Toddler Tuesday: Colors, pumpkins, in and out.


Today’s Toddler Tuesday lessons is a hodgepodge. I put it together based on some fun stuff that Abby likes.

Colors and pumpkins:

The first part of the lesson was on colors and pumpkins. I split our markers into sets of two (orange/green and blue/red). I handed her one set and asked her to color the little pumpkin on the page orange and the big one green. Then I gave her the markets and let her go. She started off following directions and then just colored.

I did the exercise again with the other set of markers. Once again, we started to follow directions. Then she decided that I was stifling her creative skills and she just colored.

We did both sets of colors one more time, but the directions were given in German this time. Since we are trying to raise kids bilingually, I take all the opportunities to do stuff in English and German.

In and out:

We like lessons based on opposites. In and out are great. We made a blanket fort and practiced in and outbid the fort. We practiced in and out of the stuffed animal pile.

The I handed her – and Nicholas – a bowl of pudding and we put the spoon in the bowl and took it out. Then we put the spoon in our mouths and took it out.

Our reward for a good lesson was a pudding treat!


Chalk and pumpkin painting.


Here’s a great idea – paint your pumpkins instead of carving them. This won’t work for people who like carving pumpkins and pumpkin seeds, but for the rest of us this is much better.

There is a lot less mess – especially I you cover everything in newspaper first. It also allows the kids to do their whole pumpkin by themselves. My two are very independent. They don’t do well when I have to participate in their activities. So painting the pumpkins is a much better idea than carving.

It was quite the clean up. My kids decided painting themselves was as goo as painting the pumpkins.

We also found a use for all our odds and ends of chalk – chalk painting! I soaked the odds and ends in muffin tins full of water and then mashed them up until they we’re dissolved. Them we went out to the front driveway and painted. The colors were nice and it was a change of pace. Even better- it’s supposed to rain tomorrow and my driveway will clean itself. I like art activities with little clean up.

These are just two fun art ideas to do for quick activities.



My favorite math worksheet sites.

Math can be a lot of repetition. There’s not a lot of need for a math book in our house – both my husband and I are fairly decent at math (at least until we get to differential calculus) and can explain how to do it. I also find new and interesting ways (we add jellybeans, figure out area of the floor to clean) to show the same basic skills.

What we do need are math worksheets to practice with. Math worksheet books can be expensive, and often don’t cover exactly what I want. So after some looking around on the Internet, I found my 4 favorite websites with math worksheets. Here they are: This website lets you design your own worksheets. It’s great for the basic math practice. This website has some predesigned worksheets and a fabulous math addition table. Another create your own website. There are more alternatives here that on the Softschools websites. This website has basic addition sheets in various themes. I like their Fall addition sheets for right now.

There you go – this is how we make our own addition worksheets and don’t pay for a math book.

Ancient Egypt: Gods and Goddesses.

When we began this lesson, we started with acknowledging what we believe as a family. We believe in one God and in Jesus. It was important  for me to review this with Nicholas before we started learning about other gods and goddesses.

Onto Ancient Egypt gods and goddesses.

We started with reading the myth of Ancient Egypt creation here.  We then re-read the myth and drew our own illustrations for the myth. I made sure that we drew the gods and goddesses at each stage when they were mentioned.

Before our lesson I had printed out the images of the gods and goddesses from this website. I made a cheat sheet for myself with the god/goddess’ name, description, and what they were in charge of. During our lesson I threw the pictures on the ground (think 52 card pick-up). Then I would start down my cheat sheet. For instance: Bastet (goddess of cats, her head is shaped like a cat….). As I was reading Nicholas was responsible for picking up the right image for each god/goddess. I collected them.

After we did this, we pasted the gods and goddesses on a big piece of butcher paper. Then I had Nicholas take a marker and write the name of each one underneath. Sometimes he needed reminding on which one was which.  I did help him spell the names correctly.

Lastly, we sat down at the art table with blank pieces of paper. I read the myth of Re to them. As I was reading, the kids were responsible for making a drawing to illustrate the myth. Then they had to explain their drawing to me. We also did this with the myth of Isis and Osiris.

There were not any special words to practice for this lesson because he practiced writing with the names of the gods and goddesses. But we still did math and some engineering. His new favorite thing to do for engineering lessons is figure out how many ways he can build a pyramid out of various substances. Today we used Cheerios, marshmallows, and carrot sticks. It was sand and rocks yesterday; legos and blocks the day before.

Ancient Egypt 5: Mummies and other burial customs.

One of the coolest parts of Ancient Egypt is their burial customs. There are mummies, masks, and grand tombs. This lesson focuses on mummies and other burial customs.

First we got to look at some pictures of mummies. We Googled “pictures of mummies” and just viewed some of them. We got a little side tracked into why we don’t make mummies, here, anymore. But we had fun looking.

Then, as a change of pace, we went to this website and read the book on burial customs. This is a great book put out by the Chicago public schools and it is some what interactive. There are links to the different words to help give descriptions of larger and less common words. There are also various games at the end of each chapter/page that are linked to the subjects studied. It took us about an hour to get through the book and various activities.

We also played this mummy making game.

I discovered that Nicholas will happily sit and play on the computer for long amounts of time. I was a little amazed because they weren’t his usual games – he tends to like Disney games and PBS games. But he sat at the computer and played games about Ancient Egypt. The games did a lot of my teaching for me this lesson.

Then we read this story.  It was important, during the story, that Nicholas help me read it. He’s not a big fan of reading on his own – he likes to be read to. So instead, I read to him and then pause at various words that he knows and say, “I don’t know what this word is, can you help me?” Then he helps me with the words. So I picked this story to read as our “working” story this week. We did the worksheet afterwards that goes with the story.

Lastly, we designed our own death masks. I had 2 different coloring pages for this lesson. One was the death mask of an actual Pharaoh. The other was a blank death mask that they got to color for themselves. I had Abby and Nicholas do the actual death mask while I read the story of Osiris and Iris.

We didn’t do any writing words with this lesson because we practiced writing when we did the worksheet that went with the story.

Other Ancient Egypt lessons:

Ancient Egypt Orientation

Ancient Egypt 2: Rosetta stone and pyramids

Ancient Egypt 3: Sphinx

Ancient Egypt 4: Daily life


Other resources that are fun, but we didn’t actually use:

Ancient Egypt 4: Daily life.

Here’s our lesson on the daily life of Ancient Egypt. It’s a shorter lesson that is filled with activities rather than a bunch of book learning. We started off by reading the pages in our Usborne book about the daily life of Ancient Egyptians.

Then we made reed boats. Here are the directions for making your own reed boat. While making the reed boats, I told the kids about the Nile. Here are the facts I used in our conversation:

1. The Nile is the river that gave Ancient Egypt water and most of it’s food and trade.

2. The Nile flooded every year. The cycle of flooding provided minerals and nutrients to the soil – which allowed things to grow.

3. People used the Nile to get from place to place – like we use freeways.

4. Reed boats were used to get up and down the Nile – like we use cars.

After this discussion/activity we went into the backyard and I turned on the hose. I asked them to pretend that the grass was the banks of the Nile and they could use the hose to flood it. So the kids had a blast flooding my grass – but the plus is they did the watering for me. Then we put our reed boats on the grass and tried to get them to move. We ended up blowing them where we wanted them to go. I explained that, just like we blow on the boats, the Ancient Egyptians had to move their boats – generally by having people row for them.

Then we came back inside.

We got on the computer and went to this website – which has a great section on the daily life of Ancient Egyptians. After we finished reading, we colored a picture of Ancient Egyptian children.

Then I asked them to remember what the noblemen had on their walls. When Nicholas told me that they had art, I said that we were going to make art for our walls. I pulled out a long piece of butcher paper – I called it our “tapestry” – and laid it on the ground. I said that we were going to pretend we were from Ancient Egypt and make art. It had to tell a story or remind us of something. Each kid got their own sheet of paper (Abby’s was smaller). Then they painted away.

After the paintings were done, I got a marker and asked for the story behind it. I wrote the story on the paper, so we would remember. Abby’s story was simply her pointing to different parts of the paper and telling me what they were (which was good, because colored blobs all look the same). Nicholas’ story was a bit more involved. Then we waited for them to dry, and hung them on the walls of our house.

Our practice words for the day were: Nile, river, papyrus, tapestry, house, life, and day.


Toddler Tuesdays: Shapes and Middle C.

Our “Middle C” worksheet. I helped Abby draw a Middle C and then she had to circle the other Middle C’s. It didn’t turn out perfect, but she got to see what Middle C looks like.

Today’s Toddler Tuesday lesson is on Middle C (yes, music) and shapes/colors/coloring.

First, the Middle C. I work with my daughter on music theory and music reading. She’s only 23 months old, es, but she absorbs so much. She’s not totally verbal yet, so I am never sure of how much she’s understand. We sat down with my improvised Middle C worksheet and I showed her what Middle C looked like. Then we drew a Middle C. Then I asked her to point to a Middle C. She managed to point to the correct note.

Lastly, I asked her to draw a circle around Middle C – and Middle C she wanted. I didn’t get a circle, but I did get Middle C completely covered in purple lines. She drew all over the Middle C notes. She then switched out colors to pink and drew over everything else.

Will she retain this knowledge as she gets older? I hope so. It’s my hope that by exposing her to music, and music theory, early and repeatedly, that she retains some of it when she gets older.

We also worked on our shapes and colors today.

My big problem with Abby is how to get her to do what I want, when I want it. She will happily grab you the yellow pants and purple shirt when she wants to wear it. She will tell you she wants the green, not blue, paint. And she knows that the sun is yellow and the car is gold – just try calling the car tan and she will stomp her foot and yell “gold.”

But how to I make sure she knows her colors?

I asked her to go get 2 different colored crayons from the art table and come color with me. When she brought them I asked which colors she has and she said, “Lila,” pointing to the purple one (lila is purple in German), and “Blue,” pointing to the blue one.

The next question was “Can you find a circle?” So she pointed to a circle. Then we counted the circles – we counted once in English and once in German. I then asked her to color the circles blue. She decided this wasn’t what she wanted to do and kept point at the triangles and trying to count them.

So I changed tactics; we counted out the triangles. Then she pointed at a triangle and said, “That blue.” And proceeded to color the triangles blue. When she was done with coloring the triangles she wanted she said, “All done mommy.” Then she smiled and ran away.

What was the result: The picture you see on your left.

Our cooking day.

Today was an off day for us.  It felt strange, and we totally failed at doing everything on my list. Why? Who knows. I figure everyone has to have one of those days sometime right?

Making cake pops as our family activity. It worked on everyone’s patience and cooking skills.

So what did we do? We did our physical activity – we went to the indoor playground near us, gardened, and took a walk. We did our math practice – although I did feel like hitting my head against the wall repeatedly. We practiced writing words – I used our Kumon book because I didn’t feel like struggling through with a full lesson. We did our music practice (scales only), worked on our German vocabulary, and spent time reading.

What didn’t we do: our lesson. I had a great lesson all planned out on Ancient Egypt and daily life. I had all the handouts ready to go, the coloring pages….everything was ready. But then my children didn’t cooperate. It was one thing after another after another until at about 7:30 am I decided our lesson wasn’t going to happen.

I figured we might need a family activity instead – so we baked. We made cake pops. Cake pops seem to be all the rage right now. Having done them I’m not sure I understand. It is a little bite of cake with some frosting mixed in and candy coated with sprinkles. I prefer a big slice of cake with lots of frosting and no sprinkles thanks. The frosting is really the important part. But I thought the kids would hav fun.

Too bad there are a gazillion steps to making cake pops: You make the cake and let it cool, mix in the frosting with cake crumbs, make balls, stick in the sticks – after candy coating them a little first, let everything harden, dip in the candy coating and sprinkle and let them harden, then let them get to room temperature so they aren’t too hard when you bite in. It taught everyone a little bit about patience and how good things come if we wait.  The waiting was, at times, less than pleasant as my 23 month old daughter sat in front of the frige yelling “cake pop” and throwing a fit while they were hardening. But we all survived and had a great treat.

The recipe only called for 3 eggs, but we ended up using 5 because I let Nicholas crack them and 2 of them went all over. The kids had great fun cleaning that up. The dishes got done and dries, the kids go their sugar high, and I spend 3 hours of my day baking with the kids.

It was a lot of fun for an activity, just not what I had planned.

Ancient Egypt 3: Sphinx.

This lesson is only on the Sphinx. It is a shorter lesson than the others, but it is a fun one. Before we did the lesson, I read this article on the history of the Sphinx in order to prepare myself for questions.

First, we went to this website and spent time reading about the Sphinx. The neat thing is that this story of the Sphinx starts but doesn’t end. In fact, the website says you have to use your imagination to discover the rest of the story. So indeed, after reading the first story and looking at different pictures of the Sphinx, we made our own ending to the story. I wrote it down on the back of a picture of the Sphinx and put it away for later. I like writing stories that Nicholas tells me down and keeping them, so he can go back later and read them.

Then we reviewed what a pyramid was used for. After the short review, we went to this website and explored the pyramids and the Sphinx.

Then we colored our image of the Sphinx. While coloring, I got to read 10 pages of our Usborne Ancient Egypt book. I also got to read the statistics of the Sphinx for my research the night before: How big it is, what it is made of, when it was supposedly built.

Lastly, we built our own Sphinxes out of clay. When we were building, I asked the question, “So what was the Sphinx’s purpose?” Nicholas was able to tell me that no one really knows, but it is supposed to be the guardian of the tombs. This made me feel good that he’s absorbing some of the lesson.

Our practice writing words for the day were: sand, Sphinx, big, long, old, and archeology.

We also did our traditional math practice, and spent time reading in our science books. However. Nicholas kept coming back to the Sphinx during the day. While he was playing with his cars he named one the Sphinx and told it that its job was “to guard the race track for Abby monsters.” I thought that was pretty funny.

Here’s the other Ancient Egypt lessons:

Orientation to Ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt 2.

Ancient Egypt 2: Pyramids and the Rosetta Stone.

I had to think about how to present the Rosetta Stone to a young child. An older child will instinctively understand that not everything is written and you might need help. A younger child just thinks, “I’ll ask mom.” So I had to figure out a way to present it. I came up with my idea: Make him his own Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone Activity:

All you need is two pieces of paper and a pen. You write a message in nonsense symbols on one pice of paper and the code on the other. We sat down at the table and I handed Nicholas the message in symbols (it was short and said “Lightening McQueen is the fastest race car”). I asked him if he could read it. He said no, it looked like nonsense words and a bunch of pictures. So I pulled out the code and we decoded my message. I think he was happier about the message than the decoding.

I asked him the following questions:

1. Was it hard to read the message before you had the decoder paper?

2. Were you able to decode the message with the decoder paper?

3. Did it take a lot of work?

4. Did you understand the message once you decoded it?

Then we went to this website and played around on it. We looked at pictures of the actual Rosetta Stone. We talked about how the Rosetta Stone was like the decoder paper. We also talked about archeologists and how they work – Nicholas wanted to know how the stone was discovered and what kind of person did the job. We had a lot of fun.


We also spent time working on pyramids. We drew pyramids on paper first. Then we went to this website and looked at the various types of pyramids. We also did the maze that I included below.

I then had Nicholas and Abby color this picture while I did the reading from the Usborne Ancient Egypt book on pyramids. Most of the information on pyramids can also be found here. 

Then we cut out the puzzles and glued them back together on a tan piece of paper, because the tan represents the sand that the pyramids were built in.

Lastly, we got to be archeologist and explore the pyramids too. Here’s the link to explore the pyramids.

Our practice words for the day were: Pyramid, burial, tomb, sand, desert, build.

Click her for the 1st lesson on Ancient Egypt. 

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