First Day of School

When we made the decision to homeschool I knew this day would come…. the first day of school.  I wasn’t worried about our first day of school (excited about that actually).  No, I worried about how I would feel when my friends posted all their pictures of their children’s first day of school, especially this year when so many, just like ours, are starting kindergarten.  Would I be jealous seeing their children in their brand new outfits wearing oversized backpacks and big smiles?  Of course we aren’t going to make our educational choices based on cute photographs.  Especially when there is such an easy solution… take my own adorable pictures!  And make our own traditions.

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Our Future Graduates

One tradition we started… Taking a picture every year in our high school graduation shirt.  My husband made the 2027 Graduate logo that we ironed on to white T-shirts (we LOVE iron-ons!).  The plan is to take a picture of the girls in their shirts every year and watch as they grow into them.

Graduate TshirtsGrad

Just in case you also have a 2027 Graduate, here is the image we used: 2027 Graduate image for shirt

Or you can download this powerpoint and make changes as necessary: Graduate Tshirt design

School Cones

Another tradition was our “school cones.”  I heard school coneabout this German tradition from a friend and it sounded perfect for our family.  I included new school supplies as well as some special treats.  I had also closed up the school room a few days beforehand to get it ready so the girls were surprised when they entered and saw the room all set up and their school cones on their desks.

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They also had all their new school books sitting on their desks for them to look through and get excited.

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All About Me worksheet

On that first day we also completed our “All About Me” worksheets which we have done in the past and do at least once a year.All About Me Worksheet

Download All About Me worksheet

Self Portraits

And we made these self-portraits from their first day in kindergarten, which just might become another start of the year tradition for us.

kindergarten self portrait

Download First Day of Kindergarten Self Portrait

March–In Like a Lion and Out Like Lamb

For March we did this lion/lamb paperplate P1020319craft to go with the saying “In like a lion, out like a lamb.”  We did the two animal faces on either side of the same plate and then hung them up so they could spin around.  The girls like activities that involve pasting so this was a big hit, although they did start to get a little tired so we took two days to get it all together.  Giving some time for the lion side to dry before starting the lamb face, also helps keep it from getting too wet and heavy.

Supplies: paper plates, construction paper (yellow, orange, brown, black), cotton balls, googly eyes, pom poms, markers, glue

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While it’s hard for the girls to understand an idiom like this, we talked about how a lion and a lamb act and how that is like the weather.  The girls understood this best with the explanation that at the start of March we can’t go swimming but by the end of March the pool is open–you can tell we live in the desert.  🙂

 

Melting

We recently spent a day doing science experiments about melting.  It fit well with our P1010947 snowmen activities we did earlier.  We did activities melting ice, candles, chocolate chips, and crayon bits.  This day was inspired by activities in Science is Simple by Peggy Ashbrook and The Complete Daily Curriculum by Pam Schiller and Pat Phipps.

Of course to kick off our look at melting, we started by lighting small candles planted in bowls of sand to catch the wax.

Colored Blocks of Ice

P1010939The girls loved this and it looked really cool!

Supplies: 1/2 gallon cardboard containers, water, coarse salt, pipettes, liquid watercolor,

  • First freeze blocks of ice.  I used old 1/2 gallon cardboard drink packages such as an orange juice container.  After they were frozen, when it was time, tear off the cardboard sides.
  • Put coarse salt, such as Kosher salt, onto the block of ice.  We just sprinkled it over the top before lunch time and then came back to our blocks of ice after lunch.  This gave the salt time to melt little tunnels into the ice.
  • Drop colored water onto the block of ice.  We used plastic pipettes (an eye dropper would work great too) and liquid watercolor paint.  The color drizzled through the tunnels made by the salt creating really cool designs and showing how the salt had melted down the ice.

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Chocolate Chips–Another solid to melt

To show that things other than ice and candles can melt, we looked at how chocolate melts.  I gave each girl a chocolate chip to hold in their hands.  Of course this works best if you give them an extra chocolate chip to eat.  Then they held their chip tight in their hands while doing jumping jacks, dancing, and marching around the house.  Afterwards we opened our hands to see how the chocolate chip had melted.
Showing off their chocolate chips

Showing off their chocolate chips

Rainbow Crayons

P1010953Finally, we made our own new rainbow crayons to look at one more example of how things melt into a liquid and then harden into a solid.

Supplies: broken crayon bits, muffin tin, cooking spray, oven

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  • Gather up your broken crayon bits and take the wrappers off.
  • Mix up the pieces and put them in a heavily greased muffin tin.
  • Bake at 250 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.
  • Take out and let cool.  Then enjoy coloring!

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Temperature

Since we’re focusing on cold weather and the letter T, it made sense to play around with temperature today, including making our own thermometer.  We reviewed different ways we measuring things and then talked about how temperature was how hot or cold something is.  The girls were quick to talk P1010847about when we’ve taken their temperature so of course we broke out the thermometer and took our temperature.

Next we felt the difference in the temperature with damp washcloths.  One, I had put in the freezer earlier in the morning to be nice and cold.  The other I heated in the microwave for 30 seconds (be sure to test it yourself first).  The girls loved feeling the difference and I loved that at the end of the day after Zoe picked up the previously warm washcloth and said “This had a high temperature but now it is a low temperature.”

Making Your Own Thermometer

This was so easy but it did take a little tinkering because I kept making it harder than it needed to be.  It seemed to work best when I used a smaller water bottle.

Supplies: clear, plastic bottle; water; rubbing alcohol; food coloring; straw; modeling clay;

  1. Fill about a quarter of the bottle with equal parts water and rubbing alcohol.  I found it worked best when I didn’t mix them up much.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring (so that you will be able to see the temperature rise).
  3. Put the straw in the bottle but make sure that it does not touch the bottom of the bottle.
  4. Use the modeling clay to seal the neck of the bottle.  You want it to hold the straw in place and to create an airtight seal.

P1010848In order to see the temperature rise, I heated up another damp washcloth and placed the bottle on top of it.  That warmed it up and caused the mixture to rise up the straw.  According to Mia it was “totally awesome!”

Turkeys, Turkeys Everywhere

We have made a few different turkeys this season.  They were fun and cute and a lot are easy enough that you could even do them on Turkey Day to keep the little ones occupied while you are cooking or the grown ups are visiting.

Coffee Filter Turkeys

I think that these turkeys came out so cute.  It was a different take on the coffee filter flowers using liquid water color.  We also used scented pine cones to spice up the place.

Supplies: coffee filters, liquid water color, pippettes or eye droppers, pine cones, googly eyes (if you want),  construction paper or another item for the head (pom pom, small pine cone, etc.)

Using our sensory table so it didn’t make too big a mess, I gave the girls little cups of the water colors and plastic pippettes to drop the paint onto the coffee filters.  If you haven’t made the flowers before it makes a tie-dye type design once it dries.  You could also just color the filters with markers and then spray them with water to create a similar effect.  We went with the droppers and water color to make what the girls called “a science craft.”

We then crumbled the filters up into flower shapes and glued them onto the base of the pine cone to make the puffy tail feathers.  Older children could do the folding and stuffing themselves and probably wouldn’t even need to glue in the “feathers.” Since I have little ones that like to play with their crafts, I did the stuffing and hot glued in the pieces.

Then we added the head pieces.  I have included the image of the template I used so you could just download that and size it to your needs if you don’t want to draw your own, but really it’s pretty easy to freehand.  You could also do something different for the head such as use a pom pom or a small pine cone piece.  We didn’t have any natural pieces to use and the pom pom balls I had just didn’t look right with the color of our tail so we went for a paper head.  And the girls chose the googly eyes because “everything is better with googly eyes.”

Spray Paint Turkeys

These make great wall hangings to decorate the house for the big day.  And the graffiti style makes this good for a wide variety of ages.  Little ones can work on their hand muscles spraying the paint and older ones can play with the spray functions to create different designs.

Supplies: liquid water color, spray bottles, paper, tape

We used the liquid water color for these turkeys as well.  I drew the turkey feather piece on thick paper (we just use a roll from Michaels) and then cut out multiple copies.  I taped up all the feathers on our wall in the backyard.

Then I gave the girls spray bottles filled with liquid water colors–one bottle per color.  The girls had a great time spraying down the feather pieces.

After they dried we glued on the turkey pieces.  I cut out beaks and waddles ahead of time for the girls to add along with googly eyes.

Fancy Turkeys

I love crafts like these where we just put out a bunch of different supplies and the girls go wild. It really is just a turkey and whatever craft supplies you have on hand.  The girls had the idea to turn these decorations into puppets and added the craft stick handles.

Supplies: Cardstock, glue, markers, sequins, feathers, glitter, tissue paper, 

I used the cricut to cut out the turkeys out of cardstock (Cricut Lite, Celebrate with Flourish) but you could just as trace their hands or use a template online (there are tons of them).  We didn’t do the traditional hand turkeys for this one since the girls’ hands are still so little (there would be very little space to decorate).

 Placemats

Who hasn’t made a woven paper placemat for Thanksgiving?  This went great with our practicing patterns.  In addition to the placemat, we’ve done our pattern file folder game and made bead necklaces.  But really I included this in the post because I think it’s easy to think that projects need to be super creative, complicated, and unique but all those projects you loved as a child are new and fun to your little ones.  So don’t forget about them!  Make a hand turkey.  Weave a placemat.  Have fun!

 

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