This summer I took up biking. We are so fortunate to live right by a “rails to trails” path which connects two of our cities. The path is a gorgeous tree-lined trail which extends 15 miles through rural Northern Michigan. Every bike ride brings with it a new adventure. There’s always turtles at the pond, snakes who quickly scurry across the path and, occasionally, a deer stops for a quick pic.
Well, last Monday was quite an adventure in a different-sort-of-way. Two miles into my bike ride, I blew a tire. Oh, boy. That has never happened. Fortunately, I was with my dad who is an avid biker. Little did I know that pack he always carries on the back of his bike contained a tire repair kit complete with a replacement tube. Thank goodness for dad. As I stood by helplessly as dad changed the tire, I spied the popped tube laying on the trail. It reminded me of a blog post that I wrote a year ago featuring an idea to help those kiddos who just need to move. Scott, from Bouncy Bands, asked if I could try out a new product he just developed and I absolutely LOVED this idea. Basically, you place PVC pipes on the desk legs and tie an old bike tube on each leg. How simple! Here’s a pic:
They are so easy to make and quite inexpensive. The Home Depot people often volunteer to cut the tubes if you tell them you are a teacher and bike shops often have old tubes on hand. This is a great DIY project!
Be sure to stop by Scott’s website. You can also order them from the site. Just click HERE.
After running to Home Depot, I’m going to take a quick trip to the bike shop and pick up one of those packs.
Making Play Doh takes me back to when I used to teach preschool. I just loved making my own Play Doh- homemade Play Doh is so much softer- and it was so much fun changing the colors and even, at times, adding scents. I’ve tried a billion different recipes and found that the recipes that used cream of tartar and required cooking were hands-down the best. Of course, it’s a bit more work, but well worth the extra effort. I made this seasonal-themed Play Doh for the Winter Themed Math Activities for K-1 Packet. Using the glitter added just the right touch to give it that glittery-snow effect. So here’s the recipe:
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
2 Tablespoons of cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 cup of water
First mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a pan. Add the water and mix well. Now cook the mixture over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. You’ll need to stir constantly until the mixture becomes firm. When the mixture is firm, remove from the pan and knead until soft. Now just add in the food coloring. I like to use the Wilton food coloring because I find that the colors are so vibrant. Now just add the glitter and you’re all done!
Here’s my little friend, Eleanor, using the Play Doh. Great hands-on activity for learning numbers and number concepts.
So go on- give it a try. You’ll never go back to buying Play Doh from the store.
I’ve been seeing number puzzles all over Pinterest. These puzzles are ideal for independent centers for working with number order. They’ve been printing the puzzles on card stock and cutting and the pieces. That’s a great idea, but I thought if we created the puzzles on craft sticks they’d be much more durable and will last for years to come. Sure, it’s a little more work on the front-end, but it’s so well worth the effort.
Making your own puzzles is super easy. All you’ll need is Mod Podge, large craft sticks and pictures. I created my own pictures on the computer which you could download for free. You could also copy your own photographs on a printer or use pictures from magazines.
Click the following link to download 6 pictures to create your own puzzles Number Puzzle Pictures
The first step in the process is to line up your craft sticks and tape them together. The pictures in the printable above are designed for 10 craft sticks.
Now flip the sticks over and coat the top of the sticks with a thin layer of Mod Podge.
Adhere your picture to the sticks. Watch for bubbles. You’ll have to rub them out. Then cover the top of the picture with a thin layer of Mod Podge.
Now simply write the numbers on each stick. I numbered my sticks 1-10, but you could easily number the sticks 11-20.
After the Mod Podge has completely dried, remove the tape from the back and cut along the edges of the craft stick with an X Acto knife.
Well, that’s it! Really! Have fun creating your number puzzles. Your kiddos will love them.
I love using Wikki Stix for multi-sensory activities. Wikki Stix are simply wax covered yarn that can be shaped. It’s great to use when teaching letters or sight words as the students shape the yarn into letters. Although Play-Doh is an awesome multi-sensory activity, the clean up with the Wikki Stix is quicker and easier. Now Wikki Stix can purchased commercially, but they are quite expensive. Recently I found a similar product at Walmart- Bendaroos. Bendaroos are a bit cheaper especially if you can get them sale. To even drive the cost down further and in the spirit of D.I.Y., I found a recipe for making your own wax covered yarn. I was so anxious to try this.
To make your own wax covered yarn you’ll need to gather the following materials:
So the first thing you’ll do is melt the wax ring in a pan, but first place the pan in another pan filled with water. When the wax is melted, remove the plastic ring.
Now place the paraffin wax in the pan. My paraffin wax came in blocks so I wasn’t quite sure how to measure 1/2 cup. I placed one block in the pan, but in hindsight, I should have used 1 1/2- 2 blocks as I wish my sticks were a little “stickier”.
As the paraffin wax is melting, cut your yarn. You can cut the yarn into any length you wish. When you purchase Wikki Stix or Bendaroos, the sticks are approximately 6″ in length. I always wish they were longer so I cut 12″ pieces. As you can see from the above pic, the wax has a brown color. The red, green and blue yarn that I used worked great, but the purple yarn came out more brownish than purple.
Now simply dip the yarn in the wax and then place it on wax paper to dry. Be sure to hold the yarn up over the pan so that the excess wax can drip off.
So, how many wax covered yarn sticks can you make with this method? Tons! I was dipping yarn for over 1/2 hour before calling it quits. I actually had wax left over so I could have been dipping for at least 15 minutes more. After the sticks dried, I simply cut them again in various lengths and stored them in a baggie.
Now your students are ready to use the yarn to form letters or words.
It’s somewhat of a mixed blessing living in a small town. I love where I live, but outside of Walmart and Meijer, there really isn’t much terms of shopping. It’s always a treat, though, when I get to travel to a “big city” about an hour from my home and visit the Michael’s Craft Store. I’m afraid if we had a Michael’s I’d be in that store everyday! Well on a recent shopping trip, I picked up these felt letters. I though they’d be perfect for making tactile letters.
I found a version of this idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago. I’d love to give the blogger credit, but when I clicked the link, the blog was no longer available. The original version used sandpaper to make the letters- that’s a great idea, but the felt was so much easier. To make the tactile letters, simply place each letter on a sample paint chip (thanks Home Depot!). If you wish, you could put the vowels on one color (I always use red for vowels) and consonants on another color. With fabric paint, I placed a dot on the spot where the formation of the letter begins.
The bag of felt stickers had multiples of each letters and numbers too. You could make several sets for your kiddos!
Just in case you can’t find these at Michael’s, here’s a link for a similar product that would work great too.
I love Hot Dots! You can purchase pre-made activities or just make your own with a pen and the Hot Dot stickers. Watch the video and I’ll show you how.
If you’d like to create an activity using the Make, Take & Teach cards, you can download the Tee It Up for Sounds activity either from the Make, Take & Teach website or from my Teachers Pay Teachers online store. When you download this activity you’ll receive 52 cards targeting the identification of beginning and ending sounds in words.
We also have the Tee It Up for Digraphs version! There are 52 colorful cards with sh, th, ch and the th sounds. You can also find this activity in the Make, Take & Teach website or my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.