Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cooperative Play with Legos

Legos are one of the few things that appeals to all the kids in our house given their diverse ages.  Sure, Baby B's are Duplos while J's are Mindstorm robots, but they are still Legos and the basic concepts are the same.  (Miss M's are pink and purple, of course.)

The other day, I set up an activity I had seen over at Quirky Momma by drawning a rainbow on a large sheet of paper.  I had J haul down the large bin and the kids played together to create a rainbow of Legos.

They took the challenge seriously, and worked together for more than half an hour to get the task accomplished.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Court of Honor

Yesterday was J's Spring Court of Honor for Boy Scouts.  This is when the boys are honored for the advancements and achievements they have done in scouts the last six months.  J has been a Boy Scout for a year now (he was a cub scout before).  He has advanced three ranks and is now a First Class.  He has earned 9 merit badges, and is now the bugler for his troop.  His patrol was also awarded for winning first place for their troop at Score-O (outdoor orienteering competition).  They beat all of the older scout patrols.  They placed third in district and tenth in council out of 400 patrols competing. 

He has done well in scouts, and we couldn't be prouder of him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Exploring Parts of A Flower

We had a fun science project today as part of our home school group.  Miss M learned the parts of a flower by studying a real flower.

She dissected the lily and colored/labeled a diagram as she went.

She really liked this experiment, and what remains of the flower (petals only) is in a bud vase on her dresser.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tot School - Colors and Shapes

Tot School
Baby B is 21.5 months old.

I set some Montessori-style practical life trays out for Baby B this week.  He would NOT do the spooning pompoms or the pouring pasta. Every time he had these trays he would purposely dump them out and laugh at the mess. Needless to say, they were removed after the first two days. He is just not ready for these types of activities yet.

However, he did enjoy the other trays.  This shapes puzzle was a particular favorite of his.  I like this puzzle because it works on both colors and shapes, and has a good variety of shapes included.  (I purchased it from a thrift store when Miss M was little, and it doesn't have any manufacturer's name on it, so I can't provide a link.)

This is a simple file folder game to sort red and green clip art images.  They are mounted on matching construction paper to reinforce the color.  We worked on vocabulary (naming each item) as well as color sorting for this one. 

I put out some of his vehicle lacing shapes.  He isn't able to do the lacing part, but he did try a few times.

I made him  a matching basket using pairs of socks.  This was a fun one, as I chose pairs that are very distinctive looking.

Baby B's favorite tray by far was the color bags I made when Miss M was little.  He LOVED discovering the little ladybug and bird inside the bags.

That was our week working on colors and shapes.  You can see what others did this week over at 1+1+1=1.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

That Tricky Leprechaun!

The kids made little houses to try to lure a leprechaun.  The boys' house came complete with a welcome sign and a sun porch.  Miss M thought pink would be a more alluring color for her house.  They hoped the sticky tape floors would trap any leprechaun who ventured inside.

Unfortunately, they woke this morning to a note from our house fairy Clarabelle telling them she had set the leprechaun free.  He did leave some coins behind for them, and some gold dust was sprinkled on their houses, so I think they were happy. 

We will have to build a fairy-proof trap next year!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mail Fun

Daddy received a package in the mail yesterday, and the kid were hovering anxiously waiting. As soon as his trumpet cleared the box, the kids pounced . . . on the box. There was bubble wrap to pop,

and packing peanuts to explore,

and a box to play in.

The little ones got a good hour of fun out of the packing before it went to the recycling bin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Practical Life - Food Preparation

Miss M is no longer working on practical life activities like tonging, spooning, pouring and folding.  She has mastered those and so we have moved on to other activities including some food preparation and using a knife to spread. 

This work has paid off, as Miss M has made her own lunch every day this week.

A turkey and cheese sandwich never tasted so good to her as the ones she has made for herself.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weather and Art

I know that at first weather and art seem like an unusual combination.  We took the kids to the Art Museum for a special family day, and that was the theme.

Miss M and Baby B made cloud flip books, gluing cotton balls to make the shapes of the clouds.  When the pages are flipped, a description of each type of cloud is underneath.  Baby B is getting more and more interested in doing art projects, and had a great time with this one.

J and Miss M also sat in on a very fascinating art appreciation workshop.  The tour guide took the kids to see Pine Buttes, Wyoming by Thomas Moran, Duck Island by Childe Hassam, and Composition 7 Snow by Raymond Jonson.  All three were American artists who painted during the 1910s and 1920s.  The kids sat in front of each painting and the guide led them through a lesson where they determined the weather depicted in each painting, and discussed how that would sound, smell and feel if you were in the paintings. They discussed colors and perspective and how these added to the feel of each painting.  The kids were then given sheets and sent off to analyze the weather in a painting of their choosing.  J chose a painting of Icebergs, but I can't find his sheet so I will have to add the name of the painting later.

Miss M chose Winter Scene in Brooklyn by Francis Guy.  Her responses to the art were:
What Would the scene sound like:  Thunder, noises from the houses, people
What Would the scene smell like:  Smoky from fireplaces
What Would the scene feel like:  Wet, cold, rough houses, dirt on the roads
What do you see in the painting:  Clouds, dirty snow, houses, bare trees, roads
What type of day is this:  A winter day like Christmas
What does this kind of day make you think of:  Snowball fights, Christmastime
If you made your own painting about this type of day, what would it look like:  Lots of snow, sleds, kids playing, snowmen

I liked this technique and thought it really helped the kids to see the details in the paintings.  We will be doing this more often in the future.

Finally, Miss M and Baby B enjoyed the kids' space where they got to play and explore textures.  Baby B spent a lot of time at the grass wall, while Miss M built with the magnetic squares.  J was off sketching a portrait of a French Revolutionary War soldier.

(Sorry for the picture quality.  They don't allow cameras in the museum, so these are from the phone.)

It was a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Somedays . . .

the best thing you can do is to forget the lesson plans and embrace the silliness.

And that's okay.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pot Of Gold Craft

Miss M and Baby B really enjoyed making these St. Patrick's Day crafts.  Obviously Baby B needed help, but he was able to glue everything together with just a little direction.

There is no pattern, everything was just cut freehand.  The gold coins were glued into a triangle shape and then the whole triangle was glued onto the black pot, making it easier for little hands to manage.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spelling Bee

J competed in the MTA spelling bee again this year.  This is the spelling bee our district holds for the kids with dyslexia.  He got a gold medal for spelling all of his words correctly.

Way to go J!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tot School - Easter Egg Fun

Tot School

Baby B is 21 months old.

Baby B had a busy week. We had our Dr. Seuss party on Friday and he played with his St. Patrick's Day sensory bin all week.

When I bought the green eggs for our matching activity on Dr. Seuss day, I had to buy two bags of eggs (75 in all) to get enough green ones. I put them in a bin and let Baby B play with them. At first he just explored them:

eventually, this happened:

and we discovered they are as much fun to run through!

When Miss M works on her handwriting, Baby B likes to draw with a pen as well. We are working on shapes, so he got to practice with star-shaped stickers.

This pinwheel has been a great source of fun this week.  He has learned how to blow it and make it spin, and runs around puffing.

I bought new dot markers, and Baby B worked on stamping shapes this week.

He also really enjoyed making shape collages. I cut out circles one day (and squares on another) and let him glue them down any way he wanted.

He has also enjoyed working with unifix cubes. I give him two colors and let him sort them into cups, and then he builds towers with them.

My favorite picture this week was the two boys playing airplanes and building towers together. J is so good with Baby B even though there is more than 10 years age difference between them. J had built a model plane and let Baby B play with it.

Baby B is still not ready for me to put the Montessori trays out for him yet (they would get dumped quickly) but he is showing more interest in doing activities with me, especially when Miss M is also working on school activities.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dr. Seuss Day

We hosted our home school group for a Dr. Seuss party on Friday.  Miss M and Baby B loved this theme!  I made ten stations of activities for the kids to rotate through.  Some of their favorites included handprint Things 1 and 2 (idea from Joyfully Weary):

Making the Cat in the Hat's hat with Legos:

Shake and match the pairs of green eggs:

Create a playdough Seuss creature:

Make paper Seuss hats (directions here):

And for our snacks we had Truffula trees made with cupcakes, pretzel sticks and cotton candy (from Fairydust Teaching).

This was a fun day to plan, and we will definitely be celebrating it again next year!  The kids are still enjoying many of the activities today.