Category Archives: Activities

Halloween Candy Venn Diagram FREE Printable

Do you have a ridiculous amount of Halloween candy at your house? I sure do! While I’m not sneaking bits of chocolate goodness, I’m trying to think of creative ways to incorporate this candy into a lesson. Thus, I created the Halloween Candy Venn Diagram.¬†And now I’m sharing it with everyone as a FREEBIE!

 

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Basically, you grab two similar-yet-different candies and you compare and contrast the two. This teaches sorting skills, language skills, comparison, similarities, differences. This activity introduces new descriptive vocabulary, description, scientific investigation, and mathematical sorting skills to your elementary age student.

We compared and contrasted Milk Duds and Dots. It was a hit. Both come in boxes, both are chewy, one is chocolate, the other fruity. Lots of fun ways to compare and contrast. {Plus you get to eat it, so that’s cool too.} Buggy loved it so much, he asked if we could do another one as soon as we finished our first compare/contrast worksheet. I told him maybe tomorrow. Ha.

You could compare: M&M’s and Skittles. 3 Musketeers and Milky Ways. Nerds and Gum Drops. Have fun with it. Use what you have. ūüôā

Get your FREE Halloween Candy Venn Diagram right here {or just click on the image- I like to make things simple}.

Enjoy!

Kat

Image is copywritten exclusively by mommyponders.com. Copies may be made for personal use, but please do not distribute the PDF as your own work, use it for profit, for public use, or link directly to it on your site. You may link to this webpage to share the worksheet with others. Thanks! 

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MommyPonder’s Take on Halloween

We are a Christian family.

We love and worship Jesus.

We raise our children up in the ways of the Lord.

We celebrate Halloween.

We stream “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” for an entire month {or longer}.

We dress up and discuss our costumes for weeks. {This year it was a family effort as we all dressed as characters from the Wizard of Oz. And yes, it was fantastic. And awesome.}

We “do” Halloween.

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But, but, but….¬†

It has pagan roots!

It has evil origins!!

It celebrates things that are not of God!!!!

Gasp!!!!!

Take a collective breath with me…..

Now, hear me out.

Here’s my take on it…..

Our God owns this earth.  He owns this day, this October 31, {insert any year}, Anno Domini.

{Exodus 19:5} {Deuteronomy 10:14} {Psalm 24:1} {Psalm 50:12} {Psalm 89:11} {1 Corinthians 10:26}

Our God made this day. He made THIS day, today, and He said it was good.

{Genesis 1:5} {Psalm 118:24}

Our¬†God’s people will inherit this earth.

{Psalm 37:29}

I follow the God of love, mercy, goodness, kindness, compassion, justice, honor, joy, self-control, grace, and eternal salvation.

So, in short, aside from feeling for their fates and praying for their salvation, ¬†I don’t care WHAT pagans do on this day. I don’t care what they make of October 30th or November 1st for that matter. It doesn’t nudge, budge, or bother me.

Why?

Because my God is bigger than that.

I choose to celebrate this day as princesses, super heroes, Charlie Brown specials, lots of chocolate, and lots of giggles with my darling little ones and their sweet, precious friends.

I choose to take this day and make it a day of memories for my children. Memories of time spent with family and friends. Time spent laughing, staying up a little late, eating candy, playing games, and playing pretend.

THAT is Halloween to me and my family.

Let the pagans do what the pagans are going to do and what the pagans have done since Moses wrote Exodus. My God is bigger than that. 

In short: It. Doesn’t. Matter.

AREN’T YOUR KIDS CONFUSED??¬†

Nope. They aren’t. Simply because Halloween has only ever been a fun day of dressing up as your favorite storybook or cartoon character to them. It’s a day of cupcakes, candy, fun, friends, and silliness. A day where memories are made and bedtimes are late. To my sweet children, Halloween is not a night of discussing the blood sacrifices, seances, Ooijua boards, and lost souls.

You want to know my kids’ big “scare” of the day? This prank Buggy played on Daddy when he came home for lunch:

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Here’s the deal:

I think we as Christians should reclaim these days {even Halloween} for the Lord!! Reclaim them for innocent fun, joy, family memories, sweet times, cherished moments, opportunities for fun, and a celebration of imagination. Forget the “history.” God is bigger than whatever man has created! Cover it with joy, silliness, and a game of dress up, and you have something wonderful. We¬†have the opportunity here for fellowship, discipleship, enjoyment, enrichment, generosity, and fun.

Don’t refuse fun or enjoyment simply because “they” have ruined it or claimed it. What right do “they” have to claim anything anyway? Everything of this world belongs to our God. Trust in that.

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Psalm 24:1

-Kat {mommyponders}

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Kindergarten Space Unit: Day 1

We began Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and things are rolling along nicely. For the first week, I focused mostly on just letters, numbers, Bible studies, and getting back into the routine of things. This week, however, I asked Buggy what he wanted to study and he immediately shouted, “SPACE!” So we’re studying about space.

Day 1

What We Read: 


I took the moon for a walk book 

   I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis, illustrated by Alison Jay .

We both loved this book and read it several times. This lyrical rhyming book is perfect for little ones and the illustrations {which I tend to obsess over} are ¬†whimsical and fun.¬†Buggy asked to read it over and over, and I was happy to oblige. An excerpt from the book:¬† “I took the moon for a walk last night, it followed behind like a still Summer kite, though there wasn’t a tail or a string in sight, when I took the moon for a walk.” ¬†Beautiful imagery.

The moon over star book

 The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.

I grabbed this book at our library because the illustrations are beautiful. I have to admit, I choose books from the library based on the illustrations and then decide whether to read them or not to my kids later. I always read them before I share with my kids, and this one was not a disappointment. This is the story of a young girl who experiences the excitement of the 1969 original moon landing while watching her grandfather struggle with the changes happening in his country. She aspires to be an astronaut herself and hopes one day that an African American girl as an astronaut is not such a rare or unusual thing. The pictures and the story in this book are beautiful. It’s also quite an informative book, because it offers the details of the story of the moon landing in a narrative, first-hand-observational setting. My 5 year old enjoyed it and had a lot of questions after reading this, but it may not capture the interest of younger kids.

What We Made:

Moon

You take 1/2 cup of Elmer’s glue {or the cheaper off-brand like I did} and 1 1/2 cups of shaving cream {the kind you find for $1 at the dollar store, if you’re me} and mix them in a bowl. I used a plastic bowl that could be parted with just in case this craft experiment was a huge fail. Draw a decent moon-sized circle on a sheet of craft paper or a paper bag {what we used} and let your kiddo go to town with the gloopy stuff. Buggy LOVED it! He enjoyed squishing it and smearing it. He kept saying, “It smells like shaving cream, but it doesn’t feel like shaving cream!” When they’re done, let it dry. Then cut out your circle and admire your moon!

I found this craft on Pinterest, from No Time for Flashcards. I love her blog. I’ve found SO many neat ideas for activities and crafts on there, and this one was definitely a winner.

How We Played: 

I think sensory play is SO important at this age. I also have a two year old that I’m trying to keep entertained while I’m educating my five year old, so I look for activities that will capture both of their attentions.

Two words: Moon. Sand.

We bought ours pre-made from a children’s museum, but you can find recipes for it Here, Here, and Here. These recipes call for flour, but I prefer the moon sand that actually uses play sand so it gives it a sandy yet mold-able texture, and you can find such a recipe Here.

I let my boys explore this fun concoction with their hands first, then I brought in cookie cutters, Lego blocks, and army men to allow them to experiment and play. Buggy loved pretending that Batman was landing on the moon for the first time and had fun cutting out shapes in the sand with various cookie cutters. Little Bear (2) just enjoyed feeling the sand between his fingers and repeatedly said, “Mama look!” while he showed me his fistfuls of sand.

What we Watched:

I am a HUGE supporter of Reading Rainbow. Remember that show? I loved that show. Still do. When we were driving to Tennessee this summer to visit family, we took about four Reading Rainbow DVDs with us to keep our kiddos entertained on the trip. I was worried it wouldn’t capture the attention of my two year old, but it did! My five and four year old were entranced as well. All three were in love with LeVar Burton and the magical way books come to life on this special show.

Since I knew my kids were entertained by this series, I checked out a Reading Rainbow episode on DVD from my library. Good news: Even if your library doesn’t carry Reading Rainbow DVDs, you can find them online! Yay for internet!¬†

We watched Reading Rainbow, “Space Case” {1986} and my kiddos loved it! Lucky for you, I’ve pinned it on my Pinterest page, so you can find it HERE.¬†

Stay tuned in for the rest of our out-of-this-world space week, and don’t forget to check in on my Space Unit page on Pinterest for more great ideas on a space unit for¬†little¬†ones!¬†

Blessings,

Kat

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Filed under Activities, Books We Love, Creative Ideas and Crafts, Kitchen Table Classroom, Learning at Home

The Year of {Positive} Challenges

Okay, I’m not a kitschy kind of girl. I loved “Julie and Julia” as much as the next food-wolfer-downer but I’m not one to take on the burden of doing something every single day and coming on here to tell my readers about it. Plus, my blog isn’t that kind of blog.

But it’s 12:01 am as I write this, one minute into my 28th birthday, and I decided that I wanted to do something a little different. And it’s my blog, so why not? I’m not gonna cook everything out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, so please don’t log off. I just got this wild hare that maybe I could try to take on new challenges that won’t cause me more stress or put another thing on my plate, but rather enhance my life and make my family’s life a little more peaceful and bring us closer together. Challenges that make me a better mom. Challenges that help me connect to my husband more. Challenges that might make my house a little tidier. That sort of thing.

I can’t commit to a year, because that’s ridiculous and honestly it gives me panic sweats and heart palpitations just thinking about taking on something every single day for a full year. But I can start with 30 days.

So, in honor of my birthday, I want to commit to something I already love and do every single day anyway {is that cheating?}… Reading. I read constantly. I have six different books on my bedside stand/Kindle right now, and I’ll go back and forth between all of them until I’m done, and then I simply pick up a new one. Reading is the greatest thing in the whole world, and one thing I’m not so great at is reading to my kids. I’m actually ashamed to admit that.

I intend to read to Buggy every day, but I sometimes don’t. I forget, or we get busy, or I’m too tired, or he can’t decide on a story that he wants to hear, so I don’t read to him. I grew up being read to by my Aunt Annie, who taught me to love Roald Dahl and recite every word to Tikki Tikki Tembo and I desperately want to instill that same love and literary adoration in my own son, but I don’t do a great job of it sometimes. I think he loves and appreciates books, but I want to read to him daily.

So for my first 30 day challenge for myself, in the year of bettering my life, I want to read to Buggy every single day. Typing that “every single day” part made my fingers shaky and a tiny bead of sweat pop out on my forehead. Get back in there sweat bead, cuz we’re doing this!

That beautiful children’s book collection of ours is going to be loved on this month. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday month than snuggling up with my littles and enjoying the books I loved so much when I was little.

Do you enjoy challenging yourself to try new things? What might you challenge yourself to this month? Wanna join me in reading to your kiddos everyday this month? Tell me about it!

‚̧ Kat

 

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Filed under Activities, Parenting, Personal Posts, Stay at Home Moms

Simplify Your Life: The Anti-Pinterest Christmas

This post is a confession about my Christmas-based mommy guilt and the actions I’m taking to fix it. I came to the realization that less is more after reading this incredible article from VitaFamiliae. So put down that glue gun and turn off The Grinch and relax a little, moms. It’s okay…

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Oh, the Boards!

Yesterday as I was searching through my Pinterest boards looking for a crock pot lasagna recipe I wanted to try, I scrolled past the board full of Christmas crafts for kids. I also have a board titled “Ornaments to Make,” because I’m a sucker for those sketchy ornaments made of pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks that fall apart over the years.

Oh, and there’s my board of Christmas crafts for mommy {different from the one for children}. This board consists of Hobby Lobby-esque decor for me to DIY all by myself. And there’s the Christmas quilt board. I have a cabinet full of unused Christmas fabric that is screaming for a sewing project. I love Christmas, I love making memories for my kids, I love crafts, I’m addicted to Pinterest…You get the idea. I have a problem.

My Problem

My problem really isn’t the amount of Christmas themed Pinterest boards I have. Okay, maybe I am addicted to Pinterest. But really my problem is the guilt these pins bring me.

You see, I have found myself stuck in a vicious cycle of envy that happens by looking at other mom’s blogs. I see their cute blogs and their perfectly clean and smiling children engaged in imagination-sparking and memory-making activities, and I instantly feel gripped with fear that my kids won’t have the same special memories with me. So I pin the idea. It’s a cute idea. I get visions of sugar plumbs dancing in my head when I picture my three cherubic children seated ’round the dining room table building a fortress out of gingerbread and icing. They smile and giggle and politely pass the gum drops…

Crashing back to earth, Buggy’s usually screaming and bossing at the other two. Miss Priss is whining because she can’t reach the roof, and her obsessive nature insists she MUST work on the roof and nothing else will do. And the baby is screaming and crying, covered head to toe in icing. It’s bad, ya’ll.

But the pins I pin don’t tell the real story of how it will work with my three. The pins just make me feel warm and fuzzy and happy and Christmasy.

Through the Years…

Our family has changed quite a bit over the past three years. Three years ago, I could dive head-first into all of those adorable crafts. But then, three years ago, I didn’t have a Pinterest account to make me feel guilty and horrible for skipping out on something. Last year I had a 3 year old and a newborn. I also had loads of guilt and bad feelings associated with the oh-so-perfect crafts I should have been doing.

I was exhausted, drained, delirious from lack of sleep and stress associated with having our first foster placement, and I beat myself up every single day thinking my son was never ever going to be whole unless he made those stupid handprint ornaments I pinned. Oh, and the coffee filter angels. And the felt Santa hats! And we had to get tickets to see the Polar Express! The list went on and on, and my blood pressure went up and up.

This year, I have three children under the age of 5. Starting on Saturday, we’ll be doing respite for another foster family for several days while they go out of town, so I’ll add a 6 month old to my crew for a little while. And yet, despite this obvious insanity that is my life and passion, yesterday when I ran across those Christmas boards, I felt a tingle of guilt in my stomach.

I want Christmas and the whole season to be perfect for my kids, and Pinterest has convinced me that the only way for it to be perfect is by doing more with them. As much as I can. Activity after activity. Craft after craft. Scripture-based Advents. Nativities made of clothes pins. Christmas movie marathons.

And I realized last night that none of that stuff really matters. My son really doesn’t enjoy crafts that much. He would much rather sit in my lap and read a Christmas book with me. The two little ones have never had a real Christmas, so even the simplest thing is exciting to them. No need for all the extra flash and fun. Picking out her very own stocking from the craft store the other day was enough to send Miss Priss into an excited/overwhelmed fit of happiness. It was enough to make me forget the fact that hers wasn’t handmade.

Stop Pressuring Yourself.

It really is okay to NOT do all of the adorable things you’ve pinned. Pour over them during nap time if you want, but remember my gingerbread house reality? That’s probably yours too. It ain’t pretty. Or fun. And it’s not good fodder for precious memories as a family.

But you know what is good memory fodder? Snuggling in your jammies with a book on the couch. Looking at your Christmas tree together and telling the stories behind each ornament. Looking through family photos of Christmas’s past. Writing letters to Santa. Reading from the book of Luke. Teaching your kids all of your favorite Christmas carols while you fix {a simple} lunch. THAT is worth remembering when they’re old and we’re long gone.

I’ve decided to put away the Pinterest boards for Christmas this year. There won’t be any crafts done. No ornaments made this year. Buggy loves the Elf on the Shelf tradition, so I’m doing that. It’s not something that stresses me out or makes me fret.

Most of all, I’m taking the pressure off myself to make everything look and feel perfect. The picture I shared is from Buggy’s first Christmas. We were so poor. We lived in a one bedroom apartment. His gifts were all either made or used. The wrapping paper didn’t match. In fact, I ran out of wrapping paper and just used newspaper for the rest of the gifts. We didn’t have very many ornaments on our tree, so we used some of the baby’s toys and tied strings around them and hung them from the tree. And that Christmas was absolutely precious to me. It was simple and wonderful.

Each year, I’ve put more and more pressure on myself to match or top that year, and I needed a serious wake up call. The simplicity is what made it so wonderful. So this year, we’re going back to simple. Back before I had Pinterest to stare at and blogs to enviously pour over. I’m not going to feel the pressure and guilt that I felt last year. I’m gonna relax.

I’ll tell ya right now, if you come to my house, don’t expect my gifts to be perfectly matching in parchment paper adorned with beautiful yarn ribbons like the pictures you see pinned on my board. I’m gonna buy that ugly snowman wrapping paper Buggy and Miss Priss went nuts over when they saw it at the Dollar Store the other day. And I’m doing it because it makes them smile, not because it’s picture-perfect or Pinnable.

Taking the pressure off myself this year makes me feel relieved and excited. Now I can focus on what really matters and who really matters. Not pins. Not trying to impress anyone with my craftiness. Just making my kids smile. That’s all I really wanted to do anyway. I just now realized it’s much easier than I thought.

Do you ever struggle with guilt from blogs or Pinterest pictures? Have you put pressure on yourself this Christmas to make it perfect? What steps are you going to take this year to simplify the holidays?

Kat

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Filed under Christmas, Holiday Tips, Holidays, Simplify Your Life

Thankful Tree

The Thankful Tree

The Thankful Tree

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 145:7

I just LOVE this Bible verse. And I LOVE Thanksgiving. I’m not gonna lie, part of what I love about Thanksgiving is the delicious carbs I scarf down. But I also love seeing my family, cooking for them, serving them, laughing and spending time with them. And I love taking the opportunity to think about the things that I’m most thankful for. This time of year also provides an opportunity to teach my son how to be thankful and what kind of things we should be thankful for {rather than taking things like health and food for granted}.

This verse IS Thanksgiving. The Lord deserves all of our thanks, and His great love endures forever. Praise God!

I found this activity on Pinterest from someone {sorry, don’t remember who otherwise I’d give due credit} and I just had to do this last year with Buggy. We do it a bit differently from the people who add leaves to their tree.

I paint a tree like the one above on a long sheet of butcher paper and tape it up in a prominent place in our home.

I then trace out Buggy’s hand every day and cut it out on a leaf-colored sheet of construction paper.

Buggy tells me one thing he’s thankful for, just one or two words, and I write it on the palm of his hand. I put a date on it and tape it to the tree. His sweet hands are the leaves! By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, our tree and our hearts are full and I get adorable gems like this from last year:

“I’m thankful for…”

  • Rocketships
  • Mommy and daddy
  • Lightning McQueen
  • Snow
  • M&M’s
  • Larry and Bob

-3 year old Buggy, 2012 ūüôā

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Filed under Activities, Creative Ideas and Crafts, Holidays, Learning at Home, Thanksgiving

Kitchen Table Classroom: The Rainbow Fish Lesson

I’ve already mentioned that we’re working on an ocean unit right now, and a great book to go along with ocean studies is The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

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Filed under Activities, Books We Love, Creative Ideas and Crafts, Kitchen Table Classroom, Learning at Home