Free Printable Our Lady of Guadalupe Activities

December 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico and the Americas. Our Lady appeared to Bl Juan Diego in 1531 . Here are free printable activities to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. As a ten year veteran homeschooler, I was always on the lookout for activities and lessons share our Catholic faith with the children. If you are a catechist, homeschooler or parochial school teacher, you'll need these links.  Free Printable 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' Activities and Lessons

Free Printable Manger Scenes, Nativity Sets

During Advent we prepare our hearts for Jesus. We set out Advent wreaths, calendars. We put up nativity sets, also called
creche, manger scene or naciemiento. Here are free printable nativity scenes. These paper nativity scenes provide hours of educational fun for children and preschoolers as they color, cut out and assemble the manger scene. Children learn the Christmas story as they create the stable, shepherds, animals, wisemen, Mary, Joseph, angel and Baby Jesus.

In our house, we begin with a stable full of animals on the first Sunday of advent. Each day we move the figures a little closer toward the stable. When the children were young, they loved 'helping' Mary and Joseph and the Magi travel to Bethlehem. We would place an unbreakable nativity set on a shelf at child level and they were free to rearrange the characters as they chose. This was before the 'advent' (pardon the pun) of computers. Now you can print entire nativity sets for preschoolers, Sunday Schoolers, students and children to make themselves. Here are the links. Free Printable Advent and Christmas Nativity Scenes 

Free Printable Hanukkah Crafts, Games, Puzzles, Activities

Hanukkah or Chanukah, is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It begins on Kislev 25 in the Hebrew lunar calendar. That's usually a few weeks before Christmas. It's an 8-day celebration. Chanukah starts early in 2013, the day before Thanksgiving at sundown November 27 and goes till December 5. Here are free printable crafts and activities to celebrate Hanukkah.  Free Printable Chanukah and Hanukkah Crafts, Games, Puzzles and Activities 

Gifts Kids Can Make, Story CDs Read by Children

Remember books on tape, which morphed to story CDs and finally e-books? I'm all about homemade and DIY. Here's a tutorial on how to record your own audio book, make into an mp3 file, then give as a gift. Better still, children can read the books aloud and give the recordings as presents. Cheap, educational, interactive and fun! Here's how. Homemade, Educational Christmas Gifts, Story CDs Read by Children

10 Candy Alternative Treats for Halloween

I'm not a complete Halloween Scrooge. I pass out treats. But I do like to give sugar alternatives. I wrote one list and here are 10 more trick-or-treat handouts. Start preschool kids out in trick-or-treat culture with reduced focus on candy. 10 Candy Alternative Treats for Halloween

Homemade Despicable Me Minions Halloween Costumes

Despicable Me 1 and 2 are crazy-cute cartoons, with cheek-pinchable adorable little yellow Twinkie-shaped minions. I predict lots of lminions this Halloween. Want to make a Despicable Me minion Halloween costume? There are several options to create the yellow capsule shaped body of the Despicable Me minion. The first and easiest option is to make a cylinder like a toilet paper rolls, from a large yellow poster board, draw on the minion face, goggles and blue overalls. Simply cut arm holes, slip the tube over the body and push arms through armholes. Wear jeans with black shoes and a long-sleeved yellow shirt to complete the minion Halloween costume. The head sticks out through the tube, but is not dressed as a minion. Oh and my favorite minion line? "stuffed crust."  Easy Despicable Me Minion Halloween Costume Ideas

Recycled Costume and Dress-Up Crafts for Children

 Got bored preschoolers? Big brothers and sisters gone to school and the little ones are restless. Or maybe it's too yucky to play outside. If you need a fun fix fast, I'm your go-to gal. This ex-homeschool mama is the queen of cheap, easy and parent-friendly. Your recycle bin is your best ally. Today's boredom first-aid: homemade hats. With Halloween approaching, why not start those costumes? Use for school projects, too. Rainy Day Recycle Bin Crafts for Kids--Homemade Hats

Repurpose Sand Box for Preschool Sensory Exploration

I homeschooled four kids in a single-wide old mobile home. So I'm all about frugal, recycling and simplicity. A favorite way to do all three is with repurposed materials. We made outdoor toys do double duty in winter with indoor uses. For example, their Little Tikes Sand Turtle was filled with Lake Michigan beach sand and enjoyed all summer. Then in winter, I cleaned it out, bleach and sanitized and brought it indoors.

I placed a recycled old plastic tablecloth under it (you could use a shower curtain, sheet, paint drop cloth or blanket). I filled the box with colorful aquarium rocks. This costs about $15. It's my version of preschool sand and water table or the Montessori rice tub. I don't like to use food stuffs as it A) teaches food waste and B) draws bugs. Read more. Repurpose Summer Toys for Indoor Preschool Play-- Sand Box

Interactive Affective Preschool Activities--Getting Along, Anti-Bullying

 Bullying is a social blight that can cause dangerous emotional health repercussions. From 25 years teaching and a degree in psychology, I've written lesson plans to raise awareness to ills like bullying. From my Montessori/ special education background, I've learned to make lessons interactive. Here's an anti-bullying object lesson I picked up 20 some years ago. It's appropriate for preschool to upper elementary school. Interactive Affective Activities, Anti-Bullying Lesson Plans

Anti-Bullying Object Lessons for Kids: Warm Fuzzies, Cold Pricklies

Bullying is a social blight that can cause dangerous emotional health repercussions. From 25 years teaching and a degree in psychology, I've written lesson plans to raise awareness on bullying. From my Montessori/ special education background, I've learned to make lessons interactive. Here's an anti-bullying object lesson I picked up 20 some years ago. It's appropriate for preschool to upper elementary school.  Anti-Bullying Object Lessons for Kids: Warm Fuzzies, Cold Pricklies 

Preschool Learning Center Format

Early childhood preschool classrooms have been shown to function most effectively when designed on a learning center format. Special needs or general education employ learning station format. High/Scope, Montessori, Voyagers, Head Start--all recognize the importance of center-based learning. .

Here is a template to set up preschool center environment. Use in home school and traditional settings. Depending upon space, class size and program, set up from four to six centers. Combine and adapt as needed. Each center should have an accompanying book basket with related reading material.  How to Set Up Learning Centers in Preschool Classrooms and Homeschool

Hands-On Homemade Reading Crafts, Book Activities, Literature Games

Homeschoolers, need cheap, homemade language arts lesson plans? Special needs teachers, want interactive reading games? Here are hands-on reading activities for preschool to high school. Use cheap, recycled materials. Lessons are based on HOTS (Higher-Order Thinking Skills): analysis, application, synthesis and evaluation. Perfect for all ages from preschool on up.  Hands-On Homemade Reading Crafts, Book Activities, Literature Games

Homemade Preschool Dramatic Play Animal Costumes, Habitats

Dramatic play develops preschool social, emotional, artistic, creative and communication skills. Plays lend themselves to all content. Here are homemade costumes, props and settings for life science theater. I call it bio-drama. Using recycled materials teaches real-life environmental science! Perfect for preschool, ECSE (PPI), special education and elementary lessons. Adaptable to homeschool or Halloween costumes, too. Homemade Preschool Dramatic Play Animal Costumes, Habitats

Using Food to Teach: Edible Learning Activities to Reinforce Content

Since 1982, I've taught every age from 1-104 (seriously) and every subject from astronomy to zoology. I chose education to teach special needs kids. Special education, Montessori and adult education training frames my teaching. Every lesson I plan includes hands-on applications. Students see, touch, taste and smell content. One of the best multi-sensory delivery methods is food. I call it edible learning. Here's how it works in theory and practice.  Using Food to Teach: Edible Learning Activities to Reinforce Content

Dad-Inspired, Kid-Friendly Party Planner, Homemade and Cheap

As a 25-year mom of four, I've been the guest of honor at many kid-inspired Mother's Day and birthday parties. Our children learned to throw a budget, homemade bash from me and my husband. For a guy, he's great at party-planning. Dads, here are tips from the master's knee, on planning an inexpensive Mother's Day party with your kids, that your wife will love!  Dad-Inspired, Kid-Friendly Mother's Day Party, Homemade and Cheap

Family Glue Recipes: Habits that Cement Relationships

In 25 years as a mom, my best parenting advice centers on building family bonding habits. These have little to do with money spent and much to do with togetherness. They've seen us through adversity and kept us connected in strife. Life's getting more frenetic and disjointed daily. Take time, now, to grow habits that will see your family through.

* Celebrate uniqueness. You've heard of branding? That's not just a sales term; it applies more aptly to families. A family is more than just the sum of its parts. Each member brings special contributions and together they create something wonderfully, indefinably distinct. Start early helping kids explore and expand individual talents.Family Glue Recipes: Habits that Cement Relationships

Flood Safety, Safe Storm Cleanup for Kids

Kids see water as fun. We play in pools, lakes and oceans so they see no reason why rain and flood water shouldn't be fun. Children need special safety precautions around flood water. Not only from drowning issues, but health and sanitation, too. Standing water breeds insects, mold and infection. As flood waters move they pick up debris. They overflow sewers and drag organic and biological waste up from underground. Flood water picks up toxic chemicals from damaged property. It gathers debris and tainted water from storm drains. Drowned animal carcasses add disease to flood water. Even if it looks clean, flood water is one big poisonous soup pot. Here are ways to keep kids safe and healthy in storms and floods.  How to Keep Kids Safe in Flood Water Clean Up

Free Printable Earth Day Endangered Species Activity Booklet

 Earth Day, which replaces the original holiday Arbor Day is celebrated in the United States on April 22. Here's a free printable booklet, Save our Species, with information, activities and coloring pages exploring endangered species in the US. The purpose of Earth Day is to celebrate our earth, educate people and explore ways to protect our natural resources. Protecting our earth include supporting our animals, plants and habitats. Earth Day reminds us that we rely on the earth for sustenance and the earth relies on us for care and safety. Exploring and understanding endangered and threatened species helps us to learn better ways to care for our environment as a whole. Free Printable Earth Day Endangered Species Coloring Activity Booklet

Free Printable Earth Day Coloring Activities

April 22 celebrates Earth Day, formerly called Arbor Day. Need free printable Earth Day lessons and activities for your science classroom, homeschool, 4H club or scout troop? Here are links for free printable environmental science activities. EPA.gov has free printable lesson plans for Earth Day. This link takes you to a free printable cartoon style graphic novel entitled 'On the Trail of the Missing Ozone'. Students learn about atmosphere, the ozone layer and what we can do to protect it. Students can color the cartoons in this free printable 8 page booklet. Makes a great preschool and homeschool resource.  Free Earth Day Printables

Free Printable Preschool Story Starters, Picture Cue Writing Prompts

March 21 is World Poetry Day and April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. Teachers, why not celebrate in school by hosting creative writer workshops with students? Parents, you can do with kids at home or make activities part of a homeschool lessons. Here are free printable preschool story starters and picture cue writing prompts to get the ideas flowing.Free Printable Preschool Story Starters, Picture Cue Writing Prompts

Free Printable HOP Movie Easter Crafts

 HOP is a fun, funky new movie that came out around Easter, 2011. E.B. (voiced by Russel Brand) is the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. Like the 1980s Roger Rabbit and Space Jam, HOP features live actors with animation. Use these printables for activities on Easter, spring, animals and movies. Here are free printable crafts and coloring pages from HOP. Free Printable HOP Movie and Easter Coloring Pages and Activities

Recycled Arts and Crafts Using Kids' Valentines

 Little Miss took her neatly-labeled valentines to school and arrived home with reciprocal Valentine cards from friends. So now, what to do with these prized missives? Clean freaks will surrepititiously toss them when she isn't looking. Sentimental (ahem, packrat) parents will encouraging saving. Artsy (aka messy) moms won't know what happens to them as valentines will filter into the child's general room litter. None of these is very satisfying considering cost and work put into valentines. Here are five cheap, homemade recycled ways to repurpose kids valentines. 5 Repurposed Uses for Valentines--Art Projects, Crafts, Gifts

Attachment Parenting: Bonding with Your Preschool Toddler

 The "attachment parenting" catch phrase has infiltrated common parlance. Speaking as a 25-year attachment parent, I think the term is often misunderstood. I knew a gal who had no kids say she was an attachment parent because she babysat her brother's children occasionally. It isn't part-time; it's a lifelong, all-invasive commitment. Here's how we did it when kids were toddlers and preschool age.  Attachment Parenting: Bonding with Your Preschool Child or Toddler

Best Pre-K-Grade 2 Kids' Books for Black History Month

February celebrates Black History Month in U.S. history. In schools, students learn about significant people and events in the African American timeline. As a teacher and homeschool mom, I've designed and taught black history throughout the curriculum. Here's my preschool-second grade recommended reading list for Black History Month with free printable lesson plans. This is not a definitive list--if it were, it would fill a book in itself. There's so much great African American literature. These just happen to be my favorites. Best Pre-K-Grade 2 Kids' Books for Black History Month

Free Animal Printables for Chinese New Year 2013 Year of the Snake

While wending my merry way through internet databases and Google searches, I happened upon a free printable treasure trove: a complete free printable pdf packet featuring beautiful coloring pages based on each letter of the alphabet. Each letter is a full page size. The letter outline is filled with nicely drawn images of plants, flowers, vegetables and animals whose names begin with that letter. And being of a holiday mind, I thought how perfect these would be for Chinese New Year. CNY 2013 is year of the snake and is celebrated Feb. 10. The pictures are arranged somewhat like hidden picture puzzles so kids get a game and craft. As students color the pictures, there is a printable page for them to list the animals and plants they find, that begin with each letter. Perfect for preschool and emergent readers. The calendar left gives the order of the animals on the Chinese zodiac. Free Printable Plant and Animal Alphabet Coloring Activities 

Free Printable Lent Coloring Pages, Catholic Easter Coloring Pages

For Catholics and Christians, Easter is about more than just bunnies and candy. Easter is about the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here are free printable stations of the cross, rosary, saints and Easter bible story coloring pages. Use these to teach little ones the real meaning of Easter. The Catholic and Orthodox churches, and some protestant Christian churches, observe the season of Lent for forty days before Easter. Lent "follows" Jesus's during forty days of fasting in the desert when He was tempted by Satan. in preparation for His sacrifice on the cross. During Lent, we pray, fast and do acts of mercy, almsgiving and penance to imitate Jesus. We follow the "Way of the Cross" or Stations of the Cross and pray the rosary. Catholic Easter Printables

Free Printable Science Lessons, Worksheets, Charts, Graphs, Diagrams

In researching science worksheets, I came across a comprehensive free science activity site that I just had to share it in a separate article. TSLBooks has close to 100 free printable science worksheets, activities, fill-in charts, games, puzzles and lesson plans. Each free printable science activity is available to print, simply by clicking the labeled link. Not all worksheets are preschool level but there are many that could be used for early childhood. And don't be afraid to try kids out on activities written for older kids. Grade levels are suggestions only. If your kids are gifted, early readers, don't hold them back. Preschool Science Worksheets

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Freelance writer, Top 100 Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, Shine, Michigan, Detroit), blogger, teacher, mom of 4, happily married 25 years. Graduated GVSU 1986, psychology/general education and special education. continuing ed up to present. Certified MI teacher. Writing Michigan history mystery, children's Gothic fantasy. Areas of expertise: education, relationships, mental health, nutrition, history, world cultures. Passions: faith, Catholic church, sustainable living, interfaith initiatives, living simply that others might simply live. Working on MA in EI education. 

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