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All things fall are making their way into stores and it is a bittersweet feeling-- I love the colors, changing leaves, fall foods, etc.  However, on the other hand, that means summer is over {Boo!}

A favorite fall activity is going to the apple orchard to pick apples, but until we do that, we've been reading How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World and doing some fun apple themed extension activities.

apple writing tray

One is this delightful applesauce writing tray!

Setting up creative writing trays are a great way to encourage new and reluctant writers to practice writing letters and words.  And it is a fun way to sneak in strengthening those all-important fine motor muscles!


I was picking up just a couple of food items at a local store and happened upon this circular red platter.  It would make a great apple, I thought! I taped a brown rectangle for the stem and a leaf-like shape from green foam to the back of the platter.

I added a couple small pre-packaged cups of applesauce to the platter and our writing tray was ready to go!

apple writing tray

I set out glass gems around the apple that had a letter on each of them, but Little Sis preferred just writing her own letters and/or letters I called out.

She loved it and it smelled {and tasted} delicious!
apple writing tray

  Afterward, grab a spoon and dig in!  No need to let the applesauce go to waste!

Will you be heading to the apple orchard in the next few weeks?  Until then, enjoy this applesauce writing tray.... it is delightful!

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Scored a set of 50+ pieces of sidewalk chalk for $3 a few weeks ago;  don't you just love amazing finds like that?  Something so simple just puts me on Cloud 9!

Needless to say, our driveway has become quite colorful with pictures of rainbows, cars, and broken pieces of chalk {thanks to a certain 1 year old}.

To add a little something extra to our chalk paintings and keep us cool from the summer sun, we added water to our designs.  Wet Chalk Art is so much fun!

color mixing for kids

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Exploring color theory and mixing colors is always a fun process with little kids.  While my oldest two were busy playing with friends, I decided to show my 3-year-old how we can make new colors from red, blue, and yellow.

What you need:

  • chalk
  • water

color mixing with kids

If you feel like getting into the nitty-gritty, you can introduce your child to some new vocabulary words like primary colors and secondary colors.  This is a fun, hands-on, and messy activity to show your child the color wheel in action!

Introduce your child to the primary colors red, yellow, and blue.

Wet the pavement with some water and grab two of the colors.  Wet the tip of the chalk, also.
color mixing with kids
Scribble both colors onto the pavement next to each other.  Have your child mix the colors back and forth to see what new color can be made.

color mixing with kids

Continue with red and yellow, red and blue, and yellow and blue.  From these primary colors, your child will see the new, secondary colors!

color mixing with kids

My 3 year old loved this!  Messy, colorful & fun!  What more could a three-year-old ask for?

And I loved how this simple activity provided an opportunity to learn & play together!

If you are a fan of color mixing activities, too-- you might like this Paper Plate Color Wheel.

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Umbrella, underwater, ... underwear..... Unicorn!

That was my thought process when deciding what we should make for the letter u, the next letter in our Crafting Through the Alphabet Series.

Up until now, we have made a craft to go with the short sound of all the vowels, but there wasn't too much to work with for the Letter U!  A few years ago during Tot School with Little Sis, we did U for Underwater, so I wanted to do something different this time around.

So why not make a magical unicorn?!

letter u alphabet craft

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While I was prepping this activity for Little Sis, she was prepping this activity for Little Brother!  Looking back on it now, it was pretty cute-- but, in the middle, it was quite chaotic.  Which pretty much sums up my life with 4 kiddos!


To prep the activity, draw out a letter U, a small triangle for the horn, and an oval like shape for the head.

Typically I have everything cut for Little Sis, but since I was still pulling stuff from the shelves, I had her practice her scissor skills by cutting out the letter U.

Prior to gluing everything else on, we glued the letter U to another piece of paper.

Next, Glue the googly eye to the unicorn's head.  Add a smile with a marker.

Totally optional, but Little Sis chose to make lines with glitter glue on the horn-- later she made the Unicorn's body sparkly, too.

Continue working on scissor skills by cutting various lengths of colorful yarn to attach to the Unicorn's mane and tail.  Glue the yarn onto the letter.

Don't forget while crafting to come up with some other words that begin with the letter u!  Little Sis has loved having this visual to help her remember each letter.

alphabet craft

When she asks what the letter u is next time, I can say u is for unicorn {much better than u is for underwear! Ha!}
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Tot School, Preschool, and yes... it is time.  Time for Little Sis to start Kindergarten!

Little Sis is tender-hearted, spunky, and creative.

She loves imaginative play and hanging with her brothers.

She loves to read Fairy books and having had our curriculum for a few months now, will often come and say, "Momma, can we do this now?"

Oh, child.... "do school?  Of course! 
Curriculum Choices Kindergarten

With that said, Little Sis loves to learn... however, it has to be on her terms.  Thus our schedule will be fairly relaxed.  We'll be participating in quite a few activities during the week, so I am not going to stress over what did and/or did not get done each day .

Ideally, I'd like to do some math and phonics work daily--  my goal is 10 minutes of each everyday.

So our curriculum picks this year are:
Went for the Charlotte Mason approach in Math for Little Sis {compared to Math U See with Big Brother}.  Thus far it's a lot of copy work, though she doesn't seem to mind.  I love how there is a story woven in the book that helps show math can be seen everywhere.
Several months ago I was SO sure of using CLE's Learning to Read Program with Little Sis, but came across Foundations and loved it, too!  I have both and so I have plans to do both!  CLE is more workbook-y and introduces sight words and Foundations involves handwriting and really lays a solid foundation in phonics.
  • Literature-Based Activities {like Five in a Row}
That's it!

Comparing this to Big Brother's 5K year, I definitely went for simple and relaxed with Little Sis.  I was adamant about rowing every week with Big Brother when he was in Kindergarten, and I have plans to row with Little Sis-- however, I am thinking ONE row a month over the course of several weeks.  Or perhaps we'll make our own activities like we have been using Five in a Row as a guide.... I still haven't committed to anything!

I really hope to make our learning time special, fun, and relaxed. 

Will you be homeschooling kindergarten this year?
What are your curriculum picks? 

My motto for Little Sis this year is: Keep Calm & Kindergarten On! 
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"That's my name.  That's my name.  Z is for Zackary" says my 3 year old every time he spots the letter Z somewhere.  My mama heart is proud that he knows that the letter Z is his letter, but it's probably time I start exposing him to the other letters that make up his name.

That's why I made this simple, no-mess Name Recognition Sensory Bag.
Create a no-mess, hands-on, and fun sensory bag exploring the letters in your child's name!

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I know sensory play is supposed to be a bit messy-- there's definitely a time and place for that.  However, sometimes mama just doesn't want the mess, but wants the the benefits of sensory play-- in this case, tactile exploration.


How To Make A Name Recognition Sensory Bag

Gather enough glass gems to spell your child's name.  

Put a letter sticker on each glass gem spelling out your child's name.  

Cover with a layer of mod podge and let them dry.

Once the letter manipulatives are dry, add them to a ziplock bag along with about a 1/4 cup of corn syrup or hair gel.  We have successfully used corn syrup before in our Hibernation Sensory Bag.

Seal the bag and add Batman duct tape to all four sides of the bag.  Now your child is ready to explore his/her name sensory bag!

Prior to showing my son his cool, new Sensory Bag, I wrote his name out on a piece of paper to help him put the letters in the correct order.

Encourage your child to poke and push the glass gem letter manipulatives in the correct order to spell his/her name!

Yeah! for no messes and yeah! for a fun way to help your child learn the letters in his/her name!
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