Chalk Walk & the Art of Playing to Learn

Chalk Walk & The Art of Playing to Learn

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Spring is here and between spring rain storms, we are enjoying the warm spring weather and lovely breeze.  Who wants to be stuck indoors learning when they could be out playing scooter, digging in the dirts and exploring nature! With that in mind, our little ones have ventured out doors to play and learn.

After a quick trip to the dollar store were we stocked up on a few containers of sidewalk chalk, we decided to have a good time building learning games on the driveway.  The first round, I created bursts of word families.  Using a hop-along pony our little one formed words and sounded out words as we raced to each finish line.

 

After the rain washed this particular game away, created a winding shoots and ladders style learning game.  With two pennies, the kids moved forward one space for each head and two for tails. Boxes along the journey had learning activities and exercise ideas for the children to preform.  On this track, they used their scooters to navigate the twists and turns.

 

Since the rain has now washed this game-board, the three are already planning their next chalk walk. This time they want to create a CandyLand style game with creative magical stops along their journey. This is what they’ve come up with so far:

  • Mud Swamp
  • Magical Room of Potions
  • Candy Flower Garden
  •  Troll Bog

Activities along their path::

  • Rhyming Words
  • Beginning Sounds
  • Rubber band words (stretching word sounds)
  • Simple Math Problems
  • Hopping on one leg
  • Pushups
  • Squats
  • Other Work Outs

Let us know what other creative ideas you’d like us to consider!  Or, do you have a picture of your own chalk walk? We’d love to see!

Egg Adventures

Egg Adventures!

How is Easter already next weekend?  Didn’t we just celebrate Christmas?  In the spirit of the holiday, I created a few fun projects for our kids this week.  With each one of our children at different academic levels, I wanted to develop an activity that would address each individual’s needs. Also as a combined family project, I brought back our Christmas Kindness Challenge and revamped it for Easter.

 

Kindness Challenge

Be Grateful, Be Kind, Believe in Kindness

Little toys, tiny trinkets, a coin or maybe a dollar, these are some of the possibilities that fill our kindness challenge eggs. Over the next week, our family will find places around town or even on our spring break travels to place these little gifts of love.  What would you put in your own kindness eggs?

Sight Word and Beginning Letter Challenge

Egg Fun for Four

 

Our four year old this week is working on beginning letters and recognizing site words in preparation for Kindergarten in the fall.  On the outside of each egg is the letter of the word inside. At the $ section of Target I found an egg puzzle. On one side I placed shape stickers and the other number for review.  Story starters are also typed up on other pieces of paper as a fun way to travel.  Open up each egg, read the story starter and create a family story as you drive or fly towards your family adventure.

Motor Skills and Movement Challenge

Eggs & Movement

Our middle girl is working on strengthening her muscles. So for her eggs, we placed a variety of movement exercises to get her up, moving and engaging those muscles in a fun challenge.

 

Stem Questions in Context Challenge

Stem Stories

Our oldest is working hard to master Stem questions in reading context. For her, I typed up a list of questions sent home by the school to use for her story retell.

What Egg Creations do you have planned for your Easter Celebration this year? 

5 Kid Friendly Outdoor Snow Projects

5 Kid Friendly Outdoor Snow Projects

Our Snowed in Adventure

When snow hits in the south, you can guarantee a few days snow-days. An unheard of 4 inches blanketed our area with gorgeous, soft flakes of snow. It was magical… for the first couple of days. However, when we received the call yesterday that again school was canceled, (it’s been 6 days since the snow fell) my first instinct was “Noooo”!  Being cooped up in the house with three kids well, the magic has worn thin.  They need to get out, have some purpose and be challenged by someone other then me and my husband (and goodness knows, I need time to work, LOL!).  But then, inspiration hit this morning.  With weathers warming up, the snow will be soon gone and we need to take advantage of what remains.Time to get busy, play outdoors and learn in our environment! Here are our Top 5 Kid Friendly Outdoor Snowy Projects!

 

  1. Snow Art

Materials:

  • Spray Bottles or recycled bottles
  • watered down paints or food coloring
  • leftover sprinkles from holiday cookies

Grab a large patch of snow and let the kids explore mixing colors and painting the snow.  Challenge them to create patterns or simple patterns.  See where their imagination takes them.

2. Snow Writing

Materials:

  • Sticks
  • Leftover snow art paint

Find a patch of snow and practice writing letters, words or messages in the snow.  Erase with leaves or pine branches and try again.

3.  Snow Prints

Materials:

  • Leaves
  • Pinecones
  • cars, trucks or anything with wheels
  • Other objects that will make imprints or patterns in the snow

Have the kids lightly press outdoor objects such as leaves and pinecones into the snow to see the imprint. Hunt for tracks in the snow made by outdoor critters  such as birds or deer. Use indoor objects like cars and trucks to see the impressions created.

4.  Snow Science- Melting Snow

Materals:

  • Buckets
  • Pots and pans
  • Stove (either hot plate or indoor range)
  • Cheese cloth or towel
  • oven
  • space heaters

Query 1: Can we Drink Snow?  Have the kids learn how melt snow and use as drinking water. Collect water into a couple pots. Fill to the top so they can see how much water comes from snow.  Melt the snow on the stove and observe the change in property from a solid to a liquid.  Boil snow for 10 minutes, cool and strain over a towel to get rid of any twigs, dirt and leaves.

Query 2: How fast does snow melt indoors. Have the kids place snow into buckets and place in different parts of the house such as the garage, in doors and by the heater.  Have them predict how long they think each bucket of snow will take to melt.

Query 3: How fast will snow melt with heat.  Use a heat lamp, hair dryer or space heater. Predict of fast each bucket of snow will melt.

As the water melted, we watched a Water Cycle Video and discussed what temperature needs to be present to make snow fall.

5.  Snow Books and Games

Snow was a way of life where I grew up so I sure enjoyed teaching the kids a few of my snow-fun filled games.

Snow Games

  • Fox and Geese – a Game of Tag in the Snow
  • Capture the Flag- I recall once playing this in thigh deep snow!  It was crazy but always a fun adventure
  • Building a Snowman or Fort
  • Having a snowball Fight
  • Creating Snow Angels

Recommend Reading for Snowy Day Fun

Snow by Cynthia Rylant

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll

Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Write

All you Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

 

Elf in Training Day 25

Merry Christmas

We conclude our advent adventures with Day 25. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2016: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training  and Workout Challenge.

Day 25 Tasks:

Elf in Training

1. Pray for Someone

Today we will be intentional about our thoughts and pray for others who needs an extra boost of love.

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Family Holiday Activity

Celebrate Christmas

Today is Christmas!!!  We are thankful for our faith in the Lord and the blessings He has provided our family. Many wonderful wishes to you and your family!!

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Workout Challenge

25 pushups, 25 burpees, six 25 second side planks, six 25 second bridges & 25 jumping jacks

Head into overtime and blast out this short but sweet, challenge .  Today is the conclusion of the Workout Challenge!

Elf in Training Day 24

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We continue our advent adventures with Day 18. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2017: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training and Workout Challenge.

Day 18 Tasks:

Elf in Training/Family Holiday Activity

1. Put Extra money in a Strangers Parking Meter

Treat someone to some extra time on their parking meter, today add an extra quarter or two.

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2. Stop by a local laundry mat and leave a couple quarters.

If there anything better then finding extra change? Surprise someone with this easy but simple treat!

3. Make a New Friend

Say hello and strike up a conversation today make a new friend.  Looking for location to meet someone new, head to a local dog park, dine in a warm coffee shop,  strike up a conversation doing some last minute shopping or message someone Merry Christmas wishes on Facebook.

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Holiday Family Activity

Read the Night Before Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve and what better time to read Denslow’s Night Before Christmas?  A tradition that has been in my family for as long as I can remember, this book classic tale is a favorite for our family.  With stunning pictures and a sweet story, The Night Before Christmas is sure to captive your little elves.

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Workout Challenge

24 Pile Squats, 24 pushups, 24 skaters & hold 6 stretches for 24 seconds

Short but sweet, add this challenge the holiday season.  Only 1 day until Christmas and conclusion of the Workout Challenge!

Elf in Training Day 23

We continue our advent adventures with Day 23. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2017: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training and Workout Challenge.

Day 23 Tasks:

Elf in Training

1. Thank a Service Member or First Responder

We are so thankful for all our first responders and service members so today we are giving back to our community.  A simple thank you wi help but we wish to bring some treats for them to enjoy.

2.  “Dress you Best Elf” Contest

Along with Christmas Caroling, we will have a Dress your Best Elf Contest.  Ugly Sweaters, Elf Ears, Adorable outfits are all welcome.  Awards will be given for the most creative, best dressed, craziest and silliest.

Family Holiday Activity

Sing Christmas Carols with your Family

Time for a little song and a whole lot of family fun adding music for a fun sing a long. Looking for the lyrics to Christmas songs, check out a couple of these websites.

NorthPole.com

Christmas Carols 

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Workout Challenge

23 Jumping jacks, 23 butt kicks, 23 frog jumps & one 23 second plank

Short but sweet, add this challenge the holiday season.  Only 2 days until Christmas and conclusion of the Workout Challenge!

Elf in Training Day 22

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We continue our advent adventures with Day 22. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2017: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training and Workout Challenge.

Day 22 Tasks:

Elf in Training


1. Double Tip at a Restaurant or Coffee House

Make a service workers day, give them a treat this holiday season and add a little extra to their tip.

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2. Smile at Someone Today ~ Kindness is Contagious!

Family Holiday Activity

Make Cookies for Santa

We have arrived at the Grandparent house and tonights we prepare Santa’s treat! Time to make some delicious cookies!  Looking for a healthy option for this year’s plate?  Try this delicious version of Trim Healthy Mama sugar-free “sugar” cookies from Mrs. Criddles Kitchen.

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Workout Challenge

22 Crab Toe Touches & 22 Spinal Balance Stretches

Another core day to strengthen and stretch your abdominal muscles .  Only 3 days until Christmas and conclusion of the Workout Challenge!

Elf in Training Day 21

img_3797We continue our advent adventures with Day 21. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2017: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training and Workout Challenge.

Day 21 Tasks:

Elf in Training/Family Holiday Activity

1. Tell a Joke

Knock, Knock jokes, silly one liners, anything to keep the kids laughing on our holiday drive.

2. Say “Hi” to someone today.

Out and about, be kind to someone, smile and say, Hi!

Family Holiday Activity

Start Christmas Vacation

Yesterday was the last day of school their Christmas vacation. Their excitement is evident in their smiles and their way to early morning wake up. It’s time to hit the road on an adventure!
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Workout Challenge

21 Burpees  & 21 Pushups

Today is a workout in itself cardio and strength in one fun round.  Only 4 days until Christmas and conclusion of the Workout Challenge!

Elf in Training Day 20

We continue our advent adventures with Day 20. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2017: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training and Workout Challenge.

Day 20 Tasks:

Elf in Training/

1.  Learn to wrap a gift.

Then race to see who can wrap a gift the fastest. A fun event challenge on our first day of winter break.  A little tape, a bit of paper and a lot of laughs for this fun event.

2. Thank someone today.

A door held open, a kind word, a special greeting offer a simple thank you in return.

Family Holiday Activity

See Christmas Lights

Track down a fun display or light show in your area and enjoy a festive ride through town checking out the holiday cheer.

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Workout Challenge

Six 20- second wall sits & Six 20-second planks (any style)

Today add legs and core to your daily routine!  Only 5 days until Christmas and conclusion of the Workout Challenge!

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Image from UrbanWired

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Image from Thelifeinbloom.com

Elf in Training Day 19

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We continue our advent adventures with Day 19. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2017: Family Holiday Activity, Elf in Training and Workout Challenge.

Day 19 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity/ Random Acts of Kindness

1. Write down what you most love about each family member

Paper, pens, stickers and notecards are ready for this fun family activity.  Today we are writing what we love most about each family member.  What better way to show you care then a handwritten note to make them smile.

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2. Take a treat to school or work

It’s holiday celebration at school today.  So, the girls each have a yummy treat to share with their classes.  What’s better then peppermint covered cookies?! Yum!

 

Workout Challenge

19 Skaters Bounds & 19 Squat and Press

Add a little weights and a smidgen of cardio for a quick addition to your routine today.