Category Archives: P

Pumpkin Science Craft

We recently held a Pumpkin Science program in the park.  You can read about it here

To reinforce our science learning of the parts of a pumpkin, we made this fun pumpkin craft at home.

Vocabulary we are learning:
Skin or Shell
Pulp or Flesh
Seeds  (seed coat and nut)
Brains (slimy stringy stuff)
Cavity (holds the brains and seeds)

This craft was so much fun to make.  We started by tracing a large circle on orange construction paper.   We used a variety of circle shapes from around the house, such as bowls, saucer from a planter, and canning rings to trace our circles for different sized pumpkins.  But for the sake of this specific craft, the saucer was the right size.

Next, we drew the lines and shaded in parts of our pumpkin to look like a pumpkin before it has been cut open.  See pictures of this part farther down below.  This will be the back side of our pumpkin craft.

Next, we cut out seed shapes from an off white construction paper and glued them onto the other side of our pumpkin.

Next, glue on strips of yarn.

Here is one finished side.  This side shows the skin or shell, with its bumps, lines (called ribs), color variations, and the stem.

Here is the other finished side, and resembles the inside of the pumpkin that the children discovered during our Pumpkin Science program last week.

This side shows the flesh, pulp, brains (slimy strands), seeds (seed coat, and nut), cavity, surrounded by the outer skin (shell).

My nine year old wanted to do his own version of what he saw inside the pumpkin last week when he first opened one.

He was really proud of his creation.  He used a pencil to draw the ribs and bumps on the skin.  Then he cut the lid off his pumpkin and glued on brains to the lid that he made from paper.  He glued seeds onto his paper brains too.

Good Job!

So, there you have two fun craft options for recreating and studying the parts of a pumpkin.

If you would like the recipe to one of our favorite snacks, Pumpkin Bars, check out the link here.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

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Puppy Love

Just about everytime my daughter can get her hands on our puppy, she does.

She loves the puppy.  She hugs and kisses the puppy.  She loves playing with the puppy.  But it usually involves the puppy not being allowed to walk on the ground.

Our conversations about the puppy often go like this:

Mom: “Why don’t you let the puppy walk next to you?”

Daughter:  “The puppy is small.  She can’t walk that far”.

Mom: “But the puppy needs to spend time on the ground learning to walk with you.  That way she can grow up healthy and strong like you.” 

Daughter: “Ok, I can do that.  There, now she can get big and strong.”

Mom: “Good job, I think that is the best thing for her right now.  She needs to spend some time playing next to you and learning how to follow you.”

Daughter: “Yes, but I am ready to go play, and she can’t walk that far.  So I will have to carry her.  I love her.  I don’t want her to get lost.”

Daughter:  “See mom, she is getting bigger.  Just like me”.

Now how can I argue with that logic?  At three years old, she has everything figured out.

Does your child have a pet they play with?  Leave us a comment and tell us about it.  Thank you.

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Link & Learn
ABC & 123
The Play Academy
Best Toys For Toddlers

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Letter Of The Week P

Letter Of The Week  “P”

Workboxes, Activity Trays, and just for fun activities. 

Our “Letter Of The Week” this week is “P”
Our color is pink
Our number is 3
Our shape of the week is the heart.


My goal for the week, and for the month really, was to tie in lots of  “P” words and activities to reinforce our learning of the letter “P”, the color pink, the shape of the heart, and the number 3.  

Many of the “P” words we focused on were things we are familiar with in our everyday life, such as “pink”, “picture”, and “pizza”.  It is really important to use words they are familiar with to reinforce the letter.  Then I expanded with words they may not be as familiar with or new words.  Some of the new words for my kids were “peace”, “planet”, “prince”. 

Three of the holidays this month that worked well with “P” were Valentines Day, Black History (civil rights and peace between the cultures), and Presidents Day.  So we were able to do so much more with our letter of the week, and make it more like a letter of the month!

Each of my three younger children ages 2, 3, and 6 participated in these activities on their skill level.  The older two children ages 8 and 10 did related work to the theme (Valentines, Presidents Day, Black History, and more) that correlated nicely with these activities that the younger children were doing.

Listed below are several vocabulary words you can pick from one, or a few, or brainstorm other fun ideas for a theme to give your child more practice with the letter ‘P”.

Our main vocabulary focus from the list was on the words “pink”, “pig”, “pasta”, “peace”, and “pizza”.  

Vocabulary words:

P is for pig
P is for pink
P is for prayer
P is for panda
P is for puppy
P is for puppet
P is for pennies
P is for peace
P is for pail
P is for pattern
P is for Pinkalicious
P is for pokadot
P is for President
P is for Pastor
P is for Papa
P is for planet
P is for pizza
P is for pasta
P is for piano
P is for play
P is for park
P is for purple
P is for pumpkin
P is for practice
P is for peanut butter
P is for picture
P is for pretty
P is for princess
P is for prince
P is for pirate



John 14:27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Books we read:

Pinkalicious Pink Around The Rink

The Three Little Pigs

My “P” Book


Pink pig

Pink panda paper bag puppet

Pink Valentines Day Hearts

Letter “P” with pasta


Math, Counting, Numbers, Patterns, Colors, Shapes, Practice,
Separate pink from other colors of manipulatives: legos, cubes, letters, pompoms,
Sort and transfer pompoms.  Read about it
here .
Use a pink magnifying glass to view pink butterflies and pink hearts.
Count up to three.
Count backwards from three.
Count three pennies and place into three compartments
Count three clothes pins and attatch them to a pink pail.  You can read more about this and several other listed activities
here .


Played with the valentines day discovery bin full of pink, white, and red items.  Read about it here.


Thread pink ribbon
Thread pink beads
Make a pink pattern
Say a prayer
Dora coloring page
Pig coloring page
Make a pink (and red and white) Valentine Park mini world with legos. Read about it here .

Role play with pink kitchen items. foods, pink babies, and pink stuffed animals in pink clothes.
Play with pink and purple playdough
Write the letter “P” with playdough, crayons, dots, pasta,
Play at the park


a Science comparing dry pasta and rehydrated pasta.  Read about it here .


TIC TAC TOE TOSS using Pink Bean Bags

Scavaenger Hunt: PINK

Scavanger Hunt: Starts with the letter “P”



Tap out notes on the piano

Recipes with Kids In The Kitchen

Pepperoni Pizza

Pink popcorn snack mix
Pink and purple smoothies
Pink lemonade
Pink punch
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Pasta with cheese

Pears cut up
Pumpkin Bars (will get a link to this posted soon)


Pink and purple are my three year old daughter’s favorite colors.  In addition to all the fun activities, we also looked in her closet and found all her clothes that were pink and purple or pokadots (shirts, pants, dress, underwear, socks, shoes).  She practiced trying them on, folding, and lining them up.  She has the colors pink and purple memorized!!!

My daughter has asked me to make her a “purple pizza”.   I am trying to figure out how to accomplish this. 

I considered making a purple onion pizza, but none of the kids like onions.

I thought about a plain or a purple sugar cookie crust, layered with blueberry, or blueberry-blackberry smooshed cream cheese frosting, and topped with blue berries and purple grapes.  Possibly could use some Pomegranate Blueberry juice for color and flavor in the crust, or sauce (frosting) too.  But I am not sure what combinations will taste good.  Guess I will need to try out a small one and see if it works.   

If you have any ideas for making a purple pizza, or any activities, crafts, recipes you use teach the letter P, please feel free to leave us a comment.   Thanks in advance.

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Play Academy

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P Is For Pasta

                                    P Is For Pasta

We have been learning about the letter “P” for our Letter Of The Week.  You can read a summary of our Letter Of The Week “P” here and I will add more links as I get them published.  Be sure to check the side bar for more stories and helpful how to’s for the Letter Of The Week.

Making colored pasta is very easy and a frugal craft to do with your kids.  Pictured below is about $0.20 worth of pasta in the containers, and we will have left overs to use again.  It can be used later in lots of different ways besides this letter art project today.  It can also be used in a bin to hide learning objects in, to fill containers to make musical instruments, to use it as a medium to make collages or other art projects, to string and make jewelry or sew it onto a card or use a funny button on a felt outfit or puppet.  You can also make it a fun science project when you include the children and let them experiment with various colors and learn about staining objects.  See our colored rice project here for ideas on using pasta in place of rice for a science project and lots of other ideas.

To see the directions for making colored pasta, read here.   We made ours pink for the letter “P”.

Activity Tray:

On a tray, I placed a piece of white paper with the letter “P”.    I traced a lid for the circle and a book edge for the line of the letter P.  Then I free handed the inner circle.  I traced it in pencil first and then with a pink crayon over the pencil line (if you are setting out this activity for older children, you can let them make the letter ‘P” themselves too).   I also set out some glue, a Q tip, and pink pasta on the tray.

Playing with colored pasta is a really fun sensory experience.  My 3 year old loves to feel it flow and move between her fingers as she scoops up a handful and then lets it slowly fall back into the pile.  She can hear it go “tap tap” as it falls.  It makes a “whoosh” sound as she scoops it up again.  Visually she sees a single piece of pasta as well as a mass of pieces together.  She can mound them up or press them down.  She can remove one, or some, to see how they look individually too.    

After my daughter had her fill of playing in the pasta, it was time to make the letter “P”.

I squirted dots of glue inside the “P” .

She used a Q tip to spread the glue.  I asked her if she thought she could paint the glue inside the lines and she said “sure I can” and I was impressed that she kept it all in. 

Sometimes how you present the idea makes all the difference in a child understanding the concept.  On the other hand, if they are not ready, they may not understand, no matter how many ways you present the idea.

About this time, younger brother age 2 decided he wanted to make one too.  I had anticipated this and had a tray ready for him, minus the plate of pasta.  I wrongly assumed they could share the same container of pasta.  Oh boy, an argument ensued!  This is what I mean that even if you try to explain a concept, (such as today we are sharing one plate of pasta to make our letter p) they may not quite understand or agree.  In this case, neither child wanted the other child to have the container with the special valuable sensory exploding pasta, so I ended up dividing it into two plates of pasta, one for each.

I was quite pleased that they went right back to the activity as soon as a second container of treasured pasta came to the rescue.

The two year old would add some pasta and then go back and paint a little bit with his Q tip in the next spaces.  I think he had more fun with the Q tip as he was exploring how it smeared the glue and then how the glue made the pasta stick to the page.

They both had a lot of fun with this activity, and next time I will use the leftover pasta to practice learning to spell their names.  Maybe we will use a rainbow of colored pasta next time.

I thought it was interesting how both the 3 year old and the 2 year old followed directions, but ended up with a slightly different looking “P”.


How do you play and learn with pasta?  Leave us a comment.  Thanks!

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No Time For Flash Cards

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Valentine Discovery Bin

Call them whatever you like, we love discovery, activity, and sensory bins!!!

We are making a discovery bin each month based on a theme.  So of course, February’s bin is all about Valentines activities.


I found all the items for our bin from items around the house, a few items at Target, and at the Dollar store.

These five pink items came in one package for $1  These are great for taking lids on and off, and open and close.  Filling containers.  Squishing the body scrubber.  Tossing the body scrubber into a bucket. 

We filled the tall containers with pony beads, and the small round containers with pink and blue heart beads for threading onto string and counting activities.

Here my daughter is adding pony beads to the tall containers.

Pink and blue heart beads for threading.  Good for fine motor skills, grasping, eye hand coordination, making patterns, sizing, counting, identifying colors and shapes, and more.  These kits came with the thread and a variety of six beads per packet including a heart shape.  These are available at the dollar store.

These are wonderful little kaleidoscopes.  They are so fun to see through.  The images you see through them become multiples and if you turn them, you see the images change.  We discussed how these were similar to looking through some insect eyes such as flies. 

Here is a really fun optical sensory experience.  Look at hearts, and other objects with the kaleidoscope.  Place several objects in a pattern to view them, etc.  They can also be stacked or lined up in patterns, and counted.  The pack came with eight kaleidoscopes in two different colors for $1.  This item is available at the dollar store.

Erasers are great to use as math manipulatives.  Great for counting, matching, stacking, using as markers or game pieces, patterns, and more.  These valentine erasers also have the words “kiss” and ‘I love you” on two pairs, so they can be great to use in learning words too.  The package contains 6 matching pairs, or twelve erasers for $1 at the dollar store.

Foam hearts to use as manipulatives for counting, matching, making patterns, sizing, decorating, and more.

Heart boxes for various activities, open and close, matching, counting, patterns, hiding objects, transferring objects from one box to the other, games, colors red-light pink-hot pink, and again these have words and are great for teaching language in a hands on way.  These come in a pack of 10 for $1.

Silver heart boxes.  Come in a pack of 3 for $1.

White heart boxes.  These have a really neat texture of ridges and ruffles and are different than all the other hearts.  These also are a double heart, a fun twist.   These come in a pack of four for $1.

This is a recycled spice bottle I saved and my 8 year old son covered in red and pink construction paper.  The holes in the top are great for poking things into, and also holding pipe cleaners while little hands thread on beads.  The other side of the lid has a larger hole and is great for dropping beads into the jar.  We love to shake different objects inside and hear what sounds they make too.

I pulled out some of the larger things from the bin for you to see.  I included a small dust pan and broom for sweeping up small beads, pom poms, and pokadots.  There are pink pipe cleaners for lacing beads, making patterns, and twisting into fun shapes.  Pink embroidry string for measuring, wrapping, and lacing.  Fluffy pink body scrubbers for feeling textures and tossing.  A bright white bow for visual stimulation and feeling texture differences.  This is also good for role play as they pretend to give valentines gifts.  Pink cubex cubes for counting and stacking.  A pink bean bag for tossing in our game of tic tac toe.  Foam cupcake puzzle pieces to assemble.  Foam hearts in different sizes to match up smallest to largest and count to three.  Pretty pink and purple ribbon for measuring and lacing.  There was also two sets of tongs for grasping items that are not pictured. 

Glass gems for sorting and counting.

Fun emery board with glass pokadot beads on one side and a sandpaper texture on the other.   

A real finger massage, and very neat to run your fingers across for a fun sensory experience.  My daughter plays with this a lot.   

My daughter (age 3) is examining her glass “gems” with her pink magnifying glass.   My son (age 2) is shaking pony beads he placed inside a heart container.  He is also dancing and thrilled to hear the sounds the beads make.

Erasers to sort, count, stack, and make patterns.

Sorting pony beads into the matching colored heart container. 

They sorted pink, red, and white pony beads.

Threading pony beads onto pink pipe cleaners.  This activity requires the children to slow down and concentrate to get their bead to line up with the pipe cleaner.  I loved watching them concentrate on this.

We had five different heart containers in the discovery bin.  Here you see four different heart containers.  In this activity, my son age 2, is learning to match lids to the correct heart container.  This was very good practice for him and reinforced a lot of different skills.

The bin was used through out the month of February for free play.  Usually for one hour in the morning and sometimes another hour in the afternoon, the bin was on the table and lots of free time fun was had. 

Some of these items were also used in guided activities such as those on the red and pokadotted trays you see in the pictures above, and you can read more about other guided activities we did with items in the discovery bin here .

What was in your February Discovery Bin?  Please leave a comment and let us know about it.  Thank you.

Also don’t forget to link up to our Valentines Day Link Up.  Share your activities, crafts, recipes, ideas, play time, and more.

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Pasta Science With Kids In The Kitchen

Whats In The Workbox today? 

A fun and tasty science project for all ages.

Into the science workbox put a box of pasta, a piece of paper, a pencil, and a small pretend cooking pot.  Ask the children to share ideas of how to use these items together.  Ask the children the questions from the key concepts listed below.  This helps build their interest in the project.  Then explain that we are going to do an experiment. 

This project can be done by kids of all ages with adult assistance to monitor for safety and assist as needed.  Our younger three kids were learning about the letter “P” and this experiment tied in nicely.  However, they did not participate in the heating steps of this experiment, rather observed their older siblings doing those steps based on their skill levels.

Key concepts
What is pasta?
What is dehydrated?
What is rehydrated?
What happens to dry pasta when it is heated for 10 minutes in boiling water?

Senses involved:

Skills involved:
following directions
reason and deduction
cooking-life skills
scientific method

The Simple Pasta Experiment

We used two packages of pasta from a macaroni and cheese mix.  Place the pasta into measuring containers.  We used matching cereal bowls that were identical.  Have additional matching containers on hand for latter in the experiment. 

Two quarts of water.

For this to be a correct scientific method, you need have the same amount of dry pasta and jars of water set aside as your control.  These would not be used during the heating process.  Simply left alone and then used for comparison.

Have the children write out the experiment on paper. 

This can be as simple as a few pictures, written words, or more it can be more sophisticated.  Its up to you.  I allowed each child, based on their skill level the freedom to write out the experiment with pictures and words. 

Have the children feel the dry pasta.   Have them shake the pasta and hear what sound it makes.   Ask them to look at it and describe it to you.  Then ask them “what do you hypothesize will happen when the water is heated to a boil and the pasta is cooked in the hot water for 10 minutes?”  From experience of eating macaroni and cheese, the children will likely say the pasta will get cooked, or soft.  The older children will understand in advance that the pasta will increase in size as it absorbs water.

Pour the water into a pan.

With the supervision of an adult, heat the pan of water to boiling.  Add pasta.  Stir.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Have the adult strain the pasta reserving the liquid.  Place pasta back into containers or heat proof bowls that held the dry pasta at the start of the experiment.

Let the children assist with the experiment according to their skill level and safety awareness.  Always use caution when working around a hot stove and boiling liquids.   For example, my two and three year olds were able to assist with putting the dry pasta into the bowls.  The six and eight year olds assisted with setting out the equipment needed and filled the quart jars with cold water.   My 10 year old was able to assist with putting the water on the stove to boil.  Mom strained the cooked pasta as children are not yet aware of how to do this safely and avoid getting a steam burn.  Even mom still gets these from time to time.  Later all the children assisted with different tasks with clean up and when we made a meal from our project.

Observe the changes in the pasta and liquid.  


Several things we observed:
The pasta expanded and now filled three identical bowls instead of two. 
Pasta changed from hard and dry to soft , flexible, and wet. 
The pasta no longer made sounds when you shake it.
The pasta looks similar to before in shape, but now it is bigger and lighter in color.

When cool enough, transfer the liquid back into the quart measuring equipment you started with.  We used a mason jar.  Compare how much liquid is left after straining out the cooked pasta.  Has it changed?  Compare the results to the start of the experiment.  Discuss where the liquid “disappeared to” and how it was absorbed by the pasta as it cooked.

Have the children write down the changes they have observed.  Be sure to discuss the key concepts you set out to learn, such as what is dehydration and rehydration?

When your are done with your experiment, why not eat your pasta?

Be sure to toss your pasta with something delicious and reinforce more of the children’s learning experience.   How about chicken and white sauce, or mix it with some milk, butter and cheese, or the cheese packet from the box, or mix up some pasta sauce.   We reheated ours with milk, cheese packet, and butter for approximately five minutes on low heat to medium heat, and had a tasty meal to enjoy.

The kids really had fun makin
g a science project out of their food today.

These young scientists gobbled down every last bite!

What a great way to reinforce a science concept .  They were able to use all their senses in learning today.  This will go a long way in helping them retain what they learned, because they “lived it” along the way.

Now if we could only eat our grammar lesson.

Expansion Ideas
Measure and record the size of a piece of pasta before and after it is cooked.
Weigh the bowls of pasta before and after they are cooked.
Soak pasta in cold water for ten minutes and compare with pasta cooked in boiling water for ten minutes.
Have the children make pasta from scratch and work through the drying process of pasta to learn more about dehydration. 
Grind your own flour from grain for making the pasta.
Read a book about pasta.
Do a lapbook about pasta.
Research different kinds of pasta shapes and made from different kinds of grains.
Repeat the experiment again using different kinds of pasta and compare what happens.
Research where various pasta come from around the world.
Learn about grains and proteins, nutrition, allergies, milling of flour, and more about what causes pasta to hold its shape, what causes it to loose its shape, and why is heat needed for it to keep its shape while softening verses the idea of why it does not dissolve back into flour and water paste.
Look under a microscope at grains, flour, wet pasta, dry pasta, fresh water, and leftover pasta cooking water.
Research what happens to pasta after you eat it, such as what happens to it in your stomach, in your intestines, and the end results when it leaves the body.

Pasta is so much fun!

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