Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prepare Your Own Sensory Smart Holy Week Eggs

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Our DIY Holy Week Eggs

When reviewing Egglo Entertainment products recently, I decided to create Holy Week Eggs.  These are along the same lines as the typical DIY Resurrection Eggs that you can find all over the Web and read about in the picture book Benjamin's Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs.  However, the DIY Holy Week Eggs do not include an empty egg for the risen Jesus since they only carry the story through the end of Holy Week.  Plus, they are more closely aligned to the Catholic Holy Week readings.

Since I prefer to tweak wheels rather than to reinvent them. I searched online for ideas and found a wonderful list at The Masked Mommy.  Using it, I created our Holy Week eggs.

Ideas for Making Your Own DIY Eggs

Inside our eggs are:

  • a "palm branch", which is a leaf cut off one of our plants and then snipped with scissors into shape that helps us recall Palm Sunday
  • a small bit of soap to remind us of Holy Thursday and when Jesus washes the feet of the disciple
  • a small piece of bread to help us recall the last supper
  • two small fake flowers that I cut off a decoration that are to remind us of when Jesus went to the garden to pray and asked his apostles to stay awake with him
  • ten dimes, because 30 was a bit too many for the egg and I figure 10 can still represent the 30 pieces of silver that Judas betrayed Jesus for
  • a bit of yarn to remind us of when Jesus was bound and arrested, as well as when he was whipped.
  • a crown of thorns that I made from a semi-flexible cutting of a thorny-type plant outside to for obvious reasons
  • a nail to remind us of when they nailed Jesus to the cross.
  • a crucifix from a broken rosary for obvious reasons
  • a piece of sponge soaked with vinegar to remind us of when they tried to offer Jesus a drink
  • a bit of a white rag and some oregano to remind us of when Jesus' body was prepared for burial
  • a piece of gravel to remind us of the stone rolled in front of Jesus' tomb

Introducing Holy Week Eggs

To use the eggs, I simply hid our Holy Week Egglo Eggs in the dark and had the children search for them.  While doing so, we talked about how the eggs glowed, just like God brings light to our lives.

Our Box After Two Eggs Were Hidden

Then, I gathered the children in a circle and used "I wonder" statements as they opened the eggs in order to guide them to share their ideas about why I might have selected each object.

Discovering the Objects Inside the Eggs

Finally, I ordered the eggs and told the children the Easter Story, handing around each related object as I did.

Telling the Holy Week Story

 After this , the kids then re-hid the eggs, had me find them and retold me the story.
How DIY Holy Week Eggs Are Sensory Smart

I loved using our DIY Holy Week eggs with my children to re-introduce and help the children retell the Easter story and plan to do so again during Holy Week.  They offer such awesome sensory input while focusing us on faith.


What's inside?

  • Auditory: The story telling, of course, provided auditory input, as does shaking the eggs trying to guess what is inside them. 
  •  Gustatory:  The children asked to taste a bit of the bread.  

    Smells good.
  • Olfactory:  The "palm leaf", vinegar-soaked sponge and spiced cloth all offered smelling sensations.
Hiding eggs high and low, under and inside objects, etc. encourages lots of movement.

  •  Proprioceptive/Vestibular: The egg-hunting (and subsequent hiding, re-hunting, re-hiding, etc.) provides a variety of movement and heavy work opportunities.  
  • Tactile: As the children open the eggs and handle each of the small items inside them they utilize fine motor skills and touch different textures. 
The objects provide both tactile and visual stimulation.

  • Visual:  Spying the glow-in-the-dark Egglo eggs is both fun and visually stimulating.  However, if you cannot get ahold of glow-in-the-dark eggs before Holy Week, no problem.  Regular ones can work, too.  Just looking at the details of the small objects can offer visual interest.

What DIY projects and traditions help the young children in your life to understand and grow in faith?  Feel free to share about them here in a comment or on our Training Happy Hearts Facebook page.  If you leave a link to an idea, I will pin it on the Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation in Young Children Pinterest board.  Have a blessed and meaningful remainder to your Lenten season.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Float an Orange - Learn About Bouyancy (and Hope!)

What floats?
The other day at an informal homeschool co-op I initiated, another mom led a buoyancy experiment.  It reminded me that I had yet to finish a post that I had begun writing a while back.  Today, I have decided to finally share that post with a little faith twist:

As part of our Our Lady of Altagracia day celebrations earlier this year, my husband, children and I used our post-dinner family time to do an easy buoyancy experiment.  What fun it was!

Will a peeled orange sink or float?

And what further questioning and experimentation it brought on!

We Wondered...

Would an unpeeled orange sink or float?

How about a peeled one?

How about a clementine?

How about a half-peeled orange?

And skins?

And other fruits?

And our clementine candles?

We Discovered... 

Oranges and clementines tend to float if they have their skins on. 

The skins of clementines, when hollowed out like boats, or even just peeled, do, too.

However, peeled oranges and clementines tend to sink.

Other fruits and peels float or sink depending on their density.

Luke's Notes

Our theory (confirmed by online searches) is that the surface of orange and clementine skins contain many tiny pits that collect air.  These mini pockets of air act a bit like a life preserver for the fruit, keeping it afloat.  When the peel is removed, the inside of the fruit becomes denser than the water and, thus, sinks.

Orange and clementine skins alone, much like boats and other objects that float, hold air in a sort of cupped shape.

Other fruits have varying densities which cause them to sink or float.

So What's the Faith Connection?

Delighted That It Floats
Why hope floats, of course.

Much like an orange or clementine peel acts like a life preserver that keeps the fruit afloat when it gets tossed in water, when we wrap ourselves in God's love, we can stay afloat no matter what we are immersed in.

Through sorrows, like the ones my family has been facing since my niece passed away... On juicy, good days when all is sweet...  No matter if there is rain or sunshine, wrapping ourselves in faith can keep us afloat.  

Grab Some Citrus Fruit and Teach Your Kids an Object Lesson

What happens when we remember to pray, hope, trust, have faith and love?  Just like an unpeeled orange or clementine, we can float along on placid waters and ride out threatening tides.

What happens when we shed our faith and try to float on our own?  Sometimes we sink.

Undoubtedly, this past week and a half have reminded my children how powerful our own prayers, and those others have been wrapping our family in, are.  It has also magnified for us the need to maintain faith and hope.

God is good.  Accepting and sharing his love bring fruit.  Fruit that floats...

If you have a specific intention you'd like us to cover you in prayer about, just let us know!  Also, please feel free to share other ideas about helping young children understand and grow in faith here in a comment or on our Training Happy Hearts Facebook page.  If you leave a link to an idea, I will pin it on the Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation in Young Children Pinterest board.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Call to Kindness

A kindness from my daughter.  On a "tough" day, she made me this.  On another tough day, it resurfaced.  Each time, it brought me smiles.  A brief act of kindness perpetuated in its effect.
Earlier this week, I began a post for today, but as the week unfolded, I never finished it.  

Hours ago, I was awakened in the the night by an urge to pray.  I followed it.  

Eventually it led me to getting out of the warmth of the blanket cocoon I was praying in, to turn on my computer and to read today's readings.  

Doing that led me to this post, words I heard and feel compelled to share.  So, today I am not sharing about a Call to Faith Formation in Young Children as much as a Call to Kindness for All.  Simply:

Wednesday, I received news that my niece had died.

Thursday, God spoke to me through the First Reading: "turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness".

Friday in Responsible Psalm, He put simple words to my deep thoughts and prayers, "I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD."

Saturday, I read the words, "“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you," and thought of the blame game that some people play during crisis.  Instead of coming together, some vilify others.  It is sad.  So sad.  And so wrong.  And, thus, I began to pray for those who are not only hurting from loss, but hurting others because of it.  

Today, the word that shouted at me as it sat amidst the daily readings is "kindness".  Reading the word led me to pray, "May love and kindness be the main focus of this day. And healing.  Please perpetuate good.  Don't let loss and hurt magnify anything but love."

It made me think:  Kindness.  Such a simple word.  One we hear and learn about from our earliest childhood days.  One we are forever called to make an anthem of our lives, acting in love towards ourselves and others as a manifestation of His love for us and ours for Him.

Today, how can we each truly be of one kind -- one loving people -- sharing acts and words of love?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lord, Wrap Your Healing Around Us

Outside, snow falls.

Inside, tears do.

The darkness of the night begins to give way to the morning.

The pain of mourning balances with hope for healing.

Cold and sadness begin the day.  Yet beauty and cleansing do, too.   

Yesterday, I lost my niece.  A beautiful girl with beautiful smile.  This morning, I just wish I could hear her giggling again at her silly little nephew, my youngest, who she always got a kick out of.

This morning, I want so badly to be next to my sister, holding her as she tries to hold herself together.  But, I cannot be.  

I must be home, caring for my own three precious children, who sleep in peace, alive and well, awaiting my kisses when they wake up.  Children who blessed me as they heard the news last night.  One crying with me.  One giving me huge hugs and telling me, "Mommy I think you need me to hug you.  Everything will be okay."  Another, who, not really understanding, still went to Adoration with me and his siblings for a few minutes to pray and covered my teary face with kisses.  All my children who I treasure and cannot imagine losing so suddenly.  

May I never know the pain my sister and brother-in-law endure.  May no one else know such pain.  And may that pain be eased.

This morning, my hearts breaks for so many, including beautiful Adrian, whose smile and laughter I will never be gifted with here on earth again.

My heart is heavy with sorrow for all of us who miss her and love her.

Yet, it is hopeful. 

Hopeful for healing among us, her family and friends, and among others who endure similar pains. 

It is hopeful that we can all mourn loss together, celebrating who Adrian and other loved ones have been to us even as we move through shock, anger and extraordinary sadness over how they departed.

Indeed, my heart begins to heal with hope that I may meet Adrian again one day and that all out there who have lost loved ones like this may be reunited with them again in heaven.

May our Lord wrap y niece and all like her in his arms in heaven, purifying them and taking away whatever great pain caused their deaths. I love you, dear girl.  I miss you.

Lord, please heal us.  Please heal my family and all families suffering the unexpected loss of a child, the painful loss of a loved one who extinguished the gift of life on earth too soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Am So Excited About What Happened Last Night {An Egglo Entertainment Review}

How can you "read" your children a story when you have serious laryngitis, encourage copywork with an engaging activity and get all three of your children excited about telling (and re-telling!) the Easter story?  What would make a mama post another review on one single morning?

In our home lately, some products we are reviewing from Egglo Entertainment in exchange for an honest review have been the answer!

Egglo Review

I am so excited by what happened in our home last night with the actual eggs that I just could not wait to post about it despite the fact that I had other posts scheduled for this morning... (But more on my excitement later!)

What's Egglo Entertainment?

If you have not Egglo Entertainment, let me introduce you to this great source for products to enhance your Lent and Easter seasons, especially if you have children ages 4-13 (or even a bit younger or older!)

Egglo Review

We received their The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure book and audio download, Program Guide, Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs and Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls for review and have used (and re-used!) them with delight.

An Adventurous New Bible-Based Twist on Egg Hunts
Egglo Review

The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure book is currently available for $9.99 and is an entertaining, colorful read written by Darcie Cobos and illustrated by Golden Street Animations that connects traditional egg hunts to the gospel of Jesus. 

The story follows characters Anastasia,Hardy and Pascal, as well as their dog, Zeke, as they discover a glorious (and glowing!) mystery that transports them around the world on an adventure to find the greatest treasure of all.

At each location the characters magically get transported to, a glowing egg reveals a clue and a Bible verse until the children discover the answer to the mystery they are trying to solve.

Along the way, God's word guides the children through trouble and changes their behaviors as they come to know Jesus as the greatest gift.

One recent day when I was overcome with laryngitis, my children and I cuddled up with a physical copy of this book and the audio e-book version, which currently sells for $2.99.  We let artist Dick Wells read the story while I turned the pages and the children poured over the vibrant images.  In coming weeks when I finally gt my voice back full-force, we'll re-read the story in a more traditional mom-reading sort of way,  Until then, I am glad for the audio!  My children and I enjoy sharing it.

Inviting Copywork

Nina is so proud of the first scroll she spontaneously designed.

The Egglo Treasures Scripture Scrolls, which currently sell for $4.29, are small scrolls with Bible verses written on them.  They are sized to fit inside Egglo eggs so your children can go on a hunt like the children in the book do and are meant to be used as described in the downloadable 60-page, step-by-step Egglo Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Event Curriculum Program Guide  that currently sells for $14.99 and offers activity ideas, coloring pages, decoration ideas, how-to instructions, snack ideas, printable discussion cards, visual aides and more.  However, we used them a bit differently...

Nina makes scroll after scroll.

As soon as my daughter saw the scrolls, she spontaneously grabbed some supplies and began to make her own version of them.  So, I followed her lead and prepared a copywork tray with the scrolls. 

This learning tray is getting a lot of use.

That tray has found a home on our learning shelves, where the children access it to do self-selected copywork.  Love it!  There is just something about the scrolls that inspires them NOT to balk at handwriting exercises.

A New Family Tradition

Here is our Egglo Eggs carton after the children told me the Easter story.

This Lenten season, one of my faith learning goals for the children is for them to really be able to tell and retell the Easter story in a variety of ways.  I have used the Glow in the Dark Egglo Eggs to help us meet this goal with great success.  (And this is what I was so excited about!)

Egglo Review

Thinking about how I wanted to introduce my children to the eggs before Easter, I decided to create Easter Story/Resurrection Eggs with them.  So, I have secretly been gathering supplies to fill the eggs with.

Now, this week, since we have begun reading the Easter story in different books, I wanted to present the eggs to the kids.

So, first, I simply put the eggs under a high light in my bathroom where my children would notice them and become curious.  When they asked what the eggs were and why I had them under the light, I simply said, "You will see..."  

They quickly realized the eggs were glowing ones like the ones we had read about in The Egg-cellent Easter Adventure a while back, and they became excited.  I then told the children that if they could shine like Jesus by being virtuous and practicing patience I would surprise them with an egg hunt.

It's hard to get a good picture of glowing eggs!  These are our eggs (minus two that I had already hidden.)

The children did.  For three days (because time kept getting away from us each evening, not webcast it takes the eggs three days to charge.  It takes only an hour or so in our experience.)

Finally, last night after dinner and some evening lessons, I told the children to go get their jammies on and then wait in their room while I prepared a hunt for them, whereupon my daughter literally danced down the hallway singing with anticipation.

The flash made it look like the lights were on.  This looked far more impressive in the actual dark that it was.

I quickly hid the eggs and called the children out.  They rushed down the hallway with eager squeals and delighted to come living room to see all the eggs aglow.  Without hesitation, they began racing about to collect each glowing egg.

However, despite the eggs' glow, one egg that I had hidden in a snow boot was hard to find.  


My oldest was especially victorious when he found that last egg!

Then, we turned the lights on and the children began opening their eggs.  They were surprised with the "treats" inside: a piece of sponge, stale bread, a bit of soap, etc.

"Ew, it smells like vinegar."

As the children discovered what was inside each egg I wondered aloud, "Why would Mommy have put that in an egg..."  Between fits of giggles, the children responded with surprisingly on-target ideas:  "Jesus is the bread of life..." "Jesus washed his disciples' feet..." 

Then, I told the children I wanted to tell them a story.  Using the "treats", I retold the events of Holy Week.  The children sat with rapt attention, then begged me to go to another room so they could hide the eggs.

The children begin to prepare to hide the eggs for me.

Of course, I did.  And did they ever hide those eggs!  Under blankets, in boots, under cushions.  They wanted to test if I could find the light and, in doing so, gave us an object lesson in how God's light can shine even when we try to hide it! 

Once I'd found all the eggs that the children had hidden, they told me the Easter story, carefully picking up each "treat" in the order of the events we honor during Holy Week and adding details that I had not used when telling them the story.  (They are obviously assimilating all the picture books, Gospel readings and lessons we have explored previously!)

The children determine who tells the next part of the story by seeing who has the egg with the next object in it.
  Truly, I was delighted with how excited my children were to use the glowing eggs and their contents to retell the Easter story and equally amazed at how accurate their retelling was!

The children were enthusiastic, too.  They wanted to do it again and again.  But, it was bedtime.  So, I told them we'd revisit the activity another day.  They now eagerly await hiding eggs and telling Daddy stories one night when he is at home and also getting to do a hunt with different prizes in the eggs another night.

We Love Egglo Entertainment

My children are truly aglow with delight over Egglo eggs and the way we have used them and I have no doubt other children would be, too!  We've also been enjoying the storybook, audio e-book and scrolls.  What is not to like about hands-on fun that brings literal and metaphorical light through darkness?

When I wondered, "Why coins?", Nina responded, "Because Jesus brings richness.  He is a treasure!"  Really, the coins were to remind the children of the coins Judas took when he betrayed Jesus, but I think I like Nina's idea better!

Without hesitation, I would recommend any Egglo products to families looking for new ways to celebrate this season!  So far in using them here we have had nothing but fun, focused learning, giggles and faith sharing and I cannot think of one thing we've run into about the products we would change.

Egglo Review

Find Out More

To learn more about these products, find Egglo Entertainment on:
You can also click through to read about how others are using Egglo Entertainment products
    Click to read Crew Reviews
    What new products and strategies are you using to teach your children this Lent and Easter season?

Crew Disclaimer

Get Free Printable Lap Reports

{This post contains an affiliate link to  Thank you in advance for supporting our family if you decide to click through to purchase any of their fantastic products.  Now, onto the freebie...}

Earlier when I posted my review of Amazing Science, Volume 1, I mentioned that I had the children fill out lab reports when they did some of the science experiments.  The one Nina usually used is part of a freebie pack offered by Wild About teaching on the Scientific Method for Young Learners and is one Luke has used before, too.
Luke using Wild About Teaching's form during an earlier magnet experiment.

This month, though, I wanted to encourage the kids to start thinking about a few more of the typical parts of a "real" lab report.  So, I quickly put together a simple two-sided form for Luke to complete when doing some of our Amazing Science experiments.
It is nothing fancy, but it has been effective for us, so I wanted to share it forward here free.  Please feel free to download our printable lab report forms for your own personal use or to share the link to this post so others can do the same.

How do you integrate writing and reinforce the scientific method with your children?


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