Author Archives: healthyumbrella

About healthyumbrella

My nickname is Han and I am a person of many talents. I am a certified yoga instructor and currently spend my days as a stay at home mom to a wonderful toddler.

Homeschooling and Distance Learning

We stopped homeschooling a few days ago, and started distance learning at our local elementary school. Last year the distance learning was very difficult. We utilized a new program called Seesaw and there was a big learning curve to master all of the work that was given. The instruction-which can either be synchronous: students learn the same thing in real time with live interaction, asynchronous: students complete course work at anytime at their own pace or both- was mostly asynchronous. The teacher would only meet with the students to allow them to interact with each other and ask a few questions. There was no educational instruction what so ever, in the meets. For instruction there were a few videos when dealing with math concepts, but nothing during their meetings. This year it seems to be a little different, and I am so grateful.

We are still using the Seesaw program as well as other applications. We have an IPad and use the IPad pencil to work on the Seesaw application, since the keypad is touch screen and my child needs to learn how to write. The learning curve was very difficult because the teacher wanted us to use the touch keypad to type words for some of the words. We have not been practicing typing at all. My child is six years old, and probably has only used the typing tool during computer time at school. Because the distance learning schedule last year was very open ended, and all of the work was on a computer, I disliked (and still dislike this) requirement. I don’t want to focus on the negative in this blog, so I will write about how our schedule has changed due to the distance learning introduction.

We wake up earlier, since the meets are at 8.30 am and if we are late we will be marked late. It’s helped so much with our days! We meet twice a day and the teachers communicate with the students. At first I was sitting next to my child because she keeps finding activities to do during the meetings. Now I give her a head set and I step away. We have two teachers with two different teaching styles, which I love. They instruct on different days but so far we are just doing introductions.

Once again the homework is taking us longer to complete than the worksheets we have been working on during the two weeks of homeschooling. It is the introduction of the electronic device that causes this, so we have set new rules to help curb the distraction. The first rule is, no shows until after school. There has been an obsession to watch shows on Netflix and Disney plus due to the summer show free for all. This obsession also started when we first started Distance learning in March. Since the tablets were only used for games and shows, switching the thought process of using them for learning was and is still a process. The second rule is that we can not go outside and play until we are done with school to motivate my child. I will write the rules down and share that in a future blog. I also needed to organize myself, and I did this by using a digital planner.

This digital planner is so helpful! The teachers have included a schedule so, I have to blend both my schedule with the one that they provide. Because I am including different workbooks, and additional instruction, I need to blend both schedules. Here is a link for the etsy shop I purchased the planner at: Digital teacher planner. There is also a free one that I accessed from this site.

This was our previous schedule, we were completing most of the work, and now we have a higher load of work, so it’s a little more difficult, but we still try to get math and grammar in since we have not started to work on much since it’s the first few days of school.

I’ve also joined two different conferences that I found here. I’m hoping they will help deal with my six year olds personality and also give me different resources to assist during this tough time. The Carolina Homeschool conference has not started, but the Crash Course to Homeschooling is on it’s second day. I do not have an affiliate link to these, I am just mentioning them because I think they might be helpful and they are not too expensive.

So far we have just started this distance learning process, so our schedule is still all over the place. I have not ironed out all of the bumps, but I will continue to write a blog to share my learning experience and hopefully this helps you as well. Let me know if it has helped, or if you have tips for me, too.

Back to School Plan

The first day of school is quickly approaching, so I have started our schedule two weeks in advance just to get ready for the onslaught of the first few days of distance learning. The new school schedule really wrecked havoc on our homeschool plans last school year. Since the teachers introduced a ton of electronic applications to complete school work, it was so easy for my kiddie to find herself on Netflix, or Disney plus. They also offered online books, instead of physical books. The problem with using electronics and only electronics was that everything would take hours to complete. That was torture for me. I don’t have anything against electronics, I love them! We embrace them and enjoy playing tons of games, audiobooks, and electronic books, as well. We just moved from 15 minute or less worksheets to 60 plus minutes of electronic work and that was tough. Once again, I am writing this blog right before the distance learning experience begins. I will make sure to post on how I work along with the electronic instruction.

The first thing I did was purchase the book: What your Second Grader Needs to Know. This book is available for each grade level. It explains Common Core and gives you a ton of information, stories and helpful strategies to instruct on the subject your child need to learn at their grade level. I also ordered different work books so that we could complete worksheets for grammar, spelling, math, reading comprehension and geography. I will share a picture of the books below.

Our schedule is all over the place. We can’t wake up as early as I would like, so we start the school work from 9am or 10am. On our bad days we start school at 2pm. We try to complete all of the subjects that are on the schedule, but it’s tough. This is our schedule:

Grammar: I use this YouTube Video Along with the grammar worksheet. I use the chalk board to add the definition of a grammar term, like this one:

Pronoun- a word that can take a place of a noun. We are working on doubles in addition since those were forgotten during the summer.

Math – I have a ton of tools that I use for math. When my daughter was ten months old my husband and I made a learning tower. We followed this Plan. My dad had all of the tools we needed, so we only spent $50 on creating the tower. Because we had left over pieces we created some peg boards for counting. The peg boards were so easy to make. We just drilled the holes in the wood pieces, I sanded them, and painted them and then added little pegs. I purchased the pegs at Michaels.

Number Peg Boards. The colors are white for even and black for odd numbers.

We also use different geometric shapes to work on 3D shapes and shape name learning. We have a Hundred Board that I purchased from Lakeshore that we continue to use for skip counting and addition and subtraction. I use this Website to print out a free addition chart. They also have an addition and subtraction chart in the What your Second Grader needs to know book. Once they get those charts down, adding and subtraction will be easier. Second grade learns focus on learning their tenth, hundred and thousand places, so we are also working on that with different tools, like counting blocks.

Geometric shapes.

ART– for art we use different media. We paint, color, watercolor, and draw. I use YouTube for most of the drawing and painting tutorials since I am not a good artist.

This is a postcard we painted to mail to our friends and family. We painted this after following a YouTube tutorial.

Geography and History– I am reading the subjects (World geography, American history and geography) in the What your Second Grader needs to know book and I also found a great bingo game at Target recently. It is so fun, and since we are learning about the states this month, it is useful. Here it is. I also found a dry erase USA Map sheet at Michaels and we are using that as well to fill in with the workbook as well.

Reading, Writing, Spelling and Reading Comprehension– We use the workbooks for these, and I will add the picture of all the books we use presently. We are using spelling lists to help with introduction to vocabulary and spelling tricks to help supplement the workbooks. Writing is a little tough for us, since it’s hard for me to carve out time for writing in our journals. My daughter chose a planner at Target. She really wanted it, but since it was $15, I told her that if she promises to write in it daily then we would purchase it. We did purchase it, but she has only written in it a few times. I have to remind her of her promise, which isn’t so bad because it will help to reinforce accountability and integrity. For reading we separated some books in a little book basket so we can make time to read. Although my daughter usually reads before bedtime.

Spanish- For Spanish we are meeting with a few neighbors while we practice distance learning to speak Spanish and practice our reading and vocabulary, introductions and common phrases.

Science- we are using the good and the beautiful. Right now we are working on the Space lesson plan.

This is not a perfect schedule. We don’t finish every single subject every day because THINGS happen. The best way I have found to get the work done is by playing. But, because I know school will start back up I don’t want to instill bad habits, I want the focus to be a primary habit that gets learned and practiced. It’s difficult, yet pretty awesome. I also ordered a special chair from Lakeshore to help with her energetic nature. It’s the flex chair, here is the Link.

Let me know if any of these books helped in the comments. Also, if you have any tools or tricks that you use that are helpful, I would appreciate those as well.

Trolls: World Tour and Revolution


The COVID-19 quarantine order did not stop the movie industry from releasing some golden screen gems. One of the movies that was released was: Trolls World Tour. It was also released in an opportune time to help parents speak to their children about the awakening that has been sparked by protestors around the United States.

Readers beware: there might be spoilers in this blog. I will try to explain why the Trolls World Tour movie can be helpful in starting a good conversation on racial discrimination, open mindedness, consensus effect, and police brutality.

Trolls World Tour is a movie about music and it’s genres. The movie uses harp strings to represent types of musical genres. In the start of the movie these strings are all separated and the Trolls of the Troll World are divided and contained in musical genre bubbles that help them isolate themselves from each other.

This isolation is a good way to introduce racial stigmas and talk about close-mindedness. Separating yourself from other cultures and life styles can happen organically or purposefully. Children can live in “cultural isolation” by: living in a city with small racial diversity, and only experience different cultures through media and word of mouth(be it good, or bad). They can also live in a racially diverse environment and never experience different cultures, or they can embrace other races and have a cultural immersion. You, as the parent know exactly where you live and where your children stand on this isolation spectrum. It is in your hands to introduce and continue conversations on the value of diversity and keeping an open mind when dealing with people. When the Trolls are divided, you can highlight that separation and mention where you live, and who you live near. Introduce books or conversations that allow more exposure and promote the value of keeping an open mind when dealing with different people who might not be in their immediate circle.

The Trolls from different musical genres did not accept each other’s music, and discriminated against each other, there was judgment and disapproval towards their life styles. In this movie the musical genre represent the Trolls identity. They can not live without a certain type of music, until the end of the movie. Poppy herself thinks that everybody is the same. She is trapped in a consensus effect where she feels that all Trolls think and feel the way she does. She is bent on helping everybody see their similarities and in starting a great Big Troll party. She goes through a journey of discovering that her past was written by the victors (the term Colonizer comes to mind here), that not everybody is the same, and their differences should be accepted and embraced. She learns this when she is introduced to the Funk string. Reminding children that differences are strengths is necessary to help them value people of other cultures and lifestyles. Mentioning that all cultures have value will help them see others in a positive light. Also, reminding them that these cultures should not be ridiculed or glossed over due to lack of exposure will positively impact them. Poppy found herself open to a new way of thinking and was only thwarted by Barb, the rock Troll.

Barb is the antagonist in the movie. Barb wants to make rock music the only music played by Trolls. Barb’s use of force and aggression can be an extension to talk about police brutality in our communities. Acknowledging that black children learn about Police authority in a different light then a person of lighter skin, due to the pervasiveness of racial stereotypes, is the first step in speaking to your children about Police brutality. John Oliver explains how people of color live with police injustice in this Video.

I have personally experienced the stereotypes that police have towards people of color. When I was in my twenties, my passenger side mirror was broken. I was stopped by a police officer, who I believe was training. I removed my seat belt when I was stopped. I was not aware that you’re supposed to leave your seat belt on and place your hands on your steering wheel once stopped. The police officer was female and she was so nervous. A fellow officer even asked her if she needed help. How could she be afraid of me? I wondered, and still wonder now. I was so scared, too! How could she be scared of a college kid, who had a broken mirror? I know I had unbuckled my seat belt, but the stereotypes are real, that was the only thing out of the norm that I had done to possibly cause fear to this new police officer. I am Mexican-American and I did not dress like a stereotypical gangster and I also did not drive a dangerous car. I had a Toyota Scion for god’s sake. It’s no big deal now years after the fact. But, if police have this fear and incorrect assumption of the people they are trying to protect, there is definitely a disconnect. And people should not have to experience it first hand to believe it.

I’m going to talk to my daughter about Police brutality in this way, using Barb as the aggressor, because I feel it is an easy tie in to explain abuse of power. Barb is a Queen, not a community servant, but she is responsible for the rock Trolls. The fact that she felt she was correct in uniting the world with one type of tactic without realizing she was wrong, can be used to communicate how people sometimes following procedures without being human, or feeling empathy. During Barb’s attempt to capture the other strings, she decimated the other lands. While this is more of a war analogy, it can also be used to express the current situation that we have found ourselves due to decades of defunding community programs and supporting policing strategies instead.

I don’t feel my child needs to know about this exact situation. But, it’s unfortunate that at this moment schools are being defunded, due to our current state, while this article is from last month, it is worth a read. The median age of people in California is 36.7 (Median age). California’s children schools are going to need attention, not just policing. I’m going into a tangent here, so let’s get back to the movie.

At the end of the movie Poppy is able to use her listening skills to unite the Trolls and allow Barb to see that her vision of what the world should be, is flawed. It’s an amazing message. Listen to others and do what’s best for the world around you, is what everybody needs to do. Listen and practice empathy, real empathy. It will not create a downfall in our current system, it will actually improve it expand what we are all hopefully searching for: Improvement in our human relations, in our community, and our environment.

We as a family loved the sound track as well, we danced to the entirety of it, because we love all types of genres. Let me know you’re thoughts in your comments and listen to the sound track here.

Children’s books

When was the last time you read a child’s book for your own personal interest? This question is for parents, educators, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and especially for those people who hate reading.

This is the best time to read children’s books. The books that are available are so rich in content, and the art! The illustrations are brilliant!

I’m advocating for adults to read childrens books, yet I have a confession: I have to admit that I had never read the book: The Wind and the Willows. While this book is not a new book (it was first published in 1908), it was recently illustrated, and also, recently brought to my attention. The book has such rich vocabulary, and it’s hilarious! I find myself cracking up over the funniest, and sweetest characters in this book. It teaches patience, respect, friendship and so many other great qualities.

Unfortunately, I can not say that I read this book for my own amusement, I have a child, and so of course, every book I buy or borrow from a library is directed towards my kid. The Wind and the Willows, was also meant for my little. I always make the mistake of reading the best books during bedtime. And this book is one of those great books, because even though it is wonderful, it is very heavy. The pages are long, the conversations are thorough and just like Beatrix Potter’s books, a little advanced. It’s great sleeping material, though. Here’s a revelation: I end up reading the book long after my child is asleep, so I actually can say that I choose those books for my own amusement.

Choosing good books is a difficult task. Not only are there numerous books, but there are also a tremendous amount of subjects. The books you think are going to interest your child, don’t even keep them entertained for their 2 minute attention span. You really just have to take them to the library to find their interests. Sometimes I get lucky, and this blog is all about those lucky books.

All the books I’m about to recommend, have also not been read for my own amusement. So don’t judge, just listen, and read children’s books.

Karl, Get Out of The Garden! By Anita Sanchez is beautifully illustrated by Catherine Stock and details the life of Carolus Linnaeus and explains how he was able to catalog and organize the animals in the world. It’s written beautifully and is interesting enough for parents to be engaged, as well.

One Beetle Too Many by Kathryn Lasky, Illustrated by Matthew Trueman, is also a great read. It might be a little more detailed for smaller children, but it tells the life of Charles Darwin in a smart way.

M is for Movement by Innosanto Nagara teaches children about corruption, collusion and nepotism. My six year old really enjoyed this book. We read it through it’s entirety because of it’s great message and well written story.

All of these books are not about fictional characters. They are written and illustrated in ways that engages children and allows them to embrace truth and history in a way that will forever stay in their minds through the power of written and illustrated words.

We are living in the Information Age. It’s a great time to find powerful and educational resources that will inspire and help us grow. Even though these books are for kids, I entreat adults to keep an eye out for books like these, even though you feel you’re too mature for kid things.

Ideas for homeschooling during Quarantine

Like most parents in California, I was not expecting to have to homeschool my child because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I wanted her to remain in school- I was enjoying finally having some me time to get back to my pre-child weight, declutter the house, and finally return to the work force. But, it happened, unexpectedly.

We recently moved to Northern California, and because of that, I was so ready for this. We had to stay in corporate housing for a month, so we tried online homeschooling to lessen the impact of the move. Each city here seems to have their own school district, so we decided to keep my first grader home until we could find a permanent school.

Now, three months later, we are ready to homeschool again. I am not making the same mistake that I made when we enrolled her in an online homeschool. Instead, I am letting the child lead, or something like that. This is the schedule:

We painted our door with magnetic, and chalkboard paint to create a learning hub. I wrote the schedule down and wanted to erase it immediately to have more space to draw and add vocabulary, but I left it and added the actual schedule on the sides. I’m glad I didn’t erase it. Keeping it up really helps remind me to follow daily plans. It’s not meant to be a ridged schedule. We deviated from it on the first day and end the day at 4 p.m. instead of at 2.30 p.m. Everyday the schedule moves around, subjects change places yet we still do most of them because it’s up on the board. We still haven’t had a chance to incorporate STEM in it’s full sense, though. We only get to complete the science and math portion of it. Technology and Engineering, you keep evading us!

The following pictures are the resources we use for math, English, and Geography:

I wish I could tell you this is easy, it’s not. I love every minute of it, most of the time, but it’s draining. It’s difficult to maintain order when you’re doing worksheets for Math, and English. Having the chalkboard really helps, because my kid can go up and do some work on the board instead of on their usual worksheet. That’s the fun part. The lack of attention and interest is the worst part. The thing that helped with attention was to threaten to remove recess. I’m usually a positive parenting follower, where kids learn from natural consequences. Just this once I’m keeping this threat in my side pocket to use only for emergencies.

Manipulative’s really help to lessen the struggle of math. I’m not saying to go out and buy a ton of tiny blocks or toys, just use what you have at home. If you have cotton balls, q-tips, legos, anything that is small and can be counted to 100 or more is perfect.

If you want to purchase some items, I have a few affiliate links to share at the end of this blog that I can recommend from personal experience.

For English: we journal, use a grammar book, and a reading comprehension book. This Wednesday my little did not want to work at all. During lunch, she set up her stuffed toys around her table and served them each a meal. So, instead of getting her workbooks out, I brought out a few sheets with poems from Robert Louis Stevenson, which I got from Here. I gave a sheet to an owl, Eevee (Pokémon), myself and my kiddie. She read poems for each animal (in their respective voices) and for herself too. She ended up reading six poems at the end of our lunch. I also read, because if you don’t join in, it’s not as fun. Maintaining a laid back attitude really helps with the day. Yes, it’s good to finish the worksheets, but, literature is also part of English. So, let it go sometimes, and find different ways to talk about grammar or spelling throughout the day. For example: While playing chess, my kiddie was able to retrieve a second Queen. I said, “that’s a plural noun! What do you call them?” And she responded with, “Queens!” You can incorporate English anytime this way.

I am a fluent Spanish speaker, this doesn’t mean I’m a good Spanish speaker, or that I have taught my 6 year old any Spanish. My husband and I primarily speak English to each other, so we haven’t really been immersing ourselves, or our daughter in this second language. During this lockdown, I am taking advantage of this learning period, and I am including Spanish lessons in the day. I’m using music and a few books to help teach Spanish. We found a good album on google play: Con Cosmo Uno. The songs are catchy, and easy to remember. My little kept singing the song even after school. If you know a second language, try to incorporate it now. I’m sure you’re not like me and haven’t waited until this very moment to teach it! But, if so, look for videos on YouTube, or even songs from iTunes or Googleplay that sing your second language.

For Geography we purchased these. Every birthday we kept collecting a continent or country, we even found the Asian country puzzle on Etsy! I asked my kid what Continent she wanted to study this week, and she chose Asia. With this puzzle, we take the country we are focusing on out of the puzzle and trace it. Then we use a pin to poke the outline and use it as a lovely window decoration. I took advantage and taught history while also teaching geography. I read through the Encyclopedia of History and found interesting people, facts and terms to talk about, and wrote them down on the chalkboard. We will keep doing that for the rest of the week and will change to a different continent or country the following week. I also used Trillium resources for geography. This is one of my favorite lesson plans to work on.

Science is so fun, too! It is one of the best subjects. I’m a big fan of math, and geography, but science is really the best kid teaching subject of all. I use a ton of activities for science, but for these lessons I am using The good and the Beatuiful science PDFs. I purchased the Space PDF and printed out the lessons. It took us three days to finish the first lesson, only because I accidentally put it close to the end of the day and we were so pooped by 3 p.m. we really don’t want to do much. It’s so easy to follow along, the lessons are short and sweet, they do have scripture, so if that is a problem, there are also other space lessons on the website Teachers Pay Teachers. We will work on space and switch from that to The Good and the Beautiful’s Kingdoms PDF. I’ll post more blogs about the science projects we do in the future.

Art class is usually just painting, or watching the new Mo Williams lunch hour which you can find here. We love his hilarious books, and while this might not be the best for children under 3, it’s so awesome for my 6 year old. We had to pause it to do the drawings, and sometimes we rewind to listen to MO’s funny commentary twice. Mo is so interesting and funny!

We haven’t sectioned off PE, because we do activities during recess and lunch. We have been lacking in the 4 hour of outside playtime so our days are longer then what I would like. If anybody has any resources that can help with this, please let me know in the comments.

The previous links were not affiliate links, I do not profit from the links that I posted.

If you click on the following, I will get a small percentage from the purchase. Thank you for doing so, if you purchased it from Amazon. These are the links: Montessori Multiplication Bead, Atlas, Grammar and Punctuation. I hope they are useful if you did purchase the items. We love them!

Experiencing this quarantine feels as if though we are living in the 1950’s to me. It also feels like I’m living in a Ray Bradbury book or short story, but it’s necessary and I wish everybody out there stays safe and healthy. I hope my resources help out in some ways during this tough time and that you can find a good schedule for your littles.

Reducing waste

This year, I vow to reduce my plastic consumption. I’ve always been mindful of plastic waste since I was a little girl because of school and The Earth Day Special movie. I was really impacted by it when I visited the Arches National park in Utah and witnessed a ton of plastic bottles dumped at the bottom of Delicate Arch.

Its disheartening to view pollution anywhere, but I never expect to see it in nature. Hopefully, we are all aware that there is a ton of plastic in the ocean, with no end in sight. We, as individuals, need to take a stand and advocate for more sustainable products and packaging.

These are a few of my strategies so far(they are not extensive or exhaustive, but I’m working on it!):

  • Make my own deodorant, I use this site. I try to buy baking soda with no ammonia. You can find it at Sprouts.
  • I go to lush for the shampoo and conditioner:
  • I also try to visit Farmer Markets and bring my own bag.
  • Make your own soap
  • Use coconut oil as lotion, or other items that come in glass or can be transferred to reusable jars.
  • Started buying yogurt from a jar. Nounos creamery is delicious!

I have not gone to Whole Foods to attempt to use my own mason jars to pick up the bulk bin items to reduce plastic waste. I will create a new blog once I do! I’m sure they will be game. I will also try that at Sprouts!

There is one issue with the plastic consumption problem: Instacart. If you have not heard of Instacart, it is a personal shopping company that delivers grocery items to your home. We just tried the service this year and I have not figured out how to choose paper, instead of plastic, for the bags. So, I have a ton of plastic bags that I use as trash can liners.

We have not started composting, which I think will be the next move after I have tackled all of the other plastic issues.

I hope this post was helpful and will also modivate you to reduce, reuse and recycle!

Please feel free to comment on your tips and tricks.

Valentines Day Craft

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holiday’s. Not because of all of the delicious and incredibly tasty chocolate (although that helps)- it’s because of all the LOVE!

The holiday is commercialized and over the top anywhere you go, but if you remember the reason why it all began (follow link to my previous post here) and embrace the giving aspect of the Holiday, you will end up celebrating the entire month of February!

Not only does the month celebrate Love, it’s also the month to celebrate Black History Month! Another reason to be excited about this amazing MONTH! People who are born this month are so lucky!

The best way to show you care, on this spectacular month, is by making a heart felt craft. My representation of this is a Heart-felt-craft:

When I visited lakeshore, I purchased a bag of chalkpaper valentines, and thought, “I can make these a hundred times better!”

Being an avid Michaels shopper, I knew they had tons of little wooden shapes and looked for the hearts! Sorry shoppers, I took them all! They’re not very expensive, and there were not really that many. I wish they had 100! (Micheals, if youre reading this: stock up!). I also purchased red felt sheets and chalkboard spray paint. I love crafting!

These hearts are so easy to make! Just be sure to cover your surface very well, because I didnt, and now there is splattered paint all over my patio table!

I cut out felt for the hearts and added a little chalk to the gift. Presto change-o, Valentine gifts are done and ready for the big day.

If you own a cricut, use that, my hearts are pretty deformed, but those little felt erasers are so cute!

Write messages of love daily to your loved one to make this month extra special!

If you decide to make one or a hundred, I hope you have as much fun as I did making these adorable tiny hearts and that the recipient enjoys writing on them. Let me know if you tried this or if you’ve made any Valentine gifts yourself.

If you dont get a chance to go to Michaels, Joannes, or Hobby Lobby here is an affiliate link for wooden hearts:

2-Inch Wood Heart 100pcs Blank Unfinished Wooden Slices Discs Cutout Pieces Wedding Guestbook Signin Party Guest Greetings DIY Crafts Projects

Combining Art Media with Literature

Recently on facebook, a viral post popped up that caught my attention. It showed children painting on a vertical easel made from a inverted table and plastic wrap. I tried it instantly! And not only did I love it, but, we found new creative artistic avenues while reading A House for Hermit crab and The Foolish Tortoise.

I turned our IKEA latt table over and wrapped the plastic wrap all around the legs, it was a little challenging, but not too much. I just hooked the first end to a leg and then continued to circle around the table. Here is our reproduction:

When painting we did not imitate Eric Carle’s figures, instead we focused on revisiting horizontal and vertical.

The first sheet in a House for Hermit Crab has shades of green and blue and a scribble going across the page. We repeated this same pattern, but on the plastic wrap. We used sponges to paint it on the wrap, and the ends of our paint brushes to make swirls horizontally across. Here is the first attempt:

Then we practiced Vertical by imitating the first sheet in The Foolish Tortoise. That page had light green and green with vertical squiggles. Here is that one:

I asked my toddler if she could pronounce vertical and horizontal while we painting.

We also discussed the words: consent, permission and respect with A House for Hermit Crab. Every time the crab asked a sea creature a question I would reinforce each term and explain it to my child. she was pretty annyoed and said, “I know, you said it last time.” We’ve read the book more than once.

Let me know in the comments if you practiced this or if you found different extensions for the books.

The books can be purchased by clicking on the images: (Affiliate links)

Storing 3 Part Cards

After buying a laminator, I went crazy looking for printables to laminate. The hard part was finding a way to organize and categorize each printed item. 

Originally, I used two folders to keep all of my Spanish and English cards. That wasn’t as efficient as it seemed at the time.

This is one of the folders:

It’s a disaster.

I visited the 99 cents store and found a small bin. I cut colored cardstock into filing seperators and sectioned off my laminated cards. 

This makes it easier for me to view and access the laminated cards. 

For the 3 part cards that have matching toobs, I put them in zip lock bags and stuffed them in a bin. 

The instrument printables are from Imagine Our Life.

Let me know if you try this and if it works for you leave a note in the comments. 

St. Valentine History for Toddlers

Valentines day is in a few days!

I always look forward to teaching my toddler about love, kindness and generosity. In February it’s especially easy to do because, Valentine’s Day epitomizes altruism.  Although people complain that the holiday has become too comercialized, the history behind it makes it one of my favorite Holidays.
Teaching history to people is not easy. The first time I took history in college I ended up with drool on my desk. Even though that happened, I never gave up on history because I knew it was interesting, and i had a great high school teacher. The history lessons you get in high school are sensored and compact (BORING). I was only interested in history because of Mr. Davis and his flamboyant stories of historical figures. Although, I had respect for history lessons I  would never go out of my way to find books, or even watch the history channel. Luckily for me, I took a western civilization course in college. That teacher rocked it!  I wish I knew how he did it, but history is now so interesting. I dont want my toddler to have to wait until she’s 20-something to love history. The following is an example of how to introduce a little St. Valentine history to toddlers:

If you’ve never heard of St. Valentine’s history click here. St. Valentine was valiant, brave, and lived at the end of the third century A.D.  Because toddlers do not fully understand the concept of time, using an hour glass while melting  ice can help explain events a little better.I used a heart shaped silicone mold to make my ice. While this does not explain the concept of A.D. Versus B.C, it will give some idea of time passing by. This is how I did it:

Here is the picture of the ice and hour glass. This particular hourglass takes 3 minutes to spill it’s sand.

 I used a silicone heart mold for the ice. You could add red water color paint if you’d like.

Here is the partial melted ice:

I used a sheet to create a time line, and used a glitter red crayon to draw the time line:

It took 50 minutes for the ice to melt. My toddler was getting a little restless. At 24 minutes I brought out an orca, because she wanted to put the dolphin in the ice. I let her know orcas prefer the colder weather, while the dolphins do not. She didnt care. We left them both in the small container. I also brought out a penguin book:

Affiliate link: Little Penguin (Look at Me Books)

It took 50 minutes for the ice to melt! We talked about past, present, and future with the time line. This will not make your toddler instantly remember minutes, and time, but it helps explain the concept. My toddler wanted to do this again the following day.

To teach about St. Valentine I created a felt puppet:

I chose this representation of St. Valentine because we have this book (affiliate link):

Affiliate link:Saint Valentine

I sewed the finger puppet, and cut the arms and beard:

I used my favorite glue:

Affiliate Link: Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive, 4-Ounce

I did sew the arms on because, while the glue is very strong, I wanted a sturdier hold for those arms, just in case they were going to move once I handed the puppet over to my toddler. I used a pen to draw the face on St. Valentine.

The puppet can be used when reading the book, or just when explaining the story. Here is the story I used:
“Once upon a time, in the past, there was a priest who went against an oppressive King. The subjects of the King who followed a certain faith were banned from marriage. They could not be friends forever. Priest Valentine would secretly marry these friends so that they could be together forever and continue to follow their beliefs.”
You could use animals, blocks, or Q and U for the “friends”.

I also made this song (happy birthday song):

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Because, he married couples in secret,

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

I hope these activities help you and your children celebrate Valentine’s day and helps your toddler become a fan of history.