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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Math Toolbox

Next year, we'll be starting Kindergarten with Dragonfly.  I made this math toolbox to help us prepare for her math needs.  As a bonus, I even used a toolbox that we already owned!  The box is filled with manipulatives to make math concepts easier to grasp.  Your toolbox may have different needs depending on your curriculum, etc, but here's what we put in ours.

Cuisenaire Rods (aka C-rods) in a "small group" pack, which I'm hoping will give us enough pieces to work all the math concepts that we might ever need (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, square root, fractions, etc).  If not, we can buy more (wink).  I'm also planning on using the blocks for base-10 blocks, adding a 10x10cm squares for the 100 block and 10x10x10cm cubes for the 1000 blocks.  We'll have to add those later.

Plastic 3D Shapes for learning geometry.  I honestly got these out of the box and everything I had struggled to understand about geometry made sense to me instantly.  Like why the volume of a cylinder (which I still can't spell) is the area of a circle times the height.  I'm hoping to give our kids everything that I wanted to have when I was doing math (like objects they can hold in their hands).

Ticonderoga Pencils, which are supposed to be the best pencils you can buy.  I threw in one just so that we'd have it if we needed it.  And a Wood Ruler for measuring items, drawing straight lines, etc.

Disk Counters, which can be used for counting and patterning.

It makes me so happy to see this completed toolbox.  I hope this inspires you to make your own math toolbox.  What would you include?  Add your comment below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Travel Time Tuesday- Cheap and Easy Chalkboards

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Today's Travel Time Tuesday idea is not very original.  You don't have to look very long on Pinterest before you see a dollar store cookie sheet used as a lapboard in the car.  After studying all the options, I've come up with my own version.

As you can see, the big difference in my boards and the ones you'll find on Pinterest is the addition of the duct tape.  The green, pink, and blue borders correspond to my kids "assigned" colors.  The other difference is that the chalkboard part of the boards is made out of contact paper.  The boards, duct tape, and chalkboard paper were pretty cheap, and I still have duct tape and contact paper left for future projects.  The contact paper was very easy to cut and place on the board, and the duct tape should make it a little less appealing for picking (hopefully).  I really like the look of them- so cheery and fun.  I still need to add a chalk holder.

Wrap-Up of March Travel Time Tuesday Posts:
- Amazon Wish List (Road Trip Edition)
- Pizza Pretend Play and Count Activity
- Car Busy Bag
- Pirate Maps
- Cheap and Easy Chalkboards

Saturday, March 26, 2016

R is for Resurrection (year 2, week 29)

You can read about what we did last year for Holy Week here.

This week, we didn't do anything.  I looked into homeschool curriculum for next year (Dragonfly will be starting Kindergarten), and I talked to another homeschool mom about what works for her.  I did a lot of research about homeschooling schedules and techniques.  The kids played outside and continued learning how to ride their bikes (we bought a bike this week, too).  We went to the park one time this week, and had a playdate a different day.  It was a good week.  To see what we could have been doing, check out my lists below:

- resurrection spelling words
- spring color gradient work
- resurrection opposites 3-part cards
- Easter preschool printable pack
- Easter blessings preschool printable pack
- preschool resurrection printables
- hummingbird counting cards
- resurrection eggs 3-part cards
- 40 days of Lent "Jesus Tree" Devotionals
- Messianic Passover lapbook

- Easter spelling words in cups
- Easter sensory bin
- resurrection sensory bin
- hands-on Holy Week
- resurrection rolls
- Holy Week prayer table

Follow In Our Pond's board "R is for Resurrection" on Pinterest.

Friday, March 25, 2016

New York City 3-part Picture Cards

FREE 3-Part Cards for Safari Ltd New York City Toob from In Our Pond
I've been planning on doing a few more Safari Toob cards, and this is the first one- New York City.  The Safari Toob comes with 8 figures, for which I've made matching cards.  Print two copies to make traditional Montessori 3-part cards.  Please visit again soon for more toob printables.

To download the card, click here.

FREE 3-Part Cards for Safari Ltd New York City Toob from In Our Pond

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Travel Time Tuesday- Pirate Maps

Arrrg!  It's a pirate's life for me!  For today's Travel Time Tuesday, I'm showing off my felt pirate map for small world play.  The map water sections were cut freehand, as were the other blobs of landscaping.  A felt letter sticker marks the spot of the treasure.  I had a lot of fun randomly marking out the path to the treasure and cutting out the "tear" marks on the edging.  The entire map is backed with a plain piece of tan felt, which is blanket-stitched to the map.  On one edge, I added a long piece of black ribbon for tying the map closed.  I plan on pairing the map with a "toob" of Safari Ltd pirates (found for 50% off at Jo-Ann Fabric).   We love Safari Toobs, so I know the kids will be excited about the new addition to their collection.

Felt Pirate Map from In Our Pond

Saturday, March 19, 2016

D is for Desert (year 2, week 28)

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We started our week with a family movie night.  The kids saw Princess Bride for the first time.  They liked it (although they were a bit young to follow the plot).  Fortunately, some parts of the movie were perfect for family nap time.

Pie Day
- felt circle fractions
- Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi
- Sir Cumference and the First Round Table
- Pi Explained in 3.14 minutes
- Pi Day song

And we made some apple pies!
This was Dragonfly's first time cutting with a real knife.  I was right next to her the whole time.  She was very conscience of the danger and was very careful.  She did awesome!

We introduced the topic of "deserts" today with a Wild Kratts episode and a bit of discussion about what a desert is like.  Dragonfly offered that the desert was hot, sandy, and full of snakes.

This is our "socialization day" with Bible study in the morning.  By the time naps are over, the kids are ready for some unstructured play time.

We had sunshine today!  We spent most of the day outside, even though it was probably fifty degrees.  We explored our new yard, moved some things around to make a play area for the kids, and got a couple pots ready for planting.  The kids and I also talked about where our fun outdoor activities are going to go around the yard and what things we'd like to grow this summer.  It was very satisfying to be outside, soaking up the vitamin D and moving our muscles.

The kids also enjoyed showing me the skills they've been working on outside.  Dragonfly has figured out how to pedal her bike, and Skimmer is also trying to learn the mechanics of bike riding.  We're going to get him a regular bike soon, but he's been enjoying his balance bike so much.  Tadpole is ready for the balance bike, which will mean that all the kids can ride together.  He (T) was also showing me how brave he's gotten this spring, whether walking on the balance beam or jumping off the bottom step.  I love seeing how much the kids are growing.

My goal today was to actually focus on the desert!  Fridays are interesting because my husband often has works only a half day.  We didn't do it.  I really need to get a library card and get back into the habit of checking out good books.

Instead, we had a family day and went to the park!  Even after we got home, we played outside some more.  It was a great day, but not very "desert-themed."

- cattle drive game
- desert 3-part cards for Safari desert toob
-  mini matching cards for the Safari desert toob
- cowboy counting cards
- life cycle of a snake
- desert themed writing cards
- lots of Oregon Trail printables
- desert preschool printables
- wild west preschool printables
- cowboy preschool printables
- wild west math printables
- wild west literacy printables
- Oregon Trail lapbook
- cattle round up literacy clip cards

- desert writing tray
- panning for gold
- cactus experiment
- desert sensory bin
- pioneer activities

- desert animal adaptations
- coyote information video
- sidewinder rattlesnake
- roadrunner running
- exploring American desert animals
- wildlife of the American southwest

Follow In Our Pond's board "D is for Desert" on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Travel Time Tuesday- Car Busy Bag

Last Tuesday, I started a new series called "Travel Time Tuesday," where I'm planning to document all the preparations we're making for our summer road trip.  Today's TTT is going to be very simple.  This car busy bag is specifically for Tadpole (2.5), but will probably be coveted and enjoyed by Skimmer as well.  The beauty of this busy bag is that it's all assembly and no crafting, so anyone can do it.

Last year, I bought a box of Jurassic World matchbox cars on clearance.  The box had five "adventure-themed" cars in it.  I horded the cars, not sure when I was going to use them.  Then, this week, I found a car-themed pencil bag on clearance.  It was the perfect size to hold all five cars.  I know Tadpole will enjoy zipping and unzipping the bag, taking the cars in and out, and playing with them in the car and hotels.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day! Felt Circle Fractions (pattern)

Pi Day!  Felt Circle Fractions Pattern from In Our Pond
Today is the third month and the fourteenth day so that makes it Pi Day.  We're a geek family and this is one of our favorite holidays.  All weekend, I've been working on some felt circles for fraction work.  Dragonfly surprised me by knowing that one whole circle divided into "half" then makes "two pieces."  I'm looking forward to playing with these circles today with the kids.

Pi Day!  Felt Circle Fractions Pattern from In Our Pond

Pi Day!  Felt Circle Fractions Pattern from In Our PondHow to Make Felt Fraction Pies

1- Print the free pattern!

2- Follow the directions on the pattern.

3- Sew the pieces for stability.

4- Start playing!

Friday, March 11, 2016

F is for Food (year 2, week 27)

Here's what we did this week:

The kids loved making their own pbj sandwiches!  They did a great job at it too!  The best part was that they got to eat them when they finished.

Dragonfly is in the middle of the "helper" stage.  Here, she is using the cloth to pick up food from the floor and then shaking it out on a plate to be dumped in the garbage.

The kids found a favorite snack this week- dried cranberries and peanuts.  One of them called it "a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my mouth."  The kids also tried almonds for the first time this week.  I'm excited to add these to our snack rotation and plan on bringing them on our road trip.

- grocery count and clip
- food worksheets (same/different)
- food worksheets (quantity comparisons)
- recipe book for kids ($)
- picture recipes ($)
- money counting cards
- alphabetizing foods cards
- where food comes from cards
- ingredients that equal meals cards

- coins in the piggy bank
- felt pizza
- bread making experiment
- chocolate science
- where in the world does our fruit come from
- fruit exploration tray
- egg flipping practice
- spaghetti sensory bin

Follow In Our Pond's board "F is for Food" on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pizza Pretend Play and Counting Activity

I've had way too much time without my husband lately as he's been finishing up repairing and cleaning our old house.  While watching way too many episodes of Downton Abbey I made this:

To make your own, gather your felt, scissors, and pattern and get crafting!

- free pattern
- felt (2 in any color, 1 silver, 1 light brown, 1 dark brown, 1 red, 1 white, and 1 black)
- scissors
- felt glue
- embroidery floss to match all the felt
- tapestry needle
- stick-on numbers
- plastic canvas
- hot glue gun and glue

1- Print pattern.

2- Cut out the large circle in silver felt and lightly glue it to the *any* color felt.

3- Cut out another large circle in light brown felt (crust).

4- In the red felt, cut out a squiggly circle a bit smaller than the crust.

5- Cut out the small circle in the white felt (cheese).

6- Use the felt glue to lightly tack down all the pieces: light brown, red, and then white.

7- Cut out the pie piece templates and use them to divide the pizza into six pieces.  It helps to mark the pizza with a pen or sewing pencil before you try to cut it.

8- Use the same piece templates to mark out six slices on the pie pan.

9- Stitch the sauce to the crust in red, and the cheese to the crust in white.

10- Cut out 21 pieces of meat in dark brown with the templates.  If you're not a meat-eating family, you can make the pieces into tomatoes or something else.

11- Stitch the meat onto the pizza slices as follows: six on one piece, five on another, four, then three, two, and one.

12- Stitch the pie pan onto the main felt and stitch the guidelines to mark out the six pieces.

13- Add felt numbers to the pie pan, either in numerical order or randomly.

14- Stitch the numbers down (which is a complete pain) to add some security to them.

15- Add velcro to the pie pan and pizza slices.

16- Make a sandwich with the pie pan felt piece, the plastic canvas, and another piece of felt.  I hot glued them together in certain places to make them easier to sew.

17- Cut the black felt into strips long-wise.

18- Sew the strips over the edges of the "felt sandwich" like binding.

19- Attach all the pieces to the pie pan.

20- Finished!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Thread Storage

I have a simple storage solution to share with you today- a thread storage box.  I'm a beginner seamstress, but I already have quite a collection of thread colors.  I saw an idea on Pinterest for storing the bobbins and the thread together and the idea for this box was born.  I started with a plastic shoebox, but a larger box would be fitting as well.  On the bottom of the box, I placed a custom-cut piece of peg board.  Then, I cut dowel rods to be five inches long or so (you want them short enough that they won't interfere with the box).  Next, I hot glued the rods into the holes of the peg board, spacing them to leave room for the thread spools (mine was every other row).  To finish, slip the thread spoons on the rods and stack the bobbin on top.  Easy and done.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

M is for Monster (year 2, week 26)

This week was all about math.  We counted and added and practiced identifying numbers.  I had intended to bake "monster" cookies, but it didn't happen.  One really neat thing that happened this week was Dragonfly doing a handwriting worksheet for the first time.  She did so well and felt so grown up.  I love her "concentration" lips in the picture below.  I also "tested" her kindergarten skills with some monster worksheets, picking out difference in monsters by comparing details.  She did great and is getting very excited about starting "real" homeschool next year.

Dragonfly's first time writing.  Obviously, we're still working on pencil-grip skills.

- size sorting
- word sorting
- math monsters
- roll and cover
- pattern worksheets
- same comparisons worksheets
- differences comparisons worksheets
- count and clip cards
- not-so-scary monsters printable pack
- preschool pack
- number line cards 0-130
- letter mazes

- play dough
- blow painting
- graphing pi
- monster sensory bin
- math munchers
- letter M's outline with eyes

Just for fun, here's a picture of our new house:

Follow In Our Pond's board "M is for Monster" on Pinterest.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wish List- Road Trip Edition

This blog is an Amazon Associate.

It's March 1, and I'm looking way past this yucky, sleety day to summer.  Once again, we're planning a big road trip this summer.  We'll be driving for three long days each way, so I need to plan lots of things for my kids (and the parents) to do in the car.  Like most people, I do a lot of shopping on Amazon.  Here are 10 things that I want to buy for our trip:

{1} Chalkboard Vinyl
I'm going to give the kids cookie sheets to put on top of their pillows for activities.  I thought it would be neat if the backside of the cookie sheets had a chalkboard surface.  I know that I could paint the chalkboard on, but I thought I'd try this vinyl instead.  I plan on duct taping the edges to discourage the kids from picking on the edge.  And, the duct tape can be in their own patterns/colors so they don't get confused as to whose cookie sheet belongs to whom.

{2} My First Hidden Pictures Book
Do you remember the old Highlight's magazines that you used to read as a kid? (actually, you can print the hidden pictures on their website)  This coloring book is like the Highlight's magazine, except more simplistic.  Each half page has only five or six items to find.  The book is cheap enough that I won't feel bad if coloring and picture-finding turns into paper ripping.  I plan on handing out just a few pages at a time and anticipate having some leftover at the end of the trip.  They'll also be good to hand out to the kids' cousins during some restaurant time or other quiet moments.

{3} 4 Port USB Car Changer
This one is probably more for the parents than the kids.  It seems like on car trips, a family can never have too many places to plug in electronics.  This charger looks like a good solution (but I'll have to come up with some cord corrals).

{4} Aquadoodle Water Pen
My children are still young and are very prone to making messes.  Instead of packing a lot of markers and crayons (which just sounds like trouble), I'm going to make water writers and chalk.  I still come to regret it, but at least we shouldn't have as much permanent damage.  These Aquadoodles are markers that you fill with water, and then draw or paint with.  I think they'll work great with our "Buddha Boards" that I plan on making for the trip.  If I feel brave, I might even include some water painting sheets, but those might be saved for times when I can directly supervise.

{5} Rand McNally Map
Even in this age of GPS and Google Maps, we still like to have an old fashioned atlas around.  This one is spiral bound and has a hard cover to help it stay a bit more "whole" through the trip.

{6} Long Arm Grabber
Nine passenger Suburban.  One mom.  Thus, the grabber.  I'm hoping it will help me pass things to the kids and eliminate the amount of stuff getting thrown through the car.

{7} Color Sorting Magnetic Busy Board
Dragonfly's birthday is days before our road trip, and I think she'll need to get this activity for the car.  The magnetic wand is used to move little balls and sort them into colored paint cans.  The whole activity is contained within one board.  I love activities like that!  I think the sorting board will be popular with my kids, since they love our latch busy board that Tadpole got for Christmas.
Update (3/3/16): The magnetic boards by Lakeside Learning have been recalled- way back in 2010.  Lakeside Learning doesn't sell these boards on their site, which confirms the recall to me.  I'm pretty bummed, because I thought the toy idea was a good one.

{8} Jumbo Sand Rollers
Part of our vacation is going to be spent in a sandy area.  I thought these pattern rollers would be fun for the kids to try.  I could even see the older cousins and grown-ups using the rollers to add texture to their sand creations.

{9} Kid-Sized Headphones
Last year, I bought a pirate-themed CD player, but I didn't feel like the kids were quite ready to use it.  This year, I think Dragonfly is ready for her own audiobooks or music.  Perhaps it will help her cope better with chaos of the car.  These hot pink headphones are her color, are preschool-sized, and have a volume control.

{10} Safari Ltd Pirate Toob 
My kids love Safari Toobs, so they'll be excited to get a some new figurines for their trip.  I'm planning to divide the toob between the kids, and making some pirate maps for small world play.  When we get to our destination, the kids will be able to play with the figurines in the water and sand.  If there are any left after the trip, I can add the pirates to our homeschool materials.