Category: Other Themes

Fluffy Snow Fun

Although the snow has long since melted here in North Texas, the boys are still talking about it.  So today, I treated the boys to a little bit of snow fun.

Fluffy Snow

Fluffy Snow

2 boxes of cornstarch
shaving cream

1.  Mix the cornstarch and shaving cream together.

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2. Have fun!

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The boys played with our large collection of small figurines.  They buried and reburied the animals.  Thing 3 kept calling it snow.  At the end of the playtime, the boys used the “snow” to have snowball fight.

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It was a great way to spend an hour outside, because I am not sure that I would have convinced the boys to get outside any other way.

Just another day Raising the Cameron Clan!

Do Pumpkins Float or Sink?

After reading Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum and seeing all the different types of pumpkins in the book, I decided that it would be the perfect time to do the simple sink or float experiment.  I wanted to do this simple experiment last year with the boys, but I just ran out of time.  So I was determined to get it done this year.

Pumpkins of various sizes
Anything else that can get wet

1.  Take one object at a time.  Let the kids guess whether it will sink or float and then throw it into the water.
2. Record the results on a chart.

The boys had a great time.  We discussed the real science behind it for a bit, but in the end they understood it was because most of the pumpkins were hollow.

Have you done the sink or float experiment?


{Little Mathematicians} Trains Roll and Graph

Thing 1 is obsessed with trains.  Part of the Saxon 1 math curriculum we are loosely following called for graphing one day this week.  One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is being able to adapt the material to my sons’ interests.  So instead of graphing the hair color in our household, which wouldn’t be a very fun graph, I created a roll and graph activity for Thing 1.  He LOVED it.  He actually asked me if I could print him off another one so that he could have the different colored trains “race” again.

This activity let’s him practice his graphing and counting.  It also allowed us to talk about ordinal numbers as well as what a “tie” is when it comes to competition.

HERE is a copy of the printables I made.  It includes the graph, a paper die to put together or pictures that can be used in a photo cube.

Here are a few other math ideas that go with a train theme.

Train Math Activities

Now it is your turn to share your fun math activities.

1. Please link directly to your specific blog posts. That way we can easily find your idea.
2. Please link back to Raising the Cameron Clan either in a specific blog post or in your sidebar. This will allow others to discover some math fun!
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    Fun @ 4 : 100 and More

    Over the weekend I made some changes to our curriculum and today was the first day we tried to implement some of them.


    To be honest, I haven’t been practicing counting to 100 with Thing 1 like I should have, so today we practiced counting to 100.  Using a hundreds chart and our link cubes, Thing 1 counted to 100.

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    We practiced out sight words from You Can Read Set 8.  We did a couple of the activities from You Can Read then using our our sight family train and magnetic letters, I had Thing 1 practice spelling the words.

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    Thing 1 and I also reviewed the –at family words again, however this time around, I can tell that he has a better grasp of what he is reading rather than just guessing.

    Last up in our reading adventure we continued reading with BoB books.  Today I reintroduced the letter sounds for c and d.  We also, reviewed the sounds from last week.  Then I gave him two words to spell using letter tiles.  I really took the time to slow the words down so that he could “hear” the sounds.  He did great and was able to spell the words pretty quickly.  Then we read pages 1-4 in the book 2 or set 1. 


    We are continuing our study of dinosaurs this week.  Today we talked about stegosaurus.  However, Thing 1 wasn’t interested in doing a craft, he was really in a hurry to finish school so he could go build a train track outside.  We were able to read 2 books about stegosaurus, the we did a quick bubble map about stegosaurs.

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    For handwriting practice, Thing 1 has been choosing one sentence from our bubble map to write.  Today he picked the sentence “Stegosaurus had spikes.”  There are a few letters he has been struggling with and he picked a great sentence to work on those letters.  He did get frustrated, but we were able to work through it.

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     After this it was off to build a huge train track on the back patio.  Love that it is 80+ degrees in November!

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    Fun @ 4: Horned Dinosaurs

    Today was another exciting day of learning.  Some days I wonder who is more excited in our house, me or the boys. 


    We continued You Can Read Unit 7.  We also read half of the second BoB book in set 1.  Thing 1 did great.  I think he just needed a little bit of motivation.

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    In math this week we started talking about fractions.  Using pattern blocks I introduced the idea of a whole and 1/2.  Thing 1 picked up the concept in no time.  He even looked at me at one point and said, “that was easy.”  

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    Horned dinosaurs was our focus today.  So while I read a book about horned dinosaurs, I had Thing 1 look through all of the dinosaurs we have and find the horned dinosaurs.  However the highlight of today’s dinosaur study was making triceratops masks.  Thing 1 wanted to make a pentasaurus mask, but I was having a lot of trouble making horns.  Oh well.  Thing 1 had a great time decorating and making his mask.  The only part I did was making the horns and the string that holds the mask onto his head.

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    What have you done today?

    Fun @ 4: Symmetry and Fossils

    It felt good to finally get back to “doing school” and both boys were excited and willing to do school today.


    Thing 1’s day began as normal, with sight word practice from You Can Read – Unit 7.  I think he enjoys the sight word practice because it is easy. 

    After we did our math for the day, we came back to do a little more reading.  Thing 1 tends to shut down when things are hard.  This has definitely been the case with reading.  So I have been searching for a way to help him break through this barrier. 

    Over the weekend I came up with a new plan.  Thing 1 is a child who works best with proper motivation, otherwise he just shuts down.  When he was potty training, Thing 1 needed a reward (trains.)  Whereas, Thing 2 needed little motivation, he learned in about 3 weeks, with only a little bit of ice cream as a reward.  So I have decided to offer Thing 1 some reward for trying. 

    We are going to use the BoB Books (to start) and work through each book every week.  We will review the letter sounds, work on spelling words using the review letters, and then we will read 2-4 pages together.  Each lesson will be 10 minutes, 15 at the very most.  Each week my goal is to have him read through the entire book two times.  When he is able to do that we will cross that book off the chart I made.  Once we have made it through the entire set, he will get a prize. 

    As I sat down today and explained this plan, he was all for it and very excited.  This is the most motivated he has been about reading in a long time.  He was so motivated that he read through all of book 1 in set 1 twice, thus allowing him to cross it off his list.  No surprise to me he did great, proving what I kind of knew in the first place, was that he was ready and can do it. 

    Set 1: Book 1  Mat
    Reviewed sounds: a, m, t, s, o, n

    We spelled: mat, sat, Sam, on, not, am, mom, man (I think that was all)
    He read pages 1-8 two times.

    Thus tomorrow I will have him go through book 1 again, and then we will move on to book 2. 

    Oh, I have also made a chart with 100 squares on it to record the first 100 books that Thing 1 reads.  Today we were able to add the first book to our chart. 

    I am hoping that this works and we can keep him motivated.


    Today we talked about symmetry using play dough and cookie cutters.  I originally wanted to make cookies, but I ran out of time, so instead we used the play dough. 

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    I would roll out some play dough, then Thing 1 would pull out a cookie cutter and we would make the shape.  We would then "cut” lines into the dough and test to see if they were lines of symmetry.  Some of the shapes were easy for Thing 1 to see, while others he struggled with a little more. 

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    What was great about the play dough is that we could make light cuts into the play dough (not going all the way through) then we were able to fold it over to see if it had symmetry.  If we made a line that wasn’t correct we were able to make the line disappear without having to make a brand new shape.  This definitely helped Thing 1 when he would struggle to find the line of symmetry.

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    Today we began our dinosaur study.  A few weeks back Thing 1 requested that we learn more about dinosaurs next.   He wants to know more than Daddy about dinosaurs, thus our chosen topic. 

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    Our first topic was fossils.  So we read Dinosaur Fossils by Leonie Bennett.  While I read the book, Thing 1 used our dinosaurs and some left over salt dough to make fossils.  However, instead of just pressing the dinosaurs into the salt dough, he buried them, since that is how fossils were made.  This meant that I was not able to put it in the over to dry.  Oh well, at least he took to heart how the fossils were made.  Once he realized that it wasn’t any fun to have the dinosaurs buried, he took them out an started playing with them in the pumpkin spice play dough, which made it look like real dirt. 

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    What fun activities have you done when learning about dinosaurs?

    Our Thankful Tree

    This year, since the boys have a better grasp of what thankful means, I decided it was time to start a thankful tree.  Our tree is pretty simple.  I have a 4 year old, 3 year old and 15 month old.  I needed a tree that would last until Thanksgiving.  So, instead of creating a beautiful tree out of butcher paper or construction paper, I made a tree outline out of electrical tape.

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    Yes, I said electrical tape.  The back of our front door has an outline of a tree make out of electrical tape, and I am happy to say it has lasted  6 days.  Pretty impressive with Thing 3 walking around.

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    Each evening at dinner I ask the kids what they are thankful for that day.  I then write them  down on the leaf and we go and hang the leaf on the tree.  Thing 1, Thing 2, and I each have a specific color leaf.  

    I know what you are thinking, leaves are falling off of trees right now, not going on them.  However, in this house they have to go on the tree because if they fell down, Thing 3 would play them and we would have no leaves for our tree at all.  In the future, I will probably put all the blank leaves on the tree and each day we will take one off, write what we are thankful for and tape it back on near the ground. 

    Do you have any fun ways to remind your kids what the holidays are really about?

    Leaf Impressions

    Today the home learners group that Thing 1 inspired me to create, meet today for another fun learning activity.  The leaves are finally starting to change colors and fall off the trees here in North Texas and the weather has been beautiful.  So we meet at a local park where we then headed out on a nature walk.


    salt dough (1 cup salt, 2 cups flour, 1 cup of water)
    paper plates
    dough rollers
    leaves, flowers, etc..


    First we headed out onto a local trail and let the kids collect.  They collected leaves and flowers.  A few (Thing 1 and Thing 2) collected sticks and acorns.  We also saw a small snake on our walk.  Each kiddo had a bag to hold their treasures.

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    Once we were done collecting or really we told the kids we done collecting we headed back to the park.  Since it was noon, we ate lunch first.  It is all about priorities with the kids.

    Once lunch was over, I provided each kid with a paper plate and some salt dough.  They then worked hard rolling the dough flat.  The rolling pins really came in handy because they helped with the rolling process but also smoothed out the dough so that we had a nice smooth surface for making impressions.

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    After the dough was pretty thin and smooth, we helped the kids place leaves into the dough.  We found that using the rolling pins on top of the leaves helped make the impressions a little more uniformed.  Then the kids would pull the leaves up and we could see the prints. 

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    Thing 1 really enjoyed the project.  He took his time and worked hard to make his impressions work.  Thing 2 never really got around to putting leaves into his salt dough, instead he finished eating and then stuck his trains into the dough.

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    Taking the activity further:

    To take the activity further you can work on classifying the different leaves that you have collected.  Leaves can be classified, by shapes, vein patterns, edges, the tip of the leaf, the bottom of the leaf, whether it is simple or compound, and so on. 

    We are actually going to go into a little more detail about the different types of leaves next week as our science study.  I am excited and yes I am kind of weird like that.

    What have you done with leaves?  

    Linked up at Outdoor Play Party at Momma Pea Pod.



    Fun @ 4: Toilet Paper and the Solar System

    We just about finished our study of the solar system (we will finish up tomorrow since Daddy Cameron will be gone most of the day).  Today, we put all the different parts solar system that we have studied together.  I borrowed yet another idea from my friend who writes at Crunchy and Green.  We took toilet paper and used it to create kind of a scale model of the solar system.  Thing 1 was super excited about our project.  Thing 3 just wanted to play with the balls planets.  Here is how our product turned out. 

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    I really wanted to use the salt dough planets that we had created over the past two weeks, but Saturn had a tragic accident and we were missing Mercury, Venus and Mars.  So I had to create planets on the fly.

    Here is the link to the paper with the scale we used to do this project.  However, we used the toilet paper with the smaller scale model, because I wasn’t going to use 20,721 sheets of toilet paper. 

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