Thursday, May 24, 2018

5 Activities Inspired By The Lorax

The Lorax is my personal all time favorite Dr. Seuss book. The illustrations are gorgeous and I love the message, we all need to care about our planet.

In this post I will share 5 fun activities inspired by Dr. Seuss's The Lorax.



#thebarefootmom


Make A Whisper-ma-Phone:


Make your own whisper-ma-phone just like The Once-ler's. For this project, you will need:

-2 paper cups

-A non-elastic string 20-30 ft long

Poke a small hole in the bottom of each paper cups. 

Thread one end of the string through the hole in the bottom of one cup and knot so it can't come out. Do the same with the other end of the string and the other paper cup.




Now you should be able to use it like a phone. Stand with a person at each cup and pull the string taunt. See how quiet you can speak and still hear each other.



Paint A Mural:


The illustrations in The Lorax are great inspiration for mural painting. My daughter loves to paint Truffula Trees. Grab a large sheet of paper or cardboard and some paint and get creative! 






Plant A Seed:


Plant your own seed and watch it grow! Instead of a tree though, choose something that grows quickly like beans or peas. Take or draw pictures of the different stages as your plant grows.




Learn About The Oxygen Cycle:


Plants and trees are vitally important to life on Earth. Plants create most of the oxygen that we breathe through a process called photosynthesis. Plants use energy from the sun and carbon dioxide to produce chemical energy and oxygen. Animals breathe in the oxygen and breathe out the carbon dioxide, and the cycle begins again.


Here are some great resouces for teaching children about the oxygen cycle:


-Ducksters: The Oxygen Cycle

-Ducksters: Photosynthesis





Movie And A Snack:


In 2012 The Lorax was made into a full length film and it's great! It's one of our family favorites. It's available to rent on Google Play, YouTube, VUDU, Amazon Video, and iTunes.

Make a lorax themed snack to go with it! Here are links to a variety of fun Lorax themed snacks:

Lorax Tangerine Snack from A Few Shortcuts

Truffula Tree Treats from The Seasoned Mom

Babybel Lorax from Cute Food For Kids

The Lorax Munchie Mix from Blue Skies Ahead









If you enjoyed this post check out:

-5 Dr. Seuss Inspired Activities

-My Favorite Children's Picture Books

-Backyard Nature Activities for Kids







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Monday, May 21, 2018

Water Relay Races For Kids

I don't know about your kids, but mine absolutely love games involving water and getting wet in the summer time.

In this post I will share 5 of our favorite water relay races to play with friends. These are perfect for birthday parties, homeschool get togethers, and other group events.


5 fun water relay races for kids #thebarefootmom



Sponge Relay:


For this relay you will need:

-2 teams of several kids each

-2 large sponges

-4 small buckets or containers of some sort

Divide your participants into 2 teams and have each team line up single file at a predetermined starting place. 

Hand out a sponge to the first participant in each line. Set a bucket of water by each team. Set an empty bucket about 20 ft away from each team. 

The two empty buckets should be the same size and should have a "fill line" marked half way up.

On a count of 3 (or ready set go) the first participant in each line should dip their sponge in the bucket of water, run to the empty bucket, squeeze the water from their sponge, then run back, hand off the sponge to the next person in line, and get in the back of the line. 

The first team to fill their bucket to the fill line wins!




Pass the Water Balloon:


For this relay you will need:

-2 teams with several participants 

-Several filled water balloons

Have each team line up single file.

Hand the first person in each line a water balloon. Have them place the water balloon under their chin. Then they have to pass the water balloon to the next person in line using only their chins. 

Pass the balloon along to each person in line using only chins.

If a balloon drops and breaks, give the team a new balloon but tbey have to start back over at the begining of the line.

The first team to pass the balloon sucessfully all the way through their line wins!


Pop the Water Balloon:


This one is a great one for kids who really want to get wet. For this relay you will need:

-2 teams with several people

-A water balloon for each participant

-2 lawn chairs

Have each team line up single file at a predetermined starting point and hand each participant a water balloon.

Set a lawn chair about 20 ft away from each team.

On the count of 3 (or ready set go) the first player on each team should run to the chair and sit on their balloon until it pops. Then run back and tag the next person in line.

The team to pop all their balloons first wins!


Fill the Bucket Relay:


For this relay race you will need:

-2 teams with several people each

-A paper cup for each participant

-4 small buckets or containers (at least 2 of them should be the same size)

Before you start poke a hole in the bottom of each cup with a pencil.

Have each team line up single file at a predetermined starting line and hand each participant a cup.

Place a bucket full of water at the front of each line. Set an empty bucket about 20 ft away from each team. The two buckets at the end should be the same size and have a "fill line" marked about halfway up.

At the count of 3 (or ready set go) have the first person in each line fill their cup and run to the empty bucket to dump the water from their cup. Then they run back and tag the next person in line.

The first team to fill their bucket to the fill line wins!




Fireman Relay:


For this relay race you will need:

-2 teams with several people each

-A paper cup for each participant 

-4 small buckets or containers

Before you start, poke a hole in the bottom of each cup with a pencil.

Have each team line up single file. 

Set a bucket full of water at the front of each line. Set an empty bucket at the end of each line. The buckets at the ends should be the same size and have a "fill line" marked about halfway up.

The player in the front of each line should fill their cup in the full bucket, then pour it into the next person's cup, then they pour it in the next person's cup, and so on until the end of the line. The person at the end dumps into the empty bucket.

Keep passing water down the line and into the bucket at the end.

The first team to fill their bucket to the fill line wins!






What are your family's favorite ways to stay cool during the summer?




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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Hands On Fractions

My seven year old and I recently made a rain guage that led to an impromptu lesson on adding fractions. We were trying to add several days measurements from the rain gauge to get a total for the storm system. While my daughter knew a little about fractions from previous activities we had done, adding fractions was new ground. I came up with this simple hands on way to introduce the concept of adding and subtracting fractions.


#thebarefootmom



Making Fraction Cards:



All you need for this activity is a piece of construction paper and a pen.  

Divide and cut your paper into 4 equal sections.

Using a pen, divide one of the sections into 4 equal sections of it's own, and label each section 1/4. This will be your example of a "whole".




With the 3 remaining sections, divide and cut them each into their own 4 equal sections and label each one 1/4.




And that's it, now you have a set of fraction cards you can use for demonstrating what fractions are and for adding and subtracting fractions. 




Using Your Fraction Cards:


You can use your fraction cards to demonstrate what fractions are. Show your child that four 1/4 cards make a whole and that two 1/4 cards make a half.

You can also use your fraction cards to add and subtract fractions. Give your child a simple equation adding or subtracting quarters and use the cards as a hands on visual. For example:

1/4 + 2/4 = ?

Have your child start by setting aside one 1/4 card and then add two more to it. It will be simple to see that 1/4 + 2/4 = 3/4.

You can also use them with adding and subtracting mixed numbers. For example:

1 1/4 + 1 3/4 = ?

Have your child start by setting aside enough 1/4 cards to make 1 whole and another 1/4 (5 cards). Then add another whole plus 3 more 1/4 cards. It will be easy to see that 1 1/4 + 1 3/4 = 3.

For adding larger mixed numbers, you can make more cards. You can also make other sets for other fraction families. Families with odd numbers in the denominator will have to be done on circle pieces of paper, cut into even "pie slices".






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Monday, May 14, 2018

5 Reasons We Don't Homeschool Through The Summer

A lot of our homeschooling friends do school year round, which is great if it's what works best for their family. We though, prefer to take a long break from formal lessons each summer.

Here are 5 reasons to consider not homeschooling through the summer:


#thebarefootmom


My Kids Need A Break:


By the time spring hits my daughter just starts losing interest in school. When she's burned out and frustrated, I don't feel like she absorbs information as well. She really NEEDS the time to relax and be free all summer so she's recharged and ready for next year when fall comes. 



I Need A Break:


I don't know about other homeschooling moms, but I really need a break. I need time to relax and recharge too. I need time to focus on other projects that tend to get neglected and placed on the back burner during the school year. 



More Time With Friends And Family:


Taking the summer off makes it easier to spend time with our non homeschooling friends and family members. All my kid's cousins and many of our friends go to public school and get summers off. My kids really love getting the opportunity to spend more time with them during the summer.



More Time For Life Skills and Non Academic Learning:


Often times, too much emphasis is put on academic learning when there are tons of other things worth knowing in this world. My daughter's goals for this summer are: to get better at swimming, learn to prep her own fishing pole, learn to use our sewing machine, and master riding her bike without training wheels. All important skills in my opinion.


Taking the summer off from formal lessons gives us lots of time for hiking and camping trips, baking projects, arts and crafts, day trips, and anything else that strikes our fancy.

Not to mention, learning happens naturally all the time. Our kids pick up so much information from just interacting with the world around them.





Time To Get Prepared For Next School Year:


Another reason I like having some time off, is to prepare for next year.  I like having time to shop around for next year's books, curriculum and school supplies. And I really need time to go through everything and make a rough plan for the year. 

Often our science and social studies curriculum need additional supplies, taking some time off gives me time to get everything purchased and put together. 








Does your family take summer's off or do you school year round?




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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Natural Household Cleaning Recipes

My family really tries to avoid products that are toxic to humans or the planet. For this reason, we avoid most mainstream household cleaning products.

In this post I will share my favorite natural household cleaning recipes.







All Purpose Disinfecting Spray:


I use this for almost all of my everyday surface cleaning. It's simple and kills most germs. 

-1 cup of water

-1 cup of white vinegar

-20 drops of your choice of essential oils (optional) 

Add all the ingredients to a spray bottle (preferably a glass spray bottle) and shake to mix. Always shake gently before use. 

For occasional deep cleaning of your household surfaces, I recommend hydrogen peroxide. My daughter and I did an experiment testing the germ fight abilities of various natural cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide killed everything. I don't use it daily because exposure to germs is good to an extent. It's how we build and maintain healthy immune systems. Being too clean can actually lead to increased illness. It's great for occasional deep cleaning though. You can check out the results of our experiment here.




Air Freshener Spray:


This is a safe non toxic alternative to mainstream air freshener sprays. Use it around your home to fight odors or just to make things smell nice.

-1 cup of water

-2 tablespoons of vodka 

-15-20 drops of your choice of essential oils.

Some of my favorite essential oil combinations for this spray are:

-5 drops lavender
 5 drops sweet orange 
 5 drops cedarwood


-6 drops sweet orange
 4 drops lemongrass
 2 drops tea tree

-7 drops sweet orange
 7 drops clove

-5 drops lemon
 5 drops ylang ylang
 5 drops sandlewood



Carpet Freshening Powder:


Use this recipe to freshen your carpets.

-3 cups baking soda

-10 drops of your choice of essential oils

Add baking soda to a bowl and add the essential oils. Combine well using a fork. Store in an air tight container. To use, sprinkle over your carpets, let it sit about 30 minutes, then vacuum it up.



Glass Cleaner:


-1 1/2 cups of water

-1/4 cup of white vinegar

-1/4 cup of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) 

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake gently to mix. Spray onto glass surfaces and wipe dry.



Furniture Polish:


Use this recipe on all your wooden surfaces in your home.

-3/4 cup olive oil

-1/4 cup white vinegar

-5-10 drops of orange or lemon or lemongrass essential oil (optional) 

Combine ingredients in an air tight container (I use a mason jar). Dab a little on a cloth and wipe down the wooden surfaces in your home.











Monday, May 7, 2018

Backyard Nature Activities For Kids

Playing outside and interacting with nature is incredibly important, especially for children. It gets kids moving, promotes creativity, and helps teach responsibility for the natural world.


In this post I will share 5 nature activities you can do right in your own backyard.


#thebarefootmom




Nature Art:


Take your child around your yard or neighborhood to hunt for any cool pieces of nature that catch your eye. Rocks, acorns, pinecones, grass, leaves, etc... 

Then pick a place to work and create cool art with the pieces you collected. Your art work can be anything you want: a cool scene, an animal, just a cool design. 

Here are some examples:








Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe:


Have your kiddos collect 5 small white pebbles and 5 small dark pebbles. 

Take a stick and draw a tic-tac-toe board in the dirt or sand. 

Take turns playing tic-tac-toe using the pebbles instead of x's and o's.




Nature Scavenger Hunt:


Make a list of natural items you can find around your backyard or neighborhood and have your kids hunt for them.

Items I commonly include are: 

-a white rock
-something pretty
-a leaf
-a pinecone 
-an acorn 
-something green 
-something brown
-something smooth
-something yellow
-a seed
-a clover 
-an earthworm



Make A Watering Hole For Pollinators:


Pollinators like bees and butterflies need shallow safe places to come for a drink of water. Find an old bowl or pan you don't mind giving up to the backyard and have your kiddos collect some pebbles and clean them. 

Fill the bowl or pan with clean pebbles and add water. Fill it so that the tops of the upper layer of pebbles stick out of the water. This will provide safe places for your pollinators to land and drink.

Now just place your watering hole in your yard, preferably in a place that gets some sun.




Make A Fairy Teepee:


Gather 4 or 5 fairly straight sticks and cut them to be the same lenghth.

Take 2 of them and press one end of each into the ground, then cross them at the top end and tie them together with some yarn. Add the remaining sticks, creating a teepee frame, and tie again. 

Cover the outside with leaves by poking a hole in them and sliding down over the tops of the teepee sticks. 










What are some of your family's favorite nature activities?



Thursday, May 3, 2018

Why Don't Rivers Run Straight? A Hands On Demonstration

If your kids are anything like mine and they enjoy learning activities they can do outside, especially if it involves getting a little dirty, they'll love this one!


from The Barefoot Mom



Why Don't Rivers Run Straight?


Rivers tend to meander rather than run straight. This is due to obstacles and other variables in their paths.


This activity is a simple hands on way to demonstrate why rivers twist and turn.


For this activity you will need:

-a sandbox 

-some sticks and rocks

-a gallon or two of water


Put on your play clothes and head to the sandbox and start by adding a small amount of water to the sand so it's a little damp. 

Build a sand mountain and add some obstacles (sticks and rocks) to the sides of the mountain and the area around the mountain.




Next slowly begin to pour water over the top of the mountain. 



Continue pouring water and observe the way the water twists around obstacles.





As the water flows it eventually runs into an obstacle or other variable in the earth. The obstacle or other variable, directs the water in a different direction.



Extend The Learning:



Learn more about why rivers twist and turn. Check out this really great video from Minute Earth: Why Do Rivers Curve?




If you enjoyed this post, check out some of my other fun geology activities:









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5 Activities Inspired By The Lorax

The Lorax is my personal all time favorite Dr. Seuss book. The illustrations are gorgeous and I love the message, we all need to care about ...