We have officially reached the halfway point of 2017. I can’t quite believe it, but it’s true – this year is half over. In fact, last Sunday, July 2nd was the halfway point, the 183rd day of the year. So let’s take the theme of ‘celebrating halves’ to create a bit of learning fun.
Now the older we get the more we feel you should take any opportunity to celebrate anything, so we thought we might celebrate this halfway point and give you:
Ten Ways to Celebrate Halves:
- Half Party – gather a selection of foods (fruit, sandwiches and sushi rolls all work well) and cut or divide each item in half. Then share the food evenly between two people.
This is a great way of developing knowledge of simple fractions and the need for fraction pieces to be equal in size.
- Half an Hour of Peace – everyone in the family selects a quiet activity; it might be reading a book, drawing or colouring a picture, playing cards, or anything else that is quiet and peaceful. Get yourselves organised and start the clock – you must all continue your activity for half an hour.
This is an effective way of developing, in younger children, a concept of time. “In half an hour” is a phrase we probably say quite a lot, but with this simple activity, they get to experience what that actually means.
- Half the Time – time yourself completing a task; it might be, setting the table for dinner, making the beds, getting ready for school, putting out the rubbish bins – anything you like. Once you have timed yourself and recorded your time, see if you can complete the activity again in half the time! What might you need to do differently to be that much faster?
Another activity that develops concepts of time, as well as the recording of time, using a stopwatch or timer. With this activity, children will be extremely focussed on ‘seconds’ and will develop an understanding of the relationship between seconds and minutes.
- Half Run – instead of running a Half Marathon, just run halfway around a local running track. Talk about the distance around the track and what half of that will be. You can then time the run and even work out the pace, as a distance per hour.
This is terrific for getting a bit of exercise, whilst at the same time, consolidating ideas of time and measurement. Through this activity, elements of everyday life (such as speed limit signs) become less abstract. You could even compare running times to that of athletes, and you could use the recorded times to set running goals and targets to work towards.
- Halfway – work out the exact halfway point between your house and your school, or the local park, or a friend’s house. You will need to measure the whole distance and then work out where the halfway point is. Take a piece of chalk and leave a mark at halfway.
This activity places measurement in a real-world situation and allows children to experience measurement of metres as opposed to the centimetres measured with a ruler. Problem solving will also be developed, as you work out exactly how to measure the total distance and how to calculate the halfway point.
- Half a Book – read half a book (a picture story book would be perfect) and then write the second half yourself. Make sure it is a book you have not read before and make sure you stop exactly halfway through.
This activity develops basic comprehension and story writing ability, as well as the understanding of the structure of a narrative. Depending on where the halfway point is, children will need to decide which story elements (introduction, problem, resolution, conclusion) need to be written by them. They will also need to focus in on the detail of the story, such as characters, tone and the written point of view – is it written in first person, or third person? Is it a funny story or a sad story? Etc.
- Letter Halves – Write a letter to someone, using only half the letters in each word. For example, if you were writing ‘Dear Finn’, you would write: ‘De Fi’. If the word you are writing has an odd number of letters, you will need to write just half of the middle letter. When you have finished your letter, give it to the person you have written it for and see if they can figure out what you were trying to say!
This activity not only develops understanding of the structure of a written letter, but is also terrific for spelling practise. Children need to concentrate on the letters within a word, in order for them to write only half of these letters. The activity is also a fun way to practise handwriting.
- Picture Halves – practise your symmetry with this drawing activity. Find a partner and each of you draws half a picture for the other. Make sure it is something that should be the same on both sides (a person, a house, a butterfly, a tree etc.). When you have both drawn your picture halves, swap, and complete the other half of each picture. Make sure you focus on the detail and try to make your half an exact mirror image of their half.
This activity consolidates understanding of symmetry and also develops observation and drawing skills.
- Half a Minute – using various modes of travel (walking, running, skipping, crawling etc.) measure how far you can travel in half a minute.
Another great time and measurement activity, that also promotes a bit of healthy movement.
- Half a Song – make a list of all the songs that have the word ‘half’ in the title. Before you do any research, see if you can think of any yourself. Once you have a list of ten or more, try listening to some and finding one you like. You might even find a copy of the full song and prepare a lip-sync performance as a finale for the Half Celebration!
This activity develops simple research skills, and the knowledge of different genres of music. If your child chooses to participate in the lip-sync, presentation and performance skills are also developed.
Do you have any other ideas for celebrating halves? It would be brilliant if you could share them with us!
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