Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Windy Weather Work

Today was busy, and busy was good, because with all the socializing we've been doing this Spring, it was nice to buckle down and get some work done today.  I hope to get more done this week.  Today, we studied the story of Joseph and his colored coat, we reviewed the letter Pp, and we started our study of wind and kites, as well as money, in honor of Money Smart Week. Here are some ideas for you:

One of the books we read to learn more about Joseph and his colored coat was Stories from the Bible: Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, retold by Kathryn Smith.
After our reading, we set out to do our craft ... making Joseph's colored coat by marble painting!  (We had our buddies, Olivia and Liam, over for this craft.)  For the same, we used a coloring page of a robe (we used this one at, a cardboard box, washable paints in different colors, and a marble.  Place your robe picture inside the box, like below.
 Then, like sweet Liam is doing here, drop your marbles into your paint, then into your box, and roll them around in your box to give your robe plenty of colored stripes.
 Here's Olivia, trying the 'close the box and shake' method!  :)
 Mags, working on her colored coat ...
Keep rolling until you are satisfied with the amount of color on your coat.  Remove from the box and let dry.
 Once dry, cut out your robe.
Beforehand, I had made these little heads (with hair) and chests out of construction paper for the robe to fit on.
Have your child draw in Joseph's face.
 Attach your robe to Joseph's body.  All done!  Joseph is now wearing his colored coat!
Later, in our review of the letter Pp, we made a parrot out of lowercase letter p, as instructed at, using a lowercase p cut from red paper, a yellow paper beak, a googly eye, feathers for the tail, and glue.
 Glue all of your pieces onto your p, like below, to make your parrot.  So cute!
For those of you who don't know, this week is Sky Awareness Week, as well as being National Kite Month, so in honor of that, this week, we're also studying wind and kites.  To start it, we did a lot of reading on wind, including Who Likes the Wind? by Etta Kaner, and ...
... I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb.  Both are fun reads and Maggie seemed to enjoy them a lot.
After our reading, we watched the Sid the Science Kid episode 'The Wind Did It' on our Weather Kid Sid DVD before starting some fun wind experiments.  (These are great videos made by the Jim Henson company, originally made for PBS television.)
For our first experiment, we watched wind on water, using an empty plastic tray (I just used one of my scrapbooking drawers), a plastic drinking straw, water, and a small paper boat.  (For great and easy instructions on how to make a paper boat, see
 First, we poured our water into our tray.
 Then, we used our own mouths to blow out air onto the water, watching the ripples and waves form.
 Next, we used a straw to do the same.
 Then, we added our paper boat onto the water and used air to move it around the tray.  (It's a simple and fun lesson to teach how wind works!)
Then, we tried the same with sand in our tray.  (I got this box on clearance at Michael's a while back, however, you may do better by getting some dirt or sand from your own backyard, as this sand was a bit moist, better for modeling.)
 Mags then used air to move the sand, demonstrating how ripples form in the sand, as well as how sand dunes are formed.
 And for yet another experiment to learn more about wind, we used a plastic sandwich baggie, some confetti, glitter, and a straw.  This will demonstrate how air moves depending on the strength of the air.
 First, pour your confetti pieces and a bit of glitter into your bag.
 Then, add your straw to the very side of the bag, and seal closed with the straw poking out the top, like below.
 Add a bit of air to the bag by blowing gently into the straw.  Your bag will expand and your contents will move around slowly.
 Now that her bag has expanded, Maggie starts blowing into the straw harder to see what happens to the contents.
 And blowing into the bag really hard proves that the pieces inside move faster and in circles, the same as with the wind outside.
For lunch, I made her all things P ... pizza, pretzels, and pears with peanut butter on a paper plate, with punch and a purple straw!  (Try saying that three times fast!)
 She had fun finding all the Ps in her lunch!
 Then, for our final wind project, we made a pinwheel, using a square piece of paper, scissors, a straw, a brad, and a pencil.
 First, fold your paper, corner to corner, then unfold.  Fold the other two corners together, then unfold again so that you have an 'X' across your paper, like below.
 Next, make a pencil mark halfway along each fold line, as shown.
 Cut only your pencil marks, then fold each point into the center of your square to make your pinwheel.
 Carefully push your brad through all the points, like below.
 Using your scissors, make a hole through the top of your straw so that the ends of your brads can fit through the back of your pinwheel.  Make sure your holes are wide enough for some movement.  (I had to work to carefully widen the holes so that the setup was not too snug, otherwise your pinwheel will not move with the wind as it's supposed to.)
 All done and ready for some windy weather!
Happy crafting!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

O, it was a whale of a good time!

We have been terribly busy these days and it seems I never get around to blogging, but here are a couple of project ideas (on the letter Oo and the story of Jonah and the whale) that I thought I'd pass along:

We finally finished up our review of the two sounds that letter Oo makes.  First, we read Short "o" and Long "o" Play a Game by Jane Belk Moncure, followed by ...
... Phonics Tales! Short o: Todd's Odd Day by Maria Fleming, and ...
... Phonics Tales! Long o: At Home With Mole and Toad by Maria Fleming.
Then, as we've done with our other vowels, we made a chart, using pictures from magazines with either the short o or long o sound, and separated them on the same.  (I've been laminating these as we complete them so we can bind them into a 'Letter Sounds' book for her to page through.)
Then, we read the story of Jonah and the whale, including this book, Stories from The Bible: Jonah and the Whale retold by Kathryn Smith.
It was then on to our whale craft, an idea I got out of the Oriental Trading Company catalog and just recreated at home to save from ordering a kit (or a dozen as OTC sells them).  For the same, we used a small terra cotta pot, blue paint with a paintbrush, large googly eyes, a tail and two fins cut from blue craft foam, two silver pipe cleaners for water (white or light blue would work well, too), and a permanent black marker.
 For the first step, we painted our pot blue.  (This will be our whale's body.)
 Once dry, we used tacky glue to attach the tail, fins, and eyes to the same, making sure the pot was upside down (see below).  We then drew a smile on our whale's face with our permanent marker.  Finally, we cut both of our pipe cleaners into three equal pieces (making six smaller pieces), and fed them through our whale's "blowhole" (the hole in the bottom of the pot, now facing up), bending them on the underside so that they stayed in place, then curled the ends to look like water spewing from the top.  
 So cute!
Great job, Mags!
Happy crafting!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Frogs have it easy ... they can eat what bugs them!" (Author unknown)

So, as you know from our last few posts, we have been caring for several tadpoles (and a couple of crayfish and snails, but that's a whole other post). Well, if you didn't know, April is Frog Month, so it's no surprise that we will be doing some fun frog projects over the next week or so.  Today, we had our buddies, Olivia and Liam, over to share in a few frog studies.  (They, too, have adopted some tadpoles at home!)

Three books that we read and that I would highly recommend for your frog studies are ...
Would You Rather Be a Pollywog? All About Pond Life by Bonnie Worth ...
... Frog on a Log by Phil Roxbee Cox & Stephen Cartwright ...
... and A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson.  All three are excellent reads!
After some more reading out of our Ladybug magazine ("Something Strange in Grandpa's Woods" by Jane Dauster, March 2012 issue, pages 22-29, about frogs and tadpoles), we made the "Froggy Fly Traps" out of the same (back cover).  (It's basically a paper fortune teller with a frog printed on it.  You could easily recreate the same making a paper fortune teller with green paper, then adding on eyes, nostrils, and a tongue.)
 Open wide!
For our frogs' flies, I made those using the suggestions at, using paperclips, black tissue paper (I used crepe paper leftover from Halloween), and tacky glue.
 First, I opened each paperclip, like below, so that the hoops on either end resembled a fly's wings.
 Then, I used a section of my crepe paper, about 3 inches long, and carefully wrapped it into a tight ball in the center of my bent paperclip, securing it with tacky glue.  The result resembles a pesky fly!
We then read the poem to go with it, by Katie Hesterman:
"Fly Away"
Swarming, buzzing near the lake, 
Foolish fly made one mistake,
Flew too close above the water.
Something pink and sticky caught her,
Snapped her up with one quick pull.
Fly is gone, but frog is full.

For our next craft, we made the paper plate frogs, in this 'Frog Catch Game,' as seen at  For the same, we used green paper plates (bought at Dollar Tree), eyes and nostrils cut from black and white craft foam, a tongue cut from pink craft foam, tacky glue, and a stapler.  First, fold two plates in half so that the insides of the plates (the green sides) are touching. Hold two folded sides of each plate together, like below, forming your frog's upper lip.  Next, using your stapler, staple the two plates together, around the entire edge of your semi-circle.  (Be sure not to staple any further in than the edge, or else there will be no place for you to put your fingers to close your frog's mouth later.)
 Once the plates are properly stapled together, adhere your frog's eyes, nostrils, and tongue using your tacky glue.  Here is Olivia, working on hers.
 Once dry, you can put your thumb under the bottom plate, and your other four fingers in the pocket you formed with your frog's upper lip, like below, to make your frog's mouth open and close (and grab flies!).
'Looks great, Mags!'  :)
For a snack, I made the "Fruity Frogs" as seen at  For each, you will need a green apple, green grapes, cream cheese, and 2 brown M&Ms.  (The recipe calls for chocolate chips, but I didn't have any on hand, though I did have the M&Ms, much cheaper than buying an entire bag of chocolate chips for one snack.  I always try to use what I have to save!)
 First, cut your apple into quarters and remove the core from each quarter.  Then, cut a thin wedge out of each quarter, like below, for your frog's mouth.
 Then, using a melon baller or similar (I used a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon), scoop little balls of your cream cheese out of your container and place on the top of your frog's head.  If you will be serving immediately, go ahead and place your M&Ms into your cream cheese for your frog's eyes, otherwise, wait, because the M&Ms will sweat in the refrigerator and their coloring will run.  (Add the M&Ms right before serving.)
 Waiting for their legs ...
 Finally, cut three grapes in half for your frog's legs.  With four of the halves, use a paring knife to carefully cut out notches for toes.  Place onto your apple like I did, below, and serve.  (For instructions on my lily pad plates, keep scrolling.)  
Who wants a regular old plate for such a cute snack?  For my lily pad plates, I took some of my leftover green paper plates from our craft, and cut lily pads out of them with scissors.  
To make them sturdy enough to hold our frogs, I put them on an upside-down saucer, like below.  It makes a much cuter presentation, if you ask me! 
Here are the three kids, snacking on the M&Ms first, of course!  :)
Happy crafting!