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

Book BAGS: Apple Party with books, activities, games and snacks


 Hello my dear friends in the Omschool-iverse! Teacher Omi (grama) here with more apple activities plans for autumn harvest lesson plans. We talked in my last post about crafts and snacks for an apple party and today we'll extend that with a Book BAGS unit. Book BAGS are my lesson plans that focus around a (B)book with accompanying (A) activities, (G) games, (S) snacks and craft projects. These free printable lesson plans cover cross-curricular activities: math, reading, literature, science and social studies and are geared to Pre-K up to about grade 2. Book BAGS are heavy on hands-on, multisensory activities for all learning styles and special needs. They're multiage for homeschool families, too! And being that I'm teacher Omi, they feature my beloved baby grands Silas, Moses, Lola, Lucian, Ezra, Remus, Milo, Juno, Emmett and Henry in starring roles (Hi, guys!)

Let's begin with kids books about apples. Here are some favorites.

Ten Apples Up on Top by Theo LeSieg (aka Dr. Seuss!) Here's a video of Ten Apples Up on Top for all learners to sing and read along with. This is perfect for the younger toddler and preschool learners to practice counting (Juno, Ezra, Emmett, Remus this one's for you!) Dr. Seuss books provide perfect emergent reading practice also. Also, value added are games for simple physical education by balancing apples on your head! Then off course you can eat the apples or make them into applesauce. 

The True Tale of Johnny Appleseed by Margaret Hodges. There are many wonderful kids books about explorer and environmentalist John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) but this one is my favorite. There's a Disney version of Johnny Appleseed legend from 1948 that children will love today. The wonderful thing about this story is that unlike other Americana legends or tall tales like Paul Bunyan or Pecos Bill, this one is essentially all true. Read John Chapman's wikipedia page for details on his life. This book/movie combo is perfect for teaching apple science. 

Use free printable apple lesson plans from Enchanted Learning. This website feature dozens of free printable apple themed activities from craft projects, reading, creative writing, penmanship, science, drawing, phonics, math and more. 

Oh and speaking of applesauce, young learners will love Tigger and the Apple Tree from the Mickey's Young Reader books. The ever-bombastic Tigger assists Rabbit's applesauce-making in his own avant-garde style! Follow up reading by bobbing for apples in a tub of water (older kids) or using fish nets to "fish" for apples (younger learners). Then make your own applesauce with honey (Pooh Bear's recipe). You can peel and core apples or, if you have a applesauce mill, use that (much tastier and prettier). Simply add a dab of honey when done. 

Plant parts booklet. Kids love making their own books and apple science is a perfect subject. You can make kids books simple. Staple a few sheets of paper together (recycled from recycle bin) .Or get fancier and bind books and make a cover. Draw progress of apple from seed, sprout, stem (trunk), leaves, blossoms, fruit and finally back around to seed. Students can make it like a flip book if they choose also. 

Visit and apple orchare and host and apple tasting party. Assemble various types apples and have students sample, rate and categorize. They might arrange by color, sweetness and texture. Make a map of where different apples are grown regionally. Here are some apple varieties to try:

Granny Smith

Northern Spy

Macintosh

Ida Red

Paula Red

Jonathon

Red Delicious

Yellow Delicious

Pink Lady

Cosmic Crisp

Fuji

Gala

Honeycrisp

Sweetango

Winesap (harder to fin)

Host and an Apple Hunt (like an Easter egg hunt). Then make apple prints. Cut apples widthwise and find the star hidden in the apple. Saturate paper towel with food coloring to make stamp pad. Or use lightweight paint  to make apple print T-shirts. 

Teach Bible lesson plans on apples. Of course there's the Adam and Eve story, but I like to focus  Christian lesson plans on the more positive Bible verses such David being the "apple of God's eye" meaning beloved. We are all beloved, as children of God, by extension. 

Teach Jewish Rosh Hashanah lesson plans with apples and honey. Chabad.org offers wonderful lesson plans and activities for kids to explore this Holy Day tradition. 


Free Printable Apple themed Fall Harvest Lesson Plans: Apple Party



Hello to all of Teacher Omi's  ( Grama's ) Omschool friends! I'm Omi to 10 going on 11 wonderful grandkids and as a former teacher and homeschool mom, I'm all about educating kids! The Omschool is 2nd gen homeschool with the grandchildren and I'd love for you to join us! Today we're thinking about one of Omi's favorite foods: apples! Let's explore some free printable apple themed activities for fall harvest lesson plans. 

We live in Michigan and in autumn, Michigan is pretty much apple central! So why not celebrate this fall harvest goodness by throwing an apple party with a potluck of apple foods, apple themed crafts and games and apple lesson plans! First the free printable apple lesson plans.

California Apples.org has a harvest basket full of apple themed lessons, games, crafts, cross-curricular lesson plans, coloring pages, apple recipes, etc. Michigan Apples has a free printable apple resource kit for homeschool parents and teachers. 

For your fall harvest apple potluck, you could make anything from apple soup to apple dumplings, to pork roast with apples (my Omi's special recipe) to Our youngest Emma's famous 9-egg apple peanut butter cake (made when she was four and complete with peelings and seeds!) Last year, I gave each member of the family a bag of apples when they went on sale preference is McIntosh). This includes children. Each was tasked with looking up or inventing an apple themed recipe. This year, we're looking for even more creative goodies. 

I've got to dash to work but I'll post more later in part two of these apple themed lesson plans (plus great-Omi's apple pork roast recipe!)

St. Patrick's Day party lesson plans, crafts, activities to celebrate green

Here's a nifty unit of activities for St. Patrick's Day: lesson plans to celebrate all things green! I've tailored these lesson plans for classroom or homeschool, and ages toddler and preschool through grade 3. I've included St. Patrick's Day party activities, green themed food and snacks, games, crafts and printables. There are many earth science extensions for Earth Day too. 

Green themed snacks and food for St. Patrick's Day party: 

Make a green fruit and vegetable tasting tray. For hands-on biology science activities, explore plant parts of green veggies and fruits. Make a chart to show what plant part each comes from. Draw a large tree showing roots below the ground. The use these free printable coloring pages for fruits and vegetables to color, cut and paste pictures on the tree. 

Roots: sprouts, scallions (tops), fennel bulb
Stalk (trunk) celery, green onions, dill weed, asparagus
Leaves: lettuce, brussels sprouts
ts, kale, spring mix, arugula, spinach, cilantro, mint, watercress, 
Seeds: green beans, peas, edamame, 
Flower: Broccoli, broccoflower: flower 
Fruit: cucumber, kiwi, green grapes, green beans, zucchini, chayote squash (also called mirliton in southern states), green apples, pears, acorn squash

Students will enjoy making green lime yogurt pops by freezing yogurt in popsicle makers. Or freeze limeade or pistachio pudding. 

St. Patrick's party games: 

Play Red light/Green Light (basically stop and go). Extend with safety lesson plans. Discuss that green represents "safe" or "go" in online, cyber and traffic safety. Make traffic safety road signs to test children. Use these free printable traffic signals and road sign coloring pages. 

St. Patrick's Day green themed crafts

Discuss earth friendly ways to keep the earth green. Encourage kids to think reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose. Challenge them to make "green machines" that are both eco-friendly and green in color, from the recycle bin. 

Toddlers and preschool students will like to color these free printable spring coloring pages. Here are free printable flower coloring pages too. Be sure to print on scrap paper from the recycle bin. Use low ink settings for the most eco-friendly printing. Assemble into a poster to display. 

Have children make collages from recycled magazines of pictures of things that are green. For really earth friendly green crafts, use materials from the recycle bin. Toddler and preschool children will love finding green items in magazines. 

Plant herb seeds in recycled jar or plastic dish (holes poked in the bottom for drainage) from recycle bin. 

Earth Day green outdoor activities

Go on a nature hunt and look for spring signs of new life: nests, buds on trees, green plant shoots, flowers beginning to sprout, grass growing, baby leaves on trees. Pay special attention to things that are green. Kids should bring a nature journal where they can draw pictures of what they observe. 

Collect litter and trash for proper disposal. Be sure kids wear nitryl gloves and masks when collecting litter. Adults should collect any glass. 


Lesson plans using recycled plastic Easter eggs and egg cartons


  I love repurposing and reusing stuff from my recycle bin in new and creative ways, especially as lesson plans. Recently, my one-year-old grandson has been discovering the fun playing with empty recycled plastic Easter eggs. This has inspired me to design hands-on activities, lesson plans and games using recycled plastic Easter eggs and egg cartons. I've includes some free printable activities to supplement. 

With Easter coming up, there will be many activities involving plastic Easter eggs: candy hunts, Easter crafts, etc. You might be tempted to throw them away, after use, but don't. There are so many educational activities to use recycled plastic Easter eggs. Save Styrofoam egg cartons as well. 

I blogged in an earlier post about using plastic eggs and egg cartons from the recycle bin as preschool learning center math, sorting and fine motor activities. The good news for homeschoolers is that these make great toddler high chair activities too. Activities are easily adjustable to age. My grandkids Juno and Emmett who are 1, love stacking or "nesting" plastic egg halves, just like blocks. We work on placing eggs in egg cartons, to practice eye hand coordination, puzzle skills and fine motor. 

Challenge kids fine motor skills in egg assembly activities. The plain colored recycled plastic eggs are easier than the shaped ones like the ice cream ones shown in the picture which can be a little tricky. But it's important for development that some tasks be difficult, especially for special needs and students with autism. We teach to fear failure and frustration when we make things too easy, or do it for them. Children need challenges, to have to work at something and to try new approaches, to learn patience, perseverance and vital problem solving skills. 

Use assembled Easter eggs in science learning centers and preschool sand and water table to explore water displacement and floatation concepts. Give toddlers scooping tools to practice fine and gross motor skills in high chair activities. Special needs students will love "fishing" for Easter eggs too! 

Have kids "hide" little items or non-messy foods in recycled plastic Easter eggs. Or hide them yourself and have students predict what's inside. This teaches math skills of size estimation. 

Sort eggs in egg cartons, by color or design. Last year, when my husband and I visited our grandkids, we brought each child a set of individualized themed Easter eggs (dinosaurs, fish, desserts, sports balls and insects). Then we played an Easter egg hunt game in which each child had to find eggs in his pattern. The 3-year-olds, Lucian and Milo, were able to identify eggs that belonged in their pattern. And Ezra, who was almost two, was able to find his fishy Easter eggs by their color. Extend pattern lesson plans with free printable animal dominoes

Do an Easter egg hunt, using recycled egg cartons to place found eggs. Each child brings a dozen and finds a dozen. Once her 12 spaces are filled she "wins." A homeschool mom friend of my oldest daughter came up with genius plan. It prevents kids taking too many eggs and best of all teaches math skills. Have older kids group their eggs by two, three, four and six, to learn skip counting, multiplying and dividing. Reinforce with these free printable math flash cards

For more hands-on lesson plans and recycle bin activities stay tuned to this blog. 


Valentine Heart Party with science and health lesson plans, activities and printables

 


Are you looking for some fresh Valentine's Day party activities, beyond the usual valentine exchange, candy blast and heart crafts? How about swinging your holiday party health themed with these fun, active, not-boring heart health lesson plans and activities?

Parts of the body lesson plans: see my earlier blog post for tons of free printable health lesson plans including human body coloring pages circulatory system printables. Use these to create a parts of the body paper bag vest or T-shirt. Younger students color cut and paste parts of the body and assemble them on a paper bag vest. Older students draw, color and label body parts on a long-sleeved T-shirt. 

Heart healthy snacks: Instead of the standard Valentine's Day fare of candy, cookies and cupcakes, why not make heart smart goodies in class? Make a shared fruit and veggie rainbow. Set up stations for students to prep food and design in a big beautiful rainbow! The rainbow diet is one of the heart healthiest there is.  Mix and match with any of these rainbow fruits and vegetables. Extend health lesson plans to include physics science activities on light, spectrum and rainbow.

RED:  strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, dragonfruit, red leaf or romaine lettuce, watermelon, radishes, grapes, pepper, tomatoes

ORANGE: peppers, carrots, oranges, mango, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, squash, sweet potato, pumpkin

YELLOW: peppers, lemon, pineapple, summer squash, wax beans

GREEN: grapes, kiwi, broccoli, beans, spinach, lettuce, spring mix, kale, peas, honeydew melon, avocado, cucumber, scallions, peppers, endive

BLUE: blueberries, blue grapes, potatoes (look in tri-color blend), peppers

INDIGO: prune plums, prunes, figs, eggplant, blackberries, currants

PURPLE: cabbage, broccoli, grapes, purple carrots, purple asparagus

Heart healthy games: Engage kids in relay races, aerobics, jump rope, jumping jacks, yoga, obstacle courses, fitness stations, trampoline, stretching, windmills, "bicycles" throwing and catching and climbing. Try to avoid competition and encourage personal achievement. You can do a range of movement activities that require no equipment.

Dance party: what better way to round our your Valentine's Day heart party than with dancing? Play fun, upbeat music and let kids work off desk-time pent up energy! Songs kids love include "Hamster Dance" "Baby Shark" "Gummy Bears" "Hand Jive" and "I can make your hands clap." 

Happy heart day! 




Free printable Year of the Rabbit CNY activities with a Chinese New Year kids book list

 


Chinese New Year begins January 22, 2023 and this year,  it's the Year of the Rabbit. Here are Chinese New Year books for kids about China, Chinese culture and bunnies! Included are free printable bunny crafts for Year of the Rabbit.

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (Ling and Eric Lee)

Buddha Stories (Demi): Buddhist and oriental fables are generally allegorical. Demi's stories are translations of Buddhist wisdom. Children can learn important truths from the follies of the animals in these stories. Buddhism is the largest religion in China. 

Zen Shorts and Zen Ties (Jon Muth): Gentleness is the key construct in Buddhism. Stillwater the Panda and his Haiku speaking nephew Koo, teach three children of the wisdom of the orient is these endearing tales.

Three Samurai Cats (Eric A. Kimmel and Mordicai Gerstein) Three brave warrior cats learn the art of humility and patience from an aged Samurai cat.

The Story about Ping (Margorie Flack, Kurt Weise, 1933) Ping is an adorable, nosy little yellow duck who lives with his family of ducks and people aboard a Chinese junque on the Yangtze River. Children will delight in Ping's mischief and subsequent close call with the soup pot. Kurt Weise's delicate pictures evoke the exotic and the quaint in life on the Yellow River.

Tikki Tikki Tembo (Arlene Mosel, Blair Lent) The curious naming of children in Chinese culture almost causes grief in the village when little Tikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo falls into the well. Almost as much fun to read as it is to hear, this is a must read for young children.

The Five Chinese Brothers (Claire Huchet Bishop, Kurt Wiese) There is a famous legend retold in many cultures about five brothers who all look alike, but each have a unique power. The fidelity of the brothers is called upon to rescue one brother from death by the combined efforts of their special talents. This is the Chinese version of the tale.

The Funny Little Woman (Arlene Mosel, Blair Lent) This is a kind of Chinese Little Gingerbread Man story with much silliness, chasing and three wicked Oni to outwit. It won the Caldecott Medal for children's literature illustrations. This story will enchant young children.

Here are free printable activities from kids books about rabbits and bunnies featuring favorites like the Easter bunny, Disney's HOP, Peter Rabbit, the Velveteen Rabbit and Peter Cottontail. There are lots of free printable vintage rabbits images too. 

Easter is probably the most quintessentially preschool holiday of all. Baskets, candy, egg decorating, bunnies, baby animals, spring--for young and young at heart, here are free printable Easter bunny crafts. I've included printable activities based on my two favorite bunnies Peter Rabbit and the Velveteen Rabbit, too. Parents and teachers, you'll want these for preschool classroom fun. 

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

Vintage Easter Bunny crafts Now that you are properly attired, let's make some Easter baskets and greeting cards. The Toymaker has free printable egg baskets, bunny cards and an egg roll game (like they play on the White House). Why not make cards and baskets and fill with Easter eggs or candy and deliver to a lonely senior neighbor (wearing your mask, of course). The Easter bunny loves his older friends, too! 

3D Paper Bunny Crafts The calendar may say spring, but Easter is often cold and damp. Settle down to an afternoon of serious rainy day crafting with free printable 3D bunny-themed paper toys from Craft Jr. I'm partial to the old-fashioned diorama. 

Paper Bunny Toy Mania DL-TK, those wonderfully crafty folk, have an Easter blowout of 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 young and special needs children who need no-fail activities. 

Peter Rabbit fun Peter Rabbit has his own page, along with other Beatrix Potter friends. 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. I like the felt board games and printable felt board patterns. First School has an educational Peter Rabbit unit with learning games, literature activities, writing prompts and stories. 

Happity, Hippity, Hoppity Easter! 

Chinese New Year Party planner with crafts, books, activities and learning centers


 The Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese New Year lunar calendar begins on January 22, 2023. Ring in the Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, with a party planner for your classroom, home-school group, scout troop or 4-H club. This Spring Festival party planner is perfect for any children's venue that celebrates cultural diversity. In the long dark days of January, a cultural celebration can spark much-needed light and joy. 

The Lunar New Year party planner includes the elements of a good lesson plan as well as a good party. Use learning centers for party planner activities. Divide students into groups and rotate among learning centers, giving equal time for each group at each center. Do the math for how many students per group and how long to give each group based upon the logistics of your situation. If you do the Spring Festival party planner as a whole group, do these activities in order. It is important with any children's group activity to vary the routine. Intersperse quiet and active, listening and doing activities. 

Chinese New Year touch table. Set out hands-on materials children can explore independently. This is a good activity for young, easily-bored or special needs students or to use as a filler between activities. Leave touch table up throughout the event. Lunar New Year touch table items include artifacts from China, Chinese Zodiac placemats, jade figures, pieces of ivory, porcelain, bamboo, tea sets, chopsticks, photos, garments, silk, fans, toy animals from China, stuffed animals from the zodiac (monkey, rat, pig, goat, tiger, dragon, dog, horse, rooster, snake, ox and rabbit). 

Spring Festival smell and taste table. Set out taste test samples of Chinese New Year foods. bok choy, tea, almond cookies, coconut macaroons, fried dumplings (potstickers), monkey bread (for Year of the Monkey), bunny food (carrots, lettuce and salad), egg foo yung, sushi, cellophane noodles, ramen noodles, cherries, fish, egg rolls, rice crackers, fortune cookies and candy gold coins (good fortune is the theme!) Check the international section of your local grocery store. Provide herbs in their raw state for kids to smell: ginger root, lemongrass, wasabi, saffron, turmeric, garlic. 

Chinese New Year sound table. Play recordings of oriental music in the background. Show Youtube videos of different dance, theater, art and music performances. Make simple Chinese style musical . Make drums from oatmeal containers and shakers from pill bottles and dried popcorn. Show children how to make a guitar from a Kleenex box with rubber bands stretched over the opening. Provide materials to decorate. 

Lunar New Year stories. This is the time for a quiet activity--children of all ages, even teenagers, enjoy story-telling. Dress in costume, add a few props and use different voices for different characters, you will have a spell-bound audience. If you are not comfortable reading aloud, use a story CD. Share the Chinese Zodiac story, to explain why the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and boar are so important. Provide animal masks, puppets or costumes so kid can act out story as a skit. Distribute musical instruments for children to play when each animal is mentioned. Or use a series of masks or puppets as you read the story. 

See this blog post for kids books, printables, crafts and activities on Chinese New Year. 

Chinese New year arts and crafts. The Spring Festival includes a Lantern Festival. Make a simple lantern by folding an 8 x 11 sheet of brightly colored construction paper in half lengthwise. Cut nine slits through the fold beginning one inch from each edge. The slits should be about 2-3 inches long. Open the paper. Bring the edges together widthwise and staple. The fold will open outward and the slits will form openings in the lantern. Decorate by stapling colored curled ribbon to the bottom. Here are free printable Chinese New Year crafts for children. 

Lunar New Year games: Form a dragon by making a line of children. Place hands on shoulders and follow the leader. Do whatever she does. Take turns being the leader. For older children, blindfold them. It will be anew experience to follow just felling what the person ahead is doing. Play hop monkey like leap frog. Or play Good Monkey, Naughty Monkey (like red light, green light). Sing Little Bunny Foo Foo and do the bunny hop. 

End the spring festival party with Chinese fireworks!

A-Z Healthy Snacks for Kids with free printable Food themed lesson plans


Looking for food themed lesson plans for children? Here is a list of A-Z healthy snacks for kids that children as young as toddlers can help make. Turn these into Book BAGS (Book based activities, games and snacks) my term for story party planners. 

Books to read include:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) Here's a link to my post on Very Hungry Caterpillar printables.

Eating the Alphabet (Lois Ehlert) click here for free printable book and activities

Complete Children's Cookbook (Jill Bloomfield) Click this link for a free printable book PDF.  

Activities:

Prepare A-Z snacks with children.

Have students create pictograph recipes of their snacks and then alphabetize the recipe cards. 

Games:

Sort foods by color and food group.

Snacks 

A--apples with almond butter, almond milk (doesn't spoil as quickly as cow's milk), dried apricots, Mott's for Tots low sugar apple juice, avocado sandwiches (sliced on whole grain bread with light cream cheese)

B--bananas, berries, bread sticks, broccoli florets and Maple Grove Farms sugarfree raspberry vinaigrette. 

C--baby carrots and cauliflower florets, cheese and crackers

D--homemade ranch dip (Parmesan cheese, sugarfree almond milk, black pepper, garlic) and sliced vegetables

E--hard-boiled eggs

F--dried fruit, cut fruit, figs 

G--granola, GORP (good old raisins and peanuts), grapes

H--hummus and homemade pita chips (pita bread toasted and cut in triangles)

I--Individual fruit or pudding cups 

J--juice boxes

K--Kashi or other dry breakfast cereal trail mix. Blend similar flavors of finger-friendly cereal--Chex, Cheerios, Life

L--licorice (low sugar), lemonade

M--soy milk (non-refrigerated kind has longer shelf life), muffins (made your regular recipe using flaxseed and applesauce in place of oil and eggs)

N--nut and seed medley. Mix hulled almonds, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, filberts, macadamia, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds

O--olives (drained), South Beach Diet, Kellogg's, Luna, Bare Naked oatmeal protein bars

P--pretzels, popcorn, cold pizza, pumpkin cookies (substitute applesauce and pumpkin for eggs and oil)

Q--quick oat no-bake cookies. Melt peanut butter, chocolate chips and add quick cook oats. Drop in spoonfuls. Roll in powdered milk (or Quick drink). Allow to harden. 

R--Roll-ups. Spread tortilla with cream cheese. Layer Hormel Natural lunchmeat, leaf lettuce, tomato. Place cheese stick in center. Roll, slice in pinwheels. 

S--Sandwich squares. Make sandwiches (easy on condiments for less mess). Cut in quarters. Make PBJ, tuna, egg salad. 

 

T--homemade tortilla chips (toast tortilla till crispy) and salsa

U--upside-down, inside-out cookies. Crush graham crackers, add raisins, blend with peanut butter and vanilla. Form into balls. Roll in powdered milk. 

V--cut veggies and dip, vegetable chips

W--water, watermelon chunks

X--extra napkins (I'll bet you wondered what I'd find for "X"!)

Y--individual Greek yogurt, yogurt covered pretzels

Z--zucchini spears and cheese dip (shredded cheese, cream cheese, celery seed, dill, yogurt blended till smooth)

Book BAGS: Moon and stars night sky lesson plans for summer story party planner


Book BAGS is a unit lesson plans "meme" I've developed which stands for stands for Book based activities, games and snacks...in short, it's my preschool story party planner with a fancshy new name. Today's Book BAGS theme is moon and stars and night sky. And I can't think of a better book series to use than Frank Asch "Moon Bear." 

Happy Birthday, Moon

Moonbear's Skyfire

Moongame

MoonDance

Mooncake

And other moon-themed stories. Here's the Moonbear list from Thriftbooks. In these stories, Moonbear has lovely adventures with the moon who he thinks of as his best friend. The moon is just doing what moons do (cast shadows, go behind clouds, etc). But Moonbear believes that they're happening just for him. And who knows? Maybe they are. I would like to have the moon as a friend, wouldn't you? 

At any rate, these are perfect summer story party materials. So here's the Book BAGS party planner for Moonbear. These were written especially for my son Jakob who first introduced us to Moonbear (before he was Moonbear in his earlier book "Milk and Cookies." Jakob used, as a tot, to "find the moon" every night with Daddy. They are also for our adult children and grandchildren who keep the ritual alive and who have found that we all see the moon, whether in Louisiana, Michigan, Texas or Cleveland! 

First, select one of the Moonbear books. You could do a different one each night for a fortnight of moon themed lesson plans. If possible, wait till near dark and read the story aloud. Then, activity one, find the moon. Older children can enjoy learning the moon phases while preschool will love pretending on new moon nights, that he's playing hide-n-seek (see Moongame). 

Other craft activities might include drawing the moon on black construction paper with neon or glow-in-the-dark crayons or markers. Provide some fluffy cotton ball clouds for moon to hide behind. Add metallic star stickers. Don't forget to draw yourself and/or Moonbear, outside playing. Older kids might make a moon phases flip book. Use free printable moon coloring pages (Best Coloring Pages for Kids) or these free printable moon activities from Coloring Home. You can get free printable moon lesson plans from NASA, too. 

Have a campout under the stars. Or leave the curtains open so moon can shine in.  Hide the moon (large yellow ball) and find it. Sing "I see the moon and the moon sees me." (Youtube has many song options. Read Moondance and make up your own dances! 

Science activities include discussing the various concepts introduced in the books: light and shadow, moon phases, hibernation, clouds and rain, precipitation. 

For the snack part of the Book BAGS story party, cut circles of white or yellow cheese. Make them into various moon phases waxing/waning crescent or waxing/waning gibbous. Serve with moon crackers (Ritz). Make moon popcorn balls (popcorn and melted marshmallows, like Rice Krispie treats). Lemonade is moon juice. Make Mooncake (snow cones). 

Stay tuned for more Book BAGS! (Picture is me playing Hide and Seek with you!) 







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 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!