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How To Make Penguin Poppers for Kids

We all know the mantra, "Work hard, play hard."  Well, I've got a super fun activity the kiddos will love once their school work is all done.

Reward a job well done, work done on time with these oh so adorable Penguin Poppers!
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penguin craft for kids

We all need a good laugh and a chance to burn energy through mindless play, and these Penguin Poppers provide just that!


Penguin Craft for Kids

Given the supply list, adult supervision for the beginning of the project is highly recommended and/or prep the cup and balloons before the kiddos get near the activity.  Please use your best judgment.

Using a sharp knife, cut out the bottom of the cup.  

penguin craft for kids

Next tie the open end of the balloon into a knot.  Cut across the balloon at the opposite end.

Place the cut part of the balloon on the bottom end of the black cup. 

Next apply sticky googly eyes and a small triangle cut from orange paper for the penguin's beak.

Cut an oval out of white paper for the penguin's belly and apply with glue.

penguin craft for kids

Once your penguin popper is assembled, gather cotton balls or marshmallows.

Place one or a couple in the open part of your penguin popper.

To shoot the cotton balls or marshmallows out, pull the knot of the balloon back and let go to launch what is inside!

We had some issues with the balloons sliding off, so as you hold the penguin popper, wrap your hand around the base of the balloon and pull the knot with your other hand to help keep it in place.  Or you can attempt to apply a thin layer of glue before putting on the balloon.

penguin craft for kids

If you are working on a penguin theme, you might like to check out our
Penguin Math Printable that works on patterns or browse through some printables we used for our own Penguin Week a few years ago!

Ah!  These penguin poppers are just too cute!  And so fun!  So work hard, play hard people!

Hope you and your kiddos have fun making them!

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Teach Your Child to Read with Logic of English: Foundations

Choosing homeschool curriculum is not for the faint of heart.  I am just amazed by how many products and companies are made available to homeschoolers nowadays to help guide us in our homeschool journey; it is quite bittersweet.

homeschool reading program

Sweet that there are so many options to choose from for all kinds of learners, and education philosophies.  And bitter because there are just too many options--especially for someone like me who always feels I must make the right decision the first time-- no room for error here, people!

Choosing curriculum is seriously like a mental ping pong game in my head-- constantly!  But sure enough when I stop stressing out over what I should choose, the answer becomes clear, or not so clear but then another product comes along that wasn't on my radar and it is exactly what I was looking for all along.  Funny how that works!

Take my dilemma over what to use to help teach Little Sis learn how to read for example.  I chose something completely different than what I had used with Big Brother-- not because it didn't work, but well because I wanted a program all laid out for me instead of piecing things together.

I had something else picked out for Little Sis, but while I was at a curriculum sale I was able to thumb through Logic of English Foundations A-- and I was immediately drawn to it.

I chose to go home without Foundations A that day, but the curriculum kept coming back to me, so I read through Logic of English's website and a few curriculum reviews and decided to get in touch with the company.

In exchange for a thorough product review, I was able to get my hands on the Foundations A Curriculum to use with Little Sis.  I. was. thrilled!!!

I've used Logic of English Essentials and The Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive Program with Big Brother and was impressed with both products, so I was pretty sure I'd feel the same way about Foundations and that proved to be true.

Homeschool Reading Program

It did take a little bit of a learning curve to get used to-- the information is all there and is super teacher friendly, but there's so much information it is easy to get overwhelmed.  The program teaches "voiced" and "unvoiced" phonograms-- something I didn't learn until my speech classes in college!

The Teacher's Manual lays out a Scope & Sequence and Materials List.  The Materials List includes things like NERF gun/ ball, chalk, scissors, tokens, etc.  However, it is easy to improvise and/or skip the activity if you don't have the stated material.  I realized Little Sis is kind of a "no-nonsense learner"-- just show her what she needs to do, and she'll do it.  That said, we didn't do a lot of the extra hands-on activities.  But man, how I wish I had this program with Big Brother!

It is a scripted program,  but it isn't necessarily "open and go."  

I definitely needed to read over the material before letting loose with Little Sis.  That might just be common sense, but it'll flow better and make more sense if you take the time to read over the lesson the night before.

homeschool reading program

The Teacher's Manual includes:

  • lesson prep
  • guided scripts
  • games and exercises
  • optional tips and activities
  • spelling and assessment charts
I loved that throughout the Teacher's manual, there were colored boxes that included activities and ideas to use for struggling students and/or students that need extra movement or tactile stimulation, various "Teacher tips," and/or an idea that posed more of a challenge.  Those extra tips weren't necessary, but were a lot of fun!

Foundations A contains 40 lessons and 8 review lessons; every 6th lesson is review.  I found it very helpful that the review lessons include a chart of what skills should be mastered and what skills can continue to be worked on and developed as you continue on with lessons.

Phonemic awareness and/or introducing a new phoneme, and handwriting skills are worked on every lesson, and beginning is lesson 21, your child begins learning how to spell simple CVC words.

I'm not sure how long each lesson took, but we blazed through Level A in just a few months.  Level A sets the stage for your beginning reader.  He/ she will learn to write and know sounds of letters a-z and decode simple three letter words.

We did the first couple of lessons in one sitting, but Little Sis got burned out shortly after the "newness" wore off.  Our lessons seemed to work well when I set a timer for 10-15 minutes and we just worked through the lesson and stopped when the timer went off.  We just picked up where we left off the day before.

Along with the Teachers Manual, there is a Student Workbook that provides further practice based on the lesson you completed in the teachers manual.  The worksheets reinforced blending words, segmenting sounds, matching phonograms, reading words, etc.  Games were also interspersed throughout the workbook-- my daughter loved phonogram bingo!

homeschool reading program

The worksheets are simple, yet colorful; eye catching but not too distracting.

Along with learning to read, Foundations A works on handwriting and spelling.  

The student workbook includes handwriting worksheets in cursive or print.  When purchasing the curriculum, you will have a choice to either purchase the Student Workbook with print or cursive handwriting practice sheets.

Logic of English encourages cursive first, so we chose to the Cursive student Workbook and learning cursive was Little Sis's favorite part of the program!

It is still a work in progress as she will write in a mix of cursive and print in one word, but I am so amazed at how well my 5 year old daughter loved learning cursive.

One of my favorite parts of Foundations A was the picture readers included in the back of the Student Workbook.  

The workbook includes 6 readers that my daughter loved putting together.  She had such a feeling of accomplishment putting together her own  book together from cutting it out, reading the words, and gluing the correct picture to the page.  We stapled it together, and she read her very first book!

Along with the Teacher's Manual and Student Workbook, you'll also need a copy of Doodling Dragons and these re-useable resources:

homeschool reading program

We sped through Foundations A, as Little Sis wanted to move quickly so she could learn how to write in cursive and she knew most of the phonograms already, but I forsee us slowing down a bit for Foundatons B.  In the mean-time I have enjoyed listening to her continue to gain confidence in learning how to read.

It has been great having Foundations part of that journey.

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DIY Geoboard Snowflake STEM Activity for Kids

Fill up your winter days with fun and creative snowflake themed activities-- like this Snowflake Geoboard!  I'm all for crafting or learning about snow INside ; ) Our latest activity is the perfect way to add a little bit of creativity to your day.  It also integrates engineering and math skills, so count this as a snowy day STEM idea.

Snowflake STEM for kids
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STEM or STEAM seems to be the latest hot topic in education.  It's simply the combination of  Science, Technology, Engineering, {Art}, and/or Math concepts in an activity.

Build a Snowflake STEM Activity

Our Snowflake Geoboard combines Engineering {design} and Math {symmetry}, but it's a great way to also add in some non-fiction books to learn more about the wonder of snowflakes.

Supplies to Build Your Own Snowflake:

Snowflake STEM for Kids

If you need, draw out a rough snowflake design on a sheet of paper.  Remember that snowflakes are symmetrical, so may be helpful to design one side of your snowflake first and then copy the design on the other side.

Once you have an idea of what your snowflake should look like, create the design with push pins on the styrofoam circle.  

I placed my push pins about an inch or so apart.
Snowflake STEM

Once the push pins are in place, begin adding the loom bands to connect the push pins.

Young or old, this is a great way to sneak in some fine motor skills work!

If your gap between push pins is too great, simply add in another push pin.
Snowflake STEM

Continue to connect push pins with loom bands until your snowflake design is complete!

Our stryofoam circle was probably about 12''.  Big Brother and I both created a snowflake, but this project would have been neat to create on smaller stryofoam circles, so that we could have displayed each of our snowflake geoboards!

Snowflake STEM

Just like real snowflakes, our geoboard snowflakes were each unique and different!

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Snowy Day Inspired Writing Tray & Alphabet Cards Freebie!

Many times when I am out and about and see something that I could use for our homeschool learning crafts and/or activities, I typically end up buying it because when I don't is when I am soon filled with regret that I wished I had bought it...  know what I mean?!  

It's like that cool find at an antique store or a place like, HomeGoods.  When you see something that catches your eye, buy it.... because it may not be there when you go back, IF you make it back.  And with four kiddos, making daily trips to the store is just not something I want to do. 

writing tray activity for kids

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So with that backstory in your mind, I picked up this snow-like "fluff'' at a craft store back at the end of September, and stored it high up in our school room closet.  I almost forgot about it if it had not been for the Virtual Book Club's Winter theme inspired by the book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

Winter Writing Tray and Printable ABC Cards

It is a book I had read to my oldest several times, but Little Sis and Little Brother had yet to hear it.

After reading The Snowy Day, I made a simple snow day inspired writing tray with the snow-like fluff I picked up months ago.

writing activity for kids

With cute snowflake clipart from Chirp Graphics, I created alphabet cards so that Little Brother could practice recognizing and writing the letters of the alphabet.

On each card is an uppercase and lowercase letter.

writing tray for kids

I poured the snow like fluff in a deep tray {kept from a Melissa & Doug toy} and laminated and printed the alphabet cards.  I cut them all out and presented them along with the snow filled tray.

Little Brother went right to work practicing making the uppercase letters in the "snow."

Another way to use these printable alphabet cards is to present them to your child with a dry erase marker.  The font used leaves room that your child may trace the inside of each letter for more practice!

You could also use these printable alphabet cards to practice alphabetical order, a hide-n-seek game, etc. etc!

If you find another way to use these cards, please share!  I'd love to hear your creative ideas, too!

Enjoy some snowy day alphabet fun!

Print your Snowy Day Alphabet Cards Now!
*for personal use only.
*do not attempt to alter, re-sell, mass distribute, copy, and/or claim work as your own.
*clipart licensed to Chirp Graphics.
*font licensed to Robyn Hyndman.

More Winter fun from the Virtual Book Club Co-hosts:

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