Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Littles Learning Link Up: Guest Post: Pond Circle Story Time For Preschoolers

 Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (toward the beginning of the month)
  • A guest post featuring crafts, activities, tips, snack ideas or other early childhood topics. (toward the end of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my preschoolers and/or early elementary children (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child.

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

It is time for this month's Guest Post:

Today I would like to introduce you to KT from Lit Mama Homeschool

Inline image 1 KT Brison offers a brand new Story Time every Monday, as well as novel studies and free downloads, at Lit Mama Homeschool.  Most days you can find her either romping about her farm with her wonderful boys or with her nose buried in a book.  Any book.  As long as it has words.  

Today KT is sharing a fun Story Time right here on Littles Learning Link Up. Pull up a chair and join me as we check out these fun activities revolving around a fun picture book.

The Big Lesson I learned when I was a children's librarian is that even the most reluctant reader can enjoy a book given the right activities.  We did crafts and food at the library, but when I started homeschooling my boys I realized I could put a lot more into this reading thing, turning a picture book into a short unit study.  Relating activities to a book enhances both the book and the activities.  I started planning lessons around my boys' favorite books and soon they were hooked.  At 11 and 13, they are avid readers.  You can instill that same love of books in your littles with just a bit of planning.  Lucky you, you have me to do the planning for you!

Spring is a great time of year to get involved in nature study and there are lots of picture books to choose from if you want to form a lesson for your preschooler.  One of my favorites is Pond Circle by Betsy Franco.  This book is told kind of in the style of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, with each page building on and repeating the last, so it's an excellent book if you want your child to start recognizing words in preparation for reading.  Add in beautiful illustrations and an account of many different creatures that make the pond their home, and you have picture book gold.

Pond Circle

What kinds of activities can your preschooler do along with this gem of a book?  Well, let's get to it.


Because there are so many similar words throughout these pages, sight word recognition is a good place to start.  If your preschooler is not quite there, letter recognition would also work.  Here's a free download that has BOTH!  That way you can use one now and one later if you want.  I mean, you're welcome.

preschool pond pack


This is as easy as studying the life cycles of some of the creatures in the book.  I've found some incredible sites for you that you can view pictures of life cycles on.  Even for a mayfly.

Flymaster -- Mayfly life cycle

Animal Corner -- Beetle life cycle

Quest Garden -- Frog life cycle (even has a video you can watch)

RSO Snakes --Snake life cycle and in-depth article about reproduction

Sparkle Box -- Owl life cycle

Twinkl -- Mammal life cycle

There are also free mini units about turtles, frogs and toads, raccoons, and owls Lit Mama's Subscriber Freebies if you are looking for more in-depth studies.


finished lilypad1

What better craft for a pond book than a lily pad?  Your preschooler will not only love this cute craft, she won't be overwhelmed by it because it's so. stinkin'. easy.

What you need:

lilypad supplies
  • Green construction paper
  • 2 cupcake liners
  • Yellow foam sheet (or if you have lots of foam shapes laying around like I do, pick a yellow flower)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Saucer or bowl for tracing circle
What  you do:

  • Trace the plate or bowl onto the paper so you have a perfect circle
cut out lilypad circle
  • Cut out the circle
cut triangle from lilypad
  • Cut a triangle shape out of one side of the circle
  • Set aside
cut flower petals

Cut triangle shapes from the ridged part of both cupcake liners to make 'petals'

  • Glue one liner onto lilypad opposite the triangle cutout
  • Lightly flatten the petals (Sorry for the blurry pic.  Unfortunately I am seldom perfect.)
lily cups
  • Glue second liner into first, adjusting so the petals do not line up, giving it a staggered effect
  • finished lilypad straight edge
  • Cut a flower shape from the yellow foam (or go the lazy mama's route like I did and pick one out of your bag of foam shapes)
  • Glue the flower to the center of the lily flower
finished lilypad
  • If you want to use some fancy wavy scissors to go around the outside of  the lilypad, have at it!  Totally unnecessary, though.
See?  I told ya this was going to be easy.


nymphs and algae

Let's keep the easy peasy going with Nymphs and Algae Celery Sticks

What you need:
  • 2-3 celery sticks (or more, depending on the number of littles)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Green food coloring
  • Small box of raisins
What you do:
  • Scoop the peanut butter into a small bowl
  • Add 3 or more drops of food coloring, combining until your peanut butter is a nice green
  • Cut each celery stick into thirds
  • Spread peanut butter over celery sticks
  • Place 3-5 raisins atop peanut butter
Done and done!  These are so easy your preschooler can even help make them!
Doing these activities along with your little while reading this incredible book is going to create good memories and put your little on the path to a lifelong love of reading.  Plus, it offers you an hour or two undivided time with your precious baby. 

Yeah yeah.
Love wins,

If you would like to guest post on Littles Learning Link Up, please contact me via email. My email address can be found on my About Me page. I am scheduling posts for the next several months and would love to include yours. I ask that the guest posts focus on subjects relevant for young children (toddler through early elementary). This could be crafts, activities, recipes, or various tips and advice. I am always open to suggestions. Details will be emailed to those who are interested.

Now Onto:

Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there were 28 wonderful posts linked up. I will be picking one randomly selected post to share, plus the top clicked-on posts.  

Don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

This week's randomly selected post is:

Nancy from Mimi and the Grands shared In-Home Day Camp Week 1: Ice Cream Dreams.

And here are this week's most clicked on posts:

Michelle from Homeschool Your Boys shared Teaching Art Using Online Art Lessons.

Sandy from Sandy A La Mode shared Runchkins Stylish Kids Clothes Delivered to Your Door.

My Bored Toddler shared Toddler Father's Day Crafts.

Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on my Toddler Ideas or other relevant board, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Sunday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up- May 31, 2016

Welcome to Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up with your hosts Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily Reviews, Shelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

So glad you could join us as we share our giveaways on  Tuesday's Giveaway Link Ups. 

This link up will be posted Monday at 7 PM est. and run all week long! Make sure you stop in as often as you can to list your latest giveaways.

Here is how to use the Giveaway Link Up

1. Post your reviews and/or giveaways, as many as you have, be sure to add the end date (family friendly please)

2. Help spread the word about the giveaway link up by grabbing our button, Tweeting or posting on Facebook. (Not mandatory- but it helps get more exposure to your giveaways as well!)

3. Take a moment to enter any giveaway that strikes an interest to you!

If you would  like to follow the  hostesses, we will gladly follow you back! Simply leave us a message to do so.

Featured Giveaways

Diana's White House Garden (hardcover children's book) US only Ends 6/5

Thank you for linking up with Karen @ Tots and Me, Emily @ Emily ReviewsShelly @ The Attic Girl, and Rena @ An Ordinary Housewife.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #101: May 26, 2016

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around May 26th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

I have reviewed some great products in the past (and continue to do so). I thought it would be a neat idea to choose review posts this year and highlight some of these great products again.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Gypsy Road shared

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

If you would like to help spread the news:

Tots and Me
Happy Throwback Thursday!

Working on Math Skills While Playing Sunya {A TOS Review}

Tabitha has been learning how to multiply, so when the opportunity arose through the Schoolhouse Review Crew to review a brand new game that focuses on multiplying and dividing, I thought we would give it a try. Sunya Publishing is a brand new company and they gave us the chance to review Sunya -The Magic and Wonder of Math and Science Multiplying & Dividing before it is even available to the public. They also have an Addition and Subtraction game, which is suited for children 7 and up. I admit, it was a bit of a toss up, because Amelia could have joined in with the Addition and Subtraction game, but I was at a point where I really wanted to work with Tabitha with her multiplication, so I chose to go with that version of the game, which is suited for children 9 and up. 

We were sent the Teacher/Parent Guidebook, 2 sets of cards, and a number line. The first pack of cards consists of 60 number cards plus a wild card.  As you can see, the number is represented three times on the card, once in the center, again in the corner, and below the center number by a group of dots. The other set of cards consists of 30 math and science fact and riddle cards. These cards are meant to expand ones mind, used after each round of play, so they aren't really essential to the actual game that is being played, but they are fun to read through and try to stump each other with.  

The game itself is explained in the guidebook. Crew Members were sent a book that had some pages in color and others in black and white, so we could share our input on which we thought was better. 

Personally, I preferred the colored version of the pages. To me, it seemed more professional and easier to read as it broke the page up. Also, because there are times the instructions refer to a color in the pictures, the colored pages would be necessary in order to find where the specified color was.

Unfortunately, the instructions are quite confusing. I admit, it hurt my head to read through them. There is a lot of repetition of points and things being explained in what seem to be round about ways. When reading examples of how to play, card numbers were listed, but were grouped together, and for some reason, this made it very hard for me to focus. I think it would have helped a great deal to have those numbers separated by commas. 

The good news is, the game itself is quite easy to understand and play.  The gist of the game is, you are making either multiplication or division number sentences and you take turns building new number sentences on your turn. We chose to focus on multiplication. Depending on the cards you have, you could change one or both of the numbers you are multiplying, which of course would change the product. 

For example:

The multiplication sentence in play is 2 x 2 = 4. 
My husband was holding the cards 0, 3, 5, and 8. 
He drew another 8 to start his turn.
Can you see a new multiplication sentence he could make?

This is what he was able to do:

He covered the first 2 with an 8.
He covered the second 2 with a 5.
He was able (in fact required) to use the 4 that was there in the product, it just moved from being in the ones place, to being in the tens place, and he added a 0 to the end to make it 40.
He was left with a 3 and an 8 in his hand.

Now, if he hadn't been able to play off of the cards he had after he drew a card, the rules say he would keep drawing until he had something he could play. When we played the game the first time, we followed this rule. It took us over an hour to finish the game. I admit, when we played again, we modified it a bit. We draw a card, and then if we can't play, we draw one more card. If the player still is unable to make a multiplication sentence they just have to skip their turn. Due to there being less cards being drawn into the hand, the game took a lot less time to play. We were finished in about half an hour. 

When I first played, I actually played by myself. I had been attempting to understand the directions by simply reading the manual, and it was not sinking in. So, I dealt cards for myself and two invisible friends and I played, reading the rules as I went. Next I played with just my husband. He was a little perplexed at first, but caught on quite fast. As I said, the gist of the game is easy enough to understand, it is just trying to wrap my head around the details of the rules. I think we are playing properly.

When I thought I understood the game well enough, I invited Tabitha to play a game with daddy and me.

The dealer starts out the game by forming a multiplication sentence and dealing each player 4 cards.  When it is a players turn,they are to draw a card.

As you can see, Tabitha had her cards face up on the table. It actually states right in the guidebook that it doesn't matter if other players see your cards, and you are able to help one another. This is great for giving older children or adults the opportunity to guide younger children in finding cards that will make a new multiplication sentence. It can also help younger children not become frustrated, and if the other players are showing their cards, they can try to determine what the other player might play. 

I love the look on her face here. You can tell she is trying to figure the math out.

The goal of the game is to be the first one to use all your cards. As you lay down your last card, you need to remember to say, "Sunya" in order to win. If you forget, you have to draw a card, which means that you are no longer the winner and the game continues on. 

Wait, what? I guess you are perhaps wondering what the word "Sunya" means. Well, for the short answer, it means "empty" in the ancient language of the Hindus called Sanskrit. A longer explanation of the meaning, along with some history on the modern number system, can be found in the guide book. 

Let's look a little more at the Guide Book. In addition to the rules to the basic game there are alternate games to play. There is a Game II, Solitaire and Team Sunya, and Sunya 400. After the section on the meaning of Sunya, you will find a glossary, information on the parts of a number sentence, famous math quotes, Math and Science Facts and Riddles Cards (yes these are the same as the ones that are included as a deck of cards. I haven't quite figured out why they included these in the book as well. Personally, it seems a bit redundant and I feel they could make the guide book shorter without them. 

I did also want to mention that my husband and I felt that the number line wasn't really helpful at all. I think it would be more helpful to have included a chart of multiplication and division facts. The numbers on the number line are randomly listed and quite confusing to us.

As I have already mentioned, this game is actually quite simple (and fun) to play; however, it would be a much more enjoyable experience if the rules were a bit more concise with more pictures to demonstrate how to play. As it is, the examples are just the number sentence written out. To show the new move the number is written in place of the old number while the old number sort of gets shoved down. I think this was one of the things I had the hardest time to wrap my mind around. I think if actual cards were shown in more sections of the guide book these instructions would be easier to comprehend. 

You can see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Sunya, both the Multiplying & Dividing and the Adding & Subtracting, by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. Just click on the banner below.

Math and Science {Sunya Publishing Review}
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship {A Review and Giveaway}

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you had to literally lay down your life for Christ? Would you have the courage and strength to stand firm in your faith and witness of our Lord and Savior? I ashamedly admit, I don't know if I would have that strength. Used to be, here in America, the thought of someone dying for their faith was something from the past, or something in a far away country. Because yes, Christians are still paying that ultimate price even in this day and age. And the way this country is headed, I can see it becoming more and more important to strengthen ones faith in Jesus and lean on Him in the face of possible persecution. 

I pray that the Lord would strengthen me if persecution comes, as He has done in the past and still does today in other countries. That is what the book I would like to share with you today is about. Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship was edited by Charles E. Moore and Timothy Keiderling, and it was published by Plough Publishing House.

The book is divided into four parts in addition to the introduction. 
  • Part I: Early Christians
  • Part II: Radical Reformers
  • Part III: Early Modern Witnesses
  • Part IV: Recent Witnesses
All in all, there are a total of 36 stories of Christians who have died for their faith. Because some of the stories contain more than one person, this book shares the stories of more than 46 individuals who became martyrs for Christ. Of course, many more have died through the years, but these are the stories that have been chosen to be included in this book. Bearing Witness continues the tradition of sharing the stories of those who have suffered and died in the name of Jesus. There have been compilations of such stories in the past. In fact, I remember my old church had a copy of Martyr's Mirror that shares the story of "some fifteen hundred Anabaptists who were imprisoned, tortured, and killed for their faith during the sixteenth century."

At the beginning of the book we are reminded of Jesus word's, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it." 

I found the introduction, written by John D. Roth and Elizabeth Miller, quite informative. This book came about as a part of the Bearing Witness Stories Project. This project is, "a collaborative story-gathering project involving Anabaptist believers from many different traditions and locations." Being a member of a Mennonite church, I was quite intrigued when I discovered that the editors focused on Anabaptist martyrs and others who suffered for their commitment to believer's baptism and nonviolence. In this book we see how the Christians welcomed and embraced the chance to die for their Lord. We see how they respond in love to those who  are their enemies, just as Jesus did.I found the information on the qualifications for Christian martyrdom quite interesting. The introduction also explains why we still need to hear these martyr stories in this day and age, especially here in America.

The accounts of Christian martyrs begins with a story from the Bible, the story of Stephen who was stoned for professing Christ. I found the stories of the early Christians who died for their faith eye opening. To realize that these Christians could stand in the face of such torture and still proclaim faith in their Lord. In the early days, it was the Roman empire that was persecuting Christians for not bowing to their gods and Caesar. Later, the radical reformers were standing against false doctrine of the Catholic church, dying because they believed differently than what they were supposed to. I think these stories get me the most. I have heard some of these stories in the past (such as the account of Dirk Willems), and it baffles me that those who professed to work in the name of Christ would kill other Christians because they disagreed with doctrine. 

The accounts in this book are sure to strengthen your faith and will make you realize that there is a cost to following Jesus. 

Great news! I have been given the opportunity to offer a giveaway for one person to win their own copy of Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship.

All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. 
There are only 2 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. 
Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning. 

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over. 
The giveaway runs May 25th through June 5th.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!

 By entering the giveaway, you understand and agree that your contact information will be shared with the sponsor.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Disclosure: I received a hardcover copy of  Bearing Witness: Stories of Martyrdom and Costly Discipleship in exchange for my honest review. No further compensation was given. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.

Wordless Wednesday: May 25th, 2016 (w/linky) - Picking Flowers

So, we went over to the park to gather pinecones to make our birdfeeders for our Science Shepherd activity. While there, Amelia had to keep being reminded that we were supposed to be finding pinecones. She much preferred picking flowers. 

See, Harold was following directions. He ended up with an armful of pinecones.

And yes, Amelia was still picking flowers.

She wasn't the only one who ended up picking "flowers." Harold wanted me to take a picture, so I gladly obliged.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.

Tots and Me

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