Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Dozen of Our Favorite Sciene activities

     My boys LOVE science.  They always have and that love has grown tremendously since we started homeschooling.  Science is one of those subjects that best lends itself to hands- on experiments, real life observations and lots of trial and error.  The boys have an inherent interest in nature and how things work so even when I don't plan science experiments I feel like we're learning about science.  Many of our field trips revolve around science too-- trips to zoos, nature centers, hikes, children's museums, and even the beach lend themselves to nicely to science exploration.  For those times we're home and I'm planning actual experiments we use books, Pinterest, and Google to help us find extra fun experiments.  Here is a list of some our favorites that we've tried (I know the boys loved them because they still ask to do them all again!). 

1.  Volcanoes!  We have done many experiments with baking soda and vinegar to make various volcanoes.  We made a volcano in an ordinary drinking glass.  We made model volcanoes and filled them with baking soda and vinegar.  We  filled disposable tin trays with baking soda and used droppers to drop colored vinegar onto them; watching them bubble and foam.  We've made snow and sand volcanoes.  We've made fizzing alphabet letters using baking baking soda and water, letter trays and vinegar.  The reactions are endless fun for my three boys to watch and experiment with. 

2.  Make ice cream-- in a bag.  YUM!   It's a simple science activity that yielded a yummy treat; need I say more?? 

3.  Homemade Lava Lamp-- This one was lots of fun and so easy!  We took a plastic jar and filled it part way with colored way and part way with oil and then we dropped Alka Seltzer tablets.  Easy, fun and fascinating! 

4.  Freezing bubbles-- One very cold winter morning we brought our bubble solution outside and blew bubbles.  We got to watch them freeze right before our very eyes.  It was amazing even to me! 

5.  Tornado in a bottle-- My husband drilled a small hole in two soda bottle tops.  We filled one bottle 3/4 of the way with water and put the tops onto two bottles and glued/taped them together.  If you twirl the bottles slowly as you flip them over the water funnels out the holes and into the waiting bottle.  It is very neat to watch that funnel form. 

6.  Bag of Blood (great at Halloween!).  When I saw this on a website at Halloween time I had no idea how much fun it would be.  We filled a Ziploc bag with colored water and using long wooden skewers we poked them all through the bag.  We were amazed at how many skewers we could put through the bag before it started leaking. 

7.  Oil and Water experiments-- We have made an ocean in  a bottle using blue colored water and vegetable oil.  We have filled disposable vegetable trays with oil and dropped colored water into it, watching the water bead up and stick together.  My kids love trying to mix oil and water; it never gets old. 

8.  Ivory Soap Clouds-- We love watching the Ivory soap bars puff up into a huge cloud of soap flakes in our microwave.  The air and water pockets inside Ivory soap, in particular, lead it to puff up into a huge mound.  It's so fun to watch it get bigger and bigger.  Then the boys have fun playing with the flakes afterwards.

9.  Making Goop, Silly putty, snow dough, flubber, etc..  We love making all the fun "play dough" we find on Pinterest and the internet.  Many use normal household items and it's amazing to see how one ingredient change makes a huge difference.  The boys love that these experiments are fun to play with for weeks to come since we save what we make. 

10.  Kitchen Science-- we call any baking activity Kitchen Science.  The kids love to make and eat new delicious creations.

11.  Melting Plastic-- we have tried everything from using Shrink Dinks, making our own Shrinky Dinks using plastic take- out containers and melting pony beads to make Christmas ornaments.   It makes the house a bit stinky but it's still neat to watch the plastic shrink and take on a new shape. 

12. Make Your Own Water Fountain-- We used a soda bottle to make our own water fountain. It was really neat to see the water pouring out into the kitchen sink!  It wasn't all that hard to put together either.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

10 math games and hands on learning opportunities

My boys HATE anything that looks like a worksheet.  If I ask them to sit down and work in their math workbooks they whine, moan and complain through the whole thing.

 As we've gotten further and further into our unschooling journey I've started to rely on games and hands on learning a lot during our school day, especially for math.  Math games can be very simple or very complex.  Many of my boys favorite math games have been made up using things around the house (and taken from ideas I found on Pinterest using things I had in the house). 

My kids range in age from 5- 9 so we mostly focus on addition, subtraction, multiplication and some simple division.   Here is a list of some of our favorite games for math (in no particular order!).  Many of these games can be used for a multitude of math facts as well as sight word practice too:

1.  Flip 10-- I splayed much like the traditional Memory game.  Using the numeral cards from an UNO deck place them all face down and take turns flipping two over.  If the two numbers add to 10 you keep the match and go again. 

2.  Math fact Bomb-- we wrote equations in sidewalk chalk on our driveway and threw water balloons at them while calling out the answer. 

3.  Math Fact Slam-- I wrote math facts on sticky notes and stuck them to the wall while the boys threw balls at them and shouted out the answer to those equations they hit.

4.  War-- We love the card game war and while we play traditional war with my youngest to learn greater than/ less than we have played war many other ways with the older boys.  They flipped over two card to make two digit numbers (with face cards removed) for a larger number war.  We've had them flip two cards over and add the sum for addition war, we've flipped two cars over to multiply and find the product for multiplication war, we've flipped two cards over and put one over the other for fraction war... the possibilities are endless! 

5.  Candy  math-- we have sorted, counted, graphed and learned many math concepts using candy.  We've read the skittles math book, the Hershey Bar math book, etc.  We used Kit Kat bars and Hershey bars to learn fractions.  Candy always keeps them interested! 

6.  Peggy Kaye's games-- She has written two wonderful books-- one called Games for Math and other called Games for Learning and we've pulled many ideas from these two book.  One of the best was called Target.  We drew up a large target, threw paper clips at the target and wrote a three digit number based on where the paper clips landed.  The one with the largest number after each round wins that round.  It was fun, quick and with multiple rounds they all had a chance to win. 

7.  Board games-- Yahtzee, Life, Monopoly, 9 Men's Morris, etc. all teach critical thinking, multiplication, money addition and subtraction, number recognition, counting, etc.  We have tons of Board games we play for math-- though they're often played "for fun" at night, long after school has ended. 

8.  Recipes-- Through baking and cooking we have learned a lot about math by reading recipes, writing recipes and in working in the kitchen.  I think the most memorable was when all the boys wrote their own recipe and we actually made them the following week.  It was a writing assignment, but we learned a lot about math when we attempted to follow each recipe and realized we couldn't use 4 cups of milk without drowning the entire thing. 

9.  "Old School" games-- we have used old school games like tic tac toe, hopscotch, memory, etc. to learn math too.  We have written up our own tic tac toe boards with equations in each box that we had to solve before putting our marker on them.  We have added equations into all the hopscotch squares before jumping through them.  We have made up memory cards using index cards to make multiplication memory (math the equation to the answer).  We even put little dot stickers on the back side of Hershey kisses to make a fun & edible memory game-- again matching the answer to the equation. 

10.  Playing with math manipulatives & toys-- Don't underestimate this one...   I often give the boys our bucket of pattern block to play with or our container of fraction tiles to "just play with" and they learn so much on their own.  They have discovered various ways to put the fraction tiles away and have them equal "one whole."  They have found ways to put shapes together to equal other shapes.  They build, construct and use all sorts of wonderful architectural skills when using our foam geometric blocks, Lego sets, K'nex, etc. 

Linking Up With: Hearts for Home

A Kreative Whim

Christian Montessori Network

Friday, July 26, 2013

Child- guided games

        I really didn't want to teach today but felt like I HAD to!  After two days off we had work piling up on us.  It was another very cold, rainy day and we were once again stuck inside.  I was pleasantly surprised though, I told the boys no TV and without arguing they found Lego's, Beyblades and other toys to play with for most of the morning.  They ate, got dressed and brushed teeth without my asking and were ready for school long before I was.  After the third time they asked me to please start school, I knew I had to set aside what I was working on and start school. 
     We began by reading and we finished The Robot King.  I thought it was a pretty weird story and at the end none of us were all that certain if we had liked it or not.  We read another chapter in Surviving the Applewhites and then I pulled out our math story for the day. It was called One Hungry Cat and it used division and fractions.  The boys thought it was a cute story and laughed over the illustrations.  Before sitting down to read I had written out many multiplication and division problems onto sticky notes and put them over the wall so that Ian and Alec could play math slam (where they throw the ball at the problems on the wall and shout out the answer to any of the papers they hit).  This turned into chaos.  They were whipping the balls so hard at the wall they almost knocked pictures off the wall in the other room.  They fought over whose turn it was and kept running in asking me who was right, whose turn it was and tattling on each other.  I had to stop the game and send them into the other room so Evan and I could finish our work. 
      Evan was attempting to read his Bob Books to me while his brother's played their math slam game.  He was extremely frustrated at the noise and the constant interruptions though, and we had to start all over when his brother's were sent to sit quietly while we worked.  Evan then breezed through his two books and I showed him our sight word practice board.  I had written out the same sight words we've been using all week (mat, sat, cat, and, the, on, Sam, sad)  on our chalkboard and I gave him a cup of water and a paintbrush.  He read the words to me and then traced over them with the water/brush to make them disappear.  He thought it was a pretty fun activity and he got a few of the words right!  He even sounded one of them out with very little help from me.  I felt like that was finally some progress! 

     When Evan was done I called Alec over to play the math slam game and then when he was done I sat and watched Ian play.  I think if we tried this game again with the older two boys I would only play it outside.  For sanity's sake!  I think it was great that Ian came up with the idea to modify Evan's game from the other day to use it as math and I think it was wonderful that he's been asking me for a few days to play and practice his math facts, but I think they're just a bit too big to play ballgames inside. 
     While I was watching Ian throw the ball and figure out his answers, Evan told me he wanted to make up a sight word hide and seek game.  He pulled out my sticky notes and started writing down the words we've been practicing onto each note (he tried to use the chalk board to help him when he could but not all the letters were visible so he tried sounding them out, asking myself or Alec for help when needed).  The rules of his game were very unclear to me, but I was happy he was writing and practicing his words without having been asked or even really seeming to realize it.  He hid the sticky notes around the house as he finished writing each word and told us we'd all have to hide later when he was finished setting up... though he never did finish.  I'm not sure if he forgot or just lost interest but I figure at some point he'll want to finish setting it up and we'll get to play.   
    In the meantime we went on to lesson two in the Incite to Write series.  The lesson was called The Blank Canvas and rather just talking I gave them each some paper, pencils, watercolors and brushes.  I told them I was thinking of my favorite dessert and they had to ask me all the questions they could think of in order to draw what I was picturing as my favorite dessert.  They started asking me things like what does it taste like, where we eat it and what kind of cake I liked.  They slowly started realizing that not all questions would help them draw it.  By the end I think all three boys did a pretty good job of drawing the cake I was thinking of-- don't you?? 


       They played Beyblades quite a bit today between subjects and talked about how they work, which ones compete the best and why.  They tried having them battle with obstacles in the way, with two Bey's, with three, they blew on them during battles to make them fall or try to make them spin faster.  I figured it was a great self- guided science lesson! 
     We headed to the library and picked up more books and movies.  The boys finished listening to Mr. Hynde is Out of His Mind in the car and they laughed so much.  This is a hilarious series of books that all of my boys love.  I hesitate to request all books on CD, even though it would be wonderful to listen to them all in the car, because it's a series that Ian enjoys reading to himself.  We searched long and hard to find him something that he enjoys reading and I'm not ready to try and find him something else.   But, since Ian keeps them by his bed at night and reads them to himself, the other boys don't always get a chance to listen to these stories and I feel bad that they're missing out.  It's hard to balance work for each of the boys all of the time and know what's the best way to handle something like this.  Ian wants these books for himself but the other boys always want to listen too.    I know that Alec could easily read these books to himself, but chooses not to so is that really my fault?  I know Evan can't read them to himself but can't help thinking that perhaps it will give Evan a good incentive to learn to read.  I don't know.  I just know we're not done with this series by a long shot.  Ian recommends these stories to all his friends (should they ask!) and they all cheer when they see them come in at the library. 
     As I was heating up lunch the boys played quietly and picked out a science video to watch during lunch.  They decided on the Be the Creature series with the Kratt brothers.  This show is a non- fiction, documentary style show made for kids by the same brothers who are in Wild Kratts.  We learned all about the brown bear today.  Alec was disappointed it wasn't a cartoon like Wild Kratts and both him and Evan soon lost interest.  Oh well, perhaps another day. 

Oh baby!

     I had every intention of teaching the boys yesterday since it was very rainy and cold and we weren't heading anywhere.  I didn't want them to spend the day just watching TV and playing video games.  Then I got an e-mail from my sister asking if we'd be home.  She wanted to come visit with her little 5- day old baby girl!  I was so excited and told the boys we wouldn't be doing school since I didn't want to be in the middle of anything when they arrived. 
      The boys haven't had a newborn around in many years and I think Evan and Alec were a bit nervous at first.  Ian was a natural though.  He readily offered to hold her and was all smiles.  At one point during the day he was holding her and she started to fuss so he started bouncing her up and down in his arms lightly while singing to her softly! "Lullaby, Lullaby, Lullaby little baby..."  It was so adorably sweet!  I'll admit I was pretty proud of myself too.  It was one of those moments where I thought to myself what a wonderful job we were doing raising such a sweet little boy.  I don't know about you but I always wonder what the boys will turn out like as adults and hope that we're raising caring, compassionate kids. 

     By late in the afternoon, Evan was feeling brave enough to try and hold her too.  He has held a baby before but he was so small himself that he doesn't' remember that.  He was nervous and as soon as I put the baby in his arms and stepped back to take a picture he started giggling like crazy.  He told us she tickles!  I'm not sure how since she was asleep, but he thought she was tickling him and I thought he might drop her so he had a very quick turn. 

    Alec avoided the baby at all costs.  He didn't hold her, touch her, and I'm not even sure if he looked at her or not.  All attempts to draw him in caused him to get further away.  I'm not sure why he was so skittish but I figure in time he'll get used to having another baby around.  He's going to have to since we have even more babies being born into our family this year.   We did talk about how soft the babies hair was, why she had so much hair and some babies are born bald.  We talked about why mom's can't drive after birth, where babies get their food from, and how tiny all the hands, feet, finger toes and nails are. 
     Even though we didn't do any "real" school work the boys did play The Scrambled States of America game again and I was amazed when Evan picked Tennessee out of the pile and said "oh good, Tennessee, I've had this one before."  I asked him how he knew what the card said and he just shrugged but I liked that he's already recognizing states!  They also played Wild Kratts on the computer and learned about shapes, animals and animal habitats.  They started a game of Monopoly and worked on math skills, reading, and good sportsmanship.  We read several books before bed and worked on predictions, retelling and sequencing of the stories as well as learning many science concepts through Alec's non- fiction books. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

After Hours

      With our memberships we are invited to many "after hours/ member's only" nights and while we don't always take advantage of nearly as many as we should, we have learned that friendship night at Southwick's Zoo is not to be missed.  Last year the boys made masks, had their faces painted, got free ice cream and enjoyed a fun scavenger hunt through the zoo.  This year we planned ahead and actually had friends with us!  We headed out right around dinner last night with the two younger boys, their friends, and one of the friend's families. 
     The boys were all so excited- running from exhibit to exhibit.  The zoo at night is actually very different than during the day.  Many of the animals are much more active at dusk-- we saw kangaroos hopping around, the Hyenas (which we thought was an empty pen!) were up and right up close to the fence.  The monkey's were noisy and chasing each other around from branch to branch.  We heard the lion and lioness making lots of noises back and forth to one another.  We heard the laughing Kookaburra laugh and found the sloths were awake and moving s-l-o-w-l-y. Alec had picked up a scavenger hunt paper when we entered the zoo and actually got stumped on one question so we asked a zoo keeper and learned about the Colobus Monkey.  There were no shows, no rides, and no gift shops open to worry about!  They did have a free craft project where you could make a paper plate peacock but none of the boys wanted to take time out from the zoo.  They all got a free ice cream on the way out of the zoo and were a bit bummed not to have had a bit more time to see EVERYTHING... but we did see most of the zoo.  There were a few animals, like the cheetah's that we really wanted to see, that were not out but for the most part we were able to see so much.  We had a lovely picnic near the deer and got to watch a live turkey walking around while we were eating.  For once, I didn't take many photos, but lived in the moment enjoying the kids and watching the excitement on their friends' faces.   Here are the few photos I did take. 
The Aldabra Tortoise was in his pool of water with his head out and facing us!  We've never seen that! 

Checking out the Flamingos-- Evan found a Flamingo feather! 

The hyenas-- We had no idea that their heads were so large!

Enjoying ice cream with friends! 

This tree looked like it had green beans hanging from it (though we realized it's probably just the leaves) 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Skipping School!

    The boys wanted to watch TV during breakfast.  This is one behavior that is really starting to get to me, yet it makes the meal so much quieter and allows me to zip around the house getting so much done that I'm loathe to take on this battle and take it away.  They did agree to watch something educational and all agreed on an old Wild Kratts DVD so I let it slide... again.  While they watched TV, I spent a good part of the morning organizing photos and trying to get caught up on scrapbooking.  I also got myself all ready for the day and again reviewed our plan of what we were going to get accomplished today.
     After the movie ended all three boys went to get ready and then started playing Lego's together.  They were all getting along really well and having fun and I was hesitant to step in and interrupt.  Seems like these quiet times are so rare that I hate to stop them!  I sat looking through our albums and realized we really haven't been enjoying outside time and using our own lake all that much.  Some of it has been the weather but some of it, I think, has just been laziness.  I asked the boys if they'd rather just skip school altogether today and head outside to swim and play for the day.  That used to be our daily routine here on the lake and I miss it!  The boys suprized me though, as much as they wanted to go swimming, they told me it's boring to just swim all day when it's only the three of them.  They asked if we could invite their cousins over or someone to play and I told them I'd see what I could do. 
    My mother called a few moments later and asked if she could come visit.  Just as we were all settling in outside on the patio my sister showed up with her two little boys and so we spent a wonderful "family" day on the lake.  The boys swam, jumped off the dock and made up games to play both in and out of the water.  Alec brought down the Scrambled States of America game and played a few rounds with my sister and mother.  It was a perfect, lazy summer day!  The boys all had fun fishing, feeding the ducks and cooling off in the water.  We had to look up "what do Mallard Ducks eat?"  since the boys kept asking and I had no answer.  We learned that they eat all sorts of fish, eggs, seeds, roots, plants and even frogs.  Evan caught, what he thought, was a butterfly.  I wasn't so sure since it was pretty drab and just looked more like a moth to me.  Not wanting to tell him he was wrong (in case he was right!) we looked up "what is the difference between a moth and a butterfly?" and found this great site that told us what to look for in identifying the two species.  Turns out Evan caught a moth today!  We talked about how the moths and the butterflies hold their wings differently and the differences in their antennae. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Moon sand, sight word slam, and Amusment park race

    With thunderstorms rolling through our area this morning we decided to just jump into our schooling today and hope that the weather cleared up by afternoon.  While the boys were finishing up breakfast (and driving me nuts with their teasing and fighting), I decided to throw the movie Hercules in and start our morning learning about the Greek gods.  Alec balked and went and on about why he didn't want to watch the movie (the boy who asked to learn about Greek and Roman mythology and gods!).  I interrupted his tirade to tell him he did not have to watch it, he was free to go to his room and read or whatever.  I try not to force the kids to learn about anything they truly don't want to know about.  He thought the movie would be scary and was afraid to watch... I needn't have worried though, by the end of the opening song Alec was hooked and all three boys sat and watched.  
     The boys took off the minute the movie was done.  Ian and Evan made an alliance today and are getting along quite well.  They were busy working on Lego's in Evan's room most of the morning while Alec was content to play alone in his room with all of his stuffed animals making up different scenarios and acting them out.  I knew I didn't have a lot of school stuff planned and so I was content to let them all play as long as they were getting along.  Alec came down for a snack and we played Yahtzee and The Scrambled States of America Game (my kids LOVE this game and ask to play it all the time-- seriously, I'm getting so sick of this game, but they just love it! I highly recommend it too as they are all able to find the states pretty easily on the map now!). 
    For math we read Perimeter and area at the Amusement Park.  It was pretty long and I'm not sure it kept their attention through the whole thing, but they sure did love seeing the photographs of different rides, parks, and attractions. It was a neat look at the way parks and rides are developed, the history of amusement parks and the attractions found there.  We're an amusement park kind of family and the boys are now asking if we can go visit some of these other parks that they saw in the book.  I set the older two boys up with an area game I found on Pinterest called Racing Rectangles.  In honor of the book we called our game Racing Amusement Parks and I explained how to play.  Using two die and a piece of grid paper they take turns making square and rectangles to represent the numbers rolled on the dice.  They have to figure out how many squares are inside the box and write that down. If they can't fit their box on the grid they loose a turn and the one with the most boxes at the end wins.   I didn't tell them that we multiply length times width to find the area (though this book did and the book we read last week did) because I wanted to see #1- if they would remember that and #2 if they didn't remember that, could they figure it out on their own?  They seemed to enjoy the game (though Alec made pretend Zoo's while Ian chose to make pretend amusement parks) and I liked that it reinforced multiplication as well as worked on the concept of area.  They quickly learned that boxes of all shapes could still have the same area.  If only they hadn't bicker and fought over the dice, the crayons and, well, everything else it would have been perfect. 

     While the older boys were working on math I pulled Evan aside to work on some sight words and reading.  We re-read a few Bob Books and then I put up some sight words, written on post- it notes, onto the wall and had him throw a ball at them.  He had to call out the word that the ball hit.  It was fun and funny and he really enjoyed playing this game.  I got this idea from the word family slam game found here.  He was still struggling with finding the words after we had been playing for a while and I thought it might be easier to find the word rather than read the word so I started calling out words and having him hit them.  He laughed a lot and we had such a good time he didn't want me to take the words down when we ended.  I warned him I'd ask a few times through the day what is this word and I'd point to one.  He then proceeded to tell me "I'm near the word wall mom" every single time he walked by it!
      I liked a page on Facebook a few months back called Incite to Write and I just love the ideas and suggestions for getting reluctant writers to write.  Last week I decided to sign- up for a free video training course by the same author and creator of Incite to Write and decided to start implementing some of her ideas-- best of all; week one requires NO writing!  So the boys were OK with participating.  I didn't make it a secret that this was a new writing program I was trying so they were skeptical but willing to give it a try.  They were able to come up with all 30 questions with just a bit of help from me and we discussed how we would answer them, how many sentences we COULD have come up with if we had wanted to write them, how many sentences are in a paragraph and how many paragraphs we could have come up with.  I felt it went pretty well, but Ian told me his problem with writing isn't getting the ideas. He told me he has tons of ideas and stories in his head but when he starts to write them he can't get all of his ideas down on paper fast enough and starts to forget his ideas.  I'm thinking we may need to buy some little tape recorders (or the equivalent now that "tapes" are obsolete!), but we'll see how this is handled as the program progresses. 
     We read another chapter in Surviving the Applewhites and The Robot King and then we turned to some science fun.  We read The Moon Book by Gail Gibbons and made Moon dough/sand by combining 8 cups of flour with 1 cup baby oil.  Once mixed I put a bit in tin pie plates for the kids to play with and had them drop marbles into the dough showing how craters are formed on the moon.  They had fun shaping mountains, seas and the like and then dumped out the pie tins onto some large cookie sheets and had fun playing with all their toys in the moon dough/sand.   Our day was done and they played happily for quite some time while I went through our library books and got ready to make a trip for some returns this afternoon. 

      At the library the boys ran to the movie section and picked out some new movies.  I don't know when we'll find time to watch them but hey, they're free!  We picked up some of the books we had ordered that came in and then went to fill out paws for the summer reading program.  There were not enough paws so Alec found the children's librarian and asked her to find some more.  She happily photocopied a bunch of them for the boys.  While they were waiting they found some hula hoops to play with.  Ian and Alec decided to see who could keep theirs going the longest and then Alec tried to see how many hula hoops he could use at once.  He managed to keep three of them up for quite some time.  I asked them to try walking in a circle, using the hula hoops around their necks, arms, or legs.  They decided to try meditating in the circle too.  It was a wonderfully, fun and totally spontaneous way to get them moving! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

Junior Zookeepers

     We headed to Southwick's Zoo again this morning.  Ian and Evan were taking a class on reptiles and Ian couldn't have been more excited.  He LOVES snakes and was upset he had missed this class last year so he was doubly glad to have the chance to go today and learn even more about snakes and reptiles.  Alec is not a snake lover by any means and so he didn't want to join in on today's class.  It was nice because it gave him and I a chance to hang around all by ourselves.  With three kids always underfoot it's so hard to spend "alone" time with each of them.  When the opportunity comes I try to take advantage.  I put Alec in charge of our morning at the zoo and just followed him around, really listening to him and giving him that undivided attention he so rarely gets yet often craves. 
Ian and Evan learning about tortoises and reptiles

     Alec loved seeing all the baby animals!  Everywhere we looked little babies were cropping up and he was thrilled to point them all out to me. 

baby wallaby
Marmosets are small as it is and the babies are just tiny!
the lemurs had twins and were making cute mewing sounds like kittens!

Once we picked the other two boys up, I was ready to head home, but they had other plans.  We ate lunch and then watched a Peacock show, a reptile show, a bird show and an animal encounter show.  During each show break we walked the zoo, got some ice cream and checked out the Earth Ltd. building where we got to touch all sorts of animals.  We just had fun.  We barely made it home in time for dinner! 

Blue tongue Skink

Alec asks to see the chinchilla-- Salt

The boys got to hold some birds after the bird show!  And yes, they do each have one on their heads!

Pepper-- the chinchilla

Even at the zoo, Alec finds books to read

Petting the snake

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Our final show of the day and we got to see "our" Binterong.