Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Soap Making - gifts that kids can make

I love making gifts that kids can help with, especially when it is for their teachers! I am not very crafty, so my usual method is to combine a homemade gift (preferably made with the help of kids) along with a gift card. Win win on both sides!!
This one is a special Bath and Body edition of gift making, lol!

I apologize for the pictures. Batman wanted to be in charge of them. It is not quite as easy as I thought it would be to have two energetic boys participating, and taking pictures!

I love melt and pour soaps. They are soo easy to customize!! You cannot really spoil them. And they are easy enough so my 6 year old and 4 year old boys can participate.

How about some Honey Oatmeal Soap, but with a holiday twist?

I used Honey Melt and Pour Base. I added oatmeal I had given a spin in coffee grinder (the smaller they are, the easier to suspend in soap). I added in some bigger pieces in the mold for some extra exfoliation. 
I did not add any color, because the kids loved the natural color from the honey base. It has wonderful smell of Oatmeal Milk and Honey Fragrance Oil to go with the theme, although fragrance is totally optional.
We poured the melted soap in fun molds, spritzed them with alcohol (to finish the soap and break any bubbles on top of the soap), and popped them out in 3-4 hours! The kids put them in white fine muslin bags.

Now on to candy canes. Indulge in them the calorie free and guilt free way....

Warn people beforehand that these are NOT candy. Seriously.

Find the tutorial from uber-talented Soap Queen here: Soap Candy Canes

This was my first and only attempt. I found that I did not have time to fashion the head of the candy cane, they were getting too hard. So I just left the twisted strands straight.

I did not add any glitter. The house smelled UH-MAZING for a few days afterwards.I gave all the teachers in the preschool a small gift, more of token, with these candy canes. That's why mine are small in size...

Moving on to holiday pinwheel soap

Find the instructions, and glorious pictures here.

I made them with whatever colors I had on hand....

Of course, Batman and Spiderman saved some for themselves...

And last but not least, here's a picture of some foot scrubs I made for party favors for the adults at Spiderman's b'day party (hence the name Spidey Scrub).
They are wonderful for your feet, especially in the dry winter time!!

  • 2 oz Dead Sea Salt (fine grained) and 2 oz Epsom salt (for Exfoliating and Removing Dry Skin)
  • 2 ml fragrance oil (I used a Rosemary Peppermint blend of Essential Oil and Fragrance Oil)
  •  2 Tbsp Purple Jojoba beads (for added exfoliation and the nice color)
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Almond Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Aloe Vera Gel and 1 Tbsp Glycerin (to moisturize your feet)
Just mix all the ingredients, and package in a cute container (I used a glass jar with a tight lid). Pretty it up.

Some of my favorite places to shop are 

Follow along at my Pinterest Boards for more ideas, including the ones here.
I share at these wonderful places!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Cutting Strips


Just like the Fall Cutting Strips, the winter ones are also themed for the three months of December (Christmas), January(New Years) and February (Valentine's Day). There are 6 pages for each of the months.

The one for December is free, please get it from here...
Please Note: This is for personal use only. If you are going to use them in a classroom, please get it from my TpT store.

Sneak in some fine motor control, Include them in discussion about seasons or writing prompts, pair them with a winter themed sensory bin, or place them in a cutting tray! 

 With Batman, I used these to talk about what causes change in seasons, and summer time fun in Southern Hemisphere when it is Winter in the Northern Hemisphere.


 Let me now how you used them! Your comments make my day.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nature ABC Walk and Case Files for Nature Detectives

ABC Walk

After reading the book we are going on a Bear Hunt, Spiderman decided - it's a beautiful day outside, and we are going on an ABC Hunt! 
Why not? We love going on walks. Short ones, long ones, on feet, bikes, or scooters. Alphabet hunt sounds even better! Batman was given the task of recording observations. We decided to start with our backyard.
Don't forget your camera or phone, and nature bags to bring home the samples.
  • A - apples, ants, acorns (asphalt - discounted by Batman as it is man made)
A for Apples!

Honeysuckle with Bees
  • B- bug, bee, bark, buds, birds, butterfly
  • C - caterpillar, crow, cloud, cat, car, creek
  • D - dandelion, dog
  • E - earth, eggs (from a bird's nest), eagle
  • F - flower, fern, fly, feather
  • G - grass, green leaves, gravel,
  • H - hummingbird, honeysuckle
  • I -  inchworm, iguana (if we had spotted one)
  • J - jasmine
  • K - kite, katydid (I don't think we spotted one, Batman did say that they are active at night, as he seemed to know something about it, I let it slide!)

L for Lizard

  • L - leaves, lemon, lady bug, lizard
  • O for Orange Leaves
  • M - mud, maple, mulch, moss

  • N - nest
  • O - orange leaves, owl (if we had gone out at night)
  • P - pumpkins (decorations for fall), purple flower, (poop - from dogs, lol!), pine cones, palm trees, parachute seed, plants
    R for Rose
  • R - rose, rabbit
    S for Snail
  • S - stones, stump, seeds, squirrel, sun, snails, spiders, sand
  • T - tree, twigs, trails made by above mentioned snails
  • V - vine
  • W for web
  • W - wind, water, weeds, worms, web
  • Y - yellow flowers

The kids hypothesized that if we had gone for a nature walk near the lake, we would have seen dragonflies, frogs, fishes, turtles, ducks, tadpoles etc. All true!

Spiderman's thought - we should have taken a nature walk in the zoo, mom, then it would be real easy to come up with something for all the letters!

Here is a great extension to the ABC Nature Hunt:Make an ABC Nature book

Nature walks are great opportunities to engage all your senses. Here are some extensions.


Sound Walk

Extend your nature walk to a sound walk.What kinds of sounds do you hear? You can leave it open ended, asking them to record/draw 5 sounds for example.
Or you can have a checklist - 
  1. Do you hear the wind?
  2. Rustling of leaves?
  3. Birds chirping?
  4. Cars swooshing by? 
  5. TV blaring?
  6. Dogs barking?
  7. Cats meowing?
  8. Leaves crunching?
  9. Baby crying?

Sensory Walk 

Feel the bark of the tree. How does it feel. Now feel the petals. Run through grass, wiggle your toes in the sand box, dip your feet in the creek, feel the sun on your back, and the wind in your hair...

Nature Detectives

We had so much fun, and Spiderman and Batman had so many questions to ask and observations to make, we decided to organize things a bit more for our next nature walk.
Presenting ...

Case Files for Nature Detectives
  1. Space to record your ABC Nature Hunt from A to S - write or draw!
  2. Sound Hunt
  3. Two pages for Texture Hunt
  4. Smell Hunt
  5. Color Hunt
  6. Color graph (see if their predictions match up with the graph)
  7. Leaf rubbing page
  8. Sorting - Plants or Animals
  9. Venn Diagram - Living, Non-living, and Once-Living
  10. A page to record the weather.

Download it for free, and have fun detecting and learning.
Please Note: This version is for personal use only. Teachers, please see my TpT Store.
The wonderful clip-art is from My Cute Graphics.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Reminder!! The Fall Fun Giveaway ends soon...

So head on over, and enter.
Thanks to everyone who linked up.

I have added some new products which are both Halloween themed, and will added to the list of printables for the winner of the Fall Fun Giveaway. We have 4 more days left...

Quick peek:

Place Value with Haunted Numbers

 One of Batman's homework this moth - "play a board game". He has been having a blast with the Haunted Numbers - which includes 2 board games! He has been making spooky noises, and insists that he needs to don his Halloween costumes to get into the "spirit" of the game, lol!

Halloween Themed CVC Card Game

This one is more for Spiderman, so the game is called Spider Sort :)
He needs some practice with his medial sounds, so the cards are geared towards that....


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fall Fun Giveaway

There is a giveaway, link-up fun, and a free printable in the post, so read on...
Please link your Fall themed Math activities, post and printables at the bottom, and enter the Fall giveaway.

To celebrate Fall, I have a fun fall giveaway. Just enter below, and win all of my Fall themed printables from TpT!  
Just go to my TpT store, and  under Categories, select Fall/Autumn.
That's 12 Math Centers and Literacy Centers printables, along with Fall Cutting Strips, and all the spooky Halloween themed fun stuff!

Here's a quick summary of some of the products.
    • Trick or Treat with 5 Long I word games! 36 cards can either be sorted according to their word family (witches' hat word family cards), or be used to play card games (with 6 gotcha cards). They focus on these word families: -ice; -ide; -ife; -ike; -ile; -ime; -ine; -ite; -ive; -ight
    • The cross word puzzle, and placing the words in the correct boxes reinforce the same word families as mentioned above. 
    • The last worksheet with missing letters introduces kids to a few more families:-ipe; -ire; -y; -ie
  • Here is a free Fall printable of preschool concepts from my TpT store.
    • The worksheets teach visual discrimination, sequencing, estimation, counting (1 – 10), some fun handwriting practice, and letter recognition! 
    • This is is free for a limited time only. Once the giveaway closes, it will be priced. So get it now :)
    • Some shots from the file:


Now for the giveaway, finally......
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fall in love with Math!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How I motivate and reward my kindergartener’s good behavior at school…

Batman's KG classroom has a color coded behavior chart.

Pink – seriously awesome super duper job!
Blue – above expectations
Green - everyone starts their day here (if they come home with this color, it is all good!)

Red – big no no!

So green is good. Anything above green is better! The problem is keeping him there with consistency, and  motivate him to stay there.
He is the proverbial Curious George. He needs to know everything about everyone! So one of his challenge is not talking "too much". The other is the normal energy level of an active kindergartener, which is not conducive to sitting down for long  any period of time quietly. The third is being ahead of the curve. He finishes his work early, but does not necessarily think it is a fun or complimentary to him if he is given challenge work. His point - why do I have to do it when no one else has to do it? 

Strategies that I  have come up with:
  • Humor - works great with boys - so what happened? Your butt got too fidgety, and would not stay put on the carpet? Tomorrow if it happens again, we will have to come up with a special booty dance, and we get to do it only if you manage to keep it parked in place correctly :)
  • Save your words at school, and you can use it all up on someone in the family when you come home - which pretty much means he gets to talk UN-interrupted for 10 minutes!
  • Little reminder notes in the lunch box and snack packs (write it out the night before)
  • Loss of one privilege if it is yellow, two if it is orange etc. 
  • If he stays on green, he always gets to choose his snack (from a selection) for the next day. 
  • Now to the motivation part. It is his job to stay at green. But if he does better than expected, we have decided to go on a date (on his half day at school, when Spiderman will still be in preschool). He needs 15 points for a date. Blue counts as 1 point, purple as 2, and pink as 3. He can choose to go on a date every 5 days if he gets all pinks :) I might have to make it 20 points as we progress through the school year. 
  • Small treats from a special "treasure box" if he gets pink, purple, or blue in a row 2 or more times.
 Suggestions are very very welcome. What has worked for you, and what does not work from experience from our collective mommy wisdom please :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Indoor Fairy Play Invitation

I made some furniture for the fairy garden outdoors. But the kids decided they wanted a chance to play with them first, inside.

They wanted me to "surprise" them. We went though the house together looking for some of the components together. And  I set it up for them to play with some new things for the surprise element. Unfortunately, I could not resist playing with it myself, so there is no picture of just the components of the play invitation separately :)

This is what my two super-heroes came up with - an enchanted schoolroom in the middle of a magical forest. A moss sheet from Michaels, loose moss, fake flowers help set up the forest. The ceramic houses are candle holders. There's one for Spiderman, one for Batman, and one for me (my felted toadstool house)


The whole place is in a party mood. Batman told me we are having an "open-house" at the schoolroom. (Hmm, wonder where he learned it from). We have plenty of benches and wooden blocks for seating if you don't fancy the grass.

We are having a tea party. For seating, the super-heroes provided the guest with mushroom buttons, upside down flower pot, barrel, butterfly stones, and some low stools made of shiny smooth glass with small pebbles on the bottom. Batman made the stool with me.

If you don't like it picnic style on the ground, there is always the seating area. The chairs are the latest in style -  smooth shiny glass pebbles hot glued on corks, with polished shell for back support. 
(A tiny disclosure for others who are thinking of branching into fairy furniture: I made a few chairs with shells for both the seat and the back. Batman and Spiderman told me those look like "potty chairs". So use them for the fairy bathroom!)

There is a tiny book basket (a shell) with fragrant books made out of orange peel.
The table seen here is smooth polished river stone mounted on cork. Someone left some food on the table. There is a gazing ball near the seating area as well.

There is also a dance floor. The small tiles are glued together to make the dance floor. We have some lanterns for later in the night, and of course, some string light bulbs hanging from the branches.

As you can see, lots going on. Tinker Bell is visiting us, along with Bambi. There is a rose trellis (upside down, I think). We are still cleaning up, and getting everything ready.

Do join us for the party.