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Thursday, May 31, 2018


If you're going to the beach this summer save some shells and sand.  If you're not going to the beach you can still do these science activities.

Sink and Float
You’ll need a file folder, tub of water, and a collection of small objects (pencil, crayon, paper clip, ball, block, pebble, leaf, etc.) On one side of the file folder write “float” and on the other side write “sink.” Children place the items according to whether they think they will float or sink. They can then test each object by putting it in the water and readjusting where it should go.

Beach Bottle
Put ½ cup sand in a bottle. Add some shells and fill half way with water. Add a drop of blue food coloring. Make a small fish from Styrofoam or a water balloon.

Wave Bottle
Fill 2/3 full with water. Add a drop of food coloring. Fill to the top with vegetable oil or Baby oil. Slowly rotate the bottle on its side to make waves.
*Add glitter if you like.

Sand Collections
Collect sand from various beaches in jars or bottles and label. Children can use a magnifying glass to observe the contents. How are they alike? How are they different?

*They could do descriptive writing about what they see in the bottle.
*A good way to get sand samples is to have children write friends and relatives who live near a lake or ocean and ask them to sand a small bag of sand to their class. (Be aware that there are some restrictions as to sending natural objects into the continental 48 states.)
Purchase a bag of shells from a dollar store and put it out with a book about seashells. Children can look through the book and identify the shells.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018


If you missed my video about CENTERS, you can watch the edited version now. You can also purchase the book on Carolyn Kisloski's TPT store.

"Hidey Hole" is a southern term for a secret place that children like to hide out. (Most grown-ups would like that as well!)  Here are some tents children can make where they can be alone or play with a friend.

Card Table Tent
Drape a blanket over a card table or picnic table. Spread a sleeping bag on the ground for a cozy retreat.

Porch Railing Tent
Pin one end of a blanket to the railing of a deck or porch. Pull out the opposite end and secure at an angle with bricks or rocks. This is a "cool" place for a game or nap from the summer sun.

Back Pack 
You will need a grocery sack, a small piece of Velcro, and two strips of fabric cut 2” by 24” for this project. Cut off three sides of the sack half way down. Fold down the remaining side and secure with Velcro. To add straps, cut four 2 ½” slits on the back. Thread the strips of fabric through that and tie the ends in knots. Let children decorate with markers or crayons. 

Cardboard Castle
An appliance box or other large box can be a "castle" to a child. Cut out doors and a window with a utility knife. (An adult will need to do this!) Let the children decorate with paints, markers, or crayons.

Here's another cool project you can do with a cardboard box.

Car Wash 
Cut the top and bottom out of an appliance box and place it on its side so it looks like a tunnel. Cut the bottom off of a large plastic garbage bag. Cut up the seam on one side to open the bag. Cut 2" strips up from the bottom of the bag stopping 3 inches from the top of the bag. Tape the garbage bag to the top of the box to create the swishers, then let the children ride their toys through the box.

Dress Up
Do you have an old suitcase in the attic or basement? Find some old shoes, hats, jewelry, nightgowns, or other old clothes and let the children play dress-up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


If you missed my FB video yesterday you can watch it today.  
It's all about PLAYFUL AND CHALLENGING CENTERS and I hope you'll enjoy it !

Summer’s the perfect time for getting messy and being creative! 

Mud Pies
(Not edible, but definitely great fun!)
4 cups dirt
1 cup flour
Mix the dirt and flour with water until it molds and sticks together. Shape into cookies, pies, birds nests, and other shapes. Dry in the sun.

Squirt! Squirt! 
Save spray bottles from cleaning products. (Make sure you rinse them out well first!). Fill them with water and let the children squirt each other, water plants, clean lawn furniture, etc.
Adaptations: A sponge or paintbrush and a bucket of water will also entertain children for hours. They can sponge off a tree, their riding toys, or themselves. They can paint the house or playground equipment. 

Pouring Potions
Plastic water bottles of various sizes
Funnels, eye droppers
Fill a tub with water and add the materials above.  Children can experiment making potions as they pour the water into the different containers.
*Add a few drops of food coloring to the water.

Bubble Cups 
Liquid dish detergent
Fill the cup half way with water. Squirt in some dish detergent. Give children a straw and tell them to BLOW! (If you'll put a pin prick at the top of the straw, it's less likely that they'll suck up soapy water. I also have children practice blowing on their hand with the straw before we begin so they'll get the idea.) The bubbles will spill over the cup and are fun to pat on arms, legs, etc. It's great to run through the sprinkler after you "paint" your body with bubbles.
Adaptations: Add a drop of food coloring to the solution to make colored bubbles.
*Give children a pan of water and an egg beater. (Most children have never seen one of these before except in books!) Add a squirt of detergent to the water and let them "beat" up some bubbles.

Rub A Dub Dub 
Have children bring their washable dolls to school. Fill tubs with water and soap, then have a bathing party. Add sponges, wash clothes, and squirt bottles.
Adaptations: Let children wash doll clothes and hang them on a clothesline with spring clothespins.

Water Painting
Give children plastic containers (margarine tubs, ice cream containers, etc.) filled with water. Let them use paint brushes to “paint” the playground equipment, trees, toys, etc.

Sandbox Treasures 
Hide shells and other small toys in a sandbox and let the children “dig” for treasures.

Boat Builders 
Let children construct boats from two toilet paper rolls stapled together. Glue a triangular piece of construction paper to a craft stick and stick it between the rolls to make a sail.
 *Mold boats from aluminum foil.
 *Carve a boat from a bar of Ivory soap. Glue paper to a toothpick and insert it in the soap to make a sail. Make a raft from popsicle sticks. Lay down two sticks. Glue ten sticks on top of them. Dry and then decorate with markers.
 *Give children recycled materials (trash and scraps) to use to create boats and things that float.


Monday, May 28, 2018


Happy Memorial Day!

If you wakey, wakey - early, early then you can watch my FB Live this morning.

 (If you're a preschool teacher or kindergarten teacher you'll love it as well!)

Our goal in creating this project was to provide you with a resource book of activities and strategies where children can learn in a way that is appropriate for them. Learning centers are the most natural way to organize a classroom and encourage children to become active learners. Centers encourage children to make choices, explore at their own level, engage in hands-on discovery, solve problems, work with friends, use language, and be creative. Centers also allow children to move, involve a greater use of the senses and are an effective way to use classroom materials, time, and space. Above all, learning centers are a way to capitalize on PLAY, which is the most meaningful way for children to learn.

THE ULTIMATE CENTER GUIDE FOR PRE-KINDERGARTEN highlights WHY you should use centers and HOW to manage centers. There is an overview of how to create open-ended materials for the centers below. You’ll also find specific activities that will engage children and nurture skills and standards. Best of all, the activities are simple and can be made with inexpensive materials like pingpong balls, clothespins, and bathroom cups. You might have as much fun making these centers as the children will have playing and learning with them!!!





Small Motor



Sensory Motor




Sunday, May 27, 2018


Here's an adaptation of "The Cool Bear Hunt."  It's great for oral language and active learning.

Going On a Picnic
(Children stand and repeat each line.)
We’re going on a picnic. (Slap hands on thighs to the beat.)
We’re going to pack a big one. (Arms out wide.)
With sandwiches, cookies, and lemonade, too. (Pretend to pack in your basket.)
Look over there. (Hand over eyes.)
It’s some tall grass.
Can’t go over it. (Hands up in the air.)
Can’t go under it. (Hands down low.)
Can’t go around it. (Circle hands around in front of body.)
I guess we’ll go through it. (Shrug shoulders.)
Swish, swish, swish, swish! (Brush palms against each other.)

Look over there. (Hands over eyes.)
It’s a lake…
I guess we’ll row across it.
Row, row, row your boat. (Pretend to row a boat.)

Look over there. (Hands over eyes.)
It’s a swamp…
Ooeey, gooey, ooey, gooey. (Pretend to tiptoe through mud.)

Look over there. (Hands over eyes.)
It’s a park. (Pretend to point at different things.)
It’s nice and shady.
It’s got a picnic bench.
We’re all so hungry
Let’s go eat! (Pretend to eat.)
Mmmmmmmm! (Pat tummy.)

Story Map
Let children make a map showing the different places they passed on the way to the picnic.

Picnic Book
Fold a sheet of construction paper in half. Punch two holes by the top fold and insert a pipe cleaner to make a handle. Children can write stories about going on a picnic inside or they can draw foods they’d like to take on a picnic.

Dramatic Play
Prepare a dramatic play kit for a picnic with a tablecloth (or towel), cups, plates, napkins, and plastic cutlery.
*Brainstorm all the fun things you can do on a picnic.

Animal Picnic 
What kinds of food would animals take on a picnic? Write their suggestions on the board. Let children circle the foods that they eat as well. Plan an animal picnic with carrots, celery, apples, nuts, berries, etc. for snack.

And, what's a picnic without ants????

The Ants Go Marching
(Tune: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)
The ants go marching one by one, (Hold up one finger.)
Hurrah! Hurrah! (Fist in the air.)
The ants go marching one by one,
Hurrah! Hurrah!

The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb, (Pretend to suck thumb.)
And they all go marching down, (Hands go down.)
To the ground,
To get out of the rain
Boom! Boom! Boom! (Pat thighs.)

Two by two…tie his shoe (Pretend to tie shoes.)
Three by three…climb a tree (Climb a tree.)
Four by four…shut the door (Shut the door.)              

Five by five…boogie jive (Dance in place.)
Six by six…pick up sticks (Pick up sticks.)
Seven by seven…point to heaven (Point upwards.)
Eight by eight…learn to skate (Pretend to skate.)
Nine by nine…scratch his spine (Scratch spine.)
Ten by ten…That’s the end! (Snap fingers.)

Let children dramatize this song. Make headbands or let them wear number vests to indicate different verses in the song.

Ants on a Log

You will need:
Celery cut into 3-4” pieces
Peanut butter (substitute cream cheese if there are peanut allergies)

Let children spread the peanut butter or cream cheese in the log. Place raisins/ants on the log.
Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Math is real and concrete and hands-on and all around us. Let's go outside and count, measure, sort, and learn!

Note!  Remind children to never pull living things off plants.  Only collect things on the ground for these activities.  Encourage them to return items to where they found them when you are finished with them.

Number Hunt
Take several lunch sacks and write different numerals on them. Challenge children to make appropriate sets from objects in nature to go in the bags.
*Have children return the objects to where they found them.

Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Let the children take the shapes and match them to something in nature with a similar shape.

Give children a piece of string or yarn 5” to 8” long. How many things can they find that are shorter than their string? Longer? The same?

Children can count trees, fence posts, toys, bushes, and many other items in their yard or on the playground.
*Have them estimate how many and then verify their guess by counting.


Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with objects in nature.

Ask children to collect different natural objects such as rocks, leaves, etc.
(This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to put the objects that are alike together. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Addition and Subtraction
Add and subtract using natural objects.
Make up number stories using sports. For example: My team had 3 runs and we scored 2 more. How many in all?

Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.
*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.

Dot to Dot 
Take chalk and write numerals 0-20 randomly on a hard play surface. Children start with zero and run, hop, march, or skip to each numeral in order.
*Adapt the amount to the age of the children.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Make your playground or backyard your very own science lab this summer.

Discovery Walks
Go on a walk and have children touch various objects. “How does it feel?”
Have them close their eyes and try to identify objects by their sense of touch.
*Take a listening walk where children close their eyes and try to identify different sounds in the environment.

Class Tree
Let the children “adopt” a special tree on the playground. Vote on a name for your tree and then take photos of it in different seasons. Read stories or sing songs in the shade of your tree.
*Draw pictures of your tree or write descriptions. (Great for non-fiction writing.)

Dirt Detectives
Use magnifying glasses and sticks to dig in the dirt. What is dirt composed of?

Human Sun Dial
Have one child face north at 9:00 in the morning. Mark where they are standing and draw their shadow with chalk. Have the child stand in the same spot and record their shadow at various times in the school day.
*Play shadow tag where children try to step on each other’s shadows.

Cloud Watch
When there are cumulus clouds in the sky, have the children lay on their backs and look for animals and other objects in the sky.
*Let them draw pictures of clouds with white paint and a Q-tip on blue paper.

Melt Down
Give each child a paper cup with an ice cube in it. Who can make their ice cube melt fastest?
*Color the ice cubes with food coloring.
*Draw with ice cubes on the sidewalk.

Sit and Watch
Children can use a hula hoop or 7' piece of string for this activity.  Lay the hula hoop on the ground (or make a circle with the string) and sit inside.  Encourage children to sit quietly and use their senses to observe their habitat.
*Give them paper and a pencil to draw or write observations.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Bugs are everywhere this time of year and children are fascinated by these little critters. Here’s a simple song to sing to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” where children can learn the basic body parts of insects.

Head (Point to head.)
Thorax (Point to chest.)
Abdomen – abdomen! (Point to stomach.)
Head, thorax, abdomen – abdomen!
And eyes (Point to eyes.)
And mouth (Point to mouth.)
And antennae, two (Stick 2 fingers up.)
Six legs (Wiggle 3 fingers on each hand.)
And there’s an insect for you!
(Leave off a verse each time you sing and hum.)

Bug Hunt – Give children pipe cleaners that they can twist into a magnifying glass shape. Let them use these to hunt for bugs on the playground. 
*They could also use clipboards to draw insects that they find outside.

Entomologist – Explain that an entomologist is a person who studies insects. Brainstorm different ways that they can study insects, such as checking out books at the library, looking on the internet, and so forth.

Carolyn Kisloski ( and I have a FREE “Bugs and Insects” packet for you.  There are 40 pages (QR Codes, Prezis, children's books, writing prompts) of hands-on activities and games.  

Swat the Fly
Cut flies out of construction paper and write numerals on them. Tape to the wall or staple to a bulletin board. Give one child a fly swatter and have them turn their back to the wall as you say this rhyme: 
            Turn around and swat the fly. 
            Tell me the number that you spy. 
The child turns around, swats a fly, and identifies the number. 

*Write letters, words, etc. on the flies. 

*Make a game with two teams. One child from each team holds a fly swatter. The teacher calls out a number, word, math fact, etc. and the first child to swat it correctly wins a point for their team. 


Bug Me
Cut bugs out of construction paper and write letters, numerals, words, etc. on them. Place on the floor or tape to a wall. 

Download the fly and bug pattern here:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


If I were in charge of the world summer vacation would begin Memorial Day weekend and school wouldn't start again until after Labor Day. I guess I'm not in charge of the world! Some of you have "tested" and are out the door...some of you still have weeks to go. In or out, here are some variations of traditional games children always enjoy playing.
Hug Tag
Materials: none
Directions:  Designate a playing area. One child is “it.” “It” chases other children who must “freeze” when they are tagged. Players hug those who are “frozen” to “unfreeze” them.
     *Stoop Tag – Children stoop down on the ground when they are tagged.
     *Cartoon Tag – Children must name a cartoon show when they are tagged.

     *Shadow Tag – children must freeze when “it” steps on their shadow.
     *Sticky Tag – Children must hold the part of their body that is tagged.

Relays are a little difficult at first for children under six. But, like anything else, if you practice and play several times they will catch on. I particularly like relays because they require self-regulation and are a team effort.
Materials: none

Directions:  Divide the children into teams with five or six players on each. Have the players line up single file behind a line and run one at a time to a designated point and back. The first player tags the second player, who then runs the distance. The first team to have all players run is the winner.
*Ball Relays– Have the children pass a ball over their heads and under their legs. The last person runs to the front of the line and continues passing over and under. When the first person is in his or her original position, their team wins the game. Relays where children must dribble a ball, kick a ball, or throw a ball into a target can also be played.

*Animal Relays – Let the children walk like crabs (on backs with hands and feet), bears (on all fours), birds (flapping arms), monkeys (scratching sides), or elephants (swinging arms like a trunk.)

*Quick Change – Prepare bags with a shirt, pants, and hat for each team. The first player puts the clothes on, runs to a designated point, takes the clothes off, then runs and gives the clothes to the second person.

*Pig Relays - Move the ball with your nose.

*Movements- Have children hop, jump, skip, gallop, walk backwards, or do other movements.

*Toesie Relay – Have the children take their shoes off, pick up a peanut with their toes, carry it to a basket, and drop it in.

*Potato Relay – Ask the children to carry a potato in a large spoon without dropping it.

*Balloon Relay- Have children run with a balloon to a chair, then sit on the balloon and pop it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Here are a few simple games to build summer memories, friendships, and fitness. Games are also a good way to develop the executive function. There's a beginning and an end, and children have to follow the rules and use self-regulation.

*Change these games for the level and interest of your children.
*Keep the rules few and simple.
*Play on soft surfaces and keep it SAFE!
*Emphasize cooperation and the joy of playing, rather than competition and scores.
*Encourage children to problem solve and work out their own differences.

Circle Soccer
My students loved this game. It was quick and it didn't require a lot of physical skills.
Materials: playground ball
Directions: Stand in a circle and hold hands. Place the ball inside the circle. Children try to kick the ball and keep it inside the circle. If the ball goes out of the circle between two people, then both people are out of the game. If a player kicks the ball too high and it goes over someone’s head, then the player who kicked the ball is out of the game. The game continues until there are just one or two players left.

Jump the Creek
This is another game my students always wanted to play.

Materials: 2 jump ropes (or you can make lines in the sand)

Directions: Children get in a line behind each other. Spread the ropes about one foot apart to make the "creek." One at a time children jump over the "creek" and then get at the back of the line. After each child has had a turn, move the ropes farther apart to make the "creek" wider. Children continue jumping over the "creek" as it gets wider and wider. If they don't clear the rope or touch the rope when they jump they are out of the game and become "cheerleaders." The game continues until one person is left.
*Sometimes we pretended there were alligators or crocodiles the creek!

Build the Castle
This game is similar to Jump the Creek, but it's for high jump rather than broad jump.
Materials: long jump rope

Directions:  Choose two people to hold the rope. The other players form a straight line and take turns jumping over the rope. The rope begins on the ground, but after everyone has had a turn, it is raised a few inches. If a child’s foot touches the rope, he or she is out of the game. Continue raising the rope until there is just one child left who can jump the height.

*A similar game called “school” can be played. When the rope is on the ground it is called “kindergarten.” Each time the rope is raised, it is called “first grade,” “second grade,” and so on.

What’s That Jive?
This game is like Red Rover, but a lot safer. 

Materials: none

Directions:  Divide the children into two teams and have them stand in a line facing each other 30 to 40 feet apart. One team calls for a player from the other team with this chant:
        (Child's name), (child’s name)
        What’s that jive?
        Come on over 
        And give me five.

The team calling the chant holds their hands out in front of them with their palms up. The child called proceeds down their line giving each player “five” by slapping their palms. If the child who is “it” slaps the palms and then slaps under their palms, that child chases “it” back to his or her original team. If “it” is caught, he or she must return to the opposing team, but if not, the chaser must joint “it’s” team. The game continues with teams taking turns calling players from the opposite side.

Monday, May 21, 2018


Several years ago I read Richard Louv’s book LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER. It reminded me that exposure to nature is essential for healthy physical and emotional development in children AND adults. (This book first came out in 2005, but you can imagine the decrease in outdoor time and increase in screen time over the past 13 years!!!!)

Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and let children explore in a less controlled environment. Educators, as well as many parents, are concerned about all the time their children spend in front of a screen. But, you can’t always give children a choice. If you say, “Do you want to go outside and go for a walk or play video games on your computer?”  You know what the answer will be!

We need to engage children in outdoor activities and create opportunities where they will choose to play and “be wild”! These are some suggestions I adapted from the website that you might want to share with your parents:

Climb a tree

Roll down a really big hill

Build a tent

Hunt for stones

Watch the sun wake up

Go on a nature walk at night

Plant it, grow it, eat it

Discover what’s in a pond

Go to a park

Play in the sand

Run around in the rain

Fly a kite

Hunt for bugs

Go fishing

Cook on a campfire

Look for objects in the clouds

Make a mud pie

Swing on a rope swing 

I loved this UK website: 
Our site strives to help you as the parent be informed and motivated to get your kids into nature and go wild with fun! Also to teach them to interact and get along with other kids from all ages, not just their own. All for the betterment of their future success, and yours as a parent of course!
Just think how giving children 30 minutes of OUTDOOR WILD TIME every day this summer could impact their lives!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Yesterday I shared "My Town" and "My School." How about a book about your state? Here's a book about New Hampshire that a teacher shared several years ago. She said her kids loved reading this book and the parents were so impressed the their children knew more about their state than they did!!!

My State Book
Make a state book based on your state flower, animal, famous people, state bird, capitol, flag, insect, famous places, etc. Children can become EXPERTS about their state.
For example: 

New Hampshire, New Hampshire, what do you see?
I see the Capitol in Concord looking at me.

Capitol in Concord, what do you see?
I see the purple lilac looking at me...

Dartmouth, Dartmouth, who do you see?
I see Dr. Seuss looking at me....


Singing the World (Tune: “The Wheels on the Bus”)
The name of my school is ___, ___, ___.
The name of my school is ___.
That’s the name of my school.

The name of my city is...

The name of my state is...

The name of my country is United States...

The name of my continent is North America...

The name of my planet is the Earth...

Saturday, May 19, 2018


This is a great book you can make to help children become familiar with their city/town. 

Lovely City
Here's the book that I made several years ago about Charleston. 
You will need construction paper and photos of your city, school, state symbols, and so forth. I used a rhyme similar to “Brown Bear” for each page.

Charleston, Charleston, what do you see?
There’s ___site____.
Come with me.

On the last page I wrote:

Do you like Charleston?
Do you like your city?
“Yes,” said Dr. Jean.
“I LOVE IT!” said she. 

(I used my pirate picture to add a smile!)

On the last page of your book you could write:
Do you like (name of your city)?
Do you like your city?
"Yes," said the children.
"It's the best place for me!"

My School
You could tie this in with technology by inviting the children to take photos of different places in their school or community.  This would be a wonderful book to share with your new group of students when school starts.

End with:
(Teacher, Teacher) who do you see?
I see all my new friends ready to learn with me!

Friday, May 18, 2018


If you don't have plans, why don't you come spend some time with me? Here are some of the places I'll be presenting this summer. I can't wait!
June 14
College of Charleston Early Childhood Summit
Charleston, SC

June 21
Children’s Learning Institute
Arlington, TX

July 21
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Shippensburg, PA

July 25
Northeast Alabama Childhood Conference
Albertville, AL

August 10
Aldenbridge Presbyterian Preschool
The Woodlands, TX

Thursday, May 17, 2018


As a frequent traveler, I love to observe parents interacting with their children at the airport.  Some parents KNOW how to engage and entertain their children.  It's a beautiful thing!  Some parents are totally frustrated and just hand them an electronic device.  It's all I can do not intervene and demonstrate some positive techniques.  I know I need to "mind my own business," but sometimes parents need a little help.

I’m writing this blog in hopes that you can share these ideas with families of children you teach. You are welcome to put this on your class website, blog, or send it home with a summer fun packet.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when you travel with children. And if you’ll read these tips, I bet your fellow passengers will thank you for being on top of the game! Take advantage of the one-on-one time with your child by giving them 100% of your attention. After all, isn’t family time the best part of any vacation?

Planning Ahead
Several days before the trip start talking about your adventure and give details about what is going to happen. Have children close their eyes as you describe the trip – checking in at the airport - going through security - waiting for your flight to be called – getting on the plane and fastening your seatbelt – taking off – looking out the window – landing – how much fun you’ll have on your vacation, etc. Explain that there are many other people who will be sharing a small space on the plane and that everyone needs to be respectful and use their best manners and quiet voices. The pilots and flight attendants are there to keep everybody safe, so you will have to listen carefully to them.

Let your child pack a bag full of special objects that they want to carry on the plane. (You’ll have to give some guidelines for this so they don’t try and bring their entire collection of stuffed animals.) A few books, a notebook and markers, a card game, a bedtime buddy or blanket, and some healthy snacks should do the trick. You might also suggest a change of clothes, tissues, and bandaids in case of emergencies.
Note! I did not suggest a computer or IPad. Parents, you can pack this in your bag and save it for emergencies. Too often children play with these while waiting for their flights to take off and then they are bored by the time they get on the plane.
After going through security, walk around and look out the windows at the other planes. Look at all the passengers and guess where they might be going. Talk about special things that your child hopes to do on the trip. If the flight is delayed you can play “I Spy,” “Tic Tac Toe,” “Hangman” or another quiet game. Oh, and don’t forget a last minute stop in the restroom!

Taking Off
When boarding a plane, you’ll find most pilots enthusiastic about meeting children and letting them take a “peek” inside the cockpit. Can your child find her own seat? Once seated, encourage your child to explore her space. (It’s fine to open and shut the window shade a few times, look in the seat pocket, talk about the airsick bag, etc.) Playing with the flight attendant call button is NOT ALLOWED! When the boarding door has closed, then everyone must buckle up!

Up in the Air
Once you are in the air, it’s time to open the backpack and read some books, play a game, draw some pictures, or eat a snack. If a beverage is served, show your child how to put down their tray and discuss their selection. Keep on talking and engaging your child.

O.K. Now, it’s time to get out the iPad or computer and watch a movie. Wait until the last possible moment to do this. This is like the 8th inning stretch on the plane. (I might also recommend a bag of M & M’s – for emergencies only!)

Before you know it you will hear those magic words, “Please fasten your seatbelts. We will be landing shortly.”

Remember, YOU are the parent and you are directing this event. With a happy, positive, attitude you’ll have a great flight and the other passengers will as well! How many opportunities do you have to give your child 100% of your attention? That may be the best part of your trip!

Wishing you safe and happy travels!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


What child doesn’t like cartoons? And what child wouldn’t be thrilled to have the opportunity to create their own cartoon? 

Save your funny papers from the Sunday newspaper and take them to share with your class. (All of them will not be appropriate, so select the ones you think your children will enjoy.) Explain how cartoonists use “bubbles” to let you know what the characters are saying. Tell the children that they will get to draw their own cartoons and they can use bubbles to let their characters talk.

Attached are cartoon frames with 2, 3, and 4 sections. Start off by giving them copies of the cartoon frame with 2 sections. Tell them to think of a story that has a beginning and an end and draw it. 
Next, let them think of a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Finally, challenge them to create a story with 4 sections.

*Use cartoon frames to recall the sequence of a story.

*Use cartoon frames for the life cycle of a butterfly, the water cycle, plant growth, and so forth.

*Let them draw a picture of you and make a bubble with something you frequently say coming out of your mouth.  You might be surprised!!!!

Here's a link so you can download the blank cartoon frames:


You might not be able to catch a real fish, but you can certainly 
catch an idea with Gold Fish crackers today.

You’ve got to love Gold Fish crackers. They don’t have sugar, they are not messy, they are not expensive, and they are perfect for many math activities.

Prepare snack size bags with colored fish so children can dive into these activities…

Estimation- How many fish are in your bag?

Counting- Count and see how many you have.
Did you estimate more or less?
Is it an odd or even number?

Sorting- How can you sort the fish?

Graphing – How many of each color? 

Patterning- Can you make a pattern with the fish?

Addition and Subtraction – Make sets and join them together.
Eat and subtract. Can you make up a number story with the fish?

Catch and Eat 
You’ll need large pretzel rods, peanut butter (or cream cheese), and fish crackers for this snack. Dip the end of the pretzel rod (fishing pole) in the bait (peanut butter) and see how many fish you can catch and eat. 
There’s even a website ( where you can learn about Finn and his friends and play games.   

Rainbow Fish
After reading "Rainbow Fish," cut strips of paper 8  1/2" by 1  1/4."  Cut slits half way through 1 1/2" from each end as shown.  Children can color their fish and then hook the tabs to make a fish. Toss in the air and watch your fish fly!!!
P.S.  Older kids could use ROY G. BIV to color their fish.