Learn how to make beautiful paper star lanterns. These are perfect for your winter nature tables, for a lantern walk, or to decorate your advent spirals. They are also an excellent way to use up watercolour paintings. You can even coat the paper in olive oil and let it dry before folding it into a lantern. The oiled paper creates a beautiful translucent effect when lit up.
Remember to never leave your candle unattended.
Things You'll Need
How to Make Your Lantern
Daily Wonder lesson plans provide the daily, monthly and yearly rhythm of your school year. The educational planning is done, and there is minimal preparation awaiting you, the parent. We all know how hectic the school year can get with all the things that need to happen in one day. The Wonder Squad highly recommends taking the time now to look into your prep needs. You will be so grateful down the road for taking the time now to get organized. Lazy summer days offer leisurely ways to check things off the "back to homeschool to-do list".
Here are our suggestions:
Whether you're new to Daily Wonder or are continuing on to the next grade, we are so excited for you to benefit from all our hard won lessons and experience. Your success is our success.
We're not exactly psychic, but we can predict that your children will complain that they are bored and bicker with their siblings (if they have some) at least ten times during the summer. So we are here to highlight the amazing work that is taking place behind these annoying scenes.
Long summer days can offer so many wonderful opportunities for family time and activities that we forget to honour the downtime. Children hardly get unstructured time these days. When they do, it can be met with complaints and loud, uncomfortable noises. As parents, our first inclination is to stop that noise however we can. When we remember that boredom is the doorway to creativity, we give ourselves permission to sit back and wait for the magic to happen.
Things that can come out of boredom...
This summer, encourage collaboration through connection with other kids and family members. For example, you could let your kids:
Social Awareness & Responsibility
Summer fun means visiting new places and going on adventures. When your daily experiences include social awareness & responsibility, your children naturally learn how to make choices that positively impact the world. Every little positive step will help to create a big change. Here are some summer activities that highlight these competencies:
What is Creative Thinking anyways? Good news! It's happening all the time, especially during play. The gift of boredom is one of the best ways to generate new ideas. People who think creatively are curious and open-minded and have a sense of wonder and joy in learning.
This summer, encourage creative thinking through hands-on, creative activities such as:
So enjoy these long summer days, and rest assured your child is learning many valuable lessons along the way.
Spring is such a time of renewal and comes with a burst of energy. Seasonal celebrations give you a point of focus when choosing stories, crafts and activities to do as a family. Celebrations such as Easter offer a beautiful annual rhythm, something that your child looks forward to re-engaging with each year. It's a special experience to choose activities that become family traditions.
This poem by Kate L. Brown, is one of our favourites. We've used it as a verse and a dramatization where children act it out, pretending they are the seed.
In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep, so deep,
A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep.
'Wake,' said the sun,
'And creep to the light.'
'Wake,' said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
The little plant heard,
And it rose to see
What the wonderful
Outside world might be.
The Easter Bunny
A charming, simple story about how the Easter Bunny learned how to deliver eggs can be found here. This website has really great resources on further ways to celebrate the seasons, ways to bring Waldorf into the home, etc.
The Little Brown Bulb
Here is an example of a sweet little puppet show that's perfect for Spring!
Little Brown Bulb
For this game, the child curls up on a ball and you cover them with a blanket (a nice, heavy one that blocks light really gives an idea of what it is like to be underground! Then you say:
A Little Brown Bulb lay asleep in the ground (hands resting on child's back)
And there she slept very sound (caress the back)
While Old King Winter raged and roared overhead (walk fingers like spiders over the child's back)
The Little Brown Bulb did not stir in her bed (rest hands)
Then came Lady Spring tip toeing over the lea (tip toe fingers)
Fingers to lips as quiet as can be (whisper)
The Little Brown Bulb lifted her head (child lifts head)
She slipped off her nightie and jumped out of bed! (child lifts the blanket and jumps up!)
This song can be played while lying down on the floor/ grass/etc. As the song indicates, once you wake up you hop about!
See the little bunnies sleeping until noon
Shall I wake them with a merry tune?
Oh so still.....are they ill?...
Wake up little bunnies, hop hop hop!
Wake up little bunnies, hop hop hop!
Natural dyed eggs are usually a 2 day project. To prepare, collect leaves and flowers, and secure them to the eggs using panty hose or cheese cloth (they work best when freshly picked, as maleable and moist sticks best to the eggs). After they have sat in the dye, the wrapping is removed revealing the beautiful stamp of the chosen flower or leaf.
If you're not so keen on the chemicals in store-bought Easter egg dye, try these nine all-natural options. Each features a colouring agent — a vegetable, fruit juice, or spice — that gives colour to hard-boiled eggs.
Spring is a time to observe growth and life, and what better way to pass the days than seeing a baby bean grow right before your eyes? Here is a really easy, visual way to teach children about root systems.
Five year olds might also like to hear the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Paper Seed Bombs
This is another multi step craft that is easy to execute and very rewarding. If you have any old seeds handy, this is the perfect way to use them! Perhaps you can plant to make them as gifts for friends and family, as a way of looking forward to seeing your loved ones again. Turn old paper into some super cool seed balls! This easy science activity and craft are perfect for Earth Day or a unit on gardening or plants and seeds!
With thanks and credit to Lucia Perez from the Comox Valley Waldorf School.
Each Daily Wonder unit comes complete with three weeks of guided daily curriculum and a 4th week called a Flex Week. Parents can rest assured that the curriculum is covered as planned for each unit during the first three weeks. If parents choose to continue the daily routine with Flex Week, they will continue to cover the curriculum and expand on that with design thinking as well.
The Flex Week project for the Grade 2, Month 7, The Wonder of Reading unit is the completion of a Kindness Quilt. The theme of kindness runs through the stories told during this unit. Stories of kindness are a perfect backdrop for the level of reflection appropriate for the 7 or 8-year-old. It is more developmentally appropriate for a child this age to feel how they feel rather than to think about how they feel. This means it is easier for them to read about kindness and feel how that care feels than for them to bring this into their thinking for analysis.
What is a Kindness Quilt?
The Kindness Quilt is a celebration of kindness. It is a nine-panel mini quilt about 12” square. You could encourage your child to think of a different person in their life that they would like to share kindness with as they work on each square. When completed, you can use it as a table centrepiece, a doll blanket, a resting place for special things, or a seat cover. Materials are listed below. Skills required are the ability to thread a needle, sew a decent running stitch, tie off, and cut with scissors. In addition, doing a blanket stitch would offer a good option for finishing off.
Here is a YouTube video on hand sewing the squares together. It will show you how to pin the edges together which can be tricky. Here is another video on how to make a quilt that will show you the entire process but using a sewing machine. The second video will show you how to fold over the backing edge to finish the quilt. We simplified by skipping the binding edge but the hemming and folding still applies.
Day 1: Gather materials, decide on the layout of quilt squares, pin edges together by laying them face to face, then pinning the edge with one or two pins. Pin in rows of three squares to end up with three pinned and separate rows of squares.
Day 2: Thread your needle with embroidery thread. Knot the thread at the beginning and end of the sewn section and sew all six lines of joined edges.
Day 3: Finish any sewing of edges. Pin two rows together by laying them face to face and pinning edges with 3-5 pins. Begin sewing this long edge.
Day 4: Add the final row to the sewn double row. Lay face to face with row, pin, sew. You should have the quilt side complete; hurray! Lay this on the backing fabric. Create hem on backing fabric by folding over about ½ cm/quarter inch. Fold the edge of backing fabric over the edge of the quilt, being sure to maintain the hem fold. Pin as needed.
Day 5: Sew backing fabric to the four sides of your quilt side. Use blanket stitch if desired. Place a French Knot in the centre of each square on the quilt side to finish off.
We hope you enjoy this Flex Week project and if you feel like sharing pictures of your kindness quilt, we'd love to see!
Kind Hearts (A poem to match the unit theme of kindness)
To do to others as I should
That they would do to me.
To make me good, and kind, and strong
As children ought to be.
Kind hearts they are the garden.
Kind thoughts they are the roots.
Kind words they are the blossom,
Kind deeds they are the fruit.
Did you know that Candlemas has been celebrated for centuries under different names? As with many festivals today, it has its roots in pagan culture. For example, today, we are more familiar with references to Groundhog Day as a way to mark the coming of spring. However, way before Groundhog Day, this marking of the year was referred to as Candlemas, part of the Christian tradition. But, of course, before the Christian tradition, this day was celebrated by the Celtic people and known as Imbolc. This was in celebration of Brigid, the Goddess of the Dawn.
Regardless of the festival's name, the intention is to celebrate the return of the light that becomes more noticeable on this day. Traditionally celebrated on February 2, it marks the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. In ancient times, this day was cause for great celebration, as our ancestors relied so heavily on what they could grow for their nourishment. The sun's return meant restored health and strength in the deepest sense of the word. As well, without the convenience of electricity, once the sun set each evening, candlelight was all they had. Today, we can still feel this cause for celebration when we live in the northern hemisphere. Winter is long and dark and can often lead to feelings of depression in people. Therefore, marking this point can bring a sense of hope.
To honour the return of the light, our ancestors built bonfires and made candles. On a practical level, preparing another batch of candles was needed to get through the final weeks of winter. Superstitions around weather on this day began to unfold. We know this today when we anticipate whether the groundhog will see its shadow. There were poems and songs in the days of old that referred to weather and what it meant if it was sunny or rainy that day.
Annual festivals are so important to help mark the passing of the year. For children, especially younger ones, the concept of time is challenging to grasp. Festivals are a very meaningful and memorable way to mark time, and Candlemas is a lovely tradition that is very enjoyable for children to celebrate today.
Celebrating Candlemas at Home
Here are some beautiful ways to celebrate Candlemas, and the coming of spring with your children.
Candle dipping is a fun and interactive activity that brings this celebration to life. You can easily make beeswax candles in your home or prepare a candle dipping station outside. You will need some old pots, beeswax pellets, and string for the wicks. Here's some detailed instructions to make dipped candles at home.
Candle Dipping Activity
This is a lovely reverent activity you can do while dipping your candles. Set your melted beeswax at one end of a table and a pot of water at the other. Walk slowly around the table, dipping your string in the beeswax at one end of the table and then in water at the other. Continue circling the table in this way until your candles are the width you would like. As you circle the table, you can sing the following Candlemas song:
We dip our candles in the big old tin,
And we wait a little bit for it to drip drop in.
We make enough to last the year,
To bring us joy and bring us cheer.
Around and around and around and around...
Recite Candlemas Verses
Here are a few verses you can say with your children as you light your candles.
A farmer should, on Candlemas Day,
Have half his corn and half his hay.
On Candlemas Day if the thorns hang adrop,
You can be sure of a good pea crop.
When Candlemas Day is bright with sun;
Then Winter’s power has just begun –
But when Candlemas Day is dark with rain
Then Winter’s power is on the wane!
This is a verse that relates Candlemas to Groundhog Day:
Badger peeps out on Candlemas Day,
and if he finds snow, he walks away.
But if the sun is shining down,
Badger returns to his hole in the ground.
Other Ideas for Celebrating Candlemas
Since Candlemas is a time for new beginnings, this is a good day to get creative and celebrate all that is new.
10 Fun Homeschool Activities that your Child will Love and, Shhh! They Link to Learning Outcomes too!
Hey Parents! After you have been a super hero and guided your child through the Daily Wonder morning lesson, maybe you want to take a step back, maybe you have to attend to your regular job, or maybe you need a coffee break. Whatever the reason, learning does not have to stop. In fact, learning is an ongoing process, and Daily Wonder will show you how easy it is to connect regular homeschool activities like free-play and everyday life experiences with your Ministry of Education Big Ideas and Learning Outcomes!
1. Build with Lego
Applied Design, Skills and Technologies
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Designs grow out of natural curiosity
Grades 4-5: Big Ideas/Concepts: Designs can be improved with prototyping and testing. Skills are developed through practice, effort and action.
2. Bake Muffins!
Grade 1: Big Idea/Concept: Addition and subtraction with numbers to 10 can be modeled concretely, pictorially, and symbolically to develop computational fluency.
Grade 3: Big Idea/Concept: Fractions are a type of number that can represent quantities.
Grade 5: Adjust the recipe and learn this Big Idea/Concept: Numbers describe quantities that can be represented by equivalent fractions.
3. Clean Your Room!
Grade 1-3: Big Ideas/Concepts: Strong communities are the result of being connected to family and community and working together toward common goals. Everything we learn helps us to develop skills. Communities include many different roles requiring many different skills.
4. Family Meeting Time
Grades 4-5: Big Ideas/Concepts: Strong communities are the result of being connected to family and community and working together toward common goals. Leadership requires listening to and respecting the ideas of others.
Grades 6-7: Big Ideas/Concepts: Practicing respectful, ethical, inclusive behaviour prepares us for the expectations of the workplace. Leadership represents good planning, goal setting, and collaboration.
5. Climb a Tree!!
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Confidence develops through the process of self-discovery
6. Make a Healthy Snack!
Physical and Health Education
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Knowing about our bodies and making healthy choices helps us look after ourselves.
7. Work Through an Emotional Outburst!
Physical and Health Education
Grade1: Big Idea/Concept: Good health comprises physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Grades 2-3: Big Idea/Concept: Having good communication skills and managing our emotions enables us to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
8. Work Through Social Conflict with Friends
Physical and Health Education
Grade 1: Big Idea/Concept: Good health comprises physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Grades 2-3: Big Idea/Concept: Having good communication skills and managing our emotions enables us to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
9. Participating in the Digital World
Physical and Health Education and Career Education
Grades 6-7: Big Ideas/Concepts: Our personal digital identity forms part of our public identity. Practicing respectful, ethical, inclusive behaviour prepares us for the expectations of the workplace.
Applied Design Skills and Technology
Grades 1-3: Big Idea/Concept: Technologies are tools that extend human capabilities.
Grades 4-5: Big Idea/Concept: Skills are developed through practice, effort, and action.
Grades 6-7: Big Ideas/Concepts: Design can be responsive to identified needs.
Complex tasks require the acquisition of additional skills.
Stay tuned for new activities and life lessons to be shared on the Hub!!
Daily Wonder recommends that you take time to conduct a baseline assessment when you begin teaching your child each school year. Then, by observing them in everyday activities, you can track their development and become aware of areas that may need extra attention. Below, you will find specific areas to assess, ways to observe your child, and suggested activities to help strengthen particular areas of need.
Children typically favour a dominant side of the body around age seven. You can check if your child has done so by observing them with the following activities.
Crossing the midline is a necessary skill that is related to bilateral coordination. This is the ability to use both sides of the body in a coordinated and organized manner, where one hand is the stabilizer, and the other hand is the performer.
Crossing the midline is the spontaneous movement of one hand, foot, eye into the space of the other hand, foot, eye.
You can see how handwriting requires this skill, as the arm, hand, and eye travel from the left to right, crossing the body's centre. Letter formation also requires this crossing.
Many everyday activities require us to do this; however, some children may need more specific focus to cross the midline fully. Activities that address the hand and foot are easier to practice and can help support the eye and ear to align as well.
Activities to Support Hand Dominance and Crossing the Midline:
Activities to Support Foot Dominance:
Healthy Posture & Pencil Grip
It is essential to have healthy habits when it comes to posture and pencil grip. This will serve your child over the years as the demands for sitting at a desk and writing increase.
Ways to Support Healthy Posture:
Ways to Support Healthy Pencil Grip:
Eye-tracking is an important foundation skill for reading. It’s important to notice whether your child can move their eyes horizontally while their head stays stationary. It is common to observe a tremor at the centre midline, which may indicate difficulty crossing the midline.
We use our memory for imaginative thinking. For example, when we remember something we’ve been told or see, we build imaginative pictures in our brains, leading to high-level thinking. The ability to build pictures takes practice, and we can strengthen this skill through memory games.
Links for More Info & Activities
Establishing Dominance and Crossing the Midline:
Image credit: Andy Everson
Content warning. This post, which addresses the painful history of residential schools, may be distressing to some readers.
Canada has declared that September 30th will be a National Day for Truth & Reconciliation fulfilling the Truth & Reconciliation Commission's call to action #80. This call to action means that the federal government in collaboration with aboriginal peoples, established this statutory holiday to honour Survivors, their families and communities and ensure that the history and legacy of residential schools is never forgotten.
This has created another opportunity to find meaningful ways to connect to this important part of Canada's history. Below we share some ideas for how you can honour this day.
Appropriate for Grades 1 and up:
Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, a residential school survivor, shares her personal story which inspired Orange Shirt Day.
After you share this story, here are three simple craft ideas for the young child, to build meaning and connection with the story:
Appropriate for Grades 3 and up:
This video is a gentle reminder of what residential schools were and why it's important to learn about them.
After watching the video you could have your child do the following activity:
At Daily Wonder, our goal is to connect parents with heart-felt, age appropriate activities to bring meaning to being human in our world. We hope to inspire you to build community and take a moment to reflect and connect on this new national holiday in Canada. We'd love to see your ideas. Be sure to share with us how you built connection on this day.
Whether you welcome routine, or resist it, we're here to tell you why you should embrace it.
At Daily Wonder we talk a lot about rhythm and routine. That’s because we know that young children feel a sense of good health when they are held by boundaries, including the lay-out of the day, week, month…. Children are meant to learn through play and doing until they reach high school. This means we need to provide them with lots of activities that spark their creativity and provide space for wonder. When they know what is expected of them children are freed up to be in the moment. It is up to the adults to create the boundaries to free the children.
A friend recently told us that she was not expecting the freedom that came with building a fence around her property. It sounds kind of backwards, that a fence creates freedom, but think about it…she has a dog that had to be tied up or managed all the time. Once the fence went up, the dog knew how far it could go and the people trusted that the dog would just do dog things. We aren’t comparing children and dogs, but we are comparing the freedom fence to boundaries.
Rhythm – this is your wide level organization such as your year, when you start school, what holidays or celebrations you participate in, what time you get up each day, what time you start and end your morning lesson…
Routine – these are the details within your rhythm such as singing a song to begin the morning lesson, lighting a candle before story, and how you end the day. Routines are kind of like the rules for ‘how we do things’.
Any solid new rhythm and routine will take about six weeks to take hold. This means that once you've decided on the appropriate, realistic routine for your family, you need to harness all your forces to hold your new routine in place while you're settling in.
The temptation will be to let it go and give in because it's exhausting and feels like it's not working. But, what's actually happening during this time, is that you are genuinely exhausted because you are using your energy and life forces to hold a routine for your family. The good news is that around the 6-week mark, the routine will hold the family, and you can take a step back.
You will notice that our daily lesson plans have repeating daily steps. This is to support you in holding that routine for your family. We can't stress enough how important it is to open and close your homeschool day at the same time and in the same way.
Also, because you will feel exhausted during this return to routine, make sure to schedule your self-care into this routine. This might look like making yourself a cup of tea at 11:30 every morning and zenning out on the couch while your child plays lego on the floor. Your body will welcome this set time to relax each day within this structured routine.
Remember to hold an abundance of love and compassion for yourself while on this rewarding journey.
Do you have a routine that works well for you and your family? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
Explore schedules, rhythms & routines, songs, music, festivals, free play, meals, projects & more to support your homeschooling program.
The Wonder Squad