St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Activities

Well, so if you’re homeschooling, you may not officially have a Spring Break… or if you are public/private schooling, you may have kids who are constantly wanting SOMETHING to keep them busy!  Either way, I’ve got two fun activities for you that kids of all ages could enjoy this week as we prepare for St. Patrick’s Day.

First, if you’ve got kids under age 7, who are working on spelling, reading, or even just recognizing their color words, this super fun and easy craft stick rainbow activity is for you!  I wrote for my kids, but for older kids you could easily practice spelling and handwriting in a small space by having them write the color words on the sticks.  (Or older siblings can write for the younger ones!)

I simply had my kids squeeze glue (working on those fine motor skills!) onto the back of a thick paper plate (to provide a nice solid backing).  Then, lay the labeled craft sticks in order of the rainbow.  (I purchased colored craft sticks at Walmart, but you could also have them color or paint plain sticks.)  Then stretch your cotton balls and glue on top.  Once it is totally dry, you can cut off the excess plate and display your beautiful rainbow!

I wish I could take total credit for this next idea, but I can’t.  I saw on Pinterest somewhere a cute rainbow handprint painted sign… and then I downloaded this FREE set from Teachers Pay Teachers that was created by Lindsey from The Teacher Wife.  The two activities melded together well.

The thing I love about her free printable activity is that it’s very flexible for kids of all ages and stages.  To make my pots, I simply cut black construction paper out around Lindsey’s pot template and then cut out the coins from her template from yellow construction paper.  Becca decided she would draw her picture first, and then tell me what to write about it.  She is the one who picked that it would be a friend theme – the actual writing template says “Who is worth more to you than gold?”  She decided that Gray’s should have his friends, too, so I used the blank pieces from the set and just printed out pictures of him with his friends since he wasn’t interested in drawing them on the paper.  I just asked him who he wanted me to include and he told me.

There are multiple other template options in the set that would work for a variety of different ages.  In fact, the two blank pot pieces I used for Gray’s pictures could also easily be used in comic strip fashion and made into a pot of gold comic book by your older artists who are really dying for an engaging project this week.  I would love to see how you modify this to make it your own!

The rainbow painting was simple – I just pulled out paint, painted each child’s hand for each color, and used legal length paper to fit the most handprints together on one page.

**Note – baby wipes work great to get paint off between each color, and then you can do in-depth soap and water cleaning when you’re all done.  I prefer to use acrylic paints because they dry quickly, but they are prone to staining clothing, so if you prefer, use a washable finger paint or add dish soap to tempera paint before using.


Rainbow Science with Celery!

Looking for a fun, easy, and inexpensive science project to keep your kiddos excited this Spring Break in prep for St. Patrick’s Day?  Here’s a project that you can take as in depth as you want, or just set it up and leave it and look back every day!

What you’ll need are some tall cups (we used some old plastic ones), red, yellow, and blue food coloring, water, and some celery.  You’ll also need some kitchen shears or a knife to trim and split the stalks.

For our experiment, we set a control group of three stalks – one in each color – and then we also had our experimental group to see if the colors would mix and blend together over time.  We talked about why scientists often have a control group, and in this case we wanted to be able to simply watch the capillary action without the color mixing aspect.  For our control group, we also chose to use stalks with no leaves.  (Becca’s idea – remember, to follow your child’s lead and have them share their reasoning behind their ideas.  Learning comes through experiencing!)  In the control group, we created several small slits in the base of the celery stalks to speed the absorption of the colors.

Then for our color blending experiment, we split the celery stalks down the center, about halfway up the stalk, and then created smaller slits in the base of the stalks just like in the control group.  By putting the three glasses of red, yellow, and blue water into a triangle, we could easily stick a stalk into red and yellow, one in yellow and blue, and one in blue and red.  We talked about which colors we were trying to create, and Becca told Gray all about how mixing colors works, which was a great learning experience for both of them.

Then, Becca made her predictions.  She predicted that the blue would climb the stalk the fastest, and that purple would be the first color combination we would see show up.

By just a few hours in, the blue color in the control group was already showing, and hints of blue were showing in the experimental group as well.  She was so excited that her first prediction was correct!  We’ll leave the celery stalks out for one week and discover if the colors will blend in the stalks, or if they will stay as separate colors.

For older kids, you can easily use this lesson to discuss how roots distribute water to the rest of the plant, and even to illustrate how our blood vessels carry blood to the rest of our bodies.

ALTERNATE IDEA: If you have easy access to white carnations, they are easy to do this with, as well, and the results are quite lovely (and will be pretty to look at for quite a while.)  Just be careful when you split the stems in half to put into the colored water because they are easily breakable.  Also, you won’t need to create slits in the base of the stem, simply make sure to cut the stem at an angle for optimum water absorption.

Looking for easy and fun rainbow activities for your toddlers?  Check out these ides from my friend, Melissa over at Rolling Prairie Readers!

Writing About Thankfulness


In my original post in this series, I mentioned setting up a Thankful Journal for Becca, and I showed how I put it together.  I wanted to show you how my original plan evolved, and what we’re doing.  Becca has decided also that she wants to do her journal every day until the book is full!  So, at least for now, we’re thinking we’ll keep doing this beyond November.


I had her practice her handwriting to write the title on the cover, and then she has been having great fun looking through magazines to find illustrations for things she is thankful for.  Right now, I’m writing “I am thankful for” and then she finishes the sentence and writes the date.  We practice sounding out the words to figure out how to spell them, and I help her with silent letters or tricky spellings.

I love her beginning handwriting – her periods are gigantic, and so are her letters. Many of her letters are backwards, and some end up sideways. Early writing is so cute!

Another super fun writing activity that we did, I actually wrote the words, but she came up with them.  We did this Thankful Alphabet activity, which is a free printable found here.


Then we hung it on the refrigerator with Grayson’s list of friends he is thankful for (See my Toddler Thanksgiving post here).  The kids love having their thankful lists on the fridge!


Yup. That says “Lepidopterists” on L, and “Unicorns” on U. Because that’s the world we live in – one that is very scientific and based in fact, but dusted with glitter, fairy dust, and lots of make believe. 🙂

Looking for more fun FREE Thanksgiving writing and handwriting printables?  Just click on the pictures below to see what else we’re working on this month!






Seed Study: Collecting and Sorting


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It also contains links to previous posts to give you even more ideas…
happy reading!

It’s that time!!  Fall is upon us, and here in South Texas we’ve finally had a couple days with highs below 80F!  It’s actually jacket weather in the early mornings, and it’s going to be time very soon for this gardener to get back outside and clean up my flower beds that turned to weeds in the heat of the summer.  Becca has been feeling the change in the air, too… and has been begging to get outside and explore again, which is awesome!

A few weeks back (in the heat of the summer when we spent a LOT of time in the cool of The DoSeum), I came across this book in their library and fell in love.  (A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston) I ordered it for “such a time as this” and the other day we pulled it out to read before going on a seed hunt!  Becca was so excited to see our Texas Mountain Laurel seeds on the front cover- since our property is simply covered in Mountain Laurels!  I love that the author incorporates LOTS of different plant seeds, talks about how various seeds are transferred and planted naturally, and also shows timelines of how long various seeds take to sprout and produce fruit!  The illustrations by Sylvia Long are gorgeous, and it’s definitely a page turner that Becca loved – she begged to read it again when we got back inside, and also used it as a reference guide on our walk when she had questions.  (And I can’t wait to get more of Dianna’s books – she has several that I’ve added to our wishlist!)

So what did we do exactly?  First, we read the book.  Then, we grabbed a bucket and headed outside with Daisy.  We looked everywhere for seeds.  At first, she was just seeing Mountain Laurels and acorns on the ground.  But then her eye started getting more keen and she started looking AROUND instead of just down.  And then she started looking UP!  She was amazed at all of the seeds everywhere!  We collected seeds along our way through our nature trail (we live on an acre and a half of very wooded land), and then before we came inside, I showed her that Daisy had been collecting seeds for us, too!  What a fabulous way to see how animals transfer seeds!  She was in awe.  (If you don’t have this availability on your property, take a trip to your local wooded park or along the bank of the closest stream, etc.)

So, we brought our seeds inside, and then sorted them by the seeds that were obviously just seeds, and by what looked to be seeds inside seed pods.  We talked about how the pods don’t drop their seed until just the right time, and she explored opening a couple of the pods and discovered that they didn’t all have seeds!  One had a spider web, and it appeared the spider had probably eaten the seeds early on.  Another had shriveled, tiny seeds.  And yet another had a whole, healthy seed.  It was a great way to talk about how appearances on the outside aren’t everything – all of the seed pods looked the same on the outside.  She was ready to move on to a different activity, so I didn’t dwell on the character lesson, but the seed did get planted, so to speak. 😉

There was also a door left open to do more research about seeds – she wasn’t sure if the flowers that had seeds in their centers were considered seed pods or not, and she wasn’t sure about a couple of the weeds that we collected – and wants to know how their seeds get transferred.  So, there is plenty of room for more discussion and research, which we will do at the library next time.

There is also room to go back and review the sunflower life cycle unit that we did last fall – so glad I laminated everything! 🙂 (not an affiliate link, just giving credit where credit is due – it’s a great unit she has set up!)

What are you doing to get your kids outside as the weather begins to turn cooler?  Here are some other fall ideas you might enjoy!

Fall Tree Activities

Leaf collection in your yard or a local park
Sorting by color/size/shape
Pressing/Leaf art
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert   My post about Leaf Man
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

Apple picking at a local orchard (or even the grocery store if you don’t have an orchard close by)
Sorting by color and/or size (order largest to smallest)
Counting (put in groups to add, subtract, or even multiply or divide)
Making applesauce
Also check out my apple theme box here
And my apple activity center here
Apple Picking Day by Candice Ransom
Apples by Gail Gibbons

Pumpkin selection at a pumpkin patch
Cut one open, sort and count seeds after estimating how many are inside
Making a jack-o-lantern, talk about what facial expressions say about our emotions
The Legend of Spookley The Square Pumpkin by Joe Troiano
The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons

Never can get enough books?  Me neither!  Check out more of our favorite Fall Reads here!

Busy Hands, Happy Heart


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Most of my posts here are about homeschooling Becca, but this one is all about what to do with the little ones… and highlights what I do to keep Gray occupied so Sis can learn.  (And SHHHH! he’s learning, too!)  Keeping your toddler occupied while your older child does homeschool is NOT easy!  But hopefully a few of these ideas will inspire you and be helpful on your journey!


One thing we really struggle with with Gray is that he still likes to put things in his mouth – a lot.  I can’t just give him an activity and pay total attention to Sis.  So, I have to very carefully select what he does when I’m busy with her.  He loves our pop beads set – so when I’m teaching her, I pull out only the large beads on a tray and let him sit on the bench right next to me in our family room (which doubles as our homeschool room).

-homeschool work area-

If we are doing something downstairs at the dining room table, he gets to do play dough next to me, and loves to make prints in the dough.  We have little stackers, dominoes, construction trucks, and dinosaurs that all make awesome dough stamps, not to mention our fabulous cookie cutter set.  He can stay occupied with play dough for almost an hour!  (Plus, I make my own dough, so I can make it any color I want, and he loves to take two different colors of dough and squish them together… which works on those fine AND gross motor skills all at the same time!)

Back upstairs in the family room, we have a little Duplo table (this is the one I’d like to get once we move up to only Legos) and some diaper boxes full of Duplos that Gray loves to build with.  Then we also have big wooden blocks (that my dad made for me when I was little!) with which he can build larger-scale items.  We also keep crayons and coloring books readily available so that he can color when Sis is illustrating – because nothing is more exciting and makes you feel big and important like coloring when Sis is coloring.  And he has been enjoying playing with window clings that I got from Dollar Tree!

There are so many fabulous things you can get your little ones excited about that are going to stretch them and help them grow their fine AND gross motor skills.


Pretend play is so important for little ones, and Gray is all about pretending.  He is fairly quiet with his pretend play, so he doesn’t distract Sis too much.  If you have a louder child who likes to play really loudly, you might want to skip this section and move on down to the academic ideas, leaving the pretend play for non-school times.

Gray loves our new set of felt dinosaurs.  He likes to tell little stories with the dinosaurs, and can either use the portable board with which they came, or can use the larger cork board that I covered with felt that is up in our family room.  I love that both kids can stand together at the easel and play, or he can play alone right next to me while she works.  He also loves to drive his cars and trains on the activity rug that sits on the floor next to me, and cook “meals” for us in their kitchen, which is across the room. (This link is to a similar set – ours is no longer sold.)

He also loves to grab a reusable shopping bag and pretend he’s shopping, play dress up, and play with Little People figures.  The beauty of doing school in our family room is the multiplicity of options to keep him entertained.  We do not choose to have the tv on during school time.  That is far too distracting for Becca.


Sometimes there is just no other way than to teach her with him sitting in my lap or standing right next to me.  (His love language is touch.)  For those times, I have some little academic activities that aren’t distracting to her that I can do with him while she is working independently.  We have number puzzles matching the numerals 1-10 to their values, and he can sometimes do 1-5 alone.  Sometimes he gets frustrated when they don’t fit exactly together (fine motor work!), but I can help him.

He also loves our pattern block shapes that I made out of thick colored card stock and laminated.  I use them with Sis as math manipulatives, and he also loves to sort them out and try to count them.  You can print your own here for free!

I have also laminated some little basic puzzles that have come out of magazines the kids get – he loves to put the three pieces together to make the trucks, and can put them together wrong to be silly and it’s ok, so he feels very successful with those.

I love the Target dollar section.  Sometimes I get surprised and find a $3 item that I love and just have to have, but normally I stick to the $1 stuff.  I got some really neat felt sticker numbers there (for $1), and placed one each on a set of 10 index cards so that he can actually FEEL the number, and attempts to put them in order.

He loves so much the big bin of Scrabble letter tiles at the DoSeum, so I finally bought this set so that he can play with the letters at home – and Sis can use them for spelling practice!  They are both so excited to have their own letter tiles at home now!  Sis also enjoys playing Scrabble Jr, so this now gives him letter tiles to play with, without messing up the board while we are playing!

I hope that you find these ideas helpful, and I so appreciate you purchasing via my affiliate links!  What helpful hints do you have to share?  What do you like to do with your toddler?  And which of these ideas that I’ve shared are you ready to try this week?  Let me know!  I love to hear from you!  Send me comments, and please be sure to head over to my Facebook Page to get involved in the discussion!