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Category Archives: Fun Projects

Rainy Day Fun – Inside!

The month of July tends to bring afternoon thunderstorms very frequently… as in almost every day.  Our children love to play in the rain or stand on the porch and catch rain water, but with all the lightning and thunder we’ve been having lately they’ve been cooped inside way too much.  So, we’ve used these rainy days to do some fun projects like the ones below.  If it’s not raining in your neck of the woods you can also call these your “Hot Summer Day” projects.

Tie Dye
Last week we tie-dyed shirts and socks.  It was a family activity with the children choosing the style and colors they wanted.  Then they watched closely while my husband and I did all of the twisting and rubber band work.  The finished products turned out great and we can’t wait to do some more.

Volcano
Recently the children and I built a volcano from a kit our son received for Christmas. They enjoyed helping me build the mold, pour in the plaster and then they waited patiently for it to be dry enough to paint.  I led them in the painting giving them as many tips as I could.  (I’m a bit of a perfectionist about some things and not so much about others, but I really wanted this volcano to look good).  The volcano was a long project but it was worth it to see their faces when we erupted it today.  Who would have thought that a little baking soda and vinegar could make two children so excited?

M&M Bingo
One of or favorite games to play is what the children call M&M bingo.  You can play it however you want, but we typically do a math or phonics bingo.  For the math bingo I use math problems that relate to what we’ve been studying making sure there is a nice blend of both challenging and less challenging problems.  For phonics bingo I include letters and combinations that I know they are struggling with and a few that I’m confident they know.
Since the children are at different learning levels each child’s bingo paper is catered to what they know and are currently working on.  I generally make my paper either the same as our oldest child’s, or I’ll make mine a combination of the two children’s papers using both some K5 level work and some 2nd grade level work.  This may not make sense, but hopefully the picture helps.

Reading Marathon
Have you ever had a book reading marathon?  Well in our house it goes like this.  Each person chooses two books they are capable of reading with only occasional help.  We all snuggle on the bed together and usually the youngest starts first (her books are shorter) and then our son reads his book then I read some of my book (usually I read a chapter out of one of the Magic Tree House books).  When I’m finished our youngest goes again with her second book and then our son and so on.  It’s nothing fancy, but focusing on each other and taking turns helps to keep reading fun.

Invisible Ink
Today we tried our hands at invisible ink.  I found numerous ways to do this online, so I decided we could try three different ways since we already had these items in the house.  For the first secret message we used lemon juice.  The second secret message was written in vinegar and the last was written in milk.  We waited a few hours and then checked the three messages.  It was clear right away that you could still see the message written in lemon juice even without applying any heat.  The vinegar message was somewhat visible, but it wasn’t clear.  The milk message was the most invisible, but if you held the paper up to the light at an angle you could see a shiny-like film where the milk had dried.  We then applied heat using a flame gently in front of the paper and the messages were clearly legible after that.  (I hope to add pictures of this soon.)

The next rainy day project I have up my sleeve is baking soda powered submarines.  I remember playing with these in the sink as a child.  I was excited to find these at our local Dollar Tree.  If you or your children are feeling the rainy day (or the hot summer day) blues keep your eyes open and keep your imagination “off leash”.

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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Fun Projects

 

Educational and Personalized Place Mats

Recently I’ve been trying to come up with fun ways to help our youngest feel special about starting Kindergarten.  She remembers when her brother was in Kindergarten at a private school and all the fun things they did so my goal is to keep her from feeling like she’s missing out on something.  So far I’ve put together a bag of brand new school supplies including crayons, markers, play-doh, a spiral notebook and her very own ruler.  We didn’t really need any new school supplies this year except for maybe the ruler, but I have very fond memories about getting new supplies each year when I was a child.  There’s just something about opening a brand new box of crayons that I love.

Below are pictures of my project from last week.  These are jumbo-sized place mats I made for each child to do their written work on.  I simply used some 11×14 sheets of colorful poster board and some larger sheets of plexiglass from Hobby Lobby.  Then I laid out everything how I wanted it and let the children write their own names on a strip of paper to give it a personal look.  Once everything was taped how I wanted it I simply taped the poster board to the back side of the plexiglass.

Our Kindergartener’s place mat

Our second grader’s place mat

What do you think?  Too much work or a nice place mat that can be re-done for each school year?

P.S. I know it’s difficult to tell, but the numbers 0-9 at the top of both place mats are their touch math reminders.  If you click on the pictures you should be able to see a larger version to see everything more clearly.

***UPDATE*** May 4, 2013
After 8 months of using these place mats I’ve realized the plexiglass just doesn’t hold up.  Our daughter’s has several cracks in the middle from her pressing down a bit too hard (possibly when something was underneath it?), plus a couple of the corners have chipped off.  I think laminating the whole thing would have held up better.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Fun Projects

 

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My Home – My World Project

Recently I was browsing Pinterest and came across this neat project for children.  It’s a little booklet that starts off with the smallest circle being My Home.  Each page takes things one step further and a bit larger.  The other pages are: My Street, My City, My State, My Country, My Continent, and ending with My World.

This project was a combined effort of both our children and myself.  Our youngest who is only 4 years old placed most of the stickers throughout the book and drew the grass on the My Street page.  Our son who is 6 drew the trees on the first two pages, drew the flag on the My Country page and colored the world.  They both seemed to really enjoy deciding what should go on each page and selecting which stickers to use.

I've edited out our street name for privacy.

What appears as a white spot is a dolphin sticker.

The stickers you can't see are an elephant where Tuscaloosa is and a tiger for where Auburn is.

God Bless the USA

North America

Earth

On the back of each page is a list of 3-5 facts about that page. Some of the pages were easier than others to come up with these facts. For the My State page I listed the state capital, state bird & flower and the state nicknames (Heart of Dixie or Cotton State for Alabama). To the left is the My Street page facts. Overall the project was fun for all of us and I plan to use it as a learning tool in the future. 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Fun Projects

 

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