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Christmas Tree Fern Prints on Reusable Market Bags

Christmas Tree Fern Prints on Reusable Market Bags

My kids made these Christmas tree print reusable canvas market bags from pressed ferns two years ago for their grandparents and aunt. We noticed that ferns look a lot like Christmas trees so we saved and pressed some. Didn’t save any ferns? No problem! Fake ones will work just as well. Then, we simply placed our ferns on canvas bags and sprayed some fabric paint to create a negative print. We also flipped the sprayed ferns over and … 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, Ecology, Featured, History and Culture

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

Native American Comanche Tribe-Inspired Hair Pipe Breastplate Kids Craft

Native American Comanche Tribe-Inspired Hair Pipe Breastplate Kids Craft

My son made this craft breastplate inspired by the hair pipe breastplates of the Plains Indians, originally introduced by the Comanche native tribe. Every year, the kindergartners at my kids’ primary school dress up as tribal peoples (Native Americans / American Indians) or pilgrims for their Thanksgiving party. I look through some old photographs of native peoples in traditional dress with my kids and they decide what elements they want to recreate. My son was immediately … 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), Featured, History and Culture

Witches’ Hats Cookies

Witches’ Hats Cookies

I saw these adorable witch hat cookies on Pinterest but the link just led back to a photograph. As far as I can tell, the photo I saw originated from Explore. Dream. Discover. but I couldn’t track down any specific instructional post. We made these to go along with our chocolate pretzel bats for my daughter’s Halloween play date. I let the kids make them so they aren’t perfectly even but I still think they turned … Read entire article »

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

Jack O’ Lantern Ornaments for Halloween

Jack O’ Lantern Ornaments for Halloween

We made this easy craft with my daughter’s friends for a Halloween-themed play date.   No pictures of the process because there were lots of children there who aren’t mine…but it is very simple to do. Materials: clear, plastic ornaments (we got ours at Oriental Trading but many of the craft stores have them out for Christmas) permanent (“Sharpie”) markers orange filling (paper, feathers, beads, tulle, pom-poms, anything) green pipe cleaner (chenille stem) or curling ribbon fishing wire Directions: 1. Stuff your ornament with some … 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), Fall, Featured

9 Ways to Keep Calm and Do Homework

9 Ways to Keep Calm and Do Homework

My eldest is in second grade and my second child is a kindergartner. They love the school, the teacher, and their classmates. Homework, on the other hand, is quite the chore. After some tinkering, we learned to stop worrying and deal with (if not quite love) math homework. 1. Get involved: Parent participation seems to be especially important with mathematics homework. Studies have also shown a link between a father’s involvement and a daughter’s continued interest … Read entire article »

Filed under: Academic Achievement, Common Core, Homework

13 Tips for Photographing Nature #NGKInsider

13 Tips for Photographing Nature #NGKInsider

My eldest has a growing interest in photography, especially nature photography. As a National Geographic Kids Insider, I had a chance to listen in on a chat with photographer Kelley Miller talk about how to photograph animals. We also found out how we can be part of setting a Guinness World Record! First, here are some tips for photographing nature from Ms. Miller, illustrated with her photographs and a few of mine: 1. Be patient. 2. Practice … Read entire article »

Filed under: Art, Featured, Science, Sight

Literacy and Technology with LeVar Burton and @NGKids #NGKInsider

Literacy and Technology with LeVar Burton and @NGKids #NGKInsider

National Geographic Kids got me and some of my fellow “National Geographic Kids Insiders” on the phone with LeVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow, Star Trek, and many other initiatives and projects) to talk about literacy and technology. Before heading over to our chat, LeVar Burton was taking pictures of the National Geographic Beehive for the Great Nature Project–can’t wait to see his photos! When he arrived, he was charmingly enthusiastic to have bumped into Oceanographer and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Literacy, Technology

Daisy Girl Scout Crafts and Activities for Earning Petals

Daisy Girl Scout Crafts and Activities for Earning Petals

What are your favorite ideas for earning Daisy Girl Scout Petals? I led my daughter’s Daisy Troop the past two years, with lots of help from a co-leader and some other parents, and we had a great time! As a new leader, however, I often struggled with planning out the year and figuring out requirements. Through the help of the council website and Google, though, we managed to piece things together. Here is a list of … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Intrapersonal

Resilience and Academic Integrity at Monsters University #DisneySMMoms

Resilience and Academic Integrity at Monsters University #DisneySMMoms

When we were invited to a sneak-peek screening of Monsters University at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference, I was expecting an entertaining, perhaps even clever prequel to the fun Monsters, Inc. At most, I was worried that the college humor would go over the heads of my young kids. I was not expecting to have a conversation with my six year old about resilience and academic integrity. With Monsters University back in theaters for Labor … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drop-Out, Intrapersonal, Values Education