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Mama’s week in review – letter U

Up. Upon. Under. Unique. Unicorn. Underwear. Until.

Words that start with the letter U were just not found around here this week!  We concentrated a lot on the words Up and Under (as well as using the word Underwear whenever we could!) We even taped our letter of the week Under the table (and on the wall, too!) The boys got a kick out of that and kept checking to make sure it was there! On Hubbard’s Cupboard they suggest covering the letter with Umbrella stickers while Under the table, but there was no desire to play with stickers this week.

Bible Story The Parable of the Lost Sheep was our story for the week. As always, we started Monday morning at the breakfast table reading the story from the Bible and just talking about it. Cutie Pie suggested maybe the Shepherd looked ‘high and low’ for the sheep (evidently we use that phrase a lot more than we realize!) I changed that to Up and down, so we could work the letter U in there once more. I told the boys the little I know about caring for sheep, which is that the shepherd knows each of his sheep are Unique in their features and that we are the same way! Cutie Pie especially seemed to like the fact that we are all different, or Unique, and had fun sharing how he thought he and Sweet Pea are Unique. (language/opposites, self concept)

Throughout the week Cutie Pie asked to hear the Bible story again, like usual, and so we talked about it from different angles, like what that lost sheep might have been feeling while it was lost, what the shepherd might have thought happened to the sheep, what the other sheep might have been feeling – were they worried about the lost sheep, or worried that the shepherd left them alone while he went searching for the lost sheep? (emotional development, imagination) We ended the week playing “Seek the sheep”, sort of like hide and seek, but I hid a toy sheep and the boys had to look Up and down to find it.

Language/Reading – I seldom seem to include a list of books we read for each letter. I suppose I should. This week we, of course, had several books about trains, but one the boys kept requesting, which talked about looking Up, down and all around for someone who is lost, is Where are You, Little Zack? by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler.

Art/Science – I tried to think of something Unique to do with the boys that began with U. I couldn’t think of anything but making puffy paint (because it goes Up from the paper) and making fingerprints (because by looking at them you can see how we’re all Unique). These activities were definitely a success!

I don’t think either of the boys quite grasp the idea of using a magnifying glass to look at tiny differences between fingerprints, but they did seem to love making them (sticking their finger on an ink pad and dabbing it all around a piece of paper) and using the magnifying glass! Cutie Pie considered this a very fun experiment!

Puffy Paint – I saw this several places this week as I was blog hopping as part of 5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party. The blog I actually printed the recipe from was Making Memories with Your Kids, which is a blog I just found! Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea were both fascinated by the paint puffing up in the microwave and each made several paintings (very quickly!) to watch the puffing process take place. Cutie Pie and I talked about what made the paint puff up like that. Another successful experiment!

Anyway, this is how we did it:

Puffy Paint Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour (if you don’t have any, you can make it by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to all-purpose flour)
1 Tablespoon salt
4 teaspoons water
food coloring

Combine above ingredients in small containers, making whatever color paints you desire.
After using brushes, Q tips or whatever other medium you’d like to paint your pictures, heat the pictures in the microwave anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds and watch the paint puff up! (fine motor, science, art, language development, coordination, sense of touch)

Play – We also made a lot of tunnels, a carryover from last week’s letter T. We used their foam letters for these and they had fun telling me whenever a train or car went Under a letter! This was great for Cutie Pie as it served as a refresher for his alphabet! (letter recognition, fine motor, coordination, gross motor)

Other ideas we didn’t do – I had the great idea of making wool nests this week as when we talked about looking Up and down we also discussed what other animals and things a shepherd might have seen. Cutie Pie was right on it with seeing birds. In the beginning of the week he seemed really into making these, but as the week went on he didn’t seem very interested, so I’m saving that idea and will probably make wool eggs instead, closer to Easter. (fine motor, art)

Another idea I had was introducing the boys to a Ukulele. Come on, you know, the musical instrument that looks like a little guitar?  (music appreciation) Sweet Pea was once again very taken with Cutie Pie’s guitar and tried to overtake Hubby’s violin, viola and bass this week, so I thought adding something else to the mix might be a mistake!

Once again looking at what we did this past week seems like a lot. Sometimes I think I’m making learning time too rigid or structured, but then I also think about the flow of our days and weeks and am reminded that most often it is Cutie Pie asking for the Bible Stories and leading the discussions and me offering a creative activity sometime throughout the week. Everything else sort of comes up as it does in play, probably because the letter and story are already on our minds. I am really itching to get the boys outside and possibly to the zoo or one of the other places we have memberships to, simply because we’ve been stuck inside with colds/runny noses for way too long!

Rainy Day Play

We’ve had some pretty rainy or cold and damp days here lately and I found myself bringing out some tried and true activities for the boys when I’m baked out, frazzled from trying to think of ways to keep them busy and we’ve gone to all the favorite places to play.

First, Sweet Pea asked for his pom poms and tweezers. I got them out along with a couple of big bowls and he sat and played for a very long time! (He prefers these tweezers that we have – they have a scissor-like handle and since using them he’s become good at cutting paper, too!)

The second activity I pulled out, and have relied on several times since the snow turned to mud, is the rice box! Of course, that means more sweeping for me, but it’s been a construction site, a place to practice pouring and a multitude of other things and mostly has been a huge form of entertainment for the boys!

I’ll be glad when it’s spring in more than name only, however, being stuck inside has led to opportunities to develop coordination, fine motor skills, gross motor skills (believe it or not!), social skills like taking turns…so I can’t really complain all that much!
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Snow play on March 24th?!

Isn’t it crazy to get a bunch of snow at the end of March? We did all day yesterday, which led to a fun day outdoors in the sun and snow today! Cutie Pie and I were very excited that Sweet Pea actually asked to go outside! I think that’s only the second time this winter he’s wanted to be out in the snow and followed through!

We tried snow soccer. The soccer ball would roll in the light snow on the driveway, but would sink in the deeper areas. Cutie Pie determined the ball was heavier than the snow.

I shuffled my feet to make snow letters on the lawn, much to Cutie Pie’s delight! I didn’t expect this to be such a hit with him! Sweet Pea loved following me as I ‘wrote’. Cutie Pie did great recognizing the letters, by the way! It was a great review for him!

The boys always love shoveling – evidently Sweet Pea loves to do it in the snow just as much as in the sand!

Poor Sweet pea kept slipping. The ground was just right so when tire tracks were made in the driveway they turned to ice, which Sweet Pea unfortunately was fascinated with. Poor kiddo must have fallen 7 or 8 times!

The boys played ‘Snow Train’, where they pulled their sleds in a line and Sweet Pea ended up following in Cutie Pie’s ‘train track’.

This day ended up being a good outdoor activity day and great review for the alphabet we’ve learned so far! (especially the letter S!)

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St. Patrick’s Day Dance Party

St Patrick’s Day is not a big deal around our house, except for our annual pilgrimage to the fast food place that serves Shamrock Shakes! Gotta love it! I don’t know if it was from those years of having to march in parades with the bagpipe band I was a member of or what, but we just don’t ‘do’ this holiday. For my hubby, however, it is a day to wear green and play jiggs on his violin (or as it is affectionately called on this day, his fiddle) in the morning for all the students in whatever school he is teaching in for the day. Some teachers told him a few girls were even doing Irish dancing in the halls while he played!
I had ambitions of making green shamrocks with the boys this week, or doing something sort of festive other than our annual tradition. My ambitions were good, but were not achieved. Partly due to my lack of gumption as the boys were being boys, and partly due to the gorgeous 60 degree sunny weather we had today. However, when we came home from Shamrock Shake time Hubby got out his ‘fiddle’ and started playing jiggs for us while we had a dance party! It was so fun dancing with the boys to music we don’t normally get to hear. (obviously gross motor, music appreciation, coordination)
At one point during our dance party Sweet Pea and Cutie Pie were both drumming along. At another point, after Sweet Pea carefully brought his brother’s guitar into the room, he was playing along (sort of) with Hubby while Cutie Pie either danced or played the drums. And Hubby helped both boys ‘play’ a jigg on the fiddle, too! I managed to get a few shots of our St. Patrick’s Day dance party. Cute? I love how Sweet Pea hold the guitar like a string bass when he plays it!

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Sweet Pea likes to color!

Lately we’ve had the small table in the dinnette again, with crayons and paper within reach, after a short spell with it in the basement having made room for company at Cutie Pie’s birthday party. Sweet Pea has really taken an interest in it again. At least 2 or 3 times a day he stands at it or sits and colors. Sometimes he even spreads out his paper and a few crayons and lays down on the floor and colors. Cutie Pie can take it or leave it, but seems that Sweet Pea is definitely a taker!
We’ve seen Sweet Pea switch hands he uses for some tasks, like he’s not quite sure which is more comfortable. I’m told for a 2 year old (and actually all the way up to age 6) that this is quite normal. It seems, however, that whenever he holds a crayon or table utensil, it is almost always with his right hand. Another difference from Cutie Pie, who is most certainly a lefty! This is making me wonder if Sweet Pea likes to color and whatnot because we can more ‘easily’ do it with him and show him how, while it’s always been just a bit of a struggle to show Cutie Pie ‘correctly’. Either way, my two boys are perfect the way they are! I’m loving their individual creativity!

Week in review letter H – Repost with Pics!

We were having problems with our computer, so I wasn’t able to post pics for our letter H week and since everyone has been sick with colds and things have been on hold a bit I decided to repost this one and add in the pics! I don’t really consider this cheating for We Play because we actually did the Joshua and the wall again last week when we were building with bricks!
We started out just reading the Bible story, then we also read Humpty Dumpty, as suggested in the Hubbard’s Cupboard 3’s curriculum. Cutie Pie remembered we had seen Veggie Tales Josh and the Big Wall, so it was pretty easy for him to understand the Bible story, so we talked mostly about the nursery rhyme and words that start with H: Hats, Hot cocoa, Heart, Hand, Heat, Hot, Hamburger, Hadrosaur, High, Horses, Help…and we did several experiments!
Blowing his horn walking around 7 times!
He had so much fun knocking it down!
Building Humpty’s wall
Throughout the week we built walls out of cardboard bricks and wood blocks and marched around them before blowing homemade Horns and knocking them down, and we let Hard boiled eggs fall from a (cardboard) brick wall that we built and talked about why they broke, followed by rolling a few down an incline. Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was that the egg would break, however, the experiment revealed the eggs stayed intact when they rolled! (science, gross motor) This lead to a discussion about what would have happened to Humpty Dumpty if he had a slide next to him to help him get down from the wall. 
Knocking Humpty off his wall
Poor Humpty!
We made our Handprints and looked at them closely with a magnifying glass (science), baked Heart cookies and talked about how Heat changes things (more science, senses, math) as well as enjoying our daily Hot cocoa dates! I also found this neat little pattern for paper Helicopters, which we made, followed by watching a few kid-friendly videos of helicopters, since the boys were really interested in how the paper helicopter ‘flew’. (science, fine motor)
We ended the week with two hot/cold science experiments, which I found in the book 365 More Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials, published by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. The first, called The Warm and Cold of It, uses Hot and cold water in 2 separate cups and two balloons filled with cold water, only big enough to hold water but still fit into the cups. “The balloon filled with cold water sinks to the bottom of the warm water, but floats to the top of the cold water!” It shows that cold water is heavier than warm water.
The second hot/cold water experiment was called Color Me Warm, in which you have 2 glasses, one each of hot and cold water. You add the same amount of food coloring to both glasses. The food coloring in the hot water swirls and colors the water fairly quickly as opposed to that in the cold water. The hot water is in motion. As the water cools at the surface, it sinks to the bottom of the cup allowing more hot water to rise, which causes the food coloring to swirl! With each experiment the boys ‘tested’ the water to see which cup held which temperature and Cutie Pie came up with a hypothesis before we tested his theory (science, sense of touch). He loved this!
Cutie Pie was pretty entertained by the inclined plane, so we found ourselves experimenting with that off and on all week assisted by some experiments. Cutie Pie told me the other day that he likes doing experiments with me and wishes he could do them every day. Since his interest is so strong I think I’m going to try hard to do this with him!
We didn’t concentrate much on the actual letter H, trying to write it or color it or anything since Cutie Pie announced to me several days ago now that he doesn’t want to learn his letters anymore. I figured I’d take it easy in that regard and follow his lead rather than push it and have him rebel, however, he has been picking up his Leap Frog Scribble and Write more often and asking for help with it less often, and he’s expressed several times that he wants to read! I think it’s just a matter of time.
Now go Play!

Week in review letter H – Repost with Pics!

We were having problems with our computer, so I wasn’t able to post pics for our letter H week and since everyone has been sick with colds and things have been on hold a bit I decided to repost this one and add in the pics! I don’t really consider this cheating for We Play because we actually did the Joshua and the wall again last week when we were building with bricks!
We started out just reading the Bible story, then we also read Humpty Dumpty, as suggested in the Hubbard’s Cupboard 3’s curriculum. Cutie Pie remembered we had seen Veggie Tales Josh and the Big Wall, so it was pretty easy for him to understand the Bible story, so we talked mostly about the nursery rhyme and words that start with H: Hats, Hot cocoa, Heart, Hand, Heat, Hot, Hamburger, Hadrosaur, High, Horses, Help…and we did several experiments!
Blowing his horn walking around 7 times!
He had so much fun knocking it down!
Building Humpty’s wall
Throughout the week we built walls out of cardboard bricks and wood blocks and marched around them before blowing homemade Horns and knocking them down, and we let Hard boiled eggs fall from a (cardboard) brick wall that we built and talked about why they broke, followed by rolling a few down an incline. Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was that the egg would break, however, the experiment revealed the eggs stayed intact when they rolled! (science, gross motor) This lead to a discussion about what would have happened to Humpty Dumpty if he had a slide next to him to help him get down from the wall. 
Knocking Humpty off his wall
Poor Humpty!
We made our Handprints and looked at them closely with a magnifying glass (science), baked Heart cookies and talked about how Heat changes things (more science, senses, math) as well as enjoying our daily Hot cocoa dates! I also found this neat little pattern for paper Helicopters, which we made, followed by watching a few kid-friendly videos of helicopters, since the boys were really interested in how the paper helicopter ‘flew’. (science, fine motor)
We ended the week with two hot/cold science experiments, which I found in the book 365 More Simple Science Experiments with everyday materials, published by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. The first, called The Warm and Cold of It, uses Hot and cold water in 2 separate cups and two balloons filled with cold water, only big enough to hold water but still fit into the cups. “The balloon filled with cold water sinks to the bottom of the warm water, but floats to the top of the cold water!” It shows that cold water is heavier than warm water.
The second hot/cold water experiment was called Color Me Warm, in which you have 2 glasses, one each of hot and cold water. You add the same amount of food coloring to both glasses. The food coloring in the hot water swirls and colors the water fairly quickly as opposed to that in the cold water. The hot water is in motion. As the water cools at the surface, it sinks to the bottom of the cup allowing more hot water to rise, which causes the food coloring to swirl! With each experiment the boys ‘tested’ the water to see which cup held which temperature and Cutie Pie came up with a hypothesis before we tested his theory (science, sense of touch). He loved this!
Cutie Pie was pretty entertained by the inclined plane, so we found ourselves experimenting with that off and on all week assisted by some experiments. Cutie Pie told me the other day that he likes doing experiments with me and wishes he could do them every day. Since his interest is so strong I think I’m going to try hard to do this with him!
We didn’t concentrate much on the actual letter H, trying to write it or color it or anything since Cutie Pie announced to me several days ago now that he doesn’t want to learn his letters anymore. I figured I’d take it easy in that regard and follow his lead rather than push it and have him rebel, however, he has been picking up his Leap Frog Scribble and Write more often and asking for help with it less often, and he’s expressed several times that he wants to read! I think it’s just a matter of time.
Now go Play!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter R

RailRoad track
Reading with Relatives

Rhinoceros. Race. Railroad. Ring. Rope. Round. Rip. Rat. Rich. Rainbow. Reading. Relatives. Rain (it rained a lot this week!) Raisins (our chosen snack for the week!) Right (Cutie Pie graduated to a booster with a seat belt and kept having to make his Right arm be in the correct spot) Rub. Run. Rocket. Robot. Red. Roll. Rest. Rock. These are only some of the words starting with letter R that we had fun with this week! For some reason the letter R week was more fun and more packed-full than other weeks, or at least, we tend to do more things that start with letter R naturally around here!

Cutie Pie resting in bed
sick with a cold
Coin Rubbings

Bible Story – This week we talked about the Widow’s Gift. We talked about what it meant to give, what it meant to be Rich and poor. Cutie Pie was interested in the fact that the widow gave ‘coins’, rather than ‘money’. I chose to visit the Goodwill store this week to look for puddle jumping boots for Cutie Pie and didn’t find any. What we did find was a good discussion about why we give to places like that and why we don’t always buy things when we go to the store for something specific. (Of course, we did end up buying a really cool playdough set for $2 and a neat set of foamy-magnet things for $1.)  When we got home we taped the coins that we had received in change to the table and made coin Rubbings. (fine motor/art)

Matching Robots

Art/Language arts/Kitchen – Cutie Pie chose not to do this activity, but Sweet Pea loved it – he glued Red Rice and Ripped Red paper onto his letter R! Great fine motor work for him! He’s definitely more tactile and crafty than Cutie Pie! He was also really into the Rolled cookies we made with cookie cutters, although he had a hard time getting any of his animals to retain their shape! Cutie Pie was into this only until he had made one of each of his favorite animals. (fine motor/science/math – measuring, baking)

We also made cardboard Matching Robots with Red parts (from Serving Pink Lemonade). (fine motor)

Gross Motor – Sweet Pea had his second gymnastics class this week. He got to fly on the harness! He loved it to say the least! He also did a lot of Rolling – both himself and balls! Plus, he got to swing on the Rings! This class is definitely right up his alley! Of course, Cutie Pie has been Rolling around at home, too, since Sweet Pea comes home and tries to do front Rolls in the living room! And they both get to Running around our loop like crazy at night! Meanwhile Cutie Pie asked to have his bike out on one of the warmer days to Ride it in our driveway! He did great!

Science – I did manage to do a science experiment with Cutie Pie one day while Sweet Pea was napping. As with all experiments, you never know if they will turn out as you expect. This was no different! We tried to make Rock candy. I found this neat science experiment site called Science Bob, and on it they had directions for this edible experiment, watching sugar crystals grow. One key step in this experiment is to add the sugar very slowly to the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Cutie Pie was not very patient, so our rock crystals grew overnight into a solid mass of diluted sugar with water on top in our jar. Cutie Pie was disappointed it didn’t work, but we re-read the directions for the experiment and he decided we should follow them more closely when we try it again!

Reunion

 I had a little R experience myself – a Reunion with family I have not seen in many years! Truly exciting and something I will write about at a later date!

For other links to R activities, check out The Attached Mama and her resources from various blogs!
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My kids love my friends

I just love it when my kids like my friends. I have this one friend, in particular, who taught Cutie Pie’s first Sunday School class. The only two students in it were Cutie Pie and my friend’s son. There has always been something very inviting about Ursula, something that just drew me to her as a friend and I’m so glad Cutie Pie saw that in her, too! It’s not unusual for Cutie Pie to run up to her and plop down in her lap or give her a great big hug. I love it!

Now that this Sunday School class is no longer, we try to get the kiddos together for some fun time every once in a while outside of running around together after church. Recently we met up for some fun at Rochester Museum of Play to check out their Tinkertoy exhibit. Sweet Pea was enamored with Ursula, wouldn’t come to me for anything! It was so heartwarming to see him lift his arms to her for comfort throughout the day! I love it when my kids love my friends!

Of course, I have a few other friends my kids absolutely adore. I’m so thankful to have them in my life to offer love and acceptance to my boys!

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Hidden Valley Animal Adventure Field Trip


My MOMs group play group visited this awesome place in August. Thought you’d like to see some pictures of animals you don’t often get to see up close! (and sorry this is a late post, I wrote it and it fell by the wayside…maybe the sun will be a good pick-me-up if you’re experiencing never-ending snow.) 

Hidden Valley Animal Adventure, a little south of Batavia, NY, is well worth the trip! (By the way, this is not a paid advertisement or review, I’ve received no incentive from this park, and have in no way been compensated to write about this animal park. I am solely expressing my personal opinions and experiences.)

From their website:

Hidden Valley Animal Adventure “was started by Hans Boxler and  is family operated.  Hans has been a successful dairy farmer for over 60 years.  Take an adventure on the specially designed tour vehicles, where guests will view and feed over 30 different species….The purpose of Hidden Valley Animal Adventure is to provide education and entertainment.”

This is the Lodge, pretty impressive, isn’t it?!

When we reached The Lodge the kiddos were ready to run! After purchasing tickets for the adventure we headed to the small animal area to see the camel, burrow, wallaby and zebra. Even though we could not pet or feed these animals it was a great experience seeing these animals up close! (I’ve tried to include a lot of pics of the animals we saw, as many I’ve never seen before. I surely don’t remember the names of them all, so many are not labeled. Also, I know the ladies in playgroup gave me permission to post pics of their kiddos, but I’m trying not to as I don’t feel entirely right about it, so most of the pics are of the animals.) Sweet Pea (almost 2 at the time) actually fell asleep on the tram – it was right at his nap time. Cutie Pie (3 1/2 at the time) was very nervous around the horns, but sat in the middle of the tram and was fine with a great view of all the animals!

Camel in the Small Animal section 

Burrow

After boarding the tram and passing through a gate and over a bridge, we were greeted by animals, some of which I have never seen before! I couldn’t ever have imagined being this close to these animals, being able to touch and feed them! It was a truly amazing experience!

 
Watoosie
Look at the antlers!

Herd of elk

Amazing!

They came right up to the tram to feed and you could hear their
horns rubbing against the tram!
Water Buffalo – the owner drove our tram and
got right out and went up and pet these guys. So cool!
Wildebeast

ostrich
Can you see the ostrich lying down? It was laying on it’s nestfull of eggs!
Albino Elk jumping
Beautiful Albino Elk
Llama eating from a cup my friend was holding. Very cool!

Llama

The owner off the tram with the animals.
Adult Zebra, the baby is in the upper left corner

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Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter Q

This week was a little hard for us because it was the first week after Hubby’s winter break. These weeks are always a little difficult as the boys miss him so much, so I try to keep them busy and out of the house – it makes things go a little better.

Anywho, we had the letter Q this week – quilt, quiet, quite, queen – and Jesus Feeding the Multitudes for our BIBLE STORY, as guided by Hubbard’s Cupboard. The story talks about Jesus telling his apostles to retreat to a Quiet place, and we talked a lot about that. Cutie Pie hasn’t liked to be in his room for Quiet time, so this was a perfect time to work on that. He’s been doing much better the past couple of weeks, but still tries to fight me when I tell him it’s time for quiet time in his room. He just doesn’t like to be alone.

We also talked a lot about Quiet and loud voices. Jesus probably used a Quieter voice to talk with his apostles than he did when talking to the multitude. We tried to use that illustration when talking to the boys about using Quiet voices inside.

Language Arts – we talked a lot about words beginning with Q, like the words listed above, but we also talked a lot about opposites again this week. Quiet, loud. Quick, slow. We talked quietly and loudly, walked Quickly, slowly. The boys had fun with these Q words as they could act them out!

Art – I once again printed out the big letter and we spent some time rubbing Quarters and painting with Q-tips. The boys loved painting with something other than their fingers or a brush so much more than I thought they would! Cutie Pie even started tracing all by himself!

I also spent a little time with Cutie Pie at the sewing machine (fine motor). I used to dabble in Quilting, so we made a paper Quilt. I think if I do this again I will get out some scrap material, but I know Cutie Pie goes a little crazy with the ‘gas’ so I didn’t go through the trouble this time. He had a blast, though, determining the size and shape of the Quilt pieces and then matching them up and finally sewing them together! (also science, math, processes)

Science/Math – We talked just a little about measuring liquids, specifically how much a Quart is. I had planned to do a measuring/pouring activity during their bath time, but they had other plans! Cutie Pie also picked out a few experiments to do this week, but when we got ready to do them he became interested in other things. I was a little bummed, because they looked pretty fun, but another time!

Play worthy of mention (gross motor) – We spent some time outdoors again finally! We had a little warm spell (followed quickly by another snow spell) and Sweet Pea finally decided he wanted to go outdoors! It seems like we’ve spent so much time indoors rather than ‘dealing’ with his crying from the cold…and this was a welcome relief! Cutie Pie was with his Nana for the morning, so he didn’t get in on the action, but was excited to hear that Sweet Pea might do this again! We did get to Quivering from the cold snow, but Sweet Pea stayed outside for almost an hour! We had a little snowball fight (pic below) wandered around the yard picking things up and looking at everything! Doesn’t it look like he’s finally having a ton of fun in the snow?!

I’ll be posting my alphabet ideas on The Attached Mama. She has a great list of alphabet crafty ideas that others bloggers have shared that is totally worthy of checking out! If you’re doing anything with the alphabet with your kiddos you’ve gotta go here!
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Snow happens

So I mentioned earlier this week that we had a lot of snow after a terrific thaw, so I thought I’d share some pics. Not only did we have a lot of snow here, but 2 hours away while we were on our way to see my dad and my mom, and we ended up driving into a blizzard! It made a simple overnight trip quite an adventure!

My dad’s house is on a road that runs up the side of a steep hill (remember the photos I posted here from our last trip there?) As a kid I remember many days staying home from school because the bus couldn’t make it up the hill, and long, cold walks up the hill in sneakers after school when the plow hadn’t yet made it up the hill and I forgot to wear boots that day. Of course, I also got to ride in a snow plow once when it was arriving to plow the road at the same time the bus was! What an adventure! Growing up there playing in the nature surrounding me and the peace it afforded has offered many wonderful memories!

This particular weekend we made 5 attempts to make it up the hill to see my dad, the last being after dark, which hubby did not like at all! (Have you ever tried backing 1/4 mile down an icy hill where the sides of the road aren’t marked in the dark? Not fun!) Amazingly Cutie Pie fell asleep and missed the whole thing! Sweet Pea was awake in his carseat, and was very patient through the whole hour long ordeal! We ended up staying overnight in my mom’s one bedroom apartment. That was something we’ve never done before with 2 kids! This is what my car’s wheels looked like the next morning as we finally pulled into my dad’s driveway…

As a kid my dad and neighbor built wooden ramps and a toboggan run down our back hill. The new neighbor made an awesome snow ramp for us! 
Grampa and Hubby trying to convince Cutie Pie how much fun sledding down a huge hill can be…they only went 1/4 of the way down, and Cutie Pie was not convinced!

Back at home, following animal tracks. Poor Cutie Pie could hardly walk the snow was so deep, but enjoyed every minute of it! Loves his science!
Sweet Pea saw his bike and was convinced he could ride it outside in the snow. He was wrong.
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We Play – in puddles

We had quite a thaw here on Friday, so we headed outdoors to enjoy the warmth – 50 degrees! The foot of snow that we had fall a few days before (which I’ll post about soon) melted overnight. Here is the fun we had through pics. I don’t think they need many more words to describe them!

 

Sweet Pea did end up on his bottom after this pic, but thankfully it was at just about the time we were heading indoors. That water was so cold! It was also so much fun exploring nature after it being white and for so long!

Tomorrow’s Wordless Wednesday may be a pic of our basement…since these were taken we’ve had another storm roll through dumping another 8 inches, which all melted again today in the rain!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter P

Pizza, Pancakes, homemade Pretzels, Prehistoric animals, Pulled Pork, Pasta, Pepper, Please, Papa, Plants, Pom-Pom, Play (lots of it!) – This pretty much sums up the week around here! Not enough? Then include the Bible story about the wise and foolish builders and we’ve got you covered!


It was an extra fun week since Hubby was home on winter break and spent lots of time playing and going places with us! In addition to traveling to see my dad the first weekend of break, we managed to go to RMSC and see the Prehistoric animals (dinosaurs) and play in all the areas of the museum. This, of course, included playing in the sand and water box trying to make houses to withstand the onslaught of water when built on sand (construction of a house like the foolish builders). We also tried to build houses on pillows to see if they would stand up to just a little nudge. Hubby and the boys spent time building some towers and talked about how something needs a firm foundation to stand tall (wise builders). Of course, we did touch on the spiritual life application of this story a bit, too. (Bible Story, math, science)

Language Arts – In addition to Sweet Pea getting really into pasting Purple and Pink Pom-Poms on our large letter P, Cutie Pie has started to sound out simple words and through a lot of fun making up silly words with his Daddy, he’s starting to rhyme words when given a letter to start the rhyming word with. (Think “what rhymes with duck that starts with a P?”) I know this sounds simple to us, but it isn’t always that easy for kiddos!

Math/Science – Cutie Pie really got into the “What is” game with me, at least that’s what we’re calling it! It’s pretty simple. Take two objects and compare them, asking your child for the answer. For example, “what is bigger Daddy’s foot or Mommy’s car?” I tried this with things that are still abstract to him, like comparing a whale to a sky scraper. He absolutely loved this game!

 

We also made homemade pretzels. The boys didn’t get into it as much as we thought, but they were delicious!

Play – As I mentioned earlier we visited my dad for an overnight. My kiddos love their grampa! They had a lot of fun playing with him. They also got to see my mom, whom they always have a fun time with! At her house they seemed to like Pushing around her stools, but she also has some Megablocks and they built some tall towers there! And P week wouldn’t be complete without getting to Play with Papa!

Now, to think of fun things to do with the letter Q…..

Instrument Petting Zoo – drums (and blog hop!)

As I’ve mentioned before, Hubby is a string music teacher in two of the local grade schools. Part of his education included learning many instruments, both string and band, in order to be certified to teach all types of music K-12. Previously I posted about the kids trying out a trombone. This time it was the drums!
Thankfully, Hubby has a practice drum pad rather than real drums. (Nothing against drums. It’s just that Sweet Pea is quite a drummer as it is, picking up anything that resemble drumsticks and banging on things, so I can only imagine what our home would be like if we had real drums in it – endless drumming!) Hubby got the drum pad and drumsticks out for the boys and they had a blast! It was the same day they got to try out the recorder, which I’ll post about another time. (But you can read about their toy recorder here.)

Of course, Sweet Pea was a natural. We already know from his drumming around that he can keep a beat, but we weren’t quite sure he’d be able to always hit the drum pad as that takes a lot of coordination and choice. He did great, and was very responsible with the drumsticks, not hitting anything else! Cutie Pie did great, too, although he quickly became interested in the other instruments we had out at the time (see the rain stick to his right in the pic.)

Sweet Pea woke up early from his nap that day and had a field trip to the music store with Hubby. I was told he had a blast! Evidently Sweet Pea was very gentle with all the instruments he was allowed to play, which included some guitars, keyboards, various hand drums and a drum set! Of course, percussion instruments include things other than just drums…chimes, bells, xylophone, gong, blocks, triangle…and lots more, too!

The trip to the music store to play drums was icing on the cake as far as Sweet Pea was concerned, and I was thankful Hubby didn’t come home with other percussion instruments to add to our collection!

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Dinosaur Skeleton Project

If you’ve been reading this blog at all you probably realize my 4 year old child’s big interests are dinosaurs and science experiments! Cutie Pie received a few dinosaur skeleton kits for Christmas and spent a little time with Daddy putting them together!

We didn’t realize when we got these for him just how complicated they would be to complete! The pic above shows Daddy doing all the work and Cutie Pie enjoying his hot cocoa, trying very hard to be a patient boy because a 4 year old just doesn’t have the fine motor skills to put a wood dinosaur skeleton together. He understood from the moment the first package was opened that these would be something for his room and not something he’d get to play with, but he was very excited about that because then his room “would be like a museum!” He now has a triceratops and T-rex on his dresser watching over him at night and a pteranadon flying over his head protecting him!

I ended up staying up late gluing all the pieces together, but throughout the process Cutie Pie did learn a little. He learned that putting models together takes a careful hand, that a plan makes the process easier, that having a ‘map’ and visual is a great help and that spilling hot cocoa on them would be a frustration! He saw how counting items could be very helpful when there are similar shapes and sizes to keep track of.


We saw his excitement in our spending time with him doing something he loves, and how spending time doing something he is very interested in with him, even when it is too difficult for him to do or help with, can show him how much we love him! We are definitely thinking our budding paleontologist might be one of those little ones who needs not only quality time together, but quantity time!

We Play with straws

Being stuck in the house has made us get a little creative during the day, as you can remember from this recent post. It also forces us to get a little more creative one evening a week while hubby teaches private instrument lessons in our home. It’s hard enough that the kids have so much energy they just want to run, but they’ve got to be a bit quieter than normal, too!

One night a week or two ago I had one boy who wanted to paint and another who just wanted to get into the pantry. I got a straw out for Sweet Pea, the 2 yr old who was attempting to get his own sweets from the pantry, and let him play with it while I got some paint ready for Cutie Pie. I laid out some big white paper on the kitchenette floor and prayed the boys would be relatively quite and occupied while the lessons were going on in the adjacent room.

Cutie Pie ran and got his trucks and the tire painting began. Sweet Pea was interested for a little while, then tried to paint with his straw. I remembered making bubble solution with the boys last summer and blowing it through straws with holes poked toward the bottom of the straws so the boys wouldn’t suck in the bubble solution. I quickly did this to the paint straw. Of course, then the splattering began. I had to nip it in the bud quickly, and so showed the boys how to drop paint with their fingertips and then blow through the straw to make streaks. This proved very entertaining and was actually pretty quiet, although Cutie Pie didn’t stay interested in it for very long.

Sweet Pea’s attention span still isn’t very long, so after getting them involved in straw-blowing painting I ran to my reference books and found an idea to race cotton balls by blowing them across the room using straws. (I honestly can’t remember which book I first saw this idea in as I have several that I referenced that night. This idea was in more than one so I figured it would be a good choice!) I decided I didn’t have much to lose, even if it did get a little noisy as the lesson was about to end and I needed to get the boys quickly occupied so paint didn’t end up everywhere as it does when they lose interest in something so messy! I set out the cotton balls, showed them quickly how to get the balls moving and they were off to giggling and scooting along on their tummies racing their cotton balls!

Since then I have discovered some other fun things to do with straws, and will definitely try them when I find myself in this situation again!

I’d love to hear ways you keep your kiddos quietly occupied! Please share and then hop on to another blog as part of Childhood 101’s We Play Tuesday!

week in review – letter O

IN the box
Opposite – OUT of the box

On, Off, Opposites, Ouch, Open, Octopus – We’ve been talking a lot about these words that start with “O” this week! Cutie Pie has even figured out how to read “On” and “Off”!

Bible – We also read about being salt of the earth and light to the world in the Bible, which lead to talking about what this means for how we live and relate to each other. I think this was a little hard for my boys to understand, but it created some interesting conversation!

Science Experiment – Cutie Pie was asking for some experiments this week. I’m so glad I have some books here to refer to quickly when he requests them! (I talk about one of these books here.)

We ended up doing a few experiments related to salt and light since that was the gist of our Bible story this week, the first being a salt evaporation experiment. In this experiment you take warm water and dissolve 2 tsp of salt in it, cover it with plastic wrap and let it set for a few hours. Before you cover it have the kiddos taste the solution and make a hypothesis (an idea you can test) about what the condensation will taste like later. After a few hours when you carefully uncover it, have the kiddos taste the condensation that formed on the plastic wrap. How did it taste? It actually won’t taste salty, because the salt weighs more than the water, so it won’t evaporate with the water!

The second experiment we conducted was about being light to the world. We talked about how a light on a hill can truly be seen and not be hidden and related that to a lighthouse being high on a hill for ships to see, since Cutie Pie is familiar with lighthouses. I made this experiment up on the fly, and was very careful. I lit a candle and we took it into a dark room. Cutie Pie was excited to see how it lit up the room well enough that he could see, which was very good since he is scared of the dark. Then, I blew it out. He wasn’t scared, because he had just seen what was in the room. We talked a little more about it in relation to the verse, but I didn’t push it because I just thought it was neat he wasn’t scared when the room was dark!

Arts – Sweet Pea was very into coloring this week and even wanted to color and glue Cheerios to his big letter ‘O’! He did this on Valentine’s day, before helping to frost our Valentine’s heart-shaped brownie for Daddy!

We also borrowed a few videos from the library this week. Cutie Pie requested these videos and one was very appropriate for this week! The videos were Sesame Street Elmo’s World Opposites and Sesame Street All-Star Alphabet. Both boys love them and I know they are learning from the way they talk afterwards!

Sweet Pea and his train

Sweet Pea, my two year old, tends to follow his older brother’s lead when it comes to playing. Lately, though, he’s been creating and doing some pretend play on his own.

I walked into the room the other day to see this…

…and to hear “Look, Mama! It’s a train!” 
before he made train sounds and ran it along the floor like a huge ice skate!
I’m loving the way his mind is developing. It’s amazing how brothers can be so similar, yet so different!

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Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter M

Happy Valentine’s Day! We’re going to spend the day making something sweet for Hubby and enjoying each other’s company while having a lot of fun together. Then when Hubby gets home we’ll shower him with love!

This past week we spent time on the Bible story Jonah and the whale and the letter M, for Mommy, Mirror, Me, My, Mine, Mouth, Museum, Moo. I had wanted to spend the week doing an all about me sort of theme, but the kids were still pretty cranky from being sick and didn’t seem to want to go in that direction so I didn’t push it. I want this to be fun learning for them. We did manage to make it to Strong National Museum of Play, though! (We had to make it to a place that started with an M! You can read other posts about this great place here and here!)

Science – The kids seemed fascinated by Jonah being swallowed up by a big fish. We talked a lot about this story through the week, wondering what he felt like in the whale’s belly, what else was in there with him, what it might have smelled or felt like, whether it was light or dark, if other things in there were Moving around like he might have been. I tried to get the boys to think about it in relation to all of our senses. It was pretty entertaining trying to see this story from a child’s perspective!

We enjoyed fun snack bags containing fish crackers, raisins (we pretended they were sea urchins), letter pretzels (which, according to Cutie Pie, were “some other things found in the water”) and then added a picture of Jonah to the bag. We used a twist tie and twisted the bag shut to make it look like a fish. When it was snack time they opened them up and let Jonah out through the whale’s Mouth! I wasn’t sure the boys would enjoy or appreciate this, but they loved it!

Experiment – We also prepared an extra snack bag and added lemon juice to it, to imitate the stomach juices, and after 3 days looked at it to see how the food had changed. Cutie Pie really liked this experiment! (more science)

Language arts: We read The Cow Who Clucked, by Denise Fleming, and talked a lot about the M sound and words beginning with M.

Math and Science – The kiddos enjoyed sorting M&Ms, items on the table, pieces of clothing from laundry to fold pile. I briefly introduced the idea of believers and non-believers to them as the story of Jonah leant itself to talking a bit about this topic.

Most often, we pretended the Thomas indoor play tent was a whale and the couch was the boat we were on. Cutie Pie insisted we had to crawl into the tent really fast and move around in there a lot and pretend it was dark, but, according to him, it was dry in there because bellies aren’t wet on the inside. After a while we were ‘spit out’ Thomas’s door and suddenly we were sunbathing and playing with dump trucks in the sand! It wasn’t exactly how the story is told in the Bible, but I think from the other conversations we had throughout the week, that Cutie Pie knows the story!

And on Friday we made our Valentines for family. Just something simple that Cutie Pie could make on his own, although Sweet Pea did help do a little stamping! We went to an Orkidstra concert on Sunday and were able to see the boys’ cousins, so it was really important to Cutie Pie to make actual Valentines this year to give to them!

It’s a race and Blog Hop Friday!

It’s been so cold and snowy here lately that we’ve had to come up with alternative ways to get our kiddos moving and tired which is proving to be hard with this many days in a row indoors and with runny noses and coughs preventing us from going to fun places!

One thing that remains consistent is our kids’ desire to run around ‘the loop’ in our house. To encourage this tiring activity and add a bit of fun to the mix, Hubby taped one edge of a length of crepe paper to a doorway and held the other end making a finish line. Even though the boys weren’t racing each other, they each loved running through the finish line and seeing it fall as they kept running. I know the photo makes it look like it’s going to choke Cutie Pie, but believe me Hubby was holding it very lightly and more often dropped the crepe paper before they crossed the line (and heard about it from Cutie Pie!) And to see Sweet Pea’s coordination improving was great – he runs like a little boy, not a toddler! The next time we want these boys to get tired on a rainy day we will be pulling out the party supplies for more crepe paper for sure!

I’m participating in the following blog hops today. Hop along with me!

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Citrus Experiment and blog hop!

We visited a preschool last week for circle time and when we left the kids there were getting ready to taste different citrus fruits. Cutie Pie was very dismayed to discover he wouldn’t be part of the tasting experiment. We had to go to the grocery anyway, so I thought why not do this experiment ourselves? We picked up a lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine. Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea couldn’t wait to get home and do our citrus experiment of the senses!

First, the boys examined the peels on each fruit (sense of touch) and compared and contrasted them. Were they smooth, rough, round, oval, the same color?

I then cut open the fruit and they told me what they observed about each – the color, the shapes they saw, whether they were juicy. I let them feel the inside of each fruit after I cut a half into quarters. They compared the insides to the other fruits. (sense of sight, touch)

Then the boys smelled each fruit and told me what they discovered.

Finally, we tasted each citrus fruit after. The boys tried to discern sweet or bitter or sour and then compared the taste of each to the other fruits. (sense of taste) Naturally, Cutie Pie picked up pieces of each fruit and gobbled them up and Sweet Pea gingerly tasted and then set them back down. Cutie Pie loves sour things and Sweet Pea is always asking for a sweet treat!

I took the remaining halves of each fruit, a bowl, and a hand-held fruit juicer and showed them how to make Juice! (We did this during J week, so it was perfect timing!) Each had a turn squeezing, pressing, and making a mess! (fine motor) They tasted the resulting juice and I helped them make it ‘drinkable’ by adding some water and sugar. Daddy was very surprised to have some homemade ‘juice’ to taste when he got home!

I’m joining Bassgiraffe’s Thoughts blog hop today! Hop along!

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

We Play in Snow Forts

With all the snow we’ve had this past couple of weeks I thought I should put up some of the snowy pictures I took earlier this winter, but never managed to post. Outside play pictures are few and far between this year, as Sweet Pea is at the age where he cannot stand being in the snow. I remember this fondly from when Cutie Pie was two. We’re hoping that changes soon as it’s getting to be quite a long winter with either the boys inside or only getting to go out during Sweet Pea’s nap time. 
This is Cutie Pie in the first snow fort he and I made. I believe we made this shortly after Christmas. We had a bit of a warm spell and all the snow was packing down, which is perfect for making a great snowball and a great fort! Unfortunately, this fort did not withstand the Cutie Pie warrior’s attack, which occurred shortly after it was erected, much to my dismay – I worked hard on that fort! (The snow was very heavy and Cutie Pie only made a few blocks before handing the brick making and laying over to me, but giving me much direction on how to build it.) 
This is the second fort we made that day. I tried to make it bigger and with a significant doorway so that the walls would not be accidentally plowed over by warrior Cutie Pie. It worked! Even after more thawing that night this fort stayed mostly intact. Hubby and Cutie Pie reinforced it last Wednesday on the snow day Hubby had when we didn’t receive any snow. We had expected that massive storm that hit most of the northeast with much damage, but it missed our little town although nearby got quite a bit of snow. I think we were lucky, although I would have enjoyed having massive amounts of snow to play in!

I grew up tobogganing and using inner tubes to sled down the hill behind our house. My dad and neighbor actually built a wooden ramp, piled it with snow, and molded a run down the hill using a snowplow on the front of a truck when I was a young teen and it was awesome! I so wish I had pictures of that to share with you! What memories of growing up on the side of a hill! I can’t wait for my kids to enjoy that soon when we visit their Grampa, although I think the lack of 60 or 70 kids crawling all over the hill might make it a little less exciting! (We were the place where the church youth group hung out!)

I’m participating in We Play at Childhood 101. Check it out!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter L

Last week we concentrated on the letter L. I started posting a giant letter of the week next to where Cutie Pie sits for meals and he’s taken to tracing them with his finger often and this seems to help him remember the letter names better as we talk about them more often at his prompting. We also talked about the prophet Elijah.

Bible Story – Cutie Pie seemed fascinated by the fact that even though everything was soaked with water, God could create fire. Other than this part of the story of Elijah, Cutie Pie was not interested in learning about him.

Language Arts – We talked about a whole lot of words that start with the letter L. Lions, Lambs, Lollipops, Laying down, Little (and big – science) and just about every other word beginning with L, too. Cutie Pie has a hard time saying this letter, which I think is typical for a lot of 4 year olds, so we spent a lot of time saying words starting with L or containing L.

Science – Lion chow was on the snack menu again this week (see here for last week’s Bible story and related recipe). The boys loved it, and it was great measuring practice! We also spent a lot of time pretending to be lions…eating what lions eat, walking like lions, huddled like lions in lion dens made from sheets and couch pillows…and Hubby spent a lot of time being a lion on his snow day, too!

It seemed like we did a lot now that it’s written down, but at the time it seemed like we spent a lot of time being sick with colds this week and preparing for a terrible storm that, thankfully, never hit this area as badly as predicted. At some point I will manage to get pics from during the week from the main computer to this little one each week.

Mastodon Dig

Sweet Pea finally joined us at the mastodon dig site at Rochester Museum and Science Center! As a safety rule no one can dig unless they wear their goggles. Sweet Pea has gone in to dig before, however has always quickly removed his goggles and has had to get out. I was so excited this past visit when he actually kept them on and could dig with us! And he really liked it!

Sweet Pea really got into it uncovering ‘dinosaur’ fossils. (Yes, I know it’s a mastodon dig site, but Cutie Pie is so into dinosaurs we just call it digging for dinosaur fossils.) Whenever Cutie Pie would say he found a bone Sweet Pea would immediately go over and help uncover the discovery, with a very serious face! He knew this was important work! He also got very excited when he saw the dinosaur bones on the video playing above the dig area. It was as if something clicked in his little brain!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: I love it when I can clearly see my kiddos are learning!

Volcano Experiment (or what’s in the bottle?)

A little learning for two wrote about a great experiment/activity on Sunday that I thought would be right up my boys’ alley. It is rather simple, and very cool! It also happened to coincide with an experiment I found in a recently acquired experiment book called Projects with Air A science at Work Book by Seymour Simon published in 1975, which my hubby found being discarded from the school library (I couldn’t find it anywhere on the internet, sorry!)

For the experiment found at A little learning for two, you need:

  • a large plastic bottle 
  • something sharp to poke a hole into the bottle (adults!)
  • a balloon
  • water
So if you have these items and want a quick and neat experiment to do go check it out at A little learning for two! My boys loved seeing the water come spurting out of the bottle like a forceful volcano! And they got a chuckle out of it spurting all over me the first time when my finger slipped off the hole!

Now, the experiment that relates to this that I found in our new (to us) experiment book:

You need:
plastic bottle
funnel that fits into the plastic bottle top
water
clay or play dough

What to do:
Place the funnel into the empty bottle and pour in some water. What happens?
Pack clay or play dough around the funnel and neck of the bottle, making sure there are no leaks.
Pour water into the funnel to fill it up. What happens now?

What to look for (directly from the book): Does the water enter the bottle while the clay is in place? Is the bottle really empty? How do you know? Does the water flow into the bottle when you remove the clay? How can you explain the difference?

Cutie Pie loved this! It’s as if it clicked that there was something in the bottle before we tried to put the water in! I love it when that happens! I know this is probably advanced for some preschoolers, but, hey, it’s worth a try! (Sorry I have no pics of this, it was a little hard to manage the camera and the water!)

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter K

Last week we concentrated on the letter K and the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. I was feeling like I was fighting something all week and the boys both came down with colds at the end of the week, so our use of Kleenex for the letter K worked well!

Language Arts – Cutie Pie had a hard time discerning the K and C sounds at beginnings of words, which is completely understandable, so we talked a lot about the sounds K and C make. Hubbard’s Cupboard‘s lesson plan contained the poem Going on a Lion Hunt, which of course rhymed and was very fun to read with the rhythm it is written in. It also involved sequencing, as well as the terms over, under, around, through. Cutie Pie especially loved this poem. He was very accurate with the order of events when repeating it for Hubby hours after hearing it and did a great job with the reverse order of events, too!

Bible Story – I chose to concentrate on the word Key in relation to Daniel in the lions’ den and the letter K. We talked about what Keys do. Cutie Pie helped by offering that they start things, they unlock things and they fit into things. I tried to relate prayer to being a Key to starting a friendship and knowing God and how that had so much to do with Daniel staying safe amongst the lions. (Of course, we also used the word Kleenex, too, as there has been a lot of Kleenex use here since last Wednesday!)

Art – Someone gave the boys some old keys a while back. I pulled them out and Cutie Pie enjoyed trying to trace them. At first he couldn’t figure out how to keep the key still in order to pull his crayon around it, but once he asked for help he did great! Once he was tired of tracing keys he decided poking them into play dough, like Sweet Pea was doing, looked like fun and he had a go at it. Great fine motor work!

Science – Going on a Lion Hunt was also very useful to teach about different things we’d find in nature if we were taking a walk in the country – mud, ponds, etc. This was a good reminder for Sweet Pea, especially, as we’ve been surrounded by snow and I want to assure him we’ll see green grass soon! (He absolutely hates going out in the cold snow!)

We also watched some videos to discover why lions would be so scary to be trapped with, and talked about what they are fed in zoos. Then we made Lion Chow, as suggested in the Hubbard’s Cupboard curriculum. It’s really puppy chow (for humans!) made with chex cereal, peanut butter, chocolate chips, butter and powdered sugar and is very addicting! (science – measuring) The boys readily agreed that something which looks like this might be fed to lions in a zoo. Gullible!

Since the boys weren’t feeling the best we didn’t do very many experiments, but they did have enough energy to try jumping like kangaroos and singing like kookaburra’s! This week is a new week, and maybe they’ll have their taste buds back and feel like trying that Kiwi I bought…

Instrument Petting Zoo – trombone

Hubby is a music teacher, so in college he had to learn to play all the instruments. There are a few instruments that have become part of our instrument ‘collection’ that usually stay safely hidden away under piles of stuff in various closets. One of them is the trombone. Yes, he is a string music teacher, and no, I have no idea why this particular instrument came into our home other than that we saw it on sale for $25 at an antique store even though it is not an antique!

For some reason Cutie Pie was asking to play one of Hubby’s instruments. Hubby decided to pull out an instrument that the boys hadn’t seen up close before and out came the trombone. Both boys found it so funny to see their daddy playing the trombone, with it’s slide, horn and ability to ‘grow’. Sweet Pea especially liked it when Hubby would slide it into the lowest notes. Each boy had a turn trying to play a note after Hubby tried to teach them the correct way to blow into it. It was quite fun! Cutie Pie had a harder time than Sweet Pea getting a sound to come out, but we realized Cutie Pie would only blow into it with his tongue between his lips (you are supposed to make a buzzing motion with your lips and keep your tongue safely in your mouth!)

I think the Instrument Petting Zoo will be happening again in our home with some of our other instruments as this was quite a highlight for the boys! It was also sort of neat that it coincided with the beginning of our week learning the letter H (because, after all, a trombone is a Horn!) Unfortunately, this didn’t get posted during that week, but that’s another story…

I’m also participating in the following blog hops today (and I hope the buttons work this time!):

New Friend Friday at the Trendy Treehouse
Friend Finding Friday at Super Mom Alysha
Boost My Blog Friday at Design it Chic

New Friend Fridays

Friend Finding Fridays
BoostMyBlogFriday

We Play – Let’s Fly a Kite!

One of those days when Hubby was home for Christmas break the boys were getting antsy and Hubby had some projects he wanted to complete. The weather was very cold and snowy and there was no way to get Sweet Pea to go outside even if it was a nice winter day! 
I suggested we pretend it was beautiful out and we fly kites! Cutie Pie was very skeptical of this idea…until I told him how we could do it and asked if he thought it would work. He agreed it might be possible, and thought decorating the kites would be good in case it did work, because who would want a kite that was just plain brown?

We took simple lunch size paper bags, decorated them with stickers and crayons, attached crepe paper to the bottoms (fine motor) and yarn through holes at the top (after folding it over once or twice to reduce the chances of tearing) and they were off! They ran and ran around our loop with their little kites trailing behind them! (gross motor, coordination) Winter kites, indoor winter fun!

Need ideas for things to do with your kiddos? Head on over to We Play Tuesday at Childhood 101 for some inspiration!

Mama’s Last Week in Review – Letter J

Last week seems like a blur to me, so I’m thankful I had the foresight to scribble notes about what we did! We concentrated on the letter J and David bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The boys learned a new song, “I’ve got the Joy down in my heart” and Sweet Pea took to it pretty quickly. We also visited a couple more preschools, one visit inspiring an experiment at home!

Language Arts – Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea requested to read in the Jungle of Nool this week. (from Horton Hears a Who) We sit in a comfy spot, put a blanket over our heads and read together all snuggled up. We didn’t just read, we also talked about Jungle animals and the sounds they make. This led to Cutie Pie making up quite a few stories about tigers and lions (science, too!)

Experiment #1 – This first experiment went along with our lesson of Joyfulness in relation to David being Joyful when he brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The Bible says David had lots of music played while the ark was brought up. The boys and I talked about how that must have sounded. We got our instruments out (music) and had a parade. Then we did our sound vibration experiment. The boys loved this! Here’s how:

  • First get out some plastic butter containers, plastic grocery bags, rubber bands, rice, a pot lid and a wooden spoon.
  • Take butter containers and placed the grocery bags over them, and put the rubber band around them so they were very flat and tight like a drum.
  • Place a few pieces of rice on the drum.
  • Then yelled really loudly and watched the rice. Does it move? It didn’t move for us.
  • Next hit the pot lid with the wooden spoon a few feet from the drum. Does the rice moved just a little?
  • Take turns hitting the pot lid with the wooden spoon, this time as close to the drum as you can. We watched the rice jump and shimmy around!
  • Sing a few notes next to the drum. What happens? We found that certain notes made the rice move, too!

Experiment #2 – The preschool we visited for circle time was all set up for a citrus tasting experiment which the children were going to participate in when we left. Cutie Pie really wanted to be part of it, but the preschool said it was just for their students. What’s a mom to do when her boy wants to do an experiment so badly? We headed to the store (well, we were on our way there anyway) and picked up an orange, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, and lime. Unfortunately that’s all we could find on this particular day – I had expected to find more, but we made due.

  • First we felt each citrus fruit and talked about whether it was smooth, bumpy, hard, soft. (sense of touch)
  • Next, we smelled the peel of each fruit. (sense of smell)
  • Then we cut each fruit in half and talked about what we saw, similarities and differences. Cutie Pie observed that each fruit’s insides looked like a star and was juicy. (sense of vision, touch) And we smelled the flesh of the fruit. (sense of smell)
  • Then came the real fun! We took the peel off of half of the fruit and each of us tasted it! We talked about the texture, whether it was sweet or sour, whether we liked it or not and how messy they were to eat. (sense of taste, touch)
  • We took the other half of the fruit still in it’s peel and each boy mashed it on a hand-held juicer. They boys kept requesting more sugar or water until it tasted good to them. (sense of taste, fine motor, and we didn’t make it too sweet!) There is nothing like homemade Juice during J week!

And how could I forget that we made and enjoyed Jello Jigglers! It was very cold out last week, even colder today (5 degrees) so I was very thankful for the open gym our community center offers. However, here at home we did a lot of Jumping! It was a fun week, now that I sit and remember it!