Category Archives: learningtime

Human Body: Skin and Hair

Our human body unit has come to an end. Tomorrow I will be posting a list of our resources/printables- but as far as my daughter is concerned- we are done! And it feels good. This has been quite an educational journey for Boo and I. Tootsie (one of the MANY names we have given this human body chart) has taught us a lot about the body and how it works.

The skin and hair were really quite easy. We watched a video about the skin (Boo probably replayed this video 30 times) We talked about how our skin gets wrinkly after we take a bath. I had 2 extra body cutouts that I made- we took one for the skin- which we placed on top of the bones. We painted the skin a peachy color, and it looked marvelous. Then we put it on top of the bones and it didn’t line up AT ALL. Somehow all the body cutouts that I cut at the same time are a bit different. I set to work cutting off limbs and taping them back together so it would match up more… in the end it looks better, still not “perfect” but  we are happy with it (or do I say her?). Another adjustment I made was taping the muscle layer underneath the skin layer- the red plastic was just too floppy on it’s own. The hair was just yellow yarn- we also added yarn eyebrows. The second extra body cut out was used as a frame for clothes.

Painting the skin… It is REALLY hard to see the body on top of the matching dropcloth (brown paper courtesy of thanks for sending us yards of this brown paper with our last purchase) And I have admitted this in the past- we love to craft on the floor!

Tootsie is all painted! Just a reminder that this is a separate layer- the bones and organs body chart was taking a break! You can see the yarn hair, eye and mouth cutouts, nose, and red lips (extra red plastic from her muscles). And we had to make her modest. 🙂

The clothes layer was our third body cut-out- minus the head, hands, and feet. Boo and I used material to cut out a shirt, which we glued onto the brown paper. I used the brown paper for two reasons- first, it gave her clothes some support so they weren’t floppy, and second, I didn’t want to attach the clothes to the person- because we did it this way I am able to tape the clothes layer on her shoulders. If that makes sense….

For pants, Boo wanted to cut out orange and blue paper. She is all about the scissors recently.

Voila! Our person! You can see that the three body cut-outs aren’t a perfect match. Learn from my mistake- make sure that the layers line up correctly before you invest a lot of time into the project!

I just love this side look of Tootsie. 

I honestly admit- this is one girl that is definitely more beautiful on the inside than out. This weekend our final human body post will have all links to all our printables and resources!
Happy Teaching!

Montessori Jar: Cleaning Pennies

Boo and I have been a slacking in doing our Montessori Jar since we moved in December (OK, truth be told we had been slacking WAY before our move, and most of the activities that were in her jar mysteriously disappeared only to be found smushed in her plastic vanity drawer where they are at this very moment). Needless to say, I am excited to be back in the Montessori activity game!
I found the cleaning penny idea at The Science Explorer. We set to work gathering the materials- 20 dull and dirty pennies, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, clear shallow bowl, and 2 paper towels labeled “Rinsed” and “Not Rinsed” (the website suggests doing activities with nails and bolts- we just stuck to the pennies).

Gather your materials. I just love the little Rudolph face in the background! She was our little cheerleader during the activity:)
Stir salt in the vinegar until its dissolved. This was a great time to discuss with Boo what “dissolves” means.

Take a penny and dip it halfway into the vinegar and salt mixture. Count to 10 and…

Half of your penny is clean! So cool!!

After doing this a couple times (since it was super exciting for both of us), dump all your pennies into the vinegar/salt mixture.

After 5 minutes, take half your pennies and put them on the “Not Rinsed” paper towel.

 Take the other half of your pennies and rinse them well. Place these on the “Rinsed” paper towel. And now it’s time to wait.

After one hour, the “Not Rinsed” pennies will have a nice blue tint to them! The reason is that the copper atoms are joining with oxygen atoms and chlorine atoms from the salt.

This was a super easy science experiment that Boo and I both enjoyed. We just love science around here!!:)
Happy Teaching!

Human Body: Eye

We had so much fun today learning about our eyes! If you don’t know, my daughter and I are doing a learning unit on the human body. Initially I wasn’t even going to do anything with the eyes, other than paint them on the skin. However, my daughter had some cool eye ball chocolates left over from Halloween, and I thought they would go perfectly for a little eye unit… and after a few minutes of google searching we had some activities planned!

First, we talked about vocabulary. The sclera (white part of your eye), the pupil (black part which my daughter pronounces pwEEple- its so cute!), the iris (colored part), and the cornea (clear outer protective layer). We talked about how the eye is shaped like a ball or sphere. We looked at the blood vessels in our scleras. To learn more about the pupil, we did a short and easy science experiment. We got a mirror, dimmed the lights, and watched our pupils get bigger to let more light into our eyes. Then we turned on the lights and watched how quickly the size of our pupils was reduced. My daughter was AMAZED by this- we probably did it at least 15 times.  After watching our pupils dilate, we talked about our iris. I asked her questions like “What color are daddy’s irises?” Then we talked about how the cornea is clear and it protects our eye. When we touch the inside of our eyes, we are touching the cornea. Later, when we were finishing up our eye unit Boo told me that we should never touch our corneas and then proceeded to have her human body chart guy touch her cornea. I guess we can tag this guy as a stinker!
After munching on eye ball Halloween candy and watching a short video on the human eye, we grabbed paper and started cutting out the different pieces to our eyes. Looking back- I would have made the iris with a whole in the middle and the pupil underneath, but we did it the easy way by just gluing the black circle on top of the iris. So not scientifically accurate, I know!! And we cut out circles from an old sheet protector to use as the corneas. My favorite part of the eye model, I must say.
Once the eyes were made, we started working on the skin. So far it looks SO CUTE! I am excited to post about it tomorrow!
For more ideas on the human body, check out my human body board on Pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Human Body~ The Muscular System

Today we briefly talked about the muscular system in the human body. We talked about how muscles cover pretty much our entire body (that is why our illustration below is entirely covered with red paper), that eating healthy and exercising builds muscles, and that just because you are a grown up does not mean you have big muscles :).

We also stretched rubber bands and talked about the elastic nature of muscle tissue. We ripped scraps of red paper and talked about how muscles can rip and tear. This would have been a great time to talk about how the body can heal itself after this type of injury with proper rest and nutrition.

Since muscles cover a large portion of our body, I decided to cover our entire body in red. I was rummaging through my craft drawers looking for red tissue paper when I came across this old red plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Tree. It was PERFECT. Translucent, semi-durable, red, big size… perfect. I traced our body chart on the red tablecloth, cut it out, and stapled it to the body chart at the top. I love how I can still see the inside of the body.  It is kinda sad to be nearing the end of our human body unit. Tomorrow we work on the eyes and maybe the skin… this has been a long but very educational learning journey for us!

To learn more about the human body, check out my human body board on Pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Don’t Be An Angry Bird: Free Printables

I have been working on some printables to go with our angry bird/ anger management lesson (read more about it here) and thought I would share them with you all! I am SO thankful for all those that have left comments, sent me emails, and pinned this idea. It means so much to me. I just love it when I can share something that inspires and helps others. In a silly way I feel like a teacher again, with the world as my classroom…. cheesy, I know. But that’s just who I am! 😉
Clicking on the printable book picture will take you to our site’s wiki, where you can download each of the four pages. This is not designed to be a worksheet for a child to fill out on their own. Read the book with your child, and discuss the questions on each of the page. The goal of this book is to help your child UNDERSTAND their anger and learn some appropriate strategies to DEAL with it.


To download the posters, just click on the picture. For a black and white version, or the download isn’t working, check out our Angry Bird page on our site’s wiki. And make sure you read our original Angry Bird post to learn more about each of the angry birds and their role in helping kids understand and deal with their anger.

I hope these help you deal with your little angry birds at home! Don’t forget to comment and let me know how this is working out for you!
Happy Teaching!


Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages 

Human Body: The Urinary System

Our newest learning adventure on the human body was studying the urinary system. For some reason- learning about bones, blood, and the brain were exciting- even the digestive system was fun to teach….but when it came time to talk about urine- well, lets just say I procrastinated the topic for awhile. It doesn’t seem right to talk about this on a blog- I feel like I am pushing the envelope here!

We started our little learning exploration by explaining the scientific terminology (kidney, bladder, & just briefly mentioned the ureter and urethra). This is actually something we have discussed for a couple months. It’s kinda funny to hear a four year old tell you that she doesn’t need to go potty because there is nothing in her bladder. 😉

Tonight we worked on actually creating the urinary system. I taught my daughter how to draw a bean shape and she did a pretty good job of drawing one I might add! And then she cut it out…it looks completely different but I love it even more because she made it all by herself!

My daughter then drew the bladder. I told her to draw a circle- she grabbed the marker and said “I know Mom”… I guess she already knew the shape! The FUNNY thing is that she then drew the urethra. No prompting from me, in fact I had pipe cleaners that we were going to glue on. I much prefer her artwork. I just am so proud of her for knowing to add it!!

After seeing Boo’s cute drawing of the urethra, we cut out paper ureters to match. We then glued on all the pieces (lucky for me I didn’t glue the digestive system completely down!). 

After adding the urinary system to our paper body, we did a fun little science experiment. These are my daughter’s favorite activities in our human body learning. We made blood and used a strainer to filter the urine- just like a kidney. This is a very rudimentary example but it got the point across!

To make the blood, we used the following recipe:
red beads- red blood cells
white beads- white blood cells
yellow beads- platelets
corn syrup- plasma
water- water!

 Boo was so excited that we repeated the experiment 4 times! And she couldn’t believe that we actually made urine. She then proceeded to make her own science experiment- which tells me that she is learning to love creating and exploring on her own. Love it!

For more ideas on the human body, check out my human body board on pinterest!

Happy Teaching!

Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids


There are two major things that are prominent in our home right now: the Angry Birds game and a 4 year old learning to deal with her frustrations. Maybe it’s all the hours we have spent shooting birds at stinky little pigs, but I started to see a lot of connections between the Angry Bird game and my own little angry “chick”.  The angry faces, the lashing out at others, etc. Her anger was a big emotion for such a small child to control.
So the idea was “hatched”(pun totally intended): use the Angry Birds as a way for teaching anger management to my daughter!
And so far, I LOVE it. My daughter understands the inappropriate ways of expressing anger as well as strategies to help calm her down.

The background of this technique is simple: like most kiddos, my daughter was struggling with a few different inappropriate ways of expressing her anger. To help her understand this better, I assigned a bird to each inappropriate behavior.  Side note: It is important to explain to our kids that feeling angry is completely normal. Don’t discipline your child because they feel angry…just teach them the appropriate ways of dealing with frustration, and clearly define those behaviors that are unacceptable.

Perfect demonstration of those angry eyes!!
Let me give you a more detailed explanation of each bird:


The eyebrows say it all… this bird has the meanest glare in town! It is the perfect bird to model inappropriate facial expressions. Although this may seem like such a minor side effect of anger, most parents will understand when I say unruly behavior started with a certain look in a child’s eyes. And if looks could kill, well…let’s just say my sweet, SWEET Boo would be a lethal weapon! 🙂


Just like this bird cuts through wood in the game, our mean words can cut through people’s hearts. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is thrown out the window (in my opinion). We should speak to others the way we would want to be spoken to… tone of voice included. Yelling and screaming might not cut through my heart, but it definitely cuts through my ears! 🙂




Keep objects to yourself…throwing toys (or in the bird’s case- bombs) is not an appropriate way of expressing your anger! Not only can your hurt somebody else physically- you are not showing respect to your property.




Sometimes anger can build and build inside of us until we just EXPLODE…just like the bomb bird. It is also known as the kicking, pounding on the floor, wailing, gnashing of teeth behavior that we refer to as a tantrum. Our kids need to learn that when they are angry, it is inappropriae to let their body explode.



Once I had created these birds, I explained their angry behaviors to my daughter. We talked about better ways to deal with our frustrations (We don’t want to be like an angry bird!) When she gets upset now, she can tell me which angry bird(s) she was acting like- which I like because she can recognize the inappropriate behavior.

Boo learning about the angry birds

Here are some of the APPROPRIATE strategies I taught my daughter to help her deal with anger. Teach your child the different strategies, and let them decide which work best for her.

  • Go to the BIRDS NEST (aka bedroom or quiet place) until our body feels calm.

  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!  Deep breathing will deliver oxygen to our heart, brain, and the rest of our body. It will relax our bodies so we in turn can relax our mood. To illustrate this techinique- have your child take long, deep breaths to fill their lungs up like the orange balloon bird. Then slowly breath our the air, and repeat as needed. We call this the BALLOON BIRD BREATHING.

  • STOP and THINK. Think about the other person’s feelings and the consequences of inappropriately expressing your anger. OK, what 4 year old is going to understand that jargon, right? Have them think of the boomerang bird. Teach your kiddo that their choices will come back and affect them- just like that bird comes back. For example, if your child chooses to say mean things when she is angry, her friend might not want to play with her again. Her choice is coming back to her. Is that what she really wants? Another phrase I hear parents say to an angry child “How would you feel if someone said or did mean things to you?” Children need to understand that there are consequences for their behavior.  I know this is still a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but teach and model as best as you can. You may choose to focus on the BIRDS NEST and BALLOON BIRD BREATHING techniques at first.

What do you do if your little angry bird just isn’t cooling down on their own?
It’s times like this that the mighty Mommy Eagle swoops down, picks up the little angry bird, and puts her in piggy tower for a time out (which is currently against the wall).

Here is a short video of Boo learning about the inappropriate behavior of the angry birds via stuffed animals (baby ibex, baby triceratops, and a baby golden eagle- my kiddo loves her unusual animals!)


So there you have it: anger management for kids, angry bird style.


Just because we love the angry birds game, doesn’t mean we love the angry bird behavior in our little ones!

Happy Teaching!



Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages 

Quiet Kits: Digraphs Sort

Awhile ago I posted about our Sunday Sorts (sorting folder activity- perfect for quiet kits or just plain educational fun!). These sorts are simple, and only require the cards and a folder. We like these parent/teacher communication folders because of the clear inside and outside pockets!

I created this sort on the computer awhile ago- haven’t printed it yet due to low ink – and for that reason I have been putting off this post. So I apologize that there are no darling pictures of my girl playing with these cards…. maybe when I get around to buying ink (it’s so dang expensive!) I will have to update this post!

To download the free sort, click here: Digraph Sorting Folder Cards and Instructions

These cards took a long time and I am hoping that many of you out there in the blogosphere are able to use them!!

Happy Teaching!

M&M Patterns

My daughter and I made some simple patterns today with our Valentine M&Ms. I was worried about them rolling all over the place when the idea came to me to put them in our corn on the cob dishes (from the Dollar Tree- I am addicted to that store and might need some intervention!) It’s a simple solution that I thought I would share!

And when the pattern is finished, the candy is already in a dish that holds just the right amount of chocolate that my little ball of energy should be eating.
Happy Teaching!

Bubbling Math Review

If you are looking for a good math facts app, this might just be the one for you!

Bubbling Math is an app designed to help kids practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. It is great math practice, designed well, and there are lots of levels to unlock as the child wins trophies (cool, right?) But the thing I love most about this app is the parent section.

The cute answer bubbles change with each challenge- making it more motivating to complete just to see the changes!
Screenshot showing one of three levels. Each level has three challenges.

I LOVE that I can see how my daughter is doing with her math facts on this app. I can see the problems she missed- what a great way for me to see which facts I need to work on with her. As a former elementary school teacher, it is important for me to have my daughter not only playing educational games but to help me as her mom know how I can best help her.

My favorite feature: the parent section! Nice way to see the problems your child missed!

I also love that I can also decide the game speed. This was critical for me, since I still have to aid my daughter with manipulatives to answer the problems.

You also have the ability to decide on the operations (add/subtract/mulitply/divide) and difficulty level (easy/medium/hard/expert) you want your child to complete. There is a wide range of children (and even adults!) that can use this app.

It’s nice to be able to choose operations based on my daughter’s ability. Great feature!

I would rate this app 4 1/2 stars- I would love to see the ability to add multiple kids… for all those that want to use this app for your whole family. I just have one child now, so it works perfectly for us, but sometime down the road we might have another little one. I would also love to see the answers that my daughter got RIGHT. We could celebrate the accomplishments of her milestones as she masters specific math problems.

Boo really enjoyed playing this game! I thought it would be more of a struggle to get her to play a math game, but she was hooked right away. The feature that sold her was the fun answer bubbles. Small detail that garnished big results!

Overall, I am very impressed with the layout, design, and structure of this app. Although I received this app for free in order for me to write this review, I would spend the money to buy it!
Happy Teaching!

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