My Child’s First Fight

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As, I am waiting in the long line of parents to pick up their child from the three year old Sunday School class, I eagerly look through the window trying to spot my little guy hopefully smiling and having fun.

Suddenly my heart drops.  I don’t see a smile on his face.  I don’t see him sharing and playing with friends.  I see his face red with anger.  Then I see a boy kick him.  Then J walks away and starts playing with something else.

My Mama Bear instinct secretly and silently turns on inside my heart.  “He did not just kick my child!”  I’m also proudly thinking, “Wow!  Good job, buddy!  You didn’t kick him back!  You walked away!”

Suddenly, I was at the front of the line.

“Hi!  Who are you here to pick up? says the smiling teacher at the door who is oblivious to what I had just witnessed.

“Umm Jackson,” I muttered.

“Oh okay!  Here he is!”

“Hi, Mommy!  I got a sticker!”

Now, at this moment, I had many things I could have said and done.  I could have forgotten about it because my child was already over it.  I could have talked to the parents of this kid who, from what I saw, was being aggressive towards my child.  I could have had some words with the teacher.  I could have immediately taken my child’s side as I walked off hand in hand with my little guy asking him, “Was that mean boy hurting you?  Did he kick you?  Are you okay, Sweetie?”

I decided instead to just talk to my son and try to hear the whole story.

“Hey, bud.  What happened with that other boy?”

“He hit me in my face.”

Sure enough, there was a bright red mark on J’s cheek.

“And then what happened, bud?”

“I hit him back,” he replied with his head down.  (So it wasn’t as one sided as it originally appeared. My child was guilty, too.)

“You did? And then what happened?”

“He kicked me.”

Once I heard the “whole” story, I said to him, “I’m sorry that happened, sweetie.  But when someone hits you, you don’t hit them back.  You say, “Don’t hit me.  I don’t like that.” and then walk away.  You are in trouble for hitting him back.”

“Oh okay, Mommy.”

Well, that was easy!

Then, all of a sudden it hit me.  I wasn’t addressing his heart.  My husband and I had JUST left the church service where the pastor’s message was about how we are called to love others that are hard to love.  Even when they are mean.  I suddenly realized how wonderful of an opportunity God has given Josh and I today to teach our little guy a little more about God’s love.

“Hey, buddy.  Do you know what Mommy and Daddy learned in church today?  We learned that we are supposed to love people that are hard to love.  Even people that aren’t nice, we are supposed to love them.”

“Oh. Love them?”

“Yeah.  We are supposed to be nice to them even when they are being mean to us.  Do you know why?”

“Why?”

“Because Jesus loves us soooooo much even though we sometimes are not nice and do bad things.  He forgives us and loves us.  Because Jesus forgave and loves us, we are supposed to forgive and love others.”

“Oh okay, Mommy and Daddy.  I’m sorry I did that.”

And do you know who got the most out of this whole situation?  My husband and I.  We have people in our lives that are hard to love and that have said/done hurtful things.  But, we are called to love them.  We are called to forgive them.  It is not easy at all.  My heart wants to stay mad at these people.  I fail all the time at this.  But, I have to try to daily remind myself how very forgiven I am, how loved I am, and that “He (or she) that does not love others does not know God.”

Thank you, Lord, for using this seemingly small situation with our little boy to convict me, to reach our hearts, and to teach us something so much greater.  You are faithful and you are good.  We love you.

A Mother’s Heart… Fears and Revelations Before and After Having Baby #2

Wow.

I just looked at my last post and it was over a year ago that I last posted.  A YEAR!  I can’t believe it.  I have been such a slacker.

Around that time, I had just found out I was pregnant with our second little one.  I am not one of those who loves being pregnant.  I love, love, love that I will be getting a sweet baby out of it in the end.  And, I insanely want to do this at least one more time.  But pregnancy wears me out, especially when I have an energetic toddler boy to chase around.

So, I took a break from blogging.  I wanted to give any energy I had to taking care of my family (and myself).

Well, in September, our precious little guy came.  He was six days late and I was about to lose my ever loving mind.  He finally came and he was just perfect, absolutely perfect.

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I was so excited to have another baby to love, to hold, to kiss, to nurse, to raise.  I already loved him so much, and I hadn’t even met him yet.  We couldn’t wait to meet him!

But, I have to admit that I had some fear.  I worried my older boy would feel left out or jealous or like he wasn’t loved as much anymore.  I was worried he would feel (tear) replaced.  Having a newborn was hard and completely consuming when it was just one.  I was worried I wouldn’t do a good job managing and keeping up with two little guys.  I was worried I wouldn’t get those moments of just sitting and nursing my baby when I had a toddler to chase after.  I was worried if I didn’t have many uninterrupted moments with just the baby and myself, that we wouldn’t bond as easily as I did with my first.  And I could go on and on with things I worried about in those days leading up to my due date.

Now that my precious baby boy is 9 months old, I can tell you that it was and sometimes still is hard… and yet absolutely WONDERFUL.

That first moment that my big boy met his new baby brother was a moment that I will never, ever, EVER forget.  It was so incredibly special.  He was in awe with how “little” he was and wanted to hold him and kiss him.  The love and bond that I am watching develop between these two little brothers is one of the most special and miraculous things I have ever witnessed.  They will have each other for life, Lord willing.  When my husband and I are old and sick and even gone, they will have each other for friendship, encouragement, support, family, and to share each others’ burdens.

Most of the things that I worried about turned out to not be an issue at all.  This new, tiny addition was adding so much more to our family, not taking anything away.  My big boy wasn’t losing any time or love.  He was GAINING a brother and a best friend for life.  Our baby was giving us more love, more joy, more laughter, more smiles, more hugs, more special moments, and more memories that we will treasure forever.

 

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“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”  Psalm 127:3

Color of the Week Series- WHITE

color of the week- WHITE

Here are the activities J and I did for WHITE week in our Color of the Week Series for Toddlers.  We had a blast!

We ate WHITE food such as yogurt, banana, yogurt covered pretzels, cauliflower, potatoes, milk, bread, and tortillas.

(Other WHITE food ideas: Pirate’s Booty, egg whites, mushrooms, marshmallows, cottage cheese, rice, rice cakes)

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We with a white bean sensory bin.  We used dry Great Northern Beans and Lima Beans.

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I bought a shower curtain for about $5 at Walmart to attempt to contain the spillage.  It worked for the most part.  Nearly every time we do a sensory bin, I swear we will never ever ever EVER do one again because it makes such a mess.  Then, I look at how much fun J is having, and I give in.  I’m a sucker.  I will say that this was the best one yet.  The beans make a lot less mess than rice.  And now that he is older, he can help clean up.  Praise the Lord!2014-01-07 09.23.32

He colored on white paper.2014-01-07 10.16.13

We threw balls into a WHITE trash can.  I bought it at Walmart for super cheap.

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We put WHITE shaving cream on the back door.  He freaked out at first when he touched it with his hands.  He hates getting his hands messy.  Solution?  Paintbrush!!  Although he asked me to wash it about every 4.2 seconds.  2014-01-09 10.49.03

I think his favorite part was clean-up.  Oh my little Adrian Monk.
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Then he took a WHITE bath with shaving cream and bubbles!  Oh does my guy love bubbles!
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Then we played with WHITE animals in “snow” (which is really salt).  Warning: the salt clean-up is only highly annoying.

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Then, we put cutouts of white arctic animals on paper and he sprinkled “snow” (white glitter) on glue I had already brushed on.  Older kiddos could brush on their own glue. 2014-01-20 16.40.12

More WHITE ideas:

play with a basket of assorted white toys

wash toys with white bubbles

wear white clothes

WHITE song (to the tune of Jingle Bells):

White, white, white.  White, white, white.  W-H-I-T-E.

A nurse’s clothes, a cloud that blows.

Shades of white to see.

Download this Generic Color of the Week Ideas PDF if ya want.   

5 Things That Make Being a Mom Really Hard

5 things that make being a mom hard title pic

Being a mom is the BEST job in the world, but it can also be really, really tough at times.  And I know I don’t even have a full grasp on how hard being a mom can be since my little guy is only 18 months old.  I am assuming that when you throw a few more kids into the mix and they start talking back to you and they all need to be ten different places at once, it can be even harder.

From my heart to yours, here are 5 things that I think make being a mom really tough.

1. Physical and emotional exhaustion

When I was pregnant, I thought I was tired.  I complained about being tired.  I would pass out on the couch at 7 pm.  I would wake up tired.  THEN I ACTUALLY HAD THE BABY.  I learned a whole new meaning to the word tired.  PURE COMPLETE EXHAUSTION.  Getting up so many times in a night, every night for months was one of the roughest things I have ever experienced.  I would remind my husband often, “You know that the military uses sleep deprivation as a form of torture, don’t you?”  This is one of those things that you can’t really do that much about at first.  The lack of sleep has lessened immeasurably since those first few months (Praise the Lord!), but as I heard someone else say one time, “You’re always tired as a mom.”  I believe that is true.  I’m no longer being “tortured” by lack of sleep, but I am still somehow exhausted.  As they move into the toddler phase, they exhaust you because they are running around like a crazy person and making ten million messes while you’re still cleaning up the first mess.

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“Good morning, Mom!  I’m up and ready to PLAY!”

Being a mom is emotionally exhausting, too.  I love this cartoon.  I feel like it so perfectly depicts how we sometimes feel in the middle of the night.

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2. Being sick as a mom

 (Here’s a picture of when J and I were sick at the same time a few months ago.)

Remember the days when you were sick and your mom (or whoever) prepared soup for you, checked on you often, let you lay in bed all day, and did not require you to do any work?  I do, and those days were so glorious!  A few weeks ago, I came down with strep.  I got to experience taking care of a crazy toddler when your whole body aches and your throat hurts like crap and all you want to do is sleep.  I have come to the realization that those days of being waited on hand and foot when I’m sick are long gone.  My husband did take care of me outside of work hours, and I am so thankful for that.  But we couldn’t afford for him to take off a whole day.  We moms just have to suck it up and power through as best we can.  With God on our side, we can do the impossible.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”  Isaiah 40:29

 

3. Mom guilt

Mom guilt plagues us ALL, I think, at one time or another.  Whether you feel guilty because of how long or if/when you stopped breastfeeding, whether or not you stay home with your kids, how much you’re reading to them, the kind of food you’re feeding them, how clean you keep your house, how many times you lost your temper this week, there is always something we can feel “Mom Guilt” about.

The thing is, if you love your child and are genuinely doing your best raising them, you are doing a great job!  Every mother looks different.  Every mother parents different, disciplines different, engages different, and I could go on and on.  But different doesn’t mean wrong.  And sometimes desiring things other than JUST cooking, cleaning, folding clothes, and caring for your family is not wrong.  Next to God, they are my second desire and priority.  It is my JOY to take care of them.  But sometimes we have to take care of ourselves and do things we enjoy, too.  And that is OKAY.

 

4. Worry

Ever since I became a mom, my mind seems to always be full and racing.  There are so many different things to remember and keep track of.  If that wasn’t enough, my mind seems to also be full with worry about my family.  I worry about their present and their future.  I worry about the food my baby is eating, if he is learning at the right pace, his character, training him up in the right way, and so much more.  When my baby is sick or hurting, it is the biggest heartache I have ever experienced.  More than anything, I worry about his safety.  I worry about losing him.  I worry about protecting him from bad people in the world.  I also worry about my husband- his health, his emotions, his happiness, his safety, etc.  And the list of people I worry about doesn’t end there.  It is a huge burden for us women to have minds so full at all times.  But Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

These verses also give me comfort:

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will never let the righteous fall.”  Psalm 55:22

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

 

5. When you don’t feel appreciated

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(Here is a picture of my living room after Tornado J came through.  See him under the table, haha?)

I think not feeling appreciated is a BIG one for moms.  Being a mom, I believe, is one of the most thankless jobs in the world.  You give and give and give and you don’t get much in return in the way of them acknowledging all that you do for them.  They do give you their smiles, hugs, kisses, pictures, and adorable selves.  Those things mean the world to me.  But, sometimes I just struggle with not feeling valuable or appreciated.  I have to remember that God is where I need to find my worth, my feelings of success, my feelings of being appreciated.  El Roi is the name of God that describes Him as the “God Who Sees.”  When I am scrubbing dishes or rocking a baby at 4 am, El Roi is there.  He sees what I am doing and He is well pleased.  What I am doing is valuable in His eyes.  I recently heard something that really convicted me and encouraged me at the same time. “If we look to our husbands to meet our every need, we are setting them up to fail before they can even try.  ONLY GOD can meet all of our needs.”  This is something I still struggle with.  I desire so much for Josh to make me feel appreciated, loved, cherished 24/7, but he can’t because he’s a human being… And because he’s a guy.  But I am praying that God will change my heart over time and that I desire His approval more than anyone else’s.  In Proverbs 31, you read verse after verse of this Godly woman serving her family.  Then, at the very end of the chapter, “her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”  She didn’t receive the praise every day, every month, or even every year necessarily.  But, she did receive it eventually.  Her children and her husband did see what she was doing and they appreciated it.  And all along, El Roi saw it.

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Motherhood is one of the most wonderful things in the whole world.  The love I have for my child is a love like no other.  Children are such a precious gift.  Sometimes Motherhood can be very hard.  I’m right there with you.  But it is worth every tear shed, every sleepless night, every pound gained, and every mess made.  I believe that it is a tool that God uses to grow us, challenge us, and make us more dependent on Him and His love and grace.  God is good.

Heavenly Father, please help me during this crazy and wonderful journey called motherhood.  Please give me strength, energy, patience, and unending love for my family and others each and every day.  Please help me to see that my worth is in YOU.  Please help me to remember that you, my sweet El Roi, see all that I do and that in Your eyes, “I am altogether beautiful.”  Thank you for Your Love.  I love you, Lord.  Amen.

Color of the Week- Let’s Do This!

color of the week series for toddlers

(FREEBIE FOR YOU NEAR THE END OF THE POST!)

Hopefully, I won’t be regretting this later, but I have decided that J and I will be starting a “Color of the Week” series next week.  Lord willing, we’ll be spending 2 weeks on each color because I can’t realistically do several color activities and blog about it all in one week.  Life just gets too busy and crazy.  I also just want him to have plenty of time to play and not be overwhelming him with too many activities in one week.

We are doing the following color order so that we will be doing red near Valentine’s Day, green near St. Patrick’s Day, yellow near Easter, pink near Mother’s Day, etc.  I would love for you to join us on our color adventure!

(This series will be done January through June.  However, there are so many great color themes in the last half of the year such as blue near Father’s Day, black or orange for Halloween, brown and yellow near Thanksgiving, green and red near Christmas, white for snow in winter, etc.  You decide when works best for your family and go with it!)  =)

Here’s our order:

White

Red

Blue

Green

Brown

Black

Yellow

Purple

Pink

Gray

Orange

 

I have compiled a list of generic ideas that can work with any color each week.  I will reference this list each week when I am racking my brain for ideas.  I’ve attached a PDF of it as well if you’d like to save it in your files or print it out.  Each week, I will include other ideas that are more specific to the color of the week.

Here’s the PDF:  Generic Color of the Week Ideas

 

Generic Color of the Week Ideas:

Motor Skills Activities:

Push color poms through an empty seasoning shaker

Sort objects or poms of two different colors onto construction paper

Put colored shower curtain rings on a colored paper towel roll

Throw a color ball and find the color of the week

Play with play dough of that color

 

Art:

Make a color collage with tissue paper, construction paper squares, stickers, crayon, etc.

Lay down contact paper sticky side up and stick down paper shapes of a certain color

Put glue on paper for your tot and let them stick colored paper squares on the paper.

Color with crayon

Fingerpaint

Sidewalk Chalk

Colored Pencils

Markers

Glitter

Use dot markers on a paper plate or coffee filter

Play with/paint with sponges of that color

Add food coloring to shaving cream and paint on a glass door, a window, or a tray

Paint on foil

 

Sensory Bins:

Aquarium gravel

Colored rice

Dry beans of different colors

Use magnetic or sponge letters of a certain color

Colored Epsom salt

Water beads of a certain color

Homemade colored “dirt”

Colored shredded paper or gift shreds

Easter basket grass

Funnels, scoopers, containers of various sizes

Color Baths with food coloring, balloons, and foam shapes and letters

Colored sensory bottles

 

Other Ideas:

Read books about the color or with a front cover that is the color of the week

Wear clothes of the color

Eat food of that color

Learn about animals of that color

Go on walks and look for things of that color outside or at the mall

Sing songs about the color

 

I can’t wait to share with you all the fun we are going to have with the color WHITE!  See you then!

Homeschooling Adventures- Fractions with Pattern Blocks

Fractions with Pattern Blocks

I found this resource for FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers (best site EVER).  It is an awesome activity to reinforce knowledge of fractions and 2D shapes while pushing the brain to think critically and creatively.  I love it!

homeschooling fractions with pattern blocks

 

Here is an example of a problem from the activity:

 

“If the yellow hexagon equals one whole, what fraction does a red trapezoid represent?”  Are you stumped?  haha  One-half!

 

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Hey Nicolas!  Can I play, too???

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J joined in on the Pattern Block fun!

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And here are a few books we have read and journaled about in his reading journal.

Nicolas’ family recently got a new dog.  So, I knew he would love this book, The Little Puppy (Pictureback(R))

First, he read it and filled out this page:

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Next, he read it again and wrote his own story about getting his dog, Padfoot.  He illustrated his story, too.

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Then, because he requested to read it a THIRD time, I had him find nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc as he read because we were studying parts of speech in language.

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We also read and filled out a story map for this cute book, Tacky the Penguin

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Have fun learning,

Jaclyn

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin!

 

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin

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Materials Needed:

– I used corn kernels (could use colored rice)

– Items to play with (I used feathers and some small, real gourds I picked up at Walmart)

– A “smelly” item (I used a fall scented candle.  You could also let them smell some Fall spices.)

– Pouring and scooping items (J used the lids from the corn kernels (they were his favorite part) and some of his stacking cups from the bath tub.)

Thanksgiving Sensory Bin for toddler

“Here I go, Mom!  I’m about to make a huge mess on your floor!”
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We did this inside because it was gross out that day… and I just imagined that if the corn kernels got all over my yard, this time next year I would have an all out corn field in my backyard!  haha! Could this really happen?!?

So, after about THREE seconds, I realized that he was just going to scoop the corn kernels and pour them out onto the floor.  Nooo!  So, my solution?  I put an empty tub next to him to dump the kernels into.

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Did that work?  Yes, for about FIVE seconds!

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So, my bright idea #2… I stick him AND the sensory tub in a laundry basket! Haha!  Did this work? YES! (For a little longer)

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I’m squished, but I’m happy!

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***If you choose to put them in a laundry basket, make sure you stay right there with them.  As soon as J decided he was done, he stood up, tipped over the basket, and the kernels I had tried so hard to keep contained went EVERYWHERE!!!!  He was fine.  =)

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Have Fun Playing!

Jaclyn

Toddler Idea- Sticker Book!

This is a cheap and easy way to keep your little one entertained for several minutes- a Toddler Sticker Book!

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Materials Needed:

Construction paper

Stickers

Because of my toddler’s age (17 months), I prepared the sticker book for him by folding the construction paper in half and loosely adding a few stickers.  I loosely added them because I wanted him to be able to pull them off and stick them back on wherever he wanted.

keeping toddler busy sticker

He spent several minutes playing with this.  He would take the stickers off, get really confused when they stuck to his fingers and he couldn’t get them off haha, and stick them back on in a different place.

 
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(see my sweet baby’s bruises? =( He tripped twice at the Arboretum the other day.  We have family pictures coming up.  I hope they completely go away before then!)IMG_1803

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Admiring his work… =)IMG_1808

Baby/Toddler Play- Paint with Water

Paint with Water

 

Do ya’ll remember Paint with Water books from when we were kids?  I loved these as a child and got so excited when I remembered them for Jackson.  They use only water.

Jackson really enjoyed doing this… until he didn’t anymore and started ripping it off his tray.  =/

Materials: 

– Paint with Water Book (see below)

– Water

– Paint brush

– Little cup for water

– Tape (if you want to tape the page down on their high chair or the table)

 

Then, paint away!

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paint with water books- baby/ toddler play idea

Click on the pictures below to check out these Paint with Water books on Amazon:

Play away,

Jaclyn

Please check out my other “Fun with Baby” Posts:

ice cube trays with cotton balls baby and toddler activities    no mess paint bags for baby and toddlerSchedule for Stay at Home Mom and baby, one year old    4th of July Sensory bin for baby or toddler

discovery bottles for baby and toddler    fun with baby or toddler- water play with colored ice

Fall Themed Sensory Bin:Colored Rice

Playing with Rocks, Toddler Baby Activity

sponge play activities for baby and toddler

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Please leave me a comment!  It makes my day when I hear from you!   

 

Math and Science Fun with Pumpkins!

Nicolas (boy I homeschool) and I had some “Math and Science Fun with Pumpkins”!

We observed the pumpkin using our 5 Senses.

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We estimated the weight and then weighed it on a scale.  Math and Science Fun with Pumpkins, Dissecting a Pumpkin

We measured the height and circumference of the pumpkin.

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We estimated how many seeds it had (he guessed 5 LOL) and then attempted to count the actual number (but there were so many in that gooey mess, we just guessed again.)

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We observed the inside of the pumpkin using our 5 Senses.

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Nicolas took home a baggie of seeds to plant and/or toast.

Then, he sketched his Jack-o-Lantern design on paper and then drew it on his pumpkin with a sharpie.

Then, we read… (click to buy on Amazon)

The Pumpkin Book

After learning about the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin, we completed the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin activity pages from the packet.

You can download this activity packet here.

Math and Science Fun with Pumpkins Activity Packet

Teach On,

Jaclyn

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