On the way to the bowling alley we finished listening to The Indian in the Cupboard. The boys really loved this book and were overjoyed when we discovered that it was part of a book series. We requested the others as books on CD from the library as well as requesting the movie to watch later in the week. We had a great time bowling. I made Ian bowl without the bumpers, which caused some grumbling at first, but I really thought he was old enough and skilled enough to bowl without them. Once he stopped grumbling and really focused on bowling he managed to get 6-8 pins down each time. He was still disappointed but I thought that was pretty darn good for the first time not using bumpers. Alec, once again, kicked all of our butts and I warned him that I won't be allowing him to use bumpers much longer either. Evan accidentally bowled for Ian once and without the bumpers managed to get 8 pins down with his first ball! After that Ian and Evan took turns switching off on each other so Evan occasionally bowled without bumpers and Ian got to take turns bowling with the bumpers. It was funny because they both almost always got 8 or so pins down and usually the same number for each other. Sometimes I think perhaps we don't give kids enough credit. If none of the boys had ever bowled with bumpers they probably wouldn't have had any problems and they certainly wouldn't have noticed anything missing. I think we have so many things set up to "make it easier" for kids that we don't always make it easier for them-- we make it sound hard and daunting and I think it makes kids more afraid to try. Anyway, we had fun bowling and, while not only working on gross motor skills and good sportsmanship, we also worked on a lot of math skills. We try to beat the scoreboard in tallying how many pins are knocked down, counting how many pins are left and even adding it to the old scores. They boys often calculate how many points they are ahead or behind by and ask if they're right. The three lanes next to us were filled with mentally and physically handicapped adults who were bowling (some on their own, some with a "friend", and some with special apparatuses) so we got an added lesson in human development. I didn't really have to teach tolerance though as the boys were just curious and smiled as they watched them all have fun too.
After bowling, we went to do a few errands and started listening to The Boxcar Children The Mystery In the Computer Game. All three boys were very helpful in the stores and we finished in record time. Once home, the boys ate lunch and Ian headed outside. The other two boys chose to stay inside for a bit longer and played Lego's, Beyblades and with various Ben 10 & Mario characters. We all slowly migrated outside and the boys fed the ducks. Ian and Evan went swimming and I thought we were done for the day.
The boys reminded me that I had a surprise treat planned for them and so I pulled out the supplies we needed to run a blind taste test of various ice cream flavors. We read Ice Cream: The Full Scoop and Follow and Ice Cream Cone Around the World where we learned a few new things about how ice cream was made. We discussed how we make ice cream at home. We talked about the different crops from around the world that were used in making ice cream and got in a little geography lesson as I asked each boy where each place was on the map. The kids all knew Madagascar was off the coast of Africa! After reading I tied scarves around their heads, making sure to cover their eyes and gave them each a spoonful of ice cream. They had to sniff, make a prediction, taste it and see if they could identify the ice cream flavors. We tried it with four different flavors-- chocolate (which they all got!), mint chocolate chip (which they also got), butter crunch (they all guessed vanilla and perhaps caramel), and finally toffee heath bar crunch, (they knew vanilla, fudge and the same crunchy things from the butter crunch ice cream). Mostly, they just enjoyed eating the ice cream!