Download my very basic but serviceable plan below and enjoy!
As you might already know, I am a high school teacher. This week we had parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday and then had Wednesday off so, while sitting in my classroom between parent meetings I worked on a little plan for entertaining my kids and keeping my sanity during our day off together. As always, we didn't finish everything but, we did have a lot of fun that was pretty low effort on my part and extremely inexpensive too! You can print out my plan at the end of this post!
We started the morning with some indoor fun because it was a bit chilly outside. So, I set up an invitation to play with play dough by giving them some spider rings, plastic eyeballs, gems, silk flowers and orange play dough and asked them to make me a monster. You can give them any doo dads you think they might like. I hit up the halloween aisle at Wal-Mart to have a few spooky things like the rings and eyeballs.
After the play dough fun, we headed outside for a little bit of messier play. I set up a container with colored water and googly eyes and placed a few large spoons next to it for them to create an eyeball stew. I also had a pumpkin painting station, pumpkin washing station and a pumpkin hammering station. For the washing station I just filled a container with soapy water and for the hammering station I provided a few small hammers and golf tees. They all enjoyed various areas more than others and they were all entertained for almost two hours!
We also made some boo hand print art and were going to make a monster wreath but, Arthur wasn't interested and wanted to play with play dough more and Lillian didn't want to make a monster wreath. Instead, she made a "pretty" wreath using ribbon and glue. They were happy so I was happy. If we end up with some free time before Halloween I will try to do the activities we didn't have time for and I'll post about it if I do. There are several fun science ones that I couldn't do because I didn't have any vinegar! So be sure to check out the document for those!
We ended the day with a trip to chikfila and I have to say, it was a pretty great day!
Download my very basic but serviceable plan below and enjoy!
I had a busy and fun-filled spring break visiting with friends and family, participating in some free events, celebrating Easter and, of course, doing a little Mommy Camp - Easter Edition. However, we were having so much fun doing other things that we only managed to finish two of the four days I planned for Mommy Camp. I'm not worried as I'll have it for next year or if we get bored over the next few weeks.
We kicked off Spring Break by visiting some family out of town. Derek wanted to go hiking with some friends and I wasn't interested in taking the kids on an all day hike so we went to the Museum of Discovery with my Brother, his wife and my Mom. We had a really fun time and topped it off with some pizza and local ice-cream.
When we got home from our mini-trip we spent Monday focused on Mommy Camp. The theme was jelly beans and we did a ton of things including a jelly bean taste test (You can find the worksheet I made here.), learning how they're made, jelly bean math, science and art! Arthur wasn't as in to participating as Lilly except for eating the jelly beans.
Above you can see Arthur doing the "eat every jelly bean regardless of flavor" style of taste test. Then you can see Lillian analyzing each one. We judged them on their flavor, texture, smell, taste and color. She did not like the sweet tart jelly beans and like the jelly belly the best. I did kind of test Arthur and gave him a buttered popcorn and a cinnamon. He was not a fan of either.
After the taste test we did some jelly bean math and graphing. For the graphing we dumped out a random amount and then analyzed how many we had of each color as well as how many when certain colors were added to each other and an over all total. We also discussed which we had the most and the least of.
This was a quick and fun art activity where you place jelly beans on paper and then squirt them with water. Then you can let it sit and dry or dump them off to create lines. It was a little messy but messy is fun! Arthur, of course, enjoyed eating the jelly beans more than the project.
This jelly bean art project was also very easy. Arthur was, again, more interested in eating them. After we finished I went to wash my hands and heard a cascade of beans hitting the floor. Arthur had attempted to pick his up but, not being dry, they all slid off of the paper. The kids cleaned it up and Arthur ended up with some interesting art.
On Tuesday, my Mom and Step-Dad decided to drive up to spend the day visiting and we went to the spring break activities at the nature center in town. The kids got to pet a tiny owl, learn about native animals, go on a short walk and do some art. I have to admit that I haven't taken the kids there very often in the past but neither was ready to leave and Lilly was somewhat upset that I didn't bring a picnic lunch like a few other families. I genuinely thought we would be lucky to be entertained for an hour but I was so very wrong. We actually went to the center two more times this week for other craft and animal activity events and each time the kids were not ready to leave!
Wednesday we spent the morning at the library for both of the kids story times and the afternoon just playing. We always attend the summer story times because I'm off for the summer but we don't go during the school year. So, this was the first time since summer that we've attended and it was a world of difference now that Arthur is two. He was engaged and participated in all of the activities and basically did everything Lilly did. It was adorable.
Thursday we did our second day of Mommy Camp which was egg focused. We decorated pancakes to look like eggs for breakfast, dyed eggs, did "eggcercises" (They can be found here.), had egg spoon races, made egg prints, conducted egg "science" with baking soda and vinegar and made a cardboard egg ramp.
Egg shaped decorate yourself pancakes was a hit with Lillian. Arthur was less of a fan until I doused his pancake with whipped cream and strawberries for him.
Egg "science" was a big hit that kept them happy and playing for at least 40 minutes! Even after most of the baking soda had been covered with vinegar Lillian experimented with color mixing. It was an easy project to set up too! All you need is a muffin pan, plastic eggs, baking soda, vinegar and food coloring. Prep by putting the baking soda, eggs and food coloring in the muffin tin (I set it inside of a sheet pan to eliminate extra mess.) and give the kids eye droppers and cups of vinegar. Such fun!
Using plastic egg halves to create egg prints was a big success and yielded some pretty nice art! I also tried potato prints to make egg art but it didn't work out nearly as well. The potato was hard to grasp as well as pull away from the paper and the prints weren't very pretty. I think a sponge would work better for that. Not long after these pictures were taken, Arthur was pretty paint covered so, I ran a bath and carefully guided him through the house to get in. When I returned 2 minutes later to get Lilly for the bath I found her creating splatter art and a big mess! I told her that I appreciated her creativity but that we can only do splatter painting outside. Once they were clean it only took me about 10 minutes to clean up what I perceived as an enormous mess so, no harm done.
The cardboard egg ramp was really fun for both of the kids. They pretended they were working in a factory. I also gave Arthur a bowl filled with eggs and a large spoon for playing.
After they got bored with the ramp we did "eggsercises" and had a spoon race. For the "eggsercises" you just put different activities inside each egg and draw eggs one at a time. Then they do them. Lilly had a lot of fun with this one.
Friday morning was spent doing a little spring cleaning. We rearranged Lilly's room a little bit to make it more conductive to play and also cleaned out some of the toys she didn't play with to donate. In the afternoon, we visited the nature center again to participate in some snake themed fun. They provided us with gourds to paint to look like snakes and also had small wooden toy snakes for painting. Arthur got to pet a snake and spent a good majority of the time looking at them. We also met with some friends and enjoyed the other offerings at the center together.
Saturday morning we tried a new local restaurant for breakfast and did a few errands. In the afternoon we went to a friends house for dinner and egg hunting. We also played beanboozled which was so much fun! If you haven't played I definitely recommend it! Even Arthur and Lilly played for over an hour! I'll warn you though, vomit flavor is as bad as you imagine and is definitely the worst! That night we planted some jelly beans for the Easter Bunny to magically turn to lollipops for Easter morning. It's a simple activity that is really magical for the kids.
Sunday morning, the children awoke to find eggs hidden all over the house and their Easter baskets. Each got a book, a cape (Lilly had recently asked for one so it was perfect!) and a few cheap toys. As a side note, I found some bubble blowers at the dollar store that looked similar to the ones that gymboree sells and they are amazing! They make a ton of tiny bubbles and entertained both kids for at least 30 minutes.
For breakfast I made bunny butt pancakes and we spent the morning playing before heading to Derek's parents house for lunch, family time, bubble blowing and a few egg hunts.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for getting crafty on St. Patty's Day! All of them take very little prep and will definitely be fun for any age!
1. Leprechaun Paper plate mask
2. painted shamrock
3. St. Patrick's Day Slime
4. St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt
5. erupting Rainbow
6. Pinch Proof Onesie
7. Popsicle Stick Bracelets
8. Lucky Rainbow necklace
9.Fingerprint rainbow pot of Gold
10. Handprint Clover
I hope you have as much fun with these crafts as my kiddos and I did! Enjoy!
Spring break is only a few weeks away! That means it's time for another Mommy Camp! Since the break this year falls right before Easter I've made it Easter themed! You can read about a few of the specific activities we'll be doing and download some printables I created, including the lesson plan below.
Theme One: Jelly Beans
The first focus is on jelly beans. We'll be conducting experiments, participating in a taste test, learning how they are made, making necklaces and more! (A list and links to all of the activities can be found in the lesson plan download.)
Theme Two: Eggs
This is a very fun-filled theme that includes egg science, growing "egg heads", paint-filled egg bomb painting, a glowing egg hunt and "egg-ing" the neighbors. Plus a ton of other fantastic activities focusing on math, reading and sensory experiences. (A list and links to all of the activities can be found in the lesson plan download.)
Theme Three: Bunnies
In the bunnies focus we will learn about rabbits, do the bunny pokey, learn how to draw a bunny, dig for sight word carrots and make bunny handprint art along with some fun math, reading and cooking. (A list and links to all of the activities can be found in the lesson plan download.)
Theme Four: Peeps
Everyone loves peeps! Delicious, sugary marshmallows! In this section we will conduct some peep experiments, learn how they are made, create puffy paint peeps and make peep play dough along with doing some reading and math. (A list and links to all of the activities can be found in the lesson plan download.)
Click the link below each image to download the printables that I've created as well as the lesson plan. Enjoy!
We want to share one more fun 4th of July themed craft! Today we made fizzing fireworks art which is both a fun craft and a mini science lesson!
5. When you're done making fizzy reactions let the filters dry. (We took ours outside so the sun could accelerate the drying time.) Once they're dry you have fun, colorful coffee filters that you can display as art or even use to create coffee filter flowers by following this tutorial!
We hope you had fun! Check out the science explained below to teach your child about the reasoning behind why this experiment/art works!
The Science Explained
In this experiment, the fizz is produced by a chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. Baking soda and vinegar react, and one of the products of the reaction is carbon dioxide gas. This gas forms bubbles that are surrounded by the liquid. The laundry detergent makes the bubbles last longer, and a foam is produced. The volume of the gas produced and trapped in the foam is much greater than the glass can hold, so some of it spills over the top of the glass.
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Vinegar contains acetic acid dissolved in water. Sodium barcarbonate reacts with most acids. The products of the reaction with vinegar are carbon dioxide gas, sodium acetate, and water.
The reaction of sodium bicarbonate to form carbon dioxide gas is the basis of its use as a levening agent in baking. Cakes are solid foams. The foam is produced when bubbles of carbon dioxide from the reaction of sodium bicarbonate are trapped in the batter. As the cake bakes, the batter dries, and the trapped bubbles of carbon dioxide form the holes in the cake.
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.