Room on the Broom

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I know this book was published in 2001, but it is new to me!  I ordered it from a recent Scholastic Book Order, and I have loved reading it to my grandchildren!   There are lots of ideas of activities to use with this book on Pinterest, as well as the website  If you have a chance, check them out!

I think this story would be great for retelling!  My favorite way to retell stories is to act them out.  Here are some pictures of the characters that I found online and enlarged.  You could print them on cardstock and punch holes to make yarn necklaces, or put them on headbands for the children to wear.

witch cat

Good characters 2 dog

Good characters 3 


Here is a smaller set that you could print out, add magnets and retell on a magnetic board.

character cutouts

Or finger puppets!

ROTB-activity-sheet-4 (1)

Please check out the websites noted on these pages, they have great ideas!  Also, check out this site for more great graphics!

story cut outs

Another activity would be to sequence some of the events of this story.

Sequence board 

The children would just cut out the pictures on the following page and glue them onto the recording sheet in the order they happened in the story.

Sequence pieces

This story was just full of great examples of problems and solutions.  As well as generating some great discussions you might ask children to identify the problem represented by each picture, and find the picture that represents the solution.

Problem solution 1 

Problem solution

There are 2 of each item on this page – each child would get a half sheet.

This book is full of rich vocabulary.  I think it might be helpful to have some illustrations to help children understand these unfamiliar terms.

vocabularyYou might choose one or two fun new words to concentrate on, and then look for opportunities to use these new words over and over in your classroom.  I love the word “magnificent!”

The rhymes in this book make it fun to read, but I don’t think I would emphasize the skill of rhyming.  The words that rhyme are far apart in the story, and children who are still gaining confidence in rhyming might have trouble recognizing the rhymes.  But it would be fun to point out the phrases that are repeated through the book, and emphasize those rhymes – room/broom, ground/found, be/me and on/gone.

Another teacher in my building made a great bulletin board display – she cut out a very large paper broom and taped it up horizontally.  Then each child created an animal or character that might be riding on the broom, and she mounted those pictures as if they were riding on the broom, with the title, “Is There Room on the Broom for Me?”

Maybe you have been using this book for years and love it too!  I would love to hear how you use it in your classroom!


Owen is 6!

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Owen’s birthday comes just 8 days after his twin sisters’ and up until this year they all celebrated with one combined party.  But this year the girls had their hearts set on a Frozen theme, and Owen wanted a Transformer party so his parents decided to rent out the local bounce house for his celebration.  It was a big success!

Transformer decorations are a little hard to come by, so I took a picture of Owen wearing his Transformer jacket – with full face mask, and enlarged it to use as a decoration.


We made labels for water bottles because all that jumping and climbing makes everyone thirsty!

Watder bottles 2

There is a lot of free AutoBot clipart online, so it was easy to put these together.

2 sided toppers 1 2 sided toppers 2

I found these pictures that would be great stapled onto straws or on sticks to put into cupcakes.

On Owen’s actual birthday we had a small family party and the children each got one of these simple matching games.

rescue bots match

I even found a ready made birthday card to download.

Birthday card

We wanted to be prepared in case there was some down time during the bounce party, so I came up with a simple group game that I called Transformers – Ready to Roll!


I printed off these pictures of 4 different Transformers.  The children would sit in a circle, each holding one of these pictures.  Then an adult would call out 2 Transformers, including the color in case some children are not as AutoBot savvy as my Grandson.  So they would call out Red Optimus Prime and Yellow Bumblebee.  (Or just use the colors!)  Those children would stand up and run across the circle to sit in a different spot.  The adult would continue calling out colors, but if (s)he calls out Transformers!  Ready to Roll!  all the children get up and run for a different spot.

Here are the pictures I printed, these sheets provide 3 of each color.

Fruit Basket game 2

Fruit Basket game 1I was thinking of different ways I could have played this game with my Kindergartners.  As a child I used to play it using different kinds of fruit and the teacher would call out Fruit Basket Tips Over – and we would all get up and run.   It might be fun to print off body parts like eye, ear, nose, hand and tongue – and use it to review 5 senses!


Or  names of punctuation!  You could play it with any things you want the children to remember!

Screen shot 2012-09-23 at 10.37.49 AM

Anyway …

Happy Birthday Owen!

I hope you love being 6!



Frozen Birthday Party!


Our little Princesses turned 4 years old last week and we celebrated with a Frozen themed birthday party!  They looked lovely in their Elsa dresses!

Olaf door

This picture of Olaf was on the door to greet our guests.

Games and Activities copy

We had a few activities set up for arriving guests.  I love Dollar Tree!  I found Frozen tattoos there, and some cups with removable inserts that could be colored and decorated.  I made personalized Frozen inserts with each child’s picture.  I found lots of free clipart online – for these I looked up Frozen coloring pages.


cup iinsert After printing out these personalized pages, I used the insert that came in the cup as a template to cut them to fit inside the cups.

I found some glow in the dark bracelets with glow in the dark beads for each child to make too.


I ordered 3 inch white pompoms from JoAnn Fabrics for snowballs.  The basket was set out for children to toss the snowballs into an empty container as one of the “arriving time” activities.


I found some great fleece Olaf fabric at Walmart and used it to make pillow cases for small travel size pillows as take home gifts for the guests.


I used the free Frozen clipart to decorate bags to collect all their take home stuff.



prize bags

This was the first time I tried group games at one of our birthday parties.   I made a very simple Bingo game using clipart of the Frozen characters.   Each child had a small cup of Honeycomb cereal “snowflakes” to cover their pictures.

Biingo Game6 Biingo Game5 Biingo Game4 Biingo Game3 Biingo Game2 Biingo Game1

I did find a Bingo set from Frozen already done online, but it had more rows.  This set with 3 across and 3 down was just the right size for the age of our players.
I cut apart these cards of the characters to use as calling cards.

Bingo callers

The kids had lots of fun, and everyone was a winner!

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Then we played “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”  I found this game on Pinterest!

I printed the die pictures on cardstock and folded it into a cube.  I made enough dice for each family to take one home, but we all shared one at the party.

Olaf dice

I also used cardstock to print and cut out the pieces for Olaf, for each party guest.

Olaf parts These are the same pieces I enlarged to put on the door.  For the game I put each child’s pieces into a ziploc baggie.

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The kids did a great job taking turns rolling the die and adding that part to their snowman.  I put magnets on the back of 2 more sets and plan to repeat this game with 2 children at a time on the magnet board.

Next we went outside for more games.  Luckily it was a beautiful day!


I used a silicone Gingerbread man pan to make people shaped ice cubes.  I gathered the children and told them that Elsa had cast a terrible spell and frozen all the people of Arendelle.  I asked the children  to help save them.  I put 5 frozen people ice cubes into each dish, labeled with a child’s name.




The kids lined up on the other end of the driveway until we said, “Get ready, get set, go!”

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Then they ran down, picked up one “person” and ran back to the other end where they put the ice cube into a bowl.  They ran back and forth until all the frozen people were “saved.”



Then we played with the parachute and snowballs.

After that we divided up and had a snowball fight – using the pompoms!


The kids were loving the ice so much that we used the rest of the ice cubes to “write” on the driveway.

IMG_2957  IMG_2954 

Or just eating the ice!


After a great Pizza dinner we enjoyed the Frozen Birthday Cake!


Happy Birthday my sweet Anna and Lily!  I hope you LOVE being 4!



Abby Cadabby Party!


Yesterday we celebrated Nora’s 2nd Birthday with an Abby Cadabby party.  Nora’s mom experimented with fondant and made an adorable cake!   I saw the idea for these party favor bags on Facebook – there was quite a bit of cutting and gluing but Nora loved them.

number 2

We went through our photos and came up with some favorites.  They are glued onto a large 2 cut out of posterboard.

There was a wide range in age among the child – guests at this party, but the games were mostly geared for the birthday girl.  The older cousins were very gracious and participated willingly to make this a fun day for our special 2 year old!

Directions1 Directions 2


Directions 3

Directions 4

balloon copy

We made the paddles from birthday plates with paint stir sticks taped onto the back with duct tape.  They worked great!

Directions 5


Directions 6


We taped the numbered pictures of Abby Cadabby all over the yard – making some a little more challenging to find for the older kids.  I had not anticipated a joyful Nora running through the yard “collecting” the pictures that were taped low enough to reach!

Abby checkoff

Numbered Abby pics

Directions 7



I think Nora’s favorite part of the party was the parade!  She loved marching around the yard, and kept going with various instruments long after the parade quit following her!


It was a great birthday!

I hope you have so much fun and love being 2 precious Nora!

S.T.E.A.M. Fun!


The Summer Reading Program at our local library (Commerce Township Community Library) was based on S.T.E.A.M. – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math!   Along with many other fun activities, they offered a different program one evening each week through July.  The last one we attended was based on experiments!  Don’t my little scientists look great – and protected – in their safety glasses?

As always the evening was well organized and lots of fun.  We began with the Elephant Toothpaste experiment.


Each child took a paper plate containing dish soap, water, and yeast.  I love how they have everything measured out and easy to use.  Of course, if you did this at home it would be a great time to practice measuring too!


They each got to choose which food color to add, our kids all chose different colors.


Lily is looking a bit frightened because the librarians demonstrated the final experiment for the group and it made a loud noise inside the room, so she was a little worried this was going to POP!


They loved watching it foam and fill up the plate!

A scientific explanation was provided too!



Our next experiment was trying to blow up a balloon without using our mouths.



The kids loved using the funnel and pouring the baking soda into the balloon.  After an adult pulled the balloon over the bottle they helped shake the soda into the vinegar – and then they watched it inflate!




We went outside for the last 2 experiments.  The kids loved using the eye droppers!  The straws were standing up in a pile of baking soda on a paper plate.




The last experiment was my favorite.  I used to do this with my Kindergarten families at Parent/Child Activity Nights.

Each child received a small film canister that contained a small amount of watered down tempera paint and a half tablet of Alka Seltzer.  They were instructed to break the Alka Seltzer tablet and put it into the water.  Then they securely snapped the lid onto the film canister.  Finally they set the film canister UPSIDE DOWN on a piece of paper, and backed away.  This was the experiment that the librarians demonstrated at the beginning so they could emphasize the importance of safety glasses, and backing away from this experiment.  When the tablet dissolves in the liquid it expands and pops the film canister way up in the air!  If you do this experiment inside (as I did with my classes, you must use plain water and leave the canister right side up so it doesn’t go quite as high!



The canister shot high into the air, leaving a neat design on the paper.  Hey!  I just had an idea of using this as a sequential writing activity – First – Next – Last!  A fun way to integrate science and writing!

By the way – if you have trouble collecting film canisters, they are available online through Steve Spangler Science materials!  Lots of fun things for sale on that site!

This was such a wonderful family evening.  It was so great that we used common kitchen ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and yeast because now when we use these materials in the kitchen we can talk about the chemical reactions!  Being a Nana is so much fun!


Our Snoopy Library!

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I have wanted to have a Little Free Library in our yard for a long time.  If you aren’t familiar with this idea, check out for an explanation and lots of photographs.  The whole concept is to provide a watertight, weatherproof box of some kind, and fill it with books.  Then people in your neighborhood, or visitors, can borrow a book.  There is no check out system, if someone decides to keep a book that is fine, I am just happy to encourage people to read.   Some people will bring books back, others might even donate books to the library.

We live on Beagle Drive, so my husband built a Snoopy mailbox many years ago.  We really love to watch families walking with strollers or with kids on bikes who stop and enjoy looking at Snoopy.  Now we hope they will pick out a book to enjoy too.

Owen wanted to help put up the new library.


So we put it into the wagon for him to wheel out to the front of the house.  Lily and Anna got into the action too!


They lifted it onto the post, and screwed it on the little platform.  It does rock a little bit, so Mr. Fix It is working on a stabilizer!  He assures me it CANNOT fall off, but it does move a little.


We ordered a customized sign, but decided we should add a coat of polyurethane before we nail it onto the library.


We added this little paved brick area because I wanted people to be able to park their bikes or strollers off the road while they look at the books.  Then I couldn’t resist this cute little bench!

I can’t wait for our first “customers!”




I was very excited to have a chance to visit Owen’s preschool classroom last week.  They will be visiting a local farm later this month, and since Owen’s favorite animals  (and stuffed animals) are sheep, I decided to read a sheep story and share some facts about sheep with his class.

In my classroom, and now in my basement, I kept my teaching puppets in a castle that my husband built for me.  So I decided to make a traveling castle to carry my puppets into school.


I always try to bring my puppets out “alive,” already on my hand and ready to interact with children.  I love how effective puppets are at capturing children’s interest and attention, and I have fun too!

I started out telling the class how much Owen loves sheep and so I decided to bring my sheep puppet to visit with them.  But when I opened up the castle box (from the back) and brought out the puppet they all laughed.


I had a conversation with my puppet, Critter, and he tried to convince me that he was a sheep because he had a furry coat, but then he remembered that it is really called wool – not fur.

Then he told me that he really was a sheep because sheep only have teeth on the bottom, and he opened his mouth to show us.


He also said that sheep have 2 toes on each foot.


Then he shared the fact that sheep can see almost all the way around, and that he could see me, sitting behind him, without even turning his head!  I loved how engaged all the children were listening to these facts about sheep.  Then he told me that sheep are really good at smelling and he sniffed a few kids.  He asked them if they had been eating grass or flowers or clover, because those are his favorite foods and he was really hungry.  Then I told him that I was sure he could not be a sheep because sheep have 4 stomachs.  Critter insisted that he does have 4 stomachs, and opened up his wooly coat (telling us that sheep get their coats taken off in the springtime) to show his 4 stomachs underneath.


Then Critter told the children that sheep’s favorite game is Follow the Leader.  Whenever one sheep starts going somewhere the whole group (flock) follows after him.  Then I put Critter back into the castle box, and brought out Roxy Heart.


Roxy talked to me and asked who the children were, and if they were smart.  I told her that they were very smart and Roxy noticed what a great job they were doing all sitting on their bottoms.  She asked the class if they liked her dress, and told them that her mama had just made it for her.  The children noticed that it has sheep on it and Roxy told them it was because she was an expert about sheep and knows more than anyone!  She told them that sheep have a special coat and it’s called … and the children shouted out “wool!”  She turned around and stared at them and told them that they are really smart!  She continued starting to tell the kids facts about sheep that they had just heard from Critter, and she was amazed at all they knew.   So it was a review about 2 toes on each foot, teeth only on the bottom, 4 stomachs, etc.   Her mouth dropped open, she jumped up and down, and she almost fainted when they knew the facts she was trying to share!

Then she told them that she had something special in her purse and pulled out a small bottle of perfume.  She told them that she had perfume because sheep smell good.  I stopped her and said “Roxy, sheep live on a farm and they get really dirty!  I don’t think they smell good!”  Then I pretended to figure out that she meant that sheep are good at smelling.  We talked about how they CAN smell well, but they don’t smell good!  Then she said she wanted to go to the farm and play the sheep’s favorite game, and all the kids yelled “Follow the Leader!”  Roxy went back into the box after being amazed at the smartest preschoolers in the whole world.

I showed the class the book Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox, but instead of reading it, I enlarged the pictures on cardstock and told it as a magnet story.  Some of the children noticed that there are many opposites in this book.


It lent itself very well to a magnet story because of the structure of the words.  It begins “Here is the blue sheep.  And here is the red sheep.  Here is the bath sheep, and here is the bed sheep.  But where is the green sheep?”  So it worked very well to put out the first 4 pictures, and then take them off as I asked the question.  This was the pattern throughout the book, and the children quickly chimed in with some of the opposites and asking the question “Where is the green sheep?”


After the story I passed out a sheep stick puppet to each child and we acted out some of the motions – here is the high sheep, and here is the low sheep.  Here is the jumping sheep and here is the still sheep.  After leading the children this way for a few minutes I chose a child (okay – I shamelessly chose Owen!) to take a turn leading the group with motions.  I encouraged him to do 3 motions that we would repeat and follow – using the patterned words from the book “here is the _______ sheep” and then he chose another child to lead.  The preschoolers did a wonderful job listening and participating, and did not get upset when we didn’t have time for everyone to have a turn!  It was a fun time, I have missed sharing the wonderful combination of puppets and stories with children.



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