ideas with others, and many other skills. Some of my fondest memories are building forts or tents in the house. We had a large family so we often had boys only and girls only forts and created territories and borders. Our small stuffed animals became soldiers and sentry guards. We even learned how to booby-trap entries when the boys would invade our castle!

As much as I love to help and “take over” when my kids want to build forts, I really enjoy watching them problem solve and create their own masterpieces. It’s a great way to have fun, create memories, and bond with your kids.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?

Family Literacy in the Workplace, Does it Work?

Research shows:

  • Adult and workplace literacy programs may be underused because of employee fear or sense of stigma
  • Adults with low literacy skills will often participate in literacy programs to benefit their child. Parents join because the focus is on helping their children, as opposed to their own abilities
  • Family literacy programs have been successfully used as the “hook” or “carrot” to get reluctant workers into training programs
  • Adults retain information and skills picked up in the workplace training to a greater degree when the training materials are related to day-to-day experiences at work, home and communities

Family Literacy in the workplace is about overcoming these barriers, getting employees interested in learning and comfortable with taking training, and creating an intergenerational cycle of achievement.

Parents gain the confidence to reenter the learning system and pursue other training.

Family literacy initiatives in the workplace can make a difference in areas such as recruitment of workers, job satisfaction and retention, promotion and especially providing a pathway into additional training and work related skill development. Encouraging employees to learn at work has implications for key elements of business success especially in the areas of safety and productivity.

One of the Centre’s national projects was conducting research based family literacy workplace pilot projects in Alberta. One pilot was run in Brooks at a large manufacturing plant with an English as a Second language program that had a hard time getting people signed up for training let alone getting the results the business needed.

A family literacy program model called B.O.O.K.S. (Books Offer Our Kids Success) was piloted with 25 participants during the lunch hour. Participants were shown how to expand different children’s books by using a nonfiction book or looking up things on the computer or doing a craft or activity associated with the story.

In the Brooks pilot, discussion of the themes of children’s books led naturally into discussions of work related interests such as job aspirations and workplace safety. Outcomes included enhanced communication in the workplace and enhanced family enjoyment of learning. At the conclusion of the pilot, the company decided to continue B.O.O.K.S. with over 50 employees on a wait list for the next program.

For more information go to http://www.famlit.ca/resources/resources_pr.shtml where you will find downloadable resources on workplace family literacy

What do you think?