Last week's tool was a tad on the pricey side, but you can’t get much simpler than this week’s tool: a piece of paper. So grab some paper (it doesn’t have to be plain, some scraps from present wrapping will do) and try some of these ideas.
Symmetry- Draw or copy several shapes on to a piece of paper, some symmetrical and some not. Have your child cut each shape out. Check symmetry by folding each shape in half.
Fractions, division and multiplication- Have your child take a piece of paper and fold it in half, creasing it, then open it and show her how she has divided it into 2 halves. Have her refold, then fold it in half again and show your child how she has now been divided it into quarters. And so on. Demonstrate how each time she folds it she’s multiplying by 2. How many times can she fold the paper in half?
Forms- You may want to use cardstock for this one. Create forms (start with a cube) by figuring out together how to draw the faces of the form so they will fit together after cutting it out and folding it (there are actually plenty of templates for doing this online-but measuring it out and designing it with your child will be an exercise in abstract reasoning and logic).
Aerodynamics and engineering(or making paper airplanes)-Fold some paper airplanes. See if you can determine what characteristics will give them the best lift, distance, etc. Experiment with different folds, different types of paper and test your airplanes. Here’s an online resource to help you out.
Origami- You can use special paper for this, but there’s no reason you can’t try it with plain paper, just cut it into squares. Origami Club is an awesome site with diagrams and animations to show you how to fold hundreds of figures.
Collage- Create a picture by tearing bits of paper in different colors and gluing them onto a base sheet. You can investigate texture and interesting color effects.
Paper dolls- These can be a great hands-on addition to any history or country study. While there are some free paper dolls available online, you can also create your own. Or use a plain doll and have your child make her own clothes for it based on what you are studying. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to tape the doll to a window and then put a piece of paper over it (you’ll be able to see the doll through the paper). Then your child will be able to draw the outfit by tracing the doll’s body. Be sure to draw tabs.
Do you have a way to use a common tool for uncommon learning? To participate in the meme, please sign MckLinky with your post for Tuesday's Toolbox. Be sure to link back to this post so your readers can check out other ideas. And if you’re just joining us, you can find last week’s Toolbox here.