October 23, 2016

Baby's First Halloween! (and a giveaway!)

Can you believe Halloween is next week?? This month has completely flown by and tomorrow my little guy is two months old! Next Monday is not only his first Halloween but his first big holiday! Of course he won't know what in the world is going on, but Halloween is the BEST for getting awesome and adorable pictures. So when Oriental Trading asked me to review some of their baby Halloween costumes... I jumped on the opportunity. He's not going to let me dress him up forever, so I gotta get that time in now!

Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored content, affiliate links, and review products. Regardless, these are 100% my own opinions.

I chose 4 different costumes that are just BEYOND adorable and thanks to my mom, we were able to snag some awesome pictures! I guess I should thank Isaac, too, because he was super cooperative! So here we gooooo!

This is the monster costume. My son is only 2 months old and this is advertised to fit up to 6 months... so it's big on him. He liked the leg room, though! And as we were playing in it, the head piece on this one stayed up pretty well, probably due to the weight of the eyes and horns and stuff. So I would say even for small babies, this one would be fine. Here's the link: MONSTER BUNTING

This one cracked us all up!! I was the most excited about this one, but it turned out way too big on him. Still hilarious though and he seems happy in it! It reminds me of Left Shark...

This one's sizing also says for up to 6 months but it was much larger than the monster one so I would say it would be best on a bigger baby. Here's the link: SHARK BABY

Here's another gem... the chili pepper! My husband has a taco costume from the last couple of Halloweens and my boys dressed up together for National Taco Day earlier this month for my husband's online stream (check it out here!). So. Funny. This one fit really well and was probably the most comfortable for my little guy. The head piece was the perfect size, so if you are looking for something for a smaller baby, this one was perfect. Here's the link: CHILI PEPPER

And last but not least (possibly my favorite one!) is the baby bat!

This one does not come with a onesie to wear underneath so be aware. We went with a black and white stripe onesie underneath it, but you can barely see it, so any outfit would be fine. It came with gloves, booties, and a velcro cape. The cape was perfect and I liked that the hood was a little loose. It stayed on perfectly. The booties were way too big but with the padding on the inside, I was really surprised at how well they stayed on. As cute as the gloves are, I'm not sure my hand-chewer would have liked them for very long, but he didn't seem bothered by them!

So which one is YOUR favorite?? Enter your favorite below and follow me to enter the giveaway below! I'm giving away YOUR CHOICE of one of the prizes below to TWO lucky winners! Which one will it be?

The first is...

The newest product in my store! This is perfect for 2nd and 3rd graders working on place value! Click the picture above to check it out or head over to my Facebook to see a video of it in action!

And the second giveaway is...

This set is a great pack for Kindergarten! It includes math and literacy centers perfect for the crazy days ahead...

Winners will be announced on Saturday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 15, 2016

My Favorite Halloween FREEBIES

It's almost Halloween, ya'll! This time of year is super fun, but I'm pretty sure NO ONE is excited that Halloween is on a Monday. Yikes!

This is the time of year when Teachers Pay Teachers is super important for my classroom. The students are so easily distracted, my prep time is filled with me scrambling for something engaging, and Halloween is just too fun to ignore integrating into our instruction. There are SO MANY amazing Halloween resources on TpT and here are a few of my all time favorite Halloween freebies! If you download, don't forget to leave feedback on the product to support these amazing teachers! And make sure you keep scrolling too see even more FREE Halloween resources linked up by other teachers. If you have a favorite, link up!

Created by Karen Jones

Created by Reading and Writing Redhead

Created by Daisy Designs

Created by Tweet Resources

Created by More Than Math by Mo

Created by Mrs. Hedges

Created by Games for Learning

Created by Teaching Second Grade

Created by Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

Also check out my new Build a Place Value HAUNTED HOUSE! Inspired by the original Build a Place Value House. So fun.

Have a favorite FREE resource you'd like to share? Link up to 3 FREE Halloween resources below!

October 13, 2016

KEVA Planks are the Bomb

You guys, I have been wanting KEVA Planks for my classroom since last January when I saw a presentation about them. The presenter was amazing and gave me tons of ideas on how to use them. I was so excited! So you can imagine how excited I was when MindWare contacted me to review them here on my blog!

Disclaimer: This post contains sponsored content, affiliate links, and review products. Regardless, these are 100% my own opinions.

So what are KEVA Planks?

KEVA Planks are wooden building pieces. Yeah... it's simple. Every piece is the same unlike other building blocks and the size and weight of the pieces make structures incredibly stable. Take a look at this structure I found on the official KEVA website.

Back in January, I went to a STEM workshop in Orlando and one of the presenters was showing us amazing uses for KEVA planks in the classroom. In the beginning he showed us Brain Builders. Mindware sent me two packs of Brain Builders and I cannot WAIT to use them with my students in my classroom.

The Brain Builders pack (not the Junior version) has everything you need to get started. It comes with 40 planks so if you don't want to buy a large set, you can start with the Brain Builders and at least get started. The challenge for students is to use the 2D images to create a 3D structure.

Here's the fence I built.

You can see that I had all the views necessary in the 2D diagrams to build it. This was a Beginner Level card. The Expert Level cards are NO JOKE, people. I tried the rowboat... but... I decided to take a picture of my fence instead....

For those of you looking for STEM activities for little ones, MindWare also offers a Junior version of Brain Builders.

What I like the most about the Junior version is that it is very easily integrated into any subject area. I taught Kindergarten previously (now I teach Second) and I love how these challenge cards show letters, numbers, shapes, and even some cards for Science topics. I would have loved to see that moon and stars card when we did our Day and Night unit!

I chose the Structures set to start with for my classroom. It comes with 200 pieces but there are larger sets available. The Structures set comes with a booklet with ideas and inspiration for students to take a look at and get creative. MindWare also has other sets like "Contraptions," "Connect," and "Colors." Remember, all the planks are made to be the same. The booklets in each set will provide different types of things to build. Take a look at these pages from the Structures booklet I received with my set:

The tops of the pages indicate how many planks you'll need for the structures.

There are so many ideas on how to use KEVA planks in your classroom. Here are some that I came up with just by opening the pack. Think about what your kiddos will come up with!

I am so excited to use these with my students next school year. If you use KEVA Planks in your classroom, comment below! I'd love to hear your ideas! If you don't already use KEVA Planks in your classroom, take a look at MindWare's website to get started. Click the image below to head there now!