Category Archives: art

STEAM Summer Camps

Happy Summer everyone! I am so excited to have lots of time to hang out with my #1 kid before she heads off to first grade (and all day school! eeks!) I like to have a lot of summer plans to avoid lots of down time (aka TV time). steam I will be honest- as a teacher mom I have been frustrated with the lack of differentiated curriculum and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning in our schools. So I have taken it upon myself to provide my daughter with more extensive activities based on these areas and her interests and abilities. I was introduced to Core Knowledge by my sister and a colleague and knew it was a curriculum I wanted to integrate into our activities as well. Core Knowledge is a comprehensive curriculum that builds on the knowledge of previous years. I took some units from this program, tied them in with STEAM, and came up with this summer camp program. I am really excited about it!

The basis of this program is to provide my daughter with activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). Every week we will be experimenting with Science on Saturdays. There will also be a weekly Engineering Challenge. The majority of our STEAM learning however will be from learning camps we will have on Thursdays and Fridays. I have a lot of science camps planned (based on content from Core Knowledge and my daughter’s interests) as well as Art, Music, and Math camps. Each camp has different ways you can integrate STEAM. For example, the Rock Camp will not only teach kids the science behind the rock groups, but have ways to incorporate technology, engineering, art, and math into your lessons.

Here is our weekly plan:

Make Something STEAMy Monday: (art project/fun treat/iMovie/etc) centered around STEAM

Take a Trip Tuesday: a day we can take a STEAM centered field trip

Wednesday: Worksheet (I just had to sneak in one day of paper and pencil work) and work on an Engineering Challenge. I made a letter template so the challenges could be done with friends who live far away.

engineering

Engineering Challenge idea

letter

STEAM Engineering Challenge Letter template

Thursday and Friday: STEAM camp

astronomy

Sample STEAM camp idea sheet

Science Saturday with Daddy

science saturday

Science Saturday ideas

I am uploading my plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. Feel free to download and let me know what you think! There are also lots of STEAM based activities that can be found in many communities. Check your local library… many libraries will have science activities that go along with their summer reading programs. I also know of communities that have “Arts in the Park” or “Science in the Park” activities. If you live in the Salt Lake area, The Leonardo Museum downtown will be opening up some children exhibits in a few weeks based on STEAM learning…. I am thrilled!!!! And if all else fails, host your own camps! Your neighbors will love you 🙂

Happy STEAMing!

Tooth Fairy Bag

Just a quick little post to show you how I organized my daughter’s “tooth stuff” so we were ready when she lost a tooth! I found a nice brown gift bag from the dollar store and glued a large tooth on it. So fancy, right? Inside the bag I added some of our children’s books about teeth as well as the tooth pillow I made for Boo. I love that everything tooth-ish is all together so when my daughter lost a tooth we are ready to go!

5

Happy Teaching!

Mommy & Me Book: Handprint ABCs

I am in LOVE with handprint art. It captures those sweet little hands in a way that simply melts my heart! Since I have become a Pinterest addict, I have pinned a ton of really cute handprint activities and about 9 months ago I thought I should start doing some of them. Yes people- the book that you are about to see took me 9 months to finish. Why? Well let’s just say it got lost in the never ending pile of things to do. 🙂

This is a simple run down: Boo chose the letter she wanted to work on and the object that she wanted to make that started with that letter. Sometimes we looked through my handprint art pinterest board, or websites like Red Ted Art (love her creative ideas!!!!). Other times my daughter came up with original ideas- like y is for yellow jackets. I bought a whole bunch of blank books from Bare Books awhile ago. They are very well made and sturdy, just like a real book. While having a prebound book had its problems (like having to leave the book open while the paint was drying) I am very happy with the final product.

Enjoy! Happy Teaching!!

DIY Telephone Number Bracelets

I saw this idea on Pinterest and fell in love! While my daughter has her phone number memorized, I wanted her to correlate the memorized numbers with the written digits. We have a ton of pony beads- and while I would have much rather used beads with pre-stamped numbers, I grabbed what I had and Boo and I started creating!

Materials needed:
beads (we used plastic beads- if you have number beads then this project will turn out much cuter!)
string or pipe cleaner
sharpie (in case you don’t have number beads)

Super easy telephone number bracelets (blurred out the number- sorry, I don’t want prank phone calls 🙂

On each bead, write one digit of your phone number. Then let your kids put their phone number in order on the string (or pipe cleaner). And voila! You are done! Of course you could do several extension activities- such as add the area code, see how many 2 or 3 digit numbers they can create using the digits in their phone number, using a separate phone allow kids to practice dialing their number, and of course listen to this fun song: (This is actually how my daughter initially memorized her phone number!)

Here are some additional resources to help your little ones learn their phone numbers:
squidoo: free worksheets for kids to learn to write their telephone number
KidPhone: helpful app to teach your kids their phone number
bright hub education: fabulous list of ways to help preschoolers learn their phone number

Teaching your little ones their phone number is SO important for safety reasons- hopefully some of these resources will help you accomplish this task!! These bracelets would be great to take anywhere your kids might get lost- amusement park, fair, zoo, airport, beach, etc!

Happy Teaching!

Summer Bucket List: Vinegar Fun

We are still going strong on our summer bucket list and have had a blast (literally!) playing with vinegar and baking soda! Here are some of the fun science projects we have done and links to the creative minds behind them.

Exploding Bags

Both my daughter and I loved this activity! It was fun to watch regular plastic bags expand and pop. We could of done this activity 20 more times but unfortunately we ran out of plastic baggies. I highly, highly recommend doing this with your kids!!! Visit All Things Beautiful for a great step by step tutorial for this amazing activity.

Fizzy Painting

If your child loves art and science- this is a must-do activity for you! It was fun to create and mix colors and watching the baking soda and vinegar reaction. Check out the tutorial on We Made That.

Expand a Balloon

I love it when I have just as much fun doing kid projects as my little girl! I was both amused and amazed watching balloons expand with the power of vinegar and baking soda. Visit Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas to see how to make this happen!

Summer Bucket List: Melting Crayons, Painting with Water, and Bathtub Paints

We have had fun completing some of our Summer Bucket List activities. I thought I would share a few of our favorites so far!

Melting Crayons:

Play Create Explore posted a fabulous art project using crayons and a candle warmer. You should check out her site- she has some great ideas!

Painting with Water:

This is a wonderful and EASY way to keep your little ones busy for a few minutes (maybe longer if your child loves painting!). Using water and a paintbrush, your child can paint away on the sidewalk and magically watch their artwork evaporate!

Bathtub Paints:

When I saw this idea on pinterest from Having Fun at Home, I was in love with the bright colors…. and the idea of making a mess in a small contained area that can easily be washed clean. It’s super easy to create (food coloring and shaving cream) and my daughter loved it!  I have read some comments online that the food dye can stain grout- we don’t have a tiled tub so that wasn’t an issue for us. It did make the bathwater black… so be prepared to give your child a second bath!

Hope you all are having a great summer! Happy teaching and playing! 🙂

Summer Bucket List

I have a MILLION plans for my family this summer (thank you Pinterest!) Instead of doing the old plan-the-days-in-advance method, I thought I would try my hand at making a more spontaneous and fun bucket list. And for the record- I hate that these summer to do lists are called bucket lists- I don’t plan on kicking the bucket this fall! Geez! But my ideas of “popsicle pail list” or “random jar of fun” just don’t have the same ring. So I’m callin’ this a bucket list! 🙂

Here is a pic of our summertime popsicle pail (see, it just sounds WEIRD). Notice that there are no cute summertime stickers on the pails- and for one good reason: I will be reusing these for every season. I am bound and determined to cross off some of my pinterest to do lists!!

As you can see from the pic, there are three pails. One pail for our fun activities, one pail for the completed activities, and a third pail to hold extra popsicle sticks and a fine point sharpie. Because I am continuously adding to our list. I think I add about 5 new ideas a day! Which is the primary reason why we have already started picking popsicle sticks. At last count I had a total of 125 things to do this summer!

All of our popsicle sticks are sorted into colored categories. The yellow sticks are things we can do outside in the sun, the blue sticks are summer time treats, the orange sticks are science projects, the red sticks are art projects, the purple sticks are learning activities, the green sticks are places we can go near our home, and the brown sticks are places we can go in Salt Lake (and beyond). This has provided to be SUPER useful already- when my daughter wanted to do something artsy she grabbed a red stick and voila! she had a summertime art project. And I was able to cross of an activity from my Pinterest list! Yay!

When an activity is completed, I have been writing the date on the back of the popsicle stick. That way if I decide to do a journal, I will know the exact dates we did stuff. And when some of the more easy and accessible activities are finished, I write the date and stick it back into the pail of things to do.

I thought I would include the activities we have in our summer bucket list. Of course the list can be easily adapted to meet your family’s needs. And I should mention that the pails are from the dollar section at Target, and the popsicle sticks are from the Dollar Tree. I just love a good bargain!

125 Things To Do This Summer


YELLOW (things to do outside in the sun)
1. bubbles
2. catch a butterfly
3. sandbox
4. paperbag scavenger hunt
5. water pinatas
6. water games
7. hopscotch
8. run in the sprinklers
9. make an obstacle course
10. pull weeds (not everything has to be fun, right? 🙂
11. sidewalk chalk paint
12. mud pie kitchen
13. hunt for predators with water guns
14. sidewalk chalk
15. ride your bike
16. wash cars, scooters, and bikes
17. plant flowers
18. play hide and seek
19. have a race
20. roller skate
21. play red light/ green light
22. play tag
23. plant a garden- even if its just herbs
24. kiddie pool in backyard

BLUE (summertime treats) I have a bunch of dinner recipes that I want to try that I will be adding to our monthly meal schedule (hopefully!).  I wanted to make the summer bucket list fun for my daughter, and pulling out a popsicle stick that said “grilled chicken fajitas” wouldn’t do much for her.
25. smoothies
26. campfire cones
27. cupcakes in ice cream cones
28. make sugar cookies and decorate
29. food paint
30. dip a banana in chocolate and freeze
31. take a picnic somewhere
32. muddy buddies
33. mini personal pizzas for lunch
34. candlelight dinner
35. make homemade taffy
36. indoor smores
37. homemade snow cones
38. frozen grapes
39. ice cream in a bag
40. make popsicles
41. use candy melts to make suckers
42. frozen jr mints
43. gelato
44. fruit kabobs

46. kool-aid ice cubes and 7-up
47. crabby sandwich for lunch
48. frozen fruit bars

ORANGE (science projects)

49. make bird feeders
50. freeze things and dig them out
51. oily fireworks
52. fossil cookies
53. static electricity
54. volcano in a mug
55. m&ms in hot water
56. glow in the dark party
57. weather cloud in a cup
58. blowing up balloons
59. ice sculptures
60. sidewalk egg frying w/aluminum foil
61. floating eggs in salt water

RED (art projects)

66. glitter toes
67. make a treasure map and go on a hunt
68. marshmallow and tooth pick sculptures
69. make slime
70. make a paper mache bowl

72. paint cement with water

74. fingerpaint
75. fingerpaint with pudding
76. self portrait
77. silhouette pictures

PURPLE (learning activities)
80. use a calculator
81. write digits 0-9
82. puppet show
83. sound sorts
84. write name
85. letter bingo
86. write and illustrate a story
87. follow direction cards
88. etiquette factory
89. Dora letter sound flashcards
90. number bingo

GREEN (hometown activities)
91. bowling
92. bounce house
93. aquatic center/ swimming pool
94. dinosaur park
95. splash pad
96. children’s museum
97. playground
98. duck pond
99. city museum
100. train museum
101. nature trail
102. nickelcade
103. Hill Air Force base airplane museum
104. nature center

BROWN (Salt Lake and beyond activities)
105. Symphony
106. Natural History Museum
107. Red Butte Gardens
108. Zoo
109. Kennecott Copper Mine
110. City Creek shopping center
111.State Capital Building
112. baseball game
113. planetarium
114. temple square
115. liberty park
116. aviary
117. childrens theater
118. Park City
119. aquarium
120. Church History Museum
121. Gateway
122. This is the Place State Park
123. ride the bus
124. fireworks
125. fair

I know there are TONS more ideas (Thanksgiving Pointe, Yellowstone, Dinosaur National Monument, hiking, Antelope Island, etc….) And there is NO pressure on accomplishing every single thing on my list. OK, maybe a little pressure- I mean, being able to cross off my entire list would be amazing!
I hope this list inspires you to make some fun memories with your families this summer.

Happy Teaching!

"Not a Box" Linky Party: Biome Box

I got the idea for this linky party after reading the book “Not A Box” with my daughter: a cute story about a rabbit who uses his imagination to turn an ordinary box into anything but a box. This post is all about using cardboard boxes in a fun and creative way!

Here is the cardboard creation we came up with:

This was a rainy day art project that consisted of painting 9 different biomes so my daughter’s animals could have a home. We just happen to own tons of small plastic animals. And it just so happened to fit PERFECTLY with our new learning unit on animals! 
I grabbed one of the boxes from our move (which just happened to be a box of my teaching stuff).  I opened the box so it was laying flat on the ground. 
After the box was flat, I drew 9 different biomes on the board: city, farm (both of these are totally anthropogenic, but thats where pets and farm animals live!), desert, wetlands, grasslands/savannah, tropical forest, alpine, temperate grasslands, temperate/coniferous forests (we are combining the two on our board), arctic, and marine- with a sandy beach for some of those invertebrates! After I had sketched out the outlines for each biome, Boo and I set to work painting. And yes, I craft on the floor. Not the best idea, I know…at least we didn’t spill paint on the carpet!!
We then added the animals to the correct biomes. I propped up the alpine biome (with a shoe) to make it more realistic- this way baby mountain goat can actually climb the mountain! 
Side shot of our biome box

Now it’s your turn! Submit any and all your cardboard box creations!! I have a mountain of boxes just waiting for some of your good ideas 🙂
And here is a link to my cardboard creation pinterest board– I am excited to pin your ideas!

Happy Teaching!

Upcoming Not-A-Box Linky Party

First of all- my daughter LOVES the book Not A Box by Antoinette Portis.

Because my family recently moved, I have a gazillion cardboard boxes lying around that needed some sort of purpose! I was able to come up with some ways to creatively use cardboard boxes and thought it would be fun to have a linky party Thursday March 15 – Tuesday March 20! Please, please link up any upcycled box project- whether it be crafts, cars, or kid creations.

If you don’t have the book, its ok…check out this cute video of the story. I just love it!


Hope to see you March 15th! 

Happy Teaching!

DIY Lite Brite Board

Ever since I made a light box (read more about it here) I knew I wanted to do something with all the lite brite pegs we have all over the playroom floor. I have been thinking HARD about how exactly to pull it off when inspiration hit me. OK, more like a piece of cardboard….

We went to Ikea today to get some bookcases. After my husband opened up the box to start putting them together, I noticed that encased in all the plywood was a beautiful, thick piece of corrugated cardboard. Perfect for a Lite Brite board- something we could add our pegs to and easily take on/off our light box. It was as if Destiny knew that we would buy bookcases and threw in a future lite brite scrap just for us. 🙂

Once I realized it was the perfect material for us to use, I set to work playing with lite brites. I made some mistakes (ginormous holes) as you will see in the pictures below… but I was just experimenting to find the best way to make a lite brite board!

Materials:
Light Table/ Light Box (read here for more details)
Lite Brite pegs
Corrugated Cardboard (can be found in packaging stores or Ikea!)

To Make the Lite Brite Board:
Mark one side of the cardboard with a “B”. This will be the back. It is important to remember which side is the back, since the holes made in the front are different.
Take a lite brite peg. On the backside push the peg all the way through the cardboard until it makes a little hole on the other side. For us, we just had to push it until the peg was flush with the cardboard but the thickness of your cardboard may be different.

Back of Lite Brite Board

Once you have made several holes, turn the cardboard over to the front side. Find the small holes and push in just the tip of the peg, so the top part is sticking out (just like in a real Lite Brite).

Front of the Lite Brite Board

Once I made a few random holes and saw how cool it was, I set to work making this semi-educational for my daughter. I wrote her nickname mirrored on the back and marked spots where I wanted to put the pegs.

Back of Lite Brite board getting ready to add Lite Brites.

Turn the board over to see the word “Boo” marked by tiny holes (not big enough for a Lite Brite peg yet).

 Insert just the tips of the pegs into the tiny holes.

Pretty soon you will see something like this… your very own Lite Brite creation. Boo will have a great time writing her name with these colorful pegs!

While I initially just played with it on top of the light box, you could also lay it against the side of the box. I also added another piece of cardboard on top to dampen the light in the room a bit.

One of the coolest thing about having a Lite Brite board (as opposed to the actual manufactured toy) is that you can turn it around and see the back. It was more cool than the front! The picture just doesn’t do it justice…. it was like little pits of color. Can you imagine the fun Christmas displays you can make with these in your window? 

 Here is a pic of just the holes- without the pegs its still pretty neat!

Our light box has been so much fun- there are so many different ways of playing with light. So if you happen to have lots of Lite Brite pegs laying around- consider making a board and using them on your light box!
Happy Teaching!
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