2012 - momgineer

tiny hat ornaments

This year has been a big ornament making year for us! This one has to be one of the cutest we've tried. I found an excellent step by step tutorial over at Arian Armstrong's blog. If you've made play tutus, it is basically the same procedure on a much smaller scale. Lots of knots but straightforward, I hope you find these as adorable and addictive as I do!

What you need:
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • A cardboard ring (cut from a toilet paper or paper towel roll)
These would be so cute with name tags for gifts!
Trim the pompoms as much as you'd like. I like mine poofy. =)

Un petit chapeau!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

easy beaded ornaments

We are on a crafting kick this holiday season! Usually my boys' interest isn't held by crafts, but maybe they have just finally reached the right developmental period to work on them. They have been requesting to make more and more ornaments so I thought I'd share another easy-peasy and very inexpensive ornament craft. Make and Takes shows several other shapes we didn't do; we just focused on wreaths and candy canes.

What you need (all hopefully should be found at your local dollar store!):
  • chenille stems
  • beads (I got some clear heart beads as well - they look *great* near Christmas lights!)
The wreaths.
I also got these trays at our local dollar store - great for crafting or building LEGOs on!
I added a chenille stem for a hook, but regular ornament hooks work fine, too.
So easy and satisfying! Hopefully I will be able to share a few more Christmas crafts we've been doing.

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

felt scrap wreaths

I saw a cute felted wool wreath craft for kids on pinterest (seen here; scroll down a few crafts) so I thought we would try it with felt scraps.

What you need:
  • chenille stems 
  • felt scraps, cut into shapes or strips about 1.5" wide (You will want to cut squares for very young children, but kids 3.5-6 were all able to weave the strips with ease.)
  • scissors
  • string or ornament hook to hang your wreath
Colorful wreaths!

I marked 0.5" from the left side, then every 1.5"after, snipping a hole where I marked.
I found this weaving made the wreath making go a lot faster than squares.
Working hard.
Halfway done.
He liked this so much, he made two!
When you are finished adding felt, just twist the ends together to make a circle. Attach a string or hook for hanging. Done!

This is definitely a craft I would do again. There is a bit of prep time, as you will probably want at least 10 strips of felt per wreath, but it is at least fairly mindless prep! These would look lovely hanging in windows as well as on a tree.

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

a few free homeschooling resources

I LOVE this site: http://www.worksheetworks.com/

Free, highly-customizable worksheets? What could be better? So many of the activities are really fun. H always requests more worksheets from this site. I always figured we would use worksheets infrequently, but these worksheets are so well-liked, they aren't "work" at all!

H working on roman numerals, which he loves for some reason.
F working on an odd/even sums maze.

Need spelling lists? Check out K12 Reader - it has them for 1st-5th grades, as well as reading comprehension sheets. Great resource! For handwriting, I go to this site; it is worth navigating around the ads to get the worksheets, which you can tailor for everyone from pre-readers on up. I have used this site for copy work in the past, by typing out a few sentences from a favorite story and having the kids trace the words.

Have fun teaching is another site I've been using lately, and it looks like they do giveaways on their site and have a Teachers Pay Teachers store for some of their stuff, too. Khan Academy is another one that is getting more and more use (and giggles; H thinks it is hilarious!) on our end. Another math site I've used with success is Homeschool Math. What are your favorite free homeschooling resources?
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

pompom racing

What you need:
  • pompoms
  • straws
  • ramp (optional) - a table or smooth floor works well too
This is something my kids have loved doing for years. I got this activity ready for them this morning since we hadn't done it in awhile. It is always a HUGE hit here! This is one of many great games we learned from a speech therapist.

Pompoms set up.
Ready, set, blow!
They fly down the ramp so fast it's hard to capture it!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

man vs nature

Is it a natural resource or a man made resource? This was a question we covered recently in one of our homeschooling study units. The topic had me wondering about the intersection of man and nature that we often see on walks. It can be so beautiful to witness the initial, or primary, interaction, before it moves on to something unrecognizable as one or the other. Generally it is man manipulating nature, though we have had more and more of the opposite in terms of weather in recent years! Here are a few pictures from recent walks of man making a mark on nature:

What are your favorite spots to see man's gentle impact on nature?
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

thanksgiving fraction plate download

I have another download from my Teachers Pay Teachers store (it's free to have an account there and there are over 60k freebies as of this post). This is the preview file to my larger Thanksgiving math activities. You don't have to know fractions to do this but it's a fun introduction for little ones. Cut out the fraction pieces and glue them on to your Thanksgiving plate. Great fine motor practice and a fun way to start thinking about how you want to fill your real plate. They will only be able to fit everything on their plate if their fractions add up to 1!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

bark painting

Hurricane Sandy was a disaster for so many people in the northeast US, but we were lucky enough this year to avoid the issues we encountered with last year's storm. We didn't lose power (yay!) and since we had our two giant maple trees removed following last year's storm, there were no branches falling toward my head or through our roof, as they did last year (bigger yay!). Only two fence panels and small branches (<10ft long) fell. During yard cleanup, the kids and I found several large pieces of bark, so I put them on the deck to dry out. We used Q-tips and large brushes to paint:

Our finished pieces.
H painting his space themed bark.
He wanted to add glitter. There is glitter in space. Duh.
Just wish we had more bark to paint!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!


Just a quick picture update - Halloween from the back! H wanted to be a shark this year and after seeing this super cute costume idea, I knew buying a costume was not an option! F was a dinosaur, which has now been worn 4 consecutive Halloweens between the 2 of them. =)

Hope you had (or will have, if you are sans power) fun ToTing!
I am so very thankful all of our family and friends are safe after Sandy, and I am keeping those who were not as fortunate in my thoughts. Wishing a speedy recovery to those affected.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!


The kids just loved this exhibit at a local children's museum. You put in a play scarf in the opening and it whips around the tubes until the scarf gets shot out at the end of the line. You can change the direction with valves on the structure. Wondering how I can convert the shop-vac to a home version of this. Just had to share because it was so fun! =)

Series of tubes!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

felt bats

This is a cute Halloween craft we did last year so I thought I'd share it.

What you need:
  • Felt
  • Needle and thread (or hot glue gun and glue)
  • Straight pins (unless you make a cardboard or paper template)
  • Googly eyes
  • Ribbon
  • Fill/batting 
  • Scissors
I made a template and pined it to another piece of felt to cut out the other side.
Start gluing/sewing together both sides (don't forget ribbon for hanging!)
When it's 75% glued, stuff it! This is a great job for little fingers!
Add googly eyes and you're done!
Why not make a friend?! Love bats!
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

noun game, adjective game

I made a word game for each of the boys today: a pre-reading noun matching game for F, and an adjective game for H. We've played the noun game before but I couldn't find the cards I had made so I made a new sheet:

Feel free to print and add your own in the blank boxes.
This game was very well received! I stuck with mostly cvc words but if you can do more difficult words as well if you are beyond the beginning reading stages.

The game objects
Working out the words
 I made an adjective game for H for reading practice and to reinforce the concept of describing words.

I had him cut out the words, read them, and then find objects in the house that matched. Blank cards are to write in your own adjectives or to have your child come up with some on their own. Active, hands-on learning seems to work really well for my boys - they keep their bodies moving and have fun!
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

exploring clouds

We did this cloud project a couple of months ago and it is something that has really stuck with the boys. They often point out "serious" (cirrus) clouds, which always makes me smile. I think that making clouds with cotton balls is such a fun way to learn about them!

First we made a mini book about clouds with this Clouds Mini Helper (free when I did it, not sure it will stay that way!). We also read a this cute book we found at the library" Clouds (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1) and talked about the atmosphere and water cycle. The fun part was making clouds! We used blue paper for a background and then played with the cotton balls into the shapes we wanted.

Clouds Mini Helper
Cloud types
Clouds are fun!
Hanging clouds
Close up view
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

pumpkin seed art

I usually save seeds from my squash and pumpkins for next-season planting, but one pumpkin has enough seeds to spare some for roasting and some for fun! We hadn't ever dyed pumpkin seeds before this but they came out really pretty; some of them dyed dark, some light, some speckled.

What you need:
  • pumpkin (or other squash) seeds
  • food coloring
  • white vinegar
  • paper and glue
Just add some white vinegar and a few drops of food coloring to a bowl, mix, and add pumpkin seeds. Leave them in until you are happy with the color, then drain and let them dry on towels at room temperature or a cookie sheet in the oven at a low temperature. Glue them on however you'd like. Love this tree idea!

Dyed seeds.
Bowls of vinegar, dye.
Counting out seeds.
H&F both wanted to make shapes - they each made a circle and rectangle.
Yellow rectangle!
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!