Kindergarten Home School Day 7

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Travis and I only had a half day of home school today, in keeping with our town’s early release Tuesdays. It made it much easier on him, I think – and on me, too!

7-9: Breakfast, get dressed, free play.

9: ELA. Travis came over after our quick check-in for “writer’s workshop”. The assignment was to write a story with the structure of: first, next, and last. I loved watching him write about yesterday’s snowball fight. We also did one letter in his workbook (C).

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9-9.30: Math: He played three different games on his class computer program involving counting the pips on dice and cards. (Baby sister was busy with tape).

9.30-10.30: Snack/recess. The kids were hungry early, so we hopped right to snack time and then headed out into the spring snow. Travis had so much fun that I let him get out his energy an extra long time. I wish I’d taken pictures!

10.30-11: We discovered the website Fluency and Fitness, a great site to get kids learning and moving. After solving a few problems on the topic of your choice (math, reading etc.), kids do a move like lunges or push-ups. He was a little antsy though…

11-11.30: …so we went off-book and finished the day with a recipe, still one of my favorite ways to spend time together. Check out our whole unit on Japan here!


Little Passports: Japan

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Travis’s envelope this month from Little Passports took him to… Japan! There was lots to learn and great hands-on activities in this particular kit. First up was the booklet, full of inventive activities like how to write a Haiku (spoiler: Travis’s was about eating a cookie), and a pictorial three-in-a-row search that was a fantastic alternative to a word search for non-readers.

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Of course there was also a country coin for his coin chart, a stamp for his passport, and a push pin for his world map. Bonus features online included gorgeous photos of Japan, audio recordings of common Japanese words, and a Q&A with a Japanese “pen pal”.


The adorable sushi erasers that came with the package were a big hit, particularly the fact that they could be disassembled and reassembled. Travis became a mini sushi chef!

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The most involved project with this kit was to make a koinobari, a kite in the shape of a carp fish traditionally hung on homes during Japan’s Children’s Day holiday (which falls in May).

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Rather than use the suggested fabric pants, which I worried would be messy, I had Travis use fabric markers.

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We first drew two fish outlines on an old pillow case and colored with the markers, after which I cut them out and hot-glued together on three sides, leaving the top open (alternatively, use fabric glue).

Cut a piece of cardboard from an old cereal box and glue into a loop; attach this at the mouth of the fish with more glue. Punch two holes through the pillow and cardboard, and loop a string through.

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Finally, we glued on ribbons as tail streamers.

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It looked beautiful on our front door.

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Next up was to write in ema wishes on the provided template.

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These wooden tablets, traditionally hung at a Japanese shrine, came just in time for our new era COVID-19. We strung them up along our kitchen window for good luck!

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Of course we had to make origami, too. The package included fun instructions for penguins and jumping frogs.

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The frog could really jump!

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Travis wanted to make a whole army of penguins.

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Finally, he did a cute food match-up game which highlighted all four islands of Japan, and he colored in the flag for the garland begun with his Brazil package.

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The journey is never complete without a recipe, of course. Travis got to make dorayaki, a sweet Japanese pancake.


  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Canola oil
  • Red bean paste
  • Jam
  1. To start, whisk together the Ener-G eggs, sugar, and agave in a bowl.LP Japan (18)
  2. Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, stirring until smooth. Continue to stir while adding the water slowly.LP Japan (19)
  3. Heat a large skillet coated with a little canola oil over medium-high heat. Spoon 1/8 cup batter into the skillet per pancake and cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles cover the tops. Flip and cook for an additional minute. Transfer cooked pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
  4. To serve, spread bean paste between two pancakes and eat sandwich-style! If the bean paste isn’t to your kids’ liking, try jam instead.

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Travis loved eating the dorayaki with a ramen noodle bowl, for a full Japanese meal.

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Clothespin Poke

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Much as with tape or tissues, it doesn’t take much to keep a toddler busy. For this game, I used an upcycled egg carton and spring-type clothespins for a simple fine motor activity.

Poke a hole into the bottom of each egg carton portion, just large enough for the clothespins to slot in (I poked the initial hole with scissors).

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For the first round, I pushed all the clothespins in and presented the egg carton to Veronika, so it was her job to pull them out!

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A few of them got a little snagged on the springs but she was very patient puzzling this out, and so proud when they came free.

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Once she had a pile of clothespins next to her, of course she had to poke them right back in again.

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And again.

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And again.

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I loved seeing her return to this throughout the day, pausing to insert a few or pull out a few and then heading off to other games. It was a great way to keep little hands busy!

Fun with Tape and Peeling Tape

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Tape is a fantastic way to occupy a toddler – yes, just tape! Make the game especially fun by using lots of different varieties and vibrant colors.

To start out, I simply set up a tape station for Veronika.

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Most of the rolls were masking tape (I had a full rainbow of colors), and I also had clear double-sided tape.

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First I gave her two pieces of tape for her to try sticking them together.

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This was intriguing, as was sticking tape to her belly!

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She was in front of a wooden puzzle frame, which was a handy surface for layering down pieces of tape.

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She kept quite busy sticking the tape pieces off and on for a while.

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Then we moved on to a slightly more focused activity: Peeling tape. Peeling up layers of crisscrossed tape is not only a great cognitive challenge, but also excellent for strengthening finger muscles.

I laid down long strips of the colored masking tape on a wooden floor (a wooden table would work, too, if you have one large enough). Make sure there is lots of overlap and intriguing angles.

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Sure enough, Veronika couldn’t wait to rip it up off the floor. When she encountered a spot where one piece of tape pinned down another, I could see her brain at work for how to get it all to lift.

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She soon became adept at finding the ends that were curled up slightly in the air, and provided a handhold to start pulling.

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Another success!

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As she worked, I gathered up the strips until we had a big tape ball, which turned out to be fun to play with as the final variant on tape play.

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All of this kept her busy almost all morning!

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