My oldest son got a geode kit as part of his Easter basket and we hadn't yet gotten around to using it. My boys were up and outside by 8 this morning and I thought this was a perfect "outdoor" project. The boys gathered together for almost an hour breaking apart all the geodes, comparing the insides of them and looking at them up close with magnifying glasses. I was surprised by how hard they were to break open! We started on the picnic table and noticed the table was denting and our rag was filling up with holes but the geode still wouldn't break. We took it onto the patio and finally managed to break one or two open and then we noticed it was shifting the patio blocks so we moved up to the driveway. The geodes kept moving around inside the towel and it was hard to find the center of them, we also smashed a few of them into pieces when we didn't realize they had broken open and kept on hammering away at them so I offered to get all the boys some sunglasses and we tried breaking open a few without the rag. They learned a lot about using a hammer, hand- eye coordination and made many scientific observations. We noticed that rocks with "holes" inside broke open very easily and ones that were more solid all the way through were very difficult to break open. We noticed some crystals are long and stringy, others are small and bumpy and some just look like sparkly rocks. They used math to determine how many geodes they could each break. It was Ian's kit but since 10 geodes were in the box he offered to let his brothers break open 3 leaving him with 4. All the boys agreed that was fair. They had so much fun that once the geodes were all gone they started looking around for rocks in our yard and breaking those open to see what the inside looks like. They compared shiny rocks to rocks with layers. They compared colors found inside the rocks and the sizes and shapes different rocks broke into. It was a wonderful morning of discovery.
It was still pretty windy and cold so we all headed inside after an hour or so and the boys played. They took turns putting the United States puzzle together and learning some of the capitals. They watched a School House Rock video about the Earth and some of the Liberty's Kids movies. We had lunch, put together Alec's Butterfly Jungle kit and ordered our caterpillars for it. Ian pulled out his trucks and Evan pulled out all his Star Wars toys. They had fun and, for the most party, got along great.
We had to run some errands and the boys listened to another Magic Treehouse book while we were out and about. This one was called Dogs in the Dead of Night. I finally convinced them to pick out other books on CD at the library yesterday (where we walked away with TWO bags of books!), but they insisted on listening to the Magic Treehouse books and asked if they could use the inter- library loan to get more. What can I say? They just love this series and who am I to argue when they all agree? They all also worked in their extreme dot- to-dot book or their color by number books. Evan is starting to follow the numbers now that I highlighted them for him and he's doing a great job too. They've all picked out their next books already! I love that it's such great math and fine motor practice.
Once home they played outside for quite a while. It was still pretty windy but they wanted to dig in the dirt and I found Alec breaking open smaller rocks using great big rocks. He ended up coming in asking for the hammer and spent a good portion of the day checking out the insides of the rocks. I watched him from the window for quite a while but he wore glasses and was being pretty careful. He found all sorts of lovely little flowers and things to inspect while he was out there and brought them in bit by bit to save or press into books for another day. Once it got dark and cloudy they came in and Alec read a Ninjago book to his brothers. I love moments like this then they all are, not only getting along, but enjoying one another and snuggling together sharing common interests.
Ian ended up leaving for a sleepover at his grandmothers and the younger two got ready to head to Alec's soccer practice. He loves soccer even more than usual this season since he gets to play with his cousin and best friend. He was so excited to see some of the boys from last year's team and I think he's happy to be and play with a bunch of kids his own age. I love that he has an outlet for all his extra energy!