Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fun for "F" week

Here's our chalk board for the week.  People say that I'm a good artist, but I never "feel" like I am.  Honestly, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing... and I just start.  In this case I started with the shape of the fish.  I get some ideas from children's picture dictionaries or from alphabet books.  The large "F" was originally a flower, but that didn't seem to make as much sense as the flag.  My 8 year old helps me think of words that start with "f" and we just keep adding until there isn't any room left.
 I neglected to get a picture of my oldest's chalk board.  She did a lovely aerial view of a frozen river with the two sisters from frozen and then wrote the word frozen with icy letters.  I'm happy to see my 8 year old being excited about words and books now.  Last year, you know, she was miserable with school and after a year of backing way off on the reading (As in, not making her do any!) it's amazing to see how much better she is!  No we hadn't practiced reading at all, but when I had her read again over a year later she read much more smoothly and quickly.  She just needed to be a little older.  Her brain needed to develop and then it became easier!  Now she's been reading for 20 minute chunks a day for the library summer reading program and she's able to finish three or four days worth of reading when last year she probably could only do one or less in that amount of time (yes torturous back then!)  Biggest thing is that she doesn't hate it!  It's not her favorite thing yet, but she's making progress and interested in continuing.
The weekend before "F" week actually started with a fun day in the country with our small group from church and the girls got to go fishing for the first time!  They all caught a fish too!  The middle one was the only fish we kept though because we couldn't throw it back.  The hook was too far down it's throat.  She was a little sad that we couldn't throw it back and I didn't want to waste it so I decided we should try to fillet it and bbq it!

The littlest and her friend wanted to touch the fish and eventually wanted to touch the eye ball (it was totally dead at this point and had been in ice.)  No one there new much about cleaning and filleting a fish so my husband and I just sort of winged it.  He looked up some info on his smart phone and we just did it!  I never would have tried to do that even 7 years ago.  I must be getting much braver with age. ;)
"F" week started out with a new window display.  This is great to keep them busy and happy while I get some other things for their school set up. 
 Things that I can't really take pictures of that we did were the many "f" books that we read.  Basically anything that has something that starts with "F" -- we mostly focused on frogs, flowers, and fish.  We watched a pretty show on Netflix of flowers.  So, they got to see the flowers blooming all sped up and it had lovely music.
My 3 year old was excited about her fishing pole from the dollar store.  I didn't get a picture of her using it in the pool, but she had a lot of fun fishing and it matched the theme of our week so we went with it.
And again with the fishing pole now while wearing a frog floaty.

Elephant for "E" week and a Dolphin for "D" week... we got these along with the frog floaty just for fun.
 While we drive to a place or while we are talking through out the day we sometimes talk about what words we can think of that starts with the letter of the week.  We had a fabulously fun freaky froggish Friday with fun flowers and fortuitous face paints. 
This picture is just for the Aunt and Gramma that might want to see their new swimsuits and the middle one's new goggles.  They said she now can swim like a frog under water because she doesn't have to plug her nose.  ;)
Her favorite fish floaty that had a hole in it and she could only use this once.
On Thursday we went to the arboretum with Grammy!  This branchy tunnel is always really neat.

The frog fountain seemed like a fitting place to stop and play!

They got a bit wet, but it was so hot that day that it didn't matter at all.  This picture reminds me of "The frog Prince" which we read this week along with some other fairy tales.

Sniffing a flower

Their children's garden was pretty fabulous and chalk full of educational areas

One area was the parts of a flower and they got to put together these giant flowers! 

All complete!

The next flower they got to put together was a hibiscus.

The flower puzzle all done with some real hibiscus flowers behind them!

A display showing the parts of a flower

Pointing at some tad poles

Checking out the fish in one of the ponds
 Besides reading some books on frogs and flowers the girls watched some "Magic School Bus" shows on netflix about frogs.
The end of "F" week was some fun with face painting.  I didn't really plan this actually.  At least not in advance.  My husband got facepaint to use at work for some dress up thing they were doing for fun and I happened to see a fabulous face painting book at the library that I grabbed.  So we got some fun ideas. 

The middle one in process by the Daddy.

The oldest in process.  Her Grammy did hers.

Everyone worked on Daddy's head!  He's getting a fish and fishbowl.

She was so excited to work on Daddy

The owl mask all done

The teddy bear all done.

I put flames around my eye to be all festive with the kids.

So, after all the face painting we basically just went to the store and then they all wanted the face painting off.  But then thought it would be fun to have a flower instead.

Adding a flower to the teddy bear.

And a flower for the little cutie watching frozen for her rest time.

Super fun origami project.  You can find the directions here, and there are some ideas for how to play games with them.  They actually jump!  They even flip and sometimes they jump high and sometimes they jump far.

The game we played was to get the frogs to jump over the "water" to the "lilypad"-Even the little one was able to do it!
Our cat "Fluffy" thought the frogs were pretty fun too.  She played with them a bit more before the video though.  Now she's being all cool about it.
Product Details Of course, one of our books for this week was from animal antics  (It's too bad I'm not getting paid for advertising for them!)  They are super great books!

Another good fairy tale to look into is "The Fisherman and His Wife" -- here's a video of it  Here is an old translation of it, but there are many versions of this old tale to find at a local library or online (Even readings of it on Youtube!)
  Product DetailsThis is one of our favorite versions.  I like the theme in the story as they learn to be content in this one with what they have already and we liked the characters illustrated as cats since we incorporate a lot of cats into our school because of my daugher's interest in them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"E" week time!

"E" week is up and it's mostly Elephants and Eggs because those are short E sounds, but my oldest helped draw Elsa too and gave me a few more ideas for the chalk board. 

I started with the Elephant and the 'e' egg and just kept adding stuff till I thought of "Encyclopedia" and how I could make it all look like they were coming out of the Encyclopedia.  Pretty happy with how it turned out!  The chalk boards take a few hours each to do, but I think the girls really like them and they are quite memorable.  Perhaps I'll print out the pictures and make a book with them. :)

Before I made my elephant my 6 year old did her own chalk drawing of one!  I think it's adorable.

The pictures are out of order, but this is the final product of this fabulous puzzle globe.  You can find it here.

Pointing to about where we live in TX.
Also, I have to say, when we were reading a missionary story I was happy to see my oldest get excited about asking where the story took place and asked if I could show her on the globe.  :)

Oh, and I should share that book too! 
Ian and the Gigantic Leafy Obstacle TA13
"Ian and the gigantic leafy obstacle" is a missionary story (my girls were super impressed at hearing that it was a TRUE story) and is about how God uses an elephant to answer a prayer, but there's a bit more to it than that.  It's really quite well told though I had to clarify a few things as the wording was a bit grown up in places.
Half way through at this point they wanted to put something inside of it and Lily picked a picture of her favorite Uncle who's more like an older cousin or big brother to her and then we wrote a note of all the things we are thankful for and put it in.

The puzzle starts in Antarctica and only has 180 pieces... if your kids are older and you like this idea you can find some that have over 500 pieces!

I don't know how the other puzzles compare but this one was super sturdy plastic and was numbered with arrows so we could easily put it together on the wrong side and then keep flipping it over to see what we were making.

One of our library books for "E" week was this one by Dr Seuss.  And to go along with the idea of funny scrambled eggs we put fun stuff in ours too!  Green sprinkles, chocolate shavings, and vanilla extract were the first attempt.  It actually wasn't bad.. sort of like french toast because it was sweeter eggs.  They looked funny of course!

We kicked off "E" week with a visit to the zoo and a "keeper encounter" with lots of fun info about the Elephants. 

Some interesting facts about Elephants--  Adult male elephants live on their own and females live in a group with young ones.  One elephant can poop up to 80 lbs in a single day (support your zoo workers because they have to clean that up!)  Elephants trumpet of course, but they also communicate with sounds too low for humans to hear and they also can feel vibrations in the ground.
Product DetailsAnother book to recommend is this one.  I got it used on amazon last year and it is the story of a young elephant that has a super memory (even better than most elephants) and he thinks of the good things that he's learned which is great (has a few facts about elephants in the story) but one day when he's playing with his big brother and sister his brother pushes him down in the water and mud and was too rough on him during play time.  The little elephant says that his brother is bad and decides that he won't forget what his brother did because he's the elephant with the super memory.  He grows thin and sad and one day the grandmother elephant that is in charge asks him what is going on and when he tells her she says, "you have forgotten what is most important, and you and he are brothers." (That's not an exact quote, but it's close.)  I feel like I'm always having to deal with fights of some kind, but it IS getting better and stories like this do help.

Sitting on a little statue.  So cute.
Another fun project was using this cookie cutter (That I got during "B" week I think) to cut out some brownies (I have a fabulous gf recipe for them!) and decorate the elephants!
 I got the idea for this sort of decorating when I read this book to the girls "Elmer's Special Day" Where in Elmer (the colorful one) paints himself like a normal elephant color and all the other animals paint themselves all different ways and have a parade.  Even animals that aren't elephants joined in, but they just wore elephant masks.  Anyway, it was a cute story and a great way to have some fun with our elephants.
This was the Daddy's decorated elephant.  He said afterward how he'd put a bit too much frosting on it.

This was Grammy's elephant.  It was really fun that she got to do this with us too!  We had dessert right before dinner.

The three year old decided to paint hers all blue.  Look at that crazy grin.

The middle one working the colors while the Daddy stuffs his face.  ;)

My oldest made a whole scene with frosting on her plate and colored her elephant as close to how Elmer himself looked as possible.  Totally like her to strive for excellence like that!

This one was mine... less frosting because the brownies didn't need it!

After reading some books about elephant facts and after watching a Wild Kratts about Elephants my oldest set to work making a beeswax model of an elephant.  The only thing I helped her with was the eye position as they just needed to be a bit more on the sides of the elephants head to be realistic.

The realistic elephant meets the "melephant"-- she'd created that one a while back after watching "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2"  It's a watermelon/elephant in case you wondered.  ;)

And winding down "E" week we decided to do another trip to the zoo.  No one was taking pictures here so we jumped in for a shot.

The girls wanted me to take a picture of them in the egg for "E" week too.

And they got to ride the carousel 3 times before we left!  I asked them to ride the elephant and dinosaur so I could take this picture.  They were super sweet how they held hands.  I'm so glad they are such good friends.  :)
I still have one more day that we'll being working on "E" things.  Just finishing up some library books and I'll have them do some copy work from the chalk board into their books.