Category: Home from School

Math Practice Through Yahtzee

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C is in charge of planning our game curriculum and one of his favorite games is Yahtzee.  Yahtzee is a game with five dice where you roll for certain things such as four of a kind, or a straight, or a YAHTZEE – five of the same number!  He just happens to be super lucky and rolls at least once Yahtzee every game.  This is a favorite game of our extended family, especially to play on the beach.

So now that we have been home, C want to play it quite a bit and we found it to be a great way to work on addition and multiplication!  After our three rolls, we have C or G add the total of the

dice, or give us the multiplication fact.  For example, if I rolled 3 5’s and want to put this as my score of 5’s, I can ask what is 3 x 5.  When we roll for a three of a kind, the total of all five dice needs to be added, so then they can add all five dice (5 + 5 + 5 + 6 +1), or use multiplication and addition to come up with the total (3 x 5 + 6 + 1)

It has been really great for them!  G was so proud of all the math she completed on the scorecard that she hung it in her room!  It also had her most invested in the game to be in charge of the scorepad, since it is inevitable that C will win.  and so far he has!  It is no wonder that he has Yahtzee on the lesson plan so often!


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Categories: Home from School

Balanced and Barefoot

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I recently read this book that I am totally obsessed with, Balanced and Barefoot, written by a very inspiring occupational therapist, Angela Hanscom.









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This is a great read to get parents excited about sending their kids outdoors.  It reminds us of how we used to play from morning until night outside and how valuable that was!  I used this book most recently to teach occupational therapy students about the benefits of outdoor play and decided that our Home from School time is the perfect time to put this into practice for our family.  We totally love outside time already, but now we can fully embrace the wonderful learning opportunities offered in the great outdoors!

Here are just a few benefits, from just one activity we started this week – Fort Making!

Executive Functioning – (planning, problem solving)

For a few weeks, G has been begging to build a fort.  I wanted to empower her to come up with the idea on her own, so with some “help” from C, they drew up a plan.  I worked with their elaborate drawing to explain what I could do to help.  We modified the plan to finding at least 10 big sticks and tying them together at the top, then it was up to them to add all of their details.

Gross Motor

So today we set out to find the “10 big sticks”.  We have this awesome pile of branches just beyond our fence, so I climbed over and passed them to the kiddos.  They lugged them from one side of the yard to the other.  We raked the area to make it clear for the fort.  We then began to lean the sticks against one another, and the other trees in the space we selected.

Fine Motor

We grabbed some twine began to wrap and tie the branches in place, this is where we stopped for the day.

Self Esteem

But the kids were so proud to see there vision starting to come to life!


Being outside altogether provides neutral calming and regulating sensations for the body –

Auditory – breeze, birds chirping, yells of triumph as we found the perfect sticks!

Visual – neutral, calming colors of green, blue and brown.  Our pile of gathered sticks turning into a creation!

Muscle work – gathering, climbing, lifting, carrying, raking

the beginning of our fort, stay tuned for our progress!


Outdoor recess is our favorite and we have it scheduled for 2 hours today.  Our second recess actually ended up going for about two hours and continued on even as it rain!  Adding another exciting sensory element.  I will continue to share more about the wonderful benefits of being outdoors!

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States Quizzes

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Perhaps you have one of these awesome United States puzzles?  (If not, see below for an alternative to make your own United States puzzle.)

We had G and C put this puzzle together, talking about each state as they put it in.  We told them to play close attention to the states from New England and we were going to “quiz” them after.  We talked about things for each of the New England states to help them remember – beach vacation in Maine, smallest state – Rhode Island, trees in VT, etc.

Then we googled New England states coloring sheet and printed two out, one for each kid.

For the quiz, we gave them instructions such as choose your favorite color and fill Massachusetts, draw a beach scene on Maine, put stripes on New Hampshire.  G was able to do this on her own, and C had an “open book” keeping the puzzle in view.

We are going to do this once a week and choose a different part of the country for each quiz!

If you do not have a US map puzzle, you can print a page with the whole United State and have them color it, cut it up, and make their own puzzle!  We will definitely be making our own puzzles at some point, so we can share directions for this activity when we come to it!

Categories: Home from School

Science with G: Dancing Match Sticks

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G is a little scientist and luckily had taken this book out of the library called “Cool Science Tricks” before we were home bound.
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We flipped through and found a trick to make matchsticks dance without touching them and thought that seemed exciting!

For this trick you need:

2 wine glasses

2 matchstick



Fill each glass 1/4 full (make sure the two glasses are filled with the same amount of water), wet your finger and practice making a sound wave.

On one of the glasses, with your wet finger, and rubbed it around the edge until you hear a ringing sound

This creates a sound wave!

Once you have a hang of making the ring, balance the matchsticks on the second glass.

Now, make the ringing sound again and slide your glass towards the glass with the matchsticks. This should make the second glass start to vibrate and make the match sticks dance!

Our matchstick danced so much, it fell right off the glass!  This all happens because the sound waves traveled from one glass to the other.

It took us a few times to get it right, so be patient!  and have fun!

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.


Categories: Home from School

Home from School – Planning a Schedule

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When the kiddos learned they we would be doing school at home starting this week, G immediately went to our whiteboard and began to write out a schedule.  Clearly, this girl loves structure!  And we agreed, on weekends (prior to COVID-19) when we don’t have much planned, there is a lot of “what are we doing next” and “I’m bored”, so let’s embrace her need for structure if we are going to be house-bound for however long!  We began to write out a list of things we would want to teach.

G – sign language, science experiments

C – board games, animals

O – physical education [he just happens to be a P.E. teacher 🙂 ]

J – coping skills, art and crafts

subjects to be taught by rotating teachers – math, writing, reading, science, geography, technology

and of course – recess!

SO here is the schedule that we came up with:

You can empower your kiddos to think about things they are great at or are interested in, so they can be involved in lesson planning and daily activities.  We loved that C said he is good at games so we added that into the schedule so he had something to plan too [It is totally true that he is good at games, he always wins!…  which can make games quite challenging when G loses, but that is for another day 😉 ]

After we created the schedule, we first talked about was how things are bound to change!! As great and comforting as structure is, when it does not go as planned, it can be really discomforting and upsetting.  So we have a plan for this, its called an OOPS!

We write out our schedule each day with any obstacles or alterations that we are already aware of such as a need for drive to the store or a conference call (since we are both working from home).  This way, you can plan the schedule on a daily basis and discuss potential changes ahead of time.

Once the schedule is set though, things may still come up and here is where the OOPS comes in!  As a family, decide a routine activity to do when an OOPS comes up, such as write it in an OOPS journal, put a big OOPS pictures onto the schedule board, practice a favorite deep breathing exercise, etc.  This way, your child can feel in control of the situation and have a routine way to handle change.

As an OT and PE teacher, our hope is to share our activities with you to help structure and fill your days with fun!

Stay tuned for links and lesson plans!

-J and O




Categories: Home from School