Monday, August 31, 2009

SMMART SCIENCE: Sun and Moon Light

Explain the sun-moon relationship to your child. The sun gives off light and lights the earth during the day. The moon dimly lights the earth at night because it does not give off its own light. The moon reflects the sun’s light.

Demonstrate this principle with your child by having your child hold the sun (flashlight) and shining the light into a hand mirror. Explain that the mirror is like the moon and doesn’t give off its own light, but reflects the sun’s light.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

SMMART SCIENCE: Nutrition Segment on "Good Things Utah"

Here is the link for the video of Friday's SMMART SCIENCE Nutrition Segment on "Good Things Utah":

Be sure to check it out soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Hooray! Hooray! My first Giveaway!

I had the priviledged experience of touring Thanksgiving Point last month. I had never visited the Children's Garden before. We really enjoyed the Noah Ark water feature.

Then, we were awed by the beauty of the Thanksgiving Point gardens. I think my favorite gardens were "The Secret Garden", and the "Carousel Garden".

We loved feeding the cows at The Farm as they stuck out and curled their tongues around the corn kernals.

And, of course, the fossil dig and interactive exhibits in the Dinosaur Museum were so much fun! Plus, did you know that Thanksgiving Point has a NEW hands-on SCIENCE MUSEUM in the works?!? (I have to make sure I'm still breathing!- We can't wait for it to open in 2011!)

Perhaps you took advantage of $2 Tuesdays this month...what a great deal! Well, if you didn't get a chance to partake of the $2 deal, perhaps you'll be lucky enough to win...

A FAMILY 4 PACK to EACH OF THE THANKSGIVING POINT VENUES!!!!!! (Am I screaming too loud?...Well, I'm excited for you!)

So, if you would like to enter to win a Family 4 Pack of tickets to: The Museum of Ancient Life, The Farm, The Children's Garden and The Gardens...

-(1 entry) Leave me a comment about your favorite places to visit with your kiddos. I'd especially love to hear about places maybe everyone doesn't know about. (Like I just discovered the Wild West Jordan Playground-it's very cool!) Even if you live outside of Utah, I'd like to hear where you enjoy visiting.

-(1 additional entry) Become a "FOLLOWER" of this SMMART blog so you can stay posted on the newest activity I post each week.

This giveaway closes on Friday, Sept.4 at midnight. I'll post the winner on Monday, Sept 7th. The winner must contact me by midnight-Tues, Sept 8th or I'll draw a new winner.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


This summer our Tuesday mornings have been greatly anticipated as "Summer Reading Partay Days".

..."Hurry and get dressed, or you'll miss your reading partay!"

..."Hurry and eat your breakfast, or you'll miss your..."

Plus, it was another way to bribe my child to accomplish simple everyday tasks. (Oh, and I do know how to spell "party", I just like saying it like: "PARTAY!")

My neighbor, Miriam, is...well, yes, I'll say it!...GENIUS!
She organized and instituted a Summer Reading Club for a few of the neighborhood kids, ages 3-6. Miriam gathered a group of 9 moms that wished to participate.
  • -We settled upon a "Nursery Rhymes" theme and were to provide 2 hours of projects, songs, books, role-play, snacks...that pertained to the nursery rhyme of our choice. In the past, Miriam organized a learning club where one mom hosted a Science morning, Reading morning, Art morning...
  • -Each mom hosted the group of 13 children once in their home.
  • -Miriam sent out to each mother the list of moms and their contact info, the list of children and their ages, the schedule of "Reading Club" dates and the nursery rhymes pertaining to each date.
  • -Then we decided upon some basic guidelines:
Reading Club Rules:
  1. If you or your kids are sick on your scheduled day, you will need to choose a day to reschedule.
  2. You will only be hosting one time. That means 8 times you get a break from your kids!!
  3. Each time it will be for 2 hours. From 9:00-11:00am. All story Club days are at this time.
  4. Get another adult to help you or a couple of teenagers. With kids this young it's great to separate them into smaller activity groups and have them rotate.
  5. All kids need to bring a water bottle with their name on it.
  6. You provide the snack. It is fun to have it related to your theme.
  7. Take pictures if you have two seconds to remember that.
  8. Remind your own child before each time that this is NOT playgroup. They will not be able to wander the homes, get out toys as they please, etc. There will be down time-but it will be fairly structured (playbreak, or related movie clip) and the kids need to plan for this.
  9. If a child is too difficult to handle, his/her mom will be called and asked to come help.
  10. It's a good idea to have activities for them to go do when they are done with the projects-like playdough, books, coloring, etc. (I found that the children who are finished enjoy being helpers to help the other children finish up their projects.)

I was a little frightened to think about hosting 13 kiddos in my home for two hours! What if they are jumping on my couch? coloring on my carpet? or torturing the goldfish?

I must say that those kiddos were perfectly polite little people! It was a great experience! (Be sure to plan well and have everything cut out, available and ready to go.)

It was sooooo nice to have a structured learning time each week during the summer for my 4 year old...and she was able to socialize with and make some new friends.

Each mom came up with some great, creative ideas and projects for the children to experience.

So, I sure hope Miriam invites me again next summer to join in her learning group rotation! (Hint, hint...if you're reading this, Miriam.)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Check out these pre-spelling ideas from
1. First of all, have writing materials available for your child to use. I have markers, colored pencils, pens, pencils, and crayons etc. Note binders, address books, recipe lists, sticky notes, little pads of paper, chalkboards and white boards are great for the kids.
2. Don't be concerned with spelling the words correctly. That will come later. Let them write without the interrupted, "How do you spell. . .?" I always tell my kids, to write down the sounds that they hear. Some kids get so frustrated if they don't spell something perfectly. I think that frustration can ruin the flow of writing and thoughts.
3. Give your student or child plenty of opportunities to write.Have them:Write the shopping list. Make a card for someone's birthday. Make lists (of all the family members, favorite toys, favorite foods). Make lots of books (I just staple 5 pieces of computer paper together with 3 staples and they can create away)
Watch this 1:16 minute video to see how to make a 16 page book out of one piece of paper: (
The ideas are endless. . .*Make sure your child sees you writing and that you also model to them how to write. Show them that you write from left to right, that you use finger spaces in between words."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SMMART ART: Felt or Paper Shape Art
(Color and Shape Recognition)

You can use either colored pieces of felt, cardstock or construction paper for this activity. You may wish to use a full piece of felt or cardstock as a canvas background to build on.

Many rudimentary drawings begin as simple shapes connected together to form a picture. The shapes are the backbone of the artwork. (Circles, Semi-circles, Squares, Triangles, Ovals, Rhombus, Rectangles, Crescents...)
(Your child can draw little faces onto the people in the bus with a marker-cut out some felt hair and an eyeball to get really fancy.)

This activity engages your child in working with shapes and colors. Your child will be placing shapes together to form familiar pictures. Ask your child about the shape names and colors as he creates.

Cut out simple shapes that your child can lay onto each other to create a familiar picture. For example you could cut out a red circle and a long, thin brown rectangle to create a lollipop picture. You could cut out a yellow circle and little triangles to place around the circle to create a sun picture.

Organize each picture in a separate plastic bag. You can draw a simple example picture of the shape art to keep with the shapes in the bag. You could even snap a photo of the shape art and keep that with the shapes as reference.

If there are several repetitive shapes, you can use these to practice addition and subtraction. For example, you can count the number of triangles in the sun picture or the number of petals on a flower, then take one away as you ask your child: “5 minus 1 equals, how many petals?” Be sure to use correct math language as you work on math skills.

Cut out several random shapes from all different colors of paper or felt. Keep these in a separate bag and let your child layer these shapes to build his own shape creations.

As an aside, for even more felt fun-you can create felt "paper" dolls with clothes and accessories to dress the doll...felt food that your child can arrange onto a felt plate...or check out this flower power ring activity:
If you would like the patterns for some of these projects, please e-mail me at and I'll be pleased to send them to you!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I will be presenting a few SMMART Science ideas on "Good Things Utah"
10:00 am
Be sure to watch!

Monday, August 3, 2009


Lay a towel on the floor and place a large bowl of water on the towel. Let your child experiment in making different sounds with the water.

What does the water sound like when you splash, when you swirl. Does it sound different if you swirl the water with a large spoon vs. an egg beater?

What does water sound like when you pour it from a cup into an empty bowl or into a bowl full of water?

Listen to the sounds as you drop ice cubes into the water. Now swirl the water with a spoon and listen.

What else can you do to make water sounds?


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