Owl Lantern

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


Owls are a symbol of wisdom and knowledge.   They also symbolize a new beginning or fresh start.  This makes the owl the perfect back-to-school mascot.

Owls have tube shaped eyeballs, not round.  They use them like binoculars to focus in on prey.  They can rotate their heads 270 degrees.  (360 degrees is a complete circle.)  Big owls sometimes hunt smaller owls, but mice are their favorite meal.  Barn owls eat up to 1,000 mice per year, swallowing them whole, then spitting out the bones. Owl’s feet have two toes that go forward and two that go to the back.  People think owls are wise.  The Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, was often holding an owl.


Print the owl lantern pattern for each student.  Have them decorate their owl with crayons or markers.  You can set them on a table, hang them from the ceiling, or staple them to a bulletin board to showcase the “WISE OWLS” in your classroom.

READ ABOUT OWLS – Here are some great owl themed books:

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel – This is a Level 2 “I Can Read” book.  The book has 5 fun stories about an owl’s adventures at his house.

Whooo Knew?  The Truth About Owls by Annette Whipple (Grades 1-3)  This book has fun facts and beautiful photos!

Little Owl Rescue by Rachel Delahaye (Grades 1-3) In this magical chapter book, a girl finds and rescues an abandoned owl.

Owl’s Outstanding Donuts by Robin Yardi (Grades 3-6) This chapter book mystery follows the story of Mattie, her aunt’s donut shop, and a mysterious owl that appears at Mattie’s window.

So You Want to Be an Owl by Jane Porter (Grades1-3)  A humorous book about the lessons that owls need to learn to become members of the Owl Team.

Pirate Treasure Chest

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1.    Buccaneers – West Indies Pirates

2.  Corsairs – Mediterranean Pirates

3.  Privateers – Shared loot with the government

The most famous pirate flag was the Jolly Roger.

Pirates wore eye patches to help them adjust to night vision when they went below deck.

There were female pirates, too.

Blackbeard was the most feared pirate.

Pirate ships had a Code of Conduct.  They had “zero tolerance” for rule breakers.


This craft is a great way to end a pirate unit or to begin a pirate party.  Print the pattern on cardstock paper.  Have each child decorate and assemble their treasure chest.  Fill each treasure chest with food:  Chocolate coins, popcorn, vanilla wafers… And fabulous prizes:  Temporary tattoo, eye patch, tiny telescope, skull ring…

You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH –  MONEY:  Place a few plastic coins in each treasure chest.  Give your students a class list.  Have them print the amount of money they counted next to each student’s name.

SOCIAL STUDIES –  The history of pirates.  Mapping:  Make a map of your classroom or playground.  Hide a treasure chest.  Mark the location on the map.  Have groups of children use the map to find the treasure.

ART –  Look at seascape paintings by Monet, Rembrandt, Hokusai, Turner, Van Gogh, or Homer

SCIENCE – INVENTIONS FOR SAILING:  Maps, Telescope, Magnetic Compass,  Astrolabe…

READING – Here are some great pirate themed books:

Molly Rogers, Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke

 The Treasure of Pirate Frank by Mal Peet & Elspeth Graham

Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel

Pirate’s Perfect Pet by Beth Ferry

 How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long

The Pirate Cruncher by Jonny Duddle

 The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle

Tough Boris by Mem Fox

Sailboat Racer

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When our kids were younger, summertime began when my husband hitched our boat to the back of his jeep.  We packed a cooler, beach towels, and innertubes in the boat.  Our entire family and the dog hopped in the jeep and headed out to the lake.  When we got to the lake, we’d launch the boat and cruise around the lake until we spotted a vacant island.  We’d anchor the boat and set up our temporary living quarters on a sandy beach-like area. 

Our dog, a golden retriever, loved to swim out to retrieve the sticks that the kids threw as far into the water as they could.   He also loved to explore the beach to retrieve stuff that previous visitors left behind… empty chip bags, a sandal, or a ballcap.  Once he retrieved a dirty diaper which he dropped at our feet.  My daughter and I screamed.  Our dog wagged his tail.  He was so proud!  Summer had officially begun.     


Print a copy of the boat for each child.  Have them color and assemble their boats. 

*We used a star paper punch to make the stars on the boat. 

Have two kids compete to see whose boat travels the furthest.  Place the boats on a flat surface, like a picnic table.  You can give each student a straw to blow through or just have them use their breath to move the boat across the table.  The winner challenges a new contestant.

You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH –  Distance and Measurement

SOCIAL STUDIES – The history of boats

ART – Creativity and design

SCIENCE – Wind force  – aerodynamics

READING – Here are some great books that feature boats:

CAPTAIN PUG by Laura James & Eglantine Ceulemans

PETE THE CAT & THE TREASURE MAP by James and Kimberly Dean

SPEEDBOAT RACE by Amir Tariq Khan

Piggy Bank

Make this prism shaped piggy bank and save your coins all summer.

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A field trip to the farm is often an end of the school year activity.  I remember going on this trip with both of my children, several times.  One of the most memorable farm trips happened when Jack was in preschool.  Everyone with shoelaces got nibbled on by goats.  An aggressive rooster terrified my son and his friend.  And everyone got to attempt to milk a cow.  The guided tour was amazing, especially the woman who told us about pigs.  They are sweet.  They don’t sweat.  They are smart – the fifth most intelligent animal in the world!    She also told us that pigs have a strong connection to the number 3.   A female pig is usually pregnant for 3 months 3 weeks and 3 days and their babies weigh about 3 pounds.  When I thought about pigs and their connection to the number 3, I decided to make a prism shaped piggy bank.


Print the piggy bank pattern on cardstock paper.    Your students can color the bank to look like a more realistic pig.  Or they can come up with a theme and design their bank to match the theme.

You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH –  Shapes – prisms and triangles

SOCIAL STUDIES – Which countries raise pigs?

ART – Design.  Pattern.  Color.

SCIENCE – Learn about the life of a pig.  Watch the movie, “Babe.”

READING – Here are some great books that feature pigs:


“IF YOU GIVE A PIG A PANCAKE” by Laura Numeroff

“PIG WILL AND PIG WON’T” by Richard Scary

“CHARLOTTE’S WEB” by E. B. White

Butterfly Bowl

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Make this bowl and fill it with your favorite spring snack!

Or make is as a Mother’s Day gift.  You can also make a bracelet to loop around the flower.

The Butterflies are Back!

One of the best things about spring is watching butterflies.   They are so peaceful and quiet.  But they are also bold and colorful, which makes them very visibly loud.  Most butterflies live for less than a month, but as a species, they’ve been around for over 50 million years.  Butterflies eat nectar from flowers, pollen, tree sap, and rotten fruit.  They sip water from leaves and sometimes human sweat.  Their wings are used to protect themselves from predators.  They can, of course, fly away, but many butterflies have designs on their wings that mimic patterns in nature to help them camouflage themselves.


We printed our bowl on cardstock paper, but you don’t have to.   You can look at  actual butterflies to inspire your students to realistically design each butterfly on their bowl.  Or you can let the kids use their imaginations to decorate each butterfly.  This is a craft you can make with any age group.


You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH –  Shapes – The bowl is a pentagon.  The sides are trapezoids.  Symmetry – Butterflies are symmetrical.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Learn about the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly.

ART – Design.  Symmetry.  Pattern.  Color.

SCIENCE – Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.

READING – Here are some great books that feature butterflies:

Michael Berenstain’s “Butterfly Book” presents the names and appearance of several different butterflies. 

“Monarch Butterflies,” by Ann Hobbie is about the flight pattern and life cycle of the monarch butterfly. 

“The Girl Who Drew Butterflies.”  Is the real life story of Maria Merian, a butterfly artist.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle is perfect for younger students.

“How Spider Saved Valentine’s Day,” by Robert Kraus is a very goofy story about two sleepy caterpillars who keep dozing off in the back of the classroom. 

Garden Pot Craft

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It’s Gardening Time!

Everyone knows Norman Bridwell as the author of “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”  But, Bridwell also wrote other imaginative stories that didn’t become quite as famous.  One story that I particularly like is called “A Tiny Family.”  It’s about a miniature-sized family who lives in the garden of a home that belongs to a “giant” family.  The giants are, of course, just normal-sized people.  The tiny family fear them and try to avoid them at all costs.   But, when the giant dog steps on Grandpa’s favorite umbrella, his grandchildren bravely enter the giant house to retrieve it.  The story is super sweet and has a nice message about getting to know someone before you judge them.  It’s also a fun story to read before starting a unit on plants.

April is a great time to introduce your students to the magic of seeds.  It’s especially fun to choose a variety of seed packets, so the kids can see how different the seeds are…from the tiny tomato seeds to the much larger beans.  Also, with a variety of seed choices, the kids will get to see which seeds grow quickly and which take a lot of time.  The best part of this garden pot project is watching your classroom windowsill become an indoor garden.


We decorated our garden pots to look like the plant we were trying to cultivate.  We used permanent markers to color the cup wrapper and tag, so any water spills wouldn’t ruin the designs. It was fun to look at the garden each day to watch the seedlings poke up out of the soil.  The marigold seeds came up in about 4 days.  The tomato seeds took almost two weeks.  And we think our bean seeds are duds because they usually come up pretty quickly, but have yet to emerge from the soil.

You can  apply this project to your curriculum in many different ways:

MATH – Measurement – Compare seed sizes.  Measure the height of your plant weekly.

SOCIAL STUDIES – Where did the plant originate?  Which country is known for growing the plant?

ART – Design.  Observe colors and shapes of various plants and their leaves. 

SCIENCE – Botany, seeds, germination, parts of a plant, photosynthesis…

READING – Read “The Tiny Family” or “Jack and the Beanstalk” or any other book about plants.

Flipping Frogs Game

Flipping Frogs & Tumbling Toads… How many points will your amphibian get?

Click the image to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


The first author whose work I fell in love with was Arnold Lobel.  Everyone knows him for his Frog and Toad books, but that wasn’t the first book I was exposed to.  When I was a kid, we belonged to the Children’s Book of the Month Club.   Every month we’d get a new hardcover storybook.  My brother, sister, and I couldn’t wait to read each story.  We enjoyed every one of them, but the best one, the one I still remember to this day was “Giant John” by Arnold Lobel.  First of all, the illustrations were imaginative and amazing.  The story was about a giant named John who lived with his mother.  When the story begins John and his mom are so hungry and their cupboards are so cobwebby and bare, they are about to eat a shoe.  Then John declares he is going to go out into the world to get a job.  He finds work at a castle where he does odd jobs for the king, queen, princess, and dog.  Everyone loves him and the work he does.  It’s all going really well until his fairy friends from the forest come to visit him.  Their magic music makes John dance.  And when he dances he wrecks everything. He’s a good guy, so he apologizes and rebuilds the kingdom.

When I started teaching, I purchased “Frog and Toad are Friends” for my classroom.  My first graders loved the goofy tales of two unlikely buddies who enjoyed spending their days together doing ridiculous things.  Arnold Lobel’s stories are often about friendships between characters who are different, but very capable of existing in the same space.  I like his positive outlook on humanity.


I posted this craft to my March blog because it has lots of springtime green; the grass, a frog, and a toad.  And even though I live in the Midwest and it won’t be green for awhile, I start thinking about all things green around St. Patrick’s day and dreaming of the day when the green grass is back!

This craft is fun for a rainy (or snowy) day.   Your students can make the game and play it with a friend.  You can also us it as part of your curriculum.

MATH – Add the total points of Frog and Toad. 

ART – Talk about all of the different shades of green.  (Mint, Sea, Kelly, Olive, Pine, Hunter, Emerald, Forest, Teal, Moss, Army, Lime, Chartreuse, Shamrock, Sage…) Also, remind them that yellow & blue make green. 

SCIENCE – Talk about amphibians. 

READING – Read “Frog and Toad are Friends.”

Presidential Bust

Put your favorite president on a pedestal!

Presidents' Day Craft
Click to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


Our democracy is a unique form of government.  We the people get to choose our leaders.  The top leader, head of the executive branch, is the president.  We have chosen 46 presidents since our founding.  The first American president, selected by the people, was George Washington.  He served for two 4 year terms, from 1789-1797.  Then he stepped aside to let Americans choose a new leader.  John Adams was chosen.  This is how democracy works.  We don’t have a king or dictator who reigns over us for a lifetime and passes the power onto his children.  We have a president.  And we get to choose who it is.  When the president’s term is over or the people choose a new leader, the president steps away from the power position and lets the new leader lead.

Presidents’ Day was first celebrated in the 1880s to honor George Washington on his birthday, February 22.  In 1968 it became a federal holiday that would be celebrated on the third Monday in February to honor both Washington and Lincoln.   Today, many people consider it to be a celebration of all presidents who have served our country and graciously walked away when their term ended to allow the new chosen leader to lead.  It’s also a day to sell cars and mattresses.

Presidential Bust Craft

This presidential bust craft features the top 12 presidents selected by historians in 2021.  Your students can choose one of these men for the craft project, or they can draw any of the other presidents to place on top of the information pedestal.  It’s a fun way to remember the citizens who have been chosen to lead our democracy.

TV Viewer

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From 1950 to present, television has made a huge impact in American homes.  Television influenced the way people thought about social issues.  It brought major events into homes.  It entertained and educated.  Advertisers used television to convince Americans that their lives would be better if they bought certain products. 

A television uses sound, light, and electricity.  John Baird is the Scottish inventor who has been credited as the inventor of the first practical television.  On January 26, 1926, he demonstrated the first working television by transmitting images to a viewing screen.  But there were many inventors and inventions that made the television possible.

Wireless Telegraph 1895 – Guglielmo Marconi invented a way to transmit sound for a distance of more than a mile.

TV Picture Tube 1889 – Vladimir Zworykin was a Russian-American inventor known for the iconoscope (a forerunner of the TV camera).

Video Camera Tube – 1927 – Philo Farnsworth – Demonstrates his invention of a working television.

In 1947 there were 44,000 black and white televisions in the USA.  By 1960, 3/4 of American families owned a TV.  In 1970, color TVs outsold black and white TVs.

When television first became popular, there were 3 stations that came into your house through an antenna on the roof.   Early televisions were big and bulky with small viewing screens.  There was an antenna attached to the TV.  Dads were constantly moving the antenna to get a better picture.  Also, when your dad snapped his fingers and pointed to the TV, you had to get up and walk over to the TV to change the channel or adjust the volume.   

Some areas, especially mountainous and remote areas, got weak over-air signal and poor TV reception.  In 1948, John Walson, came up with the idea of cable television to carry the TV signal through a cable wire.  But the cable TV industry wasn’t fully approved until 1979.  Cable brought many TV channels and viewing choices into American homes.


This TV Viewer project works best if page one is printed on heavier paper and pages 2 and 3 are printed on regular 20lb paper.  Students can use the blank page (page 3) to create a documentary about a historical event that happened in the second half of the 20th century (1950-2000).  Below are some suggestions of historical events from this time period.

Neil Armstrong Walks on the Moon, The Korean War, Disneyland Opens, Laika the Russian Dog Goes into Space, Segregation Ruled Illegal in the U.S., Brown v. Board of Education, The Freedom Riders Protest, Jim Crow Laws in the South, First Man on the Moon, Martin Luther King Jr. Gives “I Have a Dream” Speech, Vietnam War, Woodstock Music Festival, First Super Bowl, The Apollo 13 Mission, First Test-Tube Baby is Born, Terracotta Army Discovered in China, Tangshan Earthquake – Biggest Natural Disaster, Skylab Orbits the Earth, Berlin Wall Falls, Chernobyl Disaster, First Sheep Cloned, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Mt. St. Helen’s Erupts, Persian Gulf War, People Fear Y2K Bug, World Trade Center Terrorist Attack

Wright Brothers’ Airplane

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The Wright Brothers

The Wright brothers are known for inventing and flying the first motorized airplane. 

There were 5 children in the Wright family.  Wilbur, the middle child, was born in 1867.  His brother Orville was born 4 years later, in 1871.  Their father was a traveling preacher who often brought small toys home for his children.  One of those toys was a model helicopter.  The boys were fascinated by the mechanics of the helicopter toy.

Wilbur was an excellent student who had planned to go to Yale University.  Unfortunately, he was severely injured while playing hockey.  He became so depressed that he never even finished high school.  The only sibling who attended college was their sister, Katherine.

In 1889, the brothers started their own newspaper.  They also opened a bicycle shop where they built and repaired bikes.  The brothers were interested in aviation.  They observed birds in flight.  Studying birds helped them develop a concept they called “wing-warping.”  They used their wing-warping idea and a moveable rudder to create a successful flying machine.

On December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they made their first flight in their flying machine.  Orville was the first to fly.  His flight lasted 12 seconds.  Wilbur was the pilot of the fourth flight which lasted for 59 seconds and went 852 feet.

Make the Wright Brothers’ Paper Airplane Craft.  Have a contest to see who can fly their plane the furthest.