Friday, July 3, 2015

FREE Nature Scavenger Hunts

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First off I want to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July. Do you have any exciting plans this weekend? We are going on a camping adventure with some friends and visiting another one of a kind camping destination in Georgia (don't worry I will share all about it when we return). Remember you can follow us on our fun adventures by checking in with us on Instagram and Facebook.

We have all kinds of fun activities lined up for the weekend like learning how to tie the different types of knots, making para-cord bracelets, playing board gamesgeocaching, and going on scavenger hunts. So today I decided to make up my own nature scavenger hunts and share them with you.

Download the nature scavenger hunt here, or click the photo below.

Download the fungus scavenger hunt here, or click the photo below.

For more fun, FREE downloads including nature journal pages (leaf, arachnid, flower, etc) and fieldtrip/road trip worksheets (letter game, travel journal page, road trip scavenger hunt) visit my freebie page.

Do you have any camping trips planned this year? I'd love to hear more about them post a comment below.

You can also tag us on instagram (@kbalman or use hashtag #2015campingfun) or share a photo on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Inside Out - Journal Page, Craft and More

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

A couple days ago we went to the theater with our homeschool movie club group to see Pixar's newest film Inside Out. If you missed the last movie club updates check it out, we went to see Disney Nature's Monkey Kingdom (there is a fun, free journal page and craft idea on the post that you won't want to miss).

Every few months when a fun, educational movie is released we get together and go to the movies with friends from our homeschool group in Georgia. But that's not all...I also create a journal page centered around the movie and come up with a fun craft project for the group to complete afterwards.

Inside Out was is definitely my new favorite Pixar film! The film had us laughing one minute and in tears the next (well it had me in tears). It was a fabulous way to teach children about emotions.  I'm sure by now you have seen the previews but let me give you a quick synopsis. Inside Out is a about a girl named Riley, and the various emotions that shape her into who she is, starting from the day she is born. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust are the emotions Riley experiences on a daily basis together these emotions help form her life long memories. The majority of Riley's memories are happy until she gets uprooted from her childhood home, friends and hockey team. Her emotions begin to run wild and Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust start to take over. One of my favorite lessons that is taken away from the movie is that without occasional sadness, we would never know what real joy feels like.

After the movie our group got to go behind the scenes to check out the projection room....special thanks to Aurora Cineplex a locally owned and operated theater and entertainment center.

Then the kids made a fun stress ball craft to help them explore and learn about their emotions even more. These are super easy to make and great for helping kids get in touch more with their emotions and relieve some stress that they may be feeling as a result of those emotions.

Stress Ball Craft:

-Balloons (12 inch balloons work best)
-Permanent markers
-Funnel (or a water bottle with the bottom cut off....these actually work better than a funnel)

  1. Stretch the balloon out by holding it at one end and pulling on the other (pull gently so you don't tear it). You can also blow it up and deflate it several times to stretch it out. 
  2. Place the funnel (or cut water bottle) in the balloon opening and slowly pour flour into the balloon until it is full (about 1 cup).
  3. Tie off the balloon end and clean any flour off the balloon.
  4. Draw a face on the balloon that corresponds with the balloon color. (ie green = disgust, blue = sadness, red = anger, yellow = joy and purple = fear). Optional write the emotion on the back of the stress ball.

Free Inside Out journal page:
Each family also left with a copy of the journal page I created for the movie. You can download a copy for FREE here (or click the photo below).

Image courtesy of Pixar.

Recommended reading:
  • What's Happening To Me? Girls Edition and Boys Edition - These books help children understand the changes, feeling and emotions they are having as they go through puberty.
  • Do Nice, Be Kind, Spread Happy - This cool and quirky title is full of ways to spread a bit of happy, and release your inner ninja of niceness with some guerrilla acts of goodness.
  • The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness - George lived alone with his grandmother and an empty place where his mother and father should have been.
  • The Feelings Book - The Feelings Book vibrantly illustrates the wide range of moods we all experience
  • Understanding MyselfA self-help guide for kids to understand and manage their strong emotions.
More resources:

Don't worry I will share the craft and journal page after each homeschool movie club meeting!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Exploring The Amazon Rain Forest

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.\

We had tons of fun with the Poppins Book Nook blog series last year and we will be continuing that fun all throughout 2015. This month's theme was, "Forests and Woods" Keep reading to learn more about the books we read, craft we made and grab your FREE journal page. There is also a giveaway at the end of the post! To check out all of our past Poppins Book Nook posts click here.

This month we read Afternoon on the Amazon which is book #6 in the Magic Tree House series. In Afternoon on the Amazon Jack and Annie are whisked away to the Amazon River where they get lost. During their journey they encounter vampire bats, killer ants and man eating fish. Will they ever find their way back to the tree house? Or will they be stuck in the rain forest forever? The book was a great way to teach the children about forests. They learned about the different forest levels, where the Amazon Rain Forest is located and more.

We also utilized our Usborne Geography Encyclopedia to learn more about South America. This book goes along great with the journal page below.

Other book recommendations:
-Secrets of the Rain Forest
-Rain Forest to Color
-Magic Treehouse Rain Forests Research Guide
-Rain Forest Colors National Geographic
-If I Ran A Rain Forest (Dr. Seuss)
-National Geographic Kids Funny Fill-in: My Rain Forest Adventure 

For our craft we did a mixed media art project to learn more about the rain forest levels.

  • White cardstock
  • Green tissue paper (different shades)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper (optional)
  • Green and brown pipe cleaners (optional)
  1. Cut strips of corrugated cardboard for the tree trunks. You will need 3 different lengths which will represent the emergent layer, canopy layer and understory layer. Glue the cardboard onto the white cardstock. Be sure to leave enough space on the side to label the rain forest layers
  2. Color the top of the cardstock blue for the sky.
  3. Tear little pieces of tissue paper and glue the pieces to the top of the trees.
  4. Use a marker to add the forest floor. Color any remaining white background areas green. 
  5. Label the 4 rain forest layers:  emergent layer, canopy layer, understory layer and forest floor.
  6. Optional: Add pipe cleaners for vines and draw some animals:

Free Journal Pages:
Here is the geography journal page that will help children explore South America more. Download your copy here or click the picture below.

Here is a list of the wonderful bloggers participating in the Poppins Book Nook be sure to visit them for more fun ideas:

Enter the Woods with The Gruffalo Bundle Giveaway!
Get ready for some fun in the woods with this month’s Gruffalo Bundle Giveaway! The Gruffalo is a fun children’s book set in the woods and has a very funny, yet easy to follow story. This month the Poppins Book Nook group has partnered with NCircle Entertainment to offer readers a chance to win a brand new copy of The Gruffalo storybookThe Gruffalo DVD, and the Gruffalo’s Child DVD. This month’s lucky winner will enjoy all this woods themed family storybook and DVD fun with their family compliments of NCircle Entertainment and the Poppins Book Nook cohosts.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the PromoSimple terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here

Just enter the PromoSimple below to win:

Image attribute: Melonheadzdoodles CollectiveCreation

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summertime Fun - Learn How Flowers Grow

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

We love reading and hands on learning so of course I couldn't resist participating in another online book club. The last Thursday of every month I will be joining some of my Usborne friends in the Story Corner Blog Hop. Each month there will be a theme and I will share one of our favorite Usborne books and a hands on learning activity to go along with it.

Make sure you also follow my Usborne Facebook page where I share about literacy tips, book deals, giveaways, new arrivals, upcoming party information and more.  - Kathys Cluttered Book Nook.

This month's theme was summer and nothing says summer better than flowers! So the book I chose to share with you is called, "How flowers grow." This book is part of the beginner series and features easy- to-read text which has been specifically written with the help of a reading expert. The book covers a wide variety of topics including: How do flowers grow in dry deserts? How do animals help to spread seeds? Which flower smells like rotting meat? And like all Usborne books the illustrations and diagrams are bold and beautiful. In the back of the book there is a glossary, website links and an index. The book is a 32 page hardback and costs just $4.99.

Picture of How Flowers Grow - IR

We got the inspiration for our craft project from the Summer Activities Usborne book which is now out of print. However there are several other Usborne activity books available which have similar craft ideas.

  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Pipe cleaners or bendable straws
  • Pom poms
  1. Cut a 5 x 11 inch piece of tissue paper and fold it in half length wise.
  2. Next fold the paper in half, short sides together.
  3. Then fold it in half again, short sides together. 
  4. Make long cuts from the bottom edge (where openings are) to the top edge (where creases are) but do not cut all the way to the top creases. Be sure to cut through all the layers of the tissue paper.
  5. Open the paper carefully and lay it flat with the cut edge at the top. 
  6. Tape one uncut end to a bendable straw or pipe cleaner and roll it tightly around the straw.
  7. Fasten the loose end with tape and pull down all the cut ends to make the petals.
  8. Glue a pom pom onto the center. 

More Resources:
Visit my flower unit study post for even more resources and craft ideas.

Free Journal Pages:
Here is an flower journal page that goes along great with books on flowers. Download your copy here or click the picture below.

Story Corner

Each month we feature different themed books and corresponding activities! This month’s theme is summer so make sure you check out all the other posts from my blogger friends!

story corner

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SPECIAL SNEAK PEAK OFFER - DaVinci & Michelangelo Side by Side Exhibition - June 25-28th

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure Page for details.

I have some exciting news for my readers in the Southeast area. An amazing traveling exhibition has just arrived in Atlanta and will only be here for a short time. The “DaVinci & Michelangelo: Side by Side” traveling exhibition is on loan from the Museum of Leonardo DaVinci in Florence, Italy, and officially opens to the public on July 1st. However they were ahead of schedule on the set up and the exhibition is ready to go! So they have offered our readers a sneak peak this weekend June 25th - 28th. But that's NOT all they are also offering our readers a 2 for 1 admission SPECIAL. YUP that's right simply print out a copy of this blog post and receive 2 admissions for just $18.95 this week only before it is even open to the public (good for two adults or one adult and one child).

My kids are really excited to see this exhibit. One is a budding artist who really admires DaVinici and Michelangelo and the other loves to build, dismantle and solve problems much like the famous DaVinici. We will be there...will you?

The museum-quality exhibition will be on display at Perimeter Point, 1155 Mount Vernon HwySuite 150, Atlanta, GA 30338 through October 21, 2015. 

More about the exhibit:
The exhibition compares and contrasts DaVinci and Michelangelo’s masterpieces that defined their individual talents and beliefs. The DaVinci machines are reproductions from his drawings, as no originals exist today. The statues from Michelangelo are first generation casts making every piece exact to the originals.

“Most people don’t get to see all, if any, of these masterpieces,” explained Mark Rodgers, North American Producer and Curator of the exhibition. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only see these masterpieces but to see them up close and at one location.”

Some of the highlights and comparisons in the exhibition include:
  • Mona Lisa - Pieta
  • Vitruvian Man – David
  • Ideal CityVatican City & St. Peter’s Dome
  • Last Supper – Sistine Chapel
  • Battle of Anghiari – Battle of Cascina
“Not everybody realizes DaVinci and Michelangelo were alive during the same time but were also bitter rivals,” explained Rodgers, “When discussing the Italian Renaissance you can’t talk about one without the other.”

The DaVinci Exhibition contains over 60 hand-crafted inventions built from Leonardo’s 500 year old designs and is the life work of three generations of Florentine artisans, who have painstakingly brought to life the creations by the brilliant scientist, inventor and artist Leonardo DaVinci.With over 60 machines on display, many of which are interactive, the collection features replicas of the major and most striking inventions of the original Renaissance Man. The main features on display include the “bicycle”, “spring powered car”, “hang glider” and the “air screw”, a precursor to the helicopter and for the first time ever, the secrets behind Leonardo’s legendary robotic lion.  This exhibition presents over 60 models grouped in themes: War machines, Flying machines, Nautical & Hydraulic machines, as well as devices illustrating the Principles of Mechanics. The interactive machines are a popular aspect of each exhibition as visitors can touch and handle these models to gain a first-hand appreciation of how they work. Explanatory notes and illustrative panels with Leonardo’s drawings accompany each model.

Side by Side are Michelangelo’s sculptures, paintings and architecture.  All of Michelangelo’s  sculptures are actual, full size casts from the National Academy of Cast Making in Florence, Italy,  Notable casts statues include the life size head of David, as well as the Pieta, whose depiction of Mary holding Jesus’ body grips the viewer with maternal grief. Elsewhere, visitors get up close to examine the details in his famed Sistine Chapel frescos. High-quality reproductions let guests gaze at The Creation of Adam in the sort of detail known only to professional restorers. DaVinci’s Masterpieces on display are his licensed reproductions masterpieces framed to the exact size of the original artwork.

Pricing and other information:
“DaVinci and Michelangelo: Side by Side” is a ticketed exhibition. Children three and under are free with a paying adult. Children 4-12 years old are $14.95. Seniors (65+) and teachers (with school ID) are $16.95. Adults are $18.95.

The exhibition offers docent and self-guided tours. Docent guided tours are pre-scheduled and visitors can check the website or call for daily times. Self-guided tours require a smart device with Internet capabilities. Visitors who self guide should bring both their own smart device and headphones. Docent and self-guided tours are included in price of admission.

The exhibition also offers group discount pricing. Student groups of 20 or more are $10 per person. Adult groups of 20 or more are $15 per person. All groups must be prearranged in order to receive the discount and receive a private docent-guided tour.

Admission hours for the exhibit are MondayFriday: 10am – 5pm; Saturday: 10am – 9pm; Sunday: 12 noon – 5pm.

Parking is accessible at the public parking lot available at Perimeter Pointe. There is no charge for parking.  

For teachers and homeschoolers you must check out the awesome teachers guide.

For additional information about the “DaVinci & Michelangelo: Side by Side” exhibition visit or call 470-395-4888. Make sure you follow them on Facebook too.

We hope to see you there!

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