When A Homeschool Lesson Flops…

Reading blogs about homeschooling is one of my guilty pleasures.  I love to see the creative ideas and innovative techniques people use to teach their children.  Often, I get ideas from these blogs and use them in my own homeschool lessons.   There are so many ways to homeschool your children, and it is absolutely awe-inspiring to see all of the creativity out there.  However, all of this amazing can leave oneself feeling inadequate.  It feels like everyone else is doing a much better job than you. In reality, no one is perfect.  Everyone has homeschool days that don’t go as planned despite all the planning and preparation, they just don’t post blogs about it.  I myself tend to only post my triumphs rather than my failures, but that’s not really how it always goes.

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When all else fails, bring on the art projects.

The truth is, some days are fantastic, everything goes as planned, and you feel like you are the best homeschool mom ever!  There are also days that are complete and utter disasters.  In fact, we had a whole week of those days, last week.  It all started when my husband and I decided to paint the homeschool room over the weekend.  This same weekend we received over 4 inches of rain, which inevitably led to us finding a leak in the homeschool room.  Needless to say, our little weekend painting project turned into a week-long project and my son and I were left without our homeschool room.  Luckily one of the great things about Mother Goose Time is its versatility – you can set it up and use it anywhere.

In fact, when we started using Mother Goose Time two years ago, we used our family room as our school space.  I figured it would be easy to set up a temporary school area in our family room, but my son was not on board with these changes.  fullsizeoutput_efHe is used to his routine, he likes his routine and doesn’t do well when you mess with his routine.   We did a few projects here and there, and we were able to read some of the books, but that was it. I was so frustrated and felt like a failure.   Many deep breaths later, I was able to remind myself that this was not the end of the world.

Luckily my superstar husband was able to finish the room, and we were back in business this week.  My son was thrilled to be back in our homeschool room, and I was thrilled with the new coat of paint.  We are continuing our small world unit and have been talking about some of the major tourist attractions around the world this week.  So far we have learned all about the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls, and tomorrow we are traveling to California to learn about the Great Sequoia trees.  Mother Goose Time even provided us with everything we need to make our own passport book complete with stamps for each of the places we learn about.

It has been a great week and my son and I are thrilled to be back in our happy homeschool room.  We are having so much fun with this unit and can’t wait to share more adventures with you.  Join us here next week for more homeschool adventures and more Chaos On The Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

What’s In The Box- Blast Off To Space

We may have just started our February unit, but our March box just arrived today!   My little one was thrilled when he saw our Mother Goose Time box sitting on the front porch because he knew our Blast Off To Space unit was inside (he’s been looking forward to this unit for a while).  So without further adieu, here’s what’s in the box…

Teacher Tool Bag

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Easter Celebration Kit

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Week 1

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Here is a close up of the manipulatives included in day 5

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Week 2

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Here is a close-up of the monthly storybook…

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Week 3

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Week 4

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If you are interested in trying out Mother Goose Time for your own family check out their website by following this link-www.mothergoosetime.com.  If you have any comments or questions leave them in the comment section of this post, and as usual, join me next time for more Chaos On The Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

 

Raising A Globally Minded Child

While I was watching the Winter Olympics with my older children last evening, I was filled with joy and excitement.  It was fantastic to see their amazement and wonder as they watched all the athletes march in from countries they had never heard of before. This, of course, elicited many questions about the different locations.  Thank goodness for the internet and Wikipedia giving us instant access to information.  It is always awe-inspiring to watch the athletes gather from all over the globe, and realize how much diversity there is on our planet.   As a child, I was fascinated by other cultures and their traditions, daily routines, food, and even religions.  As I grew older I had the opportunity to travel to many of the places that fascinated me as a child.  These first-hand experiences were some of the most indelible and mind-opening moments of my life.  Now that I have little ones of my own I want to pass this love of travel and curiosity on to them.   Even more importantly I want my children to be understanding and accepting of different cultures.

fullsizeoutput_69Needless to say, when I saw that this month’s unit was entitled “It’s a Small World” I was thrilled,  but a little apprehensive about how my two-year-old would feel about the subject.  Developmentally, most two-year-olds are fairly egocentric beings, focusing solely on themselves and their own needs.  I was afraid that the idea of different people, places, and culture around the world would be too abstract for him.  As it turned out, I couldn’t have been more wrong!  So far my son has been enthralled with every Mother Goose Time lesson we did this week.  We started the unit by discussing all the tools we would need to travel around the world, and spent the week discussing suitcases, airplanes/boats, currency, and maps/globes.

Highlights From Our Week

Suitcase Fun

On this day we packed our own suitcase for a pretend trip to somewhere warm.  As you can see my son really got into this activity (literally).

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We worked on our fine motor skills as we created our own mini suitcases.

 

Airplane and Boat Day

Using popsicle sticks we created our own airplanes.  My son was super proud of his plane and made a point of showing it off to anyone who came by our house, including the mail lady.

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Using the tangram blocks included in this month’s box, we created different vehicle designs.

Maps and Globes

We made our own planet Earth using a paper plate, shaving cream, and paint.   My little one loved this project.

 

We had fun exploring the globe, locating where we lived and some other areas of interest.  My son was fascinated with the globe and played with it all day.  If you have little ones at home and don’t own a globe yet, I highly recommend adding one to your home.  My kids have always been fascinated with it, and its a great reference tool.

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Fun with Money

To finish up the week we learned all about money.  We started by exploring and sorting coins.

G’ is for gold.  What better way to learn about the letter ‘G’, then sifting through sand to find pieces of pretend gold? My son loved hunting for gold, and this was his favorite activity of the week.

Overall it was a fantastic week.  Once again Mother Goose Time has taken a subject that could very easily be overwhelming and made it accessible and fun for the youngest of students.  We can’t wait for next week when we explore crafts from around the world.  Join us for more fun and more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

 

 

Volcano Day

IMG_0032Drumroll, please… volcano day has finally arrived!  My son has been waiting for this day since he first opened our January Mother Goose Time box back in December.  For reasons unknown to me, my two and half-year-old is utterly fascinated with volcanoes.  Even with a fever of 101 degrees, my little guy went dashing into our school room this morning eager to start our day.   In fact, I didn’t even get the chance to do my morning chores before he was begging to start today’s lesson.  I am pleased to say that I think the day lived up to his expectations.  Here’s a peek at all the fun we had.

As usual, we started the day with circle time, counting all the way up to 31 today!

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Next, we moved onto our art project and created our very own volcanoes.  Mother Goose Time provided us with all of the necessary supplies (except paint).  My son loved creating his own volcano complete with red tissue paper for lava (aka “hot laba” by my little guy).

After making our own volcanoes we added baking soda and red dyed vinegar together to create our own volcanic eruption.   My son was thrilled when the substance bubbled up and over the jar.  It’s times like these that I wish I had been taking a video rather than pictures because his shrieks of joy and facial expressions were priceless.   After the initial eruption, the substance continued to fizz, and my son delightedly occupied himself by pouring the substance from container to container over and over again.

Once the novelty of the red fizzing liquid wore off and the fizzing died down, my son and I moved on to some counting practice.  Using a spare paper bowl with a hole cut in the top, I created another volcano. Using our dinosaur manipulatives and number cube my son and I filled the volcano up until it was full and then made it erupt.

We finished the day by using our volcanoes we made earlier in the day to create an amazing dinosaur sensory box.

Overall the day was fantastic, and while I wish my son didn’t have the flu, it didn’t seem to slow him down in the least.  We have a few more lessons in our dinosaur unit to finish up this week, and then we move onto to our new unit – It’s a Small World – next week.  Join us for our trek around the globe and of course for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

On The Road With Mother Goose Time

 

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My little guy hitting the slopes for the first time!

We hit the road this past week for our biannual road trip to Vermont. The drive, without kids, would normally take you 8 hours, add 4 kids into the mix and the trip becomes a 10+ hour odyssey.   Road trips with little ones often mean lots of snack stops, potty stops, meal stops, and any other stop you can imagine.  After making this trip for a couple of years now, I’m finally figuring out what to pack to help make the long car ride more bearable for my children.  I always pack lots of snacks, comfort items(blankets, stuffed animals, etc…), books, coloring books, and some of our Mother Goose Time goodies.

IMG_9795IMG_9799The Mother Goose Time items that I packed for this trip included our magnetic whiteboard, some of our story time magnets, our monthly story, and the link manipulatives that came along with this month’s dinosaur box.  Not only were these items easy to pack, they also were items that could be used with lots of different types of creative play.   I knew my boys would enjoy playing with these things, but I was surprised when my older daughters joined in on the fun.  The link manipulatives were a huge hit and the kids had great fun creating a necklace that would fit all of them.

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The monthly storybook and story time magnets were IMG_9773also great items to bring along. The kids loved using the magnets to create different stories and act them out using our portable magnetic whiteboard.  Not only were the magnets fun during the car ride, but they were also a great toy to have in our condo to play with apres ski.

Long story short, although we didn’t do any full homeschool lessons on our trip, we were able to make great use out of many of the items that are included in each monthly box.   The kids had a blast on our trip and everyone (even our two-year-old) had a great time skiing.

We were all exhausted when we finally made it home and went to sleep embarrassingly early.  Nonetheless when we woke up this morning, my little one eagerly asked if we could do dinosaur school today, and of course, I obliged.  All my little ones worked together to build dinosaurs out of pasta, created their own dinosaur species using the mix and match cards provided in this month’s box, and played Dinosaur War.   It was so nice to have the familiarity of mother goose time on our trip and also waiting for us when we returned home.

Join me next week when we return to our normal schedule, and of course for more Chaos on The Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

 

Lessons From A Toddler

IMG_9735We are now roughly halfway through our homeschool year, and it feels like a good time to reflect on everything we’ve completed.  My son has grown both in mind and body over the past few months.   He has enthusiastically greeted each daily lesson with such joy that it’s overwhelming at times.  He and I have loved working with the Mother Goose Time this year – it has been a perfect fit for us.   The learning process is amazing to watch, and I feel so lucky that I am able to share this experience with my son.

IMG_9632Not only is my son growing and learning this year, but I too, have learned quite a lot from my son.  When I started homeschooling my two sons last year, I did so with quite a lot of trepidation and anxiety. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to teach them.  I was worried that I would be doing them a disservice by not placing them in preschool and that they would miss out on normal childhood experiences.  IMG_9649I was worried they would fall behind their peers.  I was worried I would do everything wrong!   As time progressed most of my fears faded.   I realized that I could, in fact, teach my sons, that they enjoyed being home with me, and everything went smoothly (for the most part).   I was still very concerned about keeping my older son on par with his peers.  I admit I kind of let this take over at times, and worried too much about the product rather than the process.

IMG_9619I am naturally a type A parent and like things done ‘just so’, however with children things are rarely done ‘just so’.   During my year and a half of homeschooling preschoolers, I have been gradually learning to let go.  This year has kind of been the magic year in this regard, and I feel like I’ve finally reached my homeschooling comfort zone.  I feel more relaxed and less worried about meeting goals and milestones, allowing me to enjoy the process and the experience.  I’m having fun with my two-year-old and enjoying this time with him.  Sometimes his art projects are nothing like the examples in the teacher guide, and that’s fine.  Sometimes he hangs the date on the calendar upside down, and that’s fine too.   He’s only going to be two once, and I’m going to enjoy it, even if it means crawling around the floor like a triceratops for most of the morning.

img_9626.jpgI have noticed the more I let go of my need for things to be perfect, the more fun my son has.  The more fun he has, the more he seems to get out of each lesson.  His newest trick has been hanging up the date on the calendar upside down.  A few months ago I would have never let this happen.  I would have taken the date off and hung it right side up.  This month I decided to let it slide, it served as a great opportunity to work on our directional words.   We have even made a game out of it and have started doing a little dance when we reach the upside-down numbers during our circle time counting.  It’s been amazing fun that would have never happened had I continued to be such a perfectionist.  I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store for us.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  See you next time for more homeschool adventures and more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

Snow Day Chaos

 

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We finally got to use our snow weather piece!

Today marks our fourth snow day in a row (not including the weekend).  Like much of the East Coast we are still recovering/digging out from the massive, bombastic snow storm which dropped massive amounts of snow all the way up the East Coast.  Here in Maryland, we really didn’t recieve that much snow (only 4-6 in)  but if you combine that with the bitter cold and our complete ineptitude to deal with snow, you end up with almost a week off of school.  It will be interesting to see what happens if we actually get a significant snow later this winter.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good snow day, but four in a row is a bit much.   My kids really thrive when they have a consistent routine, and this snow storm has really thrown their equilibriums out of whack.  On our first two snow days last week, I attempted to stick to our homeschool routine, but it didn’t work, instead, chaos ensued!  My older children had their own ideas of what they wanted to do and of course my two-year-old wanted to do the complete opposite.   None of these plans included doing a preschool homeschool lesson on dinosaurs.  I was able to squeeze in a few activities here and there, but just ended up frustrated, so I threw in the towel.  I let the chaos take over the house, hoping it would be short-lived.

I think whenever there is a change in routine it takes a few days to adjust.  Finally today, things seemed to be flowing nicely, and everyone seemed relaxed.   The morning chores were finished in a timely manner, there was minimal fighting, and everyone busied themselves with different activities.  At last things were returning to normal, so I began to prep for a homeschool lesson.   As I was preparing for our lesson this morning, my five-year-old peeked his head in the homeschool room and asked if he could join our lesson.  He had done Mother Goose Time with us last year and loved it, so he knew exactly what to do. Having both my boys together again was great, and my older son even remarked how much fun he was having.   It was a fantastic day!

We spent the day learning all about the Brontosaurus.  Here’s a look at all of our fun:

Puppet Making

Each boy made their own Brontosaurus puppet and plant, and then acted out cute stories for each other.

I Can Read Book

My older son read most of the book to his younger brother, and it was so sweet to watch them learning together.

Community Challenge-Build A Neck

Normally we skip this activity, since its often geared towards a group of children.  However today we had a group, and this activity looked like fun!  Mother Goose Time provided us with a Brontosaurus head, and we needed to build a neck for him.  I gave each child a piece of construction paper and asked them to cut out a piece for his neck.  The finished product was amazingly cute.  We decided to name him Brawny and we’ll have him around for the rest of the month.

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Leaf Sorting

Before our lesson this morning, I had hung envelopes around the room with a different color leaf on each one.  Then we ripped up some different color paper and put it in a bucket.  Each boy took a turn, pulling a piece of paper from the bucket and then ran around the room trying to find the matching color envelope to put it in.

Sensory Play

We finished the day with some shaving cream, sand, and dinosaur manipulatives.  What could be more fun than that?

It was great to have the boys together again.  My younger son definitely learns a lot by watching his older brother.   My older son was also thrilled to be home and jumped right back into the swing of things.  Hopefully,  my older childrens’ school will be back in session tomorrow, but if it’s now, he’s welcome to join us again.  As usual, if you have any questions let me know.  See you next time for more Chaos On the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

Get Ready for Dinosaurs

IMG_9171December is almost over, and so is our Winter Wonderland Unit.  We had a lot of fun this past month,  but we really can’t wait for January.   In January we are starting our unit on Dinosaurs and my son is beyond excited, as is the rest of my household.  It is safe to say that our household is dinosaur obsessed, stemming from my 10-year-old’s decade-long love with the prehistoric beasts.  I was hoping to do my usual monthly sneak peek this month, but the holiday season got the best of me.  However, here is a glimpse into a few of the awesome activities that we will be doing this upcoming month with Mother Goose Time.

The Teacher Guides

Here are the teacher guides for the upcoming month.  My son is obsessed with the one with T-Rex on the cover.

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STEAM Centers

At the beginning of each teacher guide, there is a special section highlighting the STEAM stations for the week.  Here is a small sampling of some of the STEAM stations for the month of January.

Art and Craft Projects

The art and craft projects are my son’s favorite part of the day.  Luckily for him, January looks like it will be full of fun projects.

Math Activities

Mother Goose Time makes Math time fun!  So,  Mother Goose Time + Dinosaurs =  MAJOR FUN!

Literacy Activities

Each month Mother Goose Time sends us a book and a complete storytelling kit, including magnets, a backdrop, and even a puzzle ( to help with those math skills).

       More Literacy Fun

Manipulatives

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Now, are you excited?   If you are interested in trying out Mother Goose Time for yourself, you check out all they have to offer at www.mothergoosetime.com.  If you have any questions or comments let me know below, and as usual, see you next time for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

Preschool​ Math

Teaching a preschooler math has been such an eye-opening experience for me.  In the past, the idea of math has always conjured up the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  However, there is much more to math than adding and subtracting, especially when it comes to preschoolers!  Some of the common mathematical concepts covered in preschool include pattern making, counting, shape identification, and simple word problems.  These basic math concepts help preschoolers establish strong mathematical foundations,  helping to prepare them for the more complex mathematical concepts they will learn about later in life.

In my brief experience with teaching preschoolers, I have learned that learning can happen anytime and anywhere.  My son loves to count things, so you can often find us counting apples in the grocery store, and dogs in the waiting room at the vet’s office.  In addition to these real-life experiences with math, we are also very lucky to be using the Mother Goose Time program, which provides us with a multitude of math activities each month.  To begin with, Mother Goose Time sends us two sets of math manipulatives each month.  This month we received a bag of cube-shaped counting blocks and a bag of snowflake builders. These monthly manipulatives are used to make patterns, to count, and even to do simple word problems.

In addition, to the math manipulatives, Mother Goose Time also features a variety of games each month, which reinforce basic math skills.  Today my son and I played a game called Foxes and Berries, in which we used a die and berry pieces to feed the various foxes on the game board.  My son had a ball rolling the die and doling out berries to all of the foxes.  The games are always very simple to play and feature fun colorful pieces and game boards.

In addition to the math based games and math manipulatives, there are also plenty of other fun math-related activities each month. One such activity happens to be circle time.   I know a lot of people think circle time is silly or unnecessary, but I would really encourage those people to give it another try.

Circle time is the starting point for each of our daily lessons.  We use this time to discuss the topic of the day, sing simple songs, and work on our calendar.  During calendar time my son get’s the chance to work pattern skills, counting, and number identification.

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My son loves hanging up the date each day.

Each month Mother Goose Time sends us a new calendar complete with date cards for each day.  The calendar and date cards correspond to the monthly theme, and also feature a specific pattern.  This month’s featured pattern is an AAB pattern (penguin-penguin-polar bear).  Each day before my son hangs up the date card, we go over the featured pattern and then try and guess what picture will be featured.  Once the date is hung up, we count through all the previous days and work on our number identification.  This particular routine has been one of the most important and valuable to my son.  I have seen tremendous growth in his counting skills and pattern skills over the past few months.

Watching my son learn, continues to be a wonderful experience.  I am so grateful to have the chance to work with him.  If you have any questions or comments let me know in the comment section.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.

 

 

Evergreen Trees and Mountains

In homeschool this week, we continued to delve into our Winter Wonderland unit.  We learned about mountains and the trees that grow upon them.  This unit has been tying in with our life very well.  After three surprise snowstorms in our area this past week, we are now living in our very own Winter Wonderland. We even got to cut down our Christmas tree during one of the surprise storms, which was quite magical.   Here are some of the other highlights of our week…

 

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There is nothing better than Christmas tree hunting in a snowstorm.

 

Make your own Mountain Art

Mother Goose Time provided us with everything we needed to make our own snowcapped mountain.  My son decided to make his mountain into a tropical snowcapped mountain and added lots of colors to jazz it up.

Pattern Block Fun

Mother Goose Time provided us with a set of counting cubes this month.  This week we got to use our cubes to practice our pattern skills.  The blocks were supposed to be used to create trails along a pattern guide. However, my son had something else in mind and decided to stack the cubes on top of each other, creating mountains.  If you have a two-year-old boy, I’m sure you can guess what came next…the mountains came tumbling down.

Pinecone Art

What could be better than pinecones, paint, and glitter?  If you are my son not much! He had a great time using pinecones and pine needles to paint with and created some very festive pieces of artwork.

Pine Needle Discovery Bottles

Each week Mother Goose Time provides a STEAM station for each day.  On this particular day, we put pine needles into clear jars and filled them with water and glitter.  Apparently placing items in a jar with water and glitter, makes them utterly fascinating.  My son was captivated by the jars and showed them to everyone who stopped by during the day.

Van Gough Painting

Using Van Gough’s Olive Trees With Yellow Sky and Sun for inspiration we made our own versions of his masterpiece. Since we had some pine needles left from the previous day’s lesson, we added them to artwork to add some extra flair.

Playdough Forest

Using playdough and cute paper trees, we worked on patterns again, as we created different forests.  After we finished with our pattern work, my son had fun driving his trucks through his forest.  This kept him busy for almost an hour until I had to tear him away for lunch.

I love all of the Mother Goose Time units, but this one has definitely been one of our favorites. As usual, if you have any questions or comments let me know in the comment section below.  See you soon for more Chaos on the Creek.

19510309_1588341684509993_3025539560496814781_nDisclaimer:  I am so grateful to have found this curriculum and am excited to share our experiences on the blog.  In exchange for my unbiased and honest reviews, Mother Goose Time has provided us with the curriculum free of charge.