Word Wall Ball

Last week  I put on a Word Wall Ball for our military homeschool group and it was… word wall ball titleAWESOME!  Okay, I know that is totally braggy but I’m just really happy with how well it went and how much fun we all had.

So what is a Word Wall Ball you ask?  Well, my sister gave me the idea from something she observed in a kindergarten class.  The idea was that kids would have their list of sight words on their word wall when they have learned all of them they earn a ticket to the Word Wall Ball.  Really we just celebrated everyone’s accomplishments in reading, whether it was learning sight words or starting to read for the first time or finishing a grade level.

DSCN1720We held it at the community center on base and everyone brought a potluck dish to share for lunch.  I said for the kids to dress fancy for them–whatever would make them feel special–and boy did they dress up.  I had helium filled balloons floating around with strings long enough for the kiddos to catch them and then other balloons on the ground for kids to bounce around (if you know me IRL you know what a big deal this was for me because I HATE balloons).  When they entered I had royal music playing (alright, it was just the march from Sleeping Beauty) and as soon as the kids came in and saw the balloons and everything they started screaming and bouncing around and dancing.

In addition to the balloons and dancing, we also did a cake walk.  If you haven’t done a cake walk, you are seriously missing out.  Think happy musical chairs with cupcake prizes.  We had sight words cards for our spaces.  When the music plays the kids walk around the circle.  When the music stops, we call out a word and the child standing on that space gets a cupcake and leaves the circle.  Add in a DSCN1686new kiddo and begin again.  We just played until everyone got a cupcake. (Okay in a real cake walk it would be cakes and then you would start with a whole new group, but I really like it this way.)

Download the Sight Word Cake Walk

 

I also had out scratch out for the kids to do.  Such an easy craft–just set out the supplies–but such a big hit.

img075

And we had a photo booth!  I think I love the pictures even more than the kids loved taking them. 🙂

DSCN1695 cropped

I found my props online; then just cut them out and added shish kabob skewers.  I recommend using an exacto knife for the eye holes and other fine details.  And before sure to glue the skewers with the pointy end against the paper piece so no one gets hurt.  So many are for weddings or adult parties but I found good ones for the kiddos at Accent the Party (a great list) and Creative Juice.

DSCN1685

 

But the best part of all for everyone was recognizing the children’s accomplishments.  On the walls I had a img074book for each kiddo celebrating their achievements in reading.  I had the parents write me with what they wanted to celebrate and then I just copied and pasted them onto the book stencil.  At the end of the party we gathered the children around to acknowledge each of their accomplishments.  After announcing the child’s name, I would read their “book” to the group and we all cheered.

I am uploading the book template as a powerpoint file so that you can make adjustments and add your text.  I am also adding it as a pdf in case you can not open the powerpoint.

Book template powerpoint

Book template pdf

DSCN1730 fixed

In homeschooling kids can miss out on public recognition of their achievements.  While we shouldn’t do things just for the applause, it certainly is nice to be celebrated.  I think all the parents were surprised at just how much it meant to our children to recognize them in front of the group.  You would have thought they won the lottery when I called a name.  We will definitely be doing this again in the future.

wwb pic copy

That night the girls told me how proud they were of themselves.  Looking at those smiles, I know that the greatest part for them was getting recognized for their hard work.  And one of the greatest parts for me…  Mia ran up, gave me a giant hug, and said “Thank you Mama!”

P.S. We used the plain scratch art paper that I actually cut in half sheets and it worked just great. The kiddos loved creating their own designs. But if you are looking for something a little more fancy or structured, there really are all kinds of great options.

More Pumpkin Activities

Time got away from me with the new little one but I still wanted to share our language arts activities from our pumpkin unit.  I also include some of our sensory activities at the end (besides the pumpkin playdough in my science and math pumpkin post).

Word Family Pumpkins

Pumpkin word families

I had my husband make this fun puzzle game to play around with word families.  They match the pumpkin pieces together to create a word family pumpkin.  The girls had a great time matching up the word families and seeing how they made a pumpkin.

The bottom piece is printed on white paper and then the top pumpkin pieces were printed on orange paper.

The bottom piece is printed on white paper and then the top pumpkin pieces were printed on orange paper.

The pieces can be a puzzle to reuse over and over or it can be a cut and paste activity to produce a finished product.

fall word family activity

Our finished pumpkins

Download Pumpkin Word Family Printables

Sight Word Collages

This was a great way to work with our sight words.  We cut the words out of magazines and then in keeping with our theme glued them to these cute little pumpkins for our growing pumpkin patch.

DSCN0571[1]
fall sight word activity

Pumpkin Popsicle Words

This is a great way to practice our vocabulary words.  The vowel is written on the pumpkin and then the girls can slide the popsicle sticks through to create new words making it an interactive way to get through their reading lists.

Pumpkin sliding stick reading

Pumpkin Letter Bingo

Have I mentioned before that my kids love letter bingo?  I make a letter sound and they find the letter on their bingo sheets.  Really they love the the game because it ends in eating lots of M&Ms but I like that it’s a great phonics review.

Pumpkin Letter Bingo

DSCN0846

Candy Corn Letter Game

My girls really enjoyed this cute candy corn letter game from Kindergarten Smiles.  It was a great review of letter recognition and sounds.

Candy Corn Letter Game

Just click on the picture below to access the game which is available for free through Teachers Pay Teachers.

original-158834-1

Sensory Activities

Pumpkin Cloud Dough

My girls love cloud dough!  Who am I kidding?  So do I!  It’s super easy to make just add flour and vegetable oil (enough to make it damp and moldable).  I just added pumpkin spice and orange powdered tempera paint to make it pumpkin flavored.

Pumpkin Cloud Dough

We often use activities like this while I work one on one with the girls.

Fall Fizzing Bath Bombs

Thanks to Fun at Home With Kids we were able to make these fun fizzing bath bombs.  We will definitely be doing this again in different shapes and scents!  The cinnamon is good to fight germs but it does make your tub rather cinnamon-y so you probably won’t be washing hair in the tub that night.  You get get the recipe here.

Pumpkin fizzing bath bombs

 

 

And finally since we are talking about pumpkins I just need to include my pumpkin baby picture.  I just love this little guy!

Pumpkin baby

 

 

Pumpkins Math and Science

So Halloween may have passed but I still wanted to share our pumpkin activities, especially since they can still work for Thanksgiving.  And to avoid one monster long post about pumpkins so I divided it up so here are our math and science activities we’ve been doing lately.

Pumpkin Craft–Life Cycle and Parts All Rolled Into One

I combined about five different pumpkin crafts that I liked into one super sciency pumpkin.  First we used three paper plates to create the pumpkin body–one of the base, one for the back pocket, and one of the frame.

Pumpkin Science Craft

We painted the pumpkins with pumpkin-scented paint–just adding pumpkin spice to our orange paint.  We also used a cork for our stem.

DSCN0536[1]

On the framed side, we showed the different parts of the pumpkin.  We used real seeds and then pipe cleaners (or you could use orange yarn) for the fibers inside.  While creating it, the girls also cut and pasted the labels for the different parts.

Download labels for parts of the pumpkin.docx

Parts of pumpkin craft

We then added our life cycle vine to the pumpkin.  We used the circle labels for the different stages from printables.atoz

Pumpkin Life Cycle Craft

After attaching them to the yarn, we tied it to our pumpkin stem.  They can also get tucked into the pocket on the back side.

DSCN0608[1]

 

Pumpkin Worksheets

Before making our pumpkins, we completed the following worksheets to help learn about the pumpkin life cycle and the different parts of a pumpkin.

Pumpkin life cycle worksheet from education.com

Pumpkin life cycle worksheet from education.com Click the picture for the worksheet

Worksheet on pumpkin parts from ateachingmommy.com

Worksheet on pumpkin parts from ateachingmommy.com Click the picture to link to the worksheet

Pumpkin Investigation

There are TONS of different pumpkin investigation worksheets out there where kids answer questions about their pumpkin.  This one, from Fun For First, was my personal favorite and the one we chose to use.  It was the most thorough and touched on the topics I wanted the girls to explore.

Pumpkin Investigation

 

Number Lines

pumpkin number line

In math our current chapter is on number order (we use the Singpore Math Kindergarten Curriculum) so I had us make these adorable pumpkin number lines.  While you can use a pumpkin template and then stickers or handwritten numbers, I just used my cricut to cut the pumpkins and numbers.  Then the girls glued them all together.  Finally they strung them on ribbon, which was great practice since we recently started learning to stitch.

And yes, I have realized that my little one did the seven backwards. :)

And yes, I have realized that my little one did the seven backwards. 🙂

 

Number Cards and Playdough

To review our number shapes (and hopefully help with our handwriting) we used these fall-themed number cards from Life Over C’s.

20141014_111911

And then for the playdough we used clay made from pumpkin (recipe courtesy of Fun at Home with Kids).  All you need is canned pumpkin, corn starch, and pumpkin spice.  Mix it together until it is the consistency and smell you would like.  In addition to using this with our number cards, it also made a great sensory activity for the girls to play with while I did some one on one work with each.

20141014_111933

 

 

 

Snow White Unit

With two little girls who love princesses it only made sense to incorporate fairy tales into our curriculum this year and since we were doing an apples theme, our first fairy tale theme had to be Snow White.

Of course we started by reading a translation of the original by Brothers Grimm.  We discussed what happened in the story and how it compared to the more popular, Disney versions of the story.  The girls actually preferred some aspects of the original–Mia loved that the evil Queen was forced to wear red hot shoes.

Story Map

I saw some story maps on pinterest that I Snow White story mapliked and to fit our needs.  This has been a great introduction to different literary aspects such as characters and setting.  It also has helped us break down a story, discuss it in more detail, and aid in retelling.  The post-it notes allow us to reuse the same map.  And the pictures the girls draw also help them to draw pictures in their mind of the story, a strategy good readers use.

Kindergarten Story Map

Download story map labels

Felt Dusters and Housecleaning

We made these adorable and easy dusters from Snow White duster craftDisney.  While the original directions called for a wooden spoon, it was actually easier to use a wooden dowel.  We just cut one in half.  Then we folded the red, yellow, and blue pieces of felt lengthwise, wrapped them around the wooden dowel, and attached them with a rubberband.  I added some hot glue to keep it together since the rubber band didn’t seem to be holding it tight enough.  Then we cut the felt into fringe and added the red ribbon.

The best part was that, not only did the girls like the craft, they couldn’t wait to use them to clean the house.  They pretended to be Snow White cleaning the dwarfs’ house.

DSCN0490[1]

What is your dwarf name?

This was one of our language arts projects.  I made this printable for the girls where they came up with their dwarf name and drew a picture of them as a dwarf.

Snow White writing

Download Dwarf Name Printable

Our Own Magic Mirrors

Before making our own magic mirrors, we also learned about mirrors in general.  For our science and social studies, we learned a bit about how mirrors worked and their early history.  I based our lesson on the information located here which has many mirror lessons.

DSCN0478[1]

We just used cheap hand mirrors.  We covered the handle and edges in ribbon and then the girls glued beads and decorations all around.  Definitely prettier and nicer than the Evil Queen’s mirror.

The ribbon wrapped on the mirror

The ribbon wrapped on the mirror

Busy decorating

Busy decorating

Where We Live

While doing Snow White, we complete these circle books on where we live for social studies.  Maybe it was a bit of a reach but since I used the story to introduce the concept of setting it seemed like a good time to look at our own setting and all the ways we can describe where we live.

DSCN0582[1]

For home, city, and earth they drew their own pictures DSCN0584[1]and then for state, country, and continent we just used clipart.  You can certainly trace cups and bowls in order to make your circles, but this was one time that being a scrapbooker definitely paid off.  I just used my circle cutting system (I love Creative Memories!) and it took about two seconds.

 

DSCN0585[1]

DSCN0586[1]

DSCN0587[1]

DSCN0588[1]

Bird Feeders

We noticed that in many different versions, Snow White is kind to animals so we wanted to do the same thing.  We made these easy and messy bird feeders.  We mashed bread into ball and tied it with string.  We covered the ball with peanut butter and then with bird seed.  We hung them outside and watched from a distance as the birds ate from them.

1) The ball of bread tied with string

1) The ball of bread tied with string

3) Adding the birdseed over the peanut butter

3) Adding the birdseed over the peanut butter

 

2) Adding the peanut butter to the ball

2) Adding the peanut butter to the ball

4) Ready for the birds to enjoy

4) Ready for the birds to enjoy

 

Apples, Apples, Apples

We recently finished our apple unit–it was definitely yummy and fun and perfect for the fall!  Here are some of our favorite activities…

We started our unit with a bare apple tree.  apple tree decorationI made the tree out of the trunk from our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree and then added the tree part using a cheap, green plastic tablecloth–quick, easy, and cute.  Eventually our tree was covered in apples in apples.

 

Letter Hunt and Smack the Apple

For reviewing letter sounds, we started with another letter hunt since they liked the last one so much!

After the letters were up on our tree, we played our Smack the Apple game.  I made the letter sounds and then they slapped the lettered apple with our flower fly swatters.

Kindergarten Apple Game

 

Apple Words

In addition to reviewing letter sounds, we also used our apple tree to practice our reading list.  I copied our reading lists over to apples and as the girls read each letter they put it up on our tree.  The visual image of so many words on the tree made the girls very proud and allowed them to see how many words they already know.

apple word board

Apple Tasting

Or course we had to taste apples!  We first made a trip to the grocery store where the girls picked out a wide variety of apples.  They took turns tasting each apple we had.  And then they recorded their opinion on their apple worksheet.  We used happy, sad, and middle faces to show how they felt.  Then we compared everyone’s results to see what we all liked.

apple tasting worksheet

 

Apple Popsicle Word Practice

We used these cute little apples to practice our reading words.  On the apple I wrote the vowel from the our three letter words and then on the popsicle stick I wrote to consonants.  Just cute slots on either side to feed the stick through.  I used the large sticks so it was easier to read the letters and I laminated the apples so that they would hold up better.

apple word activity

 

Apple Science

We used this easy science project to introduce the girls to acids and bases.  (The best part of this lesson was that my husband taught it all!)  After introducing the girls to the concept, they selected some acids and bases around the house for our experiment.  We used orange juice and vinegar as our acids while milk of magnesium and oil were our bases.  We soaked apple slices in each substance as well as water and watched to see if acids or bases spoiled or preserved the apples better.

apple acid base experiment

The apple slices browned in every substance except orange juice which caused us to speculate that orange juice has something else in it that helped preserve the apples.apple experiment

 

Plant the “Seed” Letter Recognition

We played this as further review of letter recognition.  We used large lima beans to be our “seeds” and wrote on each the lower case letters.  Then we used a mini-muffin pan (with two more little dishes) with capital letters.  The girls just matched the seeds to the correct spots in the tin.Letter recognition with lima beans

 

Apple Bingo

My kiddos LOVE letter bingo.  I draw the letters, make the sound, and the girls cover the letter with the M&Ms.  When they have four in a row they call bingo and get to eat the M&Ms.  Simple, but fun and yummy.

Download Apple Letter Bingo

DSCN0530[1]

 

Apple Counting and Painting

We filled in this worksheet by painting apples with q-tips, just dipping the q-tips and dotting the row with the correct number of apples.  The worksheet does go from 0-20.

Download Painting Counting Apples worksheet

DSCN0527[1]

 

Apple Counting

I also made this worksheet for the girls to practice their numbers.

Download Apple Counting worksheet

apple math printable

 

Seasons of the Apple Tree

To go with the story Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree, we also did this painting activity from Mrs. Vento’s Kindergarten Class.

apple tree seasons

 

Science Worksheets

We also looked at the life cycle and different parts of the apple as part of our science curriculum, including these printables.

DSCN0528[1]Apple life cycle from education.com


DSCN0529[1]Apple parts from ateachingmommy.com

Baking time

Our cooking activities included apple butter (a favorite in our house) and candied apples.

DSCN0495[1]
DSCN0494[1]

 

Sensory Activities

In addition to cooking with each unit, I also try to include a few sensory activities.  Even though the girls are getting bigger they still love these activities.  I find that it also helps relax the girls, gives me time to work one on one with each, and allows them to further develop their language and fine motor skills.

We played with apple scented homemade playdough.  I picked up the recipe from The Imagination Tree, but I had to use apple and cinnamon tea.
DIY-no-cook-apple-play-dough-recipe.-This-smells-wonderful-618x1000
And we did apple scented frozen baking soda and vinegar squares.  Since it was still hot here the frozen blocks were very refreshing to play with outside.
f7fabc3ac738c2c04fb027cdcffc627d

 

I have even more activities posted on my kindergarten pinterest board.

%d bloggers like this: