for Kids Creative Chaos (Activities)

5 Fishing Activities: Aquarium Crafts for Kids: Fun Microbiology Homeschool Lessons

These 5 Fun Fishing Activities and Kids' Aquarium Crafts make nice Companion Projects for Preschool Books or Homeschool Microbiology Lessons

Whether you have preschoolers, elementary students, or teenagers in homeschool, you'll find the perfect aquarium craft here. These easy fishing activities and projects work as companion lessons for microbiology or aquatic science too! Scroll down to find the right activity for your child's age level.

Aquarium Crafts and Classroom Bulletin Board Ideas for Fish
Paper plate fish aquarium activity.  Visit Make and Takes for details.

These paper plate fish from Make and Takes are great for an elementary or preschool classroom bulletin board. Just cover you board with blue paper, add a strip of black paper across the top, and you've got your own giant aquarium full of fish. 

To make this more than just an art project, use it as a companion activity for a lesson in microbiology or under the sea science. 

Have the students choose a different species of aquatic life to study, write about, and then design their own to display in the aquarium.

These Mason jar Aquariums by Hello Wonderful are ideal for children of all ages.

The Mason Jar. In Indiana, we are partial to Ball Jars, but either way the jars are so versatile! I recently purchased a set of 1/2 gallon Ball jars.

Half Gallon Ball jars are perfect for aquarium crafts and mini terrariums.
Half Gallon Ball jars are perfect for aquarium crafts and mini terrariums.
Get yours here.

This little fishing theme activity from Hello Wonderful is great for a birthday party or a lesson in microbiology. Imagine the possibilities. Use it as an attractive way to display a Beta fish, study snails in the round, or even make a terrarium.

Goldfish Aquarium Craft from In Design Art and Craft.
I suggest filling yours with Goldfish Crackers for an edible snack on the go.

This Goldfish is another recycled bottle craft. This is a fun, easy aquarium craft for preschoolers or after school activities. The children can learn to recycle and reuse too!

Why oh why is this filled with beads? Yeah, you know I like to focus on edible crafts for preschoolers. Let's fill ours with Goldfish Crackers and then the kids can use them as a fun snack on the go.

This is our aquarium craft for kids. Make a pretend aquarium in a Ziploc baggie.

Aquarium Crafts for Middle or High Science

Giant Stuffed Paper Activity from Teaching in Room 6.
What, these aren't fish crafts? I know, I know just continue reading.
So many years ago, I was the Program Director of a large (very) before and after school program. We used the giant paper rolls to make and decorate our parade float. We made giant, stuffed paper fish puppets. I took pictures with a film camera. I have no idea what happened to those pictures, but I'd love to share the idea with you.

Teaching in Room 6 is a fantastic blog to get ideas for classroom projects. I found the Colony Lesson (pictured above) which demonstrates the how to make the giant fish puppets, plus you could go one step further and have your student detail the life cycle of aquatic life or fun facts about the fish on their fish puppet.

You will need:

Giant Rolls of Paper in various Colors
Heavy Duty Stapler
Markers, Paint, or Crayons
Trash! Use old newspapers or recycle classroom worksheets
Dowel Rod or Stick 2'-4' long

To Make a Giant Fish Aquarium or Sea Life Craft:

Allow 2-3 days to complete the project in a classroom.

Study the type of fish or sea life you want to create. Dolphins, Crabs, and Octopuses make awesome Parade Puppets.

Draw the sea creature on two layers of paper. Get that? You need to cut two of each sea creature. Try to make it life size or oversize. A great way to measure for a fun size puppet is to have a child lay on the paper and then make your fish the same length.

Once the creature is drawn, cut it out and decorate. You can give one side of the puppet the features of the animal (eyes, nose, fins, etc.). On the other side (to make an informative science project) draw the life cycle of the fish or illustrate fun facts about sea life.

After the drawings and decorations are completed, grab your stapler. Staple the edges about 1/4" from the edge of the paper, be sure to leave an opening in the creature's belly.

Now, grab some clean trash (old tests work great). Stuff your fish to desired fatness! Insert the dowel in the center most point of the base of the animal and staple around the dowel to attach. This might require some tape too. Ta Da! You have a giant fish puppet on a stick. Fish Sticks! These are great to carry around the school on a parade walk, enter into your local parade, or go one step further. 

We made lots of these, designed a large piece of cardboard to look like an aquarium and attached several to the cardboard aquarium. Older kids marched in the parade carrying the display while the younger ones danced around them with their fish sticks. Super Fun!

If you aren't feeling so social or industrious, replace the pole in the belly with a string in the back and hang them from the classroom ceiling.

Here's our tiny sample made with regular size construction paper.

Image coming soon.

Recommended Reading:

Pretend to go Fishing Creative Play Activity

Easy Recycled Paper Rainbow Fish Craft

My Visit to the Aquarium Children's Book

The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums

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Things to do in Indiana: Farm Visits and Field Trips for Homeschool: Anderson Orchard Mooresville, Indiana

Visit a Fruit Farm for a Homeschool Field Trip like this Orchard in Mooresville, Indiana

Did you know orchards aren't just for apples? For homeschoolers looking for educational things to do for a field trip in Indiana, farms and orchards are a great way to learn about business, supply and demand, and raising produce.

Anderson Orchard  is a U-pick Fruit Farm tucked in the hillsides of Mooresville, Indiana. Family owned and operated by Paul and Carolyn Anderson since 1969, it offers u-pick on a variety of fruit. Pick your own apples, raspberries, plums, peaches, pears, and pumpkins on the 150-acre farm. Each year, the orchard opens in July.  Early in the season, you can pick cantaloupe, blueberries, and sweet cherries. Soon after, you can pick raspberries and plums! They even invite you to try the apples, right off the trees to find your favorite.

Things to do in Indiana: Farm Visits and Field Trips for Homeschool: Anderson Orchard Mooresville, Indiana
Orchards and Farms make for great Homeschool Field Trips.

Companion Math Book Resource for 4th - 8th grade lessons: Ad* Jumpstarters for Math, Grades 4 - 8

Picking Plums at You Pick, Anderson Orchard in Mooresville on a Homeschool Field Trip.
Picking Plums at "U-Pick", Anderson Orchard in Mooresville
 on a Homeschool Field Trip. The trees are beautiful!
Anderson Orchard Play Area.

Anderson Orchard  is a U-pick Fruit Farm tucked in the hillsides of Mooresville, Indiana.
Anderson Orchard  is a U-pick Fruit Farm
tucked in the hillsides of Mooresville, 

Spend an inexpensive summer or fall afternoon with family. Grab a bag or box, then hike or drive through the various variety of apples. Kid's will enjoy the beautiful plum trees that look as if they popped right out of a Dr. Seuss story. Stop back at the scale to pay for your goodies and then it is off to the market where you can enjoy a fantastic apple slush for only $1.00 while perusing produce. A playground beckons, so don't forget to relax and let the kiddos have some fun while you slurp your slushie.

Apple Slushie at Anderson's Orchard in Mooresville, Indiana.
Apple Slushie at Anderson's Orchard in Mooresville, Indiana.
September is the Apple Festival and Craft Fair. Enjoy fresh apple cider and apple butter made from Anderson Orchard apples. Visit the concession stand for caramel apples, cider slush, and more. Most items are try before you buy with samples available for your tasting pleasure.

Amazing View of the Hills of Mooresville, Indiana from Anderson's Orchard.
Amazing view of the hills of Mooresville, Indiana from Anderson's Orchard.
Field Trips and Tours are available with advanced registration.
Anderson Orchard is located 2 miles west of Mooresville on Main Street. Approximately one mile west of town, Main Street turns into Greencastle Road, immediately after White Lick Road. Directions
Orcharding seems to be a popular past-time with the Anderson surname in Indiana.
Bud and Gloria Hopkins are the owners of Anderson Orchard at Pleasant View. The orchard has been in operation since the 1930’s. The Hopkins’ purchased the orchard in 1994. They offer U-Pick Pumpkins and a Corn Maze.
Jacob's Orchard in New Castle, Indiana was previously owned by Rex and Patti Anderson. The farm has been an orchard for about eighty years. In the past, it has been the Anderson Orchard, Summit View, and Bowers Orchard. They offer field trips and fresh, doughnuts that go perfect with apple cider. In mid-September be sure to visit for their pumpkins and fall fun including a ginormous haystack.
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5 Best Minecraft Gifts for Kids: Boys and Girls Love Minecraft Toys_ they make Great Birthday Presents

5 Birthday Present Ideas for Kids who love Minecraft

My kids love Minecraft. Basically, any kid who is allowed to play it falls in love. Minecraft doesn't discriminate. Girls love it as much as boys, maybe more! So, what do you get the kid who has everything Minecraft? Here are some super cool birthday present ideas for kids who love Minecraft! Best birthday gift ever, that's what they'll say when they unwrap your cool toy. Hugs will follow or a happy dance.

All of these toys are available on Amazon, if you click and make a purchase, we get a small percentage as commission. (See disclaimer below). How do you think, we buy all this Minecraft stuff anyway? Enjoy!

Birthday Present Ideas for Kids who love Minecraft
Minecraft Legos are available on Amazon.

1.  Lego Minecraft, yes please! We love it. As a person who studied architecture, but now writes a blog, these are my favorite. Oh what fun I'd have designing buildings for Steve.

Legos are great for kids ages 7 and up (they are a choking hazard). Word on the street is teens love them too! Who doesn't love to play with Legos?

Minecraft wall torch flash light for birthday for kids.
Minecraft Wall Torch flash light for creative play. C'mon, let's pretend something.

2.  Minecraft Think Geek Wall Torch by Think Geek, okay, it is really just a fancy flashlight, but we like it anyway! It keeps the Creepers away at night. It also makes for stellar pretend play. Even older kids will get in on the act. This is perfect for kids of all ages.

Cute Minecraft Animal Figures make a great birthday gift for girls or younger kids.
Cute Minecraft Animal Figures make a great birthday gift for girls or younger kids.

3. This Minecraft Animal Toy Pack is perfect for pretend play. Younger Minecraft fans enjoy pretending with these cute critters. Older girls will love to display them in their bedrooms as a novelty.

Unique Minecraft gift: Periodic Table of Minecraft T-shirt.
Unique Minecraft gift: Periodic Table of Minecraft T-shirt.

4.  Minecraft Periodic Table Youth T-Shirt. We have this and the kids fight over who gets to wear it. Yeah, we're nerds like that. It is a unique Minecraft gift for Minecraft freaks and geeks!

Minecraft Creeper Hoodie perfect gift for teens.
Minecraft Creeper Hoodie perfect gift for teens.

5.  Need a gift for a teen boy Minecraft lover? This Minecraft Creeper Hoodie is perfect! It makes a cool Halloween costume too.

Recommended Reading:

Free Printable Minecraft Crossword Puzzle

Minecraft Birthday Party Ideas

Minecraft Woodcarving Idea

Minecraft: Essential Handbook: An Official Mojang Book

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Gold Mining for Kids: Gem Stone and Rock Mining Tips to Teach about Minerals

Want to pan for gold and mine gemstones? We've got rock mining tips, ideas, and vacation trips: Do you like to Collect Minerals?

Whether you are on vacation or exploring your own backyard, kids love to collect rocks and study minerals. They love to buy rocks at all those tourist traps. You know the ones, where they get a scoopful of polished stones and fill a velvet bag full of precious gemstones. Ugh. How is this fun? It certainly isn't educational. We went mining for gemstones atop Crockett Mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Here are some money saving tips and advice, so you won't make the same mistakes we have.

Gold Mining for Kids: Gem Stone and Rock Mining Tips to Teach about Minerals
Crockett Mountain Mining, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Gold Mining for Kids: Gem Stone and Rock Mining Tips to Teach about Minerals.
We've been pretend panning and collecting rocks and minerals in our backyard, mining on vacation, and collecting and studying minerals for homeschool. We are sharing our best tips, tricks, and mineral identification guides. The kids have gold fever after watching Gold Rush on the Discovery Channel. So, here are some tips on how to take your kids rock mining or panning for gold without breaking the bank. You probably don't have a pocket full of gold to pay the bills...

How to take your kids rock mining or panning for gold without breaking the bank.
How to take your kids rock mining or panning for gold without breaking the bank.

  1. Don't buy into all the hype. Find a place without a lot of pomp and circumstance. 
  2. Don't purchase the most expensive bag. We bought one bag of rocks (authentic mining rough) for $6.95. Planning ahead? You can buy a large bag on Amazon, take it with you and mine it at Crockett Mountain. The trays are out in the mining area. 
  3. Bulk Minerals for Gemstone Mining You can also use this one at home. 
  4. Don't purchase as pail, rinse out the bag your rough came in, and save it to store your newly panned gemstones until you get home. Undoubtedly, you have several small, velvet rock bags.
  5. There are more stones in the 2 lb. plastic bag for $6.95 than the "scoop your own into velvet bags" inside the stores.
  6. Keep panning until all the rough is gone. There are tiny crystals and fool's gold buried in the sand.
  7. Don't rush it, go slow. 
Gemstone Mining in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Gemstone Mining in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

For mineral identification and more info on gemstones visit kids love rocks. They've got a page for companion rock and mineral activities.

Rock and Mineral Identification.
Rock and Mineral Identification.

Kids gold mining in Tennessee.
Kids gold mining in Tennessee.

Crockett Mountain Chair Lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Crockett Mountain Chair Lift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Crockett Mountain Gemstone Gold Mining.
Mayhem and Jake searching for gold treasure.

So, we rode the chair lifts to Crockett Mountain by mistake. We were hoping to get to Ober Mountain where there is a mini-theme park. It was HOT. One of us (the smallest one) didn't want to ride up the mountain, so rather than drag her another mile to another chair lift, we took the first one we saw. It was about $12 per person, round trip. I thought it was a great deal... at first. There wasn't much up there. We stayed less than an hour. There was a shop to purchase rocks and other tourist items including ice cream, a scenic overlook, and the mining area. The kids loved it. The adults loved the view.

View from Crockett Mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
View from Crockett Mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

It wasn't crowded, so that was a bonus!  There are easier mining areas to get to in Pigeon Forge, try the Three Bears General Store. You can see and feed live black bears. They are cute! Yes, it is a tourist trap, but it is a good one :)

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Grandma's Homemade Applesauce: Life is Good in the Kitchen, The Heart of the Home

Miss Old-Fashioned, Homemade Applesauce like Grandma Used to Make?

When I think about childhood memories, my mind often wanders to the kitchen. The Food Network has a program dedicated to life in the kitchen, "The Kitchen" features host, Katie Lee, surrounded by beautiful LG Electronics. The Kitchen is fully equipped with LG Appliances from the Refrigerator and the Ovens to the Microwave and the LG Cooktop.

Grandma's Homemade Applesauce: Life is Good in the Kitchen, The Heart of the Home
My grandparents and the cousins circa 1975.
Grandma's Homemade Applesauce traditionally made by my Aunt Verna.
The kitchen is the heart of every home. Life is good in the kitchen. Especially with LG's Door-in-Door™ Refrigerator, this refrigerator begs you to fill it with wonderful, home cooked meals. LG Home Appliances are "part of the team," they are your partner in creating enjoyable cooking experiences and life's good moments in The Kitchen. Life's not perfect, but "Life's Good" with LG and also fun along the way. So. I'm sharing a few of my own fun, family kitchen memories and giving you a chance to win your very own LG appliance.

I remember peeling and coring apples on an old appliance that attached to the kitchen table. After we used the apple-corer-peeler, everything went into what could have just as easily been a torture device, but somehow we weren't frightened by it. We begged to have a go at peeling the apple and then placing the pieces in the grinder. As an adult, I realize it is far less complicated to grab a knife and just peel my apple. The grinder we used is now obsolete, but these memories have stuck with me. Recently, my mother reminded me that my grandparents moved from the family homestead when I was just 9 years old. Funny, those times in Grandma's kitchen feel like yesterday.

We'd go to an orchard or a friend's house and pick our own apples and then bring them back to make "Grandma's Homemade Applesauce". Grandma's kitchen was tiny and crowded with Grandma, my mother, three aunts, and all the little cousins running in and out the backdoor. The table took up all of the free space in the kitchen with just a small, one person width around the perimeter. It didn't matter. No one seemed to notice. It was good to be so close to each other, working together to create something to share with the entire family. Each time, we ate the applesauce, we'd remember this day. I love the homemade applesauce to this day, but we no longer make it this way.

If I'm lucky, my aunt will share some of her special sauce with me. My kids like it, but they have no idea why it tastes so good to me. Memories are made in the kitchen. Life is good in the kitchen. We all need to spend more time around the table, getting to know each other, learning new skills, and enjoying the heart of the home.

I'm sharing Grandma's Recipe and process, so you can make your own kitchen memories. I want you to experience how good life is in the kitchen.

Old-Fashioned Homemade Freezer Applesauce:

6-8 Tart Apples, washed, peeled, and quartered. (Red & Golden Delicious work well-

or your favorite, just know that some apples are softer and/or sweeter than others)

Freezer Bags

1 Tbs. Lemon Juice

1 Tbs. Butter

1 Cinnamon Stick or 1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 Tbs. to 1/2 C. Water

1/4 C. Sugar per Pound.

In large sauce pan, begin with 1 Tbs. Water, Apples, Cinnamon, and Lemon Juice. Depending on your apples you will use more or less water. Many apples don't need any water added at all. Bring to a boil and then cover and cook over low heat until desired consistency. Some people prefer chunky applesauce, so for that the cook time is less.

Stir in butter and sugar to taste, if desired.

Grandma used a food mill to strain the applesauce. You can use a blender, food processor, or leave them as they are.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Spoon into freezer bags leaving 1/2 - 1" head space.

Flatten and stack to freeze.

Applesauce is good for at least 1 year frozen and 2 weeks once thawed and opened.

Mmm... I can taste it now. Perfect for your LG Freezer. Wait, you don't have one? Want a chance to win a new LG Electronics' appliance?

You have a chance to win LG's newest Door-in-Door Refrigerator! Just hop over to participate in the "Caption This" contest on LG's Facebook page. To enter, simply visit LG's Facebook page at and write a witty caption to a scene from LG's brand new home appliance commercials. Entry starts 06/20/14 and ends 07/31/14. Public Voting for best captions start 08/20/14 and ends 09/03/14.

Here's what you could win:

Door-in-Door Refrigerator with CustomChill Drawer

4 Door Refrigerator with Door-in-Door™ provides multiple organization and storage compartments making it easier than ever to store and find the things your family needs.

This model features LG's innovative "door-within-a-door" refrigerator feature that allows quick, easy access to "go to" snacks and beverages in the interior compartment without requiring users to open the entire refrigerator door, and offering families convenient access to their favorite foods. Consumers simply push a button on the door handle to release the magnetic seal to access this compartment. This feature also reduces cold air loss, which helps keep food fresher longer.

This refrigerator also integrates the versatile CustomChill™ Drawer, which gives consumers additional refrigerator or freezer space just when they need it. Featuring four different temperature settings, the drawer adapts to users' needs by giving them the flexibility to store a range of foods, from meats to fresh produce, as well as cooking ingredients and cold drinks.

EasyClean™ Range

LG's proprietary EasyClean™ technology allows oven cleaning to be performed in minutes, not hours. EasyClean works in three simple steps to achieve a clean, sparkly oven. Spray water to the interior walls of the oven, start the EasyClean function to allow the oven to heat up, and after 20 quick minutes, the mess inside the oven can be simply wiped away. This simplified process is possible due to LG's innovative oven enamel technology. The oven heating time required for EasyClean is reduced from hours to minutes, saving both time and energy when compared to self-clean feature. Also, it eliminates the need for harsh chemicals as EasyClean requires only water, and there are no fumes or smells that come along with traditional self-clean.

Gas Cooktop

Spend less time waiting and more time cooking. The powerful Superboil™ 17,000 BTU Burner brings water and other liquids to a boil quickly.

Simplify meals with 5 burners, allowing you to have more cooking and warming flexibility.

Tell us your kitchen story at Mom Confessions.
LG Home Appliances are your partner in creating memorable cooking experiences and “Life’s Good” moments in the kitchen.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LG. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Eagle Creek Park Earth Discovery Center and Bird Sanctuary: The Perfect After-School or Summer Camp Activity

Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis has a lot to offer when it comes to Things to do in Indiana

Earth  Discovery Center Scavenger Hunt Activity
Take a scavenger hunt and find animals hidden in the mural.
One of of my favorite things to do in Indianapolis is to visit Eagle Creek Park. The park is full of fun, free (or nearly free), educational things to do with kids. The activities are spread out, so ask for a map when you enter the gate. I say free, but your car is charged a small fee to get through the gate.
Eagle Creek Park Earth Discovery Center offers educational activities for Homeschoolers
Eagle Creek Park Earth Discovery Center offers educational activities.
We enjoy bird watching at the Bird Sanctuary, Friday Night Frog Watches for Families, Swimming at the Beach, and visiting the Earth Discovery Center which is full of science and nature programs. You can visit the air-conditioned Earth Discovery Center and do a self-guided tour to learn about turtles, frogs, and other creatures that inhabit the park. We especially like the scavenger hunt room. They also offer summer camps and afterschool programs. If you are adventurous and want to spend some money try the Go Ape experience.

Eagle Creek Bird Sanctuary: The Perfect After-School or Summer Camp Activity
Eagle Creek Bird Sanctuary:
The Perfect After-School or Summer Camp Activity

When you visit the largest park in Marion County and one of the largest city parks in the nation, you will discover many treasures hidden among the 3,900 acres of land and 1,400 acre reservoir. The Ornithology Center or Bird Sanctuary is accessed by two main gates, which charge $3 per bicycle, $5 per vehicle, and $50 for a season pass.

Need to unwind after-school? The Eagle Creek Park Ornithology Center is the perfect place. On most Wednesdays and Fridays at 4 p.m. you can take your children to 'Meet a Raptor.' Park Staff will introduce you to a live bird of prey and even let you get up close and personal in an intimate setting. It is a great opportunity to sneak educational programming into an afternoon of fun.

The Center is nestled between the reservoir and a fun frog pond, which offers many opportunities for bird and frog watching. Check the special events calendar for "Friday Night Frog Watches" where you can learn to identify the various sounds of frogs vs. birds. Also, outside the center, (weather permitting) rescued hawks and owls are exhibited in special cages. A rustic deck, perfect for outdoor picnics, overlooks the reservoir.

Inside, boasts two bird viewing areas complete with binoculars and reference materials. One area overlooks the reservoir. Here, you can challenge your children to a game of eye spy that focuses on the various bird species flying over the water.
On any given day, you will spy a Great Blue Heron, Loon, or one of the two-hundred and sixty other species of Indiana Birds that call Eagle Creek Park home. Kids won't need binoculars to view the circus of squirrels that have taken over the manmade bird sanctuary fighting with Blue Jays and frightening Cardinals.
The indoor exhibit is filled with Indiana wildlife in their natural habitat and interactive computer kiosks with fun facts. The best kept secret is the kiosk which allows you to listen to various bird songs, match them with the appropriate picture, and even compose a little tune of your own. All of this is included with the park's general admission. For an additional fee the park offers after-school programming at the Earth Discovery Center.

Make a day of it in the summer and visit the beach too. Swimming is $3-4 per person, they have lifeguards, and life jackets are available on request. Yes, there is acutally sand on the beach. Enjoy!

Recommended Reading:
Beginning Birdwatching for Kids

Things to do in Indiana

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America: The Best Birding Book for Kids from National Geographic's Bird Experts

Birds, Nests and Eggs (Take Along Guides)
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