Friday, May 31, 2013

How to Make Glue & Paint Batik Shirts

We started our batik t-shirts this week.

I had let the boys each pick out some acrylic paints a week or two ago at the craft store and promised we'd be making shirts with them.  I finally found the time to start them with the kids.

We first looked at pictures of batik cloth and clothes to give them some ideas and then I set them loose with white t- shirts and clear glue (though white glue will also work well).  Ian sketched his design first but Alec and Evan decided to just free hand them.  We got the fronts all glued and set them in the sun to dry two days ago.

After they were dry we flipped them over and worked on the backside.  We stretched each t-shirt over a large strip of cardboard to keep the glue from leaking through both sides of the shirt.  Wherever the glue is; it will resist the paint.

Today, we headed outside and painted the fronts of the Batik Shirts.

I'm not sure they really understood how Batik works as they didn't start out painting large washes of colors like I thought they would.  The more I talked and explained and reminded them of color resists we've done in art the more they seemed to understand.

Whether the Batik works or not they'll still have nice, colorful t- shirts to wear.   We set the shirts in the sun to dry. 

Our shirts dried very quickly in the sun but we discovered a problem.

Once they were done and we were ready to wash the glue off of the shirts to reveal our Batik designs we discovered that the shirts were all stuck to the cardboard!

Not one to be easily deterred, I slowly peeled the shirts off  where I could (making a few small holes in the shirts!) and leaving some small paper scraps of cardboard behind.  I put all the shirts in the washing machine and hoped that as the glue washed off so would the cardboard.  And it did though my washer and dryer were littered with scraps of cardboard (which I then vacuumed out of the washer and dryer).

 It was a bit of extra work but the boys and I love the t- shirts.

 I'm a bit bummed about the one or two small holes in each shirt though from where they broke free of the cardboard.  I can't imagine making the shirts without the cardboard as most of the paint went through the shirts too; perhaps if we had wrapped the cardboard in some sort of cling wrap?  I don't know.

But I do consider this project a success anyway and something I'm sure we'll try again.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Very Short School Day; How we Read So Many Books When We're Not Schooling

With our summer fun underway a bit early this year we have already started shortening our school days.  We try to do a short math activity each day, squeeze in some reading when we can and hope to find time for some fun science experiments or art projects.  All of our schoolwork is worked around our activities and I was amazed today to realize just how many books we managed to read!

This morning the boys watched another episode of Popular Mechanics for Kids; Rip Roaring Roller Coasters and All Access to Fun.  They learned even more about the science behind park rides, attractions and circus shows.  While watching Alec was also playing Kanoodle and Evan was working on an art project he's making for his Aunt's baby. 

Popular Mechanics for Kids: Rip-Roaring Roller Coasters and All Access to Fun

They all remarked on how much the gummy bears grew and we pulled a "normal" one out of the bag to compare.  I heard them talking about why the gummy bears grew so much and they all agreed "the gummy bears absorbed all that water!"  I love hearing them talk in scientific terms!

Look how big they got!
For math we read a book called Divide and Ride about a group of kids who go an amusement park for the day and keep dividing into groups to go on different rides.

I counted out 12 counters for each boy before reading the story and had them manipulate them as we read through to demonstrate the different equations we came across. 

We always manage to squeeze in a lot of reading during the summer months; probably even more reading than we do during our normal school year! Here's how:

  1. We read story book about math or a fun science idea; like how ice cream is made then follow that up with a fun activity that feels like it's all about summer fun.
  2. We listen to Audiobooks whenever we're in the car riding to the beach, the park, or whatever fun activity we have planned.
  3. We read aloud during either breakfast or lunch (sometimes both meals).  One of our favorite things to do is to take our lunches outside on the patio or on a blanket and read while picnicking.
  4. We read at bedtime to help us unwind from our long days. 
  5. We read about summer holidays or occasions as they crop up and we're interested in them.
  6. We read about artists and try out new art projects.   
  7. We take frequent trips to the library and enjoy lazy mornings in the air conditioning, filling out our summer reading papers, and enjoying a nice cool Popsicle on those days they're handing them out. 

Once their cousins had shown up for a fun day playing in the lake, school was over.   The boys played all afternoon with their cousins; swimming, diving, jumping, having water gun fights and towing each other around on rafts and boogie boards.

I called my boys out of the water and had them all clean up and dry off to get ready for Alec's soccer practice.

On the way we headed made a quick stop at the library to pick up more books.  We arrived at the field early and finished listening to the Magic Tree House Book Blizzard of the Blue Moon. 

We still had some time and the boys were asking what we were going to do.  It was still pretty hot, sunny and muggy so they didn't want to get out of the car and play plus they all wanted to finish eating so I pulled a few books out of our library bag and read aloud Memorial Day Surprise and Monet. They seemed to enjoy both books a lot.

By the end of soccer all the boys were looking pretty tired and wiped out from all the sun.  We listened to another Magic Tree House book on the way home called Monday with a Mad Genius.

 It's all about Leonardo Da Vinci and I'm already excited to pull a book from the library about his work.

Once home I had them take showers and get ready for bed, then I had them each pick out a book.  I offered to read to them in their own rooms; well I should have known that all three boys would want to listen to most of the books so we went from room to room reading:

Hoop Genius (and we learned how a gym teacher created the game of basketball)

Red Panda

Star Wars the Clone Wars; The Secret Villain.  I even got Evan to read a book to me called Pat's Cat's.

I'm trying to focus on one or two sight words at a time and this week we've been trying to get the "at" family down so this was perfect.   I was amazed, looking back on our day, that we managed to get so much reading done! 

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What to Read Wednesday

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Delicious Fractions & Fun Geography Games

We had so many wonderful and fun lessons planned for today that we jut could not wait to get started.  I have found that incorporating any kind of candy into our school day makes it an immediate success!

We started our day by watching a few movies; Travel with Kids to Costa Rica and Popular Mechanics for Kids; Slither and Slime as part of our geography and science lessons for today.

Popular Mechanics for Kids - Slither & Slime and Other Yucky Things

We also read An Earthworm's Life.

But the best part of science was when we made our own slimy creatures by growing a gummy bear!

According to most sites I looked at; when placed in regular water overnight a gummy bear will grow and multiply in size, but one site found that the bear dissolved in water so we'll see what happens tomorrow I guess.

I found this great print- out for the boys to measure and trace the gummy bear before and after that explained the experiment too; I'm not one for worksheets usually but something about this one appealed to me so we used it today.  After just a few hours they excitedly called me over yelling "they're huge!"

For geography we also played a game of The Scrambled States of America.  The boys saw this game arrive in the mail yesterday and have been asking to play it; building anticipation is always a good thing!

They LOVED it.

It was a bit too hard for Evan so he teamed up with me for the first game and then he went to go play while we played two more games.  They had so much fun and it's a quick, easy game to play, as long as you can read.

We read the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fraction Book and using real Hershey's bars had the kids demonstrate each of the fractions.

The best part was eating the candy bars when we were done!

making thirds; then twelfths
We followed up that lesson with a fun fraction game.  I gave each of the older two boys some counters and a few dice.  They rolled the dice, made a fraction, found it on the board, and covered it up.  The one with the most fractions covered at the end wins.

Alec was thrilled when he won by one counter and Ian seemed consoled by the fact that he only lost by one.  I just loved hearing them work together to find each fraction and couldn't help but notice how far they've come in identifying fractions!

Fraction game
Here's mine!
 Evan played with the fraction tiles while they played the game.  All the boys ended up playing with the fraction tiles and geo-boards/ elastics for part of the morning just for fun. 

Geo- boards

I pulled out my book Success With Sight Words and went looking for fun activities and games to play with Evan today.   I'm hoping if the activity fun enough he might not even notice he's learning.

That's why I was thrilled to find Mom to Posh Lil Diva's blog all about fun sight word games! I honestly couldn't decide-- sight word twister, sight word musical chairs, the possibilities were endless!

We finally decided on musical chairs; write sight words on paper/ index cards and lay them in a circle on the floor.  While playing the music the kids walk, hop, crawl, etc. around the circle until the music stops and then they have to read the word closest to them.  In our game no one is ever out and everyone wins.

We played a few rounds until they seemed to get sick of it.

They were giggling, and had so much fun coming up with motions to do each time-- hopping, skipping, galloping, flapping their arms like a bird, crawling like a baby, commando crawling, sniffing like a dog; you name it & they probably tried it.  Evan seemed to pick up on a few of the words but we'll see how much he remembers next time we play. 

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