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 Totschooling.net


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 🙂


Great Blogs I Share With:





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 Educents.com you can get $10 off your first order with my referral link:  #Thankfulmama


Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

Magic School Bus Costume & MORE Fun

Magic School Bus Costume & more









This post contains affiliate links..

Do the kids love The Magic School Bus TV series??  Oh, my son does!!  So much so, we made a costume last year for “Favorite book Character Day” at his school.

With Halloween coming up (and this  Amazing, Hands-on, Year long,  Science Journey Deal!) I thought it would be a great time to share how we made my sons Magic School Bus costume.

For All the kids that love The Magic School Bus….and parents, too!

What you need…

  • Several pieces of white card stock
  • 2 Bounty card board boxes
  • 1 Milk cardboard box
  • 4 pizza box rounds
  • 2 blue pieces of construction paper
  • 1 red piece of construction paper
  • 2 yellow rectangular craft foam pieces with sticky back
  • Lots of yellow acrylic paint from Micheals- we used 2 16 oz bottles
  • A black marker
  • Black paint


ALMOST ALL OF THE SUPPLIES can be found  at home and at your local BI LO, Winn Dixie, or Harveys Grocery.   Just ask them for Bounty paper towel roll boxes and a milk box that would hold 4 gallons of milk.

To get started, I trimmed 1 Bounty box about 3/4 from the top.  Then, WE painted all 3 boxes yellow and let them dry over night.  Save the trimmed portion!!

Magic School Bus Costume & More Fun









You don’t need to paint 1 side of the milk box (the side with the handle) because this side will be glued to the front of a Bounty box.

Magic School Bus Costume & More









We painted a tire on 4 pizza rounds.

Magic School Bus Costume & More










I turned the two Bounty boxes on their sides and glued them together (tucked one inside the other a tad bit.) Let them dry.  And cut a rectangular hole in the top and bottom where PJ would stand inside.

Magic School Bus & More










I glued the smaller box to one end of the Magic School Bus body and PJ held it in place to dry.

We hand drew and cut out all the features like the mouth which was two white pieces of card stock and this one pattern drawn on both pieces.

image image


















Eyes: larger circles on white card stock with the smaller circles on blue card stock











Once the main design for the Magic School bus was together we glued on the cardboard pizza round wheels.  Two wheels went on both sides of the larger boxes and two on both sides of the smaller front box of the bus.

I used the remaining yellow painted larger box ( the saved portion that was trimmed from the top of one Bounty box) to cut and glue fenders half way around the front wheels.

PJ had a lot of fun gluing the rest of the features on the bus:  a blue school bus sign, a white poster board side door and front wind shield with yellow strip down the center, the mouth, and eyes.

Magic School Bus Costume & More










I used two white pieces of cardstock taped together and a ruler with black maker to make the grill. It was not a fancy design!  PJ helped me glue it to the front smaller box.

Magic School Bus Costume &More










We added windows and shaded them with black marker to the other side. Again, just white card stock glued to the bus.

PJ cut out and glued the stop sign to the same side.  He also painted the black bumper on the rear and attached sticky back yellow foam above the top front red lights.

Magic School Bus Costume &More









Batman riding the Magic School Bus!!

You and your kids can get creative with the features.  You also may want to hot glue two straps to the inside of the costume so they don’t need to carry it around.  Maybe criss cross the straps over you childs shoulders.  In hind sight, I was wishing I had thought to do that!











Now for MORE Fun!!!

Take a ride on the Magic School Bus!

The Magic School Bus Science Club is a 12- month science kit subscription based on the award-winning series, The Magic School Bus. If you haven’t heard about the series before, each of the stories center on the antics of a frizzy-red haired fictional elementary school teacher named Mrs. frizzle.  She and her class  board a “magic school bus” to take them on field trips to impossible locations….. the solar system, clouds, the past, and inside the human body. This story-based learning took the science scene by storm in the 90’s.



But it’s the 2000s!!



The kit subscription takes it to the next level with Hands On learning that ties to all on the stories!  also HALF OFF for a limited time!!!!!

The kits include experiments related to Volcanoes, Weather, Water, Fossils, Bacteria and Fungi, Star and Planets, and the weather, which, given recent events I want to brush up on, too.

One experiment I’ve been really excited to try is the Volcano Kit! The kit comes with a small volcanic rock, a pumice stone, sheets of paper, black paint, paint brush, a magnifying glass all to build a volcano.

And there are so MANY MORE Experiments!! Think of a sibling science club coming to life in your home – or friends bonding over making volcanoes explode, and learning all about how the human body works! Getting kids excited about STEM learning is exciting stuff. And it’s especially exciting because it’s 50% OFF for a LIMITED time!

Here’s the run down:


The Magic School Bus



The 12 Themes for activities and experiments that are sent to your doorstep, monthly include:

  • Detailed, extensive 12-page colorful manual that is full of experiments and topic information
  • Each manual was based on the award winning Magic School Bus Book (and TV) series
  • A handy dandy cheat sheet for adults, so you can lead the way with no background in science (shhh.. I always preferred reading…)
  • Tools and instructions for a at least 7 interactive experiments per month
  • Online Clubhouse for further exploration on each package topic (take advantage of this!!)
  • Certificate of Completion – a great way to reinforce learning and accomplishments

USE CODE CANDYCORN for free shipping!!!





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! 





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 🙂



















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.




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.  



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.


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



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.



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. 



He is reading the speech out loud to himself here:)


More Martin Luther King Jr. Resources….

Activities – Moments A Day

Crafts – Kids Fun Review




Thank You for Reading!!

Crystal 🙂

Places I share



Make A Penguin Labeling Activity



Informational Text Features: Make A Penguin Labeling Activity…..

I’ve extended our informational text feature study with maps (or should I say penguins) another week.  My little guy is intrigued with the maps we are using for locating penguins on a world map.



We’ve read a number of books with maps now.  Here is his ultimate favorite…


We’ve read it a dozen times or more.






This book has a few maps in it.  It has visuals in the GLOSSARY that include additional maps.   

The best text feature was this 4 page CHART of all 17 types of penguins from smallest to largest.  PJ  looked at the pictures of penguins for a good hour in total.



I knew we had to go over each type of penguin rather than penguins as a group of Antarctic animals.  

I started by trying out a few homemade black Playdough recipes because black is a hard color to find if not ordered on line.  

Here are a few dependable sites if you would like to try your hand at it:

My dough turned out more a brownish color but I’m not one to waste. The cans I FINALLY found at Walmart were less than 1.00 dollar a piece.  I kept my brown dough for PJ to use in a tropical penguin habitat.

What you need:

  • 5 cans of black playdough
  • 14 plastic eggs (we didn’t use eggs for the 3 smallest species of penguins just dough)
  • 2 cans of white playdough
  • Small amount of orange and yellow playdough


Using the book for reference he formed black dough completely around an egg.  The Emperor Penguin is the tallest and should have more dough than any other egg.  



He labeled body parts of  this penguin without my asking…


webbed feet and flippersimage head and bill
imageEyes and tail



He chose to use googley eyes instead of dough.



He righty put the emperor in an ocean of tissue paper and used the left over Christmas snow I had to decorate the surrounding area!  How creative!!



He made 7 species of  Penguins naming and labeling each according to the text in the book. 



It was a wonderful way to support finding information within his reading and using key text features….Not to mention stir his imagination! 

For more great hands on penguin activities visit Embark On The Journey.

Frog Snails and Puppy Dog Tails– Penguin Snow Globe

Gift of Curiosity– Penguin Printable Pack ages 2-7

Thanks for reading,


Places I Share With





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 🙂

Places I Share:

The Mommy Club Link Up!

Crafty Moms Share