Hands-on Learning: Rocks and Minerals (FREE Cards)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Oh here we are again, my son’s favourite topic: rocks! Last year we worked on identifying the types of rocks: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.  This year, I added minerals to our studies, to advance our studies in the Rock Cycle.

This years’ objectives for  Rocky Cycle study:

  1. Review the classification of rocks
  2. Identify the characteristics of rocks
  3. Identify the characteristics of minerals
  4. Difference between rocks and minerals
  5. Products of rocks and minerals

Materials used:

  • Igneous rock collection
  • Metamorphic rock collection
  • Sedimentary rock collection (I don’t have this)
  • Mineral collection.  I purchased the mineral collection from Learning Resources when it was on sale in Amazon last year. 
  • Digital microscope (optional)
  • Rock and Fossil Hunter Book [aff.link] A really good book that provides a table of rocks and minerals, with lots of experiments and activities.


This is how we worked on each rock.  I created learning cards for each collection, the links are at the end of this post.

DSC_0833  Comparing rocks and mineralsDSC_0644

Comparing Pyrite (fools’ gold and real gold)DSC_0646

Colours of minerals.  Trying to draw and identify the colours of each minerals.


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Rocks vs Minerals.  Combined a few igneous, metamorphic and minerals then have Mavi sort them according to:  minerals, rocks and “not sure”.  Mavi had so much fun here!DSC_0684 (2)

DSC_0689 (2)  Looking closely.  We used our digital microscope (husband provided this) to have a closer look for our rocks, to check for some crystal formations :)


Metamorphic Igneous

Igneous - Copy Minerals

Minerals - Copy

FREE printable files:

Other interesting rock activities can be found here:


St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Tiny Tots

Sunday, March 1, 2015


I am not really a fan of seasonal themed activities. Why? Well for a busy Mom like me, it is sooo difficult to prepare and assemble.  The fact that we live far far away from the city, our resources is quite limited. It is sooo hard to find materials that fits well on a specific theme (and I have no time to look for them either!).  Plus the fact that well, these stuff still cost a lot and space is my biggest problem here. Not enough storage for the materials! 

But… we all have to agree that it is fun to do it with your little kids.  It’s cute and fun! And the kids will have that feel of the occasion.  That’s why, because this month we are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day here in Ireland,  I am trying it out this seasonal themed activities with Vito!  Yes, I’m testing the water and see if I can pull off a seasonal themed activities and let’s see were this will lead me.  We’re not doing a bunch right, we’re only trying those that are easy to prepare and feasible for us.

Scooping giant pompoms 

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Vito has been showing signs that he’s ready.  He always wanted to feed himself so I’m giving him lots of scooping activities so he can practice.

Materials:  giant pompoms (or berries or baby potatoes), plastic scoop from oatmeal box, plastic bowls

Recognizing the rainbow colours

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We’ve looking at colours since last year and though we may have one colour per month, it won’t hurt to checkout different colours at the same time. Here I was talking to Vito all about the rainbow its colours.  We use my Learning Resources Critters Counters which I got from an Amazon Sale last year.  I was pretty happy that they have all the 6 colours of rainbow!

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Materials:  colour cards (from flash cards, cardstock, art paper) and counters (or erasers/rubbers, pompoms, toy beads etc)

 Language and Vocabulary


So you might think that it’s too early for your little ones to understand all of these?  You might be mistaken! They actually absorb all the little things you show them!  Currently, there’s a lot of displays of leprechauns, rainbows, shamrock etc at the stores and malls. Vito sees all of these whenever we’re outdoors.  So what I did here was provide some beautiful cards with a clear readable font for infants (I used Sassoon Infant Std, standard font used here in UK and Ireland) and added tangible objects so I can show and explain to him what he is seeing everywhere.

Materials:  St. Patrick’s vocabulary cards (downloadable from this post, follow link at the end of this post), matching objects

Gold Counting Activity and Number Recognition

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I made counting cards as well and used some play gold coins for this.  Since the starting of the year, I’ve been introducing Vito to counting by counting his fingers, his toes, the buttons we’re playing, the blocks and anything at all. So here, I introduced counting with the symbol.  Again, there’s no such thing as too early or too late.

Materials: counting cards (downloadable from this post, follow link at the end of this post),

Mess Free Shamrock Painting

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Materials: sealable plastic bag, printed shamrock (you can get the outline in the web), orange and green non-toxic tempera paints

Put everything in the plastic bag… and let the fun begin!

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Vito’s shamrock masterpiece (after he basically torture the plastic!)

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And there goes our activities for St Patrick’s Day!  Even if these are all for Vito, big brother loved doing all of these as well! How cool isn’t it?

Now for your freebie, download your FREE COPY OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY printable, the TINY TOTS EDITION here!

More toddler activities can be found here in my Pinterest Board: Follow Pinay Homeschooler's board Pinay Homeschooler on Pinterest.

[Tried and Tested] Tower High Learning

Friday, February 27, 2015

I came across Tower High Learning through random search in the internet for affordable Montessori puzzles.  I am so happy that I found another shop in the UK that sells Montessori materials.  As I skim through their online shop, I’m surprised that they offer a waay more affordable price than any shop I’ve encountered!  Excitedly, I contacted their costumer service for inquiries and they responded promptly to all my queries.  Marie, who runs the business is very friendly and easy to talk to!  So without hesitation I purchased a few puzzles for Vito and Mavi to work on this year. 

And guess what? They arrived after 2 days!! How cool is that??  To think that I just paid for regular shipping. Amazing isn’t it?

And yes, nothing beats the smell of new Montessori materials, waiting to be opened!

My botany puzzles!! I regret not getting the seed and roots!

DSC_0583  My Zoology puzzles:  bird, turtle and frog.  Must save for the the fish and butterfly.


I purchased this version of which there’s a skeleton presentation on the board of the puzzle.


And here’s my beautiful beautiful Asia Continent Map puzzle. Shining, shimmering… splendid!


And yes all those little tiny pieces all sits well on its board. Love it!  Wishlist: must get the control map next time!


Ahhh… oh how I love the puzzles! They’re on the lower price range but they were more than perfect! Flat, and all the pieces fitted well.

I have to start my “wishlist” for Christmas.  I can’t wait till  my next purchase when my funds are enough.

So don’t forget to checkout Tower High Learning if you are in Europe and looking for affordable Montessori materials.


**This is not a paid post or review.  Just wanted to share this amazing shop that sells affordable Montessori materials to Moms out there that have tight budget like me!

Fun Math Activities for Numbers 20 to 99

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


So we’ve been practising our Mathematics since we came back from our big break.  We’re almost done with our study on 2 digit numbers (20 to 99).  Now you might be wondering why we need to stick around here. Well you see, though Mavi knows his addition and subtraction by heart, there’s still a lot more in mathematics than that.  To explain, here’s a few of our “brainy” activities (this is how Mavi describes it!).

Count Me!.  Using our decanomial beads, I laid out 20 sets for Mavi to count using what he has learned previously on counting tens and ones! 


Place Value.  Here’s it is in Singapore Math. I copied the activities in our Math notebook so that we can reuse the workbooks from Singapore for Vito.  Mavi works on this using mental math, no manipulative needed.


Find the number. This thinks that this is a very tricky game. I made a lot of questions and clues for him to find the correct number using our hundred board.  This is to test his analysis. Example:   8 less of 35 is?


Smallest and Greatest number. Given the number series (I prepared 10 for him), identify the smallest and greatest.  Again he finds this difficult, but upon teaching him the trick, he was able to answer the questions quickly.


Another version is to arrange the given set (15 sets) from smallest to greatest and greatest to smallest. Arranging from smallest to greatest was very easy for him, but he complained that doing the other way around is more difficult. He gets confused between numbers.  I even added 1 digit number (number 6), to my surprise he considered it as “60” rather than “06”.  So I therefore conclude that conventional counting, that is from smallest to greatest is waaay more easier for them than the other way around!

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Why don’t you try this with your kids and let me know how they feel about it! 

More math activities here!

Follow Pinay Homeschooler's board Math Ideas on Pinterest.

Toddler Beginnings 05

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Toddler Beginnings 05Happy Monday to all! My not so little Vito is starting to show signs that he can do a lot more with fine motor skills now than before! How cool is that? And for this series, may I say that he has his own favourites already?  Come take a look!K1We do endless reading at home.  Was surprise that he chooses his own book now.  And obviously, based on the pictures he enjoys reading the Spot series with me!  These books are from the library but you can get them from Book Depository[aff.link].  They’re so easy to read and engaging.  These are lift-the-flap books and yes he enjoys lifting the flap! He would nod his head if its not Spot :)  The Animal book is a board book which I got last year.  Vito loves animals and I just have to include this board book for animal recognition.  He would say “raaawrr” whenever he sees animals on books, pictures or toys!

For our colour basket I’m featuring the red colour because of Valentines Day. A discovery basket of all something red that Mavi could find in the house.  It got socks, shirt, a feather, LEGO and just about anything.  Of course, I have to include my homemade colour card.  The book was also purchased from Book Depository [aff. link].

language05 So what do we do with our red discovery basket? Well, Vito loves tinkering things and this is what I would give him whenever he needs something to touch and play with.  Every time he takes an object, I would describe it and always mentioning the word “red”.  Like red socks, red feather, red barrel.  Then I would line them up and would say “look Vito they have the same colour… they’re all red”.  I would at times encourage him to say the word “red” as well.


Our shelf also contains the following toys for practicing fine motor skills.

Mavi’s fishing game toy which he got from his birthday.  We never used this until I recently discovered that Vito can use this for 1:1 correspondence.  Later on, we realized that the game itself was fun after all!


This barn puzzle is a miss.  Vito is NOT interested at all. I got this because it was on sale.  I talked about the animals in the puzzle but he doesn’t mind.  What he loves to do here is actually removing the pieces and placing them in the basket.


Again, scribble scribble scribble. This is what he loves as of the moment. I guess he sees his big brother and I write all the time and that’s what he also wanted to do.  He just imitates, which is good!  He’s good holding a pen actually and here he enjoys scribbling on a piece of paper using all three crayons.mont0105 We finally get to use this Classic Pop Up toy from Galt. It was in the cabinet for almost a year and now he’s more than interested.  He loves pulling out all the tubes, putting them back again, and pressing the little people (the tubes has faces!).  Later on we’ll use this for colour matching :D  He still mouths objects though, so there are instances that he would put the tubes in his mouth.  So parents, be warned!mont0205 We have this soft rubbery blocks which we used for counting.  I introduced this for stacking but he wasn’t interested.  What he loves to do with these blocks is to mess them, and put them back in the bag.  And I find his choice of activity much better! Early start for tidying up!  DSC_0407

We also use them to count.  We count a lot at home:  counting fingers, toes, kisses, buttons… and this one I showed him how to associated counting with symbols. Yes I know, too early… but he loves the numbers more than the blocks! 



We skipped painting this time and decided to do something different. In our Art basket, we have here materials for our collage activity which is composed of tissue paper (red hues) and a contact paper.


Easy activity.  Vito couldn’t tear up the tissue papers yet (he can tear up the kitchen towel and toilet paper though), so I did it for him.  Then I showed him how to drop or place the pieces into contact paper. He didn’t like the sticky contact paper at all! He loves dropping the paper but would not touch the contact paper.  I encouraged him my placing his hands on it.  This is to take away of his fear and that it’s a safe object for him.

artI displayed his art work in our window and he was so fascinated by the contact paper that he keeps on going back to touch it!

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Oh we have two songs for this series:  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and When You’re Happy and You Know It.  We sing it in the afternoon, dance with it and create actions which Vito loves to do.  Vito, just like his older brother loves to dance as well and he enjoys doing this activity in the afternoon before Daddy gets home. This is  a good way to practice their gross motor skills!K5outdoor

Oh yeah and we had a beautiful weather last week and we grabbed the opportunity to go out in the yard, explore the grasses and the rocks!  Vito was running around, climbing up the steps, crawling in the grass and playing with our neighbour’s bicycle!

And that’s it!! Watch out for our next post on Toddler Beginnings as I’m going to feature simple activities for St. Patrick’s Day!