Monday, October 18, 2021

Halloween Activity Books for Kids



The season for spooks, sweets, and treats is upon us! I wanted to share two more posts for Halloween before I turn my attention to Día de los Muertos. Today, I'm focusing on activity books!

With most kids loving the anticipation of the holidays, Halloween is always a great way to find extra fun that isn’t just about costumes and candy. Many parents have started doing themed baskets as early gifts with activities, books, and games to let their children enjoy the upcoming holiday. If you can find an activity that engages a child and excites them, that is a perfect way to spend time getting ready for the big night of fun. These Halloween activity books for kids will keep your children entertained and they may even learn something. Perfect for car rides and winding down for the day. 

10 Halloween Activity Books

Arranged by age range, these activity books are sure to be a hit in your home!


Halloween Hidden Pictures Puffy Sticker Playscenes  (Ages 3-6)

My Spooky Halloween Sticker and Activity Book  (Ages 3-6)

Halloween Haunt & Find- I Spy Book  (Ages 3-8)

Halloween Hidden Pictures® Puzzles to Highlight  (Ages 6)

Halloween Wipe Clean Book for Kids (Ages 4-6)

Room on the Broom Big Activity Book  (Ages 4-8)

Spooky Mazes Activity Book (Ages 4 -8)

Countdown to Halloween Activity Book  (Ages 4-8)

Jumbo Halloween Maze Book for Kids (Ages 4-12)

Halloween Tales Hidden Picture Book (Ages 6-9)



Wednesday, October 13, 2021

"Día de los Muertos" by Nathalia

Día de los Muertos is quickly approaching. It is the time of year when many families take the opportunity to remember their friends and family who have passed away. 

If you don't know what exactly Day of the Dead is about, check out my post, A Brief History of Día de los Muertos for Children. You can also click on the post tags to see TONS of content (crafts, books, lesson plans, etc.) for this holiday here on MommyMaestra

I'm kicking off this year's Day of the Dead content by sharing this lovely new animated music video by Nathalia. I think those of you raising bilingual kids will love it. 

Enjoy!


Monday, October 11, 2021

12 Fun Halloween Craft Kits for Kids



When it comes to the celebration of all things Halloween, it is about more than the candy and trick-or-treating. Kids find fun in the time leading up to the big night by doing activities to set the Halloween mood. One really fun way to get your children excited for the upcoming holiday - and even help with decoration ideas - is to get crafty!

You don’t need to be a superstar crafter to help your kids complete these fun and thrilling Halloween craft kits. They are great for family night, school activities, and even for putting in Boo Bags as fillers. Your children will have fun helping set up, create, and share their adorable creations. 

This post contains affiliate links. See my sidebar for more information.

12 Halloween Crafts


DIY Colorful Halloween Craft Stick Faces
Makes 10.
 
Fuse Bead Spooky Halloween Ornaments
Makes 5.

Paint Your Own Halloween Squishes Pumpkins
Makes 6.


Foam Ghost Magnets
Makes 12.


DIY Arts Crafts Wood Magnet Creativity Painting Kit
20 pieces.


DIY Witches’ Potion Kit
Makes 10.


Halloween Wood Blank Cutouts
Makes 40.


Halloween Window Art Clings
Makes 7.


Halloween Rainbow Scratch Paper Ornaments
Makes 48.


Halloween Glow in the Dark Rock Painting Kit
Makes 10.


155pc Halloween Heat Shrink Kit. Make keyrings, earrings and more!


DIY Halloween Themed Dangle Earrings Kit
Makes 10 pairs.



Image credit: © Can Stock Photo / spukkato

Friday, October 8, 2021

Brick-Stamped Apple Tree Activity

 LEGO-stamped apple tree activity for kids

Are you looking for a fun and fall-themed activity or craft to keep your kids busy this weekend? This (LEGO) brick-stamped apple tree craft is brilliantly simple to prepare!

I have two boys who absolutely love Legos... 

Lego floor
(One small tote full of Lego's from my kid's room dumped all over the living room floor.)

So saying I have all the bricks 100 kids need to craft with is by no means an exaggeration. 

And I'm guessing that a LOT of you reading this can totally relate. So that's why I thought it would be fun to share this simple craft using a little paint, a piece of paper, and some LEGOS! It's the perfect craft in ANY language!

LEGO-stamped apple tree activity supplies


Supplies:

  • Green paint in 2 different shades
  • Red paint
  • Brown paint
  • A paper plate or large plastic lid
  • Paper
  • Legos in assorted shapes


Directions:

1) Squeeze a generous amount of each color of paint on a paper plate.

2) Instruct your child to make the trunk and the branches first using brown paint. A long, skinny Lego will work best. Allow your child to experiment with which side of the LEGO they prefer to use as a stamper. Each side offers different textures.

Brick-stamped apple tree activity for kids


3) Next, encourage the child to stamp into the green paint. Layer the colors of green and use a variety of bricks to create the leaves.

Brick-stamped apple tree activity for kids


4) Offer a small brick to create the apples. We found a brick with only 2 connectors was a nice choice. Allow the project to dry... then display!

Brick-stamped apple tree activity for kids


As the painting is happening, your young child's fine motor skills will be used to pinch and hold the slippery bricks. And kids will love the sensation of creating art with a favorite toy.

Happy crafting!

Brick-stamped apple tree activity for kids

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Free Spanish Halloween Activity Card Set


FREE Spanish for You! Halloween Activity Card Set!

Use this downloadable PDF Halloween Activity Card Set to learn some Spanish Halloween vocabulary and for your own games and activities for classes or home. Reproducible year after year! Packet comes with:
  • 16 Large Picture Flashcards with Spanish Words
  • 16 Smaller Picture Only Cards
  • Word Search
  • Audio so you can hear everything!
You can also find some fun and easy ideas for using the cards at the Spanish for You! Curriculum Activities website page here.

You'll only find this offer here on MommyMaestra. 

To get yours, click here, and the code for the offer is: SpookyCardsFree.

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Resources for Dyslexia Awareness Month

The following is a guest post by MommyMaestra contributor, Stacie Servantes Farias, a Mexican-American mom of 6 who does not blog because she is too busy reading other blogs to write one of her own.

Deep sigh.  October...my favorite month of the year where temperatures begin to drop, the mosquitos begin to disappear, and the changing of the leaves never fails to impress with its beautiful, fiery hues.  October is a month to celebrate these seasonal changes, and the best part, it gets topped off by a holiday where we get to wear costumes and collect bags of candy! 

Surely Anne Shirley was right when she said, 


“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!”  - L.M. Montgomery from Anne of Green Gables 


For my homeschooling family, and for many families everywhere, October has an additional special meaning as Dyslexia Awareness Month.  I have written for Mommy Maestra before about how dyslexia has impacted my family and have shared a couple of reviews and resources (here and here) that we’ve enjoyed. However, in honor of this lovely month and because most homeschooling families beginning their dyslexia journey do not know where to start, I’d like to share a few links and resources which I hope will be as illuminating for you, as they have been for me.  


This post contains affiliate links.


My favorite dyslexia-related websites for homeschoolers:


https://homeschoolingwithdyslexia.com/

Seriously, start your research with this website.  It is fantastic! Curriculum reviews, comparison, tools, eBooks, workshops, everything you need to learn about dyslexia is here.


https://www.dys-add.com/

Wonderful website for homeschoolers AND school systems families.  I have said this before and I will say it again, Susan Barton, the founder of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia and Barton Reading and Spelling, is a Q-U-E-E-N!  Watch the videos and this website and be in awe of her compassion and expertise. 


https://dyslexiaida.org/

This is the website for the International Dyslexia Association and info on dyslexia is available in English AND Spanish on this website.  Be sure to check it out!


https://www.dyslexicadvantage.org/

Brock and Fernette Eide recently developed a dyslexia screening app for the iPad! 


https://www.facebook.com/decodingdyslexiamilitary/

Decoding Dyslexia is a parent-led nonprofit that is available in every state. The link above is for the DD-Military Chapter but rest assured your state has its own network that you can google.


My favorite dyslexia-related websites with printable activities:


https://www.theliteracynest.com/

Check out this shop on her site and Teachers Pay Teachers.  It’s excellent!


https://thisreadingmama.com/

Fun Fun FUN phonics-based activities found here!


My favorite books about dyslexia:


Dyslexia 101: Truth, Myths, and What Really Works by Marianne Sunderland

Quick read and good starting point.



Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz and Johnathan Shaywitz

Make sure you read the new and updated 2020 edition.



The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock and Fernette Eide 




The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan by Ben Foss



Favorite Podcasts and podcast episodes about dyslexia:


The Dyslexia Quest Podcast

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dyslexia-quest-podcast/id901156826


Read Aloud Revival Podcast Episodes 175 & 176

https://readaloudrevival.com/podcasts/


Institute For Excellence in Writing Podcast.  There are many episodes dedicated to dyslexia but here is one in particular that I enjoyed. 

https://iew.com/help-support/podcast/episode-159-iew-and-dyslexia-conversation-susan-barton




There are so many more books, websites, blogs, podcasts, etc. available that it would be impossible to include them all, which means that our children and homeschools are blessed to have an abundance of dyslexia resources. Whether you are the 1 in 5 people with dyslexia, or your child is, take comfort in knowing there are solutions, advantages, accommodations, and anything you need to make learning accessible. I leave you with a quick 5-minute video that explains dyslexia way more concisely than I ever could. 


Happy October to you all!



Photo credit: (c) Can Stock Photo / dizanna

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Bio:

Stacie Servantes Farias is an Army wife and mom of 6 with a “very healthy” obsession for Snoopy, Disney movies, Audrey Hepburn, Dr. Pepper, Whataburger, books, and homeschooling. Originally from Mission, Texas, Stacie and her high-school sweetheart hubby live with their kids and dog in a different home every few years, because that is the military life. She has big plans to write a book exploring her theory that La Llorona drowned her children because they would take their socks off all over the house and then would complain that they never had clean socks! Stacie also thinks she is really funny, but she is mostly lame. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Bilingual Homeschool for the Parent Who Doesn’t Speak Spanish

The following is a guest post by homeschool mom, Rachel, from Where'd You Learn That.

Can you attempt Spanish-English bilingual homeschool, even when you don’t *really* speak Spanish?

Sure you can! For the exact same reason that homeschool parents don’t need degrees in chemistry or physics so that their kids can study high school-level science.

You don’t need to be an expert in everything that your child learns during their homeschool journey. You do need to be willing to learn alongside your child, and to seek out resources and tools for the learning journey that you are embarking on.

Let me share what I’ve learned since beginning bilingual homeschool as a mom who doesn’t *really* speak Spanish...or didn’t until this journey started!

Where I Started

My family is fairly typical of those you’ll find among the bilingual parenting community. My husband has Mexican heritage and grew up speaking Spanish in his family, and I’m an English speaker. I did take a couple college classes in Spanish many years ago, but...as is the story of many who studied a language but never needed to use it to communicate...I never spoke it, up until after we had children.

Raising Spanish-speaking kids was important to my husband, so it became important to me. We started out with the typical OPOL method, “One Parent One Language.” But...where we live, we have zero access to a local Spanish-speaking community, and I’m the primary caregiver, while my husband works outside the home. We quickly realized that if the only Spanish exposure our kids got was through conversation with him, it wouldn’t be enough for them to build really solid Spanish language skills. I needed to get involved in the process. Spanish needed to become a natural part of our homeschool preschool routine. I needed to get outside my own language comfort zone and challenge myself in order to give my children the gift of bilingualism.

So, I set my mind to the task of bilingual homeschooling, even though I was far from able to hold a conversation in Spanish. If you’re in a similar place, how can you get started?

1. Build Your Library


I started by collecting any Spanish picture book I could get my hands on. Translated or authentic, it didn’t really matter when I was starting from nothing. What mattered was that even though my spoken Spanish was slow, broken, and awkward, my background of taking Spanish classes had equipped me with the ability to pronounce Spanish words and read them aloud. 

I don’t understand every word, or the grammatical order of the sentences in the endless picture books I read to my young children, but illustrations, a storyline, and young, eager listeners provide the perfect foundation for understanding. Make it a goal to learn how to read Spanish aloud, and you’ll quickly grow more and more comfortable with the vocabulary and rhythm of the language.

2. Expand Your Music Collection


I can sing dozens of songs off by heart—all the songs I heard throughout my childhood. Every one of them is in English. When exploring bilingual homeschool, I needed to enter the unknown world of Spanish music for children. I asked my husband about his favorite artists. I talked to other parents raising Spanish-speaking kids and got recommendations of artists creating child-friendly music in Spanish. I made it a habit to play Spanish music during times of work and play throughout our day.

When the Spanish music plays, I don’t turn my mind off. I listen. Over time, with repeated hearings, I try to sing along. I stumble over the fast pace of the words at first, but with time, I get better. As time has passed, I begin to be able to sing some of these songs even without the music in the background. Today, my sons can be heard singing in Spanish as they play together. Bilingualism isn’t built in a day, but in a million tiny decisions throughout the years.

3. Don’t Try to DIY Everything


Although my children are young, I feel very comfortable in the world of homeschool and education. I was homeschooled from preschool through graduation. I’ve been a classroom teacher, a private tutor, and a curriculum writer in the days before parenthood. If I were homeschooling in English only, I’d be just the type to create custom, DIY curriculum, to go off-script, to lead spontaneous activities and unit studies.

But because I’m homeschooling bilingually in a language I’m not yet confident in...I need a script right now. I have purposefully purchased workbooks and learning guides that are published in Spanish so that I have a script to follow. I use Spanish-language videos to teach concepts to my children, and use the same videos to teach new vocabulary to myself. I don’t have all the vocabulary words that a native-speaking teacher would have. I know myself. If I’m not prepared, if I don’t have some sort of script to give me the basic words, I’m going to freeze, and all the vocabulary I do have will disappear from my brain. I’ll revert back to what’s easier for me: leading any activity in English. Curriculums that are already in Spanish help make bilingual homeschool possible for me.

Many families choose to incorporate online or in-person classes taught by native speakers. You are not “betraying” any homeschool ideals when you hire a teacher to help strengthen the Spanish component of your homeschool. There are no unwritten rules that good homeschool moms do everything on their own. I know it feels like that’s a rule...but trust me, it isn’t.

4. Be Willing to Feel Dumb


I want to applaud everyone out there who’s on the journey of learning a second or third language as an adult. It’s tough. You feel like an intelligent, capable human being when speaking your native language, but in your second language, you stumble. You speak slower. You make errors that are obvious to a 1st grader. You get frustrated with your clumsy tongue. Sometimes it’s just easier to be quiet than to continue trying to speak.

When you’re using your second language to homeschool your kids, there will be times when your native-speaking kids know the right Spanish words to use before you do. Times when they correct you and remind you. That means you’re on the right track. You’re giving your children the gift of language acquisition at an early age. This is something that’s going to benefit them for a lifetime, and it’s okay if there are times when it’s a little hard on your own self-esteem. Press on!

5. Find and Follow Experts Who are Further Along on Their Journey


I have young children. We’re rather new to the journey of bilingual homeschool, but I am already seeing fruit from the intentional decision to make learning in Spanish a regular part of our lives. 

So many years lie ahead of us. The subjects we study will get more complex. I may not know where to find Spanish-language books, videos, curriculum, and resources for science, history, and beyond!

That’s okay! It may feel like you’re walking this path of bilingual homeschool alone, but you’re never truly alone. Search out people who are further along on the journey. There are amazing homeschool parents out there sharing resources on their blogs, Instagram accounts, and YouTube channels. There are parents and educators creating new Spanish curriculum to fill in the gaps that they have noticed along the way. 

I seek out such people. I follow them. I save their book recommendations and their posts in lists I’m making for future years. I gain new ideas and am encouraged that it is possible to build a thriving bilingual homeschool. Follow people that keep you looking ahead to the adventures that await you. You CAN do this!


Photo credit:(c) Can Stock Photo / pressmaster 

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Bio:

Rachel is a 2nd generation homeschool and a mom of two. She shares her bilingual homeschool journey on her Youtube channel, Seven in All. Rachel and her husband, a Spanish teacher, work together to create printable resources for bilingual homeschoolers on their website.

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