Simple Crochet Hat - My Boshi

We learned to crochet by making simple hats.

My Boshi is a growing German trend begun by a young snowboard and ski instructor. Boshi means beanie hat in Japanese. In the evenings these two men learned to crochet and everyone wanted to buy their hats. So they started a business. Now they sell yarn and books on how to make Boshi hats as well as custom designed, hand-crocheted Boshi hats through the MyBoshi website.

After creating my first Boshi for my daughter's dance class I realized it was a perfect way to learn to crochet. Most of the hats involve only four stitches (chain stitch, slip stitch, half-double crochet, and single crochet) and are constructed from worsted/chunky yarn so they come together in a short amount of time.

This style of MyBoschi is made by joining four chain stitches into the round, and then creating 11 half-double crochet stitches in the center hole. After that the center is increased in size over the next seven rounds. Each round ends with one slip-stitch and a single chain. Then half-double crochet stitches fill each round until there are 25 rows complete, before ending with a feste maschen or single-crochet stitch for those who speak English.

 This hat was created the same way, but was bound off after only 18 rows. Therefore, instead of a slouchy hat, it fit tight like a beanie.

After two 2 hour long classes the 10-12 year olds who attended walked away with awesome hats they crocheted themselves.

For more craft ideas for kids please visit my Arts and Crafts Page.

How big is an acre?

Day 4: Area Units - and Acres

Acres are most commonly used to measure land and they are different sizes depending on the system of units being used. Measuring land with acres began during the middle ages and one acre was the amount of land one person could plow with oxen in one day. Since it was time consuming to turn the oxen around, the plots were typically rectangular measuring 22 feet x 220 feet.

One acre is slightly smaller than a football field and near 70 feet x 70 feet when measured as a square. Land in the United States is measured in acres. There are 16 sets of  40 acre plots in one square mile as represented by the figure below. The highlighted grey square represents 40 acres in one square mile.

Acres are used to measure land today because they are convenient units. One acre is equal to .0015625 square miles and 4840 square yards. Therefore, using square miles or square yards would result in very large or very small numbers when discussing personal property.

As done on the previous day with distance, the kids first made a list of all the area units they were familiar with. I was surprised that they only wrote square inches. So we had a review and they caught on quickly.


square inches
square feet
square yards
square miles

The pattern of feet to square feet and so on became obvious quickly, and we also made a list of metric units as well.

Then we stepped outside to determine how big an acre was by measuring the field behind our house.

We will always remember that it is about 3 acres in size.

Check out these great blog hops for more educational activity ideas.

Erosion Activities for Kids

Earth Science Unit Study

Erosion Part 2
Week 34: We froze ice, sprouted beans in a bottle and observed a clay ball over the course of several weeks.

Erosion is an ongoing naturally occurring phenomenon which is both destructive and beneficial. Erosion changes landscapes and is a vehicle for nature to recover. As part of our ongoing Earth Science study we have been reading the book Rocks, rivers & the changing earth,: A first book about geology, (Young Scott books). It's a narrative Earth Science chapter book which contains suggestions for many simple supporting activities.

 Megastructures - Breaking Up the Biggest Dam

Dams built for people to harness power can become obsolete and are not always good for nature. This video is about the challenge an engineering team faced when trying to break up a massive dam and return a river to its normal state. The amount of sediment accumulated behind the dam during its existence is quite impressive and an interesting example of erosion.

How the Earth Was Made - Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was formed through a long process of erosion. This video from the How the Earth was Made Series was perfect for an erosion unit.

After watching and reading about erosion, we did some simple experiments.

Clay Ball Erosion

We formed a few clay balls and let them sit outside in the weather for several weeks.

Over the course of time the appearance of the balls changed as the soft materials were washed away by rain and wind. We hoped to see some dramatic effects of water and ice due to the cold, but our winter was unusually mild. Perhaps we will repeat the experiment at another time or stick the balls in plastic wrap with water in the freezer?

Sprouting Beans
Seeds have an enormous capability to cause erosion. Once they are embedded in rock, water can cause them to sprout. Their sprouting strength is strong enough to crack rock.

To demonstrate this, a water bottle was completely filled with beans and then topped off with water. The cap was screwed on tight and then the bottle was observed over the course of several days.

As the beans soaked up the water the pressure inside the bottle immediately increased. This was evident by feeling the hardness of the bottle.

As time went on the beans were able to deform the bottle.

Freezing Water
Putting a full water bottle into the freezer, the ice was able to deform the bottle the same way as the beans.

Erosion is a powerful force which is helped along the way by wind, water, and seeds.

To see more of our hands-on science activities, please visit our Science Page.

Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian Man Activity for Kids

Renaissance Unit Study - Week 4

We measured ourselves to determine if we were Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.

Leonardo da Vinci was a true Renaissance Man. He was a scientist, inventor, artist, engineer and truly one of the greatest thinkers of all time. The 13 minute movie Renaissance Artist Leonardo da Vinci was created for children and does an excellent job of entertaining while packing in information about Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man is one of his most famous sketches. It is so much more than a work of art. The man's belly button is located at the center of the circle and circle and square show the proportionality between height and arm span.

Primary Resources offers a free Vitruvian Man worksheet located under the Length/Distance section, highlighted with a bulleted yellow number 4 on the webpage.

The worksheet asks the question: Are you Leonardo's Vitruvian Man? Kids measure several body parts and then answer questions such as were the height and arm span the same? It's quite simple and interesting.

For more hands-on learning activities be sure to visit our subject pages.

Scavenger Hunt with Elizabeth Enright

My daughter created her own clue scavenger hunt.

Elizabeth Enright's series of books is one of my favorites for pulling copywork. She was an author of children's books who painted pictures with her descriptive writing. Here are a few quotes from the Melendy Series of books.
He exerts a magnetic action which attracts soot, dust, egg stain, chalk marks, strawberry jam, and ink.

For breakfast today I was forced by circumstance to consume four eggs: two fried, two boiled.

The living room was full of things: tables, and lots of chairs, all with crocheted antimacassars; pictures and pennants and fans on the wall; a big meloeon at one end of the room with a very old sheet music on it; and in the wide doorway there were portieres all made of beads which rattled like rain on a tin roof when Mrs. Wheelwright brushed against them.

The Melendy series of four books follows a family of four children through life's adventures. We have enjoyed these books greatly and I can't recommend them loud enough.

The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet)
The Four-Story Mistake (Melendy Quartet)
Then There Were Five (Melendy Quartet)
Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze (Melendy Quartet)

The main theme of the last book is a scavenger hunt. Two of the children decoded clues to figure out where the next clue was hidden. While reading this book my seven year old decided to create a scavenger hunt for her sister.

 On small slips of yellow paper she wrote clues to lead to the next clues and then hid them in the appropriate places. The above photos shows one of her clues hidden on the door handle.

Yeah! She decided to create this activity on her own. Not only did it involve some creativity and logical thinking, but it also involved lots of writing. It's such a great idea I wish I could claim it, but the honor goes to my 7 year old daughter.

Fleece Animal Hats

We sewed animal hats from fleece fabric.

Sewing is a good skill to have but finding appropriate and interesting projects can be a challenge. These hats were simple enough for the kids to sew with only a little assistance, and great for learning since many steps were involved.

The Simplicity Misses and Childs Hats Sewing Pattern 1953, Size A (S - L / S - L) contains directions for creating five different animal hats. (frog, cat, monkey, owl and panda).

 First the patterns were cut. Next they were pinned to fleece and the fleece was cut.

Once all the pieces were available, the face was constructed and the hat was sewn into a circle. Pom-poms, braids, or tassels were created to hang from the hat.

The inner lining and outer hat were sewn together with the ears and tassels in place and then turned right-side out.

The hats were tested for size. The large version of the pattern was in fact very large. A small or medium would fit most people and a small is best for a child.

For more easy ideas to get kids started sewing, please see our Arts and Crafts Page.

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** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Distance Units - Measuring Penny

Day 3: Distance Units
We learned the differences between different length measuring units.

Up until this point everything we measured was measured in inches. But the kids are well aware of the existence of other units. First they each created a list of other units used for measuring distance.
Next we read Measuring Penny. Measuring Penny is a picture book about a child completing a measuring homework assignment. While performing the assignment, standard and non-standard units are used to measure dog tails, how high dogs can jump, how much dogs weigh and more.

After the story the kids each spent a few more minutes writing down units used to measure distance. As they read their lists to me, I wrote them down in categories of English Units, Metric Units, and Non-Standard Units.

In the English system there are 1760 yards per mile, three feet per yard, and twelve inches per foot. My 12 year old daughter knows that there are 5280 feet per mile, but I always have to look that one up. Conversely, in the metric system, there are 1000 meters per kilometer, 100 centimeters per meter and 10 millimeters per centimeter. After explaining this to the kids I asked them a few math questions using the numbers. They quickly decided they prefer the metric system.

Erosion - Science Fair Project

Earth Science Unit Study
Week 33:  What kind of ground erodes the fastest?

Several types of soil were tested by pouring water on equal amounts of soil to determine which erodes the fastest. The following is my 10 year old son's science fair project.

One type of erosion is when ground gets broken off by a river or a stream. This is sometimes bad because it can change the rivers course by clogging it up. Sometimes erosion happens right under houses. If that happens you should pack up your belongings and leave. If you don’t have time, pack up your valuables and leave. Erosion is bad for farmers because it washes away their lose ground. Erosion happens fast or slow on different kinds of ground.

My hypothesis is sand will erode fastest because it is only little rocks. Mud and leaves will erode the least because the leaves will slow it down.

sand, mud and leaves, compost, shovel, watering can with water, scale

First I got a scale, then I got one cup of compost, sand, mud and leaves. I weight the compost, sand and mud. Then I got a watering can. After that I got a shovel for a hill. I poured water five seconds on each kind of soil then I waited for the soil to dry. After it dried I weighed it to see how much eroded away.


It turned out I was partially right. Sand eroded the most. Sand lost one hundred eighty grams. Mud and leaves lost seventy grams. Compost lost sixty two grams. I was surprised that mud and leaves eroded the second most. I thought mud and leaves would erode least. The little sticks in the compost must have slowed the erosion down more than the leaves.

The results could be different if the amount of erosion was calculated based on volume instead of weight. Other ground coverings may erode more or less than the tested materials. Maybe next time I could test clay, rock, smaller rocks, wood chips, dirt and grass, and plastic like the type at Donnelly Park.

Brunelleschi's Dome - Weight Distribution Activity for Kids

Renaissance History Unit - Week 3: We did a weight distribution, engineering activity in conjunction with a study on Brunelleschi's Dome.

Brunelleschi was a Renaissance artist and engineer from Florence, Italy. Although he lost the competition to design doors of bronze for the Florence Baptistery, he went on to design a fantastic dome.

Construction of the Santa Maria del Fiore was nearly complete, but there was no plan in place for the construction of the dome. Brunelleschi won the contract and his design from 1420 still rests atop the Cathedral. 

This video from the Khan Academy explains the double dome construction and the herringbone design on the outer shell.

Weight Distribution Project
Heavy Books or Weights

The challenge was to support as much weight as possible using four egg shells taped around the middle and broken in half.

The kids were given the eggs and free to arrange them how they thought would best support weight.

The kids discussed the foot print of their eggs.

The designs were tested by placing a clipboard atop the egg shells and putting weights on top until the shells cracked. 

In the most successful layouts the eggs were in a square pattern. This was a great project to learn about weight distribution. I'm encouraging my kids to repeat it to see how much additional weight can be supported using six egg shell domes with different layouts. In addition, since we have a seemingly endless supply of toilet paper rolls I'm encouraging them as a substitute for egg shells.

Check out these great blog hops. They are filled with activity ideas for kids.
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