Fun Ways To Use Toothpicks As A Learning Tool


  • Use toothpicks to form the letters of the alphabet and words.
  • Dip a toothpick in ink or paint and draw or write with it.
  • Make toothpick pictures. Glue colored or plain toothpicks to a piece of paper.
  • Glue toothpicks together to form a solid structure such as a toothpick bridge, house, tower, etc..

  • Make 3-D toothpick structures with clay or marshmallows. Try making polyhedrons such as pyramids, chemical models, animals, and other 3-D shapes.
  • Make simple shapes with them. Simply play around with the toothpicks and see what shapes you come up with.
  • Learn some toothpick tricksThere are some fun tricks you can do with a simple toothpick.
  • Make a spinning color wheelThese are simple to make and fun to play with. You will need a light cardboard box, toothpicks, and paint or markers for this activity. Alternate the colors, draw some shapes, make crazy patterns and see what happens when you spin your wheel.
  • Play a Guesstimate game. Take few toothpicks out of their package and toss them lightly on a table, without counting them, guess how many there are and write that number down. Count how many there are and figure out the difference between what you guessed and the actual number. How close was your guess? Play a few more times and see if your guesstimating gets better the more you play.
  • Toothpick and shaker challenge. This is a great way to build fine motor skills at any age! You will need toothpicks, a cheese shaker or a container with holes on top that will allow a toothpick through it easily, a timer, and paper and pencil for this activity. To play, set a timer for 30 seconds and see how many toothpicks you can get into the container via the small holes on top within that time period. When the time is up, count the toothpicks in the container. Write down the time and the number of toothpicks. Play a few times and see how much you improve from the first try. Reduce the time allotted and challenge yourself to get as many toothpicks into the container in the fewest seconds possible. For an extra challenge, use a container with smaller holes. Snip the tips off the toothpicks if they are too sharp.
If you would like to access all the videos at once, please visit my Toothpick Playlist on YouTube. Here’s one of the videos in the list…

What are some of the fun and interesting things you like to do with toothpicks? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!


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Shamrocks

Cultural & Botanical Information

Irish Culture and Customs: Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock Learn how the shamrock became an emblem of Ireland. 

Fine Gardening: The History of the ShamrockFull of symbolism, this plant has mystical roots – Article

SFGate: Botany Difference Between Clover and Shamrock Plants – Read about the difference between the two.

Wikipedia: Shamrocks – Offers information about different aspects of the shamrock: As a cultural icon and plant species. 

Videos

Craft Projects
DLTK: Shamrock Crafts – Get instructions to make: A 3D Shamrock paper craft, a lacing craft, a cross stitch pattern, and more.
Artists Helping Children: Shamrock Crafts For Kids: Saint Patrick’s Irish Shamrock Day Crafts and Activities for Children & Preschoolers – This site offers a variety of crafts that include shamrocks.

About Framily Crafts: 21 DIY Shamrock Crafts – This site offers links to a variety of shamrock related crafts.

Kids Activity Blog: 17 Shamrock Crafts for Kids – Links to shamrock crafts.

Hands On As We Grow – 20 Lucky Shamrock Crafts for Kids to Make this St. Patrick’s DayMore interesting ways to make shamrocks. 


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Funschooling With Hearts!



When my kids were little I would offer them quick and easy craft projects to do and we’d do them as a family. Over the years, we expanded this tradition by challenging ourselves to be more creative with the activities we did. The more we challenged ourselves, the more we learned. Turning simple items into something more became an amazing learning experience. I thought of it as recreational learning, my kids called it Funschooling.

With all the benefits we have gained from our experiences, there is no doubt that these activities allowed us to be more creative, forward thinking, better problem solvers, open to exploring new ideas, and make lots of lemonade when things went sour.

Since we thought the activities were so much fun, I used them to develop very successful craft programs for my local library, 4-H groups/programs, and homeschooling programs. 

Now, I’d like to share them with other families so they can enjoy open-ended creative learning activities too.

IntroducingFunschooling With Hearts

You can find it in my Etsy Store: Funschooling Press

There are two parts to this publication:

Part 1 is a printable PDF booklet that offers

  • A brief word about Funschooling with Hearts.
  • Tips for making great patterns.
  • 40 craft/project ideas that promote creative learning fun for all ages.
  • General information about where to fit the activities into a curriculum.
Once you print out the booklet, it can be folded in half.


Part 2 has 7 pages of printable templates that can easily be made into patterns that will be good for many uses. Instructions are included in the booklet section. 

Templates include:

 – X Lg. heart (1 per page) 
 – Lg Hearts (2 per page) 
 – Medium Hearts (3 per page)
 – Small Hearts (6 per page)
 – X-Small Hearts (12 per page)
 – Mixed Sizes ranging from large to x-small (9 per page)

 – Crazy Hearts Page with 6 interesting shaped hearts

These ideas are great for families, homeschoolers, classrooms, groups, camps, libraries, crafters, babysitters, grandparents, and anyone who runs craft-related or learning programs for children, families, or adults.

This digital download is sold as a PDF on Etsy.

I hope you’ll take the time to check out the first publication in my math series and be on the look out for more!

The regular price for this publication is $9.00.

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Gingerbread Activities

Picture by Becka Hons

History


Wikipedia: Gingerbread House  – Gingerbread house history, modern times, Guinness World records, and Gingerbread houses.

PBS: History Gingerbread – Article talks a bit about the history of ginger, and where the first gingerbread recipe came from and the inspiration to decorate gingerbread.


Fun Activities


DLTK Site:
Kidzone: Gingerbread Man Theme Unit – 5 Day Theme Unit and Resource List
Felt Gingerbread Man – Links to the poem and a mini-book version as well.
Gingerbread Man Dot Page – Printable activity page.
Gingerbread Man Activities – Clip art, coloring pages, recipes, and craft ideas.
Gingerbread House – Online Jigsaw Puzzle

Enchanted Learning: Gingerbread Man –  Site offers a picture story about the Gingerbread Man and craft ideas. Some activities may need a membership to print.


Mathwire: Winter Math Activities: Gingerbread House – Scroll down to the ginger bread house activities.


ABCya!: Gingerbread House – This site offers people a chance to build a virtual gingerbread house. Choose from an array of items to help you build and design a one of a kind house. Flash Player required to play.


Make Your Own House

Martha Stewart: Swedish Gingerbread House How-To – Scroll through the pictures to see how to construction this house using caramel syrup as the glue!

King Arthur Flour: Construction Gingerbread for Gingerbread Houses and Gingerbread House Cakes – Recipes

Food Network: Gingerbread House – Recipe

PBS: Zoom: Graham Cracker Gingerbread House – An easy to make house made from Graham crackers.

Little Red Window: Tiny Cardboard Gingerbread House – Instructions for making a gingerbread house from recycled cardboard.


Funschooling & Recreational Learning: Christmas/Holiday House – Make a holiday house from a milk carton!

YouTube: Gingerbread Playlist – Make an origami house, learn how gingerbread house kits are made, and watch an gingerbread house competition.

Here’s one of the videos in the list…
History: Holiday Foods-Gingerbread Houses


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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!


Father’s Day Resources

DLTK: Dad – Gift and card ideas, printable certificates, songs and more.

The Holiday Spot: Father’s Day – Learn the history of father’s day, get gift ideas and more.

Enchanted Learning: Father’s Day – Craft and homemade gift ideas.

Parent: Activities to make Father’s Day more special – Eleven activities to do with kids on Father’s Day.

Reader’s Digest: 17 Father’s Day Activities Your Dad Will Appreciate – Activities for all kinds of dads: Camping dads, Paintball dads, Golf dads and many others!

YouTube: Father’s Day Gift Ideas Playlist – Gift and card ideas.

Here’s one of the videos you can find in the playlist:


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Mother’s Day Resources

Dltk: Mom – Poems, crafts, printables and more.

Enchanted Learning: Mother’s Day – Cards, crafts, picture frames, and puzzles.

Danielles Place: Mother’s Day – Mother’s Day craft ideas.

Better Homes and Garden: Mother’s Day Crafts – Crafts kids can make.

Country Living: 55 Easy Mother’s Day Crafts That She’ll Treasure – Craft ideas all ages can make for Mom.

Activity Village: Mother’s Day – Coloring pages, craft ideas, colouring cards, bookmarks, mats, paper and more.

Canva: Mother’s Day Card Templates – Send Mom, or that special lady in your life, a personalized e-card! Sign-up is required for this site.

Craft Videos

Please check out my YouTube Playlist for Mother’s Day Crafts. This list contains craft projects for very young children and adults.
Here’s one of the great videos you’ll find in the list… 


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If you find a broken link please let me know by leaving a comment!

Note: If this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery has inspired you or someone else in a positive way or if you have featured this activity in a blog post, I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Ukulele


UkuTabs.com – 99 Most Popular UkuTabs of All Time – Find the chords
and tabs for your favorite songs. Free!

UkuTuner.com – Tune your ukulele with the help of this site. Free of charge.

Wikipedia: Ukulele – History, construction, types & sizes, tuning and more.

YouTube: Ukulele Playlist – You will find a collection of videos about the ukulele, its history, how to play one, how they are made, how to make one yourself, how to purchase one, and string them. Plus there are some sample videos of some very talented Ukulele players and tutorials. Here’s one of the video you can learn from…


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Note: If this, or any other post on Funschooling and Recreational Learning, has inspired you in a positive way, or you have featured it in a blog post, please comment and link back to where it can be found! Thank you!

Gardening With Recycled Materials

There are quite few containers that can be used as inexpensive gardening tools such as seedling starters, planters, and tools.
Here are a few of the things you can save:

Food grade plastic containers in all sizes: Yogurt and sour cream containers, soda/water bottles, fruit cups, milk/water/juice/vinegar jugs, salad, cake/cupcake, and plastic take-out containers, 5 gallon water jugs, buckets, nut/candy containers, parmesan cheese containers, juice bottles, litter and other large food grade containers, coffee containers (K-cups and large containers), vitamin bottles, and others.

Other Things To SaveStyrofoam: Cups, take-out containers, and egg cartons – cans – glass jars – cardboard egg cartons – milk/juice cartons, newspaper, cardboard tubes, and whatever else you find useful!

Ideas For Use


Plastic cups can be used to plant seedlings. Larger ones can hold a flowering plant and most herbs to full growth. They can be decorated with paint and stickers and given as gifts too. Pop holes in the bottom with a drill or use a candle, nail, and pliers to make holes. (Adult supervision suggested.)

Plastic containers with lids, water bottles, and vitamin bottles are great for storing seeds. Soda bottles can be turned into self-watering planters, or used as a planter.

Milk cartons can be turned into planters that can easily grow a basil/herb plant, a flower, or lettuce. Paint the carton with acrylic paint and decorate with foam stickers or paint a picture. Milk cartons can be cut down and used as temporary plant markers for seedlings.


5 Gallon containers can be turned into a self-watering container garden.

Egg cartons can be used to sort seeds before planting or to start seedlings. 

Milk/water jugs make great watering containers. Simply pop a few holes in the lid with a nail or drill. Use plastic jugs to make plant markers too.

Salad containers can be used to store harvested veggies in the fridge.

Cardboard Tubes can be cut down and used to start seedlings.

Take out containers are great for watering seedlings and to put under plants.

Plasticware – Save your better quality plastic-ware to spoon soil to containers, rake soil to add flower seeds, or to smooth soil over seeds with a knife.

More Information

Inspiration Laboratories: Recycled Container Gardening With Kids – Upcycle various containers and household items to use in the garden.

iCreativeIdeas: 40+ Creative DIY Garden Containers and Planters from Recycled Materials – Almost anything can be used as a gardening container! Check out the suggestions on this site!

Note: Make sure all containers are clean before use and are food grade. Containers that are not food grade, or once used for chemicals, should never be reused.

Videos

Please visit my Gardening With Recycled Items playlist located on YouTube. 


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Christmas Stockings

Smithsonian: The Legend of the Christmas Stocking – The history behind the tradition of hanging stockings.

Wikipedia: Christmas Stockings – The history of stockings and information about the world’s biggest Christmas stocking.


Altogether Christmas: Christmas Stockings – An article about the legends behind Christmas stockings.

First Palette: Paper Christmas Stocking – Instructions for craft.

DLTK: Christmas Lacing Crafts – Instructions for craft.

Activity Village: Christmas Stocking Theme – Printable stocking templates, games, colouring pages, crafts, and more.

Videos



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Shadow Puppets

Visual News: Vintage Instructions On How To Make Shadow Puppets

Blifaloo: Shadow Puppets – How to make shadow puppets with your hands.

Printable Paradise: Printable Animal Silhouettes

Kidspot: Make a Shadow Puppet Theatre – Instructions and a video. Plus how make your own puppets.


wikiHow: How to Make Shadow Puppets – Three methods are offered along with illustrations and videos.






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If you find a broken link please let me know by leaving a comment!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!