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Children love the responsibility of ongoing projects, diary projects make for wonderful activities that you can dip into a little bit each day. Diary projects are great for identifying slow change over long periods. Buy a little notebook or staple some sheets of paper into a booklet. Select your project and each day, once a week or every couple of weeks, make an observation on your project and have your child draw what they see or capture elements of what you are observing. Take photographs and stick them into your diary.
Here are some project ideas:-
- Plant a sunflower in a pot and observe it growing. After initial planting, it will be a few days before anything appears but when it does you'll observe daily change for several days. After the stem has unfolded from the seed, measure it each week and draw it in your project book.
- Plant cress seeds or mung beans in a little pot and grow them on a windowsill. These little plants grow very quickly and you can observe them each day. Draw what the plants look like and note how tall they are. You can even eat them at the end of the project!
- Watch the transition from winter to spring and into summer. Every two weeks draw a picture of the trees. At first they will be bare, then buds will appear, they will flower and at the same time, new leaves will start to grow.
- Monitor the weather, each day draw symbols to show what weather you are experiencing; is it rainy, sunny, cloudy, snowy? Is there a lot of wind? Is it hot or cold?
- Keep a note of birds frequenting your garden or park. Go out every few days and note down what birds you see. Talk about their colours and explain that this is how you can identify them. See how many different types of bird you can spot over the course of a few weeks.
- Make an activity diary, have your children draw pictures of the activities that they undertake. Draw any models that you make, draw a picture for days out, stick in pictures from brochures and so on.
- Learn a new letter, number or word each day. Write it in your diary and draw pictures to help remember the meaning.
Diaries offer a great way to sustain attention on slow changing things surrounding your children and give a sense of purpose that your children will simply love! You might run projects just for a week, or you might keep one going for months. There's no reason why you can't have lots of projects on the go at any one time - why not have a different project for each day of the week?!