Category Archives: fun days

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!

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!

June 2012 Holiday Calendar

There are some fun days coming up in June! Here is a calendar with a bunch of cool and crazy holidays to celebrate with your kids and family. Just right click on the image to save it to your desktop!

The goal: print this off NOW, choose the holidays that will be fun for my family, and prepare ahead for the celebratory activities… then sit back and bask in the glory of being a fun mom!
Reality: I will be staying up late the night before to throw something together for the day. 🙂

Some crazy May holidays are coming up-
May 25: National Tap Dance Day
May 26: Blueberry Cheesecake Day
May 28: Memorial Day (Observed)
May 29: Paper Clip Day
May 30: Hole in my Bucket Day (Just the thought of hearing the song “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza” is giving me a headache!)


Happy Teaching!

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!

Field Trip Friday Ideas

Here are some ideas for field trips for your tot (some may not be applicable to your area!):

  1. airplane museum
  2. dinosaur park
  3. duck pond
  4. train museum
  5. nearby walking paths
  6. bounce house places like boondocks
  7. exercise trail
  8. fire station
  9. local elementary school
  10. treehouse
  11. temple
  12. mall
  13. splash park
  14. great salt lake
  15. pet store
  16. plant/flower store
  17. nature center
  18. skating
  19. trout farm
  20. paint store
  21. post office
  22. small airport
  23. zoo
  24. police station
  25. bookstore
  26. farm
  27. bakery
  28. tv or radio station
  29. newspaper
  30. vet
  31. grocery store
  32. ice cream shop
  33. movie theater
  34. cabellas
  35. lagoon or other local amusement park
  36. dinosaur national monument
  37. hike a nearby hill or mountain
  38. umbrella walk in the rain
  39. rock hunt around the neighborhood
  40. local university
  41. chocolate factory
  42. library
  43. symphony
  44. baseball game
  45. red butte garden
  46. tracy aviary

The list could go on and on! The important thing is to get out in your area and provide your child with the background experiences to broaden their horizons.

Happy Teaching!

Latest Curriculum Ideas

I finally have a sec to whip up a blog post! My life has been so SO busy balancing work and mommyhood! Let me share with you some of the ideas for activities that we have done over the past couple weeks.

My Faith Mondays:
We have learned about the Old Testament prophets Noah, the Tower of Babel, the temple, and the Book of Mormon story of Samuel the Lamanite. We are currently working on the story of Joseph Smith and the origin of the Book of Mormon. I decided to spice things up by alternating weeks between bible and book of Mormon stories.
For Noah I used a file folder game found here and a lapbook found here.

My favorite part of our whole Noah lesson was hearing my daughter read (actually she memorized it) the memory verse: “Noah did everything God commanded him to do.”

To learn about the tower of Babel, my Boo and I built a tower up to a picture of Jesus. We then used Little People (valuable resource for learning!) to try and climb the tower to see Jesus. I then had Jesus tell the people that they don’t climb a tower to see him (in my daughter’s words “that is SOOO silly”) but we pray to him instead. I kept the lesson super basic and my little one caught on!
We learned about the temple this past week as well. We built a tower with blocks and used the Little People guy my daughter has named Tony as Angel Moroni on top of one of the spires. We talked about how we all got to go to the temple as a family and I showed my daughter her temple dress, after which she wanted to immediately take of her jammies and put it on (and for her thats a big thing- jammies are her favorite things to wear)! She has grown in the past 2 years however- but she still squeezed into her bonnet! We also had some of the Little People go to visit the temple- I had one of the people be naughty and told Boo that ‘cuz that person was naughty, she couldn’t go to the temple. She had to make better choices and be nice. NO time was wasted in repenting so all the people could be at the temple!

Samuel the Lamanite was another little story we talked about this week- using the megablocks and Little People again- we built a wall and had Tony a.k.a. Samuel tell the people (who happened to be Candy Mommy and Santa Claus Little People) that Jesus was coming and they needed to be nice. Kept it short and simple and to my daughter’s asking repeated it A LOT!!! She really likes her scripture stories!

Tumbling Tuesdays:
We picked up some hula hoops for Boo and she LOVES them! She calls them her “hula loops” – so cute! What do we do with them? We jump from hoop to hoop, we use the hoops as cars and run around the house, and eventually mommy will be using them for sorting activities. We also have gone on a few walks, been to the park to play, and learned new games such as Red Rover and Tag. Which my daughter CAN NOT get enough of!

Wednesday’s Words:
So this has been very low key- we have learned spanish words for eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, head, body, cold, and hot. I want to have her make a book of the spanish terms she is learning so we have an easy way to review words. That is still a project in the making, however!

Tea Time and Rhyme Thursday:
We have spent the last two weeks learning the story of the three little pigs. Initially I wanted to do a different nursery rhyme a week, but right now I am WAY too busy to gather materials for that.
For the three little pigs, we put on a puppet show and have played with these sequencing cards. She has had fun learning this story, however when I ask her to tell me the story of the three little pigs. more than likely she will tell me this” three little pigs, lost their mittens, began to cry….” and continue on with the story of the three little kittens 🙂 -she has that kitten nursery rhyme down!

Field Trip Friday
We went to the train station on a cold morning and had all the display trains to ourselves to explore! and a few days later RODE on a train to a nearby city, in a blizzard, to go to build-a-bear. On our way to build-a-bear we stopped by a planetarium to dry off from the storm and “walked on the moon”. It was a lot of fun! I have a list somewhere on my computer of possible field trip locations for your kiddos- if I can find it I will upload it!

Some things I want to ADD to our fun days: piano lesson (I have the workings of a very basic “piano” curriculum running through my head) math exploration time, and more arts and crafts. I am slowly getting a structure and routine in place- I just need about 5 more hours in a day to get everything accomplished! And one day a week where I can do some uninterrupted lesson planning!
If anyone has great spanish teaching ideas (besides watching Dora the Explorer) I would love to hear them!!!!
Happy Teaching!!!

Day at the Discovery Museum

Saturday was the kick off day for “Ready, Set, School” at the Discovery Museum in Salt Lake. Ready, Set, School is designed to empower parents to prepare their kids for kindergarten through activities and other resources. Although my daughter isn’t close to kindergarten age (she will be 2 in 2 months), she does know (and I mean KNOW) her ABC’s. So I thought that there would be some fun activities that she would enjoy. I was right!They had a large room set up with a variety of tables with different kindergarten preparedness activities (can be found online here). I had some of those proud Mommy moments as she impressed all the volunteers with her knowledge and vocabulary. I picked up some great ideas, talked with some impressive vendors, and got my “I miss teaching school” fix for awhile. We also got to pet a baby kangaroo- SO cute and tame. I just keep thinking of all the experiences my daughter has had this summer that have been adding to her budding schema!And did I mention that the museum had discounted prices as well! 3 people got in for the price of one. I love getting good deals like that!!And of course we got to play at the museum! Children’s museums are interesting places- where else would you pay to go fake food shopping and find tables and tables of different kinds of magnetic blocks…. I have decided it’s a good place to see what toys your child likes before actually buying them! I got some good gift ideas for her birthday while we played!!
Happy Teaching! Are there any fun places you like to visit with your tot? Let me know!

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