Magic Tricks Resource Page

Magic Tricks...

Magic tricks are a great way to learn science and mathematics. Some tricks require good deductive reasoning and observations skills. Most require good timing skills. All of them take practice so that they can look as natural and effortless as possible while being performed.

The following resources contain information about magic, tricks you can learn to do with ordinary household items, and famous magicians and illusionists.

What is Magic?

Wikipedia: Magic

Make Your Own Magic Props

You Can Do Magic: Magic Tricks for Kids
Written and video instructions for making a magic trick. Check out 'Magic Lessons' for more tricks.

Instructables: Magic Channel
Offers a variety of tricks you can make and do.

Halloween Activities

Halloween Related Activities on Funschooling & Recreational Learning

Covering the Basics

Create A Spooky Sound Story - Make up a spooky sound story or sentence and add sound effects to it!

Two-Sided Diorama - This activity features the poem, "The Five Little Pumpkins".

Create A Scary Creature - Suggestions for creating a scary creature. Great for encouraging story telling!

Masquerade Masks - Learn about the history of masquerade masks and download printable masks.

Haunted Halloween Resource Page - Links to haunted places and information about the 13 Haunted Halloween Activities ebook. Free sample of ebook available.

Glowing Halloween Lantern

Glowing Halloween Lantern by Fran W & Becka V.
Turn a milk or juice carton into a lantern with a creepy-cool theme!

To make one you will need...

A clean milk carton, construction paper, craft knife, scissor, tissue paper, black construction paper, glue, 1 chenille stem, small nail, pencil, ruler, glow stick, yarn, and a small bottle cap

Optional: Serrated knife, craft foam, Halloween stickers, acrylic paint and a paint brush, push pin, craft supplies, battery-powered candle

What to do...

Popcorn Project

Popcorn is a fun food with a long history!

Here are some of the things we've done and resources we've used to learn about popcorn. If you like creating your own learning adventures as much as we do, you may find the following information helpful.


  • Find out how and where popcorn is grown and what type of corn used to make it.
  • *Watch a video about the history of popcorn.
  • Germinate popcorn seeds on a moist paper towel, inside a zip top bag. Grow your own popcorn plant.
  • *Watch a video of how popcorn is made.
  • Compare the volume of unpopped to popped popcorn.
  • Use your senses to learn more about popcorn and enjoy it a few different ways.
  • Tell popcorn related jokes and riddles.

*Note: Check the video section at the end of this post for a resource.

The following activities will require: 1 lb of popping corn, an ounce scale, 1 or more methods of popping corn kernels, a stopwatch, a way to record results (optional), measuring cups and spoons, bowls, cinnamon, milk, sugar or honey, spoon, nutritional yeast, olive oil, sea salt, an oil that can withstand high heat, extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil, herbs and spices of choice, and melted butter

Haunted Halloween Resource Page

This resource page has been created to accompany the publication:

13 Haunted Halloween Activities

To find out more about this 97 page ebook and to get purchasing information, please scroll down to the bottom of this page. To download a FREE sample of this publication, click here.

Sites & Links Connected to this Publication

Fran's World of Discovery Links

Words within Words  - Get some extra ideas to make the game more interesting.

Pumpkin Luminary - This page has a picture and instructions for this activity.

Washington Irving Research Project - Links to audio version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and a research project with facts, questions and information about his life.

Edgar Allan Poe Research Project - This post has facts, questions and links about Poe. It also includes links to his literary works.

Haunted Creations (Off Site) Chocolate Royal Icing

A recipe for chocolate royal icing can be found on this page to use with the haunted edible creation.

DLTK: Spooky Spider Hand-print - Craft made with hands. This site also has a bat that can be made with hand-prints.

Enchanted Learning: Halloween - Offers a variety of Halloween crafts including spiders and bats.

Penguin Dry Ice: Safe Handling & Usage Guide - This site has information about how to locate dry ice, ways to use it, and a guide for safe handling that you can download.

The following resources may not be suitable for all audiences. These resources have bee provided for the Haunted Places Research and Project Suggestions section of the publication.

Around the World

Haunted Rooms: 21 Most Haunted Places in the World - This site offers information about a haunted prison, home, castle, sanitarium, an Inn, The Tower of London, and others.

Salon: 10 Most Haunted Places in the World -  This site offers information about a haunted: Asylum, forest, fort, theater, castle, and other places.

Paranormal: About: World Most Haunted Places - Site offers a picture gallery of haunted places. Click on a picture to learn more about that place.

Leap Castle - Leap castle is considered one of the most haunted castles in the world.

Fran's World of Discovery: Castle Research Project & Castle Resources can be found on this blog. The Resource page has links and videos that include haunted castles.

United States

Travel Channel: Top 10 Most Haunted Places - Site offers haunted places in the United States.

Haunted Places: FL NYCAKYOK- Places in these states that are said to be haunted. Check out the main page to see if there are any haunted places in your area. Just click on your state or any state you are interested in learning more about.

Wikipedia: Winchester House - The house of gun maker, William Wirt Winchester, is believed to be haunted. Find out why his wife continually had construction projects going on. 

13 Haunted Halloween Activities is a 97 page publication, written and developed by Fran Wisniewski, that has over 13 fun and inspiring family-friendly activities including: Games, recipes, experiments, craft projects, a haunted research project and ideas that help spark creativity.  Printable templates, game boards and coloring pages have also been provided. 
This binder book has been designed as printer friendly as possible, and offers a picture directory that hyperlink directly to the activity of choice, when using a regular computer. (This feature does not work on mobile devices at this time.) A short record keeping section has been added to help parents who need to maintain curriculum records for their county. 
Great for families who like to learn and play together, indie learners, and anyone looking for Halloween related activities that are fun and creative.
Introductory price: $2.00

To purchase 13 Haunted Halloween Activities please click on the following link:

Buy this on Selz Sell digital downloads on Selz

Here are some of the activities that can be found in this publication:

Haunted House Craft                                 Fall Cut-Outs
3-D Halloween Scene                                Glowing Lantern (New version)
Create A Spooky Sound Story                    Easy & Rounded Gravestones

Many more activities can be found in the publication that can not be found on Fran's World of Discovery.

Connect with Funschooling & Recreational Learning!
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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran's World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Domesticated Cats Resource Page

 Cats are fascinating creatures and they have a long history with humans!

This resource has been created for anyone who would like to learn more about cats, and contains sites with historical information, biological info, articles, recipe suggestions, craft ideas, and videos.

Please feel free to share this post with others.

Ancient Cats

LA Times: Cat fossils found in China reveal early days of feline domestication - Article about the bones of semi-domesticated cats found in trash pile. (Long)

Science DailyOldest Known Evidence Of Cat Taming Found In Cyprus - Article about discovery - long.

Feline Forever: Prehistory of Cats - Read about where archaeologists have found cat remains. (Short)

Smithsonian: A Brief History of House Cats - According to this article, cats have been with humans much longer than we once believed.

National Geographic News: House Cat Origin Traced to Middle Eastern Wildcat Ancestor - Article that talks about how scientist have identified and traced back the 'maternal ancestors' of house cats.

Cat Gods and Goddess

Catster6 Cat Gods and Goddesses Worshiped by Ancient Cultures - Article about other little know cat gods and goddess.

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses: Egyptian Gods: Bastet - Information about the cat godess, Bastet.

Wikipedia: Bastet - History and information about cat goddess.

Cats and Ancient Egypt

Frog Research Project

Greenfrog life stages.svg
"Greenfrog life stages" by LadyofHats - Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Use the follow frog information as an independent study, family learning project or as a jumping off point for a longer frog study. If you like this project page, please share the link with others. Thank you!

Fun Frog Facts...
(Click on each fact to find out more.)

Research Questions

Do frogs see in black & white or color?

Why is their tongue sticky?

How does the 'slime' on their body protect them?

How long is a frog's leg?

How does a frog hop? (How do their leg muscles work?)

Why do some frogs jump higher than others?

Can any frogs stay in water as an adult?

Are any frogs scavengers? (What do they eat?)

How many different kinds of frogs are there?

How many kinds of poisonous frogs are there? Why are they poisonous? Can anything eat them and live? How do Aboriginal tribes use poisonous frogs?

Do all frogs bleed red?

What kind of myths surround frogs?

Where did the word 'frog' originate from?

Research Resources

Active Alphabet

Act out the alphabet with a fun game that can be played verbally, with letter cards, or by making picture cards with letters on them.

To make cards, you will need...

Index cards, glue and: something to draw/write with, stickers, old magazines, or graphics.

What to do:
  • Draw pictures, write letters or put stickers on index cards.
  • Cut pictures from old magazines or use graphics and glue them onto index cards. 
  • Use commercial alphabet cards: Some alphabet cards have pictures that can be acted out, otherwise you can mix up the cards and use the letters. 
  • Make up your own list of words that can be acted out or use some of these examples:


If you are looking for fun ways to celebrate the season of Summer, try a few of the following activities that can be found on Fran's World of Discovery...

*Celebrate Summer! - What do you do to celebrate the summer season? Use the activity suggestion to help make the summer a little more fun.

*Bubble Solution - Experiment to find out what ingredients make the biggest and best bubbles.

*Nature Backpack - Before your next outing, pack up a few items that will help make exploring nature a little more fun and informative. 

*Child Friendly First-Aid Kit - Make a small chemical and medicine free first-aid kit that kids can take with them and use for minor scrapes and bites.

*Hula Hoop - Activities that can be done with a hula hoop, a link to the history of hoops, and videos about how to hula hoop and some of the amazing things people can do with them.

*Outdoor Charades - Make being outside a little more fun with a game of outdoor charades.

*Bottle Toss - Make a bottle toss game from recycled items.

*Bottle Cap Stamps - Make stamps from recycled caps and lids. Suggestions for use and instructions for the game, Code-Breaker included.

*Tic-Tac-Toe Game - Make a tic-tac-toe game from recycled items and learn about the history of the game.

*Ghost In The Graveyard - A fun game that can be played at night.

*Glow In The Dark Putty - Recipe for making a homemade putty that glows.

4th of July Activities - Activities that make America's Independence Day a little more fun! Includes: The US Flag, The Declaration of Independence, The Star Spangled Banner, Fireworks, recipes, crafts and more!

Animals on Fran's World of Discovery

Bats - There are two different bat posts here on Fran's World of Discovery: Bats and a Bat Resource page.
Bats has 2 sound game suggestions in addition to a few extra links and a research question and the Bat Resource page has over 30 links that relate to bats on it.

Butterflies - A long list of research resources, questions, and hands-on activity suggestions. 

Dolphins - A long list of dolphin resources, including cams, information pages and videos.

Fireflies - Resource page. Links to firefly activities and information.

Glow-Worms - Resource page/research project. Links to glowworm activities, information and videos.

Lizards - Resource page. Lots of links to information and activities for lizards.

Owls - Resource page. Links to owl related sites, fun facts and activity suggestions. 

Fun Foods on Fran's World of Discovery

*Solar Cooking - Harness the power of the sun to cook up a meal or a snack and find out more about solar ovens.

*Blueberries - July is National Blueberry Month! Resources to find out more about this fruit and recipes, such as homemade blueberry topping, can be found here.

*Watermelon Day - Watermelon Day is August 3rd but this yummy fruit can be eaten all summer long. I offer links and an activity in this post.

*Strawberry Craze - This mini strawberry research project is filled with questions to explore, experiments such as extracting DNA from a strawberry, a recipe for a strawberry breakfast sundae, plus links and videos.

*Chocolate - Learn about the history of chocolate, make an old fashioned chocolate egg cream, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate bath soap, and chocolate lip balm.

*Ice Cream - Make ice cream in a bag, find out why you get a "Brain Freeze" and the history of this frozen treat.

*Marshmallows - This post features S'mores with a twist, information about marshmallows, and lots of resources.

Resources Outside of Fran's World of Discovery

Still Learning Something New puts out a monthly calendar with monthly food themes, birthdays, events, holidays and much more. Check out the June, July and August calendars for more info.

DLTK: Summer: Coloring pages, crafts, poems, printables, recipes, puzzles, and other links.

Enchanted Learning: Summer -  Activities, crafts and worksheets for summer.

Spoonful: Summer - Activities for summer, crafts, games, recipes and rainy day ideas. Check out their rainy day page as well with 25 activities.

Kids' Turn Central: Beach Day - Tips for enjoying a beach day on and off line and sea related activities.

Kids Party Fun: Beach Party!!! -  Great ideas for a day on the beach or for planning a beach party!

A-Z Kid Stuff: Rainy Day Ideas - Games and crafts for rainy days.

EEK! - Rainy Day Activities - You will find things to create, brain teasers, things to read, experiments to do and coloring pages.

Wishing you a summer full of fun!

Connect with Fran's World of Discovery!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran's World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

* Indicates that the activity can be found in the Summer Fun Volume 1 Activity ebook by Fran Wisniewski. Check out the ebook store for more info and or click on the button below to purchase this ebook. Summer Fun Volume 1, not only has all the activities indicated in one convenient publication, it contains templates and bonus activities that can not be found on Fran's World of Discovery! 

Word Hop

Once a person is familiar with the alphabet, or with certain letters, put large letter tiles made from foam or cardboard on the floor and have them hop from letter to letter to form small words on their own. Someone can suggest a word, or picture/word cards can be made or used to go with this game. As the player steps on the letter, have them say it so they can learn how to spell the word. Someone can tell the player the order of the letters if needed, or they can try working it out their own first. 
The word can be acted out once it has been spelled correctly, when possible.
Play for as long as there is an interest in the game.

Other versions...

Building Writing Skills

Science and math come so naturally to us that we use these skills on a daily basis without much thought. The same can not be said about reading and writing, but over the past few centuries, these skills have become an important part of the way we communicate, and a necessary part of our lives. They have become a very enjoyable part of our lives as well.

What's In A Name? - Game

What's in a name? Play this fun word game and find out!

Set-up: You'll need enough bottle caps or index cards to spell out each players first name (full) and either letter stickers or a permanent marker. 
Place a letter sticker or write a letter under each cap, or write one letter on each card that spells out the player's name, or a the name of someone or something important to them. 

Follow Me

This open-ended game gives each player a chance to lead the play while trying to challenge the other players to be creative.

Set up: Each player is given a piece of paper or a white board and something to write/draw with. 

Bottle Cap Memory

Depending on what you make, this game can be used to help identify: letters, numbers, shapes, colors and objects in addition to boosting memory skills. 

Set-up:  Save 24+ juice caps of the same color and put 24 stickers on the under-side of each bottle cap. You will need two of each sticker in order to make matches. If you do not have that many caps, use business or index cards that are blank on both sides or a blank deck of cards. (Check *Amazon or a magic shop for blank cards.)


Monarch Butterfly  Photo by Kenneth Dwain Harrelson
We think butterflies are pretty amazing creatures and fortunately, we live in an area that has a variety of them fluttering around. Each year we add to our knowledge of butterflies in a variety of ways. We may read an article, come across new butterfly books, or a butterfly that we can not identify. Whatever sparks a renewed interest in these brightly colored insects, we often find ourselves asking new questions and finding ways to learn more about them in a hands-on or observational way.
Here are some of the questions we ask, places we go, activities we do and resources we use to add to our knowledge of butterflies.
Research Questions

Glow-in-the-Dark Fun Putty

Here's a fun way to explore chemistry with this glow-in-the-dark experiment.

You will need:

1T Glue, 1T liquid laundry starch, ½-1 tsp non-toxic glow-in-the-dark paint, a 4oz disposable cup, and a craft stick

Directions: Put glow-in-the-dark paint in a small cup, add glue and liquid laundry starch and mix with a craft stick. Put the cup in a sunny window and play with it in a dark place. When it stops glowing, put it back in the sun or shine light on it. When not in use, store in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. More glow paint can be added if needed.

Find out the chemistry behind fun putty and get some fun ways to use it.

Connect with Funschooling & Recreational Learning!

Note: Has this or another activity on Fran's World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Symbols, Shapes, Letters and Numbers Game

We made up an open-ended game that encourages players to draw symbols, shapes, letters and numbers in creative ways. I hope your family enjoys this game too!

Set-up: Draw a variety of symbols, shapes, letters and numbers on index cards.

Play: Put the cards in the middle of the table in a scattered pile and take turns picking cards, saying its name and drawing the symbol/shape/letter/number on a piece of plain copy paper.


Hangman/House by Fran W.
Hangman or House is a very popular game in my household.

One player chooses a word and the other tries to guess what it is, letter by letter. 

Game boards can be purchased, but a white board or on a piece of paper can be used to play this game. If you do not want to use a 'hangman', call the game, "House", or something else, and come up with a simple picture that can be made in a certain amount of misses. 

Hot Air Balloons

Bristol Balloon Fiesta by NotFromUtrecht (Own work)
History of Hot Air Balloons First Hot-Air Balloon Flight - Site offers a brief history of the first hot air balloon flight.

About: InventorsHistory of Airships and Balloons - Site offers the history of the hot air balloon and how it was used, plus info about other air ships.

Wikipedia: Hot Air Balloon Site offers a general overview of hot air balloons, including the history of who invented it, when it was invented and more. This site also has information about the brothers who invented it, and the men who flew it: Jean-FrançoisPilâtre de Rozier and FrançoisLaurent d'Arlandes

You Tube Videos: Can be found in the video list below.
The Montgolfier Brothers and the Hot Air Balloon- Talks about the history of the hot air balloon and how it works.

Ballooning: History of Balloons parts 1-2 1944 US Navy - Also gives the history of the hot air balloon, how it works and how it was used. Parts 1 and 2 offered.

Aesop's Fables

Photo from Wikipedia
Aesop Fables -This site offers over 655 fables, alphabetically arranged. Many of the stories can be listened to. Morals and lessons are also provided.

Wikipedia: Aesop's Fables - Find out the history of Aesopica, a story teller from ancient times.

Tales With Morals - Offers a list of fables and a brief history of Aesop and his fables.

UMASS: Aesop - Illustrated fables and a very brief history. Some pages offer animated videos that can be read.

Corn Dogs

Corn Puppies by Fran W.
History of Corn Dogs

Wikipedia: Corn Dogs:  Find out how corn dogs got their start and about National Corn Dog Day (March 22)

National Corn Dog Day: Find out how the celebration got its start.

State Fair (Brand)Corn Dogs - Timeline of the history of the popular brand of corn dog, State Fair. 1953-2012 This site also offers some fun ideas that can be done with corn dogs.


No More Tears!

The tears at the table were my undoing. I couldn't take torturing her any more, so I decided enough was enough, and became determined to do something about it. I was going to stop making learning a chore, and find ways to make it fun and interesting for my daughter. I wasn't sure how I would do it, but I knew there had to be a way.

I found myself questioning why kids didn't have the freedom to choose what they wanted to learn and why they couldn't learn in ways that worked for them. Learning is a natural process, and forcing them to do things in unnatural ways didn't make sense to me. In reality, it seemed counterproductive!

If kids learn best through play, and we make them learn in the most dull and formal ways imaginable, how does that help them?

In my opinion, it is the least effective method they can be offered!
Why not help them learn in enjoyable ways they can relate to?