2014. make + take: road or sky. 
materials: foam mats, felt, tacky glue, needle, scissors, embroidery thread, vehicle figurines
i am kind of obsessed with making sorting mats. i use them often in my classroom for math and science activities. for extra durability, i sewed two sheets of foam together to create each mat and used felt to make the scenery. as part of our community unit we discuss jobs and different vehicles and i thought it would be fun to play with them on a miniature road or sky. i cut roads, houses, and trees for the “road” mat, and the “sky” mat only needed clouds and a runway.
the little vehicles are part of a safari toob collection. they’re one my favorite brands of plastic figurines along with schleich, a german company that specializes in lifelike animals. i should make mats for dogs and cats next, don’t ya think?

2014. make + take: road or sky. 

materials: foam mats, felt, tacky glue, needle, scissors, embroidery thread, vehicle figurines

i am kind of obsessed with making sorting mats. i use them often in my classroom for math and science activities. for extra durability, i sewed two sheets of foam together to create each mat and used felt to make the scenery. as part of our community unit we discuss jobs and different vehicles and i thought it would be fun to play with them on a miniature road or sky. i cut roads, houses, and trees for the “road” mat, and the “sky” mat only needed clouds and a runway.

the little vehicles are part of a safari toob collection. they’re one my favorite brands of plastic figurines along with schleich, a german company that specializes in lifelike animals. i should make mats for dogs and cats next, don’t ya think?


2013. make + take: skeleton sam.
materials: white foam sheet, black foam sheet, tacky glue, scissors, sharpie pen
our halloween budget is very small; we buy a few pumpkins and candy. growing up, my mom bought even less. but one thing hasn’t changed— i make my own decorations.
i created the skeleton with leftover foam from another project. i cut a rectangle for his body and then quickly cut some bones. with a few dab of tacky glue, he was done! i named him sam.
in my classroom, i have the same activity in the art station except the kids use extra pieces of construction paper. they’re allowed to make their own skeletons by cutting and gluing whatever and however they like. it’s a fun activity that gets them in the mood for halloween and supports scissor and art skills.
make a skeleton sam (or a skeleton sally) of your own. happy halloween!

2013. make + take: skeleton sam.

materials: white foam sheet, black foam sheet, tacky glue, scissors, sharpie pen

our halloween budget is very small; we buy a few pumpkins and candy. growing up, my mom bought even less. but one thing hasn’t changed— i make my own decorations.

i created the skeleton with leftover foam from another project. i cut a rectangle for his body and then quickly cut some bones. with a few dab of tacky glue, he was done! i named him sam.

in my classroom, i have the same activity in the art station except the kids use extra pieces of construction paper. they’re allowed to make their own skeletons by cutting and gluing whatever and however they like. it’s a fun activity that gets them in the mood for halloween and supports scissor and art skills.

make a skeleton sam (or a skeleton sally) of your own. happy halloween!


2013. make + take: land or water. materials: foam mats, felt, tacky glue, scissors, animal figurinesi’ve mentioned in previous make + takes that i love hands-on activities for kids. the trick to keeping children busy is giving them intriguing activities or games.my class enjoys sorting mats. you can make the mats for pretty much anything (ex. day or night, heavy or light). i created the land and water mats with foam and felt. i used foam as the base because it’s flexible and tacky glue works well with it. for the “land” mat, i cut out some trees, rocks, and bushes, and for the “water” mat, i cut out a big blue ocean with fish and plants and rocks at the bottom.the little creatures are part of a safari toob collection. i can’t tell you enough how much i’m obsessed with safari toobs. i’d buy every single set if i could. the objects feel durable and come in bright and fun colors.the purpose of the game is simple: sort the pieces for land or water. then play with them as you wish. my students like the different animals, and i’m happy that they’re sorting and staying busy. win win!

2013. make + take: land or water.

materials: foam mats, felt, tacky glue, scissors, animal figurines

i’ve mentioned in previous make + takes that i love hands-on activities for kids. the trick to keeping children busy is giving them intriguing activities or games.

my class enjoys sorting mats. you can make the mats for pretty much anything (ex. day or night, heavy or light). i created the land and water mats with foam and felt. i used foam as the base because it’s flexible and tacky glue works well with it. for the “land” mat, i cut out some trees, rocks, and bushes, and for the “water” mat, i cut out a big blue ocean with fish and plants and rocks at the bottom.

the little creatures are part of a safari toob collection. i can’t tell you enough how much i’m obsessed with safari toobs. i’d buy every single set if i could. the objects feel durable and come in bright and fun colors.

the purpose of the game is simple: sort the pieces for land or water. then play with them as you wish. my students like the different animals, and i’m happy that they’re sorting and staying busy. win win!


2013. make + take: skills spinner. materials: zoo pals paper plates, pushpin, bobby pins, plastic straws, multicolor dot stickers, permanent markerdo you use flashcards for your kids? mix it up with a skills spinner— i attended a workshop two years ago and another teacher shared the idea for older students. i modified the spinner and made it kindergarten-friendly with sight words.i used zoo pals plates because they’re stinkin’ cute. punch a hole in the center of the plate with a pushpin. insert a small bobby pin and “clip” it to the plate. cut a small piece of straw for the top half of the pin, creating a “hand” similar to a clock. the straw helps little ones move the hand around the plate (older kids won’t need a straw).use colored dots on the outer edge of the plate for specific skills like letters, numbers, words, addition facts, etc. the child holds the plate and reads or recites whatever the hand points towards.think of the spinner as a compact collection of flash cards. plus, they’re easy and inexpensive to create for your students. take one for a whirl!p.s. my heart goes out to anyone affected by the terrorist attacks in boston. beantown is the home of our beloved baseball team and michael’s alma mater. i’m still processing it all. love (and watch out for) each other.

2013. make + take: skills spinner.

materials: zoo pals paper plates, pushpin, bobby pins, plastic straws, multicolor dot stickers, permanent marker

do you use flashcards for your kids? mix it up with a skills spinner— i attended a workshop two years ago and another teacher shared the idea for older students. i modified the spinner and made it kindergarten-friendly with sight words.

i used zoo pals plates because they’re stinkin’ cute. punch a hole in the center of the plate with a pushpin. insert a small bobby pin and “clip” it to the plate. cut a small piece of straw for the top half of the pin, creating a “hand” similar to a clock. the straw helps little ones move the hand around the plate (older kids won’t need a straw).

use colored dots on the outer edge of the plate for specific skills like letters, numbers, words, addition facts, etc. the child holds the plate and reads or recites whatever the hand points towards.

think of the spinner as a compact collection of flash cards. plus, they’re easy and inexpensive to create for your students. take one for a whirl!

p.s. my heart goes out to anyone affected by the terrorist attacks in boston. beantown is the home of our beloved baseball team and michael’s alma mater. i’m still processing it all. love (and watch out for) each other.


2013. make + take: pom-pom-pillar. materials: pom-poms, embroidery thread, embroidery needle, wiggle eyes, super gluewho invented pom-poms? i looked it up on wikipedia, but i learned nothing about the pom pom creator. however, i discovered that pom-poms can be spelled in many ways: pompon (1961), pom-pom (2010), and pompom (2011). i must love 2010 because i prefer it with the hyphen.pom-pom creatures came into existence around the same time as crafty moms and teachers. usually they’re glued together, but smart people thread them on a string. duh! then the animal never falls apart.i made pom-pom caterpillars for my kids to sort from longest to shortest. i used small pom-poms and embroidery thread. tie a big knot in the thread and string together pom-poms with a big needle to a desired length. then tie another knot and add wiggle eyes.isn’t my little red friend cute? he’s twenty and single.

2013. make + take: pom-pom-pillar.

materials: pom-poms, embroidery thread, embroidery needle, wiggle eyes, super glue

who invented pom-poms? i looked it up on wikipedia, but i learned nothing about the pom pom creator. however, i discovered that pom-poms can be spelled in many ways: pompon (1961), pom-pom (2010), and pompom (2011). i must love 2010 because i prefer it with the hyphen.

pom-pom creatures came into existence around the same time as crafty moms and teachers. usually they’re glued together, but smart people thread them on a string. duh! then the animal never falls apart.

i made pom-pom caterpillars for my kids to sort from longest to shortest. i used small pom-poms and embroidery thread. tie a big knot in the thread and string together pom-poms with a big needle to a desired length. then tie another knot and add wiggle eyes.

isn’t my little red friend cute? he’s twenty and single.


2013. make + take: sounds all around. 
materials: alphabet mat, scrabble tiles
in kindergarten, we practice our letters, sounds, and words everyday. we work as a whole group, in small groups, pairs, or individually depending on the activity.letter sounds play an important role in reading and writing. each letter has a sound and sounds work together to create words. words make sentences and sentences make stories."sounds all around" is a phonics game for children who identify their letters. it features doodles for all 26 letters and 4 blends (sh, ch, th, ph). students match scrabble letters to the correct pictures. you can also use magnetic letters or plastic letter beads and substitute capital letters with lowercase ones.i am selling the alphabet mat in my etsy shop— all proceeds go towards buying books for my classroom. if you don’t want to purchase the mat, the game can be recreated using magazine pictures, clip art, or your own drawings for each letter. either way, i hope you find the game fun (and useful) for your little ones.

2013. make + take: sounds all around.

materials: alphabet mat, scrabble tiles

in kindergarten, we practice our letters, sounds, and words everyday. we work as a whole group, in small groups, pairs, or individually depending on the activity.

letter sounds play an important role in reading and writing. each letter has a sound and sounds work together to create words. words make sentences and sentences make stories.

"sounds all around" is a phonics game for children who identify their letters. it features doodles for all 26 letters and 4 blends (sh, ch, th, ph). students match scrabble letters to the correct pictures. you can also use magnetic letters or plastic letter beads and substitute capital letters with lowercase ones.

i am selling the alphabet mat in my etsy shop— all proceeds go towards buying books for my classroom. if you don’t want to purchase the mat, the game can be recreated using magazine pictures, clip art, or your own drawings for each letter. either way, i hope you find the game fun (and useful) for your little ones.


2013. make + take: 100th day portrait. materials: assorted construction paper, scissors, glue, cotton ballsthis week we celebrated the 100th day of school with a variety of activities. one of my favorite crafts involves a little imagination and a lot of foresight— what will you look like when you’re one hundred years old?i model how to make a face and body by cutting scraps of paper, and i encourage the class to try their best (i.e. it doesn’t have to look like the teacher’s picture). they always crack up in the middle of the lesson when i add cotton balls to my head; it’s hilarious to be “old” when you’re five.when our portraits dry, we use clean sheets of paper and write about the future. what will i be doing when i’m a hundred years old? i’ll be blogging on my wrist watch computer.
p.s. the featured portrait is by one of my girls. i couldn’t get over her long grey hair.

2013. make + take: 100th day portrait.

materials: assorted construction paper, scissors, glue, cotton balls

this week we celebrated the 100th day of school with a variety of activities. one of my favorite crafts involves a little imagination and a lot of foresight— what will you look like when you’re one hundred years old?

i model how to make a face and body by cutting scraps of paper, and i encourage the class to try their best (i.e. it doesn’t have to look like the teacher’s picture). they always crack up in the middle of the lesson when i add cotton balls to my head; it’s hilarious to be “old” when you’re five.

when our portraits dry, we use clean sheets of paper and write about the future. what will i be doing when i’m a hundred years old? i’ll be blogging on my wrist watch computer.

p.s. the featured portrait is by one of my girls. i couldn’t get over her long grey hair.


2013. make + take: gumball math. materials: purple, red, tan, and white felt, fabri-tac glue, puffy paint, foam circles (or pom poms), dicemath is probably my favorite subject to teach because it provides many opportunities for hands-on activities. i prefer tactile games over any kind of worksheet and my kiddos feel the same way.in kindergarten, we do a lot of counting and a lot of one-to-one correspondence. students learn numerical digits as well as quantities. to practice those skills, we often play dice games in our math stations. the trick to a good dice game is how interesting it appears to a five or six-year-old. counting lima beans on a sheet of paper gets boring quickly.i made the gumball machine game using felt and fabri-tac glue. i cut out the white globe and red base and glued them on a purple sheet. then i trimmed around the edges to create an outline. i added the red button and gumball dispenser with extra felt, and i used puffy paint to accent the machine and create a “slot” for the quarter.because i have four students in each math station, i made four gumball machines. the children each get a mat, but they share a dice. before we play, the children “fill” their machines with twenty “gumballs” (foam circles). they take turns rolling the dice and taking gumballs out. the game ends when someone’s machine is empty. then they play again.as an extended activity, you can ask the students to sort or graph their gumballs by color or size. hope you have a poppin’ time.

2013. make + take: gumball math.

materials: purple, red, tan, and white felt, fabri-tac glue, puffy paint, foam circles (or pom poms), dice

math is probably my favorite subject to teach because it provides many opportunities for hands-on activities. i prefer tactile games over any kind of worksheet and my kiddos feel the same way.

in kindergarten, we do a lot of counting and a lot of one-to-one correspondence. students learn numerical digits as well as quantities. to practice those skills, we often play dice games in our math stations. the trick to a good dice game is how interesting it appears to a five or six-year-old. counting lima beans on a sheet of paper gets boring quickly.

i made the gumball machine game using felt and fabri-tac glue. i cut out the white globe and red base and glued them on a purple sheet. then i trimmed around the edges to create an outline. i added the red button and gumball dispenser with extra felt, and i used puffy paint to accent the machine and create a “slot” for the quarter.

because i have four students in each math station, i made four gumball machines. the children each get a mat, but they share a dice. before we play, the children “fill” their machines with twenty “gumballs” (foam circles). they take turns rolling the dice and taking gumballs out. the game ends when someone’s machine is empty. then they play again.

as an extended activity, you can ask the students to sort or graph their gumballs by color or size. hope you have a poppin’ time.