Home » 5 yr old

Category: 5 yr old

Got a Dinosaur Lover? (Book review)

Cutie Pie recently checked out the book called Dinosaur Discovery Everything You Need to be a Paleontologist by Chris McGowan, illustrated by Erica Lyn Schmidt. If you have a dinosaur lover in your house you should really take a look at this book!

What we really like about this book is that it contains experiments as well as shares so much detail about dinosaurs. Other books are great at details like how fast a dinosaur probably ran, or how big it was compared to a bus.

Dinosaur Discovery, however, shares interesting details. For instance, for the brachiosaurus “Vertebrae the trunk vertebrae have larger hollows in their sides than the neck vertebrae. These deep openings reduced weight but not strength.” Cutie Pie ate this information right up!

In addition, it contains several unique experiments that are fun to do and help in understanding things such as why a dinosaur held its tail up off the ground, or how different length crests on parasaurolophuses might have produced different sounds.

If you have a dinosaur lover in your home, one who knows so much about dinosaurs but keeps asking for more books, check this one out. We think the details you find inside might just be different enough to satisfy any budding paleontologist!

Tomorrow I will be posting about one of the experiments we did from this book, just to give you an idea of what you will find!

Kid Questions

Do you have an inquisitive kiddo at home? If you’re familiar with my blog you’ll know that Cutie Pie is our inquisitive one around here, but Sweet Pea is right on his heels. What do you do with all the questions?


Sometimes when I least expect it one of the boys will come out with a question that I just don’t know how to answer. I know very well that they will remember their question when I least expect it and will want to find the answer.

I’ve started keeping a small piece of paper and pencil in every room (especially the bathroom – because that’s where the best questions are thought of!) to capture any and all questions. I also make sure to talk about the questions at some point during the week and make it a point to find the answers with them if at all possible.

One thing I’ve learned is to treat all of their questions as sincere requests for information. Nothing makes a kiddo feel bad like truly wanting to know something and have their question be made fun of or taken lightly when it shouldn’t be!


Balancing act Dinosaur Experiment

This experiment (from Dinosaur Discovery, Everything you need to know about being a Paleontologist by Chris McGowan) is about your center of mass and how this relates to a dinosaur having a tail. Let me just say Cutie Pie is absolutely loving this book!

Take a paper clip and tie it to one end of string.
Tape the other end to your body at the level of your center of mass (about level with your navel if you are younger than about nine, or about a hands length below your navel if you are older) adjust the length of the string so the paper clip almost touches the floor when you bend forward.

Put your hands behind your back and bend forward. Where does the paper clip hover?

Try lifting one foot while still bending over, what happens to the paper clip? What happens to you?

Now hold a bag of books behind you, this shifts your center of mass like a dinosaur’s tail does. Now bend over again. Can you do it this time?

Hold the bag of books at your side and bend over. Do you topple?

Isn’t this a cool experiment? Cutie Pie just loved it so much I had to share to try to convince you to check out this book…at least from your local library!

Links within this post may or may not be affiliate links. I am recommending this book because my child loved it so much, not due to any compensation in any form (because I haven’t received any!) 

Sneaky Reading Learning

Are you like me and read a lot to your kiddos? This is just one example of how to switch up reading that we do with our kiddos all the time.

My kiddos often pick out the same books over and over again. Sometimes it’s really annoying when it’s a book I don’t necessarily like, but it’s familiar, interesting and probably comforting to our kiddos.

Next time you’re reading one of those books for the umpteenth millionth time, make it into a sneaky learning game by pausing and leaving out a word for your child to fill in. They’ll love it (unless they’re cranky!) You could always use this little technique with an emergent reader, pausing to see if they can read a new word!

(By the way, I’ve added a widget sharing some of our favorite books at the moment. It’s over there on the sidebar.)

Sneaky learning: increasing vocabulary, reading comprehension, pre-reading, concentration, listening skills

Rewards (or How to Get Sneaky Learning in)

My Cutie Pie gets a reward every few days when he’s been respectful, listening, helpful and basically a good boy and good brother among other things. His reward of choice isn’t money for new toys, it’s 15 minutes playing computer games. At first I wasn’t too keen on this, but I know the computer is a major draw to Cutie Pie, so we took measures to make this a fun reward we could both be happy with.

We’ve been careful to introduce him to games that have an educational slant to them. Of course, they’re designed to be fun, so he doesn’t know he’s learning!

I won’t go into the debate of screen time or not, rewards or not, etc, because I agree with parts of each viewpoint. Instead I will just mention a few things I’ve noticed since Cutie Pie started selecting game time as a reward every now and then.

Cutie Pie has become more coordinated using a mouse (we have a tracball which is also fine motor), more coordinated using both hands at the same time, is following picture instructions, is learning to spell and read simple words and instructions as well as computer ‘language’, and is getting very good at problem solving. He’s already had a pretty good concentration span, but he has also gotten a little more patient with himself, giving things several attempts before asking for assistance. You can probably throw in discipline as well, as he is expected to end his computer time when the timer goes off. For a 5 year old that takes discipline!

Now, I know excessive use of computer games is not good for my kiddos, just like excessive TV and sweets are detrimental and that there are strong arguments against this. However, I am also willing to look for advantages of limited computer use to help facilitate some sneaky learning while satisfying Cutie Pie’s urge to be like most other boys his age. (Also because his kindergarten utilizes some of the same games in their learning time, I’m finding this is a good reinforcement of what he’s learning in school.)

Another time I will share some of Cutie Pie’s favorite games and apps. But in the meantime, what are your kiddos playing?

Learning through Outdoor Games

Each morning Sweet Pea and I run around with Cutie Pie playing tag while we wait for the bus. Most mornings we stay out, otherwise I can’t get Sweet Pea to go back outside without a lot of complaining. I love sneaky learning through outside play! Over the next few weeks I’ll share some simple, creative ways my kids play and the ways I try to include some learning in it.

Outdoor Games

One morning recently we continued to play tag after Cutie Pie got on the bus. Tag is a popular game on playgrounds and in backyards, right? One person is ‘it’ and counts while the others hide and is normally played with more than two children. Since we play with just two I thought I’d share how we play!

Sweet Pea usually is the first to hide. I count to 10 and then he runs. Then I call out things like “run in a circle” or “run 5 steps then stop” and he starts following directions. Just like the books say, I keep things to about 2 or 3 simple directions at a time, giving him time to process things in between.

Um, have you noticed I didn’t mention me tagging him? He has so much fun running and squealing that he doesn’t even realize we aren’t playing tag or hide and seek. Even when we play tag with Cutie Pie he doesn’t seem to notice he’s never tagged!

The sneaky learning: counting, coordination, following directions, taking turns

How do you switch games up for your little ones to learn or at least participate at their level?

Indoor Pillow Fun

The weather here lately has been dreary and wet, so we have done a lot of playing inside. One recurring pastime was playing with a pile of pillows. The creativity and imagination was great! At different times we had a pond, boat, bridge, rocks, landing spot, train, train tracks, a train boxcar, a truck…the list could go on!

I’m so thankful to have a big enough home that my boys can get some gross-motor play in when the weather is less-than favorable.

What things do your kiddos do to let off energy when they can’t go outside?


Reading Challenge

Being read to is so integral to learning to read.

Cutie Pie came home a few weeks ago with a calendar on which to write the minutes of reading he does each day. The goal for every month is 400 minutes. That’s basically 13 minutes of reading (or being read to) a day. Does that sound like a lot to you or are you already pretty much doing that with your kiddos?

Cutie Pie is well over this 400 minutes mark, and that doesn’t include a couple of weeks since they started this challenge a bit into the start of the month. No, I’m not gloating here. I’m trying to help you see that this is a huge goal to some. One they might need a lot of help to achieve.

There are many students in this district who are first generation Americans, and many in his school fit this category. While 400 minutes of reading might be easily attainable for Cutie Pie with a stay at home mom in a home that speaks entirely English, I’m sure it is quite a challenge for others. Some parents speak their native language in their home and English only to those who do not speak their language, like my next door neighbors. From past work in a daycare setting, I know that some kiddos are with caregivers or in a center setting until late, go home, eat dinner and go to bed with little opportunity to be read to or have help with homework. Some are in single-parent families where the parents work long hours. The stories can go on.

Do you have an opportunity to volunteer in your child’s school? Many times when we think of volunteering we think of helping in the classroom. Maybe you can volunteer more specifically to read to a child? Could you volunteer in a daycare to read?

Learning at Home

Cutie Pie has been in half-day Kindergarten since the beginning of September. (We live in probably the last school district in our state to move to full-day classes for these little kiddos.) He’s doing great in school, but UPK had definitely gotten him ahead of the game. He has several classmates that have just begun to hold crayons and learn their letters, things Cutie Pie feels he has mastered, but yet can improve on!

Cutie Pie has been feeling not-very-challenged, though, saying “Why do I have to learn my letters all over again. Why do I have to learn my shapes over. I know these things.” When he came home one day asking if I can teach him new things when he comes home from school I was a bit surprised…and challenged!

To answer his call we’ve been doing a lot more ‘sneaky’ learning here at home. He’s still just in Kindergarten, after all, so I don’t want to take that precious play time away. We’ve been doing a lot of letter searches when we go into stores or when we read books (and getting lots of sight word practice in there). We’ve been counting a lot with Sweet Pea (just about 4 yrs old) and Cutie Pie has gotten into the habit of asking him ‘how many’ of something (usually LEGOs!) and then checking to see if he was right.

I’ll be posting more on what ‘sneaky’ learning means to me in the coming weeks!

“Perfect Storm” and kid preparation

How do you prepare for a weather emergency?

I’m just a mom to two little adorable boys, but I am a mom who wants to know I can take care of my boys when things happen weather-wise. Most of the time that means having a blanket and shovel in the car along with extra mittens and hats as well as my cell phone.

We are prepared at home, too. In addition to all the essentials for home in case of a weather emergency, we have “kid essentials” like fun games, crayons and coloring books, special snack food in the house and good blankets to make tents and cozy up in (because that’s just what you do in bad-weather areas, right?)

Free Stock Image: The Rain Storm. Image: 136296

Lately, however, I’ve been listening every once in a while to the radio in the car (without the kiddos) to catch bits of news and weather reports about Hurricane Sandy and the “Frankenstorm” that is headed this way. We aren’t in NYC, but New York State just the same and every report I hear says we’ll be affected by it to some degree. I even saw a map today that shows we are in the red “action” area (which seems to encompass all of New York State).

Unfortunately, Cutie Pie heard us talking about the storm and he’s getting worried as the rain hasn’t stopped since last night. In his mind this means the storm is here and will get worse. We try to reassure him and tell him that we are making sure we have food in the house, wood in the shed for the fireplace and batteries for flashlights, and that we will be fine when the rain and winds come because he seems to be worried about being hungry and cold and is scared of the dark. We hug him, act confidently, and let him talk about it, but not for too long before we try to engage him in something fun.

So I’m curious…how do you prepare for weather emergencies? What supplies do you have on hand? What do you talk with your kids about in regards to the emergency? I’m not just posing a question. I’m really asking to find out if I’m missing something.


How to Make a Water Glider

Stock Photos: Water & rock. Image: 55113
© Photographer Joseph Cortes | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Remember how Cutie Pie was fascinated with ocean experiments a little while back? (see here and here) There was one experiment we didn’t get to do until recently. We made a water glider and tested it in the tub. This was an experiment we saw on Popular Mechanics for Kids TV show, but I have not been able to find a link to it, and I also neglected to take pictures of our glider before the tiniest hands in my home pulled the glue off, so I’m just sharing how we did it. Please comment if you find the link!
Materials:

  • plastic (like from a clean milk container)
  • hot glue
  • sugar cube
  • metal washer
  • tub full of water

First, make the glider:

Being careful, cut triangles out of a flat area plastic, one big, two small, hot gluing one small triangle to the top, one to the bottom so it looks like a glider, or plane with wings to the side and to the top and bottom as well (I wish I could say ‘see below’ and have a picture for you!) This takes a bit of coordination and care since you are dealing with scissors and hot glue.

Then, take your sugar cube and hot glue that to the bottom nose of the glider and hot glue the metal washer to the sugar cube.

Once your glider is ready, find a body of water, preferably one that is safe and that you can retrieve your glider from easily (hint, a tub or pool work the best, but only with parents’ permission and following all safety precautions.)

This is where my boys hypothesized what would happen when we let the glider go. We actually did this experiment twice, at their request.

  • The first time we tried this with warm, bath temperature water and Sweet Pea hypothesized it would glide down straight and when it hit the bottom it would go back up while Cutie Pie thought it would go in loops underwater for a long time then float back up. 
  • The second time we did this in cold water and Sweet Pea thought it would just float and Cutie Pie thought it would slither along making bends and curves and even go upside down.

What do you think happened? Did the glider float? What happened to the sugar cube and/or the washer? How many times do you think we’ve repeated this experiment since?

Still Dealing with School Separation Anxiety?

Stock Image: Boy laying on the grass. Image: 208971
© Photographer Geotrac | Agency: Dreamstime.com

Some mornings it is such a challenge to drop my 3 1/2 yr old off at preschool. He suddenly gets so strong that I cannot break his hold. It’s amazing, like he’s gotten this super hero strength! On the other hand, my Kindergartener loves going to school so much he’s only looked out the window of the bus to wave once or twice so far this year! So different than when he went to Preschool Camp two summers ago!

After posting a couple ideas to possibly help with school separation anxiety, a nice comment came in suggesting I share a link with you. Normally I wouldn’t just share anything, so I spent some time reading the article and think it might help as it has some background on why a child might be experiencing separation anxiety.

I also did a basic search for school separation anxiety and found so many useful articles from Parenting.com, helpguide.org, aacap.org and several others with ideas that I may just be using to help soften the ‘pain’ for Sweet Pea when I drop him off in the mornings. (I’m not necessarily endorsing these sites, just saying there may be useful information here for you.)

I really encourage you to do some research if this is an ongoing issue with your child. There is so much information out there that might just make this less of an issue for you and your child.

Water bottle fountain

I saw this neat idea this summer on Learn With Play at Home and just had to give it a go. It’s a water bottle fountain and this experiment using just an empty water bottle, balloon, straw and some sticky-tac (or clay) teaches that air takes up space.

This experiment is so clearly explained step-by-step on Learn With Play at Home and has tips for making it easier or extending it for your child.

My kiddos loved every step of this experiment. I followed the steps almost to the letter and my boys were so curious! I love it when they try to figure out why something is happening, and any experiment with air truly gets them thinking because it’s an invisible force that does something so neat!

(I took several pics, but thought I should just send you to the blog to check it out.)

Mini-Hovercraft on Water

Yesterday I posted about making a mini-hovercraft. I forgot to tell you about Cutie Pie wanting to experiment, seeing if it would float across the water.

We had a nice big pool this summer, bigger than a bathtub! This proved to be the best place to test the hovercraft.

It was hard for me to get the hovercraft flat on the surface of the water, let alone the kiddos! Even once this was accomplished the hovercraft would lean to one side and eventually push itself under the water. Upon further investigation, Cutie Pie discovered there was much more glue on the side that always went into the water first. (He later surmised this was where the leak was the other day.)

All in all, though, this was a great experiment, especially because one of the kids thought of it, thought through the process of how to make it work and who lead the experience!

How to make a mini-hovercraft

Another fun thing we did this summer was make tabletop hovercrafts! Wierd Science Kids has great instructions for how to make these using a hot glue gun, a CD, a water bottle cap (the kind that you pull up to drink from) and a balloon.

My boys had so much fun with these. Cutie Pie helped by looking at the pictures on the Wierd Science Kids site and assisting in assembling, following their process. We did have to problem solve a little bit when it wasn’t working right. Turns out there was a gap in the glue allowing air to escape.

Setting these off did take a bit of coordination, but once we got the hang of it we all had fun giving it a try! Cutie Pie could quickly explain what was making the hovercraft move so easily over the table. It was neat to see him come to the correct conclusion!

We tried guessing which way the hovercrafts would go when we set them free, but it was so hard to! I’m thinking this would lend itself to a graphing activity!

Obstacle Course

How many people do you know that have old tires and stumps hidden in their hedgerow?

My friend had us over for a picnic this summer and offered to set up an obstacle course for the kiddos. She ran into her side bushes and returned with large tree stumps, old tires and some plastic construction cones! Out came a ball and instantly the kids were having fun!

I have to admit the thought of having some tree stumps around has gone across my mind, but it wasn’t until this day that I realized just how convenient it would be!

Doesn’t it look like fun? Let alone all the coordination, body awareness and concentration going on in this outdoor play!

What things do you have on the ready to keep your kids and/or company occupied and having fun?

Another Gummy Bear experiment

In addition to the Yummy Gummy Bear experiment from the other day, I decided to pull the gummies out again before they were all eaten and do a little temperature/sensory experiment with them. This was a little simpler than the experiment I shared earlier in the week, but no less intriguing for my boys!


Materials:
freezer
refrigerator
microwave
plates or small bowls/cups
6 gummy bears (we did this with 1 bear for each boy)

I began by hypothesizing with the boys about what would happen to the gummy bears in the freezer for 8 hours, the refrigerator for 8 hours, and the gummy bears in the microwave for 8 hours seconds. Both boys agreed the gummies would freeze into ice, won’t be jiggly when taken out of the refrigerator, and will shrink and mush into a glob when taken out of the microwave.

Then we placed the gummies into small bowls, 2 to a bowl, and placed a bowl in the refrigerator and one in the freezer. The other we set aside to place in the microwave the next day.

We actually began by checking the refrigerator gummies and found they were cold, still a little soft and ‘chewier’.

The gummy bears taken out of the freezer were “skinnier, harder than the refrigerator ones and cold”.

What was the result from the gummy bears taken out of the microwave? You tell me!

Gummy Bear Experiment

Another idea I found this past spring for us to try on our Science days! Thank you, Ms. Baker! This Yummy Gummy experiment was originally for middle schoolers, but my youngest loves his gummy bears and when looking for science activities to do this summer I narrowed in on my boys’ likes and went from there.

Ms. Baker has a great print out for this experiment which walks you right through it from purpose to hypothesis to procedures and conclusions. The worksheet is great because you can use part of it for younger kiddos or the whole thing for older kiddos!

OK, so here is how my guys and I did the experiment. Look at the Yummy Gummy experiment for a more detailed explanation. (Remember, my boys are ages 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 and this is how I adjusted the experiment for their age group, but using Ms. Baker’s guide this could be appropriate for much older kiddos.)

Materials:

1/4 cup salt-saturated water
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemonade
4 cups
ruler
labels

First we took each of the 4 gummy bears and measured them (we used different colors, it helped us keep everything straight). This is where Ms. Baker’s sheets really came in handy, because you’ll be comparing the size of the bears at the end of the experiment.

4 gummy bears went into 4 cups. Using sticky notes Cutie Pie helped me label each cup – water, salt water, lemonade, control group (no water).

As I filled each cup with the corresponding fluid I asked for each boy to hypothesize what they thought would happen to the gummy bear (or for my 3 1/2 year old, what it would look like in the morning) then we let them set overnight. Out of curiosity they wanted to dip their finger and taste each liquid, so I let them. Then we observed what the gummy bears looked like under ‘water’. They were interested to see bubbles forming on one of the bears.

(If your boys aren’t patient waiters, this might be a good time to make homemade lemonade with them so they can feel like they actually did something constructive! I suppose you can always make the lemonade first, too!)

The next morning we observed the gummies without moving the cups. Were they larger? Smaller? The same colors? We then used a spoon and gently took them out and measured them. This was tricky!

After comparing the hypotheses with the actual results of our experiment we talked a bit about osmosis.  I won’t share our experiment results with you, because they actually differed from Ms. Bakers’ anticipated experiment results. That just added to the fun and we did it all over again!

I’d love to hear your results if you do this experiment!

Pom Pom Poppers

Come Together Kids had a great idea for a pom pom launcher. I thought this would fit in well with our catapults theme this summer. (Only thing is I forgot to post about it when we did it!) It’s also great for practicing coordination!

Materials:
Balloons
Pom-Poms (or mini marshmallows)
Plastic cups

How much more simple (and fun) can something get? You’ve got to go check out the directions, get outside and get popping!

A Scientist is…

I couldn’t resist copying these down as we walked through the Exploration room at the Buffalo Museum of Science. I want to frame them for Cutie Pie! Thought I’d share my favorites. I believe they came from What is a Scientist? What other phrases describe your little scientist?

A scientist draws what he sees.
A scientist has fun.
A scientist experiments by trial and error.
A scientist makes comparisons by measuring.
A scientist keeps trying over and over.
A scientist notices details.
A scientist thinks logically.


Help Alleviate Back to School Separation Anxiety

I should have posted this sooner as most kiddos are already back to school, however, if yours is having a little bit of a hard time leaving you in the morning maybe what I did for my kiddos will help. I actually did this the first time for Cutie Pie last year as he went off to Pre-Kindergarten…it helped him a lot!

I sewed a little red heart out of felt, stuffed it so it puffed just a little and placed it in the outside pocket of his backpack. I told him to hold it whenever he missed me to remind him I love him with all my heart. (I must have gotten this idea from a blog or magazine…any ideas where?!)

I also attached a picture of our family to his backpack with instructions to take a peak whenever he needed. I simply slipped it into a document holder (thankful for those freebies from the insurance agency!) punched a hole into it at a strategic point to hold the pic in and used a rubber band to attach it to the backpack.

I mentioned both of these to Cutie Pie’s teachers and they had no problem with either idea and said they’d share the idea with other parents if children had issues leaving their parents to go into class.

Cutie Pie said he did take a glance at the picture several times the first day of UPK, less the next, and even said as late as May that he would sneak a peak when he felt like he needed me. Often times he would sneak the heart into his jeans pocket on his way into class so he could feel it and “feel loved” throughout the day, too!

What other ways have you eased your child’s back to school apprehensions?

Car Race Experiment

Do your kiddos ever take an activity to the next level? Maybe when doing an experiment they offer an alternative to how to carry it out? Possibly when given an art project they take it in an entirely different direction that you had intended? I love it when this happens at our house!


When reviewing the Letter L before Kindergarten started (see here and here) we did a car race experiment after Cutie Pie came up with his own extension of the balloon-powered LEGO car experiment and it was so much fun!

Cutie Pie built a Duplo car, asked me to build a Trio car and Sweet Pea built a Build It car. We took these outside and raced them down a ramp after racing Cutie Pie’s LEGO car against a Hot Wheels car. We talked about what might have helped the winning car win after watching the races several times:

  • the tire sizes (as each car size grew, so did the tire size)
  • the weight of the car
  • the number of pieces the car was made up of (the Build It car lost, but had the fewest pieces)

Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was the weight of the vehicle as well as the tire size were probably the biggest factors in determining the winning car.

The winning vehicle raced a Hot Wheel car!

Letter of the Day – Letter L (post 2)

After reviewing the letter L a little and doing some fun things with LEGOs (posted here) we began talking about our experiment of the day ~ (and sorry for the delay in this post…I miss my iPad! Sharing a computer for photos makes my blogging a little more difficult, but I’ll have my iPad soon and will be posting regularly again!)

Building a balloon-powered LEGO car!

Cutie Pie was very excited about this experiment and got to work almost immediately. I actually pulled him back with questions to consider:

  • what do we need to make it?
  • how big should it be?
  • how many wheels are needed?
  • should it be wide or narrow?
  • what might keep it from working?
He thought these over and got to work with a plan! I was tempted to help him, but decided this is one experiment he should do on his own. Meanwhile, Sweet Pea and I created our own vehicle to try!
Here is Cutie Pie’s first attempt:

This didn’t work because there was too much space for the mouth of the balloon and when inflated it would deflate and fly away.

This is what we finally came up with. It didn’t move very quickly, actually only a matter of inches, but it moved by power of the balloon!
We followed this experiment with Cutie Pie’s own extension of it. I’ll post about that another day!

Letter of the Day – letter L (post 1)

We’ve been a little lax about reinforcing learning this summer, instead doing experiments and ‘sneaky’ learning through talking about our various experiences. With three weeks left until Cutie Pie heads off to Kindergarten I decided we’d do the letter of the day just to review and to get Sweet Pea reacquainted with them. I will share what we did for each letter over several posts, though, because some days we did more than others due to weather and other circumstances.

Letter L was a pretty fun one to review since both boys are really enjoying playing with LEGOs lately. I am reviewing the letters in a different order, beginning with Ll, since this will be easiest for Sweet Pea to try to write. (I saw this on 1+1+1=1 and thought I’d try it.)
The boys recognized our letter of the day quickly (I had fun making it) and began brainstorming words beginning with it, coming up with quite a list. They then realized I had written Ls on every writing surface and picked out the letters on our alphabet things.

First things first, the boys did a little estimating. I simply placed some LEGOs in two cups of different sizes and asked them to guess how many were in each. It was interesting the means they each used to come up with an estimate. Sweet Pea used LEGOs of the same size that were on the same tray and counted them, then placed them in an extra cup I had provided. Cutie Pie simply looked into the cup and threw out a number. (I didn’t question either method.)

We then got to work playing a LEGO game, which Cutie Pie loved!

Tomorrow I’ll share our experiment of the day for letter L.

Measuring with Duplos

Cutie Pie was so into building with his LEGOs in the beginning of summer that I thought I’d put a spin on it and measure with Sweet Pea’s Duplos.


Instead of just measuring indoors, we donned out ‘scientist’ hats, grabbed our box of Duplos and headed out to the recently vegetable garden with a chart from STEMmom in hand. (I didn’t link to the specific post because so much of what I’ve found on this site is awesome and I’d love for you to check it out!)

We simply decided which plants we’d measure and Cutie Pie started locking our Duplos together, counting how many pieces were stacked when they were as tall as the plant! We then found our sheet for the appropriate vegetable and put an X on our chart next to the corresponding height and in the column for the date.

Cutie Pie was so into this when we did it that he asked if we could measure the plant often. I said sure, because that was what I was thinking, too. However, turns out he wasn’t as excited about it after all as he never would go out with me to measure again. He has brought it up as a ‘Remember when we measured the tomatoes with our Duplos. We should have done that every day!’ But when I bring up actually going out and measuring he wants nothing to do with it. I decided to let this one slide as there are more important things to be practicing consistency with than measuring a plant, so it’s just not worth the fight.

My admiration for sneaky learning has come into play many times since then, however, as we’ve measured many things indoors with his LEGOs and he seems to love it!

LEGO building

Do your kiddos love LEGOs as much as mine do right now? It seems like they are always building something with them.

One time the boys were building a LEGO wall with Nana. She would request specific colors. Cutie Pie would fill his truck with them and then he would count them when he delivered them. Then Nana would ‘pay’ him with more LEGOs and the whole process would repeat.

I love how my boys play even ‘harder’ when sneaky learning is involved!

Creating with LEGOs

Apartment Therapy had a LEGO maze activity on their blog a while back and one extremely hot day when we were stuck indoors we tried our hands at it!


As soon as he saw the picture on Apartment Therapy Cutie Pie immediately loved the idea and started describing the obstacle course he was going to create. We don’t have too many large flat pieces, but he was kind enough to share and I got to create a maze too!

Challenges:

  • We didn’t measure the marbles first, so our pathways weren’t wide enough. After trying a marble in my maze we had to redesign our creations to make the paths wider.
  • Cutie Pie wanted to make jumps for his marbles. He had to figure out what pieces to use.
  • Our marbles would occasionally flip over the walls when we played. We had to experiment with how high to make them.

This proved to be a very fun project for  5 1/2 year old Cutie Pie. Sweet Pea ( 3 1/2) was entertained by the marbles and Lego pieces all by themselves as well as playing with the resulting creations.

I’m sure we’ll be doing this activity again and again!

coordination, fine motor, math, science, construction, logic

Catapult Experiment

Using the catapults I blogged about yesterday as well as some pom poms, Hot Wheels cars and various other small items, the boys and I tested our catapults.

Cutie Pie hypothesized the spoon catapult would send an object the further distance.

Our First Tests:
First we lined up the catapults.
Next we found items of the same shape and size and flung these from each catapult (pom poms, etc).
We marked how far our items were flung.
We repeated the process.
We then repeated the process with different items, noting the weights and sizes of items were flung different distances.

Our Second Tests:
We used different items of similar shape and size.
First we used the bottle cap catapult and marked the distance obtained.
Then we used the item of similar shape and size, but used the spoon catapult and marked the distance.
We repeated this process with each item on the opposite catapult, each time noting the distance obtained and discussed the differences and possibilities for the different distances.

Conclusion:
Cutie Pie’s hypothesis was correct, at least when I was manning the catapults.

Sweet Pea and Cutie Pie manned the catapults, too, but their results varied greatly, but they were also a little inconsistent in the starting point. It was great practice in coordination and fine motor skills for all of us!

Popsicle Stick Catapult

I looked up ideas for the boys’ summer fun this spring and came across Baker County 4-H page titled Craft Stick Creativity with a simple tongue depressor size popsicle stick catapult, but no instructions. Soon after I found Super Charged Science. What a great homeschooling science resource, which happened to have instructions for our catapult!

Also I found the video How to Make a Popsicle Stick Catapult. I don’t normally list videos as resources but this was clear and simple enough that Cutie Pie watched it, walked away and remembered the steps. Bonus that it was by a young teenager, which boosted Cutie Pie’s mind that he could assemble it walk me through the steps to assemble it as it took a little more fine motor strength and coordination than he has.

Cutie Pie really enjoyed trying to figure out how to make the “bottle cap catapult” referring only to the picture to assemble it and it turned out great! We then looked at the instructions and discovered we created it just like they did!

He also really liked watching the video and then working through the steps to create the “popsicle stick catapult”.

Even though Sweet Pea was going a little stir crazy by the end of this process and making a mess in the other room it was worth it to see Cutie Pie so proud of his creations! More tomorrow on what we did with our catapults!

Dinosaur Game

While trying to distract the boys while waiting for dinner the other night, I suggested playing a game outside. Cutie Pie immediately explained his rules and ran inside to get the necessary items.

What you need:

Large dice, plastic dinosaurs, the outdoors

The Rules:

Determine a finish point. Roll the dice, go that many steps, either in dinosaur lengths or your own steps. The first one there keeps rolling the dice and moving the next player’s dinosaur to help him reach ‘safety’.

Cutie Pie’s game was fun for Sweet Pea, too! He did great counting and following the rules!

Gardening with Preschoolers

I almost forgot to post about our garden! In the spring Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea once again helped Hubby plant his salsa garden. We’ve been growing cucumbers, tomatoes and two kinds of peppers – jalapeno and sweet. About once or twice a week the boys have been checking on how things are growing, while their daddy checks on it every night! They delight in helping to water the veggies!

Not only was the process of planting the garden educational, but watching things grow has been too! I don’t mean in the traditional sense of learning patience or the life cycle of plants growing vegetables. It has renewed a spark in Cutie Pie to eat a balanced diet, something he learned about in prekindergarten!

 

We’ve had many discussions about what things are fruits or vegetables, how much you should put on your plate, how eating foods of different colors is good for you, and how some foods are ‘sometimes’ foods! We have this image from iMom printed out to remind us what amounts to put on our plates as well! We are so proud of Cutie Pie for helping to make sure we’re all eating well!

 

Boy Mom BlogHop!

Have you heard there is a Boy Mom BlogHop going on until July 23rd? I’m joining in the fun even if it is a little late in the game because I’m a proud boy mom and I love getting to know others!

(Don’t you just love their purpose!)

My little guys are getting bigger by the minute. Cutie Pie is my 5 1/2 yr old budding scientist/paleontologist. He loves it when we do science experiments together and every chance I let him use my iPad he’s ‘reading’ Dinosaurs by Rye Science to learn all he can about dinos! When he isn’t learning about dinos, playing dinos or talking about dinos, he’s playing with his Hot Wheels cars. Dinos and cars, that’s the life of my big guy.

Sweet Pea, my 3 1/2 year old just loves curling up in our laps like a kitty. Sometimes he’ll let out a cute little bark like a dog. He’s fascinated with LEGOs and trains. He’s not really much like his brother, who is 22 months older, but that’s just fine with me, but they do both love the outdoors and tend toward the science-y stuff. I love that my boys have their own identities.

Hubby and I are trying our best to raise our boys to love God, love family and love learning and life. I try my best to capture the science-y things we do and scatter my blog with some other things that interest me or are going on in our lives as well. Check out my links up above and to the side and let me know if you like anything! You’re always welcome to come back, to subscribe in RSS or on facebook and twitter!

So go on…hop away!

Memory Making

I love it when the boys are in to doing something ‘different’ than usual. I admit this is one of the reasons I had so much fun when we went creek walking the day Cutie Pie graduated from Pre-Kindergarten!

Birds all around, bugs, water bugs, no fish, different depths of the creek, different height steps down into the water, unpredictable depths near small waterfalls. These were a lot of the things Cutie Pie, Sweet Pea and I noticed when we explored the creek.

Sciency stuff yes, but it was so relaxing being in nature!
Even when Cutie Pie got wet up to his waist on accident I was able to take it all in stride. Partly because I was prepared for the possibility of them getting wet, but also because I was already having fun with them rather than just watching them have fun!
Not only did we get to talk with real scientists, but Cutie Pie got his hands wet and examined a worm he found, too! He wanted to fish with it and held it on the end of a stick for quite a while. That’s sort of what got us walking along the stream for a long time, exploring paths others had made to the waters’ edge. He was bound and determined to find a place to fish with that worm!
Of course, he also found some smelly brownish-green stuff that he picked up with that stick, too!
Moments like this make me realize sometimes I stop having fun with my kids and simply watch them having the fun and playing. While this is important, I think we can all relish in the fun sometimes and create memories with our boys…the kind they will remember us being present, not just our being there.
Enjoy making memories with your kiddos this summer!