20 Best Tips

Fourth of July Resources

Fourth of July sorta snuck up on me. It wasn’t until I did this Friend Makin’ Monday post that I realized we’ve done little over the years for the fourth. Since we have no pictures at all to show for any 4th of July activities, I figured this would be a good year to start. I also posted some Fourth of July crafts {a cute hat and ‘sparkler’} that we made today over on our family blog, No Ordinary Moments, so stop by and check them out

If I get really ambitious, we might even do a little unit study, but in the meantime {and since one of you asked}, here are some resources for you to use for your own Independence Day study.

Heritage House Press
~ Free Mini Unit {act quick!!} all about the 4th! All you have to do is sign up for their newsletter. The link is on the page.

DLTK Independence Day crafts
~ some coloring pages, printables and great crafts

F is for Flag written by Shannon ~ great mini-unit for preschoolers!

Independence Day unit ~ notes and lesson ideas {grades 2-4}

First School patriotic mini-unit
~ geared toward preschoolers with craft ideas, printables and links to online activities.

Enchanted Learning ~ July 4th activity book

Create your own fireworks ~ link from PBS – need flash to do this one

Lapbook Lessons ~ Free 4th of July lapbook

Family Fun ~ they always have some creative and fun ideas for crafts, food and more!

Perkins Home ~ a little unit all about the 4th!

Crafty Crow ~ there are a TON of 4th crafts, recipes and activities here.

Road to Revolution {PBS} ~ teacher resources, games, and more based on the Liberty series

Tour the house of Betsy Ross
{virtual tour}

Listen to some patriotic songs

Have fun looking through the sites ~ and hope some of them help you out!


Making Sea Fans and Coral Reefs

Otherwise known as the Great Ocean Biome Diorama.

Say that ten times fast and you’ll have a great sum-up of my week.

Laurianna has been studying about different biomes and she had to choose one biome and make a diorama of it ~ she chose saltwater.

Rather than having everything be flat and just a cut-out we decided to have a little fun and thought you might like to see how to make a few quick and simple 3-D underwater specimens of your own.

What You’ll need:

~ needlepoint canvas
~ orange paint & a brush {or color you choose to make your sea fan}
~ orange {or other color} pipe cleaner
~ scissors
~ newspaper.

Make the Sea Fan:

1. Cut the needlepoint canvas in the shape that you would like your sea fan to be (a tree shape). The shape doesn’t have to be exact – they’re all different. :)

2. Paint the canvas orange {use the newspaper to protect your surface} and let it dry.

3. When the canvas is dry, use the pipe cleaner to make ‘branches’ and a ‘trunk’ on the canvas.

What You’ll Need:

~ playdough or modeling clay
~ paint and a paint brush
~ radiatore pasta {small ruffled and ridged shaped pasta}
~ newspaper

Make the Coral Reef:

1. Form a ball with your playdough or modeling clay and flatten it just a little bit. Size will vary based on either your diorama size or what you are making it for. Our balls were about 2 inches in diameter.

2. Press the pasta into the clay to create a ‘brain-like’ pattern.

3. Paint your coral mass and let it dry!

{A few other notes}

~ The shark ‘swims’ across the sea. He is glued to a popsicle stick and travels along a slit at the top of the box.

~ We used blue tissue paper as our water and half a sheet of sandpaper as our ocean floor.

~ Laurianna drew fish, crabs, jellyfish and the shark to decorate her diorama. The fish are hanging by a clear sewing thread from the top of the box. We also used shells and coral that we found on the beach to decorate it a little more.


How to Make a Toilet Paper Roll Train

train craft made with toilet paper rolls from Homeschool Creations - great project for the letter Tt unit

This last week our preschool time focused on the letter ‘T’ and that included making a little train as our craft. It was too cute to just post a picture of and not give directions to make your own. {grins} A friend’s son made something similar and so I tweaked it to make it work even better. This project would require more adult help for younger kids (i.e. 2-4) ~ depending on how much cutting and pasting they are able to do.

You can make your train as long {or as short} as you’d like. We decided on four colors, so we had four cars on our train. Be sure to ask your child which is first and last. I forgot that the caboose is red…and had a four-year-old that was non-too-happy when he saw I made it the engine.


That said, here’s the scoop on making your own little engine and rail cars.

What You’ll Need:

  • Four or more toilet paper rolls {you can get these extremely fast if you leave your two-year-old alone in the bathroom for about 4 minutes or so}
  • a clothespin
  • a cotton ball
  • paper clips {colorful ones are even more fun}
  • black construction paper
  • a hole punch
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • various colors of paint
  • a LARGE smock and painting tarp {i.e. protection for anyone surrounded by a paint-weilding preschooler}

How to make it:


    1. Have your child paint each of the toilet paper tubes. Set them aside to dry.
    2. Paint the clothespin black. Set aside to dry.
    3. Trace 4 wheels for each toilet paper tube that you decide to add to your train. I traced around the end of a toilet paper tube. You can fit about 20 circles on a sheet of construction paper. Have your child cut some {or all}of them out.
    4. Use a black marker {or some black paint} to color your cotton ball to make it look like the smoke/steam coming out of the train.
    5. When the paint is dry on the tubes, lay them all on the table to find how they best ‘rest’. Glue 4 wheels onto each train car.



    1. Line up the cars in the order you want them to be linked. Punch a hole on the bottoms of each car {front and back except for the engine and caboose} to link each train car together.
    2. Link the train cars together using paperclips.



  1. Punch two holes (overlapping) on the front top of the engine.
  2. Insert the clothespin into the two holes on the top of the engine.
  3. Glue the cotton ball to the top of the clothespin and pull/stretch it out to make it look like the smoke is traveling behind the train.


Inchworm Art Activity

Inchworm craft made with toilet paper rolls

We had so much fun making this little worm! (We had plenty of toilet paper rolls around the house thanks to Zachary pulling all the toilet paper off the roll, stuffing it in the toilet and plugging the toilet for us.)

  1. Cut two toilet paper tubes into rings (4 rings each for a total of 8 rings).
  2. Fold 7 of the rings flat and then cut them in half. One ring needs to be left whole to use as the inchworms head.
  3. Have your child color the inchworm pieces if they would like.
  4. Staple the inchworm together so the his back is like little arches.
  5. Use a paper punch to put two holes at the top of the worm’s head. Insert 1/4 of a pipe cleaner into the holes to use as antennas. Add googly eyes.
  6. Admire your handiwork.