This is my place for writing down ideas for teaching kids. You'll find things I have tried, things I am thinking about trying, and reviews of educational products. My own kids are young so most of the information is for preschool age children. I hope you find it useful.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tie Dye

We are seriously excited for easter this year. I have been thinking of all sorts of fun things to do with my girls next week and I will hopefully be posting about a few of them. So stay posted this week.

Have you ever seen silk dyed eggs. So cool. And they look so easy to do. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you know how it goes for us. This is probably not a super great project if your little ones are going to be grabbing everything, but I am going to try and let thing-one help me during thing-two's naptime. 

I stole this idea-- and these pictures-- from so if you want a full tutorial look there. I'll post my oen tips and observations here after I have actually tried it. The concept seems pretty simple though. Just get some silk fabric (like from an old tie-- you can get them from the thrift store), wrap it tightly around the eggs, and boil it to death.

The pattern actually comes off of the silk onto the egg!
How cool is that?! there is actually more to it. So, like I said, head over to best bites and check out their tutorial. It's a great site. So you should probably check it out anyway.  

Now go have some fun with your kids!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Simple art for Little Peoples

When you were a kid did you ever use those art books that teach you how to draw stuff based on simple shapes? I remember one that was all about drawing ocean animals that I just loved. Art is one of my favorite  hobbies and thing-one absolutely adores. Art keeps her occupied longer than anything else-- except perhaps playing princesses. She always wants me to help her draw things. So I have come up with a few really simple techniques for drawing some or her favorite objects. If they can draw a lines and scribbles they can put those things together to make a recognizable picture.


This was the first object that thing-one learned to draw. Just a circle and a line. I had to work with her a bit on how to make a circle. But once she learned how it made her so excited. Seriously. What toddler doesn't love balloons? This is a great basic object too because circles are so important to draw so many things. 


 These could work as trees too if flowers are too girlie for your needs. But thing-one loves flowers so for us this was a must. line with a scribble on top. what could be easier? Today She was also using this design to make the feet of the horse we were drawing together. Just turn it upside-down! My daughter is a genius-- probably almost as smart as yours. Can you believe it?!


I'm probably too proud of this one. but Thing one always wants to draw rainbows so this was important. I start it for her right now... I'm sure she'll get there on her own soon. Just draw one rainbow-shaped line. Then she can draw in other colors by following the line you made. I wasn't sure this would work for me honestly. I have tried getting her to do those workbook pages where they trace along dotted lines, but she just didn't like them. She loves this though. I guess she just needed a motive-- Rainbows! 

Now go have some fun with your kids.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bake up some marmalade muffins

This is delicious!
The kids wanted a snack. It has been a while since we went to the store. So we had to bake something together. What fun! This was a pretty simple recipe. And though it isn't specifically kid friendly, it was short enough that it didn't take much to let them help.
Recipe :
2 oranges                                 
½ lb butter, softened                         
2 eggs
2 cups flour                               
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda                      
1 cup packed brown sugar
Zest the oranges.  Cream the butter and sugar together.  Mix the eggs in until well blended.  Add the flour.  In a small bowl combine the baking soda and buttermilk.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the other batter and mix until just blended.  Add the orange zest and mix.  Grease any size muffin tin that you want and fill 2/3 full.  Bake for 12-17 minutes at 375ยบ until light brown.
Just a few notes:
1.  I creamed the butter and sugar, and zested the oranges before I called my kids to help me... a couple of days before actually... I think that was good since there wasn't much for them to do during that part.
2.  I didn't have any buttermilk I just mixed 1Tbs vinegar per cup of milk. It works great!
3. I used half wheat flour half all purpose. It tasted great.
4. I got this recipe from abundant harvest which is a super great produce service that we get most of our fruit and vegetables from now.

Now go have some fun with your kids.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Snails? Snails!

Okay so you may think I am crazy, but we recently got some little, baby snails and they are so cute! 
And so easy to keep too! A lady at my husband's work has a little snail habitat on her desk at the office. They recently hatched out some little baby snails and she shared with us.
 Talk about a fun and easy science project! These are just simple garden variety snails. 

You need a small container with a lid to keep them in (We got a little plexiglass container from petco).

You will also need some soil or mulch-- also easy to find at the pet store. 

Then add whatever decorations you want. We picked up some cheap aquarium decorations, but a big rock would work just as well.

For upkeep you just need to drop in some lettuce or other leafy green every day. The lady we got these snails from also keeps the cage slightly moist and puts little calcium blocks in there to help them build strong shells (you could break up a cuddlebone for this I would think). We've gotten mixed answers about whether that is really necessary. Another friend says that his mom (a kindergarten teacher) did this a lot and just dropped in lettuce and left them alone. So do whatever you think. We are giving them calcium, but I have't been spraying them. They seem happy enough.

Thing-one and thing-two are also happy. We have had a fun time checking up on our little pets every day. We talk about what they are doing (usually hiding under the lettuce) and why they would be doing that ("Maybe it's comfy?" says thing-one. "Maybe they are trying to hide from birds?" says Mommy. "I see it!" says thing-two. 

I am excited to watch them grow too. their shells were totally transparent when we got them, but now they have darkened up a lot and are getting bigger. Is it nerdy that I am excited about this? Probably.

Go have some fun with your kids.