Making Summer Learning Fun: Superhero Catapults and Slime

I had planned to take a break from homeschooling during the summer, but my little guy loves the activities we do much that he kept asking, “Are we doing school today mommy?” So I decided to incorporate more fun, play-based activities into the mix this summer, with less focus on sitting down and doing worksheets.

Make Learning Fun: Superhero Catapult and Slime

Our first activity revolved around superheroes, of course!  I printed out some pages from 1+1+1=1’s Batman preschool pack, and also created a few worksheets on my own.  My little guy loves letter tiles, so I included some Batman see and spell sheets into the mix, as well as some Batman math problems.
Make Learning Fun: Superhero Catapult and Slime

Then we got to the fun stuff! Before our lesson that day, I mixed up some Borax-free slime, thanks to this recipe from Growing a Jeweled Rose:

Make Learning Fun: Superhero Catapult and SlimeKool-Aid Slime Recipe

1 tbsp of Metemucil with psyllium

1 cup water

1 packet any flavor Kool-aid, for color and smell

In a large bowl, mix the Metemucil, water and Kool-Aid until combined.  Microwave on high for about two minutes or until the mixture begins bubbling.  Mix again and return to the microwave for another two minutes.  Mix one more time, then allow the slime to completely cool before playing with it.  The mixture will thicken as it cools.

Make Learning Fun: Superhero Catapult and Slime

We also created popsicle stick catapults, thanks to these great instructions from Little Bins for Little Hands.  We experimented with the catapults and aiming, the shot his superhero and villain toys into the slime bowl.  He was apprehensive about the slime at first, but quickly started digging in and getting messy.  This activity was a huge hit!

Make Learning Fun: Superhero Catapult and Slime

Here are a few other superhero-related educational play ideas I came across but didn’t have time for:

Batman Escape from Ice Mountain from Crafts on Sea

What Do We Do All Day has compiled a great list of Superhero-related science experiments

Hands on as We Grow’s Sticky Spider Web

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Summer Travel with the Family: St. Louis

We love to travel in the summer, and since we live in the Midwest, we have several great options to checkout over the weekends.  Our first (and most frequented) city excursion was to St. Louis.  We love traveling to the Lou mainly because it’s so close, but also because there are so many great family-oriented options there!  This trip was totally kid-focused.

St. Louis Zoo

Summer travel with the family: St. LouisRated as one of the top zoos in the country by several family and travel publications, the zoo is a staple of our visits to St. Louis.  It’s clean, beautiful, and FREE!  Some of our favorite activities here are the penguin and puffin cove, elephant safari trail, and the train ride around the entire complex.  The zoo recently welcomed a baby polar bear, which will surely be a major attraction as well!

Science Center

Summer travel with the family: St. Louis

Boasting an Omnimax theater, planetarium, and exciting rotating exhibits, the St. Louis Science Center never disappoints.  The center offers something for kids (and adults) of every age, making this a great option or any family…and did I mention, it’s FREE?  My little guy especially loves the fossil digging section, featuring a huge T-Rex replica.

City Museum

Summer travel with the family: St. Louis

The City Museum is another staple of our trips to the city.  There is so much to explore in this giant, educational jungle gym, that you could spend more than one day exploring this attraction.  Each floor features new and exciting adventures, including an elaborate cave and tunnel system, rooftop bridges that lead to a suspended bus and airplane, an aquarium, and interesting museum exhibits (like the world’s largest pair of underwear!).  The City Museum never disappoints, and while it isn’t free, the cost of admission is a very reasonable $12 per person.

Preschool Theme: Dinosaurs

This week we turned into archaeologists to study dinosaurs.  Dinosaur units are always a favorite of my little one, so of course he had a blast this week!

Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home

I used pieces from several different pre-k printable packs this week, including worksheets from 3 Dinosaurs, 123 Homeschool 4 Me, and A Teaching Mommy.  I also used this fun emergent reader from Royal Baloo, called Dinosaur Dinosaur What Do You See?, since it’s modeled after one of my little one’s favorite Eric Carle books.  I also found a fun dot-to-dot printable from Education.com and made use of our magnetic shape board with the help of Little Family Fun, who outlined a variety of dinosaur shape building ideas.

Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home

Later in the week, we worked on our math and fine motor skills by digging for dinosaur bones.  I cut out bone shaped pieces from cardstock, then wrote math problems and answers on the bones, and covered the bones with popcorn and rice.  As he dug up the bones with the math problems, he figured out the answer then went searching in the “dig site” for the corresponding bone.

Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home

We also used this digging activity with a dinosaur letter matching activity from Creating and Teaching.  I cut out the dinosaur letters then buried a few at a time.  When he found a letter, he identified it and then searched for the matching upper- or lowercase letter in the bowl.

Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home Dinosaur preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home

The fun activities continued thanks to Frugal Fun 4 Boys, who conceived the great idea of frozen dinosaur egg excavation.  I had some large Easter eggs and tiny dinosaur toys, so that’s what we used.  I cut a small hole in the top of the eggs, put the dinosaur inside, closed the egg and filled it with water.  I then set the eggs (hole side up) in a container and we placed them in the freezer at the end of one day.  The next day, we took the eggs out of the freezer and opened them up.  (It helped to run them under warm water for a second first)  We used basters to squirt warm water on the “eggs” until they melted and the dinosaurs were free.

Theme of the Week — Super Heroes

This summer has been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to post many of our lessons in the lat few weeks, so bear with me while I catch up!

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My little guy waited with anticipation for Avengers: Age of Ultron to come out, so the week of its debut, I made sure to do a super-heroes-themed lesson that week.  Then, at the end of the week we did a family trip to the movies to see his favorite super heroes defeat Ultron!

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Naturally, he was very excited about this week’s activities and asked, “Is it time for school yet?” every morning!  I used pieces from a variety of super hero pre-k printable packs, including some worksheets from 123 Homeschool 4 Me, Over The Big Moon, Royal Baloo and More Excellent Time.  Since we’re working hard on learning uppercase and lowercase letters, I was so happy to find this fun uppercase/lowercase letter matching activity from B-Inspired Mama.

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We also made our own super hero signal, with the help of this tutorial from Handmade Kids Art.  I had my guy draw what he wanted his symbol to look like (I think it’s an N, which is the first letter in his name), and then I cut it out.  Then, we closed the curtains and turned off the light in his room.  I held the flashlight while he put the symbol in front, making a shadow on the wall.  He thought this was the coolest thing ever!  He played with it so much that it was destroyed by the end of the day.

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Preschool Theme of the Week — Around the Farm

We’ve been preparing our garden to start our summer planting, so I though this week would be the perfect time for an around the farm theme.  We got to incorporate the planting season with some fun lessons on farm animals and plants, with an emphasis on upper- and lowercase letter identification, numbers and math, and active learning.

Around the farm preschool theme from Hunny I'm Home Around the farm preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home

This week, we used worksheets from farm-related preschool packs offered by Creative Preschool Resources and 3 Dinosaurs.  In our animal lesson, we also played this fun farm animal guessing game from Buggy and Buddy.   We actually did this activity on two different days, in two different ways.  The first time, I hid the animal behind a construction paper door, then gave him clues (This animal starts with “C” and rhymes with “Pow.”).  The next time, he picked an animal, hid it behind the door, and gave me clues (This animal says “moo” and is black and white).  We also had some fun with these farm animal action cards from Lil’ Mop Top based on “Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton.

Around the farm preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home Around the farm preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home

My little guy has been working hard on learning his lowercase letters, so I’ve been making this a priority in the past few units.  I scoured Pinterest in search of uppercase, lowercase letter matching activities with a farm theme, and couldn’t find any free resources…so I made my own.  And I’m sharing it with you!  I used a farmer and tractor so the cards will fit with any farm-related lesson.  Click here to download the PDF.  Just print it on card stock, cut out each letter, then cut them him half and let your little one find the matches!

Around the farm preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home Around the farm preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home

The last half of the week, we focused on plants.  I searched YouTube and found a video of “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, then we used worksheets from gardening packs by This Reading Mama and Homeschool Creations.  Then we used my seed packets to count and add the different types of seeds.  Then we combined them all in a bowl and he sorted them back into the correct packets.  Later that week, we got out in the garden and did some planting.

Around the farm preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home

I found so many great ideas for this theme, that we ran out of time and didn’t get to do everything, including using these cute duck puppets from Pickle Bums and this fun cow milking idea from The Inspired Treehouse.

 

 

Preschool Themes — Community Helpers

Community Helpers preschool unit from Hunny I'm HomeSince we have cycled through the alphabet twice, using both upper- and lowercase letters, I decided to retire the letter of the week format after we finished the letter Z activities.  Now we’re moving on to weekly themes and incorporating related letters, as well as some math, science, and fun play activities.

While watching the news the other night, I saw a story about a local child who called 911 when his mother was hurt and saved her life.  It got me thinking….could my little guy do that?  At the time, the answer was “no.”  So, I set out to fix that problem with this week’s preschool lesson.  We talked about community helpers, with a focus on police and firefighters.  And I really hammered home the importance of 911, as well as knowing our phone number and address.

We started the lesson with this free emergent reader from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Followed by a career hats worksheet from The Education Center and several pieces from 3 Dinosaurs’ Community Helpers pack.  Then we had some fun with these cute community helper puppet sticks and guessing game from Teacher’s Notebook, and matched the community helper with their vehicle with this printable from Miss Kindergarten.

Community Helpers preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home

We also used printables from Homeschooling Creations’ police and firefighter packs, as well as worksheets from Royal Baloo’s fire safety pack.   We planned to take our fingerprints as a fun art activity, but my ink pad was dried up!  Oops!  We tried with watercolors, but it didn’t really work…so we finger painted instead!

Letter of the Week — Z

As we closed in on the last three letters of the alphabet, I had a very difficult time finding enough material to fill an entire week.  So, while the title of this post says “Letter of the week,” these last three lessons were more like “letters of the day.”

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we start out each week with an ABC Find It from 1+1+1=1.  While we search for the matching images, we discuss the pictures and other words that start with the letter of the week.  We also use Letters of All Sizes uppercase and lowercase handwriting worksheets from The Measured Mom.  I include these in a binder with number writing worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler and a sheet with his name on it that I created.  Each page gets its own sheet protector so he can practice writing with a dry erase marker.

Letter Z preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home Letter Z preschool unit from Hunny I'm Home

Today we began our lesson with a free emergent reader from Teachers Pay Teachers called “At The Zoo.”  Then we did several pages from 3 Dinosaur’s Zoo preschool and kindergarten packs.  We also used zoo printables from A Teaching Mommy, as well as some leftover activities from our previous Z lesson, but I don’t remember where they came from! (*Sorry*)