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!
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.
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.