Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Googly Eyes

Cleaning out the arts & crafts room at Summer Camp and I keep running across one craft supply that always bugs me... GOOGLY EYES.

What are these FOR?

I know that they are used in lots of cute-sy throwaway crafts, but I mean if you are trying to do a class project that won't just be headed for the trash. What would you use them for?

I'd love to have a brainstorm about this, so if you have ideas please share.

The one time I used googly eyes to great effect was in the Ocean Alphabet project when we did G is for Glass Squid. But we won't be learning about the Deep-sea Glass Squid if we're doing Place Based Education in the Midwest!

G is for Deep-sea Glass Squid

read deep-sea glass squid information on page 15 of Scary Creatures of the Deep by Jim Pipe

draw capital G on tracing paper and cut it out to look like a bubble-shaped glass squid with a tentacle curving down, attach to dark blue paper, add googly eyes for a Googly-eyed Glass Squid

tip: glue shows through tracing paper and can ruin the effect, so I attached my squid to the dark paper with just two dots of glue placed behind the eyes

More ideas?

Tiny Houses & Pebble Pets
I love this little coiled up snake!

Eggheads with Cress Hair

Blow Painting Monsters

Sensory Bag with Slimy Eyes

Colored Water Sensory Bin - Googly Eye Soup

Monster Ice Sensory Play
the colorful frozen spaghetti hair is a nice touch!

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Monday, May 29, 2023

Net Tying in Grade 4 Norse Mythology

We loved learning net tying to wrap up Norse Mythology this year! The fishnet comes into the plot at the very end (when Loki is captured). We used the directions in Projects About Colonial Life (Hands-On History) by Marian Broida. It was fun and suprisingly easy, although it does use a LOT of twine.

For each child, you will need six 4-foot lengths of twine. This makes a small piece of net.

Instead of tying the starter rope to a stick and hanging that over the back of a chair, as the directions suggest, we tied our starter ropes to low tree branches and the children stood outside and chatted with one another while they worked. It was such a sweet activity for a warm Spring day!

Here are the photos of me learning (May 16), and then of me teaching them (May 17).

I was glad actually, that I had made my sample net on a chair, because then I could easily show it to them. It was very portable. I also was able to lie the lengths of twine across the chair so that they could watch my demonstration and then also look closely at my example while they were going to fetch their supplies.

We went through it together with me demonstrating step-by-step. After they watched me, they would do that step on their own net.

finding a low branch is part of the fun!

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Baking Soda Paint for Perfect Peaches!

If you are doing peach artwork for a MLB, I highly recommend combining baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring to make Baking Soda Paint!

Since this reaction leaves a fuzzy texture, it is perfect for painting peaches! (I like to use this template. Print it, cut it out, and use that to trace a peach shape onto your watercolor paper. Then cut out the watercolor paper shape.)

This fuzzy peach painting works well for several main lesson blocks.

#1 - Momotaro or Little Peachling
from the International Children's Digital Library

Abstract: An old couple find a large peach in a river. When they cut it open, a child emerges. They name him Momotaro, or Little Peachling. The child grows up and decides to set off on an exciting adventure.

Three Perfect Peaches: A French Folktale is a wonderful story for the Waldorf grade 1 Quality of Numbers block (4 - the four directions N/E/S/W) or grade 2 World Folktales. The Japanese story Momotaro is also great for the grade 2 World Folktales block.

Last December the children made fuzzy peach artwork for "August" in our homemade calendar project for the grade 3 Clocks & Calendars block.

And I recently discovered that there's also a wonderful peach story in Chinese Mythology! The Monkey King is a long legend that ties in perfectly with a study of Buddhism in the grade 8 World Religions block.

Three Perfect Peaches: A French Folktale

retold by Cynthia DeFelice, et al.

Dragons, Gods & Spirits from Chinese Mythology (World Mythology Series)

by Tao Tao Liu Sanders

Of course, now that I'm in Summer Camp mode, I'm trying to find an activity where Baking Soda Paint would be a good fit. Maybe Plant ID? Oh! Cattails!!!


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Plant ID

This post follows last August's Tree Identification and A Reverence for Wood.

After reflecting on this problem for almost a year, I've decided that the campers ages 5-6, 7-8, and 9-10 will focus on learning ONE tree each week. We have a wonderful handmade set of labeled tree leaves, perfect for identification activities. We can put one up in each cabin each week, so that the children know what they are working on!

Some thoughts:

Start EVERY Monday with learning to ID poison ivy!!!! We have hundreds of 6 x 9 inch self-adhesive laminating sheets, so we can make up a poison ivy sample for each age group in camp to use this summer, and the children won't have to actually touch it when they pass it around. Then we can take them on a nature walk and see if they can spot it in the wild.

For Tuesday - Friday, we can do activities that focus on the Tree of the Week. We can display the framed leaf beginning on Tuesday. Each day the camp counselor can bring in several leaves, one or two of which ARE (and one or two of which ARE NOT) the tree in question. We can find and "adopt" a tree of that kind on the property and have lunch by it one day. We can do leaf rubbings and bark rubbings of that tree. We can ask the children to find another tree of that same type which is not the "adopted" tree. If that type of tree is used for something in particular, we can learn about that too. On the last day, to prove they can ID it, we can give them a laminating pouch and they can locate a tree and preserve a leaf to keep as their prize.

Nomenclature in Montessori is done with a three period lesson. Say to the child,

    step 1: "This is [name]"

    step 2: "Show me [name]."

    step 3: "What is this?"

    If they have learned correct terminology, they will be able to supply the name on step 3.

To start getting organized with this, first I need to list all of the framed identified tree leaves we have. Then I will need to check the TON grounds to make sure we have those trees on our property (American elms, for example, are nearly all gone due to Dutch Elm Disease). Then I will need to decide which age group should master which tree. Here's the list of all 18:



    Hickory, Shagbark *


    Maple, Sugar and Red *


    Oak, Red *

    Oak, White




    Red Cedar

    Sassafras *


    Sweetgum *


    Tulip Poplar *

    White Pine

I'm going to put a star by the trees that are also included in the Match a Leaf game, since that has beautiful pictures of the whole tree as well as the leaf.

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Thursday, May 25, 2023

Missing Board Game Rules

Organizing all the board and card games at Summer Camp... and printing out new instructions for those which are missing them. I'd love to create a master list of PDFs, so if you know of one please share it!

Backgammon (print at 125%)




Pictionary Junior (print at 125%)


Snail's Pace Race (print at 145%)


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