Christmas Unit Week 4: Winter

This post may contain affiliate links.

I can't tell who's more excited about the activities on the shelves this week, the kiddos or I.  It's definitely a winner unit!  Lol.  This week we're focusing on the winter season.  As part of the unit, we're learning about the Antarctica.  Antarctica is my favorite continent to study.  If I had all the money in the world, I would love to go and spend time there.  I LOVE the cold. I LOVE winter.  I LOVE snow.  Next week we start our Extreme Weather Unit with blizzards, ice storms, and avalanches.  My plan is to continue our Antarctica study too.

Here's what's on our shelves!

English:
Salt Tray with Letter Cards
It was not my intent to have these back on our work shelves, but I have come to accept, this activity is crucial for Adam in retaining his writing abilities from day to day and week to week.  If he writes his letters in the salt tray first, and then writes them on paper, they are 150% better than if he hadn't used the salt tray.  I'm guessing this has a lot to do with his lack of motor planning skills.  To make the activity just a tiny bit different, I switched out our glittery fall/Christmas salt for pure white salt to look like snow.  The only thing I lack is more white glitter.  (The kiddos definitely noticed and requested white glitter.)

Source: Once again, the letters came from Homeschool Creations.  I'm starting to wonder if I might be Jolanthe's biggest promoter of these cards. Lol.

Spelling Words in the "Snow"
To practice spelling words this week, I decided to pull out the shaving cream.  I've never used it before with the kiddos.  I'm not a fan of the smell, especially when it's everywhere.  However, I wanted to see how they handled the smell, as a sensory experiment.  I told my husband to pick up the cheapest bottle he could find.  The smell isn't that bad.

In the past I've used whipped topping, so it was edible.  The only problem with the whipped topping is that is starts to dissolve after a while.  Still, it's a favorite.

This activity was a HUGE hit. I was unable to take pictures of the kiddos using the whipped topping, because well.... They were covered in it, and therefore I was too.

Source: I created the winter spelling list. For your free copy, click HERE.

Phonograms AW, AU, & OUGH
Our last language activity on the shelves is another set of phonograms.  Dinomite does so well with these.  I'm just waiting for him to be able to apply them to his spelling!  Please forgive a lack of picture.  The one I took didn't turn out, and I'm being lazy tonight.

Source: I created this activity. For your free copy, click HERE.

Math:
Snowflake Addition
I couldn't resists a snowflake addition activity.  Looking back at what the kiddos were doing last year, I'm truly amazed at how far they've come.  (Last year they were just counting snowflakes to 10.)  The kiddos will use snowflakes as counters and the glass beads as markers for each card.  Dinomite is finally starting to memorize some of his facts.  Bulldozer is finally starting to understand addition and have the concentration to complete a problem with few prompts.  Hooray!

Source: The cards for this activity are part of my Snow Printable Pack.  For your free copy, click on the link at the end of this post.

Snowball Subtraction
It has been a long time since a subtraction activity has been on our shelves. So long that Dinomite even said he wasn't sure if he remembered how to do it.  Thankfully he surprised himself and did fantastic, as did Princess and Bulldozer.  Bulldozer's awesomeness was a complete and very pleasant surprise. He seems to enjoy subtraction more than addition.  And since there are snowballs involved...  He said this was his favorite activity on the shelves this week.  WOW!

Source: The cards for this activity are part of my Snow Printable Printable.  For your free copy, click on the link at the end of this post.

Telling Time with Winter Activities
The kiddos' least favorite activities (except for Bulldozer's new found love of subtraction), are addition, subtraction, telling time, and money.  I figured this week, if I only put those four activities on our math shelves, they would be forced to practice.  So far it's working.

And the pictures on the cards... Little did I know how much pictures liven up an activity. All three kiddos went nuts over the different winter activities and ended up playing a little game with their schedule using the clocks. It was super cute.

Source: The cards for this activity are part of my Snow Printable Pack.  For your free copy, click on the link at the end of this post.

Paying for Winter Necessities
If we're going to participate in winter activities, then we need the proper attire and supplies!  Mind you none of these prices mean a thing, and are definitely inaccurate.  The kiddos will match up coin cards with money amount cards.  Dinomite seemed to struggle the most with this activity today, than any other activity on the shelves.

Source: The cards for this activity are part of my Snow Printable Pack.  For your free copy, click on the link at the end of this post.


What's the Temperature?
Time to introduce temperature!  Dinomite seemed to understand how to read the thermometers quite well.  Princess struggled with the 5s, but did great with the 10s.  Bulldozer didn't really seem to understand at all. We'll see if he chooses the activity again.  I will say, he did understand the difference between warm and cold.  That's a start.

Source: I found these free cards at Making Learning Fun.  They recommend using clothespins to choose your answer.  I didn't have a chance to laminate our cards, so I just used counters instead.

Culture/Geography:
Transportation in Antarctica
Bulldozer has an A-Z book of transportation vehicles that he reads regularly (almost every night).  A few of the vehicles in the book are used in Antarctica.  They are pretty cool.  His book was my inspiration for this activity. Dinomite and Bulldozer were both VERY excited to see this on the shelves this week.  It's been a definite conversation topic.
Source: I created the cards for this activity with images I found on the internet, however I'm unable to share the printable due to copyright laws.  If you'd like a list of the vehicles and information about where I found images, please feel free to contact me at renaemarienae@gmail.com.

Antarctica Invitation to Play
 The kiddos really love play dough invitations to play.  Bulldozer alone can spend hours at the table with them.  Originally I had wanted to make an Antarctica sensory bin.  In the end this just seemed easier and more inviting.  Dinomite chose this activity quite quickly and went to work.  At the mention of water, I brought out the blue play dough I had made last month.  I loved his creation.  It included the water (blue), land (white), a shoreline, icebergs, glaciers, towers, etc.  He did great.  Bulldozer was not far behind him.

Science:
Animals of Antarctica
Dinomite went NUTS when he saw this activity. He was so excited.  My husband said he learned more about Antarctica looking through these cards for the first time, than he had ever known before.  I was quite pleased.  There are almost 50 cards in the collection.  I've tried to specify the different types of seals, penguins, and whales for further study midst all the other animals.  I only included the types of animals we've learned about this year.  To make sure the cards were accurate I compared three different reliable sources for the information.
Initially I had thought about the kiddos sorting cards by specific group, but instead, I wanted to give them a chance just to learn and explore, so I told them if they selected this activity off of the shelf, they could just look through the cards and/or sort them anyway they wanted.  This definitely led to some squeals of delight.

Source:  I created these cards. For your free copy, click HERE. Enjoy!

Sorting Types of Precipitation
I saw all of these really cute activities and crafts regarding types of precipitation, but for my kiddos, it's all in the visuals.  The kiddos will sort the picture cards by type of precipitation.
Source: I created these cards.  For you free copy, click HERE.

Conifer Tree Match Up
I had planned to do this earlier in the month, but never found the right place to fit it in.  Going along with our theme of winter, Christmas, etc., I thought it would be fun and beneficial to learn the different types of conifer trees.  The kiddos will match up the pictures in the container with the pictures on the card.  Dinomite did a great job today with this, as he was able to read 99% of the names all by himself.  Bulldozer really liked examining the branches of each tree.

Source: I created this activity. For your free copy, click HERE.

Water Cycle Model
The kiddos aren't really into displays of cycles etc., so I tried to find a way to explain the water cycle to them in the most hands on way possible.  The first container full of dry contain balls represented evaporation, in that the cotton balls were dry.  When a cotton ball was placed into the second container (filled with water), it represented condensation.  The cotton ball was now a cloud.  Using the tongs, the cotton ball would be removed from the second container, and squeezed over the third container.  This represented precipitation.  From here the cycle would start all over again.  I loved adding the tongs to this activity, making it not only a science activity, but a practical life activity as well.

Ice Experiments
It's only natural to include an ice experiment when talking about winter, at least where we live.  This activity is very flexible depending on what you have on hand.  The kiddos are given two containers.  They choose two different ways to create an environment for their ice cubes.  Our first environments today were cold water, and air. Our second set of environments was hot water and cold water.  I'm hoping tomorrow, we'll be able to have an option of snow as an environment. If not, I have some extra ice cubes in the freezer we can use to create an ice environment.

No matter what two environments you have, the experiment goes the same.  You place an ice cube in each environment and determine which environment melts the ice cube the fastest.  I make sure to have the kiddos share their guesses before we put the ice cubes in each container.  So far this activity has been really fun.  They're learning so much.

Visual Arts:  The kiddos continue to draw in their journals daily.  I have a feeling we will be having an art appreciation week coming soon, to enhance their studies.

Music:  We continue to sing at the beginning of learning time.  All three kiddos also participate in a singing class at our church on Sundays.

Physical Education:  We continue to exercise as a family. This week I decided to try out some of our local library's kids fitness videos.  Today was super fun.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Building a Snowman
This was one of Sunshine's gifts for Christmas, I couldn't resist adding it to our shelves.

Dressing for Winter
This was also one of Sunshine's gifts for Christmas.  The kiddos love it and this week we will practice dressing dolls for winter.

Don't Break the Ice
This game is such a great fine motor activity for little hands, from holding the hammer correctly, to "gently" knocking out cubes, to putting the cubes back together to play again.  Everyone had fun with it today.

Putting on a Coat
Dinomite and Princess are great at getting their coats on but can't zip them. Bulldozer is still unable to get his coat on.  A little practice is in order.  It's the perfect week to add the activity to the shelves.

That's it for this week.  As I mentioned before, next week we'll be studying snow storms, avalanches, and ice storms as part of our Extreme Weather Unit.

For your free copy of my Snow Printable Pack click the link below. Enjoy!


I hope everyone has a very safe and happy New Year!
Read More »

Christmas Week 3: Little Drummer Boy w/ Free Printables

This post may contain affiliate links.

We have thoroughly enjoyed listening to Christmas music throughout the season this year.  I'm super proud of Dinomite, as he's starting to show interest in Christmas songs outside of "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," Santa Claus is Comin' to Town", and "Jingle Bells."  When Dinomite starts a trend, others follow.  As a lover of music and professional musician, I jumped on the chance to introduce him to as many different styles and sounds of Christmas as I could.  He's fallen in love with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  We've listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, The Piano Guys, and orchestras.  Not only have we listened to all of these different types of music, but we've watched them on videos as well.  All three kiddos have thoroughly enjoyed all of the different types of music and sounds they make.

The last type of vocal performance I introduced them to was a capella, using the group Pentatonix.  Their first introduction to Pentatonix was their music video:  Little Drummer Boy.

I had no idea how much my kiddos would LOVE this video and type of music.  Bulldozer has asked to watch this music video at least three times a day, everyday.  The kiddos have chosen parts, and acted out the song together in the living room.  Dinomite is trying to make different percussion sounds with his mouth.  Princess idolizes the female vocalist.  Bulldozer is singing along, which is rare, because he struggles so much following voices.

Needless to say, this piece of music has been in my home and head nonstop and so The Little Drummer Boy Unit was born.  Enjoy!

Language:
Little Drummer Boy Nomenclature Cards
 The kiddos will match up word and picture cards with individual word and picture cards.
 Source: I created these cards as part of a free printable pack available at the end of this post.

Little Drummer Boy Mix Up
 The kiddos will match up scrambled words to their spelling words of the week.
I was super impressed with the kiddos when I introduced this activity. I honestly had no idea how it would go.   Bulldozer did AMAZING and surprised me by completing the activity faster than anyone else.

Source: I created these cards as part of a free printable pack available at the end of this post.

Little Drummer Boy Consonant Blends
 The kiddos will match up words with their consonant blend beginnings and/or endings.  This is a nice review for Dinomite and a great introduction for Princess. Bulldozer didn't really understand it.
 Source: I created these cards as part of a free printable pack available at the end of this post.

Little Drummer Boy Rhyming Words
 The kiddos will group words that rhyme, using words from the song, "Little Drummer Boy."  I've included a control card so they can check their work.  Princess is all about rhyming right now.
 Source: I created these cards as part of a free printable pack available at the end of this post.

Math:
"Hay" Number Creations
The kiddos will create numbers 0-9, shown on the cards, using gold pipe cleaners or pieces of "hay" as we're calling them this week.  I love the fine motor aspect of this activity.  Dinomite and Princess really liked doing this for the first time.  Bulldozer really struggled.

Source:  The number cards shown in this activity can be find at Homeschool Creations.

Little Drummer Boy Addition
 I'm super excited about this activity.  The kiddos will add up note values, using drum counters if needed, and marking the answers with glass beads.  Six of the cards are simple, using only quarter notes.  A second set of six cards is provided that include half notes and whole notes.  A control card has been added to the activity, giving note values, in case they are needed.  Bulldozer is quite a fan of the drums, so I'm hoping he'll enjoy the activity. He surprised me last week selecting the addition activity off our shelves several times.  It appears he's finally able to add using counters.  Hooray!
  Source: I created these cards as part of a free printable pack available at the end of this post.

Camel Tanogram
A set of tanograms was given to me a while back.  The set included a camel, which I thought would work for this week's activities.  It's always fun to have something different on the shelves.

Science:
Baby Growth Sequence
The kiddos will sequence the cards to show the growth of a baby in the womb.  We've talked a lot about Mary being Jesus' Mommy, how she was pregnant with Him, and how she gave birth to Him.  I found this activity quite fitting.

Source:  My apologies.  I neglected to write down the source, when I discovered these cards, and have been unable to find them since.  If anyone does know the source of these wonderful cards, pleas feel free to share.
Camel Body Parts
The kiddos will match up body parts to explanations of their uses, while identifying parts on the picture.  I printed a second copy of the body parts and explanations as a control.

Source:  I created this printable, separate from my Free Little Drummer Boy Printable Pack.  For your free copy, click HERE.
A New Star
This is an activity from our Astronomy Unit.  The kiddos will sequence the life cycle of a star, identifying each stage in the cycle.  Bulldozer really likes this activity.

Source:  I found this idea at Counting Coconuts. I was not able to download her document, so I created my own, exactly like what I saw. I admit, her's looks better.  For your free printable, go check out Counting Coconuts.

Geography/Culture:
The Travels & Events of Jesus
I wanted to somehow emphasize just how far Joseph and Mary traveled during the course of her pregnancy and also during the beginning phases of Jesus' life.  The only thing I have not included in this activity is their flight to Egypt.  The kiddos will match up the cards with the two locations on the map. Once they are comfortable with that, they will sequence the events on the cards.

Source:  The map used in this activity can be found at www.lds.org.  All information written on the cards can be found below the map.  The images used for the cards can be found at www.lds.org in the Gospel Art Media Library.

Visual Arts:
How to Draw a Star
This is an activity from our Memorial Day Unit.  The kiddos will practice drawing a star.

Source: These cards were created by using diagrams I found on wikihow.

Music:
Making Music with Percussion Instruments
 The kiddos will have fun playing different percussion instruments.

Physical Education:
We continue to exercise as a family.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Swaddling Baby Jesus
Last week the kiddos did really well with folding napkins, so I wanted to continue our folding ventures this week, with something a little bigger.  There's nothing more fun than the practice of swaddling baby Jesus right?

A Star Design
 The kiddos will match up shapes to create the design on the card.  When they're finished they're free to come up with their own designs and patterns by removing the card.  Princess really LOVES this activity.

No Room at the Inns
 None of the kiddos have worked on buckling at home yet, so I decided to pull this out for the first time this week. It works perfect as they practice going from door to door opening and closing it as Joseph and Mary would have done in Bethlehem that special night looking for a place to stay.

Nativity Arrangement
(Picture does not show Mary.)
No Little Drummer Boy Unit would be complete without some type of Nativity activity.  This is our set.  We've had it since Dinomite was a baby.  All of the kiddo still love to play with it.

That's our week!  We'll be back with another unit after Christmas.  For those who would like a free copy of my Little Drummer Boy Printable Pack, click below. Enjoy!


Merry Christmas from us to you!

Read More »

Christmas Unit Week 2: A Christmas Carol

We are into week two of our Christmas unit.  The kiddos and I LOVING it.  I purposely planned weekly unit studies that were not about Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, etc this year.  Christmas carries many PTSD triggers for Princess.  The less we focus on the traditional kiddos stuff, the better she does.  As she becomes  more comfortable with our family traditions, and how they are different than what she experienced previous to our home at Christmas time, (Most and the worst abuse occured during the Christmas season and winter.) we slowly introduce more.  After mourning the loss of the magical Christmas holidays I remember as a child, that I so desperately wanted to share with my own children, (They only result in extreme behaviors, screaming fits that last for hours, and the destruction of one or more items and/or rooms.) I've started to embrace the changes we've made in traditions and home decor.  After all, how many parents can say their children, ages 4, 5, & 6 LOVE The Nutcracker?  Such is the same with A Christmas Carol.  I couldn't be more proud, for I love both stories.
This post may contain affiliate links.

Planning this unit has been quite a challenge.  Usually I can find at least a few free printables or ideas from other blogs or Pinterest, but not this week.  This theme is not as popular as I would have thought, especially for kiddos ages 4, 5, & 6.  I have spent many sleepless nights trying to think of ideas for activities to fill our shelves.  Even now I'm not 100% satisfied with the result, but the kiddos like the activities, and I ran out of time.  Knowing we'll be covering the same topic next year  brings me comfort.  I have plenty of time to come up with a more well rounded unit study.  I had no idea A Christmas Carol would inspire so many math activity ideas.

We started out our week, watching Mickey's Christmas Carol.  We have the DVD, so it wasn't entirely new to them, but it was a great introduction and very kid friendly.  During the week, we'll be reading the actual book.  At the end of the week, we'll compare the two.  On Saturday, we'll be heading to a nearby town where they have a Dicken's Christmas.  All of the characters from A Christmas Carol are dressed in costume mingling with folks on the streets.  There are musicians playing on street corners.  Free horse drawn wagon rides are available.  It's quite a magical experience, all free.  The kiddos have never gone, so it should be quite a treat after learning about the story all week.  (I'm hoping to get some pictures.)

Until then, here's what's on our shelves:

Language:
Salt Tray Letters
 It was not my intention to have this activity back on our shelves again so soon, but Bulldozer loves it and is thriving with it.  It's amazing to me how writing a letter, using his finger, in a salt tray, makes such a difference in preparation to writing his letters, using a pencil in his journal every day.  Until Bulldozer gains more confidence and ability in his writing skills, I'm guessing this activity or something like it will remain on our shelves each week.

Source: The free letter cards can be found at Homeschool Creations.

A Christmas Carol Spelling List
 Originally, I had wanted to use letter stamps for this week's spelling list, to teach and explain to the kiddos, how books were printed in the past, but I don't have letter stamps and didn't want to spend the money on them this month, with the holidays and all.  Hopefully by next Christmas I'll have some.

Instead we're using Scrabble pieces.  There are two sets of words.  The easy set is shown in the picture above.

Source: I created this activity.  For your free copy, click on the link to the printable pack located at the bottom of this post.

Past, Present, & Future Time
 My kiddos have an extremely hard time thinking and speaking in terms of things that happened in the past, present and future.  Bulldozer has significant struggles with anything that isn't in the moment.  I wanted to have an activity that would help them learn the difference between the past, present, and future, using terms they tend to mix up on a regular basis.  The activity was harder to create than I thought. I almost gave up and just used verbs.  Thankfully, when I presented what I had finally come up with to the kiddos today, they LOVED it.  It turned out perfect.
 When I presented the activity today, I had the kiddos place the different slips under the different categories, in no particular order.  The control is for them, when they do the activity on their own.

Source: I created this activity. For your free copy, click on the link to the printable pack located at the bottom of this post.

Intro to Cursive
Dinomite has been begging me to teach him cursive letters.  This week I put out an introductory activity, just to see what he thought of it.  I couldn't get a picture to turn out, as the activity was a laminated, shiny place mat.  As an introduction to the activity I decided to show the kiddos what their names look like in cursive.  WOW!  It has been a long time since I've written anything in cursive!  I think I may have to do some practicing before I teach the kiddos anymore.  I'm a print or keyboard type of girl.

Mathematics:
Number Writing Practice
 I couldn't resist number writing practice when it comes to Ebenezer Scrooge and his clerkship.  This isn't a new activity, but it's great review.

Source: The printable for this activity are free at Homeschool Creations.

A Christmas Carol Sequencing Activity
 Bulldozer is starting to become quite proficient at sequencing four to five events.  I was really impressed with how well he did today.  Hooray for progress!
 I just love these cards.  The kiddos sequence the four visitors Scrooge had through the night.

Source:  I created this activity. For your free copy, click on the link to the printable pack located at the bottom of this post.

Scrooge's Clock
 As I watched A Christmas Carol in preparation for this unit, I noticed so many references to time and clocks. I couldn't resist a time activity.
 The kiddos will match up the time cards.  There is also an option for them to write the times found on each card, when they're a little more comfortable with telling time.

Source:  I created this activity. For your free copy, click on the link to the printable pack located at the bottom of this post.

Scrooge's Coin Addition
 The kiddos were so excited about this activity, not necessarily for addition purposes, but for the coins.  However, Dinomite and Princess did a fabulous job with their addition too.  Bulldozer couldn't get past the coins.
 Source:  I created this activity. For your free copy, click on the link to the printable pack located at the bottom of this post.

Scrooge's Deposits
 It's been a while since we've worked with money.  This week was a great opportunity to review.  The kiddos will match up coin cards with amount cards.  I've provided counting control cards, in case the kiddos forget how to count their coins.

Source:  I created this activity. For your free copy, click on the link to the printable pack located at the bottom of this post.

Culture:
Christmas Past, Present & Future
 Besides the printable pack, I've got to say, this is my most favorite activity on our shelves.  I printed out a few pictures of the kids from years past at Christmas time, along with a few pictures from this holiday season.  (We've already had two Christmas celebrations.)  The kiddos will separate the pictures into categories of Christmas Past and Present.  It doesn't seem that difficult, but Dinomite was the only one who understood at first.  Once they've separated the pictures, they draw a picture of a Christmas future.  It was super cute today.  Princess drew a picture of her at Disney World for Christmas with Mulan.  Dinomite drew a picture of him waking up super early in the morning to see what he got for Christmas.

Science:
I couldn't think of any Scrooge related science activities.  To ensure we have science related activities this week, I've pulled some older ones we've done in months past as part of our morning work.  Dinomite is quite pleased, as some of them are animal activities.

Visual Arts:
The kiddos continue to draw in their journals each day.  They are also drawing their pictures of Christmas Future this week.

Music:
Jolly Old St. Nicholas

The kiddos continue to practice their Christmas piano piece.  Dinomite and Princess are doing fabulous with it. Bulldozer has the first line memorized.

Physical Education:
We continue to exercise as a family. It's been a lot of fun!

Practical Life/Sensorial:
 Jacob Marley's Locks
 The kiddos are enjoying these locks again this week!  They're always a huge hit.

Jacob Marley's Chains
Dinomite recognized what this activity was about right away.  He was so excited and connected every link, just so he could walk around like Jacob Marley.

Shoveling Coal
 It would have been super cute to have a mini stove or even a black box to use as a stove, but I didn't have one. Instead I just used our little black rocks and two bowls.  Still the kiddo were super excited about it.

Decorating the Christmas Tree
 This is a classic Christmas activity, that Princess is okay with.  Each of the kiddos had fun with it today.

Napkin Folding
 We were supposed to do this last month, but with everyone sick, we didn't get to it.  I must confess I'm a big entertainer at heart.  This napkin folding book was given to me by a very special friend while in college.  He knew of my love and passion for table settings.  To this day, I think it's one of the most favorite gifts I've ever received.  There are so many fun designs.  Dinomite had a blast today testing it out.

Christmas Stamping
 I purchased a bunch of Christmas stamps on clearance after Christmas last year.  Dinomite and Princess were super excited about them today.

A Christmas Carol Play Dough Invitation to Play
Bulldozer loved this activity and played with it for quite some time. His first request was for me to help him build a fireplace for the coal. He then used the pipe cleaners to make a fire.  I was so impressed with his creativity.  There's just something about play dough he's always loved!

Thank you so much to all of my readers for your wonderful comments and support! I hope you have a fabulous holiday season!  We will be back next week with a new theme.  It's a surprise!  (Only because I'm unsure about what it is myself. Lol.)

For those who would like a free copy of my printable pack, click below.  Enjoy!

Read More »

Get Access to Exclusive Special Needs Parenting Printables by Subscribing Below




HERE'S WHAT'S POPULAR ON EVERY STAR IS DIFFERENT