Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

This was actually the second time we studied Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, but it was our first time rowing it with FIAR.

I was SUPER excited to row this book, because it brought back so many happy memories from Bub’s last year of preschool!

Blast From the Past:

Here’s a few pics from the last time we studied Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Haley was in Kindergarten.

Parker had just turned three and was starting preschool!

Jordan was five years old!  Oh how I LOVE looking at pictures from our early years….another sweet walk down memory lane β€οΈ


Narrowing down the list of things I want to do is probably the hardest part of planning the books we row, but narrowed or not we were ready to row!  Full steam ahead!

We started our row with a steam powered breakfast of construction tires (mini chocolate donuts), sausage, and fruit.

We watched the animated version of the story on our Mike Mulligan playlist.

The kids colored their pinwheels while watching the movie.  They turned out adorable, but only moved when we blew on them.  We had to use store bought ones for the steam experiment!

The boys created cover pages for their lapbooks.


We chose to memorize Proverbs 3:3-4, because it referenced being faithful and winning approval from God not man.

I created a Bible Verse Printable Pack for Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  You can purchase your copy here at our TPT store!

We included a FREEbie Tracer in the Preview.  Click here to download it from our TPT Store.

The boys worked on the puzzle several times while studying Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Character Study:

We did a visual character study for the main characters in our book.  This was both our Language Arts lesson and Bible character study springboard!

We talked about good and bad character traits.


We started our character study with helpfulness.  The good Samaritan is one of the greatest examples of being helpful.

We read The Story of the Good Samaritan and talked about the various people in the story and how helpful and kind the Samaritan man was.

We continued our study of being helpful by reading Helping Is Fun from The Happy Day Books Family Treasury.


We continued our character lessons on faithfulness.  Daniel is such a great example of man being faithful to God.

Another day we read The Story of Daniel and talked about Daniel’s character.  He was a faithful man and honored God even though his life was in jeopardy.


We talked about how Mike and Maryann were diligent workers.  Then we talked about laziness being the opposite of diligent.

We read God, I Need to Talk to You about Laziness .  This was a fabulous booklet, because it was from a child’s perspective and VERY relatable.


Last, we talked about being trustworthy.  People may fail us, but God won’t.  We can trust Him!  Mike and Maryann were facing an unknown future.  We may face similar “unknown” situations in our lives, but we must remember God is with us and He is trustworthy!

We read When You Don’t Know What’s Ahead, Remember God is With You from our God Is With You book.



Jordan colored the story disk and placed it somewhere on the U.S., but it’s hard to see where since it’s SO crowded.  Lots of fun learning happening there! πŸ™‚

Then & Now:

We read through the story and pointed out the various modes of transportation and stopped on page 26.

We looked at the drawings of the farmer’s wagon, the automobile, and the milk cart.

Then we did a little research on our own.   We looked up pictures for each vehicle and how they’ve changed over time.  We found pictures from the early 1900s, then around the 1950s, and the most current model in the market.  Bub really enjoyed this activity!


We read Looking at Landforms on our Epic app.

First the kids sketched a rough draft of the landform.

Then we brought out water, brushes, and watercolors and they made such beautiful illustrations for each landform card (Homeschool Share).

Haley LOVED this activity and quickly joined her brothers at the table!  She’s usually pre-occupied with her own Sonlight Core E studies, but this activity was just too good to miss!  (We LOVE it when she joins us).

I put the landform cards on our pocket chart so they could reference them if needed.

img_1646-1They turned out SO colorful and beautiful!  I LOVE them!  I’m hoping to expand our watercolor landform card collection with future rows.


Steam Shovel Spelling:

We continued to work through our Sonlight Core C Language Arts program.  I cut out construction paper steam shovels and dirt squares.  I wrote the phonics sounds on the steam shovels and the spelling words on the squares.

Jordan sorted his spelling words by the vowel combinations listed on the steam shovels.  Each week we did an activity along with him completing a hand-drawn worksheet to practice writing them.

Construction CVC Words:

I created a CVC Construction pack for Parker to work on.

CVC Construction - Building CVC Words

You can purchase your copy at our TPT Store.


Parker used our letter tiles to build each CVC word.  He did a great job!


Since Maryann was digging in the dirt, I decided to make a garden themed sensory “dirt” bin.

ABC Flower Fun

You can purchase a copy of this pack here at our TPT Store.


I printed our ABC Flower Fun Pack, cut out the uppercase letters cards, and hid them in our “dirt” (black bean) sensory bin

Parker started digging through the bin finding letters and building words.


We brought out our Sonlight Core A CVC words and added letters to them to make new words.


Geometry – Neat & Square Day:

Since Mike and Maryann dug the cellar “neat and square”, we dedicated a full day to this geometric shape!

We had a “dirt square” breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and a square-ish pancake covered with nutella.

We read Leo and the Squares and Squares on our Epic app.

We brought out our square tiles and built several sized squares (2×2, 4×4, 5×5, and so on), practiced counting the perimeter, and calculating the area too!

Working with the square tiles reminded Bub of his favorite pixel video game characters.  He felt inspired to create a figure of Mario.

Then we cut apart square centimeters and he made his own version for his best bud, Spence!

I created a Measure-Me-Math (Measuring Squares) lapbook insert for the boys to work on.  This is very similar to the circle version I created while rowing Yellow Ball last year (a catch-up post for another day).

Parker practiced tracing the various squares on his lapbook insert.

Jordan complete the “Seek, Find, and Write” section of the lapbook insert.

We brought out our Geoboards and the boys made “neat and square” squares.

Dirt Shapes:

Jordan was reviewing 3D shapes for his Horizon math lesson.  I felt inspired to whip up a quick worksheet for review.  I cut out brown construction paper shapes and provided him with the word blocks.

First he matched each cut-put shape on the worksheet and wrote the name of each shape in the word box provided.

Math Equations:

Word Problems:

I printed a copy of the Mike Mulligan Word Math Word Problems worksheet (Homeschool Share).

I created a set of Construction Equations for practicing both addition doubles and subtraction doubles math facts.

Construction Equations:

You can purchase the packs here at our TPT Store.

Parker matched the answer cards to the equations.

img_1683I also set out the equation cards in our pocket chart for Jordan to work on.  He matched them up too!


Matter Matters:

Since Maryann was a steam-powered engine, we dove into another lesson on the three states of matter.

We watched an “I Wonder” clip about the three states of matter on our Mike Mulligan playlist.

I created a states of matter tray with three bottles (1: empty for air, 2: blue tinted water for liquid, and 3: full of blocks for solid) and our States of Matter Weather cards.

The boys took turns sorting through the stacks.

This was a great visual demonstration for the three states of matter.

We also watched a great video about how steam and diesel engines work on our Mike Mulligan playlist.

I saw a great molecule game on Pinterest, but I couldn’t get my hands on a copy.  Anyway, I made a quick mock-up map to show the boys the difference between the three states from a molecular level.

The boys took turns matching the beads to the molecules on the map.

Next, we brought out a water pouring activity inspired by Things to Share and Remember’s post.

The boys took turns pouring the water into different containers, confirming that liquids take on the form of the container they’re in.

Then the boys completed their Matching Matter Worksheet.

Melting ice cubes on a hot griddle is our favorite demonstration of the three states of matter.  We did this MANY times!


Jordan also observed steam when making his steamed milk one day!  I love when he observes and connects a lesson with something he’s learned in school!

Road Engineering:


In the story, they had to “lower the hills and straighten the curves”, in order to build proper roads.  We checked out Gail Gibbons’ New Road!""New Road! from the library.

img_1638I decided to make a layered breakfast creation.  I always see pins for “overnight oats”, so later than evening we layered our overnight oats like they layered the land when paving roads.

The kids LOVED this activity and EVERYONE loved the overnight oats!  Another successful edible science activity!

I set out Hooray For Inventors!""Hooray For Inventors! for the kids to look through.  Haley read through the book from cover to cover while Jordan glanced through it and found inspiration for an invention!

Diggers & Dirt:

Mike and Maryann dug that cellar in one day.  What other things like to dig in the dirt?


We read The Diggers by Margaret Wise Brown.  Which referenced animals, people, and machines that like to dig in the dirt.

I made a special digger breakfast with nuts and berries buried in their hot cereal.  We read Under the Ground while the boys DUG into their meal! πŸ™‚

We read Dazzling Diggers which was the perfect amount of information about steam shovels.

We read more books about diggers and other construction vehicles.

Breaking Ground:

Since we were studying diggers, we took a moment to dig into the rich layers of earth.

We broke ground reading about the various layers of topsoil.

Then we read about God’s special diggers, earth worms.

We also made little wormies with a Magic School Bus worksheet.


We read God Made the Earth and took a journey to the center of the earth to see what the Earth is made of.  We looked into caves and rocks too!

The boys added some lapbook inserts about rocks (Mrs. Jones Creation Station).

We went into the kitchen to make candy versions of the three types of rocks (sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks).


Little Digger & Me:

I handed the boys their digger printout and they dot painted it.

Then we cut them out and they attached the pieces with brads.

They pasted the pictures in their diggers.  They turned out really cute!

Maryann in Motion – Chalk Pastel Art:

I found a great chalk pastel activity to do with the kids and I added the tutorial to our Mike Mulligan playlist.

The kids followed along pausing when more time was needed πŸ™‚

They did such a great job coloring Maryann in motion.

They turned out great!

Sweet Treats:

I always loved the chocolate cake pin from Delightful Learning.  That was one I REALLY wanted to make this time around.

It wasn’t as fancy.  I used Sweet Little Blue Bird’s Whacky Cake recipe with a glaze on top.  I added some construction stickers to toothpicks and placed them in the freshly dug cellar, “neat and square”!


Over the weekend, I made a batch of “neat and square” pancakes and sprinkled mini chocolate chips at each level.  The kids LOVED them!  This was a sweet wrap up to another wonderful row!

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