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Testing Blab

THM Egg Roll in a Bowl

I started the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating a few weeks ago and have already lost about 6 pounds. I have not done it perfectly… but I have found one of the most amazing aspects of this diet. I rarely have left-overs. Why is that important? Well, I have three boys (two teenagers and a tween) and a hubby who all love my cooking. So, I was worried that I would have to cook two different meals each night!

Egg Rroll in aBbowl | Live and Learn Farm

That is SO not the case! Honestly, they love the meals as much as I do. I still cook them carbs and they can have their sweet tea. But I can’t tell you how surprised I have been at how much they are loving these recipes! That helps me stay on plan! Such a blessing.

This recipe is another one that they loved. They gave it a 9.5 on a 10 point scale! So, I wanted to share the recipe with you!  I modified it in several places, but this is inspired by the THM New Cookbook.

What You Need:

  • 1 2lb shredded chicken
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp Braggs Amino
  • 1/4 cup of low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1-2 tsp rice vinegar
  • Mineral Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 tsps Sesame Seed oil

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken until done and remove from pan.
  2. Add onions and garlic to the pan and saute in Sesame Seed Oil until nearly cooked through.
  3. Combine the Braggs amino acids, Soy Sauce, rice vinegar, chicken broth and Ginger and add to the skillet
  4. Add red pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Immediately add the Cabbage and Carrots to the skillet – half at a time.
  6. Continue to cook about 15 minutes, then mix in cooked chicken.
  7. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Now the downside to the family loving THM recipes is… I have none leftover for lunch the next day! But what a blessing to have this worry!!

Is it a Bug or an Insect?

Hello! This is the second post in my Backyard Bug Study series. Did you know there are over one million different kinds of insects? How about that for every one human there are two million of them?  Or that they are in nearly all habitats?  Or did you know there are over a five billion bugs in the world? No wonder we are so familiar with them!

is it a bug or an insect cropped

 

Bugs. What are bugs? Many people use the word “bugs” interchangeably for “insects.” But should they? So lets see if we can decide… is it a bug or an insect?

Let’s start with some scientific information about insects. Insect scientists, called entomologists, categorize all of creation. For insects they are in the Kingdom of Animalia (animals), the Phylum of Arthropoda and their Class is Insecta (comes from insectum and it means cut into sections). Arthropods are animals that lack a backbone, which are called invertebrates. There are several types of arthropods classified into groups that have common traits.  In this article I will be discussing what insects and bugs are and how you can tell them apart.

What are Insects?

Here are some of the characteristics that insects have, that bugs may not.

  • Six Jointed Legs – All insects have legs that have three sections. Look at praying mantis for a great example of this.
  • Segmented Body – Head, Thorax (The midsection of the body) and Abdomen (the tail end) are the main 3 parts of an insect’s body.
  • Breathe through tiny holes in their bodies called spiracles – These tiny holes let air in through the exoskeleton and directly to the trachea (The windpipe) and then into the lungs.
  • Antennae/Feelers – They use echolocation to send sound waves that bounce off of objects then come back. Bats and dolphins also use echolocation. They can figure out distance by how long it takes for the sound to bounce back to them.
  • Metamorphosis – What happens when the young body of an animal goes through a radical change in form when it grows up.
  • Exoskeleton – An exoskeleton is sort of like a protective armor that insects have. It doesn’t grow with them though, so they have to molt / shed yearly and grow a new exoskeleton.
  • Compound Eyes – Most insects have compound eyes, which means their eye is composed of thousands of tiny lenses.

Then what is a bug? 

True bugs are insects, but they do have some differences. Some bugs have more than six legs, where insects, do not. Most true bugs will have an X or a V on their back. Also most true bugs have a proboscis (a straw-like mouth) so they can suck pollen and other things out of a flower. The wings are different for true bugs.  The front wings of true bugs are thicker and colored near where they are attached to their body, and are more clear and thin towards the end of the wing. The hind wings are usually clear and under the front wings. Finally, true bugs also have three ‘life phases’ while insects have four stages. The true bug stages are: egg, larva/nymph, adult. The insects however, are: Egg, Larva/Nymph, Pupa, Adult.

What do they have in common?

Both have exoskeletons, and are invertebrates and have many other features that are the same such as: They both have three main body parts, they also have compound eyes, jointed legs, and most bugs have six legs like insects. Since there are even MORE things, I’ll put a diagram of some things that they have in common, and what they have different.

true bugs and insects

Activity: Bug and Insect Identification

Let’s take a closer look at nature! Let’s get into your backyard and see if we can identify some insects! First, remember you don’t want to touch bugs with your bare hands unless you know what the bug is! Remember some bugs bite and sting. So gloves, a net and tweezers are nice to have! When we go on a nature scavenger hunt, we try not to harm the things we are studying. So plan to release them after you are finished.

Disclosure

Items you will need to take with you.

  • Magnifying Glass.
  • Jar (with small air holes punched in the lid) to hold specimen.  When we were little, we had something like this Bugwatch to use to examine bugs (and anything else we could fit in these containers)!
  • Gloves.
  • Tweezers.
  • Bug Net.
  • Notebook.
  • Pencil.
  • Camera. Our grandmother gave us real cameras when we were really little. I think I was six. I still have this camera and it is still takes great pictures. I do have to use tape on the battery compartment to keep it closed because I broke the cover several years ago!

bug and insect identification

When you find a bug to study you can either look at it there where you found it or put it in your container.  See if you can tell if it is an insect or bug by reviewing the chart above. Take a picture of it or draw it. My brother is writing a whole series on Nature Journaling. This might be a great time to start one!

Resources

Here are some great products that helped me write this article. I thought you might find them helpful too.

Flying Creatures by Apologia. This is the science curriculum we use in our homeschool.

Bugs. The World’s Best Terrifying Insects. We have had this book for years, but my brothers and I have all just sat around and read this book because it is so good.

Bug Hunter by Smithsonian. It is a hands-on guide to the natural world.

I hope this gives you an idea of what the differences are between bugs and insects.  I’ll be writing lots of articles about insects in our backyard and we will talk about both, so I wanted to start here so we all could understand the differences… but I’ll still probably slip up and call them bugs!

I hope you enjoyed my article … until next time!

Backyard Activities for Kids

Have you ever wanted to spend time outside, but didn't know what to do? Or maybe you wanted to do an activity outdoors, but didn't know how to do it. Or maybe you were simply bored with your normal activities. I know, I've been there on more than one occasion.  So to help all of us come up with some creative ideas, I've decided to start a new series, Backyard Activities for Kids. I'll share activities you can do in your backyard or neighborhood that are affordable, educational, and will be fun for all ages!

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Before I get into the series, I thought I should give you a bit of the back-story on why I decided to start writing this series. For my entire life, I've lived on a forty acre farm in southwest Tennessee. It's been home to me for almost sixteen years now, but it's quite possible we'll be moving soon. As our needs and desires change, we have to change our way of thinking and living as well. So, a large house on a farm isn't quite what we're aiming for anymore. But during the last decade and a half I've done a lot of things on this farm, and I want to share them with other people so they can enjoy them too. And most of these things aren't exclusive to homesteads, you can do most of this just as easily in a neighborhood or large city.

field behind us 2

With forty acres we have a variety of landscapes and types of areas that we can (and do) use for our outdoor activities. Those include a pond that covers about an acre, a horse / cow pasture that is fenced in, thick woods with lots of hardwood trees, open fields, a garden area, a small stream and our front and back yards.  Here are a few pictures I've taken of these areas over the years.

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I'll be covering a lot of summer activities, but I'm also going to make sure to add plenty of educational things to do too. For most of us, the weather outside is getting warmer and warmer, and here it's great outside. So why not combine the two, learning and outdoor time? I attended a Montessori school before homeschooling and we had a formal outdoor classroom there. We haven't actually set one up at home, but we have always used our 40 acres as a classroom. A place to explore and enjoy. I'll be covering things we have done or plan to do this year. Topics will cover astronomy, biology, botany, practical life skills, you name it! Basically anything that you could do outside. And I'll even sneak in some math and language, because it can be done outside too!

In today's world, people are busier than ever with not much time left to enjoy the outdoors. So we have to be more focused on making the effort to slow down and get outside with our families. Outdoor activities seem to bring back some quiet and peaceful balance to our busy lives. Not to mention they are fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. You may actually find out you enjoy spending time outside more than you realized!

In one of my first posts I will discuss some of the outdoor daytime activities we normally do when we are camping. As an avid camper, I can tell you there are a ton of things you could do. From hiking to scavenger hunts, the possibilities are almost limitless. Add in some creative ways to document the camping trip and you have a homeschool unit study happening.

I hope you will follow along to see what backyard activities I will be sharing!

Backyard Nature Journaling Series

This is Gage. I’m so excited to announce I am starting a new series, a Nature Journal series! I will be sharing about all the flowers, plants, trees, animals, and insects (nature) we find in our backyard… and teaching you how to do nature journaling.This will probably be the last year we spend here because we are getting our house ready to sell. So this series will be a way to help me remember where I grew up. 

backyard nature journaling

 

I have really loved living here. I enjoy being able to keep and care for farm animals.  We used to have a bunch of dairy cows, I really enjoyed them. We had many calves born here on the farm and have had many funny escapades with them. Here is Bullophagus — one of our frisky baby bulls, out investigating if the grass really is greener on the other side!

bynj cows 2

Now, we are down to just chickens and a horse, but mom sometimes feels like they are too much too! You can see why. When we took everything off our porch to paint, the chickens thought they had found new roosting places!

bynj chickens 2

I am 13, almost 14, and am the middle child of the family. I used to attend the La Grange Montessori School. In 2008 it closed due to lack of funds. And I have been homeschooled ever since. I love to go out and just listen to nature sometimes. I’m not going to call myself a nature guy, but I do enjoy spending time outdoors. 

Gage 2014

Let me tell you about my home. I have lived in La Grange, TN all my life. We live on 40 acres of land. During the summer, it is normally around 80-92 degrees and it doesn’t rain that often. Our house is on a hill so our backyard has a slight slope. The grass is normally cut but is not a manicured yard. Out the front door is a mostly flat yard that slightly slopes down towards our ditch then back up to the main road, there are many trees as it starts to slope down. Beside our driveway is the horse’s pasture and the driveway doesn’t stop at the house, it continues down to our barn. Behind the barn is the woods, and down from the barn through the pasture is the Pond (where we let our turtles loose.) The backyard is met with trees as you get closer to the barn.

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Since this area is very rural we can find and study lots of interesting animals, birds, and plants around here. Just three days ago when I was walking with my mom picking Dandelions, we saw a snake. Have I mentioned mom hates snakes?

Another great thing about living in a rural area is the fact that we can keep certain animals we find. For example, in TN you can not buy red-eared sliders. But we found two in our pool after we had shocked it — we had those two for quite a while but they got too big and we let them live in our pond. 

Wurtle

One of the things I enjoy most is trying to find animals. I’m not sure why, I just really love finding them. Once we found a small snake, very small, about 4 inches long with an orange belly and grey/tan back, I just kept watching it while we kept it in a jar with air holes. Oh yeah, have I mentioned mom hates snakes? There was no keeping that find! So we released the tiny snake.

Snake

I also enjoy listening to the sound of nature around me. I usually bring my school work outside on nice days… especially the messy experiments! 

Forest

Next time I will be talking about Lyreleaf sage aka Cancer weed and in the future we will cover a plant everyone knows, the Dandelion!

I have linked up with other teen/tween writers at ClaraBlevins.com. If you are a Teen/Tween writer join the link up!

 

Teenlinkup

Until next time… 

 

 

 

 

Backyard Bug Study Series

 

Hi, I’m Blake. This is the first post in a new series I’m starting called the Backyard Bug Study. Guess what I will be writing about? Yep… Bugs! And Insects.  

Backyard Bug Study plain

First let me introduce myself to you! I’m Blake and I’m eleven years old. I have two brothers who also write on this blog. We are all homeschoolers. We live in a small town in Tennessee called La Grange.

Blake 2014

It is a very rural area where we have around 40 acres of land with a huge house! So large we can’t manage all of it! We are trying to sell it to buy a smaller house and less land. So I thought I would create something to help me record the great memories of my first home! 

bybs house

 

Our backyard has tons of clover and dandelions (there are weeds growing in it too)! We have a wide variety of trees, and some of them are very fun to climb! 🙂 And bugs. Lots of bugs. We have stinging bugs, flying bugs, digging bugs, biting bugs, swimming bugs, hopping bugs, boring bugs… you get the idea. We have bugs! So this should be an easy series to write because we have LOTS of insects and bugs here!

backyard 2

 

And while we are on the subject of bugs, let me tell you about the word “bug”. Many people use the word “bug” when really they are looking at an insect.  Bug only accurately describes a few! And even the ones that have the word “bug” in their name, most aren’t even bugs at all! We will learn all about that in this backyard bug study! Which ones are true” bugs and which ones are insects, where they live, what their natural predators are, are they harmful or helpful to your plants and garden, and lots of other fun and interesting facts. 

I hope you will follow along with my new series and that you will find it helpful! Maybe it will give you some ideas on what to study in your own backyard! If you do choose to join us, please leave a comment each week to let us know what you found!  

Have a great week!

 

The Egg and the Packaging Test – Will it Survive?

Everyone has ordered something online at one point or another.  When you first decided to go online to buy something, you most likely thought about things like from where you plan on buying it, how much you’re willing to pay for it, etc.  But in reality, those tasks are minute challenges compared to what goes on behind the scenes.  A ton of work, research, and testing goes into packaging that item up, and getting to your household safely within a few days.  Last year, I got to see how all these things are done at a summer boxing and packaging program at Christian Brothers University.

the Egg and the Packaging Test

Packaging may sound like an odd career to some people, but here in Memphis, Tennessee, it’s a large and active industry. Memphis is a distribution hub for many of the neighboring areas, meaning things are constantly being shipped to and from the city.  When things are shipped, packaging is almost always involved somehow or another.  That’s part of the reason why CBU has its packaging program.  Nearby companies, FedEx for example, are constantly looking for more people who know how to test packages, run the machinery to construct the packages, and many other tasks like these.

Christian Brothers University began its packaging program in early 2001, and it’s been growing ever since.  Once the program was up and running for a while, CBU began hosting various summer programs for high school students.  The Packaging Summer Program was just one of these summer activities, but it was the first one I had attended at CBU.  And even so, I had a bit of an idea about what to expect.  A few months back, the staff in the Engineering and Packaging departments sneaked me in for a little tour of the labs in their building.  At that time I got to see all the labs, just not how they worked.  This time I got to see it all, and even use some of the machinery myself.

One of the first activities I got to do, aside from another tour, was run a few tests on the strength of a sample of cardboard.  Most of these tests had to do with the amount of force it took to bend and puncture the piece of cardboard.  After the tests, I jotted down the results so they could later be used in calculating the strength, and maximum carry weight, of a certain cardboard box. Next, I got to see how boxes were cut out.  In this case, they were using a simple, paper fold-up box.  After programming the design into the computer, it sent that data over to the actual cutting machine.  Here, you had to set the boundaries of the material that was being cut (so it wouldn’t cut off the material), give the machine a base reference point, which was also along the border of the material, and then press start.  The machine would cut out the design you gave it in the computer, and there you have it!  After punching out the design, it was easily folded into the right shape and size.

From there I went on to the packing station.  There I was given an egg, and had to find a way to safely pack it into the little five-by-three cardboard box, using as much packing material as possible in the right way.  The point of this was in the hope that my egg would be able to survive all the rigorous tests it would be put through later that day.

After everyone else finished their mini-boxes, we were divided into three groups of five.  My group was group #1.  This is where the test we performed earlier came in handy.  Based on the boxes’ dimensions, and on the measurements taken earlier, we were able to figure out just how many pounds this box could hold in a perfect environment.  The reason why I say “in a perfect environment”, is because some small factors, such as humidity and temperature, will also affect how much weight the box can hold.  These are constantly changing, so we couldn’t account for them.  Team one had almost finished calculating our boxes maximum strength, when we had to stop short for a lunch break.

At lunch, several guests from various packaging companies around Memphis came and spoke about their packaging careers.  They talked about how they came to enjoy their jobs, what they did, and what types of packaging they worked with.  I believe there were three main categories that they all worked in.  Boxing, bottling, and plastic packaging.  Boxing, of course, was about the logistics of packaging items inside of cardboard boxes, like FedEx.  Bottling was all about plastic and glass bottles, what’s the most efficient way to make them, and why they’re sued so often.  The latter was all about plastic packaging, like wrappers or Ziploc bags.  Believe it or not, all of these things fell under the broad category of packaging.  It’s not just about boxing up items and shipping them to your front door.

After lunch, we moved onto the final and possibly most enjoyable part of the day; the tests.  Since team one had already finished calculating the box’s strength, we had a little extra time to prepare for the brutal and violent testing stage.  Our goal was to fit all of the eggs that we had packaged up earlier into this one box, pack it with enough of the right material to absorb most of the shock, and still be able to close the box.  We managed  to fit all the eggs in, but we went a little overkill on the packing paper, and could barely shut the top of the box.  All this was in the hopes that our tiny eggs would be able to survive all the tests, which were to come soon.

CBUPic

We then moved down the hall, into the first testing area.  The first test was rather simple, the drop test.   In this test, the box was dropped from a miniature forklift on various sides and corners.  I’m pretty sure almost everyone’s eggs survived this test, but we might have lost a few here.  The next test was the vibration test.  In this test, the boxes were set on a vibrating platform, and shaken at various frequencies. This was to simulate the vibration from either a truck, plane, or boat.

Next, the boxes were put between two large metal plates, and slowly crushed vertically.  No, it didn’t completely crush the thing flat, but it sure did leave a dent in it.  All this time it was telling us how much pressure the box was under.  This is where the earlier calculations came in.  If these numbers matched our earlier results, it means we passed with flying colors.  If not, it means that team most likely made a mistake.  As it turns out, there was a twenty pound difference from the number the machine gave us, the one we calculated.  For the record, that was pretty good.  No, our calculations didn’t come out perfect (most likely due to the environmental differences mentioned earlier), but twenty pounds is an acceptable margin for error.

The final, and quite possibly the most destructive test, was the smash test.  In this test, the box was placed on a tract, with a large wooden slab behind it.  The tract was slowly lifted on one end, eventually causing the cart the box was sitting on to go rolling down the tracks, and hit a wooden barrier.  At the same time, the slab behind the box would slam into the back of the box, most likely crushing any eggs inside.  Each team went through this process, and then did a few tests just for the fun of it.  Finally, after going through all these tests, we went back to the front of the building, and opened the boxes.

As it turns out, not all of our teams egg’s survived, but my egg made it through all the tests unscathed.  One of the three teams actually had all of their eggs survive. Our team definitely didn’t win, but I’m pretty sure we all enjoyed it.

Here are some pictures of the event!  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.704396969610044.1073741862.135651976484549&type=1

9 Fun Elementary Math Board Games

Math can be really hard sometimes. So anything that can make it fun is worth trying. Have you ever tried playing a game to help with math? Well I have a few suggestions for elementary math board games for you!  We play games a lot for math!  And I love playing them too!9 math board games

1. Math Bingo   

Whole Number Bingo

 Although I haven’t personally played this game, I’ve played many others like it. I think they are a fun, and a creative way to review math!

I love playing the Conceptual Bingo games when I don’t understand a subject in math completely. It brings a fun way to learn, and memorize it (with my mom or older brothers helping me)! 

 

Money Bingo

Money Bingo is a great way for kids to learn to calculate money values and also helps in addition and subtraction.

I always loved playing money Bingo when I was younger, I especially liked it when you also used dollars and cents to make the game more fun and easy to understand!

 

Decimal Bingo

Decimal Bingo is a fun way to incorporate decimals, which I always had trouble with, into a fun, educational game!

I always used to have trouble with decimals, this game helped me review a lot but make it fun at the same time!

2. Fraction Games

Frog Pond Fractions

Frog Pond Fractions is a great way to put fractions, into a very fun game!

Frog Pond fraction was one of my absolute favorite games, I would play it for enjoyment, It was easy to play, yet still helped in learning fractions!

Pizza Fraction Game

The Pizza Fraction game is a fun way of playing with fractions, and, for kids who like cooking (like me), it seems even more fun!

Although I don’t personally remember much about playing this game, both of my brothers say it was a lot of fun, and educational!

Fraction Fortress Game

The Fraction Fortress Game is a fun game for learning fractions!

I haven’t played this game, but I wish I had! Based on the reviews I’ve read, it sounds very fun!

3. Place Value Games

Place Value Bingo

Place Value Bingo, like all the other Bingo’s, is a fun, and educational way to learn!

Cam you tell I love Bingo Games!

Place Value Safari Game

Place Values can be tough sometimes, but games like this, always make them easier!

I haven’t personally played this game, but it looks like it would be a lot of fun!

 

Place Value Space Chase

Space Chase is a fun board game, which not only teaches Place Values, but also addition and subtraction!


 

I hope this list of games helps you!! Enjoy!

10 Fun and Educational Preschool Board Games

We love to play board games in our homeschool. Always have. And they get their love of playing games honestly. I have always loved board games and so did my dad. So it is not a huge surprise that are constantly on the hunt for games to incorporate into our school. And I figure if we are always looking for them, somebody else probably is too! So, we are going to write an entire series on our favorite fun and educational games… starting with preschool. All of these games we had and played or used in a setting outside of our home. So these are kid tested and have proven to be fun (at least to my three boys). So without further adieu, let’s get to the 10 Fun AND Educational Preschool Board Games list for kiddos aged 3-5 or so.

10 fun and educational preschool board games

 1. Zingo

It was one of our all time favorites. It is easy for little ones to play this because there are pictures on all the tiles and can be matched to the zingo board. It is a very fast-paced, energetic variant of Bingo that does not take too long to play, so it keeps their attention (and yours).

The description from the manufacturer reads:

In this fast-paced, energetic variant of Bingo, kids get a kick out of pulling the Zinger forward to reveal two mystery tiles, and then try to be the first to call out the tiles that match the images on their cards. The first player to fill his or her card wins by yelling “Zingo.” Two levels of play add zing to the competition.

I’ll be honest, my boys were as fast at calling out the pictures as I was. Besides the obvious language and vocabulary benefits, it also develops matching, memory, and concentration skills.

2. The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

This game was one the boys played all the time at the Montessori school. I was not much into “cooperative” games — Did I mention I’m just a little competitive when it comes to games? Anyway, good thing they learned about it there so they could teach me all about them!

In this game, your forest friends are hungry and they need your help. I appreciate that this game develops matching and sorting skills, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and pre-handwriting skills. Yes, it’s fun but also is educational too!

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3. Qwirkle

We still love to play Qwirkle!  The description says it is for older children, but we played it well before they were in Kindergarten.

Qwirkle can be played as a simple matching colors and shapes game… similar to dominoes, which is how I used it with my preschoolers. But as they get older, they start to develop well-planned strategies when they learn to place a tile that touches multiple pieces with matching attributes. Once they reach the strategy level, this game becomes addictive!

4. Blokus

Blokus is still my personal favorite! We have played Blokus for years and absolutely were playing it well before my boys were in kindergarten. I use the age ranges on Amazon loosely. We know our children and their capabilities.

Blokus is a strategy board game that challenges spatial thinking. Bright colors and simple rules make it ideal for ages five and up, but adults will certainly be engrossed by this unique and challenging game.  I can assure you  it is not Your Average Board Game. It encourages creative thinking and has received a Mensa award for promoting healthy brain activity! That is a game I can support and encourage our children to play.

5. Chutes and Ladders 

Chutes and Ladders is a very a traditional board game that is great for teaching numbers and practicing counting. This was one of the very first games the boys asked to play often.

Chutes and Ladders is ideal for younger children who are still learning to take turns and just beginning to recognize numbers (the spinner stays in the single digits). It’s also a gentle introduction to the higher numbers as players climb to 100 at the top of the board.

6. Candyland

Candyland is another traditional game that has been around a long time. I hesitated to even put it on my list… but I think this is the game that so many of us start out using with our kiddos!
This game is perfect for non-readers because playing cards are coded with colorful squares matching the jeweled stepping-stone path, so they don’t have to read to be able to play this game… just be able to match colors. So this is a great first game… teaching taking turns, colors and even counting. 

7. Spot It! Numbers & Shapes

We love “I Spy” type games… we actually still play those in the car All. The. Time. So… it’s not a surprise that we love the Spot It games. And there are a bunch of them!


But for preschoolers, I would start with the basics… Shapes, Numbers and Letters is perfect! It is also a great game for honing visual perception and cognitive skills, as well as developing quick mental processing. And, honestly, just like when I played Zingo, I think the kiddos were faster than me at finding them. Maybe I need some of these games more than my kiddos!

8. Imaginets Pattern Board and Magnetic Blocks

Okay, I know this is a strange “board” game… but I think it is good for children to have a “solitaire” type game they can play when they are bored and don’t have someone to play with.

There are a ton of different varieties and versions you can choose from. Here is a search for Tangrams and you can see just how many there are to choose from. They vary in skill level and difficulty. What they all have in common is their ability to boost our children’s fine motor and visual thinking skills! I love doing these too. (Have I mentioned already how much I love to play games?)

9. Pizza Mania

Pizza Mania is a fun and quick little game that my boys loved playing. It is definitely an early learning game and counting in the single digits.

The talking chef is quaint, almost old-school… but the boys enjoyed it. As for its educational component, it reinforces listening, counting, and early addition and subtraction.

10. Workbench

I am so totally cheating on this one. I know it is not a traditional board game… but let’s be realistic, some children just want to do things.

The Wooden Project Workbench includes blueprints for a robot and an assortment of vehicles, so you and your little carpenter can learn to build together. While the bench, tools, and hardware are suitable for kids, the plans for the additional projects will require parental assistance to complete.

I hope you have enjoyed my 10 Fun AND Educational Preschool Board Games list. I am SURE I missed some. Which ones would YOU add to the list?

trish

C is For Crabbing at the Carolina Coast

Hello this week’s post is going to be the C of my alphabet blogging series. C is for  Crabbing at the Carolina Coast. Every few years we rent a beach house for a month in North Carolina. My mom is from New Bern and this is when we get to spend time with her family.

One of the many fun things we look forward to doing when we are at the beach is crabbing.  I’m not sure if everyone crabs the way we do. We “crab” with a net to catch the crabs, and a bucket to temporarily put the crabs in before we let them go. We crab at night, because these ghost crabs are nocturnal. We usually go out at about nine to ten o’ clock at night because we see the most crabs then.

Crabbing at Carolina

 

Here is how we catch crabs. Once we see a crab, we lunge out and cover the crab with our net. You need to practice catching shells with your net for a little while before going crabbing. If you don’t, you will probably end up killing some of these crabs accidentally. Practice getting the shell in the center of the net. After you have the net on your crab, carefully flip the crab into the net. Then put it over to the bucket and drop it in. I usually have caught about 5 crabs when we release them. We release them about a foot from the ocean, and then watch them scurry into the nearest wave.

We love going crabbing. We do it almost every night when we are at the beach. We live 1,000 miles from the North Carolina coast, unfortunately. So when we are there, we get our fill of crabbing!

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This last trip to the beach, we did a different kind of crabbing.  Let me tell you a story about a crab we named Earl. We found Earl after the hurricane named Earl that hit the beach while we were there. It was after the hurricane that we went back to the beach to look for new shells that were moved to the shore by the hurricane. While we were shell hunting my brother Gage found a conch shell and when he picked it up he noticed crab legs were inside of the shell! He ran to show mom and we all sat around studying it, thinking of a name for it and wondering what kind of crab it was.

Eventually we came up with the name Earl, after the hurricane that had just been there. We got a bucket of salt water and put Earl in the water on some sand. We studied him all day and watched how he behaved. We released him later that day, so we thought for sure our time with Earl  was over, but we were wrong.

Gage Crab 2

The next day we went out shell hunting again and we found lots of cool shells and conchs. As we were looking through them, Gage noticed a shell very similar to Earl’s, the crab we had caught and named the day before. Gage quickly picked up the shell to investigate and much to our surprise, there he saw the same crab legs sticking out of the shell. We had lots of fun looking at Earl while we were playing that day. And again, we released him in the late afternoon. But this time it was the last time we saw Earl.

I hope you enjoyed my post and maybe it inspired you to go crabbing some day!

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