Kindergarten Home School Week 11: Thursday

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Our home school day honestly felt a touch too simple. We were scattered with our schedule, and did almost everything out of workbook pages instead of getting as hands-on as I like, but there’s always tomorrow… Here’s a rough outline of how it went.

9-9.30: ELA. Travis’s writing page was devoted to a favorite Star Wars character, which kept him happy. We took the time to emphasize the beginning sound of each word before writing it, then he finished with 15 minutes on Lexia.

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9.30-10: Math. After filling out a workbook page on bar graphs, Travis graphed some of his Legos. Please note that normally I am not an advocate for weapons as toys, but Travis sure did love graphing his light sabers and ninja swords.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. It was hot enough for little sister to fit in icy play.

10.30-11: Specials. Travis filled out a loud and soft singing exercise for his Music teacher online. Then he watched a few videos from his Spanish teacher about colors and how to say “my name is”.

11-1 – Lunch/free play.

1-1.30: Social time. A Zoom call with a friend really did him good.

1.30-2.30: Science. After coloring a workbook page about a coniferous forest, we set off into the real woods!

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The goal was to spot any of the animals from the page (we were thinking more along the lines of squirrels, less so black bears). Plus we found signs of conifers!

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He also made an “obstacle course” for ants to crawl over.

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Our walk wore us out, so that was it!

Yummy Edible Frozen Excavation

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Travis used to love hammering into ice as a toddler, and today was Veronika’s first opportunity to do the same. This time, as a twist, I made the game edible.

The night before, I froze berries in individual compartments of an ice cube tray. I also made one larger block of ice full of berries in a Tupperware container, hoping to add some variety.

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It was a hot and humid morning to head to the patio with our icy treasures. I simply set the blocks of ice out on a shallow tray, and gave Veronika her toy hammer and screwdriver (to serve as a chisel).

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At first everything was frozen solid, so she wasn’t very interested after an exploratory tap or two.

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But thanks to the weather it all soon started to melt. This was great because it meant Veronika felt like her hammering was really making a difference, even though the sun honestly did most of the work.

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When she reached the first berry, she immediately needed to give it a try!

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Whoops! The blackberries were a little sour. Then she discovered she could mash and smoosh the berries that had been released from the ice. This was even more fun!

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The melting ice cubes became almost like paint, too, since the dark blue of the berries left swirls of color behind.

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All in all, this was a gorgeous pause in morning sunshine, part sensory play and part snack!

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Cinnamon Yogurt Fruit Dip

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Kids love to dunk their food in sauces, and this easy dip is a great way to make sliced fruit taste even better.


  • 8 ounces non-dairy vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Whisk together all three ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. To serve, drizzle over slices of fruit, or place in a dish on the side for dipping.

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Funny Song

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No doubt your toddler has firm opinions about favorite songs; Veronika certainly does! It’s amazing how quickly kids pick up on lyrics, not just when they are correct, but also when they are slightly off. One great trick for brain development is to sing a familiar song, but make one or two words different and silly. Then see if your child notices!

So today we didn’t have wheels on the bus. We had wheels on the… plane? This got giggles. Definitely use props for added laughs. For example, “Sun, sun go away” was silly to sing when she had the rain umbrella out.

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Did Old MacDonald have a farm… or a castle?

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Did the farmer have a dog named Bingo… or a cat instead?

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Veronika enjoyed most of the silly verses, but sometimes she wanted a song to stay true to the original. Twinkle twinkle little… cookie?

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This actually earned Veronika’s grumpy face! She loves stars so much that she wasn’t ready to hear a change to the lyrics. So we quickly went back to the original.

Kindergarten Home School Week 11: Wednesday

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Between ants to watch and the arrival of new toys from his grandmother, I’m glad we got Travis’s school work out of the way early! The afternoon was really devoted to play, but sometimes with home school that’s for the best.

9-9.30: Social studies. Travis’s workbook page was about the American flag. We said the Pledge of Allegiance (a good refresher!) and he colored it in, then designed a “family” flag for us. I loved that he decided our flag needed a smile.

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We continued the theme with a little art, repeating an old patriotic rock project

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9.30-10: Math. Travis is growing skilled at counting the tens place and then ones place, to make double digit numbers. He was so proud doing this in a workbook. Then we practiced adding in the teens . He chose 16, and we used dot stickers to count 5+11=16 or 6+10=16 etc. (These stickers were fun for my toddler, too, when she wasn’t busy with jingle bells or pom poms).

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10-10.30: Snack/free play

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10.30-11: ELA/Letter P. Travis started with some time on Lexia, then did a workbook page on letter P. We took the fun outside for a picnic of course! While outside, we touched briefly on the digraph CK. I gave him cards so that we could sightread P words ending in CK, but switching the vowel in the middle. Pack, peck, pick, pock, puck! 

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11-11.30: Quiet time. I had Travis work on puzzles and also watch his teacher read an online story.

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11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play. Did I mention ants? New toys from his grandmother? It was a bit hard to rein him in for…

1.30-2: Class Zoom. I was proud of him raising his hand during show-and-tell.

Then I gave him the afternoon off to play! We had hoped to fit in some science with SpaceX’s rocket launch, but it was a no-go.

Sensory Bean Astronaut Box

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In honor of SpaceX’s would-be historic launch today, I set up this easy astronaut-themed sensory bin for Veronika!

All I used were two different colors of dried beans, which I poured into a shallow tray. I originally had the box half filled with dark red beans and half with white, but they very quickly were mixed together.

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Then I simply added a few astronaut toys, including aliens and a little space rover for Veronika to play around with. It was an instant hit!

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She loved the sound that the rover made as it drove over these bumpy “moon rocks”.

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Of course we could also collect samples of rock to take back to Earth.

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She moved the little figures around in the beans, enjoying the way this made the beans scatter. I also showed her how to bury the alien underneath them, and she could then go digging.

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A sensory box like this would work with just about any toy of course, whatever your toddler currently likes best! Or just add scoops instead of toys, for practice pouring. But the astronaut theme felt perfect in conjunction with today’s historic event, even when we later learned the launch was a no-go for bad weather.

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Towards the end of her play, she discovered that if she raked her astronauts quickly through the beans, they scattered over the edge.

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So then this happened.

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Which is just fine because dried beans are one of the easiest sensory items to clean up ever! You can do this activity over a towel for even faster clean-up, but I find it just as easy to sweep all the beans into a dustpan. They sweep up with zero mess, unlike other materials I could name.

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We are wishing the astronauts good luck on their voyage!

Rainy Day Busy Box

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Veronika has an obsession with umbrellas, so today I put together this little toy bin for her to play with! It was equal parts sensory play and imaginative play, meant to imitate a “rainy day” in miniature. I had to supervise since the mini drink umbrellas we used have sharp points, but older toddlers and preschoolers could play with this solo as a true busy box.

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In a small toy bin, I simply put the following: little people figures, blue pom poms as “raindrops”, and a few small umbrellas (like the type you find in tropical drinks).

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Veronika was smitten! The actual role play was a bit lost on her, but we “rained” the pom poms down on the people and sang “Rain rain, go away” one of her current favorite songs.

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She eagerly popped open the umbrellas! I needed to help her with the mechanics of this a little bit, but once open she could then slide them up and down.

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She loved trying to have her little people hold on to them. This brought a big smile to her face.

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In retrospect I would have made this bin on a real rainy day, to help emphasize the theme.


Coffee Can Games, Two Ways

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I had an empty coffee can in the house, and knew better than to recycle it; it would make a perfect prop for Veronika’s play. To wit, we found two great ways to use it today.

First up was a combination of art and musical play. To decorate the coffee can, I wrapped a piece of contact paper around it, sticky side out. I gave Veronika pieces of old gift wrap and old postcards so she could adorn the outside.

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Once it was decorated perfectly according to her toddler standards, I wrapped a second piece of contact paper on top, sticky side in, to seal her design.

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I then put small jingle bells inside the coffee can and secured the lid.

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Shake shake shake! We sang along (admittedly to unseasonable songs like Jingle Bells!) and she had a huge grin on her face.

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Then she discovered that she could roll the can along the floor and make it jingle. She chased it all around the house this way.

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The drawback to this game was that she wanted to open the lid and get at the bells inside, but I worried about them as a choking hazard. So we repurposed the coffee can! I cut a slit in the top with an X-acto knife and then rounded the corners slightly so she wouldn’t cut her fingers.

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Now she could post (a.k.a. push) pom poms through. “Where did green go?” I asked, popping down the first one as a demonstration.

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She mimicked my words perfectly and talked her way through the entire pile, mostly getting her colors right. “Where did blue go?” “Where did yellow go?”

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When they were all inside, we opened the lid for the big reveal and dumped them out. And then she wanted to do it again! What a great way to keep busy.

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What would you do with an empty coffee can? Please share in the comments!

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Kindergarten Home School Week 11: Tuesday

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We took yesterday off for Memorial Day after just doing a workbook page on letter M (for memorial of course!) but jumped back into home schooling today.

9-9.30: Letter N/O. To start the morning on a fun note, Travis made a nest for an owl from which he could tackle these two letter pages. We capped off ELA with about 15 minutes on Lexia.

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9.30-10: Social studies. Travis completed a maze to help a child get ready for school in the morning. He then wanted to act out all the steps with dolls! This was a great way to include baby sister, too.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess.

10.30-11: Math. We acted out a workbook page about greater than and less than… with Star Wars battles, of course. Travis had to solve each equation (i.e. 4 is less than 5) then he acted out a fight between good versus evil before we moved on to the next. This was a great way to keep him engaged.

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11-11.30: Cooking. We gave a whole new meaning to the term “submarine sandwich“!

11.30-12: Science. Our ants arrived, and Travis quite literally couldn’t stop watching. As an extension, he wrote a sentence about why ants make great pets and drew a picture to go with it.

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12-1 – Lunch/free play.

1-2: Outside. A trip to a local arboretum was the perfect dose of “recess” and vitamin D.

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2-2.30: Social/emotional learning. After watching a read-aloud of the book One, by Kathryn Otoshi, Travis made a recording for his teacher about his take-away from the book.

2.30-3: Cooperative play. We ended the day with a game. His teacher had recommended sight word bingo. We used our Zingo game, and every time a player got a match, he or she had to select a sight word fish to place on the board. This was an easy way to sneak in sight words without making him feel bored about rote learning.

Home School 55 kSee you tomorrow!

Sky’s the Limit

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Today, I took some time with Veronika just to pause and look at…the sky! Yup, that’s it. With all the busy activities we do, sometimes we forget to stop and just look.

So we headed to the park and lay down on a blanket. Now she had a perfect view… up!

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We talked about everything we could see up. The leaves on the branches of the trees, the birds and butterflies going by, the puffy clouds. And of course the blue sky.

If it’s a bit bright as you head out for this activity, don’t forget the sunglasses!

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We even spotted an airplane!

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I made up song verses for all the things she could see, choosing a favorite tune (Wheels on the Bus), but instead we sang: “The birds in the sky go tweet tweet tweet” etc. This brought a big smile to her face.


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She was proud making the connection between the butterflies fluttering past and the one on her water bottle!

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Mostly, I tried to just lie still, and enjoy the peaceful moment. She seemed to appreciate the pause, too.

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