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Montessori-inspired Earthquake Activities with Free Printables

It's no secret that Bulldozer is obsessed with natural disasters.  Whether it's extreme weather scenarios, volcano eruptions, or earthquakes he's all over it.  As I've observed his latest draw to earthquakes, I decided to jump at the chance to teach him something new.

These Montessori-inspired earthquake activities with free printables were such a hit!  Bulldozer couldn't put them down.  Either could his siblings.  I love that all three kiddos learned something new about earthquakes that they didn't know before.
Montessori-inspired Earthquake Activities with Free Printables

Here's what's on our shelves!

Montessori-inspired Earthquake Activities with Free Printables


Earthquake Vocabulary
Earthquake Vocabulary Cards (Free Printable)
It's one thing to love earthquakes and yet another to understand all of the vocabulary that goes along with the subject.  This activity combines the two.  The kiddos matched up pictures to definitions.  We used this as a memory game, one of Bulldozer's favorite ways to learn, but they can easily be used as nomenclature cards.

Source:  My husband and I created this printable as part of our Earthquake 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.

After Effects of an Earthquake
After Effects of an Earthquake (Free Printable)
It's one thing to learn about earthquakes but a completely different thing to learn about what happens as a result of earthquakes and how that effects a location and population.

This was a very unique learning experience for the kiddos.  They hadn't really thought about stuff like this before.

The kiddos used this as a memory game, but the cards can easily be used as a match up activity or nomenclature cards.

Source:  My husband and I created this printable as part of our Earthquake 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.

Earthquakes Around the World
Earthquakes Around he World Pin Poking Activity
With Bulldozer's obsession of natural disasters comes an anxiety that he may have to live through one.  This activity was created to help him understand that we live in a very safe place away from major earthquake activity.

It was also used to show where most earthquakes occur around the world.  Bulldozer loved seeing that there were very specific places where most earthquakes occur.

For this activity the kiddos used the color coded pins provided to mark where the earthquakes are around the world.  This was a great fine motor activity as well as science!

Just a heads up!  If your kiddos pay extreme attention to detail, you will need at least two packages of yellow and orange pins.

Source:  This printable is part of our Earthquake 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.

Major Earthquakes Around the World in History
Major Earthquakes Around the World in History Cards (Free Printable)
Of course after identifying where the largest earthquakes in the world occurred, we had to learn more about them.  What Bulldozer didn't realize is that some of the worst earthquakes aren't the biggest.  The damage that occurs depends on so many different factors.  Again, this was such an eye opener for him.

Once again, the kiddos used this as a memory game, but it could easily be used as a match up activity or nomenclature cards.

Source:  My husband and I created this printable as part of our Earthquake 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.

For those interested in the free printables, be sure to follow the directions below.

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. Locate the link to our Subscriber Only Freebies page as well as password to access it in the "Thank You" message.
5. Click on link and type in password.
6. 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.

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If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Montessori-inspired Volcano Activities Earthquakes & Volcanoes Earth Science Activities


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What I Wish I'd Known About My Child's Mood Disorder Med Changes

It’s only been a little over a year ago when our developmental pediatrician attempted to wean Sunshine off one of her mood disorder medications. The medication was causing unnecessary side effects and we weren’t sure it was working well.

Per doctor’s orders we weaned off the medication slowly over the course of several weeks. With each decreased dose of medication Sunshine spiraled more and more out of control, until we were faced with a serious mental health emergency.

Just thinking about the experience causes me severe anxiety and panic. What I wish I’d known about my child's mood disorder and med changes then, that I do now.

They are not for the faint of heart, but at the same time, they do not have to result in a mental health emergency if you know what to do along the way. 

What I Wish I'd Known About My Child's Mood Disorder Med Changes

I find it somewhat comical yet panic inducing that we are once again right in the middle of another med change. This one is a result of more side effects and long-lasting effects of taking the medication.

Gah!

Don’t even get me started on the roller coaster ride of finding the right meds at the proper dosages, just in time to realize that the medications are causing side effects that that body can’t handle.

My heart hurts just thinking about the life long battle Sunshine will have with medication, just to stay safe and function.

It’s not fair.

No one should have to endure such hardships.

But she does.

And so do so many other people who struggle with mood disorders, specifically bi-polar disorder.

I pray and hope that by sharing what I wish I’d known about mood disorder med changes, that someone else is spared the agony that we have endured.

What I Wish I’d Known About My Child's Mood Disorder Med Changes 


As the parent, YOU are the one who fights for your child.

Med changes can go one of two ways. They can go well, or they go horribly wrong. As a parent, if you notice that things are starting to deteriorate in the smallest way, contact your doctor and express your concerns immediately. Don’t wait.

If you don’t feel comfortable with a specific type of medication or dosage being used, talk to your child’s doctor about it. Communicate concerns. Ask if there are alternatives. You are ultimately the one who makes the decision about whether or not a medication is the right fit for your child.

When med changes need to be made, don’t hesitate to express concerns, insist on a very slow process, and advocate for your child and family. Med changes affect everyone living at home, not just the individual. It is ultimately your responsibility to keep everyone safe.

Document. Document. Document.

From the moment you learn a med change is going to occur, documentation is your best friend. Document behaviors and daily habits. Write down things that seem off or out of the ordinary. The more information you have about changes that occur in your child as you undergo med changes the better.

This is especially the case when things go wrong. You want to have a baseline of when things were at their best, and then as much documentation as possible regarding negative effects of the med changes.

As you document include dates and times to determine patterns or randomness. If possible also include The ABCs of Behavioral Analysis. This technique is most often used to determine reasons behind behaviors in relation to autism but works wonderfully when trying to figure out patterns in behaviors with mood disorders as well.

Don’t forget to also document the dates and details of med changes. Keeping those records will be very helpful in the future when you are asked to remember what medications have been tried etc.

All of this documentation will be of extreme benefit to you and to any doctors or specialists your child sees. And amid mania chaos, you don’t have to remember more than what’s necessary, because it’s all written down.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

You know your child best. You know what your family has endured. You know what you can handle. If you are not prepared to endure the challenges related to med changes, talk to your child’s doctor. Try to come up with a plan that will work for everyone.

There are certain times of year that are more chaotic than others, where you’d want to steer away from med changes if possible. Consider holidays and vacations.

If there are big life changes occurring or coming soon this would be another time when you may consider saying no. Say you’re moving or a new baby is coming. Perhaps your home is undergoing major renovations and safety protocols you usually have in place are impossible at the moment?

Another big reason you may need to say no temporarily is a lack of support system. If you do not have help and things go wrong… You may want to postpone until you have a strong support system in place.

If you don’t have a relationship of trust with your doctor and are concerned about what they are subscribing, don’t hesitate to say no and ask for a second opinion elsewhere.

Lastly, there are times when it is unsafe to do med changes at home. In these cases, be firm and request inpatient placement while med changes occur.

Plan for the Worst and Hope for the Best

Whether it’s a new medication or decrease of an old one, planning for the worst and hoping for the best can literally save lives.

Are safety plans drafted and ready to be put into action?

Is your home filled with all the safety resources you may need?

Is the child’s bedroom a safe place free of any objects that can and may be used for self-harming or harming others?

Is your support system in place in case you need extra help or in the event that there is a mental health emergency?

You may never have the need to utilize any of the above things mentioned, but it is always better to be prepared than not.

Make Life as Easy as Possible

As your child goes through med changes, it’s important to keep life as simple and as easy as possible. Do all you can to keep routines and schedules the same, especially sleep schedules. Don’t allow yourself or your child to take on any extra responsibilities.

Consider streamlining household tasks to the minimum. Use paper products instead of washing dishes. Prepare freezer meals ahead of time or only choose quick and easy meals to prepare. Ask for help with cleaning, hire a housekeeper, or be sure to do a deep clean of your home right before the med changes begin.

One might not think that med changes take up so much time and energy, but they do. This is especially the case when med changes go wrong and you spend the majority of you time dealing with negative and unsafe behaviors.

Med changes for those with mood disorders are so difficult. Sometimes I wish there was a one pill fits all, but that’s not the case. Trial and error are part of the journey. Make sure you are prepared when you experience these challenges. I promise you won’t regret it.

And remember, whatever happens during these difficult times is not your child's fault.  Your child is sick and in need of help.  

If you enjoyed this post you may also like the posts below.
A Safety Plan for Mental Health 10 Ways to Help Family with Special Needs Children 4 Steps to Managing Aggressive Behaviors How to Recognize Signs of a Mood Disorder in Young Children A Guide to Pediatric Specialists Mood Disorder


Whta I Wish I'd Known About My Child's Mood Disorder Med Changes

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Summer Flash Sale!

Summer is almost here and I am ready to celebrate in the best possible way!  

I don't know what it's been like for you but it's been a LONG school year here.  

Between moving to a new home last summer, setting up a new learning space, living with a lack of furniture, kids' regression because of the move, Sunshine's mental health emergencies...  

I am SO ready to put evertything behind me and enjoy the relaxation, sunsets and fireflies that only summer provides.

To kick off the first day of summer, I'm having a Summer Flash Sale!  

Summer Flash Sale at Every Star Is Different


Summer Flash Sale Details

All products in my shop will be 50% off!  

You do not need a code, the price you see on dates specified reflects the flash sale price.

 The Summer Flash Sale starts at 12:00 AM June 21, 2018 and ends June 11:59 PM June 23, 2018 EST

All you need to do is visit my SHOP, click on the image of the product(s) you're interested in and add them to your cart. Once your cart is ready, check out.  It's that simple.

Is This For Real?

Yes!  Absolutely!

I'm sharing this with you in advance so you don't miss out on such an unprecidented sale.  Take advantage of it and stock up on everything and anything you've ever considered wanting, especially those products that were just a little too expensive for your budget.

Why?

First...  The last two months of life have been extremely expensive seeking, fighting for, and obtaining the help that Sunshine so desperately needs.  (If you're not aware of what's been going on, feel free to start with THIS post.)

Just the gas expenses alone are enough to make anyone groan.

The reality is, mental health emergencies are expensive.

Second...  You guys have been amazing and so supportive through this whole ordeal.

The private e-mails, facebook messages, comments, prayers, and more that you sent my way meant everything to me.

I wanted to find a way to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support.

Besides new free printables (which are slowly returning to the blog), this was the next best thing I could think of.

Take Advantage of the Summer Flash Sale today!

Whether you're wanting to encourage summer learning or stocking up for next year in advance, don't miss your chance to purchase items from my shop during my Summer Flash Sale.

This could very well be a one time only offer.  (I sincerely pray we don't have another ongoing mental health emergency that lasts two months and exhausts our savings.)

Be sure to visit our shop between June 21 and June 22, 2018 to take advantage of the amazing 50% discount on all products!

If you are unaware of the mental health crisis Sunshine has endured over the last two months and want to better understand why we're having such a spectacular sale, here is our story.
Call the Police! What You Don't Want to Have Happen When Your Child is in the ER for Mental Health Reasons What Should Happen When Your Child is in the ER for Mental Health Reasons Check-in-at an inpatient children's psychiatric hospital My Daughter is inpatient at a Children's Psych Ward Our First Family Session in a Psych Ward Nine Days This Was Not Okay Miracles

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A Campfire Themed Birthday Party

Tis the season for spectacular campfires, roasted marshmallows, and friends and family gathered together enjoying the beautiful weather.  

One of the things my kiddos love best about our new home is that there is a fire pit in the backyard ready for spontaneous campfires, S'mores, and parties.

For Bulldozer's ninth birthday, per his request, we hosted a campfire themed birthday party to remember!
A Campfire Themed Birthday Party

Here's how it went!
Outdoor Adventure Hunt
We kicked off the party with an Outdoor Adventure Hunt from Clean and Scentsible.  It was the perfect way to keep people busy while we waited for all of the guests to arrive.  Older kids helped younger kids.  Friends helped friends.  It really was a great activity.

Since we don't have acorns in our yard, I provided one for each person, along with a pencil to check items off on their lists.
Pool Noodle and Balloon Relay Race
Once everyone had arrived, the fire was going, and we had met all of Bulldozer's new friends and families, we started a second game.

The kids started at one end of the lawn using pool noodles to move their balloon into the basket located at the opposite end of the yard.

Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves until balloons started popping.  You'll notice in the picture that our lawn was quite dry.  Yikes!

Be sure to make sure the grass is soft and well watered before attempting this activity.  Otherwise be prepared for meltdowns from younger kiddos who are obsessed with their balloons.
S'mores goodie bags
Once the game was over, we took a group shot of all of the kids at the party.  Everyone that was having meltdowns over popped balloons recovered.

 It was time to move on to S'mores.

One of my biggest dilemmas with this party was trying to figure out how to actually provide 50 plus people with S'more ingredients outside without them getting everywhere, melting, or falling on the ground.

I came across this wonderful idea from Clean and Scentsible.  A free printable was even provided to spruce up the goodie bags, which I fully took advantage of.

Bags on the tray included plain graham crackers and milk chocolate.  Bags in the bucket included cinnamon graham crackers and dark chocolate.

Before the event I picked up some roasting sticks and then found more sticks around the yard so everyone could have their own.
Roasting marshmallows at a campfire themed birthday party
The S'mores bags were a HUGE hit!  I think the only thing I would do differently if we did this again was to make sure I had lots of baby wipes on hand for sticky hands and faces.  Lol.
The birthday boy at his campfire themed birthday party
The birthday boy was completely in his element.  Bulldozer seriously had the time of his life.
For parents, one of the best parts about the party was the view. The sunset was spectacular.  

After gifts, the nighttime entertainment began!
Pool Noodle and Glowstick Nighttime Games
Picture does not do justice to how incredibly awesome this activity was!
I picked up glow necklaces and bracelets enough for every kiddo to have a few.  The kids took their pool noodles from the previous game, decorated them with glow necklaces and bracelets, and then used the rest as they were intended.

There were so many fun glow-in-the-dark pool noodle wars!

The pool noodles looked so incredibly cool!  Some kids wrapped glow necklaces and bracelets around the pool noodles.  Others poked the pool noodles with them.

I kid you not the kids played for hours with these.

The best part about the activity was that parents could keep an eye on their kids in the dark sky.  We always knew where the kids were.

The party began at 7 PM and continued on through about midnight as everyone was enjoying themselves so much.

Parents sat around the campfire.  Kids played.  It was truly an awesome night!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below:
Free Camping Printables Montessori-inspired Camping Practical Life Activities Children's Books About Camping A Pirate Birthday Party A Fall Kickoff Birthday Party Superhero Week

A Campfire Themed Birthday Party
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Montessori-inspired Continent Activities with Free Printables

Sunshine has shown an intense factuation with geography this year.  She loves learning about land and water forms, continents, oceans, and so forth.

However, she struggles with retaining information from day to day.  Remembering continent names, shapes and colors has been a bit difficult.  This is why I created the Montessori-inspired Continent Activities with Free Printables.  

These activities and printables have given her the extra support that she needs to learn her continents by name, shape, and color.  Not to mention she loves them!

Montessori-inspired Continent Activities with Free Printables

Seven Continent Nomenclature Cards

Seven Continent Nomenclature Cards

The older kids have a classic style globe in our classroom that they use on a regular basis.  Sunshine was quite jealous and begged for her own globe to use.  I purchased her a Montessori globe, which is now one of her most prized possessions.

To help her navigate her globe and use it in the classroom, I created the seven continent nomenclature cards.  Sunshine isn't necessarily a fan of nomenclature cards, but she does love books, so I used the cards and created a book to go with her globe.

Sunshine identifies the continent on the card and finds it on her glob.  She continues with this task until she has found and identified every continent.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my 7 Continents 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.

My Book of Continents

My Book of Continents

As I mentioned previously, Sunshine loves books, especially ones she can create.  For this reason I created the book of continents.  Sunshine can color the continents on each page and trace each of their names.

My older children have also enjoyed these books.  There are options to fill in the blank with names of each continent etc.

We tend to laminate our books and use erasable markers to help save on the cost and use of paper in the classroom.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my 7 Continents 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.

Continent Play Dough Mats

Continent Play Dough Mats

Sunshine struggles with strength in her hand and finger muscles. One of the best ways I've found to help her develop these strengths is incorporating play dough into activities.  She was so excited about her continent play dough mats.

I made a batch of homemade play dough in each continent color, laminated the printables and she had the time of her life.  

I love that this activity not only helps develop strength in the hands and fingers but also promotes hand-eye coordination skills and fine motor as Sunshine tries to stay in the lines.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my 7 Continents 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.

Continent Painting Activity

Continent Painting Activity

Using the continent play dough mat printable (unlaminated) Sunshine has thoroughly enjoyed painting each of her continents.  The activity incorporates art and helps her develop fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills.  Have I mentioned how much Sunshine loves to paint?

Pick up a pack of Crayola Washable Kids Paint, a few paint brushes and you're set!

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my 7 Continents 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.

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. Locate the link to our Subscriber Only Freebies page as well as password to access it in the "Thank You" message.
5. Click on link and type in password.
6. 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 enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below:
Continent and Country Activities Asia Unit with Free Printables Montessori-inspired Zoo Scavenger Hunt Montessori-inspired Africa Unit Printable Pack Bundle Montessori-inspired Antarctica Unit Printable Pack Bundle Montessori-inspired Australia/Oceania Unit Printable Pack Bundle
Montessori-inspired Continent Activities with Free Printables

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