Posts Tagged With: kids activities

Make Fun Egyptian Gold Bracelets!

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Toilet paper tubes, paper towel pieces, macaroni, glue and gold spray paint. Yep, that’s all it took to make these sturdy cuff bracelets!

When delving into Ancient-Egypt studies, there is nothing more fun that the huge variety of crafts and projects that can be done. This is a remarkably simple project that makes for some surprisingly sturdy costume jewelry for play. Captain made these delightful gold cuffs with just a little help from mom. And, don’t forget, these cuffs are for boys too. Egyptian men and boys adorned themselves with beautiful jewelry as well!

You’ll Need: One toilet paper tube per set of cuffs, a paper towel, white school glue, a small bowl, dry macaroni and gold spray paint¬†

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1. Cut the toilet paper tube in half. Cut lengthwise along the tube to make it cuff-style (so they fit on any sized wrist as well). The child can then draw a line where the macaroni is going to be glued on, if they wish.

2. Mix a squirt of white glue into a bowl and add a little water to thin it. Twist a scrap of paper towel and dip it into the glue/water mixture and affix it to the middle of the cuff, as seen above. Press down firmly.

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3. Spread white glue thickly onto the top and bottom border of the cuff (inside the lines if you drew them) and affix your macaroni.

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4. Bend the tubes back into bracelets and let dry.

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5. After completely dry, a parent, or other adult, can spray the outside of the cuffs with gold spray paint.

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Voila! They dry quickly and are ready for play. Again, they are quite sturdy and look so much cooler than one would think from the materials used to make them!

I hope you enjoy making these Egyptian bracelets too!

Gold thoughts and cheer,

Karen

Categories: Family fun, History Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Create Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphic Tablets!

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Who wouldn’t WANT to make their own hieroglyphic tablets out of sand dough?

Ancient Egypt has been rocking our household all summer long, and making sand dough hieroglyphs is full of gritty fun! Hieroglyphs are fascinating for kids, and I think this project would be terrific whether or not kids are studying ancient Egypt. Even for very young kids, I feel that this project is really beneficial because it is fun, and kids seem to have a natural fascination with Egyptian symbols. Basically, a simple sand dough is mixed up and pressed out into 1/2″ “tablets”, symbols are pressed into it, the dough dries and can then be sprayed with clear acrylic, or coated with Mod Podge. Kids can do as much of the measuring and mixing as they like with this project!

* This is one of those instances where I feel that just being exposed to the idea of ancient cultures, picture languages and sticky, gritty dough to play with is enough to stimulate even very young children. It is NOT important if they learn all the specifics of the history and social-science of Egypt! Just brushing up against these ideas and letting whatever crumbs (quite literally!) fall where they may is a wonderful thing.

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You’ll need: Two bowls, mixing spoon, 2 1/2 – 3 cups sand, 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons white glue, measuring cups, rolling-pin, a dash of dark red, or sand-colored acrylic or tempera paint (optional) and clear acrylic spray or Mod Podge, parchment paper, baking sheet, clay tools or spoon, chopstick, toothpick etc. It is helpful to have a book about hieroglyphs to look at and hieroglyphic stencils. *I recommend the book Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton, illustrated by Charles Micucci. It is simple and vibrant and includes a plastic stencil sheet too! It sells for $6.29 on Amazon. I found the recipe for the sand dough at a wonderful children’s art and craft site called firstpalette.com.

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Step 1: Measure 2 cups flour into large bowl stir in 3/4 cup of water and mix into a soft and sticky dough. Add 2 cups sand and mush it all together. Add glue and a small squirt of dark red paint (optional) and mix together. Dump out onto countertop and 1 cup of sand (as needed) to make a thick dough. Using rolling-pin, roll out dough onto lightly sandy counter until about 1/2″ thick.

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Step 2: Using stencil, clay tools, toothpicks etc. Press symbols deeply into the dough.

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We had a lot of dough and Captain used the last “tablet” to make a hand print for Grandma!

Step 3: Place tablets onto baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Be very careful when transferring them to the sheet so that they don’t crack. If you live in a low humidity area, you can let them dry out slowly over a few days, turning once in a while. Or, put them in a low oven for about 5-10 minutes to help start the drying process.

Keep an eye on your hieroglyphs. We had a little trouble with the drying of Captain’s hieroglyphs and two of them cracked. Captain’s reaction was terrific. She exclaimed “They look more real now!” ūüôā I love the spirit in her!

This project is very fun and we ended up talking a lot about The Rosetta Stone and Ancient Egypt. I hope you try these too, they are fun!

Here’s to getting messy and vacuuming up sand…

Cheers! Karen

Categories: History Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

DIY: Make a Rockin’ Backyard Tipi For Kids!

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Captain, or “Princess Akeezia” as she calls herself, may never stop playing in her $3 backyard tipi!¬†

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What you need:  5 or 6 heavy bamboo stakes (6 to 8 foot length), a heavy-duty rubber band, and something to cover the tipi (piece of fabric, burlap, or a sheet)

I cannot recommend tipi-making enough! ¬†What a fun and inexpensive way to provide your child with endless hours of entertainment and play (not to mention being a hero for it!). We bought our 6′ heavy bamboo stakes at an orchard supply store for less than 50 cents apiece. We will be going back for some 8 foot pieces as well! ¬†Simply gather them and secure at one end with a heavy-duty rubber band and, voila!, you’ve got the frame. ¬†Wrap it in fabric (we used a brown sheet, but wouldn’t a piece of fabric that could be painted be fun?!) and that’s pretty much it. We set the tipi up inside and then promptly took it outside for obvious reasons. The bamboo stakes are weather-proof, and a tipi can easily be constructed and left outside all summer. They don’t take up much room, and can transform even a small space into a wonderful imaginative world.

** Note: ¬†I tried to find the bamboo stakes at the local home stores but couldn’t find them long enough. ¬†You may have to call around to orchard, or farm supply stores to find big enough stakes.

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Secure with rubber band

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Dad wrapping the outside of the shelter.  The tipi is STURDY!

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Princess Akeezia

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Trying to knock the tipi down but realizing it is quite sturdy ūüôā

We would love to hear about family tipi-building here at Kartwheels!  We hope your summer is a beautiful one, and three cheers for all of the kids out there; their imaginations, their beautiful hearts and minds, and their need for FUN..

Cheers!  Karen

Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects, Social Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Make Summer “Camp” Lanterns From Recycled Cans!

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Sweet little lanterns make the table look so festive!

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You’ll Need:

Recycled tin cans, hammer & nails of various sizes, wire for handles, battery operated tea lights or tea candles (supervised), freezer or boards and clamps (explained below)

This project is so simple and fun… perfect for lighting up warm summer nights, or dressing the dinner table. They also make a sweet gift for loved ones!

Captain and I camped with a group of homeschoolers from HSC last month in Mono Hot Springs, CA. What an incredible place, and the people were wonderful! One of the moms, the eco-crafty Mary Ann, brought all the fixens’ to create tin can lanterns, and a great time was had by all who made one. Mary Ann said that she saw online that these can easily be made at home by placing a recycled tin can, filled with water, into the freezer. The block of ice inside the can helps prevent it from getting dented when hammering the holes in.¬†I would highly recommend using the freezer method if you can. If you decide to try this project while camping, Mary Ann came up with a great idea to replace the ice. She brought boards and some clamps to secure it to a picnic table. As you can see in the photos below, a piece of wood that will fit inside the cans extends out far enough that the can will slip on. This provides support inside the can so that it won’t dent while hammering the holes.

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You can use a permanent marker to make a design on the can, or just go free-form. ¬†When you have your design in mind (think constellations, hearts, names, or random patterns!) use the various sized nails and hammer to pound holes into the can. Hold the nail in place and give it a tap to “seat” it, and then give it about two more solid pounds and you’ve got a hole! ¬†Using large nails and small nails give the lantern a really nice look! Add two holes at the top of the cans, on opposite sides, for your handle. ¬†Handles can easily be made by snipping about a 6″ piece of wire and crimping it on. Kids can write their names and the date on the bottom of their can and they have a lovely summer keepsake for their rooms!

** A note about hammers, nails, and kids! ¬†I helped about 6 different kids with their lanterns, as hammering is hard work and they could only do a few holes before getting tired. The kids were in the 5-8 age range, and although a couple of them did whack their finger once or twice, they never complained or gave up. I told them how to seat the nail with a tap, and if they were a little afraid of hitting the nail with the hammer, I just encouraged them to try, looking only¬†at the head of the nail when they swung the hammer. ¬†It’s like the idea of “keeping your eye on the ball”- it works! The kids felt empowered and special to be hammering tin cans and doing it for themselves. So, don’t be afraid to let them go for it, just remind them to watch the nail head¬†and they’ve got it!

*We used both tea light candles, and little battery-operated tea lights for our lanterns.  I highly recommend the battery ones for fire safety.

Captain LOVES her lantern and was so proud to bring it home to show dad her memento of a very special camping trip. I made one too, and it reminded me that I had done this project on a Girl Scouts camping trip when I was a kid! What fun! I hope you decide to make these with your kids.

As summer rocks on, I wish you many good thoughts, glowing like little lights around the campfire!

Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Learn About The Night Sky With Constellation Collector Cards and Astronomy Fast Facts!

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Simple, bejeweled constellations on rounds of cardstock add a tactile (and glittering!) experience for learning new things about the night sky! ¬†Add a few reference facts on the back of each card and you may just be answering questions about the mythical story of Andromeda at the dinner table…

Greetings star lovers! Captain has been interested in the solar system, stars and constellations lately, and this project really goes nicely with the process. Stars really do twinkle up there in the sky, and why not have a little fun with some simple supplies to stimulate the imagination?

I got the idea to make constellation “rounds” from designer, and artist, Dina Edens of Country Eden. In her version, the stars of the constellations are made by using a hole-puncher, which means you can hold them up to any light and behold the lovely shapes of the pictures in the sky. Click here to see Dena’s cool astronomy punch-hole cards for kids.

To make our version you will need:

Cardstock in blue or black (we used a heavy “textured” cardstock and they came out nice and sturdy)

A glass, pencil, scissors, hole-puncher, ruler, fine black sharpie, book of constellations (pictures and facts) or internet, and adhesive jewels (*see photo below of the Recollections brand adhesive jewel pack that we purchased from Michael’s Crafts for $6.95. ¬†It has a nice assortment of sizes, and plenty of leftovers for other projects)

A “toilet chain” key chain, string, or a thin, old bracelet (which is what we had on hand to use ūüôā )

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Trace the glass onto the cardstock and cut out your rounds. This is an ongoing project for us, as it is fun and relaxing to make a few at a time and talk about them for a while. Using photos or drawings, draw the stars onto the cards and use a ruler to add the lines.  Older kids can do this part themselves. For the littles, a parent, or other helper, can draw the constellations for them. Do this all in pencil so that you can erase a bit to get them as accurate as possible.

Go over your lines and star “dots” with the black sharpie and write the name of the constellation and stars onto the card.

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Help your child choose sizes and apply the jewels to represent the real stars. On the backs of the cards, write a little bit about the particular constellation. There are so many things to learn!

Here are a few fast facts about stars and constellations to share with your little astronomer!

1. Stars are gaseous spheres that appear close to each other, but they can really be millions of miles from each other!

2. Some star formations appear to form the outlines of figures, and observers throughout history have given these shapes the name “constellation”.

3. Constellations are usually named after mythological characters, people, animals and objects. In different parts of the world, people have made up different shapes out of the same groups of bright stars. It’s kind of like connecting the dots!

4. In the past, these “pictures” in the night sky helped people navigate and keep track of the seasons.

5. Stars are composed mostly of gas and plasma, a super heated state of matter made up of subatomic particles. Cool!

6. Our planet’s sun is a star.

7. Why do stars appear to be different colors? Because their temperatures are not all the same. Hot stars shine white or blue, cooler stars appear to have orange or red hues.

8. Stars occur in many sizes, which are classified in a range from dwarfs to supergiants!

9. The constellation Andromeda is named after a mythical princess who was chained to a rock as an offering to a sea monster called Cetus. The star Alpheratz marks her head, and with binoculars, you can see lines of stars marking her chained, outstretched arms. The constellation also holds the Andromeda Galaxy. At 2.5 million light years away, it is the farthest object visible to the naked eye. The name Andromeda means “The Chained Princess”!

10. How many stars are out there?

According to astronomers, there are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable Universe, stretching out into a region of space 13.8 billion light-years away from us in all directions. And so, if you multiply the number of stars in our galaxy by the number of galaxies in the Universe, you get approximately 1024 stars. That’s a 1 followed by twenty-four zeros. That’s a septillion stars!

But there could be way more than that, and isn’t that delicious to think about?

Cosmic Cheers to all,

Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Visit a Street-Artist!

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Who wouldn’t love to capture themselves in cartoon? I want to share an inexpensive, and really fun, idea for a wonderful memento of a city visit. If you live in a big city, or have plans to go with your kids, perhaps you’ll try a visit to a street artist!

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Captain and I had a wonderful time last year in the great city of San Francisco! We were lucky enough to go with Captain‚Äôs two Grandmas (the ‚ÄúGrandma Patrol‚ÄĚ) and we stayed in a lovely hotel and got to experience many wonderful sights. One thing we did was to stop at the stand of a street artist, who sketched our portrait, capturing us in all of our pink-cheeked, freckled wonder. The experience itself is delightful, especially for us mountain-dwellers, for we sat surrounded by the powerful smells of coffee, flowers, baked goods, and salty ocean air, mixed with the exhaust of passing busses and cars, all topped with a slight whiff of urine. There were people everywhere, going by with intense briefcases, baskets of apples, rolls of paper, and flowers in their hair. There was a single man’s black leather shoe in a bush, as though placed there as a little sculpture of imagination. I still think about that perfect shoe in that exquisite bush. Fantastic!!

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We only paid $20 (including a tip!) for the sketch & matte frame, and the experience itself was priceless. Even though we live in a remote forest-cabin and relish the excitement and energy of city visits, I think that someone who lives in a place large enough to support street artists would enjoy doing this with their kids. If I could, I would do this one time each year, just to see the little cartoon face of my daughter change with age, the seasons and the particular artist who sketched for us. Our artist was a wonderful man, who told us all about his life and artwork. Doing street-sketches is how he earns money to live and to pursue his true artistic endeavors. He was quiet and reserved at first, but when I asked a few questions, without prying, we ended up sharing all kinds of interesting things about our lives and travel. Oh how I love people!!!

IMG_0691So if you get the chance, go out and support your local artists, in whatever form they choose to express themselves, earn income, and make memories for our families. I would like to wish our artist, who would rather his name not be mentioned, good travels and let him know that a couple of pine trees are waving to him from the Sequoias!

Cheers, Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Plan an Exciting Treasure Hunt For Kids to Find The Mysterious Black Cat’s Eye Diamond!

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Care to excite your kids into hunting for treasure? This is a perfect family activity for summertime! I would like to share our method for cooking up some delight for Captain. This activity takes a bit of planning, but is well worth the efforts! Burn the edges of some paper, create some clues, and find a cool treasure to hunt for (how about THE BLACK CAT’S EYE DIAMOND?), and your kids will be busy little pirates and full of imagination for an entire week ūüôā

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Here is a giant, glass jewel that I purchased at Michael’s Craft Store for $4.99. ¬†It is big, heavy, and very sparkly. You can use this idea, or find another treasure that would excite your kid/s. I tried to find this online to leave a link here, but they only sell them in the stores. They are usually on rack at the end of an aisle, near the flower vases. They also come in pink, red, blue, green and clear. I like the black one with iridescent colors in it and named it “The Black Cat’s Eye Diamond”. If there are multiple kids then perhaps some smaller jewels, coins, or something like that…

Method:

You will create 7 “main clues” that will be left for the child to discover when they wake up each morning, and 6 “hints” as to what the treasure is. The “main” clues will guide them to a location, preferable outside somewhere, where they will discover the “hint” in the form of a little puzzle or clue as to what they are searching for. The main clues can be written on any paper, but a kind of tan paper give it a bit more of an “antique” look. Burn the edges of the main clues with a lighter (you may find yourself burning paper in the night after everyone is asleep ūüôā The main clues can rhyme, or not. We also threw in a little math and some word scrambles. Our clues can be seen here below. They probably won’t make sense to everyone else, as they are custom to our kid, but she was delighted:

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Once your child figures out the main clue that you left them in the morning, they will race right off to find the treasure hint. Basically, on a little piece of paper, I left a fun clue as to what the treasure is, and for the last treasure-hint-clue, I told her what it was:

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Every morning Captain raced right to the counter to find her main clue! She talked about it all week and was really into it. On day six, when she discovered the scramble clue that mentions The Black Cat’s Eye Diamond, she was almost too excited to sleep….

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For the 7th day main clue, guide them to the place where “X” marks the spot. ¬†Basically I dug a hole and buried the jewel in a burlap sack that was tightened with twine into a bundle. ¬†(Kids love little realistic details, and when she uncovered a dirty ball of burlap, she gasped.) I covered the treasure with two sticks shaped into an “X”.

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She found the “X” and started digging…

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It’s in here!

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It’s real! ¬†The Black Cat’s Eye Diamond is REAL!

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Showing Dad her treasure.

Friends, I can’t tell you enough how worth this activity is! ¬†Coming up with some clues and hints wasn’t difficult, and it was fun to see my kid’s imagination go crazy and her patience grow. Most fun activities are over in a day, but this one stretches over a week, and I was surprised how patient she was. She seemed to like that there was no quick end to it. ¬†I also recommend writing up your clues ahead of time. I left the first clue for her on a whim, and then would find myself trying to whip something together at night for the next day ūüôā My husband and I had some sweet time together burning paper in the night, when I finally caught up with myself and got the rest done for the week…

If you decide to plan a treasure hunt for your kids, I would LOVE to hear about it.  What treasure would you use?  What would you name it?

Until then, happy adventuring. Remember being a kid during the summertime? These days of magic end so quickly. I try to remember to scoop them up, close to my heart. Some day I will wish that I could plant jewels in the ground and go treasure hunting with my sparkling child.

Here’s to the good ‘ole days of now! ¬†Karen

Categories: Family fun, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Create an Easy Archaeology Dig Site For Kids!

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Perfect for a warm Spring day, and lots of fun to boot, try setting up an archaeology dig site for your kids!  Captain, like many 5 year olds, loves dinosaurs and digging in the earth.  She asked me to set up this dig site for her, and it was terrific fun.

You’ll Need:

Plastic dinosaur bones (preferably the ones that snap apart so that the dinosaur can be reassembled at the end.) Or, for younger kids, solid plastic or rubber dinosaurs (no assembly required)

Digging tools like little shovels and a spade

Different sized paintbrushes

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2 paper signs for the dig sites. ¬†I recommend doing 2 separate sites, even if they are close together, if you have the space. ¬†This mimics “real” archaeology, as there are often multiple sites in the same area. ¬†I made signs that said “Archaeology Dig Site #1 of 2” and “Archaeology Dig Site #2 of 2”. This was the perfect time to show Captain what 1 of “any” number means. ¬†I explained at the site that it is like when you receive multiple packages from one source and they are marked in this way to keep track of how many there is total. ¬†She got it immediately.

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Go outside, without the kiddos, dig some holes and plant the bones/dinosaurs. ¬†Be sure to count the parts so that you don’t lose track of them! ¬†Tape a little sign on a tree, or lay it on the ground, to mark the two sites.

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At the site, encourage the kids to dig first with stick, shovel or spade. When they discover a bone, they can use the paintbrushes to remove dirt. Explain (if they don’t already know!) that when an archaeologist gets close to a fossil, they are extremely careful to not chip or break the piece. Brushes and other tools might be used for a very long time to ensure that no damage is done to the relic. ¬†After each bone is discovered, Captain carried it over to a separate area so that it didn’t get stepped on. This collection-area is where the bones will be identified, photographed, and reassembled.

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We took turns taking photos as there is ALWAYS a photographer at the site.  Here at the collection area, Captain is assembling a triceratops.

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I found all the pieces Mom!

I was surprised at how much time Captain took with this activity. ¬†We talked about fossils, relics, and what kinds dinosaurs could have walked the earth, in our area, millions of years ago. ¬†We are currently saving our money (Captain donated her Scooby Doo wallet full of coins :)) for a trip next summer to a real archaeology dig in Utah. ¬†We can’t wait!

You can find some fun archaeology (Egyptian) worksheets & coloring sheets here at schoolexpress.com. ¬†Dinosaur coloring pages can be found at EducationalColoringPages, and dinosaur craft ideas and coloring pages can be found at DLTK’s crafts for kids.

I hope you have fun setting up and digging for bones with your kids.  It is wonderful family time and exciting for imaginations!

Ancient, dusty, good thoughts to all,

Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

A Simple Way to Excite Young Scientists: Go on a “Specimen Tube Walk”!

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Captain had a blast with her test tubes today!

Who wouldn’t love collecting little bits of nature into neat little vials? ¬†It is so much fun! ¬†Today Captain requested some specimen vials to go outside and collect some samples of nature. ¬†She told me that she needed to go out alone and “be a real scientist”, and she had a great time! ¬†She stuffed her pockets with 5 little vials that I found at Target in the dollar bin (they were $1 for a pack of 10~ great price!) and proudly walked out the door. ¬†I can’t believe how valuable these simple tubes are for homeschooling, or for just about any curious child. ¬†It is a great way to get kids outside exploring and collecting, and the learning possibilities can go on from there.

For example, Captain collected her plants and brought them back to the house for identification. ¬†The vials each had a separate specimen contained within. ¬†She had gathered: wild strawberry leaves, rosemary, oregano, a wild grass and the leaf of a wild plant that is native to our area, that we have been meaning to identify. ¬†The act itself of collecting the samples is great fun, but to be able to find out what is inside these cute little vials is the basis for scientific experimentation in all of its budding wonder! ¬†If you are lucky enough to have a decent microscope, kids can really have fun looking at their treasures up close. ¬†What happens when you compare a pine needle with a strand of your own hair? Hmmm.. We plan to get a microscope as soon as we can since Captain is ready for it, and the cheap one we bought doesn’t work…It will be a joyful addition to sample-collecting!!

Even very young kids can have fun with these tubes, as long as they are old enough to know not to pop the caps into their mouths. ¬†The vials are made of sturdy plastic and are terrific to fill with sand, plants, tiny pebbles, pine needles, colored water, etc. ¬†(They are helpful storage for leftover glitter as well ūüôā ) I want to add that kids don’t necessarily need to be “learning something” by collecting samples and having fun stuffing test tubes. ¬†The very act of being excited to collect things, especially bits of nature, is very stimulating for kids, and it doesn’t hurt that science exploration grows from the basic desire to gather and observe!

I highly recommend inviting kids to go on a “specimen tube walk”!¬†Each child should have about 5 vials for collection and it is wise to instruct them to take their time and be selective. ¬†The tubes can be purchased at learning stores, and sometimes at dollar stores, so if you see them, grab some up for future projects!¬†Plastic test tubes with caps can also be purchased on¬†Amazon. ¬†They come¬†in a pack of 10 for around $8 with free shipping. ¬†Learning Resources has a terrific 6 pack (with rack) of larger size test tubes with colorful lids for about $12 (We really want to try¬†these!).

We would love to hear about your adventures with specimen vials, or other fun uses for them, here on kartwheels.

Happy exploring!  Karen

Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

A Wonderful & Safe Medium For Young Artists: Painting With Kool-Aid Rocks!

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Captain at 22 months painting with kool-aid outside on a sunny day

Want a better use for cheap packets of kool-aid than mixing it with a ton of sugar and drinking it? ¬†Mix it up as safe watercolors for your little ones! ¬†I couldn’t believe how simple and easy it was to do, and it really works well. ¬†Kids really love to explore art at very early ages by drawing and coloring. ¬†Why not give them a chance to paint too? ¬†Before Captain turned two, she had already done a lot of coloring and drawing, playing with clay, and finger painting. ¬†She saw me use paintbrushes when she was about 20 months old and wanted them for herself. ¬†I couldn’t deny her! ¬†I searched the house for something she could paint with that wouldn’t hurt her if she suddenly popped the brush into her mouth or got it into her eyes. ¬†I found some old packets of kool-aid (the ones that don’t have the sugar already added) in grape, lemon, orange and raspberry. I mixed them up with just enough water to make “watercolors”. They smelled good to her, but I told her that they were not to eat and she NEVER tried to eat the paint. ¬†I used the plastic tray from a box of crackers for a little “palette”. I taped down two pieces of paper at a time onto a table that was low enough that she could stand at it. I don’t think first time painting should be in a chair. ¬†I could see how much she wanted to move around the table and be up over the top of it. ¬†It’s exciting! Another cool thing to do is to tape paper to a post, or outdoor wall, so that kids can stand up and paint “easel-style”. ¬†It just adds more to the ever-evolving experience of art, in my opinion. Keep a glass of water nearby for rinsing the brushes and a rag for little wipe-ups.

This early art-experience was such a cool foundation for so much more painting, and more mediums, to come! ¬†She got to brush up (hello pun!) against methods, tools, and ideas, that artists of every age use, like a palette, real brushes, imperfections (there are spills sometimes, paper can get too wet etc.) and it made her feel very proud of herself. Okay, here is something else cool about kool-aid painting: You can make scratch-n-sniff works of art!!!! ¬†Yes, the fruity smells do wear off after a couple of weeks, but it is fun to make simple shapes, like a sun, and then scratch them to sniff the lemony sweetness! ¬†The thicker you mix the kool-aid paint, the more scent your “scratch-n-sniff” artwork will have. ¬†Fun!

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Tape the paper down onto the table to avoid frustrating paper-slippage 

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Oh, it is fun Mom!

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She called this one her “Bird on a Branch”¬†

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Captain got used to painting with the kool aid and then quickly moved on to washable kids’ paints. ¬†It wasn’t very long before she tried her first acrylics!

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Kids love to see their artwork displayed, no matter what age they are. ¬†This was our first “wall of art”. ¬†We used to regularly switch out the pieces for new ones. ¬†I’m so glad I took this photo to remember the beginnings of so many wonderful works of art!

I highly recommend purchasing an artist’s smock for children. ¬†An oversized tee-shirt works okay, but my kiddo tends to dive right in with paints and other materials, and I like to protect her clothing. ¬†We had a Young Artist Smock, which sells for $7.78 on Amazon. I liked this smock better than the “apron style” because it has long sleeves (for messy art!), slips on easily, and has a loose back, with a strip of velcro to close it quickly. ¬†These smocks come in only one size, which fit most preschoolers, and I only wish that they made them in the next size up!

I hope you enjoy this style of painting with your little ones.  If you do any kool-aid painting, I would love to hear about it here on kartwheels!

Cheers and fruity goodness to all,

Karen

Categories: Art Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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