Thursday, April 9, 2020

Easter Stories

A Collection of Easter Stories :)

If you are quarantined at home and want to share some great Easter stories with your children then these books are for you!  I wanted to reach out in this time where I cannot read in person to most of our childcare children in a way that they can see the story also.  This is new for me to try so please forgive the amateurishness.  I’m definitely amateur, but they are great stories!  I’ll also show other stories that are fun for Easter.  I will upload more later.  Keep checking back!

Sorry, had trouble with the videos, they won't load properly.  If you go to  you can see the books, you will just have to scroll, sorry. :(  

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Let's Go On A Nature Hunt

Let's go on a nature hunt!

Want to entertain your children as well as have some educational fun?  Try a nature hunt!  I was just noticing the intricate details in the way God created each and every plant differently.  The shape of leaves, the texture of leaves, even the coating on leaves.  Take your children on a nature hunt to explore different leaves and how rain collects on them.  I'm writing about using leaves but this could be used to explore anything.  Leaves, stems, bark, flowers, plants, trees, the rings on a stump, could all be great things to explore.

Here are a few different ways you could explore this.

1.  Simply go outside after it has rained and slowly look at each plant you can find with a magnifying glass to see how the water pools on the leaves, beads on the leaves, or runs off the leaves.

2.  Go outside ahead of your children, take pictures close up of different leaves then have your children go outside and try to find the leaves or plants where the pictures came from.

3.  Have your children go outside with a camera or a phone camera to take close up pictures of plants that take their fancy.  Print the pictures, use magnifying glasses to explore the pictures further.

As you look at each leaf, notice the veins of the leaf.  Note the color, the texture, and if it is soft, smooth, waxy, or rough. Turn the leaf over and note what you find there.  Does the leaf have any holes (hungry caterpillars?). Depending on the age of your child, have them draw a picture of what they find, or have them draw a picture and write their findings.  Paint a picture of what is found.  Or, put thin paper over a leaf and use a crayon that has been peeled to do a rubbing.

There are so many variations of textures and colors available to study in nature.  Go outside on a rainy day to explore.  Go outside on a sunny day to explore.  As you go, go with curiosity like children.  Walk around with fresh eyes for the beauty available in nature.

Begin or follow up with a story.  This one is a fun story about an adventure while looking for nature. 

How to create a wooden xylophone

Creating a Wooden Xylophone DIY

I love having an outdoor classroom area but I abhor paying big money for anything.  I enjoy creating fun things for our areas. An outdoor music area is great for a school, preschool, homeschoolers, or a home of nature lovers or music lovers.  We have a few different music items in our music area.  The one I want to highlight right now is our wooden xylophone.  Our first wooden xylophone, put in 6 years ago, just started breaking so it was time to replace it.  It was built by a friend so we simply took some measurements and recreated it.  You can create one as well!  Here is what you will need.  A saw to cut 2x4s, and a good drill to drill holes through the 4 inch sides, and a sander.  A belt sander is perfect for this but a handheld sander will work also.  You will also need maybe 30 feet of nylon rope (we used 3/8" nylon rope) and spray paint in whatever colors you want to use.  We used Krylon Color Maxx bright colors of green, blue, red, yellow, and orange.  To hang it we used 4x4’s cemented in the ground.

1.  Cut the 2x4s into the following lengths. (If you purchase 2 - 10' 2x4s you will have plenty)

2.  Spray paint each 2x4 in whatever color scheme you choose.  You will want to spray multiple coats of paint to make sure it is resistant to water/rain.  Take special care to coat the ends well, particularly the end that will be on the top. I laid them out on thick plastic trash bags.  They didn’t stick to the bags and when they dried I turned them over, sprayed them again and put it back on plastic to dry. I learned an important lesson about handling them as I laid them down.  I learned to wear gloves while spraying so I didn't accidentally get spray paint from my hand transferred on to another paint color.

I took our old Xylophone and laid it out so we could see how the rope had been tied between the boards.  They simply had one knot between each set of boards to keep them apart.  So obviously lay them out from smallest to largest. 

Then one by one you will want to measure in from each end on one side as shown 2" from one end and 2" from the other end and mark in the direct middle of each measurement so it is centered 2" from each end.  As demonstrated by my fabulous husband, Papa Joe, Drill a hole large enough for your rope going all the way through the board as illustrated.

The next step is to drill.  We tried drilling on the sidewalk but found it was difficult to hold the board still while drilling.  Putting it in a vise grip worked pretty well but ensuring that the drill was straight up and down not angled to a side was difficult, yet important.  A few of our holes were not perfectly lined up but still works effectively for a kids xylophone.  After you drill your first hole thread your rope through it to make sure it fits easily through it.  It is better to adjust your hole size after the first hole than re-drill all the holes.

Almost finished!!  Now, lay your rope out along the top row of holes and the bottom row of holes.  Ensure you have enough rope on the ends to tie, accounting for space for the knots in between each board.  Now begin threading the rope all the way through the first one, tie a knot, continue to put it through the next hole, tie a knot, repeat to the last board.  Now, repeat that process on the bottom rope and row of holes. 

Once you have them all tied and have decided where you will install the xylophone, using post hole diggers dig holes about 3' deep in the ground and put your 4x4 in the hole.  Next, mix cement following manufacturer directions and pour cement in the hole around your 4x4 leaving enough 4x4 at the top for your xylophone.  Lash your remaining rope from each side around the board multiple times to support the xylophone, then tie it off using a good sturdy knot.  We used a clove hitch knot

Your music area should have different textures, colors, sounds, and even smells.  Try incorporating things like different woods for different scents.  We have a wood frog guiro rasp
that is made from a different wood (not sure of wood) but it smells different than the eucalyptus mulch, pine boards, bamboo, and timbers.  Obviously incorporating different sounds is important.  We have wind chimes that the children can reach to tap, small metal xylophone, the bamboo people chime, old pots secured on the xylophone 4x4s that make different sounds.  One is cast iron and coated, the other is aluminum.  We have cactus rain sticks for gentle sounds, and empty water bottles with bells in them for jingle sounds. We incorporate scarves for dancing or dramatic play.  Our stages are large stumps buried in the ground.  We will have to replace them soon as they are deteriorating.  Florida weather is hard on the ground.  I don't mind paying for smaller items, but as you can see, use what you can find, make what you need, and add small items that you can purchase for a reasonable price.  Now go make your xylophone and make some music!

Easter Stories

A Collection of Easter Stories :) If you are quarantined at home and want to share some great Easter stories with your children then these...