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Nurturing Your Gifted Toddler

nurturing your gifted toddler

In this episode of The Raising Lifelong Learner’s podcast, Colleen addresses a common concern – the uncertainty of parenting and nurturing a gifted toddler. 

The pediatrician looked up from his checklist and asked, “how many words can she say?” and I kind of looked at him funny. “It’s okay if she’s not saying a lot right now. She’s only 18 months, so don’t panic. Language will develop over the next few months and years.”

He smiled reassuringly, and I stammered, “No-o-o-o-o. It’s not that. I just don’t think I can actually count the words she can say, so I’m not sure how to answer your question. She can say anything you or I can say.”

I could tell that, not only didn’t he believe me, but he thought I was one of those moms. Like I was trying to make my kid seem more than she was. And I couldn’t blame him, really. Molly looked like a typical toddler, running her fingers along the multicolored shape stickers on his desk, humming softly to herself.

gifted toddler

And then she stopped, turned, and spoke.

“Doctow Cat-an-zawwo? Why do you have two parallelogram stickers on the desk when you only have one of every other shape? Shouldn’t you only have one of those? Or maybe you can add another of each of the other shapes to make it even. I don’t really like when things aren’t even. And, do you have more of these stickers? Can I have some? I like shape stickers.”

The pediatrician, Dr. Catanzaro, looked at me, mouth agape, and said, “I have colleagues with whom I’ve worked for over 20 years who can’t pronounce my name that well. I guess she really can talk…” And he made some notes on his checklist.

Parenting gifted children can be full of uncertainty.

Should I push her?

What if I don’t give him what he needs?

Do I need to get her tested?

How do I know for sure?

Here’s the thing… you do know.

You’re an amazing, insightful, and perfect parent for the little guy or gal in front of you. Nurturing a gifted toddler is an adventure… so let’s develop a roadmap to help you along the way.

What Does a Gifted Toddler Look Like?

If you’re reading this post, you probably have a general idea about what a gifted toddler looks like. Right? We parents know our kids, no matter how much we collectively doubt ourselves.  There are some traits, though, that can give you a clue you might just be raising a poppy kiddo.

Remember… All gifted kiddos share some characteristics, but the very defining one — asynchrony — means that they definitely don’t look alike. So, your child may not exhibit all of these traits. It’s kind of a checklist of sorts to give you an idea of some things you might notice if your toddler is gifted.

Related: Young Gifted Children | Reflections from ParentsNurturing Gifted Toddlers

You may recognize some of these traits:

  • As infants, your kiddos became fussy if they faced the same direction for too long.
  • They were very alert and wide-eyed as babies.
  • Your toddler seems to need way less sleep than others his or her age, and did as an infant as well.
  • He or she met milestones like walking, rolling over, and talking dramatically ahead of schedule.
  • Some gifted babies and toddlers may have spoken later than most kids, but used complete sentences once speech began.
  • They expressed an acute desire to explore, take things apart, put things together, and understand their environment.
  • They often mastered their toys and games earlier than children their age, then discarded them for new games and toys.
  • He or she is very active and can be impulsive and intense.
  • They can often tell between fact and fiction early on.
  • They’re concerned with big issues early on.

Some gifted toddlers show an intense interest in numbers, letters, or other concepts. Some of our gifted toddlers will read early — that precocious 18 month old in the opening story taught herself to read by three. Some won’t, and that’s okay, too. My oldest kiddo (who’s been identified as profoundly gifted) didn’t read until much, much later, and still chooses to read books below his age level.

What Are Some of the Challenges That Come with Raising Young Gifted Kids?

Gifted toddlers, like all gifted individuals, are asynchronous. This asynchrony gives you a kiddo who might be intellectually ready to solve problems and build things, but who lacks the fine motor skills and planning to be able to pull it all off.

One of the biggest challenges is to find activities that are age-appropriate, but still advanced enough for a gifted kiddo. Though, an often underestimated challenge can be the puzzled, judgmental, and knowing looks that come from family, friends, and strangers. The challenge of being misunderstood or accused of hothousing — or “pushing” your child to perform.

My friend compared raising her young, profoundly gifted daughter to being stapled to a cheetah. She’s just holding on for dear life as that little bundle of inquisitiveness drags her along for the ride.

And the intensity. Oh, boy.

Gifted kiddos — including your precious toddler — can be very intense. Those intensities can be:

  • emotional – high highs, low lows… and a mixture of both at the same time with extremes and complexities.
  • physical – those big emotions take on physical symptoms with our bright tots… tummy aches, headaches, and more.
  • behavioral – shyness, separation anxiety, overconfidence, being too comfortable with strangers, ultra impulsive, deep inhibition, the list (and contradictions) goes on.

Gifted toddlers can have deep fears and anxieties. They feel guilt, concerned about death, like they’re not in control, and can seem deeply thoughtful or depressed. They can have deep emotional ties to people, places, or things.

Related: Gifts for Children with AnxietyNurturing Your Gifted Toddler

How Do You Nurture Giftedness in Toddlers?

The best advice I can give — after raising four toddlers (gifted and twice-exceptional) is to relax and trust your gut. Really.

Forget about what everyone else says.

Forget all the parenting books (they’re not going to apply to you anyway).

Forget about what’s “normal.”

Follow your kid. Meet your child where he or she is and help them find new ways to learn every single day. It’s exactly what all parents do for their toddlers. It just looks a little different for parents of gifted toddlers.

One of my eldest’s (now 15) first words was Macedonia. As in, “let’s go to Macedonia to watch trains.” He was obsessed with trains. He watched kids’ shows and documentaries and old news reels about trains. He listened to books about trains. He knew the history of the railroad and all the different important trains from all of history before he was four. He couldn’t yet read. He barely drew. He was impulsive and inattentive at his daycare. He wouldn’t sit still unless someone was sharing something about trains — though not the kids’ trains with faces. He had no use for those.

This went beyond a little guy’s interest in trains. He needed to know it all. So we fed him books, movies, toys, and trips to the trainyard in Macedonia. We sat by the tracks for hours, waiting for one train to pass, sharing snacks and train stories. Today he doesn’t remember all that he once knew, but he still adores trains and gets together with my father-in-law and his train buddies regularly to work on model railroad layouts and talk about the good ole days of the steamers.

I didn’t worry about meeting his potential and I didn’t feed him flashcards and workbooks.

But, guess what?

I did shower my now 10 year old with workbooks, worksheets, and flashcards as a toddler. That 18 month-old who stood but a minute off the floor as she peered at the pediatrician and asked for shape stickers adored nothing more than sitting at “her” desk (a tot-sized table in the kitchen) and banging out workbook pages. She taught herself to read by three. She cried at two when she realized that she was not getting on the big yellow school bus with her brother.

So we enrolled her in a 2yo preschool that met one morning each week. And she begged for more school. So we signed her up for another day at a different preschool so she could have two mornings of “school” and three mornings of “homeschool” while big brother was gone during the week.

Many accused me of hothousing that kiddo (pumping her full of info so she seemed smart), but I was just trying to keep her insatiable thirst quenched.

Two gifted toddlers.

Two very different needs.

If I were to have given that first one workbooks and flashcards, he would have rebelled and fought me every step of the way. If I were to have only fed the second one books, videos, and trips to a favorite place, she would have withered.

Related: 101 Reasons Eclectic Homeschooling Works for Gifted Kids Nurturing Your Gifted Toddler

Trust yourself that you know your toddler better than anyone else does and give him or her exactly what they need. Explore language and numbers, science and nature, communities and laws together. Ask loads of questions and answer all of theirs. Make it a point to look up answers together sometimes — it’s important from early on that your gifted kiddo see that you don’t have all the answers and that you’re not afraid to admit it. Play lots of music in the house. Take your little ones to free outdoor concerts and performances during the spring and summer so they can get an early appreciation for the arts. Experiment with as many different types of art mediums as you can with them when they’re young.

Buy open-ended gifts for all occasions. Line your walls with books. Play games early and often. Ask for family memberships to museums and zoos instead of toys your gifted kiddo will lose interest in for holiday gifts from relatives.

Remember that you’re the perfect parent for your gifted kiddo. You really do know what your child is capable of and needs. You may be in for a wild ride now that you find yourself raising a gifted toddler, but it’ll never be dull.

And when you’re little one shows what he or she is capable of — whether it’s to a stunned pediatrician, a family member, a friend, or a stranger on the playgroup — it’s okay to puff out your chest and say that yes, you do know how amazing he or she is. Talking in full sentences at 18 months is fantastic. Reading at three is amazing. Knowing the detailed history surrounding all steam, diesel, and mag-lev trains by four is awesome.

Be proud and let your kiddos hear you say that they’re amazing and you’re absolutely amazed to be their parent. The more you get used to it now when they’re toddlers, the easier it’ll be as they get older and need to hear you bragging about them. You’ve got this.

nurturing your gifted child

Raising Lifelong Learners Podcast Episode #129: Nurturing Your Gifted Toddler


Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Parents' Guide to Raising a Gifted Toddler: Recognizing and Developing the Potential of Your Child from Birth to Five Years

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing MindExciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids: 60 Easy Creative Play Projects That Boost Brain Development, Calm Anxiety and Build Fine Motor SkillsParenting a Strong-Willed Child: How to Effectively Raise High Spirited Children or ToddlersThe Rainy Day Toddler Activity Book: 100+ Fun Early Learning Activities for Inside Play (Toddler Activity Books)The Big Book of Kids Activities: 500 Projects That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever365 Toddler Activities That Inspire Creativity: Games, Projects, and Pastimes That Encourage a Child's Learning and Imagination100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever!: Become an Expert on Bugs, Beetles, Worms, Frogs, Snakes, Birds, Plants and MoreRaising Resilient Sons: A Boy Mom's Guide to Building a Strong, Confident, and Emotionally Intelligent FamilyThe Ultimate Toddler Activity Guide: Fun & educational activities to do with your toddler (Early Learning)Teach My Toddler Learning KitThe Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being


Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


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Every Book List You Will Ever Need For Your Homeschool!

every book list you will ever need for your homeschool

Sometimes, we just need a little help finding the right books for our homeschool. This compilation of book lists is essentially every book list you will ever need all in one place!

children's books for homeschooling

Book Lists For Every Month Of The Year

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of January

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of February 

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of March

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of April   

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of May

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of June

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of July

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of August

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of September

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of October

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of November

Great Books To Read With Your Kids In The Month Of December

kids reading

12 Exceptional Book Lists To Help You Homeschool By Subject

Awesome Books For Kids Who Love Nature

Books For Animal Lovers 

Books For Insect Lovers 

Must Have STEAM Books

Great Books For Independent Learners

Great Math Books That Aren’t Textbooks

Finding Books For Gifted Learners 

101 Reasons You Need Audiobooks In Your Homeschool

Books To Help Kids Learn About Geology

Fantastic Books For Plant Lovers

Family Favorite Christmas Books

Activity Books For Learning History 

reading to our kids in homeschool

8 Excellent Book Lists For Social Emotional Learning

Books To Help Kids Who Worry 

Books To Inspire Kindness And Thankfulness

Books With Quirky Characters

Books To Help Your Kids Learn Mindfulness At Home

Books That Teach Character

Books To Help Kids Learn About Autism 

Books To Teach Executive Function Skills

Books To Help Kids Learn About Anger

mom reading with child

In my homeschool, having access to book lists like all of these has made all the difference. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time I want to support reading together in our learning.

I simply pull up a book list by topic, subject, or time of year and we are essentially ready to go!

These books lists will help you find just what you need, when you need it, in your homeschool.

Take a trip to the library, load up, and happy reading!

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The Mother Lode of Father’s Day Ideas

the mother lode of fathers day ideas
fathers day tall

Ask a random stranger in early May about plans for Mother’s Day, and he or she can likely give you a full itinerary for the day, including church with Mom, lunch with Mom, flowers for Mom, and gifts for Mom.

Ask the same random stranger in mid-June about plans for Father’s Day, and you’ll probably get something like this:

Awkward silence.  A contrived cough.  Crickets chirping.

Because, let’s face it: Father’s Day just doesn’t get the same kind of respect.

fathers day

Now some will immediately chalk that up to a cultural assault on fatherhood, which I won’t dispute exists, though I don’t necessarily think the less-than-stellar celebration of Father’s Day is the best evidence of it.  Mom and home are always closely connected, and so I wonder sometimes if celebration of mom is also celebration of all things nostalgic.  Plus moms make gift-giving easy for their children!  Sappy tears and a bright, emotional response to kisses and hugs and simple gifts make celebrating mom pretty effortless in many ways.

Men, on the other hand, can be more of a challenge, only because they’re different from us in all the incredible ways God intended.  Though most of them don’t necessarily pine after fresh flowers or weep uncontrollably at the sight of a crayon-scribbled card, (not to say it could never happen!) they deserve all the love and appreciation we can shower on them on their special day.

So whether you’re in search of some information about Father’s Day or looking for simple gifts or easy crafts to commemorate the day, you’ve come to the right place!  Call this Father’s Day Central:

The Mother Lode of Father’s Day Ideas

Father’s Day Gift Ideas 

So you’re thinking a tie, right?  Maybe a coffee cup.  Argyle socks.  I’m not knocking those choices (I’ve pulled out a couple of them myself a few times), but you can probably come up with some more original ideas.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Dads at Church, Co-Op, Etc.

If you’re buying Father’s Day gifts en masse, for all the fathers in your church, for example, or those in your homeschool co-op, you’ll need different gift suggestions than if you’re buying only for your own father. Here are some suggestions for “group” gifts that are fun and inexpensive. (Some are more expensive than others. Of course, you’ll need to choose based on how many dads you’re buying for and how much you have to spend.)

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Your Own Dad or Your Children’s Dad

Edible Tackle Box

But when you’re looking for a gift for your children’s father, (or maybe even your own,) here are a few gift ideas I count among my personal favorites is this Edible Tackle Box Isn’t this the cutest thing ever? And it’s easy to assemble and tasty too! Below is a link to the box and to some candies that are perfect for filling it!

Father's Day Ideas

Dad’s Stache Jar

And I mustache you a question.  (And, yes, that’s a bad joke. An old, bad joke even. Forgive me.)  But have you ever seen a cuter idea for Father’s Day than this Dad’s Stache jar? I also like using these wire clamp jars too.

Father's Day Ideas. Father's Day Gift Jar: Dad's Stache

Mini Toolboxes

And I adore these Mini Toolboxes made from old mint tins using mini tin boxesir?source=bk&t=hhmca 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=6ecc8fe234218321576d04b41cc2d328& cb=1528845833328


Father's Day Ideas. Mini toolboxes

I always have such a hard time throwing away mint tins.  I mean, they’re reusable!  Well, this is a great way to put them to use.  Just follow the step-by-step instructions, then fill with nuts and bolts, screws or nails, or any other useful things Dad might need to keep on hand.

But there are literally hundreds more ideas where these came from!

More Gift Ideas

Free Printables

If you’re looking for simple printables for Father’s day, you may like some of these:

History of Father’s Day

Maybe you were hoping you and the kids could learn a little something about Father’s Day.  Did you know Father’s Day actually began in Spokane, Washington?  Believe me, the Spokanians (if that’s a word) have not forgotten!  Check out the Father’s Day Birthplace website for a history of the founding of Father’s Day.  Find even more information here, including poems and quotes about Father’s Day as well as info about how fathers are celebrated around the world.

Unit Studies and Book Lists

  • Interested in doing a unit study related to Father’s Day?  Try out Whales Passing, a literature-based unit study dealing with the relationship of fathers and sons.
  • This Father’s Day reading list offers even more great book options.


There’s no excuse for neglecting Dad this Father’s Day!  With a little time and forethought, we can come up with just what we need to make the dads in our lives feel as loved and appreciated as they are. Now.  It’s time for this mom to get busy on gifts for a couple of very important dads…

How will you celebrate Father’s Day this year?  What do you do to make the fathers in your life feel special?

You May Also Like

toolbox card for Dad for Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day Tool Box Card for Dad

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10 Clues You Might Be a Homeschool Dad

mom and dad holding hands

Dear Homeschool Mom: How to Love Your Husband While Homeschooling

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Finding Homeschool Community (for our children and ourselves)

finding homeschool community for our children and ourselves

One of the challenges of homeschooling is finding a community that works for your child’s needs and interests. In this episode of The Raising Lifelong Learner Podcast, Shawna and I talk about the reality of finding a homeschool community for our children and for ourselves. 

homeschool community

It’s been a year of change for my family. 

One of the most notable differences between our homeschool now and our homeschool just 18 month ago is the lack of any real community. There are a variety of reasons for the loss, but the truth is, I find myself starting all over again in finding a community that make sense for my family.

homeschool community

Finding Homeschool Community (for our children and ourselves)

In considering how to begin again, there are a few things that I think are important to note when trying to find a homeschool community.

1. Your family is your primary homeschool community.

2. Start with interests.

3. It’s OK to walk away if it’s not working for your kiddo.

4. You may need to look for an outside the box approach for your outside the box child. 


homeschool community

A Conversation with Colleen and Shawna All About Finding A Homeschool Community

In today’s episode of The Raising Lifelong Learner Podcast, Shawna and I talk about how we have found community in the past and what we believe matters most for our differently wired kiddos. We get personal in this episode, sharing our struggles in this area as well as the lessons we’ve learned. 


Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

Homeschooling Gifted Kids: A Practical Guide to Educate and Motivate Advanced LearnersThe Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12 (Prima Home Learning Library)The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System - and How to Fix ItHome Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural WorldHomeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started.Homeschool Bravely: How to Squash Doubt, Trust God, and Teach Your Child with ConfidenceHOW TO START, MANAGE, AND GROW YOUR GREAT HOMESCHOOL GROUP OR CO-OP: Step-By-Step Quick and Easy SuccessHomeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn OutHomeschool High School Made Easy: Find Your Why . . . Then Find Your Way (Easy Homeschool)


Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!


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A Different Kind Of Family Togetherness: Ideas and Encouragement For Connecting With Our Kids

a different kind of family togetherness ideas and encouragement for connecting with our kids

Do you want more for your family? Do you have bigger dreams and a desire for deeper relationships with your kids? Join Colleen in this encouraging and practical conversation with Celeste Orr, from Togetherness Redefined. They discuss creating meaningful connections with our children and sustaining a deeply satisfying family life. 

A Different Kind Of Family Togetherness: Ideas and Encouragement For Connecting With Our Kids

Ideas and Encouragement For Connecting With Our Kids

In my family, we are together more than we are apart. While I cherish the time, I often find myself feeling like I’ve missed opportunities for deeper connection in favor of the day to day to-do list. 

My conversation in today’s episode with Celeste Orr, from Togetherness Redefined, is all about helping us clearly define what we want for our families and establish meaningful steps to get there. 

Related: Connecting With Our Gifted And Twice Exceptional Kids: 

A Different Kind Of Family Togetherness: Ideas and Encouragement For Connecting With Our Kids

Togetherness Redefined: Finding a Different Kind of Family Togetherness 

Togetherness Redefined was created to help parents who were looking to spend more time with their kids and connect in meaningful ways.

In her new book, Celeste shares:

  • 52 popular togetherness tips
  • Real-life stories and simple, honest examples
  • A go-to list of ideas to break the disconnect at home
  • An opportunity to boost family togetherness

Togetherness Tips For Your Family

Celeste also shares weekly togetherness tips for your family via email. All of the tips essentially fall into one of five categories. 

  1. Small Beginnings – the most mundane moments matter 
  2. Big Dreams 
  3. Deep Connection
  4. For The Long Haul
  5. Getting Back Up Again

I think this intentional approach is wonderful and provides opportunities to really go deeper and establish meaningful connections with our families. 

A Different Kind Of Family Togetherness: Ideas and Encouragement For Connecting With Our Kids

RLL Episode #120: A Different Kind Of Family Togetherness with Celeste Orr

Do you want more for your family? Do you have bigger dreams and a desire for deeper relationships with your kids? Join Colleen in this encouraging and practical conversation with Celeste Orr, from Togetherness Redefined. They discuss creating meaningful connections with our children and sustaining a deeply satisfying family life. 

Links and Resources from Today’s Show:

Togetherness Redefined: Finding a Different Kind of Family TogethernessFamily Practices: A Guided Journal of Togetherness and Discovery with Your Loved Ones (Resiliency Guides)Raising Creative Kids: A Collection of Simple Creativity Prompts for ChildrenRaising Resilient Sons: A Boy Mom's Guide to Building a Strong, Confident, and Emotionally Intelligent FamilyThe Unplugged Family Activity Book: 60+ Simple Crafts and Recipes for Year-Round FunNature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Learning Experiences in All SeasonsThe Very Best, Hands-On, Kinda Dangerous Family Devotions: 52 Activities Your Kids Will Never ForgetBig Book of Family Games: 101 Original Family & Group Games that Don't Need Charging52 Uncommon Family Adventures: Simple and Creative Ideas for Making Lifelong Memories



Leave a Rating or Review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really does help — and it’s easy!

    • Click THIS link to go to the podcast main page.
    • Click on View in iTunes under the podcast cover artwork.
    • Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! Thanks so much.

Want to record your own question, comment, or have your kids tell us what they LOVE to learn about? Click below and start recording!

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Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

awesome books for kids who love nature

Getting outside in nature makes you smarter. Really! Look it up! Grab a copy of my new book, 100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever! and learn to love getting out and soaking up nature.

There are so many things to do outdoors. This book is filled to the max with activities, tips, and it all requires very little help from mom and dad. Turn your backyard into a museum where kids can learn and explore.

Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

After you get done adventuring outside, make your way indoors to devour these awesome books for kids who love nature! From stories of forest critters to deciphing animal tracks there are sure to be some new favorites to discover in this list. Enjoy!

Awesome Books for Kids Who Love Nature

Compost Stew: Kids can learn how to make their own compost pile in their backyard. They will learn exactly what can be added and what needs to stay out.

Yucky Worms: Worms are yucky…. or are they? Once kids discover how worms live, they might have second thoughts about this slippery friend.

The Tree Lady: An inspiring story about Katherine Olivia Sessions who planted trees all around San Diego.

Life in the Ocean: This book is about the story of an oceanographer by the name of Sylvia Earle who fell in love with the sea when she was young.

Over in the Forest: Learn how to move like the forest creatures and make sure to stay clear of the skunk! Kids will have fun counting and rhyming their way through the forest in this book.


Whose Tracks are These?: Everything you need to know about the tracks that animals leave behind can be found in this book. It is also full of some great illustrations.

The Garden of Happiness: Even if you live in the city, nature can still be found in your backyard. This storybook is about an empty lot in the city that is transformed by a little girl.

Girls Who Looked Under Rocks: This chapter book is geared towards older girls. It is about women who made their careers out of the wonders of nature and how they overcame hurdles.

Nature’s Day: Travel to the farm and beyond and discover how the seasons change at every location. From the frozen pond to the fruitful fields, nothing ever does stay the same.

Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You: The author of this story brings nature and inspiration together to create a beautiful story that will soon become a family favorite.

The Great Kapok Tree: Kids will learn just how valuable nature is…. even when it is just a tree.

The Lorax: A Dr. Suess favorite! Although we may not have any Truffula trees, this story is a great way to get kids how to understand the importance of taking care of nature.


Do you have any awesome books for kids who love nature to add to the list? Share them with me in the comments! Happy exploring and reading to you and your family and don’t forget to grab a copy of my new book!

100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever a

More Themed Book Lists You’ll Love:


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Managing Perfectionism: 10 Tips for Helping Your Gifted Child

managing perfectionism 10 tips for helping your gifted child

As parents, we want our children to excel. We want them to strive for excellence, and to feel accomplished with a job well-done. Whether it’s their education, music lessons, dance, performance, or any other skill they’re pursuing, we teach our kids to aim high and master new things from an early age.

Gifted children know this expectation well. Because they rarely struggle with anything they attempt early on, we set high standards for them. After all, striving for perfection in the sense of learning to excel can be healthy and admirable. We just want our children to succeed.

gifted child perfectionism


The Unhealthy Side of Perfectionism

But, when reaching for perfection turns compulsive, it becomes an unhealthy struggle. And this type of pervasive perfectionism can become debilitating to a gifted child. Gifted perfectionists can be unsatisfied with their performance on anything – even when they’ve done beautifully.

My son has been taking flute lessons for a little over a year and a half. When he went in for his first “try out” and tested different band instruments to see what he was most suited to play, he was told that he had a natural ability, and could play whatever he wished. He chose flute.

At first, he practiced well and often, but as time has gone on, and the pieces have become more challenging, he’s pulled back. I know that it’s because he’s afraid he’ll fail. He has been told since the beginning that he is a natural, and so with every failed note, he feels increasingly devastated and angry.


That amazing solo happened because neither his teacher, nor his parents {us} allowed him to quit. He told us over and over again that he wasn’t going to perform. He argued that he’d been practicing the song for a year and still didn’t get it right every time. But we wouldn’t back down because he needed to play the song. He’d worked hard, and would be sitting in a gymnasium with other 5th and 6th grade musicians, none of whom practice perfectly every time. And almost every one of them was performing a solo.

He nailed it. And once he did, and heard the applause, his whole demeanor changed. He sat straighter. He clapped harder for his friends. And he smiled through the rest of the concert.

And then he fought me again the next day as we tackled a math concept that was new to him.

When Perfectionism Leads to Underachievement

Perfectionism is different than the motivation for excellence. The dissimilarity keeps gifted perfectionists from every completely feeling good enough about themselves. It keeps kids from taking risks. They become so afraid of failure that they avoid work, play, and new experiences altogether.

I still get this way as a perfectionistic adult. I get anxious and procrastinate on tasks or projects I have coming up when I’m afraid I won’t be able to meet my own high standards. I’m speaking about giftedness and managing intensity in a few weeks, and still haven’t put together my talks, slides, and handouts. It’s not because I don’t know the topics inside and out – I live those topics on a daily basis!

Managing Perfectionism: 10 Tips for Helping Your Child

I just don’t want to let my audience down. I’m headachy and nauseous when I think about it. I love speaking. I love writing. And I’ve done it for years – and get myself worked up each and every time because I care so much about creating the perfect experience for others.

I know exactly how my son feels.

I know how your gifted perfectionist feels. He might seem depressed or avoid basic work, making excuses and blaming others for his lack of follow-through. He may become defiant or rebellious.

Perfectionism And The Gifted Child

Unhealthy perfectionism affects the child {or adult} physically, emotionally, and intellectually. But it also affects his family and friends. Perfectionists may subtly cause others to feel down about themselves by pointing out their flaws and mistakes in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

One of my children is constantly pointing out a sibling’s flaws, and offering unsolicited advice. It’s not warranted, and all it does is make the recipient feel less perfect than the advice-giver. And the advice-giver feels more important, smarter, etc.

Giving others unsolicited advice reassures gifted perfectionists of how intelligent they really are. Causing others to feel bad has an unconsciously confirming effect on their own perfectionism.

10 Tips For Helping Your Gifted Child Manage Perfectionism

So, as parents who want our gifted kids to reach their potential and excel, without becoming unhealthy in their quest for perfection, how can we help them manage?

1. Let them hear about your mistakes.

Kids who struggle with perfectionism often think others are perfect. Talk to them about your failures and the lessons you’ve learned from them. When I taught gifted children in the public schools, I started the year by going into all of the third grade classrooms and reading excerpts from the book, Mistakes That Worked. In that book, inventions that were created from someone’s failures are profiled. The Frisbee, Toll House chocolate chip cookies, and Post-It Notes are some of the amazing things discussed in that book.

Sometimes the best learning happens from the biggest failures. After we discussed the books, their classroom teachers each shared a story of failure from their own lives. It was powerful, and enlightening. The kids loved it.

Managing Perfectionism: 10 Tips for Helping Your Child

2. Teach them to practice… and to lose.

Many things come easy to gifted kids, so by the time they find something that’s hard, they give up rather than fail. Find something they’ll have to work at – an art class, horseback riding, stop motion animation – and sign them up. Practice with them between sessions. Teach them that great things come through hard work.

Then, teach your kids to lose. Play games with them, starting with games of chance and moving onto skill-based games. Celebrate gracious losing.

3. Focus on the process, not the product.

Too often, perfectionistic kids have an idea of what something should look like when it’s done. Their picture may or may not match up with reality. Throughout the process of their work, ask them questions and offer compliments. When they’re done, ask questions. “What made you use that color?” “How did you come up with this idea in the first place?”

4. Explain your expectations, and stick with them.

Gifted kids are literal and need to know up front what it means to be done with a project. What does a great journal entry look like? How do we measure success on the ball field? What should his flute practice include? Tell your literal-minded kiddo what to expect and tell him to stop when he gets to that point. Use a time limit if necessary.

Managing Perfectionism: 10 Tips for Helping Your Child

5. Be silly sometimes.

Gifted and perfectionistic children can be so hard on themselves. Take time to laugh with each other – especially when mistakes are made. Practicing how to take falls, trying flips on the trampoline, and watching silly shows on television all help draw families closer together and remind kids to enjoy moments… and that everyone fails.

6. Talk about your own struggles.

If you’re a perfectionist too like I am, talk to your kids about it. I just chatted over Starbucks with my son about how I struggle when I have too many things on my plate. I get overwhelmed, think I can’t do it all perfectly, and just want to give up altogether. When he knows that I struggle with paralyzing perfectionism, too, he doesn’t feel so alone.

7. Break routines from time to time.

Like all children, the perfectionist craves routine. Help them see that the occasional break from routine is okay. If you’re in a hurry to be somewhere, model that it’s okay to let some chores go until later. If you always let your kiddo read before bed, but you got home really late, have them go to bed without reading from time to time. Teach them that routines and structures are meant to help us focus our days – not become slaves to them.

8. Make and progress towards goals.

Help your child see the bigger picture, and realize that mistakes and trip-ups are part of the journey. Start by having them think about things they want to achieve and break it down for them. For example, if your child wants to write and self-publish a book, have him first set the small goal of outlining his story. Then, have him set and meet the goal of writing the first chapter. Keep going like this in small intervals, helping your child see that there are many steps to ultimate goals, and nobody get there right away.

Managing Perfectionism: 10 Tips for Helping Your Child

9. Enjoy a state of rest.

Many kids get more worked up over their perfectionism when they over-extend themselves. Make sure that everyone is well-rested and takes good care of their physical needs. Set aside time to eat together as a family and reconnect. Include quiet down time in your day for kids and adults of all ages – we all need downtime.

10. Be a role model for healthy excellence.

Take pride in your work and don’t hide your mistakes or criticize yourself aloud. Congratulate yourself when you’ve done a good job, and let your children know that your own accomplishments give you satisfaction. Don’t overwork. You, too, need to have some fun and relaxation.

If your child’s perfectionism is getting in the way of normal activities and preventing him from getting involved in new activities, or if your child shows symptoms of anxiety related to perfectionism, like stomachaches, headaches, or eating disorders, you may want to get professional psychological help for your child and your family. Seeing a psychologist or a family counselor can help give you the tools to get your kiddo and yourself back on track.

Do you or your child struggle with perfectionism? What are some of the successful ways you’ve tackled the problem? 


An additional resource to help you as you help your child with perfectionism – 

perfectionism and gifted children

Get all the details about Never Good Enough, by Colleen Kessler  HERE. 

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Dear Tired Mom of Gifted Kids

dear tired mom of gifted kids

It’s been a long day already, and you haven’t even taken your first sip of coffee. You didn’t get to bed until well after midnight because the oldest couldn’t shut his mind down and wanted, no needed, to talk about every single swirling thought he’d ever had.

Dear Tired Mama of Gifted Kids

At four a.m. you were violently shaken awake by the six year old who just needed to hear you say, yet again, that it was highly unlikely that the sun would explode whilst she slept. And what scientific proof you had to back up your stance.

You finally got her settled again, snuggled next to your slumbering husband when the toddler started crying. He just needed to cuddle, and so in desperation you brought him into bed with you praying that this way you might both get some sleep.

You did.

For a few hours.

And then you awoke to a crash in the kitchen at 7:30ish.

Your sweet eight year old decided to make you coffee, and dropped the canister, then tripped over the chair she’d used to get the coffee out of the cupboard in the first place. And you looked at the table and saw that she’d pulled dough out of the fridge and was rolling it out for biscuits – and had spread flour everywhere.

Dear Tired Mama of Gifted Kids

Bleary-eyed, you finished making the coffee, and worked together with your daughter to clean up the mess, and soothed her sobs. Her plan had been to surprise you with a complete breakfast, ready to go, as soon as you woke up. And she’d hoped to be halfway through her independent school work before that.

But things often don’t look like the perfect picture in her head, and she just can’t handle that when perfectionism rears its ugly head.

So, for sanity’s sake, you are now sitting on the couch, cradling your coffee in your cupped hands, breathing in the vanilla flavored creamer and the peppermint essential oil you dropped in, hoping it would clear the cobwebs from your cluttered mind – and the television is on with Leap singing the alphabet to your littlest.

Dear Tired Mama of Gifted Kids

And you’re gearing up for the chaos of the day.

Homeschooling – no, parenting – gifted kids is not for the weak. There’s the anxiety. And the asynchrony. And the overexcitabilities. And the intensity. And the perfectionism. You often think that whomever came up with the term gifted to describe children like yours, may have used the word gift to remind themselves that children were a blessing.

Because oftentimes giftedness is not.

Take heart, mama, it is worth it.

The late night theological discussions, the endless curiosity, the boundless energy, the constant noise… it’s all worth it.

But, because the traditional parenting tips don’t typically work with gifted and intense children, you often feel alone and like you’re failing.


Dear Tired Mama of Gifted Kids

Dear Tired Mom of Gifted Kids

Here’s the thing, mama of gifted and intense kiddos… you’re not failing. At all. There are other moms out there who are experiencing the same failures, the same exhaustion, the same endless unanswerable questions from pint-sized brains that run laps around your own.

And the supermom myth… well it’s just a myth. You can’t do it all, and you certainly can’t do it alone.

Moms of gifted kids need help – and they need to be okay asking for it.

Help can be a conversation in a support group for parents of gifted children. Something simple to remind you that you’re not alone, your kids will be fine, and you’ll make it through this adventure of parenting. If you’re looking for a fantastic and supportive community full of parents who get you, I’d love to have you join us in The Learner’s Lab

the learners lab for gifted kids

Help is going out for coffee with a friend – just to be a normal woman for an evening. It’s getting together with with a small group of moms and their kids, and being okay with whatever means fun for your kiddo, even if that’s reading under a tree while the other kids run around on the playground.

It’s even pulling away from everyone for a few days or weeks to regroup and reconnect as a family. To sit at home and cuddle on the couch with one another.

Help is whatever YOU need most.

But, tired mama, the best thing you can do to help yourself through this journey of parenting misunderstood kiddos is to remember that you ARE a fantastic parent. You are exactly the mother designed for your kids. You’re perfect for them. Especially in your imperfection.

There’s no such thing as a perfect mama. Only one doing her best, learning and growing alongside her kiddos.

Sip that coffee, regroup, and rely on Netflix from time to time if you need to. But don’t doubt that you’re doing a wonderful job. You ARE a great mom.

I’m sitting here with my coffee, and thinking about you. Knowing that you’re out there helps me through my struggles too. We’re in this together, tired mama of gifted kids, and we can do this.

Thinking of you – and clinking my mug to yours… Be brave today. Smart kids are cool – and so are you. Carry on and know that help is a FB message or email away.


For more posts on parenting gifted kids, check out:


Dear Tired Mama of Gifted Kids

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5 Virtual Playdate Ideas to Keep Kids Entertained and Engaged While Home

5 virtual playdate ideas to keep kids entertained and engaged while home
HHM Five Virtual Playdate Ideas PIN

Are your kids going stir crazy at home? While people in some areas are beginning to be able to get out a little more, others are not. Or maybe you have a child (or yourself!) who has a medical condition that requires you to stay home and away from any potential danger of getting sick. Maybe you care for an elderly relative and can’t get out as much as you’d like. Or you could be in the middle of super cold, super hot, or even rainy weather that makes getting outside hard to do. There are lots of reasons why you and your children might be interested in virtual playdate ideas, so I’m sharing these 5 virtual playdate ideas with you today!

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Thankfully, Zoom and other video conferencing platforms have provided a way to stay connected to friends and family even if you can’t be together in-person. This means kids can still see and talk to their friends. No, it’s not exactly the same as getting together in real life, but it’s the next best thing!

5 Ways Kids Can Connect with Friends Through Video

1. Board Games

Board games have always been a popular option for gatherings–and for good reason! They’re appropriate for any group size and are enjoyed by almost everyone. Now, video conferencing has made it possible to play games with friends and family even when you’re not in the same location. Yahtzee, Farkle, Bingo, and Charades are a few games you can play over Zoom or Facetime that are cost-effective and fun for all ages.

There are actually lots of kinds of bingo games for kids! Click this link to see some of them. You’ll find bingo games for preschoolers, alphabet bingo, animal bingo, holiday-themed games, and even Spanish versions!

And, on Only Passionate Curiosity, you’ll find an article sharing a printable Boredom Busting Bingo game. This one is a little different because it is actually a bingo board that includes spaces for things like “learn about food chains” or “make up a dance” or “make papercrafts.” Then, in the information included in the article, you’ll find links to printables for helping your kids learn about food chains, templates and ideas for all kinds of papercrafts, etc. This is a fun and educational way to play bingo! 

2. Weekly Book Club

This one is exciting – especially for book lovers like me! An online book club is super simple to set up. You can coordinate with neighbors, friends, or other homeschool families to find kids who are interested in participating. 

Once you’ve got a group together, have the kids choose a book (maybe have them vote on two parent-approved options) and discuss the details – days/times of meetings, which video platform to use, how many chapters a week to read, discussion questions or free-flowing convo, etc. Putting a plan in place will ensure everyone is on the same page (yes, pun totally intended). 

Right now with everyone stuck at home, escaping to a new world – with your friends! – is a great way to feel less alone. 

3. “Show and Tell”

Yep, I said “show and tell.” Just like we did in elementary school all those years ago. Kids love showing off their stuff!

Just grab a group of friends with kids and set up an informal weekly chat. Maybe (to get everyone “warmed up” and ready to be on camera) start with circle time and let parents take turns leading songs and stories. Then, let the kids hop on camera to show the group their most prized possessions. Let each child have a turn giving a little background about his or her treasure, and then have a Q&A time for others in the group to ask questions about their treasured objects (or pets….kids love their furry – or scaly – critters!). You can keep it to one kid per week or let everyone have a short turn each time you meet – whatever works best for your group.

Bonus – this is a fantastic opportunity to help your kids build confidence when speaking in front of others!

4. Arts and Crafts

Arts and crafts are the perfect boredom buster for kids at home. Have them put on their creative hats and get together for a virtual “make and take” project each week with friends. You can find craft ideas online and have everyone gather their own supplies before each meeting.

Crafts can be chosen based on a class theme (sea creatures, fairy tales, dinosaurs, etc.). Or, kids can take turns each week picking a craft for the group to do together.

Our sister site, Only Passionate Curiosity, has some great arts & crafts ideas that are either inexpensive or free. You’ll also find educational printables, unit studies, worksheets, and other fun ideas!

Pro tip – designate a parent to send out a weekly supply list so everyone has time to gather what they need to participate. Be sure the list is sent out at least a week ahead of time! 

5. Social Club (Around a Central Topic)

This one is probably my favorite. I have a child that can talk for hours and hours and hours about Minecraft. I try to give him my full, undivided attention, but let’s be real, it’s hard. My eyes glaze over because I don’t understand most of what he’s saying.

If you can’t get out and physically be with friends right now, forming an online group chat with your child’s peers surrounding a topic of interest is a great solution. It gives them an opportunity to “geek out” over all the details of their interest/hobby that we, as parents, don’t always fully get. And the friendships formed by kids connecting in this way have the potential to last long beyond these online meetups. 

Kids can exchange letters, talk on parent-approved messaging apps, and/or continue to video chat (or see one another in-person, if local) once the social club has run its course and life has gotten a little more back to normal.

Bonus Ideas and Activities

We all know we tend to feel better when we do nice things for others. It just makes us feel good to help others feel good! So how about performing some random acts of kindness? You can do these together with your virtual group or on your own!

Some of these may not be do-able right now if they require that you leave the house and you’re not able to do that, but many of them are perfect for doing right at home! 30 Random Acts of Kindness for Kids includes some fun yet simple ideas for doing things to show your kids you care. (Yes, we do that every day by feeding them and keeping them alive! 🙂 But sometimes our kids enjoy an extra special reminder that we’re glad they belong to us!) If you and your children want to do some random acts of kindness for someone else, you’ll find great ideas in these articles: 50 Random Acts of Kindess  (some of which can be done from home) and 50 More Random Acts of Kindness (That Can Be Done from Home).

The Wrap Up

Life looks different for many of us right now. While we can’t do anything to change the events of the past year, we can try to find the bright side and make the most of our current circumstances. While get-togethers aren’t happening as much, video conferencing has made it possible to connect face-to-face. 

Which of these ideas do you think your kids will enjoy? Or do you have other ideas to share? Please let us know in the comments below!

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Poetry Study on The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

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Unpoppable Bubble Recipe

Soap Carving Ideas and Information for Children

Soap Carving for Everyone!

100 Hands On Activities for Middle School and High School FB Updated 1

100 Hands-On Activities for Middle and High School

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A Collection of Easter Ideas and Activities

a collection of easter ideas and activities
HHM Collection of Easter Ideas and Activities PIN

Don’t you love finding new ways to celebrate holidays? We thought you would because we love it too! Here you’ll find a collection of ideas and activities we’ve gathered from our own sites and from some of our blogging friends. We truly do hope you are inspired to try one (or several!) of these activities and ideas!

HHM Collection of Easter Ideas and Activities

Whether you want to keep things simple, use what you already have on hand, or go all out and have a big celebration, we think you’ll find just what you’re looking for!

Games and Hands-on Activities


Printable Easter Story Trivia Game

We hope this free printable Easter Story Trivia Game will help you keep the focus on Christ this Easter season!

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LEGO Tomb Activity for Easter

This LEGO Tomb Easter Activity will help you share the story of Christ’s resurrection with your kids in a hands-on way this Easter!

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Easter Egg Parachute Game

If you’re having an Easter party (or if you just have a lot of kids!), this is a fun game for young children.

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Easter Story LEGO Challenge

This Lego challenge is perfect for helping children illustrate (and remember) the Easter story.


Paper Roll Bunny Craft for Kids

Looking for a simple, just-for-fun Easter craft for your family or a party? This is it!


Make A Frederick’s Cross Using Blacksmith Secrets

These crosses are beautiful and are easier to make than you might think!

Dyeing Eggs and Easter Egg Activities

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Using shaving cream and food coloring to dye Easter eggs is fun and simple, and your eggs will be pastel beauties!


Fizzing Rainbow Easter Eggs!!

This fun science experiment/activity is perfect for the Easter season.


10 Fun Ways to Recycle Plastic Easter Eggs

If you’re like me, you hate throwing things away if they can be recycled or repurposed! This article shares 10 ways to use leftover plastic eggs in fun and educational ways.

ABCs and Math Activities

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Upper & Lowercase Easter Egg Match

If you like the number match activity above, we think you’ll love this upper and lowercase letter match too!

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Easter Egg Number Match

This is a super cute preschool math activity for children who are working on counting, matching, and recognizing numbers.

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Easter Egg Math

Use plastic Easter eggs to do these math activities with your little ones.

Fun with Food

sweet chicks easter snackSweet Chicks Easter Snack

This sweet Easter treat reminds us of new life, so it’s a perfect Easter or Palm Sunday treat for kids to make and eat!

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Dissolving Peeps Science Experiment

If you have Peeps for Easter (or leftover Peeps after Easter), use them to do this experiment! It’s super easy and inexpensive.

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Fun Jelly Bean Structure Activity

This simple activity will encourage your children to be creative and use critical thinking skills in a fun way.

Coloring and Painting

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Just Color ~ Easter

This is an Easter-themed coloring pack for kiddos who enjoy coloring or need something quiet to do for a little while.

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Easter Q-Tip Painting Printables

These Q-Tip coloring pages are fun for children, but they’re also great for helping develop eye-hand coordination!

Miscellaneous and Collections of Ideas

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Easter Traditions Around the World

Learn more about how other countries and cultures celebrate Easter with this fun printable booklet that all ages will enjoy.

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Easter Ideas and Experiment for Your Homeschool

In this article, we share a collection of ideas and experiments for the Easter season.

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Creative Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

This is a fun assortment of articles sharing creative ways to dye and decorate Easter eggs!

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Easter Ideas, Activities, and Printables

This article is a collection of all kinds of printables, ideas, and activities for your children or for an Easter party, co-op, etc.

free easter and spring printables

Free Easter and Spring Printables

This collection includes printables for both Easter and spring. (Note: All of the printables were free at the time we created this collection.)

HHM Easter Confessions of a Homeschooler

Fun and Easy Easter Activities for Kids!

This resurrection garden is a wonderful way to remind your family of Jesus this Easter season.


This is another collection of lots of fun printables and activities for Easter and spring.


Easter Printable, Crafts, and More

Looking for printable craft ideas for Easter? You’ll find a great collection here!

10 Easter ideas and activities | Hip Homeschool Moms