Sunday, February 28, 2010

World Biomes Pin Map and Pieces -- Download Available

I obtained permission to use the world biomes map and legend that I used to create our pin map. I went ahead and made downloadable pages for you to use. It is three pages long. The first page is the World Biomes Map and Legend, the second and third pages include the specific biomes and photos that go along with each one. Pin Map Pieces, page 1; Pin Map Pieces, page 2 and extra biomes legends.

You can see more details about our pin map here or click the link about biomes; animal habitats on the right sidebar.

My son wants to study reptiles next.  I made some reptile cards that go along with our biomes map and will share those soon. We'll be finishing up our studies of the rainforest in the next couple of days.  I chose reptiles that came primarily from the rainforests and from the deserts (the biome we'll focus on next). The downloads will include three part cards and little pin-map pieces that go along with the biomes map. It'll be more clear when I have a chance to post photos and to upload the reptile cards. Stay tuned!

It's Been Raining a Lot!

The river bed is normally dry. It has been pouring down
rain for days (this is not common in our desert climate!!!)

I actually love this kind of weather and made it a point to take the dog out for a good run today! Unfortunately, I suspect sports will be canceled this week! (LD plays T-ball and I play soccer.) We'll still have the indoor activities (Kindergym for ED, dance/ballet for DD and gymnastics for DD and LD.)

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Pretty Grasshopper

LD was very excited to catch this grasshopper. Up until now, we've only ever seen them at the Desert Park (zoo). Sorry, I don't remember what they're called!
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Cursive Writing; Homeschool ID Card

Someone shared this wonderful link to an article on the benefits of teaching kids cursive writing

Also, if you need a homeschool id (for teachers or for students) card, you can make one (free) at the homeschool buyer's co-op. I need to update ours before we go on travel and thought I'd mention it here in case you hadn't heard about them. The homeschool id card was beneficial when I traveled back to the US a couple years ago to get discounts at various stores (bookstores; craft stores, etc.).

States of Matter: Solid, Liquid, Gas

Last week we did a sorting activity on solids, liquids and
gases. This activity was actually quite challenging for
them, so we'll have to repeat it a number of times in the near future.

After they sorted the cards together (with help
from me), we ran around the house and collected
one example of each and presented it to the others.

When the kids were older, we studied the states of matter in more depth.  We have a 50+ page packet available at our new location ( We did *tons* of fun hands-on activities with this unit. Find out more at this post:

You may be interested in how we covered this topic when we came back around to it (as the kids got older):
You might also be interested in these posts from our chemistry unit:
See you again soon at our new location or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook page. Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~Liesl

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Skip Counting Activities

The kids were anxious to try these sheets out. DD saw me working on them last night and asked to do it this morning (she can recognize the numbers if I tell her what to look for, but doesn't know about skip counting per se). This brought LD over and we spent quite a while doing the sheets together.

I hope someone else enjoys them too.
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Skip Counting by 3s -- Activity Sheets to Download

I couldn't find activity sheets exactly like I
was looking for, so I made a few of my own.
These sheets are for introducing skip counting
from 3 to 36. The child simply connects the
numbers in order. I laminated the sheets so
that we can repeat them from time to time. (Sorry
about the poor quality of the photos, it was late!)

By the way, I decided not to upload the chameleon
page where they simply write in the multiples of 3
(3,6,9). I wasn't sure how interested anyone else
would be and in retrospect I would have chosen a
different picture/art work, but don't want to re-do
the sheet. (I can upload them if there's any interest,
just let me know.)

My son wants to do a unit on reptiles, thus the
reptile theme on all of these sheets!

The links to download these sheets are on the sidebar.

If your child is more advanced, s/he might be able to
do the counting mazes that go up to 300 or so!

There are also some skip counting wagons at
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Things Around the House

Homemade Graham Crackers:
I've been making our own graham crackers for a couple
of months. While they can made to look very authentic,
I've recently been putting the dough into a large rectangular
loaf in the fridge. Then I cut slices and bake them on a
silcone baking sheet whenever we want them.

Here is the graham cracker recipe if you're interested.

Here are a couple household hints you may or may not
know about.

Getting rid of sticky glue from a label:
Do you ever have a label or sticker that leaves a sticky
mess behind when you remove it? Well, if you take a dab
of peanut butter, it'll often remove the sticky glue.

Thoroughly cleaning a water bottle:
We carry water bottles every time we leave the house, since
we live in a desert climate. To clean the straws and
various parts of the water bottle, I put warm water into the
bottle (or into a bowl containing the parts to be cleaned).
Then I add one Polident Denture Cleanser tablet. The
tablets are anti-bacterial. I soak them for anywhere from
15 minutes to overnight. I always wash the water bottles and parts again.
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First Grade Math

It feels like I haven't talked about LD's math in a while.
We worked quite a bit with our Right Start Math
curriculum last week.

Here are some things we reviewed today (using other resources):

Above: Place Value to the hundreds (with a heart theme that
we had for Valentine's Day)

Below: Number Family's Games (These have been a huge
hit with LD! Today we did 9s and 12s. Then we stopped
because ED was throwing a temper tantrum. That's life sometimes!)

Parallel, Perpendicular and Not Parallel;Not Perpendicular
LD is showing that his fingers are Nor Parallel; Not
Perpendicular. We took turns finding examples of
parallel, perpendicular and not parallel; not perpendicular
lines around the house.

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Toddler Pouring Activity

ED has been pouring with a pitcher since she was about 18 months old; she's practiced with water, beans, rice, beads and so forth. In fact, she pours her own milk into her cereal every morning with the little pitcher you see in the bottom picture. One skill that is very diificult for her is to start/stop pouring. So, here are a couple of pictures of her using different types of pitchers practicing pouring into different ice cube trays. I make it a little more interesting for her by coloring the water with food dye, which she has to stir with a spoon before pouring into the trays.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Science Center Monday -- M&M Color mixing

Here are the trays ready for our Monday morning
science center.

All the various experiments lead towards the final M&M
color mixing experiment. There were about four different
mini-experiments leading up to that. I'll talk about that
more in the next posting.

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Science Center Monday -- M&M Color Experiments

Experiment 1:

Add a teaspoonful of sugar to water. Stir. Observe.

What happens when you add sugar to water? What happens when you add several more teaspoons?

Experiment 2:

Cut (or bite) an M&M in half. What do you see?

We talked about the three layers --
the outer layer which was colored
a small thin layer of white (more of the sugar-outer coating)

Experiment 3:

Pour water into a white screw top lid. Place an M&M in the water. Observe.

The food dye comes off and slowly moves to the outer edges. Even after the layer of coating with food dye comes off, sugar continues to dissolve and push the food dye/sugar to the edges. We could clearly see the streaking as sugar continued to dissolve.

(Then the table got jostled and ED ate our experiment.)

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Science Center Monday: M&M Color Mixing Experiments

Experiment 4: (above)

Take drops of food dye/water and drop two colors onto
a piece of coffee filter. What happens when the following
colors mix?
blue-green, etc.

Experiment 5: (below)

Pour water into a white screw top lid. Add four M&Ms,
one each of red, yellow, green and blue.

Make a prediction. What do you think will happen when
the colors meet?


**When the colors meet, they will form a solid line (at
least at first until the water is disturbed, someone eats
an M&M or until enough time passes.

This is because the sugar is dissolving off all of the M&Ms.
Where the food dye meets, the concentration of sugar is
the same and the sugar/food dye will stop moving outward.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Princess -- Sight Word Games

This week I have some new games ready for DD. DD is reading simple words, but doesn't quite have the patience to read Bob Books (or the equivalent); yet, she is beyond simple letter-sound activities. I've been trying to find simple word games to play with her.

I found some lovely cards at Kelly's Kindergarten that appeal to DD. I printed out the "Cinderella's Ball" cards and "Sight Word Memory" princess-easy cards. Both sets of cards use the same 18 sight-words (9 words per sheet). I cut out all of the cards except two of the princess sheets. I left those two sheets intact so DD can do a simple matching activity or (as we're playing in the first picture below) a game of tic-tac-toe. (For tic-tac-toe we played that you couldn't put a card on top of the other player's card. That's why you see the Cinderella "are" card to the side of the board because DD already had placed her princess "are" card on the board.)

To go along with the cards, I made up two castle game boards. On his/her turn the player turns over a card and moves to the next available word-circle on the game board. To get into the castle and win the game you have to have one of the three words (in the pink box below the castle.) If the player is near the castle, but turns over a card with a word that is not in front of her/him, s/he has to go backwards to the next available word-circle.

I made two different game boards (one for each of the nine sets of words at Kelly's Kindergarten). I'll upload this game board at some point: You'll find those here: Princess Game Boards

By the way, I'm only showing a few of the cards that go along with the game board, but I used three sets of cards (the 2 Cinderella and one Princess cards of those nine words) and put them in a big stack for this game.

Here are a few other preschool reading related
activities we we've been doing lately:
Where's the Fairy?
Word Family Activities
Preschool Letter Activities
Treasure Hunt; Build a Word

Other related posts you might be interested in:
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Cinderella's Midnight Word Game

Here are some of the Cinderella cards. The kids really enjoyed this game. Each player takes a turn turning over and reading the card. They keep any word they read.

If a player gets a shoe card, s/he gets to take another player's card.

When the midnight card gets turned over, the round ends and the winner of that round is the player with the most cards.

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Music Game -- Hi Ho Cherry-O

LD and I played this today (while DD filled her cherry tree!)
First we went over the value of the cards using the
sandpaper notes (in black). Then as each player flipped
over a card, s/he went the number of beats on the card
(so LD is putting four cherries on his cherry tree because
he turned over a whole note).

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Science Center Monday: Planting Seeds

I never got a chance to post about our science center experiment last week. We planted seeds in various ways. 1) We put seeds on damp paper towels and hung them in the window. 2) We put sprout seeds in a jar on the dining room table. 3) We planted seeds in soil in jars (covered with glad-wrap to trap the moisture). 4) And, we planted some seeds in the garden.

The kids really enjoyed this project and checked their seeds daily. This is always a big hit and it was time to do it again as we hadn't watched seeds sprout in quite some time. I really recommend using sprouts if you have young kids because they germinate so quickly.
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