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School Supply Shopping

Your child may not actually be going back to a school this year, but they can still go back to school shopping! Back to school supply shopping is one way to get your child excited about school. I know as a child, I always loved picking out my school supplies. Let’s be honest, I still love buying school supplies!

This year, you may not want to physically go to stores for back to school supplies, but luckily we can always shop online!

Help get your child pumped up for learning by letting them pick out folders, notebooks, or pencils that are their favorite colors or with their favorite characters, animals on them.

Here are some fun back to school supply suggestions:

Composition Notebooks

Fun Pencils

Pocket Folders

Twistable Crayons

Scented Markers

Dry Erase Markers

Pencil Pouch/Case

Dry Erase Board

Fun Jumbo Erasers

Gluesticks

Kid Scissors

Ruler

Even though your child will not physically be going to school outside of the home, they may still find it fun to have a lunchbox, a new water bottle or cup, or even a backpack for homeschool.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

School Snack & Meal Ideas

The first few weeks of homeschooling can be quite overwhelming, especially if you have never homeschooled before! Why not take control over another aspect of your life that you are familiar with, such as snacks and meals!

I don’t know about you, but trying to find things in the fridge or pantry to whip up during an already busy day is not something I enjoy. I find it helpful when I have things somewhat planned out.

Also, I don’t know about you, but when my kids ask me for snacks ALL DAY LONG, it makes me want to lose my mind. Instead of having your kids constantly bombarding you, think about providing designated snack and meal times. For example, we have a morning snack at 10:00 AM, we eat lunch around 12:00 PM, and we have an afternoon snack at 2:00 PM. Of course, you can be flexible, but I find having a set time to eat really helps!

Before you even begin homeschooling, why not create a list of easy snack and meal ideas to refer to and make your life a little easier? Wait, I have already done that for you!

Snack Ideas

Fruit

  • apples
  • bananas
  • clementines
  • strawberries
  • blueberries

…whatever fruit your kids like!

Dry Snacks

  • Pretzels
  • Cheddar Bunnies (or Goldfish)
  • Granola Bars
  • Trail Mix
  • Chex Mix
  • Dry Cereals
  • Yogurt Raisins
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Veggie Sticks
  • Popcorn

Refrigerated Snacks

  • String Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Carrots
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Applesauce (my kids actually love the GoGo Squeeze pouches which do not have to be refrigerated)

Other

  • Veggies and Ranch
  • Veggies and Hummus
  • Pretzels and Hummus
  • Apple Slices and Peanut Butter
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Chips and Salsa

By the way, our lunch container is a Bentgo. You can find it here.

Meal Ideas

Check out some of these back to school lunch ideas in the videos below:

Do you have any other snack or meal ideas? Leave them in the comments below!

STEM Activities

What is a STEM Toy? What is a STEM Bin? You may have seen me post about these on my Instagram page, or you may have seen them on Pinterest. You may be wondering, what is the hype about STEM? Read below to find out why STEM activities are awesome, not only in the classroom, but also at home!

What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

What is a STEM Toy or a STEM Bin?

You may be wondering, what is the difference between a STEM toy and a STEM bin. The answer is, not much.

Teachers generally call plastic containers filled with STEM manipulatives/toys, STEM Bins. These classroom bins often include task cards and building challenges for students.

STEM toys are basically the same exact thing. You probably already have some amazing STEM toys at home. The main difference is your STEM toys are probably not in plastic containers with directed task cards for your child.

What are the benefits of STEM Toys/Bins?

  • Enhance creativity
  • Develop hand-eye coordination
  • Require fine motor skills
  • Promote spatial skills
  • Encourage exploration
  • Require problem solving
  • Encourage designing and building
  • Develop life skills such as: perseverance, discipline, and resourcefulness
  • Promote social skills including: collaboration and communication

Ways to use STEM Toys/Bins in the classroom

  • Morning Work
  • Early Finishers
  • Incentives
  • Centers

Ways to use STEM Toys/Bins at home

  • Free Time
  • Brain Breaks (except they’re actually still learning)
  • Incentives

My Top Choices for Elementary STEM Toys/Bins

STEM toys are FUN but also have so many educational benefits! STEM toys are a great alternative to screen time. Which STEM toy pictured above would your children enjoy the most?

Digital Learning with Boom Cards

Things are currently a little different around the world when it comes to children learning and education. Teachers and parents are in need of digital activities for learning at home now more than ever.

Have you heard of Boom Learning? I discovered Boom Learning when I was searching for digital resources while virtually teaching my students. Boom Learning Cards are convenient, fun, and a lot of them are FREE!

Check out some FREE Boom Cards by clicking on the images below:

What is Boom Learning?

Boom Learning is an awesome website with digital educational games and activities. The resources on Boom Learning are created by teachers for students to use online.

The Boom Learning activities are called Decks and they contain various amounts of learning cards within each deck.

I love that these resources are digital, interactive, and self correcting!

What do I need to use Boom Cards?

According to the Boom Learning website, in order to have Boom Cards play properly you need:

  • Broadband Internet Connection
  • Chromebook/Netbook/Laptop/Desktop Computer: browser that runs HTML5 (Firefox, Chromium Edge, Safari, Chrome)
  • Kindle (Silk)
  • iPad (Safari)
  • Chromebook or Android Tablet (Chrome)

OR

Boom Learning does not work with Internet Explorer. Please check out Boom Learning’s Website for more specifications.

How do I create an account?

Parents

If you are signing up on your own without a teacher/classroom, create a free teacher account for yourself.

If you are signing up with a teacher/classroom, the teacher will provide a pin or other information for how to set up a free student account.

Teachers

You can create a free account if you have five students or less and you don’t plan to create your own learning decks. I would check out all of the account options on Boom Learning’s Website to see which suits you the best. They are very affordable!

Do I have to set up a classroom? 

Whether you’re a classroom teacher, homeschooler, or a parent, you will need to set up your own classroom.  

This video tutorial below is very helpful to get started! 

How do I assign decks?

Free and paid Boom Learning Decks will be available to assign in your library. 

You will need to purchase a deck before you can use it. You can purchase Boom Learning Decks on Teachers Pay Teachers or on Boom Learning

If purchasing on Teachers Pay Teachers, you will receive a PDF download with a link to unlock the deck. 

Please Note: You will have a PDF download with a link to access FREE learning decks from Teachers Pay Teachers also.

If purchasing on Boom Learning, they will show up in your library after purchase. You can simply add decks to your library if they are free.

Once Learning Decks are in your library you can assign them by clicking the blue action button. This will bring you a drop down menu where you can find the “assign” option.

You can find out more about assigning learning decks in the video below:

How do I check on student progress?

You can check out this video below to find out more about reports:

Wait, I still have more questions! 

Check out Boom Learning’s FAQ section or their YouTube channel for more helpful information!

I am LOVING Boom Learning! Let me know what you think of it when you try it out for yourself. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Ready for Kinder

Wondering what to expect for your future kindergartener in the fall? I’ve teamed up with several educational accounts to bring you information and resources to help prepare your child for the school year ahead.

Meet the kindergarten readiness team:

@eat_play_read has 6 years teaching experience (3 in Pre-K, 3 in K)

@kidsrcapable has 3 years experience as a child therapist (homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter & private practice)

@tayloredtoteach has 8 years teaching experience in grades K-5

@theitsybitsy.classroom has 6 years teaching experience in Deaf Education, Early Childhood, Kindergarten, Online ESL & Sign Language.

@sanderspeechsolutions has 7 years experience as an SLP in an elementary school and private setting

@taught.by.tatum has been teaching for 10 years (7 in K)

You can click on the pictures below to find out more about each topic from our #letsgetreadyforkinder series!

If you missed our #letsgetreadyforkinder video series on Instagram, you can find it on my highlight reel under PART 1 and PART 2!

Click here to check it out!

Fine Motor Skills

Erin from @taught.by.tatum gave us some extraordinary fine motor skills information and activities during our #letsgetreadyforkinder segment. Fine motor skills are very important for incoming kindergarteners! Read below to find out ways to help prepare your child!

What are fine motor skills?

Fine motor skills are coordinated movements using the small muscles in the hands and fingers. This includes things like zippering, buttoning, gripping a pencil, using scissors, etc.

Fine motor skills are good for self help and academic reasons.

Jessica touched on this earlier in the #letsgetreadyforkinder segment with self help skills. You can find a list of those skills here.

Hands on academic activities are important to help strengthen those small muscles in the hands and fingers.

Check out some ways to practice fine motor skills below:

Activities & Resources

Click on the pictures to find out more about the fine motor activities!

Math Manipulatives

Please supervise your child while they are using manipulatives or scissors.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Social and Self Help Skills

Jessica from @eat_play_read provided us with some great information about social and self help skills! Taylor from @kidsrcapable also gave us some great tips for dealing with separation anxiety. I think this information will be especially useful for your soon to be kindergartener this fall due to the current circumstances. Read the bulleted information below to prepare your child for school.

Social Skills Checklist

  • Sharing
  • Taking Turns
  • Waiting their turn to talk in a conversation
  • Listening to a story

Separation Anxiety Tips

  • Prepare students by reading stories about the start of Kindergarten
  • Practice loving, firm, and consistent “see you later” and goodbye
  • Practice calming down moments when child is not stressed.
  • Check out Go Noodle for calming activities “Bee Breaths” or “Bunny Breaths”

Self Help Skills Checklist

  • Getting dressed
  • Zipping coat
  • Putting on shoes
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Zipping and hanging up backpack
  • Hand washing
  • Opening snack/lunch items
  • Wiping nose

Counting and Numbers

Caitlyn from @theitsybitsy.classroom gave us some amazing information about counting and numbers during out #letsgetreadyforkinder segment. Read below for her tips on how to prepare your furture kindergartener!

Counting

Teachers would like students to have a decent foundation of how to count when entering Kindergarten. Maybe they miss some numbers, maybe they only make it to five, maybe they only make it to ten, but the concept of counting is a good way to start.

Ways to practice:

  • count things you see
  • count snacks, count toys, count flowers outside, etc.
  • count starting at different numbers, for example start at 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or start at 3, 4, 5 ,6

Even if your child is not actually counting, model how to count. Children are always listening and absorbing information.

Eventually, your child will work on counting all the way to 100 or even to 120 during Kindergarten.

Counting Groups of Objects

An important skill when learning how to count, is being able to count objects in a group.

What does this mean? It means counting five objects and understanding the last number they said, five, is the number of objects in the group.

During kindergarten, children will use the skill of counting objects in a group to work on adding and subtracting.

Ways to practice:

  • count snacks, count toys etc.
  • elaborate that the last number they said is how many there are of that object

Number Identification

The first step when it comes to being able to identify numbers, is being able to determine a letter from a number.

After children are able to distinguish a number from a letter, it is then time to move on to identifying numbers 0-10.

Ways to practice:

  • point out things that are letters and numbers Ex. cereal boxes, signs, the clock, license plates, etc.
  • point out specific numbers 0-10 that you see

Most children can identify numbers 0-10 when they are in order, but they don’t always know that the symbol they are pointing to is that number.

Helpful Tip: Scramble up the numbers and make sure they know what the numbers are when they are out of order.

Activities & Resources

Click on the pictures to find out more about the number activities!

Please supervise your child while they are completing learning activities.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Speech and Language Milestones

Speech and Language Pathologist Erica Sander from @sanderspeechsolutions provided us with so much information about speech and language milestones during our #letsgetreadyforkinder week!

Find out what to expect from your soon to be kindergartener below:

Articulation

  • speech should be 95-100% intelligible meaning the message is understood by the listener 95-100% of the time
  • majority of speech and sounds have been acquired in all word positions (p, b, m, n ,t, d, k, g, f, s, y, h, sh, v)
  • may continue to produce later developing sounds with difficulty (l, r, sh, th, ch, z, s)

Expressive

  • use complex sentence structures, can connect two different ideas in one sentence
  • use simple past tense verbs -ed
  • produce more adjectives to describe what they observe
  • include pronouns (I, me, my , myself, they, themselves)
  • produce sequencing in their stories, they are more organized and cohesive

Pragmatic

  • demonstrates cooperative play skills with peers
  • play simple games and follow rules (Simon says, BINGO, Go Fish, board games)
  • participates in 4-5 conversational turns with a partner and will initiate and stay on topic
  • use language to discuss emotions
  • learning how to repair communication breakdowns and can rephrase or revise their message

Receptive

  • follow multi-step directions
  • understands comparative vocabulary (big, bigger, biggest) and location vocabulary (between, below, on top)
  • identify similarities and differences
  • recognizing simple rhyming words
  • understand simple concepts of time (yesterday, tomorrow)
  • answers simple concrete questions (yes/no, who, what, where)

Activities & Resources

Click on the pictures to find out more about the rhyming activities!