Serving up Learning

Serving up Learning

Have old plasticware and plastic bowls laying around the house?

Why not use them for a fun learning exercise!

We just happen to have an odd assortment in from our last party. So with a little fun and creative planning we turned those plasticware a lot of fun.

Materials I used:

  • Marker
  • Plastic Bowls
  • Pastic Spoons
  • Play Rolling Pin (& fondant rolling pin for me)
  • plastic letters or letter cookie cutters
  • play dough or cookie dough

Label the spoons with letters, I choose to focus on a few word families and consonants (_ap and _op). Allow the child(ren) to roll out the door and stamp letters.  Also have him/her match the letters to the spoons moving them from one bowl to the next.  Make words with both the spoons and stamped letters.  If you are stamping and baking cookies why not create a fun little picnic treat.

Beanbags, Balls and Boggle

Beanbags, Balls and Boggle

With multiple snow days, running my Rodan+Fields business and sending out query’s for my book, getting back into the swing of preschool has been a challenge.  A little math lesson here a literacy project there, we haven’t been as consistent.  To kickstart the week, I decided to create a few lessons that would engage, entertain and excite my little 4 year old.


Yesterday we took a trip to the dollar store for a pack of sports balls and balloons.  Additionally, I dusted off my game of Boggle Jr. and tracked down my bean bag letters & numbers to add to our projects.  Then, once the girls arrived home I adapted the activities to review their math and literacy skills.


Looking for some interactive literacy and math practice, here are the activities we generated.

Literacy and Math Review with Beanbags


Play toss with the beanbag.  My three year old and I sat on opposite sides of a yoga mat and tossed the beanbag back and forth.  We reviewed phonemic awareness with letter names & sounds, and matched beginning and ending sounds.

Bean Bag Spell: Pratice making words and phonemes with simple three to four letter word combinations.  I usually try and stay with one word family group a day such as -it or -an.  Then we change out letters to make new words.

Pop the word: Just this morning we used up a cereal box of Pops.  So, my four year old and I raced the timer (in the Boggle game) to name as many letters as we could.  As soon as the timer rang, we popped the letters out of the box.

Number Pull.  In a beach bucket I placed numbers 1-10.  We drew a number and counted out chocolate chips to match. Then we practiced writing the number on our Boogie Board.

1st and 3rd Grade

Word Review and Spelling. My 3rd grader practiced spelling her words with the beanbags while my 1st grader helped build and read new words.

Math: Beanbag Multiplication skills were practiced for my 8 year old while the 6 year old focused on fact families (or adding and subtracting three sets of numbers ie: 2,4,6). For example: 2+4=6, 4+2=6, 6-2=4, 6-4=2

Learning with Sports Balls

The sports pack from the dollar store consisted of a football, soccer ball and basket ball.  On the football I wrote common ending words such as: at, an, all, it.  Upon the mini basket ball I wrote three sets of numbers, evenly spaced, on each section. Each hexagon on the mini soccer ball had a letter. Upon reflection, for less confusion, I should have written the vowels on the black pentagons or used a red pen to isolate.


Letter Review (Soccer):  Practicing and identifying letters and their sounds, we tossed the ball at each other reading a new letter each time.  We then moved on to identifying words that started and ended with specified letters. We then kicked the ball around the room also naming letters we saw.

Making Words: Tossing the football, we practiced reading the words/common endings. Using the soccer ball, we then added a letter to the common endings to make words.

Grades 1 & 3

Number Review: We took turns tossing the basket ball identifying numbers.  For my oldest, we tossed back and forth for multiplication review. The first player named a number then passed the ball. The next player then said a basic binary operation then read an additional number.  He/she then tossed back the ball for the player to solve the problem.  For my first grader, using mental math: I tossed the basket ball, read the three numbers across and then had her add them together.

Boggle Jr:

Beat the clock to find the correct letter, spell and read the word.  I challenged my preschooler to quickly find the letters before the clock expires, exaggerating and being goofy as we solve the puzzle. He also enjoys playing by himself to review letters and make words.

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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 14

We continue our advent adventures with Day 14. 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 14 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity/Elf in Training

Free Choice

Our activity today for both categories is a free choice on Radom Acts of Kindness.  Today I challenged our family to do as many Radom Acts of Kindness as we could.  Ideas that I gave my kids: smile at people, hold the door for others, give compliments & and just be kind to those around you.  In other-words I want them to have a positive filled December day.  Click here for other Random Acts of Kindness ideas. After my little Elves in Training have completed their task, I’ll update the post!
Workout Challenge

14 Star Abs & 14 Back Extensions

More Core work today!!  For back extensions, lay on your stomach, place your hand on your head, elbows out. Lift up from your core, leaving your legs on the floor.

Start abs: start with your legs and arms tucked in.  Extend your arms and legs in a star formation (similar to a jump-jack position but while laying on the floor). Draw you legs and arms back in to start and repeat for 14 rounds.

Polar Express Week

All Aboard the Polar Express!

It’s time for some Christmas fun! Travel with us over the next two weeks and learn about holidays around the world. This holiday themed learning is filled adventure. This set includes a DIY train story, math with more and less, subtracting on 1 less, family activities and more! Plus head over to and follow along as I list helpful books and projects to go along with our Christmas Train Ride! I’ll be adding more holidays around the world next weekend so stay tuned!

Throughout next week, I’ll update this blog post with pictures of my little 4 year old working on some of the creative projects designed especially for preschool learning fun.  Here is a glimpse of the projects created. For the full set, check out my Etsy page.


Suggested Books for Polar Express Week

The Polar Express

Holidays Around the World 

Celebrate Christmas 

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Traditions Around the World 

Legend of the Poinsettia 

The Legend of Old Befana

The Night of Las Posadas

The Tomten

Other Activities for Polar Express Week
  • Read The Polar Express the watch the movie. Compare and Contrast them.
  • Prepare a Polar Express party with hot chocolate, cookies and music. Dress the part.
  • Look for a local train ride (locate a a Santa Express, Polar Express ride or just a short little train ride)
  • Research each country, look online and discover what makes each country unique and different.
  • Check out the following website for Christmas celebrations from around the world. Videos from Around the World and this big list of Christmas Traditions Around the World .
  • For our England visit, we will follow these directions on How to make a Christmas Cracker.


Elf in Training Day 9

Elf in Training Day 9


We continue our advent adventures with Day 9. 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 9 Tasks:

Elf in Training 

1. Help Someone With a Chore

See someone that needs an extra hand? Today, reach out and offer some help.  Better yet, observe something that needs to be done, pitch in and help without being asked.


chore-help****Elf Challenge 2

It’s time for another Elf Challenge

The Rudolf Workout Race:

  • Hide from the Elves (Hide and Seek)
  • Sneak the bag of cookies from Santa (Walk on tiptoes)
  • Pratice the art of flying (BirdDogs)
  • Leaping off roofs (Squat Jumps)

Adults check out the The Santa Claus Workout video from The Art of Manliness !

Family Holiday Activity

Have a Slumber Party by the Christmas Tree

 Grab a pile of blankets, pillows or sleeping bags; tonight’s activity is a slumber party by the Christmas tree.  Snuggle under twinkling lights as you dream of Christmas adventures and cultivate holiday magic.
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Workout Challenge

9 Gator Pushups

Regular pushups are difficult but 9 Gator pushups will really challenge my arms and core.

Elf in Training Day 3

We continue our advent adventures with Day 3. 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 2 Tasks:

Elf in Training

1. Our first fun Challenge!!!

  • Cookie Decorating Contest!!  We purchased gingerbread men at the local store. Today we will pull out icing, candy, and treats to decorate cookies!  Awards will be giving for most creative, delicious and silly.

2. Spend the day being positive without complaining. If you find yourself being critical, find a reason to be grateful.

  • Already this has been put into play today!  Even for my husband and I this goal is a challenge so asking the kids to focus on this task, well, it is fun!  This morning, after a grumbling on who got to call Santa on our communicator, we really had to take a deep breath, try and remain neutral and mediate between our three elves.  As the sparks flew my husband and I listed what we thought was positive about each trainee (even as we personally tried to keep calm, LOL).  The situation was quelled and defused thankfully quickly.  We look forward to what else this task will bring, who knows, maybe dinnertime grumblings?
Family Holiday Activity

Find and Attend a Holiday Craft Fair

‘Tis the season for craft and holiday fairs.  In our local town there are plenty of events to choose from today. Now it’s a matter of choosing!

Festival of Trees

Festival Market Place

Hello December at the Farm

Christmas at the Bryant House

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical

Holiday Jubilee 


Workout Challenge

Three Side Lunges on Each Side

This year I’m adding onto my workout from the previous day. So far I have:

1 minute of plank

2 minutes of jumprope

3 side lunges on each side for proper form check out this illustrated exercise guide.


Harvest Week

Time for some Harvest Fun!

November is here and with it fall themed activities for Preschool. This week we are learning all about fall harvest.  With Thanksgiving themed learning about farm, deer, squirrels and other fall activities, your preschool child will enjoy learning all about harvest! This set includes a letter D for deer word hunt, a color by numbers, a pattern and simple counting page and an entertaining squirrel song.

Throughout next week, I’ll update this blog post with pictures of my little 4 year old working on some of the creative projects designed especially for preschool learning fun.  Here is a glimpse of the projects created (for more, click here):


Click here for a link to my Etsy site for a PDF of our leaf activities.

Suggested Books for Harvest Week Reading


Fall Harvest: Bringing in Food 

Tractor Mac Harvest Time

Strega Nona’s Harvest

Hello Harvest Moon

Animals in the Fall: Preparing for Winter

Other Activities for Leaf Week
  • Field Trip to a Farm
  • Explore Tracks Outside
  • Go on a hike to explore nature
  • Create a follow the footprint game. Trace and cut out footprints. Place them around the house or outdoors for kids to follow your path or treasure hunt.

Below are pictures I will update for our upcoming Harvest week:



Advent Adventures Day 7

Advent Adventures Day 7

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We continue our advent adventures with Day 7. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2016: Family Holiday Activity, Random Acts of Kindness and Workout Challenge.

Day 7 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity

Enjoy a Cup of Hot Chocolate

Who doesn’t love to snuggle up with a good book and a mug of rich, milk chocolate?  Cold or hot, we will conclude our day reading, snuggling and enjoy a nice cup of chocolatey goodness.
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Random Acts of Kindness

Put Money in the Salvation Army Bucket

Plunk a couple coins in the local Salvation Army Bucket.  Loose change in your car, purse or wallet, it doesn’t have to be much, every little bit helps!

Workout Challenge

7 Reverse Lunges (Right and Left) 7 Squats

Quick and simple, add this leg work onto your normal routine and complete day 7 of the fitness advent.

Images from

Advent Adventures Day 3

img_3734Image from

Advent Adventures Day 3

We continue our advent adventures with Day 3. Click here for a full copy or to print your own advent activities.   The categories we choose for 2016: Family Holiday Activity, Random Acts of Kindness and Workout Challenge.

Day 3 Tasks:

Family Holiday Activity & Fitness Challenge

Jingle Bell Jog

Tomorrow, in support of the Special Forces Association 7th Chapter, we have signed up to run the 38th an annual Jingle Bell Jog. My husband will run the 5K as I help the kids with their fun run.  We are using this not only as our Family Activity but our Fitness Challenge, as well. Time to get out, exercise and support an important cause.

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Random Acts of Kindness

Buy someone’s Coffee or Small Treat

Since we are headed out for the Jingle Bell Jog bright and early, we will stop for some coffee in route. This perfectly sets us up for treating a random person in line.  Now for a “race” to see who buys first, my husband or me.

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