A Learning Tree

When it comes to education, we love hands-on activities. Children grasp concepts so much better when they step away from the text books (I know ours do)! With that being said, we decided to play a few games around our tree last night. Here are the favorites!

 

#1. Find That Color

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If you have toddlers, this is a fun way to learn colors. Our little guy will spend over 5 minutes finding all things red, green, gold, etc!

 

#2. Name That Shape

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With all the different ornaments on the tree, learning new shapes has never been so much fun!

 

#3. I spy

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Of course this is a favorite!! Kids strengthen their observation skills, while having a blast! 

 

#4. Tell Me A Story

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Pick an ornament, and create a brand new story using “characters” from your tree!

 

#5. Counting, Counting, Counting

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Have your little start counting all the different ornaments! Counting games are always fun!

 

 

Do you have a favorite Christmas tree activity? 🙂

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Stocking Stuffer Fun!

Stockings! It’s one of our favorite Christmas traditions. There is just something about opening a gift full of wonderful little surprises. Here are a few of our favorite stocking stuffers! 🙂

#1. Mini Tins of Thinking Putty

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We LOVE thinking putty. Especially since it has a new scented evergreen edition.

#2. Glow Mars Mud

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Once you start playing with this, you won’t stop! 🙂

#3. Incrediblefoam

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With open-ended and sensory play in mind, Incrediblefoam is one of our favorites!

#4. Magnetic Slime Ooze

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Mix up a batch of slime that reacts to a magnet!

#5. Cosmic Spinner Tops

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Tops! We have literally played with these for hours on end. 

#6. Touchable Bubbles

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Bubbles that you can actually touch without popping!

#7. Wooden Animal Slingshot 

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Slingshots and giant marshmallows. It’s a blast!

#8. Wildlife BB Pocket Puzzle

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Patience is required, but still so much fun!

#9. Skwooshi

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One of the most addicting things we have ever play with. Literally. 🙂

#10. Original Metal Slinky

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If you have stairs…this is a must!

#11. Gyroscope 

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A classic toy that has been a family favorite for years!

#12. Old Fashioned Diving Sub

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Just add a little baking powder, and watch the diving sub in action!

#13. Tornado Tube

 

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If you’ve never seen the Tornado Tube® in action you may not realize how dramatic it can be!!

#14. Flip Birds

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A highly addictive game of dexterity and skill. A flick of the finger will send each Flippin’ Bird towards the cup!

#15. Jetfire Glider Twin Pack

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The original Guillow’s Balsa Wood Planes from more than half a century ago. Two Gliders are included that soar up to 25 feet. 12″ wingspan!

#16. Magic Rocks

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Would you like to grow some rocks? Fill a clear glass container, such as a wide-mouthed jar, with the special solution, and add the colored pellets to it!

#17. Spiky Light-up Ball

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Turn off all the lights, and start a fun tossing game. So many memories were made by playing with these!

#18. Guatemalan Kick Bag 

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Hand crocheted in Guatemala, these are made to last!

#19. Astronaut Ice Cream and Fruit

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Enjoy your ice cream just as Astronauts do–the freeze-dried way! There is also cinnamon apples, grapes, peaches, strawberries, and bananas!

#20. Rattleback

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A science curiosity whose ancient and mysterious properties capture the attention of all ages. Rattleback will spin in one direction but when spun in the wrong direction, it will quickly stop, rattle up and down, and then begin to spin in the opposite direction. It also magnifies and is sure to entertain for hours! 

 

 

 

 

 

Open-Ended Play!

What is open-ended play?

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A child engaged in open-ended play is simply going with the flow. He is exploring open-ended materials — objects that have multiple uses and infinite possibilities, like paint, clay, sand, mud, water, blocks, and Legos. There are no expectations, no specific problems to solve, no rules to follow, and no pressure to produce a finished product. It’s all about free play — the freedom to invent and discover!

 

What is the benefit of open-ended play?

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By simply fiddling around with a wide range of materials, he practices a wealth of brain-boosting skills that will serve him in school and throughout his life. Just think of what it takes for him to make sense of the unstructured nature of the materials — imagination, creativity, vision, and patience. He learns to deal with infinite possibilities before taking a big leap of faith. He makes something no one has ever seen before, which requires trial and error and problem-solving. Meanwhile he is offered the chance to create order and express meaning.

 

Have fun doing some open-ended play today!

 

Outdoor Math Day!

 

There are many reasons why maths is a core part of the curriculum worldwide. It provides us with skills and knowledge that can be used in our daily lives. From the moment we wake up, we are constantly estimating, problem-solving and making quick judgements about quantities and amounts. For example, you may need to check…

via Get Real. Get Messy. Get Maths. Get Outdoors. — Outdoor Classroom Day

Gifts For Kids Who Love The Outdoors!

With Christmas being just weeks away, we have officially started our Christmas shopping! I know, it’s a bit early, but sometimes it takes a while to find unique, fun, and educational gifts for our little outdoor lovers. These have been our favorites for the past few years, and will probably remain favorites for years to come!

 

#1. Science on a Tracking Expedition

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Track through exciting hands-on science experiments and activities! We love this kit!

 

#2. Bug Vacuum

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Because, seriously, everyone needs a bug vacuum! Hehee!

 

#3. SAS Survival Guide-Pocket Size

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The perfect pocket sized survival guide for both kids and adults!

 

#4. Lifestraw

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The LifeStraw® Personal water filter, and LifeStraw® Go water filter bottle will filter 1,000 liters of water (264 gallons). A great item to keep on hand for emergencies, or in our case, a fun tool to take out to the creek!

 

#5. Wooden Animal Slingshots

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Every little boy’s favorite! 🙂

 

#6. Camp Board Game

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Learn about the great outdoors with CAMP!! A family favorite!

 

#7. Lensatic Compass

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#8. Nature Anatomy

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See the world in a new way! From rocks, to trees, to critters. This book is our family’s favorite nature resource!

 

#9. Ant Universe- Gel Habitat

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Provides hours of watching and observing fun!

 

#10. Knot Tying Game

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A perfect game for road trips!

 

Do you have a favorite nature/outdoor activity? Post below! 🙂

Charlotte Mason Math (aka Board Game Math) — Homeschool Unleashed!

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling has been using the Sonlight book lists for English and Social Studies. Snuggled together on the couch, or lying on a picnic blanket, my kids and I have traveled to distant lands and learned about foreign cultures, traveled back in time and been immersed in history, and heard […]

via Charlotte Mason Math (aka Board Game Math) — Homeschool Unleashed

Favorite Activities to Inspire Imaginations in Children

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”

Being a creative adult doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a painter or sculptor. CEO’s and political leaders, too, benefit from being creative, which lets them see things in new ways and find solutions to problems others might miss. That kind of problem-solving and innovative thinking begins with the power of imagination.
So how do we inspire this power in our children? These fun activities are a good place to start!

 

#1. Tell Stories

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Reading to your kids isn’t about having a perfectly illustrated book, and the serene setting. It’s about the one-on-one connection, the parent and the child, with the story mediating. Storytelling may well be the cornerstone of imagination development, and doing it well, and in a variety of ways is something you can do almost every day-even if it’s only in brief moments.

 

#2. Make Art

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Paint, draw, mold, build, sculpt. Tactile experiences are important, and giving young children free rein over their work is crucial–let them create freely!

 

#3. Use Natural Materials

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Keeping kids in touch with objects from nature inherently inspires their imagination. So does play with open-ended toys  — such as blocks or sand  — that have endless possibilities!

 

#4. Puppets

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Gather a box of assorted household items  — a strainer, a shoe box, paper cups, a flashlight, whatever you can think of that’s not sharp or fragile  — and have your child create a puppet show using these objects as the “puppets.” You’ll be amazed at the creatures and characters your child creates.

 

#5. Wacky Photos

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Gather some old photographs that no one will miss (or cut out some pictures from old books)  –and let your child cut them into various bits and pieces. Then get out some glue, construction paper, and markers and have them create new scenes. You might suggest a general setting such as outer space or a medieval castle, then let your child create the image.

 

#6. Nature Story

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Take a paper bag and go on a walk with your child. Try to collect at least 10 nature objects, no more than one of each thing (only one leaf, and so forth). When you get home, have your child make a story from the objects by reaching in the bag and pulling out items one by one for inspiration.  We love seeing our children come up with some incredible stories by using just a few simple items! 🙂

 

#7. Playing With Boxes And Cartons

 

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Whether it be a huge cardboard box or a simple egg carton, the creative possibilities are endless! Here is a tip if you don’t know where to get those huge boxes: find a local appliance store, or buy a large, wardrobe-sized box from a moving-supply store! Set the box up in an open area in your house and let your child decide what he wants it to be  — a house, a cave, a time capsule. Provide heavy-duty markers for decoration and let your child’s imagination go to work!

 

 

#8. Make Some Paper Creatures

 

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Start by folding a piece of paper, and then pass it along to the next person. It can be quite entertaining to see what kind of  creature or object a child can create!

 

 

#9. Art Tales

 

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Go to an art museum  — a small, local one is fine  — and slow down for a change. Stand in the middle of an exhibit room and have your child decide from a distance which picture he likes best. Then walk up to it and look at it closely. Ask your child to tell a story about what he sees. Encourage him with open-ended questions. Find another painting and have your child create a story that connects it with the last one!

 

 

#10.Junk Drawer Game

 

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Okay, everyone has a junk drawer (or two or three in our case). It could be one of those spare drawers in the kitchen or the top desk drawer in your child’s room. Have your child go through one drawer and pick out a dozen of the oddest, most lost-looking small objects he can find  — the less anyone knows what the things originally came from and what they were for, the better. Get a big sheet of cardboard or poster board, some markers, and some dice, and have your child invent a game using all the found pieces. Then sit down and play together. Who knows? You may invent an award winning game while you’re at it! 😉

 

 

Extra idea: Brush-less Painting

 

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Anyone can paint with a brush. For this activity, find things around the house that your child can paint with that aren’t brushes. String will work, or odd bits of sponge, broken pencils, rubber bands, strips of yarn or fabric, apples cut in half, or even a discarded action figure or doll. Spread some newspaper on a table or the floor, lay some washable paint out in small bowls or plates, give your child a large sheet of paper (at least 18 by 24 inches), and see what develops. Our littles loves going outside to gather twigs and pine needles to make nature prints. They turned out beautifully!

 

 

Do you have an idea that inspires imagination?! Share below! 🙂