Monday, May 18, 2020

Dress-Up Adventures


            Pretend you are ten years old.  Instead of spending a lot of your summer playing on a sunny Florida beach, you are stuck inside with nothing to do but read.  That’s OK.  You love to read.  Then, each book you read sets your imagination in gear for some fun! 


All this really did happen to the author of Legends from Mom’s Closet.  This author, Sasha Olsen, really is ten years old.  Thanks to an exceptionally rainy Florida summer, she spent more time doing one of her favorite activities: reading.  She wound up reading biographies of ten amazing women. She read about women from different cultures, like Frida Kahlo, Yayoi Kusama, and Billie Holiday.  She read about women from different time periods, like Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, and Jackie Kennedy.  She even read about some stars of their days, like Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, and Joan Jett.

Reading about these legends' lives inspired her to try to recreate each woman after she read about her. To do that, she had to check out her mother’s closet to put together the costumes.  Sometimes her grandmother even came to her rescue with hair styling assistance and a few items of clothing.

To document all this fun, she wrote about it in her diary.  What a fun read!  Her mom’s friend took beautiful photographs of all her costumes and props and ofSasha all dressed up.  She even included a page of directions on how to dress up like each of the women. 

Your girls from about six to 12 years old will enjoy this book.  Maybe this will be a springboard to read some biographies that will spark their imaginations.  Don’t be surprised if you find them rummaging in your closet to find some dress-up clothes!  

Author, Sasha Olsen

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Just for Horse Lovers

Have a young horse lover in your household?  Click this link to download a free ebook provided by the American Quarter Horse Association.  It contains puzzles, games, equine trivia, and drawings for some fun horsing around.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Word Searches


Word searches are puzzles many kids enjoy.  They are a good way to practice words they know while developing their visual discrimination skills.   


Traditionally, players put a long loop around each word as they find it.  However, this creates a lot of confusing lines on the puzzle by the time the player gets down to the last few words.  This is especially true for beginning readers and individuals who have poor visual discrimination skills.  


What I have my students do instead is draw a single line to hook all the letters of a word together.  This reduces the busy-ness on the page compared to the loop method.  It is particularly helpful for spelling word searches.  They say each letter aloud as they hook the letters together.

 I use word searches frequently in my Sunday School class of first through third graders.  After I've taught the lesson, we do the search together.  A student explains what the first word in the word bank has to do with our lesson.  Then everyone searches for it.  They continue taking turns until our lesson is recapped by completing the puzzle.  This review method is adaptable to any content area.

In the past I've always used Puzzle Maker to create the word searches I need.  It offers options for making your word searches.  Additionally, it has several different kinds of puzzles, like math squares, mazes, cryptograms and more.

Just this week I learned of another free source of word searches, Word Search Wizard.  They have a featured word search--right now it's a spring season search.  There are quite a few themed searches on many topics in their Word Search Library ready to run off and use.  You can also custom make a word search to fit your exact needs.  I like the fact you can choose to save your puzzles if you plan to use them again.

There are even free online word searches, like Pro Profs.


Choose a site.  Play on a hard copy or online.  Ready, set, search!


Friday, April 10, 2020

Happy Siblings Day


I'm a middle child with an older brother and younger sister.  How about you?  Do you have siblings?  Where are you in the family order?


Here are some activities having to do with siblings.  No siblings?  Have your child invent some siblings s/he would like to have.  Give them names and ages.  Then do the activities below.


Sibling Writing

* Make a list of 3 good things about each of your siblings. 

* Write about some ways you help your siblings.  How do they help you?

* Draw a picture of you with your siblings doing something fun.


Sibling Math

* Measure the heights of you and your siblings.  

* Figure out the difference in height between you and each of your siblings. 

* List everyone's birth year.  Figure out how old each will be in 20 years and 35 years.  What calendar years will that be for each of you?


Sibling Reading

In the comments below tell me the name of a book you've read that features siblings.  Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary is one I enjoy. 


Here are some free online sources of books where you can find other stories about siblings.

  1. Overdrive

  2. Cloud Library

  3. Hoopla

  4. Tumble Book Library

  5. International Children’s Digital Library

  6. Oxford Owl

  7. Storyline Online

  8. Open Library

  9. Project Gutenberg

  10. Goodreads

  11. Library of Congress




Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Zoo Day

Today is National Zoo Lovers Day.

Who loves the zoo?  Do you? Do you?

Here's a zoo story for for you and you.

Watch this reading of the Dr. Seuss story, If I Ran the Zoo


Stuck at home.  Can't go anywhere?

Here are zoo visits you can take in your chair.


San Diego Safari Park - 12 different animal cams 

Monteray Bay Aquarium - 10 different cams

Houston Zoo - 7 animal cams 

Kansas City Zoo - 6 animal cams 

Topeka Zoo  - 5 animal cams 

Smithsonian's National Zoo - 5 animal cams

OKC Zoo - red panda cam

 Draw a picture and write about your favorite animal at the zoo.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

PB & J


Today is National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

April 2nd

1.  See how many words your child can make out of the letters of peanut butter and jelly.


2.  Write the directions to make a PB & J sandwich.  Then follow those directions exactly to see if it turns out like you thought it would.

Nearly every kid loves a good PB & J sandwich.  What's the favorite at your house?  With or without crusts?  Cut in shapes or regular slices of bread?  


 Here are some variations on this traditional favorite.


PB & J with banana, strawberry, apple, or grape slices

PB & J French toast

PB & J on raisin bread

PB & J with a cream cheese layer

PB & J with marshmallow creme

PB & J with honey

PB & J with your favorite crunchy breakfast cereal

PB & J with toasted coconut

Grilled PB & J sandwich

PB & J on pancakes or waffles

PB & J roll-ups.  Remove crusts. Flatten with rolling pin. Add  

     PB & J. and roll up.


Share your favorite recipe with PB & J.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Lines and Circles Art Activity

Here is a fun art activity for your children that uses the same small muscles as when writing.  So, this is a painless way to practice penmanship as well!   All you need is paper and something to draw/write with.

Use notebook paper or draw parallel lines on plain paper. Draw a circle that touches the top and bottom line.  Draw the next circle, touching the first as well as the top and bottom lines.  The object is to make the drawings as round as possible and spacing carefully so they don’t overlap or leave gaps.  Have them adjust the size of the circles until s/he can get it.  That might mean using a single, double, or triple line space, whichever is easier.

Next try some wavy lines and vary the sizes of circles drawn.  Your child can use an ink pen, colored pencils, crayons, or markers for variations.  Move on to ovals or lines that weave back and forth.  

When finished, color in the shapes in patterns of their favorite colors.  They can even draw all kinds of patterns in the circles.

Check your children’s pencil grip while they are working.  Help them learn to hold their pencil correctly.  This will prevent their hand tiring when they have a writing assignment.  

If they like this kind of art project, they may want to try their hand at decorating their initials or the letters in their name.  They can freehand a fat outline or print out large letters, using a fat outline font, like ColorFont, Vinnie Boomba or Toyland NF.