Meaningful Gift Giving

 

Meaningful gift giving

This post contains affiliates links at NO cost to you.  Should you decide to help support our little family by purchasing from the links provided, we would be so very grateful!  For more info about this, visit my disclosure and privacy page.  Thank you!!

 

I can’t believe it, but the holiday shopping season is upon us: I’m seeing holiday deals in my inbox already and it’s not even November! A lot of you might agree that holiday gift giving has lost some of what made it special in the past, and the expectation of material goods has gotten out of hand. Just google Walmart + Black Friday + injury for some of the worst.

But despite negative news, there is something really special about getting together and giving loved ones gifts that have meaning. So before you get anything to just check someone off your to-do list, take a moment to model thoughtful giving for your children, family and community. Give them a gift that will last.

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Experiences create the memories that bond us.

Consider taking loved ones on a local adventure, a music show, committing to an exercise routine with the kids , learning a family recipe , or even just setting up time for a special day with just the two of you. This can be inexpensive for your pocketbook, and rich in meaning.

Education is also a gift that lasts a lifetime.

For youngsters in your life, how about a set of blocks for your little engineer, science experiments they can do with friends and have a sleep over.  How about teaching a love for music?  Try gifting a product that will start by building on the classics.  

Whatever their passion as a young learner, stoke those coals!!

Your gift to them could not only last a lifetime, but positively influence their community!

Make sure you don’t overpay – if you’re new to Educents.com you can get $10 off your first order with my referral link:  #Thankfulmama

 

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

International Festival Crafts For Kids Part 2

Part 2

Folkmoot festival crafts for kids

I’m happy to be writing about one of the best days of summer around here!  We have attended the Folkmoot Festival for three years in a row.  If you missed my last posting about this cultural peace festival, you can read about it HERE or click the picture.

Folkmoot Passports and Cultural Peace Festival

 

 

 

 

Today I’m going to share with you more fun crafts from The Festival Day that you and your children can make at home.

Please join me under “The Childrens Tent” where my son PJ learned about countries from around the world by making simple yet beautiful arts and crafts at stations.

 

To get started you need:

Passports And Flag Stamps

Upon entering the tent PJ received a children’s passport  to stamp as he completed each countries craft.  This passport was made by Folkmoot.org s supporters and employees.  You can find similar products on Pinterest or at Living Montessori Now.  And you can also help your child create a book of their own with a little imagination! 

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The stamps can be wooden with ink or a sticker stamp set.  PJ used the wooden stampers.

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Printable Maps And Flags For Each Country

At each country station or center area there was a global map that marked the country on the map. A mini replica of its flag was placed on the map.

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First stop was the United States of America station of course.

Native American Dream Catcher

  • Paper plate
  • Hole punch
  • Rainbow yarn
  • 3 feathers
  • Scissors and pencil
  • Pony beads 
  • Tape

To make his dream catcher, PJ was given a paper plate with a hole cut out of its center.  The plate rim had already been punched and numbered.  So, you’ll want to do a little prep work to set up your stations or centers before hand.  Children can help with some prep work but we were at a festival; No scissors were given to children.

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PJ used the rainbow yarn to lace the plate rim in numerical order.  He secured the remaining end of the yarn with tape to the plate edge.

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He had help tying 3 feathers to the end 3 short pieces (about 3 to 4 inches long) of yarn. A few pony beads were added to the yarn strings. The opposite end of the yarn was secured by tape to the back of the plate rim as well.

So Beautiful we almost forgot to get his passport stamped!

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French Stained Glass

  • 4×6 Heavy Plastic Sheets 
  • Slightly Larger Piece of Cardstock
  • Markers
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Printer to print designs ex: birds, sunflowers,ect. OR permanent marker to draw your own design on the Heavy Plastic.

The station for France was a bit more involved but not an activity we wouldn’t do again at home.  PJ was handed a preprinted heavy plastic sheet with a design.  That maybe a bit difficult to make at home but you can always just draw a pretty design yourself on the sheeting with black permanent marker.

He colored his plastic sheet with marker.

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 Next, cut a 4×6 piece of aluminum foil.  CRUMPLE the foil ever so gently.  Then,  UNCRUMPLE  and FLATTEN it.  This took us both several attempts to achieve a piece of  foil that was NOT TORN.

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PJ put his foil over the card stock and taped the foil edges to the back of the cardstock. 

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With a little team work we added his colored plastic sheet over the foiled card stock and taped the edges together.  I gave him the scissors to trim the edges so that all the pieces would fit together neatly.  He repeated as needed.

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This turned out to be one of the most stunning art pieces PJ has ever done!  Plus, I loved the way he really concentrated on finishing it. A well earned stamp in his passport!

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Ghanaian Mask

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  • Black Construction Paper
  • A Toilet Paper Roll
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pastel Chalk

These masks were very simple to make.  Most of the supplies were precut.  Again you will want to do a few steps before your child can start at the point in which PJ started at the Ghana station.  They Are::

1) Cut a toilet paper roll in half width wise to form two tubes.  Then, cut one of the sides of a small tube in half length wise. Simply cut the corners of the tube at an angle to look like this.

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2) The black construction paper was already cut to fit the size of the TP tube as well.  So, measure and cut a piece of black construction paper by tracing the cut out tube pattern on black paper. Easy peasy!

PJ started with putting his precut mask together.  He tucked the over lapping black paper to match the shape of the TP tube. (As shown above.)  Flip the mask over so that the back paper side is showing.

Next, he used colored pastel chalk and a premodern example to draw his own Ghanaian mask.  It was his first ever try at this sort of craft, but he was VERY CREATIVE!  

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When he was finished, he just taped the open edges of the mask together and he got a stamp for his passport.

 

Mexican Maracas

  • Dried Beans
  • Plastic Eggs
  • Dollar Store Tape with bright colors or designs
  • 2 Plastic Spoons

If you are doing a study on Mexico you can’t go without making Maracas! The kids will love it!  Here is how PJ and I learned a new way to make them.

At the Mexican station, PJ was asked  (by two very nice adolescent twin girls) to fill a plastic egg with dried beans.  

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Then he used two spoon to steady the filled egg between  his spoons.  They gave him small strips of the tape to wrap around the spoons and egg.

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He continued to wrap (from top to bottom) the spoons and egg together until he reached the spoon handles.  

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At this point, he decided to use a different color of tape which turned out nicely against the color of the egg itself! Crafty!

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Japanese Lanterns

Four crafts later, my son was ready to call it quits.  The rest of the Folkmoot Festival Day was left to be seen and a nearby bubble machine had caught his eye.  We didn’t stop to make it long enough to make the Japanese Lantern but I found a really neat take on the Chinese Lantern at 

Relentlessly Fun Deceptively Educational

 

More ideas…

Syncopated Mama-  Passports To Fun Italy 

Creative Family Fun-  Mapping The Olympics

The Educators Spin On It-  Exploring Cultures With Kids

Living Montessori Now– has an abundance of ideas using Little Passports and activities from great bloggers such as herself!  Don’t forget to read the bottom of this post to find exciting links furthering studies of different countries!

PJ and I always look forward to this festival.  There’s so much to learn each new year it comes our way.  I  hope we’ve given you some good ideas to help your child have fun learning about cultures of the world!  Maybe you can have a festival day at your own house.

Special thanks to the staff at The Festival Day, from the Coordinator (for helping Pj in the childrens tent) and volunteers imageright up to the drivers (GREAT Uncle Tom) for making this happen in our part of the world!  We love it! We thank you.

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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I brought out his easel to practice ADDITION.  

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

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The first one to reach 100 was the winner!

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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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Sites I share with:

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“Mrs.AOK,

 

Hip Homeschool Moms

 

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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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

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Better Screen Time With Learning Apps

Learning apps are a far better use of screen time!

 

 

 

Whether you love it or hate it or don’t know what it is Pokemon Go is one of the most popular apps in the world right now. Here are some alternatives created intentionally to foster learning, making them a truly  worthwhile time investment.  For fun, and since Pokemon’s from Japan, I’ll count the apps in Japanese – Ichi, Ni, San, Go!

 

 

 

 

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Ichi (One):  Have story time anywhere with the FarFaria App.

You will like this app because kids can READ quietly and be entertained wherever they are.  It also gives the entire family access to thousands of books on iPad, kindle, phone, ext. so there are options for all ages! Turn screen time into story time with this “Netflix for Children’s BOOK” app.  Its great to be able to save books to the app so they can read offline anywhere!!

Great for: Ages 2-9

Cost: For a limited time, $19.99 (Save $20!)

 

 

 

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Ni (Two): Improve reading skills with Hooked On Phonics app.

Do your kids love Hooked On Phonics?

Theyve really brought this time-honored system to the big league with this amazing app.  It has educational games to keep kids at home or on the phone anywhere.  I love that it syncs children’s progress to all devices –  –So, if dad is working night shift he is kept up with PJ’s progress.  And if you don’t have the app around you can just download the app, sign, in, and have kids pick up right where they left off.  Seamless.

Great for: Ages 2-8

Cost: For a limited time, $29.99 (Save 20$)

 

 

 

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San (Three):  Learn coding skills with the brower-based Learn to Mod program.

Do your kids love video games and winning badges?  Use that to get them coding!  The Learn to Mod program is a browser-based software that teaches kids how to “mod” Minecraft with both Blockly and Javascript (neither of which I understand, but there you have it).  The program includes hundreds of puzzles, video lessons, and quizzes that get kids learning this impressive skill while having fun.  The badges keep them coming back for more!

Great forAges 7-13

Cost: $29.99

 

 

 

imageGo! (Four): Need help with homework?  Use the GradeSlam app and ask a tutor!!

Need help helping with homework??  Are you strapped for time to help with homework?  There is an app for that, too! GrandSlam provides 24/7 tutoring in all subject’s to students in middle and high school, as well as, college.  With their award winning chat-based tutoring platform, your kids can access tutors anytime they need.  This is the perfect supplement for any subject matter beyond your scope, busy spells, and for when kids head off to college.  

Great for: upper school to college ages, tougher subjects

Cost: For a limited time, get a whole year for  $99 (save) $81!)

 

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I hope I’ve expanded your DIGITAL horizons beyond Pokemon Go today!  What apps do your kids use?  Comment below.  I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

Crystal 🙂

 

TEACHER APPRECIATION 10,000 Give Away!!!

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Teacher Appreciation

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                      GIVE AWAY From Educents!!!!

 

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This post contains affiliate links…

 

 

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation month, Educents, First Grade, S&S Worldwide and the Sellers of Educents have partnered to give educators funding for their dream classrooms. The 7 educators with the most votes will win a combined $10,000! Any educator is eligible to win – teachers, homeschoolers, parents, and school administrators.

 

How to Win

Educators get pretty creative when it comes to raising money to cover expenses for classroom supplies. Many host bake sales, ask the community for second-hand supplies, or pay out of their own pockets. However, there’s a new way to get money for your classroom… and it doesn’t include raiding the aisles of your local dollar store.

It’s easy to enter to win the Educents Teacher Appreciation Giveaway, and it still requires a little creativity (see Step 3).

Step 1: Save up to $5,000 in products for your dream classroom in your Educents wishlist.

Step 2: Click “Enter to Win” on your wishlist page and create your voting profile.

Step 3: Share with your friends, family and community and ask them to vote for you every day until May 6. This is your opportunity to get creative – how will you share your wishlist, and how will you involve your community to vote for you??

Any educator is eligible to win – teachers, homeschoolers, and school administrators. Ready to get started?

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This is a little preview of what my amazing Educents Dream List for homeschool looks like so far!  Take a Peek.  Theses products are all our learning needs wrapped into one BIG list.   I had so much fun picking my dream supplies and filling my cart as if I were taking these things home.  Imagine if I did win them!  Boy would we have a blast trying out new products never to have a dull moment on his education.   Well you could win too.  Just follow the steps above.

And…If you don’t have a list of your own vote for me and PJ!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will come back to add my own list link when I’m finished adding products. Yay!

In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up at Educents (FREE) to download the freebies at the end of this post.

 

 

 

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Hands on science!

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The kit above has the following included!  We could spend weeks incorporating this in all subjects!

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Going Green:  In this kit my student will learn about the water cycle, make a composting tube, learn about the three R’s, recycle paper to make shapes, help learn how to help save the planet!

 

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Solar Kit: I know he would  really like to discover carbon dioxide with solar experiments.  This kit makes everything solar simple and hands on! 

 

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Nature Kit:  We love ANTs amd all things animal here.  BUT we haven’t learned about animal tracks or made our own ant farm.  That would be “so Cool!” ~ PJ

 

 

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These two Simple Machine K’Nex Builder Kits would surely give PJ a great leg up in testing not to mention hours of fun!!

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I’d love to have this Lego Simple Machines kit, too!

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My wish list for our studies will always include printable s!  And how to store them?!


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More Printables…

These two novel studies are above Pjs reading level But they are amoungst my favorite upper elementary school books!!  You can bet I will be the first person to read these to him!  

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Books, books, and more books!  He loves books!  I enjoy reading as well but could really stand to amp up  his curriculum sources!!

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Wow!  Is this first grade science reader set a great deal!!!

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Visuals for my Visual thinker…

 

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Growing and learning to be independent thinkers is something every parent and educator wants for a child  they are instructing..

 

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Here are a few other entries I love – Vote for your

 

 

favorite!

 

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Vote for me!!

 

“Vote for me because I LOVE teaching. I have a wonderful class that is full of spirit and who loves to learn. I will be putting all my dream items to the end of the year lessons and summer school lessons.” -Diana R.

“I am a homeschooling mom of 4 children, and one baby on the way! We live on only my husband salary. I would love to create a dream classroom for them.” – Gina H.

 

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Thank you for reading!!

Crystal :).              

 

Freebies For The Teacher…..

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Arbor Day Exploration: Musings of Autism

 

 

Arbor Day/ International Day of Forests/ Agricultural Week

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As we studied the rain forest trees this week, this cute craft from the past came to mind.   I thought it would be a good time to share it here with Arbor Day coming up this month.  This month is also Autism Awareness Month.  A month that will always be observed in my life and heart.  I love being able to use my blog as a sort of journal for all the things my son and I have done together!  For me, scrolling through this post will be a tearful reminder of how much he has overcome.

 

(Awaiting Feeding Therapy Team appointment with Occupation Therapist, Neurologist, SLP, and Nutritionist he no longer needs.)

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Plus, it is wonderful to have this time to write it all out and share with you.  We have been through so much together but I’ve never had the time to write extensively about it less note taking on his progression.

 

 

Though I’ve been writing for a few short months, I have been providing support curriculum for my son going on 4 years now.  During that time PJ was diagnosed with “severe to moderate” autism.  He was 3 years old at a developmental level of  a 3 mo. old infant.

 

 

We spent much of our days working on basic skills like learning to sit in a chair (without falling), using whole words to communicate, over coming fears (water, sun light, tastes, textures, sounds ect.), pointing at things when asked a question, and generally tolerating others.

 He and I attended many different types of therapy sessions. Our days of learning were intensive.

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Through it all I have tried to keep things as fun as possible.  This he knew as going to “listen”.  He had a blast during Integrated Listening Therapy!   

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 Pet therapy for “gentle touch”

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Reading dog therapy….
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Years of Speech…
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Phenomenal Speech therapy I might add…Oh how we miss Phenomemal SLP as I called her!

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There was no time left to do things like run a blog with a 40 plus hour 7 day a week learning program and several therapy sessions squeezed in between.  Let’s not over look the hours of meal planning for a special diet or home programs for building tolerance.  These programs are often not spoken about but the most difficult for individuals with autism.

 

“Going Shopping”    A program that started at 5 minutes of tolerance per trip.  The faithful backpack was a necessity that has since faded out of the trip. So has the shopping cart!

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“Hair Cutting”.   A program to build tolerance so that cutting his hair didn’t “hurt” his ears and head.  Our first cut with electric clippers and a salt tray graduated to a professional haircut.

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“Finger Nail Clipping”.   A program to build tolerance for clipping his nails which I previously could not even do successfully in his sleep.  Now he cuts his own nails!

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Now that PJ is catching up to his peers (in the case of science he is ahead) there are very few days of data trials with cards (an additional aide for memory retention), I have more time on my hands.

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 4 years old labeling parts of the brain image

 

Don’t get me wrong.  

Though he has lost a diagnosis of autism, we still have much learning to do.  There are social skills, speech, motor skills to strengthen, and academics in general to work on Afterschool.  But these days CAN be and are now be filled with much more musing over his beautiful personality than wondering what is wrong or what hurts when he isn’t “himself” because he can’t tell me.

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 Now there are more moments where he is leading me than in the past during our learning together.   The following activity was one such musing of his curious exploration that led our learning.

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Things you will need 

4 pieces of contact paper

tape

washable paint

paint brush

Bottle caps (one for each color of paint your child will         use)

 

 

Tape 4 pieces of cardstock paper together at the corners.  Turn the new whole piece of paper over and paint a trunk with sprawling branches.  I helped him do this part but you can let your child complete the task if they are ready.


Arbor Day tree craft

 

He used bottle caps top side down and dipped in paint to create leaves for his tree.  I remember how much he enjoyed blending the colors of the leaves on the paper.

Arbor Day tree Craft

 

 

 

The finished master piece still hangs on our wall. This year we plan to make one for each season.  Next is summer!
Arbor Day Tree Craft

 

 

Exploration

Now for the fun part!  While the tree craft is drying go outdoors and explore.

 

 

PJ took lots samples of tree parts.  He even took samples of things that were growing around trees.

Tree exploration

 

 

We explored different types of bark and the insects that live under bark.  I explained vocabulary words, labeled parts, and introduced adjectives as he moved around from tree to tree.  We were at a huge mountain recreational park area.  Tons of variety there!

Tree exploration

 

He found sticky sap…

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and a sapling!  

Finding the sapling that was planted inside an old cut down tree was the best.  It took his exploration on a side trail of internet searches for ways to help the environment by planting trees.  Really, it was the core of what I hoped he would learn about Arbor Day.  We still check on the growing sapling to this day.Tree exploraion

 

 

 

After collecting “tree” items PJ took them how to sort them by leaves, branches, bark, ect.

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I left his art along with containers of tree materials out so that it would be accessible to him for a few weeks.  He talked about his tree exploration trips, labeled parts of trees, and matched parts to his craft.

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Both PJ and my daughter love reading “The Giving Tree” as much as I do.  This 20 year old copy was one of the first books I bought for his sister.  It is a great book to read for learning about why we need trees and all they give us.  PJ used his craft and tree findings to retell parts of the story several times.  

Tree book and craft extension

 

 

I enjoyed watching PJ learn using all his senses for Arbor Day! We smelled the scent of pine and felt various textures.  He was very engaged and remembered lots of new vocabulary.   It was the start of  a new type of learning..an independent style of learning ..his way.

 

How will your child explore Arbor Day this year?    Please comment below.  I’d love to hear about your plans and experiences!

 

Places I share…

Christian Montessori Network

“>Learn and Play Link Up

 

Hip Homeschool Moms

“>Hip Homeschool Moms

 

Teaching Mama

“>Everything Early Childhood Link Up

 

Preschool and Kindergarten Community Weekly Link Up

 

 

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Crystal 🙂

 

 

 

 

MLK 4 Day Weekend

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day was the first ever observed by my son.  Up until this year, he wasn’t able to grasp the complexity of ideas like equality, segregation based on skin color, or advocacy.

 

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Pjs understanding of the world around him, compassion towards others, and ability to voice right from wrong has improved tremendously in first grade.  I’m quite proud of the gentlemen he is growing into!!!

In short, I felt he was ready to absorb why Martin Luther King Day was celebrated over our four day break from school.  

 

 

I always start new learning with a book on the subject rather than a discussion.  

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I chose “The Crayon Box that Talked” to help him  understand problems of  diversity.  The crayons do not get along but eventually are able to appreciate qualities in one another.  

 

 

 

He illustrated and wrote about the book.  We flipped through the book again to look for sentences that described what the crayons were thinking and feeling about one another.

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After writing and sitting, I thought it a good idea to do some hands-on learning about diversity.  I already had the idea to use scented Playdough to represent skin colors.  Apparently it is a great idea because skin tone playdough colors are all over the net!  

Here is the most popular picture from Spoonful via www.racheous.com

SPOONFUL
SPOONFUL

 

Beautiful isn’t it?!  But I couldn’t seem to link to the direct source no matter where it was shared.

 

 

 

I eventually searched for each skin color from various sites.  He loved that these all have a scent or special texture!!

 

He made various people over a two day period.  He even gave each person a good quality while we talked about how people were different.  

It was suppose to be black colored Playdough.
It was suppose to be black colored Playdough.

 

We didn’t use any sort of pattern but I found these PLAYDOUGH MATS from Picklebums to use next time.

 

On day two through four, I thought we would watch a few readings of books for facts about Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was a holiday so the library was closed.  These are the two readings we watched on you tube.

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I helped my son pause and rewind to write down facts from the books. 

Facts About MLK – Kids Play and Create

The BEST visual resource for this topic was definitely another You Tube video.  PJ was listening and watching intently to this creative children’s biography.  The characters time travel!!

Next, I drew an outline of Dr. King and PJ colored it in…image

I wasn’t sure if he would be interested in watching the famous “I Have a Dream” speech so I saved it for last.   Don’t know why I was worried?  He listened and watched the entire speech!! Not only that, he asked questions “What’s that?” and “What’s he say?” when he didn’t know the meaning of a word.  It was the perfect opportunity to use the dictionary so I wrote a few words down to look up. 

“I Have A Dream” speech – Teacher Tube

Examples of terms and words we defined…..

  • sweltering in the heat of oppression
  •  Segregation
  • brotherhood

We finished learning about MLK’s most famous speech with copywork.  I just drew a bubble and a few lines using a ruler for him to write on. 

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He is reading the speech out loud to himself here:)
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More Martin Luther King Jr. Resources….

Activities – Moments A Day

Crafts – Kids Fun Review

 

 

 

Thank You for Reading!!

Crystal 🙂

Places I share

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