A Box is a Box

Box is a Box (e)

With big brother involved in box play for home school, I threw in a few boxes for Veronika, too! We started out with the very simple (a box hat!) and moved on to ideas that were more complex.

Box is a Box (a)

She loved climbing in one that was just the right size for sitting in, so we made it into a “boat”. We rowed all around the living room, of course.

Box is a Box (c)

Next up was making a garage for some of her cars. She loved helping to decorate this, and we added a cut-out for her cars to drive in and out.

Box is a Box (b)

If a box is big enough, it can become a cave for your toddler. Because she loves painting, we decided to paint the outside of the “cave”.

Box is a Box (g)

Of course I knew this would be an invitation to a mess, but she loved the big tray of paint and large brushes I laid out.

Box is a Box (i)

Not only did she love crawling in once the paint was dry, but she climbed on top and made it a slide, too!

None of these ideas were very complicated, especially compared to past projects like mailboxes, houses, railroad stations, and even castles. But it was a case in point that boxes never fail to entertain!


Shadow Play

Shadow Play (2)

With big brother engaged in a game ofshadow tag today, Veronika fit in some learning about shadows, too! She says “Hi shadow” every time we go for a walk, so I knew she was interested in the topic already.

First, I showed her how we could change our shadows with movements. Waving hands is the obvious choice, but try stomping a foot, wiggling an arm, or turning your head.

Then I stood still so she could fill my shadow in with nature finds! This might have been easier with big items like leaves, but she loved sprinkling in grass.

Shadow Play (1)

Next up we tried covering just a portion of our body with a small blanket, and observing how this changed the shadow. This turned into a game of “peek-a-boo shadow!” of course.

Shadow Play (3)

And of course you can never go wrong with a game of shadow tag. Toddlers will giggle as you stomp in their shadow, even if they don’t understand the rules quite yet.

Kindergarten Home School Week 9: Tuesday

Home School 41 c

Technically today was Travis’s half day, but we were incredibly busy!

9-9.30: STEM. Both of Travis’s workbook pages today inspired lots of hands-on play. The first was about mapping, specifically with an ant colony. He colored in the picture according to directions, and then I surprised him with… a real ant farm! I’ve had this in my back pocket (so to speak) for a while, but have always been nervous about it. Well, the time seems right. Our ants are actually still on their way in the mail, but Travis helped set up the sand for their habitat and we can’t wait for this science project to begin!

Home School 41 a

The second workbook page counted toward the E in STEM: imagining how to reuse boxes. After he drew ideas on the page, I surprised Travis with a collection of boxes I’ve been saving. What could we make them? A robot was up first with toilet paper tubes for arms.

Home School 41 e

But then the robot turned into a rocket with a little help from tissue paper and a coffee filter cone!

Home School 41 f

This was perfect for blasting toys into space. Travis also colored a few boxes to be background sets for play, like a fiery volcano in reds and oranges.

Home School 41 d

9.30-10: ELA. Travis did 20 minutes on Lexia. I asked if he wanted to write a story for Writers Workshop about our box play, but he said no. Instead he happily did a few pages of his Star Wars writing workbook.

10-10.30: Snack/recess.

10.30-11.30: Science. We read two pages in his encyclopedia, on electricity and sound, with a QR code video to watch about each. Both pages featured balloon experiments! For electricity, I demonstrated the classic balloon-on-sweater static electricity trick.

Home School 41 j

For sound, we held a balloon in front of a speaker to feel the vibrations.

Home School 41 h

This prompted Travis to remember his old record player, which led to almost an hour of musical fun!

Home School 41 i

11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2.30: Outside. We turned an afternoon in the park into a lesson on spring poetry! Plus we played shadow tag.

2-2.30: Social/emotional learning. There was a nice prompt from Travis’s teacher to read the book In My Heart and begin to fill in a self-esteem worksheet.

Home School 41 alt

To get moving real quick, I asked him to do 10 jumping jacks, 20 push ups, and run in place for 20 seconds.

Home School 41 k

2.30-3: Every school specials teacher will have a Zoom with the class now, and today was Library! This was a good reminder on how to sit and pay attention for a full 30 minutes. The librarian led them through Simon Says, a read-aloud, and a song before Travis got to share a favorite book.

His bedtime story was the non-fiction I’m a Caterpillar, a cute book about the butterfly life cycle that doubles as a great easy reader.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie (3)Having sneaked carrots into cookies, I wanted to show Travis a few more recipes featuring veggies-for-dessert. First up was this sweet potato pie that was – literally! – as easy as pie since it relied on a store-bought crust.


  • 1 (15-ounce) can sweet potato puree
  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 3/4 cup date sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust
  1. Whisk the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into the pie shell of your choice, whether homemade or store-bought.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees F for 65 minutes. Cover the top with foil near the end, if needed, if the filling gets too dark.
  3. Cool completely before serving.

Sweet Potato Pie (1)

Spring Poetry

Spring Poetry (3)

With all the spring produce bursting out of our recipes lately, today Travis and I used the season as inspiration for poetry! This fun lesson from Raddish Kids is a great excuse to get outside in spring weather, not to mention a nice addition to your lesson plan if you’re home schooling.

So off we headed to the park, taking along a notebook and pencils!

Spring Poetry (1)

We ran around first, and once we paused back on our blanket I asked Travis to reflect on what he’d noticed as he played. Bees, and grass, and wind, he replied.

Next I had him close his eyes to focus on sounds. He particularly noticed birds chirping.

Spring Poetry (2)

Once he opened his eyes, I asked him to point out the signs of spring he could see. Flowers, green, and white, were his answers.

Working together, it was now time to write poetry! Older students can compose their own poems, but the goal here is for an adult to guide a younger student through shared writing. I relied on the words he’d used in the exercise above, but guided him through various poetry formats.

First up was an acrostic. After reading Raddish’s explanation of the form, Travis and I composed the following:

Signs of spring



Ice is gone.



We then composed a few lines of rhyming poetry about spring, as well as a haiku. It was helpful for him to clap along, to understand the 5 syllable-7 syllable-5 syllable format.

Spring Poetry (4)

His haiku was:

Flowers are pretty.

Flowers are so beautiful.

But the bees scare me.

Next up was a diamente – new even to me! – a poem that makes a diamond shape through the progression of: noun, adjective, verb, noun, verb, adjective, noun. We composed the following:

Spring Poetry (6)

I then took his words from our initial brainstorming and showed him how to write concrete poetry i.e. a poem in the shape of what it talks about. Here’s a spring flower!

Spring Poetry (5)

All in all, this lesson made for a nice rumination on spring, plus gave us a welcome pause in the sunshine.

Shadow Tag

Shadow Tag (2)

As an outdoor adventure addition to Travis’s summer workbook, we headed outside today to play shadow tag. The day had been variably sunny and cloudy, but we got a beautiful burst of sunshine in which to play!

I explained the rules to Travis very briefly. Whoever was It had to tag the other person… not by touching their body, but by stomping in their shadow.

Shadow Tag (1)

After that, just run! Needless to say, Travis giggled and loved it. We played just after noon when shadows were short, making the game particularly tricky. I challenged him to think about why it would have been easier to play early in the morning or late in the day and he guessed correctly: longer shadows!

Shadow Tag (3)

We recruited baby sister to play, too. This was a great way to get some sunshine and movement in.

Shadow Tag (4)