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. 

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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.

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

Language, Projects

Project: Large Dot to Dot

This project is super easy, all you need is paper and a writing utensil. I chose some packing paper left over from when we moved last year, and some colorful markers.

Sometimes it is refreshing just to change a few things up from the way you normally do things. That is why I wanted to use large paper and have them color/draw on the kitchen floor.

My goal with this was to emphasize words with the letter F because that is what my toddler wanted to learn about this week.

As per usual, my toddler did not use the project in its intended fashion (to complete the dot to dots to draw the F themed pictures and write the letter over and over), but he did have fun with it. He added a “mommy”  (blue scribbles in middle picture) and then a “Morgan” the dog (not shown). He really liked the airplane and guessed the associated word was “fly”, but instead of tracing it he just circled it vigorously.

He did trace the big Letter F’s with his finger. I asked him if he wanted to use the markers and he said no. I asked him if he was afraid of messing up, and he said yes. I told him it’s okay to mess it up. I told him I can make more F’s but he hasn’t worked up the courage.

I moved the project to our dining table in case he wants to come back to it later.

Let me know how the project worked for you, if you end up trying it!

Projects, Science

Trees – without which there would be no life.

This week, when I asked what we should learn about, Mr. 3 chose to learn about trees.

We read “All About Trees” in our book Curiositree: Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature – Jacket unfolds into a huge wall poster!“>Natural World. It is just 3 pages in this book that breaks down the different parts of trees, shows different leaves for identification, and provides examples of the many creatures that live from or in trees, but the book also provides important information on some of the creatures that live in the trees, or how photosynthesis works, and so much more.

Photosynthesis: The process by which plants use sunlight to produce their own food and “ultimately for every creature on the planet” (Natural World, page 58) and as a by product they release oxygen for us to breathe. Photosynthesis. I like hearing my 3 year old say that word, it really makes me feel like this whole homeschool thing can work.

My favorite fact about trees is that they provide food and shelter for many different kinds of creatures. From the fungi that help decompose it at the end of a tree’s very VERY long life (some oaks can live up to 600 years!) to the owls, birds, squirrels, and bugs that nest among its branches or in it’s trunk. You would not guess that from looking at tree, but maybe we should look a little closer.

img_6107Other than reading, we’ve had some tree related activities to help expose him and encourage him to learn more.

1. In a rare moment of sunshine we took the dog on a walk and I pointed out how different some of the trees are. “These trees are so tall, that one has white blossoms, this one has red, look at this leaf it has 4 points” etc…

2.We (mostly me) collected different leaves and bunches of pine needles to bring home and try to identify.

3. We made tree art! This is a project for all ages and it can be as simple as painting trees. I provided some different drawing tools (sponge brush, Qtips, paintbrush, wine corks) in the hope that they could make different kinds of leaves with them.

img_6149I left the leaves and book out for inspiration.

I covered my table and provided only 2 cups of paint to keep it simple. 1 cup for green leaves (it’s spring!) and 1 cup for mixing red and green to make brown.

My toddler enjoyed mixing the paint.

We use Handy Art Little Masters Tempera paint, and it washes off really easily and doesn’t leave stains on the clothes. I did ask 3 to wear a smock and 1 was only in a diaper, just in case.

3’s first picture was completely his own design, and he surprised me by taking the big leaf and painting on it. He wanted to glue it on the paper so I brought him glue. img_6152

Next I painted some tree trunks for him to add leaves to, and he used the wine cork to do it.

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Baby was working hard getting paint on the tablecloth and chair, but he did most of the following painting.

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The paint comes right off with a wet washcloth, so the chair is fine! Our chairs are dark wood and white leather and it wipes of off both very easily,

And finally, mom’s gotta have fun too, so this is the picture I made:

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The whole thing lasted about twenty minutes and ended with a short bath, but it was a lot of fun!

Project Summary: Painting Trees

Supplies:

Thick paper

Tempera paint

Various brushes, Qtips, wine corks, leaves and twigs.

Instructions:

Cover your table or area to protect it, and experiment in making different leaf shapes and mixing colors for trunks or flower blossoms.

Feel free to comment below if this project was a success for you, or if you have any cool facts to share about Trees!