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Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crafts. Show all posts

Hands-on, cross-curricular (and fun) lesson plans on Covid 19 pandemic and masks

Many schools require students to wear PPE (personal protection equipment) masks and as a survivor of Covid 19 (coronavirus), I heartily applaud this initiative! Unfortunately, some parents object to mandatory mask-wearing and that can make for problems in classrooms. So how do you as the teacher diffuse tensions while still complying with Covid 19 mask mandates? From 30 years of effective parent-teacher interaction, I advise you to avoid confrontation and make it fun with creative, positive activities to encourage students to wear masks. Here are crafts, games, printables and activities to give mask wearing a "facelift" (LOL)! 

Teach preschool and special needs students to overcome fear of masks by putting masks on stuffed animals and puppets. Talk to children through puppets or animal friends. Explain why they are wearing a mask and how easy it is! Take the mask off and show that the friend is no different with or without it. Let children ask questions. You can also use puppets to teach hand washing, social distancing and other disease prevention activities. 

Use free printable Covid 19 lesson plans to explore coronavirus and why we wear masks to protect against it. PBS offers great resources on PPE masks. Make these printables into health science lesson plans. There's a lot of data-based content which is useful in math lesson plans. Students might graph and chart which PPE masks are most effective. Cincinnati Children's has several educational videos to help younger children understand coronavirus. Kids Health has a plethora of free printable Covid 19 activities for health science lesson plans. PBS also has lesson plans on the 1918 influenza outbreak (often referred to wrongly as the Spanish flu)

Read children's literature books on pandemics, epidemics and other outbreak diseases. Here's a list written just for the coronavirus pandemic. The blog Semicolon lists books about plagues, epidemics and outbreaks of diseases like Bubonic plague, "Black Death", 1918 influenza pandemic, cholera, smallpox, polio, measles, typhoid and others. Compare and contrast the 1918 influenza and Covid 19. But focus on the positives, such as all the resources, like PPE, better access to clean water, knowledge of hand-washing, vaccines and clearer understanding of germs that we have now compared to then. 

Dress in a masked superhero costume like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ninja, Power Rangers (include a PPE mask). Ask kids if they find your face mask scary. (They'll most likely say NO!) In fact they probably think your mask is cool. Now explain that wearing a mask to avoid getting sick or making others sick with Covid 19 or other diseases is even cooler. Explain why it's important to stay safe and how to do that.

Have a poster making bee to encourage mask-wearing. Print coloring pages of superheroes, Disney characters, animals, favorite book or cartoon characters wearing masks.  Or have children create their own with catchy, fun slogans. Display in class or along the halls. Leave them up for conferences. 

Use "Glitter germs" science experiments show how germs and diseases are spread and why hand-washing as well as mask wearing is so important. The Indianapolis Children's Museum gives easy science experiments and games with glitter to demonstrate. Here are more science experiments from Mark Rober's Youtube channel to explore germ transmission in classrooms. 

Decorate your own DIY masks: Get a bunch of kid-sized plain white cotton masks or paper hospital style masks. Bust out the bling, sequins, pom-poms, yarn, ribbon, rick-rack, sewing notions, beads and charms. Using large needles and yarn, glue dots or staples, help students decorate their masks. Older students can practice sewing with regular needle and thread. Provide non-washable Crayola type markers (not permanent as they are more toxic) to draw pictures or write messages. Use these free printable coloring pages to print your favorite superhero, animal, Disney or cartoon character and use the printables in mask-making. These make great arts and crafts lesson plans. 

Explore mask-making and wearing among other cultures in social studies lesson plans. Research mask wearing for religious, social and cultural expression. Here are free printable social studies lesson plans on mask-making. Here are more free printable social studies lessons on masks. 

The lesson plans on plagues can be kind of depressing, so don't dwell too long on them. And be sure to end with fun, positive lesson plans. 



Disney "Frozen" snacks: Elsa, Anna, Olaf the Snowman themed party treats

Disney "Frozen" has taken the world by storm (snowstorm, that is!) so what better theme than Disney Frozen for a children's winter party? But it's the middle of summer, you protest! Well all the better! Cool off with these Disney Frozen treats and party snacks, inspired by Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff and Sven and Olaf the Snowman. Use free printable Frozen coloring pages to create party decor. Here are more free printable Frozen activities for party planner use. Make these into lesson plans as craft snacks for hands-on Frozen fun. 

Chili Elsa: Here’s a beverage to warm the coldest of ice queens. It's a less-gruesome, non-alcoholic Bloody Mary to honor Queen Elsa. Serve warm or cold. Season V-8 vegetable juice with cumin, oregano, basil and celery seed. Garnish with celery or carrot sticks, green, yellow or orange pepper spears or lime wedge. Create cucumber-grape tomato bowties. Make radial cuts in cucumber slices. Place one end on toothpick, then a grape tomato. Twist cuke and stick to other side. Add Tabasco sauce to taste. Children will love making this craft snack themselves. 

Princess Anna Kindergluwein: This Scandinavian/German beverage has been enjoyed by children in frozen climes for generations. And Princess Anna celebrates the eternal joy of childhood! Simmer apple cider or apple juice and add fruit juice (any flavor, cranberry, orange, lemonade, grape). Add raisins or currants, cloves, lemon and lime slices and cinnamon sticks. Make orange strawberry bowties as you did the cucumber one for the Chili Elsa. 

Silly Sangria for Olaf the Snowman: Olaf the Snowman is too young for real sangria and too easily meltable for hot drinks, so make his kindergluwein slushed or "frozen" (pun intended). Mix grape juice, lemonade or orange juice, clear soda and sliced oranges, lemons and limes. Serve with star-shaped ice cubes. 

Princess Anna Snowballs: Even Queen Elsa will love these snow treats! So let kids help make snowballs for a great craft snack. Melt marshmallows and add popped popcorn. Have kids rub light margarine on hands and form popcorn (snow) balls. Roll in sprinkles if desired. 

Olaf the Snowman party recipes. Do you want to build a snowman? Maybe Queen Elsa can't help, but kids can build one with Princess Anna. Make popcorn snowballs using recipes above. Form them in different sizes: small for his head, medium for middle, large for Olaf the Snowman base. Use raisins for buttons and chocolate chips for eyes. Use matchstick or baby carrots for nose. Cut Twizzlers, Fruit Leather or Fruit Roll-Up for scarf and smile. Use Chiklets gum for teeth and pretzel sticks for arms. 

For a traditional snowman like Frosty, add candy corn cob pipe. Place round chocolate candy like Brach’s Star on head for a hat.. For “stovepipe hat" affix gumdrop, Hershey’s Kiss, or Reese’s Peanut Butter cup with dab of frosting. 

Princess Anna snowshoe cookies: Frost Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies with vanilla frosting. Sprinkle with clear, white, silver or blue sugar crystals. Rest cookies on sprinkles to look like snowshoes in snow. 

Princess Anna ski pole cookies: Poke pretzel sticks in mini marshmallows (or pretzel rods in large marshmallows) Warm vanilla frosting in microwave. Dip marshmallows in frosting, then dip in colored sprinkles. 

Kristoff’s Kool Kocoa party recipes: Heat milk on stove and add chocolate syrup. Add colored marshmallows (snowballs). Use ski pole pretzel cookies for swizzle sticks. For healthier swizzle sticks, dip pretzels in peanut butter and roll in powdered milk. Stir Kristoff's Kool Kocoa with candy cane if you have any left from Christmas. 

Sweet Princess Anna stirring spoons. Melt chocolate, butterscotch, mint and peanut butter chips in separate dishes. Dip plastic spoon in melted chips then roll in colored sprinkles, crushed cookies or candies. Allow to harden. Kristoff's Kool Kocoa will warm Queen Elsa and the Princess Anna stirring spoons will sweeten her frosty disposition. 

Princess Anna Arctic Adventure Cake. Frost vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. Add blue or white sprinkles. Place snowshoe cookies on top to look like a snowshoe trail. Add a few ski pole cookies. Have kids make standup Disney Frozen character dolls from Disney Frozen free printables. Scroll down for Disney Frozen games, puzzles and crafts for party games. Click here for free Frozenprintables for party decorations and crafts. Here are more free printable Disney Frozen coloring pages as party activities, decorations, games, crafts or placemats.  

Free printable deer themed unit lesson plans, coloring pages: Frozen, Bambi, Rudolph story party ideas


Our backyard bird feeder attracts a lot of feathered and furry friends. And last night, I had a new guest, that pretty mama deer in the photo left! This was surprising because we live in a city but also exciting. We often visit our "deer friends" in their habitat by the lake and it was nice that they came to see us in ours! And being a teacher, what's my first thought? To make any cool experience into lesson plans! This summer, I've been writing a series on story party ideas based on favorite kids books. Today I'll share a deer themed book party and lesson planner, in honor of our deer friend (whom I've named Fauna) and our newest grandson Ezra whose spirit animal is a deer. I'll include cross-curricular lesson plans, book party crafts, games, snacks, free printable deer coloring pages, plus famous literary deer such as Bambi, Sven from Frozen and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! 

Deer-themed story party books and literature-based activities

Stranger in the Woods (Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick) Several inquisitive whitetail deer meet up with a snowman dressed as a bird feeder and happily sample his wares. This book is part of a series of pictures books of animal photography. Here are free printable snowman crafts from the book. Have kids make deer crafts (listed below) and act out the story. 

Bambi, a Life in the Woods and Bambi's Children (Felix Salkin) provided the basis for the Disney cartoon Bambi. Read the books at your story party or view the film (warning: it's quite sad and may  not be suitable for some viewers--raising hand here!) For followup activities, make a woodland animal habitat diorama. See my blog post for habitat diorama crafts and printables. Visit Coloring-Book.info for free printable Disney Bambi coloring pages

Disney Frozen Read the book version or enjoy the Disney Frozen or Frozen 2 movie. It's not exactly reindeer themed but Sven the reindeer certainly plays an important role! Here's an article with free printable Frozen coloring pages. You could make a Frozen diorama, too. 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerRead the Little Golden Book version at your deer themed story party. Next, use these free printable Rudolph coloring pages, from the book and also the Rankin-Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas cartoon. Have kids make up their own book of Rudolph adventures. You can do the same with Frozen or Bambi. Or make up a Frozen, Bambi or Rudolph board game. 

Deer themed phonics, vocabulary and reading lessons

Earlier I made the pun about our deer (dear) friend. Use that in phonics lesson plans on word families and homonyms, which include homophones (words with the same pronunciation but different spelling and meaning) and homographs (words with same spelling regardless of pronunciation and meaning). Here are vocabulary/ spelling words from the unit.

deer, bear, woods, snowman, prey, rabbit, bird, feed, Frozen, reindeer

Here are homonyms to explore from our deer unit:

deer/dear
bear/bare
reed/read
here/hear
red/read
rein/reign/rain
wood/would
fawn/fawn/faun (a baby deer, to bow and scrape, a mythological woodland creature)
book/book (something to read, to plan something)
feed/feed (to give food, a live broadcast)
prey/pray (animals that are food for others, to honor a deity) 

Deer and reindeer themed science and math craft snacks for story party

I always like lesson plans that involve hands-on, interactive activities for kids. And craft snacks (aka edible craft projects) make great hands-on lesson plans. Involve kids in counting and measuring for craft snacks, for preschool and elementary math activities and lesson plans. 

Pretzel deer snack craft: Give each child one small braid pretzel, two broken pretzel halves (antlers), one red M&M (nose) one slightly melted Hershey kiss or Rolo and two edible eyes. Child places kiss on pretzel and presses M&M and eyes into kiss for face and pokes broken pretzels in on top. If it won't stick, use a little chocolate frosting. Or you can omit kiss and just use frosting for face. 

Antler Apples (deer feed and bird seed craft snacks): Our deer friend was drawn to our bird feeder, so why not make bird and deer snacks for animals and kids to enjoy together. Have children dip small pretzel sticks in peanut butter and poke into an apple. Stick raisins to peanut butter on tops of sticks. For bird snacks, mix bird seed, peanut butter or suet, oats, apple peels and raisins and mold into balls. Place in recycled plastic mesh orange bags. Or mold into squares and place in suet feeder. Best of all, attach balls to pretzel rod and poke into the ground. For the kid snack version, substitute bird seed and apple peels for mixed nuts and apple cubes. Add coconut, dried cranberries, dates to taste. 

Science lesson plan extenders, keep a nature journal noting and drawing pictures of who visits your feeder! 

Deer themed games

Animal Antics: Discuss food chain and predator prey relationships. Animals, like deer are "prey animals" and they rely on camouflage to stay hidden from predators. Use these free printable animal camouflage worksheets to make matching games. Then have kids discuss how deer protect themselves in the wild. Children might camouflage costumes and play hide and seek outside, at dusk. 







Free printable Peter Rabbit bunny crafts for Beatrix Potter story party or Easter party



Several bunnies visit us each night. They call to mind our many beloved books about rabbits: Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, Peter Cottontail, "The Velveteen Rabbit", "The Runaway Bunny", Easter bunny stories, Richard Scarry's "The Bunny Book", I am a Bunny" E.B. (from Disney "HOP") "Guess How Much I Love You?" the bunny from "Goodnight Moon" and more!  And being a former teacher and homeschool parent, and now an education blogger and second generation homeschool Omi (grama), I always think educational lesson plans. 

In keeping with my story party theme, here are bunny book party ideas and rabbit themed lesson plans. I've included free printables, bunny crafts, rabbit themed snacks and games based on Beatrix Potter stories and other books about rabbits.  You could use them for a Beatrix Potter or Peter Rabbit story party, Easter party or as preschool-early elementary activities. I've included cross-curricular activities for lesson plans. Homeschool parents, I know you need ways to engage all age students. So have older kids read "Watership Down." Then they can have an excuse to do these rabbit crafts! And as always, olders should help the little ones for extra learning cred! 

Preschool reading activities: Have children collect all their rabbit stuffed animals and toys. Don't forget Rabbit from Winnie-the-Pooh or Thumper from Bambi. Bring animals friends to the story party! Remember to make the pillow pile I mentioned in an earlier post. Children will listen better if they can snuggle up with their cuddle toys. For very lil uns, read stories just before bed. 

Preschool dress up activities: Printable animal masks from Classroom Jr. Everything is more fun when you're in costume. So let's start by making a printable bunny mask. Here are more animal printables from First Palette. Print on plain paper and transfer to recycled cereal box cardboard to make the mask more durable. 

Rabbit crafts: Vintage Easter Bunny crafts Now that kids are properly attired for the story party, let's make some Easter baskets and greeting cards. You don't have to wait for Easter to make Easter crafts and they lend themselves well to Peter Rabbit and Peter Cottontail stories. The Toymaker (link above) has free printable egg baskets, bunny cards and an

Rabbit games: Play the egg roll game (like they play on the White House lawn) included on the Toymaker link. (Grandson Moses, I foresee a lot of fun playing this with you!) 

Volunteer and Community activities: Make greeting cards from the Toymaker link. Fill baskets with rabbit themed treats (listed below) and share with a neighbor, senior, someone who is sick or disabled. Wear your bunny mask, of course! It doesn't have to be Easter to bring some bunny luv! 

Dramatic play and fine motor activities: Make these cut and paste 3D Paper Bunny Crafts and then use them to act out stories after reading them. Pass out baby carrots for theater snacks! Homeschool parents, engage the baby by making her the audience and theatre critic!  

Art lesson plans: Paper Bunny Toy Mania DL-TK, those wonderfully crafty folk, have a blowout of Easter bunny coloring pages, masks, paper ears, stand-up toys, pop up crafts and much more. I love how easy these are to make. Perfect for preschool, toddlers, babies and special needs children who need no-fail activities. (Grandson Ezra, I look forward to seeing you in rabbit ears, sir!) 

Math and literature activities: Peter Rabbit and The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams) has a page on Making Friends. It's part of a complete page of free printable bunny-based coloring pages, games, puzzles, dot-to-dot, count by number and other activities. Grandsons Milo and Lucian (the twos) you'll like the felt board games and felt board pattern printables. First School has an educational Peter Rabbit unit with learning games, literature activities, writing prompts and stories. 

Writing Activities: Use free printable Peter Rabbit coloring pages to create a booklet and then tell the story in their own words. Or they might use generic rabbit coloring pages to make up their own bunny book! Best idea of all is to assign children to design their own rabbit, give her a name and make up adventures for her! (Silas, I know you'll like this one!) 

Bunny treats AKA snack craft (Granddaughter Lola, just for you, girlfriend!) 

You'll need:

--Hostess Twinkies or Sno Balls (coconut covered marshmallow cakes) or Dolly Madison Zingers or

unfrosted cupcakes

--Handi-Snacks Oreos Dunk'Ems or white frosting

--oval cookies (Nutter Butter) or ladyfingers or graham cracker sticks, or pretzels. 

--pink frosting

--red jellybeans

--coconut

--square gum pellets like Chiklets or Trident cut in half

--miniature marshmallows

To make bunny teats, 

1) open Handi-Snacks and use cookies to frost cupcake or Twinkie. Or use knife or popsicle stick and plain frosting. If using pre-frosted Zingers or Sno Balls, skip to step three. 

2) Sprinkle frosted cake immediately with shredded coconut. 

3) Spread pink frosting on cookies or crackers for ears. If using pretzels, dip in pink frosting. Insert cookie "ears" in cake. 

4) Insert two jellybeans for eyes and two gum pellets for teeth. Attach marshmallows with frosting for tail.

Science snack craft: Discuss where rabbits live (in warrens under the ground) and what they eat (herbivores eat plants, leaves, vegetables). Review Peter Rabbit and what he liked in Mr. Macgregor's garden--lettuces, French beans (green string beans), radishes and then parsley for his sick tummy. The other bunnies ate blackberries. 

Collect various kinds of garden vegetables: carrots, broccoli, lettuce, beans, pea pods, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers and celery. Include some less familiar ones: parsnips, scallions, endive, mustard greens. Set out a tray of herbs for sensory exploration. Let children herbs and vegetables. Have them touch, smell and taste and describe them. Then let them prep them for a veggie tray to enjoy. Or they might make vegetable soup. 



Free printable penguin coloring pages and Antarctica lesson plans

Happy belated World Penguin Day on April 25! Here are free printable penguin coloring pages, crafts and lesson plans about penguins and Antarctica! Learn about penguin habitats, global warming, the polar science and more! These penguin printables are a perfect way to round out Earth Month in April! 

This Pinterest board has links for dozens of free printable penguin themed lesson plans. Edupics has free printable coloring pages of penguins. Coloring.ws has penguin printables including coloring pages, puzzles, connect the dot and more. 

First Palette has penguin lesson plans to print free, with cute printable Antarctica habitat diorama activities for earth science crafts
. There are also other polar printables. Super Coloring has cartoon penguin printables that look like the Webkinz penguins, perfect for preschool. 

Enchanted Learning offers a unit of free printable penguin lesson plans. There are polar biome and habitat diorama activities for science lessons, Antarctica map activities for social studies lesson plans. Use these in your Earth Month lessons. 

There puzzles, games, penguin crafts, word search and connect the dot to teach math and reading. I love the printable mini books at the site too, perfect for emergent readers and preschool kids. Use these activities in homeschool too! There's something for even the youngest learners! May your Earth Month be bright! 



Recycled trash crafts for kids: Garden tools and sand toys from milk jugs


Hey teachers and homeschoolers, looking for some earth science lesson plans to teach environmental sustainability? How about making recycled trash crafts for kids with plastic milk jugs? Repurpose and reuse milk jugs into sand toys for the beach and garden tools. These crafts for kids work great in preschool science learning center, schools, scout troops, 4H groups, camp and day care and can be made with the youngest learners! 

To make a set of eight recycled trash beach toys or gardening tools, you'll need

-two clean plastic milk jugs per child

-permanent dry-erase marker 

-scissors (children's Fiskars scissors work great)

Draw a line around the base of milk jugs, about three inches from the bottom. Poke a hole anywhere in the line with scissors. Cut along the line to remove the top half (set aside for later). Now you have a sand pail, gardening bucket or plant starter. 

Next make sifter or strainer sand toys or garden tools by poking holes in the bottom of the milk jugs. Recycled trash beach toys are great money-savers. If they get broken, just re-recycle! 

Repurpose and reuse the top of milk jugs to make funnels and sand castle mold beach toys.  Draw a circle around the top, about two inches down from the mouth. Poke a hole and cut around the circle. Use funnels for preschool math learning center or sand and water table, too. 

With the leftover handle piece, make trowel garden tools. Draw along the indentation on the jug where the handle is. Snip the lower end of the handle to separate it form the jug. Poke a hole on the line and cut along the line. Trim the top part above the upper end of the handle to a v-shaped point. You will have a flat surface with a handle to smooth out surfaces and a corner surface for edging. 

Make a small rake and hoe cutting the trowel with a flat edge (for a hoe). Cut it with a zigzag edge to make a a garden rake. These trash crafts provide excellent scissors skills practice.

Make a shovel by drawing a circle around the part where the lower end of the handle attaches to the jug, about an inch or so from the handle. Snip the top end off from the jug. Cut along the circle you've drawn. Now you have handled shovels to use for sand toys or garden tools.

Use garden tools in earth science lesson plans and experiments. Use beach toys in preschool sand and water table learning center. Make a classroom garden or individual student bucket gardens for nature study! 

My favorite way to make crafts for kids is in an intergenerational setting. Visit nursing homes and senior centers to do activities with seniors. Teach students about volunteering, empathy and awareness, with activities that connect kids and elders! Make it part of an Earth Day party! Invite grandparents! This grandma treasures her time spent making craft projects with her beloved grandkiddies! 

Earth Day recycled trash bird feeders: science lesson plans, printables and trash crafts!


Just in time for Earth Day, here are recycled trash crafts for kids, to repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs as homemade bird feeders. These bird feeders are great for National Bird Day (March 14) also. Make bird feeders in your preschool science learning centers or as part of ecology lesson plans. These recycled trash crafts are cheap, easy to make and fun for all ages.

First, if you're doing these lesson plans as part of homeschool, and you've got some little ones who are bit too young to be interested (grandsons Milo, Lucian and Ezra, Omi is smiling at you here!) you'll want activities to keep them involved. So how about assigning them the task of chief bird researcher (be sure to use the word "chief." The youngest ones love to be the boss sometimes!) Here are free printable bird coloring pages to for them to explore. As much as possible, find ways for youngers to be part of lesson plans. 

Next, teach children that reusing recycled milk jugs help the environment in three ways: when you repurpose and reuse recycled milk jugs you reduce the number that go into landfills. Homemade bird feeders support wildlife and the ecosystem. Making bird seed recipes from recycled kitchen scraps cuts waste. 

To make homemade bird feeders, wash, rinse and dry recycled milk jugs. Next, draw a window on the front of the milk jug on the opposite side from the handle. The window should be about two and one half inches from the bottom and about four inches on all sides. Using everyday scissors cut out the window. The plastic cuts pretty easily, but can be scratchy. You can assist those with physical limitations. After cutting the window, poke 5 small holes in the bottom to drain and air the birdseed and keep it dry. Decorate Earth Day crafts with permanent markers, stickers or fabric paint. Make festive nature patterns.

Now for the bird feeder fodder: here's a great time to explore bird species, habitats and nutritional requirements in your science lesson plans. To attract a variety of critters, fill the feeder up to about 1 and 1/2 inches with various bird seed recipes. You can buy generic bird seed in bulk inexpensively. This will attract chickadees, cardinals, house finch, dark-eyed juncos, sparrows, starlings, blue jays and lots of hungry squirrels. For special bird seed treats, save citrus rinds, apple peelings, fruit seeds, stale popcorn, bread, crackers and nuts. Blend with peanut butter and bird seed and place homemade bird feeder. If you carve a pumpkin, save the seeds. Squirrels will canvas the back yard at Halloween after pumpkin carving to get prized seeds.

Hang the bird feeder crafts in a tree, from poles or just about anything except utility wires. Hang with bird feeders with bright red yarn or ribbon. Many birds love bright red. You can place the feeder on a porch rail if necessary. Put a nail through the bottom to hold it in place. The youngest can be in charge of monitoring bird feeders and helping to refill them. 

Stay tuned for more Earth Day lesson plans, printables and activities! 


Earth Day Party: Spring themed snacks, crafts, books and printables


Spring is here and what better way to celebrate than with an Earth Day story party? Here are spring and weather themed snacks and snack crafts (snacks that do double duty as crafts that kids make themselves). I've added a list of books to read for literature connections, along with free printable book PDFs where available. 

Spring flower cookies: Use refrigerated cookie dough or better yet, make better-for-you honey cookie dough (unbleached flour, honey, baking soda and light butter). Color pink or purple with grape juice. Have each child make four small balls and arrange in a square. Bake and place M&Ms in center. Read "The Tiny Seed" Eric Carle using this free printable PDF. 

Rain Goblets: Buy inexpensive rain gauges and to serve juice. Kids can practice measurement plus get a cool rain gauge to take home and use in the garden. Read "Peter Spier's Rain"

Rainbow eggs: These are made like dyed Easter eggs. Hard boil eggs (about 15 minutes). Cool and gently crackle shells but don't remove shells. Dip eggs in food coloring or (my preference) different colored juices for dye. Now remove shells to find the pretty patterns in the egg white. Reuse colored shells in a mosaic pattern to be really eco-friendly for Earth Day. Read "The Egg Tree" by Katherine Milhouse and "An Extraordinary Egg" by Leo Lionni. 

Bird's nest cupcakes: Decorate cupcakes with frosting and sprinkle dyed green coconut on top. You can use broken pretzel sticks too. Place jelly beans or Skittles in "nest" for eggs. Use these in spring science lesson plans. Read "Are You My Mother?" (P.D. Eastman). Here's a free printable PDF

Dirt cups: Teach kids about soil layers, gardening and spring planting with these super easy, super yummy snacks kids will love to make. Per kid, you'll need a half cup of pudding, two Oreos, a graham cracker, a handful of M&Ms (spring pastel colors look the prettiest) and some gummy worms. If you can find gummy insects, add those too! Have kids make up chocolate pudding and crush Oreos and graham cracker. In clear plastic cups layer graham cracker (sand), pudding (mud) and cookies (dirt). Then they "plant" their seeds (M&Ms) and arrange their gummy critters on top! Perfect for Earth Day! Read (of course) "Diary of a Worm." (Doreen Cronin). 

Piggies in the mud: This was my youngest son Jake's FAVORITE! It's just chocolate pudding and animal crackers. Kids will love marching their animals through the "mud." Teach them that most animal species have babies in spring. Read "Ox-Cart Man." (Donald Hall). Here's a free printable PDF

Butterfly sandwiches: Let kids make their favorite sandwiches. Cut in triangles. Place pointy side together to make wings. Put a baby carrot or pickle spear in the center. That's the body, that was the caterpillar. Read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." (Eric Carle) Here's a free printable PDF, plus, check out my blog post for more Very Hungry Caterpillar printables. 


Earth Day recycled trash crafts, collage art, preschool lesson plans from the Barney Bag


Here's a blast from the past, just in time for Earth Day, April 22. Bust out the Barney Bag and whip a bunch of recycled trash crafts for kids! Wait, you don't what a Barney Bag is? PBS's Barney the dinosaur had a magic bag that the kids on his show Barney & Friends used to make crafts. These activities work great for earth science lesson plans on ecology and environment. 

I carried out the Barney Bag tradition with my children, who are now grown with children of their own. As a homeschool family, we didn't watch much TV, but they did love PBS in general and Barney & Friends in particular. (Here are free printable Barney coloring pages for a walk down memory lane!) We used the Barney Bag in preschool learning centers and arts and crafts lesson plans you can too. Upper elementary and middle schoolers will love making these recycled trash crafts for kids. Use them as hands-on ecology activities too! Here's a Q & A to get started. 

What is a Barney Bag? On Barney & Friends, it was a rainbow-colored satchel about the size of a small suitcase that contained all kinds of "gizmos and gadgets, odds and ends; even some old strings"--aka lots of cast-off stuff! Perfect for recycled trash crafts for kids or collage art learning centers. 

How do you make a Barney Bag? Keep a large recycled trash shopping bag near the recycle bin. Toss in unique packages, fabric scraps, odd-shaped containers, bits of yarn and fiber, foil and wrapping paper scraps, used ribbon and bows, decorative trim, mismatched buttons, gumball machine toys, assorted game pieces, old magazines, stickers, envelopes with stamps, playing cards, metal washers and springs, small broken utensils, packing peanuts and just about any discarded item imaginable. Repurposing these items teaches valuable real-life Earth Day lesson plans. 

When should I use it? You can weave the Barney Bag into collage art learning centers and lesson plans. But it works best to haul out Barney Bag spontaneously. If children are tired or grouchy, or it's too yucky to play outside, collage art perks them up.  Throwing a spontaneous craft party was a real sanity-saver for me when everyone came down with chicken pox at once!  

How do children use the Barney Bag? Assemble a tray of glue sticks (or plastic lids with glue and Q-tips), scissors (plain and decorative edged), glitter, crayons or markers, paints, shaped paper punches and stamps. Use up dried beans or pasta in collage art learning centers. Spread an old tablecloth or shower curtain on the floor to protect against spills. Make paint coveralls from dad's old T-shirts. Or recycled trash plastic grocery bags (handles are shoulder straps. Cut bottom off to slip over head. Cover the table with newspaper. Announce Barney Bag time by singing Barney's little ditty. 

"So we'll ask ourselves the question: what shall we make today? With imagination and a piece of string, we'll see what we can make today, yeah, we'll see what we can make today!" Make memories and the environment happy with these Earth Day trash crafts! 

Giant Panda Bear printables, Kung Fu Panda lesson plans, activities coloring pages for Earth Day


Did you know that the Giant Panda is the Earth Day mascot? This will greatly please my grandson Lucian whose best friend is a panda bear named "B"! Here are free printable panda bear lesson plans, activities and coloring pages for us all to celebrate! 

First-School is an awesome website for educational printables and the subject of free printable panda bear activities is no exception. There are games, science lesson plans, literature based printables, worksheets, word search, coloring pages and more. Making Learning Fun has cute panda bear printables too. 

Living Montessori Now has links to Giant Panda printables with games, crafts and preschool activities. Lesson Planet has a plethora of free printable zoo lesson plans, including many Giant Panda activities. Enchanted Learning has dozens of free printable lesson plans on pandas. There are worksheets, crossword puzzles, maps, endangered species activities, science lesson plans and more. What could be more perfect for Earth Day?

How about doing a unit on Eric Carle's "Panda Bear, Panda Bear What do you See?" for Earth Day, April 22? Here are Eric Carle printables including some from that best-loved book. And what would a unit on pandas be without some activities involving Po, the Kung Fu Panda? Most of these have printables on other types of bears too. 

Free printable spring science crafts, Earth Day recycled trash crafts, weather unit activities

Spring is here, "Weather" or not the temperature agrees (LOL, get it?) How about free printable spring science crafts and weather unit activities to spring into the new season? As always, this Montessori teacher mama--now teacher Omi (grandma)-- shares hands-on, cross-curricular learning activities.  To welcome Earth Day, we'll use recycled trash for weather crafts. The age level for this unit is preschool to first grade. 

First, visit DL-TK for a rainbow of printable weather science craft projects. Make windsocks, windchimes, suncatchers, picture frame crafts and more from recycled trash. Use recycled paper to make free printables. 

To welcome spring, Earth Day, Easter, a new baby, how about making a giant greeting card on front walk? Bust out the sidewalk chalk and get busy decorating! No sidewalks? Use the patio or unfurl a roll of paper outside! Here's an easy, super cheap recipe for sidewalk chalk

Next, make pet baby tornados! Here's a Montessori activity for practical life learning centers. Have children wash glass jars and lids, to teach life skills of dishwashing. Next, children will fill glass jars almost to top with water and add a drop of dish soap. To create the baby tornado, shake jar with swirling motion. A funnel shape or vortex will appear. Use these science activities to demonstrate a vortex, tornado, funnel and even the sink drain works. You could discuss clouds, precipitation, wind.

To extend these hands-on science activities to language arts and creative writing, have kids think up names and make up stories for their pet tornado. Next, extend into math lesson plans making books from cereal box cardboard. Teach geometry, measurement, scissor skills cutting recycled paper to cover books. Next alternate writing and blank paper. Have children write on the lined paper and illustrate on the blank pages. 

Sing weather songs in circle time. Enjoy spring themed snacks (stay tuned for recipes to follow). For quiet time, read weather and spring science books like "The Year at Maple Tree Farm" "The Little House", "Ox-Cart Man", "The Carrot Seed" "The Lorax" "The Tiny Seed" and "Frog and Toad are Friends."          






Math practice kit activities with printables

 Montessori and Math Their Way teach math in hands-on learning center tasks, as opposed to paper and-pencil lessons. Here's a homemade mini math learning center. Use this shoebox math facts practice kit for independent, on-the-go learning. Retention of math facts and operations is vital for higher math. Use this math homework practice kit to reinforce addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts.

 Children should practice 5-10 minutes 4-5 times a week. In a shoebox or plastic lidded box, place these items 

--color-coded list of digits. For example: 0-yellow, 1-blue, 2-red, 3-orange, 4-purple, 5-green, 6-brown, 7-pink, 8-black, 9-gray. Some 1,983 would be written blue-1, gray-9,black-8 and orange-3. Color coding helps many students visualize and organize numbers, learn place value and memorize math facts, 

--set of dice. Practice math facts by casting die and adding or multiplying two numbers shown. 

--set of dominoes (base 12 set is best) or homemade"domino"flash cards made from index cards. Write domino dot configuration in number color from chart. Student selects a domino and adds, subtracts or multiplies the two numbers. Write answers on back for self-checking. Here are free printable dominoes

--deck of playing cards--student chooses two cards and adds, subtracts, or multiplies them. Face cards are valued as such:(ace-1, jack-10, queen, 12 and king-0) Here's a free printable deck of playing cards

--math flashcards for each fact family. Purchase at Dollar Tree or discount store. Here are freeprintable math flashcards. Make flashcards by writing math fact (problem) in color code on one side and the answer on the back. 

--pencil, eraser and scrap paper squares--student writes out a fact family, or writes story problems, illustrating with items to represent (three apples times seven apples). Use for pop quizzes also.

 --tablet of small stickers or mini-stamper marker-- Child makes his own flashcards with stickers and scrap paper, for the math facts family on which he's working. 

--100 chart or cheat sheet. Student uses to skip count by different numbers (multiply), look for patterns, or practice facts. Here are free printable 100 charts. 

--yarn strung with 100 plastic beads. This homemade abacus is a great visual for math operations. Give student a problem, like 7x8, She counts out and add seven groups of eight. 

--food snacks with little pieces; fish crackers, breakfast cereal, raisins, candies, pretzels. Students demonstrate math facts with food while eating it. 

Keep math facts practice kit in the car. Use travel time for homework reinforcement.


Free printable educational car games to color, cut and paste


Need some free educational activities to keep kids busy in the car? Mom's Minivan has dozens of free printable travel games for car trips. There are different styles and game themes. Many of the car games do double duty as teaching materials, too. As a teacher and former homeschooler, I really appreciate that value-added benefit.

 

Some games are wordless and rely on pictures. This means new and emergent readers can join in the fun, too. My personal favorites are the roadside car bingo games . There are four different printable games with pictures of things kids might see looking out the window (cow, road construction markers, clothesline). Even two and three-year-olds can play if the non-driving parent or an older sibling marks the items spotted by the child on his bingo card.

 

There are four printable vehicle identification bingo games, too. I recommend these be played with older children who are better able to spot vehicle details. Older kids will enjoy the silly songs and license plate games. Kids of all ages will enjoy the free printable themed coloring pages of cars and animals.

 

The site offers printable dot games, puzzles, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Battleship and tic-tac-toe as well. There are free printable scavenger hunt games with words and pictures shown (like a rebus). Learning to connect words and pictures helps children practice reading, spelling and vocabulary skills. These games can be tailored to the age of the children.

Free printable make your own reading booklets with coloring pages


Educator Jonathon Holt says children learn best when they are actively involved. So here are free printable mini books, miniature coloring books and preschool activity booklets for children to color. Subjects in mini books include letters, words, seasons, animals, science, Bible, holidays and lots more. These coloring books make excellent preschool lesson plans for classroom and homeschool lessons for ages 4-7 years old. These free printable activity booklets are especially good for special needs children.

To print coloring books, visit DLTK-Teach. This page lists all the themes for free printable mini books and activity booklets. There are 26 alphabet mini books, one for each letter. They are titled "What begins with the Letter (A, B, C, etc.)?" Words are shown in one color and the letter being explored shows as a different color. If you print in black and white, the letter will appear in a different shade of gray. Ask the child to color the letter a different color than the other words to emphasize it. There are also suggested reading activities to teach each letter using the free printable mini books.

Other subjects for free printable coloring books include Bible: Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Creation, Life of Jesus and Men of the Bible. There is a series of free printable activity booklets for preschool lesson plans called "All About Me," in which the child personalizes to book to himself. There are booklets about "My family," too. These mini books work well for preschool lesson plans on social studies and health

There are several science-themed free printable activity booklets, too. Subjects include: birds, farm life, nutrition and vehicles. Use the free printable seasons booklets for science, too. "Fall" explores leaves and trees; "Winter" covers water and ice: "Spring" looks at new life and seeds and "Summer" covers plant growth.

Seasonal topics for free printable coloring books for preschool lesson plans include: Halloween (gentle, non-scary images of pumpkins), Veteran's Day, (patriotic), Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, St. Patrick's Day and Earth Day. These work well as preschool lesson plans too. Each of the activity booklets weaves in reading skills and some basic counting activities. Activity booklets are 10 pages long. Pages print half-sheet (two pages on each printed page). Each page can be printed in color or black and white. If you print the booklet in black and white, the child can color each page. This extra exposure will help to reinforce the concept begin taught. As she colors, you may ask her to repeat the words printed on the page.

Some of the mini books are available for Spanish speaking children also. You'll like that these preschool lesson plans multitask. As children cut and paste, they learn eye-hand coordination. Coloring helps build fine motor skills. As they make their books, they learn to read and follow directions. Assembling the booklets is good for sequencing and organization. There's lots of learning going on when children make these free printable books.For more free printable reading activities visit Free Printable Lesson Plans.

Free printable preschool felt board patterns

The felt board is one of the most versatile and useful teaching tool for preschool lesson plans. Here are free printable felt board patterns for a host of preschool themes and subjects. Print patterns for math, children's literature, alphabet, pre-reading and reading, science and other content areas. 

Making Learning Fun has free printable felt board patterns in such preschool favorites as Dr. Seuss, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, birthday, Valentine's Day, other holidays, nursery rhymes and many more. You can make these into calendar activities, skip counting, math facts, rebus stories and more. Use for word walls and language lessons also. 

DL-TK is a superior resource for educational activities. Print free felt board templates for preschool lesson plans from alphabet to zoo! There are also great DIY tips for making and using felt boards. I just read a nifty trick for saving money on the velcro used in felt boards. But I'm not going to give it away! Check this site out! 

Enchanted Learning is just about the best resource in preschool lesson plans. But it doesn't stop at early childhood! There free printable activities, cut and paste lessons for K-8 on social studies, science, history, geography, literature, math, reading and more. You can print free with banners or pay a low user fee of $20 a year for homeschool families or $125 for a whole-
school subscription. I heartily recommend that option. 

Free Printable St. Patrick's Day activities and lesson plans: Catholic, religious and secular



St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17. A lot of folks think it's just about green beer, shamrocks and leprechauns But that's just commercial blarney. The real Saint Patrick was a Catholic Roman Britain taken as a slave by Irish raiders. Patrick later returned as a missionary to convert Druidic Ireland. Here are St. Patrick's Day lesson plans, crafts and activities to explore the saint behind the legend and the religious beyond the secular. I've included some non-religious printable activities for St. Paddy's Day fun too. 

Read the story of Saint Patrick on Incredible Art. Then keep reading for free printable St. Patrick's Day activities, some religious and some secular. Next check out Homegrown Catholics, a blog with religious Saint Patrick printables. Real life at Home has free printable lesson plans on Saint Patrick and Irish heritage activities. Catholic Icing is a blog with all Christian St. Patrick's Day activities to print. Catholic Mom has Saint Patrick lesson plans that are religious.

Now for the secular stuff. Coloring has loads of printable Saint Patrick's Day coloring pages. DL-TK has many free printable St. Patrick's Day activities, games, puzzles, dot to dot, crossword and crafts. ABC Teach has free printable math and reading and writing lesson plans based on Saint Patrick's Day.

A-Z Teacher Stuff has lots of free Catholic Christian Saint Patrick activities and some secular ones with leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold etc. Education has free printable St. Patrick's Day lesson plans. They're secular but at least educational--with shamrock math, etc. First-School has mostly secular St. Patrick's Day printables, but a few religious activities also. 

Use these free activities in your homeschool or classroom to help children explore the real meaning of the holy day. Slainte! ☘


Super Bowl activities, football lesson plans to print free

Super Bowl Sunday is almost national holiday so teachers, here are free printable Super Bowl lesson plans for students. TSL Books has free printable football lesson plans and Super Bowl math worksheets. Activities are based on football plays, player averages and statistics. How cool is that? Connect football and the Super Bowl with the classroom. Kids are learning while they enjoy the game. There are even some football and Super Bowl history lessons.
Edupics has an awesome collection of printable football coloring pages.There are coloring pages of other sports too. You could use these for any sports-themed birthday party. Or they would work for tailgate parties, too. Are you a New England Patriots fan or are you Team Seattle Seahawks? Look for coloring pages of your team.

DL-TK is a learning website for kids. There are scads of Super Bowl Sunday crafts, games, educational activities, coloring pages to print. Check out the awesome football themed printables, too. Look for Super Bowl games, word puzzles, word search, crossword and fill-in-the-blank. Use for half-time activities with adults.

Free printable apple themed preschool lesson plans for fall harvest activities

Fall means autumn harvest with lots of pumpkins and apples Apples are a common theme for preschool and elementary school students. Teachers and homeschoolers, are you teaching a fall apple unit? Here's a sweet treat for you: 166 pages of free printable apple themed worksheets and lesson plans.
Northville Cider Mill in Northville, Michigan offers a free printable apple-themed activities booklet, There are printable coloring pages, worksheets, puzzles, games, word searches and crossword puzzles on apples. There are apple-themed cross-curricular science experiments, social studies connections, economics lessons, Michigan history activities, apple math problems and more.
Each lesson has a printable student copy and teacher answer key. Use this book for all ages from preschool to grade 8. It can easily be used with special education students, too.
Now scoot over to A to Z Teacher Stuff for more links to dozens of free printable apple lesson plans, crafts, mini booklets, games and worksheets. Most are geared to ages pre-K to grades 4.

Kinderplans has cute free printable apple themed reading and phonics lessons for preschool and kindergarten. There are other printables based on apples, too. Print apple math lessons on counting, addition and subtraction. Print reading activities and games for emergent and reluctant readers. Special education will love the bright, cheery apple activities geared no-fail fun.

Free printable VBS lesson plans, activities to teach Vacation Bible School

Do you teach Sunday school, Vacation Bible School (VBS), CCD or Children's Liturgy of the Word? Perhaps you want something more than just coloring pages for your Religious Education or Christian school? Free printable Bible paper crafts can be very interactive. Children get to cut, assemble, paste, color and fold. All these VBS activities are hands-on and lots of fun. Here are free Christian printables and crafts that will suit your Bible lessons. You can find all sorts of religious Christian and Bible themes-- Old Testament, New Testament, holy days, angels, virtues, scripture verses and much more. These sites have free printable Bible games, board games, puzzles, paper dolls, puppets, finger puppets and craft activities galore!
Making Friends has free printable Bible crafts by the dozen. Some Sunday school activities are for purchase, but those highlighted in pink are 'free printables'. Those highlighted in green are 'free pattern'. Making Friends is a website bursting with fun. Free Kids Crafts is another website overflowing with free Christian printables and Bible crafts. You can Christian crafts, Jewish activities, Bible and Torah crafts, VBS activities, lessons, angel craft projects, Sunday school lessons, plus so much more. Be sure to visit the homepage to see all the wonderful things available free! Use search for specific Bible crafts and try the site map to see the index of free Christian printables.
Christian Preschool Printables should probably just be called Christian printables so that readers won't think that the free printable Bible activities are just for preschool age. You'll love the assortment of free printable Bible crafts for VBS activities, Sunday School, religious education and homeschool. You can find worksheets, calendars, lesson plans, board games, card games, file folder games, felt board activities, crafts and more. All Bible and Christian themes available. i recommend that you bookmark this site and subscribe to the email newsletter. Perhaps you may have some homemade crafts that you would like to share?

A Kid's Heart is a charming website with dozens of educational and free Christian printables. These Bible crafts are great for Sunday School and VBS activities but also for homeschooling or Christian school in general. Subjects like math and reading are covered with hands-on activities based on Bible stories and Christian principles. There are games, finger puppets, habitat dioramas, puzzles, mazes and more. Start now with these VBS activities, gearing up for summer!

Free printable WordWorld lesson plans, preschool reading activities

PBS Kids offers superb, educational television show that kids love! For early childhood learners, WordWorld is an emergent reading cartoon for preschool children ages toddler to six. Every animal, character and object in WordWorld is made of that word. Children learn simple preschool words like dog, barn, bridge, house, fence, sun, tree and flower on WordWorld.
Parents of preschool children, if you haven't explored the cartoon WordWorld or if you are already familiar with the reading activities on this show, here are some free printable WordWorld lesson plans to follow up with WordWorld episodes. There are free printable preschool WordWorld coloring pages featuring the characters from WordWorld: duck, pig, frog, dog, bear and sheep. Visit PBS Kids for the free printable WordWorld activities for early childhood on the homepage. You will find an interactive map of WordWorld with lots of reading activities and word picture fun. There are free online WordWorld games as well as build a word adventures. Fill your word box with WordWorld words that you find on the website.
WordWorld is an excellent website for preschool and early childhood lesson plans. Use these reading activities in early childhood special education, elementary school, day care, homeschool and reading activities for tutoring. Since WordWorld comes from PBS, you know it's a school-approved website that's as safe, fun and educational. For more free safe early childhood online gaming, visit Free Safe Kids Games.