Butterfly Applique

My daughter made two different butterfly applique t-shirts. One by hand and one using the sewing machine.

Applique is a fairly simple technique and can make a fun sewing project for children. Applique means sewing a pre-cut fabric shape such as a heart or a star, onto a background. My daughter sewed butterflies onto a t-shirt background.

 The key to applique is the iron-on paper that is placed between the fabrics to hold the design in place.

 First the paper is ironed onto the fabric to be cut out. Since the back side is paper, any design can be sketched onto the paper for cutting. Stencils tend to work really good as they are usually simple, yet recognizable shapes.

We used Pellon Wonder Under Fusible Transfer Web to create the design.

Her first butterfly project was sewn by hand. She stitched buttons and ribbon to a butterfly shape.

Then she stitched around the outside to hold the butterflies in place.

Her second project was done on the machine. The beginning steps were the same, but the machine was used to sew around the outside of the butterfly. Any basic machine can be used as long as it is set to a wide stitch with a short length. After the butterfly was in place, buttons were hand stitched for embellishment.

Looking for more activities to do with children? Be sure to check out the pages of this blog; Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Geography, Arts and Crafts and these other great Blog Hops.

Lesson 2: US States and Capitals Activities for Kids

Lesson 2: My daughter learned her states and capitals.

Memorizing geography, math or history facts can be boring and a lot of work. Kids often dread memorizing, but there are many activities to do in conjunction with memorization that can make it lots of fun. Sometimes kids will fall in love with one activity and will completely learn their states and capitals while other kids need more variety. Regardless of the child, there are many options.

Here is a list of several ways to help kids learn the US States and Capitals.


I purchased the Discovery Kids Talking USA Puzzle when my oldest child was about three years old. The pieces were large enough for toddlers to handle and when she pushed each state the name, capital and state nickname sounded alout. In addition to the Discovery Kids Talking USA Puzzle, several manufacturers produce puzzles containing geographical images. We also really like GeoPuzzles.

GeoPuzzle Africa and the Middle East - Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (65 pcs) - by Geotoys
GeoPuzzle Asia - Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (50 pcs) - by Geotoys
GeoPuzzle Europe - Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (58 pcs) - by Geotoys
GeoPuzzle Latin America - Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (50 pcs)
GeoPuzzle World - Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle (68 pcs)


Seterra is a free online geography quiz game. In addition to states and capitals, it contains country, city, and river quizzes. My kids like racing the clock to improve the time it takes them to identify the geographical features.

State Quarter Map

Many kids between the ages of 7 and 12 seem to go through a collecting phase which makes the State Quarter Map - Us State Quarter Collection a perfect way to learn states. My kids received their maps as birthday or Christmas gifts and spent hours searching for quarters from each state to complete their maps.

Songs for Learning States and Capitals

The Classical Conversations homeschooling curriculum incorporates songs with hand movements to aid in memorization. Often times their songs can be located on Youtube. My youngest worked her way through this set of songs to memorize the US states and capitals.

NE States
SE States
Michigan to Tennessee
Minnesota to Wyoming
New Mexico to Texas
Wisconsin to Alaska
Rocky Mountain Song
Western Rocky Mountain Song
Utah to Hawaii
Montana to Alaska
Appalachian Mountain Song
Southern Appalachian Mountain Song

Exchanging Postcards

It can be lots of fun for kids to put together a collection of postcards from each state. There are several places on the internet including Postcardkids and Postcrossing where other people interested in exchanging postcards can be located. In addition to learning geography, this activity can be a great way to improve writing skills. When my oldest daughter exchanged postcards with other kids, she colored the states on a blank outline map each time she received a new postcard.

Looking for more activities to do with children? Be sure to check out the pages of this blog; Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Geography, Arts and Crafts and these other great Blog Hops.

Native American Books

Native American Unit Study Resources - Books and Videos

There are so many books on Native American History. Our favorites are the type that teach through story. LIVING BOOKS!

Grade 1st - 4th

The Book of Indians by Holling C Holling describes Native Americans in four regions of the United States including the people of the forests (eastern and Great Lakes), plains, deserts and mesas and the rivers and sea (west coast Indians). Each tribal region is first described and then followed by two historical fiction stories of Native American children who lived there. Because I wanted my daughter to understand that the term Native American does not describe one group of people, but many, Holling C Holling's book was the core for this unit study.

My eight year old loves crafting, so our key to this unit study was the book More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life (Hands-On History) by Laurie Carlson. The book contains over 100 simple crafts to be completed using common materials such as brown paper bags, and markers.

North American Indians (Pictureback(R)) was a simple book we read while writing down the names of some Indian tribes on the United States map showing where they used to live.


Very Last First Time
Eskimo Boy ~ Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village
Kayuktuk: An Arctic Quest

Pueblo Storyteller
Pueblo Boy: Growing Up in Two Worlds focus

The Sacred Harvest: Ojibway Wild Rice Gathering (We Are Still Here : Native Americans Today)

The Birchbark House

Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times

Grade 5th - 8th

Indian Costumes
Water Sky

The Delaware Indians
Girl of the Shining Mountains: Sacagawea's Story tells the story of the Lewis and Clarke Expedition from Sacagawea's point of view. 

Videos -
Illinois Stories: Native American Clothes and Beads
America's Great Indian Nations
Native America Before Colonization

High School

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison is based on the life of a colonist girl whose entire family was kidnapped by Indians. After the very difficult adjustment, Mary Jemison lived out her entire life with her new Indian family.

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West

Looking for more activities to do with children? Be sure to check out the pages of this blog; Math, Language Arts, Science, History, Geography, Arts and Crafts and these other great Blog Hops.

Lesson 1: US State Unit Study

Lesson 1: Focusing on the regions, we are beginning a geography study of the United States.

My goal for this unit study with my 9 year old daughter is for her to learn the 50 states and capitals, major geographic features and differences in climates that affect the way people live in each of the following regions.

New England
Mid Atlantic
Appalachian Highlands
Pacific Coast
Alaska and Hawaii

To begin we read two Babar books  - Babar Comes to America and Babar's USA. In both books Babar the elephant travels around America visiting famous cities and monuments. Reading the books while looking at a US map she became familiar with a few major cities.

Next we read the short and sweet book Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant. Farming regions, mountainous regions and other climatic differences are introduced while traveling across America in this book.

Honestly, I had some trouble finding a spine book for this unit. The best I found was Kids Learn America!: Bringing Geography to Life With People, Places & History (Williamson Kids Can!) I really enjoyed this book back in 2007 when I first began homeschooling my now 14 year old daughter. I have fond memories of doing crafts and activities with the book. There are several activities that are associated with Earth Science concepts such as latitude and longitude which are very worthwhile, but my youngest has already participated in an in-depth Earth Science study.

In addition, my 9 year old is quite artistic and driven by craft activities. Although the book does contain crafts, most of them did not motivate her. Finally, like other books designed to teach kids about the 50 states it feels disconnected. Often, states are described with a bunch of facts based on history. I would prefer a book that connects people to land and climate with associated activities, but have not found such a resource. Therefore, we are mostly reading story books set in each of the geographic regions which I will describe in upcoming posts.

Native American Unit Study - Lesson 11: Pow Wow

Lesson 11: We attended an Native American Pow Wow.

Throughout our Native American Unit Study my 8 year old daughter created clothing in the Native American style using modern materials. She is shown below in her completed outfit which includes a Hopi style dress, midwestern style collar, plains style leggings, southwest style bracelet and more. She had lots of fun creating her outfit, so visiting a Pow Wow was the perfect ending to our Native American unit study. (Even if we went to the Pow Wow in the middle of our study. :))

A large drum was placed in the center of the Pow Wow where several men circled and played. Surrounding the drum there was an open area for dancing. Many different dances were performed. Some were hunting dances and special for the tribe hosting the event, but many were open to members of all tribes.

Plains Indians wore fancy bustles made from feathers during ceremonies.

Natives from many tribes carried pouches decorated with beadwork.

Today most Native Americans also have a mix of European ancestry. Although I don't know the history of this gentleman, to me he looked very Native American.

We liked the bells and beads on her dress.

Beaded barrettes handmade were sold at the Pow Wow.

Baskets were also sold as were goods from all over the world. My older daughter purchased a hand made shall from Ecuador as it was a bit cold the day we visited the Pow Wow.

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