Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cheez- it Spelling, Skittles math, Pop rock Painting

I find that anytime I can plan fun school activities around snacks and foods my boys are eager to participate.  Today we had spelling, math, art/science all using candy and food!

To have some fun with spelling today we pulled out a box of Scrabble Junior Cheez- It's and I found two different sheets for the kids to use. 

 Snacking on words was for Evan-- he had to make three letter words using the crackers and we read them together.  Since he hardly knows any words at this point I let him make up nonsense words as well as real words and I didn't make him record them-- yet.  We talked about changing just one letter to make new words and I was so happy when he read BAT!

For Ian and Alec I found a sheet that looked a bit like a Boggle board that the crackers fit on perfectly.   I followed the entire activity that I found on the Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational site.  I too allowed the boys to manipulate the crackers to make it easier for them to find words. 

Then when they were all dons spelling they enjoyed a quick morning snack.

For math today I pulled out a big bag of Skittles and read the book Skittles Riddles Math.

We manipulated some of our Skittles to mirror the pages and mimic what the book was teaching us.  It was quite a long and involved book and I'm not sure how much they absorbed from it but they sure did love eating the Skittles when we were done!

While they were eating all their crackers and Skittles I read a few books aloud to them.  We read The Way I Act and Bats at the Beach.  They loved Bats at the Beach.  They thought the illustrations were great.

After yesterday's day long discussion about behavior the boys asked if that's why I was reading The Way I Act.  It hadn't been intentional but this book couldn't have come at a better time!  We talked about cooperation, consideration and being compassionate.  Ian readily admitted that him an Alec do NOT act like that toward each other and rather rudely asked me if he thought reading a book would change him (guess we'll be talking about attitudes and behavior a bit more today!).

Ian and Alec worked on their friendship bracelets a bit more this morning while waiting for Evan to finish up snack.  Ian has been working on his most every night at bedtime and he's almost half- way done.  I'm impressed with their persistence on this project and with how well the bracelets are coming out. 

My boys were arguing since one wanted to do a science experiment and the other wanted to do art.  I decided to combine the two!

After seeing how fun it was to add pop rocks to our goop yesterday, today we tried adding pop rocks to our paint. 

I let the boys do some free- form painting.

It was neat to listen to all the crackling and popping again.  I had them predict what would happen before we added the pop rocks and we made predictions about whether or not the pop rock candy would change the color of the paints too.

After painting the boys went to play and we ended up swimming in the lake for a bit.

We headed in just in time.  By the time I had lunch ready and on the table it was pouring outside.  They wanted to turn on screens and I encouraged them to keep it educational.  So they watched Bill Nye the Science Guy-- Inventions, Wild Kratts, and Walt Disney's True Life Adventures; Wonders of the Wild (though they found this a bit boring and abandoned it before it was over).  

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Inventions Classroom Edition [Interactive DVD]

Walt Disney Legacy Collection - True Life Adventures, Vol. 1: Wonders Of The World

The boys settled down to watch E.T. after running a few errands.

My husband and I have been trying to remember all the much loved movies from our childhood and through the library we've been able to find most of them for the boys to watch.  They aren't always impressed with our suggestions, but for the most part they really enjoy them.

I enjoy the nostalgia value!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Reading Kick Off Program at our Library

We were preparing to head to our local library tonight for the summer reading kick- off program.  We had a bag full of books, movies and books on Cd to return and many more to pick up.

We were the first ones at the library for the kick- off event tonight.  The boys were very excited.  Our library arranged for a program called Creature Teachers to come with a bunch of their animals to talk about them, their natural habitats and diet. 

My kids love animals so this was right up their alley.  Alec was convinced he wouldn't be stumped-- but he was!  I was too!  There were many new animals that we had never seen in real life before.  We had front row seats and it was a good thing too!  I think they had over 80 people show up.  While that may not seem like a huge number that's a really big turnout for our library. 

Ian and Evan pet Levi
We saw a cockatiel, an alligator, a skunk, a kookaburra, a Coati, a cane toad (wow! they're huge!), a tarantula, a red- eyed tree frog, and a boa constrictor. 

Because we were early we got to pet the cockatiel and watch it walk around the room.  The cockatiel has learned to open it's own cage and can do so in under 3 seconds. 

Alec loves how soft the cockatiel's feathers are
We learned that Alligators and sharks will fall asleep if flipped over onto their backs and watched as this was demonstrated with a live 8 year old alligator.  We learned how to make a Kookaburra call his sound back at us. 

the Kookaburra is loud!

The red eyed- tree frog led to a discussion of poison dart frogs too

The cane toad is HUGE and has enough poison in it's
glands to kill a full sized crocodile if eaten.
The skunk was actually pretty cute (and de-scented). 

The boa constrictor
A Coati! 
The alligator is sleeping!  It falls asleep when you turn it on it's back
and wake right up when you flip it back right side up!  It was really
neat to see! 

How to Make Fizzing Firecracker Goop

We had a pretty lousy start to our day and after lots of frustration and tears we were looking for something fun to do.  I told the boys we could explore and play with fizzing goop.

My boys love goop; it's a simple mixture of cornstarch and water and it lends itself quite nicely to exploration.  Those non- Newtonian liquids are always so neat!

I brought out some cornstarch and pop rocks and we set about making fizzing, fire cracking goop!  

I divided one entire box of cornstarch into two bowls and added one packet of pop rocks to each bowl.

Even before we added the water we could hear some crackling sounds.

Once Ian poured the water in though it was really cool.  We heard popping, fizzing, and crackling sounds.  The boys said they could even feel the pop rocks fizzing as they stuck their hands in the goop to play with it.

My oldest even swears that the goop smelled differently.  Since so much water was added to the goop, it wasn't all that goopy and they soon lost interest in playing with it.

You want to make sure you don't add too much water to your cornstarch.  Typically I add a bit as I stir it together.  You know the goop is ready when it looks like a liquid but the spoon leaves trails and marks through the material.  Those marks fill themselves in quite quickly.

It's both solid feeling and yet acts more like a liquid.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hover craft, Friendship bracelets, Paint War... another fantastic day!

My boys started the day by watching the movies they got from the library yesterday.  They watched The Sandlot Heading home and How to Train Your Dragon.  I was a bit annoyed with all the movie watching, but I just kept reminding myself that it's summer.  A time to be a bit more lazy and relaxed, a time to enjoy life and have fun.

We were planning to make balloon and cd hover crafts today so we started by super gluing our pop top bottle caps onto the CD and then we set them aside to dry.

While waiting for the CD/ glue to dry we started on our art projects.  We used clear glue and dripped fun designs onto watercolor paper.  While the glue was still wet we covered it with salt.  Just using ordinary table salt-- we then set that aside to dry.  I have to say, even with just the salt on the glue my boys already liked this project.  The salt made the glue look all shiny and like giant crystals.  We couldn't wait for it to dry enough to use the watercolors with it!

We read The Doorbell Rang and I gave each of the boys counters.  We stopped before turning each page so they could figure out how many cookies everyone would get for some simple division practice. 

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We then went on to read The Giving Tree and Carl's Summer Vacation

The boys reminded me that I had promised to show them how to make friendship bracelets using embroidery floss.  I made these as a kid and I needed a quick refresher before showing them so I looked it up and found an easy to follow set of instructions on ehow.  

This was a bit challenging for them but with some help from me untying knots and setting them straight once again they were soon going quite well and figuring out how to fix any mistakes they were making.  I hope they don't get frustrated or discouraged and quit before they're done since they are looking very nice.  I keep reminding them it can take days or weeks to get just one bracelet done.

The glue projects were mostly dry so we started painting our salt painting with watercolors.  Its' neat to watch the colors spread throughout the salt as you touch your brush to them.

The hover crafts were a huge hit!

We never did feel like the super glue totally dried so I brought down my hot glue gun and re-glued the pop top onto the CD.

  • Keeping the pop top closed we then blew up a balloon and stretched the end over the bottle top.  
  • Once in place you pull up on the pop top and as the air leaks out it pushes the CD up off the table a bit and makes it hover and move around.  
They excited yelled out about air pressure and force and talked about how it works.  They kept blowing the balloons back up and watching them hover around the living room rug (on the hardwood floor).  They talked about taking them outside and running a science experiment to see if the crafts would hover over the water (and they did!! For the most part anyway; as the balloon got to the end of the air they started to sink).

I had told the boys I'd let them have a paint fight today, just for fun, and I was hoping to finish by the time our company showed up.  I was in the midst of filling up the paint containers with very watered down tempera paint when our company showed up.  They joined right in.

We did have a few rules though--- stay in the yard away from the house, cars and furniture, stay away from the adults (who were still in their clothes and not in their bathing suits), and keep paint away from each other's faces and eyes.

They had a ball!

Alec did get paint in his eye and face a few times so he cried a bit and had to jump in the lake a few times to clean off, but other than that the kids all had lots of fun.  Their clothes and skin were quite colorful by the time we ran out of paint!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Water Bombing Math, One sentance writing, and Body art.

We had a very busy morning around here and tried to focus on fun.  I always try to make our learning as fun as possible and today we had so much fun!

Alec had a book he got from the library called Alex the Parrot that everyone wanted to listen to so I agreed to read that as well as Yes Day! and How Do Hot Air Balloons Work

We read all three books and since Alex the Parrot was a true story we looked for videos about him on-line.  We watched a few YouTube videos about him.  It was really quite amazing! You can follow the link to see our favorite. 
Once we were done reading I told the boys I had a quick writing activity planned.  They were to write one sentence but it had to start with a subordinate conjunction (After, Although, Unless, Since, Because, etc.). 

I found this idea on Incite to Write's page on Facebook.  Subordinate conjunctions help kids make a more complex sentence and I figured they would never argue and gripe about one sentence.  Funny enough, they all picked "after" as the start of their sentence.  I was impressed the most by Evan today.  He quickly came up with his whole sentence and even managed to spell most of the words pretty phonetically!

It was hot and sunny today and I wanted to head outside.  We had tons of fun activities planned that I found on Pinterest last night and I couldn't wait to try them.

I found a cute car/ squirt bottle race that I thought the boys might like.  They each got a matchbox car and a spray bottle, but the only one who could even get it to work a little was Alec.  I don't know why it didn't work; but I'm guessing it was because the driveway isn't all that smooth.   While they were troubleshooting their car race I was trying to fill up water balloons.

I explained to the boys that the balloons were not for a toss or a fight but for a lesson. 

I first attempted to write math equations and sight words on the balloons but the permanent marker would not work on the balloons since water was condensing on the outside of them.  I ended up using chalk and designated an area of the driveway for each boy with either sight words or equations. 

They had to read the word, or answer the problem, and then "bomb" it with a water balloon. 

They loved this activity!  They loved it so much they begged for more balloons!!

It was hot and the water was fun.  The water made the words and numbers disappear as they hit.  I think even just the word "bombs away!" made it much more fun than any worksheet reviewing these topics could have been. 

Alec had simple division equations (10 or 8 divided by 2), simple multiplication problems (4x2, 3x4, etc.) and a few harder addition problems (9+9, 8+7, etc.).  Ian had hard multiplication and division problems (21 divided by 3, 18 divided by 3, 9x9, 6x8, etc.) and Evan had a few sight words repeated over and over again (red, dad, mom, the, at bat, toy). 

They drew their own tattoos using watercolor crayons and a bucket of water.  They drew all over their bodies.  They were pretty creative with what they drew too. 

 After having done writing, math, reading, science and art today we declared school finished and headed outside to play in the lake.  Even with the water and our beach mostly being in the shade it was HOT!