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?

 

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”

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?

Adventures

Thunder Knob Trail – Hiking with the Family

Happy 4th of July!

Today we took a day trip to the North Cascades National Park. Specifically, we went Thunder Knob Trail, which was 10 minutes north of the North Cascades Visitor Center.

This national park is located a 2 and a half hour trip north of Seattle. The drive is just beautiful. 2.5 hours in the car is a long time, especially with little kids. Mr. 1 fell asleep for about an hour, and Mr. 3 just looked out the window the whole time.

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You are surrounded by mountains and follow several rivers along the way. The Skagit river and the Sauk river stood out to me the most. I even bothered to learn their names on this trip, because they were so pretty. The Sauk river was nearly bright blue due to the mineral deposits coming off of the nearby mountains.

When we arrived at the parking lot, we had a quick picnic and were on our way.

Thunder Knob Trail is a 3.6 mile hike round trip with an elevation of 425 feet. The National Park Service describes the trail as great for kids. I think older kids would do great with this, and we saw several families with children older than the age of 10 speed by us.

The path had a mild incline and a few rocks to stub your toe on, but overall it was a really good trail. It was wide enough to hold hands at most places.

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Mr. 3 and Mr. 1 walked for a short while, but Mr. 1 kept walking back down the path or off of the path altogether. Mr. 3 kept asking to be picked up because he was tired. We rested a few times and enjoyed views like the one above.

I love my Ergo baby carrier. The biggest problem with it is that it only holds one child. It’s hard to know how far you’ve walked on a hike like this, but I carried the 45 pound toddler for about an hour, and the 25 pound toddler for most of the rest of the 2 hours. My shoulders are a little sore afterwards, but who wouldn’t be carrying that weight for 3 hours?

We finally made it to the top to enjoy this spectacular view.

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Special shout out to the nice family that gave us a bottle of water at the top of the hill.

Here is a hiking tip I learned today: Put your extra water bottles in the backpack, NOT the car. They are not helpful in the car because you will not be able to drink them.

The hike back down was easier, since Mr. 3 did a fair bit of walking by himself. At the bottom by the stream he resumed his favorite activity of throwing rocks and pinecones into the water.

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Overall, I’d say that we all had a good time and got a lot of good exercise.

Some other things I learned today:

  • Oso is spanish for bear, according to my husband.
  • Pack more food and water than you think you need, because walking makes you hungry and thirsty. (Also, save the cheerios for the car ride home! We don’t normally let them eat in the car, but it was such a long drive and eating cheerios saved us 30 minutes of crying on the last leg of the journey.)

Do you have any pro hiking tips to share?

 

 

 

 

History, Science

Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)

According to their website, the Museum of Flight (located just south of Seattle) is the “largest independent, non-profit museum of air and space in the world”.

I don’t doubt it, but the only other similar museum we have been to is the Frontiers of Flight museum near the Dallas/Love-field airport.

Well, we have a membership to the Seattle one and we usually go every few weeks mainly because we like to eat at the nearby Factoria Mall. They have a Moctezuma’s there which is the best Tex-mex restaurant we have found. We’ve decided we even like it better than the Chuy’s we used to go to when we lived in Dallas.

Anyways, the 3-year-old is almost always super excited to visit the museum, and the one year old hasn’t complained about going either.

We usually just stick to one or two parts of the museum and stay for an hour to an hour and a half. The kids are little and need to eat and get home for nap time.

The kids really like the outdoor pavilion where there are at least 3 large airplanes you can board and learn about.

They also love going to the control tower and listening to the chatter while watching airplanes go by. Sometimes you can even see trains.

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They like the two kids areas.

Today’s visit was on the pretext of visiting the new Apollo exhibit. My kids don’t like it when I stand around and read the placards, but in between chasing them around I was able to learn some interesting facts.

The Apollo missions are primarily for going to the moon, but I think there was a trip or two to Mars as well? I will have to try to finish the tour next time.

Here is what I know for sure:

The moon is 200,000 miles away. (We learned before that it only takes 3 days to get there.)

If the earth were a basketball, the moon would be a tennis ball and would orbit about 24 feet away from the basketball.

After NASA made it to the moon, they wanted to build a reusable space shuttle that would theoretically save them money on future missions. This shuttle only flew for 10 trips (instead of the projected 50) and cost between 450 Million and 1 Billion per trip versus the projected $7.7 Million per trip. I guess I always suspected space travel was expensive, but geez!

Finally, I learned that the model of the moon landing including the command module, 2 astronauts, and a lunar rover took 2500 hours to build. The guy did a good job, but that is a lot of work.

What is your favorite museum to take the kids?