Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Easy Art Adventures for Toddlers

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 by by

Please join me in welcoming Leah who blogs at Simple Home Blessings. If you haven’t visited her yet, you’ll want to do so as soon as you’ve finished reading this post. Leah is a mom to 2 little ones who blogs about the joys of everyday life. She shares wonderful children’s activities that will inspire you, plus some ideas for home making and saving money. I am happy to have her at Mess For Less today sharing some easy ways you can enjoy art with your young child.

Easy Art Adventures

We have noticed our 2-year-old has a kind of artistic bent. She loves (has loved) music from a very early age, is interested in what the instruments do and what sounds they make. She also is very interested in arts and crafts. She loves to color, paint, and otherwise create.

This has become a bit of a challenge for me because I don’t think of myself as artistic. So coming up with ways for her to explore her artistic side without simply coloring has been difficult lately. But I started to explore some very basic art projects and found they were big successes!

She loved creating and seeing something she made and I loved seeing her thrive in the process. So I thought I would put together a list of simple ideas for exploring art with your child (without getting out the crayon bin).

1. Stamping. This was our very earliest venture into art with our little one. We did this when she was 18 months old. I took a simple household sponge and cut a star out of it and used washable paint. We worked for quite some time stamping and getting it just right! We also used cut apples and uncut oranges to explore the possibilities in stamping. This was a great way for her to explore paint for the first time and see the textures created by using items she was familiar with.

stamping with toddlers



Be real

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 by by

Frequently I am messaged, e-mailed, or hailed over at some event and asked a question by moms who are considering homeschooling their kids, and it almost always goes something like this: “Where do you find your curriculum and which one do you use?” I usually name a few popular publishers, maybe send some links their way, give my typical try-it-and-see advice, and leave it at that. But here’s what I really want to say.

My number one job as a mother, as a teacher, as a champion for my children’s education, is just one thing: leave them with a love of learning.

That’s it.

If I manage to do nothing else but leave that natural curiosity, the joy of learning for the sake of finding out new and exciting things that all kids start out with, intact in my children, then I have succeeded. Everything else will fall into place. It’s that simple.


Learn Through Movement – Number Hunt

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 by by

Learn Through Movement -Math Number Hunt
This week I am taking part in a series with some of my favorite kids websites, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and Train Up a Child. We will be talking about different ways kids can Learn Through Movement. Parents and teachers are always looking for ways to make learning more engaging and fun for kids. One way to do this is by connecting learning with movement activities. When kids learn through movement, they are having more fun than they would learning passively and their motivation to learn increases.

Today Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Train Up a Child and Mess For Less are focusing on Math, while Wednesday will be Reading and Friday will be Science.  Are you ready to get started and see how your kids can learn through movement? Great! Read on to see how to create a fun number hunt that gets kids moving and counting. (more…)

My Favorite Children’s Books

Monday, June 10th, 2013 by by

Since it is Children’s Book Week I thought I’d share some of my very favorite children’s books.

There are SO many mainstream/classic/popular books that we all love as a family, but some of these books in particular are special because many of them are from my own childhood.  For whatever reason, these stories really stuck with me and it’s been so neat to share them with my own kids.  The older kids remember me reading them these stories when they were younger and when they see me pulling these particular books out to read to Kellan and Riss, inevitably they will drift into the room to listen.  Magic!


My brother and I were probably 4 & 8 years old when my dad first read us this book.  I think it was mailed to us as part of a “Weekly Reader” book club my mom signed us up for where every month we received 2-3 new books (which we looked forward to like crazy!).  We must have begged my poor dad to read this thing every single night for at least 5 years.  I still have my original hardcover copy which is beat to heck, but I lucked out and found a paperback copy at the thrift store for back-up.  Christina Katerina’s mother gets a new refrigerator and therefore Christina gets a brand new box which she and her friend, Fats Watson (how much do you love that name?) re-imagine into all sorts of things – from a racecar to a club house.  The whole book is done in the same colors you see here on the cover, which goes to show that with a good story, you don’t need a lot of bells & whistles.



Bathing Dolls – Water Sensory Play

Thursday, May 30th, 2013 by by

This is such a great way to beat the summer heat. Bring the dolls outside and give them a bath. A fun, soapy sensory experience awaits.
Faithful Mess For Less readers might notice that my kids look a lot younger in these photos. No, I didn’t acquire some sort of time machine, but I did find these photos of my kids bathing dolls which we did BMFL (before Mess For Less). So prepare to get wet and have some fun bathing dolls with us! (more…)

Exploding Milk Experiment

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 by by

Find out how to make Exploding Milk in vibrant colors. My kids were amazed!

Have you ever started out doing one thing and ended up with something totally different? That’s what happened with our exploding milk experiment. It started off as a completely innocent experiment using milk, food coloring and dish soap (more…)

Magic School Bus

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 by by

There was a Mamasource deal a few weeks ago that I spent a lot of time thinking about, and then I bit the bullet and bought it. It was for a discounted 12-month subscription to the Magic School Bus Young Scientist Club, and when I showed it to The Older, he went crazy over it. Since he got moved to the advanced math and science classes he’s gotten more interested in science (the whys and hows, not just the that-looks-cool-now-let-us-move-on). He struggles a bit with the science part, however, so I thought this might be a nice way to work with him over the summer. I’m going to be working on my lesson plans again so I can work on reading comprehension and science, and I am excited to see what the first kit is going to hold so I can try to weave it all together. Can’t wait for the summer to begin!!!


Learn Through Movement – I Spy Neighborhood Walk

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013 by by

Learn Through Movement - I Spy Neighborhood Walk with Free Printables

I am thrilled to bring you some fun Learn Through Movement activities with my friends Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas and Train Up a Child. We are sharing all kinds of activities that will help kids learn while moving and having fun. Monday, we all shared some math activities. I shared our Math Number Hunt which got the kids outside where they practiced counting and numerical order. Today’s Learn Through Movement activity focuses on Reading and includes free printables.

I decided it would be fun for the kids to go on an I Spy Neighborhood Walk. I created some free printables which you can download here. On the printables, I included sights that kids might see on a stroll around the neighborhood, and a place for them to record their post walk thoughts. There are pictures and words to help emergent readers make the connection between words and print. My 3 year old is not reading yet so the pictures were a big help to her. My 4 year old twins are readers so they used the words more than the pictures as they walked along.

I got some cheap clipboards at the Dollar Store and used them for this activity. Simply tie a pencil to a clipboard and the checklist can be completed on the walk. Before we left we talked about what a neighborhood was and what sorts of things we might see. The kids had lots of great ideas for things I hadn’t even thought to put on my list. I then gave them their clipboards and asked them to read me the names of the things they would be looking for. (more…)

the little things

Friday, April 26th, 2013 by by

Coral and I were working on some 4-H paperwork tonight, after I foolishly mentioned tomorrow’s agenda right before bedtime. She was instantly engaged and not to be put off, so I showed her what needed attending and she immediately wanted to begin. Now the majority of it is pretty mundane stuff: writing name, age, address, club, and the like down for official records. It would take me about thirty seconds to fill it out for her and be done. Now for a recently-turned-six-year-old, it’s a pretty monstrous task. It’s also one she’s not about to let me help with. This is where I’ve learned patience is a virtue. She got through name and age on her own, and the address took a bit but wasn’t impossible. Then we hit a snag.

See that line there? It’s kind of small. Our club name is kind of big. It ran through my mind that she’d have a hard time squeezing it in, but I refrained from mentioning it. She got the first part of the club name in there with no problems: “Osceola.” Then she started to realize the dilemma on her own. “Adventurers” is an awfully long word. This is where I could have screwed it up by grabbing her pencil and telling her I’d write the rest.

“I don’t think the rest is going to fit in there…” she reflected as she stared down at the line. I waited a moment (more…)

Free Math Printables: Number Book

Thursday, April 18th, 2013 by by

Recently, I created some math prinatbles designed to help kids with numbers and counting. I assembled these math printables into a book that will improve number recognition, counting skills, word recognition and even fine motor skills. All you need for this fun math activity is a copy of the book which you can download for free here and some dot stickers which I purchased at the dollar store. (more…)