Category Archives: faith & family

General Conference Puzzle

Who doesn’t love an interactive activity for kids to work on during general conference? I thought it would be fun to make a little puzzle. The plan is my daughter will fill out a few of these during conference talks. She will cut them out and place all the pieces in one baggie. During our next FHE (or in-between sessions) we will try to put the puzzles together- and my daughter can check to make sure we did it right. This will also be a great review for her since she will be checking our work. You want to make sure that there are at least two complete puzzles, otherwise it will be way too easy to put the puzzle back together.

There are two different puzzle sizes. Pick the one that works best for your family! 

Enjoy!

Happy TEACHing!

LDS Baptism Binder Freebie

When my daughter was approaching her 8th birthday, we wanted to properly prepare her to accept the invitation to be baptized. I had heard of families inviting the missionaries over to teach the discussions so they would know exactly what it means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I think that is so cool! As a former missionary myself I thought I could  teach my daughter the discussions. I wanted her to have a way to be involved in the lessons, so I made some handouts to go with each of the discussions.

We read the scriptures on each handout, filled in the blanks, and then added a picture that corresponded with the topic. It was super easy and by the time we finished I felt she was more prepared to accept the invitation to be baptized.

For the cover of our binder I used my daughter’s baptism picture. In the pdf I am uploading to this post I have created a baptism binder cover that you can use as well.

Most of the pictures I chose for the baptism binder were found on the church’s website. I added some pictures of our family and my daughter in her baptism dress on a few of the pages. You may decide to have your child draw their own pictures. It’s totally up to you!

I am uploading the PDF I created to share with you! Just click on the link, download, and print!

Baptism Binder Freebie

Happy TEACHing!

 

*clipart by Melonheadz, P4 TriOriginals, and Teacher gumbo  *Font by KG Fonts

 

 

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Summer Punch Reward Cards

Summer is here! YAY! I thought this would be a great time to introduce a goal card to my daughter. The basic idea behind the card is that whenever a child accomplishes a task related to the goal, they get a punch. Kindness was something that I thought would be a good focus, and I was ELATED when I found a darling goal card from My Sweet Sanity. She also has a reading and chore card… so cute!!!!

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The plan is simple. For every act of kindness, we  punch her kindness card. When the kindness card is full, she can trade it in for a special summer treat or activity on the rewards card (which will also get punched.) This prevents my daughter from choosing swimming EVERY SINGLE TIME and gives her the power of choice.  And when she randomly wants to get an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, I can simply point out to her that she needs to fill out her kindness card first. The whole object is to get my daughter thinking about showing acts of KINDNESS more frequently.

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I thought it would be fun to attach both the kindness card and the summer rewards card to a lanyard to make it more “official”. 🙂 Plus I think it might be harder to lose (hopefully!). I simply placed the cards in plastic lanyard sleeves. But you could laminate the cards and attach those to the lanyard instead.

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The lanyard also allows for the cards to be worn when we are out on the town- so I can immediately reward her with punches for good, kind choices (as long as I carry a hole puncher with me!). And I just love this How to Train Your Dragon lanyard!!

Rewards on our pass include: ice cream cone, snow cone, trip to the dollar store, pizza night with friends, family movie night, day at the park, swimming, and family campout. Feel free to download our pass or use it as a guide to help you make your own! (Just click on the image file below to download the pass).
reward cards

And we just happened to get lucky- our summer reading program is using brag tags to motivate kids to read. This is something I can easily attach to our lanyard. I love it!!!

Now some might say that giving your child a tangible reward for service or kindness is not a good idea. And I agree with that, to an extent. When a bad habit needs to be broken , or a good habit needs to be formed, I am all for doing everything and anything to ensure that habit is set securely in place. Sometimes we need to modify our way of thinking and our actions with those extrinsic things that motivate us.

Happy Summer!

10 Ways to Ponderize the Scriptures with your Family

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I knew as soon as the conference talk was given that the word “ponderize”, which means to ponder and memorize scriptures, would become a huge movement for church members. I have already been invited to join a Facebook Ponderizing group and I have seen and heard family and friends eagerly open up their scriptures to ponder and memorize. This simple little made-up word has sparked a fire in scripture study!

I have been thinking of different ways that I can share this excitement  with my family. I have a daughter who will be baptized this month and it is important for me to teach her how to learn to apply and understand scriptures. I came up with a list of 10 different ways that we could use this principle of ponderizing with our children and family… because learning scriptures can be for EVERYONE! You can pick one of these ideas or combine different ideas to come up with a unique way to study the scriptures with your family.

The Ponderizing Pail

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This would be a fun way to include all your family members in the Ponderizing process. During your next family home evening, have each member of your family write 3 (or more) of their favorite scripture verses on slips of paper. I do want to make a quick note here that quotes from modern day prophets and apostles would make great ponderizing material, too! Fold up each slip of paper and place them in your ponderizing pail. Explain to your family that each week somebody will get to pick a paper from the pail. The scripture on that paper will be the one your family will ponderize for that week. At this time you will need to explain to your kiddos what the word ponderizing means. It might be kinda fun to have them predict the definition.

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Have the youngest child choose a paper from the pail. Read the verse together as a family. Have the person who wrote that scripture explain why they picked it. Then place the scripture somewhere that everyone will see it. Throughout the week, make references to that scripture. Use specific sentence prompts such as “This scripture helped me today by...”, “I applied this scripture today by…”, or “As I was thinking about the scripture, I felt that I needed to…” It may seem silly or awkward to use prompts, but I promise you that it will teach your kids how to verbally express their feelings about the scriptures. You will be their scripture comprehension role model! At the end of the week, during your next family home evening, have a little testimony meeting allowing kids and parents to share their experiences with the scripture of the week. Then repeat the process!

The Ponderizing Picture Frame

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Choose a scripture to ponderize with your family. You may want to use the Ponderizing Pail method. It might be more beneficial for your family to take a few minutes at the beginning of your family home evenings to pray and search the scriptures together to find the verse(s) that speak to your hearts. You could even designate one person each week to choose the scripture you will be ponderizing. After choosing your scripture, write or print the verse. Place the verse in a special picture frame located somewhere your whole family can see it on a regular basis. There are SO many cute picture frames you could buy for this activity. You may decide that instead of doing just one verse as a family, you each want to choose your own. If that is the case, how fun would it be to get picture frames from the dollar store for each family member and paint and/or decorate them. This would be a great way to get kids excited about their scriptures!

Ponderizing Journal Blank Template

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You may decide that you want your kids to keep a journal of their weekly scripture. I love journals! For younger kids, it may help them to have a template to organize their scripture study. If you choose to go this route, click on the link to download the ponderizing scripture template.

At the top of the page either write or paste a copy of the scripture. Throughout the week kids can draw pictures of what the verse means to them. Older kids can write their thoughts and feelings on the verse. Maybe your child had a great experience where the scripture helped them to make a good choice. That would be a great thing to record. Place the journal pages in either a family or individual binders or journals.

The Ponderizing Family Notebook

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If your kiddos are older, you may decide that you don’t need templates. A fun way to get family members engaged in a scripture is to make a ponderizing family notebook. The scripture is written or pasted at the top of a blank notebook page. Throughout the week, family members can record their thoughts, feelings, even questions underneath the scripture.

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The benefit of this is that there is only one notebook, so everyone can see and learn from each other. You can answer each others questions or place a smiley face next to thoughts that you enjoyed reading. This is another great way to model for younger kids how to start thinking about the scriptures. And it will be a great way for those family members who may by shy to communicate their feelings.

A New Twist on a Popular Memorizing Method

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A few months ago I came across a great way to memorize scriptures at Simple Charlotte Mason. I love it! I love that you only work on one new scripture to memorize at a time, and I love the review of past scriptures. It is amazing!!!

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I was thinking about how I could take this great memorizing system and apply it to ponderizing. Since it just focuses on memorizing, take it to a deeper and more meaningful level by writing thoughts, feelings, and experiences on the back of the index card. That way you are not only focused on memorizing the scripture, but you also have a place to record  your ponderings. As you review past scriptures, take the time to read and reread the back of the card. We can so quickly forget what we have learned!

Ponderizing Podcasts, Videos, & Puppetshows

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Maybe you have a child who doesn’t like writing  (haha I know NOTHING about what that is like!) For those audio/visual learners try recording a podcast or video of your family scripture of the week! During your next family home evening, choose a scripture (either with the ponderizing pail or through searching and choosing together as a family). Record your family reading the verse. To help your children memorize the verse, you may decide to have them make up “scripture cheers” or take familiar tunes and “sing the scripture”. Once the verse is memorized, record them either saying it or performing it! At the end of the week, record each family member sharing their thoughts, promptings, experiences, etc. with the verse. If kiddos are shy or want to try a different method of sharing, have them use puppets to express their learning. Puppets would also be a great way to verbally model how we “think” while reading the scriptures.

Have a technologically minded family member take the different recordings and put them together into one video. It may take longer to use this method, but what a priceless way to remember your family during this stage… this is a wonderful future family history gem! And those visual learners will love watching and rewatching (and therefore helping them to remember) these scripture videos.

If all of this video editing sounds too complicated, just record the family reciting the verse and maybe one thought or insight they learned. You can quickly send that video clip to other family and friends who are ponderizing, too. 🙂

Color the Verse

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This is a simple way to get young kiddos involved in the ponderizing process. Type the verse using a block font such as KG Red Hand or KG Let Her Go. Print the verse and let your child color it! If you have multiple little ones, I would make sure to print enough so everybody has their own. 🙂 Place the beautifully colored verse somewhere the whole family can view and admire. Your young children will feel involved and included!

Ponderizing Pillowcase

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So this idea may seem over the top. But some of us like to do crazy things. I was thinking about how many times I do my best pondering on my pillow right before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. I thought it would be fun to take an old pillowcase and, using a fabric marker, write the scripture reference for the weekly scripture. Older children may enjoy writing the reference themselves. Right before you lay your head down on your pillow, read the reference. See if you have the scripture memorized. Think about what the scripture means to you. Set goals for the following day based on the verse. Fall asleep each night pondering the scripture. Every week add a new scripture reference and before long you will have a pillowcase full of verses and a wonderful new habit.

Ponderizing on the Whiteboard (or Chalkboard)

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During family home evening, have family members choose a scripture to ponderize together using the Ponderizing Pail or through scripture searching together. Write the reference and complete verse on a whiteboard or chalkboard in the kitchen or another area of the home where everyone will see it regularly. Every day, erase one or more words. See if your children can still say the scripture. By the end of the week it should be memorized. To help encourage pondering of the scripture, if room permits leave space at the bottom of the board for people to write thoughts, feelings, experiences, questions, and insights about the scripture. If there is no room on the board, use colorful post it notes to place around it. That way there is plenty of space for everyone’s responses!

Ponderizing Popcorn & Pajama Party

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My daughter LOVES having family sleepovers. They are probably one of her favorite things. Once a week (or month, or year…), preferably on a Friday or Saturday night, have a special popcorn & pajama ponderizing party in your living room. Set out sleeping bags and blankets. Sit in a circle and share scripture verses that you have learned together while eating popcorn and treats. Then hold a special testimony meeting where each family member can share experiences they have had that have strengthened their relationship with Christ. Encourage them to share their testimony of the scriptures. End the night with family prayer and a family sleepover.

A great twist on this activity would be to hold the pajama party outside. Set up a tent in the backyard. A fire pit would be a great place to sit around to make yummy s’mores and share testimonies and feelings about the scriptures (girls camp anyone?). We always need s’more scripture sharing time! 🙂

 

I hope these ideas will help you as you ponderize the scriptures with your family. I think one of the most important things that you can do throughout the process is to share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences, and insights with your family as much as possible. Don’t worry if it seems awkward or not eloquent- that’s not what is important. The spirit and example you are teaching your children is priceless. If you are afraid you might forget throughout your already busy and hectic day- set a timer on your phone, change carpool time to ponderizing time, or have your children remind you. If you are passionate about ponderizing, you will make it a priority.

I am so grateful for the scriptures and the guidance they have given me. I am excited to share this joy with my family!

Happy PONDERIZING!!!

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.

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Engineering Challenge idea

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STEAM Engineering Challenge Letter template

Thursday and Friday: STEAM camp

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Sample STEAM camp idea sheet

Science Saturday with Daddy

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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!

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!

8 Family Friendly Black Friday Activities

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with my family and I thought I would quickly post some of our non-shopping ideas for Black Friday tomorrow. I know most people love the bargains and the mad rush of running from store to store… but our little family plans on staying in our nice quiet home and will try to avoid the stores for the next few days :).  So for the past few days I have been brainstorming some different activities we could do that would not only officially kick off the Christmas season but also have fun with the “black” theme.

This is what I have come up with so far:

  1. Black Jack Friday: Instead of rolling the dice with what good deals you might be lucky enough to grab, have a game day with the family instead. Pull out all the card games/ board games, pop some popcorn, and just enjoy being together!  
  2. Black Board Friday: Take advantage of this day off from school to play school together. Have little lessons on the value of a dollar, advertising, etc for older kids- or for the little kids have a day celebrating the color black. And of course you don’t have to focus on Black Friday for your learning day- you can also use this time to reinforce/review/enhance skills your child is learning at school.
  3. Black Bag Donations: Grab a black sack (or cardboard boxes) and clean out your house with toys and clothes in good condition your children have outgrown that could be donated to those in need. I love the idea of totally switching gears and turning the shopping madness into a day of giving to others. 
  4. Black Bites: Create a menu of black foods to nibble on throughout Friday. Black licorice, black velvet cake, black berries, olives, and black rice just to name a few!
  5. Play Store: Have your kiddos set up some merchandise (aka run through the house and grab toys, books, etc), find or make some play money, grab a toy shopping cart or basket and a cash register and you are ready to go! For an extra twist have your kids make their own ads- this would be a great writing and art activity. 
  6. North Pole Breakfast: This idea has been floating around the internet for awhile. Have a special breakfast with the family to kick off the holiday season. This is the time we bring back our Elf on the Shelf (although ours is a reindeer).
  7. Decorate for Christmas! For those that decorate for Thanksgiving, Black Friday is the perfect day to set up the tree and enjoy Christmas decorations after the famous day of gratitude.
  8. Black Friday Math: Toddler Approved came up with this WONDERFUL math activity you can do with your kids using your stack of Black Friday ads. Check out her site for more information!
If you do decide to go shopping on Black Friday- be safe! And if you plan on staying home I hope this list helps you to plan a fun family day.
Happy Teaching!

20 Super Fun Holiday Events for Northern Utah

Christmas is on its way! While this is the most wonderful time of the year, it can also be very stressful. I have spent many hours scouring the web not only for good bargains on gifts but also for some fun local holiday events. As I am typing this post I have 10 tabs open with different holiday calendars. I was hoping someone else would make a great condensed list for me but alas I feel this is my Christmas responsibility to make this for you all!(Although this list from Enjoy Utah was VERY informative) And if you don’t happen to live in Northern Utah- don’t worry, maybe this list will guide you in finding activities in your community.
I am including a few Salt Lake County events that I thought some of you might enjoy!

  1. Layton City Christmas Lights starting November 25. Enjoy a free hay ride through the lights Wednesday December 11 from 6pm to 8pm.
  2. Temple Square Not only can you go see the lights, but there are several events such as Savior of the World, Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert, and the Christmas Devotional. Consider yourself blessed if you are able to get tickets to any of those events! November 29- December 31.
  3. North Pole Express at Heber Valley A pricey train ride but might be worth the trip if you have a train lover in your family! November 29-December 24
  4. Ogden Christmas Village Enjoy a holiday parade/opening ceremonies November 30 at 5:30 pm. If you can’t make it Saturday- don’t worry, this event is up until January 1. And visit Santa at the village Monday-Saturday nights!
  5. Weber County Winter Holiday Festival November 30 from 11am to 8pm. Enjoy holiday displays, a live nativity, music, treats, and more!
  6. Zoo Lights Visit Hogle Zoo at night for a spectacular light display! November 30- December 31
  7. Live Nativity I have never been to one before- I think this is a great way to bring in the Christmas spirit! The one I linked is December 4 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm but you can find them in most any community.
  8. Festival of Trees December 4-7 from 10:00am to 10:00pm.
  9. Holiday Open House at the Ogden Nature Center December 7, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Free admission as well as local crafts/bake sale and activities for the kids. There is also a fun educational program called Snow, Snow, Snow at the Ogden Nature Center where you can learn how animals adapt, travel, and hide in the snow on December 18 from 3:45pm to 4:15pm.
  10. French Toast with Santa on Monday December 9 from 5pm to 7pm at all Utah Kneaders. Proceeds go to Primary Children’s Hospital. (If you don’t mind spending more money Layton has a Breakfast with Santa on December 14.)
  11. Candlelight Christmas at This is The Place State Park December 9-23 Monday-Saturday evenings.
  12. Dickens Christmas Festival December 11- December 14.
  13. An Old Fashioned Family Holiday in South Ogden Chili dinner, tree lighting with the Mayor, and pics with Santa.  December 14 from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
  14. Here Comes Santa Claus Christmas concert performed by the Utah Symphony. December 17th at 7:00 pm.
  15. Santa on a Firetruck: A few cities have the privilege of watching Santa drive down the street on a firetruck. We happen to live in one of those lucky cities!
  16. Holiday TV Shows Planning on staying at home most of the holiday season? This is the list for you!
  17. Nutcracker This is put on by several ballet companies. While I plan on one day taking my daughter to the Ballet West production, we will settle for the Julie Moffitt Ballet School. We went last year and loved it.
  18. Community Plays: White Christmas, Christmas Carol, Littlest Angel at Centerville Theater, Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Ziegfeld Theater in Ogden, Forgotten Carols shown all over Utah and surrounding states, Babes in Toyland put on by the Utah Children’s Theater, and the 12 Days of Christmas at the Empress Theater in Magna just to name a few.
  19. Carriage Ride in Salt Lake or a Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride in Cache County.
  20. Peery’s Egyptian Theater So many fun events- like Brenn Hill’s Cowboy Christmas.
  21. If you are a member of the Treehouse Museum in Ogden, then you can attend the Santa’s Cookies and Milk party on December 7th or 9th.
  22. Centerville City has their Festival of Lights at Founders Park Monday December 2 with a special visit from St Nick himself!
  23. Bountiful has a Holiday Light Parade on Saturday December 7 starting at 6:00pm.
  24. Breakfast with Santa at the Clearfield Aquatic Center- fun activities for kids including an open plunge in their pools!
  25. Kaysville City has their Holiday Lighting and Electric Parade Monday December 2 at 6:00pm.
  26. Come see Santa light up the night at Farmington Station December 29 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Or have breakfast with Santa December 7 from 9:00am to 11:00am at the Harmons located at the Station.
Have fun planning your holiday activities this year.
As always- Happy Teaching!

Fall Bucket/Tree List

Just a quick post to show you our fall bucket list this year. I thought it would be fun to have our list on the wall so I could see all our activities. I like the idea of randomly pulling out a popsicle stick but I am too much of a planner to leave our day up to chance. 🙂

And when we complete an activity- my daughter can take the leaf off the tree and place it in a bucket! Just imagine all the teacher-ish questions I can ask her..”We just took three leaves down. How many leaves are left?” or “Are the number of leaves that are still on the tree greater or less than the number of leaves in the bucket?” and then there are all the science applications of why real leaves change color and fall… oh the educational opportunities excite my soul!

We can see our bucket list leaves falling just like the real leaves outside! And when fall is over-we can reuse the tree for our winter/spring//summer bucket lists. I just love this!!

Our tree is in our craft/school room

Happy Teaching!

Our Lego Day PLUS free Lego book template

A couple months ago my daughter and some fun playing and learning with Legos. I thought I would share with you some of our engaging educational activities!

1. Add with legos. Count the circles on top of two 2×2 lego bricks. The answer will fit on top of a flat 2×4 brick! Good hands on addition fun PLUS its easy for kids to visualize that there are multiple ways of getting one sum by just using different sizes of bricks.

2.Alphabatize lego blocks. I put little alphabet stickers on 26 legos and had my daughter make an ABC stick placing the blocks in alphabetical order.

3. Create with legos. We just had fun building dinosaur caves. This was strictly a play activity :).

4. Measure with legos! Make a “ruler” out of lego blocks and run around the house measuring in legos instead of inches.

5. And our last- and my personal favorite- activity was making our own Lego book. I scoured the web for a cute lego template and couldn’t find any. So I made my own :). And I have to say that I kinda like it!


Download the template for our printable book and have fun creating a lego book!

I hope this helps you have fun learning with legos! Happy Teaching!

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