Playful Learning with Spielgaben ~ August 2014

Playful Learning with Spielgaben is our monthly post sharing Spielgaben in action!  If you missed the introduction to this series, you can see it here and also see links to our past posts.. We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.  I will be sharing once a month a detailed post featuring Spielgaben.  You can also see my Learning with Ladybug posts to see what my daughter has done with this learning set!

Playful Learning with Spielgaben August 2014
We officially started school August 11, with a 4 day week, and then a 2 day week.  So yes, we started but we don’t really get into a consistent 5 day routine until after Labor Day. Below you will see I have divided the post into 4 categories ~ Lessons We Enjoyed, Free Play, Mommy Inspired Play, and Nature & Inspiration Guide Play It is a long post, I hope these categories help you find what you are interested in reading.

Lessons We Enjoyed

This month we continued our work with Set 7. I took small screen shots of the manual for you so you can see how the lessons are laid out.  They are very easy to follow and help me so much. I keep the user guide on my iPad and we use it for the lessons.  She likes that she can enlarge each step if needed to see exactly how something was built. it’s a nice bonus to a PDF digitally instead of printed!

We worked on Lesson 7-2 Finding a Parent Shape. Spielgaben 7-2

This was a pretty easy lesson for her, but as usual she enjoyed it. we built parent shapes by using the single shapes.  Gradually we expanded each shape also.

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We also completed Lesson 7-3 A Building Game. Spielgaben 7-3

Again, this one was pretty easy, as she matched solid shapes to flat shapes. We do lots of talking during these lessons, so even if it’s easier, the vocabulary is learned and reinforced.

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She struggled a bit more with Lesson 7-5, Spinning Top Game.

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First we built different stars together, this is the part that was a challenge for her.

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After we built various stars using different shapes, we added a few small circles to one of them to make a top.  The guide said to use double sided tape but we didn’t have any so we used school glue.

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This was a BIG hit, she loved it.  It was pretty fragile but it did spin well!

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Free Play

I don’t always catch her free play creations, but I did capture this one.  It’s Stitch from Lili & Stitch.

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Mommy Inspired Play

I like setting up different challenges for her.This was a basic color sorting game, with a fine motor emphasis.  At first she told me she didn’t like my game. I nonchalantly said, “OK, I am going to play, you can join me if you want!”

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Look who was with me before even a few seconds passed.  She loved it!  Girl can be so stubborn when something isn’t her initial idea!

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Nature & Inspiration Guide Play

I have our Nature Guide on the iPad also, I just set it up for her if she asks.  Here she was building a butterfly.  This one was difficult for her and she needed a bit of help to get the design going. Spielgaben -0180 We talked a lot about symmetry as she worked on this one! Spielgaben -0195

Remember there is a special discount for 1+1+1=1 readers…

Spielgaben is offering an exclusive discount to 1+1+1=1 blog readers –

AU $374 | US $340 | GBP $205

including shipping to AU | USA | UK, which is over 15% off of the already discounted online price. Prices are approximate depending on conversion rates. All you need to do to claim your discount is send an email to [email protected] mentioning 1+1+1=1 and you will be provided with a discount coupon! Please check directly with Spielgaben via email for current discount available, prices change with version updates and conversion rates.

My Cats Nick and Nora Kindergarten Literature Unit in Action

We completed another Kindergarten Literature Unit, My Cats Nick and Nora, during the past two weeks.  We started homeschool On Aug 11, but had 2 short weeks due to scheduled events.  We did 4 days of lessons, spread out over those 2 weeks.

My Cats Nick and Nora Kindergarten Literature Unit In Action

I love setting up a central area for our theme focus and my daughter loves it too.  I gather our toys and books together and display them the night before we begin our unit. It helps to draw her in and get her excited about our learning time together. I borrow books from the library and also toys from friends to enrich our learning. I gather toys from around the house too {well, actually I send my older boys on a hunt to find things for me}.

This particular unit was simple, CATS! I started with just two cats to represent Nick and Nora from the story.  I also put a portion of our 3-part cat breeds cards in our mini pocket chart.  The extra pieces are in the little kitty bucket {Target dollar spot}.  Our collection of cat books on the bottom, and that was it!

The full set-up…

Cat Theme Set Up Kindergarten

I divided up our activities into 4 hanging folders, they are behind our You Can Read unit in this basket. I follow a very loose lesson plan and shift things around as needed or desired. I do not stress out at all about what does or does not get done each day.  We just have fun together and learn as we go!

I tried something new by taking small video clips for you throughout our unit.  Let me know if these are helpful to you.

Day One

She immediately wanted to add cats to the set up and gathered every kitty she owns.  They participated in matching up the 3 part cat breed cards in our small pocket chart!.  L loved learning the names of the the cats and finding the best match in her bunch of stuffed kitties.

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Then we read the book together and identified which cats of hers best represented the cats in the book; Nick, Nora, and Fluffy.

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Balloon color word matching

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We had a nice talk for the character connection, discussing what made Fluffy a mean kitty and how he could have been nicer.

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Lots of role playing with the kitties.

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Then to the table to color the color-by-number rainbow cat

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We finished by doing the “N is for Nick, Nora, and…” activity!

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Day Two

I had the rest of the cats from the 3 part cat breed cards ready for her and she loved that they were different from day one!

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Here’s a video clip of her working on the 3 part cat cards.


We made a pipe cleaner cat craft using directions we found here!

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She worked on her favorite pet graph, here she was asking her biggest brother to choose his favorite.

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She loved the sorting cats activity.  First she sorted by babies and adults.  Then she sorted by color.

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Here’s a video clip of us working on sorting cats together.


We read the book every day, and used stuffed animals to help us.

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Here she was putting the parts of the story in order.

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Day Three

I pulled out the sight word cats that she knew and we went through the book together finding them.  This was a GREAT review and lots of fun!

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Here’s a bit of video action


She really liked the balloon color graphing activity.  She used stickers to record on her graph.

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After completing the graph, she wrote in the numbers on the recording sheet.

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Here’s a video clip of her working on the graph…


We sorted rhyming words together, and she taped them on when we were done.

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We talked about being a Godly friend as she traced the word friend on our Bible verse page.

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Day Four

She loved the coin sorting activity, it was a lot of hands on fun.

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Here’s a video clip of her in action.


We also did the comprehension questions for the book.  Here’s a tiny video clip of her answering one of the questions with me.


I didn’t get photos for some reason, but she also completed her writing activity {you can see it hanging on the far left in the final photo below}.

All of our work from this unit!  She had so much fun and we made great memories together!

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See our printables for this unit here,

our Pinterest board here,

and our book and toy suggestions here!

My Cats Nick and Nora Kindergarten Literature Unit Study Printables  Toys and Books to go along with My Cats Nick and Nora Kindergarten UnitMy Catsa Nick and Nora Pinterest Board

If you blog about this unit will you let me know? 

Leave a link in a comment, email me, or share on my Facebook page?

See More Kindergarten Literature Units here!


Kindergarten Literature Unit Printables

Tot School Gathering Place ~ Week 85

Welcome to Tot School™ Gathering Place! Gather together here, gather ideas from other blogs, share your own ideas on your own blog. Browse around at the other posts linked up, leave a few comments if you have time, and be sure to check back to see if your blog was featured!

Each week we will feature photo{s} and ideas from blogs who link up. Remember, provide a link back to Tot School Gathering Place within your post that you link up, so you can be considered for the feature!

Tot School Gathering Place Week 85

Tots are amazing little people! They are curious, creative, and constant movement! They love to explore and learn new things! They are just full of life! I hope that Tot School Gathering Place helps you find ideas and activities that will fill the learning desire of your Tot!

Mama Lindsay from One Beautiful Home shares with us a free download activity mat that Tot Greyson enjoyed immensely! Take a peek and see if it will appeal to your Tot!

One Beautiful Home


Over at Love, Joleen, Mama Joleen enjoyed exploring tractors with Tot Benjamin. Head on over and see the wonderful activities gathered together for this theme!

Love, Joleen


Maybe you are ending your summer with a trip to the ocean? Then check out Memorizing the Moments and see all the fantastic ideas centered around an ocean theme!

Memorizing the Moments


Remember to visit our Pinterest board hosting our featured blogs each week! Be sure to follow the board and re-pin ideas you like, it’s a great way to support each other!

Love Tot Trays™? Check out our Tot Trays for Tot School Pinterest Board!

Using Tot School Printables?  Visit ourTot School Printables Pinterest Board. If you are using Tot School Printables and blogging about it, email me with a link to one of your posts and your Pinterest link so you can pin to this group board!

Our Tot School Ideas Board is filled with ideas from all around the web, maybe even some of yours!

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Were you featured?

You are welcome to a button but you certainly don’t have to use it! Totally optional!

Tot School Feature

<center><a href=”” target=”_blank”><img alt=”I was featured for Tot School!” src=””/ ></a></center>

Do you have your FREE

Where to Begin with Tot School eBook?


See the Tot School webpage here!

Are you NEW or have never been featured? Read this!

Basics: write a specific post about what you did with your tot, link up the permalink from your post, link back to Tot School within that post, put your tot’s age in months in ( ) like this: (43 months).


Lessontrek ~ Review

We have been testing out a new lesson planning tool for awhile now and I really like it.  Lessontrek was introduced to me by a blogging friend and I agreed to a review after I completed their free trial and liked it!  I now have a discount code for you and a giveaway, as well as my review.  Keep on reading!

{disclaimer ~ I was given a year of Lessontrek for this review, they are a blog sponsor, and my affiliate link is used}Lessontrek Online Homeschool Planner Review

I love simple, I love colors.  Lessontrek had me with those two things right away. I needed something very simple, and straightforward to plan our lessons.  Lessontrek is an online planner that is very easy to use. You set everything up online and have the option to print out weekly checklists, which is one of my favorite parts {probably my very favorite part}. I spent time setting each child up, giving them a specific color, and then each subject of theirs a specific color. Once initial set up is done, it is easy to navigate. I also love the flexibility it has. I can add assignments by typing in specifics, or add recurring assignments with a click {once I have entered in the list of recurring assignments}. Once you get started playing around I promise it isn’t too hard to figure out! I have 4 different categories; one for each child {keep reading to see those}, and one for our All Together subjects. Below is a screenshot of our All Together subjects planned out for week one.  Each little colored area can be drug around easily, and also copy/pasted if needed.

Lessontrek All Together Subjects

We do school intensely for four days a week, Monday-Thursday.  Friday is our family day off, and Saturday is a lighter day, with catch-up and extra subjects.  This particular week we took day 3 off to go to Six Flags, that’s why it is blank! I have been sharing a bit on Instagram and people have asked to see more details about how we are using Lessontrek.  I took screenshots of each planner from week one and then a photo of the printable checklist at the end of the week so you can see how we did! The screenshots are from the print mode, which produces the checklist format that you print. It looks different in the compose mode {which you can see a glimpse of at the top in my all together screenshot}

PacMan’s first week of 7th Grade…

This is what he got on Monday, with my expectations for his week.  See his 7th grade homeschool curriculum here.

Lessontrek Weekly Plan

Here’s what his printable plan looked like at the end of week one.  I gave some grace on a few things, and just transferred them over to the next week.  I do not put the plans in far ahead so it is easier for me to adjust each week.  It stresses me out to think we are behind, so instead I go with the flow and just adjust.  For now I am only doing one week at a time.  Setting up their plans on Sunday afternoon to print and be ready for Monday.

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Krash’s first week of 3rd Grade…

Lesontrek 3rd Grade Plans

Here’s what his looked like at the end. He finished all but one math lesson, since we decided not to do any school on Friday {our family day}. See his 3rd grade homeschool curriculum here.

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Ladybug’s first week of Kindergarten…

Lessontrek k Plans

Here’s hers at the end of the week. You can see we have a lot of circles, meaning we didn’t get to those things and I am totally fine with that.  I am completely flexible and will just carry over. I create a plan for her and we do what we can. See her Kindergarten homeschool curriculum here.

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Our All Together Plan…

As you can see we got almost our entire weekly plan done. We all REALLY enjoyed our all together time. See our all together homeschool curriculum choices here.

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I could keep this post going forever telling you exactly how I did things and how to set it up, but honestly it’s one of those hands on things you have to do to understand.  They have a wonderful totallyfree two week trial so you can play around and see if it works for you.  I did the trial before even agreeing to the review. Here is a list showing what Lessontrek is capable of doing now…

Lessontrek Current Features


Below are the features in the works! Lessontrek Future Features




Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Our Kindergarten homeschool curriculum choices are ready to share!  We have been doing a modified version of Kindergarten throughout the summer and started back with our full routine last week.

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Choices

The base of our home Kindergarten will be our Kindergarten Literature Unit Studies.  Most of her math will come from these units and just regular hands on learning that occurs naturally for us.

I chose to use You Can Read to emphasize sight word learning since my son loved it so much.  I developed this program myself so it has the elements I love when teaching sight words.

This year I have decided to try a new literacy program with Ladybug.  Logic of English Foundations A was given to us for free and I have taken some time to look over it and have decided to use it with Ladybug.  It is similar to All About Reading, but a bit different. It includes handwriting, phonics, spelling and reading all in one. We loved All About Reading and I will probably use components of it too. I did not switch because I didn’t like All About Reading, I switched just to try something new. Part of the reason I chose to use Logic of English is to get a good solid review of a different early literacy curriculum so I can answer questions for my readers.

I have chosen to use my Raising Lil’ Rock Stars Through the Bible A-Z for her Bible focus, and this also includes some handwriting and literacy skills as well.

We will continue on with our Integrity Time Bible lessons that we loved from last year. This was chosen more for character development rather than Bible verse memorization.

Spielgaben will wrap up our Kindergarten fun with loads of hands on play-based learning.

The Visual Version

You Can Read Button 200x200 Kindergarten Literature Unit Printables Raising Lil' Rock Stars

Spielgaben in Homeschool Kindergarten LOE Foundations A Integrity Time Bible Review

You can see our literacy and math goals linked below!

Homeschool Kindergarten Literacy Goals  Homeschool Kindergarten Math Goals

Group Subjects

In addition to her Kindergarten specifics, she will join the boys for the following subjects.  We have already begun a few of these and she really enjoys them so far. Obviously I adjust my expectations for her greatly.  Many of these subjects involve coloring of some sort which she loves!

    The visual version…

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How Does it All Fit Together?

I do school with Ladybug first thing in the morning, usually beginning around 9am and ending around 10:15-10:30am.  We begin with our literature unit and then move on from there.  I usually let her pick what to do next, she has already learned her “categories” of school.  I have opted not to use Workboxes or trays, she functions fine without them and just works through her school time with me.

She doesn’t love school as much as she did as a tot, and will fight me a bit but not much.  She has learned her school complaint techniques from her brothers. I think if she were an only she would still love school time fully.  Once she gets going she does really love it and Ii s mostly compliant with a few whines here and there.  There are certain things she doesn’t love as much but at this stage I do require her to do what I have planned.  I did follow her lead in choosing and developing a plan, but now that it has been chosen, we will do what I have planned.


Kindergarten with Krash

We did a few different things with Krash when he was in Kindergarten. See our entire home Kindergarten journey post by post.

Homeschool Kindergarten with Krash At a Glance

Looking for our other homeschool curriculum posts?  Click to see each below!

All Together Subjects Homeschool Curriculum Choices 7th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 3rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices