Living Legends, Fanciful Fairy Tales, Mysterious Myths

Read stories to your children and sooner or later you will see those tales woven into the children’s play. Legends, myths and folktales provide some of the most fertile ground for playing pretend. Additionally, the international treasury of stories from these genres forms an intriguing portal to a lifetime interest in cultural geography.

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


This is the first book we have read where I actually had the blog in mind as I read it. If you have not read Willy Wonka in class you are in luck. If you have, you may just want to read it again after this post. Yes, it's just that good. 

     Let me start by saying that I did not do every single thing on this list and I don't expect you to do so either. We all come with different talents and different interest so with that in mind, choose what would suite your family the best.  

    While reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I thought of activities for several of the chapters that you can choose from. As you read the book, you will see how they fit with the story. I'm telling you this list is amazing! No modesty here ;-). I wish there were a website made of just these lists. Here is the incredible list so that you can also dream of such a website:

Ch. 1: Volunteer at a food bank or shelter, donate food (sometimes they have collection boxes at the doors of grocery stores), make up food bags for the less fortunate and (with parents permission) give them out to homeless on the corners or buy a few $5 gift cards for fast food to keep in the car to hand out. This is a great opportunity to give a pass along card, by the way. Or, Option B: really sacrifice and make/eat cabbage soup for lunch! ;-)

Ch. 2 & 3: Design your own Chocolate Factory! Use food, play dough, legos---get creative! Make it 3D!

Ch. 4: I looked in 3 stores to try to find a chocolate bar that you actually unwrap with paper but couldn't find one. I wanted J to open a golden ticket but that just didn't happen. So instead....Option B: design and make your own chocolate bar yourself! What would you put in it? My mouth waters just thinking of it!

Ch. 6 & 8: Act out the kids as the tickets are discovered. I loved acting like Veruca---I mean J loved acting like Veruca. I'm a respectable... ok, ok, it was me. I pretended to be Veruca- happy now? And it was fun, too!

Ch. 10: Go for a walk and look for money on the ground. It's a long shot but you never know. Plus, exercise is good for the soul. 

Ch. 11: Make your own golden ticket. There may even be a template already out there. Use a JoAnns or Hobby Lobby coupon and buy gold scrapbook paper. I would think 1 sheet could make 6 tickets and each sheet is about $.60 regularly. Print off the tickets your kids design. If they are too young to use a computer, use a Sharpie and watch them closely. 

Ch. 14: Have kids practice their 'mental imaging' by first picturing then drawing Willy Wonka based on the description in the book. Hint: He doesn't look exactly the same as he does in the movie so the kids need to pay close attention. Side note: The Oompas look VERY different in the book than in the movie. It might be fun to look up images of the movie to compare. 

Ch. 15: Drink some chocolate milk or hot cocoa together while reading this chapter. This sounds like a journal prompt to me: What would you do if you had a chocolate waterfall in your home?

Ch. 16: Dress up like the Oompa Loompas. The one in the movie would be more fun in my opinion. 

Ch. 17: Make some fudge. Option B: Make up a song or two- like the Oompas do! This would be a great keepsake if written down.

Ch. 18: Design your own boat. Make it out of anything. For some reason a bar of soap comes to my mind. How about butter or mashed potatoes? Think about it, "What did you do in school today?" "I made a boat out of mash potatoes." COOLEST. TEACHER. EVER.

Ch. 19: DIY Gobstoppers. In the book they are described as green marbles- more like the ones sold in stores now. The ones in the movie were way cooler to make (that's my library # taped to the top of my computer): 


This might be a fun time to explore the candy isle {only} searching for Willy Wonka Candy. There isn't much in comparison. 

Ch. 20: We made pretend flavors of gum with playdough such as yellow with blue stripes or pink with red dots. Have you ever made snozzberry flavored gum? By the way, I bought a pack of 6 or 8 colors of playdough at the Dollar Tree. It was much cheaper then trying real flavors (and our teeth thanked us).

Ch. 21: Eat some blueberries while reading.

Ch. 22: DIY lick-able wallpaper, fuzzy juice (Aka rootbeer floats), or marshmallow pillows. Here is a recipe link.

hand on reading 12.jpg

Ch. 24: Eat some nuts while reading. Confused? In the book Veruca is a bad nut- not a bad egg. Personally, I think she was the worst kid and she got off the easiest. 

Ch. 25: Design a glass elevator. I'll admit, I don't know how I would do this so please if you do send me pictures! Go ride in a glass elevator if you know where one is located. Look up google or pinterest images of glass elevators. They are beautiful! 

Ch. 26: Make dark glasses. Let's cheat with this one and use the same idea from the Wizard of Oz. 

Ch. 29: Draw before and after pictures of the kids who visited the factory and compare. In the book you get to see them come out of the factory.

     I truly hope that this post (and perhaps my past post) have opened your eyes to how simple and fun hands on learning can be. If you try these things at home while reading Willy Wonka I really would love to hear from you in the comments below. If you have more ideas to add to this list- I'd love to hear them, too. Remember that you can look up images of the movie or watch clips on youtube throughout. There are also some great quotes and useless facts about the movie you can find. We watched the movie first and I often spotted exact lines from the book used in the movie.   Have fun!


What You DON'T Need to Homeschool

Once upon a time, I was eagerly preparing for my first born child. I had the meager income of a college student, but I was determined to prepare in every way for his arrival. I read all the baby books and magazines to find out what we would need to care for a baby. With the help of generous family members we amassed a collection of baby gadgets and carriers and outfits and pillows and feeding supplies and more that nearly burst our one room apartment. There was barely room in our house for us, but now, I was ready for baby.

Five kids later I have learned that a mountain of baby supplies is handy, but totally unnecessary for raising baby. Give me some diapers, wipes, onesies and receiving blankets and I can raise a healthy happy baby.

I learned a similar lesson the expensive way about homeschool. In my anxiety to prepare to be a successful homeschooler I collected anything “educational” I could get my hands on. I was worried that I would not be a good teacher, but I thought if I had all the right stuff it would make up for my inabilities. Well, I have a LOT of school supplies and they haven’t helped me be a better teacher yet. I have learned how to organize piles of supplies, though...

So what do I use to teach my kids?

Not this. Although I am sort of pinterest proud of it.

Not this. Although I am sort of pinterest proud of it.

And not all of this...

And not all of this...

And not all of this school stuff.

And not all of this school stuff.

Or this, really.

Or this, really.

Or this closet full of school stuff.

Or this closet full of school stuff.

We use this, beat up cardboard box with a handle.

We use this, beat up cardboard box with a handle.


This little bucket goes to any room we are in. We can snuggle on any couch, go out on the porch, or take it on the road. With this bucket and a library card we are ready to take on the world! So if you are new to homeschooling, save your pennies and don’t be a school supply hoarder like me. You don’t need all that stuff. Less is more! Get yourself a sturdy cardboard box, some sharp pencils, notebooks, a few favorite books, and that's it. You have fully stocked a successful homeschool. The world is yours.