Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

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Barnes and Noble has a great summer reading program that allows kids in grades 1-6 to earn free books!
 
 
Here's how kids can earn a free book:
  1. Download a summer reading journal from Barnes and Noble.
  2. Encourage your child to read any 8 books over the summer and journal about them.
  3. Take the completed journal to any Barnes and Noble between May 16th and September 5th.
  4. Then your child gets to pick a free book from the list in the back of the journal.
Source
Kick off summer reading with any of these great picture books or chapter books!




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Monday, May 15, 2017

Fire and Ice Candles {preschool melting experiment}

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Making a candle with wax and ice is an activity that I did over 25 years ago in Brownie Girl Scouts.  {How's that for dating myself?}  My version of it sat in my mom's curio cabinet for many, many years.  It's a simple project with few materials needed, but the products are so cool and so different depending on how you do it.
 

You can use store bought candle wax or just melt down an existing candle, like we did.  To prepare the candle to be melted down in the microwave, I dug out the metal wick plate in the bottom of the candle so I could pull the wick out. {metal and microwaves don't mix}
 
 
Then we placed the candle in a microwavable bowl that I didn't mind tossing after we used it.  We covered the bowl with a piece of tupperware to catch splatters.  It took about 15 minutes for the whole candle to melt down.
 
To give the candle its shape, use a waxed cup.  The wax liner will allow for easy removal by peeling the cup away.  Insert the wick, then fill up the cup with ice.  For this project, I would suggest using crushed ice.  Regular-sized ice cubes are too big and will make for a crumbly candle.   Bear put as much crushed ice as he wanted in the cup, then I poured the melted wax over it until the cubes were completely covered.

Both of us thought it was interesting to watch the immediate reaction that occurred when the hot wax and ice cubes met.  We checked back frequently to look at the progress on the melting of the ice cubes.  I should note that you may want to occasionally gently tip the cup over the sink to drain out melted water. 

I waited about 6 hours to make sure all of the ice was fully melted before I peeled the cup off of the candle.  The result is exquisite.  All of the little nooks and spaces that the ice left in the wax are so beautiful to see.
 
 
I think that the best part about this project is that it's educational and productive at the same time.  These would make for great Mother's Day gifts if made with scented wax.  This one is going to Gramma's house so it can sit in the curio cabinet for many, many years just like mine did.
  




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End of the Year Teacher Appreciation Gift: Book for Kids to Make

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We're coming up on the end of the year, which means a mad dash to get those year end teacher appreciation gifts done.  Something that I do each year for Bear's teacher is make a photo book filled with student interviews and pictures.  The teachers have just loved these gifts because they capture the personality and perspective of each child. So I thought I'd throw together this little printable that you can use to create a class book for your child's teacher. 
 
This post contains affiliate links.
 
These books can be completed one of two ways.  The sheets can be sent home with the students where they will fill out the below questionnaire, glue on a picture of themselves, and return. Then you can laminate each page and secure them with binder rings or spirally. Place it in wrapped shirt box or gift bag and it's ready for teacher.

Or you can do as I did and enter all of the information into an online photo book and have them professionally printed. The later is what I've done in years past because I've sent the questionnaire via email to the parents. Each student gets a two page spread, one side has their picture, the other has their interview answers. This is how I laid it out:
 
The download below contains printable pages with both male and female pronouns for either Mr. or Mrs./Ms./Miss teachers. Just click the link to download the PDF file from Google and you're on your way to creating a one-of-a-kind end of the year teacher gift.
 
 
Click the link below to download 

What are some end of the year teacher gifts you’ve given?


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