Category Archives: DIY

Summer Organization

For those that don’t know me well, I LOVE planning. It just makes my heart smile seeing organized lessons and ideas all bundled up in folders and binders with color coded titles… please say I’m not the only one! Anyway, when I was putting together the summer activities for my little family I knew I needed to revamp the organization. I had so many ideas that I knew I would get bogged down if I didn’t create an easy, educational routine.

And here it is. The ultimate summer organization system!

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This plastic drawer cart holds all the activities I plan to do each day. I love that it is all in one location and I can prepare in advance for the week so I can just sit back and have fun without scrambling for materials.

image_3This is what I plan to put in each drawer:

Monday

Read Naturally Book (a collection of timed stories my daughter reads and answers comprehension questions)

Piano Books (Mondays are the days of my daughters piano lessons)

Make Something Monday List (this is just for me: a list of different projects we can make during the summer. I put the materials in the Mystery Box that my daughter can open after her jobs)

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Tuesday

Summer Passport (a little journal where Boo can write down the places we travel to on our Take a Trip Tuesdays)

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Wednesday

Worksheet (just a random sheet with skills Boo needs to practice- nothing strenuous)

Engineering challenges and materials

Thursday and Friday

Materials for our STEAM camps (flash cards, books, lesson plans, manipulatives)

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Next Week– folders with our STEAM camp ideas, extra worksheets, Science Saturday List, our STEAM journal where we can record our learning

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I took our Summer Bucket List can and really narrowed down our ideas to things we can do immediately without any extra materials. We still are using the color coded system.  Our yellow sticks have outside games and activities, blue sticks are easy treats and snacks, red sticks have simple art projects, green sticks have local field trips (less than 5 minutes away), and purple sticks are movement and exercise games.

If you hear the words “I’m bored” a lot during the summer, than this might be the solution for you. The bucket list activities that require materials,  are far away, or are things that I really REALLY want to do during the summer are not in the can but are scheduled in our calendar. It just made more sense to do it this way!

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Our mystery box contains items that would be fun to explore and make creations with. After we are done with our jobs we can open up our box to see our special item of the day! The objects I plan on putting in our box include yarn, paper clips, straws, balloons, bubbles, jump rope, etc. Nothing too over the top. Boo can use that item during free play, to make a craft, to come up with a game, to do an experiment, ANYTHING she wants.  I am excited to use these items to spark a little excitement for engineering as well as just being fun and creative with something new every day… because lets face it, we all need a little change.

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There it is! I am hoping that these three organizational tools (plastic drawer cart with daily activities, Summer Bucket List can,  and Mystery Box) will help make your summer a little less hectic so you can enjoy these precious moments!

Happy Teaching!

Tooth Pillow

I saw these tooth pillows on Pinterest and decided to make one for my daughter. I am not the best sewer- but I love that my kiddo has a special place to put her teeth so the tooth fairy can easily find them! I put this inside of our Tooth Fairy Bag so those nights Boo loses teeth we are ready to go and know right where to find our little pillow!

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I love the cute little heart pocket for the tooth.

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Happy Teaching!

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!

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Happy Teaching!

Garden Light Night Light

Last year I went to a neighborhood emergency preparedness meeting. The focus of that meeting was learning about different light sources that were available when electricity isn’t available. It was a very informative meeting- but the take-away idea for me was using solar powered garden lights as a night light for your child. Not only is it something that your child can use every night now- but if an emergency happens your kiddos have a solar powered light source. No need to worry about finding batteries for the flashlight!  (Shout out to Anna Jeffs for the idea!)

I originally thought I would have to purchase a light and place it in a flower pot. But I went to Lowes and was thrilled to find the perfect solar powered light. Why? No corners or sharp edges (after taking out the garden stake part of course). My daughter could hold it at night and I wouldn’t have to worry about her getting poked with sharp corners. I LOVE it!

See how it sits so nicely on her nightstand?

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The entire nightlight comes apart- as you can see no sharp corners!

 

 

 

 

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And it stays lit for a few hours- depending on how much sunlight it picks up during the day. You could stick the entire garden light outside in the morning and by evening the light will be ready to go. I like to take the top off and place it in the window- just make sure the part with the solar panel strip is facing outside.

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There you have it- a bright night light that is safe for kiddos to hold and is perfect when the power goes out at night. Yay!

Happy Teaching!

 

DIY Seasonal Table Board

This was a fun family project that- while it isn’t necessarily teacher related- I just had to share!

I saw this beautiful wood plank dining table runner on Pinterest. I would love to give credit to the person who came up with this idea but unfortunately the link takes you to one of those sites that takes pictures from other bloggers without giving credit. :/

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My husband ran to Lowes, found a board (I told him to get the most distressed looking one he could find!) and had it cut to the length of our dining table. He also found a beautiful mahogany stain that we used on the board. I saw various sites online that showed how to distress a board with nails and other tools- I wasn’t brave enough to try their methods in fear of splitting the board or something else disastrous. We found burlap at Hobby Lobby, candles at various stores (including the Dollar Tree!), pinecones and various items from decorations we already owned, and put it all together. I love the way it looks!

I took the idea and decided that this was something that I could modify for all seasons. Here is what we came up!

Fall/Thanksgiving (October and November): Imagine how cool it would look with black and orange candles for Halloween! 

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Christmas (December):

red and green

Winter (January): My personal favorite 🙂

white

Valentines Day (February):

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St. Patricks Day (March):

green and white

You might be wondering what are my plans for Spring and Summer- at this point I have no clue but I will share them with you when I think of something!

Happy Creating!

Alphabet Book: Free Printable

A couple years ago I had a Book Themed Baby Shower for my sister in law. I have been getting a lot of people requesting the pdf of the ABC book I made (THANKS!) and thought I would share it with you all in a post.

This is a printable that you can use to make any type of alphabet book- its not just for baby showers! Imagine the possibilities- “The ABC’s of Our Family” with all family members picking a letter (or two) and writing a word that starts with that letter to describe their family. Wouldn’t that be such a fun family night activity? If you are a teacher you could use this pdf to make class books such as “Animal ABCs”, “ABCs of Reading (or Math, Science, any subject!)”, or “26 Reasons Our Class Shines- Our Classroom Alphabet Book”. Seriously the possibilities are endless!

Feel free to download our ABC pages– Enjoy and Happy Teaching!

DIY Days of the Week Clothing Organizers

First, I have to admit something:

I am obsessed with the dollar store. To the point where I may need some intervention.  My biggest weakness is for all the cheap organizational stuff. I find myself buying plastic bins with no idea what I will use it for… and they just collect in a happy, one-day-I-will-use-them heap in my basement. And it certainly doesn’t help that one is VERY close to my house, either. 🙂

I also have wanted to create something that will help my daughter get ready faster in the morning (my gal is just not a morning person). I have seen adorable hanger cards but they just weren’t what I was looking for (lacking durability). When I was meandering down the craft aisle at the local Dollar Tree and saw these foam door hangers at 3 for $1 I knew I had an easy, budget friendly solution! (side note: I really enjoy meandering down the aisles at the dollar store)

Here is my final product! Using 7 foam hangers and a sharpie! I know the dollar store has different shapes- the heart ones fit nicely on our hangers, so that would be my recommendation for anyone interested in making these. I also color coordinated the hearts on top by using red for the weekend, pink for school days, and yellow for weekdays with no school.

We pick the outfits once a week. If my daughter changes her mind about her outfit for the day she has every right to pick something else! This just gives her something to fall back on, for those late mornings. Which we have a lot of around here… 🙂

A closet door knob is a great place to store these organizational gems once the outfit has been worn.
We are not perfect at using this system. There are weeks that slip by where we haven’t used our clothing organizers. But when we do use them its been a wonderful way to shave off some time deciding what to wear in those chaotic mornings. 🙂
Happy Teaching!

Hairstyle Spinner

My daughter LOVES to put her hair in a ponytail (I have no idea where she gets that from…. it’s not like my hair is in a ponytail every single day!!) I try to do new hairstyles with her but she always insists on the same thing. So I thought I would make choosing a hairstyle more of a game. I used this old spinner I had and wrote different styles on each of the colors. I wrote ponytail, bow, braid, leave it down, and mystery (that is Mommy’s choice)- but you could add your favorite styles instead. Every morning my Boo spins it and whatever it lands on is the style for the day. So far it has worked pretty well and she won’t let me do her hair without using the spinner first!

You can tell I have been busy crafting- I have white paint on my nails! Lovely, right?

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!

Fall Bucket List

It’s time for fall! YAY! I love everything about this time of year and wanted to make sure we accomplished everything fun fall related- so we created a Spooky Pail List! I am excited to share our ideas!!

Yellow and Orange popsicle sticks in a festive Halloween pail

Just like our summer bucket list, I color coded our activities. I decided to keep it simple- completing our summer list got to be a bit of a chore- and while we didn’t complete it we still managed to do about 100 activities! It was WAY too intense. This is what I came up with- and yes, I only used fall colored popsicle sticks which I purchased at the Dollar Tree (that store is my one true weakness).

Yellow Popsicle Sticks (food and treat ideas)
fall cookies
pumpkin pie milkshakewe had this last year and it was SO good- even my husband who hates pumpkiny food liked it!
bake pies
caramel apples

other Yellow ideas that we MIGHT do:
homemade chili
homemade bread bowls
caramel apple cider
plus 50 more fall treat ideasthey look SO good!

Orange Popsicle sticks (activities)
nature walk/ hike
corn maze
pumpkin patch
hay ride
football game
apple orchard
city’s annual pumpkin walk
play in a leaf pile- and take pictures
“boo” our neighbors (so if you happen to be my neighbor and you are reading this- kindly disregard what I just wrote)
leaf art
decorate a pumpkin
scary movie
13 Days of Halloween countdown
Mummy on the Move

other Orange ideas that we might do:
spider ring hair
sprouting pumpkin seeds inside a pumpkin

We are going to be adding Brown Popsicle sticks to our container in November- these will be our Thanksgiving related activities.
Here are some ideas:
thankful rolls
thanksgiving countdown activity for kids- looks super cute!
little turkey cookies
yarn ball thankful turkey

Hope you all have a wonderful fall! Happy Teaching!

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