First Grade Turkey Activities

First Grade Turkey Art and Activities 

I found some cute First Grade Turkey Art and Activities to do when we get back on track Monday. I have my favorite Turkey books to read first of all. Then we’ll talk about what Thanksgiving is all about.

Here are two of my favorites that are SO GREAT for first graders. The first one is a funny story about animals that come to dinner at Mr. Turkey’s house. The second one is a darling ABC book about Thanksgiving. Great for building background knowledge about the pilgrims.

Today we’ll just focus on the American Holiday started by the Pilgrims who came from England to escape a bossy king. We’ll add to the history lesson later in the week.

I usually do a Venn diagram like this one from The Controlled Chaos Classroom’s blog.

Kids are always amazed at how hard Pilgrim kids worked. Then we’ll have a discussion of what things the pilgrim kids had to do for chores compared with what easy lives kids today have and what kinds of chores they all have. Then we’ll do a brainstorm of what we should all be thankful for this year.

First Grade Turkey Art and Activities 

We’ll do a cute crossword puzzle about Thanksgiving. The downloadable freebie is HERE. I also have a Thanksgiving Read the Room center we will put out this week. A simple printable story about the pilgrims coming here from England is HERE at TPT. This will also be a great reading passage to do together.

Before having the kids glue the strips, have them write 1 word on each of things they are thanksful for. This is a prewrite activity. I wrote a brainstorm from our discussion on the board so this is always easy for them to do after that. 

I like doing an artsy turkey a few weeks before Turkey Day and then write about the things we are grateful for. I found some cute and free writing paper that has some pilgrims and Native Americans on the top HERE. We will go through the writing process and do a sloppy copy, edit and then rewrite our “I’m Thanksful for…. narrative writing project.

The body was a 6 inch brown circle and the head was around 4 1/2. I just cut them out and had them in stacks for the kids to come get with their “rectangle feathers”. Use the correct terminology and they will learn those geometry shapes.  The legs are also rectangles and the toes are made from 3 small rectangles. The nose is a triangle.

The accordian legs are always a little bit hard for the kids to do so I go around and help fold for those who are struggling. You can do the toes like I did or if your kids can do it give them 1 orange strip and they can snip it into 3 pieces and glue together to make toes. They are always funny looking. D

Then we’ll put together our wiggly eyed turkeys. I use 2 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch strips of the 6 colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) paper strips. We will glue them into a raindrop look shape. Then all of those 6 raindrops glue in rainbow order to a 6 inch circle of brown. Add 2 yellow  1 x 11 legs folded accordian style. Glue on orange feet made from 3 inch long x 1/2 inch long strips made into a bird footprint. (glue all 3 ends together and opposite end spread out.

 Glue a 4 inch circle of brown for head. Add 2 white wiggly eyes, a yellow triangle beak doubled and folded.

Lastly add a red “gobble” under the beak and a bow with some checked fabric or ribbon on the front of the turkey. Some years I’ve done it in gingham red or orange. I’ll have to see what I find at Hobby Lobby.

Cute little First Grade Turkey with his wiggly eyes and funny legs. 

 The eyeballs I found are HERE at Flamingo Toes. Another one I found HERE at Kiki Creates blog. Another blogger had such a cute post using wiggly eyeballs for a class behavior motivator. Her darling post is Here at Teacher to the Core. Check her printable eyeballs out HERE. Zombie eyeballs Here on TPT.

There were lots of activities for free download at this site; a crossword, a maze, a word search and a word scramble. We did the crossword puzzle on the back of this writing paper. Thanks to Free The other 4 worksheets are just below this one on their site. 

Lastly we played some Pilgrim and Pumpkin Roll and Cover games HERE at TPT.  I loved this one with the Old Lady Who Swallowed “Too Much Turkey and Pumpkin Pie” for Thanksgiving. It has a really cute visual for adding up 2 dice. It is HERE at Mrs. Lirettes Learning Blog.

I found these solar turkey and pilgrim puppets at the Dollar Store. Aren’t they just the cutest? My little grandkids love playing with them. They dance when you put them in the sun. Funny! 

For centers I have Turkey Read the Room this week. It is just a bunch of turkeys with sight words on them. I’ll hide them all over the room. Kids use clipboards with lined paper to find as many as they can.

My kids LOVED playing both of these during center time. Turkeys are always a hoot. Or a Gobble Gobble.

Veterans Day Handprint Art

Veterans Day Handprint Art Bulletin Board on 11-11-11. I just HAD to honor this day! 

Coming up next week is Veterans Day. We will celebrate the day by honoring soldiers who have died in the line of duty, protecting Americans in the U.S.A.  And we will do some Veterans Day Handprint Art projects.

 I will teach the kids all 5 branches of the military; Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines. We will also share that they all have their own song (with lyrics) and their own cool uniforms. We listened to them and watched them march out with the flag on Youtube.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
This free digital scrapbook created with Smilebox

Then we wrote  about what Veterans Day is For. We wrote about soldiers who are always protecting America around the world. I want the students to really remember how each branch of the military protects us in different ways; the Air Force with planes and helicopters, the Navy with ships and aircraft carriers and submarines, the Coast Guard with boats and divers,  and the Army and Marines on the front lines of battle. We will talk about the elite Navy Seals and Special Forces and how tough and brave they are.

A cute ABC Book with a Military Theme I bought and read with the class is H is for Honor

After writing, as a fast finisher, kids will do a Veterans Day crossword puzzle.  We will discuss some of the vocabulary in the puzzle too.  The link is at homeschooling for Veterans Day Crossword.

Veterans Day Crossword 

Then I found a few neat handprint art projects I wanted  to try. Both look very patriotic! Also I found a fun wordsearch for fast finishers I will put on the back of the crossword puzzle. It is HERE at Family Fun Shop.   

Veterans Day Art Project – we decided to do a variation of the American Eagle below…saving the flag for Memorial Day!!!   I also found a neat way to make free WRITING stationery.  I put an eagle and stars on the borders to make a cute page for our writing project.  Make your own stationery is found here at DLTK Kids. Just look on the left side for Veterans Day.

We did a mural of all of the 5 branches of the military for Veterans Day after the kids were done with their writing. I read and edit every “sloppy copy” and then they rewrite on the cute paper. It is time consuming but I can help them correct their individual mistakes that way. 
Our Veterans Day Writing and American Eagle Handprint Art Projects….and our mural. 

And to honor the memory of all our departed soldiers in the military we will be doing an art project using  the American Eagle …..symbol of the U.S.A.  I like the colorful tail feathers on the bottom of the American Eagle, so I would change those white ones to red, white and blue  just for a more colorful bird. Then of course some red, gold and blue glitter on those tail feathers will add a lot. The tutorial for Painting an American Eagle is HERE. handprint-patriotic-eagle-craft-kit This kit for a Handprint Eagle is HERE at Oriental Trading. We didn’t do this one, but it’s really cute too.

Lastly I will show the kids a video song from Tim McGraw honoring fallen soldiers in the line of duty called “If You’re Reading This”.  It shows my students the sad part of the job of protecting people, and how some give the ultimate sacrifice, their lives in defense of America. That’s why we honor them at Veteran’s Day.

We brainstormed all we knew about what Veterans in the Military do….

 After watching the Utube videos we talked about what a Veteran is. We talked about how they protect the president, bridges, dams, airports and tall buildings as well as doing Toys for Tots at Christmas, marching in parades, flying on helicopters, jets, and manning boats, aircraft carriers and submarines. Most of the kids had gone to air shows and seen the military tanks, weapons and men there. We talked about places where there is war in the world and how our military helps protect us overseas.

Here is our finished bulletin board on Veterans Day 11-11-11
We made American Eagle Handprints…

While the kids started their writing I helped 2 at a time handprint paint. First we painted our left hand brown with a blue thumb. Then we painted our right hand brown with a red thumb, washing hands in between these steps. The prints overlap in the middle a bit. Then we painted our pointer finger white and did the middle tail feather. While they washed hands, I glittered with red, then blue glitter, then the white feather with gold glitter. Then the kids painted a head and beak after I lightly traced the shape with pencil on each bird. Lastly we added a wiggly eye with glue and 2 stars. They turned out great.

Veterans Day Handprint Art. I told the kids about my dad, Mr. Russell, who was a marine in 2 wars. He is burried in a military cemetery in Southern California. He was a great soldier and marine for the U.S.A. I’m very proud of him.

We wrote about Veterans we know….

 I told the kids about my kids’ other grandpa, Mr. Moss’s dad, and how he was a flying navigator in the U.S. Air Force. He flew bombing missions in several wars.  He is still alive and retired. I will also share a picture of my nephew Garrett, who was in the army and shares my birthday with me.

We wrote about the Air Force, the Marines, and all the other branches of the Military for Veterans Day 11-11-11….
We wrote about being Americans….

I always send home a note asking for military memorabilia or a grandpa or dad or mom who wants to come and share with us. I was surprised how many of them had grandparents and dads in the military. They sent all kinds of things for us to share; dog tags, helmets, army blankets, aircraft jumpsuits, cloth maps for directions on the ground, photographs of men in uniform, lots of military memorabilia. It was very patriotic to me.

We are proud of our Veterans on this 11-11-11 Veterans Day
Lots of kids brought in military gear and photos for us to share! 
Some kids wrote about their grandparents…..
My kids’ grandpa was a navigator in the Air Force…Thanks Grandpa! 

 HERE at Military Coloring Pages  I found the neatest pictures of the 5 military branches’ seals in blackline master and some other cool coloring pages. I copied them, and then put 2 on a page and copied each of the 5 seals (Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines) for the kids to choose one and color as a fast finisher during our writing time.

The Bulletin Board looks great…so patriotic! 
Cool Eagle Handprint Art Project
This was a fast finisher Coast Guard Seal coloring page…we had all 5 to choose from when they were done with their writing and centers…
We wrote about Veterans Day and did Veterans Day Handprint Art. 
I did not know the Marines are part of the Navy….did you? 

 I’m very proud to be the daughter of an American Veteran. He’s gone now and I miss him. But I honor him and all who served and still sacrifice for me and my family. Thanks for sharing all your military memorabilia and precious photographs of men and women in uniform. Happy Veterans Day from our class.

Halloween Party Games for Kids

Halloween parties for young kids are easy if you do them in centers or rotations. Here are the ones I’ve done for the last 10 years or so in my classroom. 
1. Bingo using candy corn counters
2. A craft of some sort (Tootsie Roll Pop ghosts is a good one or making a pony bead orange, black and white bracelet on pipe cleaners is good too). 
3. Decorate a pumpkin cookie using orange icing and lots of sprinkles, chocolate chips and candy corn for eyes and smiles. 
4. Tic Tac Toe
5. Pin the Spider on the Web OR Ring Toss Spider just use black construction paper spiders and draw a giant web on orange poster board or butcher paper). Or buy a ring toss game or Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin game Here. 

6. Bean Bag Toss into a large wood pumpkin. 
7. Some years I have done Hot Potato Pumpkin with a soft stuffed pumpkin and Halloween Monster Mash music. When out go pick a treat. 
These all work well with K-3 kids and older. 

CENTER 1 – BOO BINGO with Candy Corn as Markers. You’ll need prizes for each center. 

Every year I do a bingo game as the first center. In these little black cups are candy corn erasers we used for counters to mark our bingo places. Some years I use real candy corns but with all the kids handling them I don’t want them eating them so erasers in candy corn shapes work better. I think I had lack cats and pumpkins too. 

 CENTER 2 – CRAFTS  (Tootsie Roll Pop Ghosts is a good one) 

This was a cute “Decorate the Monster Face” center I got from the Dollar Store. I think it had 6 different monsters and lots of eyeballs, smiles and noses and stuff. Each child got to pick one and decorate the face. They loved them. 

 CENTER 3 – PUMPKIN COOKIE DECORATING. I add sprinkles, choc chips etc. 

Each year I do cookie decorating. I have quite a selection of sprinkles and candies to do it with too.

 The kids love to add M and Ms and candy corn and chocolate chips for faces.

This year they put their cookies on this cute napkin. Inside were 4 pieces of paper to write a scary story when they got done. We also made “ghost suckers” out of these tootsie roll pops. You just pass out white tissues, and a piece of orange yarn. They tie the tissue around the yarn and add a ghost face with the oval open mouth and dot eyes. Easy peasy. 


We started the day decorating our bags. I have 5 different designs I have hand drawn. There is a skeleton, a witch, a frankinstein, a vampire, and a candy corn. They color, cut out and glue them on a brown paper bag. This is their goodie bag they’ll take around to each center. 
I looked at a few coloring page and then freehand drew these cute little Halloween guys. 

Here are the Frankie, candy corn and skeletons

Here is the witch and more frankies.


I made a tic tac toe center game out of cardstock. I found these matching skeleton tablecloth and erasers at Target for really cheap like $3.00 for the erasers and $5.00 for the wipe off tablecloth. The kids loved playing tic tac toe. I made 3 game boards for 6 kids to partner up. There were plenty of colors of erasers. We had orange, blue, purple pink and green. 

Here is a close up of one of the games being played. 

Here is another team playing on the pink board using green and orange erasers.

The last center was a pin the spider on the web center as well as Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss. I have found over the years that it doesn’t take long for you to finish a group of 5 kids on the pin the spider game and they get bored of the bean bag after about 8 minutes of it. So I combined them. The kids get to do each one and the beanbag is fun to watch as well as the pin the spider.

Here is the bean bag toss game. The bean bags are black felt bats and orange felt pumpkins filled
with beans. A mom helper made them for me many years ago. My hubs made the wooden pumpkin. .

I had a few moms who brought darling treats for our Halloween Party. Thanks to Hunter’s mom
for the CUTE PUMPKIN COOKIES! The kids ate them after lunch and were in heaven.

Monster face glazed donuts were a real hit with the first graders in my class. 
And to top it off it was a birthday over the weekend so one mom brought in donuts! We were really sugared up when we went home. Happy Halloween Everybody! I hope you get lots of good treats!

Spider Math and Art Activities

Spider Math and Art Activities are fun for the primary grades K-3. 

Spiders are a very fun and interesting theme in first grade. There are many math activities you can do too with the 8 legs too. I like to focus on memorizing the doubles math facts.

We made cute Spiders on a Stick and used sticker dots and funny eyes to decorate them. The crazy eyes I found        The writing paper I found at Activity Village. I just wrote in the Actostic S-P-I-D-E-R myself with a black sharpie marker and then copied them for the class. 

A REALLY cute eyeball sight word bingo game I found to do on spider day is at at Make Take Teach’s blog.  You will need some eyeballs from Walmart. Now  is the time to get them!

I got the cute Spider Paper from  activity village. An ABC order using spider words that I’m making up for a center game is HERE at TPT. It is free.   A pack of spider facts and writing paper I found for free is HERE at TPT.  A printable mini book with cute pictures I found for free is HERE on TPT.
Compound Word Spider Activity we do at centers. I’m almost done cutting it out!  A doubles math game I found as a free printable is HERE from TPT.

Cute spider web cupcakes I made on the left. I just added a little spider ring to each that I got in a package of 24 at Walmart for a few bucks. They all turned out so cute! 
I think I got these spider rings from Walmart. The kids love wearing them when they were done with their work. 
This spider on a stick is really easy. Here is a simple tutorial….

 Here is how you make it. Cut 8 inch by 1/2 inch legs and 5 inch circles for spider. You will need 8 legs. I have the kids bend them back and forth accordian style. Then cut out 3 black circles 5 inches in diameter for each child. Make one slightly smaller like 4 1/2 inches. That will be the head. One for the head and two for the body front and back. Then glue on all 8 legs and stick down on one of the body circles. Then cover legs and stick with the last black circle on the body section. Thenglue on the head circle slightly higher over the body. Then add colorful sticker dots and crazy eyes. 

We did acrostic spider poems a few years ago. They turned out great. This was a gifted group of first graders. 

Here are our finished spiders on a stick art project. The kids loved waving them around at each other. 

Kids Write About Pets

We have to do opinion writing and narrative writing this year and it has to be rubric scored. So I have to teach topic sentences and supporting sentences.

Krew wrote about his Two Favorite Pets. 

I found the cute writing paper FREE from TPT. HERE is the Link. It was from Casey Hallett. Thanks Casey!

Here was our finished bulletin board of Kids Writing About Pets. We had 2 fish. The rest were dogs and cats. No birds. 

Favorite Pets is always a good first writing project for first graders. They all have an opinion about the best pets in the world. 

 I like to give the kids a fun prompt to get them thinking. So we picked the topic of Pets. Everybody but one child had a pet at home so that made it easy. The one who didn’t have a dog or cat, made up what his favorite pet would be.

They are pretty good at following directions. Koby’s fish likes to do back flips!!! 

I also had the kids do an art project with just a bunch of cut out pieces for bodies, heads, tails and ears and they chose their favorites.

 I used gray, yellow, orange, brown and black paper so there are many fun combinations.
1. The body was an upside down U shape.
2.  The heads were heart shapes. (2 different sizes)
3. The faces were all circles (2 different sizes).
4. The ears were ovals and triangles.
5. The tails were smile shapes.
6. I gave them each 2 white stickers for the eyes. The kids did the rest.

Cute Dog and Cat Art. 

I called them up in groups of 4 and they picked their shapes for their pets. I told them they didn’t have to really match the real pet. They were just doing dog and cat art.

We are still working on capitalization in our First Grade Writing. . It will take a few more weeks to get it down. 😀 

A few things I found online to add to centers the week we wrote about pets were some cute vocabulary pictures and words from TPT HERE. Some fall writing papers are HERE.

Great Writing Mia! 

Here are our finished edited writings. We went through the whole writing process with a topic web, sloppy copy, teacher edit and final copy. I think they turned out great.

Clouds and Weather

We are about done with our Weather Unit this week. Here are some of our fun activities we did….

A song we sang about Clouds to the tune of “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. 
We made Cloud Flip Books. We wrote facts underneath each type of cloud picture. Then we added the cotton balls underneath the flaps and then wrote about each cloud type.

 Here are the cotton ball clouds and the definitions of each type.

 Cloud flip books…they turn out really neat.


This poem I typed up and we put one on the back of our Cloud Flap Books. I always do poems on the back of art for shared reading and we try to sing them to a familiar tune like ABC song, Jimmy Crack Corn or Row Row Row you Boat. 

. Check out the Scholastic News website for great info and pictures on Clouds. I order the Scholastic News every year. A lot of times I save the science ones to use with my units.
Poster I leave up on the board during our Cloud activities. 
We read this Cloud Choral Reading and these 2 books on Clouds and the Cloud Poem too! 
The Weekly Reader/Scholastic News have a product called Science Spin. I order that every year for an extra dollar or so  per student. I use them because I have no science textbooks. I also order a lot of science reading literature and always keep it at the SCIENCE CENTER. It is the most populated center every day. 

The Cloud Book By dePaola, Tomie

Cloudette By Lichtenheld, Tom 

I’ve accumulated quite an array of weather books over my 20  years of teaching. Here are a few.

Some of the Weather Books and Scholatic News on weather we read this week…..
Another thing I usually do is have the kids make a wind pinwheel as part of learning about tornadoes and hurricanes. It is just made with a square, and we curl up each triangle and pin it to the top of a pencil eraser. Then we go outside on a windy day and watch our creations twirl. This one had some cute stars and swirls on it.

The next day we did some Water Cycle Activities. We Read a Weekly Reader on the Water Cycle that had a cool diagram.

We made these Water Cycle Wheels too…I like the vocabulary listed …we test on two of these words; evaporation and precipitation on our weekly vocab quiz. A Cloud and Weather Vocabulary word sort can be found HERE  free at TPT.

I loved this water cycle activity pack that I found FREE from TPT. Check it out HERE. It was easy for my kiddos. The water cycle wheel I got from another teacher I believe she got it from a book.

Pinwheels are a fun way to start the day learning about wind and all the types of windy weather and the damage it can do.

Some free weather stationery is HERE. And HERE is a printable of all types of weather in a cute blackline from Scholastic that you could use to make your own magnet matching game like mine below. You do have to subscribe to Scholastic and pay a small fee to get these though. I bought my game below from a teacher supply store.

This was a  WEATHER center game. I had added velcro to the back and they used the carpeted wall to match the word to the weather picture. I left all the weather books at the Science Center along with this game. 

I have an auto harp I play and the kids love singing songs to the music. HERE was a water cycle song we sang to the tune of “IT’S RAINING IT’S POURING”.  I also have  about 2 dozen types of instruments and some drums and xylophones so we never lose interest in singing to science texts. Check out my store above to see some great deals on musical instruments. I especially love the blue boxed xylophone. It was only $20.00 and I bought 3 for my classroom. The kids love to get them out when we sing and 2 kids will pay them to keep the rhythm with bells. Here is a pack of freebies from TPT Check it out!

The Water Cycle poster I keep up while we are doing our water cycle wheels and singing our songs.

Here is another Water Cycle Song:
Tune: Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Here we go round the water cycle, water cycle, water cycle.
Here we go round the water cycle, each and every day.
The ocean water evaporates, evaporates, evaporates,
The ocean water evaporates and makes tiny drops.
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, make a raincloud, make a raincloud,
The clouds condense to make a raincloud, and some feel really heavy!
The heavy drops precipitate, precipitate, precipitate,
The heavy drops precipitate, to make water accumulate. (puddles, lakes, rivers, and underground wells)
Then it’s time to start again, start again, start again,
Then it’s time to start again, the never ending Water Cycle!

We make a rotating water cycle wheel on a brad, coloring it and cutting it out. On the back we have a Water cycle poem or one of these songs I’ve typed up.

 We read lots of books on the results of Wicked Weather. And the Phillipines Typhoon came right along when we were discussing weather damage.

 This is a Tornado Tube. I put 2 empty 2 liter bottles together with one of them filled with water. The kids loved coming up and twirling it around till it made a tornado. You can get the Tornado Tube from Steve Spangler Science. I think it is about $3.00 plus shipping.

 We made a puzzle with the 3 types of violent weather types (lightening, tornadoes and hurricanes) and glued them down after discussing safety during each one.

I had the kids put together a page of  3 cool puzzles; tornadoes, hurricanes and lightening. This is what it looks like before .

The last thing we did was making a thermometer with paper.Check it out HERE. We talked about hot and cold, cool and freezing weather and what temperature each would be. Then I showed them lots of coats, sweaters, bathing suits etc. and asked what temperature each would be.

We made thermometers and learned what temperature spring, summer, winter and fall weather would be….

A few more worksheets are at Superteacher Worksheets.. Then we did some temperature worksheets like these Here at We had a great time learning about WEATHER!

A weather crossword I use in my weather unit is HERE at Some years I have them also do a WEATHER ACROSTIC POEM or we write a story after reading Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

A cool reader’s theater script I found on the story of the water cycle can be printed free HERE at Grandview Library. It is from Enchanted Learning. It’s cute and would make the kids use their imagination. These are some cool Youtubes I found that the kids like. I have a hard time choosing between them but I usually show one or two during the 2 week unit.

Weather videos from Youtube great for learning Water Cycle. 
Water Cycle Youtube with some fun singing.

Another cute song….on CLOUDS! In the book CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS there were lots of bad weather where food rained all over the city. If we have time we will use our short week next week to write funny stories about our favorite foods raining on our city in Sandy or Draper, Utah. That will be pretty interesting to read about!

Some Weekly Readers and Language Arts writing we did….

We used THIS STORY WEB to begin with problem, solution, setting and characters. A fun website that has lots of fun online graphics and activities is at Webweather’s site.  

water vapor 
cirrus cloud
 stratus cloud
nimbus rain cloud
 cumulus cloud
 violent weather

Here were some of the WEATHER vocabulary words we studied for the week and added to our science pocket chart too. Weather is one of my favorite units to teach. The kids all love learning about it.

I know an Old Lady

In the upcoming weeks we will be learning about the 5 food groups, the food pyramid, healthy choices for exercise, food, and washing our hands so we don’t get germs or sicknesses spreading around the classroom. Here are a few fun activities we did! 

First we read the story There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly….after which we made our own!

I put the story at the listening post with the felt lady and it is always super popular! Go figure. I used this store purchased felt lady to design our paper reproductions.

I drew this Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly freehand! Woot! The animals are below along with the rhyming text.

The kids had fun reading the story text along with dropping the corresponding animal down the lady’s mouth.

I have a parent helper cut out the “tummy” and put a piece of  old overhead projector acetate behind it and tape it up. Then the kids colored them and we backed them with colored paper, leaving a little place from her hand down to her hemline open to retrieve the “animals”. They colored animals that went along with the story. 

I also typed up the words to go along with all the animals in The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly….

These have been very engaging for the students. They really loved doing this activity to go along with our Healthy Lifestyles unit. 

 I am going to have the kids write their own “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a ______” innovations. I have typed up a story frame. We will work on it for a few days and I can’t wait to see what creative things the kids come up with!

Everybody’s Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly looked a little different. 
 Then we do a fun activity putting different foods in the “Old Lady Who Swallowed Stuff’s” belly. I have each table of kids discuss what should go in the trash and what she should eat to make her healthier. We talk about things that we should eat sparingly like cookies, french fries and candy. 
We have read all of these innovations on the original “There Was an Old Lady” books. Some of them were really funny. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly

This Activity was really cute for a CENTER GAME. Use a MRS. BUTTERWORTH’S empty syrup bottle to “feed” the old lady words using beads and pipe cleaners.  I saw a cute picture of it on Pinterest. It’s from

Some of my collection of “There Was an _______ Lady who Swallowed _______” books. 
Check out another book title THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED SOME CLOVER and activities to go with it HERE. She makes the old lady to “feed” by placing this picture in front of an empty tissue box.
 We could have been saving tissue boxes all year. This would be cute to do in March to go along with St. Patrick’s Day! Another one I found is HERE at kidzclub. It is free and printable. Click here then go to black and white. Don’t click on the picture. 
Another activity I had for a fast finisher is this wordsearch HERE from Buildingstrongchildren. The book text you can use to sing along is HERE at Just click on the old lady page links. Cute pictures too! A MATH roll and cover “Old Lady” is HERE at TPT.

Then we watch this Youtube on Healthy foods and we listen to a 5 a Day song tape from DOLE while we worked on coloring and cutting out our Little Old Ladies. HERE  are a bunch of printables for kids on Healthy Eating topics.

We read this reader’s theater on Mr. Energy and how he keeps his body in good shape by eating right. We didn’t have time to do the puppets. 

Here is a list of book to read kids to help them understand the good things we can eat to make us healthy and fit. Check them out HERE at

 We read this scholastic news, watched the Magic School Bus video to go along with it. Then we used my two classroom stethoscopes and listened to our own hearts beating after we came back from P.E. on Thursday. Some of the kids listened to their neighbor’s hearts. They were amazed!

Stethoscopes for listening to our healthy hearts and pedometers to count our steps at recess. We talked about how important exercise is and how eating lots of fatty, fried foods can line your arteries with yucky goop called cholesterol that can block your blood’s flow from your heart and cause heart attacks.  Everybody had a relative who had heart issues.  They were very interested in heart health! Amazing! 

 Well our Government is going from the food pyramid to the “food plate” thinking it will be easier for kids to understand. Maybe it is. Check it out above. A fun online interactive game we will play in computer lab is HERE.

We colored this “food Groups” worksheet and stapled it and the foolish old lady on the back of their Little Old Lady health projects so they could read them to brothers and sisters at home and replay and act out the story. 
This was a very funny poem about a lady who overeats on junk food that the kids LOVED! And we also read the riddles and they figured out what food groups were the answers. 

A fun center that the kids loved was my felt food pyramid with felt pieces to place in the right places. Then they each made their own pyramid for their desk as a fast finisher this week.

The Food Pyramid Flannel Board activity center……
Good nutrition Worksheet we did this week. 

We also used the vocabulary words Nutrition and Healthy this week as part of our 10 vocabulary words. Everybody got 100% on the test too! Woo Hoo!

These were really cute made up on the kids’ desks….I think I got this from 5 a Day at Dole. Check out Dole’s Website HERE. I’ve gotten lots of free activities from them because I asked. 

We will keep writing our innovations on the book The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and post them next week when we are all done! I can’t wait to see the finished stories!

Planning Kids Parties

Planning Kids Parties has become one of my very favorite things to do.  I was just thinking the other day about how many kids parties I have planned and put on. It must be over 200! I had 4 kids and and 1 husband and they each had a Birthday Party every year till I cut the kids off at age 30. Plus I’ve taught young kids in school for 21 years. And we have about 5 parties a year. And I’ve been activities chairman in my church 3 times and president of the Stake Primary (children’s organization). So in all the parties, I’ve learned a thing or two that might help somebody else in their planning. Here are a few of my ideas to keep it simple but fun.
Planning Kids Parties can be lots of fun if you keep it simple. Planning Kids Parties can be lots of fun if you keep it simple. Crafts using food are always a hit. HERE is a Frozen Party I did last year for my grandkids. It was a riot.

There is always the funny chaos that erupts when you have ten or more boys come over and do roudy  games. There is always a kid who cheats, always one who is uber competitive and starts to get mad when he is losing or not winning. There is always somebody who breaks something in your house. (word to the wise, have that party at a park or splash pad, or even Chuck E. Cheese or at a swimming pool if you can).

grandpa's party 005 Planning kids parties can be as simple as reserving a space at a city pool or splash pad and having cake and ice cream. Or you can get more creative!

I always made the mistake of stressing out over being sure my entire house was perfectly clean before the party began. I would work for days like a dog scubbing toilets, floors, making up the rooms so they all looked good, vacuuming every square inch of carpet and planning and baking a really darling cake to go with the themed invitations and party take-home bags. It was so exhausting, I don’t know how I had energy to run all those games, pinatas and crafts!
school supplies 025 Look at how pretty pops of colors in linens and little striped straws add to the refreshment table. You can always do a solid color on the tables and add another color with your plates and cups.

And then when everybody’s parents came to pick their kids up at the end of the party, the house looked like a bomb had exploded in it. I was always so embarrased thinking “what are they thinking of my messy house!” I was waaaaaay too worried about stuff like that. NEVER clean your house before the party. Clean it up AFTER the party. Because, guess what? It’s going to be a total mess.
IMG_9899 Bubbles are a good sponge activity when kids first get to the party, or they are also a simple party favor to take home. And they can help decorate your party table too with the bright colors!

I had  24 little 5 year-old kinders in my class this year. And 19 of them were boys. I can tell you who makes my classroom messy for the most part. It is those 19 little boisterous boys who just destroyed the center games each and every day. I would have to go search to find a missing puzzle piece to a puzzle or pick up the plastic dollar store bugs and find the lost magnifying glasses at the science center daily! And the magnet center would have the letters and numbers mixed up no matter how many times I lecture to the kids to keep them in the separate bins.

Pirate Party Refreshment Table Notice the pirate banner, cardboard parrots, red striped napkins, pirate bandanas and linens and skeleton heads. Fun Party Refreshment Table. Check out more from this party HERE. 

Little kids make messes. And the littler the party guest, the more they forget their etiquette and training when they walk in your front door. All their manners get forgotten for the most part because if little Johnny next door is standing on his chair and throwing his jelly beans into little Suzy’s glass of lemonade, they all start standing on chairs throwing jelly beans too.

This was such a fun activity for the kids; face painting using stencils and glittery glue made it SO EASY. You can buy the kits on Amazon.
Glitter Stencils kits are fun for Kids Parties. Glitter Stencils kits are fun for Kids Parties. You just stick on a stencil, dab on some glue and then use a paintbrush and dab on glitter. Then remove the stencil and you have a cool face painted glittery butterfly or flower.

Parents are always surprised by this follow the leader fun. But it happens in my classroom on a daily basis. I find myself saying that dumb analogy “If your friend jumped off of a cliff would you copy him doing that silly thing too? I don’t know why I do that. They always look at me blankly.

Another favorite for a party is my stuffed potato skins. Everybody loves them. Even kids! Another favorite for a party is my stuffed potato skins. Everybody loves them. Even kids!

party-022 My two little granddaughters at my Halloween Party one year. We were all dressed up as ladybugs (and bees.)

I loved having everybody sing happy birthday to my kids. It was a moment where they had all the attention of everybody important to them in their lives. I think that it is a great tradition. I’d do it all over again because a birthday party makes you feel special. I still remember my 9th birthday party. I had 9 girls come over for cake, games and crafts. And I still have the little ceramic girl holding a 9 that one of my guests brought me for a present. Then my mom let 1 of my best friends sleep over that night after dinner. It was such a fun and memorable day.

Valentines-field-trip-eagles-017 Making bead bracelets is always easy. Get pony beads from the craft store and chenille stems (pipe cleaners). Kids lace the beads on the pipe cleaners, twist at the ends and cut them to fit their wrist. Easy Peasy! Get the colors of your theme. You can tell this is a Valentines theme party.I love making Valentines Sugar Cookies with my family AND my classroom kiddos. I love making Valentines Sugar Cookies with my family AND my classroom kiddos. Use this idea to decorate cookies on St. Patrick’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday, or for any kid’s birthday party. If you have candy to top it with, you will be a complete success with kids.

There are always those parents who drop their kid off at your party and don’t return on time. They use you as a free babysitter and go get their hair done and return an hour late. I did that once when we were babysitting my daughter’s girls for a week. I just needed some errands run without kids so I did use her friend for babysitting. I apologized later. And I know how it is. But it is still hard when you are the party hostess and you are so burned out and tired and there are still 2 little boys running around your house when the party was over an hour ago.

Red White and Blue Day. Have a great time with family! How fun would making snowcones or cotton candy be at a birthday or family party? Lots of fun and so easy too. Just rent the machines for around $75.00 for a few hours.

Anyway, here are my ideas to make a really fun party and not get too overwhelmed. I’ve taught kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades for 21 years so I’ve done a TON of kids parties.

We played Pin the Tail on the Bunny. It was so sweet to watch. And there was no peeking! Amazing! We played Pin the Tail on the Bunny. It was so sweet to watch. And there was no peeking! Amazing! We have also played Pin the Gold on the Leprechaun, Pin the Nose on Olaf, Pin the tail on the Goat, for a big kid turning 30 (my son thinks goats are really funny)  and Bunny for Easter themed party.

Get some cute invitations from the party store. Invite no more than 12 kids. There will always be a few who can’t come and although 8 is a perfect number, (don’t all the party supplies come in a group of 8?) but 3 is a dud. (we’ve had a few of those too). So call and remind people the day before and to see who is coming. You can always invite cousins or an auntie or somebody else too. We (the grandparents) always get invited to the grandkiddie parties. It is a lot of fun, and we can help with the little brothers and sisters still in diapers. I give out invitations with only 1 1/2 hours for each party. If it is 2 hours everybody starts to get cranky, including YOU!

june 2015 079.CR2 Lots of times you can find printable games online to use at your themed kid’s party. This one was for my grandkids to play Tic Tac Toe on the 4th of July. This would be a perfect activity when people first arrive.

When Kids Arrive – Have a sponge activity when everybody gets there. Have a craft to do, or a physical game to play like duck duck goose, or just a swingset or a coloring page with colors or bouncy house.

Pin the Nose on Olaf game I made last year for a school and grandkid's Frozen Party.
Pin the Nose on Olaf game I made last year for a school and grandkid’s Frozen Party.

 At one party my daughter had them all do a foam visor with their name on it as soon as they arrived. Then later she had another more involved craft. The visor just had stickers. Kids love making hats of any kind. That is always a great sponge activity that takes up time till everyone arrives. Magnetic Match game using Dollar Store magnets would be fun. Just use cookie sheets to play. A good before everybody gets there activity can be Magnets  using Dollar Store magnets and  cookie sheets to play.

Party Games – Have 2 activities. One can be a noisy one (pinata, pop the balloons, scavenger hunt, bean bag toss etc., and one a quiet one that takes longer (bingo game, craft, decorate a cookie, pin the tail on the theme animal, etc. Here are a list of my favorites.

  • 1. Pin the Tail on the Donkey (bunny, elf, pirate patch, nose on the snowman or Olaf)
  • 2. Bean Bag Toss into a cardboard theme character with holes.
  • 3. Decorate a cookie or cupcake.
  • 4. Make a necklace, hat or bracelet with beads or stickers or foam of some kind.
  • 5. Bingo game on a theme of some sort.
  • 6. Hot Potato  (use a stuffed pumpkin, or heart, or snowman, any soft stuffed animal can become the potato).
  • 7. Musical Chairs or Fruit Basket.
  • 8. Pinata or Treasure Hunt
  • 9. Bowling using a tennis ball and paper cups with pictures on them.
  • 10. Face Painting using stencils and glitter glue.

halloween get together 087 Filling clear cookie jars with candies and colored ornaments is always great to add to the refreshment tables and it is easy decor.
Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss my hubs made for us to play in my classroom Halloween party. Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss my hubs made for us out of plywood that we spray painted orange. We get to play with it every year at  my classroom Halloween party.

Gardner-Village-023 Kids love to make crafts. Try making some kind of insect out of paper and stickers at your next party. Then tape it onto a stick and watch the kids have fun with it. You won’t be disappointed! Check these out HERE.Buccaneer Bingo Sight Words Game. This was a fun center. Buccaneer Bingo Sight Words Game. This was a fun center. Check out the Pirate Party for more ideas.

  • Foods – It’s fun to then plan some simple foods for the kids to eat. Most kids like Pizza or hot dogs or mac and cheese if you are serving lunch or dinner. If adults are there you can add some chicken salad sandwiches on rolls. I have used these for family celebrations, wedding receptions even. Everybody loves a little chicken salad sandwich with almond slices and grapes.
  • veggies and dip Pretty white platters to put your fruits and veggies on work well. Try a few that are 2 tiered for a nice spread.
  • Add cookies or donuts, 2 kinds of chips, fresh fruits cut up or on skewers or veggies and dip. Then you can have the birthday cake at the very end of the party after the presents have been opened. Use linens or fabric to give a pop to your refreshment tables. This black and white fabric I’ve used for lots of parties. Polka dot is also a real popular generic linen choice.
  • wedding
  • I’ve used these cookie jars with inserted scrapbook paper to match my colors or theme for years. They look equally cute with Cat in the Hat papers or Pirate or Superhero themed papers filled with cookies or treats. Then add a sticker to the jar. Just be sure to also add a half sheet of waxed paper around the interior of the jar between the scrapbook paper and cookies so you don’t get the oily marks on your scrapbook papers. Top with colorful ribbon to match your theme colors. These I did for my son’s wedding reception a few years back. But I’ve done them also for other parties and baby showers.
    Little kids always love cupcakes at parties. You could do cupcakes instead of a cake.

       Halloween Party ghoulish cupcakes and skeleton brownies. Kids will eat em up! Check out how I made them HERE.Caramel Dipping Sauce Granny Smith and Honeycrisp Apples with Homemade Caramel Dipping Sauce – great for a party anytime! And so easy and healthy too!

  • I usually serve 2 liter bottles of pop with papers printed out to tape over them with a themed message. Then I have paper cups, plates in the party colors. I use banners, balloons, tissue paper puff balls, and party store cardboard cut outs all over the place for decor.

Cute little Palm Trees with beanie baby monkeys attached (also the take home gift). My granddaughter’s mom made these Cute little Palm Trees with beanie baby monkeys attached (also the take home gift)Here are the cute little rainforest monkeys that the kids got to take home for a party favor. Here are the cute little rainforest monkeys that the kids got to take home for a party favor.

  • My daughter in law made these cute little palm trees with brown paper rolls for the trunk and green paper cut out leaves with little stuffed monkeys attached (the party favor) to them. They were really sweet decorations. The napkins are usually pretty and special and make the themed table looks really cute. I spend extra to get real cute napkins. Then my plates and cups are usually solid color to save a few bucks.
  • Bridal Shower Refreshment table for a summer party can be just bars and cakes and fresh fruits. Super easy! Notice the  orange and  hot pink linens and flowers make the decor look bright and fresh.

  • Goodie Bags – I always like to send home a goodie bag with some little candies and toys inside. I usually fill it with a balloon, some clay or bubbles, a whistle, lollypops, pixie stix and individual candies like taffy, Jolly Ranchers or chocolate kisses. Then I tie them with a ribbon. If it is for my class I usually add a pencil and an eraser of some sort. Sometimes I find theme toys to go with the holiday if it is a holiday type party.

Delicious fresh summer fruits on a skewer really can't be beat for any summer celebration too. They looks so much fancier on wooden skewers too, and kids can help make them! Delicious fresh summer fruits on a skewer really can’t be beat for any summer celebration too. They looks so much fancier on wooden skewers too, and kids can help make them!


I have had to learn the hard way that kids will open and eat, or worse, spill the contents of the bag and then want another one. Somebody always loses theirs somewhere in your house if you give them out early, and then you run out because they come and take another one. Even in my classroom the goody bag goes in the backpack and they are not allowed to open it till they get home or in their parent’s car.  It is nuts when you have a kid who not only opens his and eats up all the stuff but gets chocolate mess all over himself and everything he has touched, and then leaves a mess under his desk, on his desk and all the candy wrappers everywhere for you to clean up! Word to the wise. Pirate Party "Loot" bags were a hit.

Pirate Party “Loot” bags were a big  hit with my kindergarteners this year at our end of year Pirate Party.

Have a boatload of fun at your next kids party all you whipper snappers. Argh Mateys!

Dr. Seuss Decorating

This year at our school the theme decided by the principal is “OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!” by Dr. Seuss. I decided I would designate one of the walls of my classroom to the theme.

Dr. Seuss Decorating with Fun Bags, Paper Cut Outs, and some first day Pencils and Erasers! Won’t the kids LOVE em? 

I went over to Target the other day with my daughter and grandkiddos and what do you know? There is a big bunch of fun stuff over in the dollar section that has lots of Dr. Seuss and lots of Disney products for teachers.

I found a boatload of stuff. Lookee What I got!!

I loved these cardboard Dr. Seuss Decorating Posters. They’re about 9 x 13 size. 

I’m going to use these 4 clocks to give the time when school starts and ends, and when recess and lunch are. This will help the kids to learn to tell time, and will reduce the number of times they ask me when lunch is. That is one of the hardest things about 1st grade. They are not used to staying the whole day.

Foam Clocks to use for Telling the Time of Day (School Start time, Recess, Lunch, Dismiss) for my Dr. Seuss Decorating. 

I also got these cute erasers. I don’t know what I will do with them yet. Maybe I’ll give them out in a little baggie with candy and a pencil on Back to School night. They also had Dr. Seuss Pencils. Target also had banners and cute clip art items with Dr. Seuss characters on them. I will use this on my bulletin board that says “Oh the Places You’ll Go!”.

Dr. Seuss Pencils and Erasers from the Target dollar bins. 
I don’t know what I’ll do with these cute Cat in the Hat decorations, but I couldn’t resist them. 

The cute Cat in the Hats are a border. But I thought I could cut them apart and add the kids pictures underneath with a blue wig like they are Thing 1 and 2. That would be super cute to use to vote in my Graph a Week chart. The light up balls were only $3.00 but they probably won’t work lit up for long. I’ll just string them across some area of the classroom that needs a little “POP” of color!

My Weekly Graph has a different question each week and as the kids walk in on Monday they vote for what they like. Then later at math time we talk about it using math terms such as “greater than, less, more, equal, least greatest” and kids get used to that vocabulary. 

Last year for the Graph a Week chart we used these little people icons. This year I’ll use the Dr. Seuss hats and add the kids’ pictures in blue wigs. That will be cute. 

 I got a few games too. I’ll use these for centers. The back of the ABC flashcards I’ll use another way. They have cute pictures (in the Dr. Seuss tradition) and words under the pictures. I’ll put these in a pocket chart at the writing center. I’ve wanted to have a cute word bank of some sort over there but didn’t want to use up all my color printer ink. This is a very cheap way to go!

Telling Time Dr. Seuss Games and numbers and letters too. A darling aqua blue pocket chart will be great for schedule or center activities listings. Most of these were $1.00! What a steal! 

Here are a few Dr. Seuss freebies that I will use to decorate my classroom wall this year. HERE is a cute Triangle Dr. Seuss banner to print out with red and blue designs on all the triangle shaped banner pieces. It is really cute from from the Carefree Classroom.  HERE is a hall pass and some other cute things from Julia Rother. Thanks guys! Now I just need to get into my classroom and start decorating!

Butterfly Activities Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Books we made for Butterfly Week. 

We made Hungry Caterpillar books in my classroom. They turned out so cute. The kids were pretty good about drawing items for the caterpillar to eat around the holes I had punched in their little books.

Butterfly Activities and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Fun. 

We read the Eric Carle book The Very Hungry Caterpillar first. Then we talked about all the things we could have OUR OWN caterpillar eat. We made a big list on the white board of our brainstorm. Then I drew a little picture next to each of the words so the kids could read, write it, and copy the easy picture to color.

Then we went to work on our books. They had already been previously made up by ME the day before. Then I punched out all the holes. You could also have a mom helper do it but it is kind of complicated. I’ve just found it easier to do it myself.

After we drew and colored what the Very Hungry Caterpillar ate, we glued one on each page. They were so tiny and cute! 

Luckily Bennett had the stuffed animal of the caterpillar from Kohls. I had left mine at home. So he brought it in so we could use it as a visual aid. Fun! A cute Dot to Dot Butterfly art is HERE at Activity Village.

Stuffed Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet. 

Then we did a bunch of Caterpillar and Butterfly activities. Here are a few.
A cute VOCABULARY list with cute visuals you can print out is HERE. It was a great center activity for the pocket chart and some HAND pointers too. A roll and cover game was HERE at TPT.

Last year at recess I passed out these “find a bug” jars and kids LOVED them. They fought over doing this activity for 2 weeks. In never got old. This is science at its best. Little scientists observing nature. 

A cute SONG to sing about Caterpillars is here.

POETRY or MUSIC (Sing to the tune of Itsy Bitsy Spider)

A little, green caterpillar crawling on a leaf,

Spun a little chrysalis, and fell fast asleep.

While she was sleeping, She dreamed that she could fly.

 And later when she woke up, she was a BUTTERFLY!


Graphing- What is your favorite bug? Butterflies? Honeybees? Grasshoppers?Dragonfly? Ladybugs? These were our top 5 we voted on. Guess which one was the winner?

We do a weekly graph where I ask the kids a question and they vote from 5 choices. 

Here is our “What is Your Favorite Insect” Vote. It looks like dragonflies won. 

We also did an estimation jar with plastic Dollar Store insects inside. That is always a fun math activity.


Do a life cycle of a butterfly. A link for a black line page of the 4 stages of a Butterfly can be found Here at Digital  They have lots of games, a podcast and another video of a butterfly pupa stage. You can also buy the butterfly larva at Carolina Biological Supply for about $15.00. The link is Here for Carolina Biological Supply. I usually don’t send away for them until Springtime. A cute wheel life cycle is HERE on TPT. You can get the butterfly garden below from EAI Education  for $15 bucks. 

Butterfly Garden is a great science Activity and it usually comes with a certificate for free Butterfly Larva. This is how I ordered mine the first time. I’ve put butterfly, praying mantis and ladybug larva in here before. Once the praying mantis got out through a hold overnight and they were all over the kids’ desks in the morning. It was funny. Buy it HERE at Insect Lore for about $15 bucks. 

 P.E. “Bug Garden”.  Have students sit in chairs in a big circle. This game is like FRUIT BASKET. One student is in the middle without a chair. I’m usually the first one as I have to teach the game. Go around the circle of chairs and give students names;1 ladybug, 2 dragonfly, 3 butterfly, 4 honeybee.  Then start over going around till all are named. 

Then tell the caller to call out an insect name. (bees) All the bees must jump up and fly to another chair. Everyone else stays sitting and just watches. It is FUN to watch, believe me! Nobody who was a bee can stay in the same chair. The caller grabs one of the chairs and sits during the commotion. The one who is leftover  with no chair is the new caller. Then one fun part of the game is if the caller says “Fly Away Bugs!” then all the bugs get up and trade places. Last one to find a seat is the new caller! I do this for a Halloween party, a Valentine  or Christmas party too. Just name the kids theme names for the holiday (skeleton, ghost, bat, witch for Halloween, and for Christmas; stars, candy canes, ornaments, trees,  etc. 

We had a great time doing Butterfly Week!