Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homeschool Theme of the Week: Birthday!

With birthdays on the brain - how could we not have a week dedicated to such a fun theme. One of the activities we worked on throughout the week was "My Birthday Thumbprint" book. The basic idea was to have one thumbprint become the focal point of each page which showcased something you might find at a birthday.

To make this, you place one thumbprint on a paper that will be at the end of your book, then punch circles on the other pages where your thumbprint will show through.  Enjoy the end results below plus a couple of extra activity ideas and pictures!

(I apologize for the unadorned cover page - my daughter had not started coloring it when I took these pictures!)

Side note: I wish I could make this book available for free download but have no idea how to do so. Sorry!

This is a very easy and fun graph to make for your birthday theme. Just draw or type up the names or first initial of each month, then graph birthdays using a candle for each person in the family.

I often try to post words related to our topic in a pocket chart for the week, but this time I decided to do something a little different.  I saw the idea somewhere of painting by dipping paper towel rolls (or tp rolls) in paint and setting them on paper (thus making colorful circles).  I thought it might be fun to use this technique to make birthday balloons and then brainstorm a birthday related word to write inside of each balloon.  So that is what we did!  :)

A fun snack and creative art opportunity would be to give each of your children an english muffin and tell them it is a birthday cake that they must frost and decorate.  Give him/her items such as peanut butter, jam, nutella, cream cheese, raisins, string cheese circles, chopped fruits and veggies, etc. to "decorate" it.  Don't forget to add a candle and REAL sprinkles!  Here is a link to a similar snack activity I did with my child several weeks ago (only in this case it was a "wedding" cake):

MORE birthday theme related ideas:

*Read birthday related books.

*Insert a birthday related word inside a balloon and blow up the balloon.  Do this for several words and fill up the classroom.  Take turns popping the balloons and reading the words - place in a pocket chart or tape to an area of the room.

*Paint a birthday picture using REAL balloons.  Just dip small balloons in paint and dab on a picture to make circles.

*Paint using different birthday candles.  Use candles with different textures on them (spiral, dots, stripes, etc.).  Dip these in paint and roll on paper.

*Use real candles (not lit) on a paper cake to make up math story problems and math sentences.

*Make a paper birthday cake and cut into slices to practice fractions or story problems.

*Place a sparkly birthday hat in a literacy corner and call it the "thinking cap" of the week.  Child may wear the hat while writing a story, brainstorming, etc.


Linking up to:
A Crafty Soiree

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Happy First "Bear"thday Invitation!

It is Baby J's first birthday and "bears" is the theme!  What better way to celebrate than with a big first "BEAR"thday celebration!  I wanted to send a little something special with the invitations for the guests, so I came up with the idea of sending along tiny packages of Ginger"bear" cookies (gingerbread cookies cut out with a bear cookie cutter).  Check back soon as I plan to be showing a few pictures of the occasion in a later post!  :)

For anyone interested in knowing where the invitations came from - they are from an etsy shop called "The Green Grass Grows".  Andrea is awesome to work with!  :)

Linking to:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Nutcracker "Sweet" Birthday!

This was a really fun party to plan, and the birthday girl's excited cries and joyous exclamations were just icing on the cake!  :)  Although a bit early for what is often considered a Christmas season tale, the young lady of the hour latched onto the idea of having a party based on one of her favorite stories.  I was more than happy to oblige so without further ado, I give you A Nutcracker "Sweet" Birthday...

These are invitations and the book that we sent with the invitations so each girl would thoroughly understand the story and music behind this beloved tale before arriving at the party.  For pictures and more details regarding the beautiful invitations designed by Andrea of "The Green Grass Grows" (Etsy), see this post:

Instead of a wreath greeting the guests when they arrived, we hung a picture frame and candy canes.  We also posted a sign welcoming guests to the "Land of Sweets".

Once inside, the guests saw a sign asking: "Uh oh!  Where's the Land of Sweets?".  It then invited them to help the birthday girl find her way there.

We would of course need everyone's help so I had a temporary coloring station/activity set up while we waited for everyone to arrive.  Boxes of new crayons were hung on a bright pink Christmas tree (one box for each girl - these were also one of the favors the girls could take home at the end of the party), and pictures of characters from the story lay waiting for guests to embellish them.

Once all the guests had arrived, I led them to the mantle where glittery pink paper stockings were hung, one for each girl to take with her on the hunt for the "Land of Sweets". They were to fill up their stockings with fun prizes along the way as they followed clues leading them to the "Land of Sweets".

These are some ornaments which were tied to presents hidden for the girls to find. Each clue was related to a Nutcracker character. The girls had to then find a present with that character attached and open it. Inside was their next clue and some little treat or prize for each of them as well.

The hunt ended when the girls opened the final present, solved the last clue, and found their way to the "Land of Sweets" at last!

This was the small dining table which awaited the girls inside the "Land of Sweets".  Streamers and balloons in shades of pink added to the very festive look as well.

Behold the scrumptious desserts table!  Delicacies included:  sugar plums, peppermint hot chocolate sticks, white peppermint bark, white mice cookies, individual candy cane trifles, nut"stackers" (mini sandwiches made of layered bread, peanut butter, and nutella), and the birthday cake!

The cake topped with the Sugar Plum Fairy herself!

All in all, a simply delicious party!  :)
(For those interested, Nutcracker ornaments were purchased at Hobby Lobby).

Linking to:
A Crafty Soiree

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week's Theme: My Body (Body Mapping Activity)

This past week we followed up our "Nutrition" theme with a "My Body" theme.  Body mapping was our main activity for the week.  Each day we would discuss part of the body and its function and then add it to our life-size body drawing (see pics below).
I saw this idea on another blog and loved it!  Hers was more in depth, but for our own introduction to basic body parts, I was pleased with what we did.  We may do this again next year but add even more body mapping of organs, systems, etc.  Here is where we found this wonderful idea and some fun pictures of their own body maps in progress: utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/HmTrN+(Pink+and+Green+Mama)

Here is my daughter's body map:
Day 1:  We drew around her body to make a life size outline.  We then labeled basic parts of the body and also discussed "skin".

Day 2:  We discussed our skeletons and how they keep us from flopping to the ground.  :)  We then looked at a basic skeleton map on the computer and made some bones from masking tape and added those to our figure (we had to use the tan color masking tape because we couldn't find any white at the store, but if you can find white somewhere - that would make it doubly wonderful!).  Sorry the "bones" in the photograph below are a bit difficult to see.  Keep in mind that we did not go into great detail regarding the correct size, number of bones, etc.  Just trying to get across the basic idea of our skeletons and bone placement.

Day 3:  We talked about three major organs of the body and their basic functions: the brain, the heart, and the lungs.  My daughter colored some pictures I had drawn of the organs, and we cut them out and added those to the figure.  We also went back later on and covered the lungs and heart with more masking tape "bones".  The heart should actually be a little more centered I think - but oh well - maybe next year...

Day 4:  We discussed muscles and the important roll they play as part of our body.  We used red crepe paper to make the muscles on one side of the body (again, not perfect size, placement, etc. - but just trying to get across the basic idea of muscle all over the body), leaving the other side without so the skeleton portion was still visible.

When we had finished her body map, we proudly displayed this in the house!  :)

Linking to:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ice Cream Cupcakes!

Summer days will be over soon - why not have a small seasonal send-off and make ice cream cupcakes?  I'm sure I am not the only mom to think of this idea, but just in case you have never come across it before or thought of it on your own - here you go!  :)  

To make ice cream cupcakes you simply need to decide what ice cream flavors, mix-ins, and toppings you would like.  Just layer them into a firm cupcake mold (think of making a miniature layer cake), smoosh them down, and eat!  It is that simple and that delicious!

Linking up to:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Theme: Food Groups and Nutrition! :)

This past week our theme was "Food Groups and Nutrition". We enjoyed learning about why we should eat good food, which foods are better for us (and that we should eat more of), and which foods belongs in which food groups. 

This picture above is showing one of the activities that went along with our theme.  We made a double-sided puzzle together.  I purchased some blank puzzles on Amazon (there is a link below if you are interested) and my daughter drew a picture of herself on one side enjoying healthy foods (that is her sitting in her chair eating healthy food - you can see the kinds of food on her plate floating around the edges of the puzzle).   And in case you are wondering at the sad little figure in the corner - that is one of our family members who apparently bumped his nose.  

On the back of the puzzle, I wrote a message we came up with together - a very basic reminder of why we eat good food.  BTW - I painted the back of the puzzle white.

This was a great activity because it was fun and inexpensive to make (the puzzles come in a pack of 12 for only about $7).  AND we now have plenty of blank puzzles we can use for other extension activities in the future!  :)

Some of the other Food/Nutrition activities we did this week:

*brainstormed and wrote down examples of food in different food groups.

*discussed why the main/larger food groups are so important for keeping us healthy and tried to list at least one specific example of the way each group helps achieve this (ex: protein helps build muscles so we can move and do different things).

*looked at the basic "plate" portions recommended - the plate idea which replaced the food pyramid.

*Cut and pasted pictures of healthy foods from different food groups onto a paper plate - creating a balanced meal.

*Made a large circle on the floor (representing a plate) and used play food to make a healthy meal inside of it.

*Went grocery shopping together and let her pick out foods from each group to make a meal for us at the end of the week!  :)

* Here are some links to some games you can play online regarding food groups/nutrition:

Linking up to:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Nutcracker "Sweet" Birthday Invitation!

Why am I posting about an invitation?  Because I have the absolute joy of planning a Nutcracker "Sweet" Birthday for a beautiful young lady who will be turning FIVE soon!  

Her love of the Nutcracker began last year after reading the book and then attending a magical evening at the ballet performance with her parents.  Enchanted with the story, she was captivated by the idea of having a birthday with the same theme - and I was just as pleased to help plan and design it!  :)

I began searching the wonderful world of Etsy for the perfect invitation some months ago and found Andrea from The Green Grass Grows.  Her designs were just what I was looking for and after e-mailing back and forth about the invitation details and style - she came up with what you see above!  Perfect!!!  Just the right touch of magic and vintage Christmas!

We could have sent it just as it was, but after a quick consultation with the birthday-girl-to-be, decided to add just a bit of sparkle!  Here is the invitation getting her first coat of glam!

And here is the invitation complete with shimmer and shine (silver glitter around the edges and some candy cane pink glitter for the silhouette image)!

To enhance the enjoyment of all the young guests at the party, we wanted to be certain that they all were given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the classic tale and music before the event so each invitation was given or sent with a copy of "The Nutcracker" book and cd.  To heighten the anticipation further, we carefully wrapped the books in crisp, white paper and tied each gift with lengths of decadent silver/gold and pink ribbons!

Stay tuned for pictures of the actual event sometime in the next two or three weeks!  :)