Interactively Comparing the Arctic and Antarctic

arctic and antarctic venn diagram

My wiser-than-me mother-in-law always reminds, “It’s great to have a plan, but know, things probably won’t go according to plan.” And that’s exactly how things played out as we dove into a recent multi-elementary-age science unit.

I’d planned to keep things simple by lumping the Arctic and Antarctic together while teaching my preschooler, kindergartner, 2nd grader, and 4th grader about polar habitats. But more organically than I could have planned they began asking questions.

But why don’t polar bears and penguins live in the same place?

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I truly knew the difference between the Arctic and Antarctic myself. And so searching for a way for the kids to differentiate helped fill-in the gaps of my own learning and gave me renewed perspective about this amazing world we get to live in. The love for learning I’ve discovered during this homeschooling journey has been one of my favorite parts of teaching.

arctic and antarctic Venn diagram

To see how we discovered the differences and similarities between the Arctic and Antarctic, and download FREE printables, read the rest in my contributing post at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

arctic and antarctic venn diagram3

Build Your Own Gingerbread House Craftivity

Originally published on Frugal Homeschool Family’s 25 Frugal Days of Christmas

printable gingerbread house craft

Building gingerbread houses is one of my family’s favorite Christmastime traditions–the more elaborate and candy-laden, the better. It’s one of those activities we plan for in our Christmas budget, but since purchasing all the supplies can get quite pricey, it remains a once-a-year activity, even though my kids ask for it several times throughout the year.

The kids’ love for building gingerbread houses inspired this simple and frugal Christmas craft–adaptable for the beginning or experienced gingerbread house builder, and loaded with plenty of non-sticky sweets.

To build your own Gingerbread House craft, you’ll need:

First, color or paint the Gingerbread House craftivity pieces. Most of the time we prefer to paint our printable template crafts, but my kids chose crayons this time.

gingerbread house color

Then cut around each piece.

gingerbread house cut

Begin assembling the house with the structural pieces first.

gingerbread house assemble1

Then, for the best part: decorating! I included several pieces in the printable so the kids could decorate to their imagination’s content. Some will want to go all out, while others may keep it simple. That’s the fun part of building gingerbread houses, and of this craft–no right way to assemble them.

gingerbread house assemble2

When finished, mount your house on a piece of colored card stock or patterned paper, if desired, and display all season long.

printable gingerbread house craft

How to Make Your Own School Bus Feltie {Tutorial}

school bus feltie tutorial

A few months back my totally-on-top-of-things-newlywed sister messaged and said, “I love your printable felties, but I want you to teach me how to make the real thing so I can get a head start on a set for my future kids.”

I loved the idea of sitting and crafting felt sets together, but we live almost 2,000 miles apart– so “teaching” the craft wasn’t in our near future. This conversation got my mind going though, and after putting out interest feelers during an impromptu survey on Facebook–and receiving an enthusiastic response–I thought I’d share a little creative process as we make this fun little school bus feltie.

(Little trade secret–typically when I sit down to create I’ll freehand a sketch or just freehand cut with my scissors to create the shapes. But, to make this tutorial process easier, I created a template pattern for you!)

Supplies You’ll Need:

school bus template by Keeping Life Creative

1. Download and Print Template

Download and print the template, and gather scraps of felt for your project.

schoolbusfeltie

2. Cut Out Felt Shapes

Lay the pattern on your felt, and cut the shapes from the pattern.

schoolbusfeltie2

3. Glue

It’s kind of a sneaky shortcut, but my adhesive best friend is the hot glue gun. Obviously be careful, especially if you’re crafting with kiddos (in this case, you may want to go with a fabric glue).

schoolbusfeltie3

You could also adhere your pieces by hand stitching with thread or embroidery floss to add a whimsical, handmade feel to your pieces.

A few other ideas for using the school bus template:

  • Assemble buses of all colors!
  • Use as a fun prop for singing “The Wheels on the Bus” with the kiddos
  • Play with on the flannel board
  • Make a paper-pieced bus using your favorite card stock
  • Place as a gift topper (extra fun for a teacher or favorite bus driver!)
  • Decorate a bulletin board
  • Paint with tempera paint (or color with crayons) for a fun cut-and-paste kids’ art project (like this)

bus

And now, will you do me a little favor? If you like the idea of downloadable templates for creating your own felties and would like to see more of these, would you let me know by leaving a comment, pinning, and/or sharing on Facebook? It helps me know which direction to take, and where to focus my creation time. Thank you!!

 

A Treat for My Peeps

FREE Easter Peeps treat bag topper

Somehow, since February, we’ve miraculously avoided the grocery store’s Easter candy aisle. But last week the kids discovered what I’d been skipping and convinced me to refill the candy stash. And since it seems I’m always looking for an excuse to make a new printable, we also made treat bags for our friends.

If you’ve never made treat bag toppers, they’re really simple. Just download, print, trim, and fold (in half) the treat bag topper. Then fill a sandwich or snack-size baggie with your treat, and staple the folded topper over the top of the bag to seal.

FREE Easter Peeps treat bag topper

{Easy. Cute. “Cheep.”}

Up for a last-minute project?

Download the Easter treat bag printable!

Lyddie chick2

emmy chick

Trojan Horse Printable Craft

FREE Trojan Horse Printable Craft by Keeping Life Creative

It’s almost like a law that my girls have to craft everyday–either they’re begging for projects, or making up their own.

Some days (like when I’m laundering paint from a new shirt, or vacuuming the paper snippings from school room again) I beg for less mess. But most days I enjoy the creative process with them and smile that they want to be “artists” when they grow up.

coloring

On the flip side, getting Ryan to cooperatively craft has become more difficult now that he’s seven and his interests are changing. He’s never really been one to sit and color like the girls, but to his mommy’s disappointment is beginning to reject our afternoon art time, “drawing the line” at Lego structures and pencil-sketched stick figures.

We’re working on compromise though, and a project like this paper-pieced Trojan Horse had enough action-adventure appeal that he briefly joined our crafting party (albeit the insistence that a brown horse is too boring so the Greeks probably painted their giant wooden horse).

Trojan Horse craft

I created this printable cut-and-paste project to go with our ancient history and Greek mythology studies, but the story is a classic, and kids love the hide-and-seek adventure. If not already familiar with the historical tale, you may want to tell the story before coloring or painting the wooden horse. Starfall has a colorful recollection, or this is a kid-friendly read-aloud version.

Trojan Horse craft2

download-Trojan-Horse-printable-craft

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