Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dry Erase Houses and McDonald's Happy Meal Boxes

A long time ago I started using Happy Meal boxes from McDonald's to store game pieces, themed games, card games, spelling and vocabulary index cards, story sequence cards, etc. They were cute most of the time because they were all from movies and all about kids, the lids even close up. What could be a better place to store extra's without them being in plain site if you are short on space.
The Night at the Museum ones worked for just about anything related to a museum and the Disney Pirate and Princess ones...well they were great for anything from fairy tales to anything to do with pirates. I usually just put a "post it" with whatever problem or task I wanted The Red Ranger to complete and he tossed the appropriate cards or game pieces inside the top.

Last week I was shopping the outlet section of Really Good Stuff's website and found a set of Word Family Houses with word cards and the houses each have a dry erase strip to write on with a dry erase marker or dry erase crayon with a slit to slide the cards through. I ordered the set and love it, it was only $6.99 to start with (at the time this post was written) and will go much further than just the word families because of the dry erase strip. 
Here's the link to the Word family houses product from Really Good Stuff .

Really Good Stuff Houses
Then I looked at my happy meal boxes -
As any thrifty homeschooling mom or teacher will tell you...one idea will get our minds to working on three other ideas!
Yep, I have re-purposed the happy meal boxes again - who knew they had such a long life....

First off, let me say that I love the ones I bought. I highly recommend them, but they are on clearance, so who knows how long they will be available.
Second, my husband is a manager at McDonald's - I get a lot of Happy Meal boxes...
Third, I have a lot of scrapbooking supplies....:-)

The HM boxes to use are the plain old red ones with the smile on them and of course have no food stains inside. They make it much easier because there are no designs or pictures to worry about but I'm happy with what I ended up with -
and so is Rexy the dinosaur, the card slot is right below his mouth....

1) I started with those "Hello, my name is" labels, I cut the red parts off so that I would only have the white sticky part left, you'll end up with a strip about 3 3/8" X 1 1/2".
2) Then I took page protectors (glossy matte) and cut one down the side so that it opened and then cut a long lengthwise strip that matched the 3 3/8". I then cut this down with the 1 1/2" measurement, this then gave me seven pieces to work with.

Step 1
Step 2

3) I ran the clear plastic strips through my little Xyron 150 sticker maker, I did have to cut the strip down a little lengthwise to fit in the top of my Xyron. Since it was a clear item that I was running through I had to pay close attention so I knew when to add the next piece in, you'll end up with a long strip.
4) Then I peeled the now sticky plastic strip off the paper and covered the white sticker strip (that was left over from the "Hello" tags).

Step 3

Step 4 - Part 1

Step 4 - Part 2

5) Then I just placed combined stickers on the boxes where I wanted to place them. Then cut a slit for the cards to go through with a utility knife. (I think I'll add a colored tape on the slits to make them more noticable.)
6) Using a dry erase marker write the facts/lesson that you want learned or reviewed. It easy wipes off using your fingers or tissue.

Steps 5 & 6

After your child is done with the activity or center you can have them move onto something else while you check to see what ended up in the boxes. Better yet have them check how many they got right with a master sheet.

I see these being used a lot because they'll be adaptable for any subject. In fact after I was done making them and organizing the draft for this blog post The Red Ranger was already into them!
I can't ask for more than that....

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Monday, June 11, 2012

New Homeschooling Pages on blog...

After my judging gig I decided to start revamping my blog pages for easier navigation, something I learned while visiting other blogs. I'll be adding dedicated homeschooling pages to the menu bars above, I've already added two - Homeschooling Tips and Curricula - hopefully this will clean up the blog. Both of the new pages came from recent conversations with new homeschoolers looking for advice, I thought that it would be easier to say, "I have a post on my blog about this with lots of information and links to other homeschooling blogs".
I'll be going more in depth with certain pages and posts and others will just be a collection resource landing page with links. I hope this helps and hopefully some of the ideas I've had, those that I've found out about or have been shared with me by other homeschoolers will be passed on to others.
I've also added a "search" box function, "pinterest" link and a "labels" box to help with navigation.