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German Straw Star Ornaments

German Straw Star Ornaments

Every year, we make ornaments for teachers, friends, and family. Last year, my children made traditional German Star Ornaments, called Strohsterne. I first spotted these stars at a neighbor’s during trick or treating and I found out that you can order a straw star kit with straw, a 6-strand straw splitter, a placement ring, and instructions.   We bought Kit 1 (I have received no product or other compensation for this post) and made some beautiful stars. However, … Read entire article »

Filed under: 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Visual-Spacial

Sharpie Fireworks T-Shirt

Sharpie Fireworks T-Shirt

My friend, Athena, hosted an awesome craft group this afternoon. The girls made fireworks t-shirts and I know my son is going to want to make one, too. Materials: t-shirt Sharpie (permanent) markers rubbing alcohol medicine dropper cardboard Directions: 1. Place cardboard in between the layers of the t-shirt. Make dots with your sharpie marker in a circle shape. 2. Use the dropper to drop rubbing alcohol into the center of the design. The marker will spread. 3. Experiment with concentric circles of dots, dashes, … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Art, Featured, History and Culture, Home Arts, Science, Summer, Visual-Spacial

Just Make Art: Oil Pastel Resist

Just Make Art: Oil Pastel Resist

Despite how it might appear from my blog, most of our time at home is spent playing. And most of our art-making is very open-ended. I might put out certain materials, demonstrate a technique, but from there it is all up to the kids and their own inspiration and creativity. One of my kids favorite things to do is to paint with watercolors. And they love making crayon resists. When the nice people at CraftProjectIdeas.com sent … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Art, Featured, Science, Visual-Spacial

Teaching Two-Digit Addition with Regrouping

Teaching Two-Digit Addition with Regrouping

My daughter just moved on to two digit addition with regrouping (that’s “carrying” for us old folks). Since a dime conveniently equals 10 pennies, I thought we could use coins to make the concept more concrete. We start with the basic concept that each penny is one cent and that each dime is ten cents so one dime is equivalent to ten pennies. Next, I write out a two-digit addition problem that will require regrouping (the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Visual-Spacial

5 Picture Books About Rainbows

5 Picture Books About Rainbows

Who doesn’t love a rainbow? They are colorful, magical, and full of hope! Rainbows are a bridge into other times and cultures, science, color theory, and so much more! Here are a few children’s picture books about rainbows to get you started on your journey! What Makes A Rainbow?, by Betty Ann Schwartz; illustrated by Dona Turner (ages 0-3): In this cute tale, a young bunny asks his colorful friends what makes a rainbow. With each turn … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Science, Sight, Spring, Visual-Spacial, Weather

Candy Heart Bar Graph

Candy Heart Bar Graph

Still have candy left over after dissolving it in hot or cold water? If you have M&Ms, Skittles, or Conversation Hearts, here is another way to use them up and learn. Directions: 1. Create a grid with columns for the numbers and each color of the candy and 11 rows. Write the numbers 1-10 in the first column (skipping the first row) and then write the colors in the bottom row for each column. My daughter was … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Visual-Spacial

The Sun, Earth, and Moon

The Sun, Earth, and Moon

I do a brief demonstration with my kids of how the earth rotates on its axis to create night and day, how the Earth orbits the sun over the course of the year, and how the moon orbits the Earth, creating the phases of the moon. My youngest son got to be the Sun, since babies are at the center of attention and he did not need to move for this role. Sometimes, I use a flashlight … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt Hike in the Woods

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt Hike in the Woods

Can you find all the colors of the rainbow in the woods? We go on hikes and nature walks almost every weekend and love to find ways to keep things fresh for the kids. A themed scavenger hunt can turn your walk in the forest into a learning adventure. With younger kids, you can begin by looking for a rainbow. Red Trail Marker Red Fire Thorn Berries Orange Mushrooms Orange Lilies Yellow Black-Eyed Susans (plus Violet Cone Flowers) All the greenery that … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Ecology, Featured, Sight, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

#SmartSummer Week 2 Government Linky

#SmartSummer Week 2 Government Linky

Show us how you’re having a Smart Summer! I had highlighted posts from the previous week’s linky to but for clarity’s sake, I’ve moved the round-ups to their own posts: Me on the Map Round-Up Government, Patriotism, and Currency Round-Up I’ve been sharing my family’s Smart Summer activities this week for our Government theme: exercising our democratic right to vote for our favorite ice cream flavor, skip counting coins, We’re also planning on making statue of liberty headbands, finding out … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Featured, Geography, History and Culture, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Me on the Map #SmartSummer

Me on the Map #SmartSummer

Although we finished up the Me on the Map theme last week, we had one more activity we wanted to do.  This is a nice transition into our theme for this week: government. The concept behind this activity is to show the child expanding zones.  We begin with the child and the family and then move to the community, the world, and beyond, giving the child a sense of her role in society and her place … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Geography, History and Culture, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial