Saturday, September 24, 2011

Felt Party

One evening back in August, I had some fellow homeschool mothers over to make some things for our kids with felt. We had so much fun, we did it again at another mom's house a few weeks later!

My craftsmanship isn't quite where I'd like it to be....but hey - I'm okay with that.  My kids love my creations. And I had a blast making them. Sewing is surprisingly therapeutic!

Felt is such a breeze to work with. It's easy to feel successful making things with felt.....even if you are craft-challenged like me. 

It was wonderful to hang out with my fellow homeschool moms. My pals at Autism and Salvation and Sunrise Learning Lab were there, among others. We got lots of creative inspiration from Counting Coconuts, and we felt like this bloggy-friend was there in spirit.  

I've always loved hanging out with teachers, and I especially love homeschool teachers.  I learned so much at our felt parties, and I left feeling inspired and energized.

Here are some of the things I made....

The button turkey (from Counting Coconuts) and the button spider shown above are great ways for kids to learn how to button. It helps develop dexterity and fine motor strength. Plus, that little turkey face just makes my heart happy when I look at it!

Fraction circles (also from Counting Coconuts) provide a great multi-sensory way for kids to learn about fractions. I'm not crazy about how the fabric paint numbers look.

We made some very inexpensive Montessori-inspired "puzzles" using felt. I will be using these along with some three-part cards to help my kids learn about the parts of a tree, a flower, and a leaf.

Here's the felt continent map I posted about a while back.

Feeling inspired to make something with felt?
Give it a's a lot easier than you might think!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Baby Turtles

On Father's Day we were lucky enough to witness this mother Florida softshell (below) turtle laying her eggs in our backyard.  We did a little research and learned that the eggs take approximately nine weeks to hatch. We marked the calendar and waited patiently.

Nine weeks came and went. We thought we had either missed the big event or perhaps the eggs weren't viable. Then yesterday afternoon (at the ten week mark) we saw ten baby turtles emerge from the ground and immediately start walking to the lake behind our house. It was amazing!

We captured them so we could study them for a few minutes. Then we walked them closer to shore and released them.  It was so interesting to watch their instincts guiding them. It was also interesting to notice the hawk lurking nearby.

What a wonderful experience for our family! It just goes to show that you never know what kind of wonderful natural learning opportunities are waiting for you in your own backyard.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Milkweed Plants are Awesome

We planted a butterfly garden in May as part of a unit on butterflies. The best part of that garden is the milkweed plant. The garden is just outside our school room window, and we often just sit and watch the butterflies float around. We've even seen them lay eggs a few times. It's awesome!

Then one day last week, we noticed the milkweed was covered in little caterpillars. They devoured the entire plant in just a couple days. We didn't want them to leave in search for food, so we ran out and bought two more milkweed plants (one of which happened to have it's own batch of baby caterpillars on it already). As the more mature caterpillars were finishing up the second plant, they slowed down, hung upside down, and formed their chrysalises. Aren't they gorgeous?

Sometime this weekend, we should see the butterflies emerge. This is the second time our boys have witnessed this process. The first time, we used caterpillars purchased from Insect Lore, which was well worth the money. However, I must say that watching it happen in nature is a bit more exciting (and certainly cheaper).

The boys have learned so much from these experiences.
I just love that look of wonder in their eyes.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Giveaway Winner & Some Other Stuff

Raise your hand if you like Raccoon School!

Thanks to each of you you who entered the giveaway for online training through Worldwide Montessori Online.  The winner is.... NW Homesteader!!  Congratulations!!!

I've never done a giveaway before, and I must say that it's a GREAT feeling to be able to give another mother this valuable training and curriculum. I hope it will be as beneficial for NW Homesteader as it has been for me. Well over 100 people entered the contest, which is a good indication of how highly people regard the program. 

Since many of you are new to Raccoon School, I'd like to take this opportunity to say welcome and thank you for being here. One of the main reasons I write a blog is because of that wonderful sense of community I get. I sincerely thank you for being part of it!

If you're wondering who I am and what I'm all about, read this post:
Meet the Raccoons

If you're wondering why I blog (or why I don't blog very often), read this post:
Is Blogging Worthwhile?

If you're wondering what "sensory processing" is all about, look at this page:
Sensory Processing

Thank you again for being a part of Raccoon School.
I hope to hear from you from time to time!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bowling Playdate

We got to bowl for free today thanks to AMF's Summer Unplugged program. We will be receiving a coupon for two free games a week through September 5.

I was little bummed that we had to pay a shoe rental fee of just over $4 for each child. But....I'd say it was worth it just to see how cute they looked in their little bowling shoes.

It was a wonderfully worthwhile playdate with four of our favorite playmates. The children got lots of good physical benefits from their bowling experience:

  • practice with motor planning skills
  • fine motor exercise
  • heavy work

More importantly, they got to play cooperatively with their peers.

The children in the group ranged in age from 2 to 6. They all played so nicely together. By the time each child had taken a couple turns, they all had a pretty good handle on how to play the game. They even kept track of whose turn it was with minimal help from the adults.

My favorite moment was when the oldest boy in the group (who happens to attend a Montessori school) tenderly taught Big Brother the proper way to hold a bowling ball. So sweet!

To find free bowling near you, check out one of these two websites:

Kids Bowl Free
AMF Bpwling Center