Projects

Mr. 3 gets a splinter

I only noticed the splinter by the time the finger was swollen and inflamed. My husband was working from home that day, so I called him up to help. Together he and I spent 10 or 15 minutes discussing with Mr. 3 the need to remove the splinter so that his finger can heal.

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Projects, Science

Fruit Fly Trap

I love these Take and Toss cups. They are so versatile and despite the fact that they are cheap ($3 for 4 cups!) they hold up really well. I use mine for both my 1-year-old and 3-year-old. They are great for smoothies because they have wonderfully thick straws, but we also use them for water and chocolate milk. I even saw a mom use them as snack cups once, and I can see myself doing that too.

My latest use for them has been to make a fruit fly trap.

Do you have fruit flies? They lay eggs on your fruit and then buzz around obnoxiously getting on everything, and it’s really hard to get rid of them.

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Basically, you fill the cup 1/3 or half way with left over fruit. If you have a young child, I am sure you have plenty of left over food or banana that has “fallen” to the floor. (My 1-year-old lately just chews on apple and spits it out. I cannot figure out why he won’t swallow it. Even if I cut off the skin he does the same thing. But he always REALLY wants apples…)

Put the lid on the cup, then place a piece of tape over the straw hole. Use a knife to cut a small slit in the tape. (These Washi tapes are too cute! They can be used for innumerable art projects and gift wrapping, too.)

The hole should be big enough for them to crawl in but not big enough for them to easily find their way out. According to WikiHow, who first taught me about making fruit fly traps with old bottles and a paper funnel, the fruit flies are too dumb to find their way back out when the opening is small.

After a few days pour warm soapy water into the cup until all the flies have drowned. Then rinse and repeat.

This has really cut down on the number of fruit flies in our kitchen. They even choose the cup over hovering around the normal fruit bowl.

Continue reading “Fruit Fly Trap”

Daily Lessons, play, Projects

Warning: Severe Heat in the Seattle area!

It’s 90 degrees in Seattle. Yowza! How are we keeping cool? We aren’t. One thing that surprised us when we moved here from Texas was the general lack of centralized A/C.

We have a little unit A/C but the kids won’t leave the door closed, so it’s no good to anyone.

Actually, it does a great job of blowing bubbles. Still, if you are paying $200 for a bubble blower… you are crazy and probably insolvent. 

Forgive me, the heat makes me cranky. 

What we are doing is taking it easy and keeping busy. We’ve got some collaging with contact paper, playdoh, painting on the patio, sticking pipe cleaners into things that have holes, and drinking lots of water.


Also, playing with ice until the freezer runs out. I took an idea from my recent follower Heather (thanks!) and froze some of their water resistant toys in a big bowl of water. Mr. 3 poured salt all over it and we played with together for a little while, at least 30 minutes.  

The salt was as old as he is, so I’m not too heart broken about him using the whole bottle. 

How are you keeping cool? 

By the way, I’m super excited to announce… that Mr. 3 has started “reading” to Mr. 1 and finds many opportunities to explain things to him. 

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm”

“No, that’s not a truck, that’s a tractor” 

I love it. I love it. I love it. 

Projects, Science

Clown Fish

Has it been 2 months since I let my children watch their first movie? We watched Finding Nemo over a period of two days, and he now has a few moments of obsession.

He named his dump truck “Nemo” and the front loader is “Nemo’s Dad”.

Today he took it a step further because he saw that the picture on our Big Ocean book is a Clown Fish. He asked me to read him the section on clownfish a few times, and we also looked in our Animal Encyclopedia for additional information.

For a child that is hard to understand, he is REALLY good at pronouncing Anemone.

– Clown Fish live in anemones. They secret an oil that protects them from the anemone stings. They lure food into the anemone and the anemone protects them from larger predators… like that nasty shark in the movie. This is called a symbiotic relationship.

– Clown Fish can lay 400 to 1,500 eggs at one time.

Mr. 3 asked if we could get a fish tank and fill it with clown fish. We talked about how much work and responsibility would be required with that. However, I was inspired by my child’s interest to make our own clown fish!


You will need pipe cleaners, construction paper, scissors, pencil. The glue and stick are optional, depending on how your child wants to play with the fish.

1. Draw and cut out your fish. Glue to a stick if you want to.

2. Fold a bunch of pipe cleaners in half  and loop one of them around the bunch to hold it together. Bend and spread the pipe cleaners as desired.

3. Have a heart attack when your 3-year-old insists on using the kitchen shears to practice cutting.

 

Math, Projects, Science

Cooking with Kids – Pizza

I believe I mentioned before that letting your children help out in the kitchen, while hard on your counters and floors, is beneficial for them in multiple ways.

Pizza is a great way to let them help out. They can do it all (make the dough, roll it out, put on toppings) or just help with the toppings.

I use the American Test Kitchen pizza dough recipe, it makes a small pizza so I normally double it. I let my 3-year-old help dump the measuring spoons, help me count scoops, and press the buttons on the processor.

Combine 1 cup BREAD flour, 2/3 tsp instant yeast, a little salt. Add 1 tbsp oil and then slowly add up to 7 or 8 tbsp of water until it forms a ball and is no longer sticking to processor. (By slowly, I meant you should run the processor every few scoops to see how it’s mixing.) Take it out and knead it a bit and form a ball. Let it rise in a covered bowl for an hour and then roll out and add toppings. I bake mine at 375(F) for 10 minutes, or until all the cheese is nice and gooey and the crust is starting to turn golden. You may need to change the cooking time and temperature based on your toppings.

It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it is fun! Let your kids in on the joy of cooking. They may even want to help wipe down the counter when they are done. (Mine did not, they wanted to eat the rest of the shredded cheese, resulting in my having to vacuum when the 1-year-old started dropping cheese everywhere.)

Projects

Last Minute Birthday Surprise

When all you have at home is Christmas wrapping paper, being invited to someone’s birthday party can be stressful. Especially when you’ve forgotten about it, and now it’s the morning of the party.
Here is what you will need:

2-3 gently used books your kids don’t especially love anymore. Don’t give away just awful books, that is not fun either!

Some brown paper or paper bag that can be cut to fit. And some tape to hold it all together.

Some markers/crayons and stickers!

 Once the present is safely wrapped, you can set your little minions on it to be decorated to their hearts content.

I actually loved the way they used the stickers on this. It may not have been intentional but on the end product, the 3 year old had managed to make a very large heart outlining my pictures I drew, and the 1 year old had clustered his stickers together in the shape of/and covering one of the flowers I drew. 

This was fun for everyone involved!

Language, Projects

Sing along art

Another simple craft brought to you by me.


We used chalk and construction paper because I like the way it feels and because it’s different from the crayons and markers they use more frequently. You may use whatever medium you have at hand.


Basically, with the child sitting on your lap, you sing a nursery rhyme or favorite song. While you are singing you and your child can draw about what’s in the song. 

I sang Old McDonald Had A Farm for both kids and let them choose which animals or things were on the farm. 

My 3 year old wanted a mommy and daddy and baby cows and pigs. 

I also drew La La Lemon by the barenakedladies. The band name sounds inappropriate but this song is totally fine and absolutely hilarious. La la la was one of the first noises Mr. 1 would make consistently so we sing this a lot.


I’m clearly not the best artist, but the process of doing this together was a fun connection building activity. The young kids got to participate in the art even if they didn’t want to draw.


Some other songs that are great for this would be:

  • Green grass grows all around (there was tree… and on that tree there was a limb,branch,nest,egg,bird,etc)
  • Mary had a little lamb
  • Farmer in the dell

Basically anything that gives you time to draw simple objects that your children are familiar with.

This activity brings their favorite songs to life.

What song would you draw?

History, Projects

Make Your Own Flags

In honor of Independence Day (USA) on Tuesday, July 4, I am sharing an easy craft with you today.

You will need:

  • Tape
  • Index Cards
  • Straws or Sticks
  • Color : I used oil pastels because they are very bright. Crayons, Markers, Watercolor would all work well.

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Here’s how it works:

Color the index cards, and tape them to the sticks!

I told you it was simple!

Both my kids enjoyed this craft, and when the little one got bored I brought out some stickers to extend the fun.

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My three year old made “American” flags for himself and Daddy. And we very briefly discussed why we celebrate Independence Day. I also made a German flag and we talked about where Oma and mommy come from.

You can make this as educational or as free form as you like. I hope you enjoy!

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By the way, I stuck our old play dough in a little dixie cup to hold the finished flags.

 

Projects

Favorite Book Art

You or your kids have probably had this idea already. Consider this a reminder!

You will need: large paper, permanent marker, tempera paint and something to put the paint on. Oh and brushes or something to spread the paint around with.

I use a paper plate.

Draw outlines or have your older children draw outlines for things related to their favorite book.  Read the book out loud while they paint or beforehand.



I actually painted this one by myself because my kids were hungry when I had it all laid out. Note to self: It is important to invite the children to participate when they are interested, not always when it’s convenient.

I really enjoyed mixing the colors to get orange and purple and brown. It was almost therapeutic. I also cut up an old smelly dish sponge into heart, triangle, and circle shapes to make stamps with. (Those blobs around the butterflies.)

You may have noticed that I have the same book on the shelf twice. This is because I just bought Wow, Said the Owl because I and my kids love it so much. Mr. 1 loves it so much he learned how to say “WOW!!!” and says it over and over the whole time we read. We read it at least 5 times a day, which is also what inspired me to make this art project.  I need to return the other one to the library.

Feel free to comment and let me know which books inspire your children to make art!

 

Projects, Science

Project: Sticky Zoo Collage

I have a new project for you guys! I randomly thought of it while on the airplane.

Sticky Zoo Collage

You will need: Contact Paper, Permanent Marker, tape, and pictures of animals.

I cut most of our pictures out the magazine sent by our local zoo for being members. Also, it may be better not to overwhelm the child with too many pictures at once. I think my 3 year old was a bit frustrated having to sort through them. Here we go:

Step 1: Cut your contact paper and lay it on the counter, clear side up.

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Step 2: Draw your zoo map. Include as much or as little as you want. You could even have your child help with this if they are interested.

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Step 3: Turn the contact paper over and tape it down as you peel the cover off. You should tape it so that the sticky side is up.

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Step 4: Give your child some animal cut outs and let them fill the zoo however they want. You may need to stick a few on there to show the younger ones how to do it.

Above, I included some construction paper cutouts taped to the non-sticky side to provide more color. I was hoping to get the child to think about different environments but I didn’t force the issue.

Mr. 1 enjoyed the project once he figured out what to do. Mr. 3 wanted to put the animals into his safari truck and drive them to the zoo.

Comment below if you try this out!