Recently we made our first purchase from Scholastic. Honey Pot had been bringing home order forms every month, that we usually ignore because I could find the same books for cheaper on Amazon. Then I saw this boxed set of Magic Tree House books 1-49. It was a way better deal than I had found anywhere else, so we placed an order, and she was lugging it home from school in no time.
Little M&M and I have been reading through them so fast--he loves them! And they have become the first chapter books that Honey Pot sits down and reads all by herself. She is even ahead of us!
I enjoy them too. The text and plot are simple enough for very young children to understand; and yet the time periods and places that the characters visit are so varied and fun to read about! I knew I had to offer some extension activities to go along with them! Check out what we did with the first quartet of stories:
Magic Tree House #1 - Dinosaurs Before Dark
The first story introduces our two main characters: Jack and Annie. They happen upon a tree house full of books, and when they open one and wish to go there, they do! Their first adventure brings them to the time of dinosaurs. So we did a fun science activity today with our toy dinosaurs--hatching eggs! I discovered this while researching ideas for Little M&M's Pokemon party. The tutorial I followed comes from The Science Kiddo, and was super simple to set up. We mixed baking soda and water together (3:1 ratio) and molded them around the dinosaurs. Then we gave them a speckled design with a cotton swab and food coloring, and froze them for 3 hours. Finally it was time to hatch the eggs! The invitation included one egg for each of the kids in a bowl, as well as a cup full of vinegar and pipettes:
The vinegar reacted with the baking soda, and began to fizz and melt away, revealing the dinosaur inside.
They had so much fun with this!
Since we were testing this recipe out for Little M&M's birthday party, we reserved the last two eggs for a short while later. We wanted to compare how long it would take to "hatch" the eggs right out of the freezer, versus waiting 35-45 minutes. We decided that the latter works much better!
Magic Tree House #2 - The Knight at Dawn
Today's activity: a craft the kids could play with when it's finished! I raided the recycling bin for materials, pulled out my trusty hot glue gun and created a castle for the kids to decorate.
Upon seeing it, they were really excited but requested some walls inside, so I added those. Then I had each of them choose two paint colors, and they got busy painting!
Once it had dried they used scissors, construction paper and glue to make a moat around the castle.
Then, as their own idea, they grabbed markers, and added some rocks and a path leading away from the drawbridge.
Here is the finished product!
They grabbed some small character toys and set up a little game inside. Note they even included some sea friends swimming in the moat!
They had so much fun playing with their castle. Great activity!
Magic Tree House #3 - Mummies in the Morning
In this story, Jack and Annie help to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. I thought that would be a perfect activity to do today! While browsing the internet for secret codes the kids could decipher, I found this alphabet on a website called Glyph Viewer. After some copying and pasting, I was able to produce two secret messages. Honey Pot's would reveal part two of our activity.
Here they are decoding their messages. Honey Pot just established "mummy hot dogs" and looked at me with astonishment!
Here is Honey Pot's finished work: "You solved the code! Let's make mummy hot dogs for dinner!"
And here is Little M&M's page, which I wanted to make shorter and using words he is already familiar with so that he may read it himself: "Mom and Dad love you!"
So that night for dinner, the kids helped us to wrap strips of crescent rolls around (turkey) hot dogs. They just loved this activity, and it sure tasted great!
Magic Tree House #4 - Pirates Past Noon
We did a great STEM activity today to accompany the pirate-themed book we had recently finished reading! I grabbed some assorted materials from around the house, and set up this invitation for the kids to come home to:
The note says "Build a boat that can float. How many gold doubloons can it carry?" And so nearby, this was waiting for their completed projects:
They were so excited to begin! Both kids grabbed the scissors and some foil. I'm not sure if they knew yet what their designs would be, but this is how they started:
Little M&M created this sail from the foam sheet, tape and rubber bands. But we worked together creating a wide base for his boat (several plastic straws wrapped in foil). First we tested to see if it would float, and once we saw it did, he added on some gold doubloons! His boat was a success!
Seeing the craft sticks sadly neglected in the bin, I decided to quickly make a boat of my own. Also a successful float that could transport our gold doubloons!
Finally it was Honey Pot's turn. Now, I should mention that I did not contribute to this creation in any way. She didn't ask for help with ideas or construction, so I gave none. Take a look at this boat!! And that beautiful sail includes a swinging rope for the pirates to play on. I was thoroughly impressed, and look, it floats!
She added on all of the gold doubloons too. Well done!
Afterward I allowed the kids to play with their boats. I gave Little M&M a separate container of blue water for his. They each grabbed some characters and stayed entertained for a long while with this!
If you enjoyed these activities, take a look at some similar things we've done in the past!