Monday, September 28, 2015

Clouds and Weather

We are about done with our Weather Unit this week. Here are some of our fun activities we did....
A song we sang about Clouds to the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider". 
We made Cloud Flip Books. We wrote facts underneath each type of cloud picture. Then we added the cotton balls underneath the flaps and then wrote about each cloud type.
 Here are the cotton ball clouds and the definitions of each type.
 Cloud flip books...they turn out really neat.

This poem I typed up and we put one on the back of our Cloud Flap Books. I always do poems on the back of art for shared reading and we try to sing them to a familiar tune like ABC song, Jimmy Crack Corn or Row Row Row you Boat. 
. Check out the Scholastic News website for great info and pictures on Clouds. I order the Scholastic News every year. A lot of times I save the science ones to use with my units.
Poster I leave up on the board during our Cloud activities. 
We read this Cloud Choral Reading and these 2 books on Clouds and the Cloud Poem too! 
The Weekly Reader/Scholastic News have a product called Science Spin. I order that every year for an extra dollar or so  per student. I use them because I have no science textbooks. I also order a lot of science reading literature and always keep it at the SCIENCE CENTER. It is the most populated center every day. 

The Cloud Book By dePaola, Tomie

Cloudette By Lichtenheld, Tom 

I've accumulated quite an array of weather books over my 20  years of teaching. Here are a few.
Some of the Weather Books and Scholatic News on weather we read this week.....
Another thing I usually do is have the kids make a wind pinwheel as part of learning about tornadoes and hurricanes. It is just made with a square, and we curl up each triangle and pin it to the top of a pencil eraser. Then we go outside on a windy day and watch our creations twirl. This one had some cute stars and swirls on it.
The next day we did some Water Cycle Activities. We Read a Weekly Reader on the Water Cycle that had a cool diagram.
We made these Water Cycle Wheels too...I like the vocabulary listed ...we test on two of these words; evaporation and precipitation on our weekly vocab quiz. A Cloud and Weather Vocabulary word sort can be found HERE  free at TPT.

I loved this water cycle activity pack that I found FREE from TPT. Check it out HERE. It was easy for my kiddos. The water cycle wheel I got from another teacher I believe she got it from a book.

Pinwheels are a fun way to start the day learning about wind and all the types of windy weather and the damage it can do.

Some free weather stationery is HERE. And HERE is a printable of all types of weather in a cute blackline from Scholastic that you could use to make your own magnet matching game like mine below. You do have to subscribe to Scholastic and pay a small fee to get these though. I bought my game below from a teacher supply store.
This was a  WEATHER center game. I had added velcro to the back and they used the carpeted wall to match the word to the weather picture. I left all the weather books at the Science Center along with this game. 

I have an auto harp I play and the kids love singing songs to the music. HERE was a water cycle song we sang to the tune of "IT'S RAINING IT'S POURING".  I also have  about 2 dozen types of instruments and some drums and xylophones so we never lose interest in singing to science texts. Check out my store above to see some great deals on musical instruments. I especially love the blue boxed xylophone. It was only $20.00 and I bought 3 for my classroom. The kids love to get them out when we sing and 2 kids will pay them to keep the rhythm with bells. Here is a pack of freebies from TPT Check it out!
The Water Cycle poster I keep up while we are doing our water cycle wheels and singing our songs.

Here is another Water Cycle Song:
Tune: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Here we go round the water cycle, water cycle, water cycle.
Here we go round the water cycle, each and every day.
The ocean water evaporates, evaporates, evaporates,
The ocean water evaporates and makes tiny drops.
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, make a raincloud, make a raincloud,
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, and some feel really heavy!
The heavy drops precipitate, precipitate, precipitate,
The heavy drops precipitate, to make water accumulate. (puddles, lakes, rivers, and underground wells)
Then it's time to start again, start again, start again,
Then it's time to start again, the never ending Water Cycle!

We make a rotating water cycle wheel on a brad, coloring it and cutting it out. On the back we have a Water cycle poem or one of these songs I've typed up.
 We read lots of books on the results of Wicked Weather. And the Phillipines Typhoon came right along when we were discussing weather damage.
 This is a Tornado Tube. I put 2 empty 2 liter bottles together with one of them filled with water. The kids loved coming up and twirling it around till it made a tornado. You can get the Tornado Tube from Steve Spangler Science. I think it is about $3.00 plus shipping.

 We made a puzzle with the 3 types of violent weather types (lightening, tornadoes and hurricanes) and glued them down after discussing safety during each one.
I had the kids put together a page of  3 cool puzzles; tornadoes, hurricanes and lightening. This is what it looks like before .

The last thing we did was making a thermometer with paper.Check it out HERE. We talked about hot and cold, cool and freezing weather and what temperature each would be. Then I showed them lots of coats, sweaters, bathing suits etc. and asked what temperature each would be.

We made thermometers and learned what temperature spring, summer, winter and fall weather would be....

A few more worksheets are at Superteacher Worksheets.. Then we did some temperature worksheets like these Here at We had a great time learning about WEATHER!

A weather crossword I use in my weather unit is HERE at Some years I have them also do a WEATHER ACROSTIC POEM or we write a story after reading Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.
A cool reader's theater script I found on the story of the water cycle can be printed free HERE at Grandview Library. It is from Enchanted Learning. It's cute and would make the kids use their imagination. These are some cool Youtubes I found that the kids like. I have a hard time choosing between them but I usually show one or two during the 2 week unit.
Weather videos from Youtube great for learning Water Cycle. 
Water Cycle Youtube with some fun singing.
Another cute song....on CLOUDS! In the book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS there were lots of bad weather where food rained all over the city. If we have time we will use our short week next week to write funny stories about our favorite foods raining on our city in Sandy or Draper, Utah. That will be pretty interesting to read about!
Some Weekly Readers and Language Arts writing we did....
We used THIS STORY WEB to begin with problem, solution, setting and characters. A fun website that has lots of fun online graphics and activities is at Webweather's site.  
water vapor 
cirrus cloud
 stratus cloud
nimbus rain cloud
 cumulus cloud
 violent weather
Here were some of the WEATHER vocabulary words we studied for the week and added to our science pocket chart too. Weather is one of my favorite units to teach. The kids all love learning about it.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I know an Old Lady

In the upcoming weeks we will be learning about the 5 food groups, the food pyramid, healthy choices for exercise, food, and washing our hands so we don't get germs or sicknesses spreading around the classroom. Here are a few fun activities we did! 
First we read the story There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly....after which we made our own!
I put the story at the listening post with the felt lady and it is always super popular! Go figure. I used this store purchased felt lady to design our paper reproductions.
I drew this Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly freehand! Woot! The animals are below along with the rhyming text.

The kids had fun reading the story text along with dropping the corresponding animal down the lady's mouth.

I have a parent helper cut out the "tummy" and put a piece of  old overhead projector acetate behind it and tape it up. Then the kids colored them and we backed them with colored paper, leaving a little place from her hand down to her hemline open to retrieve the "animals". They colored animals that went along with the story. 
I also typed up the words to go along with all the animals in The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly....

These have been very engaging for the students. They really loved doing this activity to go along with our Healthy Lifestyles unit. 
 I am going to have the kids write their own "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a ______" innovations. I have typed up a story frame. We will work on it for a few days and I can't wait to see what creative things the kids come up with!
Everybody's Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly looked a little different. 

 Then we do a fun activity putting different foods in the "Old Lady Who Swallowed Stuff's" belly. I have each table of kids discuss what should go in the trash and what she should eat to make her healthier. We talk about things that we should eat sparingly like cookies, french fries and candy. 
We have read all of these innovations on the original "There Was an Old Lady" books. Some of them were really funny. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly

This Activity was really cute for a CENTER GAME. Use a MRS. BUTTERWORTH'S empty syrup bottle to "feed" the old lady words using beads and pipe cleaners.  I saw a cute picture of it on Pinterest. It's from
Some of my collection of "There Was an _______ Lady who Swallowed _______" books. 
Check out another book title THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED SOME CLOVER and activities to go with it HERE. She makes the old lady to "feed" by placing this picture in front of an empty tissue box.
 We could have been saving tissue boxes all year. This would be cute to do in March to go along with St. Patrick's Day! Another one I found is HERE at kidzclub. It is free and printable. Click here then go to black and white. Don't click on the picture. 

Another activity I had for a fast finisher is this wordsearch HERE from Buildingstrongchildren. The book text you can use to sing along is HERE at Just click on the old lady page links. Cute pictures too! A MATH roll and cover "Old Lady" is HERE at TPT.

Then we watch this Youtube on Healthy foods and we listen to a 5 a Day song tape from DOLE while we worked on coloring and cutting out our Little Old Ladies. HERE  are a bunch of printables for kids on Healthy Eating topics.
We read this reader's theater on Mr. Energy and how he keeps his body in good shape by eating right. We didn't have time to do the puppets. 
Here is a list of book to read kids to help them understand the good things we can eat to make us healthy and fit. Check them out HERE at
 We read this scholastic news, watched the Magic School Bus video to go along with it. Then we used my two classroom stethoscopes and listened to our own hearts beating after we came back from P.E. on Thursday. Some of the kids listened to their neighbor's hearts. They were amazed!
Stethoscopes for listening to our healthy hearts and pedometers to count our steps at recess. We talked about how important exercise is and how eating lots of fatty, fried foods can line your arteries with yucky goop called cholesterol that can block your blood's flow from your heart and cause heart attacks.  Everybody had a relative who had heart issues.  They were very interested in heart health! Amazing! 
 Well our Government is going from the food pyramid to the "food plate" thinking it will be easier for kids to understand. Maybe it is. Check it out above. A fun online interactive game we will play in computer lab is HERE.
We colored this "food Groups" worksheet and stapled it and the foolish old lady on the back of their Little Old Lady health projects so they could read them to brothers and sisters at home and replay and act out the story. 
This was a very funny poem about a lady who overeats on junk food that the kids LOVED! And we also read the riddles and they figured out what food groups were the answers. 
A fun center that the kids loved was my felt food pyramid with felt pieces to place in the right places. Then they each made their own pyramid for their desk as a fast finisher this week.
The Food Pyramid Flannel Board activity center......
Good nutrition Worksheet we did this week. 
We also used the vocabulary words Nutrition and Healthy this week as part of our 10 vocabulary words. Everybody got 100% on the test too! Woo Hoo!
These were really cute made up on the kids' desks....I think I got this from 5 a Day at Dole. Check out Dole's Website HERE. I've gotten lots of free activities from them because I asked. 
We will keep writing our innovations on the book The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and post them next week when we are all done! I can't wait to see the finished stories!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Planning Kids Parties

Planning Kids Parties has become one of my very favorite things to do.  I was just thinking the other day about how many kids parties I have planned and put on. It must be over 200! I had 4 kids and and 1 husband and they each had a Birthday Party every year till I cut the kids off at age 30. Plus I've taught young kids in school for 21 years. And we have about 5 parties a year. And I've been activities chairman in my church 3 times and president of the Stake Primary (children's organization). So in all the parties, I've learned a thing or two that might help somebody else in their planning. Here are a few of my ideas to keep it simple but fun.
Planning Kids Parties can be lots of fun if you keep it simple. Planning Kids Parties can be lots of fun if you keep it simple. Crafts using food are always a hit. HERE is a Frozen Party I did last year for my grandkids. It was a riot.

There is always the funny chaos that erupts when you have ten or more boys come over and do roudy  games. There is always a kid who cheats, always one who is uber competitive and starts to get mad when he is losing or not winning. There is always somebody who breaks something in your house. (word to the wise, have that party at a park or splash pad, or even Chuck E. Cheese or at a swimming pool if you can).

grandpa's party 005 Planning kids parties can be as simple as reserving a space at a city pool or splash pad and having cake and ice cream. Or you can get more creative!

I always made the mistake of stressing out over being sure my entire house was perfectly clean before the party began. I would work for days like a dog scubbing toilets, floors, making up the rooms so they all looked good, vacuuming every square inch of carpet and planning and baking a really darling cake to go with the themed invitations and party take-home bags. It was so exhausting, I don't know how I had energy to run all those games, pinatas and crafts!
school supplies 025 Look at how pretty pops of colors in linens and little striped straws add to the refreshment table. You can always do a solid color on the tables and add another color with your plates and cups.

And then when everybody's parents came to pick their kids up at the end of the party, the house looked like a bomb had exploded in it. I was always so embarrased thinking "what are they thinking of my messy house!" I was waaaaaay too worried about stuff like that. NEVER clean your house before the party. Clean it up AFTER the party. Because, guess what? It's going to be a total mess.
IMG_9899 Bubbles are a good sponge activity when kids first get to the party, or they are also a simple party favor to take home. And they can help decorate your party table too with the bright colors!

I had  24 little 5 year-old kinders in my class this year. And 19 of them were boys. I can tell you who makes my classroom messy for the most part. It is those 19 little boisterous boys who just destroyed the center games each and every day. I would have to go search to find a missing puzzle piece to a puzzle or pick up the plastic dollar store bugs and find the lost magnifying glasses at the science center daily! And the magnet center would have the letters and numbers mixed up no matter how many times I lecture to the kids to keep them in the separate bins.

Pirate Party Refreshment Table Notice the pirate banner, cardboard parrots, red striped napkins, pirate bandanas and linens and skeleton heads. Fun Party Refreshment Table. Check out more from this party HERE. 

Little kids make messes. And the littler the party guest, the more they forget their etiquette and training when they walk in your front door. All their manners get forgotten for the most part because if little Johnny next door is standing on his chair and throwing his jelly beans into little Suzy's glass of lemonade, they all start standing on chairs throwing jelly beans too.

This was such a fun activity for the kids; face painting using stencils and glittery glue made it SO EASY. You can buy the kits on Amazon.
Glitter Stencils kits are fun for Kids Parties. Glitter Stencils kits are fun for Kids Parties. You just stick on a stencil, dab on some glue and then use a paintbrush and dab on glitter. Then remove the stencil and you have a cool face painted glittery butterfly or flower.

Parents are always surprised by this follow the leader fun. But it happens in my classroom on a daily basis. I find myself saying that dumb analogy "If your friend jumped off of a cliff would you copy him doing that silly thing too? I don't know why I do that. They always look at me blankly.

Another favorite for a party is my stuffed potato skins. Everybody loves them. Even kids! Another favorite for a party is my stuffed potato skins. Everybody loves them. Even kids!

party-022 My two little granddaughters at my Halloween Party one year. We were all dressed up as ladybugs (and bees.)

I loved having everybody sing happy birthday to my kids. It was a moment where they had all the attention of everybody important to them in their lives. I think that it is a great tradition. I'd do it all over again because a birthday party makes you feel special. I still remember my 9th birthday party. I had 9 girls come over for cake, games and crafts. And I still have the little ceramic girl holding a 9 that one of my guests brought me for a present. Then my mom let 1 of my best friends sleep over that night after dinner. It was such a fun and memorable day.

Valentines-field-trip-eagles-017 Making bead bracelets is always easy. Get pony beads from the craft store and chenille stems (pipe cleaners). Kids lace the beads on the pipe cleaners, twist at the ends and cut them to fit their wrist. Easy Peasy! Get the colors of your theme. You can tell this is a Valentines theme party.I love making Valentines Sugar Cookies with my family AND my classroom kiddos. I love making Valentines Sugar Cookies with my family AND my classroom kiddos. Use this idea to decorate cookies on St. Patrick's Day, Super Bowl Sunday, or for any kid's birthday party. If you have candy to top it with, you will be a complete success with kids.

There are always those parents who drop their kid off at your party and don't return on time. They use you as a free babysitter and go get their hair done and return an hour late. I did that once when we were babysitting my daughter's girls for a week. I just needed some errands run without kids so I did use her friend for babysitting. I apologized later. And I know how it is. But it is still hard when you are the party hostess and you are so burned out and tired and there are still 2 little boys running around your house when the party was over an hour ago.

Red White and Blue Day. Have a great time with family! How fun would making snowcones or cotton candy be at a birthday or family party? Lots of fun and so easy too. Just rent the machines for around $75.00 for a few hours.

Anyway, here are my ideas to make a really fun party and not get too overwhelmed. I've taught kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades for 21 years so I've done a TON of kids parties.

We played Pin the Tail on the Bunny. It was so sweet to watch. And there was no peeking! Amazing! We played Pin the Tail on the Bunny. It was so sweet to watch. And there was no peeking! Amazing! We have also played Pin the Gold on the Leprechaun, Pin the Nose on Olaf, Pin the tail on the Goat, for a big kid turning 30 (my son thinks goats are really funny)  and Bunny for Easter themed party.

Get some cute invitations from the party store. Invite no more than 12 kids. There will always be a few who can't come and although 8 is a perfect number, (don't all the party supplies come in a group of 8?) but 3 is a dud. (we've had a few of those too). So call and remind people the day before and to see who is coming. You can always invite cousins or an auntie or somebody else too. We (the grandparents) always get invited to the grandkiddie parties. It is a lot of fun, and we can help with the little brothers and sisters still in diapers. I give out invitations with only 1 1/2 hours for each party. If it is 2 hours everybody starts to get cranky, including YOU!

june 2015 079.CR2 Lots of times you can find printable games online to use at your themed kid's party. This one was for my grandkids to play Tic Tac Toe on the 4th of July. This would be a perfect activity when people first arrive.

When Kids Arrive - Have a sponge activity when everybody gets there. Have a craft to do, or a physical game to play like duck duck goose, or just a swingset or a coloring page with colors or bouncy house.

Pin the Nose on Olaf game I made last year for a school and grandkid's Frozen Party.
Pin the Nose on Olaf game I made last year for a school and grandkid's Frozen Party.

 At one party my daughter had them all do a foam visor with their name on it as soon as they arrived. Then later she had another more involved craft. The visor just had stickers. Kids love making hats of any kind. That is always a great sponge activity that takes up time till everyone arrives. Magnetic Match game using Dollar Store magnets would be fun. Just use cookie sheets to play. A good before everybody gets there activity can be Magnets  using Dollar Store magnets and  cookie sheets to play.

Party Games - Have 2 activities. One can be a noisy one (pinata, pop the balloons, scavenger hunt, bean bag toss etc., and one a quiet one that takes longer (bingo game, craft, decorate a cookie, pin the tail on the theme animal, etc. Here are a list of my favorites.
  • 1. Pin the Tail on the Donkey (bunny, elf, pirate patch, nose on the snowman or Olaf)
  • 2. Bean Bag Toss into a cardboard theme character with holes.
  • 3. Decorate a cookie or cupcake.
  • 4. Make a necklace, hat or bracelet with beads or stickers or foam of some kind.
  • 5. Bingo game on a theme of some sort.
  • 6. Hot Potato  (use a stuffed pumpkin, or heart, or snowman, any soft stuffed animal can become the potato).
  • 7. Musical Chairs or Fruit Basket.
  • 8. Pinata or Treasure Hunt
  • 9. Bowling using a tennis ball and paper cups with pictures on them.
  • 10. Face Painting using stencils and glitter glue.
halloween get together 087 Filling clear cookie jars with candies and colored ornaments is always great to add to the refreshment tables and it is easy decor.
Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss my hubs made for us to play in my classroom Halloween party. Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss my hubs made for us out of plywood that we spray painted orange. We get to play with it every year at  my classroom Halloween party.

Gardner-Village-023 Kids love to make crafts. Try making some kind of insect out of paper and stickers at your next party. Then tape it onto a stick and watch the kids have fun with it. You won't be disappointed! Check these out HERE.Buccaneer Bingo Sight Words Game. This was a fun center. Buccaneer Bingo Sight Words Game. This was a fun center. Check out the Pirate Party for more ideas.
  • Foods - It's fun to then plan some simple foods for the kids to eat. Most kids like Pizza or hot dogs or mac and cheese if you are serving lunch or dinner. If adults are there you can add some chicken salad sandwiches on rolls. I have used these for family celebrations, wedding receptions even. Everybody loves a little chicken salad sandwich with almond slices and grapes.
  • veggies and dip Pretty white platters to put your fruits and veggies on work well. Try a few that are 2 tiered for a nice spread.
  • Add cookies or donuts, 2 kinds of chips, fresh fruits cut up or on skewers or veggies and dip. Then you can have the birthday cake at the very end of the party after the presents have been opened. Use linens or fabric to give a pop to your refreshment tables. This black and white fabric I've used for lots of parties. Polka dot is also a real popular generic linen choice.
  • wedding
  • I've used these cookie jars with inserted scrapbook paper to match my colors or theme for years. They look equally cute with Cat in the Hat papers or Pirate or Superhero themed papers filled with cookies or treats. Then add a sticker to the jar. Just be sure to also add a half sheet of waxed paper around the interior of the jar between the scrapbook paper and cookies so you don't get the oily marks on your scrapbook papers. Top with colorful ribbon to match your theme colors. These I did for my son's wedding reception a few years back. But I've done them also for other parties and baby showers.
    Little kids always love cupcakes at parties. You could do cupcakes instead of a cake.

       Halloween Party ghoulish cupcakes and skeleton brownies. Kids will eat em up! Check out how I made them HERE.Caramel Dipping Sauce Granny Smith and Honeycrisp Apples with Homemade Caramel Dipping Sauce - great for a party anytime! And so easy and healthy too!
  • I usually serve 2 liter bottles of pop with papers printed out to tape over them with a themed message. Then I have paper cups, plates in the party colors. I use banners, balloons, tissue paper puff balls, and party store cardboard cut outs all over the place for decor.
Cute little Palm Trees with beanie baby monkeys attached (also the take home gift). My granddaughter's mom made these Cute little Palm Trees with beanie baby monkeys attached (also the take home gift)Here are the cute little rainforest monkeys that the kids got to take home for a party favor. Here are the cute little rainforest monkeys that the kids got to take home for a party favor.
  • My daughter in law made these cute little palm trees with brown paper rolls for the trunk and green paper cut out leaves with little stuffed monkeys attached (the party favor) to them. They were really sweet decorations. The napkins are usually pretty and special and make the themed table looks really cute. I spend extra to get real cute napkins. Then my plates and cups are usually solid color to save a few bucks.

  • Bridal Shower Refreshment table for a summer party can be just bars and cakes and fresh fruits. Super easy! Notice the  orange and  hot pink linens and flowers make the decor look bright and fresh.

  • Goodie Bags - I always like to send home a goodie bag with some little candies and toys inside. I usually fill it with a balloon, some clay or bubbles, a whistle, lollypops, pixie stix and individual candies like taffy, Jolly Ranchers or chocolate kisses. Then I tie them with a ribbon. If it is for my class I usually add a pencil and an eraser of some sort. Sometimes I find theme toys to go with the holiday if it is a holiday type party.
Delicious fresh summer fruits on a skewer really can't be beat for any summer celebration too. They looks so much fancier on wooden skewers too, and kids can help make them! Delicious fresh summer fruits on a skewer really can't be beat for any summer celebration too. They looks so much fancier on wooden skewers too, and kids can help make them!


I have had to learn the hard way that kids will open and eat, or worse, spill the contents of the bag and then want another one. Somebody always loses theirs somewhere in your house if you give them out early, and then you run out because they come and take another one. Even in my classroom the goody bag goes in the backpack and they are not allowed to open it till they get home or in their parent's car.  It is nuts when you have a kid who not only opens his and eats up all the stuff but gets chocolate mess all over himself and everything he has touched, and then leaves a mess under his desk, on his desk and all the candy wrappers everywhere for you to clean up! Word to the wise. Pirate Party "Loot" bags were a hit.

Pirate Party "Loot" bags were a big  hit with my kindergarteners this year at our end of year Pirate Party.

Have a boatload of fun at your next kids party all you whipper snappers. Argh Mateys!

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