I introduced the animal by reading a few books and letting them color their own turtles and place them on our habitat mural. We also watched a few you tube videos about sea turtles. While Arthur colored his turtle, Lillian was learning how to draw one and Alan was completing a do-a-dot. But, Lillian got a phone call from her best friend and immediately dropped everything she was doing to chat and Arthur became very frustrated with the voracity with which Alan was banging his do-a-dot markers on the table. I fixed the problem by giving him a pair of headphones to muffle the noise. So, that is why he is wearing them the next few photos.
Then, Arthur and I did some letter and sound recognition practice with a turtle themed activity and discussed the life cycle of a turtle and read a few books about it. We finished up with a turtle themed snack.
We started zebra week like most others by learning about our animal and its habitat, coloring a picture of it and placing it on our habitat mural. Then we read a few books and watched a few videos and Lilly learned how to draw a zebra.
Then we made zebra face masks and worked on some reading and handwriting practice.
We wrapped up zebras with some black and white open painting and zebra cakes! Yum!
We started out with talking about penguins and their habitat. Then we colored a penguin and placed it on our habitat mural. We finished up our introduction by reading a few penguin books and watching a few youtube videos.
Then, Lilly worked on a reading activity while the boys did some do-a-dot penguin sheets and Lillian insisted on doing one too. After that, we conducted a science experiment to learn how penguins feathers keep them dry by coloring a penguin with crayons to create a waxy layer and then spraying it with water and analyzing how the water beaded up instead of being absorbed by the paper. Alan got pretty bored during the science experiment and enjoyed playing with his wooden train instead.
We finished up the learning about penguins by getting some cutting practice with an icicle cutting worksheet I created, trying our hand at indoor ice skating and watching Happy Feet. For the indoor ice skating, we taped some paper plates on our feet and slid around on the floor. It kinda worked. lol.
We learned about the cheetah this week including talks about its habitat, camouflage and African culture. It was a lot of fun so read on to learn all about it!
The kids woke up to find cheetah prints leading them to the play room. I decorated with some grass tablecloth and doorway items and pulled out the diy feltboard from years ago with safari felt board pieces I found from a free printable that I laminated and stuck some velcro on the back of. I also threw in a few plastic safari hats leftover from a bday party a few years ago and placed some plastic figures of African animals on the table. Admittedly, it was a little less engaging than usual. I was struggling with fighting off a cold and was definitely feeling sub-par. Overall, Alan enjoyed removing all of the felt board pieces and not putting them back.
We kicked off the week with making cheetah masks and cheetah feet. Then we colored a cheetah for our habitat mural after reading about them from the National Geographic mini book on cheetahs. Lilly wasn't into making a mask and did her own thing instead. It turned out pretty nicely.
Our next activities were to read about the origins of the kente cloth with the book "The Spider Weaver" and watch a video of people making it. Then we started a craft to make our own kente cloth paper art. But, they quickly grew bored and the project never got completed. The were not feeling the paper cutting. So, I pulled out stuff for the next craft which was to make some African tribal inspired necklaces with toilet paper rolls. Arthur didn't want to paint them and made his own masterpiece instead. However, once Lillian's were dry he wanted to make some and ended up with a necklace too. Alan found a new love of paint and truly enjoyed himself.
Another activity we managed to accomplish this week (they were somewhat ornery all week and weren't in the mood to participate is several activities) was an African sunset silhouette art piece. It was a two day project because we had to paint them and let them dry before adding the silhouettes. They had a great time painting their watercolor silhouettes the first day. The second day I cut out some silhouettes from black paper and let them glue them onto their sunset art. They are both very different but I think they are both great. Alan enjoyed watercolor painting too but didn't quite end up with a sunset. lol.
We did manage to talk about camouflage and conduct an experiment. We talked about what it is and why animals camouflage themselves then, we participated in an activity where I placed red, yellow and orange skittles and m&m's on a plate and told the kids they were m&m birds and only ate m&m's. So, they used their "bird beak" fingers and tried to only get m&m's out of the mix on the plate. They had a hard time at first because they did look very similar. It was a great way to illustrate the idea and they enjoyed the candy too.
This was definitely not the most active MC week ever with me fighting a cold and the kids being toots about participating but, we did a good chunk of the activities I had planned and we mostly had a good time doing them. You can check out all of the activities we didn't get to and find links to the ones we did by downloading the MC PDF for this summer here.
We started our new animal today, the penguin so check back soon to read all about that fun! See ya soon!
Our first full week of Mommy Camp is a wrap! We had tons of fun with various activities including crafts, reading and writing, dramatic play and even a little cooking.
The week started with a dramatic play area where the kids could play panda hospital and build a tower with some "bamboo" I made out of pool noodles. They also had some new books about pandas to look through and for us to read together. To finish the space, I created a mural of bamboo on some brown craft paper and hung some panda banners that I printed out.
I usually set up the dramatic play area the night before so that they find it when they wake-up the next morning. This year, I also have animal footprints that I can print and cut out to place on the floor. These footprints match each animal and guide them to the dramatic play area. They thought it was pretty neat. Alan loved pulling them off of the floor and promptly destroyed them.
After playing for quite a while with the dramatic play area, we headed to my craft room to read a few of the books and learn about pandas. Arthur was a little irritated about doing some word and letter tracing in a book about China but he ended up getting on board. I just love his concentration face.
After learning about their habitat and the country in which they live, we colored a panda and placed it on our habitat mural
For lunch, I used a panda rice mold set and created some pretty adorable rice panda bears with seaweed for the black parts of the panda. (The mold set came with the press for the seaweed too.) We also tried using chopsticks to eat our lunch. It was interesting but they managed to make it work.
After lunch it was nap time for Alan and Lillian and Arthur had fun watching Kung Fu Panda. After nap, we baked some panda cupcakes. Not only were they adorable but, they were also delicious and easy!
Over the rest of the week, we did multiple crafts including panda play dough, learning how to draw a panda, some worksheets about pandas and the letter "b", fork print panda painting and black and white process art. The links to all of these activities are in the MC PDF available at this post.
I made the play dough using a recipe from pinterest that calls for corn starch and conditioner. It created a really smooth and white dough that was great for making a panda. I provided them with black and white pom poms, green pipe cleaners cut into pieces and some googly eyes to complete their creations.
I was really proud of their panda drawings. They used the tutorial sheet that I created for Mommy Camp.
The fork print panda painting was fun and quick. You just need white paint, red and black paper, scissors, googly eyes and forks. They use the forks to create the "furry" panda and then you cut out black paper for the accents. The paint acts as glue for the black paper and then you glue the eyes.
Before we started the process art I told the kids that there were no rules. I provided them with black and white paint, several different paint brush sizes, some black and white paper pieces and paper with the edges taped off so that when they are dry we have a frame around their art.The idea was to experience the paint and paper and to create. Arthur really enjoyed this and spent about 35 minutes on his creation. Lilly wanted to create something less abstract and painted a panda bear. They both enjoyed themselves.
Lilly had some fun with a pastel project where she drew a panda on a tree branch. She did a great job but kept getting frustrated and ended up trashing her art before I could stop her. She's a bit fiery sometimes. I have no idea where she gets it.
Alan is not usually really into the activities or he is unable to participate so I often have something else for him. He generally enjoys coloring and/or playing with some "toys" I've created including my genius decision to keep a bunch of puree food tops and baby puffs containers for him to dump out and then put back into the container over and over again. Even Arthur enjoys doing this.
I also took some popsicle sticks and stuck tiny velcro circles on the ends of them to create some building sticks. He doesn't quite understand how to play with them but they did keep him entertained for about 15 minutes straight so I call that a win. Also, please ignore his lack of clothing. Babies. Am I righ? SMH.
We had a great time and we're ready to learn about our next animal the cheetah! So check back next week for all of the deets!
We spent a few of our first days of summer break relaxing and now we are rocking and rolling with Mommy Camp! We kicked off the summer lessons with a day devoted to learning about habitats. This is a theme that we will discuss with every animal throughout the summer so, the goal was just to establish the idea of a habitat and then build with more detail each week.
We started by reading a few books about habitats and watching a few videos on Youtube. The books I used and the video clips are all linked in the Mommy Camp 2018 free PDF which you can download here.
After introducing the idea of habitats and talking about them for a bit I let them dive into the habitat sensory bin that I made! It was inspired by several other sensory bins that I found on various sites. The difference is that I included all of the habitats into one bin. They really enjoyed it, destroyed it and were ready for something new as kids do.
This is my favorite. Alan was really enjoying himself and decided to take a chance by putting a rock in his mouth. It didn't make it in all the way and he is fine.
After making a mess with the habitat sensory bin, we made a habitat mural. I rolled out some brown butcher paper, taped it to the floor and then started a discussion. I asked them if they remembered what a habitat was and then asked for some examples. Then, I began to draw an area for each habitat on the paper. Once we had drawn something for each habitat we had learned about, I let them color! Well, by "them" I mean Lilly and Arthur. Alan was really into his corn and sitting on the mural but not so much into coloring it unless you consider corn tidbits and butter an artistic medium. The plan is to add the animals we learn about each week to the mural. So, after it was all done, I taped it to the wall in the hallway for us to add to throughout the summer.
He was just so stupid happy with that corn! He kept giving me the biggest "cheese" smile every time I took a picture.
To finish up the lesson, Lilly did a few worksheets while Alan and Arthur colored. Then, Arthur played a letter matching game with different animals in their habitats on each card and Lilly played a matching game where she placed different animals in their habitats. While they did that, Alan was basically the worst and tried to destroy their games, scream at be and be generally terrible. So it goes. The worksheets and games are also linked in my Mommy Camp PDF post previously mentioned.
They had a great first day of MC and I'm positive they will love our first animal day! Check back next week to see all of the fun we have while learning about pandas! And, if you haven't downloaded the free PDF get on it so you can join in on the fun too!
Summer is almost here and that means nearly three months with THREE kids for most of the day ALL. DAY. LONG. So, I have once again compiled and created a plan for Mommy Camp to give the kids something to do and to maintain my sanity!
This year we will be be learning about nine different animals and their habitats. It is comprised of nine weeks of lesson activities and ideas about nine different animals, their habitats and the people that live near them and their culture. I have included links to all of the activities and a plan for how I plan on using them in the document. I will post each week about how I have used the lessons and ideas so you can get even more ideas for using the document. All you need to do is follow along! I also encourage you to share your experiences and ideas here on the blog by commenting!
And, you can download it for free! Right Now! Just click the image below!
I'm excited to get started and can't wait for summer break to begin! I hope you join us on this years Mommy Camp!
This week was the most popular dramatic play theme of the summer so far and the other activities were pretty popular too. You can download the lessons by clicking the image below and read about all of the fun further down.
This week they had a construction zone dramatic play area. They had a table with foam blocks next to a square of contact paper that I taped to the wall. They could stick the foam blocks onto the contact paper to build. They freakin' loved it! They also had giant foam blocks to build with and I made them diy wrecking balls using long socks and soft rubber balls. I placed the ball in the bottom of the sock and they simply swing it at their towers. It was also a huge hit. They also had regular blocks to build with. To finish off the area, I provided construction worker hats, caution tape and some signs. This was the most popular dramatic play area so far and they played for a really long time multiple times through the week.
day one: engineering
We talked about what an engineer is and what they do. We read some stories about great women inventors and watched a video. Then we discussed the engineering process. Afterwards, we made lego prints.
day two: blueprints
We learned about blue prints and listened to a fun song from Phineas and Ferb. Then Lilly did some measuring using a worksheet and followed a recipe to make mug cake. It's kind of like a blueprint in the overall idea because it is the directions for creating a cake just like the blueprints are directions for building a house.
day three: tools
We read a book and discussed different types of tools. Then we did some hammer painting using cotton pads, paint and a rubber mallet. It was a big hit. (get it? lol)
day four: machines
We learned about different kinds of simple machines by watching an episode of Bill Nye and discussed where we have seen and used simple machines in our every day life. Then we made a pendulum using a paper cup, broom stick and string. We used it to create a pendulum painting. We also made a painting using an inclined plane and discussed what that meant.
day five: architecture
We had a lot of options but, as always, we didn't get to much of it and instead simply read a book about the three little pigs from an architectural point of view, watched a few informative videos and created graham cracker houses. Then we tried to blow our housed down. They were sturdy enough to resist. Honestly, we skipped a bunch of the activities this week. I think we're all tired and would rather just have free play. They really loved the dramatic play area and spent a lot of their free time in there this week.
Week five was fun! My kids always love playing doctor. You can find all of the lessons and activities by clicking the image below. You can also read about the activities we did below!
They had a blast with the doctor dramatic play set-up. Alan even joined in! In the area I set up their doctor tools and laminated some prints of x-rays and an eye chart as well as a patient form. I also bought a box of bandaids from the dollar store and made "casts" from an old whit sock with the toe cut off. I threw in a few gauze and wrap tape for extra fun and made doctor's coats with white t-shirts cut up the middle.
day one: the five senses
We watched some videos and read a book. Then we explored our senses with pop rocks by analyzing how we experienced them with each sense. Lilly did the worksheet but Arthur and I just talked about it. After that we made scented paintings with Kool aid and paint!
day two: staying healthy
We had fun with a very active game of Simon Says, read a book or two and watched a short video. Then we made frushi (fruit sushi)! Yum!
day three: body parts
My most successful activity yet was on the agenda for this day. I made a brain shaped mound of play dough using a brain mold we've had for years. They played with it for at least 45 minutes as "brain surgeons"! It was amazing. While Arthur napped, Lilly created a picture of what was in her head, basically what she thinks about. And, she made a double doodle where she used both hands at the same time to draw a picture. It was crazy impressive what she created. I think she might be a tad bit ambidextrous which is cool. We also watched a few videos and read a book.
day four: my blood
We watched a Storybots video and read a book. Then we attempted an activity using play dough and a toothpick to see our pulse but it didn't work. We weren't feeling particularly up for the other activities so we ended the day with some syringe art. Right out of the gate Lilly squirted red paint all over the blinds and window in my office. So that was frustrating and I will forever have pink cords on my blinds now. Oh well. The art was pretty cool.
day five: My bones
We read the book for this day and watched the video but didn't manage anything else. I guess that's ok. It's all about learning and having fun and it's no fun for anyone if everyone would rather be doing other things.
We had a fun week learning about different forms of transportation! Keep reading to see the recap and click the image below to download the free lessons!
The kids got to get hands on with a dramatic play auto shop this week. They LOVED this and it was so stupid easy. They played with it consistently all week and would spend up to 45 minutes playing together with no arguing. It was magic. In my original plans I was going to create a car out of cardboard but, when I began setting up the night before, I realized that I didn't have a box large enough. So, I improvised and used a plastic tub instead. I just created some wheels and taped colored paper inside. I even added paper to the inside bottom to look like mechanical parts that they could work on. Honestly, I think this was more successful than the box would have been. To complete the area, I gave them some forms and signs, toolbox with kid tools, safety goggles, empty spray bottles and work gloves.
day one: land
We talked about the different kinds of vehicles that are used on land, read a book, painted with cars and created train track stencil art!
day two: bridges & roads
We created Monet inspired bridge art, created bridges with index cards and blocks and watched a video about different types of bridges.
day three: traffic safety
We learned about being safe and road signs and then Lilly took a scooter and bike safety quiz and earned her own scooter/bike license! Arthur got one too but I'm pretty sure he would fail the safety test.
day four: water
We talked about water transportation, watched a video, made aluminum foil boats and tested them out in the sink with Shopkins passengers and created collage boat art.
day five: air
Similarly to the past weeks, we were all tired by Friday and with this week being the 4th of July even more so. So, our last day didn't get our best efforts. In fact, all we did was make a few paper airplanes and test them out. Oh well! Maybe you'll do better than me and get to all of the things I didn't have time for this week!
We had a great week and learned a lot! Check back for the next few weeks of Mommy Camp 2017 soon!
I modified the schedule this week and we skipped the ocean week. We will be doing it a bit later in the summer right before we take a trip to the beach! So, this week we focused on the community. You can download the plans for this week by clicking the picture below.
The dramatic play set up this week was a map and community creation theme. I purchased a printable from teachers pay teachers for a few dollars and created roads, trees, bushes, ponds, rivers and houses out of felt.
day one - maps
Day one focused on using, reading and playing with maps. Kids got to be pirates and use maps to find hidden treasure. Both kids also got compasses and telescopes to enhance the fun! We also made satchels and maps using paper bags and rounded out the costume with some appropriate items from the closet and eye patches made from craft foam and elastic string. We attempted an origami pirate hat but they didn't fit very well so I found a free printable instead. We used a pirate name generator worksheet but, Lilly wasn't too excited about her name, Stinky Blue Pearl. She also drew a map of her bedroom.
day two - where i live
We started by learning about our neighborhood. Then Lilly stepped outside to draw our house. She also worked on a few worksheets to learn our address and phone number. Then we watched a few videos about our state and city.
day three - economy
We reviewed money and it's value. Then we watched a few videos about consumers and producers. We wrapped up the idea of what builds our economy by creating a product and storefront. Lillian chose to create "Lillian's Lollipops". It was a great way to reinforce the content from the day. Apparently, I forgot to get pictures of her set up with the shop! Ooops!
Day four - community helpers & day five - how can I help
We ran out of time this week to finish everything though we did discuss some of the topics for days four and five. They spent a brief time playing pretend play with police and firemen but I didn't manage to snap a photo. We also decorated some rocks with uplifiting phrases to leave around the park and plan on getting around to making wands to leave for the magic wand project too. We just didn't get them done yet.
Honestly, this was the week I was least excited about and I guess I let that feeling be reflected in the amount of focus I put towards it.
Another great week of MC! This time we focused on insects! We focused on 5 different insects this week and had a lot of fun learning! You can download the lessons and materials for this week by clicking the image below.
The kids got to interact and learn with the dramatic play entomology lab area. I included a microscope, slides, bug posters and more for them to learn and explore.
All about bees
First we learned a bit by reading a book and watching some videos on youtube. Then wee had a lot of fun participating in a pollination activity, singing the baby bumblebee song with homemade squishy bee stress balls, dramatic play beekeeping, painting bee hives, enjoying some Honeycomb cereal and bee sensory play and even bee themed yoga!
We didn't finish all of the ant activities but we did learn about them by watching a few videos and completing a few worksheets. Then we completed a fun tape resist ant hill painting.
We started out by watching a few videos about fireflies and how they create light. Then, we created a watercolor painting of fireflies in a jar. We wrapped it up with a fun glow bath using glow sticks! Just like the day focused on ants, we didn't finish several projects/activities, but we still had a lot of fun.
We read the classic Eric Carle book "The Grouchy Ladybug" and then created our own grouchy ladybug art projects. We also completed a few worksheets and watched a few videos about them. Again, didn't finish all of the things I had planned. I think I drastically overestimated how much we could get done. Adding a baby in the mix really sucks up a lot of my time and makes it extra difficult to complete everything.
I had a ton of really great activities for butterflies but, being the last day of the week really hurt my ability to get to it all. So, we managed to complete a fun salt and watercolor painting of butterflies. We also watched a few videos and Lilly had fun creating her own bug with a dice rolling activity.
Mommy Camp is off to a great start with our first week all about the great outdoors! You can download all of my lessons and materials by clicking the image below.
The dramatic play area was a pretend flower shop and garden. I created the "garden" using a cardboard box, brown fabric, pool tubes, hot glue and fake flowers. I gave them a few signs I printed out, a toy cash register and pulled out my market stand diy from a few years ago to complete the set-up. They always have fun pretending to sell things so this was a definite hit.
day one: worms, dirt & rocks
I had some lofty goals for this day and not all of them came to fruition. Originally we were going to create a vermicompost bin but, I couldn't find any worms locally! By the time I realized the worms wouldn't get here in time if ordered online so, we skipped a bunch of worm themed things. We did watch a few videos, complete a few worksheets and do a bit of art though. We also headed outside to find a rock to use for creating our very own pet rock. We rounded out the day with some dirt jell-o pudding cups!
day two: seeds
We learned about seeds purpose by watching videos and reading a book. Then we explored them by dissecting some bell peppers and creating seed art. We also began sprouting some beans and created our own chia head pots! We wrapped up the day by creating some bird feeders using toilet paper tubes, peanut butter, string and bird seed and making poppy seed ham sliders and sesame seed candy. Neither of the kids were interested in eating either one so that was phenomenal.
The chia head activity was super easy. I took a picture of each of them and printed it out. I taped the photos to the front of the pots and we sprinkled chia seeds onto soil, watered and put in the sun. They had grown this much in only one day!
day three: flowers
We learned about how flowers grow by watching a video and reading a book. Then we experimented with flowers and how they drink water, created Georgia O'Keefe inspired paintings and learned how to make tissue paper flowers for our dramatic play flower shop!
day four: trees
We learned about how trees grow by watching a video and reading a book. Then we headed out side to collect a tree limb for some process art, made fruity rainbow yogurt bark and painted some q-tip trees.
Process art is where there are basically no rules and creativity reigns. I presented them with a bunch of options and they decorated the tree branch however they wanted. It turned out great and is now a focal point in my craft room and sits on top of the piano.
day five: leaves
We learned about how leaves get water by watching a video. Then we headed outside to collect a few. We attempted to make prints and rubbings but didn't have a lot of luck. I'm not sure what went wrong. But, we were tired at the end of the week and not much got done with the leaves day. Ooops.
I hope you enjoyed learning about our week! Check back soon for more recaps of each week of Mommy Camp!
I've finally finished all of the planning for my Mommy Camp Summer 2017 lessons and activities!! It took a lot of work but I know my kids and I will be excited all summer long and they'll learn a ton and create some great memories. You can download the lessons and materials for each week by clicking the images below. Each document contains everything you need including worksheets, lesson plans, dramatic play printable and set-up ideas, directions and even pictures to help guide you AND it's all for FREE!
I will be posting every week so you can follow along and see how I put it all together! I hope you decided to join us on this very exciting summer of learning!
Just click on each image to download the documents for that week!
Summer break is only six weeks away so I've started planning for this summer's Mommy Camp! This year will consist of 8 weeks of plans covering a variety of topics. I've already prepped week one and created my overall plan and you can check it out below! I know I'm super excited and my daughter can hardly contain her excitement.
If you're unfamiliar with my Mommy Camp series you can check out the Mommy Camp page on my site to see previous versions. Being a teacher, I love to create fun activities for my kids and I to do when we're out of school or nearing certain holidays. But, I often found it difficult to plan for the various activities I pinned because I would forget about many or not have the supplies I needed for them. So, when summer was quickly approaching I decided to create actual lessons to do with my children for the entire summer. Each week has a focus/theme and I create varying activities including art, sensory, reading and writing, field trip ideas and videos. I also set up a dramatic play area that relates to the weeks theme for them to interact with throughout the week. The lessons I create are set up in an easy to follow format and include links, worksheets and more so that you can conduct your own Mommy Camp!
I hope you join us on this learning adventure this summer! Be on the lookout for the full, detailed lessons including everything you need to host your own Mommy Camp with your little ones! But, until then, you can see what I have planned! See you soon!
Rachel is a mother of three, high school Spanish teacher and part-time blogger who loves crafting, creating fun and engaging activities for her children and students and hanging with her friends and family. She blogs about what she's doing and her interests at any given time which vary. She's a little OCD and always looking for her next project. Her husband calls it, "focusing her crazy", but she just calls it fun.