August - An Idea for Every Day - Week 1

The final month of summer is upon us. I hope it finds you well, with summertime goals accomplished and plans for the fall filling your mind. Although, I have to say, I was not prepared to see Halloween costumes and pumpkin spice coffee already shelved at stores. Anyone else feel like it was March just yesterday? It has been a year!

This summer has definitely been eventful for us. Our highlight from last week was witnessing my brother's wedding. It was beautiful! And we felt honored to witness it. It fills our hearts with joy to see and share in his joy. What was your highlight from last week? We'd love to hear about it! Just comment below, fill out the "contact us" box (mr or mrs@wolfestew.com), or connect with us on social media. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

If you're here, you're likely looking for engaging ideas to share with your learner, and we're here because we want to help. In our "Idea for Every Day" posts, we choose holidays for every day and pair them with activities for preschool to sixth grade learners. These activities are primarily academic, sometimes social emotional, but always aimed at adding to the positive development of your learner in (hopefully) engaging ways. We only choose activities we'd consider doing with the learners in our lives. 

While this first full week of August brings no widely-known holidays, there is still plenty of reason for celebration. Take a look.
  1. Coloring Book Day (8.2.20) - Online and print suggestions.
  2. Watermelon Day (8.3.20) - Art (paper plate craft, drawing or purse); Earth science (research and report).
  3. Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (8.4.20) - Reading (book suggestions); Cooking (traditional and nontraditional recipes); Writing (opinion and persuasive writing). 
  4. Traffic Light Day (8.5.20) - Physical fitness (gross motor, following directions, running, awareness); STEM (problem-solving model proposal); Bible (coordinating colors with verses).
  5. Gossip Day (8.6.20) - Social emotional (discussion, object lesson, game, avoidance methods); Bible (family rule implementation).
  6. Water Balloon Day (8.7.20) - Math (writing word problems, data collection, measurement); Physical fitness (following directions, gross motor, aim, throwing).
  7. Global Sleep Under the Stars Night (8.8.20) - Backcountry camping tips.
And look at all the different ways we're plating these ideas up for you:
And now, without further ado, check out all the ideas we've been stewing on for you:

Sunday, August 2, 2020 - Coloring Book Day

Online and print suggestions for kids and adults
Coloring Book image by ponce_photography via Pixabay

I once, years ago, read this blog by a teacher about the benefits of coloring in classrooms. The teacher assigned one coloring book picture to complete weekly. It reinforced traits such as attention to detail, perseverance, creativity, focus, pride in work, and fine motor skills, among others. I found the post reassuring. I always believed coloring to be a worthwhile use of time for students, but never thought through the why; this article did it for me. If you're ready to benefit your learner with coloring activities, we're ready to help. Look at these coloring book ideas we've been stewing on for you. 

We've found coloring book resources for leader and learner alike in both printable and buyable options. So, select your age range and coloring book preference then let the coloring commence:

Leader Coloring Book Options

  • Buyable Books reviewed at Gear Hungry. Of the options reviewed, we'd choose the Coloring Book for Adults: Amazing Swirls by Elena Bogdanovych via Happy Coloring and not just because they deem it the best choice. It genuinely looks like it would be fun to color. We enjoy the whimsical drawings and swirling patterns. To view a walk through, visit Coloring Queen before you buy.
  • Printable Pictures are available in abundance at Just Color with convenient browsing options available. Browse by latest additions, most popular, specific categories (mandalas & art therapy; nature; travels; art; history & stories; special events; and popular keywords) or scroll through them all. The page we're printing off to color right now: seaworld. Make sure you go and browse yourself for recommendations based on picture selections and so you can see other people's finished work. Join their Facebook group if you want to contribute your own.

Learner Coloring Book Options

  • Buyable Books reviewed by Scary Mommy and sorted by age group. Of the ones reviewed, we'd choose DDMY's 3D Coloring Puzzle Set. Not only do they get to color, but they'll also get to assemble their 3D model. I know our learner would love this! 
  • Printable Pictures are once again available in abundance at Just Color for kids. Still with convenient browsing options, but differing in categories. You can choose from animals; various themes; educative; art; Disney classics; Disney/Pixar; Dreamworks and others; Movies; Anime & Mangas and Superheroes. The one our learner would likely choose: Brachiosaurus egg.
Prior to engaging in coloring book activities, invite discussion on this verse:
Whatever the activity in which you engage, do it with all your ability, because there is no work, no planning, no learning, and no wisdom in the next world where you're going. Ecclesiastes 9:10 (ISV)
Make sure to emphasize the idea that whatever we do, we should do it well. Even if it does not seem important. Even if you lack desire to do it. Even if it was not our choice. Whatever the activity, do it with all your ability. The best you can. This sounds like a lesson worth learning and learning well.

Monday, August 3, 2020 - Watermelon Day

Related art, earth science and writing activities.
Watermelon image by stevepb via Pixabay
In Egypt we used to eat all the fish we wanted, and it cost us nothing. Remember the cucumbers, the watermelons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic we had? Numbers 11:5 (GNT)
Oh, the lament of not having what we once had; a lament to which we can all relate. And, if watermelons are the lament, I get it. Watermelons symbolize summer. Heat, ants, poolsides, picnics, camping and watermelons - all hallmarks of summer. If you're ready for watermelon learning, we're ready for you! Check out these ideas we've been stewing on for you.

Watermelon Art

Watermelon serves as an enjoyable object for artistic creation; even the mere image of a slice produces a smile. Have your Preschool to First Grade learners craft paper plate watermelons with the help of tissue paper, glue, scissors, black paint and these directions from The Simple Parent. Not only does this activity produce an adorable watermelon, but it also builds fine motor skills, following direction abilities and, for your older learners, you could easily turn it into a lesson on fractions or angle measurements. 

Get those drawing supplies ready, then head over to Art Hub for Kids so your Second and Third Grader learners can draw a cartoon watermelon. In five minutes, your learner will learn (along with another learner) how to draw a watermelon in easy-to-follow steps. Additional watermelon drawings encouraged!

Young learners aren't the only ones able to craft with paper plates. In this tutorial (with free download) from Love the Day, your Fourth to Sixth Grade learner will make their very own watermelon purse. And, if your learner doesn't care to have a purse, I bet they can find someone for whom to make it. You'll need sturdy paper plates, red and green acrylic paints, a hot glue gun, the free seed template (or just hand draw using a sharpie), a fine-tipped permanent marker, a drill (I wonder if a screwdriver or hole punch might also work here), a ribbon, and the directions found at Love the Day. We think these purses might also make for good napkin or pen holders. For what might you use them?

Watermelon Writing

You might also consider having your learners research how to grow a watermelon. To answer that question, we think HGTV is a good source. After reading about how watermelons grow (down by the bay, of course) have them record the steps of growing a watermelon. It could be a list, a mini-book (YouTube video), poster, slideshow, how-to video or handy flow chart (from Daily Teaching Tools - scroll down to find it) - whatever suits your learner best!

As you clean up from the mess that coincides with watermelon learning (and eating) I hope you feel refreshed. Even the look of watermelons invigorate. Do you feel it, too?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Book suggestions, opinion and persuasive writing activity and recipes.
Chocolate Chip Cookie image by Izabelle Acheson via Unsplash
Any grain offering that is baked in an oven or prepared in a pan or on a griddle belongs to the priest who presents it; it is his. Leviticus 7:9 (HCSB)
I can't help but chuckle after reading this verse and thinking of cookies. It's no wonder cookies are a prized possession - if you're the priest that's offering it. "Bread? Pass. Meat? Eh. Oh, look, there's the cookies! I'll take (and keep) those." While we know it wasn't chocolate chip cookies offered as a sacrifice, the idea still stands - cookies are undeniably a prized offering. Indulge in cookie learning with these chocolate chip cookie learning ideas we've been stewing on for you.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Reading

Whet the appetite of your learner by reading about cookies. We suggest not even mentioning that you're going to do some cookie learning, instead just plop down, snuggle up and enjoy the book. Then, when finished, ask your learner to guess the learning topic. 

Open the classic book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (via Open Library or YouTube read aloud by Books Alive!), with your Preschool to First Grade learners. Together delight in the absurdity of the mouse's demand. Then, at book's end, ask what topics from the book you might explore. We bet cookies make that list!

In How the Cookie Crumbled by Gilbert Ford (YouTube read aloud by Juliann Stone), your Second to Third Grade learner will read three stories of the invention of the chocolate chip cookie and then infer which they believe the real one to be. For a detailed run down of the book, a cookie maze, and baking coloring page, drop by Celebrate Picture Books. 

Mix in geography and history to your cookie learning recipe for your Fourth to Sixth Grade learner with Kathleen Teahan's book The Cookie Loved 'Round the World: The Story of the Chocolate Chip Cookie (via Amazon - no free digital versions found). You'll see how Ruth Wakefield's invention warmed her kitchen, the hearts of a country during the Great Depression, and eventually found worldwide love. With this book you could explore many academic areas, or you could just keep it simple and enjoy the story. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Baking

As far as we see it, you have two options: traditional or nontraditional. The traditional links you to the original Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, and the nontradtional links you to Taste of Home for 25 variations. To be honest, the Nestle Toll House is not my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, but it is the original; so we'll point you in that direction. If I were to choose one of the nontraditional recipes, I'd choose the Toffee Chip Thins by Lynae Lang. She combines chocolate, coconut and toffee in a cookie base made of graham cracker crumbs. Leaders, my mouth drools typing it!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Writing

With your learner, we recommend that you incorporate some opinion writing into the baking experience. This can either be done pre-baking or post-baking. For pre-baking writing, your learner must state their case for which type of cookie to bake. In post-baking writing, learners express which cookie was their favorite, or (if you only made one type) what is the best cookie they've ever eaten. Learners can either state their opinion (PreK-3rd template via Teachers Pay Teachers or OREO template by Genia Connell via Scholastic) or attempt to persuade you (via Daily Teaching Tools - scroll to Persuasive Essay Maps) depending on their level of readiness.

We simply refuse to consider a more perfect way to complete chocolate chip cookie day than with a warm plate of these bite-size morsels and a cold glass of milk. Have one for us, would you?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - Traffic Light Day

Related gross motor, design and Bible activities.
Traffic Light image by Harshal Desai via Unsplash

Imagine, if you will, traveling the streets without traffic lights. If you live in a rural town, this is unlikely to be a stretch; I remember the day the town I grew up in got its first traffic light. Instead, imagine driving city streets without traffic lights. The confusion. The chaos. The danger. It is a place I, for one, would not wish to be. Explore the benefits, and pitfalls, of traffic lights with your learners and these ideas we've been stewing on for you. 

Whether your learner is in Preschool to First Grade or older, you might as well start with a game of Red Light, Green Light. This game not only works on responding to directions, playing fairly, developing awareness and improving gross motor skills, but it also serves well to open a discussion on the effectiveness (and ineffectiveness) of traffic signals.

Likely, you are already familiar with the game, but just in case it is new to you (or you need a refresher course) allow us to guide you to Playworks' description of Red Light, Green Light. With the help of Playworks, not only will you get a detailed breakdown on how to play, you'll also learn some variations. Our favorite: add in different colored lights, designating specific actions for each color. 

Indeed, this variation of Red Light, Green Light, would be a nice segue into Interesting Engineering's article, "11 Futuristic Traffic Lights that Could Make the Road Safer." Use the article and the gameplay variation to help your learner see that just because something works, does not mean there is no room for improvement. Discuss and record some problems with traffic signals. Choose one of the problems and design a new traffic signal to serve as a solution to the problem. Be sure to draw your design, label the diagram, list required resources and write a brief explanation of how your light would work. Make sure to highlight the problem solved by your new traffic light model.

Turn traffic light learning into a Bible lesson when you discuss with your learners the ways the Bible acts as our traffic light. Use this verse to kick-start.
Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. Psalm 119:105 (ERV)
Then, extend by having your learners choose and record verses to represent each color in a traffic light. When does God give us the green light? Yellow light? Red light? And if you'd desire, we'd love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to share your green, yellow and red Bible verses with us. We know we have lots to learn from you (and from your learners, too).

Thursday, August 6, 2020 - Gossip Day

Related object lesson, Bible based interventions and methods to stop.
Gossip image via pxfuel
And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to them. Ephesians 4:29 (TPT)
This verse is a hard one to swallow. It also goes hand-in-hand with a saying you've likely been taught and used: "If you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all." Yet, this verse pushes the saying higher. It urges you not just to keep a closed mouth on unkind words, but also to instead speak beautiful, gift-giving, encouraging, graceful words. Yikes! There's a lot of work to be done here. (And I'm talking about in myself, because I can't speak for you or your learner.) Let's start with the first part - not allowing ugly or hateful words to come from your mouth - by using some of these anti-gossip activities we've been stewing on for you.

We really like Veronica's (via Or So She Says) hands-on approach to teaching kids about the effects of gossiping. She starts by defining gossip, then heads into a discussion about the damaging effects of gossip. Following the discussion, she has an object lesson, game and treat lined up for you. To complete all the activities, you'll need to gather a small bowl, toothpaste and cookies. Curious, are you? Well, then, head on over to Or So She Says and check it out!

Perhaps you'd rather approach the subject of gossiping from a Biblical standpoint. If so, you'll enjoy Dr. Jim Burns' (via the Parent Cue) approach. Once he noticed an issue of gossiping taking root in his household, a "No Gossiping Rule," went into effect that encompassed four defining principles of gossiping. Our favorite one: before you speak think, "Is it true? Is it right? Is it lovely?" Every person in the household, adults included, was called on to uphold the new no gossiping policy.

But if you're like me, the area I always struggle with is knowing how to stop? Gossiping, for me, is often unintentional. I get caught up in the conversation and say something before I think about it and later end up regretting it. Or, when everyone else is talking badly about the person, and I'm privy to additional information, then I sometimes find myself gossiping to impress my current audience. Later  realizing this is not the impression I really wanted to make, and again, always regretting it. So how to stop? 

Well, lucky for me (and hopefully you and your learner too), The Counseling Teacher shares four methods to disarm gossiping. Two of theses methods, "Be Honest" and "Distract," are beautifully combined in this excerpt from The Winds of Autumn by Janette Oke (pp80-81, via Open Library):
"What's the matter, Josh?" Avery said at my sleeve. "You mad about somethin'?"
"Naw," I said. "I ain't mad...what gives ya a silly idea like that, anyway?"
"Well, yer so quiet-like. Usually you join right in the funnin'"
"Funnin'!" I said sourly. "Is that what that was?" 
Avery looked at me in surprise.
He started to say something back but I cut in, "I mean, it don't seem fair somehow to stand talkin' about - about people with them not even there to defend themselves or nothin'."  
"We weren't saying nothin' bad," argued Avery.
"Well - 'bad' all depends," I continued. "I mean, iffen she - she's a nice girl, then she might not like a bunch a fellas pickin' her over like that - like she was just somethin' to gawk at or somethin'."
Avery swallowed.
"I mean," I went on, "why don't we just forget that girl and go play Fox and Goose or somethin'?"
"You don't like her much, do you? I mean, what's she done - ?"
I looked Avery square in the eye. I wanted to tell him just how dumb he was - but he was my friend. He flinched some at my look and scuffed his feet back and forth on the solid ground.
"It's got nothin' to do with likin' or not likin'," I finally said. "I don't even know her - yet. Neither do you. Nor do any of those other fellas. But standin' around talkin' about her doesn't do anybody any good. We might as well be playin' or somethin'."
"I'll get the guys," said Avery, but before he turned to go he said one more thing - quiet and almost condemning - "You're gettin' more like your preacher uncle every day, you know that? Ever'body in town knows he won't tolerate nobody talkin' 'bout nobody," and Avery wheeled and was gone.
With Josh's model and The Counseling Teacher's methods, I feel better equipped to avoid gossiping. But, I know my task does not end there. I must next learn to speak beautiful, gift-giving, encouraging, graceful words. Obviously, mastering neither of these lessons will happen overnight, yet there's no harm in exploring them. Might I suggest isolating hurtful words (spoken, heard or conceived) and working together (with your learner) to transform them into beautiful words? Trust me, I'll be practicing this task right beside you. 

Friday, August 7, 2020 - Water Balloon Day

Related activities for Preschool to sixth grade learners.
Water Balloon image via pxfuel

As a kid, my summer was not complete without outdoor water games. And water balloons? Well, let's just say they always made the list! If your learner enjoys water balloons too, then you'll want to check out these ideas we've been stewing on for you.

Before you get to the waterplay, let your learners know that after the water dries they'll be writing math problems based on the water balloon activities. To set up your learner for successful word problem writing, read Kelina Imamura's post (via Sciencing). 

Prior to heading outdoors, you will want to make sure your learner knows what kind of numbers they are collecting. Will they: Time how long it takes to fill different sizes of balloons?  Measure various balloons' capacities? Count how many balloons each person can throw in a minute? Calculate the circumference of splat patterns from various heights? Compare the velocity of balloons filled with different liquids when dropped from the same height? With their question in mind, make sure your learner collects their data first before diving into other water balloon activities.

For other water balloon activities (or perhaps weave these into your math problems), you'll want to visit Fabulessly Furgal. Choose a couple of them to do, gather the resources, set up the space and enjoy the water balloon induced fun with your learners. A couple we'd choose (accompanied by math data collection suggestions) are:
  • Water Balloon Pinata 
    • Addition, Subtraction and Comparison - Record how many balloons each person popped. Use the data to write addition, subtraction and comparison word problems. 
    • Fractions - Record the fractions of balloons each color represents. After every batter swings, update your fractions on a new line. Use the data to write fraction based word problems.
    • Angles - As you hit each balloon with varying intensities, estimate the degree of movement the balloon traveled. To reach a better estimate, identify the type of angle: was it acute, obtuse, straight, reflex or full rotation movement? After answering this question, you should better be able to determine the degree of movement. Use the degrees of movements as numbers in your angle word problems.
  • Water Balloon Bowling
    • Make a Ten - Record pins hit each frame. Use to write "making a ten" word problems.
    • Ordering Numbers - Every player keeps track of their score. Use the scorecards to write ordering number word problems. You could even do this logic problem style (how-to via Maths and Bugs).
    • Algebraic Equations - Keep track of your score (learn how to at Kids Learn to Bowl). Then use the sheet to "lose numbers" for use in writing algebraic word problems.
Know too, that as your learner participates in these activities they are not only growing in math reasoning, but also in direction-following, good sportsmanship and gross motor skills to name a few.

Invariably, as water balloon fights progress, thirst ensues. Well, wonder of wonders, that water balloon hosts a handy source of refreshment; just crack it open and drink from the leak. If this event does not naturally happen, ask your learners to drink from a water balloon in such a manner. Then, discuss the pros and cons of drinking from a water balloon. Will they always be a good source of water? Can you think of better water sources? What about the very water balloon from which they've already drunk? Would they drink from it again? What difficulties might transpire? 

After the discussion on water balloons as water vessels, read and discuss this verse: 
My people are guilty of two evils:
They have abandoned Me, the spring of living waters;
And instead, they have settled for dead and stagnant water
from cracked, leaky cisterns of their own making.
Jeremiah 2:13 (VOICE
Have them keep the water balloon to remind them that they need not settle for "dead and stagnant water;" God wishes to supply them with a spring of living waters. From His spring I'd much rather drink any day of the week.

Saturday, August 8, 2020 - Global Sleep Under the Stars Night

Backcountry camping tips
Night Sky image by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures

As I think of the whole world sleeping under the stars on the same night, these lyrics from "Somewhere Out There," flood my thoughts:
And even though I know how very far apart we are, 
It helps to think we might be wishin' on the same bright star.
It's a nice idea, isn't it: the whole planet spending a night together under the stars? It speaks of unity. And, it provides us an opportunity to jointly enjoy God's uniquely beautiful creations.
The sun has one kind of beauty, the moon another, the stars yet another; indeed, each star has its own individual kind of beauty. I Corinthians 15:41 (CJB)
If you're looking for some sleeping under the stars tips, might we point you in the direction of Among the Wild? They offer five backcountry camping tips to help make nights more comfortable for you adventurous souls out there. One we will definitely keep packed in our heads: pick your spot wisely. Now, for me, that might just be a trampoline. It was as a kid, anyway. Anyone else?

As you head outdoors tonight to sleep under the stars, glance up and know that there's a God out there who planned for each star's unique existence. How much more for yours?

Before You Go

We'd love to know:
  1. Which of these activities sparks the greatest interest for you?
  2. You must choose either watermelons or chocolate chip cookies to take with you when camping. Which do you choose and why?
That wraps up this week's ideas for every day. We'll see you next time, leaders. And until then, we're sincerely hoping you find the JOY in every day.

At Your Service,
Free Homeschool Resources

Interested in even more educational resources?  Then stop by our Learning Lab.  It's here where we store all the educational resources we've cooked up to date.



Comments

  1. I didn't know of Global Sleep under The Stars day. If I can just persuade my son...
    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you are able to convince him! Some of my favorite childhood memories involved camping out in the backyard.

      Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. We're thrilled you enjoyed our post!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thank you for adding your flavor to the stew.

Popular posts from this blog

Silas: The STEAM Team Scientist

Victoria: The STEAM Team Technologist

NaNoWriMo