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Monday, December 5, 2016

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{FREE} Snowman Counting Puzzles

Snowmen, snow, counting, skip counting, and more! These fun little puzzles were a delight to make and have been popular ever since I printed them off!



You can use them with kids in preschool, kindergarten, and some first graders. They are perfect for reviewing number recognition, counting, skip counting, recognizing patterns in numbers, and reviewing the names of numbers up to 100.

Here are a few ideas of ways to use them:

* Let your kiddos put them together by themselves.

* Use them as a station rotation.

* Provide magnets and a vertical metal surface (like a door, white board, or fridge) and let your kiddos assemble them vertically.

* Pull out counters and let your child place the corresponding number of counters on each strip as the puzzle is assembled.

* Challenge your kiddo to choose two strips and add the numbers together!

What else can you try?



Click HERE to get a {FREE} copy of the snowman village counting puzzle!



This is part of my HUGE series of holiday and winter printables that I am offering this month...It's my Christmas present to you! I'll be putting up a new printable every day until Christmas -- you can find them all HERE! They are all a little different -- some are only one page, some are more, some focus on math skills, some focus on reading skills, some are holiday themed, some are Christmas themed, etc! But, they are all FREE and I hope you love them!!



And if you're looking for more snow themed activities, be sure to check out our snowflake ornaments, fizzing snow dough, and paper towel roll snowmen!





Happy Educating,
Carla












Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!



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Yummy Honey Gingerbread House Cookie Recipe & Decorating

A child with a sugar intolerance complicates Christmas. Luckily she can have honey and molasses! Decorating sugar cookies at Christmastime has been a tradition for years, but now we are changing our tradition to decorating honey gingerbread cookies! And I have to tell you...even my other sugar-loving children thought these gingerbread cookies were amazing! We sweetened them with honey and flavored them with a gentle combination of spices to make a mild gingerbread flavor that all my kids loved!



Even without frosting, the kids were eating these as fast as they came out of the oven! With frosting, everyone acted like they were in cookie heaven!



The trick to getting a soft, moist texture is to pull them out of the oven as soon as they are done cooking. Do not overbake! The edges will just start to turn a light brown when they are done. Pull them out, let them sit on the pan for about two minutes (or until they are firm enough to pull off the pan), and let them finish cooling on a rack.



Once they were cooled we talked about shapes and assembled our gingerbread house cookies with squares and triangles. Then we scooped frosting into a ziplock bag and cut a corner off so the kids could decorate their cookies easily.



When we actually got to decorating, the kids' creativity took over and the cookies magically morphed into stars, robots, and more!



My kids totally love the mild gingerbread and sweet honey flavor these soft cookies had. (If I make "spicy" gingerbread cookies, I get to eat them all myself, lol!) And my little sugar-intolerant kiddo loved being able to eat them with everyone else.



I think I've "talked" about them for long enough, so here is the recipe:

Yummy Honey Gingerbread Cookie Recipe:


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups honey
1 egg
1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4-5 cups flour

1- Cream the butter, molasses, and honey together until they are smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until it is smooth again.

2- Add 3 cups of flour, the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and beat until it is smooth. Add the remaining flour. You want just enough flour so that it is not too sticky.

3- Refrigerate at least an hour. Sidenote: I always get impatient at this point! I used a tablespoon to "drop" some cookies onto a cookie sheet, and I flattened them down to 1/4 inch thick with the back of a lightly greased spoon. They cooked up beautifully, and we all enjoyed a cookie right away! We all loved them, even without frosting! I put the rest of the dough in the fridge and we finished rolling out and cooking them the next day. :) 

4- Take the dough out of the fridge and lightly flour your counter.  Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. We used the back of a knife to cut out squares and triangles for the houses and cookie cutters for the other shapes. The kids insisted on creating all sorts of other unique shapes with the dough too!




My daughter braided this one:



5- Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Watch your cookies closely! Many of our small cookies only took 6 minutes! As soon as they start to brown on the outside, pull the pan out of the oven. Let them cool on the pan for about 2 minutes, or until they are firm enough to hold together while you move them. Let them finish cooling on a cooling rack.

6- Have a blast decorating your cookies!!

I absolutely love seeing their creative baking work! Here are some of their "fancy" cookies that were eaten before the frosting came out:


And here are some of the decorated cookies:




We made these honey gingerbread cookies to go with the Gingerbread Theme this week at the Virtual Book Club for Kids!!


The featured book is The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth (Amazon Affiliate Links below):



One of my all time favorite gingerbread books (featured in my preschool curriculum HEEP) is The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires:



This week co-hosts for the Virtual Book Club will be sharing loads of gingerbread activities! Join in the fun on Facebook and try out some of the activities below:

Name Activities
Gingerbread Man DIY Maths Maniulpatives - Rainy Day Mum

Color Activities

Movement Activities



Happy Educating,
Carla









I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Saturday, December 3, 2016

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Science Christmas Tree

My 3-year old actually started our science Christmas tree when we were unpacking a new set of spring scales.


I ordered a set of physics supplies like spring scales and pulleys, and they happened to arrive between the time when we had put lights on the tree and pulled out our regular ornaments.  Everyone was so excited about the new science supplies that I secretly thought we should have saved them to use as Christmas presents (I'm sure I'm not the only homeschool mom who has thoughtd like that)! Anyway, less than 5 minutes after they came out of the box, my daughter hung one on the tree.

At first I made her take it off...after all, we have ornaments! But as the day went on I changed my mind. Why not?!! I invited the kids to pick out science supplies to decorate the Christmas tree with...and we had a blast!



The kids did 90% of the decorating...they strung and hung magnets, magnifying glasses, pulleys, spring scales, a ruler, tape, a motor, flashlight, graduated cylinders, beakers, bolts, and more. They even put a flower on the top because "nature is science too!"

It was truly a work of art! I totally wished I had thought of it back when I was teaching...a science Christmas tree in a science classroom would have been so cool!



We had so much fun making our science themed Christmas tree that we just might start a themed Christmas tree tradition. I would love to make a scrapbook with a different themed tree every year! We'll have to see how next year goes!


Happy Educating,
Carla









I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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{FREE} Preschool Christmas Printable Dot-to-Dot & Color

Today's free preschool printable is stocking themed!



This is perfect if you need a preschool Christmas printable, something to practice counting, number recognition, or patterns with, or just a fancy schmancy coloring page!

It also pairs great with hanging up stockings and reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas!


Here are a few ideas of things you can do with this free preschool Christmas printable:


* Count the dots and connect them as you go (of course! I had to put this out there, lol!)

* Color the page in with crayons, colored pencils, markers, or paints!

* Smear glue in one section at a time and fill in the glue with colored beans or beads!

* Glue cut yarn or fabric to the stocking!

* Color it with a pattern!

* Cut out the stocking when you're done and glue it onto a homemade card!

* Use a poking tool to poke holes in each dot before or after you connect them!



Click HERE to download a FREE stocking dot-to-dot and color picture!!

Stocking clipart is by Growing Smart Readers and used with permission.

This is part of my HUGE series of holiday and winter printables that I am offering this month...It's my Christmas present to you! I'll be putting up a new printable every day until Christmas -- you can find them all HERE! They are all a little different -- some are only one page, some are more, some focus on math skills, some focus on reading skills, some are holiday themed, some are Christmas themed, etc! But, they are all FREE and I hope you love them!!







Happy Educating,
Carla












I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Christmas Supplies STEM Investigation: Tape Fingerprints

You've been wrapping presents. You have tape everywhere. Your kids want something fun to do. Grab the tape. It's time for a little fingerprint STEM investigation!



There are actually LOTS of ways to "capture" fingerprints! The method I'm sharing today works great for all ages...young preschoolers included! Check out how well it made this fingerprint:



And while we had loads of fun investigating our fingerprints today with tape we bought for wrapping presents (lol!), it occurred to me that you could actually do this STEM investigation any time of the year...as long as you have lots of tape sitting around. (This is me warning you...your kiddos will want to do this over and over and over. With every finger. More than once. But they will love it. And now you are warned!)

Simple Supplies: 

* scotch tape
* #2 pencil (this is important...#3 is much harder to work with!)
* white paper (you could use wrapping paper if you wanted...)
* optional: magnifying glass

Easy How To:

1- Rub the pencil on the paper until you have a nice black spot.

2- Roll your finger in the graphite.



3- Carefully press a piece of tape onto your blackened finger.


4- Carefully stick the tape to a white sheet of paper so you can examine your fingerprint!


Once your kiddos know one way to make fingerprints, they will want to explore their own fingers and prints in amazing detail. This is wonderful! This kind of investigation is at the heart of STEM. As my children tested their own fingerprints, here are some of the things they discovered:

1- Each person has unique fingerprints.

2- Each finger on each hand has unique fingerprints.  (The kids had fun comparing their own fingers, each others' fingers, and famous people's fingerprints like Walt Disney and Malcom X!)

3- There are three main patterns in the prints. (You can learn more about arches, loops, and whorls here.)

4- Fingerprints are made by wrinkles in the skin.

5- When you take a long bath your fingerprints will look a little different. (Fingerprints actually come from folds in your skin during months of growing in utero!)

6- The kids also talked about designing different ways to "capture" and store fingerprints, but they were detailed enough that they deserve a post of their own.  :)

7- Each time you take fingerprints, you should make a new "pile" of graphite...using one "drawing" twice or drawing in the same spot twice doesn't work as well as drawing a new pile of graphite every time.


You could also extend this into a lab where you provide a "mystery" fingerprint and your kids need to figure out who left it...perhaps you "caught" a cookie thief fingerprint!


This week I've been joining up with Sarah at Little Bins for Little Hands and sharing STEM activities you can do with Christmas supplies like wrapping paper, cookie cutters, and tape!



Click HERE to see our BIG collection of *easy* STEM ideas you can do with Christmas supplies!!













Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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