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Story Time: The Giving Tree

Story Time: The Giving Tree - Crafts, activities, and free printables to go with the picture book

Earth Day is this Friday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to do a Story Time on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.  We are huge Silverstein fans in this house.  His poetry is one of the myriad ways I introduced the Littles to verse.  This particular book… It is the consummate environmental children’s book.  It is so lovely, the idea that a tree could love a boy so much she would give him everything.  When you think of all the things trees do for us–provide us with warmth, with our very homes, give us shade and fruit, even supply the very paper you might print my freebies out on–when you consider all that, you have to also remember that there isn’t an unlimited supply of trees on the planet and we should do our level best to replace what we use.

Why?  Well, I believe Silverstein would tell you trees have feelings, too.  And I would have to agree.

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Free Garden Planning Pages

This time of year provides us homeschooling mamas and dadas with a great opportunity to teach our littles about life and biology and botany and how connected we are (or should be) with our planet.  Getting into the garden or the greenhouse is one of my favorite ways to teach.

morning garden 4

You can study life cycles in the garden, simply by growing a plant from seed and watching it for an entire season.  Keeping a diary or calendar of the plant’s growth can help your little understand scientific observation.  Planning a garden helps your little learn about how things grow together.  If you’re planting flowers, you can add an ongoing color lesson for art studies.  If you’re planting vegetables your little can learn about where food comes from and what is good for his body.  Littles can learn how plants need water, soil, and sunlight.  If you’re starting in a greenhouse, they can learn about how different seeds need different temperatures to sprout.

morning garden 1

There is so much a little can learn about life from gardening, but one of the most important lessons they can take away from gardening is that hard work pays off.  Gardening takes some work–you have to baby those seedlings, make sure your plants are getting the right amount of water, keep weeds from stealing the necessary nutrients, and harvest at the right time.  My Littles have been helping with the gardens since they were old enough to walk, and they groan when the weeding or hoeing needs done, but they realize that all that work is going to result in lots of fresh food and beautiful flowers to enjoy from the patio.  So they do it.  I love that it keeps them physical all summer, beyond jumping on the trampoline or swimming in the pool.  It makes them work those growing muscles in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

morning garden 2

We always grow one special thing for each of the boys in our veggie/fruit garden.  For Littlest it’s watermelon.  For Middle, it’s our grape arbor.  This year we bought some new seeds that are supposed to grow giant watermelons, so Littlest better have his grubby hands ready to get sticky.  We’ve walked out to the orchard and looked at how our fledgling apple trees are covered in blooms this year, promising an actual crop of fresh apples for the first time.  Even the pear trees are producing this year, though not quite as much as the apples.

morning garden 3

Every year the things we grow provide fresh insight and lessons into science and nature.  I want the whole world to enjoy that connection.  I’ve made up a couple of freebies for you, and you don’t even have to subscribe to get them.  Though it’d be a lot cooler if you did.

Here’s a set of Garden Planning Pages to get you and your littles started:


garden planning pages


And here is a set of Garden Diary/Calendar pages to help your littles learn all season:

my plant diary


Print these out and get outside with your littles and enjoy glorious spring.  Learn while you’re having fun?  Yeah yeah.

That’s the stuff.

Love wins,


Story Time: Hello, Harvest Moon (Free Printables)

Learn about the moon with 3 free printables, 2 craft tutorials, and a moon pierecipe in Story Time: Hello, Harvest Moon

Halloween is over.  It’s a little sad, but now we’re on the downhill slide to Thanksgiving, the one day a year I refuse to diet, so it’s all pretty good.  This is the time when I start to plan the enormous feast we’ll have.  I love to cook; have I ever told you that?  It is one of my great joys.  Many years ago, when it became obvious that trying to fit in both families by driving to Martin’s family over an hour away and to my family who are very close made for a miserable Thanksgiving for all five of us, we decided to just have Thanksgiving here.  Unfortunately, my house is too small to fit either family in let alone both, so that decision meant we have to have Thanksgiving on our own.  Sometimes it hurts my heart, but we make a big celebration of it anyway, and we don’t have to spend 2 hours on the road or be unfair to one family or the other, and we get to relax for Thanksgiving.  Well, all the boys do.  I am busy, busy, busy that day.  But I like it that way.

I told you, I love to cook.

It is still autumn, though the days are shorter and it may be getting quite cold where you are.  (Unless you’re one of my Australian readers, then you’re enjoying the slide into spring.  Lucky.)  It hasn’t gotten cold here yet; we’re still hovering between 60 and 70 degrees, which doesn’t bode well for deer season, so if the weather gods could do me a favor and have the temperature go ahead and drop in the next couple weeks?   Thanks.  With the time change the world is bright again at 7 a.m. instead of dark, but I know that will only last a few weeks.   Then winter will set in, and a whole new set of adventures will befall us.

However, since it’s still autumn and Halloween is over but it’s not quite time for Thanksgiving, let’s do a Story Time about another autumn book.
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