for Kids Creative Chaos (Activities)

Homeschool Resources: Kabuki Helps Review

Kabuki Helps is a Great Resource for Homeschoolers

Kabuki Helps is a great resource for homeschoolers. The innovative website offers educational books and resources while helping promote upcoming artists and artisans and they even donate 10% to your favorite charity. Read more about them here.

If you type in a secret code, "Chaos" you will get a 10% discount on anything you purchase at Kabuki Helps. As an added bonus, if you spend over $25 you will also get FREE SHIPPING. Just type "Chaos" into the notes box during check out.

Kabuki Helps is a Great Resource for Homeschoolers
Jake's Journey in Art includes Language Arts.
Here he reads the beautifully illustrated Varun's Quest by Timothy Goldsmith.
Recently, we were given the opportunity to review one of their beautifully designed books for homeschoolers. Varun's Quest is a fictional tale depicting non-fiction science. The story is a fun read aloud as a family or in a group setting with the ideal audience being 2nd - 5th grade. Older children will enjoy reading the story themselves and then sharing the details with "the class".  The author of this creative tale, is Yale Biology Professor, Timothy Goldsmith.

Varun's Quest.

An elf leads children through the story quest while he shares all about the science around us. It starts with an informative lesson on bees. Jake, enjoys the way the stories unfold and likes that the stories are based on reality. Whenever he isn't sure about something he Googles to find out more, so these stories have evolved into a full blown curriculum. He will write questions in his daily journal and then look them up later on Google.

We'll use the book as a catalyst for making scientific posters, doing experiments, and of course, to practice creative writing.

We were given a book to review, all opinions are 100% my own.

For a fun activity pair this book with Bee Movie.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Homeschooling Book: All you need to create the best curriculum and learning environment for your child

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Kids Games that get You Moving: How to Play Disc Golf

Disc Golf is a Game that gets Kids Moving

Frisbee Golf or Flying Disc Golf isn't very complicated, but the professionals take it very seriously. Since we blog about kids' activities, we've adapted this fun, family game into an easy to play (and explain) game to get children moving. If you are lucky, you have a disc golf course at your local park, but you probably don't even realize it.

How to play disc golf and get kids moving.
How to play disc golf and get kids moving.

Getting healthy and active is easier and more fun than most kids think! Simply being more active can have tremendous results on your health and fitness level. You'll feel happier too which is an added bonus. Horizon's Milk want kids' to focus on fun activities that get them moving. So, we've partnered with them to bring you this easy, outdoor game the whole family can play together!

Flying Disc basket. Photo from Disc Golf Association.
Flying Disc basket. Photo from Disc Golf Association.

Click the link for the professional rules for How to play Frisbee Disc Golf and more on the history of Frisbee Golf.

You'll need a good set of discs to get started. I say, run to the Dollar Store and buy some cheap, generic Frisbees for the kids. You can find flying discs in a range of sizes. The smaller novelty ones are often sold in the toy section in a set of three. You can also find small, birthday party favor discs in sets of 6 or more. Of course, the familiar size flying disc is also inexpensive and often sold at discount stores.

If you want to play more like the pros, you will need a Driver, a Mid-Range, and a Putter. These are weighted differently, but for our purposes you only need 3 sizes of flying discs. We found two similar in size but weighted differently, and one small one that worked nicely for a putter.

So, How do you play Frisbee Golf? We came up with our own modified version of the game using our backyard trees and sidewalk chalk.

How do you play Frisbee Flying Disc Golf?
How do you play Frisbee Flying Disc Golf?
You can get crafty and make a set of tees to mark your spot like in professional disc golf or just use the disc to mark the spot.

Ideas to make your own golf tees:
  • Use cardboard from a cereal box and decorate shapes to mark your spot.
  • Recycle milk jug and soda lids.
  • Recycle an old deck of cards.

Homemade Backyard Frisbee Golf Setup

Colorful mini flags or balloons to mark the Hole.

Sidewalk Chalk to mark the target.

Flying Discs (Frisbee or other brand)


Large, open space

Tees (Make your own)

How to Play Frisbee Disc Golf like Miniature Golf

First, walk your yard, and find the best place to make a course. Rather than building Disc Golf Baskets, use trees as targets. Draw an "X" or a bullseye 4-5' high on each tree target. Place a mini-flag at the bottom of each tree to designate it as a "hole". Use a permanent marker to mark the flags from 1 to 18. Don't have flags, that's okay, just write the number of the hole directly on the tree.

Draw a line 2' above your target and another one, 2' below. This is the range for kids to hit. If they hit the center of the target they get an "Eagle" or bonus. Deduct 1 point from final score for each bullseye. We drew a face on our first tree target. The nose designates the bullseye.

Draw a bullseye target area on your tree.

Scoring is like miniature golf, try to achieve the fewest strokes possible. Score keeping is simplified if you count all holes as a par 3. Some will take fewer and some will take much longer depending on your flying disc throwing skills. When play is done, add up your score. 9 holes = par 27, 18 holes = par 54. Don't forget to deduct 1 point for each bullseye. As in regular golf, the lowest score wins. How's that for throwing a math element into your physical fitness? You can designate an official scorekeeper who keeps track of everything on a handy clipboard. Hey, Mom, I'm talking to you!

Most kids will need to hone their flying disc throwing skills. Work on a style of throwing that fits your play. Throwing backhands often works the best, but there are many ways to throw a disc. This is a game of points, so it doesn't matter if someone wants to launch their disc Ninja style, whatever works! The pros have special names for their throwing style: Backhand, Forehand, Tomahawks, Thumbers, Rollers, and Elevator shots. Just focus on the goal. Throw the disc to the tree in the least possible number of throws. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Girl Scout Badge Travel Tips: Vacation Destinations

Vacationing with a Teen? Here are Travel Tips for the Perfect Destination to take a Girl Scout and Survive.

Did you know your Girl Scout can earn badges while on vacation?
If you have a Girl Scout and you are traveling, chances are she can earn at least one badge during the trip. Looking forward to earning the badge on the trip can help avoid the “I’m bored” or "Do I have to" syndrome and make the trip more interesting for teens.

Recently, while planning a trip to Charlotte, N.C. our guest blogger, Michelle, decided to Google if there was a badge her daughter could earn while on holiday. Michelle discovered that the Charlotte Girl Scout Service Unit did offer a badge, and it helped them plan fun activities during their vacation stay in North Carolina.

Earn a girl scout badge on vacation while traveling tips
Scavenger Hunt Girl Scout Badge, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Depending on the age of your scout, she can also earn badges as she prepares for the trip. Plan a trip to earn a Girl Scout Badge.

When in Savannah, Georgia, take the Girl Scout Discovery Tour to earn a badge. Old Town Trolley Tours offers the "Savannah Try it" badge.

Savannah Badges available on the Old Town Trolley Tour.
Badges available on the Old Town Trolley Tour.
Since this is the birthplace of the Girl Scouts, there are badges for almost everything. These badges include: Ghost Tours, Juliette Gordon Low House, Telfair Museums and many more. A visit to the Girl Scout Founder's House is a must.

Earn Girl Scout Hostelling badge earned in Chicago Hostel
Girl Scout Hostelling badge earned in a Chicago Hostel.
Even the hostel you stay in may offer a badge. Always call ahead for details. In Chicago, the hostel where they stayed offered the hostelling badge pictured above.

If you are doing a staycation, many local museums offer Girl Scout and Boy Scout badges. The Children's Museum of Indianapolis offers a badge for visiting their Haunted House. 

Travel Tip: When you visit a museum, go to the guest service desk, and ask if they have any special programs for scout badges.  

Texas State History Museum Badge.

The challenge of finding the items needed to earn the badge keeps kids from flying through the museum and missing out on all of the important lessons. We hope these tips will help you plan a fun trip with your Scout.

Recommended Reading:

Girl Scout Pinewood Derby

Homeschool Projects and Field Trip Ideas

The Giggling Ghost Girl Scout Mystery

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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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