Showing posts from April, 2016

G is for Garden (year 2, week 34)

This week, I had intended that we'd be talking about gardens, flowers, and the plant life cycle.  The kids have been asking a lot of questions about bees and wasps, so I decided to focus on pollinators this week.

I bought the Incredible Creatures Honeybee, which has been a neat addition to our school supplies.  We used the 6" figurine to learn about insects.  We felt its stinger (and didn't get stung), counted it's legs, and named it's body parts.  The texture of it is so neat that it makes me want to buy a bunch more and decorate my kitchen with them.

We also looked at the bee life cycle, using the Safari Ltd Life Cycle Figurines.  We talked about how similar bees are to other insects and how every insect goes through the same stages.

flower to hive pollen transfer
beehive counting by 10's
bees and letter B game
hexagons and beehive worksheets
- parts of a honeybee cards
- life cycle poster
bee addition

- John Deere picture cards
- pla…

Work Box System Tags

I'm continuing to work on our homeschool area in the new house.  Next year, Dragonfly will be starting kindergarten, so I'm going to try a work box system for her materials.  We already have a bunch of paper drawers from our old house, which I plan on using as work boxes.

The concept of a work box is part organization and park scheduling.  The parent fills the bins up every day with the materials the child needs to do that day.  One subject/activity goes in each bin, with the materials needed to complete the subject all contained in the drawer.  At school time, the child will start from the top and work her/his way down the row of bins.  When s/he has completed all the bins, s/he is done with school for the day.

The beauty of this schedule system is that the parent can organized the subjects for multiple students at the same time, staggering the subjects that require one-on-one attention.  I'm planning on putting Dragonfly's materials in a separate set of drawers and ha…

Zoo Train Play Mat (printable)

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to it's own blog.  The zoo train blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.
Click on the picture to go to the train printable post.

Photo Safari Activity

I created this activity for our "Giraffe" theme, but it could also be used for a general "Africa" theme or even during a Wild Kratt's birthday party (we're really into WK right now).  The PDF has three levels of differentiation for all levels of explorers.  The real-life animal pictures should be printed and hung at kid level (or could be hidden, depending on the ages).  The kids need a clipboard and a pencil.  A pith helmet and camera would be fun props as well.

To download, click here.

A is for America (year 2, week 33)

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In the last few weeks, we've looked at the state we live in and the planet/continent we live on, so this week we focused on the country!  I hung up our US map this week and our theme cards, all of which gave us lots of things to talk about.  We also focused a lot on patriotic songs and flag etiquette to help prepare the kids for life outside our schoolroom.  The weather was great this week, so the kids played outside and with water most of every day.  Surprisingly, we didn't do very much that was red, white, and blue.

One of the first things we did this week was play roll and cover with our 50 stars paper (you can find a similar one here).  I made the dice myself and bought the wood stars on Amazon.  Dragonfly did very well with the counting.  I liked how the game gave her practice recognizing numbers and counting one-to-one correspondence numbers.

We used our US Monuments toob and our 3-part cards to learn about the different symbols of the U…

Happy Birthday, Blog!

I've now been blogging on this site for two years!  Here are a few blogging stats and then I'll tell you how the creatures are doing here at the pond.

Number of Blog Posts: 320 published (349 written)

Number of Blog Visitors a Month: 2,300

Most Popular Blog Post Last Month: Backyard Birds 3-part cards

Number of Visitors Total: 22,300

Most Popular Blog Post of All Time: Safari Toob ideas

Number of Free Printables: 125

is working at a quality inspector for an airplane manufacturing company, which he loves.  During his time at home, he loves to play with the kids, ride his motorcycle, dirt bike, skateboard, hike, build things, do computer art, paint, and play video games.

is the author of the blog, and a stay-at-home mom all the other times.  As you can probably see from the blog, I also have way too many hobbies.

is almost five years old and will be starting "formal" kindergarten at home this fall.  She calls herself a "Science Gi…

DIY 6-Sided Magnetic 100's Chart

In an effort to give my kids the childhood I never had (wink), I've made this large wooden, magnetic 100's chart with five levels of learning.  There is a black and white version that I think of as the "neutral" position, which has the magnetic side facing down on my board.  I'm calling that side the "counting by ones" side.  Then, there is the "counting by twos" side, where the numbers are shades of grey.  There are the "counting by threes" side and the "counting by fives" side, in which the corresponding numbers are highlighted by a lighter shade of color (see the pictures above).  Lastly, there is the "rainbow" side where the numbers are colored in sets of tens (all the 20's are one color, the fifties are another, etc).  I'm hoping that this level of hands-on learning will really help my kids to master the 100-chart, the patterns in numbers, skip counting, and other number related knowledge.

I also incl…

How to Plan a Dinosaur Themed Road Trip

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to its own blog.  The Dinosaur Road Trip blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.

Click on the picture to go to the dinosaur post.

E is for Earth (year 2, week 32)

This blog is an Amazon Associate.

I ordered some homeschool supplies last week, which caused me to change the order of our themes to accomidate when our items will be arriving.  This week was supposed to be "A is for America," but I switched it to "E is for Earth."  I bought a couple new books for our homeschool: "Children Just Like Me" and "P is for Passport."  I also bought us a world map  ($10!) and a US map (which we'll use next week).  We're slowly getting our homeschool area put together.

I introduced the kids to the Montessori map that I had started back in August.  The continents are glued/sewn down yet, and I'd still like to do the land and water part, but it still have us a lot to talk about.  We hadn't talked about the Montessori continent colors before, so we did that this week, and talked about which continent was biggest and smallest.  Of course, we talked about where we live in the world.

Tadpole (2.5) loved the fe…

All My Printables


USA Symbols 3-part Cards


These 3-part cards were a test for me, since I haven't seen most of these monuments.  As a homeschool family, we'll have to see what we can do about that.  These 3-part cards match the USA toob by Safari Ltd.

To download the file, click here.

Travel Time Tuesday- All About Altoids

I've been enjoying Travel Time Tuesday so much and have been posting so much content (twice a week lately) that I decided to move all of it to its own blog.  The Altoid blog post is now at my new site- Party Through the USA.

Click on the picture to go to the altoid post.

Old Fashioned Kitchen Organization

With our move, I had to retire my old fashioned kitchen storage cupboard.  The pottery drawers were too fragile to be used any longer.  I taped the whole thing up with packing tape, and it's now in storage.

The cupboard belonged to Bullfrog's Canadian grandma.  It's very interesting to me to see what types of things people stored and used a hundred years ago.  Tea, coffee, oatmeal, sugar, rice, and barley were given the largest bins.  Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, allspice, and cloves were placed in the tiny drawers on the bottom.  Just a little peek into kitchen organization from days of old.

N is for Nest (year 2, week 31)

To do this week: hang bird feeders (if the fence is up otherwise we'll just find them)

We started the week at the Mobius Children's Museum.  It offered my kids all of their favorite sensory experiences all one place!  They loved it- as you can see from the pictures;

Top Left: Skimmer and Tadpole loved the construction area.  The "dirt" is rubber shavings.

Top Right: Skimmer on a plasma car.  They had a "neighborhood" where the kids could drive around.

Bottom Left: The neighborhood had a fire station area where the kids could put on gear and turn a water valve.

Bottom Right: Tadpole spent a lot of time pushing shopping carts, lawn mowers, and cars around.

Top Left: The staff were very helpful and patient.  Skimmer is attempting to send a silk hankie through a pneumatic tube.

Top Right: The museum had something for every still level.  Tadpole is in the "baby" area.

Bottom Left: Dragonfly spent probably 20 minutes pouring, raking, and scooping sand.…

Springtime Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

As the weather is getting warmer, my kids are spending more and more time outside.  They love the sunshine and the feel of mud and grass on their feet.  Outdoor play has it's own learning opportunities, but there are lots of things parents can do with their kids to increase their knowledge, while still having fun in the sun.  Here are a few ideas from past years:

One of the first sensory bins that we did was this Pond bin.  The substrate is tapioca pearls that have been dyed with blue food coloring.  We added some yellow rubber ducks, but the kids were much more interested in the feel of the tapioca pearls than in playing with the ducks.  You can read more about this sensory bin at the original post.

One of our homeschool units was called "J is for Jungle."  We focused on the Amazon rainforest and talked about caiman, tropical fruits, and coffee beans.  This sensory bin had unflavored gelatin that I dyed green and plain water.  The kids loved to squish the jello and wat…