Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Snowing in Florida!!

In a recent post, I shared some fun activities Caleb and I did with cotton ball "snow." You can check it out HERE: The Cotton Ball Experience.  A few days later, my surprise arrived in the mail... Snow!

Ok... so it's not really snowing in Florida. I'm sure your initial thought was, "What? I can't believe it... It must be due to Climate Change (formerly known as Global Warming)."

Well, you can rest your weary heart. We have a few more years before that happens... I hope :)

Anyway, Caleb and I have been having a grand time playing with snow in Florida. Yes, the white fluffy stuff... No, not the cold stuff. Have I confused you enough yet? Maybe this will help...

I ordered this from Amazon since I knew we were not going to have any chance of seeing snow here in Florida this winter. Caleb and I have been reading books, singing song, and playing games all about snow and I wanted to give him an opportunity to somewhat experience it. I wasn't sure how it was going to be because I've never done it before, but we've had a great time and I look forward to playing with it more as we go visit family for Christmas.

My Review:

The price I thought was fair. Especially when we received the container and saw how much very little of the powder it took to make a good amount of snow to play with. This should last us through the winter for sure!

It was also very easy to make the snow. Just a few ounces of water mixed with a scoop of powder and POOF! It turns to snow in front of your eyes. Caleb loved doing it himself. He also enjoyed holding the powder in his hands as I poured the water over it. I'm sure in his eyes it was magical and I have to say it was pretty neat.

It's not cold... which is my kind of snow! You can however put it in the freezer to make it cold like real snow though.

I knew Caleb would love this and I was right! He was totally engaged for hours on several occasions.

The experience was well worth it!


We enjoyed many sensory activities. 

First we made lots of snow and placed them in a dish bucket. 

In one sensory activity, I gave Caleb a large spoon, measuring cup, and small bucket. He enjoyed spooning the snow into the measuring cup. Once filled, he poured the snow into the small bucket. 

In another activity, Caleb played with his mini trucks and tractors in the snow. He loved scooping the snow with his front end loader and fill up his dump truck. He'd drive it around and to the other side of the bucket, pour it out and do it again.

There are other activities we're planning to do. For one, I read in the directions that the Insta-snow will melt when you add salt to it. That sounds like a pretty neat experiment!

I'd recommend this product for anyone ready to have lots of fun!

Have you tried Insta-snow or another product like it? What did you think? Did you do any neat experiments? I'd love to hear about it! Please share in the comments!

God Bless your Learning today~

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Cotton Ball Experience (Pinch, Transfer, Pour... EXPLORE!)

Caleb has been excited about the Christmas experience. He loved getting his Christmas tree and decorating it. Now he is obsessed with Christmas trees! We've also enjoyed putting together a gingerbread cookie train. Since we're here in sunny Florida, we won't be getting any snow, but Caleb has been talking about it as he's seen fake snow at Stone Mountain and we've been reading about it in books. I have a surprise coming for him soon, but until then, we've been playing with cotton balls. Although they're not nearly as sensational, we've been enjoying our "snowball" fights, sensory bin explorations, singing about snow, crafting, and fantasy play with cotton balls.

  • We used cotton balls to have a snowball fight in the RV the other day. It was a lot of fun! 
  • I put together a sensory bin with cotton balls, a bucket, tongs, and a measuring cup. He loves using his tongs! He pinched the cotton ball and placed them in the measuring cup until it was overflowing with white. Then, he poured them in the bucket. This was a great way for him to learn the concept of full and too full!

  • We sang the following song to the tune of "It's raining. It's pouring," while I poured snowballs over his head. 
It's snowing. It's snowing.
It's snowing all over Caleb.
He went to bed. Then he said,
It's snowing. It's snowing!
  • We created snowflake ornaments for my family with popsicle sticks. First, I had Caleb paint the sticks white. Then, I glued the sticks together to make a star-shaped snowflake. Then, I added small glue dots to the ends of each stick and had him pull apart small pieces of cotton ball to place on the glue. It added a third dimension to the snowflakes. Then, he added a foam snowflake sticker to the middle of the snowflake and I added a string on the back for hanging. They turned out great!
  • A few cotton balls, a truck with a trailer, and an excavator was entertaining for me to watch, but also engaging for Caleb's imagination.
We had a great time exploring and learning with cotton balls. I can't wait to share his surprise with him next week! He is going to have a blast!

God Bless your learning experiences!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice Experience

Florida has been a wonderful place to spend our winter. The weather has been awesome, which means we can spend more time outside… which is a necessity when you’re cramped in a 24’ travel trailer with a 2 year old! I’ve recently shared about the awesome field trips we’ve been taking lately. Today, I have another incredible learning experience to share with you!

We are in the midst of orange picking season here. In fact the RV park that we are staying in is surrounded on 3 sides by an orange grove. They have stationed empty trailers along the roadside this past week to get ready for picking! I can’t wait to take Caleb into the fields to watch the farmers harvest the oranges from the trees!

Recently, we were driving down the road and pulled up to the intersection that is less than a mile from the RV park. As we take the right turn, we see oranges lining the road.  Obviously, a truck overflowing with oranges made a left turn here and accelerated a little too quickly, shedding a few extra oranges. There’s a food vender truck at this corner, so Andy jumped out and asked if they were fair game to collect or if there was a law against it. That might sound silly, but in our rural Georgia homestead, they are very serious about their crops and you could be charged with a felony for picking things. We never thought about picking up the cotton or smashed watermelons that line the roads where we live, so we just wanted to make sure it was legal… It was! In fact, the man in the food vender truck said if we didn’t pick them up, he would have to and he just tosses them. He even gave us some bags to collect them. We were so excited! 


 After collecting all the intact oranges and tossing the split ones in the field,  we took off to our original destination. Later that day, we decided to stop at the food vender truck for lunch. He made us hungry talking about his homemade shredded pork. While we were eating (BTW… It was the best pork sandwich I every had!), another truck made the turn a little too quickly and more oranges toppled off the top rolling right over to us. The vender stuck a bag out the window and we gathered up these freebies as well!

That night, Andy had borrowed an old fashion orange juicer from the park manager. It was her father’s… and it did an amazing job! I sliced the oranges in half. Andy placed one half on the manual machine and closed it tight pressing the lever. It was surprising to see how little was actually left on the rind when finished. We explained and shared the experience of each step with Caleb. He was engaged throughout the entire process! We collected the juice in an old container, but before putting it away, we all had a taste test.  It was the yummiest juice we’ve ever had and did I mention it was FREE! You can’t beat that! We hope to get more soon as this juice is disappearing quickly! In fact, we gave the food vender our phone number and asked him to call us any time he’s littered with oranges.  He said this will happen pretty regularly between now and March! 

Roadschooling in Florida has been a great experience. We've been able to present Caleb with many engaging learn opportunities this winter that keep that spark of learning aglow. I know it's December, too often a time of frenzy and chaos, but what have you done lately to ignite your child's love of learning? I'd love to hear about your experiences! Please feel free to share them in the comments!

Learning Blessings to your family,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Alligator or Crocodile?

Today’s field trip was to Gatorama in Palmdale, Florida. It is an alligator and crocodile farm that also houses a few other wild animals. This is one of the reasons I love being on the road. There are so many exciting things for Caleb to see, TOUCH, and learn about everywhere we go! Here are a few pictures so you can experience these animals with our family!



Learning Blessings to you,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Planned... and the Unplanned Field Trips


I remember when I was in pre-school visiting the city jail and fire station when I was four years old. One of the most vivid memories of this trip was the fact that both of these facilities were located across the street from the church school I attended and our whole class had to walk across the street. That must have been a big deal for me because I still remember that to this day, but I also remember meeting the police officers and fire fighters and the big red fire truck in the station. It was neat to look around the stations and walk through the jail. I remember feeling quite scared and holding my best friend, Sara’s, hand. She was never scared of anything. I think it is important for children to get out in the world and see these things first hand like we used to.  

When I taught in the public school, I was discouraged every year as field trips were cut to fewer and fewer until we just had one due to budget cuts. It is really sad that when there’s a budget crunch, it always seems like the most beneficial forms of education get cut (field trips, the arts, etc.).  

It makes me happy that I home roadschool Caleb and Lily Anne. They really get to see and be out in the world first hand. Today, was a field trip day to the Children’s Museum of the Highlands. They have a “Tot Time” where a teacher reads a book, sings songs, plays some games, and does a craft with the kids. It’s a really nice program. Today was Caleb’s first day and while he didn’t participate too much this time, I know with another visit or two he will be taking over the classroom. I watched him as he observed the other children dancing with scarves, studied the teacher’s reactions to him (she was great by the way) and listened to everyone singing. He was absorbing it all in. One area he did jump right into was  the craft, probably because we do so many together at home he felt very comfortable with this, not that we don’t sing and dance, but there aren’t any other children around except Lily Anne… 

After “Tot Time,” he explored the museum.  It’s a lot like the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids that we visited in Gainsville, GA about 2 months ago. It has a grocery store, a train that moves when you push the button, a real airplane, race car, fire truck, mail jeep, a water play area, life-size bubbles area, and so much more! He played, he explored, and he learned more than I know in these few hours. It was a good day…

But that was just the planned field trip…   As we were walking down the street to a local diner for lunch, Caleb pointed and said, “Fire truck… Wooo Wooo.” We all looked down the street and there was a fire truck pulled out in front of the station. We weren’t in a hurry, so we walked down to get a closer look. We met two firemen working on the truck. One offered to let Caleb sit in the fire truck. I whipped out my camera and started taking pictures when he offered to get a picture of the whole family. Then, while we took a look at the ladder truck, rescue truck, and 2 other fire trucks they had stationed there, the fireman ran inside and got Caleb a sticker badge and fire safety magnet. Caleb wore his badge proudly all day! The fireman gave us a brief tour inside the station where there are poles to slide down and more trucks out back! It was a very exciting day!

I encourage homeschooling parents and even public school teachers to contact your local civil services to see if they provide tours and can talk to your child(ren)/students about their profession. It is so much better to see these community helpers first hand in their place of business.

Blessed Learning ~

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