Homeschool Creations

Thursday, March 31, 2011

HSV Garden Challenge ~ The Plans

HSV Garden Challenge I’d like to say that I have well-laid plans for what our garden will look like this year, but frankly I’m at a loss at the moment. IF the weather were still lovely, I might have more in mind, but after a little teasing 80 degree weather we are now getting SNOW and freezing rain.


Makes me want to go right out and plant a garden.

Or not.

With our recent move, I’m also interested to see what exactly will be popping up in our new flower beds. I’m a bit sad that some of the lovely perennials we’ve planted over the years at our old house won’t be here, but that will all be part of ‘the planting plan’ this year and in years to follow.

BUT…all that said, here’s the rough idea of what we are hoping to plant this coming year. And boy, we have a lot of work to do!

Window Boxes

I love having color and hanging flowers where I can see them, so the plan is to get these window boxes off the deck and hanging on the railings.


Last year I got smart and took pictures of the window boxes that I planted so that I could duplicate the colors/flowers this year! Hopefully, the boxes will have some of this loveliness growing inside. A few of the flowers planted in my boxes last year {and hopefully this coming year}: wallflower {yellow}, red superbells, and white alyssum. There was also a lovely purple flower {below}, but I can’t remember the name of it, so I’ll be taking my pictures along with me to the nursery.

   purple flowers red flowers

Small Beds

The side of our house has some great stair-step style gardens that will be great for different herbs. We had two different types of mint growing at our last house {that we left behind}, so one of the first things we’ll be buying is more apple mint and chocolate mint to start growing and use in our tea {yum!}.


I’ll also be planting basil, oregano, and whatever else catches my eye at the nursery when I pick up our plants. Fresh basil, mozzarella and tomato is already sounding yummy!

Porch Planters


The previous owner left us some big ol’ planters that sit on either side of our front door. Right now they are looking a bit homely, but come May/June, these will be spilling over with color and greenery ~ more superbells and alyssum for sure along with some spikey plants to give them a little height.

The Big Garden


Somewhere in this area  {right around the middle back} we’ll be tilling the ground and building it up to plant the food part of our garden. Our biggest challenge right now is figuring out how to keep all the various wildlife out of the garden so that more food ends up on our table! We also have to finish {ahem} our chicken coop before we get ambitious and start on this too. :)

On the planting plan for this area is a few types of lettuce, peppers, jalepenos, tomatoes {big and small}, carrots, cucumbers, several zucchini, several squash, and maybe I’ll get brave and plant a watermelon plant too! I know that squash and zucchini tend to multiply like crazy, but the last few years our plants have gotten off to a good start and then suddenly rotted at the base of the plant. I’m hoping that having multiple plants will at least get us SOME fruit this year!

That’s it…I think! Share and link up what you’re doing with your garden, window boxes, and pots with the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge starting today! They have some great prizes lined up and if you have a preschooler and are participating, they also have a special ‘bonus pack’ to go along with my Garden Preschool Pack!!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Parts of a Flower Craft


This craft was super simple and quick to do, but a great ‘hands-on’ craft for our preschooler to remember the parts of a flower. Our focus was learning about four parts: flower, leaves, stem and roots and the supplies we used are just as simple.


You’ll need:

  • tissue paper {your color choice!}20110324-IMG_8885
  • 4 or 5 pieces of brown yarn cut into 6” lengths
  • green pipe cleaner
  • green construction paper
  • tape

Putting it together:

1. We used the pipe cleaner as our stem and then tied the yarn to the base of our stem {some of the pieces we tied onto other pieces of yarn so our roots would ‘spread’ out a bit.

2. We folded the tissue paper up accordian style and then wrapped the other end of the pipe cleaner around it in the center and fanned out the tissue paper so it looked more like a flower.

3. I cut some leaves out of the construction paper and taped them to our stem.

Simple, short and sweet ~ but a great ‘hands-on’ craft for learning about flowers!


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Monday, March 28, 2011

Garden Preschool Pack ~ and a BONUS!!

Garden Preschool Pack Button copy

This preschool pack was all thanks to a lovely idea from Stef at The Homeschool Village. HSV planned a Garden Challenge and wanted to offer their readers a little something extra for preschoolers to do along with the challenge. There are THREE parts to this pack ~ a total of 43 pages if you decide to use all of the printables! I’ve added a few new types of pages and included some fun games and a song in with the pack too!

We primarily used the book Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole for our study about gardening along with several other great books. Here’s a look inside the first two parts of the Garden Preschool Pack:

~ Name tag strip and story summary sheet for front of lapbook or folder if you store your preschool pack

~ Gardening words {and 2 part word and picture matching cards}

~ Water the Flower tracing lines

~ Cabbage Counting Game ~ counting & number identification cards

~ Parts of a Flower cards and How a Flower Grows game

~ Beginning sound word cards and tracing strips

~ Rhyming word cards

~ Letter P and G word tracing sheets

~ and MUCH more!!!!

Here’s a look at what Part 1 and 2 of the Garden Preschool Pack include:

Garden Wordsinitial sound word cardsparts of a flower

Beginning sound cardsStory Sequencing cardsWatering can tracing

In addition, starting this Thursday, March 31st, participants in the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge will receive a BONUS addition to the Garden Preschool Pack ~ an additional 15 pages of fun and games to use with your preschooler!! All you have to do is share what your gardening plans are {big, little, windowboxes, potted plants, etc..} and link up on March 31st. So ~ quick!! Pull a post together and join up so you can get the bonus pack too!

The 15 page Garden Bonus Pack includes several games, additional beginning sounds cards, a cut/paste activity, tracing sheets, and more…

Flower gameSeeds tracing sheetVeggie Basket

You can see more pictures and download the pdf files on my Garden Preschool Pack page. Be sure to download BOTH of the pdf files. I split it into two so that it would be easier to download!

Books we used while learning…


If you’re looking for more Preschool Packs, be sure to check out the growing collection on my website!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Inflating a Balloon Hands-Free ~ Science Sunday

Science Sunday

This experiment was so simple, it seems almost silly to post it. It seriously took me longer to round up a soda bottle to use for the experiment than it did to run the experiment. All that said, the kids absolutely loved it and we extended it a little bit by talking about the periodic table and elements.

Question of the Week…What would happen to a balloon with baking soda inside when placed on top of a soda bottle that had vinegar in it?

Items we used for this experiment:

~ soda bottle

~ one balloon

~ 2 Tbsp. baking soda

~ 8 Tbsp. vinegar

~ funnel & measuring spoon

Predictions and Experiment…

Each of the kids made a prediction about what they thought would happen ~ an explosion and mess, nothing, inflation, etc….

Zachary and Laurianna worked together measuring the baking soda and putting it into the balloon using a funnel.


We added the vinegar into the soda bottle {after rinsing out our funnel} and then stretched the base of the balloon over the opening of the soda bottle, being careful not to drop any of the baking soda into the bottle.

20110322-20110322-IMG_8762 20110322-20110322-IMG_8763

We then tipped the balloon up and let the baking soda fall into the bottle and the balloon quickly began to inflate.


Fun, no?

The Nutshell Reason…

If you want the really technical reason, here is why…


The reason really is simple though. The vinegar and the baking soda mix, forming a chemical reaction and creating a gas {carbon dioxide} that fills the balloon.


How to Do Science Experiments with Children Resource: How to Do Science Experiments with Children is available from Amazon and you can also check it out {and do some of the experiments} using Google Docs! The experiments use easy-to-find objects and also include record sheets for kids to fill out with their predictions and experiment results. Each experiment also includes teaching tips and explanations…which are rather handy! :)

Don't forget to check out some other great science ideas at Science Sunday hosted by Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Homeschool Village Garden Challenge

HSV Garden Challenge 400 copy

Starting March 31st, the Homeschool Village is hosting a Garden Challenge that anyone can participate in ~ even if you don’t have garden space!

You don’t need acres of land, intricately planned plots…just a desire to learn and have fun as a family. Plant one tomato plant or plant twenty, it doesn’t matter!

Find out more about the Garden Challenge at the Homeschool Village. They will be hosting a monthly link-up where everyone can share what they are doing, planning and progress on their gardens and/or containers.

The most IMPORTANT link-up comes next Thursday, March 31st at 10am, so be sure to mark your calendars!! The first 10 participants to link up March 31st will receive a $15.00 CurrClick Gift Certificate!! And to make it even more fun, there will be a special ‘add-on’ preschool pack to go along with my Garden Preschool Pack that I will be releasing on Monday ~ available only to participants in the Garden Challenge!

Quick! Pull out some pots, soil and seed, start planting, and link up next Thursday! You know you’ll have fun doing it!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Preschool Corner ~ Gardening Unit

Kaleb has been VERY excited about school time this week and I feel like we have done an amazing amount of things together! The moment breakfast was done, he was pulling things out of his workboxes and wanting to get started.

I’ll be sharing the Garden Preschool Pack on Monday with you all {just putting the finishing touches on it!}. We did almost everything I had planned ~ except for trying to grow grass in an egg.

We didn’t do every thing every single day, but I broke things up over the course of the week {click on the thumbnail to see my plans for the week}. Garden Unit plans

There were a few things that we DID do every day:

  • Read our Bible verse together {Matthew 4:8}
  • sang our Garden song
  • read the book Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole and sequenced the story order
  • played Help the Plant Grow! game {over and over again….}

Otherwise, here’s a look at some of the things that we did together while learning about plants and gardening!



  • Vocabulary words including cultivator, trowel, hose, soil, etc….
  • Tell what happened in the story and favorite part of the story
  • Beginning sounds cards {both find the beginning letter and write/trace the beginning letter}
  • Rhyming words {i.e. hose/nose, pot/hot, etc…}
  • Story sequencing ~ we primarily used the book Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole and after we read the story each day we sequenced the picture and sentence strips



  • Sequencing ~ we sequenced the growth of a plant and a flower from bulb to full sized


  • Count the Cabbage game ~ I hid a small trowel behind one of the cabbages {you can use up to 20} and Kaleb had to identify the number on the cabbage and then count up to that number. We put the pieces in a small pocket chart and hung it on the wall to play.
  • Shapes and Colors ~ Kaleb named the shapes and colors of flowers for me in one of the mini-books I put together

Fine Motor/Writing


  • letter tracing sheets: letters P, G, and S
  • Water the Flower line tracing sheets


All week we’ve been talking about the parts of a flower and what a plant needs to grow.


  • Parts of a flower ~ The first day I had the flower cut up into only four parts {so that the word was connected to the picture}. The remaining days Kaleb put the flower pieces together and then had to find the right word to match with the flower piece {he would say the word and then look for the beginning sound}.
  • Vegetable and Flower sort ~ Kaleb sorted ‘seed packets’ by whether they were vegetables or flowers



  • What Do Plants Need to Grow? We sang a fun little song all week that talked about four things that plants need to grow ~ soil, water, air and sun
  • Help the Plant Grow! game ~ we played this game several times each day {Kaleb thought it was so fun!}. We had a set of cards showing pictures of things plants need {or don’t need} to grow. If it was something that helps them, Kaleb could color in a part of the flowers stem until the stem was all the way up to the flower. I included some silly things in the cards like milk, candy and a paintbrush…which made him giggle every time.
  • Seed Packet matching ~ Kaleb tried to match a picture of a vegetable to the name of the veggie by looking for beginning sounds

Crafts/Hands-On Learning

20110323-IMG_8817  20110324-IMG_8884

  • Garden Sensory Tub ~ We had several days of great weather, so Kaleb enjoyed playing in our Garden Sensory Tub {click to see what we put in our box!}
  • Parts of a flower craft ~ quick craft showing the parts of a flower {flower, leaves, stem and roots}
  • Veggie Basket cut/paste ~ I had a sheet that Kaleb cut out all of the veggies and then ‘gathered’ them by gluing them into a basket

Stories & Books We Used

More Preschool Links


Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! Linking back lets others find some great helps for their preschool time! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

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