Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Pink Drink

One of Miss M's favorite books the last few weeks has been Pinkalicious and the Pink Drink. Of course, this was just asking for a pink lemonade craft project to go along with it.

I cut a simple glass shape from a piece of paper and Miss M glued it down onto a background. She then cut and glued pink tissue paper into the glass,

glued down a straw, and topped it all with a piece of contact paper to make it look like a drinking glass.

In hindsight, this would have been easier if we had glued it to the background last, as trimming the tissue paper to fit the glass shape once it was already glued down took some work.

I am linking this to stART at A Mommy's Adventure and Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art.

Monday, June 27, 2011

SBL: Concert at the Park

One of the items on our Summer Bucket List was to attend a concert at the park. We finally made it this past weekend. We ate icecream and listened to the music while Miss M and Baby B did a little dancing, and everyone had a great time.

These are the simple activities I love most about summer!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Van Gogh Inspired Landscape

J is our resident artist, and every once in a while he creates a piece that he declares is worth framing. This one is a Van Gogh-inspired landscape painting made using watercolors.

This was drawn first using charcoals and focusing on using converging and parallel lines to create the 3D illusion. Later, he painted over it with watercolors focusing on using vibrant colors.

This one he has elected to hang in his room, but I might sneak it into the family room someday when he isn't looking!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No More Tangled Locks

Miss M will be turning four next month, but she has never had her hair cut before. She has been asking for several months now to have her hair cut short, but both my husband and I have been resisting simply because we love how her long, blonde hair looks on her. However, it gets easily tangled, is hard to brush and is always in her face so we finally gave in today.




She looks so cute, and she LOVES her new haircut, so I guess it was time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Outer Space Day

This week's theme at our neighborhood summer camp was Outer Space. Definitely the highlight of the day was their own rocket ship to play in. I gave my husband a cardboard box and the vague instructions that I wanted a space ship, and this is what he came up with.

The inside was even lined with paper and had an old remote control, graphing calculator and mini DVD player inside for lots of buttons and screens.

All kids loved it, and Miss M and Baby B are still flying around space in it every chance they get.

We also made aliens out of green playdough and googly eyes,

rocket ships out of paper towel tubes with tissue paper flames,

and pretended to be space aliens with pom-pom and tin foil headbands.

The kids played a space version of cops and robbers and musical planets and had glow-in-the dark drinks made by sandwiching glow bracelets between two cups (directions found here).

For Miss M to extend the play into school, I printed out some activities found here and here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pirate Summer Camp

This week's theme in our neighborhood summer camp was pirates. (For privacy reasons I only show my own children on the blog, but our whole neighborhood participates.)

When I saw this tutorial over at AlphaMom for a pirate skirt made from bandanas, I knew I had to make it for Miss M. It was super easy to do, and she LOVED being a "pink pirate" as she said.

J was my helper and ran the games for me. He briefly wore the velvet frock coat my mother had made as a costume when he was much smaller. However, the 100 degree heat and the small size prompted him to take it off almost immediately.

We had eye patches made from craft foam and yarn, spyglasses made from toilet paper tubes and pirate tattoos.

The kids made their own treasure maps, dug for buried treasure in the sandbox

and played capture the flag, treasure island, and a swab-the-deck relay race with balloons.

Overall, I think it was a fun pirate day!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby Bird's First Nest

We have been studying birds this month and reading many bird stories. One of Miss M's favorites has been Baby Bird's First Nest by Frank Asch - a cute story about a little bird who falls out of his nest and with the help of his frog friend builds his own nest. When that doesn't work out, Little Frog helps Baby Bird make his way back to his nest and his sleeping mama.

I knew I wanted to do a nest craft to go along with it. (We did this nest one last year.) I saw several versions of this project, but we followed the tutorial over at Whatever.

First, the kids painted their paper plates half-blue and half-brown.

When they dried they glued on their baby birds (cut free-hand from paper) and added the birds beak, eye and feather wing.

Finally they glued twigs, yarn and paper strips onto the bottom to make the bird's nest.

This was a fun, easy project for a summer afternoon. I am linking this to stART at A Mommy's Adventure and Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Trip to the Art Museum

One of the things on our Summer Bucket List, was to make a trip to the art museum. We went this past weekend, since one of J's favorite authors - Rick Riordan - was doing a book talk and signing.

While J and I listened to the talk and waited in line for the book signing, Daddy took Baby B and Miss M inside the museum. Miss M was fascinated with the Ivy in Flower painting by Henri Matisse (probably due to it's large size and bright colors) and so I think he will be our next artist study. Baby B made his first art project - a folded paper book. He is loving putting crayon marks on paper lately, so after Daddy made the book he happily decorated it.

Everyone had fun for our first bucket list outing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Educating Babies & Toddlers Review

I recently had the opportunity to join the Blogger Review Team for Timberdoodle, a curriculum supply company for homeschoolers. They have a fantastic site with options for everything from individual curriculum items to Complete Core Curriculums for infant to high school. We purchased their Kindergarten Core Curriculum for Miss M two month ago, and we are loving it!

As a part of the review team, I was sent the book Entertaining and Educating Babies and Toddlers to review. This book is part of their Baby Core Curriculum for infants 0-18 months. Their curriculum is not flashcards and workbooks for babies, but rather fun, gentle toys and books that help babies develop physically and intellectually.

This book contains ideas for baby-friendly exercises and activities that are both fun to do and stimulating as well. I really liked that most of the activities in the book use things you already own and don't require large purchases. The book is broken out by age, and includes activities from newborn to 30 months of age.

We tried two of the activities listed in the book. The first idea for 6 to 12 months old. The idea was for Baby B to balance on a large ball and roll gently back and forth.

He loved doing this, and had as much fun rolling off the ball as balancing on it!

The second ideas was listed under their Messy Play for 12 to 18 months old. I followed their instructions for placing a plastic cloth down before doing this, and it was definitely needed. I fixed cornmeal and water on a tray for some sensory exploration.

Baby B was not a fan of this activity (he doesn’t really like to have messy hands), but surprisingly Miss M found it quite fun and played with it for about half-an-hour after Baby B abandoned it.

Overall, I think this is an easy-to-read, well-laid out book of ideas. There are only a few ideas we haven’t tried; many of them were things we have done with one of our other kids before. I think this book would be most useful for first-time parents and parents new to educational activities for little ones, and it is on my list as a future baby-shower gift.

As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review

Dictionary Rocks

Miss M has long had a fascination with rocks. Everyone once in a while, she will find a special rocks and declare it to be a "dictionary rock" and proceed to tell us all the wonderful things written on it.

We have been working on sight words and CVC words for a bit, and Miss M has finally learned enough words for reading simple sentences. So, I took some rocks and wrote her words on them with a permanent marker - making real "dictionary rocks".

Miss M has been reading her rocks in the sandbox and loving them!

She has about a dozen so far, and I plan to keep adding words as she learns them as a sort of outdoor word wall.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Neighborhood Summer Camp

We live in a fantastic neighborhood where almost every house has kids and they all play together regularly. It is not unusual for us to have as many as twelve kids ranging in ages from 3 to 13 playing together at one time.

So, in order to keep them busy together this summer, we are having a neighborhood summer camp. Every mom took one day of the week and will be hosting the kids for a different activity on her days. The kids will be baking, swimming, watching movies and eating lunch together all summer long.

At our house, they will be doing crafts, games and snacks related to a weekly theme. The themes we settled on are:
  • Pirates (making treasure maps, capture the flag, treasure map cupcakes)
  • Outer Space
  • 70's Revisited (tie-dying shirts, outdoor twister, rainbow cookies)
  • Neighborhood Olympics (3-legged races, obstacle course, hula hoop contest, water balloons)
  • Hawaiian Luau (hula dancing, making leis, fruity drinks)
  • Cowboys/Girls (making stick horses or banjos, homemade trail mix)
I still have to flesh out some of our activities, but J and Miss M are having fun helping me to plan and there are lots of great ideas around the web. I will be sure to post the results of our theme days this summer!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Welcome to Summer

We have a tradition that every year on the last day of school we welcome J home with a banner (he just finished 5th grade at our local public school).

This year, Miss M and Baby B helped me to make J's "Welcome to Summer" banner.

We have a very full summer planned and a long Summer Bucket List to complete!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Artist Study: Georgia O'Keeffe

Now that we have spent a month getting into the rhythm of Miss M's new K4 curriculum (we school year-round), I thought it was time to add in some extras including art and music appreciation. Since all of our garden flowers are blooming, we started with Georgia O'Keeffe. Our artist study was done over the course of two weeks, with a break in-between for a visit from Grandma.

First, we studied her work using the three-part cards from Montessori Print Shop. I really love the Montessori method for art study and we will be using three-part cards with all the artists we study.

Next, we read several books about her life, including My Name Is Georgia: A Portrait by Jeanette Winter and Through Georgia's Eyes by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez. I love when you can get a living storybook about the artist to read, I think Miss M learns more from them.

Finally, Miss M painted her own O'Keeffe-like painting. She studied the flowers she was going to paint:
We used real watercolor paper and tube watercolors. Mixing the right shade of pink took some time.

Finally she was ready to paint (with no direction from me).

The finished product:

When Miss M is several years older we will add in details about the artists life and impact in history. For now, it is enough that she knows the name of the artist and recognizes some of her key works.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our Little Ballerina

Miss M's first year of ballet was brought to a close today with her dance recital. Her class of three-year-olds did a ballet dance to The Chapel of Love. Miss M did so well - she remembered her steps and didn't get stage fright at all!

Her highlight of the day was the six pink roses her daddy and brothers bought her. They are proudly residing in a vase on my sidetable where she can smell them every two seconds!

We are so proud of our sweet little ballerina.