Adventures

Big Truck Day

Yesterday in Redmond, Washington, it was Big Truck Day. I found out about this on my local homeschool Facebook group when I asked for ideas to satisfy kids obsessed with trucks. 

Just as an example of how much my 3-year-old loves trucks is that he feeds himself with his front loader and dump truck instead of using the recommended utensils.

Big Truck Day was like a dream come true for both of my boys and they would run from one truck to another scream laughing in excitement. 

There was a garbage truck, and I am super surprised that Mr. 3 didn’t go “Blippi” on us. (His favorite show which talks about trucks and things.)

Next was a ladder fire truck with its ladder reaching to the sky. The fireman gave Mr. 3 a fire truck he’s been wearing a lot.

There was a bus, and Mr. 1 tried to close the doors on everyone. Whoops!

There was a dump truck where Mr. 3 spilled water on the drivers’ seat. I think this was his favorite as he came back to it twice!

My personal favorite was the moving truck by Two Men and a Truck. These guys went above and beyond by turning the back of the truck into a miniature playground with tunnels and inflatable balls. 


Everyone else just had their doors open and an empty truck… like UPS truck with empty shelves. 
My phone overheated or just rebelled against me halfway through so I couldn’t get pictures of the cat adoption van, cupcake car, ice cream truck, backhoe(another favorite), tractor, and many other trucks I don’t even remember the names for. 

It was so much fun for the boys and we caught a short tractor ride before we headed to the bathrooms and then the car to go home. 

When we got home, after naps in the car, the little ones built their own truck show.


It was a beautiful and exciting day and I am definitely going to keep an eye out for similar events!

(Although it was scary when the boys ran in opposite directions, it was totally worth the stress to see them so excited!)

Daily Lessons, Parenting

Being Helpful

My kids love being helpful. I know it can be frustrating when they start sweeping the ceiling, or that vacuuming takes 8 times as long. And yet, it is in our best interest to let them help! They are learning important lessons such as helping and caring for others, taking care of themselves and their belongings, teamwork, problem solving, fine and gross motor coordination, and SO much more.  Continue reading “Being Helpful”

games

Game: What am I making?

This is a game that works well with play dough. Both my children enjoyed this and took turns guessing. The concept is simple and the game can last as long as there is interest.

Make your play dough into different forms and have them guess what you are making. You don’t need a special talent. If they are having trouble you can use noises and motion to help them guess. I don’t have pictures but some other things we made included:

  • horse
  • people
  • kite
  • rocket ship
  • airplane

My 17 month old even plopped a lump on the table and made the rocket ship motion and noise. I think he was trying to make his own rocket ship! My three year old did not make any shapes but seemed to enjoy guessing.

If you have older children you can play that the first person to guess correctly gets to make the next item.

What is the coolest thing that you or kids have made with play dough?

 

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!

Parenting

1 Small Change

My 3-year-old brought his Safari/Monster Truck into the bathroom with this morning and said something to the effect of, “he’s a bad monster truck. He is mean, he tears the toilet paper and bangs into the door!”

The way Mr. 3 said this made me feel like he was talking about himself, and that he feels like he is a bad or mean person just because he sometimes does bad or mean things.

In that moment I said, “maybe he is just grumpy, and needs a hug. Just because we do mean things doesn’t mean we are mean people.”

Later, as I spent more time thinking about it, I began to think that his attitude is caused by the way I react when he does bad or mean things.

For example, when he pushes his brother I would normally say, “Stop! Do NOT push your brother, that is not a nice thing to do. That is mean! You could hurt or scare him!” I sometimes have even said, “You are being mean to your brother!”.

I would like to change my town and words to reflect his actions, and not his overall attitude. I would like to start saying, “That is not how we do things here. We say, “M– could I have my train back, or ask mommy for help.”

I hope this helps him realize that he is not a bad person. I worry that if he feels like he is a bad or mean person that he will start doing bad and mean things just because he thinks that is what he is supposed to be. A self-perpetuating cycle. I feel that he has been pushing more lately, and I hope that by changing my response we will see a difference in his responses.

I did get this inspiration from the John Holt book, Teach Your Own. I finished reading it, and you can find my review on my other blog.

Adventures

Pike Place Farmer’s Market

Last week we went to the Pike Place Farmer’s Market.

In Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book Of Homeschooling he says to be wary of going on field trips for field trips sake. He emphasizes that your children will learn more and better if it’s something they or you are interested in, or if it’s necessary to go.

(I’m still working my way through the book, but it is not quite as inspiring as I found Learning All the Time to be. This is because some of the anecdotes are the same and Teach Your Own is less John Holt and more just letters from parents to his Growing Without Schooling magazine. )


Well we had to go to the Farmer’s market at Pike Place for two reasons:

1. That is where Bavarian Meats, the only German store and deli that I am aware of in this area is located.

2. We needed to buy some local honey.

Also as a bonus reason, we were out of fruit at home.

The boys both enjoyed the trip.

We parked at the Target because it is free if you spend at least $20 at Target, and we needed towels and underwear for Daddy.

Then we walked one block and found ourselves at the market. First stop was the honey, which was quick and easy.

Next, we threaded our way through the crowds (even on a weekday morning) to the other end of the market to find the German store. We stocked up on wieners, Knackwurst, and Bratwurst, and pretzel bread. I also got some Grießbrei pudding mix.

The ladies at the store are super sweet and they gave each of my boys a wiener, and then I received a smoked sausage as well.

Then we walked by the Beechers cheese shop where you can watch them making cheese in large tubs. Mr 3. was fascinated with this and we watched for quite a while.


Then we pushed our way back to one of the fruit markets and purchased some beautiful blueberries, raspberries, and a bunch of bananas. The boys were still hungry after the sausage so we went to the waterfront viewing area to eat some of the bananas.  The viewing area was really just 4 windows that looked past highway 99 to the water. The boys enjoyed watching the cars and trucks on the highway.


We finished up our trip by going back to Target. At this point Mr. 1 fell asleep in the stroller and Mr. 3 got really grumpy. When I was paying he refused to walk forward and wandered away toward the cereal. He then caused a scene when I insisted he listen and get in the stroller, resulting in my losing my place in line and forcing him into the stroller. 5 minutes later he was asleep in the car.

I let them sleep in the car, and when they woke up I made quesadillas and let them enjoy the berries. A colorful market lunch.


Overall it was a fun time, and we will go again in a few months for more German food.

About, Parenting

Teach Your Own – John Holt – Chapter 2

I am reading another John Holt book, so I have a lot I want to talk about. This book is Teach Your Own, the how and why of homeschooling. John Holt originally wrote this book in the 60’s, but the book has been updated in 2003 by Pat Feranga.

Chapter two addresses the common homeschooling questions of, “how will my children learn enough”, “how do I teach my kids for x number of hours a day,”. More importantly it provides some background and studies on what it takes to be a good teacher, and to be successful at homeschooling.

Continue reading “Teach Your Own – John Holt – Chapter 2”