Friday, 24 June 2016

Road Trip Activities

This week's Unit Study Roundup theme is Road Trip Activities.  Everyone has put together some fantastic ideas and resources.  I'm going to share some games that we play and songs that we used to sing on long road trips.

Favourite Songs

When my youngest was a baby, the song that soothed her in the car was 'The Wheels on The Bus.  In case you don't know the song, here is a video with the song/tune.  There are different variations to the verses and this one is fairly close to what we used to sing.

When my eldest was a baby, the song that soothed her in the car was Radetsky March by Johann Strauss.  Here is a video of the march being performed by AndrĂ© Rieu who happens to be one of my favourite performers/conductors.  He conducts the orchestra as he plays his violin.

Number Plate Bingo

In the UK we have a completely different system for number plates.  In Canada and the USA, you can tell where people are from by the number plates on their cars because each province or state has a distinct plate.  In the UK, the plate goes with the car and not the owner.  

You can tell what year a car was registered by looking at the number plate.  It used to be letters that were the indicator and one system had the letter at the end of the number plate and when they ran out of combinations, they moved the letter to the front of the plate.  In 2000, they ran out of combinations so they moved to another system again.  The first one or two letters tell you where a car was registered because they represent the postcode area. The second two numbers tell you which half of the year the car was registered in.  For example, 2001 - 2009 the numbers were 0 for the first six months of the year and 5 for the second six months of the year.  The next three letters on the plate are just random combinations.

A car that was registered in Manchester in 2001 could have M 01 *** or M 51 *** as the first few characters of the number plate.  01 would mean that the car was registered in Manchester between January and June of 2001 and 51 would mean that the car was registered between July and December.  For 2010 to 2019 they use 1 and 6 so a car registered in 2016 in Manchester would have M 16 *** or M 66 ***.

Why have I just said all of this?  Well, it means now we can play number plate bingo!  You can't play number plate bingo unless you know what the number plates look like here.

We could either look for cars registered in a particular area so the first letter or two letters of the number plate, or a car registered in a particular year and keep track of that.  Because the system is so complex, we can't really make a bingo square up in advance so we just make them up as we go along.

Spot The Car

I always ask if they want to play spot the car and they say yes.  Then I start this: there's a car, there's a car and then I get groans from the back seat.  Seriously though, spot the car is a fun game.  You can set up a bingo square and either choose colours of cars or types of cars.

Funny or Interesting Place Names

Some place names are funny and make us giggle and other times they are really interesting.  In Wales, there is a place name that is really long!  It has 59  letters.  Here it is for you with the way to pronounce is in English and its meaning.  I've been told that double Ll is pronounced like a Kl.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (lan-vire-pool-guin-gith-go-ger-u-queern-drob-ooth-clandus-ilio-gogo-goch) is a Welsh word which translates roughly as "St Mary's Church in the Hollow of the White Hazel near a Rapid Whirlpool and the Church of St. Tysilio near the Red Cave".

Please comment with some of your local place names that are funny or interesting. :-) 

Silence Game

Who can be the quietest for the longest?

Nature I Spy

Similar to spot the car but instead of looking for cars, you are looking for something that is in nature along the roadside.

Spelling Bee

Have a spelling competition in the car and obviously you will need to choose age/ability  appropriate words for your smaller children.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

To play this, each player makes a fist and says out loud, "Rock, Paper, Scissors," swinging down his or her fist on each beat. After the third beat, each player makes one of three hand gestures: a closed fist representing "rock," an open hand representing "paper" or a V representing "scissors."

The winning player makes the gestures of the object that will defeat the opponent's object. Since a rock can destroy a pair of scissors, rock beats scissors. Scissors cut paper, so scissors beat paper. Since paper can cover a rock, paper beats rock. If opponents use the same gesture, the game is tied.

Team Storytelling

One person starts a story and the next person adds on to the story.  You can either time them or let them move from person to person when they are ready.

The Banana Game

This is a variation on spot the car, however, people are limited to yellow vehicles.  You can set a time limit i.e. the winner is the one who spots the most yellow vehicles in 15 minutes or half an hour.

Here is topic on Pinterest that has thousands of ideas for you:


Here are the other posts in this blog roundup on Road Trip Activities:

How To Stay Busy On An RV from Crafty Mama in ME
Road Trip Games for Kids from Look! We're Learning!
Best Children Audio Books for Road Trips from The Jenny Evolution
Alphabet Travel Tic Tac Toe from Letters of Literacy
Kids Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Game from Schooling a Monkey
How To Turn Family Travel Into Learning Experiences from iGameMom
Are We There Yet? Maps For Kids from Books and Giggles
5 Fun Things To Do On A Road Trip from The Usual Mayhem
Outdoor Breaks for Road Trips from FrogMom
Best Family Road Trip Music from Bambini Travel
Road Trip Notebooking Pages from Year Round Homeschooling
Travel Journal from Embark on the Journey
Printable Road Trip Games from Mrs. Karle's Sight and Sound Reading
Road Trip Activities from Tales of Education at Home
Car Scavenger Hunt from Planet Smarty Pants
Reasons to Make Pit Stops a Priority

Friday, 10 June 2016

Catch Up Post!

I decided that I wanted to blog more often and I also happened to do a search on Facebook for Unit Study groups.  I found a blogging group where everyone blogs to contribute to a unit study.

I have been blogging for that and not really about what we have been doing.  I also started a new blogging venture called Home Educated Not Invisible because I was tired of reading the articles in the news where home educated children were referred to as 'invisible' because they aren't seen by Local Authority 'professionals'.

To bring you up to speed, L is now finished college.  She finished her second year of college a year early.  This would not have been possible if she had remained in school for her entire education career.  She would only be finishing her FIRST year of college right now!

A family friend is finishing his second year of college TWO YEARS early and again this is because of home education.  If he had been in school the entire time, he would just be finishing his GCSE exams!  He is finishing up his second year of A Levels and has offers for university in September.  He's only 16 (in case that wasn't clear)!

M is continuing on the path of home education and has decided that she wants to take Art at college.  She goes to a local music school, Drama Group, Science Club, and History/Geography Club.  She really enjoys her music school and is disappointed when it's closed for school holidays.  All of the children in her class at the music school are home educated.  
Here are the experiments that we have done for Science Club:
 Mentos and Cola, dancing raisins (raisins in fizzy water and comparing the reaction to raisins in still water),  Lava lamp (water, oil, food colouring, denture tablets that fizz), Sound - how size affects sound - musical instruments, making straw reeds, how yeast works (inflating a balloon with yeast), Skeleton,  how fish breathe, sound and resonant frequency (making a wine glass sing) and we watched a video on shattering a wine glass with sound,  pressure and closed system.  We used a rubber glove and a jar.

For History and Geography Club, we did Egypt, Amazon Rainforest, William the Conqueror (Battle of Hastings and Battle of Stamford Bridge), Italy, Mary Cassatt - artist from the Impressionist circle, and Japan.

History and Geography Club and Science Club met every month and so we were quite busy trying to get ready for them.  We had two Science Clubs (due to such a high level of interest) and so we did our Science experiments for two different groups of families.

I also ran a weekly Music Group and our end goal was to get a concert programme ready to perform at a local care home.  It gave the children a chance to perform, it was a free concert venue, the children are learning the value of volunteering, and the residents love to have our group visit them!

We are also moving through our Charlotte Mason Method Curriculum and enjoying some of the stories that we are reading. 

What have you been doing?  Please feel free to share :-) 

Songs About The Beach

Music is an important tool for learning. We often sing songs to babies and toddlers to teach them concepts such as colours, and counting. Singing songs is also a good way to boost memory and coordination.

Today I am going to share some songs about the beach. The first song is called To The Beach and it is sung to the tune London Bridge.

To The Beach Original Author Unknown

Sung to: "London Bridge"

We are going to the beach,
to the Beach, to the beach,
We are going to the beach,
in our bathing suits.
We will find there rocks and shells,
Rocks and shells, Rocks and Shells.
We will find there rocks and shells,
to gather by the water.
We will build a sand castle,
Sand castle, sand castle,
we will build a sand castle,
with bridges and a tower.
We will have a picnic too,
picnic too, picnic too,
We will have a picnic too,
With Sandwiches and oranges.
Home we head with Sunburned Cheeks,
Sunburned Cheeks, Sunburned Cheeks,
Home we head with sunburned Cheeks,
and treasures from our visit.

In case you don't know the tune, here is a YouTube video to help you.

The second song is called Let's Go to The Beach and is sung to the tune A Hunting We Will Go.

Let's go to the Beach Original Author Unknown

Sung to: "A Hunting We Will Go"
Let's go to the beach
To swim and play and run.
Building castles in the sand
Is ever so much fun.

We'll fix a picnic lunch
And eat it when we like.
And when we all are nice and full
We'll take a nature hike.

Be sure to wear your suit
And bring along your float.
We'll ride so far out in the surf
Pretending it's a boat.

We'll find some pretty shells
And throw the gulls some bread.
Put on a lot of suntan oil
So that we don't turn red.

We'll never want to leave.
Such fun this all has been.
But we'll come back another day
And do it all again!

Here is a YouTube video for the tune in case you don't know it.

Sea Gull Original Author Unknown

Sung to: "Frere Jacques"

I see sea gulls
I see sea gulls,
At the beach,
At the beach,

Soaring, diving, fishing,
Soaring, diving, fishing,
At the beach,
At the beach.

Other verses:
I hear the ocean,
I hear the ocean,
At the beach,
At the beach,

Crashing, splashing, foaming
Crashing, splashing, foaming,
At the beach,
At the beach.

This song is a bit of fun and it has the lyrics for you. It's called I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside . Watch the video and sing along :-)

Clover and Nemo beside the seaside 

Here is another fun song about Living Under The Sea and it is about different sea creatures that live under the sea.

This week's Unit Study Roundup is on Beaches.  Please do hop on over to the other bloggers' sites and read their contributions to this topic.

Beach Letter Find Printables from 3 Boys and a Dog

Kids' Books about the Beach from Look! We're Learning!

Ocean Books for Kids from The Jenny Evolution

Songs About The Beach from Tales of Education at Home

5 Ways to Learn at the Beach from The Usual Mayhem

Beach Scavenger Hunt Printable from CraftCreateCalm

"At the Beach" Emergent Reader from The Letters of Literacy

Sand Pail and Shovel Alphabet Match from The Kindergarten Connection

Beach Letter Dot Printables from Living Life and

Colorful Sand Paintings from Schooling a Monkey

Sand Science Experiment from iGameMom

15 Things to Do at the Beach with Kids from FrogMom

Easy Egg Carton Sea Creatures from Homeschool Preschool

Beach Mystery Bag from Bambini Travel

Printable Beach Bingo Cards from Year Round Homeschooling

Beach Pail 1-20 Number Recognition from Something 2 Offer

Friday, 3 June 2016

How Fish Breathe - A Science Experiment

This week's Unit Study Roundup is on the theme of aquariums. We attend a monthly Science Club and one of the experiments or demonstrations that we did is showing how gills work, or how fish breathe.

Humans use their lungs for breathing and the lungs are part of the respiratory system. Fish have gills that extract or take oxygen out of the water.

H2O is another way of writing water. Hydrogen times 2 and Oxygen is what water is made up of. Here is a photo of water molecules. My daughters both thought it would be funny to tell me that they spilled water on the sofa. This is what I found:

The red represents hydrogen and the white represents oxygen - H2O. The fish extracts the oxygen gas from the water.

A fish opens its mouth and gulps water and pumps it over the gills. The gill cover is open when the mouth is closed. When the mouth closes, the gill cover opens and this forces the water into the gill chamber. Inside the gill chamber, they have fabric like threads that are called filaments that are connected by a gill arch that is in two rows.

There are also thin plate-like structures called lamellae. Blood flows through the lamellae and filters the oxygen from the water and releases carbon dioxide into the water.

After the fish gets its oxygen from the water, it passes out through the gill openings and the breathing process begins again.

Here are some pictures of fish gills, the real fish in the picture is a carp. The other pictures show the parts labelled:

To demonstrate this, you need:

- A clear glass (or a plastic cup),
- coffee grounds,
- a coffee filter or a piece of paper towel,
- an elastic band,
- and some water.

First mix the water and coffee grounds. Then, put the filter over the cup and secure it with the elastic band.

Pour the water and coffee ground mixture over the filter and watch the water go through the filter down into the glass. The coffee grounds will stay in the filter. I wasn't very careful and managed to get the mixture on my table.

The filter represents the gills. The coffee grounds represent the oxygen that the fish gets from the water. The water that passed through the filter into the cup represents the water that the fish pushes out through the gill chamber with the carbon dioxide in it.

Here is the final product:

This picture is of my daughter presenting the experiment to the other families in our Science Club:

Here is a video that you can watch. We used this in our presentation at Science Club.

Please be sure to read the other posts from the Unit Study Roundup. The theme for this week is Aquariums.

Aquarium Animals Letter Find Worksheets from 3 Boys and a Dog

Under the Sea Fun Octopus Vegetable Platter from Crafty Mama in ME

Aquarium Arithmetic Seek and Find from Look! We're Learning!

Fish Books for Kids from The Jenny Evolution

How Fish Breathe - A Science Experiment from Tales of Education at Home

Fun Things to See at the Newport Aquarium from Something 2 Offer

Aquarium Scavenger Hunt Printable for Kids from CraftCreateCalm

Aquarium in a Bottle: Ocean Sensory Idea from A Little Pinch of Perfect

Aquarium I Spy from Schooling a Monkey

Finding Fish Learning Placemat from Books and Giggles

Snorkeling with Kids in Thailand: A Live Aquarium from FrogMom

Friday, 27 May 2016

How To Make Strawberry Shortcake

This week's topic for the Unit Study Roundup is Strawberries and we decided to make Strawberry Shortcake for this. My DD really loves eating strawberries.

I found a recipe from

For your convenience, I am copying it here:

YIELD 12-16 scones UNITS US

2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar (use 1/3 for slightly sweeter scones)
2⁄3 cup milk

Heat oven to 425°F (220 Celsius).
Put flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl; stir mix well Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine granules.
Add sugar; toss to mix.
Add milk and stir with a fork until dough forms.
Form dough into a ball and turn smooth side up.
Pat or roll into a 6 inch circle.
Cut each circle into 6 or 8 wedges.
Place wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet- slightly apart for crisp sides, touching for soft.
sprinkle desired amount of cinnamon and sugar on each scone.
Bake about 12 minutes, or until medium brown on top.

Here are some photos of the mixing and rubbing process

After we added the milk, the mixture looked like this:

I got them ready for the oven and decided not to do the traditional round scones and instead made them into wedges or triangles (we had a My Little Pony friend join us for this stage):

And finally after the scones were out of the oven, we topped them with fresh strawberries and whipped cream (squirty cream) and this is the final work of art:

Now there is just one thing left to do and that is to tuck in! Happy eating everyone :-)

Please do read the posts from the other bloggers who have blogged on strawberries this time:

Find the Letter: S is for Strawberries from 3 Boys and a Dog

Strawberries Nature Study from The Usual Mayhem

Strawberry and Gardening Books for Kids from CraftCreateCalm

Fun & Easy Strawberry Paper Craft with Handprint Stem from Crafty Mama in ME

Strawberry Number Recognition Free Printable from Something 2 Offer

Strawberry Moon Outdoor Activities for Kids from FrogMom

How To Make Strawberry Shortcake from Tales of Education at Home

Strawberry Picking Sight Word Game from Books and Giggles

Strawberry Friends Printable Student Planner Free Pages from Look! We're Learning!

S is for Strawberry Letter Maze from Simple Fun for Kids

How to Make Strawberry Lemonade from The Jenny Evolution

Preschool Strawberry Math from Schooling a Monkey

Friday, 20 May 2016

Memorial Day - A Day to Remember

I am a Canadian and I live in the United Kingdom. I find it interesting to learn about the different holidays that each country has. In America, people are getting ready for Memorial Day weekend. What does that look like in other countries? Is there such a holiday or celebration?

I decided to ask my good friend Google about Memorial Day and I was surprised to learn that different countries have different days to observe their equivalent. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died while serving their country in the Armed Forces.

In Australia and New Zealand, they celebrate ANZAC Day. ANZAC is the name that was given to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers. They landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey early on the morning of 25 April 1915 during the First World War (1914-1918). There is a commemorative service at dawn on the 25th of April because that is the time they landed in 1915.

In Canada there are two days, one is Remembrance Day which is observed on the 11th of November (11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) and another day is Vimy Ridge Day. That is a relatively new day and people only started observing that in 2003. It is an unofficial day. Vimy Ridge day is on the 9th of April. Canadians remember their lost soldiers from the Battle of Vimy Ridge from WWI.

Remembrance Day is a Commonwealth of Nations celebration and takes place on 11th of November. It is also known as Poppy Day (for obvious reasons). It evolved out of Armistice Day which is also on 11th November. Armistice Day commemorates the armistice of WWI (11th November 1918) An armistice is a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting.

In the Netherlands, they have Dodenherdenking which is on 4th of May. The royal family attends a ceremony held at the national monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam and at 8 p.m., the entire country grinds to a halt for two minutes in respect to those who died in wars or peacekeeping missions. Public transportation doesn't run and television and radio stations don't broadcast anything. It was orignally intended to honour those who were killed in WWII but now has evolved to be a day to honour the fallen from all wars. The Dutch also celebrate Liberation Day on 5th of May and that is a day to celebrate the Canadian Army (largely the Canadian Army) freed the Netherlands from Nazi occupation in WWII. It was an event that was celebrated every five years, however, since 1990 it is an annual celebration.

In Germany, there is a day called Volkstrauertag (literally Peoples' Sadness Day). This day was intended to be a day to remember those who died in WWI and there was a misunderstanding of how to go about observing it and it turned into Heldengedenktag, the Day of Commemoration of Heroes or a day of hero worship. This ended in 1945 and in 1948 Volkstrauertag was brought back to be observed with the original intent.

In France, they celebrate Victory Day which is a day to mark the end of WWII and the end of the Nazi occupation of France. It is a day that is celebratory and also a day of remembering those who died during WWII. It became an official national holiday in 1982 and is celebrated on 8th of May. It is the anniversary of when Charles de Gaulle announced the end of World War II in France on May 8, 1945.

I found lots of references to Armed Forces days in many countries, but I decided to focus on a few countries for this post as I didn't want to overwhelm people.  :-)

I have personally taken part in Remembrance Sunday which is the Sunday closest to Remembrance Day (11th November). I play in a brass band, and we as a band march to collect the troops and we march with them around a one mile block to the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph. We accompany the everyone while they are singing hymns. At the end of the service, we march with the troops back to the place where we collected them from. It is a very moving experience to stand and look out at all of the troops. There are Cubs, Scouts, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, and the serving Armed Forces along with the veterans. It is truly a sight to behold when I look out and see the sea of personnel and spectators. I count it as an honour to have the privilege of playing in that brass band on that Sunday.

Through writing this post, I have learned that so many countries have their own special Memorial Day or Day of Remembrance. Here is a photo of a poppy that I took when I was in France:

This is part of the Unit Study Roundup and the topic is Memorial Day. Please take some time to read the posts from the other members of this roundup:

Memorial Day Preschool Cutting Practice from 3 Boys and a Dog

How to Make a DIY Patriotic T-Shirt from Crafty Mama in ME

Ripped Paper Star Wreath Craft For Kids from Play Dough & Popsicles

Top 10 Outdoor Activities for Kids for Memorial Day Weekend from FrogMom

Memorial Day Books for Children from The Jenny Evolution

Memorial Day - A Day to Remember from Tales of Education at Home

Red, White and Blue Craft for Kids from CraftCreateCalm

F is for Flag Handwriting Letter Mazes from Simple Fun for Kids

Memorial Day Worksheet from Schooling a Monkey

Memorial Day Word Search from Something 2 Offer

Friday, 13 May 2016

Frogs of the Rainforest

We recently did a Geography project on the Amazon Rainforest for our local History/Geography Group. We started out with a lapbook that we bought from homeschool bits on Currclick (not an affiliate link). We read all about the different layers and learned about what the climate is like. We also learned about deforestation.

We made a diorama of the Amazon Rainforest that I found here from Confessions of a Homeschooler. It is a very effective way of showing the four layers of the rainforest. Here is our diorama (complete with a Barbie researcher hanging from the vines):

We decided to delve further into the rainforest by turning this into a complete topic by looking at how other subjects can be covered by on this topic. Today I am going to share some resources on the different varieties of frogs that live in Rainforests.

Here is a nice post about some Amazon Rainforest frogs and there is a photo of each frog listed along with some information about them in bullet point form: Amazon Rainforest frogs

The Amazon Horned Frog is rather interesting because the female is larger than the male and they are very aggressive and territorial. The villagers who live in the area have to wear high leather boots to protect themselves! The tadpoles are aggressive from birth and fight each other in the water. has some great facts about the Amazon Horned Frog.

We were at our local vivarium and saw some of the poison dart frogs that they have there. There are at over 200 species of poison dart frogs or poison arrow frogs. Their name comes from the toxic secretions they ooze through their skin. Indigenous tribes have been known to coat the tips of their hunting darts with the poison from them. Poison frogs are poisonous because of the spiders, beetles, ants, centipedes, termites and other insects that make up their diet. If these frogs are in captivity and fed a different diet, they are not poisonous.

Here is a really nice webpage that you can look at for some of the species of poison dart frogs.

I thought this video of the top 12 weirdest frogs was also interesting to look at. I think they started out doing a top 10 and then found two more that they liked :-)

If you have always wanted to learn how to draw a tree frog, here is the perfect video tutorial for you!

Grandma got in on the action and designed and printed some tree frogs with her 3D printer. They are actually Christmas tree ornaments (hence the ribbons around their necks):

This is part of the Unit Study Roundup and this week's topic is Frogs.

Here are the links to the other blog posts in the roundup:

Find the Letter F is for Frogs from 3 Boys and a Dog

Frog Life Cycle Free Printables from Natural Beach Living

Frog Books for Preschool from Look! We're Learning!

Frog Anatomy Worksheets from Living Life and Learning

Frog Hop Activity from CraftCreateCalm

Make a Fun Handprint and Footprint Tissue Paper Frog from Crafty Mama in ME

Free Resources for Frog Life Cycle from Something 2 Offer

5 Easy Frog Exercise Moves for Kids from FrogMom

Children's Books Featuring Frogs from The Jenny Evolution

Frogs of the Rainforest from Tales of Education at Home

Frog Theme Color Words Book {free printable} from Books and Giggles

Recycled K Cup Frog Craft and Skip Counting Activity from Artsy Momma

Frog Life Cycle for Kids {Printable Set} from The Natural Homeschool

Lots of Learning and Fun with Frogs Sensory Bin from Living Montessori Now

Frog Race Graphing Game from Simple Fun for Kids

Poison Frog activity from Schooling a Monkey

Non-fiction Frog Emergent Readers from Royal Baloo

Interactive Frog Life Cycle App for Kids from iGameMom

Frog Writing Prompts from The Usual Mayhem