Practicing shading with flower colouring pages

My daughter loves colouring in using abstract colours (eg flowers where every petal is a different colour) but lately she has been wanting to make her pictures more realistic.  We have been talking a lot about how objects are never one solid colour,  the petals on a flower are never the exact same colour all over, the leaves on a tree always have darker areas and lighter areas.  She was very eager to try some picture for herself.

I wanted to make sure that while she tried out the shading she was not distracted by trying to get her own drawings right so I thought using colouring pages would be better.  I also wanted to make sure the colouring pages where not too busy with extra details and that there was enough space for her to practice blending her colours together.  I eventually found these – Free to download Flower colouring pages from the Red Ted Art website and I think they are perfect for this type of exercise.  The flowers have a lovely realistic shape but they are not overcomplicated.

Before she started her picture we chatted about the colours and which area would probably be darker or lighter (at this stage we are not focusing on where the light source is coming from we are more working on using lighter and darker colours and how we can blend them.  The light source discussion will come once she is confident with this).  I showed her an example and explained how I slowly built the flower up with my colours.  Then she had a go with a sunflower.  She started working on the back petals first using a darker orange and brown and then different shades of orange on the front petals.

Learning how to shade pictures by building up colours using Free to download colouring pages

And her first attempt.

Sunflower colouring in picture from Red Ted Art website

I was so proud and she did not stop.  As she got more confident her colours also got stronger.

I have a strong feeling about using the colour black for shading, I personally think it is overused and can ruin pictures.  So I have purposely been showing my daughter how to use colours for shading instead of black.  With her sunflowers she used a brown to get the darker areas.

Using brown instead of black to create shade in sunflower pictures

Also Purple works surprising well for blue and red flowers.

Colouring in the Voilet colouring page free to download from the Red Ted Art website

And even the backgrounds are no longer just one colour.

Teaching my daughter how to shade by using a sunflower colouring in page from Red Ted Art

And the best part is now that she is seeing the results she wants to keep trying.  She is sitting with me searching for new colouring pages to try to colour realistically.   And I am sure that with time this new-found confidence will spill over onto her own drawings.

The colouring pencils that we use are these ones (from a sensory mom point of view we love these grips)            Faber-Castell Tin of 24 Colour GRIP 2001 pencils

Practicing shading using the Free to download flower pages from Red Ted Art

I have included an Affiliate link. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same.  I only include affiliate links for products that we own, use and love

Using Colours to build up a picture slowely to create a realistic image

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One of my home education essentials is my tablecloth

Yes you read the heading correctly.  A tablecloth.  When we first set out on this home education journey I made the rookie mistake of trying to buy a stack of educational goodies, I spent way too much, most of which we did not end up using all that much.  But what I have learnt over the 5 years we have been doing this – there are some home education essentials that are not “educational goodies” as such but they are just as important.  Making sure we all have Wellington’s through the year (including myself). There is nothing worse than being stuck indoors when it is wet and everyone needs to get out for a walk but you did not replace their wellington’s.  I have also come to realize that a good-quality wipe clean tablecloth in our house is just as important as the proper wellies.

One of our Home-ed essentials is a good quality wipe clean table cloth

We have a small four seater kitchen table that is used a lot.  We eat at the table, the kids use the table when we are baking, we do our art and crafts on the table, science experiments, messy play, anything really that requires a flat surface happens on our kitchen table.  Very early on (when my daughter was about one) I invested in a lovely wipe clean tablecloth from Next (the red with white spots in the photo above).  Seven years on and this tablecloth is still around.  It still looks good, it has not faded and there are no stains on it (and believe me the kids have tried), the only thing is some small burn marks courteously of a magnifying glass and sunlight.  But honestly 7 years and it still looks good on the table.

Last year I decided it was time to get another one (mainly because I wanted a change) but I was trying hard to save money so I bought a cheaper version from a different store.  After a few weeks I gave up and put my old trusty seven-year red tablecloth back on.  The cheaper version just did not wipe clean properly it was driving me mad as I was spend ages trying to scrub it clean.  I tried another one, again total waste of time.  Then my parents came to visit, my mom bought me one but just two weeks after she bought it for me it was stained (pasta sauce and no amount of scrubbing could get it out).  So yet again my 7-year-old tablecloth went back onto my kitchen table.  And I was by now a bit angry at myself.  Because the cost of the three cheaper tablecloths was more than me buying myself a nice new one.

So a few weeks ago when we were in a Next store looking for some kiddie stuff I wandered up into their home section (just to have a look at some picnic goodies).  And there right in front of me was a bunch of Next wipe clean table cloths in a variety of designs.  My hubbie noticed me eyeing them out and strongly suggested that it was time I stopped buying my cheaper tablecloths and instead buy a decent one that will last.  So I bought one and it only costs me £20 (Next Teal Geo PVC Tablecloth).

A good quality wipe clean table cloth is a must have home education item

So what do I think ?  I honestly have no idea if it will last seven years like my original Next one but it is much thicker and smoother than the cheaper versions I kept buying. So far pasta sauce has wiped off perfectly (as well as a bunch of other food), we have painted and crafted on it A LOT, we have done science experiments on it and already it is lasting better than my cheaper purchases.

Doing arts and crafts at our kitchen table

Plus if I am totally honest for this home-ed mom who spends a lot of time with the kids around our kitchen table it is nice to have a change in colour and pattern on our kitchen table.  And no I have not thrown my 7-year-old original Next tablecloth away, it is packed away because I do still like the red with white dots.

This post is just my personal frustrating experience of wasting money buying cheaper tablecloths. I was not asked to write this and all items mentioned in the post were purchased by members of my family.

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Snap Cubes verses Base Ten Set

I was recently asked if I had to choose between our Snap Cubes and our Base Ten set which one would I choose.  That is a really tough question.  We use both resources a LOT in our Maths activities but I will try to break down how we use each one and what my thought are on each set.

I will start with our snap cubes.  We bought the  Learning Resources Snap Cubes (Set of 100)-the 100 cubes are broken down into 10 cubes in 10 different colours.  This was one of the first Maths Resources that I bought for my daughter and we have been using it ever since.  I used our snap cubes with both my kids as a way of helping them learn their numbers. We did lots of match the correct number of snap cubes to the correct number type activity when they were little. (The photo below includes numbered dinosaurs which are free to download from Twink here – Numbers 0-20 on Dinosaurs)

Matching the correct number of snap cubes to the correct number on the Free to download Numbered Dinosaurs from Twinkl

We also used them as a way of creating pattens and (2 red followed by 1 green then 2 red and 1 green and what comes next ? – that type of activity)

Using our Learning Resources snap cubes to create patterns

And all types of basic maths like – number bonds, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, greater than and less than.  .

In fact both my kids use them on such a regular basis that our container of snap cubes stays semi permanently on their working area so they always know where it is.

Snap Cubes in a storage container stored on the kids desks for easy access

My only regret about the snap cubes is that I did not buy the bigger set (you can get a set of 500 – Learning Resources Snap Cubes (Set of 500)).  With hindsight I think this bigger set would have been a brilliant investment.  We could then use them for numbers / sums over 100 and the bigger set would be nice for my two as they like to work on activities together.

We bought our snap cube set for about £7 over four years ago and I have definitely got my money’s worth.  I really do think the snap cube set is great for younger kids who are learning numbers / basic sums.  They like the colours and the fact they can click the subes together to build numbers.

The Base Ten Set that I bought is just the straight forward basic starter set – Learning Resources Grooved Plastic Base Ten Starter Set.  I probably bought ours about two years ago and I can see us still using it for many years to come (definitely had our money’s worth in our household already).  The Base Ten set allows you to do everything you can do with the snap cubes except for the patterns and our set is all one colour (there is more colourful option available).  In my mind the base ten set is aimed at slightly older kids than the snap cubes as it allows the kids to work on numbers and sums that go into the thousands.  For me the BIG bonus is the visual representation of numbers.  The way a one, a ten, a hundred and a thousand are visually represented.  This was a massive thing for my daughter who is a very visual learner.

Learning Resources Base 10 set is a visual representation of numbers. Great for place value, addition, subtraction and much more

She does miss the tactile input she receives from using her snap cub set (she likes clicking the cubes together) but the visual way the base 10 set helps her understand larger numbers and sums has been a game changer for her.  Working on place value and understanding certain number relationships (like 4+5 = 9 so 44+5 is just 40 more) is so much easier when the kid can see it in front of them. (Photo below includes a place value card from Twinkl which is part of their paid for package)

Using our Base 10 set to work our place value of numbers

Having the Base 10 set in the house has given my daughter more independence when she is trying to work on maths problems as she is able to visually set out the problem and then figure out the answer for herself.

I personally think if you can not invest in both then it depends of what stage of Maths your kids are at.  If it is still basic understanding numbers/ patterns then snap cubes but if they are dealing with larger numbers than Base 10. I do think long-term both my kids will still be using our base 10 set for years to come whereas the snap cubes, my daughter is already not using them as much (but then we did get the set of 100 and not the set of 500 and I do think that makes a big difference is terms of how long the kids will use them for).

Snap Cubes verses Base 10 set. Which one is best for Maths?

This post is my personal opinion.  No-one asked me to write it.  Both the snap cube set and the Base Ten set were purchased by our family as maths resources for our children to use in their home-education.

I have included Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same.  I only include affiliate links for products that we own, use and love.

Using snap cubes verses using a base 10 set in Maths.  Which one is better suited

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100 Square sum activity

I like finding fun learning activities for my youngest to do while his older sister is busy with her learning activities. (Lately she has been asking for more and more activities so I am having to come up with extra activities for my youngest as he hates the thought of not doing something while big sister works.)  My youngest especially likes puzzle activities, finding patterns and number based ideas.  So I slightly adapted a number place value activity I did with my daughter a few years ago.  I am sure you have seen this 100 square number flap idea on Pinterest.  I have racked my brain trying to think of where I first saw it (probably 3 years ago) but I honestly can not think of who published this idea first.

100 square activity where children learn what one more, one less, ten more and ten less will be

My starting point was using the Free to download 100 square from Twinkl.(They have the squares in a bunch of different colours on the website).

Free to download 100 square from Twinkl. A must have resource for Maths activities

I wanted to make sure that the flaps all lined up correctly on the 100 square so I placed my page on top of the square and traced over to the get the exact sizes of the squares. Very quick and easy to do but in case anyone wants it here is my template.

100 square frame +1 -1 +10 -10

I created two basic sheets for him, one with +1, -1, +10 and -10 on it and one with +2, -2, +20 and -20 on it.  And just for fun I printed the templates onto some colour paper and then cut out the main square and cut along the dotted lines to create the flaps.

Then I left then on his desk and next time his sister was sitting down working he started playing around with the flaps and the number square pages.  He naturally started creating his own sums and with a little bit of encouragement actually wrote a bunch out.

Working out his own sums using a 100 square and a home-made number flap

It really is so quick to cut out and it ended up being a fun way of practicing some sums while his sister worked in one of her books.

Working out sums with -2,+2,-20,+20 using a 100 square

100 square and home-made flap to work out basic sums

 

Creating sums using a 100 square and a home-made flap

 

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Addition and Subtraction Workbooks

My daughter has been working through two maths workbooks which are helping to build her “maths confidence” so I thought I write a post about them.  I purchased both maths books a few weeks ago hoping that would be good practice books for her and they have been just what she needed. Both books are written for Key Stage 2 ages (in the UK that is school years 3 – 6 ) they are the  Written Calculation Addition (series of 6): Key Stage 2, ages 7-11 (Answer book also available)  and Written Calculation Subtraction (Series of 6): Key Stage 2, ages 7-11 (Answer book also available).

Schofield&Sims Written Calculatio Books for Addition and Subtraction aimed at Key Stage 2 ages (school years 3 to 6)

The two books are written in the same format (both workbooks are 47 pages long).  The first double page starts with basic column addition / or subtraction where there is no carrying or exchanging and then each double page after that builds on bit by bit until the kids are adding and subtracting with decimal points.

Each double page starts with a brief explanation of how the kids should work through the sums.  I think this is one of the reasons why my daughter is enjoying these books.  She reads the explanation herself and then works through the pages, totally independently.  The explanations are set out in 3 or 4 steps and the terminology used is always easy to understand.

What To Do is at the Top of each page in the Written Calculation books by Schofield & Sims

Then immediately after the explanations there are some straight forward examples which the kids work through.

Onto the second part of the double page and there are more examples and then some problem solving / story sum applications. I personally really like the inclusion of the story sums as it allows the kids to see a practical application of what they have just practiced and it is an excellent way of ensuring they understand what they are doing.

Schofield&Sims Written Calculation Books include Problem solving or story sum examples in every section

Both books gradually build on the previous pages. The addition book starts with 2 digit-addition no carrying then 3-digit addition no carrying and then slowly introduces carrying numbers by breaking it down into 3-digit carrying 1 ten, 3-digit carrying 1 hundred, 3-digit carrying once and 3 digit addition of 3 numbers carrying once and then it goes onto 4-digit addition again working up slowly. So it really is built up gradually and gives the kids lots of practice.  I personally think these books are great for ensuring the kids master the column method of addition and subtraction.

Written Calculation addition book by Schofield &Sims includes 5-digit addition

The books also contains three “check-up tests” – which is really just revision pages and then a “final test”.  We treat these test pages as just normal practice pages.

My daughter is going through the addition book very quickly as she has already done most of it before.  But it is great practice for her and she is doing it totally independently.  The subtraction book is taking more time because she is just not as confident with her subtraction as she is with addition  But in both cases I think each of these books have been worth the £3.50 I paid for them.

Schofield& Sims Written Calculation books include lots of examples

The Written calculation range also includes two multiplication books and two division books.  Once we have finished our subtraction book and worked through some fraction addition activities we will probably order the multiplication and division books and test those out.

I have included Affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product, I will be paid a very small commission, however your cost will remain the same.  I only include affiliate links for products that we own, use and love.

 

 

 

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