Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Week at the Beach

We have just returned from 10 days spent vacationing on Tybee Island on the coast of Georgia. It was a fantastic vacation, and we got a lot of the items on our Summer Bucket List done while we were there.

We saw a sunrise,

and a sunset,

we flew kites on the beach, built sandcastles,

collected sea shells and swam in the ocean.

This was the first time Miss M or Baby B had ever seen the ocean, and the first time any of the kids had swum in the Atlantic. It was a great break from the heat we are experiencing at home (it's supposed to be over 110 this week) and the kind of memories that I hope stay with our kids into adulthood.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Estimation Jars and Brain Breaks

We school year-round, although we do fewer days a week in the summer. Miss M started her K4 curriculum in May, and we have added a few new items that have been a huge hit.

The first is an estimation jar. We are doing this daily during our calendar time. I try to fill the jar with objects that vary in size and shape, and when possible relate to our studies (here there are seashells). First Miss M estimates how many objects are inside the jar, and then we count them together and see how close her estimates were.

The second are these brain break sticks which I found the idea for at Keep Calm and Teach On. They are simply painted popsicle sticks with fun, quick activities listed on them. Things like running around the yard three times, having a one-minute tickle fest, and singing the song Tomorrow from Annie (one of Miss M's favorites). We do workboxes, so Miss M draws a stick after every three or four boxes and we do the activity. It's a fantastic way to get the wiggles out and add some fun into our routine.

These are both quick, easy-to-make ideas that have added some new fun into our school days.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Luau Day

One of the final days of our neighborhood summer camp was a Hawaiian-themed day. The kids dressed in their best tropical wear, including leis

and drank lemonade using these fun umbrella straws I found at the Dollar Store.

They learned a hula dance, and made a jellyfish craft I found here. They painted paper plates (we didn't have bowls which would have been a better shape) using watercolors

and then glued ribbons to the underside (not the best picture, but they really do look cute in person).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Down on the Farm

We took a trip a few days ago to visit Nash Farm, a historic farm near us that dates to 1859. You can tour the original house and barn, see historic farm equipment, and "ride" the tractors

and feed the chickens.

Baby B was enamored with the cow in the barn

and all the kids enjoyed the discovery tables with the miniature farm machines.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Shakespeare In the Park

We have been so busy this summer that I am way behind blogging about all we are doing. One of the things on our summer bucket list was to go see Shakespeare at the Park, and we did that last weekend. We drove into Dallas for a production of As You Like It.

The company had updated the play to take place during the 1936 Spanish Civil War, but retained the original language of Shakespeare. (I think it was done since we are over 100 degrees and who could possibly wear a period costume in that heat?)

We took a picnic dinner and enjoyed some family time before play began.

Once it got dark, the play started. Miss M was fascinated by the wedding scene at the end, of course, but J really loved the comedy of the play. Everyone loved it, even Baby B!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tie-Dye Day

This week's theme in our neighborhood summer camp was colors. We tie-dyed shirts using koolaid which was a fun, if messy, process for all the kids. It did result in Baby B looking like a smurf for a few days after some blue koolaid got spilled on his leg, but the kids love the shirts they made. One of the moms had bought white onesies, and the even the babies in the neighborhood got tie-dyed shirts.

For a snack I had made some tie-dyed sugar cookies to go along with it. I made the dough first, then broke it into four parts and used food coloring to make each a separate color. I then rolled each color into a dough rope and braided them together. When I cut the braid into circles the colors were in a crazy tie-dyed pattern.

To go along with our theme, we played outdoor twister on the lawn and then since it was mainly girls we also did a little "freeze dancing" to round out our day.