Friday, April 14, 2017

Sense of Smell

This week we read a book about the sense of smell.  We talked about how different things have different smells and we spent a lot of time smelling flowers.  A few weeks ago I was scouring online for some activities to do that involved the sense of smell and came across something called smell jars.  I loved that the activity isolated all the other aspects of each item except for it's smell but disliked the hefty price tags that I was finding of $100+.  I then started to look up do-it-yourself similar projects.  Again came to a road block because we had gotten rid of our old spice rack before moving here and didn't have identical glass jars all the same size.  Then a friend that is also moving this summer told me that she had a spice rack that they hadn't used for a long time and she was looking to get rid of it. Score!!  As they say - one man's trash is another man's treasure.

I took all the old spices out, washed the containers and took off all stickers so basically just had identical jars.

 I then took strips of construction paper and cut them so they filled the inside of the glass so the kids couldn't use any visual clues to tell the different items.  One set was blue and one set is red.

 I added cotton balls into the jar to hold the spices up closer to the top and this allows you to put certain liquids like lemon juice, vanilla extract etc in without it running all over the place.  You put a set of smells into each colour ie. garlic in a red jar and in a blue jar.

 I put stickers on the bottoms of the jars for each of the matching smells for me to be able to do quick checks if they are matched correctly.

 I put the shaker covers on so that nobody could use visual clues to tip them off.  The kids had fun working together sorting through all the different smells.

Super simple and now that I have it all set up I can just change up the smells in the containers quite easy.  It would be fun to change them to all spices, then all flowers etc when working on different subjects.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Gosh we have been really enjoying this super easy activity amid our regular activities.  For valentines day we had purchased a set of hearts in different sizes from Walmart.  The kids used them for hunts and I spy etc.  When I spotted a set of egg cookie cutters I thought 'hey why not we enjoyed it last time'.  This time we have been using them to work on organizing things by sizes, identifying biggest and smallest etc...  We have also used them for Play Doh as well as tracing.  Another super easy thing that we have used in many ways.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Egg Colour Sorting

Building on yesterday's post about quick activities, I thought I would also show another colour activity that is Easter related that the kids have been working on.  I took an empty egg carton and put halves of the Easter eggs in it.  I chose to use three of each colour ensuring that there would be a good mix .  I then took a coloured hair scrunchy for each egg and placed them in the tray in front of the egg carton.  The kids then used the tongs they have from their pie activity to match the colours.  This also helps with their muscle development in their hands that will later help with other motor skills such as writing.  The girls were able to squeeze the tongs 4 or 5 times and then you could see their hands started to get tired so they used their other hand to help get the scrunchies on.  This activity was a little too easy for Joshua so when he does it he only uses one hand so that it is all about just practicing hand eye coordination.  We just kept all the activity in a wooden tray on our fireplace for easy access and to keep all the pieces together.

So simple and they have done it quite a few times.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Egg Towers

We have been doing this activity for at least two weeks now but life got busy and I didn't have a chance to write about it until now. Blame it on the nice weather and evening walks lol.  Another low cost but fun activity, I keep finding the kids building on their own all over the house.  Basically you just take the quite a few plastic Easter eggs and separate the tops from the bottoms.  Then the kids work on their building skills by seeing how high they can stack them into towers.  They have changed the activity up a bit on their own and have raced each other, tried to build with one hand, attempted to stack them blindfolded etc...  It's neat to see them try different strategies and I am surprised how much taller they can get their towers compared to mine.

I can't help but smile when I see the look on Emma's face.....come on dad add one more!

Sunday, April 9, 2017


Last week we started a little more in-depth study of bugs and insects and with the weather warming up, we are able to find more bugs to examine during our outdoor adventures.  I also pulled out more of our story books with insects as the main character.  We used our felt very hungry caterpillar set that I had made before.

We changed one of the sides of the sensory table into an insect theme as well.  I took a picture of all the bugs from the Toob then printed them off and laminated them.  We put it on one side of the sensory table for their 'bug hunt'.

Zachary had got a microscope for Christmas that came with pre-made slides of insects but the coolest thing is the microscope tells you facts about the bug as you look at it.

A squirrel was eating out of our bird feeder this week so Josh moved his little table up to the patio door to watch.  All of a sudden he let out a yell of delight that he could see a bug on the window.  He asked me what kind of bug it was and I said I wasn't sure so he ran over and got his laminated sheet.  He examined it through the door for a little while longer then said...."hmm looks like a house fly but it has different wings.  I think we are going to have to get a book and look this one up Mama".  He then continued; "I bet Mathew has a book for just this".  When Mathew got home from school that was the first thing he asked and Mathew was more then happy to find his book for him and look up the different bugs.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Ice Sculptures

Over spring break the big boys hockey team participated in the Alaska State Hockey Championships in Fairbanks Alaska.  We all went as a family and loved watching all the hockey games but we were also able to take in many other things while there.  Fairbanks hosts the world's largest ice sculpting competition.  The weather was cold but the sun was shinning so the sculptures were amazing to see.  People come from all over the world to participate in this competition.  There are tons of different categories that include making sculptures from even one single block of ice.  There was so many things for the kids (and adults) to climb on and enjoy.  The sculptures were honestly breathtaking and I was flabbergasted by the amount of detail and beauty.

 The Mad Hatter's Tea Party!  The detail was phenomenal!  I stood there is awe for quite some time just taking it in.

I love how the light is gleaming on this one and making it look almost magical.

The kids had an amazing time on the ice slides.  I love when you get home and you find a picture on your camera that just captures the excitement of the day.

Just some Alaskan kids enjoying the weather on some Alaskan furniture.

I love that we got to explore something truly this creative as a family.  Thank you Alaska for another great adventure we won't ever forget!

as a side note, who could ever forget seeing a hat like this. I was a little scared at first!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Quick Activities

I love gathering materials or making new learning activities.  I love doing different units to go over with the kids but sometimes it's nice for just a quick activity.  I have found that the seasonal section of Walmart has a lot of items for one or two dollars that can be manipulated to make great crafts/learning activities.  I now buy ahead about 5 or 10 of these activities and keep them out on our buffet for quick access when I don't have a larger activity planned.  This week I made a colour matching activity by simply making oval coloured shapes that were the same colour as a package bunnies I purchased that were 4 different colours.  I laminated the oval shapes so the activity could be used over and over. It is so cute watching the little ones hop their bunnies to the matching colour of an egg.  They even created their own little spins on colour matching.  Joshie will toss the rabbits and try and get them to land on the right egg.  So I always keep an eye out for seasonal themed trinkets that we can turn into a little educational fun.