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Updated August 28, 2012
Keep your children learning this summer with these fun lessons and activities:
- Internet4Classrooms Summer Learning -Free daily and weekly summer learning fun. Sign up to receive fun activities, links to great learning games, and other educational resources that will help you get ready for the school year. Grades Pre-K to 12.
- Sylvan Learning Summer Fun and Learning Guide -Fun activities for children in grades K-12. Activites include: Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk, Plant a Mystery Garden, Become a Reporter, Develop Your Own Weather Report and more. You might also be interested in Sylvan’s Family Fun Brochure, Math Booklet and Writing Journal. All resources are in PDF format and require filling out an information form to download.
- Thinkfinity Summer Learning -A collection of links to fun activities and educational resources created by some of the nation’s leading educational organizations. Includes hands-on and online science activities, math games, reading and writing activities, American history theme units and much more.
- Summer Travel: Education of the Road -Fun activities and lessons for students in grades 3-12 to turn their summer vacation into a learning experience.
- Summer Learning Across the USA -A 10 page excerpt from the workbook “Learning Across the USA”. Includes several states that have popular spots to visit especially during the summer. Each sheet includes space for students to fill in information they learn about each state. Older students can do independent research to find the answers. There is an answer key at the back, which can be used to teach the facts to younger students. Free this week from CurrClick.
- Backpack Buddies -2 free pdf downloads from Ohio State University:
Fun Summer Time Activities and Games consists of 12 activities for students in the 1st grade.
- Just Read, Families! -Free summer reading resources from the Florida Dept. of Education include a K-5 Summer Activities Calendar, a Middle School Activities Calendar -both with a month’s worth of daily activities- and a Summer Reading Activities Kit (PDF) with creative ideas for fun summer reading you and your children can do together while on vacation, at home, or on the road.
- Hot Activities for Celebrating Summer! -A collection of 7 summertime lessons for reinforcing summer safety rules, visiting some great vacation spots, building a roller coaster and more. Grades K-12.
- 101 Nature Activities -Activities and lessons created and collected from teachers, outdoor educators and the staff of Sanborn Western Camps to help children deepen their awareness and enjoyment of the natural world. Activities include nature scavenger hunts, nighttime activities, sensory awareness activities, games, hikes and much more. PDF download.
- Kidsgardening Parents’ Primer -Online guide for “taking advantage of gardening moments with your kids every week in your own backyard … and front yard and in the garage and at the windowsill and in the basement …. Turn your kids’ questions into fun discoveries and get garden-building basics too.” Be sure to check out Family Gardening Ideas for fun activities for each season of the year, and School Gardening for gardening curriculum; classroom projects; lessons and activities; and greenhouse guide and activities.
- Camping: A Complete Unit Study -Turn your camping trip into an educational experience with this fun camping unit. Includes activities for math, science and nature; reading list, vocabulary words and writing suggestions.
And don’t forget your public library! Most libraries have some sort of summer reading program for children and/or teens and include any or all of the following:
- reading contests
- writing contests
- hands-on activities
Plus, your library’s summer reading program is usually free!Happy teaching,
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to help keep this site up and running.
How about some free fun for the whole family?
The Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival is going on today and tomorrow -June 4-5, 2010- in Townsend, TN:
Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival -30 pottery booths with demonstrations, hands-on children’s activities, prize drawings and music.
When: June 4-5, 2010 -from noon-5pm on Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturday.
Where: Townsend Visitors Center, 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pwy, Townsend, TN 37882
For more information, please call 865-448-6134 or 800-525-6834.
Be sure and stop by Homeschool Freebie of the Day each day this week -they’ve got a couple of classic books full of fun projects and things to do for boys and girls plus more Peter Wheat comics.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating Junior Ranger Day with some free activities tomorrow -Saturday, April 24- from 10:00am-2:00pm.
Children and their families can join in on a variety of free, hands-on activities that will range from a Junior Naturalist Walk to making dinner bells at a blacksmith shop. Making historic toys, beeswax candles, cornhusk dolls, and visiting touch tables with animal skins, skulls, and scat are a few of the other natural and cultural opportunities that will be available. Children can earn their Junior Ranger badge by completing three of the specially planned activities.
Activities are planned at the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C and the W. L. Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, TN. Information on the specific programs is available at the visitor centers.
For more information:
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Today’s freebie from Homeschool Freebie of the Day is a collection of fun Physics experiments:
Physics Experiments That You Can Do At Home (Pdf ebook) -A 22 page collection of fun and easy to do experiments about motion, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism and light. Published by Professor Clint Sprott and his associates as a part of the Wonders of Physics outreach program at the Physics Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
For even more fun with Physics, check out the following links:
An introduction to the science of physics -contains basic information on:
- heat and thermodynamics
- electricity and magnetism
- modern physics -nuclear and quantum physics, radioactivity, fission, fusion
Includes online quizzes to go with each subject.
Little Shop of Physics: Online Experiments -Do some experiments right now, right where you’re at. Includes experiments with common household items, experiments with your computer to learn about your brain plus a few online, interactive experiments (needs the Shockwave plug-in). For all grade levels, some experiments require adult supervision.
Marvelous Machines -Teach your children about simple machines with this series of 21 experiments for levers, wheels and inclined planes. Designed for the 3rd grade.
Physics Central: Color Me Physics -Introduce children to physics in a fun, exciting way with these free pdf ebooks. Includes:
- a coloring book of 10 famous physicists
- a fun activity book starring Abigail Atom with games and puzzles
Story-based activities that expose middle school students to the fun and relevance of science. APS provides a free PhysicsQuest kit to registered 6-9th grade physical science classes, home school groups, science clubs, and after-school programs. The kit includes a user’s manual and materials for four physics experiments.
Past PhysicsQuests are available as free downloads in PDF format and include:
- Spectra’s Power
- Nikolas Tesla and the Electric Fair
- Marie Curie’s Floating Classes
- Ben Franklin’s Secret Message
- The Search for Einstein’s Hidden Treasure
Strange Matter -Discover the secrets of “materials science” on this fun, interactive website. Learn how stuff is put together, how it can be used, how it can be changed and made better to do more amazing things. Site contains games, experiments, videos, downloadable family and teacher’s guides and much more. Really neat stuff!
For even more free educational resources, please check my educational freebies tag archive and my Free Homeschooling Page.
If you are on dial-up internet and want to download large files, try a download manager. I use the free Orbit Downloader which allows downloads to be paused and resumed; for files that can’t be resumed, I schedule them for downloading at night.
The Great Backyard Bird Count 2010
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual “citizen-science” project that the whole family can participate in. This year’s bird count begins tomorrow, February 12th and runs through Monday, February 15th.
“The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds.”
The GBBC website contains a printable poster, tally sheet and regional bird checklists; a PowerPoint slideshow about the GBBC; a kids page with fun activities, games and coloring pages; an educators page with ideas and activities to involve children in the GBBC; plus a photo contest to enter!
Have fun –I know we will!
Happy bird watching,
Have you ever heard of The Happy Scientist?
Science educator Robert Krampf is well known for making science fun with his exciting shows and hands-on experiments. Visit his website, TheHappyScientist.com, and you can sign up for the free “Krampf Experiment of the Week” newsletter, watch a neat science video and take a guess at the “Science Photo of the Day”.
If the free resources aren’t enough, become a subscriber at the Happy Scientist and get:
- All of the videos –137 so far
- 2 extra “subscriber-only” videos per month
- Hundreds of experiments from the “Experiment of the Week” newsletter archives, sorted by subject –346 and counting
A subscription to the Happy Scientist is only $20 a year and if you subscribe by December 31, it’s only $15 -a fantastic price for a year full of science fun!
(If you’re a school superintendent or teacher, check out the special “school district” subscription price –$100 per school gives complete access for all your teachers and students.)
You can also:
Now let’s go find out about the power of beans.
The Great Plant Escape –interactive, unlock the amazing mysteries of plant life with Detective LePlant and his partners, Bud and Sprout.
The Adventures of Herman –the autobiography of Squirmin’ Herman the worm.
Start a pond or bog garden –create mini-ponds and a mini-bog garden. Teachers notes, curriculum and activity sheets.
- A Gardening Conversation And Some Free Online Resources For Gardening With Children
A Gardening Conversation With My Children
Me: “Do you like to garden?”
Me: “You don’t like anything about gardening, Daniel?”
Daniel: “Just eatin’ the stuff you grow and tillin’ up the bed and hoein’ –it’s fun.”
Me: “What do you like about gardening, Abby?”
Abby: “I like planting the seeds and watching them grow –it’s fun! I like harvesting vegetables because we can eat them. If we didn’t harvest them, they’d just go to seed.”
Me: “Do you like everything about gardening?”
Abby: “Almost. I don’t like hoeing and I definitely don’t like pulling weeds, I don’t like harvesting peppers –they smell and make my fingers sting, and I don’t like picking tomatoes –I think they stink! Eeeuw.”
Me: “What do you like to grow?”
Abby: “I like to grow flowers because they’re pretty. I like to grow carrots because I like to eat them! I also like to grow cauliflower, the colorful vegetables and the viney vegetables (the ones that climb). I don’t like onions but I plant them for Dad. I like apples –we planted some of them this year!”
Daniel: “More peas.”
Me: “Is there something new you’d like to grow this year?
Abby: “Yes, cotton and red and blue potatoes –fresh potatoes,yum!”
Me: “Is there a gardening project you’d like to do?
Abby: “I’d like to make a scarecrow for our garden!”
Me: “Would you like to make a scarecrow for the garden, Daniel?”
Guess what we’re going to do today.
Children’s Gardening Resources
Need some ideas for gardening with your children?
Gardening With Small Children – a good article on gardening with your little ones.
Indoor Gardening Projects For Children –simple indoor gardening ideas for children.
Denver Master Gardener’s: Gardening With Children –gardening fun, projects, “All About Honeybees” and more.
KidsGardening.com –from the National Gardening Association. Includes a Classroom Projects Library and Parent’s Primer with info on; plants kids love, structures, projects, theme gardens and gardening safety.
Gardening With Children (link fixed) -Ohio Master Gardeners Resource Guide for beginning or expanding children’s gardening programs with tips on designing gardens for kids and planning children’s programs, downloadable pdf format.
My First Garden -website from the University of Illinois for 4th grade students to learn the beauty, the care involved in planning, nurturing and enjoying the benefits of gardens.
Composting For Kids (link fixed) -slide presentation from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, also available in pdf format.
Gardening Projects for Children –make mini hothouses, make photographic image cards and make a barometer.
Kid’s Garden Crafts –paint flower pots, make garden markers, wind chimes and more.
Something we’ve done that’s fun:
Go through the kitchen and plant a little of everything…
- grains -rice, beans, whole wheat, barley
- herbs –poppy seed, celery seed, peppercorns
- seeds and tops from fresh vegetables and fruits -avocado, pomegranate, and lemon seeds, carrot tops, onion bottoms
…then see what grows!
Learn to make planters, rocks, stepping stones and more!
Updated August 20, 2012
What Are Crystals?
Crystals are ordered structures of molecules or atoms.
Crystal Making Experiments
Grow Your Own Crystals -free e-book from Homeschool Freebie of the Day, available today only. This offer has expired.
Crystal Growing! – a slew of experiments here, from Wayne Schmidt.
Experiments in Growing Crystals (link fixed) -experiments to grow alum crystals, a crystal garden, stalactites and stalagmites, and make rock candy -from Rockhounding Arkansas, a neat rocks and minerals website.
Science Projects for Kids: Crystals and Minerals -make a mineral testing kit, sweet crystals and creeping crystals -from How Stuff Works.
The Baby Diaper Secret: Polymer Crystals -growing polymer crystals, shrinking polymer crystals and growing a plant in polymer crystals -from Steve Spangler Science.
Create Crystal Ornaments -make a rock candy crystal ornament -from Education.com.
Crystal Painting -use epsom salts to create a crystal painting, for grades 4-6 -from About.com
Recipes for Growing Crystals -7 recipes, some use ingredients from your kitchen and others use chemicals -from Chemistry and New Zealand.
Lessons About Crystals
Sugar Crystal Science Lesson -elementary grades -from college English instructor and homeschool mom, Susan Hyde.
Observing Crystals -for grades 2-5 -from Teacher Vision.
Crystals: What Are They and What Holds Them Together -for grades 5-8 -from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
Crystals -for grades 5-9 -from the Illinois Institute of Technology SMILE Program.
What Materials Make the Best Crystals? -intermediate level science, exerpt from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Science Fair Projects.
Light and Crystals -middle level science, from Teachers.net.
Images of Crystals
Sunlight and Ice Crystals (link fixed)
Crystal Cave of Giants -amazing gypsum crystal caverns in Naica, Mexico
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- Free Homeschooling -scroll down to “Science >Weather>Snow”