Monday, June 30, 2014

Popsicle Stick Fish Craft & More

Congratulations to Kristen P. for winning the Octunauts DVD!!
Today I am going to share a simple craft inspired by a craft kit at Oriental Trading. Since we had most of the supplies already, we did not order the craft kit. I showed Hazel the picture and let her get to work on it. She came up with the following picture.
All the craft sticks she had left in her craft supplies had glitter glue on them. After she made this, we found more colored craft sticks. I made another one trying to spread out the sticks more. I actually like hers better. I also added some foam spots on the ends.

Seeing mine, she wanted dots on hers, so she added them.

For this craft, we glued the sticks in the order we wanted them and added the heart for a mouth and an eye. Then added the dots.Today we will also share a couple of fun things from this past weekend. First look what we saw while waiting in line at the drive through at Starbucks on Saturday.
Of course once I was at a good place to take a picture and got my camera, the line began to move. I noticed a bird fly out of the nest which is what caught my eye to it. Then I pointed it out to Hazel. So fun!!

Then one of the teenagers at church made these amazing cupcakes for the Sunday School snack on Sunday. We are using a Jungle-Themed Vacation Bible School curriculum for the summer lessons and this week's animal was a giraffe. She said she found how to do it on-line. I am guessing she found them at Sugar Sugar: Giraffe Cupcakes!

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Petrosinella: A Neopolitan Rapunzel

Today we are going to discuss Petrosinella: A Neopolitan Rapunzel. It is the earliest version of a written Rapunzel story. I found two versions of the book at the library. Both are illustrated by Diane Stanley. One has Diane Stanley listed as the author and the other has Giambattista Basile, who is the original author. 

The stories are basically the same and are the same as the traditional story. The main difference being that the mother, named Pascadozzia in the Basile version, craved parsley and took it from her neighbor's garden. The neighbor was an ogress. She made the mother promise to give her unborn child to her. The child was born with a sprig of parsley in her hand in Basile's version and thus she was named Petrosinella which means parsley. Once Petrosinella was seven she began school and walked by the ogress' house. The ogress talked to her every day and told her to remind her mother of her promise. Finally the mother told Petrosinella to answer her with "Take it." The ogress took Petrosinella and locked her in the tower. One time with the ogress was out, Petrosinella put her hair down as she stuck her head out the little window. A prince who was returning to his parents' kingdom happened by and noticed the beautiful face and climbed up the hair. They talked and fell in love. He began to visit often at night while the ogress slept. He begged Petrsoinella to leave with him, but she refused even though she did not know why she refused. One day another ogress spotted the prince visiting Petrosinella and told her stepmother ogress. The stepmother ogress said she would put an end to the visits and that Petrosinella could never leave because she had a spell on her and needed the three acorns which were hidden in the rafters in the kitchen to break it. Petrosinella was listening so when the prince came that night she told him about the acorns and they searched and found them and left. However the ogress's friend saw them and made such noise that she woke the ogress. She quickly chased them. Sure they were going to be caught Petrosinella remembered the acorns and threw one onto the ground. A vicious dog appeared and went after the ogress. She however came prepared with bread. She continued her chase. The next acorn turned into a lion. The ogress found a mule skin to wear and tricked the lion. The third acorn became a wolf and the wolf ate her before she had a chance to trick it. The prince and Petrosinella were married and lived happily. In Stanley's version Petrosinella's mother was sent for the wedding. 

According to the information presented in Stanley's book,  Giambattista Basile published the original version of the story in 1637. It was in Neopolitan and it was hard to translate into English without a dictionary, but several versions were translated. She used a version by John Edward Taylor from 1847 and N.M. Penzer from 1932. For a full text version of the story on-line, visit SurLaLune Fairy Tales.

According to John K. Davis on this website there is also a connection to the legend of Saint Barbara. Saint Barbara was locked in a tower by her father to make sure she did not have an unworthy suitor. While he was away on business Barbara became to learn about the teachings of Christ and became a Christian. When her father returned and discovered this, he took her the Roman pro-consul who ordered her father to behead her. After beheading her, her father was struck down by lightning and consumed by fire.

The craft I shared is one Hazel and I made back in 2012. It is a toy of Rapunzel's tower and I shared it back in May 2012.

For more Rapunzel stories and other fairy tales, check out:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sharing Saturday 14-26

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Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week!! There were so many amazing ideas. For features this week I chose two themes: 4th of July/Independence Day and Summer. Since my mind seems to be with both it only seemed right. I picked a few of each, but there are many more from last week! I hope you will go check them and all that was shared out!

Fourth of July Features
1) From Happy Deal- Happy Day: Frugal Craft: 4th of July Centerpiece

2) From  Rock-a-Bye Parents: American Flag Bead Pin

3) From Gift of Curiosity: 4th of July Montessori Activities 

4) From Stella 123: 4th of July Marshmallow Decorating 

5) From ArtClubBlog: Flag Stones 

6) From A Little Pinch of Perfect: Patriotic Windsock Kid Craft 

Summer Features
1) From Living Montessori Now: Top 10 Summer Themes for Preschoolers

2) From Our Adventure Story: The Ultimate 2014 Summer Adventure List 

3) From  Play Dr. Mom: ABC's of Summer

4) From Felt with Love Designs: Links with Love: The Ultimate Round-Up of Summer Sewing Projects 

5) From The Jenny Evolution: Beach Books for the Summer 

6) From Krafts and Kiddos: Handprint Mermaid Painting 

7) There's Just One Mommy: 20 Sea Animal Crafts

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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This week we explored lemons, shared The Persian Cinderella for our Fairy Tales in Different Cultures, a simple craft to help teach prayer, a starfish and sand dollar wreath, a review of math picture books and a math lesson on fractal (frozen fractals from Disney's Frozen).

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Now for This Week's Party  
A Few Simple Guidelines:
1)  Please follow Crafty Moms Share via GFC (or one of the other ways that work for you).  

2)  Link any kid-friendly, child-centered post. Please no etsy shops or giveaways, etc.  Remember to link to your actual post. 

3) Post the Sharing Saturday button on your sidebar or somewhere on your blog to help spread the word.

4) I would love it if you would follow me on FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest 

5) If you do not have a blog, but want to share an idea you can leave it in the comments or e-mail it to me with a picture (if possible).

 Disclaimer: By sharing here, you are giving Crafty Moms Share permission to use your photos for features and to pin your craft at Pinterest.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What Are Frozen Fractals? A Lesson on Fractals to Go with Disney's Frozen Movie and Let It Go Song

Hazel and I LOVE Disney's movie Frozen. We are constantly listening to the soundtrack in our car. One of our favorite songs from the movie is Let It Go. If you have not heard the song or seen the movie you can
check out the song from the actual movie (with movie scenes) from Disney's website.

Disney's Frozen "Let It Go" Sequence Performed by Idina Menzel on Disney Video
Now there are many wonderful lessons in the movie for both children and adults, but that is for another post. Hazel has decided that Frozen is a possible theme for her birthday party, so I have been pinning many sources. Often I see Frozen Fractals referred to in either food or craft and it makes me cringe. I spent a week for three summers in New Haven, Connecticut taking classes on fractals and I have to share some of my knowledge as well as some lessons with you.

Let's start with some terms. First the word "fractal" was coined by Benoit Mandelbrot in the 1970's. And yes that is me in the picture with Benoit Mandelbrot. Every year he came to lecture at the class one of the days. I have even met his wife and eaten lunch with her. Mandelbrot noticed that several things he was looking at had similarities others had not noticed before. He decided to classify this group of things with the same characteristics fractals. The things he was looking at included how often computers make mistakes when they talk to one another, how jagged coastlines are, how much it rains in different parts of a rainstorm, how money moves on the stock market and how the galaxies are spread across the universe. The similarity he discovered was that they are all made up of little parts that look like the whole thing. So shapes that are made up of little parts that look like the whole thing are called fractals. We call this characteristic self-similarity. (For examples of self-similarity check out Yale's wonderful site on fractals and choose 1A and 1B.)

Now fractals occur in nature all the time. You can look at a tree or a piece of broccoli and see them. A great book to see them in nature is Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell with a afterward on Benoit Mandelbrot written by Michael Frame (the Yale professor who taught the fractal courses I took and worked with Mandelbrot). I used this afterward as a source for the information shared here.
"Solkoch". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

To create fractals, one must apply the same process over and over on a smaller scale. This is called iterating. An example of iterating is easy to find in some of the simple fractals. Since Queen Elsa refers to frozen fractals, we will work with the Koch Snowflake.The picture above is a more difficult one than the one we will make by hand. To start you need a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler. To begin draw an 18 cm line segment. This is stage 0 or the initiator. 

Next divide the segment into thirds (6 cm each). Erase the middle third. Replace the middle third with two lines congruent to the space they are replacing. If the erased line was there the three would form an equilateral triangle. Now you have Stage 1.

To get to Stage 2, you do the same steps as above (middle section) to each line segment in Stage 1. So now the thirds will be 2 cm.  Measure all four segments and mark the thirds. Then erase the middle section of each line segment. Draw in the two 2 cm lines for each erased spot.

Finally you will have Stage 2.
At this point I needed my reading glasses to go further. However you can see what Stage 7 looks like in this picture.
Koch curve.svg
"Koch curve" by Fibonacci. - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Now what we have drawn is actually known as the Koch curve. The Koch snowflake starts with an equilateral triangle instead of the line segment.The snowflake iterations look like this:
Von Koch curve.gif
"Von Koch curve" by António Miguel de Campos - self made based in own JAVA animation. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Now fractals have an infinite number of iterations, so the perimeter of the Koch Snowflake is infinite. However it does have an area. Cynthia Lanius' Fractals Unit does a great job of explaining this and demonstrating it. It is a great lesson for working on area as well as a nice introduction to limits for older children.

Next experiment and see if you can come up with your own snowflake fractal. Be sure to send me a picture if you do! For some more ideas check out the ones made at 10minutemath: Frozen fractals all around. Now there are many other fractals and activities you can do with them. I will share some more with you soon. Stay tuned!!

For more math lessons and Frozen ideas check out:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Math Lesson: Math Books Perfect for Homeschoolers and Summer Vacation

Do you have an Octonauts' fan at home? Make sure you enter my current giveaway for the newly released DVD.

Since I have not done a math post in awhile I thought I would share a few of the great math books I have found recently at my local library. There are many new ones out there and I promise to share more soon as well.
 The first one is a great book for any homeschooler wanting a fun way to introduce some geometry. Shapes in Math, Science and Nature:Squares, Triangles and Circles by Catherine Sheldrick Ross is an amazing book to really learn about three basic shapes. It is full of information and activities to explore circles, triangles and squares and as a former geometry teacher, I highly recommend this one. It even includes some of the geometric constructions where only a compass and straightedge (with no measurements on it) are used. The grade level recommendation for this one is fourth through ninth, but there are definitely some activities younger children could do it in it.

If you are trying to introduce some algebra here is a book for you, Mystery Math: A First Book of Algebra by David A. Adler. This book introduces the concept of a balanced equation, a variable and solving the equation while keeping it balanced in a fun way. In order to do this, a child must be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Since it has a theme of a haunted house, it also would be fun to read and introduce around Halloween.

Are you doing any traveling this summer? Here is a perfect book to teach math while traveling or about traveling. It is Travel Math by Pia Awal. This book introduces time and distance calculations, as well as calculations with things like population size, mountain height, temperatures, etc. The math involved is recommended for fourth grade and up.

So those are my recommendations for today with more to come. For more Math Lessons, check out:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Starfish and Sand Dollar Wreath for a Touch of Summer

 Disclosure: I was sent these craft items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I added links to the particular products for your convenience, but not for any compensation.

So while at Cape Cod last week, Hazel and I were in one of our favorite shops and I saw a pretty wreath made with white starfish. It looked very simple. It was a chipboard wreath form painted white with white starfish glued all over it. I showed it to my mother and Hazel and said we could make that. The owner of the store even commented how he considered getting out his glue gun to make one. I think it was on sale for about $17 dollars. I remembered the wonderful starfish I had received from Oriental Trading and thought let's make one when we get home. 

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: The Persian Cinderella

Today we are going to share The Persian Cinderella by Shirley Climo. Now Persia is known today as Iran. Iran is known to be home to one of the world's oldest civilizations. In the 7th century, Rashindun Muslims invaded Persia (putting an end to the Roman-Persian Wars). During the Islamic Golden Ages Persian literature, art, philosophy, and medicine played important roles in the development of the Muslim Civilization. 
1866 Mitchell Map of Persia, Turkey and Afghanistan (Iran, Iraq) - Geographicus - PersiaAfghanistan-mitchell-1866
Source: Samuel Augustus Mitchell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Teaching to Pray

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The other week, I was in charge of Hazel's Sunday School class. I love the craft we made and had to share it here. It came from the Kingdom of the Son Vacation Bible School Curriculum. For the summer we are doing Vacation Bible School lessons in Sunday School and having volunteer parents teach it. The goal of this Vacation Bible School is to teach the Lord's Prayer. I had the first week and we worked on the first part of the prayer and the message that God listens. The craft we chose to do was a simple one.

We traced each child's hands and had them cut them out. They decorated them with crayons or tissue paper squares. (Hazel did not make the best one, but I still love it. The squares make it hard to see the hands.) After they finished decorating we glued the hands together at the fingertips and then onto a piece of cardboard at the wrists so the hands would be in prayer position. Then we wrote "God Listens" on the cardboard.

Isn't it a cute craft. Plus it reminds children the position of their hands for prayer and that God listens to them pray. 

Looking for some more fun Christian crafts and/or lessons, check out:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Fruit Explorations-- Lemon

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Ok, we did this exploration on Friday, but I did not get the post written, so you get it today. Hazel has been asking for more fruit explorations, and I thought about lemons and making lemonade. Summer officially started today and what is better on a hot day than a cool glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade? So Thursday Hazel and I went to the store and bought some lemons in two sizes--regular or jumbo.

She could not wait to get started, so we did our exploration in our pajamas. She used a new magnifying glass to examine the outside and then I cut one in half for her.

After examining the inside as a half she asked me to cut the half in half so she could see the center better. 

She had fun examining it. She tasted a lick of one piece, but did not like it. Then she started squeezing them for the juice.

When I researched lemon crafts I discovered this neat one at Teach Preschool: Lemon drop painting.The idea is to dissolve lemon drops in a little bit of warm water to make a paint. Since we did not have lemon drops, we tried lemon lifesavers and had no success. Then we found some lemon hard candies and added them, but again no luck. We decided to add some lemon peel, so I made some zest. Hazel of course asked to have some to examine as well.
After our failure with non-lemon drop painting, we pulled out the yellow paint and got creative. Hazel made lemon prints with the half rinds.

Hazel even managed to find one that had a bit of the inside structure left and got some interesting prints. Then she wanted to paint the lemon, so she had fun painting as well.

Now we stopped painting to make the syrup and the rest of the lemonade. She had squeezed about one cup of lemon juice, so we mixed one cup of water with one cup of sugar in a saucepan and Hazel stirred it until the sugar dissolved. Then we heated it to a boil to keep the sugar dissolved.

Then we let it cool for a bit. Finally we mixed the lemon juice, syrup and about three and a half cups of water in a pitcher.

We put it in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes. We did a little more since we went back to painting. I pulled out a small square colored canvas and started painting a lemon on it. Hazel was suppose to paint the inside of it, but got upset since she thought my lemon looked better than hers. She started over and told me to paint the lemon's inside. 

Since my lemon did not fill the canvas enough, I made a lemon print and painted the inside of the lemon. then I added some strawberries to fill the canvas better. I started painting the strawberry seeds white, but was informed they are yellow. While finishing my painting we enjoyed the lemonade. Then while I cleaned up, Hazel drew in her fruit journal.

Since I had not planned ahead enough, I did not get any books on lemons yet, but will share some with you sometime soon. I also have the song Lemon Drops and Gum Drops in my head from searching the library database for lemon. Hazel learned the song and sang it at school in two concerts. I was singing it all Friday morning.  Hazel has also asked to explore all the fruits again. Stay tuned!!

For more fruit ideas check out: