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Showing posts with label homeschool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeschool. Show all posts

DIY nature science detective kit for hands-on science exploration


Looking for back to school activities for kids? Here are nature science lesson plans. Make nature detective kits to explore wildlife science concepts. Use this activity to welcome kids back to school. Kids will love playing nature CSI investigators! Homeschooling parents will love this inexpensive, hands-on science lesson because all ages can participate, from toddler to high school! 

You will need one of each of these items per student:

--large gallon size zipper bag or cheap carry-all bag to store supplies

--plastic magnifying glass (available in bulk at Great Party, Party America or Oriental Trading)

--cheap one-subject notebook

--pocket folder ($.05 -$.15 each from Walmart, Staples, Target)

--plastic disposable gloves (choose latex free; give each student one pair)

--tweezers or cotton swabs (both would be useful, but use cotton swabs to save money)

--3 or 4 specimen bags (snack size Zip-Loc)

--3-4 larger specimen bags (sandwich size Zip-loc)

--sheet of label stickers

--pen and pencil

-- roll of invisible Scotch tape

--several pieces of yarn or string

--box of crayons ($.25 at back-to-school sales)

--measuring tape (Printable-Ruler has a free printable measuring tape )

--free printable animal tracks cards (from Exploration America) Extend these nature science activities for kids into craft projects by having students cut and paste their own flash cards. 

--free printable Animal Signs Guide from US Fisheries and Wildlife www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/Animal%20Signs%20Guide.pdf You can download directly from here as a PDF. Check here for more animal tracking printables

How to Use Nature Detective Kits:

Make kit assembly part of the lesson. Set out supplies in stations and give students gallon zipper bag and supplies list. This provides experience in counting, sorting and organizing. Using stickers, kids label notebook: Investigator (name)____________ or Detective (name)____________. Label bags: Exhibit A, B, C or Evidence. As evidence is collected, data and date should be added. For example: 'beetle exoskeleton 9-3-2021.

Go on nature investigation hunts around your neighborhood, school playground or camp. Assign students different items to investigate, native to your area. Students should not keep living specimens, but they might bring a bug box to temporarily house and examine a living critter. Look for evidence of living creatures: bug carcasses, exoskeletons, fallen leaves, feathers, owl pellets, seed pods, rocks, fallen nest, bits of animal fur, bark samples, plants, flowers and rocks. Use nitryl gloves to collect specimens. Warn kids not to pick up insect nests or other potentially dangerous items. Rather have them sketch items in situ. 

Have students draw living creatures, homes and habitats: spider's web, bird's nest, wasp's nest, rabbit hole, ant hill, scat (animal droppings). Students should record when and where they observed it. Students shouldn't touch but may observe scat(animal droppings) or dead animal remains.

In class, have children discuss and hypothesize on findings at their level of reasoning. Students might create a natural history museum displaying what they have found. Students can act as young docent guides, explaining discoveries to visitors. This makes a superb activity for parent-teacher conferences, which come early in the year before teachers have had time to collect much student work. It's ideal for summer camp, too. 

#printables #naturescience #animaltracking




Animal costume patterns for craft projects, dress up, learning centers


Dress up is a crucial part of learning play in preschool classrooms and Montessori learning centers. If you homeschool, dress up should be part of your practical life, dramatic play and even science learning centers. The more hands-on and interactive the lesson plans, the better children learn. 

My most recent post gave ideas for a children's literature book party. One book party activity is for children to dress up as characters from books. Here are ideas to make simple, no-sew DIY animal costumes, using your recycle bin and some basic household scraps. These are perfect for preschool science learning centers, kids plays, story party activities and children's theater. Get more Montessori bang by having children create costumes themselves. Click here for free printable animal costume patterns. 

For basic animal costumes, you will need. 

* blanket sleeper (zippered pajamas with covered feet). Use an old one or pick one up second hand. Choose sleeper color based on the type of animals it will be used for:

--green: frog, dinosaur, gecko, snake, lizard, dragon, caterpillar, parrot

--yellow or tan: baby chick, tiger, leopard, lion

--red: ladybug, bird, fox

--pink: pig, shrimp, flamingo

--black, brown, white or gray: cat, dog, donkey, horse, cow, squirrel, raccoon, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, penguin, spider, groundhog, woodchuck, chipmunk

--orange, blue or purple: bird, fish, butterfly

* knit hat in matching color

* five old socks in matching colors

* recycled cardboard from cereal boxes or packaging

* glue dots or self-stick Vel-cro

* sharp scissors

* assorted fabric scraps, pom-poms, feathers, faux gems, ribbon, sequins (optional)

Now

* Draw design details with permanent marker on sleeper: lines, circles, stripes, spots wings etc.

* Use glue dots or Vel-cro to add embellishments to sleeper: sequins or faux gems are great for fish scales or birds. Glue faux feathers on for bird wings. Glue ribbon on for stripes. Pom-poms can be fish scales or hair on curly-haired puppies.

* On two socks (or old old knit gloves) draw black lines on toe ends simulate paws or claws. Draw circles on the palm to look like paw pads (socks make great improvised mittens).

* Stuff one sock with recycled rags for a tail. Sew it to the back of the sleep or hot glue it on. You can also glue a large pom pom on the back for a fuzzy tail.

* Make ears using the remaining two socks and the knit hat. Stuff the socks halfway full of scrap fabric. Cut two small holes in the hat for ears. Push open ends of socks through holes and tie knots in ends so socks won't slip through hole.

Montessori says lesson plans should allow children maximum creativity in open-ended, hands-on, interactive activities. Encourage them to make up their own designs for animal costumes. You could make these in collage or art learning centers also. Once children have made costumes they might write their own scripts for plays about their characters. They might also act out preschool children's literature selections based on animals. 

Here are free printable animal masks to complete costumes. Engage the youngest learners making masks, to keep them productively involved and make them feel part of the activity. 

Story party ideas for children's literature based lesson plans: snacks, games, crafts


Psst, homeschool parents, want wow-worthy lesson plans for all ages? How about book-based story parties! A story or book party is suuuper easy to organize and costs next to nothing, compliments of your recycle bin, library bookshelf, snack cupboard, free printables and child ingenuity! Kids can do almost all the planning themselves, thereby getting some extra learning cred! Or you can throw an impromptu book party anytime the spirit moves! Here's how to do a story party (with children's literature crafts, snacks, games and cross-curricular connections)--for ages pre-K to middle school, any occasion--and why you should! 

For the impromptu kind, simply announce a book party. Is the weather wet or too cold or hot? Got a sick kid or three? Or maybe everyone's just a leetle crabby. Perfect story party time! Take an hour or two off and read to kids. Turn off the phone, computer, music and television. 

For the planned kind, like for a children's birthday party, choose a literature-based theme--adventure, mystery, vehicles, nature, animals-- and let each child choose several of their favorite books, if pre-K to first grade, or one for older kids. Or keep it open-ended. Or follow the unit theme for the week. You'll be amazed at how students can draw literature based connections between books. Themes might be nursery rhymes, fairy tales, fantasy (even older kids will love this).

Decorate the house. Put energetic kids to work making storybook based decorations of scenes from kids stories. You can get really crazy and decorate the entire house on your book theme.  My now-grown son did this with his college roommates for a Dr. Seuss themed going-away party. They decorated rooms in different biomes: mountains, desert, rainforest. Click this link for for free printable kids book crafts from DL-TK. 

Make costumes and let kids dress up (it is a party after all!). Just use your dress up bin. No need for anything fancy. The point is for kids to use their imagination and create their own. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on easy, DIY, no sew costumes. Here are links for free printable masks (perfect for the youngest learners!)

Make a pillow pile (crucial step). Pile the couch and floor with pillows and blankets. Invite stuffed animal friends. Kids enjoy getting snuggly, especially if they're not feeling well. My children and now grandchildren LOOOVVEE Omi's pillow pile story parties! They've developed a somewhat gestalt cult following LOL! 

Make book-based crafts. Don't buy anything. Don't even plan ahead. This is where your children's fabulously inventive minds get to cut loose. Task kids with planning craft projects based on the books you read. For printable crafts and craft project ideas, have them Google the name of the book plus crafts (for example "Harry Potter crafts"). Set out the recycle bin, crafts supplies and decorative collage items. 

Act out the story. Have kids write a script based on the book and then create costumes, props and scenery. This could take several days to a week. Provide dress-up clothes, bedding, towels, boxes, camping furniture and craft supplies. Just use what you have. The old blanket over chairs works great! Your recycle bin is a good resource for scenery. 

Make up interactive games to play at the book party. The best book-based game formats are scavenger or treasure hunts (with child-drawn treasure maps), LARP (live-action role play) and choose-your-own adventure. You can also make life-size board games based on books you read. Trouble, Monopoly, Clue or Chutes and Ladders work well as formats. For example, if reading The Hardy Boys, make up a Clue game on the book. 

Make snacks. Ask kids to think up snack and story pairings to. Make foods listed in kids stories, such as Little House in the Big Woods (cornbread) or The Boxcar Children (vegetable soup). Some, like American Girls, have accompanying cookbooks or recipes listed in the back. We once had a vintage Winnie-the-Pooh party with haycorn (pecan) pie, succotash (squash) and honey cake. But again, don't buy anything special. Half the fun is seeing the creative literature connections they come up with. Let them experiment. Oh and you must serve "coffee" (chocolate milk) or "tea" (juice) in fancy teacups like grownups do at their book clubs. Kids love pretending to be adults. 

Keep kids engaged.  Preschoolers and special needs children might illustrate kids stories they hear. Let kids draw and color while they listen. This keeps fidgety ones busy. Also mix up reading with activity. If they're getting bored, do something else. Fit the party to the child, not the child to the party. Don't make is too schoolish. Keep the focus on fun. Children who like writing might write a journal entry about the storybook.

Here are my children's and grandchildren's book recommendations. Harry Potter (thank you, Molly), "The Chronicles of Narnia" (a personal favorite), Arthur from PBS (Emma's fave), "Aesop's Fables" and "Grimm's Fairy Tales" (Jake's suggestion), "Mike Mulligan" (husband's suggestion) "The Hobbit" (Albert's contribution), Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, Bible stories, superhero stories (grandsons Moses and Silas, this one's for you!) Disney princess stories (granddaughter Lola, lookin' at you here), Eric Carle books (Lucian, this one's yours!), Thomas the Tank Engine (for you, Milo) and baby Ezra's Pooh Bear But that's only the beginning! 


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! 

Homemade hats for kids: Earth Day recycled trash crafts with free printable paper hat patterns


Got kids Covid quarantined kids with stuck-at-home-itis? Got rainy-day, can't go out to play bored kids? Or, maybe you're looking for recycled trash crafts for Earth Day on April 22? If so, here's my teacher-mama first aid kit. Homeschool parents and teachers, your recycle bin is your best bud for hands-on eco-friendly, eco-nomical lesson plans. Repurpose and reuse household stuff in nifty, thrifty crafts, games and activities. Today's recycled trash crafts feature homemade hats for kids with hours of preschool dress up fun! Here's a guide plus links to free printable paper hats (this link goes to Enchanted Learning, another bestie for homeschool teacher-mamas and papas!)

The first prototype for these homemade hats was developed by our oldest daughter at 20 months old. We kept her blocks and toys sorted in recycled 5 pound peanut butter pails. One day, Little Miss emptied one, plopped it on her head, tucked handle under chin and voila—an instant helmet. Then she proceeded to saddle up and ride baby brother like her noble steed! After I removed the bucket handle for her safety and her from brother for his, I realized what really cool hats for kids can be made with a little repurpose and reuse ingenuity! 

Weed through your recycle bin for plastic ice cream buckets, butter tubs, coffee canisters you can repurpose and reuse. Size them so they fit child's head without any leftover. You don't want hats to completely envelop the child's face. You can repurpose and reuse milk jugs as awesome knight's helmets. Remove handle and use hole from the handle as a helmet visor. Cut a piece of plastic and attach with brads to make a visor flap.

Let children paint color, cover and decorate homemade hats however they wish. Wrap in aluminum foil for an armored helmet. Or have young inventors make hats, helmets and headpieces for robots, soldiers, aliens, animals, astronauts. Make homemade crowns for kings and queens and princesses (cut both ends out to make cylinder shape and decorate. Make cone-shaped medieval lady hats by rolling a square of paper in a funnel shape. Trim edge even. Staple recycled crepe paper streamers to hat. Cut decorations from recycle bin stuff. Repurpose and reuse old headgear in cute homemade hats for kids costumes. Repurpose and reuse silk flowers, fabric scraps, ribbons, yarn, buttons, appliques, and faux gems as decorations for your recycled crafts. Kids might wear their hats in an Earth Day parade! 

SS42 has lots of free printable paper hats for kids in several styles--baseball hats, hats with monster heads (zombies, vampire, spider web and pumpkin). There are free printable paper animal hats with noses and bills to go with animal costumes and a paper bucket hat to design and color yourself for Hat Day. Here are free printable paper hat patterns like the pointy party paper hats that attaches with a rubber band. 

My grampa was a newspaper printer. He always made newspaper hats for me and my kids (probably where my little hat maker got her inspiration).  In "Curious George Rides a Bike" George shows an easy way to make paper hat patterns or paper boats from newspaper. Here's his free printable paper hat pattern you can incorporate into reading lesson plans or activities for Earth Day. I think I'll make one in Grampa's memory! 


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 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 Bingo Games- Customize for Content Area

Bingo games are one of the oldest and most beloved board games and party games Bingo games can be converted into an endless number of configurations, besides the general number bingo. Teachers use bingo games to teach content. Here are free printable bingo games. Print bingo boards with letters, numbers, pictures, math problems and bingo in various languages. Many of these free printable Bingo games are customizable to your individual needs.
Brownie Locks has cute, customizable free printable Bingo games and bingo cards. The web administrator also gives you tips for customizable bingo cards for wedding showers, baby shower, holiday, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Halloween Thanksgiving, and other party games. She has provided word lists to use in place of numbers. Tip Junkie has a gajillion free printable Bingo games and bingo cards in a spectrum of themes.
Print-Bingo has free printable customizable Bingo cards and words lists. DL-TK offers excellent free printable party games, activities, crafts and party supplies. DL-TK features free printable bingo games with picture images for different themes. There a variety of sizes and images for bingo. You can print letter or number bingo.
Create your free printable bingo games customizable bingo cards and use for holiday party games using matching words. For example, you might make bingo games using these words instead of B-I-N-G-O. BIRTH (for baby shower), BRIDE (for bachelorette party or bridal shower), GROOM (for bridal shower or bachelor party), GREEN (for Christmas, Earth Day), BUNNY (for Easter), BIBLE (for Christian and religious parties), CINCO (for Cinco de Mayo) and HEART (for Valentine's Day). Use customizable bingo cards for lesson plans in school.

Free printable bingo games can be used for childrens' parties also. Here are popular birthday themes: SHREK, PANDA (Kung-Fu Panda), ALICE (Alice in Wonderland), CLOWN, PUPPY, KITTY, HORSE, SNAKE, MAGIC, MUSIC, BOOKS, WORLD, TRAIN, BOATS and others birthday party words. Adults, you can play OSCAR bingo party games with Academy Award night parties. Visit this blog for DIY Party Planner