A Quirky Way to Teach Geography

Right now my daughter loves quarters. She loves to take her wallet to the grocery store and buy little trinkets or gum balls at the row of quarter machines they have.
I wanted to give her a way to earn quarters rather than just give them to her, so now every time she reads one of her BOB books she gets a quarter. The reading is slow going so she has a hard time sticking with it long enough to finish a book. This is just the incentive she needs.

She has so much fun with quarters, I picked up a 50 state quarter collection holder at Hobby Lobby. Now as we come across quarters we check the back to see if it's a state we can add to our collection. The U.S. Mint has lesson plans to go along with each state's quarter that are divided up by age group. We enjoyed coloring the enlarged picture on the back of the quarter and talking about what the picture means.

How do you make geography fun?

Back to School Snack

My kiddos aren't in school yet "officially" but that doesn't stop us from making the most of fun back-to-school snacks and shopping. Lately, we've been adding extra color fun to our trail mix with chocolate candy covered sunflower seeds. We got ours at the bookstore, but I've seen them all over.

It makes it look like your snack is having a party!
Other ingredients:
dried pineapple
dried banana
honey roasted peanuts
dried mango
and now: chocolate sunflower seeds!

Enjoy adding a splash of color to your lunch box.
Happy Back-to-School ;)

Friday Favorites and Freebies

Happy Friday-enjoy this line-up of Favorites and Freebies ;)

I'm loving this school supplies art work holder! from Oh so Happy Together.

Check out this wall art made with Pez holders-genius by stephanielynn.

I think you'll find this journal idea refreshing! By graceisoverrated.

If you to read, like me, or have a reading friend to share a great bookmark with. Be sure to check these cute ones out.

I'm wishing I could spend more time in my kitchen. If you like yours, check out this fun list of kitchen yummies at Angry Chicken.

Have a Happy Weekend!

Butterfly Art and Science

If you haven't discovered it yet, coffee filters are the perfect paper for preschoolers (and we don't even drink coffee!) They are very versitile!
For {This Little Project} they are great because:
  • thick (don't rip when watercoloring)
  • cheap (think dollar store-less than a penny each)
  • circular (symmetrical)

For {This Little Project} we were learning about
art: symmetry
science: the butterfly life cycle.

First: fold the coffee filter in half and let the kids watercolor on them.

Second: Before it dries, fold the other half over on top of the wet paint.
You get a symmetrical pattern:

Third: hang it up to dry.

Lastly, bunch the middle together and pinch it with a clothes pin (see first photo).

If you want to do a science lesson to go along with your painting and symmetry lesson,
here is a collection of Life Cycle Image Links to get you started. But there are a ton of great links HERE and Here that incorporate butterflies as well.
If your kids are like mine, they'll want to go chase butterflies when you're done!

A Blue Room into a Girl Room for Under $10

We recently moved into a new house. The room that was for the girls was blue. I wanted to make it a little more girly for my girls without having to repaint the whole room or spend a lot of time and money.

We decided to make the blue into a sky by painting clouds on the top of the walls and make it girly by painting flowers up the sides. I bought a few different colors of acrylic paint at the craft store for the colors and a cup cozy for $.98 to make the circles for the flowers.

The girls love their 'new' room and so do we!
What quick fix projects have you done to your room?

Truck Art

I'm always on the lookout for fun art projects for BOYS. This is what we did after our city's "Touch a Truck" event:
Yup. That's an ink pad. And lots of different toy trucks and cars. When you drive them through ink and then drive them around on the paper they make fun tire patterns! Each car and truck has it's own tire tread pattern to watch for too :)

It's fun to explore what happens when making curving vs. straight lines with the trucks. Beware, if you offer multiple colors of ink, eventually they all look like brown muddy tracks...
But little boys (and girls) LOVE it!

Friday Favorites and Freebies

Happy Friday! I hope you're enjoying the summer weekend!

I LOVE these free printables kindness notes. I think I'll keep a few in my purse-I can't wait to share them, from Kind over Matter.

Try this fun way of displaying photos from the DIY Dish.

Want to make your own gift bags? Check out this tutorial from How about Orange.

How about making your own organizational buckets-from fabric? These are so fun-a tutorial from Etsy.


Montessori Lunch

The {Little Projects} that my kids love best are the ones they can do themselves. Montessori methods encourage adults to put "big" things out in a way that children can access them in a successful, self-check kind of way.

So we tried it with lunch, and it was a great success. Both Kay and Jay took great pride in the fact that they can gather, make, and put away their lunch things.

We had peanut butter sandwiches and a smoothie. The only complaint was from my husband about how much peanut butter got in the jelly jar. I guess next time we'll have separate knives :)

Some simple things to help your child do "big" things in the kitchen now:
  • Put their utensils and dishes in a low place in your kitchen so they can get to them.
  • Have a small plastic container that they can learn to pour from.
  • Include your child as you prepare meals so they will want to try to do it by themselves.
  • Have a routine for clean-up afterward.
  • Have child-sized "tools" like a broom small enough that it can be maneuvered by them.
  • Move to the table where your child can see what is going on, rather than at the counter.

It's so fun to watch their confidence grow as they master new skills! I have to remind myself not to expect perfection and try to not critique what they are doing. Kids learn by repetition. Oh, and we didn't learn to do all of these in one day. We started with one skill, say sweeping, and then moved onto something else (how to wipe up your own mess) another time. This lunch was fun because they've learned enough skills to put it all together and put on their own lunch. It was really rewarding for them.

Sometimes I think we forget that little people can do big things! We've gone on to learn how to clean the bathroom and fold clothes too-more on that later-and they love it all! The ownership they feel in the task is amazing. Thanks to Montessori for reminding me of that. My kids are happier and so am I! This is definitely where Little by Little Projects make all the difference. What do your little ones love to do that's BIG?

Making a Project Out of a Book

After my girls and I read a book, they often want to do what they just read, act it out, or ask endless why questions about the characters. Reading a book is a great way to get a great idea for a {little project}. If you haven't tried this before, I have a great book idea to get you started.
It's 6 Sticks by Molly Coxe. It's a story about two little mice that find 6 popsicle sticks and spend the day making different things with them. After we read the book, we made many of the same little projects and a few of our own.

What can you make out of 6 (or more) popsicle sticks?

Book advice: If you're looking for inexpensive books for you or your kids, check out your local library book sale. Both Jedda and I have been able to get children's books for 25-50 cents in Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, and Texas. It is a great deal for us and proceeds benefit the library. Our local library book sale is where we found this little book.

Enjoy making a fun reading {Little Project!}
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