Activites for Kids: How to Make a Chore Chart

Kelley from The Grant Life is back sharing some awesome activities for kids! Starting this week, Kelley will be here every Thursday sharing a new idea with us!

Two things we have been focusing on with our kids is to be polite and more responsible.   To help, I created a fun chore chart that will encourage good behavior with a reward.   The chart is a perfect activity for kids since they are able to add a sticker or check mark when a chore is completed.   Plus its easy to make and I’ve included a free Chore Chart printable.

Activities for Kids - Chore Chart With Printable Cover

To make the chore chart you need:

  • a plastic picture frame
  • stickers
  • window or dry erase markers
  • free printable <<—– click to print 

I found the plastic frame at Walmart for less then $3 and I had the window markers on hand.   I had originally planned to use a crayon but the color didn’t show up well.

Activities for Kids - Chore Chart

You will need to trim the chart once you print it out so that it fits in the frame.   The Crayola window marker worked great on the plastic and comes off easily.   They are also fun to doodle on real windows too.   Its a fun indoor activity for kids without the mess.   A dry erase marker works fine too.   Or you can write directly on the printable.

Activities for Kids - Chore Chart With Printable

I had some cute cowboy stickers on hand so we used them for our chart.   I let the kids put the stickers or check mark on when they complete a chore.

Activities for Kids - Chore Chart Using Window Markers

The kids are still getting use to the idea of having chores but they completely understand the reward system.   Ready to make your own chart?  Print it here.

Kelley is the mastermind in charge of her family.   She loves to spend time crafting, cooking and making her kids laugh. She believes she was destined to be a comedian but has put her stand up dreams on hold to raise her two kids. She blogs about her family at thegrantlife.com and often entertains her readers with her wise cracks.

Thanksgiving #Homeschooling Freebies by Subject

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My sweet friend Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog  is going to share some homeschool freebies with you today!

I had such a blast putting together the Halloween Homeschooling Freebies by Subject post for Crystal and Company, that I jumped at the chance to do it again, but this time for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving should be a MAJOR Holiday for us here in the States, but it gets skipped over pretty quickly in favorite of the bright colors of Christmas. That isn’t fair, is it? Let’s take the next few weeks and teach our kids about the importance of this Holiday!

MATH HOMESCHOOLING FREEBIES

1. Thankful Math – solve subtraction and simple multiplication problems to figure out the saying!

2. Math Drills - lots of Thanksgiving math sheets like Comparing Turkey Numbers, Turkey Block Addition, and Cornucopia Multiply!

3. Fun with Thanksgiving Math – Unique ways to incorporate Thanksgiving into your math lessons. One that really caught my eye was \”How long will your Turkey need to be cooked.\” How fun!

4. Logic: Thanksgiving Dinner Problem – online logic game!

5. Thanksgiving Compare and Contrast – several comparing and contrasting worksheets for all grade levels.

 

READING & LANGUAGE HOMESCHOOLING FREEBIES

1. Do the Research! Research the Thanksgiving themed topic and answer the questions!

2. Word Search Worksheet

3. Thanksgiving Words: Spanish Vocabulary – full list of Spanish words and their translations for your Spanish learner!

4. Sign Language for Thanksgiving – This article describes some essential signs for discussing the holiday in general as well as the foods commonly served at Thanksgiving dinner. Plus, a free printable download of the signs! This is REALLY neat for your homeschooler!

5. Reading Comprehension – Story of the First Thanksgiving with questions.

 

ART & MUSIC HOMESCHOOLING FREEBIES

1. Thanksgiving Coloring Pages – LOTS of coloring pages from Pumpkins to Turkeys!

2. Turkey in the Straw – Thanksgiving Song

3. Turkey Trouble – more Thanksgiving Songs

4. Paper Bag Turkey – This paper bag Tom Turkey is too cute and pretty simple, too!

5. Blessing Boxes – Create Blessing boxes to show what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving!

HISTORY HOMESCHOOLING FREEBIES

1. The First Thanksgiving - Really neat web quest that leads you on a \”field trip around the world wide web)! Seriously, this is pretty awesome!

2. Thanksgiving by The History Channel – Pretty in depth article on the History of Thanksgiving\”¦ includes videos, links, and recommended articles! Great for your High School Students.

3. The FIRST Thanksgiving Proclamation – June 20, 1676!

4. Plymouth: Its History and Its People!

5. Mayflower History – great site that EVERYONE should have in the bookmarks list!

SCIENCE HOMESCHOOLING FREEBIES

1. How Stuff Works – Neat article from Discovery Channel on the Turkey. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the article for more \”How Stuff Works\” Thanksgiving articles like \”How does the pop-up timer on a turkey work?\”

HOME ECONOMICS HOMESCHOOLING FREEBIES

1. Plan a Thanksgiving Meal! Cute story and web quest!

Kelli gives you hints and tips on how you can save money homeschooling and homemaking! At Deals_3BD she posts coupon/ad matchups, the best homeschooling deals, printable coupons, and kid friendly recipes.

My Nicholas

He is a twin.

He was tiny when he was born.

He reminds us everyday that he is growing BIG!

He answers to Nick, Nicky, and Nicholas.

He is quiet and to himself. We refer to him as a silent bomb- the calm before the storm… and he is the storm.

He is sweet and says I Love You.

His voice is raspy and melts my heart.

He is a leader.

He is a fighter.

He is the mind behind every single plan his twin brother sets forth to conquer.

He is passionate about whatever he feels.

He is analytical and detailed.

He is matter of fact.

He loves Star Wars, tractors and construction.

He is the child who would feed everyone in our home if something happened to me in the middle of the day.

He loves food.

He eats his cereal with a fork… and there is no changing that.

He really loves chicken legs! The only child I know who can clean a chicken bone!

I love him- he is my Nicholas!

Lynn, my dear sister in law, thank you for taking this picture! It is perfect!

Science Fair and Homework Saga

As I’ve shared with you guys before, this year we made a leap of faith in regard to big kids’ education (Garrett and Anthony).

As a long time, heavily involved, avid supporter of public school, at the end of last school year I found myself at this fork in the road. This place I was not so sure of.

Our second grader, Anthony, was finally diagnoses with Dyslexia, something I had been begging the school to test him for going on two years. I just knew he was. I did not know much about the ‘learning difference’ but what I did know about it, supported my gut feelings.

You can read more about his diagnosis with dyslexia and my struggles with education here.

Over the summer we applied for both boys to go to a local charter school that is science and engineering based, which is exactly what Anthony needed. Like his father, he is very hands on.

Unfortunately it is a lottery. There is no sibling grandfathering. Garrett’s name was drawn, but we are still waiting for Anthony.

With all of that said…. (get.to.the.point.Crystal) it is science fair season.

In September my little attorney, Garrett, chose his topic- How Junk Food Effects a Hamster. (He had been begging for a hamster for months and months…what a creative way to finally get one! Or two!)

We purchased two hamsters- one went to Anthony and one to Garrett but both were used for the project.

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Let me tell you a little bit about Garrett’s personality.

He can be a procrastinator.

He loses interest easily in things that last too long- like a 6 week hamster study.

He expects instant gratification (what child doesn’t in 2010).

He will make a great attorney some day.

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Let me tell you a little bit about Garrett’s mom (me).

She is cross between a helicopter mom and a drill sargent mom.

She hates to see her children fail.

Despite the above, she really wants them to do things for themselves.

(Ok, it is weird to write about yourself in third person!)

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So, in the end, this project became just as much my project as Garrett’s. He was so over it! Although I helped him, I did not let him off the hook. Not one bit.

The premise of the project was to feed one hamster regular hamster food for 6 weeks, while feeling the other hamster junk food for 6 week.

We logged the food we fed them, how much they weighed before, during, and after. We also recorded their physical activity throughout the 6 weeks.

Meet Junk Food Hamster. Hi, JFH!

Junk food hamster was fed things like:

Cheetos

Tortilla chips

chicken nuggets

Lays potato chips

tater tots

popcorn chicken

french fries

small piece of cookie

slice of apple

piece of broccoli

stalk of celery

(I understand the last three items are not seen as junk food to the human kind, but it is not hamster pellet food…. so, we considered it junk food. And since the research was funded by Crystal & Co., we controlled the research being done. Welcome to America.)

Now, meet Healthy Hamster. Hi, HH!

Soon it was time to assemble the poster board. This is where I really lost Garrett. It was like a long car ride- ‘are we there yet?’. But instead it was ‘are we done yet?’. It was clear to me that Garrett and I lacked a meeting of the minds.

Garrett was fine with just throwing everything on the board and turning it in. Oh, boys lack such detail!

Decorating the board absolutely annoyed him. But we did it anyway.

Helicopter mom continued to march out the orders.

See those cool letters? They are like post-it notes and sticky only at the top. Then you can glue them down. Perfect for a science fair board! Highly recommended for a project like this. And, they are affordable, too! Got them at Target back in January. Anthony wanted to help. So his job was to sort the letters and numbers out on the table in an organized way. He did a great job! (We had kind of messed them up at this point…)

In the mist of all of this, Anthony remembers he has a project due the next day. This kind of thing used to drive me absolutely insane! Then, I embraced dyslexia. It is just how his mind works.

And I know what you are thinking… didn’t the teacher send home a note about it?

Of course she did.

Did Anthony bring it home?

Of course he did not!

Again, we embrace it. My life has adjusted. We roll with it. We keep in touch with the teacher as much as possible. Still, things fall through the cracks.

(As a quick side note, we asked at the beginning of the school year that Anthony be assigned a buddy. This can be common for children with learning differences. The buddy reminds Anthony at the end of the day to check his box for homework, to check for papers to take home, etc. Still things get overlooked. You just have to accept it,move on, and encourage him to try harder!)

So, we had a project going on at the kitchen table (science fair) and in the living room (musical instrument). Thank God Lenny was home this night, it was a slow night for heating and air conditioning business.

Lenny supervised the living room project(s). It looked at little something like this….



Then, the twins decided they too had ‘homework’. They love to pretend and do school work.

Here is Luke doing his homework. Excuse his non-matching stripes. I am pretty sure he dressed himself that day. Remember, we are just surviving some days.



And here is Nick. Yes, those are big people scissors in his hand. I noticed them as I was taking a picture. Pretty sure that is why he would not look at the camera…. he knew he was doing something he should not be doing! Don’t worry, they were recovered immediately.



And apparently Matthew’s homework was to push the kitchen chairs from the kitchen to the living room.(Look at all the fingerprints on that chair. Do we have to pay someone to clean around here?)



See what an empty oatmeal container with a little bit of rice inside, some card stock, a glue stick and a creative mind can do? These projects are perfect for him. He learns with his hands!



Proud dad and son! (Yes, Lenny is running for a public office. More about that another day.)



Back in the kitchen- science fair things are underway. It was a late night. Here is the finished board:

Here is our data notebook and result binder with some cool spreadsheet stuff inside.

And what happens when you feed a hamster too much junk food? He turns into this… just kidding!

Garrett proudly turned in his project and actually was chosen to move on to the next level. It required that he be at the school that Saturday for the day long Science Fair event. (He was so tired, can you tell?)



It was Garrett’s dad’s weekend to have him (blended family joys) and they had other plans… so he was not able to make it.

There was lots of disappointments, but Garrett really learned a lot from this project! Lenny and I took the little kids and went to the Science Fair event even though Garrett could not make it. He did not place in the second round, but we were so proud of his work.

There were so many amazing project. I took pictures to share as ideas for projects you may have in the future. These kids are brilliant and inspired us all to look at science in a whole new light. Remember, our future is on their hands.

(Garrett’s school currently goes up to 8th grade… I think many of these are from the upper grades.)

Do you have a science fair coming up? Here are some very helpful links:

Putting Together Your Display Board

Science Buddies Site- lots of cool info on here including project ideas, guides, and questions.

The Scotch Tape people have a website called Science Fair Central for helping you through your project. Awesome!

Then there is a book- Guide to the Best Science Fair Projects. Wish I had seen this before we got started… will totally get it for next year.

What to do in weather like this?

It is raining here in Texas and very cold. They were predicting snow. Not sure we will get the snow, but tomorrow morning we will likely have ice on the roads.

It is only going to get colder these next few days….

And it is Friday. Which means a weekend of children stuck in the house, cause they ain’t tracking leaves and mud on my living room floor.

There is a blog I follow called- We are THAT family. She is really crafty and has lots of great ideas.

This last week she posted about what to do with your kids when they get cabin fever… I knew I would need this list before the weekend- given the trusty five day forecast.

So I want to share her list with you. Click here to view it in detail.

Give some of the things a try this weekend and let me know how it turns out. Your kids will thank you… and you will thank yourself when you are spared a trip to the crazy house.

Ready, set, go!

Beauty: Opening Our Eyes to the Beauty That Surrounds Us

Have you purchased your Gratitude Journal yet?

I’ve picked mine… take a look. I love the colors.

It has these little gold embellishments sewn to it as well as other gold stitching.

It has lined pages, although I did not care either way.

Check out the journal area at your local Barnes and Noble. They have a really nice selection. In store of course.

Isn’t it a BEAUTY?

‘While the Simple Abundance path is gentle, its lessons are powerful. First of all, we learn to be grateful no matter what our circumstances may be. In offering gratitude for our real lives, we discover that less is truly more. This freedom encourages us to bring order or our affairs and cultivate harmony in our inner world. Going at our own pace, learning to recognize our limitations, appreciating our progress, we weave the lesson into the fabric of our daily moments until they become part of us.

Suddenly one day we feel very much alive and desire more beauty in our personal quest. We come to a deep awareness that creating a beautiful life is our highest calling. “It was as if I had worked for years on the wrong side of the tapestry, learning accurately all its lines and figures, yet always missing its color and sheen,” the journalist Anna Louise String confessed in 1935. We understand her sentiments as life’s color and sheen and beauty call to us.

Today, explore ways to see your world differently. Let your eyes drink in the beauty that surrounds you. Walk to a gallery on your lunch hour and catch that “certain Slant of light” that so enthralled Emily Dickinson. Gaze into the faces of those you love, set the table with care, and relish the preparations you make for dinner, delighting in the presentation of the meal. Light the candles, pour wine or sparkling water in your prettiest goblets, and celebrate this new awareness. It is in the details of life that beauty is revealed, sustained, and nurtured.

Outside, winter’s darkness closes in. Inside, you have found your own Light.’ -Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

Some days, oh wait we are being honest, most days, it is all business here at Crystal & Co.

We have so many children, and I know I am outnumbered. To keep everyone in line, I must keep it ‘all business’.

When Garrett was little, I remember enjoying the innocents of his childhood in a way that I probably overlook with Anthony, Nick, Luke and Matthew, because it is all business.

The very thought of letting the kids drink sparkling apple juice out of fancy b.r.e.a.k.a.b.l.e. goblets tonight at dinner, just sends me into a panic attack. What a mess!

And eating dinner by candle-light with these five guys will for sure end in a house fire.

Don’t get me wrong I can be fun.

I am the aunt that loves to show up to our family Christmas gathering with something special for the kids like hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes.

I brought a gingerbread house to my sister’s New Year’s Eve celebration for the kids to assemble. We had fun.

But, I certainly know I am absolutely guilty in letting the beauty of everyday things pass me by. I know the “lines and figures” of each of my children, but I do miss out on their “color and sheen”.

Now, it is time to see the beauty, take it in, and teach it to my children.

I suppose they do make plastic goblets somewhere….

Don’t they?

‘You agree- I’m sure you agree, that beauty is the only thing worth living for.’ – Agatha Christie

Have You Ever Seen Such a Thing?

Yesterday it was 70 degrees here in Texas. We were all wearing shorts.

Today it was in the 30′s and SNOWING!

Did I mention we live in Texas? The Lone Star State? The one that never gets snow?

Nick and Luke were almost beside themselves. (Garrett is visiting his Dad for Christmas, I am sure he was playing in the snow as well. Anthony and his mom are in San Antonio….)

The twins wanted so badly to play in the snow. Luke wanted to make snow angels which I thought was just adorable. He must have seen it on tv. Nick, was just goofy as ever running and playing in the very, very cold white stuff! (Nick is in the blue and Luke is in the red. They crack me up!)

Now we are tracking Santa online (he is still in Peru), baking some cookies and then soon will send them off to bed. It has been an eventful day for them.

Merry Christmas guys! Santa is on his way.

Have You Ever Seen Such a Thing?

Yesterday it was 70 degrees here in Texas. We were all wearing shorts.

Today it was in the 30′s and SNOWING!

Did I mention we live in Texas? The Lone Star State? The one that never gets snow?

Nick and Luke were almost beside themselves. (Garrett is visiting his Dad for Christmas, I am sure he was playing in the snow as well. Anthony and his mom are in San Antonio….)

The twins wanted so badly to play in the snow. Luke wanted to make snow angels which I thought was just adorable. He must have seen it on tv. Nick, was just goofy as ever running and playing in the very, very cold white stuff! (Nick is in the blue and Luke is in the red. They crack me up!)

Now we are tracking Santa online (he is still in Peru), baking some cookies and then soon will send them off to bed. It has been an eventful day for them.

Merry Christmas guys! Santa is on his way.

Have You Ever Seen Such a Thing?

Yesterday it was 70 degrees here in Texas. We were all wearing shorts.

Today it was in the 30′s and SNOWING!

Did I mention we live in Texas? The Lone Star State? The one that never gets snow?

Nick and Luke were almost beside themselves. (Garrett is visiting his Dad for Christmas, I am sure he was playing in the snow as well. Anthony and his mom are in San Antonio….)

The twins wanted so badly to play in the snow. Luke wanted to make snow angels which I thought was just adorable. He must have seen it on tv. Nick, was just goofy as ever running and playing in the very, very cold white stuff! (Nick is in the blue and Luke is in the red. They crack me up!)

Now we are tracking Santa online (he is still in Peru), baking some cookies and then soon will send them off to bed. It has been an eventful day for them.

Merry Christmas guys! Santa is on his way.

Have You Ever Seen Such a Thing?

Yesterday it was 70 degrees here in Texas. We were all wearing shorts.

Today it was in the 30′s and SNOWING!

Did I mention we live in Texas? The Lone Star State? The one that never gets snow?

Nick and Luke were almost beside themselves. (Garrett is visiting his Dad for Christmas, I am sure he was playing in the snow as well. Anthony and his mom are in San Antonio….)

The twins wanted so badly to play in the snow. Luke wanted to make snow angels which I thought was just adorable. He must have seen it on tv. Nick, was just goofy as ever running and playing in the very, very cold white stuff! (Nick is in the blue and Luke is in the red. They crack me up!)

Now we are tracking Santa online (he is still in Peru), baking some cookies and then soon will send them off to bed. It has been an eventful day for them.

Merry Christmas guys! Santa is on his way.