In Lieu of Preschool http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com ...what a former teacher and her two little ones do in lieu of preschool! Mon, 28 Apr 2014 04:02:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Love the Journey — Homeschooling: Principles to Practices http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/love-the-journey/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/love-the-journey/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 03:48:11 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15772 Click to read Love the Journey — Homeschooling: Principles to Practices on In Lieu of Preschool

Do you know the feeling you get when you find something so exciting you just can’t wait to share it? Well, that’s exactly how I feel right now! I have stumbled upon a brand new homeschool book titled Love the Journey – Homeschooling: Principles to Practices. It’s written to encourage teaching moms…especially those who are

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Click to read Love the Journey — Homeschooling: Principles to Practices on In Lieu of Preschool

Do you know the feeling you get when you find something so exciting you just can’t wait to share it? Well, that’s exactly how I feel right now! I have stumbled upon a brand new homeschool book titled Love the Journey – Homeschooling: Principles to Practices. It’s written to encourage teaching moms…especially those who are just starting out!

That dynamic certainly applies to me, and if you’re here reading my blog, my guess is it just might be of interest to you, too, even if you’re just “maybe, possibly, sort of in the beginning stages of thinking about considering homeschool.”  Yes, that is totally a real thing.  I’ve been there!

Love the Journey
Homeschooling: Principles to Practices

Love the Journey

About the Author, Marcia Somerville

First let me tell you a little about the author, Marcia Somerville. Marcia is a K-12 homeschooling mother of six, who when faced with the dilemmas of trying to educate all of her children in every subject, was about ready to throw in the towel. Thankfully she didn’t. Instead she ended up creating the classical Christian curriculum that came to be known as Tapestry of Grace. Marcia has since graduated all six of her children using her teaching methodologies, and all six went on to graduate from colleges and universities. Marcia’s curriculum, Tapestry of Grace, is used by thousands today, and has won many awards.

About Love the Journey

Love the Journey is like sitting down with Marcia and getting to hear her best advice over coffee. Yes, please! It’s the words of a successful veteran homeschool mother, teacher, and curriculum writer written directly to me, the new homeschool mom who is trying to do my best for my children, but who admittedly has doubts and struggles and lots of unknowns to deal with at the beginning of this journey. And not only does Marcia offer advice, but she gives encouragement. And she does it all from a Christian perspective. Here is the company’s statement of faith for reference.

Read the Free Sample Chapters

I could go on and on about how excited I am about this book, but instead, I’ll just link you to the free introductory material and sample chapters so you can see for yourself! I need to get back to my reading anyway! ;)

Stay Tuned — There’s More to Come!!

While Love the Journey is a completely stand alone book, it was actually written as a companion to the brand new program, Tapestry Primer, which is another thing that has me so excited I can hardly sleep. True story! This new curriculum is meant for families whose oldest child is in kindergarten or 1st grade, and is designed as a gentle one (or two) year introduction to and preparation for the full Tapestry of Grace program. Stay tuned for another post in the next day or two where I’ll give you all the juicy details!! This is what we’ll be using for the coming school year! :)

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Printable Homework and Morning Work – and how I’m using it in my kindergarten homeschool! http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/printable-homework-and-morning-work/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/printable-homework-and-morning-work/#comments Fri, 14 Mar 2014 20:49:36 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15747 Click to read Printable Homework and Morning Work – and how I’m using it in my kindergarten homeschool! on In Lieu of Preschool

This past year I have been doing kindergarten homeschool with my oldest child, who just turned 6. By mid-year, his reading and math skills were advanced enough that I wanted to introduce him to some independent work — both for the additional benefits and challenges that would provide him, as well as for having something

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Click to read Printable Homework and Morning Work – and how I’m using it in my kindergarten homeschool! on In Lieu of Preschool

This past year I have been doing kindergarten homeschool with my oldest child, who just turned 6. By mid-year, his reading and math skills were advanced enough that I wanted to introduce him to some independent work — both for the additional benefits and challenges that would provide him, as well as for having something on hand for when he wanted “to do something” but I was busy helping my 4 year old preschooler or doing something around the house. I dare not say I was looking for some busy work, but yes, I needed something to keep him busy at times…I digress… :)

I knew that a fellow blogger, Emily from Second Story Window, had some amazing first and second grade printable homework and morning work sets that aligned with the Common Core (a set of standards that most public schools around the nation are now following), and after perusing her site and her store on Teachers Pay Teachers, I knew her 1st grade work packets would be a good fit for my son! It WOULD indeed keep him busy, but it was also well-rounded, well-planned, and well, just what I was looking for!

printable homework

Printable Morning Work and Homework

Luke has been using the first grade printable homework and morning work sets the past few months now. In the beginning, I had to sit with him and answer questions as he completed his work, but within a few days he was able to do most of the work independently. I love that reading the directions for each part is giving him more experiences reading for a purpose, and that the sheets cover both reading and math skills! As a homeschooler, I also enjoy knowing that we are covering Common Core standards that are being taught in classrooms, so that if my son does go into the school system, he’ll be right on track with his peers. Additionally, checking over my son’s work when he completes a page helps me to get a quick snapshot of the things he really understands and the things I need to spend more time on with him. If I see there is something he doesn’t understand, I can give him a quick one-on-one mini-lesson on the topic, and then pay attention to the next time he comes across a similar question to see if he has mastered it or still needs extra help. I won’t even mention the fact that he LOVES doing this work! ;)

printable homework

Other reasons I love Second Story Window’s printable homework and morning work bundles:

  • It would take me a long time to create this on my own, but Emily and her sister Heidi, who teach/taught second grade, have already created this AND it’s nicely formatted to boot!
  • The product isn’t free, but it is VERY reasonably priced for how much work you get AND I love the fact that almost all the money actually goes to the creators’ of the product (versus into some big publishing company’s pockets).
  • It was created by classroom teachers!
  • The format is very kid-friendly; it is designed to be independent work!
  • The images and text are very clear and precise.
  • The packet(s) you receive can be downloaded, so you can use them for multiple students in a classroom or homeschool.
  • You can print the entire packet at once, or sheet by sheet as needed.

printable homework

How do WE use the printable homework and morning work packets in our homeschool?

I created a binder for morning work and a binder for homework. I printed the first 50 pages or so of each packet and put them into the proper binder. My son can choose to work on these as he pleases, or I can direct him to get his notebook and complete his work for the day. I typically check his work after each page is completed so that I can provide him with immediate feedback.

printable homework

Want to win a bundle?

Emily at Second Story Window has graciously allowed me to give away 2 complete bundles of morning work, homework, and the homework add-on pack!!!

The winners can choose if they want the 1st or 2nd grade set. Winners also have the choice of the 3rd grade morning work set instead, but there is no 3rd grade homework packet to go along as that is still in the works!!

Want to win? Just leave a comment below telling me which bundle you’d like to win: 1st grade, 2nd grade, or 3rd (morning work only). Be sure your email address is included so I can get in touch with you if you are one of the winners!! I will choose two random winners Sunday, March 23rd!!

printable homework

Can’t wait?

Head over to Second Story Window’s blog, the Second Story Window store on Teacher’s Pay Teachers, or the Second Story Window Etsy shop. In addition to their awesome morning work and homework packets, they have many, many more printables for pre-k through 3rd grades, so head over and check them out!!

printable homework

And, yes, my son is doing his independent work in his Spiderman footie pajamas! :)

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The Very Best Pet for Kids http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/best-pet-for-kids/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/best-pet-for-kids/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 17:07:30 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15724 Click to read The Very Best Pet for Kids on In Lieu of Preschool

I grew up around lots of different kinds of animals and I really want my kids to have the same kinds of experiences I had as a child. I think caring for animals teaches kids a lot about responsibility, life (and sometimes death), and compassion. Over my childhood, my family had countless kittens and cats,

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Click to read The Very Best Pet for Kids on In Lieu of Preschool

I grew up around lots of different kinds of animals and I really want my kids to have the same kinds of experiences I had as a child. I think caring for animals teaches kids a lot about responsibility, life (and sometimes death), and compassion. Over my childhood, my family had countless kittens and cats, numerous dogs, indoor and outdoor fish, various birds, mice, a ferret, turtles, and hamsters. I had friends who had iguanas, lizards, gerbils, and guinea pigs. 

One issue we are facing is that I grew up in a very rural area while my children are growing up in a suburban area; this makes owning pets a lot more complicated as there is less space and more rules (city and HOA) concerning what pets you are even allowed to have! Of course we visit petting zoos, the zoo, pet stores, and the aquarium often, but there is just something different about OWNING a pet and spending extended time with the animal. 

I have spent a lot of time researching the best pets for kids and trying to choose which pets are right for our situation and our kids’ ages and personalities. Finally I have found a great solution to the very best pet for kids dilemma: volunteer pet-sitting

best pets for kids

The Very Best Pet for Kids

It started when I began researching good pets for kids and came across guinea pigs. Would they be a good pet for our kids? Would our kids like them or would they lose interest? Were my kids old enough to responsibly care for a guinea pig? I personally had never owned one before and had limited experience with them myself. Then I remembered one of my husband’s coworkers owned a guinea pig. The next time I ran into him, I told him we would love to pet sit for his guinea pig if he ever had a weekend he needed someone. Low and behold about two weeks later, we got to pet sit for an extended weekend! 

best pets for kids

The week before we were to pick up Reeses, the kids and I read up about guinea pigs – where they come from, what their behavior is like, what to feed them and what not to feed them, how to hold them. We watched YouTube videos to see guinea pigs in action and to listen to the cute piggy sounds they make. The kids were well-educated on guinea pigs and confident pet-sitters before the guinea pig even came to our house. We had a blast playing with and caring for Reeses!

The kids learned to hold him, how to feed him and what foods he liked best (green peppers, leafy greens, and apples were his fav!), and all about his behaviors (how he mostly liked to hide in his igloo house but how he would come out to beg for food in the mornings at his feeding time). I got to observe how my kids behaved with the animal and how responsible (or irresponsible) they were when it came to caring for him.

best pets for kids

What I learned from the experience was that a guinea pig would probably be a great pet for us at this point. But I also learned, we had a GREAT time just pet-sitting. We got to experience owning a pet for a brief time and then returning him to his owner. If it hadn’t been a great fit, the positive is that there is an end in sight. It’s kind of like a trial period; if you love the pet you are pet-sitting for, then you can seriously consider getting that kind of pet, or if you dislike the time you have that pet, cross that one off your list! Obviously you have to remember that animals are individuals and no two will be exactly alike, but it does give you at least some experience before jumping into a totally unknown situation. And maybe the very best pet for kids is just experiencing lots of different pets via volunteer pet sitting!!

best pets for kids

Other great things about volunteer pet-sitting? 

  • It allows the owner of the pet a free place to keep their pet while they will be gone, so usually it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
  • You can “try out” a wide variety of animals as pets, so instead of being locked into one pet that you own, you can experience owning lots of different animals for a short time.
  • There is probably nothing for you to buy, as the owner will send along all bedding and food you need for the pet-sitting period. We did provide the fresh veggies for the guinea pig we were keeping, but we expected that we would and had a great time doing it!
  • You can work out all the details with the pet owner before you agree to take in the pet, so you are all comfortable with the arrangement.
  • It gives you a real-life reason to do some research about that particular animal with your kids; you can even create some homeschool assignments from it if you desire.
  • It might even allow your child a chance to try out owning an animal that you would not want as a long term pet (like perhaps a tarantula, a lizard, or a snake!)

 best pets for kids

For us, it really was a great situation. Just be sure to work out all the details with the pet owner ahead of time, and be prepared to give lots of time and attention to the pet while you have him! 

best pets for kids

Tip: It’s also helpful (but hopefully not needed) to have a worst-case-scenario plan in place just in case the pet gets sick or injured while in your care so you know the owner’s wishes.

Have you done any volunteer pet-sitting or animal fostering? Tell us about your experience!

We are looking forward to many more pet-sitting adventures in the future!!

Check back tomorrow to see a cute and simple “thank you” card idea your children can create to give to the owner after the pet sitting adventure is over!

 

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Christmas Activities for Kids http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/christmas-activities-for-kids/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/christmas-activities-for-kids/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:30:24 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15691 Click to read Christmas Activities for Kids on In Lieu of Preschool

Here’s a round-up of all the Christmas art, Christmas crafts, and Christmas activities for kids from us here at In Lieu of Preschool! Hope your holiday season is merry and bright! Christmas Activities for Kids from In Lieu of Preschool Click the picture to go to the corresponding post for full directions and tutorials! Christmas

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Here’s a round-up of all the Christmas art, Christmas crafts, and Christmas activities for kids from us here at In Lieu of Preschool!  Hope your holiday season is merry and bright!

christmas activities for kids

Christmas Activities for Kids from In Lieu of Preschool

Click the picture to go to the corresponding post for full directions and tutorials!

Christmas Ornament Crafts

Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments:

paint swirl christmas ornament craft for kids

Disney CARS ornaments using microwave salt dough recipe:

Disney CARS ornaments and gift tags made from microwave salt dough recipe

Extreme Glitter Ornaments made using Mod Podge:

Extreme Glitter christmas ornament craft for kids

Advent Jesse Tree ornaments using microwave salt dough:

jesse tree ornaments for Advent made from microwave salt dough recipe

Kid-Created Christmas Card Crafts

Nativity Christmas Cards:

Nativity Christmas cards made by kids

Christmas Card crafts and Displays:

Christmas Cards crafts for kids

Other Christmas Art and Crafts Projects

Handprint Christmas Tree – Holiday Keepsake on Canvas:

handprint Christmas Tree art

Christmas Tree Suncatcher made from recycled materials:

Christmas tree suncatcher made from recycled materials

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Footprint Art – Christmas Keepsake on Canvas:

reindeer footprint art project for Christmas

Simple Sticker Christmas Trees (make it your choice of two different ways):

Simple Sticker Christmas Trees Art

Christmas Bubble Painting Art:

Christmas Bubble Art

Snowman Hush Bottles – calm down glitter bottles:

snowman glitter bottles

Make Your Own Christmas Wrapping Paper:

DIY Christmas Wrapping Paper

Lighted Christmas Tree Craft:

Lighted Christmas Tree Craft for kids

12 Christmas Crafts for kids:

christmas crafts for kids

Homemade Beeswax Candles for Christmas gifts:

make homemade beeswax candles

Christmas Activities for Kids

Gingerbread Cloud Dough:

gingerbread cloud dough

Christmas Flubber Slime Recipe:

make your own Christmas Flubber Slime

8 Great Ways to Focus on the Nativity:

focus on the nativity - activities for kids at Christmas

15 Christmas Sensory Activities for Kids:

christmas sensory activities for kids

Merry Christmas Letter Play / Secret Message Bath Time:

Merry Christmas Secret Message Bath

Christmas is Coming Activities:

Christmas activities for kids

10 Advent Activities for kids:

advent activities for kids

Opening Christmas Presents – Pretend Play activity:

opening christmas presents pretend play activity for kids

Twas the Night Before Christmas Bath:

Twas the Night Before Christmas bath time fun for kids

Christmas Writing Journals for Kids:

Christmas journal printables for kids 

We hope you enjoy these Christmas Activities for Kids from In Lieu of Preschool!  

Be sure to follow my Christmas with Kids Pinterest board for even more great holiday ideas and activities!

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Reindeer Footprint Art Christmas Keepsake on Canvas http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/reindeer-footprint-art/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/reindeer-footprint-art/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 04:19:00 +0000 Genny Upton http://parentteachplay.com/inlieuofpreschool.com/the-inspiration-of-pinterest/ Click to read Reindeer Footprint Art Christmas Keepsake on Canvas on In Lieu of Preschool

Two years ago the kids and I crafted a few Christmas keepsake art projects and those keepsakes have been my absolute favorite holiday decorations to unpack each Christmas since! The first were our handprint Christmas trees, and the other, which I never shared here on the blog before, were our Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Footprint

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Click to read Reindeer Footprint Art Christmas Keepsake on Canvas on In Lieu of Preschool

Two years ago the kids and I crafted a few Christmas keepsake art projects and those keepsakes have been my absolute favorite holiday decorations to unpack each Christmas since! The first were our handprint Christmas trees, and the other, which I never shared here on the blog before, were our Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Footprint Christmas Art on canvas. I absolutely adore how cute and quirky these deer turned out! This is a simple project you can make with your kids now and enjoy together for many holidays to come! They also make fabulous gifts for parents and grandparents!!

reindeer footprint art

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Footprint Christmas Keepsake Art on Canvas

Materials Needed:

  • canvas
  • brown and red acrylic paint
  • black permanent marker
  • googly eyes
  • glue

Making your Reindeer Footprint Art is more about logistics than anything else, as you will be painting the bottoms of your kids’ feet with paint, so have a plan for clean-up in mind before you even get started!  I had a second adult helper for this project; one of us was in charge of holding and supporting the child while the other was in charge of foot placement and actual stamping.

Bonus Tip: To make the canvas sturdy enough to stand up to a footprint getting stamped on it, we stacked a pile of magazines underneath it to provide a hard surface to press against without stretching the canvas off its frame.

The inspiration for our reindeer came from Life in Motion.

Directions:

1. Paint a child’s foot with brown acrylic paint. We used foam brushes to do this. Stamp the foot firmly but carefully onto the canvas. Be sure to press down evenly before lifting. Repeat with other feet as desired for the design. Allow to dry.

2. Paint a child’s thumb with red acrylic paint. Stamp the thumb on the bottom of the brown footprint to be Rudolph’s red nose. Alternately, you could use black for regular deer or reindeer. Be sure to thoroughly coat the thumb with paint and press down firmly and evenly before lifting. Allow to dry.

3. Use a black permanent marker to draw antlers on the reindeer.

4. Glue on googly eyes. We used oval shaped eyes and Gorilla Glue as the adhesive. The eyes are still on two years later!

 
 
This was our first attempt:
 
reindeer footprint art
 
Luke’s foot on the left and Lilah’s on the right.  The red dot is their thumb prints.  This one sits on our mantel each year, on the opposite end from the hand print Christmas tree.

This was our 2nd attempt:

reindeer footprint art

This one was a Christmas present from all the grand kids to go in Granddaddy’s Lodge, aka a hunter’s “man cave.”  These are L&L’s feet (Luke’s on the ends, Lilah’s 2nd and 4th), and their one-year-old-cousin’s in the middle.  The red dots are each of their corresponding thumb prints.

Don’t forget to write the kids’ names, ages, and the year either at the bottom of the canvas or on the back!!

Aren’t these Reindeer Footprint Christmas Keepsakes just adorable???

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Flubber Slime Recipe – Messy Play http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/flubber-slime-recipe/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/flubber-slime-recipe/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 19:58:53 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15638 Click to read Flubber Slime Recipe – Messy Play on In Lieu of Preschool

It’s slime! It’s silly putty! It’s flubber! To be honest, I don’t really know what it is! I have always tiptoed on the edge of messy play, but feeling brave this week and wanting to try something new with the kids, we tried our hand at adapting a sensory play slime recipe from Growing a

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Click to read Flubber Slime Recipe – Messy Play on In Lieu of Preschool

It’s slime! It’s silly putty! It’s flubber! To be honest, I don’t really know what it is! I have always tiptoed on the edge of messy play, but feeling brave this week and wanting to try something new with the kids, we tried our hand at adapting a sensory play slime recipe from Growing a Jeweled Rose. I’m not sure exactly what you would officially call our flubber slime as I’m a newbie in the land of messy play creations, but my kids call it FUN! My now 4 and 5 year old who used to cry when they got their hands messy have played with this flubber slime (stuff) twice in the past two days for more than an hour each time. It is really some amazing STUFF…and I’m happy to say but don’t tell the kids this…it’s not even really that messy! (Thank goodness!)

Flubber Slime Recipe for Kids Messy Play

Flubber Slime Recipe – Messy Play / Sensory Play

flubber slime

Materials Needed:

  • 1 cup Elmer’s White Glue (2 – 4 oz. bottles)
  • 3/4 cup very warm water
  • a few drops of food coloring (I used gel) optional
  • Glitter, optional
  • Peppermint Extract (or other flavoring for scent) optional
  • 3/8 to 1 tsp Borax mixed with 2/3 cup of very warm water (or as much as needed to dissolve borax amount you use)

flubber slime

How to Make Flubber Sensory Play material:

1. Mix the 2 bottles of glue (~1 cup), 3/4 cups very warm water, and any optional ingredients like food coloring, glitter, flavoring extract if you want scented flubber slime, etc. in one bowl.  

flubber slime

flubber slime

flubber slime

2. In a 2nd bowl, mix the borax with very warm water until dissolved.  Less borax will give you more of a slime consistency; more will give you a putty / flubber consistency.  

3. Mix the ingredients of the two bowls together until the flubber slime forms.

flubber slime

flubber slime

If your flubber slime is too runny, mix a little more borax in a little more warm water and add it to the mix until you get the consistency you want.  

Our flubber slime got two additional mix-in’s of borax. I had intended to make more of a slime, but with the extra borax, we ended up with something between a slime, flubber, and putty. The consistency was even better when we played with it the 2nd day!

flubber slime

Our Flubber Slime oozes and stretches, but it’s able to be torn.

flubber slime

If you ball it up into a ball, it bounces a bit across the tray. It sticks to plastic toys but is easy to get off. It doesn’t stick to your hands. If left to sit, it slowly oozes out into a puddle blob.

flubber slime

Since it’s almost Christmas here and based on what we had on hand in the craft cabinet and kitchen, we made our Flubber Slime festive by using red food coloring, green glitter, and peppermint extract, but you can use your imagination to come up with whatever unique creation you like for any time of year!

My kids have enjoyed just manipulating this Flubber Slime with their hands, using cookie cutters, and playing with plastic animals and people.  Hands can make handprints. 

flubber slime

The animals can make tracks in the putty.

flubber slime

The animals and people can by buried in the sludge and dug out again for a gooey treasure hunt.

flubber slime

Lilah even found out the slime could be used to make Cinderella a nice new dress for the ball. I’ll bet the Prince would be impressed!!

flubber slime

I will admit that I sat down with the kids after we first made this and Luke finally said, “Mom, how about I just pull you off your own piece?”

Yeah, the stuff is pretty cool and I played with my very own bit for probably half an hour. I’m tempted to send some to the office with my husband for his desk, but he may not get any work done with something so fun to play with!!

flubber slime

To minimize the mess during play, my children kept the Flubber Slime on plastic trays. For cleanup, they simply gathered up their putty and put it into a plastic sandwich container for the next time they want to get slimed. I was pleasantly surprised with how little mess there was to clean up after this messy play, and I’m excited we can use this slime again and again before we decide we’re ready to make some more!

I have a feeling making slime and slime play time will be new favorite activities around here for awhile!

flubber slime

Parents: Please, as always, use your discretion with this recipe based on the age and maturity level of your children. I suggest it only for kids who are old enough not to put their fingers or toys in their mouths during play. My children are currently 4 and almost 6; they had a great time with this silly flubber slime!

Have you made homemade flubber slime or other sensory play recipes before? What are your favorites?

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Snowman Hush Bottles – DIY Calm Down Glitter Jars for Kids and Adults! http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/snowman-hush-bottles/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/snowman-hush-bottles/#comments Sat, 14 Dec 2013 00:12:45 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15610 Click to read Snowman Hush Bottles – DIY Calm Down Glitter Jars for Kids and Adults! on In Lieu of Preschool

About a year and a half ago — was it really that long? — we shared our perfect hush bottles with you. Those calm down glitter bottle / mind jars / sensory bottles were a big hit in our family AND with our readers. After much use, I finally had to toss ours several weeks

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Click to read Snowman Hush Bottles – DIY Calm Down Glitter Jars for Kids and Adults! on In Lieu of Preschool

About a year and a half ago — was it really that long? — we shared our perfect hush bottles with you. Those calm down glitter bottle / mind jars / sensory bottles were a big hit in our family AND with our readers. After much use, I finally had to toss ours several weeks ago. They lasted a long time, but recycled plastic bottles just don’t hold up forever with as much use as they were getting. Everybody in our family would walk by them and give them a good shake several times a week if not multiple times a day. In memory of those awesome bottles, we have created a festive seasonal mini-version this year: Snowman Hush Bottles! I hope these help to brighten kids’ and adults’ faces in homes, classrooms, and offices everywhere…and help you calm down if that’s what you need!! It’s totally ok…you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy these!!

snowman hush bottles

Snowman Hush Bottles

Materials Needed:

snowman hush bottles

These are some of the materials we used with this project. Some things pictured were NOT used for this project.

snowman hush bottles

How to Make a Snowman Hush Bottle:

This “recipe” is very much an experimentation effort. Different brands of glue and glitter tend to mix (or not mix!) differently, so I’ll tell you what we did, but feel free to deviate and play with the “recipe” until you get your glitter bottle just right.

snowman hush bottles

1. Fill your (empty and clean) recycled plastic bottle about 1/2 to 3/4 full with very warm water. We used 8 oz. Boost Nutritional Drink bottles – thanks to my father-in-law. These were perfect because they weren’t too big, they had a rounded top section, and a great red cap! Also the label comes off without any residue at all!

2. Squeeze in a small bottle of glitter glue.  Put the lid on the bottle and shake to fully dissolve the glue into the water. My son and I used “Opal” glitter glue, while my daughter used a light pink glitter glue. My son and I had no trouble with ours, but my daughter’s glitter glue would NOT dissolve. We ended up dumping it into a microwave safe bowl and heating/stirring it until we got it mostly dissolved. We let it cool down before we continued with the next steps to ensure it wasn’t hot enough to burn her.

3. Add some extra fine glitter (loose). You can use as much or as little as you like. I’d suggest around 0.5-1.5 ounces. My son and I used a mix of Glitz (white) and Frost (aqua blue) in our bottles. My daughter used only Glitz (white). Replace the lid and shake until well mixed.

snowman bottle

4. Add Clear Gel Tacky Glue. This is the part that will help the glitter stay suspended so it doesn’t fall so fast. Add some, replace the top, shake, observe, repeat until you get the suspension you want. Top any remaining space in the bottle off with warm water, leaving just enough empty space to allow for adequate shaking, and screw on the top.

*Optional – If you want your snowman to appear “white” even when not shaken, simply add a few drops of white acrylic paint to the mix and shake well. This will make the water a cloudy white so even when your snowman isn’t sparkling, he’ll still look like a snowman.

snowman bottle

*Optional – You can glue the top on your snowman bottle with super glue or some other type of glue if you are worried about “someone” accidentally making a big mess. I’d wait a day or two after making your bottle to do this step if possible just so you can ensure the consistency of your mix is good. I have on occasion in the past had to dump my glitter bottles into a bowl to whisk away clumps before putting it back into the bottle.

 5. Decorate your snowman – Be creative and use what you have on hand! We used black and orange Sharpies permanent markers to draw the snowmen’s faces. I glued a scarf made from red raffia on my snowman, while the kids used colored pipe cleaners simply twisted in place around their snowman’s necks for scarves. For hats, we each glued a larger pom pom on top of the bottle top, followed by a smaller pom pom on top of that one.

snowman bottle

I absolutely love how these snowmen turned out! I personally had to make a bottle for myself this time because our hush bottles were so cool last time and I really regretted not having one to play with, too!

snowman bottle

I have already shaken up my snowman probably 50 different times since making it this afternoon just to watch the pretty, snow-like sparkles filter down.

snowman bottle

My son really hit the nail on the head when he first called these things “hush bottles;” they really do captivate your attention and get your mind to relax, and well…hush…and enjoy the beauty.

snowman hush bottles

*We use these just for personal enjoyment and relaxation, but they can also be adapted as timers, time out bottles, and for travel entertainment. 

We hope you enjoy making Snowman Hush Bottles as much as we did! Share your photos on our In Lieu of Preschool Facebook page!

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Behind on Laundry {Memories of a Mom} http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/behind-on-laundry/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/behind-on-laundry/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 18:42:57 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15602 Click to read Behind on Laundry {Memories of a Mom} on In Lieu of Preschool

My 5 year old has suddenly taken affinity to certain items of clothing, one being his beloved Carolina Panthers shirt. He will wear it for a week straight unless we intervene and remind him that clothing must, at least occasionally, be washed. This week, I have been sick. In the bed sick. Apparently I must

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Click to read Behind on Laundry {Memories of a Mom} on In Lieu of Preschool

My 5 year old has suddenly taken affinity to certain items of clothing, one being his beloved Carolina Panthers shirt. He will wear it for a week straight unless we intervene and remind him that clothing must, at least occasionally, be washed. This week, I have been sick. In the bed sick. Apparently I must have fallen behind on laundry because this conversation just happened…

laundry

Behind on Laundry

Luke (excitedly): Mom, I know how to wash shirts!

Me: Oh, you do?

Luke: Yep, you just get them really wet. Then hang them up to dry.

Me: Yeah, that’s a pretty good description.

Luke: I washed my Panthers shirt.

Me (with visions of what that really entailed racing through my mind): You WHAT?!?!?!

…and I dashed off to see what wet mess awaited me upstairs!

Of course after all the fires were put out, I thanked him for his help and assured him I’d get his shirt washed, complete with laundry detergent, ASAP! ;)

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{Memories of a Mom} is a series I started and hope to update regularly recording all the things I don’t want to forget about my children…the milestones, the joy, the tears, and most of all the laughs!  Hope you will enjoy laughing along at with us!  You can read other Memories of a Mom posts and my similar series that came first, What I Should Have Written in my Baby Book, by clicking the links.

memories of a mom

Have your children ever taken it upon themselves to “help” you with the laundry or other chores? How’d it turn out?

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Extreme Glitter Christmas Ornaments http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/extreme-glitter-christmas-ornaments/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/extreme-glitter-christmas-ornaments/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:30:30 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15585 Click to read Extreme Glitter Christmas Ornaments on In Lieu of Preschool

After the fun the kids and I had making Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments, the idea struck me that we should try to make some more baubles using our new bottle of Extreme Glitter Mod Podge! Does the name “Extreme Glitter Mod Podge” get you as excited as it does me? Ok, probably not, but alas,

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Click to read Extreme Glitter Christmas Ornaments on In Lieu of Preschool

After the fun the kids and I had making Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments, the idea struck me that we should try to make some more baubles using our new bottle of Extreme Glitter Mod Podge! Does the name “Extreme Glitter Mod Podge” get you as excited as it does me? Ok, probably not, but alas, the stuff is cool! It’s a way to use glitter without getting it all over the house. That is reason enough to get excited in my book!!! These ornaments turned out so colorful and sparkly, and they were so simple to craft. I *need* to go buy more ornaments so we can have them in all colors all over our Christmas tree!!

glitter

Extreme Glitter Christmas Ornaments

Materials Needed:

  • Hollow Glass Ball Ornaments with removable tops
  • Extreme Glitter Mod Podge (found where the regular Mod Podge was in the craft store)
  • Food Coloring Gels
  • Cups for collecting drainage

mod podge ornament

How to Make Extreme Glitter Christmas Ornaments:

1. Pour some “Extreme Glitter” Mod Podge into a small container. Squeeze in a few drops of food coloring gel. Mix well. We used red for one and a mix of red and yellow for the other. Great way to demonstrate color mixing to kids!

2. Remove the top from your glass ball ornament and set it aside for later. Carefully pour your colored Mod Podge mixture into the ornament.

3. Gently swirl the mixture around the ornament to coat the interior of the ornament.

4. Put the ornament upside down into a cup to dry. Be sure the ornament is suspended a bit so the liquid has room to drain out.

mod podge ornaments

5. Wait at least overnight for the ornament to dry. Gently put the top back on the ornament once dry. Hang it on your tree, tie it to a gift, or display it on an ornament stand!

glitter

extreme glitter ornament

These ornaments are so pretty in person. I had a really hard time capturing in the photos just how really glittery they are!

mod podge glitter ornaments

glitter

For more tips on making these ornaments, see our Paint Swirl Ornaments’ bonus tips section!

glitter

 Have you tried our Extreme Glitter Christmas Ornaments?  Share them with us on Facebook!

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Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments – An All Ages Holiday Craft http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/paint-swirl-christmas-ornaments/ http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/paint-swirl-christmas-ornaments/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 20:27:22 +0000 Genny Upton http://www.inlieuofpreschool.com/?p=15565 Click to read Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments – An All Ages Holiday Craft on In Lieu of Preschool

When I taught 5th grade many moons ago, my co-teacher introduced me to a super simple way to paint Christmas ornaments that turns out very professional looking, fancy, and beautiful. The kids loved the craft project, but I have to admit I was just as enthralled with making the baubles as the kids were. This

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Click to read Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments – An All Ages Holiday Craft on In Lieu of Preschool

When I taught 5th grade many moons ago, my co-teacher introduced me to a super simple way to paint Christmas ornaments that turns out very professional looking, fancy, and beautiful. The kids loved the craft project, but I have to admit I was just as enthralled with making the baubles as the kids were. This year, I decided to try the project once again, but this time with my own children! My 4 and 5 year old’s eyes lit up just as much as I remember my students’ eyes lighting up all those years ago. So no matter your age (as long as your little one can be trusted to hold a glass ball carefully for a few minutes), you will definitely want to try this project. I’ll bet you can’t make just one!!

 christmas ornament

Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments

Materials Needed:

  • Hollow Glass Ball Ornaments with removable tops
  • Acrylic Paint in various colors
  • Cups for collecting paint drainage

christmas ornament

To make your very own paint swirl, marbleized bauble, follow these steps:

1. Pull the top off the clear ornament and set it aside for later. Squeeze 2 or more colors of acrylic paint inside the ornament.

christmas ornament

2. Gently and slowly (but not so slowly the paint starts to dry!) swirl the ornament around in your hand until all the sides are covered in paint. Squeeze in a little more paint if necessary.

christmas ornament

christmas ornament

3. Put the ornament upside down into a cup to dry. Be sure the ornament is suspended a bit so the paint has room to drain out.

christmas ornament

4. Wait for the ornament to dry. I suggest at least overnight, perhaps longer depending on the thickness of the paint you used.

5. Gently put the top back on the dry ornament. Hang it on your tree, tie it to a gift, or display it on an ornament stand!

christmas ornament

Bonus Tips

1. Use as little paint as you can while still providing full coverage. This will be less wasteful and also your ornament will not drain as much, so your design will stay as close to the original as possible.

2. We used the little bottles of 2 oz. acrylic craft paint that are often on sale for 2 or 3 for $1.

3. You can use paint colors that typically work well together (like red and yellow), but you can also try funky combinations. The paint doesn’t really mix together that much so you don’t end up with funky brown ornaments. My son did one with orange glitter paint, purple, green, and blue. I cringed at the thought, but it actually turned out really colorful and cool looking. So, let the kids choose their colors and see what they come up with. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was!

4. If you get paint on the outside of the ornament, don’t worry about it. It scratches off easily with a fingernail once it dries.

5. We used our Melissa & Doug paint cups with the tops inverted to drain our ornaments. They worked perfectly!

christmas ornament

6. If you’re not sure the paint is dry yet, wait a little longer. If you hang your ornament before the paint is completely dry, the paint will run to the bottom of the ornament and dry in a puddle there. Not pretty. Trust me!

christmas ornament

Have you tried making Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments yet? How’d they turn out?

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