Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pinata Please!

All this Birthday boy wanted was a pinata!  We've made pinatas in the past, but this year we gave in a bought one!  In case you want to make your own, here are directions:
I had my son make the bags to hold the loot,  We chose Chewbacca to go with the Star Wars theme. It was an easy project and he enjoyed making them for his party.

 I made his cake.  9" round cake and whipped cream icing.  For the Storm Trooper, I printed out a design I found online, taped wax paper on top, melted chocolate chips and put in a small Ziploc bag.  Cut the tip off one corner and squeezed out the chocolate on the design.  Put in freezer until firm and placed on top of cake!

We also did the Lightsaber pool noodles.  They were a "hit" too!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Writing Numbers can be FUN!

My son was turning 4 so we were looking at different ways to show the number 4!  We counted fingers and toes, Goldfish, crackers and rocks at the beach.  He wanted to write the number so I showed him as I said my number rhyme.  He immediately learned the rhyme and was making fours.  (I wasn't focusing on pencil grip, I wanted him to feel successful making the number.)

"Down, over, out the door.  That's the way you make a four!"
There are rhymes for all the numbers that are catchy and easy to learn.
Tips: There are all sorts of surfaces to practice writing letters and numbers.  We love "back writing" with your finger.  Practice writing on mom's back.  Or go outside and write with a paintbrush in a bucket of water.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sweet Potato Experiment

There are lots of experiments online that show the results of growing an organic vs. non-organic potato but we wanted to try it ourselves.  We took two sweet potato from Trader Joes, one "Organic" and one "Non-Organic" and put them in cups suspended in water halfway by toothpicks.  We placed them in a sunny window and added water as needed.  Within ONE week there were sprouts from the Organic potato, nothing on the non-organic.  About 4 weeks into the experiment, we decided to throw the non-organic potato away because it was starting to get slimy on the bottom and still NO GROWTH! 
It was fun to watch the organic sweet potato grow because it was like Jack in the Beanstalk!  It grew so fast and the boys got excited!  After 10 weeks and a windowsill full of sweet potato vines, it was time to do the final measure and plant into the ground.
Hmmm, I see something!

Wow, that's tall!

Check out these roots!!!!

Time to plant!

Unfortunately our experiment ended when we found out that rabbits enjoy the leaves of a sweet potato.  Within a few days, all the leaves were gone!

It was a great opportunity to talk about organic vs. non-organic, pesticides in our food and how it changes the food we eat, the role of water and sun to help things grow, measuring the growth of the vine, shape of leaves and for fun, reading Jack and the Beanstalk and creative writing.

Here is a great video to show your kids:

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Enrichment

Looking for fun, educational activities to keep your little ones learning this summer, contact me for ideas or tutoring.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Pool Noodle Bat
Sidewalk chalk ABC's
Looking for ways to keep the kids busy....  As a parent, it is always a challenge to finds ways to keep the kids active and having fun, while stimulating their brains.  Here is a list of must-haves this Summer and the best part is that the materials can be found at your local Dollar Tree store!  (The following activities can be modified to meet the academic needs or level of your kids. They focus on fine and gross motor skills as well as basic math and phonemic awareness.).

#1 Sidewalk Chalk:  Besides just drawing there are lots of ways to use chalk.  Create an extra large race track to run, hop, or ride bikes.
Try drawing shapes, letters or numbers.  Have kids line up, call out a letter, number, or shape and kids race to find and stand on the correct spot.  Try throwing a beanbag to their target letter or number. Write the ABC’s in random order on the ground and have the kids go on a beginning sound hunt by finding things in the yard that begin with that letter sound.

#2.  Paint Brushes and a Bucket of Water:  Paint shapes, letters, numbers, or sight words on the ground with water and watch them disappear!

#3.  Spray Bottles:  I am not a fan of water guns, and have found that spray bottles work great!  They are easy to refill and hold a lot more water.  Try having target practice with letters or numbers.  Using Post-It notes or chalk, write letters or numbers and place on the garage door or fence.  Call out a letter/number and have the kids spray/hit it.

#4.  Pool Noodles:  They are not just used for the pool anymore.  Cut them in half and turn them into a bat or sword.  It is fun to use them to “ninja” pop the bubbles or hang a ball from a string on a tree branch and hit the ball with the noodle.

#5. Beach Ball:  I turn my beach ball into an “Alpha-Ball”.  Using a permanent pen, write the letters of the alphabet on the ball.  Roll, toss or bounce the ball to a friend.  When you catch the ball, call out the letter where your thumb lands.  You can create different balls using sight words, numbers, addition or multiplication problems,  etc…

I hope this list gives you some new ideas to get your kids active and having fun this Summer!  My 18 month old on up to our 12 year old neighbor enjoy these outdoor activities.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Alphabet Toss

A fun way to review the letters of the alphabet...toss letter bean bags into a bin.  He had to name the letter before tossing.  We counted bean bags that landed inside and outside the container.  Our goal was to keep going until all the bean bags landed inside.