Since moving to Colorado we have been loving the ability to be outdoors! No mosquitos?! Count me in! So, after acclimating our kids to hiking and general outdoorsiness, we've decided it's time to take them on a legit camping trip! But, I want it to be perfect so they love it and we can do it all the time without whining. (Hiking took a bit before they stopped whining about going.) So, I'm planning everything down to the last detail. I don't know if you've picked up on this yet but I have never been a chill person. I'm very extra in just about everything.
After spending hours researching tents, sleeping bags and everything else I could possible need, spending way too much on Amazon. Justifying the amount spent by rationalizing that if the world ends we'll be prepared and scouring the internet for suggestions that I may not have thought of (like cracking eggs before hand and storing them in a container...genius). I think we're ready to go. And, what kind of insane, OCD, extra mom would I be if I didn't make a special binder full of the plans, recipes, lists and kid activities to go along with us?! So, enjoy my Mommy Camp: Camping Guide which you can download by clicking the photo below and be sure to check back to see if all of my planning paid off or if we ended up in a hotel.
Summer was busy! With the kids getting older, our social lives in a really good place and living in a new city with many fun things to do we didn't even come close to finishing all of my Mommy Camp plans this summer. Oh! And Arthur broke his arm at the playground during our first day of mommy camp! So he spent all summer with a cast! Other than the amazing mc plans we visited with tons of family, went to Pike's Peak to see the new visitor center, peeped bugs at the May Natural History Museum, examined plants at the Denver Botanic Gardens, ate turkey legs at a rennaisance fair, visited the ferris wheel in the new Scheel's, panned for gold and gems, hiked at Red Rocks again and spent plenty of time at the pool.
But, what we did do was pretty amazing and by including a few friends it was made extra special. As a note, my friend Kate (mom of said friends) says her kids won't take off their robes and carry their hand made familiar animals and wands with them everywhere! So, huge hit! Check out some of the fun we had and how the plans came to life!
It started off with an owl delivering their initiations to attend the school of Witchcraft & Wizardry for Whippersnappers. You can find the letter template in the Mommy Camp document. They were given tickets for the MC Express and then "boarded/rode the train" down our diy stair slide that led to the basement where "Diagon Alley" was set-up for them to do their shopping.
The days leading up to our start of camp I made familiar animals out of socks and fabric, quills out of electrical tape and feathers, wand boxes from a printable I found (we used chopsticks as the base for our wands which we painted and electrified later), small brooms I bought from Amazon and robes from big black t-shirts. I made signs for the "shops" and they got to collect all of their supplies before heading into the "school".
For the "school" I purchased castle decorations and hung them in our table area. I also used fishing wire to hang battery operated candles from the ceiling to add to the fun and to embody a Hogwarts vibe.
The first thing they did was to get sorted into their house. I created my own houses and then we picked which house fit their personalities best. I made a note sheet with their houses on it for my husband who was upstairs (he works from home). Then, we called him on my phone and put it on speaker phone. We taped my phone into the top of a sorting hat I bought online and then announced each time we placed the hat on one of the kids heads so he knew who he was sorting. They thought it was magical and my husband did a great job with the voice!
For the rest of our first day we electrified our wands using led's, electrical tape, a ton of hot glue, paint and a small battery. They turned out so cool! (find the tutorial in MC Harry Potter)
We ended our day with some broom flying photos! To get these we had the kids stand with their broom and jump as high as they could with it between their legs and their knees bent. I had to literally pancake myself to the ground to get the shot but they turned out great.
After our first day we had a break for travel and other fun but met back up for more activities. We focused on wand magic by making feathers float with our wands using magnets. Then we practiced a balancing spell by making bridges out of straws to balance some gems. We also threw some broom fun in and made brooms out of pipe cleaners and pony beads. Then we did another broom focused activity and played pong quidditch. We ended our day by making pretzel wands.
We only managed one other day of Mommy Camp this summer and that was a day focused on potions! It was definitely one of my favorite MC days ever and everyone had a blast. To start, we created portable potion kitchen kits for them to store their concoctions from the day and make more in the future. I spent weeks collecting various bottles and filled them with all of our ingredients and added labels that matched a recipe book for potions that I made (find it at the original post). Then we made each potion together. Some had a color reaction, some fizzed, others changed consistency but they are all awesome. After we finished each potion they put a sample of it inside of a tiny potion bottle I purchased from Hobby Lobby/Dollar Tree. Honestly, the ability to store their tiny potions in the portable kit was the highlight. Mine carried theirs around for weeks after and showed everyone they could. We ended the day by making bath bombs. They were supposed to be golden snitch's but that didn't really work out. They did smell good and still worked as a bath bomb they just didn't look like snitches.
While we didn't even get halfway through all of my plans we most definitely had a good time so I'll call it a win. As a bonus, we can pick up where we left off next summer and I can save myself hours upon hours of planning a new MC! If you are interested in doing any of the activities mentioned be sure to visit the original post containing the FREE Harry Potter Themed Mommy Camp that includes detailed directions, supply lists and daily plans!
This year the theme for Mommy Camp is Harry Potter! I am so excited to get this adventure started! You can follow along and do all of the fun things that we do by printing out the plan below complete with links to all of the printables and diy directions for FREE! So, be sure to stop back by and see all of our fun!
Download your copy by clicking the image below!
This year, MC had a completely unprecedented event. Coronavirus caused us to have a drastically changed experience than that of previous years. Unable to go anywhere or visit with friends really affected our outlook and interest in doing anything. We had already spent three months together and, quite frankly, were a little sick of one another. I chose to make MC focus on reading this year using the Magic Treehouse book series and we did manage to do several weeks of activities but, they have become rather apathetic and uninterested as the days blend together and turn into months.
So, to wrap up this sad little summary, we have had fun times and done cool things. We all are ready to go back to normal life and unfortunately, won't be doing that any time soon. So, enjoy reading about the fun we have had and feel free to download your own copy of my fabulous MC Reading plans in the original post.
Week One - Dinosaurs Before dark
Week one focused on reading skills and dinosaurs! We read our entire book for the week on Monday in the swing set fort because it’s as close as we have to a magic treehouse like the books. Then we had lots of sensory play with frozen Dino eggs, Dino jello, lava slime and fizzing Dino eggs. They went in a Dino scavenger hunt. The boys painted some Dino canvas art. Arthur practiced sight words with a word hunt game and played a card game. Lilly created her own Dino and Alan did several activities with the letter d. Even though it’s only Wednesday we’re wrapping it up as we’re taking a mini trip to visit family and swim for the next few days. #mommycamp2020 #arthurwontwearshirts #alanwantstobejustlikehim #themagictreehouseseries
Week Two - Castle of mystery
Week two focused on castles and was cut a bit short due to our vacation but was still a ton of fun! We built a huge cardboard castle and decorated it, made cardboard sword and shields, created faux stained glass, made chocolate chip catapults, created a mini castle dollhouse, and focused on some castle themed reading skills!
Week Three - Mummies in the morning
Week three focused on Ancient Egypt! We made pharaohs crowns, watched a scooby doo movie about Egypt, played in sand foam (Which was way too messy and I will not do again!), built cup pyramids, learned about hieroglyphs and did more reading practice!
Week Four - Pirates past noon
For pirate week we had pretend play in a kind of not so great cardboard ship (I threw my back out while constructing it), we went on a treasure hunt, made spy glasses, had fizzy gems science and of course did some reading focused activities in conjunction with the book.
Week five - night of the ninjas
For ninja week we made ninja costumes, set up a pretend sushi shop, had fruit sushi for lunch and did a bunch of art including painting japanese cherry blossom trees, making kimono paper dolls, and painting with chopsticks.
The last four weeks
As stated in my intro. They kind of dropped out on me this year. But, I created lessons for four more weeks that we never got to. Hopefully, we'll still do them at some point and if we do, I will share!
I hope you are making it through these unprecedented times. We can survive this if we support one another.
Every year for the past 8 years or so I have created a summer mommy camp. This year has been different. I usually work on it in my classroom at school over the course of several weeks when I have a little free time. I have not been in my classroom due to Covid-19 and have instead been at home with my three kids unable to go anywhere with them. It's been a lot. But, after struggling through the acceptance that this is the way it'll be for the forseeable future, I was able to get over my upset and get to work.
My 6 year old just finished Kindergarten and still struggles to read so I've been working with him to become a reader. My 3 year old doesn't know much of anything so I've been working with him on his alphabet. My 9 year old loves reading and is one of those kids you would view as a natural learner. She loves learning new things and devours any book given to her. She is actually Mommy Camp's biggest fan and was sad when she thought we wouldn't have one this year. When deciding on the theme I chose reading to help encourage my boys and continue with the hard work that we've already put into the cause. So, this summer's theme is "Let's Read!" I've created 8 weeks of lessons using "The Magic Treehouse" book series as the foundation. Each week we will read one of the books starting with the first in the series and continuing in order. If you have never heard of this series you will love it! They are about two kids who travel back in time and have an adventure so, they teach history along with the story. Just like all of my previous MC's I have included sensory, art, math, science and dramatic play activities but for this one have put a lot of focus on the reading portion. Because my three kids have very different levels of understanding, I have broken down the reading activities into three categories: Pre-Reader, Beginning Reader and Experienced Reader. My plan is to do the sensory, art, math and science activities together and then differentiate during the reading by giving them each different activities catered to their level. I will probably do this one-on-one so they can have my full attention and help.
I will try to post updates each week as we move through the plans so you can see what we've done. In the plans, I have given so many resources and activities that it is unlikely that we will do every activity each week. But, we aren't doing anything else so we might actually manage it! It's organized in a pick and choose format so you can select the activities that best fit your children and time allotment.
I hope you enjoy the lessons and that you are doing well during these terrible times.
You can download the PDF by clicking the image below.
So....I kind of dropped off the blog for the entire summer. I've been enjoying life. Three kids keeps me quite busy and I just didn't feel like stressing out about making posts. Mommy Camp kind of happened and kind of fell through the cracks. As my kids are getting older, they have varying interests and we are pulled in many directions. The addition of swim lessons to our already busy summer schedule kept our summer days pretty full with all sorts of classic summer fun. That being said, we did get to some of the plans I made for Mommy Camp this summer and although we didn't finish, I'm not upset. I'm happy that I can provide a classic kind of summer for my kids. A summer full of too much sun, television, late bedtimes, friends and food. They got a little learning thrown in there and we visited our favorite place, the local library, at least once per week. I'm not going to detail all of our MC adventures below but I will give you a taste of the fun we had.
We kicked off MC with great fanfare and began learning about our place in the world. We looked at a map and identified where we are in relation to Spanish-speaking countries. And played with some map manipulatives. We also discussed basic Spanish greetings by watching some cute videos and completing some activities. Additionally, we prepared for our "trips" by decorating wooden boxes for our suitcases and receiving our "passports".
After preparing for our "trip" we got to take an adventure to Mexico. They presented their "passports" and "tickets" and boarded the "plane". They took turns flying us there. Upon arrival they played with a dramatic play taco station and practiced a little Spanish food and restaurant vocabulary.
The rest of the Mexico week focused on greetings and introductions. We played with some name recognition using a baking soda and vinegar discovery activity and name completion blocks for the toddler. The bigger kids focused on practicing specific phrases like, "Me llamo...", "Hola.", "Mucho gusto." and "Buenas Noches.", after watching a video and reading some books. Arthur, my 5 year old, was especially interested in the phrases for good night and good morning and continues to this day to use them most days.
After that I went on a business trip for professional development for a full week and the summer MC plans kind of deteriorated from there. We did manage to complete a bit of the content about Costa Rica focusing on animals but summer kind of ran away from me after that. For Costa Rica animals we had some sensory fun with animals and globe shaving cream. We also focused on our names and played with baking soda and vinegar name discovery for the toddler.
The big finale to summer was an actual trip to Mexico via cruise. We all enjoyed the relaxation, tacos and sunshine. They held an iguana, swam in the ocean, made new friends who spoke no English at a lazy little beach far from the tourist spots, had fun in a clear kayak and ate fresh mango. I
Again, apologies for my inability to follow through this summer. The lessons are fab and will definitely treat you well should you choose to use them. Maybe I can continue on with them next summer!
I was running a bit behind this year on creating the summer MC but, I've finally finished! I am going to attempt to teach my kids Spanish this summer. Plus, I'm borrowing an idea from a previous MC and where we pretended to travel to various countries. This summer we will be "flying" to various Spanish-speaking countries to learn about their culture while we learn the language. The around the world MC was one of my favorites so, I'm hoping this one will also be a success.
Even though I am a Spanish teacher I have not taught my children Spanish and, to be honest, I feel like a bit of a loser for it. So, I'm going to try to remedy that this summer. The problem I've been dealing with is that my husband is not fluent so we don't use Spanish at home.
I think this is my best planned MC yet and I think we are going to have a ton of fun while learning. Plus, we're going on a cruise to Mexico at the end of the summer so my kids will get a real opportunity to use what they've learned.
I hope you find my lessons fun and educational. Be sure to check back each week while I share our weekly adventures and don't be afraid to share yours too! You can download the entire MC for FREE by just clicking the image below! It includes all of my lessons, a bunch of dramatic play printables I created and links to all of the other printables and activities! Plus, I am including my printable passport and passport stamps below for you to download as well! Enjoy!
I am sooooooo ready for Spring Break and it is finally here! I have literally just finished making a MC for Spring. (Seriously, it's 4:40 on the Friday of the first day of break and I am still at work! Why?!) So, I'm not going to write any more about it. It is fabulous and full of science, math, reading, sensory, food ideas, video links and crafts for your littles. And it's FREE as always. So, enjoy and have a great time! I'll post our fun once we've had it! To download, just click the image below.
It's almost Valentine's Day and I've pulled together a valentine themed Mommy Camp for you guys! There are a ton of fun, cheap and easy to set up activities that are sure to keep your little ones entertained and maybe give you the opportunity to do a few chores or even read a book! So, grab the free printable by clicking the image below and enjoy!
As usual, we didn't get to everything in the MC but, that's the beauty of Mommy Camp! You don't have to do it all! You can see all of the fun we had by checking out our pictures below!
We started with painting and the heart stamp from tp rolls activity. They thought that was very entertaining. We quickly moved on to the symmetry heart art. Arthur decided he wanted to just paint his whole heart and ended up with a very pretty heart.
Then we moved on to the heart hand tree art and instead of cutting a bunch of paper hearts and glueing them (which I thought would take a bit and that they would lose interest quickly) we decided to make finger print flowers on our trees which they of course loved.
After painting, we made some Valentine themed headbands with stickers and paper and then headed to the kitchen for some love potion science. I ended up kind of mixing two activities together because I realized that I forgot to buy baby oil and couldn't do one of the science activities I planned. So, good ole' baking soda, vinegar and food coloring to the rescue. This activity never fails to keep them busy for at least 30 minutes and I use it often. It's great for their dexterity skills because they use a medicine dropper or syringe to suck up the vinegar and squirt it on the baking soda. I find that hiding little doo dads and a few drops of food coloring under the baking soda so they get a bubbly surprise.
After they were done with their bubbly science, we pulled out some pink and red paper cups and stacked them so we could knock them down. Again, this activity is a favorite and keeps them entertained forever. I actually took a shower and did my hair and makeup while they were happily playing with paper cups for 45 minutes. If you haven't done this with your kids you should. You can extra fun by throwing in a nerf gun or ball for the destruction element.
I hope you and your children find joy with this MC like we did! Have a happy Valentine's Day and thanks for visiting!
We tried something a bit different this year and celebrated New Year's Eve at our house with our kids and a few friends. We did some fun, kid activities in the early evening and then celebrated "midnight" using a Netflix kid countdown. Once the kids were all in bed, we enjoyed adult time and celebrated the true midnight countdown while the children were all snoozing. So, I created a day of activities for kids and thought I'd share it with you! It includes food and snack ideas, games, crafts, science and art projects. I hope you enjoy! You can read about our fun and see all of the pics below!
We kicked off the evening with making glitter slime, conducting fizzy, sparkly science experiments with baking soda, vinegar and glitter and making exploding soda with diet coke and mentos!
Alan didn't get in on the slime making but he did enjoy a balloon while his brother and sister mixed!
Once it was made, Alan had no interest in playing with the slime so he had fun with some dot markers instead.
After we played with slime we broke out the fizzy science (always a favorite). I used clean milk storage container lids that I have been holding onto for ages to house the fizz mixture. I first poured glitter into the lids and then covered it with baking powder so you didn't know that it would be sparkly until you added the vinegar. Then, I gave the kids a pipette and bowl of vinegar and let them watch the reaction.
After fizzy science we headed outside for our soda "fireworks". Kids dropped a mento into a bottle of diet coke to see the fizzy explosion. It was a huge hit!
Everyone was ready to eat after all of the fun so we headed back inside to make pizzas! Originally, we were going to make them say "2019" but, by this point we (the parents) were maxed out on kids and such so we just let them make mini pizzas and made ourselves a big, adult pizza and a few fancy cocktails to recover. We used gold sprinkles to rim our martinis and the recipe was one of our favorites that we discovered on Halloween this year that you can find here (We didn't make them black this time but we did add the luster dust to make them extra fancy.) While the pizzas cooked and after we had a recover martini or two, we set up the balloon drop. Details can be found in the MC document but, basically, tape a few plastic table cloths together and hang it like a basket from the ceiling. Then fill it with balloons and pull it down when you're ready.
After dinner we had a bit of fun with the photo wall and conducted year in review interviews with all of the kids. This was a super fun activity that we intend to repeat every year. I created the photo wall with tape, a plastic, gold tablecloth and a gold fringe backdrop. I saved the props from last year (tossing anything that said 2018) which I purchased at Aldi.
After the photo fun and interviews we enjoyed some festive cupcakes courtesy of Betty Crocker and a fancy icing tip. I'm all about easy but fabulous.
Then we realized that is was almost 9:30 and it was time to wrap up the kid portion of the evening. So, we found a Netflix countdown video, gave all of the kids light up cups (purchased at Aldi) with sparkly juice and handed out party crackers. We also participated in a Spanish tradition (since I'm a Spanish teacher and I think it's super fun.) where you try to fit as many green grapes in your mouth as the clock chimes to gain good fortune in the new year. So, all of the kids got a bowl of grapes too. I only got a video of the ball drop and am having an issue getting uploaded so, just know, they loved. It was great and worth the time to make. I also have very fun videos of them with party crackers. They were messy but very fun.
After we put the kids to bed (They got to have a sleepover so that made the evening even more awesome for them.) We took a few photos and then played card games until midnight. When we participated in eating grapes and, of course, enjoyed some champagne.
I hope you had a great New Year!
I usually create a Christmas themed MC but, this year we don't get out of school until the 21st and will be immediately kicking off family Christmas events/parties. So, we won't have any free time until after the holidays. When we do get that free time we will have a lot of it because school doesn't start back until the 7th! This is why I've created a winter themed MC to fill the hours when my kids have grown bored with their new things or we want to have some fun with sensory, science and art! I'm sharing my plan with you guys for FREE!
It includes many varying activities suitible for todderls to 2nd graders (depending on the activity). I also included step by step directions for each of them so you don't have to click on a bunch of links and can have an easy to read print out. I hope you have a great holiday season and that you enjoy my freebie! See ya soon!
Download by clicking the image below!
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!
Rachel is a mother of three, elementary 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.