Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sexual Predators want Your Child - Protect & Educate OUR KIDS on Technology

Did you know that the current statistics show that any child that has access to chat online has a 100 % chance of being contacted by a sexual predator? Is this disgusting and frightening? Especially in our time where children of EVERY AGE have access and use technology on a daily basis. YES, IT IS!! And we MUST act to protect our children. I want you to get involved in this remarkable technology that protects and educates children online. This is not something that can wait until a "better time". . . your child needs this now. Take 5 minutes to learn a bit about this and decide if this is a perfect fit for your child.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Framed Art with Nature Kids Activity Lesson with a Nature Walk

In this activity teachers and students should collect elements of nature to use as a medium for art expression. This can be done through a nature walk! Teachers can also bring in other materials that can not be gathered by children (i.e., fruits, veggies, flowers, dry beans) The object for students is autonomy and initiative in deciding which naturalistic materials he/she will use, how he/she will arrange them and why they are arranged in a certain way. Supply children with empty frames for them to configure their art inside. This three dimensional collage process is an open ended activity for children to express themselves creatively while working closely with nature. The intended focus of this experience is on the process that the child uses to create a masterpiece. The final product should be celebrated by taking a photo, showing peers, etc.  Then the process should be repeated as many times as wanted child to express him/herself through art and nature.  Children have an instinctive love of nature and should be given many opportunities to participate in self-expressive and naturalistic experiences. Students natural curiosity and artistic expression are a large part of their love for lifelong learning. 

Students can share their nature finds with the community. You can lay them out on the floor like I did 
or you could have students organize them into baskets or piles. 

It is exciting to see the unique designs that children create, some with careful details,
some on a whim and others with specific intent. 

I love this project and regard these highly as works of art!

This is a center that can be done each season and documented for a student portfolio book.

This activity can be done often as it will capture children's interest and engage them every time.  

Try to use frames of various sizes for children to choose from;  
and so that they can collaborate on their work if desired.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August is American Artist Appreciation Month

August is American Artist Appreciation Month. You can have children observe, study and enjoy pictures of American Artists. You can have them replicate the art or simply have them create art inspired by what they see from the artist (great for younger students). The other great idea bout this theme is that children in our country ARE American artists! They may not be recognized or famous, but all children are great artists and should be celebrated! If you have a child that would like to be celebrated for his/her art, please send a photo and name to me at for a feature mention!

You can also link up your American and Student art related posts in the linky below! I would love for you to share other artists that I may not have mentioned ( you can put them in the comments below). Here are a list of a few American Artists that make  great learning opportunities for children in the area of art.
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Faith Ringgold
  • Andy Warhol
  • Grandma Moses
  • Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Ansel Adams

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Celebrate and Study Egypt - Link Up Resources

Egypt is a fascinating study theme for children. There are many lessons and activities that can be integrated into a Theme or Unit featuring Egypt. Please share your resources, crafts, ideas and lesson plans here! Caregivers, parents, educators and more can have fun utilizing all the wonderful ideas relating to children learning about and celebrating Egypt!

National Geographic Countries of the World: Egypt

from: Random House
National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt

from: Random House
Egypt - Culture Smart!

from: Random House
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Get Ready - July 28th Celebrate Fingeprints

Did you know that your fingerprint is uniquely yours and will never, ever be duplicated by another human being? It is true. And no matter how our bodies change throughout our life, our fingerprints will always stay the same. This is definitely a reason to celebrate! People are similar in that we all have fingerprints but we each have our own exclusive set. The English first began using fingerprints in July of 1858, when Sir William James Herschel first used fingerprints in a business contract in India as a means of personal identification.  Then in the1870's a method of classification was developed for fingerprints by Dr. Henry Faulds. Here is a History of Fingerprints Page that I referenced where you can learn more. In Honor of Fingerprints, here are some Cool Projects and Ideas for Celebrating! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

High Value & Low Price Resource for Teaching - Dry Beans

Allow me to introduce you to one of your most valuable and least expensive resources available. It is a bag of dry beans! Seriously, this bag of dry beans cost me $2.49. This mixed bag of beans was one of my favorite product during the 10 years I did child care and early learning. Not only can you create a huge amount of projects for these beans, but just give the kids a bag outside with dishes and spoons and the children will "cook" with them and plant with them for hours. These beans are perfect for sorting. Little hands and fingers benefit from this fine motor activity. Little minds benefit from the science and math.

Use a muffin tin for your child to sort the beans in for a highly beneficial project under three dollars. 

Use beans as math manipulatives!

Use them for little ones to make simple designs. 

Use them to make works of art and mosaics. 

Use dry beans in sensory bins as the base. One of the favorites for my children were using the mixed beans in the sensory table with measuring spoons, measuring cups and containers for "cooking".

Buy bags of one kind of bean for the base in the sensory bin (i.e., Black beans for streets, split peas for grass, white beans for snow,etc)

Put some dry beans in socks and secure with a string for fast beanbags.
(Rubber bands are a serious choking hazard)

Do you have any other great ideas and uses for dry beans that you want to share?
Send me your ideas and/or photos to

Friday, July 5, 2013

All About Magnets - Link Up Resources

Magnets are a source of wonder for children as they learn to manipulate their world within scientific constructs.  Exploring with magnets ignites excitement, fosters a love of  life long learning, and lays the foundation of prior knowledge for future learning. Lets Celebrate Magnets by linking up and sharing posts, activities, projects, lesson plans and and learning resources. Add your posts to the linky and have fun getting some Awesome ideas to use with your child or class!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fireworks in a Bottle - Magnet Science for Early Learning

This is a fun activity for the Fourth of July or anytime! Easy to make and fun to play with, these pipe cleaner fireworks in bottle are great for little ones! All you need is an empty, clear bottle with cap, strong glue, any color pipe cleaners, scissors and a magnet. Easy Peasy.

1.) Wash and dry a clear plastic bottle (keep the lid).

2.) Cut the pipe cleaners into small strips of various lengths and put inside the bottle.

3.) Put some strong glue on the rings of the mouth of the bottle and attach the cap.

Once dry and secure, give your little one a magnet and the bottle
and they can create fireworks of their own!

You may like this post about magnet sensory bins.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Magnets Activity Center Early Learning Sensory Bin

There are at least a hundred sensory bins that you can make just for magnets! You can make some to sort what is and is not magnetic to learn about metals and non metals. You can take it a step further and so a metals sensory bin that helps children explore why some metals are not magnetic. You can do iron filings in sand using the magnets to separate the two. You can use strong magnets and lightweight metals to create sculptures. (Just to name a few of my favs!)  In this discovery sensory bin activity I was having the children sort items into two groups. There was a metal cup for the magnetic items and a plastic cup for the non magnetic items. I purposely added metallic painted plastic items so that we would have the opportunity to discuss that the properties of metals or other materials are not always based on sight alone. Some non metallic metals were included to discuss the property of iron causing an attraction to magnets. Your child will love experimenting independently with this activity as well as with you there to scaffold his/her learning.

You May Want to See this post About Magnets & Hypothesis for Early Education!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Egyptian Spices Learning Craft Activity

This post corresponds with the Social Studies/Global Studies Series on Egypt. However, this activity can be easily altered to represent other Ethnic Studies. I made this spice project for an Egyptian Marketplace in a Dramatic Play area. When observing photos of such markets, there are many bags, baskets and barrels of spices sold so this is an essential feature. You do not have to have a "market" for your child to enjoy this rich learning experience. Learning about cultures includes foods and spices. This activity allows your child to build lasting knowledge by involving the senses. This will develop a foundation in cooking and palette as well when your child can identify smells and tastes in foods! Here is how we did this project.

1.) We took out the spices and observed them with our senses. (You can leave them in the original containers or put them into small, shallow bowls.) We smelled and tasted them. We talked about the colors and the consistencies. Some children identified foods that they recognize having the smell of certain spices in them!

2.) We made salt dough together by measuring and mixing ingredients, and kneading the dough.

3.) Each child took a ball of dough, flattened it out a bit and we added one different spice to the center of each one. The children kneaded the spices into the dough and played with them for a bit.

4.) We rolled the individually spiced dough into balls and set them aside to dry for a few days. I made labels and stuck them in the balls of dough before they hardened.

5.) Once dry I gave the children a bowl of glue and paintbrushes. They painted their ball with glue, then poured and shook the spices onto the glue. We let them dry again.

6.) We transferred the spices into handmade paper mache bowls, then into a basket, and they were ready for the marketplace.

This same activity can be done in a variety of ways; 
  • You could make the play dough ahead with different spices and have them try to match the dough to the spice jar by scent and color. The dough would not be dried, but used a few times to play with and gain spice recognition. 
  • You could add spices to white paint and let them create whatever they want on a paper.
  • You could have them paint blobs of glue on a paper and then shake this spices on top of each one (labeled for the grown ups they share this with). 
List of Spices Prominent in Egyptian Cooking:

green pepper
sesame seeds
all spice

National Geographic Countries of the World: Egypt

from: Random House
National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt

from: Random House
Egypt - Culture Smart!

from: Random House
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hypothesis with Magnets & Metals Activity Center

In this activity I used magnets and metals to help preschoolers form hypotheses, test them out, and report their findings. This encourages your child to use math, science, reasoning,spacial and kinesthetic skills. You will need magnets and metals along with pen and paper for reporting the findings in this experiment.

How to Run the Hypothesis with Magnets & Metals Center

You will need:

  • strips of masking tape
  • markers
  • drawing paper
  • pens, pencils or markers for drawing
  • ruler (If doing this with older children) 
  • magnetic objects
  • magnets
1.) Let your child observe the metal items and play with them with the magnet. Give them their own time and space to explore without direction from you. This will familiarize them with their supplies and give them some previous knowledge when forming their hypothesis. 

2.) Explain that you will be doing a science experiment to discover which items are drawn to the magnet faster and more slowly than others. Hold up two items and ask your child which he/she thinks will be pulled to the magnet first and why/how they came up with their answer. 

3.) Have the child draw the two items on their paper (Or write them down if the student is older).

4.) Mark or label the one they chose in some way on their paper.

5.) Put a strip of masking tape on the table or floor.

6.) Make a line at both ends of the tape; one where the items are set and the other where the magnet starts.

7.) Set the first item on the line and have your child move the magnet very slowly along the tape and stop at the moment that the item is pulled to the magnet. Mark this distance on the tape.

8.) Do the same for the second item.

9.) Have them report their findings. Which item moved faster and which moved slower and why do they think this is so?

10.) Repeat this experiment with other sets of items and discover if reasoning changes.

*For the preschoolers I had them use their paper as a "Scientific Journal" where they cataloged their items to be tested. (Drew or traced the items on the paper).

Then we took turns moving the magnet on the tape to  test each item individually (rather than in sets) and discuss the results (the marks on the paper helped us remember which ones were faster and slower). Some students felt obliged to make markings on their journals to indicate the faster items.

* This center can be done together a few times and then left as an independent activity for your child to experiment with on his/her own.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Create Your Own Egyptian Market Learning Experience

In learning about a foreign country for Social and Global Studies, recreating a dramatic play area into a cultural replica is a fantastic experience for children. Find photos and media showing present day Egyptian marketplaces and study them with your child. (I am using royalty free images in this post so the quality is limited, but there are rich photos on the internet.) Dialog about what types of items are typically sold there and what features they have in common. Depending on the age of your child you can sketch out a plan for the market listing needed items, supplies and the design. For younger students, making the items and creating the space together is adequate.

Here are some ideas of what to put in your market:

  • scarves
  • lanterns
  • spices (see this blog post for a spices learning activity and marketplace prop) 
  • Egyptian Flag
  • fruits and veggies real or pretend play items (bananas, onions, green pepper, fish, rice, etc.) 
  • Egyptian coins 
  • Egyptian pamphlets, newspapers, etc. (can print from the computer) 
  • Egyptian jewelry
  • postcards and photos (printed from the computer) 
  • candlesticks and other such items
  • rolled up rugs
  • incense
  • toys such as beetles, cats, dogs and birds

Make sure that you have large photos of various markets up in the dramatic play area so that children can mimic what they see. They can reference the photos when setting up the area and while buying and selling goods. 

Remember that to make this amazing for your child you can hand make many of these items and everything does not need to be 100% authentic. Hanging items from ceiling hooks or "clothesline" makes the marketplace more exciting. You can hang banners, scarves, cloth, fabric, bananas, lanterns and more!

Lots of shelves for organizing items is key. A money box and grocery sacks should be included. 

Resources such as Party Supply Stores and  Oriental Trading Company Online have low cost items that are specific to cultures. School Supply stores are a good resource too but tend to be more expensive. 

Printing images of Egyptian money from the computer is an idea that I would definitely use for the market. 

Do you have any ideas or photos that you want to share with your dapper friends? 
Send them to 

National Geographic Countries of the World: Egypt

from: Random House
National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt

from: Random House
Egypt - Culture Smart!

from: Random House
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Get Ready! International Picnic Day is Coming June 18th

This is just a Plain Old Fashioned FUN day for families, friends and schools to get together and spend time enjoying the day! There are so many ideas for this day that I cant possibly list them all so make sure to add Your ideas in the comments below! Planning a picnic whether it be indoors or out is SO FUN for little ones. Kids love a change in routine for a special lunch or snack time. Make sure to involve the children in producing ideas for food and beverage choices.
  • Use this time to discuss why some foods are more suited for picnics (will it melt, be too messy, transport well, etc.)
  • Discuss Food Groups
  • Cut foods from magazines or Grocery ads and glue a balanced meal onto a picnic blanket page
  • Have children physically pick a perfect area for the picnic and discuss what to look for in a picnic spot ( flat ground with no rocks or sharp objects, shade, no bugs nearby, etc.)
  • Figure out how to use recyclable containers and reduce waste! (Talk about the environment)
  • Can children help prepare the foods and pack for the picnic?
  • What will we sit on (children bring individual blankets or towels - or large blankets to share)
  • What will we do at the picnic? (Sing Songs, Tell Jokes, or just enjoy the day?)
  • What will we do after the picnic and clean up? (Play a game, fly a kite, donate food to a pantry)
  • Incorporate the Song "Teddy Bear's Picnic" By Anne Murray
  • With the song above, have children bring a stuffed animal to the picnic (especially if it is indoors to make it a bit more special)
  • Older children can weave picnic blankets from red and white strips of paper
  • Read stories about picnics
  • Have a fancy picnic by hanging hand-made flowers, lanterns, and other art from the trees

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Get Ready - World Power of a Smile Day on June 15th

So this year the International Power of a Smile Day is on a Saturday. This is GREAT because children are likely to see many people when running around with parents this day. Make sure that children know the importance and POWER of a SMILE so that they can spread smiles all day Saturday June 15th. Some great ways to have children feel the Power of a Smile is to help children learn that smiles are often contagious. . . that just by smiling, we have the power to make someone else smile too, which in turn makes them feel happy instantly. Now THAT is some pretty great Power! Like a Smile Superhero.

  • Do an experiment with children by having them smile at someone. Did they smile back? YES! For older children use a graph and see how many returns they get on their smiles.
  • Make smile buttons, badges or ribbons to wear on Smile Day
  • Make smile cards (like business cards) to give out to people on Smile Day
  • Children can draw smiley faces on round stickers (very cheap - often used for garage sales) to hand out on Smile Day
  • Have children watch them in mirrors and practice different smiles - they could draw self-portraits during this time as well
  • Sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" and have children think of new things to do such as "Moo like a cow", "Hug a Friend", "Blink your Eyes", "Say hola", "Show a SMILE", etc.
  • Talk about tooth care
  • Books about Feelings

  • Tie it in to Literacy with the letter "S"
 *DO you have any other resources or great ideas that you would like to share? COMMENT 
   BELOW! Or send them to with the subject #TDCH share and
   any links or names for listing credit. THANKS!