Books, Daily Lessons, games, Projects

St. Nicholas Day

Happy St. Nicholas Day. I hope you saw my reminder on Instagram to wash your boots yesterday, because St. Nick was supposed to have visited you yesterday.

This is a holiday that stems from my younger years in Germany. My mother has encouraged me to continue the tradition with my own kids. Mr. 3 was very excited yesterday and ended up cleaning his boots, his brother’s boots, the front of my dishwasher, the front of the oven, the trash can and compost bin, and some paint splatter on the cabinets. “What else can I clean, mommy?!”

This morning, the boys were very happy with what they found. A bucket of farm animals, DinoBlock, Trains, and Machines at Work. The two Byron Barton books came at just the right time because their favorite Trucks book broke in half last night while Mr. 1 was reading it in his crib. It’s only been a few hours but I have already read Trains and Machines at Work nearly 12 times total today. They also both really enjoyed the variety of farm animals and accessories.


 

We also did some large scale painting in the kitchen this morning. (Tempera pain is VERY washable and comes off really easily if the toddler swipes a cabinet or floor by mistake. At one point he started painting his diaper.) Mr. 3 was more interested in playing ambulance and trying to tie a ribbon bandage around anything I would offer him. While Mr. 1 and I were sitting in the bath tub scrubbing off the paint, the ambulance driver brought us towels and pretend lemonade. He also cleaned some of the “blood” (paint) from the kitchen floor. He repeatedly told me “Call 911 if you need me!” and “What else can I help with, mommy?”

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My husband is a much smarter person than I am. He is someone who really knows how to use his brain.

We only have short matches and I wanted to light a candle that was getting too low in the jar in order to cover the smell of the stinky diaper pail. My solution was to stick the match in a blob of play dough to make it longer. Feeling super proud of myself (even though I still almost burned myself) I gloated to my husband, “aren’t you going to ask me how I managed to light the candle?”.

He says, “Did you turn it sideways?”

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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

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!