Posts tagged ‘crafts’

Holiday Crafting
Lesson Pathways | October 20, 2010 | 9:27 am

Yikes, the Holiday Season is rapidly approaching! With barely two months until the Holidays begin, now is the time to start crafting handmade gifts for all of those family and friends! I find planning a gift or two a week to work on fits in nicely with our budget and homeschooling.

SewingRight now we are planning to make pillowcases for each of the nieces and nephews. My daughter is 9 and is very excited to learn to sew, so this is an easy little project for her and counts as homeschooling hours :D

We will then visit some book sales and wrap a book or two in the pillowcases for each child. She also will be embroidering some very basic designs on linen to turn into ornaments (using a mini hoop for display!) that will also serve as present toppers.

Of course, as we get closer to the holidays we will have tons of baking going on and will study the world traditions that go with the recipes.

I would love to hear of any crafts/recipes/or projects that you are planning on doing with your homeschoolers for the upcoming holidays!


This post was written by Colette D., a new-to-homeschooling Mom and a LessonPathways Blog contributing writer. She and her Husband raise their daughter together in the rural countryside of Upstate New York where they like to spend as much time as possible being creative and enjoying nature. She blogs about her adventures in sewing, crafting, and baking (among other things) at yearofhandmade.

Project: Popcorn!
Lesson Pathways | February 15, 2010 | 9:07 am

Julie C. is a proud homeschooling mom to 3 children. You can find out more about Julie and her family at The Clark Chronicles. This article was originally published 2/17/09 at The Clark Chronicles.

A homeschool group that I am a part of got together today at my house to do some socializing of our children. Er, um, I mean we got together to do some school.

I found a great lesson plan a few weeks ago on THIS website that inspired the lesson. Basically the idea was to teach about a variety of subjects by using popcorn. I love the idea of doing unit studies – Taking one thing and building a multi-disciplinary lesson around it – and this was the perfect way to do just that. I also found THIS WEBSITE with lots of fantastic resources for creating lesson plans using popcorn.

We did art, math, science, social studies, language, history, geography and PE all using lessons utilizing popcorn!

We used all 5 of our senses to experience the popcorn. We  learned about weight and volume, went on a treasure hunt, learned how to keep score using tally marks, took a nature walk to gather branches for our art activity, made hand cranked corn on the stove, estimated how much popcorn 1/2 cup of uncooked corn would yield, measured and weighed uncooked and cooked corn on a food scale, learned about the history of popcorn and identified on a map of the US where most of the world’s popcorn is grown, shucked an ear of corn to see how corn grows, jumped on the trampoline like we were popping kernels of corn and sang popcorn songs to the tunes of row row row your boat and I’m a little teapot.

And we managed to eat lunch together and have some pleasant and edifying adult conversation in the process.

Here are the final results of our popcorn tree – Abby and I did some work on it after her nap:

I made a little downloadable workbook with all the activities – Yours for the taking! We had so much fun with this today and I hope you can use some of the ideas in it for your home or school activities! Enjoy!

For even more great popcorn project ideas, check out these resources featured at

Making Popcorn, Popcorn Jewelry, Popcorn Fractions, Number Popcorn, Popcorn Geography, How Much Popcorn?, Grow Corn from Popcorn, Odd & Even Popcorn, Popcorn Place  Value

Recycling Project – Year K
Lesson Pathways | January 6, 2010 | 9:25 am

The Jones Family recently used our Year K Science Pathway, “Taking Care of the Earth”, and this is what they had to say:

Recycled Pen Container

Recycled Pen Container

“This Pathway was very educational and so much fun!  We used it with our kindergartener AND our 3rd grader and it turned into a full family project.  “

How have you used Lesson Pathways? Have you done any fun projects or want to share how a lesson worked for you?! Tell us about it!!

Learning About New Year’s
Lesson Pathways | December 30, 2009 | 7:00 am

Even though our homeschool is on a break from our normal schedule, we still try to take advantage of learning opportunities, whenever they may arise.  As we prepare for our New Year’s celebration, I thought it would be an ideal time to share a few ideas with our readers. Here are some links you can use to create your own “on the fly” New Year’s Unit Study:

WorldLearn About New Year’s Around the World

Turn your New Year’s Eve celebration into a multicultural one!  Have you children pick a country or two to learn about. Locate them on a map, read about their New Year’s traditions and prepare some food from that country.

New Year Around the World Facts:
Read this interesting,  fun collection of facts about traditions from around the world.  You’ll learn about customs in Greece, Columbia, Scotland & many more countries!

Traditions from Around the World:
Find out even more about the history and traditions of New Year’s. This site offers and extensive list of countries. We just wrapped up a study on our heritage, this will be a great tie in for us! Find the country you are interested in and click on the link to learn more.

How to Say “Happy New Year”:
Have fun learning how to say “Happy New Year!” in other languages.

Lucky New Year’s Eve Food Traditions from Around the World:
Read about food traditions and try to prepare some yourself for New Year’s Eve.  NOTE: There are a lot of pop-ups on this site.  Be sure to have your pop-up blocker on for a better experience.

Calendar DaysCalendar Concepts

What better time to reinforce time and calendar concepts, or even learn something new about the history of the calendar? If you kept a family calendar this year, you can review the events of the past year and have your children create a time line.   You can print calendar pages and have your children decorate each month, filling in the special days and holidays.

Calendars: Counting the Days:
This site is just a wealth of information about the calendar!  Read through the different pages to learn about the history of the calendar, how to measure time and the different types of calendars used today.

Assignment Discovery:Days and Months:
Watch this short video to learn how the moon is connected to the calendar.  A nice, quick and to-the-point lesson!

Printable Calendars:
If you want your children to create calendars, this is a nice place to find printable ones for coloring or customizing.

Noise MakersJust Plain Fun

Maybe you’re just looking for some good, old-fashioned, coloring pages, printables and crafts?  There’s lots of fun and learning that can happen with paper, pencil, scissors and glue!

New Year’s at Danielle’s Place: A nice collection of ideas.  My favorite is the FREE printable “pop-up” New Year’s card to make.  Let your kids make a few for friends and neighbors.

New Year’s Word Search:
Just print and circle the words!

Bright New Year Mobile:
This fun craft project, from Crayola, will liven up your home on New Year’s Eve.  You probably have all the supplies you need on hand: construction paper, colored pencils, gel pens, glue & glitter glue, scissors, hole punch, ribbon and recycled foam trays.

Will you be doing some fun learning this New Year’s?  Or, do you have a learning idea or resource for New Year’s?  Share it with us in the comments section below!

This post was written by Christina S., a Team Member and  homeschool mom of 10 years.  She lives with her husband and two daughters in Detroit, Michigan.

A Family Thanksgiving
Lesson Pathways | November 24, 2009 | 1:53 pm

Over the next few days, moms all over America will be preparing for Thanksgiving. You may be picturing wonderful family memories made around the Thanksgiving table, or even afterwards over turkey sandwiches, but don’t miss out on the opportunities for making special memories with your children in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.

When my girls were younger, I had a very hard time including them in the Thanksgiving preparations. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the patience for them or because I was under any particular time crunch. It was because I was (and still am) such a perfectionist. Everything about the celebration had to be just “just so.” If it didn’t look like it came out of a magazine, then it wasn’t good enough.


Looking back, I regret not taking advantage of the special moments I could have shared with my children. After all, they don’t remember the perfectly polished flatware and glistening crystal goblets. They do remember the things they helped with though.

If your vision of a perfect Thanksgiving doesn’t include a table to rival anything from the Martha Stewart Show, you’re already off to a good start. If the idea of toilet-paper tube Pilgrims on your table is enough to cause a panic attack, don’t worry. You can involve the children and STILL have the picture-perfect Thanksgiving.

Start at the beginning:

42-15610067Include your child in the planning the Thanksgiving menu. You’ll likely be listing the traditional foods you’ve had in the past, or you may wind up with some new favorites, requested by your child. Either way, this gets your child involved from the start. If your child is able to write, have him help write down the menu or even the grocery list (as you dictate it, of course). If your child can’t actually write yet, give her some paper and let her try anyway. You can even print out some cute Thanksgiving-themed paper here (

Table Decorations:

Do you have a special set of china and stemware used exclusively for holidays or special occasions? Are paper plates and buffet style more your speed? Either way, there are plenty of crafty ways your child can be involved in making the atmosphere festive, without breaking the bank or straying too far from your personal asthetic. For great ideas and inspiration, visit this site ( There are tons of great craft ideas for centerpieces!

Get Cooking:

Little ChefsChildren of all ages can help in the kitchen. This doesn’t mean you need to have them under foot or in the kitchen to help prepare the entire meal. You may want to consider choosing a dish your child can help prepare, even if it is just “helping” by pouring in the ingredients or mixing. For older children, consider giving them responsibility for a side dish, such as mashed potatoes, green bean casserole or sweet potato casserole. If you are having a hard time adapting your favorite family recipe to be “kid friendly,” try this site for some ideas

Away from Home This Thanksgiving?

If you are traveling this Thanksgiving, you can still include your child in preparing for the trip. If he is old enough, having him pack his own suitcase will save you some time and sanity (everything double-checked by mom, of course).


For all ages, have your child help prepare the activities for the ride there by providing a back pack, small box, or other suitable container for the car, and allowing him to fill it with the items he would like to take in the car. You can go to the library and let your child pick out books, music and even books on CD for the long car ride ahead.

Make your older child the official coordinator of car-ride games. Have her research games that can be played in the car, and make sure you have all the supplies needed. Make it her job to teach everyone how to play during the ride. If you want to give your child a head start on finding games, you can start here:

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, include your children in the preparations. By giving each of your children a specific responsibility, you will be building their self esteem, and they might even learn a new life skill and a bit of family history in the process. Whether you are hosting the feast at home or traveling to see loved ones, there is something your child can do to help.

Quick and Easy Flashcards
Lesson Pathways | October 26, 2009 | 11:49 pm

“FREE Flashcards”

If you like using flashcards, you know all too well how easy it is to quickly run up a tab when purchasing them! They can easily run anywhere from a $1 a pack to over $5 a pack, and one pack is never enough. You “need” a pack for this and for that and for the other thing. You’re quickly swimming in a sea of flashcard frenzy!

Having seen the price for a pack of flashcards, I quickly decided there was no way I was going to pay the price they were asking when I could easily create flashcards for my daughter with little to no cost at home. What could cost me up to $5 (or more) to buy, I can easily do in as little as ten minutes at home.

How do you make flashcards for FREE? Grab the following supplies and do these quick and easy steps to create your very own free flashcards!

Supplies needed:

• Empty cereal box (or other cardboard)

• Marker

• Scissors

• Bag or rubber band (for storage when you’re done)

(The example in the pictures is for matching numbers to their names.)


The Process:

#1 – Open the cereal box and use the inside “blank” part to write on.


#2 – Use the marker to write/draw out the text/picture you want on the flashcards.


#3 – Use the scissors to cut apart the flashcards.


You’re DONE! See how easy that was? And free, too!

The best part is that when your child loses them (and we all know that flashcards seem to disappear into thin air), you aren’t out any money and you can easily replace them for free!

I’ve used this idea to create puzzles, flashcards, matching games, and more. The sky’s the limit!

This post was written by Ashley P., homeschool mom and Lesson Pathways team member.

Canadian Thanksgiving
Lesson Pathways | October 11, 2009 | 6:15 pm

We’d like to wish all of our Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

Canadian FlagThe Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. It differs a little from the American Thanksgiving. Sure, we do enjoy turkey, squash, and all the trimmings! We get together with friends and family for a big meal and football! However, the reason behind our celebration is different! Americans celebrate the Pilgrims traveling to America and settling in the “New World.” Canadians celebrate the harvest.

We live in a northern climate, and a successful harvest is a great blessing! American influence has played a part in the Canadian Thanksgiving. Our holiday originated from a three-fold process:

1. Long ago, before the first Europeans arrived in North America, farmers in Europe held celebrations at harvest time. To give thanks for their good fortune and the abundance of food, the farm workers filled a curved goat’s horn with fruit and grain. This symbol was called a cornucopia or horn of plenty. When they traveled to Canada, they brought this tradition with them.

2. In the year 1578, the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a formal ceremony, in what is now called Newfoundland, giving thanks for surviving the long journey. He was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him– Frobisher Bay. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies.

3. The third came in the year 1621, in what is now the United States, when the Pilgrims celebrated their harvest in the New World. The Pilgrims were English colonists who founded a permanent European settlement at Plymouth Massachusetts. By the 1750s, this joyous celebration was brought to Nova Scotia by American settlers from the south.

(The above three points are taken from the CanadaInfo website, click here to read the whole article).

Did you know Americans did not have the first Thanksgiving?

Frobisher’s celebration took place 43 years before the Pilgrims gave thanks in 1621!

Each family has its own way of celebrating the holiday. Here are some common practices across Canada:

a) Turkey of course! We also enjoy ham, roast, and pumpkin pie! Our meals do not differ much from the American version of our feast. The Americans contributed to our traditional meal!

b) We often have the cornucopia (filled with fruit, flowers, etc.) on display around the house or on the kitchen table, honoring the European part of our tradition! It is a symbol of abundance.

c) Thankfulness! We enjoy sharing what we are thankful for in remembrance of the English navigator Martin Frobisher. Different people celebrate their thankfulness in different ways, such as going around the table to take turns saying what they are thankful for and offering prayers of thankfulness in church and at the table. The First Nations of Canada celebrate by being thankful to their ancestors.

d) Football! Football is a huge tradition here. No man is denied the practice of undoing his pants after a big meal and settling down to watch the big game! It is a tradition that began with Monday Night Football!

Did you know Americans did not have the first Thanksgiving?

Frobisher’s celebration took place 43 years before the Pilgrims gave thanks in 1621! It began in 1578 for Canadians, but on April 5, 1872, the Canadian Confederation made it a civic holiday, marking the official holiday as the second Monday of October. This was in celebration of the Prince of Whales’ recovery from a serious illness!


We have much to be thankful for, including the diversity of Canadian culture that combines so many different reasons to be thankful, into one holiday: Thanksgiving!

Here are some fun FREE on-line resources for helping your child learn and celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving:

Kid’s Turn Central: Canadian Thanksgiving
Canadian Thanksgiving eCards
Canadian Thanksgiving Printable Wordsearch
Thankful Wreath of Leaves Craft
Canadian Thanksgiving True or False
Learn about Canadian Thanksgiving Video

This post was written by Jennifer B., a Canadian resident, homeschool mom and LessonPathways team member.  The links were compiled by Christina S., homeschool mom and LessonPathways team member.