Monday, December 29, 2014

Big Sale at The Mailbox Books $1-$5

Mailbox is having a big sale on some of their books.  These can be very helpful in planning activities or giving extra work at hoomework time.  The books are organized by grade but many of the activities can be scaled up or down as needed.  $1 is a bargain even if there are only a few activities you can make use of.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Scientific Fun - Taking Things Apart!

One of the things my brother loved to do, as a child, was to take things apart to see how they worked and then to try to put them back together.  Although he usually took apart things that he wasn't supposed to be using as play things, like the VCR or Hair Dryer.  As an adult he loved to work on cars, mostly by taking things apart and then putting them back together with some parts left over! Oops!

My point is that he was very inquisitive, as many children are, and was always looking at things and wondering how they worked.  He eventually turned that into a career in Research and Development.

Remembering a time when he took apart my clock radio gave me the inspiration to bring in a few old appliances and some tools for the kids to tinker with.  We had a group discussion about the tools, I demonstrated their use, and we talked about tool safety.  I then set out some appliances, with their cords cut off, for my little friends to take apart and tinker with.  Several kids lost interest in it almost immediately, but those mechanically minded kids had those appliance apart in no time, examining each item, setting out their pieces on a tray, and even trying to put things back together again.  Of course, I admonished them not to use tools or try this on anything at home without Mom or Dad's permission. 

One boy was so interested he begged me to bring in something with a cord so that he could see if he could take it apart and make it work again.  I explained to him, and the others, that I cut off the cords because putting something back together incorrectly could be quite dangerous and might cause a fire.  That led us into some intricate discussion about electricity and how that worked and they came up with some amazing questions that we had to go to the computer lab and research to find the answers.

If you decide to do this....
  • Bring in only basic appliances with no batteries fuses inside. 
  • Remove cords so that they can't get plugged in and start a fire or electrocute. 
  • Teach tool safety. 
  • Closely monitor the activity. 
  • Encourage girls to try it out as they may feel like it's a "Boy Thing".  

I found this great blog post about taking apart a stuffed animal to see how it's put together.  This would work great if your kids are younger and couldn't work a screwdriver or pliers.  Click on the photo to go to TinkLab and check it out!
TinkerLab is a great site with lots of activity ideas.  Bookmark it or sign up for their newsletter to get lots of ideas!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Encourage Creativity - Teach Skills & Techniques

We are always looking for ways to encourage creativity in kids.  A kid with creativity can solve problems, make informed decisions and think in new an different ways!

One of the ways I encourage creativity in kids is to teach them new skills and techniques in art.  Most of the greats went to art school studied the previous masters and spent years honing their craft.  But we often just give kids the supplies and expect them to be creative with them.  What often happens is that they don't get any better at it and that is frustrating, of course.  If we spend some time teaching techniques and skills they will get better and will be able to get closer to making the art they actually want to make.

It's okay if you don't feel like an artist.  Look up videos on You Tube and learn yourself and then teach.  Or show the kids the videos.  I don't just mean showing How To Draw videos.  Those can be fun, but usually only show a single drawing. Unless you find videos that mix the learning of different techniques in with the drawing.  That would be great!

Some skills kids can have fun learning.

  • Color Mixing
    • Sketchbook: mix 100 colors. I like this 'challenge' so many kids mix the colours all into one lifeless muddy grey.
  • Sketching before you paint.
    • How To Draw. "How to Draw" is a collection of tutorials that will teach you everything from perspective basics to shading chrome. Never picked up a pencil before? Fear not! From simple line drawings to modern art and easy animations, we've got you covered. All projects come from and contain pictures for each step so you can start your masterpiece today!
  • Water Color techniques.
  • Where to place shading and shadow.
  • Using slightly darker or lighter paint to show shading and shadow.
  • Paper Sculpture
    • Paper sculpture techniques
There are so many more, but these should get you started!  Have fun and get those kids creating!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

If you have older kids that are mechanical or need something to keep their interest and keep their hands busy try .  They have lots of interesting 3-D models to intricately cut and paste. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

November 15 - Steve Irwin Day

 Steve Irwin Day
Is to remember Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, but more importantly to raise money and awareness for conservation of endangered animals.
Activity Village has some fun activities to help y
ou celebrate.  You could also watch some You Tube videos, read some stories about amazing reptiles and talk about ways to help endangered animals.

Monday, October 6, 2014

This Kids Should See This + Make a Hot Air Balloon

I've recently found this site called The Kids Should See This.  It's a great site with images and videos that kids would love and become inspired by.  They have found a lot of amazing videos that would fit into any of your themes or just something cool to show the kids as a reward or a way to get the crowd calmed down.  You can subscribe to the site and they will send you a weekly email with lots of fun!

One of the awesome videos that I've found on the site is this one about Hot Air Balloons.  It talks about the science behind them and shows you how to easily make your own with 2 garbage bags and a hair dryer.  Neat project the kids will be amazed by!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Mailbox Resources on Closeout $3 each or 5 for $10!

I'm sure you are somewhat familiar with Mailbox.  They now have some of their resources on closeout for $3 each or 5 for $10.  Some of these include centers that would be great for homework time.  There are also theme activities  with games and more.  Check it out!
1. Click this email and shop for Closeouts. No coupon code is needed.
2. Add 5 or more Closeouts to your shopping cart and each Closeout item will drop to only $2!
While supplies last. No adjustments on previous purchases. Subject to change without notice. Qualifying items are found on the page titled "Closeouts".

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Favorite Part! Sneaking in learning afterschool!

My Favorite Part Making Connections to Literature by Drawi
My Favorite Part Making Connections to
Literature by Drawing & Writing +Sub Plan
We want kids to keep learning afterschool, but in a fun way!  One of my sneaky ways is to get them to write and draw about their favorite part in a chapter book or picture book that I have read to them. 

They love to see these up on a bulletin board and show their parents.  The bonus is that they will also be able to recall the story and retell it, now that they have synthesized it into their own words and pictures.  Sneaky reading comprehension!!!  I have a worksheet available to make this process easier, including different size pages for different grade levels, at Teachers Pay Teachers, for only $1.25.  However, you could also make your own.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quick Tip - Card Stock = Toilet Paper Tubes

You know how you find all of these cute projects to do with toilet paper tubes, but would have to save them for 5 years to get all of the tubes you need? Easy fix!  Use card stock, in any color, cut it to size and roll it.  Staple the top, bottom and middle.  Now you have the tube you need!
This Marble Tube Toilet paper Tube Craft allows children to get their hands dirty (with fine motor work) and then get tons of visual skill work (and fun) with it later on! From Kids Activity Blog
12 Toilet Paper Tube Crafts for Kids! I have never been able to put so many Pinterest craft ideas to use so quickly! The binoculars were an instant hit!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One Line Drawing Art Project SUPER FUN!

Click the image for a great site with lots of fun art projects.
I love this project because it is easy for all grade levels. Basically it is ONE line that does not cross over itself. Straight, squiggly, curvy, whatnot, just cannot go over another line and should fill up the page.  Once the page is full, draw some geometric shapes and chose similar colors to color each shape. 
To me the circles looked like planets.  If you are doing a space theme have the kids draw circles in different sizes and tell them what colors to do for the different sizes and they could cut them out and glue them onto a piece of dark blue construction paper.  Use yellow or white crayons to add stars!