Blog Archive

Transportation Themed Activities and Learn & Play Link Up

We are all about transportation right now!  Besides preparing for the kiddos' first flight to Disney World, we're also preparing for all of the many other types of transportation we'll be using while in the parks.  Who knew there were so many?  If you're looking for some fun transportation and vehicle learn and play activity ideas, look no further!

The Glorious Flight from The Pinay Homeschooler

T is for Train Tot Trays from Golden Reflections Blog

DIY Cardboard Community Buildings from Mama's Happy Hive

This week we're learning all about airplanes!

Welcome to the Learn & Play Link Up!
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Sensory Play
Tot and Preschool Trays
Fine and Gross Motor Activities
Kids in the Kitchen
Healthy Recipes for Kids
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Natural Living
Free Educational Printables
Family-Oriented Activities
Healthy Living

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Sunshine and Reactive Attachment Disorder

This post contains affiliate links.

I don't know which phrase repeats itself in my mind more.

"There's still something else going on with Sunshine.  Yes, she has autism.  She most definitely has RAD.  But there's something else.  We're not finished yet."


"If the medication helps a lot, then we'll know she has a mood disorder as well.  If the medication only helps a little, we'll know the behaviors are from RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)."


"Once the medication starts helping, you've got this.  You've done this before.  You know what to do.  She's just a combination of your three other kiddos and then some."

Sunshine's last appointment with her developmental pediatrician was just over a month ago.  It was an appointment I dreaded more than any other I'd ever gone to for my children.  Sunshine was not doing well.  Her negative behaviors kept escalating.  And then there were the nights...  It just never seemed to end.  The parenting choices I was having to make in response to her behaviors were maddening.  I would plead in prayer for help, guidance, and alternatives, but none came.  Situations I was dealing with brought new meaning to the concept of being the parent my child needed, versus the type of parent I wanted to be.  The tears seemed to come every day.  No matter what I did, things just kept getting worse.  Furthermore, both my husband and I recognized a pattern.  We knew where this was headed, and I was not up for it.

Sunshine has Autism Spectrum Disorder, RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), a developmental delay, and a Sleep Disorder.  She is being watched closely due to mood disorder like behaviors and symptoms.  Over the past 6 months it has been confirmed that she experienced drug exposure while in the womb.  These diagnoses do not include her medical diagnosis of Mild Cranial Facial Microsomia.  Do I like these labels?  Absolutely not!  Then why have them?  Sunshine needs help, and the ONLY way to get it is through the labels.  (So sad, but true.)

Many are familiar with Autism Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, developmental delays and sleep disorders.  Their treatment protocols are well known.  But, not many are familiar with Reactive Attachment Disorder, so I thought I'd share a little bit about it.  This way when I mention the word "behaviors," you'll know what I mean.  It is important to understand that those with RAD can appear bi-polar, schizophrenic, oppositional defiant, hyperactive, autistic, etc.  Those most prone to RAD are children in the foster care system and orphanages in your home country or abroad.  RAD can also occur in homes where the main caregiver suffers from Postpartum Depression or other medical issues, unable to care for baby or young child.  Lastly, RAD can occur in situations where the baby and/or child experiences significant medical trauma.

Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder display a variety of behaviors.  Some include pathological lying, chronic stealing, hoarding, refusing to eat, gorging to the point of vomiting, manipulating, destructiveness, vandalism, self injurious behaviors, cruelty to animals and children, fire setting, sexual behaviors, sexual activity with other children, bestiality, angry rages, physical aggression, violence, verbal attacks and abuse, passive aggression, and absence of guilt.  Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder are great at putting on a show for others (it's called artificial charm), but then as time passes and you get closer to them, their negative behaviors increase at rapid speeds.  Another aspect of RAD is the child's need for control.  Whether it be creating complete chaos or being the center of attention, the child can easily manipulate any situation.  Lastly, RAD children are experts at provoking others to anger.  Subconsciously they want to recreate that same negative cycle they had with their "abuser," because that's what they know.  That's how they feel safe.  The most important thing to remember is that these behaviors were developed due to the child's need to survive whatever circumstance they may have been put in, during the earliest days, months, and years of their lives.  It is not the child's fault.

When an infant or child must act that way for an extended period of time the brain becomes permanently programmed do these things.  It can not accept love.  That is too dangerous.  The child cannot attach to others.  The brain no longer allows this.  As one tries to get close to the them, RAD children will push others away in whatever ways they deem necessary.  Thus parenting a child with RAD is one of the most difficult things one could ever attempt to do.  (I still remember the day my developmental pediatrician told me this.)  Not only will you not have a reciprocal relationship, but the child will actively destroy any form of relationship you try to create.

One might think that Reactive Attachment Disorder isn't real, supposing that, if you love someone enough, they will learn to accept it.  Oh, how I wish this were true.  However, it is not.  Once the area of the brain that controls emotional attachment has completed it's development (when a child is developmentally five years old), the damage cannot be undone.

I read a story once about building self esteem.  It compared the child with a lack of self esteem to an empty bucket.  The parents, caregivers, and/or others that loved this child were asked to fill the bucket with pennies that represented loving acts of kindness and praise.  One would think that as each person added more pennies to the bucket that the child's self esteem would grow.  But... what if the bucket had a hole in it, or no bottom at all.  Such is the case with  children with RAD.  One must repair the bucket before adding pennies to make any difference at all.  In other words, children must work through the trauma they experienced, before they can learn coping mechanisms to help them with their day to day life experiences and circumstances.  Trauma can not be worked through until a stable and safe environment is provided for an extended period of time.  None of this repair can take away the permanent brain damage already done, but it can help the RAD child learn to cope in situations they may not otherwise be able to handle.

 Parents or caregivers of a RAD child can easily feel as if they're going crazy, thinking they're doing something wrong, when in actuality, it's the child.  They may have the urge to reject the child all together.  At times they may be embarrassed or ashamed by their negative thoughts about the child.  If there is not an understanding of the child's subconscious desire to provoke others to anger, a caregiver can easily be provoked to hurt the RAD child, completely losing control.  Some parents of RAD children develop Depression, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorders.  (I've been very fortunate in these ways.  I think it helps having a Mental Health Therapist in the home and a great team of doctors, specialists and extended family members over the years. You cannot do this alone!)  And then there is the never-ending and extremely difficult job of parenting a RAD child.  On one hand, a parent or caregiver of a RAD child must be unbelievably strict, consistent to a T, and vigilant.  The best way to describe it is to say to parent like a drill sergeant.  This may appear over the top to others, but what others don't know is how extreme behaviors can become in an instant, if minor behaviors are not addressed in a firm manner.  Remember, we as the parent of RAD children are not only trying to protect our children and ourselves, but all others around them.  This includes you.  If you give a RAD child a inch, they take a mile.  On the other hand a parent or caregiver of a RAD child must be extremely compassionate and loving to accept and understand the child's fears, triggers, anxieties, and deep seeded emotions, that may or may not get better or worse over time.  And then there must be an understanding of the child's prime target(s).  Some RAD children target males, others target females.  Over time the RAD child may target their primary caregiver, no matter who that may be.  Our girls have different targets.  One targets females, primarily me, as her mother.  The other targets males, primarily my husband, as the father.  If you are in a target role, you can expect the worst behaviors aimed at you.  If you are not in the target role, you may not think there is anything wrong with the child.  Instead you may feel your partner is going crazy.

If you haven't already guessed, parenting a RAD child can be very difficult on a marriage.  I admit in our case, when it came to my husband and I recognizing me as the target, he was very compassionate and understanding.  In fact, he was the one who noticed it first.  He may not have been 100% supportive in every situation, when it came to my need for strict discipline and consequences, but he knew I wasn't the one going crazy, even when I thought I was.  When he was the target, I didn't see it for a VERY long time.  I did think he was going crazy.  Our relationship suffered.  It wasn't until after our daughter was diagnosed, that I was able to be supportive and understanding of my husband's parenting choices.  Now that we've adjusted to two children with RAD, both with different targets, as strange as it may sound, our marriage has improved immensely.  We are able to sympathize with each other on a new level and support each other with back up whenever necessary.  In situations where there were only tears with the first, there is laughter the second time around.  (In order to survive RAD, you must have a sense of humor!)

A child with RAD feels that the world is a frightening, chaotic, and hostile place.  Most RAD children feel unable to trust.  They are anxious, and afraid ALL of the time.  They feel stuck and worst of all, unlovable.  Children with RAD can not and do not accept praise.  If you praise your RAD child, most often significant negative behaviors will follow.

Our girls' trauma occurred in infancy, during the first six months of life.  They were very fortunate to leave that life so early, but sadly, they didn't leave early enough to prevent the permanent neurological damage.

Lark Eshelman is an expert in the field of adoption and childhood trauma.  She describes the world of a baby that has no secure attachment in her book, Becoming a Family.

"A baby in this situation can not figure out why he is being neglected or abused or why things are changing so drastically.  The baby has no means of deciding if someone's action is a threat to him or not, so to be safe, he perceives everything instinctively, as a threat.  The child has limited ways to negotiate his own safety, except for behaviors that get immediate attention or provide for relief from frustration.  Physically, the baby does not have a wide range of behaviors; he can lash out, cover his head, or pretend he is not there if the fear or pain is too intense.  If this happens enough, or if it goes on for long enough, the reaction becomes a pattern; a pattern of neurologically based mistrust.  Even when we know he is safe, almost anything from the environment can trigger emotional "cues" that make him feel threatened." (Eshelman p. 41-42)

New people, new places, unexpected company, public gatherings, changes in teachers, and so many other things can trigger RAD children.  When they feel fear, they make bad choices.  Negative behaviors escalate.  It is up to the parent or caregiver to recognize the trigger and remove the child from the situation immediately.  A wise adoptive mother once told me to keep the world of my adopted daughters very small, because they can't handle more.

So how do you help a child with RAD?  Unlike mood disorders that can most often be helped through medication, there is no medication to help RAD.  One can try to treat anxiety or agitation, but it still won't take away the behaviors.  For RAD children who won't or don't sleep, a medication can be prescribed, but it may or may not help.  The first step to helping a child with RAD, is to provide a stable routine, and consistent environment, with as few changes in caregivers as possible.  Any change can trigger behaviors.  Next, begin the journey of working through trauma.  In most cases a licensed mental health professional with A LOT of experience in RAD will be needed in this process.  (Please note play therapy does not work with most RAD children.  An inexperienced therapist can cause more harm than good.)  The journey is never ending and will vary significantly depending on the ages, cognitive, and adaptive abilities of your RAD children.  We have been very fortunate with Princess that her cognitive ability is so high.  Her developmental pediatrician has been amazed at how she has been able to work through trauma thus far.  We do not expect the same quick results with Sunshine as she has developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorder and a possible mood disorder.  The road will be longer and most likely more difficult.  Third, have your child's sensory and adaptive abilities evaluated.  Most children with RAD can present similar to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder due to their inability to form relationships, lack of adaptability, and sensory issues.  If therapies are recommended, attempt them.  They may or may not be effective based on your child's behaviors, anxieties, etc.  Lastly, endure to the end.  Love, when it is hardest.  Accept what is and what is not.  An amazing therapist once told me I would be considered a successful parent of a RAD child if my RAD child could form ONE successful, reciprocal relationship in their life time, that was not abusive, manipulative, and/or influenced by addictions.  In the case where I am the target, the successful relationship will not be with me.  Knowing this information has helped the relationship between my RAD daughters and myself become healthier and safer for all of us.

When Princess was first diagnosed with RAD, my husband resigned from his position as a therapist at a mental health clinic and returned home.  Princess was 2 at the time.  Knowing we had until she was about 5 years old to make any difference, when her brain was concerned, we wanted to do ALL we could to help her.  While he was home for 2 1/2 years, we were both full time foster parents to over 20 children.  During this period in our lives, we also transitioned from sending our boys to a private special needs preschool to schooling them at home.  Princess joined them shortly after the transition.  It was quickly discovered that all three kiddos responded positively to Montessori-inspired activities.  The Montessori method provided hands-on manipulatives for the boys.  Princess was able to choose her own work trays from the shelves, providing her with the control she desperately wanted.  Controls for each activity prevented battles between her and I, as she could check her own work for accuracy.  Lastly, she could move at her own pace.  This was a huge benefit with her cognitive abilities.  She quickly caught up with Dinomite, (who is 2 1/2 years older) in almost every subject area.  Both my husband and I feel confident that the changes we made when we learned about Princess' diagnosis have significantly impacted who she is today, and will continue to influence her.  As things became more stable with Princess, we turned our attention to Sunshine.

As Sunshine's negative behaviors have increased, it has become extremely difficult for me to manage all four special needs children, on my own, at home, on a daily basis, especially as we try to help all four kiddos progress academically.  In public settings, it has been difficult for my husband and I to handle Sunshine's behaviors.  Others have attempted to help, and the situations become worse.  More people are affected.  In regards to mood disorder type patterns, there have been some nights and mornings when behaviors are so severe, I've been unable to get any sleep and/or get breakfast for the other three kiddos.  Thankfully, (thanks to Montessori) Dinomite, Bulldozer, and Princess are becoming self sufficient and can help themselves if needed.  Sunshine has just been put on a medication that will hopefully help those manic-like behaviors, but it won't take away behaviors associated with RAD.  The safety and well being of ALL of our children is our first priority.  If we know temporary sacrifices will significantly improve the quality of life for one or more of our children, we will make the sacrifices, especially when RAD is concerned.

So...  After a month of planning, preparing, and communicating with others, and with a loving Father in Heaven, Jason has decided to return home once again to help Sunshine (and me), as he did with Princess.  We discussed our plans in great lengths with Sunshine's developmental pediatrician, wanting to make sure that it would in fact improve things and make a difference, especially as Jason is trying to manage his own disabilities.  Financially, we are fine.  Any income Jason brings into the home is extra at this point, and unnecessary.  The plan is a temporary one.  Sunshine will most likely reach that five year old developmental status in about 3 years.  Once she is at that point, we can reevaluate and adjust accordingly.  In the meantime, both Jason and I will be working full time on the blog and on our first book, which we hope to finish by the end of the year.

This was definitely not an easy decision to make.  Jason thoroughly enjoyed his job and did very well at his place of employment.  We have grown accustomed to the extra income and would be lying if we didn't admit it will be hard to part with.  (Thankfully our trip to Disney World is completely paid for already!)  At first we were hoping it would be possible for Jason to switch to an earlier schedule, but in the end, this did not work out.  We are aware that Sunshine's behaviors will become much worse once Jason stays at home full time.  This will not be a pleasant experience for any of us.  But, over time it is expected that behaviors will improve slightly, and if not, at least there will be two of us to handle situations, rather than just one.  Jason's last day at work is May 8, 2015.  The transition of having him at home will most likely take about 3 months as all of us adjust.

Once the initial transition is made, there are definite perks to Daddy being home.  The kiddos can once again participate in a variety of extra curricular activities.  If I'm needed as a one-to-one for Bulldozer at activities (which is usually the case), I'm available.  Jason is looking forward to learning time, baseball games, trips, and vacations he's missed since working again.  The kiddos can't wait to have him home.  I'm excited to start the HUGE list of home repair projects around the house.  Just today he fixed our dryer vent.  Hooray!

Obviously this isn't a choice everyone can make.  We consider ourselves extremely blessed to be in a position to even consider it.  There are definitely doubts and fears about the journey, but as I pray, I am filled with peace and comfort, knowing we will be taken care of, and that there are bigger and better things waiting for Jason, myself, and our family, if we only make this sacrifice for our daughter.

We appreciate your prayers and support for our family as we embark on this new phase of life with Sunshine.  I am 100% certain it will be worth it in the end.  She is most definitely worth it!
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FREE Air Travel Activities & Printables

I can be hard to find air travel activities and printables, especially those that are free.

Here I've gathered ten of our favorite resources from others, as well as some printables from the blog, so you can access everything you need to help your children learn and enjoy flying!

Whether you're looking for printables for learning or for fun and play, this post has them all!

Why are we focusing on air travel right now?

Our family is going to Disney World in 172 days.  None of my special needs kiddos have flown before, unless you count a flight Dinomite was on when 4 months old.  

Preparing any kiddo to fly is a BIG job, but preparing special needs kiddos is an even BIGGER job.

Right now I'm focusing on just getting the kids excited about air travel and planes in general. Here are some resources I'm super excited to use!

Air Travel Activities and Printables for Kids

FREE Air Travel Activities and Printables

  1. Exploring Things Up in the Sky from Natural Beach Living

This clip cards are absolutely adorable and so great for kids who are learning to count and interested in vehicles that travel in the air. Even more fun can be had when you add adorable counters to mark answers on each of the cards.

2. Free Airplane Nomenclature Cards from The Pinay Homeschooler

I absolutely love nomenclature cards of any kind. These amazing nomenclature cards about airplanes are probably my favorite, out of all we've used. To be able to break down vehicles takes learning to a whole new level, especially for my vehicle loving boys.

3. Hot Air Balloon Unit Study from Homeschool Share

Air travel isn't just about airplanes, there are other ways to travel in the sky, including a hot air balloon! This resource is such a fun idea and includes everything you need to put together an amazing unit study about hot air balloons. 

4. Learn to Draw a Space Shuttle from Activity Village

For kids who love to draw, this space shuttle drawing printable is fantastic. I love how each step is broken down and easy to follow, especially for budding drawers who are still building confidence in their abilities.

5. Toddler Time Things That Fly from Royal Baloo

These resources are absolutely adorable, especially for kids who are learning letters and love vehicles. 

Printable Packs include:
  • A is for Airplane
  • B is for Balloon
  • H is for Helicopter
  • Z is for Zeppelin

I love that there are so many air travel vehicle options!

6. A is for Airplane Week 2-Alphabet for All Ages from Simply Vicki

Matching games can be so much fun at home or while on the go. I love that this one is airplane themed and that it focuses on colors. It's really quite beautiful.

7. Printable Airport Pretend Play Set from Learn Create Love

Even though our world is becoming more and more digital, this airport pretend play set is still fantastic. Kids will have so much fun role playing all of the people they will meet at the airport and on their flight while practicing manners and so much more!

8. Airplane Coloring Pages from Itsy Bitsy Fun

If you have a child who loves to color, she will love these airplane coloring pages. There are so many to choose from. What I really like about these pages is that they're not too hard with lots of lines, and they're not too easy. There's something for everyone.

9. Airplane Party Printables from PezJunky

Whether you're planning an air travel party or are looking for more resources for pretend play and role play scenarios, these printables are great! I can think of so many fun ideas on how to use them!

10. How to Make a Paper Airplane from 5 Minutes for Mom

A unit study about airplanes isn't complete without the opportunity to make paper airplanes! This resource is fabulous for kids and provides several different options. I love that it's Disney themed as well.

For more travel activity ideas and printables, be sure to subscribe to our free newsletter by clicking the link below.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Airplane Unit Airport Preparation Unit 8 Tips for Attending a Hot Air Balloon Festival Flying with Special Needs Air Travel to Walt Disney World with Special Needs

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3 Dimensional Shapes Activities & Printables

Learning about geometric solids can be so much fun when using these amazing 3 dimensional shapes activities and printables.  There's something for everyone here including a FREE geometric solids sorting printable designed to be used with the Montessori geometric solids.

3 Dimensional Shapes Activities & Printables

Check out these amazing activities!

3 Dimensional Shapes Activities & Printables

Recycle & Create:  Upcycled Polystyrene Shapes & Colour Boats from Danya Banya

This is such an adorable way to introduce 3 dimensional shapes to little ones with some added sensory fun. I love that each boat is a different shape to compare and contrast.

Rainbow Geometry Painting from Left Bran Craft Brain

I love that this activity incorporates learning about 3 dimensional shapes and art all at the same time. It provides such great opportunities to study each shape as paint is used in a variety of ways.

Montessori Math Trays from Racheous-Lovable Learning

This 3 dimensional shape activity is definitely for all those little builders out there.  There's something about creating that feels so good and satisfying. I also love that this activity comes with so many fabulous steps and controls. 

Inexpensive and DIY Geometric Solids and Extensions from Living Montessori Now

If you are looking for a basic introduction of how the geometric solids are used in a Montessori classroom, this is the post for you!  It provides links to so many different resources including the shapes themselves to printables that go along with them.

FREE Geometric Solids Nomenclature Cards from The Helpful Garden

I always love it when I find an incredible Montessori resource available for free. It means I don't have to create it myself, which saves me so much time. If you're looking for a printable resource to match the Montessori geometric solids, this it!

Mama Always said "Never play with your food" from The Best Life... Kindergarten Life

There are so many creative ways to teach about 3 dimensional shapes. For children who love working with food, this idea is fabulous! It provides an entirely different sensory experience and is definitely memorable if you're able to eat what you've sorted. 

Beading Attributes: Pattern, Color, Shape, Size, and... Straws! from The Map is Not the Territory

I honestly never would have thought of an activity like this to teach about 3 dimensional shapes, but I absolutely love it! For those who love stringing beads and creating works of art, it's a fabulous choice. What I love most about it is the way in which children learn about creating equal sized parts.

Introduction to Geometric Solids

Introduction to Geometric Solids from Antarctica Unit

In our home, I love to apply learning concepts like 3 dimensional shapes to every day life. For this reason I created a basket full of items collected from around our house that match up with a few of the geometric solids

One of the main reasons for putting together a round up of 3 dimensional shape activities was to find a FREE geometric solids sorting printable.  

I searched for hours and could not find one anywhere.  

This left me no choice but to make the printable myself.  (This was exactly what I was hoping to avoid.)  So, for all of you looking for this, ENJOY!  It is my gift to you.

FREE Geometric Solids Sorting Activity

The Geometric Solids Sorting Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie.  For your free copy, follow the directions below.

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.

Montessori Geometric Cabinet: Triangles Printable Pack Bird Unit 3 Snowman Activities for Preschoolers Spanish Activities: Numbers, Colors & Shapes The World Around Me: My Country Montessori-inspired Halloween Jack-o-lantern Printable Pack
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Montessori-inspired Fruit Unit w/ Free Printables

Learning time, both last week and this week have been dedicated to the study of botany.  

I LOVE that Montessori focuses on this area of science.  We've studied flowersvegetables, and finally we're introducing a Montessori-inspired Fruit Unit with Free Printables.

The kiddos are loving every minute they spend working on activities.  Bulldozer came downstairs tonight to tell me that his LEGO Star Wars guys have taken a break from battles to plant a garden.  

My heart melted.

Princess continues to ask questions, usually about how fruits and vegetables grow.  

When I showed her our newest Fruit Plant Match Up she jumped in delight.

Dinomite, who doesn't touch foods he doesn't care for (which includes all fruits and vegetables), actually decided to try the watermelon balling activity today, and touched the melon with his fingers! 

Montessori-inspired Fruit Unit with Free Printables

Our fruit activities are simple, but there are so many variations and sensory experiences to each activity.  Here's what we're doing!

Montessori-inspired Fruit Unit with Free Printables

Fruit and Plant Match Up

Free Fruit and Plant Match Up Printable

The kiddos will match up fruit plants to their corresponding fruits.  

This can be done as a game or just a simple match up.  

I'm also hoping that questions will lead to a discussion about fruits that grow on trees versus vines, etc. 

A great sorting activity could be easily accomplished using these cards.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Fruit Unit Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

Life Cycle of a Peach/Nectarine

Life Cycle of a Peach/Nectarine (Free Printable)

We've studied the life cycle of a pumpkin and an apple.  I decided it was time to introduce another type of plant.  Welcome to the life cycle of a peach/nectarine!  The photos are stunning and are numbered as a control for the kiddos.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Fruit Unit Printable Pack 1.  This is a subscriber's only freebie.  See directions at the bottom of this post on how to access your free copy.

If you'd like an updated copy of the life cycle of a peach, be sure to check out the resource below.

FREE Montessori-inspired Life Cycle of a Peach

The FREE Montessori-inspired Life Cycle of a Peach Printable Pack includes multiple ways to learn and sequence the life cycle of a peach.

The printable pack meets the needs of all children.

Searching for Seeds

Searching for fruit seeds activity

Every day during our unit, the kiddos are given the opportunity to select our fruit tray, used for discovery and exploration.  

The kiddos will examine the fruit using a magnifying glass and various tools, finding seeds, etc. 

At the same time the kiddos will be given the opportunity to touch, smell, and taste various fruits.

Squeezing Citrus Juice

Squeezing Citrus Juice Activity

All fruits have juice in them.  Studying fruit provides the perfect time to practice squeezing citrus fruits.  You never know, a seed may fall out as juice falls.

Watermelon Balling

Watermelon Balling Activity for Kids

I was a little disappointed to learn that the grocery store isn't carrying watermelon with seeds.  Oh well. The activity still works well.  

The kiddos will practice melon balling using the tool provided.  It's much trickier than it looks.

Cutting a Banana

Cutting banana practice for kids

A fruit unit wouldn't be complete without some sort of cutting activity using our child size cutting board and knife.  The fruit in the activity will change throughout the week.

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.


For more fabulous botany activities and ideas, take a look at posts included in the 12 Months of Montessori Learning.

12 Months of Montessori Learning

Amazing blogs involved in the 12 Months of Montessori Learning

If you're looking for other botany resources resources, you may enjoy the posts below.

Apple Activities for Kids with Free Printables Montessori-inspired Worm and Composting Activities for Kids with Free Printables Montessori-inspired Pollination Activities for Kids with Free Printables Montessori-inspired Plant Activities with Free Printables Vegetable Garden Unit Flower Unit  Children's Books About PlantsMontessori-inspired Plant Gifts and Resources for Children Montessori-inspired Apples Language Printable Pack Montessori-inspired Apples Math Printable Pack

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Earth Day Vegetable Garden Unit with Free Printables

Spring FINALLY arrived where we live this week.  The kiddos can't get enough of it.  

For over a month they've been talking about planting a vegetable garden, adding flowers to our flower garden, and more.  

It's the perfect time of year to map out garden plans, especially with Earth Day just around the corner.  

I don't know about you, but Earth Day is one of my favorite holidays.  

The Earth is such a beautiful place to live.  It's so wonderful to have a special day to celebrate it.  

Whether you have a little one who's just learning what the Earth is, or kiddos who are capable of learning more, I hope you take the opportunity to celebrate such a special day!

This year we're celebrating Earth Day by dedicating time to planning and preparing for our vegetable garden.  Check out our fabulous Earth Day Vegetable Garden Unit with Free Printables!

Earth Day Vegetable Garden Unit with Free Printables

Earth Day Vegetable Garden Unit with Free Printables

We kicked off the week with a family night dedicated to teaching our kiddos the importance of having a garden.  

I don't think I've ever seen a set of kiddos so excited to plant a garden.  

Every day they come up with new questions and concerns for me to find answers to.  Some of the activities in this unit are a result of some of those questions.

Plant Picture & Sentence Match Up

Plant Picture and Sentence Match Up

Dinomite & Princess are amazing readers.  Within the last three months Bulldozer has made great strides in his reading efforts.  

In this activity the kiddos will match up pictures to their corresponding sentences.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Vegetable Garden Unit Printable pack 1. This is a subscriber's only freebie. For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Garden Tool Nomenclature Cards

Garden Tools Nomenclature Cards

Part of gardening is learning about and using some pretty neat tools.  The kiddos have seen me garden, but other than planting their very own rose bush, they've never participated in the planting process.  In the case of the rose bushes, I had already dug the hole.

In preparation for this unit, I ordered kid sized large and small gardening tools and accessories just for the kiddos.  When they arrived I took a picture of each one to make these cards.  

The kiddos LOVE these cards and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE their new gardening tools.  

Garden Tool Nomenclature Cards

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Vegetable Garden Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Measuring Out Seeds

Measuring Out Seeds

Part of gardening is planting seeds.  The kiddos have never done this before.  

In this activity they will be introduced to the directions on the back of the seed packages.  Once they have read the directions, they will flatten out the play dough (using their hands).  

Next they will mark the recommended distance between seeds, place holes in the play dough (using their fingers).  Then they will place the correct number of seeds in each hole.  

It will be a great measurement and skip counting activity!

Vegetable & Plant Match Up

Vegetable Plant Match Up

Princess has been asking a TON of questions about gardens, plants, fruits, and vegetables.  Her most popular question seems to be what type of plant each fruit and vegetable comes from.  This activity was designed for her.

The kiddos will match up vegetables to their corresponding plants.  

I'm pretty sure Dinomite and Bulldozer will turn this activity into a memory game.  

No matter how they choose to complete the activity, they'll learn what each of the vegetable plants look like and learn to identify A LOT of different kinds of vegetables.

Source:  I created this printable as part of my Vegetable Garden Printable Pack 1. This is a subscriber's only freebie.  For your free copy, follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Planting Tomato Seeds

Planting Tomato Seeds

The kiddos are super eager to start planting now.  Unfortunately our outdoor growing season does not start until the end of May.  

So, instead of purchasing tomato plants at that time, I thought we'd try to grow our own from seeds. 

They should be ready to plant outdoors when it's time.  

The kiddos will scoop the dirt out of the bowl and place it in the "pot."  They will add their seeds, cover them, and add water.

Outdoor Exploration & Discovery

Outdoor Discovery and Exploration

A major part of our vegetable garden unit this week is spending time outdoors, cleaning up our lawn, and getting it ready for a garden.  

The kiddos love using their new tools and exploring as they work.  Dinomite was so proud to find all of the parts of a plant in tact and identified them all accurately. 

Bulldozer loved raking leaves into a pile to jump in.  (Snow came before we were able to do our fall raking.)  

Both boys loved digging holes with their new tools and found a few fun worms they loved studying and observing.  This already has been and will continue to be quite a fun unit!

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.

If you're looking for some fabulous Earth Day Play Ideas & Activities, look no further!

Earth Day Play and Activities

Earth Day Sensory Play with Shaving Cream from Golden Reflections Blog

Layers of the Earth (Free Printable) from The Pinay Homeschooler

Sensory Play for Earth Day from Mama's Happy Hive

Creation Sky and Water Hands-On Learning Activities from Christian Montessori Network

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the resources below.

Montessori-inspired Plant Activities Earth Unit Flower Unit Insect Unit for Tots Earth Day Printable Pack Reducing Printable Pack Reusing Printable Pack Recycling Printable Pack Composting Printable Pack Pollination Printable Pack

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