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’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 .  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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Introducing Michelangelo to Kids



**This post may contain affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure page. **

Leading the Child

Our weekend was filled with exploration! 

It started with an announcement: “We are going to learn about the famous artist Michelangelo.”  

And then the questions:  “Michelangelo??”  “Ninja Turtles??”

I saw those questions coming.  Frankly, they were great opportunities to introduce key vocabulary like

  • Renaissance
  • sculptor
  • artists


We spent the morning watching kid friendly you tube videos about Michelangelo. I found some great biographies!

Letting the Child Lead

We also veered a tad to answer questions about the Renaissance period itself.  Christopher Columbus was mentioned. PJ has a wonderful pop-up book about Christopher Columbus that I read to him.  “The Voyage of Columbus In His Own Words” has quotes from the journal of Columbus.  It allowed PJ to see how people dressed and spoke during the period Michelangelo lived.

We searched for Michelangelo’s art work.  I focused on the works that most interested PJ.

  • Sistine Chapel
  • Pieta
  • David

Looking at various artwork by Michelangelo was extremely helpful in teaching PJ to recognize the famous artists artwork!!  This upcoming week we will most likely ‘play’ with pictures of Michelangelo’s artwork in a sensory bin, investigate pictures with a looking glass, or discover a tray filled with pictures of art…or maybe all three depending on how interested PJ is.

First, we talked about the various biblical paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  

On day two, we discussed the material (marble) the statue David was made of and how very difficult it was to carve out.  Day two was a Sunday so we recovered one of his favorite stories from the bible “David and Goliath” by pulling out his sticker book.

I told PJ how long it took Michelangelo to finish these three pieces.  PJ was very interested!

Since we are learning biblical stories for lent, I thought it would be a good idea to invite PJ to paint his own pretend chapel.

We learned that Michelangelo actually painted the Sistine Chapel standing up rather than lying on down.

To make a pretend Chapel, I used wrapping paper taped to our porch corner.  I made two walls and a ceiling for him to be under.  You could see the pattern right through the underside of the paper but he loved it!!



I also made this paint easel out of heavy card stock for him to authenticate the experience of what it must of been like to be Michelangelo!



Then I invited him to paint like Michelangelo!  




PJ painted the ceiling of his chapel with acrylic paints.  He painted clouds (heaven) and the sun.

image image image
image image









He was experiencing what it must of felt like for Michelangelo to paint above his head.  After 20 minutes  PJ started to paint the walls of his pretend chapel.

image image image

PJ surprised me by painting stories of the bible like Michelangelo did without my leading him to!  He painted the crucifixion,  Jesus walking on water, and the birth of Jesus.  Now I know what to focus on during lent.

































Although PJ will be doing extensions of homework and working on academic goals after school,  I’m thinking of ways to include Michelangelo.  

  • Formulating and writing complete sentences – Facts about Michelangelo
  • Addition/Subtraction math facts- using a printable the has fun art graphics
  • Speech- matching and labeling artworks, 
  • Fashioning a puzzle from magazine clippings of Michelangelos work
  • Making a time line of  Michelangelo’s life
  • Using the fore mentioned ideas- Montessori artist tray, a sensory bin, ect.


Im very proud of my son!  He has already learned the definition of  many new vocabulary words like sculptor and artist. Though he can’t pronounce “Michelangelo” or “sculptor” well he does a great job of describing both!!  In just one weekend he has asked dozens of questions like “Does this look like God?”  and “Michelangelo wear shoes?”

Are you covering Michelangelo this month?  Let us know how in the comments below!


Thank you for reading,

Crystal 🙂




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Love to Learn Blog Hop




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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Gratitude Printables :Educents CYBER MONDAY





Educents extended its Black Friday sale!

You can get 15% off SITEWIDE with CODE: GIVEJOY

**This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclosure page.  If you choose to purchase from these links our little family would be so grateful!

As a part of my 7 Days of Gratitude series, I’d like to share PRINTABLEs from to help teach kids GRATITUDE.  While your visiting this educational site..GRAB some deals!!  They won’t last long!



I Am Thankful gratitude activity kit printable. 



Appreciation Certificate and Thank you Awards 


I Am Most Thankful For Essay Printable


Thanksgiving Thankful Writing Draw-It!

image Give Thanks Math & Language Activities


Thankful Writing Assignments

 Remember to use CODE: GIVEJOY for 15%off site wide.

Happy Shopping!

Crystal 🙂

FLASH SALE Insanely Cool Toys to help with Sensory Processing Disorder!

This sale has almost ended but not before I stumbled on 3 insanely cool toys that would be great for children with Sensory Processing Disorder!

Educents is extending their Black Friday Sale!  

For the next few hours you can get these 3 great toys at 15% Off ! Use CODE: GIVEJOY





Have you heard of the Gogo Roller?  This is would bring  hours of fun!  And with cold weather coming on, you’ll NEED to find a great toy like this to supplement outdoor play.


Sensory boxes are still a favorite in our home.  Your child will be engaged in tactile learning as you go over your Lady Bug Science lesson. Pull the Sensory Box out again and again for memory retention.   Educents has several: Chicken Life Cycle, Lady Bug Life Cycle, and a Farm Sensory Box!

Click this #LINK# for the Lady Bug Sensory Box and don’t forget to use CODE GIVE JOY for 15% off site wide!!

Rememeber Sit n Spin?  This is the modern day version of how kids regulate themselves when they need to move!!  Only the Floor Surferr does so much more than spin!!  It moves forward, backwards, anyway a child wants it to!  Plus, children can work on CORE BODY STRETH, balancing, and coordination!!

Just click the name FLOOR SURFERR to bring you to this awesome sensory toy.  Use CODE GIVEJOY and enjoy 15% off too!



Happy Shopping!!

Crystal 🙂

10 Thankful Trees You Can Make Over Thanksgiving Break From School

10 Thankful Tree Ideas for the Whole Family..


This post may contain affiliate links at NO cost to you.  Please read my disclosure page. Should you decide to purchase from any of the links provided, my little family will greatly appreciate it!

Welcome back to what has become a series about 7 Days of Gratitude and Resources to Teach Kids!

10 Thankful Trees for the Whole Family

Our little family is learning we have more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving than ever before.

Our area has been hit with wild fires.  The smoke in the air is has so badly polluted the mountains in NC that we are at a code red for air quality.  The surrounding counties have been ablaze and we are VERY GRATEFUL of all the fire fighters out there this Holiday keeping us safe in our homes!!

I thought it would be fun to try continuing learning about gratitude with a homemade Thankful Tree.  I’ve seen them shared at my favorite blogs and after getting an excited “Yes!” from PJ, the vote was in.


Day 2 The Good Talk About Feelings and Gratitude

The time we spent crafting our thankful tree collecting branches on a nature walk and writing thoughts of gratitude has really helped PJ obtain a deeper sense of what gratitude is all about.  I hope your family can find the value in making a thankful tree not to mention the beauty it brings to your living room!

What You Will Need

  • Branches from a tree or bush
  • Paint brush and White Paint
  • Sand, rocks, stones or pinecones to hold the branches in place
  • A coffee container or Vase to put the branches in
  • Scissors, a pen, and Free Leaf Writing Printable

We went on a nice walk skipping over rocks of our river to collect branches that were just right to put in our vase.  The conversation was more of about how we both feel when we appreciate what others say to us.  I thought it would be a good starting point to talk with PJ about friends who make a point to say hello to us no matter how busy they are. We were keeping it simple talking about compliments, patience, and emotions when we found the perfect tree branch.


It’s leaves were almost too pretty to remove from the branch but PJ did that.  And we talked some more.  This time we talked about returning the feeling of gratitude to those PEOPLE who helped us feel grateful that they were simply our friends.  


Picking the leaves off the big branch, trimming, and dividing the branch took 40 minutes.  It was enough time to talk about what feelings we feel when we are grateful for those special people in our lives.  There’s a lot of emotions that we can show to express a grateful attitude you know! We covered as many as we could think of and what each emotion may look like to people we wanted to thank.  In the mix of our conversation we talked about what we could say to express our gratitude.  


To wrap up this day, we took turns acting out simple compliment, gestures, and facial expression “RETURNS” for those moments of gratitude.  The role play helped him connect good manners with others feelings.  Outwardly showing appreciation even when you don’t feel like it will give you an attitude of gratitude.  He was getting the idea that gratitude can be contagious!

That night we re-read the books about giving thanks for loved ones, simple things in life, and an attitude of gratitude from Day 1.

Day 3  A Tree That Blooms in Fall

PJ was READY for the really fun stuff the next morning!   He started Painting the branches white with a paint brush.  He tried hard to paint every tiny stem but the splotched effect turned out to be a masterpiece!

imageimageWhile we let the paint dry, we cut out the free leave writing printable.  Then, I asked to write on the leaves what he was thankful for.

This time his list include people, places, and everyday things (like his favorite flavored water and music).  Much different than Day 1!  

When the paint dried, sand from his sand box was added to a glass vase along with the painted branches.  You can be as creative as you want here.  I’ve seen cans, glass vases, tissue boxes,  and many beautiful fillings used to createThankful Trees.  And I’ll share a list at the end of this post.









We punched a hole in each leaf and used string to hang it on the Thankful Tree.


He was excited that his leaf would be at the tip top of the tree!



Printable leaves that were used for our tree can be found at

Homeschool Den –

The Thankful Tree is a family activity we plan on making tradition.  If you like this tree you may like these other Thankful Tree ideas.

More Thankful Tree Ideas From Awesome Bloggers

So sorry I had to type my links in and edit!  My site wasn’t allowing me to use links but I’m I’m top of it!!


Happy Thanksgiving 🙂




7 Days of Gratitude and Resources to Teach Kids

7 Days of Gratitude and Resources to Teach..

7 Days of Gratitude and Resources to teach kids




This post may contain affiliate links.  Please read my discloser page.  Links are provided for you convenience at no cost to you. However, your purchase from any of my links is greatly appreciated by our little family!

Teaching my son gratitude is one of my top priorities this year.  Thankfully, there is an aboundance of resources out there this Thanksgiving!

And its not that I don’t think he doesnt know what being truly Thankful feels like.  

Rather,  I wondered how well he could explain what being thankful IS.  So, I asked him and he told me a list of all his favorite toys and activities.  Close but not what a mom wants her child to remember most about gratitude.  He did try:)

That afternoon we watched videos of kids answering questions like “What are you thankful for?” and looked up Graditude Activites for children.  I asked more questions trying to reword them so that he could give better answers.  I could tell we needed to work on connecting the feelings and emotions of being thankful with acts Gratitude, too.


Day 1 Making Connections

Books are one sure fire way to connect with PJ.  So, we headed to the library to check out books about Gratitude.  That night we read 3 great books!


Books to teach Gratitude









Art Garfunkle’s song was made into a children’s story book here.  We read the words and were able to talk about so many other words that describe being truly grateful.  This book tells how grateful thoughts can make you feel happier than keeping score of  what you want.



“Thank You, Thanksgiving” is a simple story about a little girl’s Thanksgiving Day.  She makes a trip to the grocery store pointing out all the simple things we take for granted from day to day like clouds, wild animals, warm clothing, and even whipped cream!  It was perfect for reminding us to be grateful of the simple things in life.


“A Thanksgiving Wish” by Michael Rosen was sniff* sad.  I’m glad we read this together because it covered another topic I’ve been wanting to teach PJ about and that was grieving the loss of a family member.  How many of us miss a lost loved one during the holidays??  Perfect book for reflecting upon how grateful we should be for family!

For a list of more helpful books…

10 Gratitude and Thanksgiving books for Preschoolers


Teachers first give yourself the gift of gratitude with 35 Ways to Celebrate Your Children ABountiful Love

More Ideas to help Teach Kids Gratitude..


Thank you for reading!!

Crystal 🙂

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Practical Mom

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.







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 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 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! 





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







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.











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.











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.











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!


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.




 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.











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











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.











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!





















Ghanaian Mask


  • 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.









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!  

image image image




















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.  









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.









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


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









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 🙂



















Learning To Tie Shoes With Healthy Proprioception



Im so excited to share this post with you because my son came up with it himself!




His idea came about after a discussion we had together about sliding on his knees in the classroom.  Now, sliding to sit on the circle time carpet is not really a big deal except that he was bruising his knees shins and legs.  He was also bumping into his friends and having to apologize several times a day.

Bumping into friends





He was being more than a typical rough little boy and that has a lot to do with having SENSORY PROCESSING  difficulties.  SPD makes it hard for him to know exactly how hard he is landing on his body when he slides and how close to his peers he is sitting.






Simply put, his body often needs doses of  HEAVY WORK to find itself in time and space so that he is not too close, too loud, or too rough ect.   

Heavy work raking leaves




Without regular heavy work PJ would have a very Dysfunctional PROPRIOCEPTIVE SYSTEM.  This is the system in our bodies that we rely on to relate to us where we are on a plane.  It helps us figure where our bodies are in relation to the world around us.  Not enough heavy work equals a very unsteady and bouncy PJ.  It causes him to seek touch or bump his surrounds so that he is alert enough to know where he is during times that he is asked to be still.






Sliding around on the carpet area (AND gym floor) before and during listening time was his way getting ready for circle time.  It provided sensory input for his joints and muscles the same as heavy work like climbing a tree or jumping in a mud puddle does for him at home.  

Heavy work healthy proprioceptive system Jumping in Mud puddles healthyproprioceptive system




Sliding on the carpet was his one last burst of energy to gear up for sitting still squished next to other students for long periods of time.. It was his “I’m ready for this!” moment.  But he was unaware that he was hurting himself and bumping into others until after the fact.  I wanted him to be more observant of what was going on when he slid to/on the carpet at school so we talked about the matter.



Just when I thought he wasn’t listening he walked me through this neat tutorial about how he could safely slid on the carpet:)



BONUS!!!  He learned how to lace shoes and practiced the life skill of tying shoes!


What you will need:

  • A thin cardboard box wide enough to fit little feet in
  • Scissors two different colored shoe strings
  • a child friendly hole puncher
  • Clear packing tape




He started by asking me to  1. CUT THE BOX IN HALF and put then put his feet into the cut halves.


I realized he wanted to make shoes so I helped him  2.CUT SHOE PATTERNS OUT OF BOTH BOX HALVES.  






Learning to tie shoes




He used a small hole puncher to  4. PUNCH HOLES FOR SHOE LACES

Learning to tie shoes image




I modeled how to  5. LACE A SHOE HOLE a few times.  Then, he completed lacing both shoe-boxes by himself!  He chose to use two blue shoe laces but it can be a help to use different colored shoe laces when teaching a child to “crisscross-cross and go under the bridge”

Learning to lace shoes




I spent a good bit of time 6. MODELING THE STEPS TO TIE SHOES.  

image image



Before he tried his sliding shoes out, I snapped a quick picture. Cute huh?!



And here he is sliding his little heart out WITHOUT bruising his knees:) It was the perfect alternate heavy work activity to sliding on his knees.  Sliding with his shoes encouraged him to remain upright when trying to slide on the carpet.  Sliding on carpet with regular shoes in this position is not possible.  It provided him with the muscle and joint stimulation he needed to have healthy proprioception and a keen awareness of sliding.  Plus, I loved how involved he was while learning a valuable life skill.

image image image



Linked Up With

Christian Montessori Network

“>Play And Learn Link Up


After School Activities Linky

Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Teaching Mama

“>Everything Early Child Link Up



Hip Homeschool Hop

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂