Sweet and Simple Parts of A Plant Craft


**This post may contain affiliate links at no cost you.  Please read my disclosure page.  Should you purchase from the links I provide our little family would greatly appreciate it!

Spring is upon us followed by longer days, flowering plants, and a long Spring Break for my son.  

I cherish the breaks from school.  I love planning for those days.  I try to make everyday as memorable as possible and keep the learning slide at bay.

Tomorrow we’ll start our Spring Break together but we have already begun learning about plants. The last few weeks we covered what plants need.  The next step was to learn parts of a plant.  PJ’s favorite plants are yellow flowering plants.  

What you will need:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Straws
  • Colorful fabric to pattern out leaves
  • Muffin cups
  • Glue
  • Gift packaging twine
  • Poster board or heavy paper

Ive seen some incredible spring crafts out there but I knew PJ would want to piece together his own creation.                    

Creating with familiar household items would help to make his craft become an ingenious work of art.  I asked him “What kind of  plant can you make with this?”

A yellow flowering plant of course!

PJ picked a green straw for one of the stems..after he picked a yellow muffin cup for the flower of the plant.

Peanuts and sunflower seeds are always a favorite snack I pack in his lunch box.  I knew he would munch on the materials for this craft.


After he finished eating he glued seeds inside the flower cups.

He needed help making the roots.  I helped him tie the packaging twine while he cut random sized pieces.  

For the sake of not having to run to the store for artificial leaves (my first thought) or using perishable real leaves (my second thought) I dashed to the closet.  I found an old hooded green sweater and cut small leaf like patterns out of the material.

PJ was curious and rubbed the leaves between his fingers while he eye-balled the holes in my old sweater.  I explained it was old so I found a better use for it.  We are recycling!

He shrugged and said okay.  Then he glued the leaves on the stems.

I love the textured look of his masterpiece!  He really took his time to create it.  So, we were able to label and talk about each new part of the plant as he added it.  This craft was the perfect extension to all the plant books we’ve been reading about!  I’m going to display it in our living room for him to reference while we continue learning about plants and next flowers.

For more helpful parts of a plant activities visit  Living Montessori Now. 

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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How We Plan After School: Implementing By Skill And Subject





This post may contain affiliate links at no cost to you.  Should you purchase from one of the links provided my little family would greatly appreciate it! Please read my disclosure and privacy page.


Truthfully, I had a hard time writing our weekly plans these past few weeks because my first grader couldn’t decide which things  he wanted to try this week.  He regularly visits other awesome mommy blogs to see what they have been up to and what he would like to try at our Afterschool House next.

The world of homeschool blogs has exploded with spring fever!  There are some terrific artworks, craft ideas, science experiments, and books to read..it’s no wonder PJ couldn’t settle on a few.

I do try to incorporate time relative printables and fun learning activities.

March Fourth Week Calendar Celebrations:

  • SUNDAY March 26 – Lenten Season Learning until Easter
  • MONDAY March 27 – No Special Observances (National Reading Awareness Month)  Books about spring for spring theme learning
  • TUESDAY March 28 – Circus Day
  • WEDNESDAY March 29 – No Special Observances (National Reading Awareness Month, More Spring Books and spring theme learning)
  • THURSDAY March 30 – Vincent Van Gogh’ s Birthday
  • FRIDAY March 31 – Franz Haydn’s Birthday, First Published Map of USA, Renee Descartes Birthday
  • SATURDAY April 1 – National Autism Awareness Month,  National Kite Flying Month 


Planning By Subject And Skill

For the most part PJ is picking out individual activities.  How about that?  We don’t have a curriculum, less Common Core. We make our own from a variety of sources: teachers, homeschool blogs, on-line courses, apps, you tube, DIY worksheets, the possibilities are endless now a days.  

Letting him choose is a big plus when it comes to avoiding struggles with practicing skills he needs to work on.  It’s almost a must. So, I gather up my check list of Individual goals and WE begin searching for fun ways to practice them.  

The Individualized Check List

(Our Individualized Check List)


  • 120 Charts
  • Addition/Subtraction Math Facts up to 20
  • Learning to Tell Time (Newest skill) 
  • Word Problems have been sent home as homework


  • Comprehension (both passages and literature)
  • fluency readers are sent home as home work


  • See it, say it, write it, and do an extra fun activity with spelling list.
  • Phonics is individualized at school using a program we practice at home as well.


  • Formulating sentences
  • Using correct punctuation
  • Sentences in opinion, comparison, and retell pieces.


  • Read about, report on, observe plats and animals
  • Know that plants and animals need air, water, light, and shelter (animals)


  • Theme (Spring) or book related
  • Artists Study


  • Pronoun usage
  • Phrase and sentence level practice of a variety of speech goals


Daily Planner and Resources

One evening a week I gather the fun activities we’ve picked out to do and schedule them in a daily typed plan.  I simply use my word pad for this as all through the week he spots new activities that I write down and keep until planning night.  It looks a lot like this without the pictures and includes the link to each resource.



On Sunday we generally do bible stories.  It’s a laid back mix of writing, reading, and crafts.  This week we continue a study of lent and Jesus.  Thank you Lisa for all the sensory centered fun!!  PJ watched every single video plus we read 6 biblical books on one day:) 

Latticed Learning Jesus’ MiraclesL- Syncopated Mama


We are back at academics.  PJ mostly enjoys reading the first day of transition back to school.  We usually get a lot of skills done through reading and he just thinks he is having free time.  Math is a different story.  Breaking out a very quick drill worksheet works best.  Then after dinner he is ready for science; it’s his favorite.  We are both tired from Mondays so we try easy things like taking learning outdoors.  Tomorrow’s Monday plan:


A Fluency Reader is sent home daily

If you are a teacher mom I highly recommend investigating ReadWorks.org .  It is a site for teachers that PJs teacher uses.  There are Comprehension Lessons with paired text and questions.  It’s free classroom only work made for and by teachers. I’ve seen PJs work from the site at a teacher conference.  It’s an excellent website!  They are or have covered “The Tiny Seed” very recently.  So I’d like to study the book a bit more at home with him.  However, this is only one of many books I plan on reading to him this week.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

PJ will find vocabulary text and write sentences using the “Write a sentence about a seed.”page.

Life Cycle of a Plant PackL – 3 Dinosaurs

He will journal briefly about the carrot top he has been growing using these printables

Carrot Top ExperimentC- MPM Ideas





For practice counting to 120, skip counting, and patterns with numbers I ask PJ to use a 120 chart printable.  I’ve used the printable’s from 123 Homeschool 4 Me and Playdough To Plato.  I ask him to color and name numbers divisible by 2’s, 10’s, and 5’s.  Then he will count 1 to 120.

Free 100 Charts And 10 Ways To Use Them– Playdough To Plato

11 Hundreds Chart Activities1- 123homeschool4me


I was SUPER excited to find this Judy Clock at a local thrift store.  It is the large teacher version of the Judy Clocks.  Perfect for telling time by the hour and half hour for my first grader.  2$!










Well be using the clock and this clock workbook that has reproducible clocks.  I landed this on another thrifty shopping trip.  It also has enough practice for at least a week. 10 cents on Everything Half Off Day!

I plan on letting him make a paper clock for Monday.  Later I will post plans for everyday of the week. Page 2.








Word problems WERE sent home for homework as I had guessed:). We are both home.  It’s Monday Afterschool.  And we’ve completed the above plans, ate dinner, and are resting:)


Today we are going easy for SPEECH.  He is practicing his pronoun sentences( He/She They have..) in the shower.  He also has articulation which we can do just before bed.  


Was laid back, too.  He simply wrote and read each of his spelling words.  We do have crazy fun with spelling though not on Monday.  You can read more on actively fun ways to learn Spelling words this week here on our site.

I read to him before bed every night that he asks (every night he doesn’t fall asleep early:)) This can be a great time for comprehension questions.


This is the way we make plans for our week together.  Today was a usual easy going Monday.  

I hope you enjoyed reading about how we Afterschool.  I’m going to write more on How We Afterschool this week.  Please join us for great Spring resources and hands on science fun!


Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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Money Math Activity for Presidents Day: Shake to Make 10


Money Math for Presidence Day





Shake To Make 10! A FUN Money math learning activity…

We are days away from celebrating Presidents Day, Feb. 20.  I thought I’d share a very cool way to tackle math facts for those kids that are also going to be learning about money this upcoming week!

This fun activity was another extension of my sons homework.  One afternoon he was sent home with a math worksheet – you know, one of those worksheets that have a child practice a variety of skills on a single page like mad minutes?

Inside a box on the worksheet he was to add coins and make their sum equal ten cents.

 PJ has struggled with addition math facts this year.  He also can not identify or add sums of money WELL.  We have worked on Math Make Ten math facts and other fun money activities but we haven’t put the two together until this activity.

This is totally FUN!!

What you will need..

  • unruled paper
  • 10 pennies
  • a marker, a pencil , and crayon for rubbing

You will need to make a DIY worksheet.  I simply drew a “T” in the middle of blank paper forming 2 columns in which to write math facts.  I used marker because this was not a plan ahead printable.









Feel free to copy this template:). I will add a printable in later.



We collected 10 pennies and labeled the pennies verbally.  “A Penny equals one cent.”  He already knew heads from tails so, “Abraham Lincoln is on the front of a penny.”


Then, he gathered ten pennies and shook them to let them fall!  How fun!!  


For the math of this, he sorted the pennies by heads and tails. 








Sorting ten pennies gave him a math fact whose sum equaled ten cent! (7+3=10)



I added extra coin identification practice (he remembers better with hands on visuals) by asking him to create a crayon rubbing of the head and tail math facts.  He used the rubbings as guides to help him know where to write each number since I hadnt made a printable.  This could be a whole other activity to do with all types of coins later!



PJ counted all the heads and wrote the total for that category.  He did the same for tail pennies then added the numbers to reach a sum of ten.







He kept going until he had all the different math facts that equaled ten cent.  After so many times of writing the same math facts he blew on the pennies for good luck at his missing math facts:).  I love this picture of him blowing for good luck!


Are your children learning about money this Presidents Day?  Please let us know if you give this activity a try!:)

UPDATE: Get you free printable by clicking on the link below


Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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Quick and Easy Math or Literacy with Don’t Break The Ice Game












**This post may contain affiliate links provided for your convenience. Please read my disclosure and privacy page.

One of the best family games at our house growing up was Dont Break The Ice.  I remember getting this game for Christmas one year and playing it with my siblings.  It was sooo much fun to strategically tap out the blocks of ice without letting the red man fall off! We were allowed to get a little more rowdy in the house with this game as there was no real way to play it quietly:) All these reasons make the game perfect for play when the weather didn’t allow us to go outside.

Now a days the game uses a red bear in ice skates to stand on the ice, but it is still fun even at my age! 


I just had to get it for my kids as my mom had gotten her childhood favorites for me.  

It’s a bit noisey granted but when you and the kiddo are stuck indoors it’s a super fun game to pull out!  My son loved the hammering and was able to follow the simple goal of keeping the bear on the ice. There’s only one step- tap out the block of ice of your choice-before the next persons turn.  I’d highly recommend it for teaching children turn taking.


After PJ learned how to take turns I thought it would be fun if he could use the game to practice numbers and the alphabet.

One school holiday in his Kindergarten year I tried adding capital and lower case letters to the Don’t Break The Ice Game using dry erase markers. I tested one block first to see if the dry erase marker would wash off and wallah!  A baby wipe took it right off!

These pictures are a few years old but this is how we “played” by adding letters of the alphabet.

I  wrote about 10 or so upper case letters on ice blocks and the matching lower case letters on the remaining blocks.








We played as you usually would but each player recorded the letter of their knocked down ice block.  For this I drew columns on white paper and added the names of the players at the top.




Whoever can make the most Upper to lowercase matches after 5 games is the ABC Don’t Break The Ice champ!

We practiced Number Identification, too. 

I dotted the each ice block like the side of a die.  PJ practiced writing the numbers 1-6. Below, I’ll let the picture do the talking.

Quick and Easy Math or Literacey with Don't Break The Ice Game










More ways to use Don’t Break the Ice

  • You can have your child practice addition: Each player adds up all the blocks they have.  Whoever has the largest total wins.
  • Practice word families, CVC words, or Nonsense words for letter sounds.
  • Write numbers instead of dots on the blocks and have them match numbers to the corresponding amount of dots.
  • For older children, practice multiplication: Group blocks by the number of dots they have. Three blocks of three dots make 3 x 3 = 9

What other ways can you think of to put a new twist on this old classic??  I would like to read about your learning fun so please comment below!

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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Christmas Tree Math Make Ten





Christmas Tree Math Make Ten


**This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Please see my disclosure page.  If you should chose to purchase from links I provide, my little family will greatly appreciate it!

  Mental math is a struggle for a lot of kids but memorizing math facts help children to process the calculation of math problems faster.

PJ and I have worked on memorizing facts that make 10 for weeks.  And I really needed to find a teaching tool that would make those facts STICK with him.

We repeatedly used worksheets that drill and I made flash cards, too.  We sang a song, watched a few math videos..He just wasn’t remembering it.


You have seen this at some point in your child, I’m sure.  They aren’t interested or have already given up trying to learn something because its extra hard for them.  They stare at you with a blank face. No matter how many times you go over it, it just isn’t go to stick in their memory or they fail to understand.

Sometimes you have to dig to find something that will help them because you are just as puzzled as they are as to how to help them.  image

Well this is how I felt each time I’d quiz PJ on his Math Facts That make Ten.  I desperately wanted to help my struggling son!


So, we pulled out his paints and worked on a fun craft he could be proud of in more ways than one!



  • Paints 
  • Cardboard Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Paint Brush optional
  • Ruler
  • Pencil and Paper (we used white card stock)


PJ was failing to see the patterns in the math facts that make ten: They can be counted up and down. When kids have a mental picture of these math patterns they can draw from memory more easily.  Even if they don’t know a particular addend, they can count forward or backward using a math fact they already know until they have reached the math fact in question.

0 + 10 = 10

1 + 9 = 10

2 + 8 = 10

In PJs case he knew 5 + 5 = 10 every time I quizzed him.  

That math fact would be the math fact he could count up or down from to find the sum of other math facts to make 10 .

I asked PJ to make a Christmas picture using his paints and the TP rolls. (My idea was to write the math facts inside the painted TP roll circles of his picture.)  He wanted to make a Christmas tree! 

He asked me to help him draw a Christmas tree so I suggested he use a ruler to draw the outline of the tree.

Math Facts that make ten Christmas Tree





He drew an A shape tree without a bottom or trunk.

Math Facts That Make Ten Christmas Tree










PJ chose to paint the edges of the TP rolls with a paint brush rather than dipping them in paint.


 I told him we were going to write the numbers of the math problems we had been practicing in the painted circles.  He stamped the outline of a Christmas tree with paint and the TP rolls. We let the picture dry.



 Mental Math

I explained to PJ that he could remember other math problems that equal ten by starting at the one problem he already knew. “Let’s start with what you know, 5 + 5 = 10.”  We practice counting backwards and forwards from 5.  Then, we recited all the other math facts that make ten by starting with 5 + 5 = 10 going forward and backward.

Looking For Patterns In Math

PJ was ready to write all the math facts down and see  how the addends for each fact either increased or decreased by one.  He wrote 0 + 10= 10 in the very top circle.


 Then, I asked him to write a number 1 in the left circle and number 9 in the right circle just under the first math fact.  He saw that 1+ 9 = 10











PJ also saw that the numbers on each side of the Christmas Tree was either increasing or decreasing by one and both sides met at the doubles math fact, 5 + 5= 10.  He had created a picture pattern of his math facts to always remember!!

When I turned his picture over and asked him to tell me ALL the math facts that make 10, he recited them without a mistake for the first time!!  Happy Dance!

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂


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10s Target Practice

Practice Make Perfect….

10s target Practice

There’s really not a better way to have fun memorizing math drills than to do so outside…


We both love the break from repetivite flash cards (however much he needs them)!  Plus, my son gets to MOVE until his heart is content.


If you have a little move to think-er too, I think you will enjoy doing this basic math activity.  

I started by drawing a target pattern on the pavement.  I used a large piece of chalk attached to a long poly rope. PJ held the rope in place while I drew the bullseye for the center.  There’s no picture because we were both engaged in drawing.  Team PJ:) -but here you can see the finished target.










Using a rope with the end tied to our chalk allowed us to draw neat evenly spaced circles for his target. We just kept lengthening the rope by 1 1/2 feet before drawing a new (larger) circle.  

I added the numbers that were divisible by 10 up to 50 and he helped me COUNT BY TEN’S a few times.

All that was left to do was fill some balloons with water!












I brought out his easel to practice ADDITION.  











We took turns throwing water balloons at the target and adding our scores to the board.







The first one to reach 100 was the winner!












More ways to use this activity…

Count by 2’s, 5’s, and other numbers

Use single, double, or triple digit numbers for addition practice

Use only numbers that add to make 10.  The first to make 10 five times wins!

Each player starts out with a score of 100, then subtracts numbers from the target circle that is hit.  Player that reaches zero first is the winner.



Have Fun!!








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Hip Homeschool Moms


Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂











August is just around the corner.  Get your planning on HERE, too!  More places PJ and I both like to choose ideas from.


The Tower That Won’t Topple- relentlesslyfundeceptivelyeducational.com

11 Hundreds Charts Activities- 123homeschool4me.com

A Fin-tatstic Boys Shark Party- spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com

Free Digraph Sort and Find- playdoughtoplato.com

Football Make Ten Game- mathgeekmama.com 

Wiggle your Toes Week: Sibling Footprint Canvas- craftymorning.com

The Green Zone Social Skills Game- image


Living Montessori Now