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Has your science center sat unchanged for too long? Bring the outside – IN! Make and set these fun summer sensory bottles to reignite children’s interest in science.  Read on for how to make and use each bottle.

Summer Sensory Bottles for Kids

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We started off making a list of summer themed words on a large chart paper. The children came up with the following words:

  1. Rain
  2. Rainbow
  3. Sunshine
  4. Flowers
  5. Grass
  6. Soil
  7. Gardens
  8. Seeds

Taking some of their words, we gathered materials and made a set of summer sensory bottles for our science center.

Here are our summer sensory bottle ideas:

Rainbow themed Summer Sensory Bottles

Materials needed:

Material note: We researched water bottles and prices.  The Voss water bottles work fabulous with little hands because they are easy to see inside, have easily removed stickers, and chunky caps.  For the best price, we purchased a case of Voss water bottles from Amazon Prime and had them shipped to our door free.

Learning Objective: Identify the colors in the rainbow

Directions to make the Rainbow Themed Summer Sensory bottle:

First, add several pinches of colored sequins. Then, pour in water until the bottle is half full.

Add in some glycerin or baby oil.  This will change the density of the mixture.  Put the cap on and shake to mix.  If all of the sequins float to the top, add more water. If all the sequins sink, add more glycerin or baby oil.  Continue adding until the container is 7/8ths full. The goal is to get the sequins so they “float” inside the liquid for a moment when the bottle has been shaken.

When the bottle has been filled, hot glue the lid on.  Make and tape a label on the bottle. We have used address labels and colored masking tape.

Ask the child:  “What colors do you see?”


Seed themed Summer Sensory Bottles

Materials needed:

Material Note: Bird seed is the least expensive “seed” option to fill this sensory bottle with.  Many bird seeds, however, do contain nuts.  We went to our local feed store to purchase seeds in bulk.  Lima bean, green bean, squash seeds, and peas are all great seed varieties that vary in shape, but are still larger in size.  Carrot seeds are great to compare – but you would need a LOT of carrot seeds to fill a seed themed summer sensory bottle, as they are very tiny!

Learning Objective: Comparing seeds by size, shape, and colors

Directions to make the seed themed summer sensory bottles.

First, make sure the bottle has no moisture on the inside.  Any moisture will cause the seeds to begin molding.  Set the funnel over the opening and let the child fill the bottle with seeds.

When it is ¾ full, hot glue the cap securely in place.   Hot  glue the lid on.  Make and tape a label on the bottle. We have used address labels and colored masking tape.

Mix the bottle. Observe and discuss.

Ask the child: “What color seeds do you see? Are all the seeds the same size? Tell me more about their size.  Are all the seeds the same shape? Tell me about the shapes you see.”


Sunshine themed Summer Sensory Bottles

Materials needed:

Learning objecting: exploring the sun

Material note: Cutting the rick-rack into smaller pieces for the sun rays is tough and an adult only job. Substitute yellow yarn in to make it easier to cut.

Directions to make the sunshine themed summer sensory bottles.

First, fill the empty bottle with pom-poms and rick-rack pieces.

Then fill in a little over halfway with water. Add in glycerin or baby oil until the bottle is 7/8th full.  When the bottle has been filled, hot glue the lid on.  Make and tape a label on the bottle. We have used address labels and colored masking tape.

Talk about the sun with the child.  Say, “The sun is a giant star in the middle of our solar system. It is very hot. Plants need sunlight to make their food.”

Ask the child: “What do you know about the sun?”


Soil Themed Summer Sensory Bottles

Materials needed:

Learning Objective: Learn about the natural world

Directions to make the soil themed summer sensory bin

Uncap the empty bottle and fill it with soil from the garden. Secure the cap with hot glue.

Yes – that’s it.  This sensory bottle is super easy to make. But very eye opening as the garden soil may have sand, soil, bits of leaves, sticks, clay or other items within it.

Shake and observe.

Ask the child: “What is soil? Why is it important?”

Grass Themed Summer Sensory Bottles

Materials needed:

Learning Objective: Identify letter names and sounds

Directions to make the grass themed summer sensory bottle.

First, make sure the bottle has no moisture on the inside.  Any moisture will cause the rice to begin molding. Set the funnel over the opening and let the child fill the bottle with rice and letter beads. As the child spoons the letters, say the letter name and the sound it makes.

If you are worried about making a mess, do this step over a large shallow Tupperware container.  Even setting a table cloth or sheet under the child’s work area makes clean up a bit easier.

When it is ¾ full, hot glue the cap securely in place.   Hot  glue the lid on.  Make and tape a label on the bottle. We have used address labels and colored masking tape. Then, let the child roll and read the letter names and sounds.  For a challenge, have them think of a word that begins with the letter sound that they just found hiding in the grass.

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Love making sensory bottles? Here are some more super fun sensory bottles to explore:

Pumpkin sight word sensory bottle

Science sensory bottles

Crayon themed math sensory bottle game

The post Reignite Children’s Interest in Science with FUN Summer Sensory Bottles for Kids appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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Mother’s Day can be an exciting holiday for kids to celebrate. They have so much fun creating something special for their Mom. This easy mother’s day craft can create a special piece of art perfect to share with mom.

Here’s a fun art project for Mother’s Day that is sure to be a big hit!

Here’s fun way to show a MOM how colorful and special she is to you. We’re making a resist paint art project using a little help from one of our favorite stories.

Perfect for a quick Mother’s Day Craft to do with your class or playgroup too! Let’s get started!

{Disclosure Affiliate Links to Amazon}


 

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Mouse Paint is a classic story that I highly recommend for all children to read. Three sweet little mice explore what happens when they combine red, yellow and blue. It’s the perfect way to introduce primary and secondary colors in a magical way.
Easy Mother’s Day Craft Idea
For our Mother’s day craft we are following along in the footsteps of the mice and created our own special rainbow footprints. Gather your supplies first. Then read the story and discuss what happens when the mice put their painted feet into different colors. Reading it first gives each child a little background building in color mixing before they paint their Mother’s Day project.
Easy Mother’s Day Craft Project Supplies Click here to DOWNLOAD AND PRINT 

Cut out the word MOM first before you begin. For older children leave could even create their own outline. Now you’re ready to do some Mouse painting for Mom with a wonderful surprise. Before you begin painting tape onto your plain piece of paper lightly, you’ll want this to come off later. Allow your child to choose the placement for a little creative choice.

First paint with the brush red and yellow prints on the page and then mix the two colors to create Orange and then create orange prints onto the page. Then repeat with the yellow and blue and red and blue. As they are making prints onto the paper encourage them to cover the secret message on the paper. Remind them to take caution and not lift up the word MOM at anytime while painting.

Once they have covered the paper they have created all of the colors of the rainbow onto the paper. Now it’s time to lift up the MOM paper and see the surprise word! Just as the mice saved a white spot to hide from the mouse in the story we’ve saved a special place for our MOM. Turn it upside down and it also says WOW! Yes I know it’s the little things my 6 year old notices that crack me up.

Once your painting is dry it’s ready to give to a special MOM for Mother’s Day! CLICK HERE for a free Printable “My Mom is a Rainbow Poem” to go with your Project. Don’t forget DAD, here’s a fun twist using the word for Father’s Day CLICK HERE

Looking for more Mother’s Day Craft ideas for MOM?

If you like this idea you might like these other MOTHER’S DAY IDEAS

 Happy Mother’s Day from The Educators’ Spin On It!

The post Easy Mother’s Day Craft appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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 Create a special keepsake with this rainbow themed Mothers Day Poem and Craft idea!
Do you have a special Mom that you would like to wish Happy Mother’s Day too?  Create a rainbow with crayons, paint, torn paper or even watercolors and print out this Mothers Day Poem.  Better yet have your children read it to Mom.
Mothers Day Poem for Preschoolers
Print this adorable Mothers Day Poem for Preschool.
Here’s are the many reason why “My MOM is a Rainbow.”
Looking for Mothers Day Art?
We recently made a MOM Painting Project with Colors and I thought this poem would be the perfect match to it. Such a simple mothers day painting but the impact is adorable on a mother’s heart this year.
GET THE DIRECTIONS HERE for this EASY MOTHERS DAY PROJECT
Rainbow Clipart from MyCuteGraphics.com  

Sometimes it’s hard to say out loud all the things that we see in our Moms. I feel so very lucky to have an amazing Mom that has helped me to become the Mom that I strive to be every day with my 3 children.

We hope you take time today to tell the Moms around you how special you think they are to you.

Mothers Day Craft Ideas for Kids to Make
Happy Mother’s Day from The Educators’ Spin On It 
 

The post Printable Mothers Day Poem and Craft appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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Create your own at home summer camp! We’ve done the planning, you have the fun together as you make summer memories with your child!

Summer is approaching! Are you looking for some ideas for summer camp for kids? We have a solution! An online summer camp with everything all planned out for you and your child our Virtual Book Club for Kids Summer Camp.

You’ll have the kids saying this was the bestest summer ever!

When I became a mom, I realized very quickly that the cost can add up with summer camps, especially when you have more than one child. And then you realize many camps don’t accept enrollment for younger children.

I’m the parent that really does look forward to making memories with my little ones during the summer and I know you are too. With one of my children who’s already moved away from home as now an adult, I truly understand that feeling of there’s only 18 summers with your child.

That’s why the Virtual Book Club for Kids Summer Camp was created.

Virtual Book Club for Kids Summer Camp

I’m excited to be hosting our virtual summer camp again this year. It’s our 6th year! I would love to have your family join us online for 3 weeks of book inspired fun!

This is one of my favorite times of year getting kids ready for school with this summer camp online. {JOIN HERE}

  • 3-weeks of awesomeness!
  • Easy to follow plans!
  • Playful and hands-on activities!
  • Book themed ideas for hours of fun! So you can ROCK this summer!

It’s just that simple… all the plans are already put together. Easy activities, simple materials lists, and even book ideas!

We’ve created an online summer camp to set up at home to make your summer plans fun to enjoy with the kids!

Virtual Book Club Summer Camp is a 3-week online summer camp planned for you starting on June 10.

**Ready to join?  Registration is $24.99 **
SPECIAL SALE $19.99

(Registration closes June 9th, 2019 at 12am PST.)

Virtual Book Club for Kids Summer Camp - YouTube
Watch now a quick peek at our Summer Camp!

Here’s a peek at this year’s SUMMER CAMP THEMES 

Transportation Week

During this week we’ll get moving! From diggers to trackers to simple science projects with simple machines, we’ll explore the world of transportation with our imaginations and hands on fun. Are you ready for “Things that Go!”

Dinosaurs & Volcanos Week

This week we’ll explore the pre-historic world of dinosaurs. Your child will experience various dinosaur themed activities to create those classic summer camp memories with arts & crafts. Plus we’ll add our favorite dinosaur themed children’s books to enjoy this week.

Camping Week

During this week we’ll head outdoors and enjoy those moments of nature together. Bring your backyard to life with camping themed activities. The best part is they also will all work indoors in the living room too to keep camping fun going all summer long.

Let’s Go Camping!

When is summer camp?

You can use the camp materials ALL SUMMER LONG, but camp officially starts on Monday, June 10th!

June 10-June 16: Things That Go! 
June 17- June 23: Dinosaurs & Volcanoes
June 24- June 30: Let’s Go Camping

ALL SESSIONS INCLUDED for only $24.99

We do all the work of planning, so you can spend your time being creative and enjoying it with your kids!

REGISTER FOR SUMMER CAMP

What is included in this Online Summer Camp?
  • 15 new and fun themed activities straight to your inbox each week for 3 weeks!
  • Book recommendations for toddlers & preschoolers!
  • Supply lists ahead of time so you can be fully prepared!
  • Printable Songs!
  • Printable list with Field trip ideas!

Why Should I Join the Summer Camp?
  • The summer camp plans are filled with easy to follow, play based, hands-on activities.
  • This summer camp at home is not only fun, it’s also educational. No summer boredom or too much screen temptations in your house this season!
  • We include activities for reading, writing, math and more BUT the activities we provide are so fun, your kids won’t even know it’s educational!

Meet your Summer Camp Hosts!

We’re teachers and busy moms who are excited to welcome you to our Summer Camp.  Here’s a little about each of the 3 Virtual Book Club for Kids Summer Camp Hosts.

             

  • Kristina loves the toddler crowd! Kristina blogs at Toddler Approved. She also loves to throw parties, travel, and workout with her four crazy kids (ages 10,7,5, and 2).
  • Kim blogs here at The Educators’ Spin On It, sharing ways to make everyday moments into teachable opportunities with fun and easy activity ideas with her 3 kids.
  • Cerys blogs over at Rainy Day Mumif you don’t find her planning her next trip with the family, then she’ll be digging in the garden, mixing up a recipe or getting creative.

**LIKE IT? PIN IT! **

Let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to help you figure out if this is a good fit for your family as you get ready to plan your summer.

The post Book Inspired Online Summer Camp for Kids appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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What’s the best thank you gift for teachers? You are trying to decide what to give our child’s teacher for these special occasions like the holidays or Teacher Appreciation Day or even end of the school year too!  The question you all find ourself asking is, what will they REALLY like and USE?
We decided we’d ask our favorite teacher friends the most memorable thank you gifts they’ve received while teaching.
Thank You Gift Ideas for Teachers

These thank you gift ideas for teachers were inspired for the individuals who are involved in our children’s lives. We’ve included ideas that would be great for Teachers, Babysitters, Dance Instructors, Music Teachers, Gymnastic Coaches, Soccer Coaches, Sunday School Teachers, Program Directors and more!

Here’s what they had to say for Thank You Gift Ideas for Teachers!

Gift Cards for Teachers

One of the easiest gifts to give for teachers is a thank you card. Pulling together as a class can make one big impact for a git too.  Here’s what some of our teachers remember as their favorite gift cards.

  •  “I loved a Starbucks gift card. Useful and a nice treat on someone else’s expense.”
  • “Gift card for a massage and last year I got a date night packet with a gift card to the movies, dinner and mall so I could buy myself something new before date night.“
  •  “Yes, gift cards to the spa!! I loved it when the whole class went in together on a gift. I even got a $200 gift card to Target once (obviously a class gift). Loved that too!!”
  • “My class pulled together and got me a gift card for the mall. I was able to buy my first Florida winter coat with it since I didn’t own one. “
  •  “A few massage gift cards-what a blessing after a LONG year of service!”
  • “Gift cards were always nice.  My favorite ever was a small cactus terrarium. The kids and I enjoyed it for years!!!”

 
Food Gifts for Teachers

You can win over a teachers heart with a delicious food gift idea.  Plus it doesn’t have to be just for Teacher Appreciation week, sometimes stopping by at dismissal with a treat is so thoughtful and memorable.

  •  “My room parents got together and provided my family with homemade meals for the entire week. It was delivered to the back of my car in a cooler every day at the end of the day, complete with paper plates and jugs of tea!”
  •  “Loved a homemade meal! Complete with wine one time!”
  • “A special tray of cookies delivered with a smile and handmade thank you note”
  • “One year I had this sweet Mom who would arrive at dismissal with a plate full of handmade spring rolls, I thought it was one of most thoughtful things ever!
Personalized Thank You Gift Ideas for Teachers 

You child surprisingly will learn quite a bit about their teacher over the course of the year.  Ask if they’ve gone on any trips, or have a favorite tv show or movie. Pinterest has made it even easier to create a gift idea with their personalized name on it as well.

  • Personalized Gifts for Teachers as a teacher, my favorite appreciation gift I ever received was a book made for me by one of my parents. She had all the kids color a picture and finish the sentence, “I like Mrs. Stewart because….” Then she put all the pictures together into a book with a cover. The parents then signed the back of the book . It was super cool! Deborah from Teach Preschool
  •  “I loved getting a 31 lunch bag with my name on it packed with a lunch from a local deli!”
  • “A parent made me a scrapbook with pictures from the year and notes from the parents and kids.”
  • “I loved a beach towel & bag theme for summer”
  • The one that I received from students wasn’t a book but a picture of all of the students and they signed the back of it. Maria from Mama Mias Heart 2 Heart
  • “I loved a planted pot I received one year with all of my students’ fingerprint personalized by them into people with their handwritten names below.  Around the top the parent had written “Bloom where you are planted” I kept that plant in my classroom for years, so sweet.”
  • I got one my first year teaching 2nd grade from an awesome mom and I still have it! LOVED the drawings and writing the kids made. She also made a cookbook – where the kids made up a special dish just for me – hilarious stuff! It was great! Bernadette from Mom 2 Posh Lil Divas
  • The best gift I ever received as a teacher was a dvd picture movie a parent made for me. They took pictures of things all over my classroom, of all the kids doing different things over the year, shots of the school, displays etc. It was all set to The Jackson Five, ABC 123 and is the most fun and lovely little movie… especially as I’ve been off from teaching for the past 3 years and I’d forgotten lots of little details of my classroom that this parent photographed.  I’ll keep it forever.   Deborah @ with Learn with Play at Home

This picture my 5 year old drew the other day for her teacher before school.

Handmade Thank You Gift Ideas from Students for Teachers

It’s no surprise that teachers did not go into their profession for the big dollars, they choose it to make a difference in the life of a child.  That same sentiment goes along with a simple handmade card or drawing means the world to them.  It’s really that simple at times.

  • Handmade Gifts for Teachers“Might sound cheesy, but I enjoyed a few homemade Christmas ornaments that I still put on my tree almost 20 years later.”
  • “I just like being remembered, from the candles in the obviously child decorated baby food jars, to the mugs, to the gift certificates. My mother, who taught 3rd grade MANY years ago, got lovely sets of costume jewelry that I used to love playing dress up with. It truly is the thought that counts.”
  • “A really sweet gift I received was a drawing. A little girl in my class realized she didn’t get me anything so she quick sat down and drew me a beautiful picture.”
  • “My favorite teacher’s gift was a children’s book (that we all loved and had read) the children had written messages on labels, then the labels were placed inside the covers of the book.  Love the handwriting and precious little notes!  It’s an all time fave.  ” Kristi from Creative Connections for Kids
  • My favorite teacher’s gift was a children’s book (that we all loved and had read) the children had written messages on labels, then the labels were placed inside the covers of the book. Loved the handwriting and precious little notes! It’s an all time fave.
  •  “I got a Tervis tumbler with single servings of lemonade and ice tea packets that you just mix with water… All tied up with a bow. Love it! Also got (for two different holidays from same child) two matching totes from Lands End that are monogrammed. One is good as a purse, the other would be perfect for beach for whole family. I’ve gotten and appreciated the gift cards, but I’ll always remember the children and parents who gave me these! Whatever the gift, knowing that I’m appreciated is wonderful!”
  • “Gift cards are great, but the gifts that I remember are really the ones that were homemade from the kids…A Hello Kitty picture to hang on the wall made of Legos, a message board surrounded by tiles, each painted by a different student, and some hand folded origami shapes attached to the sweetest notes ever…those have to be my top three.”
  •  “One year I had a student who would bring me handpicked flowers from her garden on random days throughout school year.  It was so sweet!
  

Need more Teacher Appreciation Ideas?

 Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas from The Educators’ Spin On It
          Teacher Thank You Gift Ideas from Parents

Need a quick idea that a parent has already though of? Here’s a few that were easy to put together.

  • “I’m not a teacher, but I have a couple of inexpensive ideas. One year I got plain clipboards from Target. I got cute scrapbook paper and cut it to fit the clipboard. I mod podged the paper to the clipboard and sanded the edges a little. I took a piece of ribbon and tied a cute pen to the metal part of the clipboard. You can attach a handmade note from your child or clip on some stationary or note pad. “
  • “One year I got those huge plastic summer cups from Target (they have all kinds of cute designs and are $2). I put in a can of Izzy’s sparkling soda and a couple of snacks. Tied it with cellophane and ribbon. Kinda cute!”
  • “I have given Mary Kay gifts in the past (coffee & cream – a coffee mug with hand cream) and some samples. I also did this same gift at Christmas with hot chocolate and a candy cane and it came with a cute poem. I’ve also done mini-Satin Hands sets that have always been a hit (<$10) and packaged them according to the season…Christmas, Valentine’s, etc. I have a variety of products that are enjoyed by just about all women and the gift can be as little or big as you want. ”
  • “We created a photo book for our daughters’ Dance Teacher using images on the girls over the course of the years of lessons with our group of girls.”
  • You’re Officially the BEST! Throw together some swedish fish candy with a fish shaped note!
  • You’re Beary Special!  Grab some gummy worms and a bear shared note for a sweet thank you card.
As you can see the gifts varied, every teacher is unique, but the message is always received with heart felt appreciation.  I hope you find this list helpful and are able to find that special gift for someone in your child’s life that you want to Thank for making a difference.
No matter your budget is there is always a way to tell someone THANK YOU for sharing their lives and with your child.  The most important thing to remember is to take a moment and remember how hard they are working for your child.
A simple smile and a “thank you” when you pick them up or a handmade card from your child will bring such joy to their day.
For more ideas Teacher Appreciation Ideas Visit our Pinterest Gift Board!

The post Thank You Gift Ideas for Your Child’s Teacher appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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Need help finding a special gift for a teacher? Here are some fun and easy teacher gifts ideas to share with that one of a kind teacher.

Teacher Appreciation week is here!  Do you have an idea of what to give your child’s teacher?  We asked some of our favorite bloggers to share their ideas with us.  Here’s over 30 Ideas for teach gifts to make it easy to share something special without having to create your own ideas.  Plus many are budget friendy teacher gift ideas to be able to share with all of the teachers that impact your child at school.
30+ Teacher Gift Ideas

*indicates featured images 

Teacher Gift Ideas from The Educators’ Spin On It

Take time this week to #THANKATEACHER They spend so much of their time, effort and talents focused on your child and their success and well being.

Have your child write a simple thank you note or drawing a picture can be quite motivational to a teacher too.

**LIKE IT?  PIN IT!  **

Looking for more ideas?  We’re sharing gift ideas on our Gift Pinterest Board… be sure to follow!

The post Teacher Gift Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week and End of School Year appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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Do you know where the fish’s dorsal fin is?  In this open ended fish art and science activity, children create their own fish.  Kids trace, cut, and paint.   A template takes away any frustrations of “I can’t draw a fish.” Let them draw on their own dorsal, pectoral, and pelvic fin.

This guarantees that every child’s fish will be unique and makes it theirs.

Open Ended Fish Art and Science Project

Best for ages 4-7.

Science learning objective: Identifies 3 parts of a fish. These may include, body, tail, dorsal fin, pectoral fin, pelvic fin, gills, fins, or lateral line.

What is this open ended fish art and science project best for? I like to set out open ended projects, meaning, each child’s finished project looks totally different, on the dining room table for after school learning.  These open ended projects also work well in a classroom setting for either a science, literacy, or art lesson.

They can be done in either whole group or small learning stations. Tracing, cutting, and painting provide children with opportunities to use small tools, which can assist in strengthening fine motor.  Using a variety of materials such as paint sticks encourages creative thinking.  Teaching kids about the fish habitat and parts of a fish brings in the science.

Affiliate links to products.

Materials Needed for Open Ended Fish Art and Science Project

Here are the items that you will need:


Before Starting:

Read the book Fish Eyes, a Book You Can Count on by Lois Ehlert. This book is great for young children ages 2-6. It is perfect addition to the early childhood classroom or home environment because

  • It’s fun and simple
  • Has height colored illustrations
  • Includes the numbers and number words in numerical order
  • Focuses on the addition concept of plus one.

Directions for Open Ended Fish Art and Science Project
  1. First, make a fish pattern for the body and tail.  Make several different templates for children to choose from. Label as pattern or template.
  2. Then, have the children select and trace their template.
  3. Let the children draw on the dorsal, pectoral, pelvic fin onto the body of their fish.  Encourage them to use a triangle, rectangle or square.
  4. Cut the fish out.
  5. Last, paint the fish. Make sure to add the lateral line, fish eyes, scales, and patterns.

Option 1: Paint with tempera paint. Let dry. Then draw on the lateral line, scales, and patterns with crayons.

Option 2: Paint lateral line, scales, and patters with Kwik Stix These are a fast drying paint that my kids love.

See our Triangle lesson where we used them here.

What to do with the open ended fish art and science project when you are done?

You can:

  • Have kids write a sentence about their fish.
  • Send them home with the kids.
  • Count all the fish you made. Make up a story about the fish.
  • Glue the fish on white pieces of paper. Make a kid-made book to read. Write a sentence on each page. Staple the pages together on the left.
  • Collect all the fish. Hang the completed fish from the Open Ended Fish Art + Science Project on a bulletin board. Count how many fish there are.  Make that number and number word with a bright colored construction paper. Add the words: fish you can count on. So if there are 10 fish, your bulletin board would say, 10 Ten fish you can count on.

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The post Open Ended Fish Art and Science Project for Creative Kids to Make and Do appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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One toy that all children are drawn to are balls. Big, small, textured you name it, balls are a sure hit with kids. Here are 6 Ball Games for kids that they’ll love to play outside.

One gift that we tend to get as a family each spring is a new ball. There’s just something pretty special about bouncing balls that scream come play. Let’s be honest at the store the bright shiny fully inflated balls scream, buy me!

Have you seem some of the new designs they have come up with? I think ball games are such an easy way to create outdoor games for kids to get them moving and playing together with friends and siblings.

Let me share with you a few new games with balls to add to your list of fun outdoor games.


Outdoor Ball Games for Kids

This post contains affiliate links.

Make a Basket 

One of my favorite ways to store all of our toys, especially balls is in a Large Plastic Tub with Rope Handles . A Laundry Basket  or Rubbermaid Storage Container can work too.  Plus you can use these for practicing making a basket with your balls! Trust me, simple is good with ball games with kids.

Through the Hoop

Take your child’s Hula Hoop  as use it for a target for the ball. You can lay it on the ground and challenge your child to make the ball land in the hole, almost like golf or you can hang it from a tree and try to make the ball fly through the hula hoop. Great target practice for learning to throw which is useful for ball games.

Over the Line 

The skill of learning to bounce a ball at just the right speed and height takes talent.  These skills are needed for additional bouncing ball games like tennis, ping pong and even volleyball.  Start early with this Over the Line game.  Two player bounce a ball to each other by laying down a Jump Rope  or drawing a line with chalk.  The challenge is to bounce the ball once on your side and then once on the other side.  The player who missing the bounced ball first loses.  You can pretend it’s snake, hot lava or a even log across a river to add a little creativity to the game.

Sidewalk Targets 

Using Sidewalk Chalk ,  create an obstacle course with your child for the ball to bounce on.  It’s really practice in aim for throwing a ball but it makes such fun for your child’s imagination too.  Create circles around the driveway and make believe to bounce from one to the other.  They can be spaceships, lily pads, flowers.  Encourage your child to create a scenario for the game.

Box Bowling

Recycle a large box to create a game call Box Bowling. Simply cut out a half circle large that the ball and then challenge your child to roll the ball into the opening.  Player that gets the most balls inside the box wins!  You can have your child decorate the box based on their interested from animals to a rockets. Click here for more box ideas for kids.

Bottle Bowling 

Recycle your juice, milk or soda containers to create a bowling game for your ball.  You can make it fancy by decorating the bottles or keep it simple.  Surprisingly wrapping paper can be a great way to cover them easily. Click here to see how we decorated our recycled containers.

Ball Themed Activities for Kids

We have a few more Ball Resources including Math Games with Balls  or Best Ball Book for Kids to Read 


    
Grab a Ball on Amazon for your child 

What Types of Ball Games are your favorite? Share!

You’re invited to share what you’ve been doing with your kids at home.  If you’re a parent or teacher leave us a comment below of what you’ve been up to or leave a picture on our facebook page!  We’d love to hear from you! Come join the FUN!

Click below for even more Ball Options on Amazon for hour of FUN!  

  


The post 6 Ball Games Your Kids Will Love to Play appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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Looking for what flowers to plant in your garden this season? Here’s our pick of the top 10 flowers to grow with kids.

I am so happy to be here today thinking about spring and getting into the garden with my kids.

Hi, I’m Jen and I write at the blog Kitchen Counter Chronicles. If I look out my window right now, all I can see is snow, snow and more snow. It amazes me how under all that snow the flowers in our garden are busy getting ready to re-emerge. I have always thought of gardening as a certain type of natural magic. My daughters feel the same way. We have planted many flowers, herbs, trees, shrubs and vegetables over the years. Some flowers have been more successful than others…some have been more engaging than others.

I’ve put together our favourite 10 flowers to grow with kids. I have included the flowers I have seen my daughters, and other children, enjoy the most. The flowers that engage one or more of their 5 senses tend to be the most interesting to kids. If a flower is fun to touch, smells interesting, makes a particular sound, is beautifully coloured or has an interesting flavour, the children will be captivated.

10 Flowers to Grow with Kids 1. Daisy

Daisies are a simple perennial flower to start with. There are many different varieties of daisies, you can find an entire rainbow of colours to grow. Daisies are perfect for children to grow because they so grow easily. They can be picked and they will produce more and more flowers. Children love picking flowers, touching flowers and daisies are the perfect flower to pick.

2. Woolly Lambs Ear

Here is a plant that my children simple cannot resist touching, I can’t either. Woolly lambs ear is a perennial plant that grows quite easily in most climates. This plant is exactly what the name says…the leaves and the flowers are as soft as a woolly lambs ear…seriously.

3. Strawflowers

While we are on the topic of flowers that feel great, there are strawflowers. Strawflowers are a fascinating plant for children to explore. The flowers the plant produces are paper or straw-like…the petals are hard, crisp and pointy. These flowers are perfect for cutting and turning into dried flower arrangements…in fact even when the flowers are fresh they feel like a dried flower…fascinating.

4. Sweet Peas

Moving on to another sense, the sense of smell. The sweet pea is an annual flower that grows along a vigorous lightweight vine. Sweets peas are the perfect plant to grow into a teepee in the garden, along a railing or a fence. When the small, pastel flowers open up children will understand why they are called “sweet”. The scent they produce is soft, not at all harsh. Again, these flowers are perfect for children to make bouquets for little hands.

5. Nasturtium

A super easy annual plant to grow in containers or in a garden. Nasturtium’s brightly coloured flowers are prolific and edible. Nasturtium is a safe edible flower for children to try. Mix the flowers into a salad, or top a cupcake with a few flowers. Even if you choose not to eat the flowers, their beautiful colours will entertain children.

6. Marigold

Marigolds are a fun flower to grow right from seed. There are many varieties available, the colour choices are endless. Marigolds’ flower petals are edible too. These flowers are so simple to grow and produce many flowers. Marigolds are a good option for both containers and garden borders.

7. Purple Cone Flower

We love our Purple Cone Flowers (also known as Echinacea). Purple Cone Flowers are a perfect flower to grow with children who are interested in learning about butterflies and bees. Butterflies find the purple coloured flower heads a lovely spot to stop and eat. Every year we see dozens of butterflies and many more bees resting on our Purple Cone Flowers.

8. Sunflowers

Growing a sunflower from a simple seed, is an amazing experiment for any child. Watching the transformation is remarkable. Once the sunflower’s head is fully developed children can learn how plants feed wild animals..feed the birds and the fallen seeds feed squirrels. Sunflowers take some time to grow, but the end reward is HUGE.

9. Ornamental Grasses

Okay, so ornamental grasses might not technically be “flowers”, but they are an incredible addition to any kid-focused garden. There is an endless variety of ornamental grasses, with different colourings, different heights and different plumes. Ornamental grasses captivate children. As they blow and dance on the wind they rattle together and are almost melodic. We keep our grasses standing all winter long. In the winter, they sound like a trickling rain stick. Beyond the sounds they make, they are fun to cut and play with or use the plumes to like a natural paint brush. A really versatile plant.

10. Snapdragons

How simple is a snapdragon? Snapdragons grow well in containers or along the border of a garden. Children simply love “snapping” the little flower heads. We plant snapdragons in our little fairy gardens…fairies and dragon seem to go together so well.

There is so much for children to learn in a garden, and flowers are one of areas to explore. When we make connections with our children and flowers a whole new world of discovery opens up. If you enjoyed this post you may want to check out my post about growing plants from seed and my post about creating a fairy garden with children. Happy spring and happy gardening! 


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In my “previous life” I was a mental health professional…in my current life I am a stay-at-home mom with 2 beautifully adventurous kids. I  share everything that lands on my kitchen counter over on my blog, Kitchen Counter Chronicles. Swing by and learn how we are greening their lives; what we are crafting, cooking and reading. While you will often us inside the kitchen, you will also find us out and about getting our hands dirty, exploring and learning outdoors. You can also follow Kitchen Counter Chronicles on PinterestFacebook and Twitter.

We are so excited to have so many parents and teachers excited about gardening and learning with their children!  To find out more about our month of Kids in the Garden; Learning and Growing click here.

Today’s article is written by an extremely talented Canadian writer * who shares her families eco-friendly, outdoor, crafting, baking and exploring adventures at Kitchen Counter Chronicles.   Grab your kids for this one and have them read along.  Then make a list of the flowers YOU want to grow in your garden this year!!!

PSS – My favorite are the giant zinnias! ~ Amanda

Which flower is your child’s favorite? Looking for more activities for kids in the garden with flowers?

Click on the images below to explore

     

Click for more Gardening with Kids

The post 10 Flowers to Grow with Kids appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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Some schools allow parents to write a teacher or placement letter request. In my humble opinion, if your school should allow this opportunity, then you SHOULD write one. Here are a few guidelines and sample classroom placement letter to get you started.

I believe that it may or may not help in making your next year teacher a better match with your child, but it is worth the chance. So, as the time is now for most schools, how should you write a placement request letter?

Disclosure: Amazon affiliate Links Used in this Article

Tips for Writing a Placement Letter Request

Grab your pens and paper, now’s the time to sit down and write a placement letter request. There really is no one right way. This is just the format that I use every year with my own children. Call your school first to find out if they accept placement letters, the date they need the letters by, and the specific guidelines for your school.  Some principals allow preferred teachers to be named other do not.

Placement Letter Request Format:

1. Start by stating your child’s current grade level and teacher. I always include a picture of my child somewhere in the letter as well.
2. Write about your child’s strengths – academic and social.
3. Write about your concerns for your child. This is place to include any special needs or personality traits that may need extra attention.
4. Write about the type of classroom or teacher traits that you feel your child would do best with.
5. Thank the team for considering your request.

Read the article: Getting the Teacher You Want

Sample Classroom Placement Letter

RE: 2017-2018 Classroom Placement Dear “School” Team,

We are writing this letter on behalf of our daughter “name”. She is currently in “teacher” “grade level” class and excelling in all areas; social and academic. “Name” is a very bright and enthusiastic learner. She reads at a much higher decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension level than her current grade. In fact, she reads 1-2 chapter books and multiple picture books every evening and is able to discuss with higher order thinking, challenging concepts. She reached over 100 AR points, made it to the 5th level in Ticket to Read, and has read almost the entire collection of chapter book series in the school library this year (and she is only 6 years old). In addition to reading, she enjoys science and has become a citizen scientist collecting data for a project called Monarch Health. Her one complaint about school is that she wants to learn more than the material presented. We are currently providing her with enrichment activities at home.

She is also a very thoughtful, kind hearted child. I have seen her give up her space for others, allow them to go first, and help solve disputes using kind words and effective problem solving. She responds well to compassionate adults with fair rules.

It is amazing to be parents of such an inquisitive, thoughtful child. When she was younger, we were worried she would have trouble learning as she has vision issues. After patching for several years, multiple eye muscle surgeries and therapy, she has improved her vision. Glasses are essential for her and she is never without them. She also relies heavily on her other senses and benefits from consistent classroom routines.

We feel that she would do the best in a classroom that is not only organized, with consistent routines, but also has a teacher that is willing to challenge and enrich the grade level material. “Name” would also do well with a teacher that routinely uses multi-sensory lessons, rather than one who primarily leans towards providing visual cues and presentations. Last, but not least, we feel that it is important for her to be placed in a classroom that supports and challenges her in a safe and loving way, for “name” to feel worthwhile and appreciated in her learning environment.

Thank you,

“Parents Names”

Need tips for writing a First Grade Classroom Request Letter?

As a Parent of a Grade School Child, you may also enjoy these resources:


The post How to write a letter for classroom placement or teacher request with a sample letter appeared first on The Educators' Spin On It.

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