Tag Archives: repurposed

Getting Ready!

Young Sprout (my grandson) is about to start kindergarten and is enrolled in distance education, meaning that my daughter Umm Sprout will be his main instructor with curriculum, supplies and guidance from a teacher.  Much is supplied through the program but we need to get a few things together ourselves (nothing like the regular back to school shopping I had to do when my two were in school though).

One thing is to provide the child with what the parents guide calls a Beautiful Junk Box to be stocked with egg cartons, cores from paper towels, boxes, clamshells from salad, etc. to enable the student to get creative and make models and do crafts on her or his own.

I found a good sized extra sturdy box in my storage locker


but it needed some oomph.


contact paper to the rescue!

And it’s already partly stocked with cores, boxes  and cheap ribbon, which I just happened to have on hand.  I have ideas of other stuff to put in that is already here but should consult with Umm Sprout first.  Am also planning to label the box using an 8-1/2 by 11 inch mailing label.  Again, I want to consult with my daughter as to what she wants it to say.  I’m excited but don’t want to over involve myself and suck all the fun out of it for everyone else.

Apparently they also need a box for math manipulatives but I just happen to have shoeboxes available which are probably a good size, and enough left over contact paper to do a coordinated cover.

Interestingly I phoned around before setting out to buy the paper and a deservedly famous local hardware store had the big box store prices well beat!


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Filed under Art, Math, organization

Real Arabic numbers

Although our Western system of numbers is sometimes called “Arabic numbers” to distinguish from Roman numerals, in the Arabic language the numbers are written like this.  In the picture the numbers from 1 through 6 are on top from right to left (the way Arabic is written) and 7 through 10 are on the bottom.  This is actually a repurposed ice cube tray and will be used for number games.

This idea was adapted from A Muslim Child is Born, whose thoughtful and informative posts have terrific ideas for everyone.


The Arabs brought the numbers from India and introduced the zero symbol, which was a huge advance in thinking, simplifying math and making arithmetic possible for everyone.  With Roman numerals anything more sophisticated than using them for counting or labeling must have been the province of the super smart.  Quick, what’s XX minus VII?  Why XIII of course!  Dr. Jim Al-Khalili explains it all much better than I can in Science & Islam, which you can watch here:

Currently I’m working on matching as pre-counting, particularly five because it’s useful to understand that everyone has the same number of fingers.  So whenever we read Curious George and the Dump Truck, we put a finger on each of the five ducklings.

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Filed under Math