Sailboat Racer

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SUMMERTIME ON THE WATER

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.     



MAKE SAILBOAT RACERS WITH YOUR CREW

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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FUN ON THE FARM

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.

MAKE A PRISM 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:

“THE THREE LITTLE 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

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

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.

BUTTERFLY BOWL

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.


BUTTERFLIES IN THE CLASSROOM

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.

GARDEN POT – WRAPPER AND TAG

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.

Presidential Bust

Put your favorite president on a pedestal!

Presidents' Day Craft
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PRESIDENTS’ DAY

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.

Triangle Tree (Advent Calendar)

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COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

It’s December first—let the countdown begin with this Christmas tree advent calendar. 

Print the tree pattern on cardstock paper.  Have your child or students number the ornaments from 1-24, color the tree, cut it out, and assemble it. 





The children can color an ornament each day.  Or they can place a sticker or craft item on the tree each day.  We used small wooden stars, sequins, and pom-pons on our trees.  Glue them on with a dot of school glue or use a bit of ticky-tack to hold them in place.




HAVE A VERY MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Pilgrim Hat Place Cards

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THANKFUL

November is the obvious time to ask your students to reflect on the things that they are thankful for.  Mostly, you’ll hear similar responses, “My parents, siblings, home, God, food, friends, my pet…”  But every once in a while, you’ll get the more unique response.  When my son was in preschool, the teacher created a “Wall of Thanks” bulletin board.  There were colorful feathers on the board that included a word or two about what each 4 year old was thankful for.  I noticed a few parents looking at the board and giggling.  Their gaze was fixed on one particular purple feather.  I immediately noticed it belonged to my son.  The words on his feather were, “I am thankful for my intestines.”  I have no idea why he chose to be thankful for his digestive system, but that, according to his teacher, was not just the first thing that came to his mind, it was absolutely what he wanted on his feather.

I pull that feather out of my Thanksgiving decorations bin every year.  And every year, I am thankful for laughter and for my creative kid who always has a different answer than everyone else. 

This quick and easy craft  is perfect for a classroom party or for your own Thanksgiving table. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Witch or Wizard Cone



MAGICAL POWERS

From Spiderman to Harry Potter – when you’re a kid, you often dream about the superpower you wish you had and the way in which you’d use it.  When I was in second grade, I wished to have the powers of Samantha Stephens from the TV show Bewitched.  To me, she was the most awesome superhero because she could use her magic to make anything happen.  She could teleport, make objects appear, or move objects.  Her powers were summoned with a twitch of her nose.  My favorite thing she did with her powers was to instantly change outfits or clean a room.  I was a lazy kid and those power seemed very useful! 

Second grade was also the year I was introduced to Norman Bridwell’s book, “The Witch Next Door.”  Most people know of this author because of his Clifford the Big Red Dog series; which is great, too.  But I loved his witch series because it was so magical and the witch was so kind.  When she first moved into the neighborhood, the neighbors were up in arms about their eccentric new neighbor, but as they got to know her, and experience her kindness, they warmed to her uniqueness.  The books were filled with imagination and had a great message about getting to know a person before you judge them. 

To make this craft, it’s best to color the pieces before you cut them out. 

Below is an example of how the wizard and witch look before cutting them out.

We put ticky tack inside their hands so they could hold Styrofoam pumpkins.

Happy Magical Halloween!

Autumn Pencil Box

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STORE YOUR PENCILS IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT

             New pencils have always been my favorite back-to-school item.  There’s something special about sharpening a new pencil and watching the outer layer of paint and wood curl away in a long spiral that eventually reveals a sharp point.  And that sharp point can then be used to convey ideas.  And if you don’t like what you’ve written or if you make a mistake, there’s an eraser on the other end so you can remove the unwanted part.  A pencil is the greatest communication tool ever!

The idea of the pencil was invented over 400 years ago.  In the early 1500s, a huge graphite deposit was discovered in England. Graphite is a mineral.  It is light and soft, but under extreme pressure and temperature it converts into a diamond; the hardest mineral.  The first pencils were blocks of graphite carved into sticks.  They were wrapped in wool.  The tips were sharpened with knives.

Eventually, graphite sticks were placed into wooden sleeves to create the pencil we know and love.  In 1858, erasers were added to the top of pencils.  The most popular school pencil is the #2 pencil, which has fairly soft lead.  A stronger pencil lead can be made by adding clay to the graphite.   

The word pencil comes from a French word that means “small paintbrush.”   

Pencils can write in zero gravity and under water. 

14 billion pencils are produced in factories each year.  About 170,000 pencils can be made from one average size tree.  That means 82,000 trees are cut to make all of these pencils.

This pencil holder craft is made of paper, another product that comes from trees.  You might want to print the pattern on a heavier cardstock paper to make a sturdier pencil holder.

HAPPY BACK-TO-SCHOOL!

3-D Space Ball

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SUMMER SKY

There’s nothing like looking up at the sky on a warm summer night.  It’s so much fun to stare at the stars looking for Orion’s Belt, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper or the Great Bear.  The constellations are nature’s artwork.



You can create a beautiful inside sky with this 3-D space ball craft.  Have each student decorate the pattern.  Then flip the paper over and color a design on the back, too. 


Show your students how to cut a circle using short scissor cuts and turning the paper as they cut.    After they have folded the circle into fourths, remind them to carefully cut each arc without cutting through the opposite folded side.


Punch a hole in each space ball.  Tie thread through each hole and hang them from the ceiling.


Enjoy the final days of summer!