Tag Archives: science

How to Beat the Cold Weather Boredom Blues

boredom
*Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. Miss Bean and I thank you for it! 

HOW TO BEAT THE COLD WEATHER BOREDOM BLUES

The cooler weather has arrived, and we’ve unpacked the sweaters, hoodies, and extra blankets. It is the perfect time for hot chocolate, extra snuggles, and movie marathons.

However, the extra chill in the air can also bring about the cold weather boredom blues.

When I hear that all too familiar, “Mom, I’m bored,” these are my favorite ways to help get out of that boredom rut.

PLAY INDOOR GAMESboredom

It might be too cold to escape boredom by heading outdoors, but you can still play some fun games in your own living room.

Of course puzzles, card, and board games are a great boredom buster, but there are also many other fun games that you can play while inside.

Need some inspiration? Check out the Indoor Games Handbook by Lisa Regan. We love to flip through it and choose one of the activities.

TURN YOUR KITCHEN INTO A SCIENCE LAB

Some time ago, I shared how to build a STEM kit.

It’s a great thing to have at home and it includes some suggestions on things to stock up on. It is super handy for those days that you feel like conducting experiments.

We also love the book, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids.


It is filled with a ton of fun and easy activities, that also explains the science behind them. Grab your lab coats, and notebooks, and conduct some experiments!

GET CRAFTY

This time of year I am reminded of why I save all those cardboard rolls, snippets of ribbon, trinkets, and stock up on fun paper and paints. When the stir-craziness sets in, raiding the arts and craft stash can be the perfect first stop.boredom

Since this week is Thanksgiving break, we are going to use these super cute Thanksgiving printables. They will be such a festive touch for our gathering.

After that, it’s time to start on making holiday gifts, and cards. I finally get some time to try some of the projects that I’ve saved on my Pinterest boards throughout the year.

COOK

boredomGet rid of the chill by heating things up in the kitchen. We love to head out to our local library in order to borrow some cookbooks. We enjoy flipping through them, and looking at the pictures, and choosing a few favorites to try. This winter, we are on a mission for some good pressure cooker and bread recipes.

If you like butternut squash, give my husband’s delicious recipe a try!

Not only is it a great boredom buster, cooking together is also a great family activity!

Do you have a favorite cold weather boredom buster? Be sure to share it with me in the comments.

xo, Melissa


P.S. Are you new here? Follow Disco Bumblebee on Pinterest and be sure to join my Facebook group for more journaling ideas, quick and easy crafts, and other lifestyle tips.


discobumblebee

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Lessons and Activities for November

lessons and activities november pin graphic

November has arrived, and that means it is time for some new books, experiments, lessons and activities in our homeschool classroom!

In addition to our regular work, we will focus on being thankful, and the history of Thanksgiving, which I will be incorporating into our lessons and activities throughout the month.

I found a great resource on the Scholastic website. It has a ton of information on The First Thanksgiving, so we will definitely be using that as a resource this month.

LANGUAGE AND READING

We are continuing to use our sight word list from our word hunt last month. They have been helping Bean learn some key words that she is seeing more often now that she is reading.

We’ve also been working on identifying long and short vowel sounds. I have a little game I found at the dollar store to help her with that.

I also selected some books that fit well with the Thanksgiving season:

Being Thankful by Mercer Mayer

The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose

The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola

Please and Thank You Book by Richard Scarry

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

Pete the Cat by Kimberly and James Dean

SCIENCE

Another fun part of Thanksgiving is the food, so I have picked out a few food experiments for our science lessons.

Bendy Bones

When you make turkey, set aside some bones for this fun experiment (chicken bones would work too, you don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving turkey time for this one).

First, make sure to clean and scrape any meat off of the bones.

Then, make some observations and discuss your findings. Are the bones strong? Do they bend? What color are they? How long are they?

Next, fill a container large enough to submerge the bones, with vinegar.

Place the bones in the vinegar and let them sit for four days. If it gets smelly, cover the container with a little plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band.

After four days, remove the bones from the vinegar. Observe and discuss again.

Because of the acidic vinegar, the bone should bend because the calcium has been broken down.

You can even try other acids, like lemon juice or soda.

Re-Grow Food

lessons and activities green onion experiment image

Find a fun recipe that calls for green onions, and when you use them, leave about 3 inches of the root .

Place your trimmings standing up in a glass container.

Fill the glass with water, leaving an inch or two above the water.

Find a sunny window, and set the glass nearby.

Change the water every other day, and in a few days, green shoots should begin to appear.

Once you have some growth, trim and use in another meal. Leave your roots in the jar, you should be able to get a few cycles of re-growth. See how many you can get!

Bouncy Rubber Egg

lessons and activities bouncy egg experiment image

Grab a glass jar, an egg, and white vinegar.

Place the egg carefully in the jar, and add enough vinegar to cover the egg.  Let it sit for 24 hours.

Once that time period has passed, carefully remove the egg from the jar, and dump out the vinegar. Replace egg and cover again with vinegar. The wait is a little longer this time around, let it sit for 2 days.

Remove your egg from the jar, and observe. What does it feel like? Does it look different? What happened to the shell? What do you see?

Now is the fun part! See if it will bounce! Gently bounce it from a short distance- it is still fragile and could break.

Because an eggshell is made of calcium carbonate, the acid in the vinegar reacts and produces carbon dioxide. The egg membrane may absorb some of the vinegar, which will make the egg larger.

CRAFTS

lessons and activities art supplies image

I found a few fun activities on Pinterest:

Paper Bag TeePees

Paper Bag Turkeys

T.P. Roll Totem Poles

Herb and Spice Play Dough

Handprint Turkey

You can also find these on my Arts and Crafts board. Follow me for easy access!

I hope you found these November lessons and activities helpful. I would love to hear about what is happening in your homeschool classroom too, tell me about it in the comments and be sure to link your blog so that I can visit!

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. ?

 

 

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Try These Fun Fall Lessons and Activities

fun fall lessons pinterest graphic

The weather has started to cool off and I can wear my hoodies again. The leaves are beginning to change, and it is perfect campfire weather. The arrival of fall also means that it is time to change things up a bit in our homeschool classroom. So I’ve put together a list of some fun fall lessons and activities.

fall lessons fall leaves graphic

The past couple months we learned about plants, and explored nature. We took a field trip to build our own STEM kit. We also discovered a workbook that Miss Bean loves. It has a little bit of each subject, and has kept her attention quite well. It has especially helped her take off with her reading. I’ve noticed that she has started to catch more word blends while sounding things out, and she has become so confident in her own abilities! So, as long as she requests it, we are going to keep completing those pages.

However, we need some hands-on fall lessons and activities to round out our homeschool plan.

Reading and Writing

My last blog post was a list of 10 Fall books to read, so I have already completed our book list. Because we have some apple activities, I’m also going to add Johnny Appleseed to the list.

I came across this word hunt, and it looked like so much fun, I had to create our own. I ended up making two versions. One with some of the sight words that we are working on, and another with some spooky words.

If you’d like to play along, you can click on the pictures to download and print your own.

SIGHT WORD HUNT FLASHCARDS

printable sight word flashcards for word huntSPOOKY WORD HUNT FLASHCARDS
printable spooky words flashcard for word hunt

 

Science and Math

pumpkins and apples fall lessons graphic

The leaves are changing, and apples and pumpkins are abundant.

I found this great state by state guide to fall colors and we’ll discuss why leaves change colors.

I printed out this fun fall leaf hunt activity, which will call for visits to a few parks to find our leaves. We will grab a few extra for art projects, and also to learn how leaves breathe.

After we stock up on some apples we are going to put our STEM kit to use.  We are going to try to keep an apple from browning, and make apple volcanoes.

For Math, we are going to work on the concept of greater than and less than by using candy corn.

Also, this free printable Oh Nuts! game looks like the perfect way to work on addition, time and money.

Of course, I can’t forget using pumpkins this time of year.

I plan on doing a few experiments that I found on this site.

And finally, once we clean out our pumpkins for carving, I am going to set aside some seeds. When I clean and bake them, I am going to fill a few different containers and have Miss Bean guess how many seeds are in each one.

Arts and Crafts

I think this is always the super fun part. I found some great projects using leaves and fall colors, and even one for our toilet paper rolls!

Autumn Handprint Tree

Q-Tip Fall Tree

Leaf Rubbings

Autumn Leaf Suncatchers

Wax Paper and Crayon Fall Leaves

Autumn Ballerina

T.P. Roll Monsters

Our fall break just ended, so we start on our new lessons Monday. If you have any fun fall lessons or activities planned, I would love to hear about them in the comments. Happy Fall!

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. ?

 

 

 

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How To Build A STEM Kit (even if you are on a budget)

STEM Kit

Having a STEM Kit on hand at home is a wonderful thing for planned or impromptu experiments, and I am going to show you how to build one, even if you are on a budget.

STEM Kit

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Including STEM in education is important, and it is a good thing to introduce STEM learning at a young age.

Why is STEM important?

Children have a natural interest in exploring how things work. Because of this, STEM activities are perfect! They are hands on and student-centered. By questioning, examining, and problem solving, kids are then able to learn to solve real life problems.

The role of the adult is to guide the students through the problem solving process.

How do you build a STEM Kit?

Building a STEM kit, may take a little bit of time, however, it is pretty easy and inexpensive to build up supplies.

First, look around the house.

Check the recycling bin, junk drawer, and be sure to raid the tool box! A more complete list is included at the end of this post, but look for things like plastic bottles, cans, nuts, bolts.

Once you’ve searched your house, chances are, you will find that you need to purchase some things to round out your kit.

My absolute favorite spot to find my material is the Dollar Store. They have a little bit of everything, and it is very easy to build up a good stock when things only cost a dollar. Make a list, or print mine, and take a field trip to get supplies. While you are there, be sure to grab a notebook to record designs, observations and results!

STEM Kit

I’ve got the supplies, now what?

Once you have your supplies, it is finally time for the fun! Pick an experiment, or create a challenge, and get to work!

Remember, this is a chance for your child to figure things out on their own. Your role is to guide, create curiosity, passion, and give them an opportunity to push limits.

I will have some more detailed posts about our specific activities and experiments as we do them in our classroom. Currently, I am working on a list of fun fall themed activities.

Subscribe to my newsletter by clicking on the link in the sidebar, or even follow me on Pinterest to receive updates.

In the meantime, here are a few activities to get you started:

Popsicle Stick Catapults

Marshmallow and toothpick structures

Grow crystals

Baking soda and vinegar eruptions

Rubber egg

Do you have a STEM Activity that you have tried? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear about it!


     

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain some affiliate links. That means I might receive a small commission if you make a purchase by using my link. This happens at no additional cost to you, and it helps provide a few supplies for our homeschool classroom. ?

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Top 5 Homeschool Game Changers

top 5 homeschool game changers pin graphic

There are times in our homeschool classroom in which we have perfect days. Our lessons go exactly as expected, because Miss Bean is happy, cooperative and willing to learn. Of course, those are the best kind of days.

However, there are also the other days where things just seem off. Those days have tears, protests, frowns, and my well thought out lesson plans just don’t seem to do the trick.

What do I do when that happens?

I switch things up and use my homeschool game changers. They usually help to end the frustration and aid Miss Bean in changing her attitude. Most of them are visual, and also give her a little break from having me as her teacher.

homeschool game changers

Here are my top 5 homeschool game changers:

1. Amazon Prime Video and Netflix

Recently, PBS moved most of their shows over to Amazon Prime. If you don’t already have a Prime subscription, I highly recommend it.

Currently, our favorite shows are Peg + Cat and Reading Rainbow. However, there are so many other options available.

They even have yoga and exercise videos. Sometimes, a little deep breathing, stretching, and a wiggle break is all we need for our day take a positive turn.

Also, Netflix has Magic School Bus and Bill Nye The Science Guy episodes. Both are fun ways to learn about how things work.

2. YouTube

There are so many different educational channels on YouTube. Most of the videos are short, which helps to keep Miss Bean’s attention.

A few of our favorites are:

Crash Course Kids

SciShow

MashUp Math

Storyline Online

3. Starfall

This website is one of Miss Bean’s favorites.

We are currently working our way through the reading units together. She likes to try and read each page herself, and then check her work by having it read out loud to her. There are even math games available. Whenever she gets a little independent learning/free time, she loves to play the different songs and interactive games.

Parts of the website are free, and you can also choose to pay a small fee in order to get full access.

4. Pinterest

Honestly, Pinterest is my best friend,

I can find anything that I need there. Seriously, it is a life saver.

It helps me find fun material for my lesson plans, and quick art projects. Miss Bean loves to look through my pins and pick out which experiments or crafts she wants to try next. I try to pin a lot, so feel free to follow me!

5. The Library

homeschool game changers

Sometimes, the day is just not going as planned at all. That’s when a change of scenery is a great solution.

Impromptu field trips to the library are easy, and they are free!

We are quite lucky to have a library within walking distance of our home. Because of this, we can make frequent trips. Sometimes, we even like to make it more of an adventure by visiting the huge library downtown. While there, we enjoy looking for Reading Rainbow books. Also, there are also a ton of easy readers so that we are able to keep lots of variety in our learning to read journey. Miss Bean is always sure to bring a backpack, so that she can bring a few books home with her.

If you haven’t visited in awhile, be sure to check out your local library and give it some love!

Do you have some classroom game changers that have worked well for you? Be sure to share them in the comments.

 

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A Good Dance Party Can Solve Anything.

A good dance party can solve anything. This is what I was reminded of today.

There are times when even the best plans can fall apart. Even though I felt I was organized, all those lists in my journal were no match for this past week. As I was having my morning coffee, and preparing for the day, I started being quite tough on myself. I am behind in my blog posts. I did not try the recipes I wanted to test. Then there were the super hot temperatures, and several days of rain that stopped us from being able to take our nature hike field trip. I keep telling myself that I need to get moving and do some yoga. My body hurts, and I’m sure it would help.

As all those negative thoughts accumulated, I began to feel that all too familiar anxiety attack coming on. The combination of another night of insomnia, and the running list of failures in my head, made me feel super overwhelmed.

Defeated.

I wanted to crawl into bed and wrap myself up in a blanket cave.

At that moment, Miss Bean came up to me. She snuggled up next to me and asked if we could have a dance party before we started school.

We picked out our music, turned it up, and started dancing. We laughed, and jumped. Twirled and swayed. We made silly poses and faces.

Suddenly, I started feeling better.

Once we finished, Bean began to gather her school supplies, and pick out the books she wanted to read. I took some deep breaths and began to make a list of all the things that I DID accomplish.

And do you know what?

I found that things weren’t as bad as I had originally felt.

I realized that we actually had a good week in school. Our Beanstalk experiment, did not work the first time. Instead of quitting, we tried to solve the mystery of what went wrong. We determined that we made the cotton balls too wet, and started over. This morning, we discovered that our seed is beginning to sprout!

Also, we did our cabbage leaf experiment to illustrate how plants drink water.

dance party

Seeing the leaves soak up the water and change colors was awesome! Even the teenager was excited to see the results.

dance party

dance party

As for our nature walk, and outdoor portion of our plant unit? We have been having so much fun with it, we will just extend our work over the next week. Another reason that homeschooling is such a great fit for us. The flexibility is a wonderful thing. The weather is officially cooling off, and we are very ready to take a hike. I made a fun scavenger hunt page to take with us. Miss Bean is hoping that we don’t see a snake, she is okay with leaving that box unchecked.

Because of all the rain, I wasn’t needed at work on Sunday. Which gave me an entire day all to myself. Time like that is a rarity for me. With the gloomy skies, it was tempting to stay in bed and binge on Netflix all day. Instead, I got out my supplies, and made some peg people. I was especially pleased with how my peg bat family turned out.

dance party

I even took my productiveness a step further, and got my etsy shop back up and running! Head over and give it a little love.

It is amazing what a little me time can do for the mind and mood!

I may not have gotten much accomplished with menu planning or food testing this past week. But today, I got out the crock pot, and put on some more music. Bean and I had another dance party as we assembled the ingredients for Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli. It is already smelling delicious!

Why did I write this blog entry? Today I may not have detailed lesson or menu plans. I don’t have a crafty project or tutorial to share. I did however, receive a valuable reminder from my wise daughter.

Sometimes, you need to stop being negative or sad, turn up the music, and just dance. It is the perfect way to re-focus and realize that things are not so bad. A good dance party can get you back on track!

 

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Plant Lessons: Adventures of Miss Bean

This week, we kicked off the homeschool adventures of Miss Bean with plant lessons. It is quite hard to say goodbye to lazy summer days, and get back into a school day routine. However, we managed to ease back into it by staying in our pj’s during morning work and taking lots of wiggle break dance parties.

This year, the big goal is for Miss Bean to be able to read independently. Therefore, there will be lots of sight word practice. To help with this, we have been using Bob books, and also making visits to the library for simple readers. She enjoys using Starfall as well, so we have been working through the lessons that they provide online.

During the next two weeks, the theme will be plants, seeds and growth. I’ve found fun activities in math, reading and science to keep with our subject.  Jack and the Beanstalk is the story that we are using to go along with our lessons and experiments. We also have several books from the library about plants, cycles, and seeds.

This week, we started our first experiment; which is growing a beanstalk. First, Miss Bean placed a lima bean in a mason jar along with some damp cotton balls. Next, she colored and cut out a castle, and taped it to a stick.  By doing this, it will help her observe how high her seed will grow.

lessons

lessons

lessons

We found that the glass jar is perfect for her frequent check-ins. She is very excited to observe that the seed is already beginning to open up!

Next week, I have a few more fun science lessons planned. We will dissect a seed, create a shoe box maze, and will also learn about how plants absorb water. I even have a snack time planned out, in which she will eat the parts of a plant.

Math is not one of Miss Bean’s favorite subjects. So, for one of our math activities, I made up a dice game to help illustrate the concept of more and less. I made a simple beanstalk themed sheet. Then, we roll the dice, write and tally or diagram our numbers. Whoever ends up with the most numbers in the more category, wins! (You can download the worksheet too: moreorlessbeanstalkworksheet)

Finally, to help Miss Bean learn more about numbers, I drew a flower. Again, she rolled the dice and added the numbers together. Next, she wrote the number in the center, and used each petal to either tally, add, subtract, diagram, spell, or fill in a ten frame. Having multiple visual examples is always the best way for her to pick up on things.

lessons

Next week, we will do these activities a few more times, as well as  working on number sequencing.

I feel that our first week was a success and that Miss Bean seemed positive about it too. We are both looking forward to our lessons for the second week of exploring the world of plants. Since our weather is not supposed to be quite as hot, I have a nature walk scavenger hunt planned. I will share the printable I created next week, so be sure to check back in on our adventures!

 

 

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