Penguin Peg Dolls

Jax, my budding young ornithologist, loves birds–specifically owls, and because of his recent school study on penguins, they are high on his list, too.  When his teacher and I brainstormed a list of possible ways to extend his learning for enrichment, she came up with the idea of doing a diorama based on a species of penguin we saw at the New England Aquarium in February, one that he didn’t learn about in school and one he could share with his classmates.  Thus, penguin peg dolls were born.

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The kids and I took what felt like forever at JoAnn Fabrics, trying to come up with the best way to create a model penguin.  When we saw the wooden peg dolls, however, that we have used for so many crafts in the past, I knew we had found our medium.

I traced the outline between the black and white parts of their bodies on the peg dolls with pencil.  Then Jax colored them in.

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

After finishing the bodies, we worked on the eyes, beaks, and wings.  We didn’t bother with feet.  They came out super cute in the end!

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax and Em had a lot of fun while she cut out an amazing house out of card stock and he was writing interesting facts on African penguins for his presentation.  These two always crack me up, and each other, apparently!

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I’m so proud of my little rockhopper!  We got to see his class’s presentation on penguins yesterday morning, complete with singing, dancing, and my little guy’s awesome emperor penguin, drawn to scale.  The kindergartners, second graders, parents and teachers were all there cheering them on, and then we walked around to hear the “experts” tell us all about their chosen penguin.  It was really impressive, especially all their enthusiasm.  I love when schoolwork ignites a fire inside a child’s imagination.  It certainly has in the case of Jax.

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And his sister, too, it looks like!  She looks so interested and proud!  Next year she’ll be the one in the penguin hat, and I bet she is counting every second!

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A Rainbow Scavenger Hunt

March is here, and as the days get longer and warmer, the kids and I start to look for signs of spring.  One of those signs is inevitably the arrival of tchotchke St. Patrick’s Day and Easter trinkets in the stores, but these colorful signs of spring help ease the last few weeks of winter.  So it’s time to take down our coffee filter snowflakes and start embracing rainbows.  There’s nothing like an infusion of color to brighten even the muddiest March day!

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt @ Rub Some Dirt On It

To do this yourself, take a large piece of paper and write the names of colors across the top in columns.  When I’ve done this before, I assembled a big bucket of colorful items from around the house, but in an effort to get this activity to last longer (and because I know she can sort colors too easily), I made Little H hunt them down herself.  The result was hilariously typical of my little girl–every color can be attributed to a Transformer Rescue Bot, so that is where she headed straight away.

Rainbow Collage @ Rub Some Dirt On It Rainbow Collage @ Rub Some Dirt On It Rainbow Collage @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Oh, she makes me laugh with her tomboy tendencies!  She drove all the vehicles over to our paper and aligned them at attention.  In her travels, sometimes she stumbled upon other colorful objects, but if left to her own devices, this would have been a Rainbow Rescue Bot sorting game, not a scavenger hunt!

Here are her final treasures, sorted in rainbow order.

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt @ Rub Some Dirt On It Rainbow Scavenger Hunt @ Rub Some Dirt On It

please note: a touch of big sister’s influence here as well!

You can take it a step further and count your items, align the objects by size within their group, or label your items with the correct color marker. There are so many ways to extend this activity, but the best part is the sneaky learning that is going on, without your kids even knowing it.

Bring on the rainbows!  Come on, spring!

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The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun!

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and since it is one of my favorite holidays of the year, I do love going the extra mile with the kids to create crafts that spread the love.  We have might QUITE a few homemade Valentines, which was a bit more than I was expecting, but both Jax and Em headed off to school this morning with bags of notes for their friends and teachers to let them know how much they are loved.  Little H made two bead pipe cleaner hearts for her preschool teachers, and Em made a bunch for the adults in her classroom.  Our little home mailbox is getting more full every day with notes and Valentines from the kids to us and other family members, and all in all, we are all feeling oh-so-lovely.

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

One of my other favorite ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with our favorite Valentine book, The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond.  We have read this book a zillion times and have had it read to us at the library and in our Arts For Tots class.  It always gets me thinking about a fun math activity I did with the big kids a few years ago, and since Little H and I were headed to JoAnn Fabrics anyway, I thought it might be time for another go round of The Day It Rained Hearts math!

 Basically all you need are scissors, glue, and lots of different styles of card stock, including two different colors for your hearts.  Little H had a ball picking out the card stock for each of her siblings’ umbrellas, and the Easter egg pattern for herself (yikes!).  I found sky-colored paper for our background and pink and red sheets for our hearts.  Then the kids cut out their own umbrellas and designed their raining hearts.  The only person who had any real instructions was Jax, who only had to somehow group his hearts together.  Then, because I’m a nerd, we made different math equations about the arrangement of hearts on each person’s paper.  They were all different and appropriate to their math level.

Little H went first.  We counted all her red hearts, and all her pink hearts.  Then we counted how many in all.  She doesn’t understand the idea of equations yet, so we just kept it simple with one-to-one correspondence.

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I will allow you fair readers to take a moment to admire the Easter egg umbrella.  Fancy, isn’t it?

Em figured out her math equation on her own.  I’m so proud of my girl, learning so much in kindergarten this year!

I have 2 red hearts.  I have 7 red hearts.  I have 9 hearts in all.  2 +7 =9

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax is ready for a bit of a challenge, so I asked him to make a multiplication equation.  Nailed it!

I have five groups of two hearts.  5 x 2 = 10

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It (3)

Also, please stop and admire Jax’s umbrella as well.  Such a striking combination!

Differentiating for math can be fairly painless when you stop and think about how each of your children learns and what they are ready for.  They all did this project together side-by-side, and it was a lot of fun watching them solve their problems on their own!

This is making me very excited to shower them with love on Sunday!  I can’t wait to celebrate each of them in their own way.

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Last Minute Valentine Ideas

Anyone else out there just realizing that even though Valentine’s Day isn’t until Sunday, we only have two days left to get our act together for valentines for school?? Yes I bought the traditional commercialized box of Star Wars/Princesses/Paw Patrol valentines, but what about the other loved ones in our lives?  Grandparents, special teachers, cousins and best friends?  Do you need just a little something extra, but something that doesn’t require you to have to run out to the store one more time? I’ve got you covered with a few very LOVE-ly but also simple ways to show people you care.

Handprint Heart Valentines

Fish Valentines

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Butterfly Valentines

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Button Heart Valentines

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Lovebug

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Melted Crayon Hearts

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Time for me to go get creating as well!  Spread the love!

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Decorate By Letter Christmas Tree Craft

One last Christmas craft before the season is over!  Em asked to get crafty on her sick day last week, and here’s what we came up with, thanks as always to Pinterest.  Let’s decorate a Christmas Tree by Letter!

Decorate By Letter Christmas Tree Craft @ Rub Some Dirt On It

This was fairly simple; it just required a few steps before the girls sat down to the table.  I got a large sheet of white paper and glued two construction paper trees down.  Then I wrote the word Christmas on a separate piece of paper and gave each letter a corresponding button color.  I decided to do two different colors for the two letter “s” so the kids would be sure to understand there wasn’t just one.  You can also use small pom poms instead of buttons–I just think they’re harder to glue on (and I love button crafts!).

Decorate A Christmas Tree By Letter @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I wrote the letters that spell out Christmas (you could do your child’s name or any word of significance) and put a drop of glue on each letter as it came up.  The girls identified the letters and its corresponding color, found the matching buttons and applied them themselves.  Color and letter recognition with a touch of fine motor skills.  They loved it, and worked so nicely together!

Decorate By Letter Christmas Tree Craft @ Rub Some Dirt On It Decorate By Letter Christmas Tree Craft @ Rub Some Dirt On It Decorate By Letter Christmas Tree Craft @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The final products were so pretty, and were hung up with our other holiday crafts with care!  Holiday crafting is one of my favorite parts of the season!  This one will certainly help brighten your home–and teach the kids a thing or two–this Christmas!

Decorate By Letter Christmas Tree Craft @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Number Gnomes!

Last Christmas, I had big plans to make some number gnomes for my kids to help them with their number recognition and basic math, like I had seen on Etsy.  Well, up until a few days ago, those unfinished wooden peg dolls sat in a box for the past twelve months! So one Sunday afternoon, while we watched football, Em and I decided that the wait was over.  Time to make some Number Gnomes!

number gnomes @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I’ve painted Rainbow Color Wooden Peg Dolls twice before, so I was confident in my painting skills.  This time, since I wasn’t worried about any babies gumming them, I used acrylic paint on all but the dark blue, which I had overlooked, and colored pencils for the faces.

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Em “helped” as much as she could, but on her first gnome she put a big splotch of red paint on his head, so we had to give them all hoods.  After that I let her paint the white peg dolls and cups.  I’m a little too OCD for those shenanigans.

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

So after we painted them all a different color…

Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

…we painted numerals on them once they were dry.

Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Meanwhile I let Em finish the white peg dolls, on which I wrote the plus, minus, and multiplication symbols, and an equal sign on one of the cups.  Now I have a whole set of number gnomes and some math gnomes to keep it interesting for the big kids. I am so excited!

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

My kids LOVE these, especially Jax! I’ve kept them on the kitchen table and he plays with them first thing in the morning.  Yesterday, he came up with a different idea, to put the answer to the math equation inside the equal cup.  So creative!

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It’s not too late to make a set of Number Gnomes for the holidays as a colorful and fun way to help your favorite school-aged kid learn math!  Add them to our other set of colorful peg dolls, and we’ve really got a miniature world at our fingertips! I’m very happy I made the time to make these for my kids.

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Beautiful Button Christmas Tree

Many thanks to my sister Amanda, who helped Em and I create this beautiful Christmas decoration that I have been wanting to make for years!  I found it here at Meet The Dubiens, and only needed a guiding hand to make sure this Christmas craft did not turn into one of my renowned crafting fails!

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The list of materials is a small one: a small canvas, pencil and ruler, buttons and glue.  My sister, whose attention to details greatly supersedes my own, used a ruler to measure that the point of the tree was centered, and that the sides were straight.  Lightly trace a triangle on your canvas, leaving room for your stump of four brown buttons.

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

After a little thought, I simply smeared Elmer’s Glue all over the “tree” and let Em place the many varieties and sizes of green buttons all over the triangle, leaving as little spaces between the buttons as possible.

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then we filled in the gaps with very teeny button ornaments (Em’s favorites) and layered other colored buttons on top for ornaments.  I love the three dimensional look!

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It
Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Lastly, we used a star button for the top.  After erasing any leftover pencil lines, we have a beautiful Christmas decoration that will be displayed for years to come!  We love our button Christmas tree!

Button Christmas Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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