Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Grape Sculptures

What do you do when you have a giant box of Costco grapes? You play with your food, duuuhh. It's new years eve and it's freezing outside so we have been super busy inside (in our jammies) all day! The morning started with some math activities and the grape sculptures were a huge hit! You need some toothpicks and some grapes (you can also use marshmallows, but seeing as that they eat their artwork, grapes are a healthier/less sugar high route).

I started out by calling them to the table and left it totally open ended. 

Beansie thought it was a snack...

while Busy started out in a one demential mind frame.

Then he tried to see how many toothpicks he could stick
into one side of a grape.

Busy made an "enclosure" 

Then she put a giraffe in it! 

She also made an airplane

 and a star.

And Beansie made a "comet with a fire tail and a water tail."

This activity was engaging for seriously about 30 minutes! The possibilities are endless and it's great fine motor practice. And clean up is a breeze! You simply eat the grapes and use the toothpicks as swards! ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


This little gem is one of my favorite products of all time! I stumbled across it when I was teaching first grade. It is so great to use not just in winter (although it is pretty amazing in the winter), but all year long. It's called Insta-snow. I got this jar on Amazon. The kind I had years back was called Super Snow from DuneCraft (great website, btw). It's pretty fabulous and lasts for weeks!! 

What you need:
  • Insta-Snow or Super Snow
  • a clear bowl (so the kids can see the reaction when added to water)
  • water
  • spoon
What to do:
  1. The instructions are on the jar and as long as you follow them pretty exactly, you will make snow!
  2. Once you mix the water in with the granules, the reaction is awesome and instant. 
  3. When you have mix and made your snow, you can play to your hearts desire! Our favorite way to play with it is by spreading in out on the red tray. Then we write letters, sight words, shapes and numbers in the snow!! FUN!! 
  4. You can store the snow in an air tight container and keep it in the fridge for weeks. Then every time you want to play, just take it out and go for it. And it's cold just like snow!! Like I said before, FUN!!


And let it snow!!! 

Writing sight words
and letters.

We tried storing some in baggies and putting it in the freezer... 
That was cool, too. They liked using forks and knives to chisel it like ice. 

Today Beansie asked to play with the snow again so we got it out of the fridge and he got to it… :)

This would make a great stocking stuffer or gift!! We seriously play with this all the time!
And for another idea, this post is about how I used it for word families. Have fun!! 

Salt Dough Ornaments

Oh, I cannot quite fully express how much I love the holiday season! I love everything about this time of year!! From Santa and the Elf on the Shelf to the lights and trees to the songs and the smells. And there is nothing quite so magical than Christmas through the eyes of a child :) This year my kids wanted a hand in every aspect of decorating for the season. And we started with the tree. They decided that they wanted every single ornament on the tree to be handmade and I love that idea!! So we started with some good ole' salt dough ornaments and paint...

What you need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • straw for poking hanging holes
  • cookie cutters
  • yarn or ribbon
What to do:

1. Mix together until dough forms then knead for 7 minutes
2. Use cookie cutters to make shapes
3. Poke a hole with a straw so you can hang them.
4. Bake ornaments on an un-greased cookie sheet at 250 degrees for 2 hours
5. Let them cool completely before painting then let the paint dry before hanging them.

Family painting is one of my favorite activities :)

We put ribbon through the holes to hang the ornaments.

They also hung some handmade ornaments they made at school last year (the CD) and this year (the red tree - made with applesauce!)

This year's tree is by far my favorite yet!!! 
Merry Christmas!! 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Delayed Happy Thanksgiving

Wow! Things have been so busy around here lately!! There's Busy's busy schedule (pun intended) and Beans' birthday, family was in town for Thanksgiving and friends came to play. The kids wanted to help decorate for Thanksgiving guests by painting turkeys, so I got out some paint and canvases and let them get to work!

What You Need:

  • Paint
  • Canvas or Paper
  • Paper Plates
  • Paint brushes
What To Do:
  1. Color words are in Busy's sight word stack so I wrote the color words on white paper plates and put paint on each plate. 
  2. They started out by painting the body of the turkey, which they asked me to outline first. 
  3. Then they painted their own hand one color at a time and pressed it one the canvas making the feathers of a turkey. Busy made the observation that real turkeys had various shades of brown feathers and that in fact their turkeys looked liked peacocks. Oh, well. 
  4. They used their fingers to make eyes, beaks and gobblers. 
  5. After the paintings dried, we put them on the entry table so guests saw them when they first walked in the house :) 
They were so proud :) <3