Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Glimpses of Our Week

G jumping in the air in front of his fort.

I thought it would be fun to share a few photos randomly from the last week in our home, little glimpses if you will of some of the things the kids are up to (mostly G).

 A made G this paperclip necklace.  He didn't wear it long (for safety) but he loved it!

F's really tall sword after playing Swordcrafters.

G playing piano.  I love that he sings along with the songs.

 A close-up.

 Hope you are having a great week!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Postman Observation Game from Timberdoodle Review {1st Grade Curriculum Kit}

Today we are going to take a closer look at another one of our thinking skills components in our 1st Grade Elite Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle, Postman Observation Game or the Observation Postman Game (I think both are correct).  This month we have been focusing on thinking skills so you can check out our previous review for Smart Cookies.

 Our new game

 Postman Observation Game Contents

What's included in our game?  Our game includes 8 puzzle pieces (that make up the gameboard), a deck of 80 cards, and 40 little postcard or letter playing pieces (inside the bag above).

A closer look at our postcard/letter playing pieces - we call them postcards and letters in our home interchangeably.

A close-up view of the back of our postcard playing pieces.

How do you play?  Assemble the board pieces together, arranging them with a space in the middle.  There are numerous combinations available so your board will look different every time you play.  Give each player (up to 6) the same number of postcards/letters.  Shuffle the cards and place them in a pile face down near the playing board (we like to place them in the middle of the board where the space is after dividing the postcards).  The youngest player gets to turn over a card from the pile.  Everyone searches for the house specified on the card.  The first player to find it gets to place their letter on that house.  You continue play until one player has delivered all of their letters and is declared the winner.  If a player delivers a letter to a wrong house, they just simply take the letter back.  This is how to play in a nut shell!

 One variation of a set-up of the board.

I want to note that some cards allow for delivery of more than one letter, this will be denoted on the card.  Also, there are 5 types of cards that are distinguished by color and progressively get harder (green is the easiest and red is the hardest).

  • Green Cards = find the same house that appears on the card (matching)
  • Blue Cards = find the house that meets the specific requirements on the card (description)
  • Yellow Cards = find the houses related to the characters on the card
  • Brown Cards = find the house that meets the specific requirements on the card, there is more than 1 solution
  • Red Cards = follow the instructions on the card to find the correct house marked with a red arrow
 Above you can see a green card next to the match.  A player would place one of their letters on this house.

 You might think that the red circle above is the correct house for this blue card but it's not.  You have to look closely to see that it needs another window.

Above is the correct house for this card, it is blue, has two chimneys and has six windows.

 Above is an example of a character card with the 3 Little Pigs.  You are looking for their 3 houses.  Three letters will be placed this round, one on each house.

 Above you can see one of them.  I won't spoil the other two.

 Above you can see an example of a brown card with one of its solutions circled in red.  There is another house that meets this criteria as well.  So two letters will be placed this round - one on each house.

 And an example of a red card and the correct solution as well.

Postman Observation Game is geared for ages 3-103 (so it's multigenerational and almost everyone can play) and works for 2-6 players.  It is such a beautiful game.  I love the muted colors and tones and whimsical feel of the houses on the board.  This game definitely tests your observation skills as well as your response time.  I always find out how strong the competitive genes run in our family with games like this 😉.  You have to look carefully at ALL the details and be the fastest to deliver all of your mail to win!

 Above you can see E, F and G playing a round.

 Happy Kids

I really like that there are some very similar houses (on purpose) so you need to pay extra attention to those little details.  I think this is a great game as it helps strengthen visual sharpness and memory!  We are really enjoying this game and I'm glad to add it to our homeschool resources.  It would also make a fun and unique gift for a broad age range.  Postman Observation Game is a part of our Timberdoodle's 1st Grade Curriculum Kit and we definitely recommend it!

The backside of our gameboard puzzle pieces.

I have an idea for this game too!  I feel like the backside of the gameboard puzzle pieces are underutilized.  They could be used to create another scenery to play the game.  For example, it could be a different arrangement of the very same houses (so you can use the same cards) but maybe at nighttime.  There needs to be a clear distinction between the two sides so a daytime and nighttime works well but it could be something else too.  You would definitely vary up which houses are next to each other.  This would be an even greater challenge to find the houses.  Just a thought.


Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I will be refunded the purchase price of our curriculum kit in exchange for my honest reviews.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day 2020 {M&M Pancakes}

David's "frisbee" inspired cake!

Happy Father's Day to all the amazing Dads out there!  David is a fantastic father to our crew of kids and I am so blessed to have him as my husband.  The kids and I have been having fun with food today celebrating him.  A and B made him a cake yesterday that was inspired from the frisbees that we gave him as gifts today.

 David opened his gift first so he could see the inspiration.

 They did such a great job!

For lunch we made various pancakes - M&M pancakes, blueberry pancakes, and plain pancakes.

 Our M&M pancakes spelled out Happy Father's Day.

Our blueberry pancakes!

We ordered take out for dinner so David could enjoy some Tex-Mex.  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Smart Cookies Game from Timberdoodle Review {1st Grade Curriculum Kit}

Today we are going to take a closer look at one of the thinking skills components in our 1st Grade Elite Curriculum Kit from Timberdoodle, Smart Cookies.

Our new game!

I have said it numerous times, our family loves games and I especially love educational ones like Smart Cookies!

Everything in the game.

What's included in our game?  Our game includes 1 playing board (3 x 3 tic-tac-toe style grid), instruction booklet, puzzle booklet with 64 puzzles and their solutions, and 9 cookies.

 Our cookies

There are 9 cookies in 3 different shapes (square, triangle and circle) and 3 different flavors or colors (red, blue and yellow).  This is important because these are the factors that are needed to solve each puzzle.  I also want to note that our cookies have a great feel to them and the kids adore playing with them.  They are perfect for tactile learning.

How do you play?  In this single player game, a player uses visual clues and logic principals to place the nine cookies on the playing grid in the correct location.  There are 8 evolving levels/sections, that gradually becoming more challenging as new concepts are introduced.  At the beginning of each of these sections, you will find explanations for the new types of clues you will see.  The clues you are given represent a simple logic statement whether positive or negative.  It will give you information on where cookies must go in the grid (positive) or must not go in the grid (negative).  Because the puzzles evolve as you play, I would recommend solving them in order.  You will most likely find the first few puzzles too easy as they basically tell you where to place every piece but I think it really helps for you to solidify how the clues work if you solve them in order - it helps prevent confusion.  And the "easier" puzzles are perfect for younger kids.  I also want to note that each puzzle has only one unique solution!  Let's dive into a puzzle.

 Above you can see steps 1-4 for Puzzle 17.

 Likewise, above is steps 5-8 for Puzzle 17.

Our final solution for Puzzle 17.

 Our solutions booklet proves that we got the correct solution.

G does really well with the easier puzzles.
Smart Cookies is geared for ages 6-99 but even G (who will be 4 in a few months) can play it with a bit of help.  Smart Cookies is a perfect hands-on introduction to logic for younger players.  I appreciate that it has a vast age range and that it can be played and enjoyed by everyone in our home (including me!).

 F helping G play Smart Cookies.

F really enjoys our game and he is pumped that this was in his curriculum kit!

 D working on Puzzle 26.

What do we think?  We really love this game!  The only think I would change (and it's minor) would be to have the pages in our puzzle booklet laminated.  This booklet is used a lot and it would just increase its durability, especially when younger kids are playing the game.  That's it though 😉. 

I have an idea as well.  If someone was wanting to put a different spin on this game, I could see this sold in multiple packs so that students could race each other to see who could solve the puzzle in the shortest amount of time.  Just a thought.  I love that Smart Cookies helps develop and strengthen reasoning skills and critical thinking for younger players and older players alike.  Smart Cookies is part of our Timberdoodle's 1st Grade Curriculum Kit and we highly recommend it!

Disclosure:  Huge shout out to Timberdoodle for selecting me as a Timberdoodle Blogger.  I will be refunded the purchase price of our curriculum kit in exchange for my honest reviews.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service from Rebecca Locklear Review

{Disclaimer:  I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.}

I am interested in maritime rescues so it was awesome to receive Rebecca Locklear's digital eBook Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service 1878-1915: 17 Student Workshops with 120 Activities to review with the kids.  While this program is intended to be parent-directed but not necessarily parent-intensive I jumped into it with the kids because I wanted to 😉.

Rebecca Locklear

The author of our book, Rebecca Locklear, homeschooled her children and she has taught other homeschooled children in large groups settings for over 20 years!   She writes material for teachers using her extensive multi-level teaching experience.  She encourages students to discover, create, and overall think.  She loves to incorporate engaging activities within her books as she has a very hands-on and activity based style.  I really appreciate this in our home because my kids love hands-on learning!

The cover of our new eBook.

Our 117 page book is geared for students 4-12 grade.  This book can be used individually (middle school or high school for example) or it can be used with multiple grades together.  As a mom of a large family I really appreciate this large grade span incorporated into our book.  Exploring the U.S. Life-Saving Service takes you on a journey where you will investigate early search and rescues and the U.S. Life-Saving Service.  Students see how many men risked their own lives to save others.  Activities include games, dramas, cooking, music, stories, science, research and art.

Above is a quick look at the contents of our book.  The Workshops are divided into 4 main Units: Life at the Station House, Working Together, The Culture of Character and Relevance Today.

And here is an at-a-glance overview chart of our material.
{If you know me then you know I love these kinds of charts.}

 You can see recommendations for various grades.

The very first thing to start with is the Introductory Workshop.  This is important because it gives students basic information about the U.S. Life-Saving Service.  This is the springboard that you will use to jump into workshops and activities.  I really like how it has recommendations for different grades.

 Above you can see the nine photos.  I laminated them for durability.

One activity is to create a museum walk with nine given photos and captions.  Students are asked to find details within the photos that give clues to the given time period.  They then write a question they have about the photo on a sticky note and place it next to the photo.  Students move around the museum trying to answer other students questions - it's fun!

Our Matching Activity Cards and Questions

We also enjoyed the Matching Activity: Who Am I?  Students divide into teams.  The picture cards are spread out so that they are visible to everyone.  The question cards are placed upside down.  One team picks up a question card and reads it to the other team.  That team will then choose the photo card that they think is the correct answer to the question.  If they get it correct, they keep the card.  If it's wrong, they have to put it back.  It's a simple game but we also had fun playing it.

Playing Who Am I?
The "little ones" came over to play too.

One of our activities was to create an anchor design with the objective of connecting with the life-savers through a creative experience.

A constructed a wire anchor sculpture.

Rock Painting Instructions

Another activity that we really enjoyed was rock painting.  We used topic 2 so the assignment was to think of an animal that could represent a surfman and create a rock painting of your chosen animal.  Our rocks include a turtle, sea star, jellyfish, narwhal, and sea bird.  We also have a few beach scenes which fall into the symbol category.

This has been a really unique and enjoyable program for us to use.  I really enjoy the interactive aspect of this curriculum in getting students involved.  I look forward to completing more of the projects and activities with the kids.  If you are curious or interested in maritime rescues like me, this eBook is a great place to start.

Are you looking for engaging and multi-curricular ideas for your students or homeschool?  Please visit Rebecca's website and sign up for her email newsletter, you won't regret it!

Be sure to click on the banner below to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read even more reviews of Rebecca Locklear.


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