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How Sweet it Is: Maple Sugaring

How Sweet it Is: Maple Sugaring

Each year we visit a local family farm for their Maple Sugaring demonstration. What a hands-on (and tasty) way to learn about Native American and Colonial culture and history, chemistry, the weather, and ecology! We followed the maple sugaring process from start to finish. First, we learned a bit about the sugar maple (which is so important that New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia share it as their state tree). Farmer Bob gave a talk on how … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), All Ages, Bodily-kinesthetic, Ecology, Featured, History and Culture, Home Arts, Logical-Mathematical, Science, Spring, Taste, Weather, Winter

How to Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

How to Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

My daughter first made cinnamon applesauce ornaments in her preschool class and I was just so fascinated by them! I couldn’t believe that cinnamon and applesauce together would dry solid and sturdy enough and that the applesauce would not attract pests. Spices are natural preservatives and pest repellents, as I know from our apple pomanders and the dough does indeed dry solid but you need to give it time. Materials: Applesauce Cinnamon Cookie Cutters Embellishments Directions 1. Mix equal parts applesauce and cinnamon. … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Home Arts, Smell, Touch, Winter

How to Make Banana Ghosts (or “Learn from my #CraftFail”)

How to Make Banana Ghosts (or “Learn from my #CraftFail”)

Last week, I promised the kids we would make Banana Ghosts. I bought my white chocolate and bananas and chocolate chips. I cannot recall where I first saw them but I had made chocolate covered fruit and pretzels before and so I did not do any research before diving in. Big mistake. At least you can learn from my #craftfail because at the end I will tell you what finally worked! I am not particularly crafty. No, really. … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Home Arts, Taste

Is It Okay to Use a Craft Kit?

Is It Okay to Use a Craft Kit?

One of the best gifts we can give our children is our time.  Quality time spent with our children, engaging in fun, interactive activities, boosts their self-esteem and encourages their creativity. I have had moms quietly whisper to me, “I used a craft kit…is that okay?” Well, that depends… is your goal to enjoy an activity with your child or is it to improve your own bargain shopping, cutting, and gluing skills? I kid. I think we all agree … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Art, Featured, Science, Sight

Shaving Cream Pumpkin Art

Shaving Cream Pumpkin Art

My children have been asking me when we could do shaving cream art again. The tactile experience helps build learning and the kids have a ton of fun playing with paint and shaving cream. So, we made shaving cream pumpkins! Materials: posterboard foaming shaving cream paints (Halloween colors) 1. We traced and cut-out a pumpkin shape from poster board. 2. Then I poured foaming shaving cream and some paints (mostly orange with a little green and purple) into a flat-bottom container.  … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), Art, Bodily-kinesthetic, Fall, Featured, Touch

Criss Cross Applesauce

Criss Cross Applesauce

We went apple-picking and have two pecks of apples–and now the kids know what we mean when we sing “a bushel and a peck”? So, we made some applesauce and I think we’ll make baked apples and apple crumble and possibly some apple muffins. This is a great addition to our study of apples as well as a prelude to the (very basic) colonial lifeways studies we do in November. I need to get a canner, though, so … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Fall, Featured, Home Arts, Taste

Dinosaur Fossil Imprints in Salt Dough

Dinosaur Fossil Imprints in Salt Dough

We have a lot of plastic dinosaur figurines from our visits to the American Museum of Natural History and we enjoy trying to classify them. For our most recent project, we turned them into dinosaur fossil ornaments. Materials: 1 cup flour 1/2 cup salt 1 tsp instant coffee 1/2 cup water plastic dinosaur figurines a little oil (any kind) ribbon (for hanging the ornament) Directions 1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in all of the dry ingredients. (We used 2 tablespoons of coffee and I … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Science, Touch

Mathematics Beach Party!

Mathematics Beach Party!

Beaches, water tables, sprinklers, the sink, the bath–if it involves water and getting soaking wet, it is sure to be a hit with young children…especially during the hottest days of summer! We were off to the beach yesterday and while the kids built sandcastles, waded in the water, and floated in an inflatable raft our friends brought along, I threw in a little math and science. Which molds better? Wet sand or dry sand? Interesting! The water helps … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Science, Summer, Touch

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

F is for Flowers

F is for Flowers

Earlier in the spring, we learned about rain and the water cycle and about the plant life cycle.  Then, once our flowers bloomed, we explored our garden. We dissected flowers, pressed flowers, made daffodil flower crafts out of cardboard toilet paper tubes, and we also practiced writing using flower petals. As with most of our “letter of the week” crafts, I modify it to include writing the whole word for my daughter, who is in … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Ecology, Featured, Literacy, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Smell, Spring, Summer, Taste