Friday, September 23, 2016

Skip Counting Connect-the-Dots Letter Puzzles

My 1st grader came home from school the first week and was distraught that he'd had trouble skip counting by 2s. "Can we practice, Mom?" Um ... yeah!

Since his teacher is also sending home short lists of consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) spelling words, I thought I'd combine the two skills.

I made connect-the-dot pages that when finished form the letters of the alphabet (capital letters only at this point). 

Download the 13-page PDF for free from Google Drive here.

I grabbed the spelling list and printed the pages with the letters I needed, cut them apart, labeled them 1-3 so he'd know the order of the letters, snipped the corner of each page (so he wouldn't know which letter he was working on), and told him to start with the star and count by 2s.

He was amused and truly enjoyed the discovery aspect of this activity. First, it was fun to see what letter he made. Then it was fun to see what word the three letters formed (e.g. web, hen, pet, pen, etc.).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Change Exchange (free printable money game)

When big brother took his piggy bank coins in to the bank this summer, little brother was mighty jealous. Since he's only had his bank since Christmas, there was only $7.58 in it (which paled in comparison to the $56.36 our oldest had). 

He was confused about which coins added to a dollar. To reinforce coin equivalents (e.g. two dimes and a nickel equal the same as a quarter), I made a fun little board game.

I was surprised to see how much my 7-year old enjoyed it. He and I were having so much fun that our 11-year old asked to play next time!

What You Need
PDF of the game board, equivalent cards, and $1 fake money (download it free from Google Drive here)
Heavy weight card stock (white)
Green paper
Scissors or paper cutting tool
Dry-erase markers
Small objects to use as game pieces (a different one for each player)
Paper towel to erase the marker

Print the game board on white card stock.Trim the white border off the one edge on each page so the spaces meet up perfectly. Tape together.

Print the $1 page on green paper. Plan for $3 per player. You may need to print extra copies of this page depending on how many individuals are playing.

Print the equivalent cards on paper (office or card stock) and laminate. You'll want 2-3 for each player.

Cut all the money and equivalent cards apart.

Each player puts their game piece on the word START. They roll the die and move their game piece the number of spaces rolled. Whatever coin they land on, they will cross off with the dry-erase marker on one of their equivalent cards.

When a player has crossed through all five pennies on that equivalent card, they can erase the marks with a paper towel and cross through one of the nickels on either the two nickels = a dime equivalent card or two dimes and a nickel = a quarter card.

Players continually cross through coins until the cards are filled and then they're erased and a coin of the equivalent value is marked through.

If they roll and land on a dime, but their dimes have already been crossed through on the two dimes and a nickel equivalent card, they can start a second two dimes and a nickel card.

When players have four quarters all crossed through, they are given a $1. 

Each player collects a quarter when they roll a number and pass the last space on the board.

The object is not to be the first to finish, but to finish with the most money.

Count the dollars and coins at the end of the game to determine the winner! 

I earned $2.56 and my son won with $2.94.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Paper Bugs Walking on Water (Surface Tension Experiment)

Surface tension experiments are the coolest. This one lives up to the others we've done. We made paper bugs walk on water! Here's how we did it.

What You Need
Card stock
Downloadable pattern - optional (free on Google Drive here)
Basin or pan of water (we used the bathtub)

What to Do
Either fold card stock and draw a bug so it's back is at the top of the fold and it has large wide feet or print the downloadable pattern on card stock and fold. Do not crease the fold on the paper tightly; if possible leave it lightly creased only. Cut out your bug. 

Bend the feet back so your bug stands up. 

Gently (this may take some practice for rambunctious kids) place the bug in the water so its feet stand on the surface of the water.

Make several because it may take a few tries; once your bug is submerged, it has to be thrown out!

Why it Works
The surface of the water is like a thin film, formed by surface tension. Lightweight objects can actually balance atop this surface. Once your bug's legs penetrate the surface of the water and it absorbs enough water, it will no longer float. Each bug is for one-time use in this experiment. 

This great activity came from 365 Science Activities, which also served as the inspiration for my bug designs. Check it out!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

After School Linky (8-8)

Welcome to the party!

How much of summer is left for you before the kids heads back to school?
Yikes! We only have a few weeks!

Here are just a few activities (from last week's link-up) that I'm adding to our must-do list this school year.

 Bird Watching Journal from Creative Family Fun

 Glacier Activities from Highhill Education

The After School Linky is cohosted by
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational

We would love to have you link up your School-Age Post (Ages 5 and up) about your learning week after school including Crafts, Activities, Playtime and Adventures that you are doing to enrich your children's lives after their day at school, home school, or on the weekend!

When linking up, please take a moment to comment on at least one post linked up before yours and include a link on your post or site! By linking up, you're giving permission for us to share on our After School Pinterest Board and feature an image on our After School Party in the upcoming weeks.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How Plants Absorb Water (experiment)

I always feel goofy sharing basic activities, but truthfully, sometimes the oldest and simplest things you can do with your kids are great learning opportunities.

The boys learned about how plants absorb water by dying flowers. Here's how we did it.

What You Need
Food Coloring
Flowers (we used daisies)

What to Do
Trim your flowers, cutting the stems on an angle under running water. A blunt flat end that sits squarely against the bottom of the vase, will make it difficult for the plant to draw up water.

Add 15-20 drops of food coloring in each vase. Add lukewarm water. 

Place a flower in each and observe over the next few days or week. If desired, keep a journal!

What We Observed
Even our leaves and flower petals were tinged with the dye. The blue dye had the most impact on the appearance of the flowers. Our yellow dye hardly made a noticeable difference. The boys were astounded to see the changes.

The oldest boy hypothesized that the plant would filter out the dye and there would be no noticeable difference. This experiment proved him wrong!