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!

 

 

Parenting

Learning All the Time – Part 1

I just finished reading Learning All the Time by John Holt. If you are interested in a quick book review click here. Otherwise stay tuned because I have SO much I want to talk about because of this book.

The purpose of this book is to illustrate that children are capable of learning reading, writing, and counting by themselves. It offers some advice on how to encourage them, and what mistakes should be avoided.

One thing John Holt feels strongly about is that you shouldn’t correct most of your children’s’ mistakes. They will often times learn from their own mistakes and just by watching and seeing/hearing other people do things correctly.

Continue reading “Learning All the Time – Part 1”

Daily Lessons

Traveling with Young Children

My kids are no strangers to airplanes. They don’t do too well in the car for long periods of time, but they are great at flying. Here are some tricks we’ve learned along the way!

Young babies are very simple. You hold them on your lap and encourage them to sleep. If they are awake on take off or landing, you want to be sure to feed them to help with the air pressure change. Hold them and bounce them in your arms while standing in the aisles if they get restless.

Once your child is 2 years old you will be required to purchase them a seat on the airplane. I strongly recommend you bring their airplane approved car seat. It should have a sticker somewhere on it that says it is FAA approved.

The car seat will keep your toddler from escaping and even provide a more comfortable place to sleep. Most toddlers are used to falling asleep in the car, so the airplane should not be much different.

Next, be sure to bring some distracting and satisfying games and snacks.

Activities
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  1. Play Dough – I use Rachelle’s recipe at TinkerLab and just put a small amount in a baggie. My 3 year old loves playing with his diggers and the play dough and this keeps him very buys at home. Play dough is sticky though, so be sure to bring parchment paper to protect whichever surface you are playing on.
  2. Crayons and coloring/activity book. Great for all ages.
  3. Stickers/Tape – This can keep both my 1 year old and 3 year old busy for a long period of time. You can stick them on the back of some coloring sheets.
  4. Small but well loved books that you do not mind re-reading several times.

For this trip we are bringing Peek-A-Who which is an all time favorite with my 1 year old. We are also bringing Calling All Cars a lego story about a bank robbery. My toddler has been enjoying this series for the last few weeks. Most of the books are hard to read for me because the text can be a little annoying, but this one was pretty good.

Snacks

The best snacks are ones that aren’t devoured in five seconds. You want this to take a while…

Did you know you can bring food through security? You are not allowed liquids but solid food is allowed! 

I like to bring:

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  1. Small or cut up pieces of fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, pear, apple. You don’t want to choose things that can get too mushy and sticky such as banana and some peaches. (Not pictured because I want them to be as fresh as possible; I promise I will offer my kids fruit! )
  2. Chex mix. I use Chex cereal and pour in planters mixed nuts – low sodium. Sometimes I add broken pretzel sticks if we have them at home.
  3. Cheerios (plain) for young babies or young toddlers.
  4. Raisins are sticky but my kids love them.
  5. Other easy non perishable snacks such as yogurt melts, fruit chews, granola bars.

Just Remember:

You know your children best, and these are just suggestions to get you thinking. You can even ask them to help pack and choose a few of their favorite small toys (that they might not be broken up about if they get lost)… my kids love doing this.

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I hope you have a great trip!

 

Daily Lessons, Science

Kubota Gardens

For our third day of sunshine we decided to try going somewhere new. We went to the Kubota Gardens because we always see the sign on the way to the Museum of Flight. 

Kubota Gardens is a free botanical garden just south of Seattle. It was really pretty with easy hiking and even a stroller/wheelchair path. We walked around for an hour and probably did not see everything. 

The kids were most fascinated with the koi pond. They watched the 4 large fish and 1 duck for quite some time before wandering off and then they asked to see it again before we left.


Mr. 1 was fascinated by all the bushes and flowers and kept trying to pick them. He repeatedly made the sign for plant/flower because he was so excited. (Also the sign for duck and the sign for fish. He quacks like a duck when he sees one!)

The Gardens feel large and there are even parts where you can go in the woods and enjoy the nice shaded areas. 

The park is open to dogs as long as you clean up after them. 

If you live or spend a significant part of time in Seattle, then I recommend you check out these Gardens with your family! They are very peaceful and even though the parking lot was full, we hardly saw any other people. 

The only downsides are that there are no bathrooms (only 2 portapotties) and I do wish they had some way of identifying the different trees and flowers. Maybe I can find a good book at the library for that. 

This was a wonderful little place for the kids to explore. 


Health, Science

Getting out of the House… Yes, please!

I think most mom’s have so much going on that they really and truly wish they could stay home. I have the opposite problem, a pre-schooler that does not want to leave the house.

It’s probably a combination of many factors such as the weather, hormones, not doing many fun things outside of the house and who knows what else, but I have been feeling rather blue lately. 

I like the idea of respectful parenting and treating my kids as people, but they don’t always respect me. So I tried explaining that mommy needed to get out of the house and get some exercise and sunshine, and received only “but I want to stay HOME and play with TRAINS!” no matter that I said please, and explained that we need to consider other people’s thoughts and feelings as well. 

 At any rate, in my slightly depressed state, I was left with two choices:

1. Open a bottle of wine and drown my sorrows, possibly endangering my children, or

2. Let my 3 year old throw a brief tantrum, and then strap him in the stroller and be on my way.

I chose option two, and the one year old was happy to accompany me. The dog was so excited that she nearly knocked us all down the stairs. 

We walked to the library (about a mile and a half) and by then I could tell I was feeling much better. We found some really great books and got some good exercise.

 There was another little boy that was trying to teach Mr. 3 how to use the library computer, and it was so interesting to just hang back and watch them interact. I was really disappointed when his mom got off her phone and told him to leave Mr.3 alone. I tried to explain that it was good for them, but English was not something we had in common.

The closest I got to “thank you for making me leave the house, you are so beautiful and smart, mommy” was him repeatedly saying ” I really LOVE this book! ”

I was feeling better, but I was not excited about staying home today. When I woke up,the sun was shining and it was already getting warm. It was NOT an indoor kind of day. I tried the same approach of reasoning but met with the same resistance. So I became boss instead of mom and I told that boy to get his butt downstairs and put on shoes!


We had such an amazing time at the zoo! Both boys were in and out of the stroller. We played on the jungle gym (little one dug in the mulch) saw a beautiful peacock splay his feathers. This frightened the three year old, but the one year old had no fear. Tigers, owls, bears, and the funny and graceful river otters!

We practiced our signs for the animals, and Mr. 1 learned a new sign for “swim”. We talked about the animals enjoying the weather. We saw a baby (joey) wallaby drinking milk from his mommy, and a pregnant giraffe. There was a zebra rolling in the grass near some sleeping hippos. We pet the goats and sheep in the farm petting zoo. 

After all is done, I can feel the sunshine in my heart. There was so much smiling and running and laughing (and learning) today, how could I not feel better?

And the bonus? Two tired kiddos! 

History, Music

Violin versus Fiddle

Wednesday is the day we go to our Music Together class. Normally I really like this class, but today was extra awesome.

First, the little one is officially walking now! That means I didn’t have to pick him up and carry him as much when we dance around the room. (And that also means I don’t have to pick up and dance with his 39 pound brother, either!)

Second, the teacher brought her violin with her and played one of the songs on it. Only, it’s not a violin… it’s a fiddle! Actually, they are the same thing and the big difference is the style of music played on them. A violin is more classical music, and the fiddle is country or folk music.

Honestly, I don’t know why I am so shocked by this revelation, but I think that it is super cool. It is one more example of how not everything is as simple as it seems. (I don’t mean to imply the violin is simple, because I certainly couldn’t play it!)

I found some more cool facts while I was researching the truth behind the claim.

  1. Davy Crockett at the Battle of the Alamo would play the fiddle for his troops to keep up morale. (Source)
  2. Stradivarius is known as possibly the best violin maker of all time, and one of his  violins lovingly constructed in 1707 was sold in 1998 for more than 3.5 million dollars. There is a belief that violins sound better with age. (Source)
  3. It can take over 200 hours to make a good violin… or fiddle! (Source)
  4. The fiddle is sometimes associated with the devil. This can be traced back to the protestant reformation when most forms of entertainment were associated with the devil. A good example of a fiddle song is The Devil Went Down To Georgia by (Source)
  5. Playing the violin or fiddle is good for the body and mind. It uses both sides of the brain and can burn up to 175 calories per hour. (Source)

Wow.

Math, Science

Happy Chocolate Chip Day! 

According to National Day Tracker, today is National Chocolate Chip Day. What better way to celebrate, than by baking some chocolate chip cookies?

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These home-made cookies follow the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in my favorite cookbook, The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook by American Test Kitchen. (Available from Amazon)

I had Mr. 3 help me make these and they turned out wonderful! There are so many benefits of cooking and baking with your children! Here are a few that I discovered today:

  1. This is a great way to practice MATH skills. We talked about so many different math things including, but not limited too: Measuring, Addition, Subtraction, Fractions. We also counted our 12 cookies before we baked them. And we counted again after we baked them, and ate two.
  2. We read the recipe together, and we talked about how the recipe was broken down into different parts. We read the ingredient list and talked about all the funny abbreviations and the weird way they write the measurements (fractions). We talked about the importance of following directions.
  3. They get to practice their gross and fine motor skills when measuring, scooping, pouring, and mixing. They have to practice being firm but delicate at the same time in order to not make a mess. The downside is that it does take a while to get these skills.
  4. There are science skills involved too. Watching the ingredients come together, or watching them interact in the oven and evolve into something we can eat is amazing. Also, we talked briefly about food safety and how baking the cookie dough makes it safe to eat.
  5. We practiced being patient while we waited for the cookies to bake.
  6. We discussed how cleaning up is part of the cooking and baking process. He helped me clean up by bringing the vacuum and helping me clear the floor of toys. He also helped me do laundry and we put in his shirt that was covered in flour.
  7. We were rewarded for our hard but fun work with super amazingly soft melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies.

The more I think about this, the more benefits I can come up with. How about bonding with your child over something you both love? Or your child feeling useful and proud for making something so amazing? We need to remember that cooking is an important life skill, and we probably learned how to cook from our parents. Baking may not be a life skill, but it is similar to cooking and may help children get an introduction to the kitchen in a way that is pleasing and rewarding.

Besides, it was time to vacuum and wipe down the table anyways.

KidsHealth.Org has a great article that shows simple ways to include your little ones in the cooking or baking process. This includes giving them skill appropriate tasks such as scooping, pouring, mixing. If they are more skilled, they may even be able to crack eggs. My 3 year old likes to use the vegetable peeler on carrots or cucumbers. They also suggest cutting soft food with cookie cutters. Older children may be able to do more things. Trust yourself and your children!

I hope you have the chance to eat some cookies today.

About

Mother’s Day 2017

I’m having a wonderful day today, and I hope that you are too! My day has been full of happy surprises.I got to sleep in all the way to 8 am, and when I came out of the bedroom there was breakfast on the table and a hot cup of tea. Then, my husband took Mr. 3 to the grocery store while the baby was napping and I had a whole hour to myself to read and play with my new Kindle 8HD. But that’s not all, folks! They came home with beautiful flowers. Later the baby took his first few independent steps while playing basketball!  I’m so happy I could burst! Thank you!

History

DB Cooper

We spent this morning at the Museum of Flight south of Seattle. We have a membership and visit this museum often, and Mr. 3 says it is his favorite museum. It is very large and we never stay long enough to see it all. Today we walked briefly through the space center where they were having an R2D2 builders convention. Mr. 3 was unreasonably frightened of all the cute little R2D2s so we couldn’t stay and learn about them.

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I am not a Star Wars fan. I don’t dislike it, but to me its just like any other franchise. Still, seeing these little robots in real life twirling around and beeping was REALLY cool. And I applaud all the smart people that can craft those creatures from scratch. Truly incredible.

Then we went to the museum’s Aviation Pavilion. Here we walked around (Mr. 1 was assisted but he insisted on walking most of it himself) and went inside the British Airway  Concorde which once flew across the Atlantic Ocean from London to New York in only 2.5 hours. We also went through one of the Dream Liners they have. Then the kids played in the play area for a while. IMG_6342

Generally the kids go too quickly to read any of the huge information placards that are spread around the exhibit, but I did get to read about an interesting man named DB Cooper while Mr. 1 was hugging the mannequins leg.

DB Cooper is an alias for a man who hijacked an airplane 1971 and escaped with $200,000 by parachuting out of the back of the plane. According to the museum placard he was never seen or heard from again.

In January of 2017, there was a Washington Post article stating that this is the only  skyjacking case never to be solved by the FBI, and that after 45 years they have decided to use their resources for more pressing cases.

I thought this was a really fascinating story!

Projects

Project: Textured Greeting Cards

Mother’s day is just around the corner! If you are looking for a little project to keep your kiddo’s busy, you can let them help you make some greeting cards. You could make “Happy Mother’s Day” cards for grandparents or neighbors.

All you need is construction paper, crayons, glue, and treasures.

These are really simply and can be applied to any occasion! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, even if you are not a mother!