Alphabet Rocks

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I’ve been wanting to make these adorable letter-learning rocks for Travis for weeks now, but it required finding 26 relatively smooth stones, and we simply hadn’t had a chance to get to the beach. Finally on a sunny spring weekend we headed to the shore, perfect for collecting rocks.

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Travis adored the collection process, finding rocks and shells and other treasures along the way. Do take care in selecting your rocks. You need them to be large enough and flat enough to paint the letters of the alphabet. Ultimately some of mine worked better than others!

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Once home, we washed the rocks and left them to dry overnight. The next day I painted them with lower case letters using acrylic paints. You can alternate several colors if you prefer. My original plan was to alternate blue and gold paint, but the gold didn’t show up well on several rocks, so all blue it was!

For a decorative touch, add dots of white paint around each letter. Once dry, make a black dot in the center with a sharpie.

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Now the rocks were ready for play!

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There’s so much you can do with these. In addition to just spelling sight words (your child’s name, go, stop etc.) we used the rocks for two specific purposes.

The first was as a learning aid to our Usborne Starting to Read Pack.

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Travis is very tactile, so having to select the rocks that went with each word on the page helped reinforce what he was seeing.

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We also loved using the rocks as a supplement to activity worksheets from Education.com. If you’re not familiar with the site, it’s full of activities and lesson plans for children, ages preschool through middle school. For example, kids will love to discover and learn new words with reading-to-picture match up sheets. Be sure and check out Education.com more learning resources just like the one we used.

For our purposes, Travis first found the alphabet rocks that corresponded with each word before we matched it with its picture.

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This made it so much more tactile and engaging for him than a two-dimensional activity.

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Overall, these rocks are a fantastic tool to reinforce letter learning and early reading. How do you plan to use the rocks? Please share in the comments!

Cheesy Baked Potatoes

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Potatoes have been a hard sell for my three-year-old… until this recipe, that is!

Ingredients:

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 1 bunch broccoli (about 2 cups florets)
  • 1/3 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons shredded Daiya cheddar
  1. Cook the potatoes in the microwave or oven until very soft. Let cool, then cut in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl, leaving 1/4-inch thick shells. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 5 minutes, until tender. Drain.
  3. Add the broccoli to the bowl with the potato flesh, along with the milk, mayonnaise, butter, and salt.
  4. Divide the broccoli mixture evenly among the 8 potato halves. Top each half with 1 tablespoon cheddar.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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A Gift for Grandma

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Happy May! We’re starting to think about Mother’s Day around here, and if you’re looking for a sweet little gift that your child can put together for Grandma, this jewelry box fits the bill. It comes together in just a few easy steps, meaning even the littlest grandkids can help out.

I purchased two wooden boxes from the craft store to start, so don’t worry: there’s no woodworking required!

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Paint the lids of the boxes in whatever colors your children want. We thought pastel shades would be nice for this project. Don’t worry if a little paint goes over past the lid of the box.

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We had originally hoped to find decorative nautical knot buttons as the tops of the boxes, but couldn’t locate them in craft or furniture stores. Instead, Travis loved these decorative buttons.

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Drill a hole in the center of each lid (grown-up step!), then hot glue the buttons in.

The perfect spot for a grammy to store her jewelry!