Monthly Archives: May 2014

Intro to Genetics

"About Me" - first workbook in the series

About Me is a colorful and engaging science workbook for young children. Get a head start on your child’s understanding of the human body and the world around him!

Introduce your child to genetics with these fun craft ideas!


Project #1:  Family Connection – we’ve modified the standard paper doll pattern to create adult and child-sized people.

First, fold a sheet of paper into 4ths width-wise:


Be aware that one half of your paper will form the adults and the other half the children. If you are planning on making just one adult, then you are done folding the adult side . The same applies to the other, child side.

When making more than one adult or child, proceed to fold your paper again into 8ths, accordion-style:


This will make 2 adults and 2 children.

For our example, we have made 2 adults and 4 children. We folded the child side of the paper further (16ths) and left the adult side in 8ths:


*If you want to make 3 children, then fold that side of the paper into 6ths.

Now you can cut out the dolls. Keep your paper folded in the two separate sections and make sure that the arms of the adults and children are aligned. Cut out a half-figure on the fold sides of the paper:


To flatten, you can iron the dolls on your iron’s lowest setting. Have your child color each member of his family.


Why we like it:  Children enjoy the fact that each figure is cut out, and this motivates them to color and decorate them. These paper dolls are a great opportunity to talk to your child about inheritance, and also about how his physical features connect him to other members of  his family.


Project #2: Trait Tree


For this project you will need skin-colored card stock, 2 sheets of white card stock, a craft circle punch, a standard hole punch, markers, scissors, glue and felt.

First, punch out 7 skin-colored circles with a craft punch (heads), and 14 white circles with a hole punch (eyeballs). The heads will represent your child’s grandparents, parents, and himself. This arrangement can be easily modified for alternate family situations.


Next, have your child glue two eyes onto the middle of each head (make room for hair).

He can then color the irises and pupils in each pair of eyes, and draw a mouth on each face.


While he is doing this, cut some hair out of felt for each head.

When your child is ready, show him how to arrange the heads in a family tree formation onto a piece of white card stock. Glue each head in place, then glue on the hair. Draw lines from each set of grandparents to the parents, and then to the child.


Why we like it: This project helps your child visualize which family traits have been passed on to his parents, and then on to him. It also can give him a greater feeling of connectedness to his family and extended family. Children enjoy learning how to use punch tools, and they like the feeling of the felt for hair.

Your child may even want to create a funky tree out of his diagram!

Human/Tree Hybrid

Erik’s Human/Tree Hybrid

These activities were inspired by Lesson 1 of About Me, the first workbook in the Our Time to Learn series:

Lesson 1 - "Family Tree"This week’s activities were inspired by Lesson 1, “Family Tree” from About Me.


Bones and Joints

These projects help demonstrate the usefulness of bones and joints, and compliment the projects and activities found in our first workbook, About Me.

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities - all about the human body!

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities – all about the human body!

Project #1: Bendy Bones


This skeleton model craft can help you teach your child about some major joints in the body: the neck, knees, elbows, wrists, and ankles.

You will need: 9 bendy straws, 4 pipe cleaners (1 must be white), scissors, a hole puncher, 1 large marshmallow, and a black marker.

First, cut 4 pipe cleaners and 9 straws, like so (click to enlarge):


Straws: 5 small, 2 medium, and 2 large

Pipe Cleaners: 2 uncut, 1 half cut, and 3 small (approx. 3″)

The two largest pipe cleaners will form the legs and torso. Place one large straw piece over one of the legs, making sure a little pipe cleaner is poking out one end. Put the other large straw piece onto the other leg. Twist the remaining ends of the pipe cleaners together all the way up.


Have your child cut 5 small square “spine” pieces out of some leftover straw. Have him thread these down the torso to the legs. Then thread one of the small straw pieces down on top of these (this will be the upper body).


Punch two holes on either side of the upper body piece with a hole puncher, just below the bend (for the arm socket). Then cut three slits down either side beneath the holes (for the rib sockets).


Flatten and fold one end of a medium straw piece (arm).


Push it through both punched holes. Fold then slide your other medium piece of straw through the first to form the second arm. Push the medium pipe cleaner all the way through both arms.


Now for the feet and hands – flatten and fold the remaining 4 small straw pieces and push them into the ends of the legs and arms.


Your child can cut 5 slits in each to make fingers and toes.


For the ribs, thread the 3 small pieces of pipe cleaner through the 3 slits below the arms – bend into C shapes.

Push a large marshmallow down through the top pipe cleaners to the body. Cut off any excess pipe cleaner.

Your child can now draw on a skeleton face. A black Sharpie works best.


Why we like it: This fun and workable model of the human skeleton is a good way to introduce your child to his joints. It also demonstrates the form and function of the spine.



Project #2: Organ Cage


With this activity, you can teach your child that not only do bones hold us up, but they also protect some of our most important organs.

Print out our Organ Cage worksheet (found here under “Support Materials”)

Have your child color the worksheet while you make the ribs template.

Fold a sheet of white paper in half width-wise. Cut a skull and neck bone shape out of the top. Then draw rows of horizontal lines running just short of both edges:


Now flip the paper over and fold each side again to meet the middle crease.


Have your child cut along every line, being careful not to cut beyond the ends.


Cut out every other rib:


Tape the back vertical edges together:


Now your child can draw a skeleton face:


Cut the Lungs and Heart worksheet along the border lines. Roll it into a tube.


Fit the tube inside the rib cage and tape to secure.


Why we like it: This is a quick and easy visual that demonstrates how the heart and lungs fit inside the ribcage. You could also develop this craft to show how the skull protects the brain.

These activities are a perfect complement to Lesson 6 (Bones) in our workbook, About Me!

"About Me" - first workbook in the series

“About Me” – first workbook in the series

Your Insides

About Me includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities - all about the human body!

About Me (our first workbook) includes worksheets, sticker pages, and activities – all about the human body!

Project #1 – Nesting Body Systems

This week we’re learning about our insides. We’ve come up with a few teaching tools to help children visualize what’s under their skin. With our print-ables, you can easily assemble this set of tubes that “nest” inside each other.


First, print out our nesting body systems coloring sheets (found here under “Support Materials”) and cut out along the border lines.

Then, have your child color them and add facial features with colored pencils.


When she’s done, roll the first sheet into a tube, overlapping the edges about 1″. Secure with clear tape all along the vertical edge, folding the tape over both horizontal edges.


Now roll up the second page to fit squarely inside the first. Reach inside with a piece of tape to secure.


Pull this second tube out and tape all along the vertical edge, like with the first sheet. Repeat with the next two sheets.

Why we like it: There are  plenty of teaching opportunities with this craft! You can talk with your child about the functions of each layer while she is coloring. When you put the tubes together, you can teach her about how our systems are connected. The tubes have a stepped design so children can pull each layer up easily.



Project #2 – Body Outline

This popular activity is included in About Me, Lesson 11.

You need a large roll of drawing paper, washable markers, organ print-outs, and a glue stick.

Print out the Body Outline Activity, found on our website under “Support Materials”, onto separate sheets of colored paper. Assist your child in cutting these out.


Roll out and cut a length of paper the length of your child. Have your child lie down on the paper and, with a washable marker, draw an outline around her body. Have her glue the organ cut-outs into the correct positions on her outline.



Why we like it: Kids think it’s neat to put organs into their very own “body.” And you don’t have to just hang this poster on the wall – there are more learning activities to be done with the body outline in our workbook, About Me:

Use organ cut-outs for Lesson 11 in About Me

Use organ cut-outs for Lesson 11 in About Me


Sensory Games

"About Me" - first workbook in the series that's all about the human body.

About Me is a colorful and engaging science workbook for young children. Get a jump start on your child’s understanding of the human body and the world around her!

Project #1: Sense Eggsamples


We’ve added some depth to the popular activity of filling plastic Easter eggs with small objects for children to shake and listen to. The objects in our eggs also have smelly and sensory properties, so kids can explore three or more senses simultaneously.

You need at least 6 plastic eggs (all the same color, preferably) and small sensory objects (list below). When your child opens an egg, you can ask her questions about the contents, such as, “How do they smell? How do they feel?” After closing the eggs, she can shake them to hear what they sound like.



You can then mix up the eggs. Ask your child to shake each one and guess what’s inside. For more fun, make a double of each egg for a matching sound game.

Here are some egg filling ideas to get you started:

dandelion heads
flower petals
cinnamon stick (cut up)
pinto beans
whole cloves
hard candy (peppermint, lemon drops, root beer barrels)
smelly erasers
scented wet wipes (cut into small squares)
pine needles
cinnamon toothpicks (cut up)
dry oatmeal

Any other non-smelly objects, such as pom poms,  can be sprayed with air freshener or rubbed with a dry soap bar.

Why we like it: Like all of our projects, this activity is multi-faceted and has potential for development. You can expand the activity to include taste, and you can come up with your own filling ideas.


Project #2: Cube and Card Game

First, make a five senses cube out of a wood block (found at craft stores), or you can print out our paper block (look under Support Materials). Wood block instructions can be found here, folding paper block instructions can be found here.


There are several ways to play with the cube. Here are some of our ideas:

1. Ask your child her favorite things to sense. For example, if she rolls the sense of sound (ear) then ask her what her favorite sound is.

2. Ask your child to find things in the room to sense. If your child rolls the sense of touch (finger) then ask her to find something in the room that has an interesting feel.

3. Use picture cards (we used some from Classic Memory). Ask your child to pick a card to match the sense she rolled.  For instance, if she rolled the sense of sight, then she should try to pick a picture of an object she exclusively uses sight to sense (clouds, sun, moon). For the side of the cube that shows all five senses, have some cards of crunchy, noisy foods available to choose from.



Why We Like It: Kids love the element of chance involved while playing with the cube. Also, they have to mentally match objects with the senses that detect those objects. There are lots of ways you can play – come up with your own games!

These activities can accompany the worksheets and activities found in Lesson 3 of About Me – an exciting and educational workbook for kids!

Lesson 3: Five SensesThis week’s activities are based on Lesson 3 of About Me.