DIY Emergency Tooth Fairy Pillow


Do It Yourself Emergency Tooth Fairy Pillow….




Ive been scouting for the perfect lost tooth holder because the Tooth Fairy complained that it was to hard to find my sons tooth the last visit!!


And here I am still looking online while yet another tooth is loose..yikes, I’m cutting it really close!  His tooth is hanging by a thread literally but I want to find some kind of tooth holder that he will want to pass on to his kids someday.  

Even if I purchased the kit I have been eyeing online it would take at least half a week to arrive.  

Very cute kit!! See here on


So, today we finished up his homework and started a new study on Informational Text (about TEETH of course!:)).  Then, my son put this project together.  


I couldn’t tell you how I came up with this other than I’ve found many blogs with this tooth pattern only the patterns were for sewing or croucheting…I can’t sew much and don’t know how to crochet.  I decided a paper version would more than work in a pinch.  It turned out to be a great way to work on hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, and articulation for speech.  Besides, he was so proud of his work that he is sleeping with it:)

Tonight I will post the super easy steps to make it.




Step 1…. Draw a pattern of a large tooth to cover a standard size piece of heavy paper or cardstock.

2….  Trace your pattern on another piece of card stock and cut a small square for a tooth pocket.




3….  Let your child decorate or just draw a face on one piece of cardstock and add the tiny tooth pocket to the other piece of cardstock.  We used Elmer’s glue to secure the pocket to the back.  Then use a hole punch around the edges of the patterns.


4….  This is where I surprised him!  I let him use the remainder of our glow in the dark yarn that was made during our SPIDER UNIT to lace the teeth together!! Let your child be creative and make some glow in the dark string too!



He is using his tongue to concentrate here.  Love that!

He was so excited that he tried to goto bed early but disappointed he couldn’t.  He had not taken a bath yet.:)





These are a few Tooth Fairy supplies I’m choosing from……..

Boys Stamped Tooth Fairy Pillow at
My Baby Tooth Book for boys at
Complete kit at

Narratives: Making Connections With Text Through Characters


Connecting To Text With Characters….

Character connections dental Health Month



My son and I continued to study Narratives and all its components this Thanksgiving break from school.  


He has lost THREE teeth!! AND now he has a  fourth tooth loose:).  So, instead of learning about The First Thanksgiving ( we can always do that next week, RIGHT.!??),  he and I read this ADORABLE firster chapter-book!  It turned out to be one of our favorite books!  I only wish I had found it sooner for my now grown daughter to enjoy.


AMAZON.COM new or used available!!

     This book has 13 chapters that took us all of his break from school to read.  We took our time and were able to read the whole book two times from start to finish.  This is a great reading comprehension strategy BTW!



If you have been following you will remember I like to use anchor charts when we cover literature at home.   My son just loves the BIG visuals we draw and write out together!!  




     This particular book worked good with a VENN DIAGRAM to compare himself to Pearl, the main character in the book.  The second most important character of course was the TOOTH FAIRY!!


He loves to draw on wrapping paper and I love that he is using his whole body to think!



How are we the SAME?








He wrote new details to compare himself to Pearl after every few chapters.  We used the TABLE OF CONTENTS   to label every new chapter and find the page the chapter started on. 

How are we DIFFERENT?



When the diagram was all filled up we continued to talk about comparing his own tooth loss experiences to Pearls experiences.

image image

      In the book, Pearl makes a tooth collection box for herself.  (She wasn’t giving that old Tooth Fairy her tooth and that was the rising conflict in the story.)  My son just loved that part and made all kinds of ” Oooh Noo!!”  faces:)    So, we decided to make a paper tooth fairy pillow together to represent that he gave the tooth fairy his teeth.  Post the finished product later…


     He liked the book so much so that I even looked for TOOTH FAIRY PACKS to incorporate into his week off from school.  




3 Dinosaurs- FREE Tooth Fairy Pack ages 2-7

Enchanted Learning- FREE Tooth Fairy Pack


     This book itself has many LETTERS to and from the Tooth Fairy as they two characters were in a fued over a lost tooth.  I took advantage of the books content and we wrote a future letter asking the tooth fairy to keep his next tooth:)  


Here is the link for a letter responding to that request FROM THE TOOTH FAIRY HERSELF!!


More future tooth fairy ideas(:


Mom & Munchkins

FREE PRINTABLE CHECK in case you don’t have the money on hand…

Mom 4 Real


Living 2 Learn

I’m sure I will be reading more books about the tooth fairy real soon, but if you have more ideas to add to this tooth fairy unit feel free to comment!! Love to here from you!


Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂





Types of Text: Learning About Narratives in First Grade

     I sent a lengthy note to my sons teacher to ask what she had covered in my sons class thus far in the way of types of text and writing.   I like to be “on the same page” when we do activities at home.  Really, we have a monthly goal planner that breaks down into weekly activities to do Afterschool.  And since my son has other things planned Afterschool like sports and speech it really pays to have our Afterschool hours be as productive as possible.  By productive I mean learning what is grade appropriate as well as what is developmentally appropriate for my son.  The task of planning is tricky if you dont keep open communication with your child’s teacher….But that is a blog for another day.



     From his teacher I learned the class had already covered narrative texts.  We are still covering narrative reading/writing at home and I really want him to KNOW what a narrative text consists of before we move into informational text.   Plus, he is already good at pointing out facts in informational science books that we read together.  This made me decide to focus more time on narratives.  So, what is a narrative text in first grade??


Well, if  your children are attending a public school it would be a good idea to start by becoming familiar with first grade Common Core Standards.   The first grade language arts reading can found HERE



****Remember, every state has their own adaptions to common core.  Be sure and check out your states First Grade Common Core Standards, too.****


     ……….Back to reading narrative text.

 A first grader will learn to decipher narrative text from other types of text by remembering a few key characteristics::

  • Narrative text TELLS A STORY.
  • It has a BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END.
  • Narratives have a CHARACTER(s) AND A SETTING.
  • Narrations can be FICTION or NONFICTION. (introductions will begin in Kindergarten)

A Cute visual for characteristics of a Narrative can be found at Fun In First.


is fairly self explanatory.   You want your firster to be familiar with story telling text.  In kindergarten they will be read famous classics, Fairy Tales, Poems, and all the awesome series books like “The old Lady That..” And “Clifford”.   All those types of literature are considered narratives.  So while you are reading to them help them become familiar with the vocabulary term “Narrative”.  They will need to label types of text in first grade and be able to differentiate characteristics of those texts.  



You will also want them to start writing about how they relate to the story.  “What would you do if” types of questions will now be wrote out in sentences.  Your firster will learn how to give supportive reasoning and examples from narratives to form opinions as well.  They will draw from their own experiences as they develop character trait recognition….It is magical to hear my son beginning to compare himself to a character within a book!!  

We will focus in more detail about character traits during our next break……THANKSGIVING!!!  Can. Not. Wait.:)


Supportive reasons activitity for the book "If I Were President"
Supportive reasons activities for the book “If I Were President”.




Sequential Order or BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END……


 Emphasis is placed on pattering, story retell, using words like first, next, last because these skills are the stepping stones to ALL academics!  Later, there is number order/patterning, the scientific process, writing phonetic English patterns…the list is endless.  They are NOT just skills important to reading.   You may want to review those kindergarten story sequencing skills but expect them to point out key details with less prompting…….  More putting thoughts into correctly written words instead of using illustrated retell is what that looked like for my little guy.

The most common way to teach all about narrative reading and writing is to use story maps like these…..

Reading Rockets

Teacher Printables

There are really a lot of FREE printable story maps online at Teachers Pay Teachers if you are a FREE member!!!


At the start of first grade it’s all about using simple sentences to recall key details….

During first grade, children learn to write sentences to describe what is happening in the beginning, middle, and end of a narrative.  They develop more intricate writing patterns as the year progresses.  So they need to use a simple Story Map with say Beginning, Middle, End, character, and setting at the start of first grade.  

Towards the ending of the year the same child may be using a story map that asks the child to describe the plot and conflict in addition to the B/M/E.  For higher learning levels (as leveled by core standards) a story map may even ask them to describe the conflict, peak of conflict, and/or resolution using key details.

***** It is important to remember a story map should be appropriately challenging for each individual child.  AND that it is quite alright for parents to teach with a mixed level story map even if you need to make your own for your children!!  Sometimes my son uses cut and paste or hidden folding story maps for extra writing space. *****




I decided to really target Characters in narratives during break from school.  There is so much more to learn about characters in a story than a story map can cover here.  See how we cover characters using BIG visuals this week (HIS FAVORITE READING AND WRITING TOOL!!) as we step into informational text.  I will come back and post a link to this page!

When you chose to cover characters with a story map you can ask your child to write out the name of the main character with correct capitalization.  If there is more than one character ask them to write each characters name in order of importance.  Most times the main character is who is telling the story but the character telling the story may change at certain points.  Be sure to ask “Who is telling the story?”  

The setting often changes at different times during the story especially when reading firster chapter books.  When this happens my son first does a chapter by chapter story retell with posty notes:)

These are some of his favorite chapter book.  We take turns reading but it is still important that he read chapter books.  He is learning to use features of books like Table of Contents to find chapter title and page number.


Then I help him fill out a simple book report to summarize his notes.  

You can find FREE printable book reports at 123Homeschool4me.


Your firster should already be familiar with story books that are true and not real stories.  At this point they need to know what the vocabulary words Fiction and Nonfiction mean.  These two categories of text will be learned about continually throughout the year and this is why………

Nonfictional and Fictional text can be found in a many types of texts not just Narratives.

  • Narrative text
  • Personal Opinion Narrative text
  • Informational text (is generally nonfiction unless you are reading something like ” The Three Types of  Swap Monsters” 🙂 
  • Opinion text

More Information

Blessed Beyond A Doubt – fREE Fall Writing Prompts

This Reading Mama – Simple Writing Lessons

Fun In First – Narrative text and writing

Hub Pages – Explaining narratives and tons of activities for them








Continue reading Types of Text: Learning About Narratives in First Grade

30 Plus Spider Activities for Learning!…Even in Speech

30 Plus Spider Theme Activities….AND How We Used Them!!!



 Wow Wee!!  We have studied spiders in just about every way possible for a first grader to do so!

 AND my son has enjoyed learning with a spider theme so much, that I thought I would share with you all the possible ways to use spiders for a theme study.  So…if you were looking to cover spiders…



     Everyday Afterschool my son has first grade spelling words to memorize.  We practice writing his spelling words in a mock test but also do a hands on activity.  I ended up making my own Spelling Spider Web Art….


Before or I found this hands on activity from….

 A Mom With A Lesson Plan: It’s A Spider Web Spelling Word Search!!!!  


We wouldn’t get very far if we didn’t include reading in his spider theme.  He loves, loves, loves, books! And after a search for reading practice at home I found..

We have made lots of printable books together in the past.  

Even if your children aren’t ready to read chapter books they may still enjoy listening to the classic “Charlotte’s Web”.  My son is still enjoying our study in this book (2 weeks later!) with the many activities I found here:

  • One Extra Degree has a Charollet’s Web Unit Study and FREEbie!
  •  I loved using This Reading Mama’s homeschool experience about FACT or FICTION with Charollet’s Web.  We also used these books below (plus tons of others!) to label fiction from nonfiction, compare and contrast spiders with a Venn diagram, fill in a Can/Are/Have chart and an Know/Want to know/Learned chart..
****NO NEED to see disclosure. There are no affiliate links here but I’m working on it;)



     My son is covering addition and subtraction of  double digits.  We also reviewed more/ less than for mathematic language.  Gotta learn those word problem terms!

  •    You can try my activity for Addition/subtraction with spiders HERE.  It also has a more/less than activity version.
  • I included The Imagination Tree Incy Wincy SPider Counting Activity Resource Pack  in this round up because it was a good resource for Firsters in beginning levels of math.
  • Tiny Tots Adventures has a hands on craft to Practice Number Words.
  • 3 Dinosaurs Printable Packs!!  This needs a category all it’s own!
Warming up with the most adorable spider web number sequencing 11-20 Puzzle! 3 Dinosaurs
Using 3Dinosaurs packet to write facts from the nonfiction spider books we read.
Using 3Dinosaurs packet to write sentences about the fictional spider books we shared reading. 3Dinosaurs
More sentence practice about spiders and fictional books.
More sentence practice about spiders and non fiction books. 3 Dinosaurs
He really enjoyed using the addition printable!
He really enjoyed using the addition printable!
Thumbs up! He used this addition practice printable so many times that he had it he last problem memorized. Hence Thumbs Up!!:)
Thumbs up! He used this addition practice printable so many times that he had the last problem memorized. Hence, he did not have to count it out and we gave each other the thumbs up:) 3Dinosaurs (the numbers are taken from previous The Afterschool House activity and used to help with writing reversals)

  If you haven’t tried her printable packs you are missing out on some of the CUTEST graphics and best all around learning out there!!  We used her FREE Bat & Spider Pack over and over again!!  As you can see above, my son had no problem maintaining attention to tasks in almost every subject.  And the best part about the packs are you can choose your child’s level and practice subject!  (Yes, there are printable s for writing, math, reading, shapes, letters, you name it!) She has each printable labeled so that you can pick and choose BEFORE you download!!


   My son likes science almost as much as he likes books..almost.  He particularly likes life science: ants,bugs,life cycles, ecosystems, plants, water, eggs, babies, and the like.  The best place to explore all these things are outdoors.  So we hunted for spider webs on walks and tried to collect one that turned out too dainty for the task.  Maybe you will have better luck at finding a hardy web with the link below..

  • We worked for several days on this FREE Spider Lap Book from Preschool Powol Packets.  

    We rainbow colored the parts of the spider then drew lines to the matching label/name of the part . A variation from Preschool Powol Packets.
  • To match the parts of the spider to each name of the parts he and I studied and talked about it using these SPIDERS at  This is a fantastic step by step way to label spider body parts!image
  • He wasn’t quite ready for all the printable s in the lap book so I added this life cycle of a spider in addition to the one that comes with the lap book.  We cut The Life Cycle of a Wolf Spider from into puzzle pieces and practiced putting it together several times.  Then we glued it into place on the back of the Lap Book.


  • We studied 4 unique spiders: 2 poisonous spiders the black widow and brown recluse, a wolf spider, and the orb spider family.  This link was one he was uber fascinated by.  It’s a posting of a mama wolf spider caring her babies on her back! EEK!!
  • My son is a super visual thinker!  We utilize you tube for learning extensions in all subjects.  Videos also help bring it home so to speak by repeating what we have already learned in reading or listening to books.  Many times I read a book then find the video reading of the same book and read it again.  I didn’t share a link to those we used for his spider study: There were too many!  


LOTS AND LOTS of writing was done after reading, you tube videos, and  before we started the spider study.  I made a couple of charts using the back of wrapping paper to compare and contrast spiders with him.  I did the same for a K/W/l chart before we started diving into books.  He wrote sentences (above) about facts he learned.  I asked him to recall stories from ficiotional books using a story map.  We wrote spelling words on Spider themed paper and paused videos to jot down key points about spiders..I used different types of paper to keep things interesting. 

3 Dinosaurs  Bat Spider Pack was perfect for sentence practice! (See above)


School Time Snippets has a FREE Spider Verb Noun Sort that we have been working on repeatedly.   NOTE****  If your child uses picture cards or PECS try this with your cards!


  • Speech Peeps is still keeping us busy with an introduction to Synonyms WHICH HE IS JUST LOVING!!!! This Synonyms Spider Craft And Activity is oodles of fun!  This doubles or maybe  triples! for Speech, sentence practice, and language arts!!
  • Playing With Words 365 has an ‘Sp’ prodution at the word level GAME.  We aren’t working on Sp articulation but if you have a spider theme going on you can sub your own sounds at different places in words, phrases, or even reading within text.  

We will be having this kinda spider speech fun from SLP Mommy Of Apraxia well into November!

MORE HANDS ON ACTIVITY FUN…..In between the other fun spider learning of course!

  • Oh, he had a very hard time containing the hardy laughs (he can have a deep voice), YEAH’s!, and general ants in the pants when we played this with our neighbors!!! Thanks Frugal Fun For Boys for your  Back Yard Games Spider Launch.  NOTE****we used this to practice spelling words as well.  Neighbors are also classmates. No pictures. Things were going little boy fast!
  • 123Homeschool4me has a totally “Fly”Glow In The Dark Spider Web! Did you like what I did there;)  Here we are trying our hand at it. Our web is still drying….

    “Fly” Glowing Spider Web
  • If you looking for more Spider Crafts Coffee Cups And Crayons is a good place start.  We are using some for Halloween decor. 


We have done done various color wheels but we have yet to use glue and glitter to make a color wheel.  Artsy Momma has a beautiful design for that HERE.

There you have it!! Tons of stuff to have a memorable time learning about spiders like we did!!!!



Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂







Spelling Spider Web Art

Spider Spelling Art


     This week my son has been studying SPIDERS.  All week I will be posting fun activities that we have used and will be doing afterschool!  


    The first of each week he has a new spelling list sent home from school.  I’m always on the hunt for new ways to practice spelling and occasionally I come up with an idea of my own.  See here what we did?!

To do this spelling craft you will need..

  • A large piece of poster board
  • Several sizes of circular containers ( I used 2 glasses, a plate, and a medium Tupperware bowl)
  • washable finger paint
  • pencil or gray maker for the color of the web
  • juice bottle lids
  • googly eyes for the spider optional
  • paint brush is instead of marker for the spider legs is optional but can add fine motor practice!!
  • paint for the spider bodies

Make a simple spider web design on the poster board by drawing a cross in the center.  Second, draw an “X” to make a pizza cutting pattern.  I used a pencil just in case I needed to erase then went over it with gray marker. 

Sample from Spider Web Math AND 3 Ways To use It!

Start tracing the outer edge of your smallest container first.  Draw a portion of a circle from one of the pizza cut design lines to the next.image

Keep drawing the curves using the container and at an angle so that your web continues to circle around.  You will reach a point when you need to use a larger container to trace because the smaller one no longer touches from one line to the next. 


When you have finished circling the web like a spider does! use  your juice bottle cap to make circles randomly around the web.  Make a circle for each letter of every spelling word  your child needs to spell. To give you an idea of how may circles will fit on the web: I made 20 or so spider circles and a few extra for mistakes.

image image

Now the FUN part!!  Let your child use juice bottle caps dipped in paint to spell their spelling words!  My son first wrote the words (like he would for a spelling test) then he stamp painted them.

Practicing those words.


We talked about types of spiders here. He mimicked the look of the Brown Recluse, Black Widow, and Rainbow Orbb spide. LOVE the way he blended the colors!!
We talked about types of spiders here. He mimicked the look of the Brown Recluse, Black Widow, and Rainbow Orbb spider.  LOVE the way he blended the colors!!

After the spiders dried a bit, I showed him how to paint legs.  You can use a marker for another look like we did here.  He also used a paint brush.  Sneeking in fine motor work where I can. 

His finished masterpiece!!

If you need a few more sensory centered spelling activities here is my goto list for the week:

Check back for more SPIDER activities later this week here at The Afterschool House!


Thank You for Reading!

Crystal 🙂


Leaf Word Families Activity

Leaf Word Family Activity updated…


LEAF Word Family Activies




This post was originally wrote last Fall, but it was such a fun and simple activity I decided to use it again this year.  It’s a wonderful activity to do as a word families or book study extension! 





      At this point into our owl/leaves study we have already completed a few Owl activities and have done a few owl related RED TED ART crafts.  So this is why you see a picture of the owl bird feeder also from Red Ted Art in the above collage.

 My son continues to study word families at school.  There are a lot of word families and this means I have to offer a variety of word family activities every week for everyday practice.  This particular word family activity is super easy to make, offers sensorial learning, and is just in time for fall!!

LEAZf Word Families Activity

 I started with a 1 dollar arrangement of leaves from a dollar store, cut off each individual leaf.  Then I cut each leaf in half (as shown in second picture).

image image

 Just one more step!  Using a dry erase maker, I  wrote his word family for that week on one half of a leaf and simple consonant beginnings on several other halves of leaves.  

Then, he practiced trying different letter sound beginnings for his “it” word family leaf.


 We had been reviewing word families all summer long so he really breezed through the “it” word family reading new words in a matter of a few minutes.   I wrote his previous word family spelling words from school on some other halves of the leaves.  


LEAF Word Family Activity

He practiced blending different beginning sounds with several other word families for review, too.

The  _an word family…

LEAF Word Family Activity

The  _at word family…



This little activity was a good extension of our leaves studies and took less than 5 minutes to prep!  We used the leaves I made all week for spelling practice and sounding out words.  I hope you and your kids enjoy it as much as we did!



Thank you for reading!


Crystal 🙂

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Owl Word Families

After-school learning for my son has to be interesting and usually hands on.  So, I try to incorporate themes of high interest into every subject.  This year he is in first grade.  At the beginning of this year his class is learning how to spell words in word families.  This particular week the spelling words are from the “it” family and we are covering one of his favorite birds the OWL.  I searched the Internet for FREE OWL themed word family printable s and activities to no avail!  I mean, I saw Tons of wonderful word family activities from all my favorite bloggers but nothing owlish.  Then I search through gobs of owl activities and printable s but nothing about word families.  The solution had to be to come up with a whole new owl word family on my own or spend money on printables that could only be used few times.  I decided to do this:

     First, I drew a picture of an owl on cardstock (which I later copied and used for several other activities).


Next, I cut two slits about half an inch apart and the length of a toilet paper roll into the drawing.  I put the slits on the body of the owl but you can put them anywhere on the card stock picture.


     My son usually doesn’t like to color with crayons but this was an OWL!!  He took extra care to color in the lines.


     Then, I cut a tp roll in two parts, one part just a tad bit longer than the other.  I also had to trim the roll more for it fit within the slits easily.  It needed to spin without causing the paper to tear.  Now my son was able to paint the roll parts.          


     We let the the rolls dry.  After they were dry, I helped him tape the rolls end’s together.  All that was left to do was to write the word family ending “it” on one of the rolls and consonant beginnings on the other roll.  Wah La!! He had his OWL word family activity to use again and again. 


If you would like to try this for yourself there are many sources for FREE OWL COLORING PAGES out there.  Here is a link to one of my favorite bloggers.