Tag Archives: curriculummapping

Enriching Your Summer with STEAM Learning

summer steamLooking for some ways to keep your kids learning while having a fun time this summer? Check out these ideas to STEAM up your summer!

  1. Periodic Table Battleship. So this is number one on my list for a reason. I think this is SUCH a great idea to get kids learning about their elements! I used a different table in our battleship game that included pictures. So perfect!!
  2. Science Headband Game. This one from Oriental Trading is cheap, but you could easily make your own.
  3. Make Ice Cream (by hand!) This looks like fun for the kids. Surprisingly I am not a fan of ice cream, so this doesn’t appeal to me. But I know my daughter would love it!
  4. Glow in the Dark Party. While this site has a gazillion things you could for a glow in the dark party, I am perfectly content grabbing a container of glow sticks at the dollar store and having my daughter put on a show with them in our dark basement. Fun and super simple! Just make sure to squeeze some science into the activity. If you are feeling especially ambitious teach your kiddo about chemiluminescence.
  5. Make Bird Feeders. There are tons of different ways you could make one (including having your child design and build their own invention). Birds are fascinating- tie in some extra ornithology activities by watching live bird cameras or dissect an owl pellet (GROSS).
  6. Make S’mores using a homemade Solar Oven. Delicious and a good tie-in to emergency preparedness. Not only because of the importance of having a way to cook food during a power outage….but because, let’s face it, in an emergency we will want to eat chocolate.
  7. Make a Straw Rocket (free printable HERE)
  8. Design and Build a Pom Pom drop This looks super easy- you just need paper towel rolls, tape, and pom poms!
  9. Build a homopolar motor dancer. Can I just say this looks AWESOME! I wonder if I could change the dancer into a spinning dragon or dinosaur…
  10. Learn the science behind yeast with a little balloon experiment. And then make bread knowing in your science heart why it rises. 🙂
  11. Apply your knowledge of conductors and insulators with some circuit testing. (I would also check out Snap Circuit boards for kids– they are fun for our entire family!)
  12. Use programming apps such as Hopscotch or Lightbot (our current favorite) to expand your child’s technology learning. And so they can be super cool and learn how to code.
  13. Make a sundial. I think I will enrich this activity with some discussion on the earth’s orbit and how it affects the sun’s position in the sky. And maybe watch some Neil Degrasse Tyson Cosmos movies.
  14. Fizzy Explosion bags. We have done this in the past and had a lot of fun! Just be prepared for your child to want to do this over and over and over….
  15. Make an Inventor’s Box. I think it would be fascinating to open up an old piece of electronics and see what’s inside.
  16. Teach your child binary and have them code their name with beads. Geeky enough?
  17. Make a compass. Then learn about WHY we have North and South poles and the Earth’s magnetic field. And then make a clay model of the Earth’s layers using a metal bead inside the center to show the magnetic core.
  18. Demonstrate the chemical reaction of citric acid and baking soda by making a lemon volcano.
  19. Teach nutrition using sites such as ChooseMyPlate.gov.
  20. Grow a lima bean seed. I especially like the use of a clear CD case to label the different parts of a plant.
  21. Something dinosaurish– not sure yet… but I need to keep my little paleontologist busy!
  22. Download my STEAM summer ideas in my TpT store.

Some of you may be wondering if I am going to be doing all of these activities. The answer of course is NO! I hope to get to many of them (except the owl pellet dissecting). But we just got approved to be foster parents so I know our life is going to drastically change. I can’t wait. 🙂

Happy STEAMing!

Curriculum Planned and Posted!

It was my goal this week to get my Boo’s curriculum posted for the year. I wanted to give her a very flexible, well-balanced curriculum that will not only help her to progress but to allow her and I to spend some good quality time together!! The recurring thought through this whole planning process was how quickly time goes by and that each minute is precious with our kiddos. With that in mind, I didn’t want a curriculum that would require me to spend more time preparing for lessons and less time playing. With that being said, here it is! In all it’s glory!!!
My Boo’s Learning Plans (a.k.a. Super Work!)
I have divided this section into 6 sections. I will write what each section is, the learning goals we plan to achieve, and the manipulatives we will be using to teach those concepts.


I have two separate learning activities: one is our reading program (hooked on phonics garage sale special!) and the other is our literacy tray, which will be word play activities. There is so much to consider when teaching your child to read- what do you teach first, when is your child reading ready, which components of literacy should you be integrating into the reading program,… I have thought long and hard about this and I think we are just going to dive in head first and see what happens! I will be doing a week of alphabet sound segmenting. My daughter knows all the letter sounds, I just want to work with her on breaking down the sounds. I think that will help her understand reading more. But who knows- I feel like my daughter is more than ready to read- why should I hold her back because of my apprehensions?
These little units will be chosen by my daughter. I think it is important for kids to have a say in their education, and it definitely helps if the topic matter is something that is interesting to her! I found a darling little science tool kit with all sorts of exploration tools for 1.50 at our local bookstore. I can’t wait to use it!


An outline of the Spanish that we plan on learning… I want to be very flexible on what we do learn, and if she has questions about other Spanish words or we happen to hear new words in our community, then our curriculum will adapt!

This was a toughy to plan. I feel like these scripture lessons need to be taught to my daughter in accordance with what she needs at the time. So there is no “set schedule”. but I do have some FHE ideas that I would like to use this year!

An outline of some of the art materials we have… I think it would be fun to center the art around our exploration study, the season, or holidays that are coming up.

I made two songs for my daughter’s little tikes piano. Once she has mastered that, I will move her to the real piano. Or who knows- I may start having her look for middle C now!!

Week in Learning

Can I just say I hate doing summary posts of our week in learning? Each day deserves its own special post- however I am much too busy to do that! So thank you to all who, despite reading the boring blog title and having no idea what you are getting yourself into, stand by and read anyway! I appreciate it! And I am away from my camera, so no pics yet. . .
My Faith Monday:
Nephi is obedient

This lesson was on learning how to obey. I am sure that this is a principle most parents teach their children. I laminated a darling story I found online to teach my daughter the story of Nephi getting the brass plates. She was bored out of her sweet little mind! I made “I can obey like Nephi” and “I can disobey like Laman and Lemuel” and we talked about our choices and how those choices have positive and negative consequences. I printed cute little stickers that said “I can obey” that would show the world that my daughter had now been taught about obedience and she would be fabulous at it. Sigh. When I pulled out the stickers, my daughter started bawling. Shouts of “I don’t want to obey” and “I don’t like obeying”could be heard. I have a picture of her pouting wearing the cute obedience sticker. Sometimes these well planned lessons just shoot off in a different direction! I do have some handouts if you are interested. Just send me an email!

Tumbling Tuesday:
Going on a bear hunt, Teddy Bear Teddy Bear turn aroundWe played these two familiar bear games that went along with our Goldilocks fairy tale for this month. Going on a bear hunt game was a big success as we followed the pattern in the book and went on our own bear hunt!
Wednesdays Words:
We kept on working with Spanish colors. She is doing very well- I am just too stinkin busy to do more with the Spanish right now! We did do some Alphabet sticker match up sheets. This is really easy to make- you just need a printout of the alphabet and stickers for all 26 letters. Boo would take a letter sticker and place it on the correct letter on the alphabet sheet. So easy- and yet she requested to do it twice! I need to post pics so you can see how EASY this really is!
Tea Time and Rhyme Thursday
We did more retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My favorite versions of her retell include visits from the Disney princesses, Goldilocks hiding under the Daddy bed, and the baby bear getting upset at the Mommy and Daddy for not eating all their porridge. The mind of a two year old makes me laugh!
Field Trip Friday
We went on a little hike up in the mountains. It was wonderful. It was loud (sorry to the guy on the neighboring golf course) and full of adventure. We saw butterflies, birds, a cold river (which had me in panic mode- I am so afraid of drowning) lots of trees and ONE bug. Not bad! And then it was off to a duck pond for scouts. The pond where my husband literally got attacked by swans and scared my fearless two year old. (Later in the car she told us that the swan poked daddy’s tummy and broke it- so funny!)
It is past midnight and I need to sleep! Find time to love your little ones! They are so, SO precious!
Happy Teaching!

Next week:
My Faith Monday: Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors
Tumbling Tuesday: Butterfly dancing and Act out the stages of the life cycle of a butterfly
Wednesdays Words: Caterpillar colors in spanish and more alphabet sticker match ups (lower and uppercase letters)
Tea Time and Rhyme Thursday- sequence cards for Goldilocks and the Three Bears and LOTS of caterpillar stuff
Field Trip Friday- Nature walk

Religious Curriculum Ideas and Teaching Tools

Just wanted to type a quick post with some curriculum ideas and tools that we are using during
our My Faith Mondays. There is so much material and great ideas- just find what works best for you and your kiddos and teach away! YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher!

  1. I found these Everyday Bible Story DVDs at the dollar store for, well, . . . a dollar! This is just one of the eight DVDs we got- and my daughter’s favorite so far! There are bible stories and music videos- nothing too fancy, but captivating and educational for a toddler or preschooler.
  2. We have also been using (just a little) these classic Scripture Stories and matching DVDs. They are designed for older children so we just kinda pick and choose what my daughter sees on the videos. I actually have memories using the old tapes to read along with these books- and the guys voice on the tape (and movie) is kinda scary.
  3. I love getting ideas from other websites- Sugardoodle.net is one of my favorites for religious teaching. Check out this post on a week long Easter experience for your family. There are also lots of other blogs I read to get inspired for activities!
  4. Music and books have always been a big part of religion for me. My daughter has been exposed to primary music and we are just recently listening to other types of religious music. We have been reading a variety of books on different prophets and events in the Bible and Book of Mormon. Some of our recent finds have been:
  5. We just bought this for my daughter’s Easter- she has the first book and is starting to get into the stories more and more.

I am currently working on organizing my religious ideas into a binder- that’s the goal for this week! These are just some of the ideas- I would LOVE to take our weekly scripture stories to the next level by applying one or two main principles (such as prayer with Daniel in the Lion’s Den, obedience with Nephi, etc..) I want to also add a little song, coloring page (for her scripture story folder), and a game (‘cuz thats how my Boo learns!) So much to do and so little time. . .

Happy Teaching!

January’s Curriculum and Menu Calendars

OK- I am finally posting my latest calendars! I have been really busy preparing to start a temporary job as a curriculum writer for a textbook company (this is SO up my alley- and I get to work from home most of the time, too…. such a blessing) I did want my beloved readers to know that I am still very much here and very much active in my daughter’s education! I wanted to post both my menu (to inspire you mommys to eat something new every night) and curriculum calendars (since I might not be able to post my learning activities as much, you can peruse this calendar and let it give you some guidance as to how you want to spend your learning time with your little ones!)
I added our fun little holidays in red…. can’t forget those days…. celebrating those off the wall holidays is one of my favorite aspects of being a mom. I am not following a set curriculum for January, other than the little one I created, for 2 reasons. First, the curriculum that I originally had (and loved) was just not meeting the needs of my daughter. And secondly, I wanted more flexibility in my day. And I really love the thematic days that Eva and I came up with- so I am going to stick with those for the time being!
My curriculum encompasses religious teaching, learning new Nursery rhymes/fairy tales, learning ONE spanish word a week (doing more was just too hard for me!), and spending time with gross motor skills activities. I read through my old Montessori checklists that I posted about a year ago, and fell in love with that all over again, and came up with a clever little way to integrate those skills. I printed the checklist, cut out each activity as a separate slip of paper, folded them, and put them in my daughter’s learning jar. Whenever we have a spare 20 minutes, we will pull out one of these skills to do together! There are learning activities from pouring beans between two jugs to folding clothes to grating carrots…. a huge variety!
I hope that your curriculum plans are coming along well- there is just SO much to do with so little time!!!
Happy TEACHing!

Our Week in Learning

We have had a busy week of learning!! I wanted to do a little trial run with our new daily themes before we opened it up to the blogging world. This week was a great success- I accomplished all the learning objectives I had planned, I didn’t spend a lot of time each day on the structured learning, and all the learning activities we did were varied and designed with her in mind!

My Faith Monday

preopener: marched around the room while singing the chorus to “Follow the Prophet”. My Boo kept saying “sing again” and we did- again, and again, and again…. (she was having fun while learning a primary song!) She will ask me now to sing “Sollow the proset” – she can’t say her f sound very well….
BRIEF lesson: looked at picture of the first presidency- learned their names (she sorta knows them already, we just cemented the learning a bit more) Then we colored the P page in our ABC’s of Church Coloring Book. While we were coloring (yes, I LOVE to color too!) we talked about the prophet and how we follow him.

The whole entire “My Faith Monday” experience lasted about 10 minutes- but it was educational, religious, together time! I added in a daily scripture story. Every day this week we talked about three prophets in the scriptures. It is has been a great way for us to start our mornings!

Tumbling Tuesday

With my preview week’s theme being Halloween, I wanted to do some fun and active games with my tot. I listed a whole bunch (found on our wiki) but we ended up only having time for two. We did a Ghostbusters scarves activity- which was very good for my Boo since she is learning how to catch. We also did a fun “Spider Dance” activity- taken from my good ole Itty Bitty Bookworm Curriculum!

Wednesday’s Words

No words this week: I was still deciding on how I would approach these lessons with my soon to be two year old. Eva had a great idea to do 5 focus words each week, and I think I will pick out three to work with my little one (to start with- who knows, she may pick up on these words faster than I think!) I have a special red folder- outside pocket will be the weekly word activity we will be working on, and the inside pockets will store previous weeks activities- one side for english, one side Spanish.

Tea Time & Rhyme Thursday

My favorite weekly activity so far… word of warning, sipping “tea” (we used water) while reading books may not work… my daughter was more interested in drinking than reading! And yes, we had puddles of water everywhere (luckily not on any books). Maybe when she’s older…. 🙂
We read The Biggest Pumpkin Ever (book on tape), Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Little Miss Muffet (book suggestions from Itty Bitty Bookworm). We ended up spending a good thirty minutes reading!

After reading the books, we did some art projects that went along with the stories. These pictures will be Halloween gifts for grandparents, Boo’s birth mom, and of course mommy and daddy!

Our weekly “rhyme”s were Itsy Bitsy Spider, 5 Little Pumpkins, and Halloweens Coming Soon. I downloaded these from Kididdles– a great website with TONS of nursery rhymes and songs. I have made a folder to store these sheets as we learn them each week (she has a couple we have done in the past- like the ABC song and Baa Baa Black Sheep)

File Folder Friday

I made two games for my daughter this week: a Halloween sorting (big, medium, small) and a Pumpkin Alphabet. My daughter knows all her uppercase and some lowercase letters, and I want to continue to work on that ‘cuz she LOVES her ABC’s!!! I hope to add some simple counting file folder games to do for fun as well.

I will store her file folder games in a small tote, and after we have done our weekly game she can go back and pick past games to review.

McLinky will hopefully be up and running for next Monday’s post- so if you plan on doing anything to educate your child in your faith, link up!! And that goes for the rest of our daily themes- if you think that diving into doing all 5 themes is too much, remember that you can pick and choose what themes work for you!

Happy Teaching!

New Curriculum Plans Coming Soon

I have been very fortunate as a blogger. I have learned a lot, made a record of my teaching ideas, but most importantly, I have met some really cool people along the way. One such pal is Eva from Handmade Beginnings. She shared the same enthusiasm back when we did our alphabet in July and now we have collaborated again to bring you some plans for the rest of the year as well as some simple daily teaching themes. Eva is an incredible teacher and planner and together this is what we have come up with:

  • last two weeks of October- weather, autumn
  • first three weeks of November- feelings, gratitude, saying thank you & other manners
  • last week of November- self concept
  • December- five senses

To help us teach our curriculum goals, we came up with the following daily themes:

Let me go more into detail:

This is the day we teach our religious beliefs to our tots through art, music, scriptures, and activities. Both Eva and I agree that it is important for us to share our beliefs to our little ones.
This will work really well with our weekly family home evenings Monday nights. I have started a “My Faith Monday” wikipage with an outline of my religious plans for the rest of the year. You will notice that I have planned a weekly scripture story, FHE lesson, nursery lesson(thats for my tot) as well as related art and music.

Tuesday is all about movement! Whether its learning rules of a sport, playing a good ole game of tag, or dancing to music- our Tumbling Tuesday is designed with the large-motor skills in mind! This was important to me because of how active my tot is- she LOVES to run, jump, and climb and I wanted to have set time for her each week where we could play and learn together. Our wikipage has the weekly themes on the left hand side and some movement lessons, games, and activities that correlate!

As teachers and concerned care-givers, we know the importance of building a solid language at an early age. Wednesday’s goal is to give our little ones some word work with increasing vocabulary based on our weekly themes as well as adding a foreign language. I will be teaching Spanish to my tot, while Eva is working on French. I will add actual word building work to my little one’s Wednesday routine when she is a bit older.
The Wednesday wikipage will have the vocabulary lists as well as second language words that we will work on during the week. I hope to add a fun teaching activity each week as well (matching english/spanish flashcards, etc)

This has to be one of my favorites! Imagine spending a cozy morning with your tot reading books, sipping “tea” and discussing favorite parts of the book (or story elements, connections, questions about the story, etc) Add in a weekly nursery rhyme and voila! Our Thursday curriculum is born! The books will most likely be related to the theme, and I will sneak in some Itty Bitty Bookworm books and activities as well. If your child is older, you could come up with rhyming words at your tea party.
The Thursday wikipage has our weekly theme, corresponding books, and a weekly “rhyme”.

This is the day for file folder fun! Eva has done this one in the past and we both feel like it’s time to try it again. Our file folder games will most likely go with our weekly theme, but of course this is a great time to review any concept your tot is learning as well. I want to do some ABC and 123 games w/my tot on a weekly basis to keep up and expand her knowledge of these concepts.
Our Friday wikipage will list our file folder games. I have added columns for ABC and 123 games.

You might be wondering-
Are you still doing Itty Bitty Bookworm? The answer is a loud and clear YES. Just like any good teacher, I am supplementing with curriculum that is completely designed for my daughter. Itty Bitty Bookworm has some great lesson ideas and printables- I am very fortunate to use it!
Why are all the Wikipages on separate days? For your convenience…. perhaps you want to do “Tumbling Tuesday” and “File Folder Friday”. Instead of looking at the entire curriculum, you can view just the days you want to participate.

Again- our daily themes are there to help and inspire the teacher in us all!
Happy Teaching!

Tot School Begins- Dinosaurs and more

Tot School

Boo is my brainy 22 months old tot who I can’t seem to kiss and hug enough

I have wanted to post my Tot school learning for some time- have been super busy, but took the time tonight to quickly jot down what my Boo has been working on this past week!

  • we started back up with our itty bitty curriculum! Boo LOVED reading books about babies, and one of the extension activities was to bathe a baby doll in your water table. Since we don’t have one, we just grabbed the baby bath from storage and used that instead! My daughter can’t get enough of water- this activity was perfect for her!
  • I hung an alphabet strip in my daughter’s play/learning room. She will know go up to the letters and say “big A, little A”. I wanted to teach her capital and lowercase- but those words are a little too tricky.
  • I had a small potted plant that was part of my Church lesson that has been designated as one of Boo’s responsibilities. She is in charge of watering the plant- no, all the water doesn’t make it in the flower pot and she still insists that the watering can is really a teapot.
  • Boo spent some time working on her shape sorter- we reviewed colors and shapes with this silly Elmo toy!
  • Played with my Yacker Tracker (a classroom management stoplight that will turn red when the noise is loud) I wanted my Boo to use it as a traffic light for her cars (she very recently learned what the colors on a traffic light mean and we review them ALL the time now in the car) but instead she runs up and says hi to all the colors. She is a very sociable little thing!
  • We stared at lots of bugs outside- my daughter got caught trying to lick ants- SICK! and yet, very creative in an odd way…
  • Boo tried her hand at tee ball. Great Grandma and Grandpa have this adorable little tee ball set and I am SO wanting to get one for my daughter! She does have a little sporty streak in her!
  • Pretty much every lunch consisted of the following: peanut butter, blueberries, tomatoes, milk, and cheese. A colorful, nutritious meal! (lacking grains- my daughter is a cracker baby and so she is not deprived of grains at all!)
  • Boo is all about large motor activities, and when I noticed she was struggling a bit with the concept of rolling a ball (she would throw it instead) we took out our CHEAP (i mean price and quality) bowling ball set and practiced setting the ball down and then pushing it towards a few pins. She seemed to catch on quickly and in fact grabbed another, bigger, ball to use instead since it knocked the pins down easier!
  • the big learning chunk this week was spent learning about dinosaurs. YES my baby girl likes dinosaurs! The fascination began after seeing the big green dinosaurs at local gas stations, blow up dinos at car lots, and then recently seeing Toy Story with Daddy (which by the way I totally want to get my daughter a potato head doll for her birthday- those things were the best growing up!) I took her to a local dinosaur museum which had lots of fossils, life size replicas of dinosaur skeletons, robotic dinos (made my Boo hesitate all of 5 seconds before running up to them and saying in her high pitched, squeaky voice “hi dinosaurs!”) and then there are several large dinos outside along a walking path. At the museum there is an area where kids can uncover dino bones in the dirt using paintbrushes. We had some of those sponge dino capsules that expand in water that we picked up from Target for a buck- those were a big hit! We would stare at the water and Boo says “changing” as the capsule turns into a dino! I also have a dino tub from second grade teaching days with plastic dinos- Boo was in heaven! She would have the dinos lay down and go to sleep, giving them big slobbery kisses and saying sweet “dreams”. When the dinos woke up, and before they could eat she said “puh-way”- folded her arms, bowed her head and said this sweet prayer: “dadada dinosaurs. Amen.” She then spotted a fishy (she can’t say “f” yet) and then revised her prayer to this: “dadada dinosaurs shishy. Amen” I love that she brings the girly, sweet side to the dinosaurs!

That is ONE busy week behind us!
Happy Teaching!

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