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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Battleship-Inspired Grid Games

My Multiplication Battleship game continues to be one of my most popular printables.  Over the winter, I made a bunch of silly themed grid games with the same basic rules as the original game, including penguins, dinosaurs, Oreo cookies, and others.  I thought it would be a good idea to gather them up in one place to make them easier for my readers to find.  Click on any of the pictures below to go to the post.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

Ocean Letter Tracing Cards

I had a comment on my Insect Letter Cards post asking for ocean cards next.  Since I love making printables, and I love hearing from my reader's even more, I was very happy to comply!  These were fun for my family, too, as we get ready for our summer beach trip.  Of course, these cards are great for a seaside vacation, a road trip, some summer learning, or an ocean theme unit any time of the year!

We've been talking a lot about the ocean lately at our house, so I have some more beach and ocean blog posts coming soon.  Here are a few ocean animals for your own themed study, sensory bin, or play time.  Be sure to check out my ocean learning area with more resources and come back soon for more printables and ideas!

Like my other letter cards, this 13-page PDF can be printed on your home printer, cut apart, and laminated, and written on over and over.  I use my HP Instant Ink printer (best investment- still haven't paid for ink!) for all my printables, and then laminate them with my apache laminator.  I go through so many laminating pouches to make my printables durable, so I buy the pack of 200 generic sheets off of Amazon.  Lastly, I cut them out and bind them with my Swingline Binding System with reusable combs.

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As I was printing these letter cards for the blog pictures, I thought they would also work very well for a letter hunt with "Shiver Me Letters: Pirates ABCs!"  I couldn't find our copy this morning, but here's the Amazon link so you can see it for yourself.  In the book, the pirate captain tells his crew that "Rrrr" alone "just won't do!"  He sends them out on a grand adventure to find all the letters of the alphabet.  These letter cards could be hung on a wall or hidden around an area, while children are encouraged to find all the letters.  In the book, they even have to find them in ABC order!

Clipart is from Scrapbook Gems on Etsy.  If you're looking for some cute digital scrapbooking graphics and papers, be sure to check out her shop!

I love getting reader's comments!
What printable would you like to see next?

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Monster Truck Letters (coming soon)

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Books about Freshwater Fish for Kids

We're preparing as a family for a road trip to the Oregon Coast, which will include a short field trip to a fish hatchery.  In the Northwest USA, trout and salmon are some of our most common fish for eating.  Because they're a popular fishing target, they have human help for reproduction to restock the lakes, rivers, and streams.  We're hoping to learn a little about that process (and see a huge, old sturgeon) when we visit the hatchery.

In anticipation of our trip, I wanted to start gathering some resources for learning about freshwater fish (look for more in the near future).  To start, I grabbed these science books about them, focusing on their life cycles and ecology of the forest.  I also included a few toys, because I couldn't resist.

When we're learning about a new subject, we often check out Youtube to see if there's an interesting videos we can find.  Here's an interesting National Geography documentary on salmon.  Click the box to watch the movie.

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Insect Life Cycles and More

The grass is finally green in our yard, and the children's days are filled with jumping on the trampoline, riding bikes, and bug hunting.  Already, the children have been bringing me "baby" earthworms to see, and we've evacuated a yellow jacket from our home.  Soon, the local beekeeper will have his hives out in his yard, and we'll be able to watch the bees swarm home in the evening. It's springtime!  Time to grab the bug hunting supplies and get outside!

Bug Net  ⧫  Sunny Bug House    Worm Farm

Cargo Vest  ⧫  Magnifying Glass    Spider  ⧫   Giant Bugs

I've loved bees for as long as I can remember.  Maybe it's because my name means "honey bee" or maybe it's because they're so amazing and brightly colored.  They make super sweet, yummy honey, are communal and productive, and pack a sharp sting.  Here are some great books about bees to add to your theme unit.

I've written quite a bit about bees in the past and have several free printables to go with bee-themed lessons.  Click on any of the pictures to go to the blog posts.

Lastly, I couldn't resist adding lots of beautiful bee-themed toys, games, and learning accessories featuring bees!  The life cycle figurines and giant, detailed bee are my favorites.  We have a beekeeper in our neighborhood (across our fence, actually), so Dragonfly (7) has the Barbie on her list.  Click the colored text below the picture to get more detailed.

Like the bee, the ant is also an industrious, community worker.  The Bible tells us to "consider the ways of the ant" and to apply his productivity to our lives.  I've gathered up some fun ant books and toys to kick off a theme unit of study.  Surprisingly, it's a lot harder to find ant things than it is to find bee things.

Ant Farm  ⧫  Plastic Ants  ⧫  Giant Ants

I haven't written very much about ants, but having them on this post encourages me to add more.  What would you like to see?  Comment below and tell me.

I really enjoyed ladybugs as a child.  The red and black is so inviting and colorful, plus they don't pack a sting like a bee.  Whether you're studying time with the Grouchy Ladybug or looking at insect life cycles, the resources below will help you get started.

Although I haven't done very many blog posts about ladybugs, I am excited to have some things listed here for myself and my readers.  Seeing the blank spaces definitely encourages me to add more.

Last summer, my daughter, Dragonfly, became very interested in mosquitoes.  She forgave them for every bite, after learning that the female mosquitoes only take blood to feed their families.  It was interesting for all of us to learn about the life cycle and how to help prevent their reproduction (less standing water, etc).  Although mosquitoes are not a popular insect to study, they are common.  Here are a few resources if your own children start asking questions.

I've been a mosquito magnet my entire life.  One thing that I've found makes a huge difference is Thermacell, a mosquito repeller.  If you're mosquito meat as well then I suggest you click the link and grab some for yourself.  It will make your summer so much better!

Butterflies are probably the most common insect for children to study.  We haven't done very much ourselves yet, but I'd love to grow caterpillars to eggs someday.  Below are some ideas for butterfly books to add to your collection.

I'm honestly shocked how few butterfly posts I've done!  Yikes!

I'm participating in Preschool Powel Packets DIY Summer Camp all this month!  I'll be posting today's insect life cycle ideas, and then doing a African safari themed post later in the month.  Click on the picture below to see all the great content from other bloggers!

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Sunday, May 5, 2019

Mosquito Letter Match Game and Sensory Writing Tray

The weather has warmed up just enough that the mosquitoes have awoken from their hibernation to pester us again.  Time for us to get out our Thermacell "repeller" when we're outside BBQing and to have lots of conversations about closing the door to the house.  It also means that Dragonfly (7) is back with her campaign of love for all mosquitoes, especially the mamas who are just trying to feed their babies.  Last year, her interest in mosquitoes encouraged me to make life cycle cards for them to match the Safari Ltd figurines.  This year, I'm back with more mosquito learning fun in the form of an alphabet matching game.

As readers of this blog will know, I love putting activities in Altoid tins!  This tiny mosquito game is no exception.  Print the cards and laminate them for durability (if desired), cut them apart, and put them in the tin.  The cards can be used in a traditional memory match game (every card turned to the backside) or as a single-player matching activity (every card turned to the front side).  They could be stuck in a sensory bin, hidden around the house, or put in Easter eggs.

The Altoid tin storage container means that the game can be brought with you anywhere and stored easily anywhere in the house.  It's great for full-time travelers and RVers too.  Play on a picnic table, while waiting for an airplane, at an appointment, or anywhere you find yourself this summer.

Another great thing you can do with these letter cards is use them for a sensory writing tray.  Pour out a shallow amount of salt, seeds, sand, or something else onto a plate or tray.  Then, have your child pick a card and write out the letter with their finger, a pencil, or a brush into the salt.  For the picture above, I used sesame seeds, which has a different texture than most things we have used recently.  Dragonfly also used the seeds for writing sight words, which was a great way to trick her into practicing spelling and phonics.

The adorable camping clipart comes from Kate Hadfield Designs on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I'm sure I'll be using it again soon.  Watch for some more mosquito printables and some other things using the cute pictures.  Tomorrow, I'll have a big roundup post with lots of learning ideas for several different insects.

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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Insect Letter Tracing Cards

All three of my kids are working on letter formation, so I made these tracing cards for them.  I've seen so many fun card designs lately that I knew I needed to make my own (watch for more in the near future).  These bubble letter cards feature the Buggy clipart from Scrapbook Gems.  The open letter is very useful for kids who are still working on fine motor control, because the wide space gives them the best chance of success.

The PDF features English letters from A-Z in both upper and lowercase.  Each letter also features a start dot and room at the top of the card to bind them together.  I recommend laminating them, so kids can write on them with white board markers (or these cool white board crayons from Crayola) over and over.

I left extra space at the tops of the cards so they can be bound together with a binding machine to make a flip book (see my other flip books here).  The binding makes them extra portable, so they can be taken anywhere like the car, airplanes, restaurants, church, appointments, or wherever.

Look for Monster Truck cards later this month!

What theme should I do next?
Put your answer in the comments!

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Insect Life Cycles and More

Friday, May 3, 2019

Honey Bee Fine Motor Skills Activities and Pretend Play

Lately, my Instagram has been full of bee flatlays and beautiful activities.  Although I haven't been inspired enough to actually put together our own homeschool unit, I was excited enough to put this blog post.  It started when I was gathering ideas for someone else on Facebook and decided that these pictures were too awesome not to share.  As I wrote, as so often happens, the post began to take on a direction of it's own.

Scroll down to the bottom for more bee ideas!

Giant Beehive // Ms Barbara's Blog

I'm so inspired by this egg carton beehive.  I think it would be such a fun pretend play set up, encouraging kids to find pollen from around the home or classroom, making bees for the hive, putting eggs, larvae, and pupas into the cells, harvesting the honey, inspecting the honeycomb, and more.  Click on the link to see more awesome bee ideas for preschool.

Tiny Honey Transfer // Still Playing School

There are several ways to practice find motor skills with Montessori-inspired transfer activities.  This one uses a pipette and yellow water to work on precision placement.  Challenge kids to only get the water in certain honeycomb cells or do different colors and see what they can create.

Easter Egg Bees Pretend Play // Planing Playtime

This blog has a lot of fun ideas for pretend play.  The cute, Easter egg bees can collect pollen from flowers and take it back to their hive.  I appreciate this blogger's use of literacy with labels and vocabulary cards for every aspect of the play time.

Pollen Transfer // ABCs to ACTs

By transferring the pompom pollen from the flower to the honeycomb, even young kids will be able to understand the important role that honeybees play in our world.  I would also combine this activity with a banana pollination snack (read about it here).  I recommend "What If There were No Bees" for a good explanation of bees within our ecosystem.

Honeycomb Sensory Bin // Pre-K Pages

I remember Honeycomb cereal from my childhood!  It makes a great snack for a bee unit study, or substrate for a sensory bin like the one in the picture.  The activity asks kids to pick out the bees and place them on 10 frames for a math application to the playtime.  This would also be a great way to introduce natural, bee-made honeycomb into the classroom (or homeschool) with a taste test of different honey flavors.

Honey Pot Counting Game // The OT Toolbox

This activity really works the pinch grip and helps to strengthen fingers for handwriting, as kids press open the bee clothespins and attach them to beehive cards.  Counting and one-to-one correspondence are also part of the lesson.

Preschool Theme Unit // Turners Tots

I was completely inspired by this teacher's printables!  I want to make my own so badly.  Especially her "beehive inspection" worksheet, which asks kids to find certain aspects of the hive and check on the bees' health.  She also has the adorable, pollen writing tray for practicing letters, which I have included in my round-up picture above.

All this honey bee fun got me excited to read Winnie the Pooh!  I literally just ordered it in the middle of this blog post.  "The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh" will be our third read aloud as a family.  We're currently reading "Mr Popper's Penguins," which you can read about by clicking the colored text.  Here's a quick list of some more bee ideas for a theme unit and some quiet activities to do while the book is being read aloud.

I'm really enjoying putting together these book and activities posts.  Which one should I do next?  What's your favorite read aloud book for early elementary?

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