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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alpha Zoo Phonics Chart

Since Dragonfly will be starting "All About Reading" in the fall, I've been trying to be more intentional about reviewing phonics sounds with the kids.  From my Montessori background, I knew I wanted to use real pictures to engage the kids.  I couldn't find any alphabet charts that fit, so I made my own (of course).  The alphabet script is D'nealian, a modern font between printing and cursive.  The pictures come from Wikimedia commons.

The phonics animals are: Alligator, Bear, Cat, Deer, Elephant, Fish, Gorilla, Horse, Inchworm, Jellyfish, Kangaroo, Lizard, Mouse, Night-owl, Octopus, Penguin, Quail, Rabbit, Snake, Tiger, Umbrella-bird, Vulture, Weasel, foX, Yak, Zebra.  The idea for the animals came from this Youtube video.  We've also been using it to learn an "action" for each phonics sounds.  I'm amazed at how quickly Tadpole (2.5) is picking up the sounds and actions.  He thinks it's a game.

FREE Alpha-Zoo Flashcards Printables from In Our Pond

First, I made big flashcards for class time or a wall hanging (I haven't decided if I'll put up an alphabet chart).  The letters are four to a page.  To download the large flashcards, click here.

FREE Alpha-Zoo Flashcards Printables from In Our Pond

Then, I thought that it would be nice to have smaller flash cards. These ones are 1/4 the size of the other ones, and are just the right size for little hands.  They could also be used to play a matching game, where the children say the phonics sound as they turn over the cards.

To download the mini flashcards, click here.

I've been working on a "resources binder" for Dragonfly with small versions of poster and resources that one might find in a classroom.  I decided to make a one-sheet alphabet chart for her binder using our alpha zoo cards.  To download the chart, click here.

FREE Alpha-Zoo Flashcards Printables from In Our Pond

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Print and Go Activities (TTT)

The easiest types of activities for the road trips are ones that you can just print from the computer.  Here are a few that we're taking with us:

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond

I printed the shapes and matching board from Making Learning Fun.  I cut the matching board so that it would fit on our cookie sheet lap boards.  After laminating and cutting everything, I attached the pieces with velcro.  On the back side, I used packing tape to put a snack sized ziplock bag to store the pieces between game time.  I think Tadpole (2.5) and Skimmer (3.5) will enjoy this activity.

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond
Please pin at original source
Dragonfly (5) is getting very interested in letters and reading.  Of course, princesses and Frozen are always popular too.  I though she would enjoy flipping through these Frozen Alphabet Cards on our road trip.  I also thought we could play a game where I said a letter or a character and she had to find it.  The cards are laminated and held together with a binder ring.

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond

About a year ago, I made this Cars Tic Tac Toe Game for my kids.  I have my first set away, so I made a second one for this trip.  The pieces and board have velcro on them, making them a good travel game.  I intend to play this with the kids when we're at a restaurant, in the hotel, or at the reunion.  The original PDF also includes a Finding Nemo themed game board and pieces.

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond

We love Pixar Movies!  I used these cupcake toppers to create a Toy Story Matching Game.  I printed two copies of the page, then cut out one of them and glued them to the top of wooden disks.  The game pieces and matching board are also stuck on with velcro.

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond
Please pin at original source
The Cars and Planes Cards printable could be used for a memory matching game, if you printed two sets of each card.  Because of the boys ages and the nature of our trip, I decided to print one set and use them like flashcards.  They are connected with a binder ring.

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond

New!  The kids saw me making stick puppets for our next year of Mommy School and thought they looked like fun.  So, I made the kids their own set for the road trip.  Included in the PDF are two sets of puppets, a superhero set and a pirate set (cause we're going on a pirate road trip).

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond

{Previously Posted}
- John Deere Picture Cards
- Cars Play Mat
- Zoo Train Play Mat
- Cars 3-Part Puzzles

FREE Print and GO Activities from In Our Pond

Monday, June 27, 2016

School Days Countdown

A lot of homeschool families are choosing to school for six weeks at a time before taking a one week vacation.  This method is sometimes called "Sabbath Schooling."  We're loosely adapting this method for next year.

Another mom asked for a printable so she and her daughter could mark out the days of school before a break.  I thought it was a great idea and whipped one up in no time.  This sticker chart could also be used for potty training, chores, character training, homework, etc.

To download the sticker chart, click here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

DIY Learning Clock

DIY Learning Clock from In Our Pond

Dragonfly starts kindergarten next year, which is the beginning of formal math lessons- including learning to tell time.  I know that learning clocks are not to difficult to find, but I wanted something more sturdy than what I was finding at the store.

At the time of the blog post, I haven't even finished the clock. I'm waiting on the arms until I'm more sure of what I want to use (real clock arms, popsicle sticks, or something else).  Still, here are the directions and the printable.

I started with an 8" wood circle from the craft store and painted it with white acrylic paint.  I decided to leave it plain in case we ever wanted to put it on the wall or if the kids wanted to decorate it later.

DIY Learning Clock from In Our Pond

Next, I printed the numbers, cut them out and modge podge them to 1.5" circles.  I added velcro to the back of the circles, making sure to use the same "side" of the velcro on all the circles.  I ended up with 24 circles- twelve with just the "hour hand" numbers and twelve with the hour and the minutes.

The kids can practice putting the numbers on the clock as they learn about "clockwise" number direction.  Then, they can manipulate the hands to express different times.

They can also be used with my telling time activities:
- school schedule (hour)
- zookeeper schedule (hour and half hour)

To download the clock pieces, click on the file name:
- 1 inch labels
- 1.5 inch labels
DIY Learning Clock from In Our Pond

DIY Learning Clock from In Our Pond

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Pirate Road Trip- Snacks

This blog is an Amazon Associate.

In just about a month, we leave for our Pirate Road Trip.  We're going to sail across the wild prairie in our Suburban (the "Sea Monster").  In preparation for our trip, I've compiled a list of "piratey" foods.

{General Snacks}
- fish (crackers)
- salted meat (jerky)
- seashells (bugle chips)
- fairy bites (homemade shortbread cookies with sprinkles)
- gold (yellow cheese bricks)
- bones (scooby snacks)
- cannonballs (grapes)
- pirate booty (packaged snack food)
- coins (homemade round cookies)
- Captain's Snacks (spicy foods just for the daddy)

Since we're going on a Pirate Road Trip, I have made us a Pirate Map with all the places that we're going to pass through as we drive.  I used Google Maps to map out our route and then copied the map to my digital scrapbooking program.  I added stars at several important places: state to state border crossings, major cities, highway junctions, etc.  When we reach a place on the map, the kids will get a "treasure treat."

I made the treasure box by painting a diaper wipes box with gold spray paint.  I thought about gluing jewels to the outside but decided that it might end up being annoying.

Some of our treats are in 2oz deli containers, which allowed me to buy one bag of treats to share.  I added a circle of pirate themed scrapbook paper to the lids to make them more interesting.

{Treasure Treats} 
- shark tooth necklace (candy from Oriental Trading)
- gummy candy (pirates)
- rainbow jewels (skittles in small containers)
- seaweed (licorice)
- jewel rings (ring pops)
- pixie dust (pixie sticks)
- candy bracelets
- sour gummies
- candy jewels (maybe)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Letting Life Inspire Your Lessons

Boxed curriculum and textbooks are very helpful, but nothing can beat real life experiences.  When you tap into a child's interests, you touch their heart.

My kids still talk about the free frog that we found in our yard and had as a pet for a few weeks.  We did a homeschool unit on frogs and learned about metamorphosis.  It was also a great chance to use our Safari Life cycle set, and to play with some sensory bins.  The kids are constantly asking when we can have a frog again.  Maybe we'll start with tadpoles this time?

Frog maintenance tip- put a piece of fruit in his aquarium and wait for the fruit flies to hatch.  We also fed him crickets.

Last summer, our VBS theme at church was about space.  To help my kids prepare, we did a homeschool unit about the universe.  We talked about how the sun is a star and the planets that orbit around it.  We measured the fabric sun with pony beads and talked about how the sun is 109 times bigger than the earth.  The kids practiced their spooning skills by transferring marbles out of rice.  By the time VBS started, the kids had a good base knowledge about space stuff.

A scheduled trip to the eye doctor (or any other specialist) can be another opportunity to study something relating to real life.  The week that Dragonfly went to the eye doctor, we studied the human eye.  We watched a lot of videos about the eye doctor exam, and looked at a model of the eye.  We also talked about the parts of the eye.  Dragonfly rocked her eye exam with very little anxiety because of all the "Science Girl" stuff we had done before the appointment.

No matter what life throws your way, find a way to make it a learning opportunity.  Please comment below about way that you have used real life to inspire your homeschool lessons.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Place Value Cards

FREE Place Value Chart from In Our Pond
This blog is an Amazon Associate.

Dragonfly is going to start kindergarten next year, which means that she'll be introduced to place value a little bit.  Instead of buying a commercial set of base-10 blocks or something similar, I've decided to DIY a place value set with supplies that we already have in the house.  Our Cuisenaire Rods came with white "ones" blocks and orange "tens" blocks, so it makes since to use them as our ones and tens for place value work.  Since the C-rods didn't come with a 100-block, I created some that are roughly the same size as 10-ten-blocks in a row.  One of those 100-squares, I'm going to modge-podge onto a 4" wood square from Etsy, just so she can understand the 3D aspect of 10 orange rods becoming a 100 square.  The rest, I've cut out and laminated so they'll be durable but don't take up too much room.

My PDF includes a place value board, where all the places are colored according to the ones, tens, and hundreds blocks.  As we're doing our math, we can lay the colored blocks on the board to help us visualize the place value.  I used velcro dots to affix the place value board to our math toolbox.

I have also made place value cards in the same colors as our blocks.  The hundreds cards are written with three digits, the tens cards are written with two digits, and the ones cards are written with one digit.  The cards can be used separately (like in the picture above) or stacked to make three-digit numbers.

I'm really hoping that this will help our place value learning and save us a bit of money too.

To download, click here.

FREE Place Value Chart from In Our Pond

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

C.I.R.C.U.S binder cover

I made this resource for teachers who needs a school-to-home communications binder cover for their circus themed classroom.  As you can see from the picture, I made "circus" into an acronym that stands for "Communicating Information and Resources Central to yoU and the School."    I hope someone can use it.

To download, click here.

My other circus printables:
- matching/bingo
- juggling CVC words
- roll and cover game

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pirate Road Trip- Toys/Activities

This blog is an Amazon Associate.

We're getting close to our road trip!  I wanted to do a special Travel Time Tuesday post with all the toys and activities that I've found to do on our trip.  We're not taking all of these activities, but I wanted to list them all anyways.  I hope this list is helpful to you as you plan your own Pirate Road Trip.

(each item on the list is linked to its own blog post or the place you can buy them)

{Mommy Made}
- Chalkboard Lap Trays
- Pizza Counting and Pretend Play Set
- Dinosaur Small World Tin
- Felt Pirate Maps
- Cars Mat
- Straw Cup
- Fishing Pond
- I-Spy Bag
- Button Snake
- Buddha Board
- Zoo Train Mat
- Baggie Maze
- Zoo Train Play Mat
- Porcupine Ball Poke
- John Deere Picture Cards

{Cheap and Easy}
Hidden Picture Pages
Cars in a Bag

{Specifically Sensory}
- blog post
- Paper Punching
- Rainbow Scratch Paper
- Jelly Octopus
- headphones and CD player
- Sticker Books

- Snake Bendables (after we visit the Reptile Gardens)
- Dinosaur Skeletons (after we visit the Museum of the Rockies)

{Rest Stop Games}
- walk the plank
- pirate movement cards

{Social Games}
- Disney Spot-It
- Cars Tic-Tac-Toe
- Would You Rather for kids

{Pirate Printables}
- pirate count and clip
- bingo or matching game
map folder game
counting treasure busy bag
- paper puppets
- preschool learning pack
- 10-frame flash cards
- preschool pack
- spin and trace numbers worksheet
- coloring pages
- Jake and the Neverland Pirates preschool pack
- party printables
- Neverland learning printables
- Veggie Tales pirate coloring pages

- audiobooks for families
- Swashbuckling Disney Songs
- The Peanut Butter Pirates

- blog post

Follow In Our Pond's board activity bags on Pinterest.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Parts of an Elephant Booklet

Continuing my theme of providing free interactive science notebook activities, I present my latest printable- a Montessori-inspired parts-of-an-elephant booklet.  Each page lists a part of the elephant and then child can then color the corresponding parts (shown in the picture above).  There is also a page without the labels so that the child can write in their own.  The pages can be stapled together to form a book.  I intend to add this to our notebooks when we study "e is for elephants" next fall.

To download, click here.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

X Marks the Spot (year 2, week 40)

We're finally at our last official homeschooling unit of the year!  And we've decided to make it pirate themed!  If you haven't heard yet, we're taking a pirate themed road trip this summer, so this last theme unit is a great way to introduce all things piratical to my kids.

We started the week with some pirate vocabulary and movies.  It was very fun to hear the kids say "Arrgg!"

As the week continued, our theme sort of evolved to "the treasures of the sea."  I picked up a few bags of sea shells at the thrift store, so we looked at them and watched videos of how the creatures live.  We probably won't get to the beach this summer, but a pirate-y trip of beach treasure hunting would be lots of fun too.

I brought the beach to the kids with some sand play dough and buried treasure (dollar store jewels).  The dough didn't photograph well, but the kids enjoyed it.



Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dice for Learning Games

This blog is an Amazon Associate.

I'm absolutely addicted to modge podging little squares of paper onto little wood blocks.  After making my 6-sided 100-chart, I couldn't stop making custom blocks for our learning adventures.

The PDF file includes five fun dice for using in roll-and-graph games (boards included) or other learning games, 3 dice for roll-and-cover or addition/subtraction games, and five dice for roll-a-letter or spelling games.  Every strip of boxes is one die.  Wood blocks can be purchased from Etsy.

(picture of finished dice?)

To download the dice, click here.

Roll and Cover Games
- frog metamorphosis
- butterfly metamorphosis
- turtle roll and cover
- candy
- fire trucks

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Letter Hunt Like a Scavenger

Next year, the kids will be completing interactive science notebooks (sort of like what we started here).  I haven't been able to find all the printables that I've needed, so I created some.

This printable is a simple letter hunt for the letter V.  We'll be studying vultures and scavengers for "V" week.  Our focus will be contentment, because vultures eat anything (wink).  This letter hunt is more literature focused than science, but I it'll fit our purposes.  I'm going to have my kindergartner put dot stickers over the letters to add some fine motor skills work to the hunt as well.

To download, click here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Entertaining Adults on the Road

A lot of my Travel Time Tuesday posts have been focused on children and families, so I thought that this week I would focus on adults.  Whether you're taking turns driving or riding passenger the entire time, here are some ideas to keep the adults happy on the road trip.

{Adult Coloring}
A summer road trip is a great opportunity to experiment with the adult coloring book craze.  Pinterest provides many free printable coloring pages (Scripture, mandalas, patterns, quotes, and doodles).  Of course, printing can get expensive, so buying a coloring book might be a better budget option.  Amazon has hundreds of options like The Secret Garden, animals, designs, and quotes.  And, if you should finish your entire coloring book before you reach your destination, adult coloring books can also be found at grocery stores, wal-marts, bookstores, and random other places.  Just buy another one and keep coloring!

{Music and Audiobooks}
Whether you're the one driving or the one coloring, music (and audiobooks) can help pass the time and set the mood.  A road trip is a perfect excuse to buy some new music and to revive some old stuff.  For our upcoming road trip, we've added a few albums of Mom and Dad's music, a few kids CDs (pirates!), and a few calm, instrumental pieces (we love "Be Still" by Nancy Leigh Demoss) to signal nap time and other restful times.

If you have an old car like we do, a radio transmitter is a great tool for playing audiobooks or music from MP3 players or devices through your car speakers.  Be sure to bring all the earbuds, headphones, and charging cords to keep everyone in the car happy.

When you're not coloring, it is handy to have a few handcrafts at the ready.  I usually bring my knitting or stitchery.  I really like the sewing caddy from Sew Many Ways and the knitting organizer from Makezine.  Crafting before the road trip is so much fun too!

Before the days of the Kindle, I used to travel with fifty pounds of library books reading, reading, reading all across the country.  I love that not only have I replaced all that weight for a one pound device, but I also love that I don't have to anticipate my book needs before a trip like I used to in the old days.  Now, if I run out of books on the journey, I can just load on old, but well-loved book onto the device, or a new bestseller.

Before your trip, be sure to check for free Kindle books, classic literature on Project Gutenberg, and bestsellers on your local libraries Overdrive site.  Summertime is a great time for reading.

What do you like to do in the car?  Comment below.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Interactive Science Notebook- Sorting (printable)

We're going to try interactive science notebooks in our homeschool again next year.  My big mistake this past year was to not have a firm enough idea of what things were going in the notebook.  Next fall, I'll like to have a sample notebook made as a reference for Dragonfly and have all our materials printed and organized before the year begins.  I think those two things will give us a much better chance of success.

To begin our notebooks, I've created a series of sorting sheets, which will require cutting, pasting, and analysis based on what the child knows about the different animals.

Next year, we're going to be studying the marine mammals, so there is a sorting activity with differentiating mammals and fish.  The names of the animals are provided as a control.  These sorting boards aren't meant to be tests as much as they're meant to be learning activities and a chance to show growth and knowledge.

To download the marine mammals sort, click here.

To download the monkeys or apes sort, click here.

To download the land mammals sort, click here.

To download the invertebrate or vertebrate sort, click here.

And to download the farm or not sort, click here.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

F is for Fossil (year 2, week 39)

We missed our dinosaur week when we moved this winter, so I thought we'd make it up this summer.  It was a really short week because of the holiday, but we plowed into it anyways.

When we go on our road trip, we're going to a "dinosaur museum" for Dragonfly's fifth birthday!  So, ,this week we read the book "Who Cleans the Dinosaur Bones?" which talks the different jobs at the museum. We also read "Digging Up Dinosaurs" about paleontology and pretended to be paleontologists digging for bones!

We watched quite a bit of Youtube videos about dinosaurs, fossils, and paleontology.  We also watched several "read-to-me" books on Youtube.  It was a nice, laid-back way to end a busy weekend.

Read-to-Me Books:
- Berenstain Bears Dinosaur Dig
- Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones
- Curious George's Dinosaur Discovery
- How Do Dinosaurs Eat There Food
- Alphabet of Dinosaurs

Safari dinosaur skull 3-part cards
paleontologist anchor chart
measuring dino bones
lots of amazing dinosaur printables
dino facts printables
dinosaur word wall printables
dino pre-k pack
dinosaur tile spelling cards
dinosaur preschool pack
egg puzzles

dinosaur world felt play mat
dinosaur measuring
giant dinosaur sand skeleton
counting dinosaur bones
dinosaur eggs discovery bin
4 types of fossils
mini real dig site
DIY fossils
dinosaur skulls toob
dinosaur toob
feathered dinosaur toob
carnivorous dinosaur toob
dino babies
Sue and her friends toob

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
dinosaurs for kids video
Dinosaur Train (free seasons on Amazon prime)

Follow In Our Pond's board "T is for T-Rex" on Pinterest.