Archives for September 2011

Something Special ~ Rainforest Thumbprint Art


I love thumb/finger print art so I brainstormed what to do with it for our Rainforest theme.  I decided to create a background for the kids with a few trees, and came up with a few sample ideas for Rainforest animals and created idea cards for the kids to share while creating {if you want to print these sheets, download is here}.

Rainforest Thumbprint Art   Rainforest Thumbprint Art 2 

What you need:

  • ink pads {be sure to use washable}, or even finger paint {we used both}
  • baby wipes-for messy fingers, and paper towels-just to be ready!
  • sample animals printables {or your own ideas/examples}, we have borrowed Ed Emberley’s great books from the library and really enjoyed them!
  • printable rainforest tree background {or plain paper to draw your own}
  • PATIENCE…if you include a toddler in this process.  Be sure to have additional ideas to keep him/her busy.

First I showed the kids the examples, also telling them they were free to use them or not-or alter them using their own creativity.  I gave them some scrap paper to practice a few on.


Then, I showed them the tree template and let them choose if they wanted to use it.  Krash did, Pac did not.  K began water-coloring his trees.IMG_4129

Meanwhile, scream-o tot was exploring her finger paint and screaming at me to “wipe da finder” every 2 seconds {about that time I was thinking, “why didn’t I wait until her nap time to do this?”}


PacMan proceeded to draw and paint his background and enjoy adding his rainforest animals to his scene.  IMG_4155


Just in case you think she got a grip, here’s proof… it only got worse.  I do believe she was doing some sort of yelling, crying, or all-out-screaming the entire time.IMG_4147

She stopped for a few seconds to color some trees.IMG_4157

Then decided she did indeed enjoy this {after the rest of us were all done}, and began to go to the complete opposite extreme-painting herself!IMG_4173

I had walked away to clean up a bit and came back to this.  Just seconds before this, she was freaking out about it being on her finger a tiny bit.  Here’s a video I took of her silly drama!


The next day, after the paint had dried, Krash illustrated the drawing portion of his thumbprint animals {butterflies and a parrot}.


See more…

Rainforest Sensory Bin

In honor of our Rainforest theme, I made the them a Rainforest Sensory Bin

IMG_3911  IMG_3918

I filled the base it with jewels, rocks, and foam flowers & frogs {from Oriental Trading}.  I added our Rainforest Toob, as well as a pack of Rainforest Finger Puppets I ordered from OT also. I purposely didn’t put rice or anything teeny-tiny in it, so the kiddos could clean it up easily. I really wanted a brown base to emphasize the waste found on the forest floor, but I just didn’t feel like doing beans or rice this time and I didn’t have any brown bigger items for the base!  So we pretended the jewels were rain and humidity!IMG_3926

Buckets, tongs, spoons, and more were also added for extra exploration and fun!

When a new sensory bin is brought out, it is an exciting time for all 3 kids.  They all really look forward to seeing what I came up with for the theme.  This bin was especially exciting since we have been using the Rainforest Calendar Connections cards all month long and learning all about the Rainforest.


The finger puppets were a BIG hit!IMG_3998

Pac even ran down to the basement to get our puppet stage and they put on shows!IMG_4004

Ladybug stayed out of the show time and spent her time with me. We did lots of sorting, counting, and naming {animals}.


She loves the mini tongs and uses them a lot which I love-such good hand muscle work!IMG_4005



I set up a Rainforest shelf on top of Ladybug’s Tot Tray shelf.  We don’t have the awesome Rainforest felt set, so we used our Jungle set instead! {use code OnePlus for 15% off at Betty Lukens}IMG_3955

I added a few books and more Rainforest animals to her basket…IMG_3931


Right near this shelf is also her Rr is for Rainforest Tot School Printables set up in our Pocket Chart, including both Amazon and African Rainforest Nomenclature cards from Montessori Print Shop



A bit of info about where the contents of the bin came from:

Be sure to visit my Rainforest Pinboard on Pinterest for more rainforest ideas!

If you haven’t read the Montessori Minute post about sensory play, be sure to read that to see why these bins are so wonderful for kids!

Use this button to jump to all of my Sensory Bin posts anytime. Sensory-Bins6222[4]

RRSK ~ Early Access

RRSK ButtonI recently launched Raising Rocks Stars Kindergarten and will be releasing the printable units for FREE as Krash completes them.  Obviously this will take at least 26 weeks, probably longer!  I am working behind the scenes to get the RRSK Download Bundle ready but have had several of you ask me if I could open up a paid early access area, and the answer is YES!  It will work the same way You Can Read Ad-Free/Bonus section works {see details about all of my paid sections here}.  I am adding files as I get them completed and in the end the download bundle will be hosted on this page at no extra cost to anyone who pays now. 

This is what the RRSK Early Access page looks like now…


Clean, simple, easy to find the unit you need and see what’s new.  When all 26 units are complete I will add the download bundle link at the top for the entire RRSK program.  When that happens, the name will no longer be RRSK Early Access, it will simply be RRSK Download Bundle.  Make sense? 

If you’d rather wait and get the files for free, please do that!  They will all be free in the end.  The Download Bundle Package will be the paid option-for those who want the convenience of downloading the 26 units at one time.  I am only offering this Early Access option for those of you who emailed, commented and asked me to offer this so you could have access to the sets as I create them.  Many of you have also emailed to say that you want to support my work and pay for it, and for this I am completely humbled and honored-thank you for your kind words and support!

Currently I have Aa-Jj available and am trying to get ahead as fast as I can!

You can purchase RRSK Early Access for $8.00 here!

~You will be instantly redirected to the instructions of how to access the private webpage.  You will also receive an email with the link in case you miss the redirect.

Confused about the items I sell online?  Please read this post before buying anything!  I am sorry for anything that is confusing, just email me if you have questions after reading that post!

Calendar Connections ~ Explorers

My wonderful friend Shannon is still working with me to create the Calendar Connections cards. She is a fellow inner city missionary with me and also a homeschooler {and former school teacher}. She has 4 kiddos ages 1, 6, 12, and 14. She wrote the facts for this set and I created the final file, it was a total team effort! In order to help support their missionary family, all books linked in the file and in the Amazon widgets are linked to her account. If you make a purchase through those links you will be supporting their family!!!

We chose an Explorer theme for October ~ just to switch things up a bit.


The facts are written at a 3-6th grade level but you will be able to water them down for younger kids. It’s a great way to involve your entire family in exploring a particular theme.  This particular theme may be a bit harder to water down, but you’ll have to be the judge based on your kiddos!  Without any cute animal pictures, the younger crowd may have a harder time connecting to the exciting facts.

On the first card, Shannon challenges the kids to find places on a map or atlas as they learn about each discovery.  Slide4I think this is an awesome idea and will make this unit not only a lesson on Explorers but also a great geography lesson. 

The cards fit my particular pocket chart calendar {which is currently IN STOCK and on SALE at Oriental Trading}, item # IN-62/2017…


but you could use a poster foam board and velcro to easily create your own set up. You could also use a standard pocket chart. They seem like they would fit in this calendar on Amazon but I am not certain.

I am now creating smaller sets to go along with the small pocket charts found currently in the Target $1 section. Here is what they look like…

Calendar Connections Small Explorers

Be sure to visit this post for a tutorial of how to sew your $1 pocket chart into a calendar! I also uploaded the mini version for Rainforest, you can see everything available on the main Calendar Connections webpage.

I printed my numbers on cardstock and laminated them before cutting them apart.

You can download these for FREE here!

You can use most of our Calendar Connections cards for any month! We are slowly building up what we hope will be a wide variety of themes to choose from!

OCean Life Calendar Connections  Rain Forest Calendar Connections web

Fall Printables & More


I am gathering a wide collection of free printables within certain themes. In order to better organize these online, I have created theme blog posts for the themes I have created many printables for!  Links to these pages in the top navigational bar labeled “Theme Printables” so you can jump to them easily.


In this post, I will direct you to the page where the file is hosted on my website, since they are in various places! I hope this helps you find things within themes! I will try to gather anything I have done, created, or posted about surrounding this theme! Slowly I am adding more blog posts like this to help you find everything for the major themes we have done and will do!


In this post I will not be including apples, pumpkins/Halloween, or Thanksgiving.  I will be doing separate theme posts for those!

Fall Leaves Songs


Fall Sensory Bin


Falling Leaves Craft


Fall Tree Craft


Fall Lapbook


Ll is for Leaf Tot School Printables

Letter Ll Printable for Toddlers

Fall Leaves Books & More…


Are you on Pinterest?

imageYou can check out my Fall Finds here!

Will you leave links to your Fall themed printables or ideas in the comments section? I’d love to check your ideas out too!

Looking for More?

Ocean Printables & More

Bug Printables & More

Pond Life Printables & More

Rainforest Printables & More

Camping Printables & More

Pirate Printables & More

Apple Printables & More