Books, Learning Through Play

Why Do Snails Leave a Silvery Trail? Why Do Whales Get Stranded?

: The Snail and the Whale : The Stranded Whale : The Mystery of Whale Strandings :

As I was walking younger GEM towards her school gate one wet morning, I saw a snail slithering up the side wall leaving a slimy trial behind and I immediately thought of “The Snail and the Whale”. The both of us stood there for a good ten minutes watching the snail in action and I told younger GEM we will read the book together after school that day.

After reading “The Snail and the Whale” with younger GEM that afternoon, we got down to “creating” some snails using Spielgaben and a whale with LEGO!

So why do snails leave a trial? Snails produce mucus to help them stay wet and avoid drying out. The mucus enable the snails to stick to things and to move more efficiently, leaving a trail behind. I found a short, informative and easy to understand video for the girls to help with the explanation. 

While the story of “The Snail and the Whale” needs no introduction for older GEM, I got her to research on whale strandings. “The Mystery of Whale Strandings” borrowed from the library was her main source of information. Check out the video below as she summarised her findings on why whales get stranded and how we can help!

Experiencing God, Learning Through Play

Creation by Days with Spielgaben

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)

We began our study on the book of Genesis with the story of creation. There are many ways to approach the story of creation with young kids. What better way than to bring our kids outdoors and experience God’s creation firsthand. However, just this approach can be overwhelming for the young minds. Younger GEM and I spent a couple weeks to run through the six days of creation; reinforcing through craft and play using Spielgaben. We looked at the process of how God created the world, how it was carefully planned from the atmospheric elements to vegetation to lifeforms.     

Other than using the playboards or story mats provided with the Spielgaben set as a base for play, I prefer to use alternatives such as mirrors, gym coloured markers or by creating your own!

Using Spielgaben 3-6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 we built scenes of creation from day one to six.  

Day 1 – Light (Genesis 1:3-5)

First day of creation and it was light. Just like how Jesus came to be the light of the world (When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12). We used Spielgaben 8 – Sticks to spell “LIGHT” using a mirror base. 

Day 2 – Sky and sea (Genesis 1:6-8)

We created our sky and sea background canvas by painting the Ikea roll of drawing paper. Light blue for the sky and a darker shade for the sea. This story mat will also be used for activities for day 3, 5 and 6.

Using Spielgaben 9, semi-rings to create waves. For the clouds, we used Spielgaben 7. Younger GEM enjoyed the process of creating funky shapes for the clouds. While it doesn’t appear to look like clouds to me, it certainly did for her! Her favourite was the rocket! Are you able to spot it?

Day 3 – Land, plants and trees (Genesis 1:9-13)

Using the same canvas as day 2, we painted the bottom right, brown, for land. We planted some flowers and her favourite apple tree using Spielgaben 7 and 8. We followed the Spielgaben guide for the flowers and apple tree. It was challenging for younger GEM to follow the guide so I had to assist her. For example, dissecting the “apple tree” by identifying the different parts that made up the tree and rote count the parts while looking for them in the respective drawers. Use your intuition on how much help your child needs.   

Day 4 – Sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:14-19)

We used a piece of drawing paper to create the day and night sky as our backdrop. Dividing the piece of drawing paper diagonally in half, younger GEM painted light blue (day) and black (night) on each half. 

We used Spielgaben 7 and 10 to create shapes for the sun, moon and stars. 

Younger GEM used a square piece for the centre of her sun initially and she decided it did not look quite like the sun and swap it for a circle. Let your child take their time and decide, let them think and rationalise for themselves. You will see they them delight in their accomplishments. 

Day 5 – Sea and flying creatures (Genesis 1:20-23)

Scrolling through the Spielgaben user guide, younger GEM picked the sea otter (sea creature) and seagull (flying creature) to represent each of the two categories of animals.

Day 6 – Land animals, man (Genesis 1:24-31)

Again, using the Speigaben guide, younger GEM chose the bear to represent land animals. The bear mainly uses Spielgaben 3-6. Spielgaben 7 for the ears and 10 for facial features. She exclaimed that the bear was the easiest compared to the otter and seagull. Indeed, she could execute the task with minimal help since the parts (Spielgaben 3-6) used were 3D; much easier for her to handle.

Finally, God created man, which He claimed was “very good”. We added stickmen to represent Adam and Eve on our story mat. 

At the same time, we used Spielgaben 7, 8, 9 & 10 and gym coloured markers, to form the faces of Adam and Eve. Each of the family members made our attempts!