Free Minecraft Spelling Ladders and Fry List Word Cards

Free Minecraft Spelling Ladders with Fry List Word Cards
Minecraft Modding with Java 1: Learn Coding with Minecraft - 2

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


Thanksgiving break was all too short!  Are you ready for Monday?  That’s the first day back to school for my youngest.

He will be bringing home a spelling word list to study for the week.

And although we have an AWESOME list of Spelling Activities and Printables ; I’m adding to it according to his interests.

That and his teacher has inspired me. 🙂

Minecraft Modding with Java 1: Learn Coding with Minecraft - 5


Today I’m sharing Free Minecraft Spelling Ladders and Fry List Word Cards to use with the ladders printables.


To get your free printables click the link below

FREE Minecraft Spelling Ladders with Fry Word List

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MrsAOK, A Work In Progress


Sweet and Simple Parts of A Plant Craft


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

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

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

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

What you will need:

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

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

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

A yellow flowering plant of course!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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How We After School: Why Do After School?




This post may contain affiliate links at no cost to you.  Should you purchase from links provided THIS LITTLE FAMILY WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT!  My aspiration is to school my son at home with an income from this site.


Thank you for stopping by here for the second day of my “How We After School” posts!

If you missed the First Post click the link and it will take you there.

Before I go any further, I wanted to talk about how long I’ve been teaching my son at home.  Though not exclusively at home it’s been 4 years now.  But he is only 7 and a half you say?  

Early Childhood Development

PJ was enrolled in a daycare by the age of 2 followed by sometime without daycare.  I was already noticing some things that just weren’t right in his early development.  Shortly after the age of three he received a diagnosis of Autism.  

A Mother Is A Childs First Teacher

Being an early childhood and title 1 educator both in daycare and public school I knew I had to help him as fast as possible.  There is a learning slide after the age of 5.  We didn’t have much time till his brain slowed in development.

That was the beginning of my wanting to connect with my son and still manage to help him learn.  He was a nonverbal severely delayed toddler.  Now PJ is a very inquisitive boy in a regular public school classroom.  

Passion For Learning

PJ now likes to learn.  At home he is confident and undistracted.  He loves books. He loves science, building things, and taking them apart…he loves all living things.  For the past 4 years his life has been about learning.  He now has a passion for learning even though he may struggle a little.

PJ routinely asks to be homeschooled but its not possible  yet being a single mom with fixed income.  Im planning on it by growing this site-for starters. Until then, we afterschool to help him catchup and keep his passion for learning. 

This post tells more about Our After School and PJ. 

You Don’t Have To So Why DO After School With Your Child?

  1. After School at home is a wonderful way to connect.  Build great memories, pass down traditions, and learn all the while the family has fun.
  2. It allows you to keep up do date with your child’s academic progress or regression….but let’s hope not on the last one.  Each time you work one to one with him in Afterschool, you are giving him an assessment.  You will know what he is able to accomplish without asking a teacher.
  3. Parents who are very involved in their child’s education are generally well thought of by teachers.  
  4. Communication between, you, your child, and your child’s teacher tends to be more open.
  5. You can teach your child a love of learning.
  6. You can help your child fill in learning gaps by focusing on weak areas of school tests- AT HOME.
  7. Your child will gain confidence, build knowledge, and have fun with you because you know them better than anyone. 
  8. After schooling on holidays and summer break helps prevent regression or learning slides.
  9. It can help a gifted student follow their interests or become self motivated.
  10. Can become an income if you open an After School- work with your child, build social/academic skills, and make a living at the same time.  It can become a way of living.


How We After School Series

How We Plan : Implementing By Skill And Subject  

Why DO After School ?   -You are here

Related Posts

Arbor Day And Over Coming Autism 

And now here’s the daily example of how we implement After School.

How We After School :Typical Tuesday

Tuesdays are typically a more productive day than Monday.  I introduced the major vocabulary of the topics we would be covering Sunday.  He comprehends better if he isn’t trying to process saying words in his head then trying to say the words out loud.  Vocabulary words were parts of the plant and what plants need: air, water/rain, soil/dirt, and sunlight.  We practiced those words several times Sunday. It sounded something like short articulation exercises.  I find this pre-step really helps his focus while we are learning about new topics.

On Monday, we went through the skills check list and used the resources he chose with me.  Today we used the same check list that we used from my post about Monday Implementing by Skill and Subject.

As promised I’ll take you through the new activities for Tuesday using the same check list.  This time we added the fun awesome science and spring learning!

Reading/Writing/Sentence Practice/some Speech

We first headed out to the library to find and read Gail Gibbons “From Seed to Plant.”  We also did his reading homework: 2 books for his reading log at school.  

While at the library I printed off a few copies of first grade comprehension passages for the next days reading-Wednesday and Thursday.  We also completed another writing worksheet from a great mommy website that I subscribe to.  This is where PJ put his knowledge about What Plants Need down in writing. He remembered all 4 needs. Happy Dance!

Life Cycle of A Plant Pack –  3 Dinosaurs

He took a short brain break while I searched for more resources and talked with Lisa my favorite librarian.

After about an hour and a half of reading writing and building robots we headed home for dinner.  My goto to fast at home dinner is some kind of salad creation which he devoured.  He also had corned beef and cabbage leftovers:)

Science/Math/more Writing

By this time it was cloudy outside.  PJ was dying to finally do the clock experiment. We used Kitchen Science by 4M that I gifted him for Christmas.  

He did a great job of connecting the pieces: a lemon(s), 2 conductor rods, 2 forks, and the digital clock provided in the kit.













He used just one fork, lemon, and conductor rod the first test. The clock flashed on and off as he squeezed it but wouldn’t stay on.  












I encouraged him to use a second lemon to add more charge-charging, this he understood well.  I helped him add the extra lemon, fork, and connecting wire. 

Eureka! The clock was powered long enough for us to set it.  He journaled about the lemon powered clock and drew pictures by looking at the pictures I took of him performing the experiment.  And the clock stayed powered the whole time he worked.  It was sundown and too dark for pics of the journal.  












Math was super fun thanks to the lemon clock – and a little sticky 🙂 We skipped a few pages to match analog to digital by the hour in his clock workbook from Monday. 














I was able to search some arts and crafts earlier. We didn’t have the time to do anything PJ picked out but that’s up first chance we get.


PJ picked out a great spelling activity.  We did have time (and tons of fun) to do the giant keyboard activity however the pics were too dark again. We may try it again this week and I’ll have pics then. I’ve included the link below.

Sight Words 3 Fun Activities for Kids– Lessons Learnt Journal

That’s a wrap for Tuesday.  I hope you will come back to see the awesome free weekly plan we’ve done in Afterschool for Thursday.  I’ll be talking about inexpensive resources, weekend planning, and Afterschool for mommy bloggers in the series too. Don’t miss it.


Thank you for reading

Crystal 🙂

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Family Friday Link-Up Party



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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Dollar Store Valentines Day Slime






Valentines Day slime made from dollar store ingredients!

I don’t like the feel of slime and neither did my son!

For some reason he repeatedly asked me to make snow slime.  

My only guess is that he liked making things and mixing concoctions.  I knew if we made slime he wouldn’t want to play with it so I put the activity off, enticing him with other fun things to do.  Still, he asked to make the slime every week.

Pretty soon we started searching Valentines activities to do together.  We look for eye catching pictures of super fun activities from our favorite blogger mommas and their children. 

This time he spotted Valentines Day Slime from Little Bins For Little Hands .  

The pictures of the slime were AWESOME!  The mommy of Little Bins for Little Hands posted pictures of different colors!  She had the amazing idea of adding fun objects to add texture to the    stuff!!  AND there were pictures of kids just like my son PLAYING happily with it!  Oh, he was determined to make Valentines Day Slime now….even though he didn’t want to touch it.  OR did he?


I credit and thank Little Bins for the AMAZING visuals that gave PJ a boost in courage he needed to actually play with the slime.  

I used her formula for the slime as a starting point but used a different brand of glue.  The dollar store version is much thinner than Elmer’s glue.  Here is a link  to her    slime recipe if you are using Elmer’s glue.   Sorry I’m having trouble with links again but I will fix it soon!

Our Slime required …

  • 2 Bottles of Imagine dollar store brand glue
  • 1/4 c. of water
  • 1/2 c. of liquid starch

Other optional dollar store ingredients

  • Foam Valentine counters
  • Glitter
  • Food coloring


 I let PJ help make the slime just like he had seen from one of his favorite sites.  Glue then water and stir-stir-stir.  
















He added red food coloring. The swirls of red against the white glue were mesmerizing!!  (We really need to do a milk color mixing experiment of some kind soon.)

image image















I let him add all the glitter of his choice and he stirred again.  The color was beautiful!  PJ kept poking his finger in it half wondering if it was slimy yet and half  captivated by the shimmery glitter.


















I poured the water glue froth mixture into a larger container then we added the liquid starch.  This time PJ poked it with a spoon.

image image

 Then he stirred the blob of starch around a bit and left the heavy mixing to me.  Yukkk-o!  No wonder he didn’t want to mix it by hand.  It’s very stringy and sticky in the mixing stage.  After you let it sit a bit the mix becomes a whole blob of slime.

And sit it did.

The slime formed air pockets that rose to the surface.  This intrigued PJ so that he tried to pop the bubbles by throwing the foam valentine counters in the bowl.  He still didn’t want to touch the slime.










I encouraged him, “Try popping it with your finger.” But slime bubbles are tougher than say soap bubbles.  He tried once then again and that was enough ‘grossness’ for him.  So I sat the bowl of slime on the kitchen table and started in making brownies.  PJ headed for his LEGOs and started building.  Oh well, we had fun making it I thought.

After a few minutes he came to the kitchen table and peered into the bowl.  Legos in one hand, he shook the bowl a little and walked away.  

10 or so minutes later he came and shook it again.  

This coming to explore the slime and leaving again went on for over an hour.  

Until finally he reached in and popped that bubble!!!  

He got a bit of slime stuck on his finger.  He rolled it around on his hand, explored the feel of it, and put his whole hand in the slime.  I was excited for him!














PJ enjoyed playing with the foam pieces and pretending that the ladybugs could talk to each other!  He made them fly high in the air and splat back into the slime:)

He even went as far as to tell me to take pictures of the slime.  My future blogger?















































I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our experience making and PLAYING with slime!  Does your child like to play with slime?  Please comment below.  We’d love to read about it!!

Thanks for reading!

Crystal 🙂

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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 🙂

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 🙂

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 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 🙂



















Arbor Day Exploration: Musings of Autism



Arbor Day/ International Day of Forests/ Agricultural Week



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.)


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.




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!   




 Pet therapy for “gentle touch”

image image



Reading dog therapy….
Years of Speech…


Phenomenal Speech therapy I might add…Oh how we miss Phenomemal SLP as I called her!



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!

image image


“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.

image image


“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!




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.



 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.




 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.


Things you will need 

4 pieces of contact paper


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




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…





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.




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.



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 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 🙂