Teaching Heart Mom

Just a Mom With a Teaching Heart. Find fun activities to do with your kiddos and students (infant to age 10). www.teachingheart.net blog

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Witch Brew Dice Game & Other Halloween Treats!

Witch Brew Dice Game

You Need: 2-4 players 1 dice per gameEach player needs to cut-out their playing pieces -
Click to download playing pieces!
Key - Click to download
Pot set in the center of players.

Players take turns rolling dice. They add 1 item into the pot based on the key. The person to fill the pot with their pieces first is the winner.

Graphing Spooks
Here is a graphing activity center. Which halloween character is your favorite Spook?

There are two printables to match this activity. To learn how these graphs work, please visit:

Click to download manipulatives
Click to download the center sheet

Like our graphing activity? Try our Graphing Center CDROM. 100's of happy teachers!http://www.teachingheart.net/graphingcdrom.html - Order it for your child's k-2 teacher!

More Fun Halloween Activities at:

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making Fall Trees

I had a funny thought today while in Target & walking through the kids craft area, my daughter (2 1/2) has never finger painted!!! Bad mommy... but I was a good mommy to my son/ first born. In fact, he was painting since he was six months old (patting myself on the back). Not sure what he got out of that. Anyhow, I decided to let the kids finger paint today. We made Fall Trees! My son was into making the tree look like a tree and my 2 year old was more into feeling the paint on her fingers and rubbing it onto the paper. As my preschool teacher friend Amy would say, "It is not the product, but the process!" Actually we are out on the porch right now and she is still painting as I type away on my back porch enjoying this Fall day!

What you need:

Sponge cut up.

Fall color finger paints.

We mixed green & yellow to get brown... Which my son a K student was into since they are talking and learning about primary and secondary colors in school. Wouldn't his teacher be proud of me? Hee-hee!!

Hand print becomes the branches. Use a sponge to tap on the leaves.
Autumn Leaves(Frere Jacques)
I'm a tree (2x)
Look at me (2x)
Autumn leaves are falling (2x)
All Around (2x)

Labels: ,

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the first day of Fall, y'all!

My son came home from school today so excited to tell me that summer was over and today was the first day of Fall. I looked at the calendar and confirmed that it was the first day of Fall. Fall is my favorite season. When I taught, summer was my favorite season simply because teachers get a few weeks off from teaching in the summer! Now that I am working all year round, Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors and the feeling in the air. I love pumpkins, mums, apples, and hayrides! I like layering clothing... However, the only thing I don't like about fall is that winter follows Fall.

To celebrate fall and to kill some time in the afternoon, we went on a leaf hunt. My son (newly 6) and daughter (2 1/2) spent an hour looking for leaves. We had a piece of string & a hole puncher. When they found a leaf they liked, my son would punch a hole in the leaf and then he or my daughter would thread it onto their string. Below this post you can see my son explaining the process! So if you are a mommy looking for a fall time killer that your kids will enjoy - give this a try. My son counted his collection when he was done and he had 42! My daughter sorted hers by colors: red, yellow, brown.

Fall Fun Links:
+http://www.teachingheart.net/afallunit.html - a unit all about fall

+http://www.teachingheart.net/appleunit.html - an apple unit. Many printables including;Apple Book- color the apples and write in the number of apples seen on the page. Grades prek-1 and Apple Math - Story problems.Grades 1-2

+ http://www.teachingheart.net/scarecrow.html - Scarecrows... Includes many printables like,Let's Make a ScarecrowA mini book for you to print. Cut on the lines and staple the pages together to form a book. Have your students color. Have them read their book to a friend and an adult. (k-2).

+http://www.teachingheart.net/dembones.html - skeleton ideas and many free printables that match various Halloween treats found in your grocery store.

+http://www.teachingheart.net/apumpkinunit.html - pumpkin ideas

+http://www.teachingheart.net/halloweenlesson.html - many Halloween fun ideas including the printable witch brew game that my kiddos love to play!

Fall around the blogging world:

http://tipjunkie.blogspot.com/search/label/Halloween - Tip Junkie Halloween!

Wendy's cool monster cupcakes:

My yummy fall apples post

Leaf Glitter Trees from the Crafty Crow and more Fall crafts from the Crafty Crow

How to Boo at Skip to My Lou

Paper Plate Apple Craft found at Ramblings of a Crazy Women

Our How to Make a Leaf String Video

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Birthday Parties In South Hills Pittsburgh Area

My friend Nancy came up with a great list of local birthday parties. I thought I would post it here in hopes it may help some one in the blogging world. Thanks Nancy for all your work on this!!!

Local venues for kid birthdays

Iceoplex 724-745-6666 jchapman@iceoplex.net
2 packages to chose from- 1 hour public skate or 1 hour court- includes beverages, treat bags and hostess. Private room for hour 15 min. Includes 9 guests and birthday child. Prices- court $323(Pizza) or $303(hotdogs) skate- $210 (Pizza) $190 (hotdog)

Trax Farms 412-835-3246x113

Ages 3-7. 3 packages to choose from included in all-reserved tables, cups, napkins, utensils, placemats and balloons. Crafts to choose from are bug box, backyard nature craft, garden party craft, seed buddy craft or tea party craft. Seasonal crafts also available. Party area may NOT be peanut free. 12 child minimum. Packages are $9.99, $11.99 and 12.99 per child.

Young Chefs Academy-724-941-6672 http://www.youngchefsacademy.com/

Ages 4 and up. Several packages available. Includes 1 ½ hour, invites, drinks, paper goods and balloons. Contact for more information. Prices per child are $20, $25 and $30.

The Little Gym 724-942-0100 http://www.tlgpittburghsouthhillspa.com/
All ages. Includes 1 hour gym with instructors, ½ hour party room, invites, paper goods and drinks. $280 non- members, $250 for members. 15 kids $9 per child after. Maximum 20 children.

Fired Up 724-941-0302 http://www.firedup.com/
2 hours of time in studio, use of all paints, stencils etc. Selection of ready-to-paint bisque items. $12 per child.

Cool Springs Golf- 412-831-5080 http://www.coolspringsgolfcenter.com/
All ages. Private party area for 3 hours. Indoor party room or outside tent with picnic table. (Specify when booking.) $25 Mini-golf prices $4.00 per person, batting cages 45 pitches $4.00. All food extra.

Oogles and Googles 724-222-kidz http://www.ooglesngoogles.com/
Prices are for 12 children. Three packages to chose from, all include themed costumes for each child during party, face painting, make-up for girls, tattoos. This is $200, $5.00 add. Child. Packages 2 & 3 include themed invites and thank yous, paper products, juice and souvenir photo of every child. $285. $10 add. Child. Package 3 is 2 hours of entertainment, themed party favors, cake and 2 extra large pizzas. $365. $15 per add child.

South Fayette Pool- 412-221-4542x230 www.southfayette.org/aquatics/index.html

If you are interested in renting the pool for a private party, details follow: A non-refundable deposit of $60.00 is needed to schedule party times/dates.
Less than 15 swimmers = $45.00 upon arrival
16-25 swimmers = $4.00/swimmer upon arrival
26 or more swimmers = $3.00/swimmer + additional guard fee of $30
This price covers the cost of lifeguards and use of the facility for 2 hours. You are permitted to arrive 20 minutes prior to the party for set up. Food and drinks are permitted. Parties will be held on Saturdays from 2:00-4:00 and 4:30-6:30. Due to scheduling restraints, parties must be cleared 15 minutes after the ending time or a $25.00 additional fee will be charged

Other area places for birthdays

Trolley Museum 724-228-9256 http://www.pa-trolley.org/

Mt. Lebanon Ice/ Swim Center 412-561-4363 www. Mtlebanon.org

Scrap booker’s Dream 724-942-8951 http://www.scrapbookers-dream.com/

The Art Shoppe-724-941-1688 http://www.theartsshoppegallery.com/

Little Lake Theater- 724-745-6300 http://www.littlelaketheatre.org/

Destinta - 412-914-0995 www.destinta.com/t1.php

Route 19 Bowling Center -724-225-4800

Build-A Bear - (412) 851-9033 http://www.buildabear.com/

Chuck E. Cheese- 412) 257-2570- http://www.chuckecheese.com/

Helpful websites














Labels: , ,

Martha, Martha, Martha

She amazes me with all she comes up with.
Have you entered her blogging contest yet?
Visit Martha’s blog and make a comment.

10 Faves at My House

One of my favorite blogs, Tip Junkie is running a 10 favorite things in your house challenge... I thought I would participate since I already have most of my fave things on my computer. So here goes in random order...

#1. My Southern Living Two Tier Tray!!! I LOVE THIS and use it all the time. It cost a lot for my standards, but I get so much use out of it. Here you see it all dolled up for a cookie exchange a few years ago. I keep it out in my kitchen on the island all the time. It has held many a cupcake, appetizer, and cookie.

#2. My Sons Big Boy Room. I did the stenciling myself and my husband and I painted it and painted on the mock border. It has sports quotes all around it. Red Sox Nation, It's a Great Day for Hockey, Go Navy Beat Army, How about some football! When we bought this house, the room was HOT pink.

#3. The Baby Room. I always wanted a storybook theme since I love Children's Literature and I came up with the idea of having various scenes from my favorite children's books throughout the room with the famous Dr. Seuss quote above the crib reading; "The more that you read,the more you will know,The more you learn,the more places you'll go." If you want to see more of the room, I have the pictures here.

#4. The painting of Mt. Rainer
The only REAL art we own.

This just reminds me of a time in my life when life was simple and times were all fun & almost carefree. My husband and I spent our first few years of marriage in beautiful Washington State while he was stationed on a Submarine out of Bangor. We spent many weekends hiking this grand mountain. I also could see Rainier clearly from the school I worked at. When we left the west coast we knew we wanted something special to remind us of our life in Seattle. This is the gift we got at a going away present from the other Officers on the boat. I will often get lost looking at it a remembering where we started our marriage and how far we have come. Someday we both hope to share beautiful Seattle with our children. It was good to us and a wonderful place to start our life together.

#5. My favorite chair and MY Laptop with one of my children (Teaching Heart) displayed on the laptop.
#6. The Old Irish Pub Sign I bought my hubby. Funny, we hardly ever use the bar for what it is for. I think we have had like three parties down there in the six years we have lived here. Still the sign is so cute & IRISH like us!!!
#7. My Tassimo - It's like my own Starbucks in my house!!!! If you don't have one... you are missing out!

#8. My shelves in the playroom. All neat and clearly marked. I love seeing organized things and just looking at how every toy has a place makes my heart happy.

#9. My Linen Closet - Sometimes I keep the door open just so I can see how neat it is. I love containers and how they make a closet look clean and keep it organized. It's just makes life easier. Sorry, I am a bit of a dork, I know!!!

#10. My entrance way. I love walking into my home and getting that feeling of this is mine and this is where I belong. This is the first thing I see when I walk into my house. There is no place like MY home!!!

If you made it this far.... thanks! I would love to see your favorite 10 things in your home. Hop over to Tip Junkie and post your blog!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hands as Warm as Toast

Recently Lisa Himle the author of Hands as Warm as Toast sent me a copy of her book to review. Hands as Warm as Toast is a heartwarming story that any kindergarten teacher, parent, or student can make a connection to. According to Ms. Himle this is a true, yet slightly embellished story about an event that happened when she was a Kindergarten teacher. The teacher is Ms. Himle’s book is Miss Darling. Everyone knows a kindergarten teacher that seems to have a magic touch with young children. Miss Darling is one of those kindergarten teachers with that magic way of making children want to be at school. In fact, when Libby, the little girl in the story, does not want to leave the side of her mother to attend the first day of school Miss Darling appears with cold hands and a job for Libby. Miss Darling’s magic touch and way with Libby make school a place Libby wants to be a part of. This is a great story for back to school. It would make a good gift for a favorite kindergarten teacher that touched your child’s life. The illustrations beautifully match the text. The story held the attention of my very own kindergarten student. I enjoyed reading this book to my son and he found many parts in the story that reminded him of his first day of school. There are many opportunities to make a text to self connection. Lisa Himle has written a wonderful story that I am sure will touch the hearts of many students, teachers, and parents.
An activity guide to match this book can be found at:
http://www.mittenpress.com/promo/62982-guide.pdf - Ideas and printables to match this book!!!

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Author Insight on Back To School!

A note from the author of "GO Home, Mrs. Beekman!" Great words of wisdom!

Hi Colleen,

I just finished reading your review, and I have tears in my eyes. It is so wonderful that you really got the book, and that you and your son could share it together. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Of course, "Go Home, Mrs. Beekman!" is an ever so slightly autobiographical book -- and my separation issues haven't quite gone away. Two weeks ago, my youngest left for college, and it's still difficult to set 17 year old children loose in the wider world, not able to fully participate or protect them. (On the flip side, watching your child develop into a mature, independent young adult is deeply moving and gratifying.) So I guess my words of wisdom are: Enjoy your son and savor the moments of his childhood, as I am sure you are doing.

Again, thank you so much.



Labels: ,

Back To School Read For Mommy!

One of the greatest treats about my website www.teachingheart.net is the treats authors will send me in hopes I will feature their book on my site. This month I have gotten lucky and was sent a variety of back to school books that I did not have and that I have not read. Here is one I recently received and enjoyed!

Ann Stampler, the author of "Go Home, Mrs. Beekman", recently sent me a copy of this adorable book with a request for me to feature it on Teaching Heart here. The night I got it was the second day of Kindergarten for my son. We sat down and read it together. In the story, Emily Beekman refuses come out of the fort she's built in her bedroom and go to the first day of school unless her mother promises to stay at school with her forever. Mrs. Beekman promises. Nevertheless, unfortunately, even after Emily forms a bond with her teacher, makes new friends, and is perfectly happy to go to school on her own, Mrs. Beekman just won't leave.

I immediately made a connection with the mother in the story. Unlike the child in the story my son was soooooo excited about the first day of school. Me on the other hand, I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to let him go to this unusual place all by himself. I connected with Mrs. Beekman's need to watch over her child. She became a fly on the wall at her daughter's school by transforming herself into a coat rack, a hat, a hula hoop, and some other interesting things. As we read, I could relate. Those first few days of school had me wondering how my son was doing, if he was listening to the teacher, if he was having fun, and if he missed me. Much to the dismay of the teacher in the story, Mrs. Beekman saw it all in her daughters class! That lucky Mrs. Beekman!!!!

The book is adorable. The story entertained both me and my son. I think this would be a great gift to give to a parent who has a child going into grade K. Not many (if any) back to school books display how a parent may have a more difficult time letting go of a child; than the child has of letting go of the parent. Ann Stampler does a super job of making this story flow. My son of course thought the story was funny and I thought the story had a hidden truth in it about how parents have anxiety too about the first day of school.

I also think this would make a fun read for the first few days of school. It would be fun to have the class draw a picture of their parents at school with them. You could discuss: How would your mom or dad hide if he or she came to school? Would you like your mom or dad to be at school with you everyday?


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Birthday Parties!!! Star Wars Part II

Tip Junkie is running a week of birthday ideas... For my friends that think we go all out for Z's parties, hop over to Tip Junkie and check out the super cool parties she is featuring there.

The Teaching Heart Spiderman Birthday Party was featured on the Tip Junkie blog!

Right now I am about a week away from Z's big Star Wars Jedi Training Camp Birthday. I love planning parties as I told you here. Still there is so much I want to do and getting it all done is always the problem. So far the garage is cleaned out, the games are all planned, and I have written two scripts (one that includes rain and one that doesn't) that detail how the party is to be set-up. My philosophy is when you have more than five boys in the a small area, keeping them constantly busy usually keeps them out of trouble...

Last night I was working on party stuff from about 9 till 2:00 AM. Time flies when you are having fun. You should see my to-do list... It is sooo long. My hubby is very much into the planning of this party. He even created a 12 minute training camp video complete with Star Wars clips to match the games I have planned. He recorded my son reading a few lines and added my son to the video. Yoda is even on the video wishing Z a happy 6th birthday. Hopefully Z loves the video and it will be a nice keepsake for us. My daughter, who is 2 1/2, has seen it and it kept her attention very well! I am hoping the kids at the party will enjoy it too.

Of course I have already started checking the weather and they are calling for rain... We will manage with the rain, but I would much rather be able to use the outside too! Fingers crossed!

With all this party talk, here are a few links that party planners may find interesting or helpful!

How To Throw a Kids Party Without Costing a Fortune - good tips on keeping the cost down. I also like the explanations of why people throw kids parties.

Birthdays Without Pressure - They tell you what an out of control party is... You have to read these examples!

Time Article - Very interesting about what some people do.

FYI: I learned something new while planning this party. TRY YOUTUBE for ideas you can really see. Go to www.youtube.com and search for the party theme you are looking for (star wars birthday, princess birthday, Dora birthday...) and watch other peoples clips from their party. I think I watched every Star Wars Birthday Part Youtube Video ever made. That may explain why I haven't gone to bed till at least 1:00 AM for about a week now!!!

Here are some youtube examples.
Star Wars Birthday Party
Star Wars Party II - hopefully the kids don't do this to Vader at Z's party!!!
More Star Wars - PS. if the Birthday Gods want to give me their weather, I'll take it!
Jedi Training Birthday
Princess Birthday Party
High School Musical Party

Labels: ,