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 – http://www.homeschoolden.com/2016/11/20/I-am-thankful-writin-paper-and-other-thanksgiving-freebies/

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 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 🙂