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Donna Young homeschool planners, calendars, chore lists, attendance sheets and more
Get organized for Christmas — It’s not at all close to Christmas, but this website is so useful, I thought it was still worth a mention. It has free printables on any subject you need to get ready for the holiday season — gift lists, holiday budget, holiday cards, stocking stuffers, cleaning goals, and more!
If I plan to teach about a specific theme or topic I almost always start by searching these websites:
Activity Village - They have craft ideas, coloring pages, printables for most any preschool, early elementary theme you can imagine! A wonderful resource
File Folder Fun – free file folder games for preschool through 3rd grade. There are games for the young ones on colors, number recognition, phonics, and get more complex in the older grades (skip counting, fractions, multiplication, history, science, language arts (punctuation, for example) and more.
Freebies from the Homeschool Den — I may as well mention my own freebies, right? I’ve shared everything from a free Rocks and Minerals packet and human body notebooking pages to grammar practice worksheets to preschool math practice, math game boards, fun multiplication sheets and more.
Free Preschool Materials and Resources:
Free “Sam” Phonics Readers — 52 phonics readers shared by Dr. Marriot at his website. This beginning reading program was developed in 1977 and since it was federally funded, federal law requires that the program be placed in the public domain. I used the entire series with my preschooler last year. From there we went on to a wonderful program that we purchased called Primary Phonics Storybook Starter Sets. We started with 1 and 1A and continued up through set 6.
Dynamic 2 Moms – This is a great site for homeschoolers in elementary school. They offer lots of free lapbook, notebook and unit studies materials. Topics include Ancient Civilizations, Daniel Boone, the Rainforest, Lewis and Clark, Westward Expansion, Carnivorous Plants, Toads and much more!
Free Math Resources:
Timez Attack – This just has to go first in the list because this online game is so amazing! It’s a program for learning, review times tables from 2-12. The graphics are impressive. There’s a free version and a paid version.
PEP: Multiple Ways Multiplication — free 295 page multiplication program that has kids skip counting, playing card games and filling out various multiplication sheets to learn the multiplication facts
Mathwire.com – has wonderful, hands-on math activities to bring math to life. You can look up any number of themes (children’s books, holidays, animals, and on and on). Go browsing if you have the time!
Dad’s Worksheets: Over 6,000 free math worksheets. You can print them or work online.
Kids Count 1234–Looking for great math games, printables and ideas for your kindergartner or 1st grader? Be sure to check out the material shared by Shari. Look down the list and click on Math Centers and Games.
Khan Academy: Literally hundreds of videos, from basic arithmetic up to advanced math like calculus and trigonometry.
Math Tub Fun–This collection of one teacher’s math tub ideas is really terrific.
Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op – Before buying any curriculum from preschool on up, be sure to check this co-op which gives homeschoolers more buying power. It’s free to join and the savings are often up to 45% off. For example, right now you can get 25% off Rosetta Stone, 25% off Reading Eggs and 25% off BrainPop.
Used Homeschool Curriculum:
I have used Homeschool Classified a half-dozen times and find it a great place to buy used homeschool curriculum. It’s not free, but I thought it was worth a mention since I have saved so much money buying gently used materials!
Family Activity Ideas, Money Saving Tips, and more:
Yesterday someone asked me how the tune to the 7 Continents song goes that we use in geography. We decided to try our hand making a video to help. ED sang the song by herself the first time through… then all the kids joined in the other two times.
When they were first learning the seven continents they pointed (at first with my help) to each continent. When they were a little older they put the label on the map. I used straight pins and this was always a supervised activity (use your judgement with your own kids). Last month, ED was learning about the world animals and she put the animal cards on each continent (the last time we sang through the song). Keep in mind when we usually do this… we sing it much, much slower as they struggle to figure out where things go, etc. but we didn’t want to turn the video into a snoozer so they sang it through pretty quickly.
We had a number of bloopers and flubs (which made us roll on the floor laughing this evening), but this version went fairly well! So… here are the kids in their very first you-tube video!
If you want to print out and make your own Montessori materials, here are the posts where you’ll find those free downloads…
As I mentioned on Friday, ED has been working on her world geography. She has spent a couple of weeks going over the 7 continents again and working with some Montessori 3-part cards I made for her. They are probably available elsewhere, but I wanted both small cards to place on each continent and some larger ones so she could work on word-matching.
Once she was pretty familiar with the animals on each continent, I brought out the Montessori 3-part cards. I printed out two sets of each and cut out the animals and word labels. She had to match them to the picture.
At the end of the week, I challenged her to match the word to the picture (without the control card)!
We also brought out all our plastic animals and she spent a couple of days sorting those onto the world map as well:
She also did a sticker activity of the world animals. We got a set of 12 from Oriental Trading:
After I made this post, someone overseas asked me if I could teach them the 7-continents song. The kids made a little video to show how
If you are interested, you can print out your own world animal cards. They come both as large cards and as smaller versions of the same cards. I’ve been doing this activity with the kids since they were about 3 years old.
After I made this post, someone overseas asked me if I could teach them the 7-continents song. The kids made a little video to show how we used these cards. Here’s the post – Kids Sing the 7 Continents Song. Or click on the picture which will take you to the post where the video is located:
If you found these useful, I would love to hear from you either here or over at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page! That’s also a great place to go catch up on some of the posts you might have missed lately. I keep a running list of all our posts there.
We love books! When we lived overseas, the local library was quite lacking and we wound up with quite a collection of board books by the time all three kids were born! ED still looks at these books pretty regularly and we’ll keep them around as she becomes a more confident reader (she’s still just reading simple 3 and 4 letter words). We actually have gotten rid of lots of board books already, but these books are keepers!
I’ll share a bit about them with you below:
I Went Walking is in the same style as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I read this over and over when the kids were tots.
The Napping House and Guess How Much I Love You were especially beloved when the kids were around 3 or so. ED still really loves Guess How Much I Love You — and she chooses this once every few weeks. She’ll often say I love you all the way to the trees and back… alluding to the lovely message in this book!
Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Put Me in the Zoo were never the #1 favorites of my kids, though we read them pretty regularly.
This row of books, were ones I read to the kids SO SO SO often when they were babies! The rhythm and rhymes of Sheep in a Jeep and Jamberry are really appealing. Baby Chick’s Day was the favorite of all three kids when they were 9-18 months old or so. All three of my kids learned to sign “bird” because of this book! It has a lovely little story and the tummy makes a little squeak. The kids also loved the textured books at that age like Touch and Feel Wild Animals, but they were so well used and loved, they got worn out and passed along. Big Red Barn is by the same author as Goodnight Moon.
Polar Bear, Polar Bear is the same basic storyline as Brown Bear, Brown Bear. For some reason, Brown Bear didn’t make it into this set of photos (it must be hidden elsewhere in ED’s room!). We still have these around because ED will “read” them aloud to herself! Crazy Colours (obviously I bought that in Australia (where all 3 of my kids were born), right?!!) was another favorite of the kids when they were tiny tots (9-18 months) because they lifted the flap as we read. I remember reading I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly to LD every single day, 3-times a day when my son was about two!! Sometimes I thought that book would never end because I was so tired (I was pregnant with DD at the time). The Owl and the Pussycat has lovely pictures (by Jan Brett). And Go Dog, Go! was another must have. Our first copy was loved and gnawed on (by LD) and we got a replacement copy somewhere along the way. My son loved, loved that book!!
All of these books were winners. We did baby-signing with our kids and I signed a lot of the words in Goodnight Moon! Good Night, Gorilla has no words, but I had to “read” it to the kids very, very regularly. My kids loved the books I Don’t Want to Go to Bed and I Don’t Want to Take a Bath. And–who doesn’t know (and love?!) Wheels on the Bus?! I used to read that one with the kids on my knee and would bounce them “up and down, up and down, up and down…. the wheels on the bus go up and down all around the town!”
Eric Carle’s books have been well loved here at the Homeschool Den… and we’ve even done a number of crafts based on his books:
One of the wonderful things I love about homeschooling is all the hands-on activities you can do with kids. In the preschool years, I scoured the Internet and various science experiment books to find things that would intrigue and excite the kids… and that they could have a hand in doing. Most of the things we did were done using household ingredients.
As you can see from the previous posts in this series, we did do some more traditional preschool activities like learning letter sounds and learning about numbers, but my main goal in the 2-4 year old age range was to keep the kids intrigued and engaged.
So how did I fit science in when I had a newborn, 2 and 4 year old? Well, I generally planned things out on a Sunday night. Mondays were usually our science experiment days. I usually covered over the tray so the kids couldn’t see what we’d be doing to add spice and excitement to the activity! These activities really only lasted 10-20 minutes (plus clean up), but seeing the kids so engaged made that extra effort worth it.
Here are a few examples some things we did when my kids were 2 and 4 years old…
One day we talked about liquids. We learned that some liquids are more dense (heavy) than others. We put oil and colored water into a bottle. Then we added honey and watched what happened.
If you’ve glanced through various Montessori blogs, you’ll see that pouring is wonderful skill to build dexterity, hand strength, fine motor skills… what better practice than to enjoy some science along with it!
Then we wanted to see what would happen when you add milk to oil and water. If you pour slowly and carefully, the milk will form droplets within the oil. You might pour the milk onto a spoon and gently let one drop go at a time or use an eyedropper to squeeze out a drop at a time. The kids loved the way that looked!
Exploding Volcano: Another very fun activity to do with kids is to make a volcano.
We made a paper mache volcano with a plastic soda bottle as the base.
1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup water.
Stir in 2 cups boiling water.
Put newspaper strips in the mixture and glop it onto the plastic bottle. I think their projects were more charming being slopped on haphazardly! Once they were dry (it took several days in dry conditions), we painted ours brown.
Then comes the fun part!! Get your lava ready!
1/2 cup baking soda into the volcano.
In a pitcher mix 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid, red food coloring.
Pour the vinegar mixture into the can and watch the lava flow!
Make Your Own Fossils – The kids made their own fossils several times over the years. The picture below includes some are impressions from LD’s Thunderbird rockets which he was really into at the time (age 4 or so). DD made dinosaur tracks and impressions of a beetle, dragonfly and fly.
The recipe for making fossils is pretty easy:
2-3 Tablespoons used coffee grounds
2/3 cup salt (a little less)
2/3 cup flour
enough cold coffee to make the mixture dough-like
Make your impressions and then bake in a low heated oven for a while (an hour on one side, an hour on the other).
You can print out a copy of these recipes and descriptions by clicking on the link below:
Related Post: You might also be interested in a the 9-page science experiment pack I put together a year or so ago. This includes egg-related experiments, our “fireworks in milk” science activity, yeast blowing up a balloon and others. This link takes you to that post:
If you found these helpful, I’d love to hear from you here or over at my Homeschool Den Facebook Page. I keep a running list of my posts over there, so it’s a quick and easy way to browse through old posts you may have missed.