Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bass Pro Shops and Planes Movie day.

      Yesterday, Alec spent a good portion of the morning playing with his Lego's.  He pulled out all the tiny little circle pieces and started calling them coins.  He assigned different monetary values to each color and started to pull out all the tiny little octagonal pieces too.  He started to forget what dollar amount he was assigning to all the different colors and shapes so I suggested he make a chart.  He drew the different colors and shapes (using clear glue for the clear pieces) and wrote up a dollar amount next to each color.  He had to ask me a few times where to put the decimal places and whether the numbers he were writing were hundreds, thousands, or millions.  All in all I thought it was a great self- guided math and writing lesson! 

He sorted the colors and sizes into an
empty ice cube tray

The final list

      We spent our afternoon running errands and ended the night at a local stand for dinner.  We had no sooner gotten out of the car than Alec started examining all the cracks in the pavement.  He picked out Oklahoma, California, etc.  I started getting into it too and found one that looked just like Minnesota.  I pointed the shape out to him and let him yell out Minnesota though.  Ian also got in on the game and found Tennessee, West Virginia and even South Carolina!  Who would have thought we could learn geography in a parking lot? 
        We saw many birds and inspected the trees, hills and surrounding country side.  The boys were thrilled when we saw a couple leaving on their motorcycle with their dog in the side car.  Alec even made me take a picture of it.  Alec tried an ice cream soda (or float) with coke and vanilla ice cream.  He basically turned it into a science experiment trying to see how long before the ice cream melted, what would happen if he stirred it, if he chopped it with the spoon and broke off small pieces.  He hypothesized what it would taste like, if he could ever drink it with a straw and so much more.  I'm sometimes amazed at what they find to fixate on and love to watch them turn it into some sort of lesson.  The concentration just amazes me and often makes me wish I could harness it!


          Still marveling over this today, the whole family headed out to Bass Pro Shops.  The boys wanted to go fishing but Alec doesn't have his own pole, Evan's pole broke and we're quickly running out of lures.  We had a gift certificate to Bass Pro so I thought it would be great to go there and use them.  We don't have one real close to us, but it has been a yucky rainy weekend and we figured it was better than being stuck inside all day.  On the way we listened to more of Treasure Island, with my husband stopping the disk periodically to summarize what was happening or to translate some of the old English terms that the kids didn't understand.  We arrived and found the place to be mobbed.  Apparently they have some Hometown Festival weekend during Labor Day but we found a spot in the lot and walked in.  It was like a whole different world. 
        The wood beams and the high ceilings reminded us of Disney's Wilderness Lodge.  There were taxidermied animals everywhere and all the boys (Alec especially) had so much fun pointing them all out and telling us what type  of animal they were.  Alec told us "that's a Diamondback Rattlesnake.  See how it's a rattlesnake but there is a distinct diamond pattern on it's back, that's why they call it a Diamondback rattlesnake.  That's actually an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake though"  (I have no idea how he knew that-- I'm not even totally sure if he was right or not but I've learned to take Alec's word for it when it comes to animals.  He knows far more than I!)   He was really excited to see "a ringed neck pheasant with it's babies!"  We stopped in front of a giant fish tank and watched the different types of fish.  Evan pointed out the catfish to us and Alec read the entire sign of all the different types of fish; noting which ones were actually found in the tank.  Evan told me the difference between a swordfish and a sailfish.  Alec found some very large stuffed pillow animals and pulled out the turtle and the alligator.  He told me if he flipped the alligator over on his back it would fall asleep and be the perfect bed pillow (remembering what he learned at this nature class). 
     They had free kids activities and Evan and Alec colored in a wooden duck necklace, took a turn a duck "hunting" (picking a floating duck out of a pond to win a prize), tried their hand at metal detecting (and found arrowheads!), and Alec even tried casting and catching a large mouth bass.  Ian "met" the Duck Dynasty crew and posed for a photo with the cardboard cut out.  We compared prices on items we liked, items we wished we could own, and even had the boys add up the few purchases they wanted to make so they would see how quickly the money just adds up.  I was amazed at how educational a trip to a store could be. 
Ian with the "Duck Crew"

Watching the fish

This moose has fish swimming around in an actual
 pond at his feet
Coloring his wood necklace and a coloring page

"fishing for Bass"

Metal detecting
      From there we headed to the movie theatre to see Planes.  We, once again, had a bunch of gift cards to use and got to see the movie (with snacks!) for relatively little pocket money.  I thought, "oh it will be cute and the boys will like the movie."  But, it ended up being pretty educational too.  We talked about crop dusting and why they dust crops.  The planes are flying around the world and we got to see the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Wall of China, Chichen Itza in Mexico, and Mount Everest.  We saw an aircraft carrier (and planes taking off and landing on them with nets and all).  We listened to characters speak in proper British English, Spanish, Canadian French, etc.  We saw the flags of all the countries of the competitors and where they landed.  We learned and saw all different types of planes.  The movie frequently showed maps labeling where the planes were taking off from, how far they were traveling, and even gave latitude and longitude co ordinates.  It was great.  I love when fictional movies manage to teach "school" subjects.  It's such a wonderful bonus.  

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