Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Homeschool Theme of the Week: Oceans and Beaches!

We had a break recently when family came to visit us and then we traveled to visit family.  But we are back in the swing of things - at least for a couple weeks until we finish the year.  This week's theme was "Ocean and Beaches"...

We did not have a sandbox handy for this theme, nor do I know of any great beaches nearby.  Sooo, I made my own sandbox/beach.  I bought a plastic container and dumped some play sand inside.  Miss A loved it and enjoyed making sand castles, digging for "treasures", etc.  Who needs a real beach anyway...

This is an activity called an "ocean in a bottle".  See here for directions on how to make your own.  We should have used more food coloring to make the water darker so you could see the division between the water and oil and benefit from a better visual of wave action.  Oh well.  Miss A still liked making this.  We added shells and fish buttons and some sand to ours.

I saw a cute idea here on Pinterest regarding putting treasures under shells.  I put my own spin on it and wrote a number on the bottom of each shell to use for addition facts.  Miss A would turn over two shells, add the two numbers together, write the number sentence in the sand, and if she was correct - would get to keep the two shells.  Then I would have a turn.  At the end, we laid our shells out (matching one to one) in lines to see who had more.

Part of the fun of going to the beach is searching for treasures in the sand which have been washed ashore.  But if you don't have a beach, you make do with your homemade sandbox (pretend beach).  While my daughter was busy with something else, I wrote out some words related to our theme and buried them in the sand for her to find and read.  As a special treat, I also put some gumdrops in a bag with the tag "buried treasure" and hid those in the sand as well.  :)

This was our fun snack for the week!  See details here.

While walking through a craft store one day, I was struck by the gorgeous jeweled tones of some acrylic gems and how they seemed to resemble the shiny, colorful scales of a fish.  Soooo, I bought some, drew a fish outline, and let Miss A pour on the glue and gems (the glue began to overwhelm the gem part so we added glitter to help).  I am thinking this would have been a super activity to go along with "The Rainbow Fish".

My plan for this activity was to do a crayon resist painting.  Miss A picked a page from a book, then drew and colored the scene on watercolor paper.  However, I made the mistake of having Miss A use crayons which were washable.  So of course, when she began to watercolor her picture, the crayon seemed to do less resisting and more blending.  I told her to try to avoid the other crayon areas and just paint around them instead.  So much for the "resist" part.  Oh well.  I am now wiser for it, I suppose.

We created a coral "garden" or "zoo" using cheerios glued onto shapes Miss A cut out.  The original activity (here) called for puffed rice, I believe.  However, I didn't have puffed rice so we used cheerios instead.  She then painted the cheerios to match the color of the shape and glued them onto a paper she had watercolored.

We also made "ocean pie" for our dessert night on Friday.  It was super easy and something fun that Miss A could easily help make.  I will try to post the details later...

We finished off the week by watching Disney's "Oceans" (a really well done documentary about ocean life) and eating fish tacos and "ocean pie".

By the way, if you are fortunate enough to live near an upscale grocery store with a great fresh seafood section - think possible field trip!  I know it sounds crazy, but I was shocked at all the neat creatures we saw at one  - dead - but real.  I think Miss A was highly intrigued by them, as was I.

Looking for some ocean themed books?  See below.

NOTE:  I'd love to feature some of my readers!!  If you have an infant or child related post or party you would like to share, please send me a link at and I will take a look.  :)

Linking to:
For the Kids Friday Photobucket

Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Ocean View" Snack

Here's a snack from our "Oceans and Beaches" theme last week.  Check back later this week to see a post full of activities and fun related to the theme as well!  :)

Snack details:

Blue jello ocean with graham cracker crumb "sand", kiwi and strawberry "coral", apple starfish, strawberry fish with a chocolate chip eye, and goldfish (parmesan).  The hairy looking "urchins" are actually rambutan shell pieces and not really edible (although the inside part is) but they looked sooo much like something one would find in the ocean that I decided to include them.  

Muffin cup #1:  Apple starfish for more decorating.

Muffin cup #2:  Kiwi slices for more decorating.

Muffin cup #3:  More parmesan goldfish.

Muffin cup #4:  Real seaweed salad.

Garnish:  Cheerios

See amazing snacks by other moms here:,

Would you like to be featured or mentioned on "The Nature of Grace" blog?  See here for details!

Linking up here:
Tip Junkie handmade projectsHip Homeschool Hop Button

Monday, May 21, 2012

Opportunities for YOU....

How many of you have started a project only to find out halfway through that it is beginning to take on a life of its own other than what you originally intended?  Well, that is what happened with this blog. Initially, I had planned to post new designs for a maternity t-shirt company I was hoping to start up with a friend (which for several reasons has now had to be put on the side for a bit).  However, in the process of getting that moving, I began blogging about homeschooling and fun projects as well.

Eventually those posts caught up with and surpassed the number related to the maternity design posts and the blog began to attract a following of other like-minded mommies and teachers.  I found that I was challenged to put even more creativity and effort into fun ideas for themes and homeschooling just by knowing they would be posted for others to see and to use.  So I decided to keep it up and have enjoyed the many uplifting comments you've sent in the process!  Even though I have not responded to each one as my time is pretty limited, I truly appreciate the encouragement!

I'd love for this blog to become a spot where other homeschool families and teachers can showcase some ideas as well so after much thought, I will be opening up some spots to feature others - see below!  :)

Send your email inquiries about any items below to:

Friendly Fridays:  Tell me something your family, child, or classroom has done to benefit someone else.  This could be anything from a tiny tot holding the door open for others to a bunch of children organizing a food drive or cleaning up a park.  If you or your family have done something small or large to help someone else here or even abroad in other countries, please consider sending me a quick note and link to your blog (or pictures if you don't have a blog).  I will definitely consider shining a spotlight on your classroom or your family's or child's actions!  :)

GENDER REVEAL and/or other Kid Related Parties:  Send me a link to your blog post or tell me about your party and send some pictures!

Le Chef Petite!:  I have been intrigued by the number of recipes showing up out there which only require two - four ingredients and are so easy, your toddler could make them.  I have pinned several already in hopes of letting my kids try them out and thought I would post them if they turn out well.  :)  So feel free to send me your own "Little Chef" attempts and successes!  :)

Infant or Kid related posts:  If you have a post or a product which doesn't fit under the categories above, but you would really like to have featured, please feel free to send it my way!  :)

If you have a kid or toddler friendly product you would like me to review, I would be happy to consider doing so and posting about it if it is something I feel confident in promoting.

I am tentatively considering adding some sponsorship adds as well, so if you are interested in grabbing a spot, please let me know!  :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Homeschool Theme of the Week: Dentist and Teeth!

A visit to our new dentist was in order recently, so I decided it would be the perfect time for a unit on teeth and dentists.  I would also like to point out that one VERY handy and cheap little item we use for our own Miss A is a timer which has a button for brushing teeth and a button for washing hands.  She hits the tooth button and a light flashes and continues flashing (faster as the time counts down) until it turns red to let her know it is time to stop brushing her teeth (or washing her hands if that was the button pushed).  It is sooooo wonderful to have because it is a good visual aid to help her know how long she should take when brushing her teeth (or washing hands) in order to do a good job. I will post a link below if you are interested.  Without further ado, here are a few activities from our week:

I saw this activity (see here) and loved the idea of teaching flossing by using legos and playdough so that is what we did!  :)  Lots of other cute stuff on the same site!

Another activity (see site here) used egg cartons for teeth.  I chose to smear different kinds of real food on AND in between the "teeth", and Miss A would practice brushing them in the bathroom until she was able to get them sparkly clean again.  She loved this!

Losing baby teeth is part of growing up, so we made a mouth full of twenty baby teeth and then made up stories about losing teeth and number sentences to show how many teeth were lost and how many teeth were left.  :)  I believe I saw this idea on a first grade website as well but cannot remember where (if you know or see it, please feel free to send me the link so I can post it here).

Welcome to our Toothpaste Factory!  I used leftover shaving cream and paint to create a toothpaste making factory for my daughter.  She chose what "flavor" each color of paint would be, labeled them, and then mixed them into the shaving cream to make a new "flavor" of toothpaste.

The fun did not end there though.  I cut out some large white paper teeth, gave her a toothbrush and let her practice brushing (circular motions)/painting the teeth with her new toothpaste mixes.  :)

We also read books related to our theme (see below).  By the way, while I was browsing books on Amazon, I found some pretty neat looking activities that I wish we had had for this week's theme.  I know Miss A would have loved the Playdough drill and fill set!  Oh well, maybe next year.  I added them to the links below in case you were interested in supplementing your own dental unit at home or in the classroom...

Linking to:
For the Kids Friday