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Summer Crafts: Teaching Kids With Homemade Play Dough

24 Apr

imageIt will not be long til all school age kids are off for the summer and I am excited to be able to spend more time with the kids. But if your kiddos are anything like mine, after a couple of weeks, I go from being a full time stay at home mom, to a full time REFEREE!

This is why I make sure and have plenty of things for my kids to do on the days we are all home so that they are busy having fun with activities and crafts, therefore, there are fewer moments where I have to play referee! As a former teacher, now a stay at home mom, I make sure they are doing fun crafts and activities but I also take this opportunity to either teach or reinforce learning skills.

Homemade Play Doughimage

Reinforce math skills and save money by making your own play dough! Have your kids do the measuring and all the mixing. It’s fun and easy and your kids will enjoy playing with it because they made it!!

Homeade Play dough
2 cups plain flour
2 cups water
4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
2 Tablespoons Oil
1 cup salt
Food coloring
Poor all ingredients, except for food coloring in a mixing bowl, then transfer to a pot stirring constantly on medium heat until it forms a dough ball by pulling away from the sides. (I do the stirring on the stove for safety reasons) Remove from heat and knead until it forms the texture of playdough.  Put the dough in a gallon size ziplock bag. Add the food coloring and knead while still in the bag. (This prevents your kids from having stained hands.) Keep kneading and adding the food coloring until you get the color you want. Store the playdough in the ziplock bag or place in a plastic storage contalearning
Note: For a no cook playdough, disolve salt in boiling water, then mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until it is a dough consistency.

Learning Activities Using Homeade Play Dough.

Play Dough Picturesimage

Using a piece of cardboard, card stock, or construction paper have your child create a picture using different colors of play dough to construct and place on the paper.  Additional activities depending on the age of your child:  Write a story before or after they make their play dough story, either mom or child can label the picture.

imageCreate “Snakes”

Kids love making snakes out of play dough! Have your child make snakes and then review or teach by having your child put the snakes in order shortest to longest.

Create “Balls”

Review or teach by having your child put them in order from biggest to smallest and then smallest to the biggest.

Make Patterns, Sort and Count

Have your child make patterns using different colors, then sort, and count. Discuss different types of patterns like AB(red, white), ABA(red, white, red), AABB(red,red,white,white), and ABBA(red, white,white,red), depending on the age of your child. Start with simple patterns first, then expand to the more complex patterns.

Create Letters, Words, and imageNames

Have your child write there name or letters of the alphabet with the play dough. For younger children, trace the letter(s) on a piece of paper so your child has a template. For older children, have them create words or practice spelling and/or high frequency words. For FREE templates of letter cards that your child can use to create the letters, visit this page from Making Learning Fun. She has LOTS of different learning activities and free printouts to use with play dough.

Explore with Objects

imageThis is where I look around the house for manipulatives that my kids can use: plastic spoons, cookie cutters, pipe cleaners, toothpicks(for older children) googly eyes, water bottle lids, etc……

Learning Skills

Who would of thought that making and playing with play dough, would result in your child learning so many different skills and concepts. Here are concepts and skills your child will review or learn with the activities that I have shared:

Measuring skills, one-to-one correspondance, number recognitiom, understanding of paterns and relationships through ordering shortest to longest and smallest to biggest, problem solving, connecting math and reading with everyday activities, letter recognition, literacy development, and exploring matter and how it can change.

Want more Crafts and Activities? I will be posting more crafts and activitie so weekly so keep checking back!!!

More Play Dough Recipes and Activities


Zoodles: A Kid Friendly Browser Your Kids Will LOVE!

16 Apr

imageZoodles is my absolute favorite online educational activity for my kids!! As a former teacher, currently a stay at home mom, I would highly recommend Zoodles for your kids either at home or in the classroom. The best part of it, its FREE!! Here is where you can sign up for Zoodles!

Differences in Free Zoodles Vs Premier

Although it is completlely free, you do have the option to upgrade to a premier membership which allows you to have more control over the subjects that are displayed for your children. You can adapt the games and activities according to your children’s needs. For instance, if you would rather your kids work on reading skills, you adjust the seetings where reading activities and games are displayed for the child. There are additional features to the premier membership such as ad blocking along with other added features. The price is $7.95 a month or its cheaper if you buy bundle months.

My kids have been using Zoodles for  about 2 years now (free Zoodles) and although I havent upgraded to the premier membership yet, I plan to this summer when my kids are out of school. The first 14 days, your kids will get all the benefits of the premier membership for free and after the free trial is over, you will NOT have to purchase anything but will not get the additional features. Here it shows all the features of both the free and premier memberships.

There are so many great things in Zoodles without the premier membership. Everything discusses below is for BOTH the Free and Premier memberships!

Age Appropriate Activities by Educational Experts

All games and activities on the Zoodles browser have been approved by a team of educational experts so its safe to say that your child will have access to age appropriate acitivities that are best suited for your child! For instance, when my 7 and 4 year old sign in to Zoodles, there games are totally different because they are geared toward there ages and skill level.

Kid Friendly

Your children play Zoodles on a kid friendly browser which takes away all the navigation and URL bars. This allows your children to play independently without the worry of your child clicking on content other than learning activities. Each game or activity is played by clicking on a picture so when they click, they know what they are going to play.

Games and Activities


All games and activities target different areas of learning: Cognitive Development, Creative Development, Life Skills, Reading, Science and Social Studies. There are 1000’s of games which always change so your child never gets bored!! Take a look at some of the games they offer!



In addition to games and activities, there are lots of learning based videos for your children to watch. They are all educational and are geared to children’s interest. Dinosaurs, counting and Abc’s are just a few examples. (Tip: Free memberships, allow you to record only 1 book, so in the 14 days of free premier membership, I would record as many books as you can to have once the 14 day free premier membership expires)

Video Books

imageOnline kid friendly stories with pictures is a great way to establish the love of reading!!! This is my favorite part of Zoodles because it allows you to either just record your voice reading the story, a video with mom or dad reading the story, or video yourself and your child reading the story together, which is what I did. And believe me, if I can do it, it’s easy to do and you don’t have to be advanced in technology!! My girls listen to the stories constantly because they see mom and/or dad reading the story to them! What a perfect way to establish the LOVE of READING!!

Art Studioimage

Your children can draw, print and email the pictures they create! This is just another great tool for your children to enjoy! Kids love seeing the finished product after printing, emailing, or just calling you over to see their masterpiece!!

Related Articles

Zoodles (

Last Minute Easter Ideas, Activities, and Crafts

28 Mar


Easter Day is a a fun day for the family, but with any big day celebration, comes planning! Here are some tips to make the big day easier!! Only 2 more days!!!


PotluckInstead of cooking everything yourself, split the duties up and have everybody bring something to share. This will cut down time in the kitchen so you have more time for everything else!

Hotdogs and Hamburgers?

Easter does not have to be the traditional gourmet Hotdogs and Hamburgersdinner. If potluck doesn’t work for you, take the cooking outside and do hotdogs and hamburgers! Easter is about celebrating with the family, so make it easier on you, the kids will probably like dinner better!

Easter Activities


Make your kid”s day by painting their faces. It can be as fancy or as simple as you want it. I’m not an artist, so I will be painting Easter eggs on their faces.

Bunny Hop

Use burlap sacks or pillow cases and have the kids doEaster activities a sack race. You can give out small prizes to the winners!

Egg Race

Used boiled eggs to have kids do a spoon race. Balance the egg on their spoon, have a start and finish line, and whoever we makes it to the finish line first, wins the egg race. You can have small prizes for the winner!


Have the tables set up for each craft. Pick just one or several depending on the number of kids.

Bunny Mask…… This is a super cute fast and easy craft that your kids will love from

Bunny Ears….. Another great craft! I’ve included 4 different ones that way you can pick the one that works best for your family. Kids can wear them during the party and it makes for some great pictures! Click on each link to get directions on how to make them and/or print the patterns out.

All of them are super cute and so I am having a hard time deciding which one I am going to use for my girls! All print outs are FREE!

Bunny Ears from Kaboose…… Made out of poster/construction paper.

Bunny Ears from Kaden’s Corner.….. Pattern to print out.

Bunny Ears from Claudine Hellmuth…… Pattern to print out.

Bunny Ears from HGTV.…. This one has a pattern to print out and you attach to a thin headband.

imagePersonalized Bunny…. My daughter made this at school and I thought it was adorable!!! It is made with a small paper plate, pipe cleaners for whiskers, ears are cut out of construction paper.

Here are some other Easter activities, crafts and Easter recipes treat recipes that you might be interested in!

Easter Reading and Singing Activities (

Teaching Your Kids the Easter Story with Jellybeans (

Easter Treats & Sweets (

Easter Reading and Singing Activities to do With Your Kids

26 Mar

imageAs a former teacher, now blessed to be a stay at home mom, I try to bring as many learning activities at home that either reinforce a previous taught skill or to teach a new skill! One way to motivate your kids to learn, is to teach them in ways that makes it motivating for them! What child does not like Easter? Keep Kids Motivated using SONGS and STORIES. Here you will find information on a a great FREE interactive story APP and some great songs about Easter that I am using with my kiddos.

Easter Story App: Bunnyfur’s Easter Eggs by Jenny B Harris

imageA great interactive story! Decorate eggs, find the eggs, click to open the eggs, listen to the birds sing. Choose whether the story is read out loud or read on your own. A great Interactive Easter story about a Bunny and his Easter eggs.

Kid Friendly Easter Songsimage

Sing an Easter song using tunes from songs we all know! Singing is a great way to establish a deeper understanding of what Easter is about. Print a poster or coloring page of this song to sing throughout the week by clicking on each song title. Thanks to DLTK-kids for these great Easter songs!

My Favorites

Jesus Alphabet Song (sing to the tune of The ABC song)

EASTER (sing to the tune of Jesus Loves Me)

God’s Gift (sing to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)

All songs come from DLTK Growing Together.

I will be adding activities all week so keep looking migrant

More Easter Activities?

Teaching Kids the Easter Story Using Jellybeans

25 Mar

imageEaster is right around the corner and its a busy but fun time for the whole family. This poem is a great and fun way to reinforce or teach the Easter story using a bag of jellybeans! You can write this poem on poster paper or print out for your kids.

Red is for the blood he gave: Discuss how Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. On the Friday before Easter he was nailed to the cross where he died for our sins.

Green is for the grass he made: Discuss how God created the earth with land and water.

Yellow is for the sun so bright: Discuss how God created the days and nights using the sun.

Orange is  for the edge of night: Discuss how God created night and the sky turns orange has the sun sets.

Black is for the sins we made: Discuss that Jesus sacrificed his life for our sins by dying on the cross.

White is for the grace he gave: Discuss the kind of person Jesus was.

Purple is for the hour of sorrow: Discuss Jesus dying on the cross

Pink is for our new tomorrow: Discuss because of Jesus and his resurrection, we live a life where our sins are always forgiven. We celebrate Easter by celebrating his resurrection and the great life he lived!

See how you can get money back when purchasing jellybeans on one of my previous posts!

Related article: 2 more great poems about Easter!

Teaching Your Kids About Time: Alarm Clocks and Clock Crafts

20 Mar

imageKids Need and Want Responsibility

No matter how old or young your kids are, they need and want responsibility! The best thing I ever got for my 4 and 7 year old was their own alarm. I never dreamed that having an alarm in my girls’ room would make mornings so much easier!

My 7 year old sets her own alarm and with my 4 year old, we do it together. Since they were given the responsibility to wake up to the alarm, THEY DO!!! In fact, most mornings, they are ready to go before I get out of bed. Note: I lay my girls clothes out the night before!

Who would of thought an alarm would make my life easier?

Quick Learning Lesson on Timeimage

Setting an alarm is the perfect chance to teach and/or reinforce a lesson on time. Being a certified teacher and a stay at home, I take every oppurtunity to teach a lesson. Kids learn better by connecting their learning with everyday experiences. When setting the alarms, I get out the regular standard clock (I use the Big Time Learning Clock) and compare the current and wake up time using the standard and digital clock. We discuss the hour and minute hand comparing it to the digital clock. Kid connection: Have your kids create their own clock using paper plates. (See the craft clock picture and directions on how to make these clocks in the next section, Money Saver Clock Craft).

imageMoney Saver Clock Craft

Wen reviewing and/or teaching time with your kids, having a clock that they made, motivates and enhances their understanding of time. The more hands on activities your kids do with time, the more your kids will understand the concept of time! I use the Big Time learning clock, my kids use the clock that they made and seeing the excitement on their faces, with their clock in hand ready to learn, is priceless! Kids are motivated to learn when they take part in the learning experience!

Get details on how to make this clock by visiting Learning Ideas Grades K-8, 5-Minute Interval Paper Plate Clock. She has some great ideas on making clocks using paper plates that keeps kids motivated and WANTING to learn, like the Baseball Clock, Easter Clock, and one of my kids favorites… Telling Time with Manipulatives!

Need other tips on making your mornings easier? See my article:

Morning Craziness: How to Make Your Morning Less Chaotic with Kids


Teaching Kids with Play Dough (

Capri Sun Money Savers and Crafts

24 Feb

What Can you do with Capri Sun Pouches?


Use Capri Sun to Keep Lunches Cold

Freeze your Capri Sun, and it makes the perfect Ice Pack!!! By the time lunch comes around, the Capri Sun is nice and cold and ready to drink! No more busted ice packs or packing a lunch and realizing you forgot to put the ice pack in the freezer! When you buy your Capri Suns just stick in the freezer, so when it’s time to pack a lunch, just grab a Capri Sun from the freezer and you got your ice pack and drink all in one!!!

Save the Capri Sun Pouches for Arts and Crafts


Use the Capri Sun pouches to make lunch boxes, pencil pouches or just be creative and see what your kids can come up with!!! My girls like to cut out different shapes and glue on construction paper for a shiny works of art.

Step by Step Directions for Capri Sun Pouches Crafts

(These step by step instructions were compliments of and

Capri Sun Purse

Capri Sun Lunchbox, Wallet, Checkbook Cover, Purse

Wallet, Gift Bags, Totes

Money back from IbottaIbotta

Right now Ibotta has the Kool-Aide Jammer Capri Sun on their product list. For those of you who are familiar with Ibotta, you know that they frequently have offers on Capri Sun products. If you are not familiar with Ibotta, it is an APP where you save money on groceries you already buy. For more information on Ibotta, see my previous post, Ibotta: Save Money on Groceries you Already Buy.

Earn cash for your schools

Save all your Capri Sun pouches to earn money for your school or any other organization. It’s as program called the Pouch Brigade and its a great way to teach your kids the importance of recycling. Click on the title of this section for more information!

Do you have a craft idea for Capri Sun? Or Maybe a coupon? Please feel free to comment!

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