Saturday, March 31, 2018

Crafts: Easter Coffee Filter Sun Catchers


Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

One of our favorite materials to use in our crafts are coffee filters. There are so many interesting ways to create sun catchers to hang in the windows.

Materials 

  • coffee filters
  • markers
  • spray bottle or water dropper 
  • black construction paper 
  • laminating pouches & laminator (optional) 

Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

Steps - Cross for Easter 

1. Gather all your materials.

2. Draw the shape of a cross onto your coffee filter.

3. Color in the cross and color around it with different colors.
Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

4. Spray the coffee filter with water.

Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markersKids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

5. After the coffee filter dries, laminate to preserve it for years of decorating or hang in window.


Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

Steps - Bunny for Easter 

1. Gather all your materials.

2. Draw the silhouette of a bunny on black construction paper.

Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

3. Color the coffee filter a myriad of different colors.

4. Spray the coffee filter with water.

Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

5. After the coffee filter dries, tape on the bunny and hang in the window.

6. Optional: Laminate the coffee filter to preserve it for years of decorating.

Kids Crafts, Easter, Bunny, Cross, Happy Easter, markers

Other Coffee Filter Sun Catcher Posts




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Friday, March 30, 2018

What to Do When Rain Changes Your Plans: How to Spend Rainy Days Together as a Family

Rainy Days, Beach, Board Games, Card games, Parenting, Family Fun, Movies, Games, Reading, Books

What do you do on rainy days as a family? Do your kids mope around the house or spend their time on technology like gaming consoles or hand-held devices? What about trying some of these ideas?

This post contains affiliate links. For more information please see my Terms of Use and Disclosure Policy page. Thank you. 

Board Games and Card Games

One way for the whole family to have fun together is to play games. Our family has a few favorites that range from ones we can all play (littles included) to ones where just the teen joins us.

Hoot Owl Hoot - A fun, cooperative game that even our 2-year-old can play

Raccoon Rumpus - Perfect for ages 3+

Rainy Days, Beach, Board Games, Card games, Parenting, Family Fun, Movies, Games, Reading, Books, Hoot Owl Hoot  Rainy Days, Beach, Board Games, Card games, Parenting, Family Fun, Movies, Games, Reading, Books, Raccoon Rumpus


Munchkin - A fun game for ages 10+ where you enter dungeons and defeat monsters to collect their loot. There are a variety of expansions, add-ons, and different versions for fans of science fiction, zombies, vampires, etc.

Red Dragon Inn - A card-based game where players take on the persona of various adventurers who have joined together in the Inn to share stories of daring deeds, drink, and gamble. This game is best for ages 14+ with your discretion as a parent.

Movies and Television Watching 

There are so many movies and television shows from the youth of both my husband and myself that we can share with our children. When it is cold or raining outside, we can all sit together in the living room and watch movies like Tron, Star Wars, or The Muppet Movie.  Or – even better – we can share some of our favorite cartoons like Jem and the Holograms, She-Ra, or Dungeons and Dragons.

Arts and Crafts 

When we can't play outside, creating new artwork or working on projects together is a fantastic way to spend the day. We love to take out supplies like Magic Stix Markers or Kwik Stix paints and design new sun catchers for the windows for when Mr. Sunshine rears his bright face again.

Reading 
Rainy Days, Beach, Board Games, Card games, Parenting, Family Fun, Movies, Games, Reading, Books
Another good way to spend the day is reading – whether everyone gathers together for a read-aloud of The Chronicles of Narnia or The Wizard of Oz - or each person picks their own story to read independently. Sitting in the same room while reading together is a great way to pass the time.

Dance Party 

With two younger children in the house, a fun way to spend an afternoon is cranking up the music and holding a dance party. Whether we are singing and dancing to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's closing theme, Veggie Tales Silly Songs, or some of our favorites from Huey Lewis and the News or Electric Light Orchestra, we can have so much fun. What are your favorite songs to dance to?


Rainy Days, Beach, Board Games, Card games, Parenting, Family Fun, Movies, Games, Reading, Books
Baking 

A house of cookies or cupcakes baking in the oven on a rainy day smells so scrumptious! And what a better way to teach life skills than have one's children help with the recipe and preparation? (Because we know they will help with the eating!)

How does your family spend rainy days together? Do you share any of the same activities as our family?



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Thursday, March 29, 2018

W is for Water (Blogging through the Alphabet)



Water,
Water,
Everywhere...

Sometimes this is a good thing
– water to drink
– water to cook
– water to bathe
– water to play – for swimming


Sometimes this is a bad thing
– when the water is dripping through multiple leaks in our kitchen roof after heavy snowfall
– water seeping into our basement after many days of heavy rain
– water spilled on the living room floor, seeping through to the basement

So much of life is like water: good and bad, hot and cold.

Each day we take the good and the bad – the hot and the cold, the boiling water and the ice – and do the best we can, with a little bit of help from our friends, our family, and our God.

Thank God that Water is Everywhere!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Learning about the Alphabet: E is for Elephant

Elephants, alphabet, eggs, letter E, kids crafts, preschool, letters, Enderman

Over the course of twenty-six posts, I will introduce my own simple lessons for the letters of the alphabet. I will provide enough ideas and suggestions for a week's worth of activities.  

For the letter E, we focused upon Elephant.

Elephants are known as the largest land mammal. There are two different types - African Elephants and Asiatic Elephants. As mammals, they give birth to live young (called calves), produce milk for their young, have fine, coarse hair on their bodies, and are warm-blooded (their body temperature is regulated internally).

Elephants, alphabet, eggs, letter E, kids crafts, preschool, letters, Enderman
Female African Elephant on left; Female Asiatic Elephant on right 
African Elephant Characteristics

  • Large ears (they are almost shaped like the continent of Africa)
  • Both male and female African elephants have tusks 
  • Larger than Asiatic elephants 
  • Males are approximately 10 feet tall  & weigh over 12,000 pounds 

Asiatic Elephant Characteristics

  • Smaller ears than African elephants 
  • High foreheads with two large bumps
  • Usually only male Asiatic elephants have tusks 
  • Males are approximately 9 feet tall & weight about 10,000 pounds 

Male elephants are called bulls while female elephants are known as cows and young elephants are called calves. An elephant calf is no small baby – it can be 3 feet tall at birth and weigh 200 pounds. Compare that to the size and weight of your children so they can see the difference.


Tusks are actually teeth that grow very large. An elephant will go through six sets of teeth in its mouth over the course of its lifespan. Each set of teeth is worn down by the food the elephant eats and each set usually lasts about 10 years. So, an average elephant usually lives about 60 years because it will not be able to chew food after its last set of teeth get worn down.

The large ears of an elephant help keep the elephant cool by acting as more than just a fan. When they flap their ears, the blood flowing through their ears is actually cooled and carried through the rest of the body – thus cooling the entire elephant.

Coloring Sheets

Coloring.WS from DLTK's Elephant Coloring Pages 
There are a variety of realistic and cartoon elephant pictures for your children to color.

Super Coloring's Elephants Coloring Pages 
There is a selection of cartoon and realistic pictures available to print and color.

Easy Peasy and Fun's Free Elephant Coloring Pages for Adults
If you are interested in joining in on the coloring fun, check out these abstract elephant coloring pages!

Projects



This great craft from Look! We're Learning only requires five materials to create your own elephant to decorate your home.


These are adorable elephants made using recycled plastic milk containers. With as much milk as we go through in our house, we could make a whole herd of elephants!


Gather together socks, polyfil, rubberbands, rice or beans, googly eyes, and felt and make your own plush elephant with your children - no needles needed!

Books

Whether you are looking for fictional or factual books about elephants, they are such an interesting animal to read about with your children.


Featured Shape

This week take a look at circles and spheres. On a globe or a map of the world, help your children circle where African Elephants and Asian Elephants live in the wild.

Cut out different sizes of circles and have your children sort them into different piles based on their size - from smallest to largest. Remind them that the largest land mammal, the elephant, started out smaller when they were babies. 

Activities

Elephants, alphabet, eggs, letter E, kids crafts, preschool, letters, EndermanElephants, alphabet, eggs, letter E, kids crafts, preschool, letters, Enderman

Sorting Big Es and Little Es

Cut out a variety of upper and lower case Es and es for your children to sort. Since this week we are talking about elephants, which are rather large, it is perfect to draw the parallels between large letters (uppercase) and small letters (lowercase). 

Other Topics 


Elephants, alphabet, eggs, letter E, kids crafts, preschool, letters, Enderman

Do you have a Minecraft fan in the house? Try this Letter E craft that features an Enderman.

Eggs 

There are so many different activities you can do with eggs. Here are a few ideas.

Made with Happy's Plastic Easter Egg Flower Pots 
123 Homeschool 4 Me Collection of 14 Amazing Egg Science Experiments 


Resources 

No Time for Flash Cards' Letter of the Week - Letter E Theme 
World Wildlife Fund's Elephant Page 
National Geographic's African Elephant Page 

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Monday, March 26, 2018

A Review of Three Selections from the Award-Winning Author Carole P. Roman

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books
This post contains affiliate links. 

My family are huge fans of history, so children's books that focus upon history, culture, and geography like those from the Carole P. Roman books and collections are perfect for expanding knowledge about far away places or times. I was very happy to review three books by Carole P. Roman from the Carole P. Roman books and collections that would introduce our children to the culture of Hungary and the histories of Colonial America and the American West.

We reviewed the following three books:

If You Were Me and Lived in...Hungary: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World

If You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time 
            illustrated by Sarah Wright

If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time
            illustrated by Paula Tabor

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books

If You Were Me and Lived in...Hungary: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World, introduced our children to the sights and sounds of modern day Hungary. We learned about the capital, Budapest, names for different members of the family, vacation spots, food, holidays, sports, and even the inventor of the Rubik's cube.

I think one of my favorite parts of the book was that there was a pronunciation guide not only in the back of the book but also with the naming of each Hungarian word on each page. For example, while discussing food at your grandma's house, the pronunciation for Nagyi (Na-dges) or grandma, goulash (goo-lash), and paprika (pap-reek-ca) is all provided within the story's text making it really easy to read aloud to your children.

Our four-year-old son liked learning about the different names of of children living in Hungary - like Lazlo or Erzse-bet. Our two-year-old daughter liked the picture of the children in front of the Hungarian Parliament. I think she really liked the little boy and girl smiling at her.

The book opens many conversation topics - one of which was talking about how our family has enjoyed goulash and other meals that are seasoned with paprika. Another conversation we had was about water polo and handball, both of which we enjoy watching during the Olympics.

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books

Both books in the If You Were Me and Lived in...An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series, were longer than If You Were Me and Lived in...Hungary: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World, so we spread those out to more than one sitting with our two- and four-year olds. A ten- to eleven-year-old history-loving child would have no problem reading through these entire books in one sitting, though.

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books
culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's booksIf You Were Me and Lived in...Colonial America: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, introduced our children to the world of pilgrims and settlers who arrived in America on the Mayflower. We learned about their journey to America, how they built their homes (with wood, daub, and wattle), and their daily lives (tending chickens, mending, cooking, or working in the fields).

Our four-year-old son's favorite part was where the little boy made friends with the Native American boy who taught him about fishing, while my two-year-old daughter liked the part where the family faced their first December in America. In fact, she kept finding that picture and saying "Brrr, they are cold."

Personally, I can't wait to re-read this book during November as we talk about Thanksgiving. It will provide a great anchor for lessons about Plymouth and the first Thanksgiving. With the vocabulary provided as well as the brief biographies of historical figures, our family has lots that we can learn from this book by Carole P. Roman.

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books
If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time, our children journey with Carole P. Roman and Paula Tabor as they took us on a journey across America to Oregon.

When we started looking at the book, If You Were Me and Lived in..the American West, my son and I talked about maps of the United States so we could plot the journey of the settlers. In fact, I think that would be the only change I would make to the book - add a map showing the trails - but then again our four-year-old is a map enthusiast so it might just be a feature that only our family would appreciate.

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's booksOur four-year-old son's favorite part was learning how the family crossed the rivers they encountered - the Platte and the Columbia Rivers. Our two-year-old daughter's favorite part was hearing about the different foods they brought with them on their journey. And they both liked hearing about the gathering of buffalo chips! I think my favorite part of If You Were Me and Lived in...the American West were the details regarding how each day was spent by the children and parents. Being able to compare our daily activities to those of early settlers is a plus for this history-teacher-turned-homeschool-mom.

All three books present so many opportunities for families to create individualized lessons for their children. For example, I used the vocabulary list from the American West book to introduce my four-year-old to new words. We talked about blacksmiths, bonnets, outhouses, and homesteads among other vocabulary words and practiced writing and spelling them. If our children were older, I would probably have them create their own model of a Conestoga wagon and perhaps even sew their own period-appropriate clothing. Our son did draw his own Conestoga Wagon with a bit of guidance from me after we read the book.

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books
Drawing a picture of a Conestoga Wagon. Coloring in the the patches on the canvas.

I would recommend If You Were Me and Lived in...Hungary: A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around the World to families with children as young as our two-year-old daughter. While children ages seven to nine may be able to read the book independently, younger children can listen or read along with their parents or older siblings and learn about places and cultures around the world. I think this book would be a great place to start when discussing the geography of Europe.

I recommend the If You Were Me and Lived in...An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series of books to families with children four-years to twelve-years-old. These books are more detailed with a plethora of vocabulary, people, places, and events to interest young students of history. They are fantastic additions to any family's library because of their attention to detail. And because they are written from the perspective a child who lived in that time period, your own children feel as if they are right alongside their new friends in the past.

There is only one objection I have in regards to the books (other than the lack of maps but, as I said, we are a map-loving family): each book that we reviewed is told from the perspective of a boy. (Information is provided for the lives of both boys and girls and moms and dads, but – when reading the stories.

Edit: The two history books we reviewed are told from the perspective a boy but there are others in the series (If You Were Me and Lived in...Elizabethan England for example) that are told from a girl's point of view. And after a quick re-read of If You Were Me and Lived in...Hungary, I now see that it is told from the point of view of both children narrating the tale.

culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books
Looking through If You Were me and Lived in...the American West before bedtime.

Having enjoyed these three books so much, we will be looking for others in the If You Were Me and Lived in...An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time series. For example, we will be looking for If You Were Me and Lived in...Renaissance Italy: And Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time and If You Were Me and Lived in...Ancient Greece: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time.


To learn more about the Carole P. Roman books and collections please visit the following:



culture, geography, Hungary, American West, Colonial America, Book Reviews, History, hsreivews, children's books