Thursday, June 30, 2011

4th of July Snack

I was inspired by a patriotic snack I saw on the Super Healthy Kids Blog.  She used strawberries, bananas, and blueberries to make her fruity flag.  We didn't have any strawberries on hand, but we did have watermelon and that worked just fine.  C and R ate the entire flag before anyone else had a chance to try it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Great Wall of China

We are still learning about China, and our favorite book this week is Ms. Frizzle's Adventures:  Imperial China by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.  During a Chinese New Year's celebration, Ms. Frizzle (the teacher from the Magic School Bus series); a Chinese-American student, Wanda; Wanda's older brother Henry; and the ever-reluctant Arnold travel back in time 1000 years and arrive in a farmers' village in China. While there, they learn to grow rice, eat with chopsticks, and make silk. Ms. Frizzle and her students travel by barge, cart, and foot to the Great Wall and finally to the capital city. The endnotes explain which aspects of the story are historically accurate and where the author and illustrator have taken small liberties.  Small panels on each page highlight facts about Imperial China, such as items first invented in China, how to bow, and the basics of writing.

C and R made their own Great Wall out of blocks.  I loved that they kept looking at the picture of the Great Wall in the book to try to make their wall as accurate as possible.  They are both very intrigued by the Great Wall and have asked when we can go see it (not any time soon!).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Frozen Water Balloon Art

Yesterday, C and R had fun doing another activity from our Summer Bucket List - they had a water balloon fight!  They thought it was funny to do this while running through the sprinkler!

I have to admit that I threw a few balloons myself, but T had the best shot.  He was leaving to walk the dog and took a water balloon to throw at me.  He got me pretty good.  I guess he doesn't mind throwing water balloons at a pregnant lady!  Well, C and R certainly didn't hold back either.

Anyway, I grabbed four of the balloons and added a different color food coloring to each one.  I added a few drops of food coloring (it was a bit tricky getting the food coloring in the balloons, but I managed) and then filled the balloons with water.  I stuck them in the freezer overnight.

This morning, I removed the balloons from the colorful spheres of ice and let C and R create some art (another activity from the Summer Bucket List).

First, we placed paper in the bottom of a box and dropped the frozen spheres on top.  C and R worked together to shake the box and move the colorful ice around the paper to create designs.

They did this for a while and made two works of art.  The result was a speckled design, and it looks much prettier than the above picture.

Then, we put the colorful ice in a bucket.  C and R dipped paint brushes into the colored water that had melted and also rubbed the brushes across the colored ice to paint on blank cards.  The result is similar to watercolors.

All of the art will be turned into thank you cards for gifts that C and R received recently.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thank You, Tooth Fairy!

C lost that super wiggly front tooth yesterday.  The remaining front tooth is wiggly, and I'm hoping it will fall out before the other front tooth grows in.  You have to love smiles with front teeth missing!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Favorite Books of the Week

Our first pick of the week is Press Here by Herve Tullet.  This book has been mentioned by quite a few bloggers recently, and I definitely understand why.  It's interactive, fun, simple, and engaging.  I thought C might be too old for the book, but he loves it just as much as R.  We like this book so much that we bought it as a gift for a three year old friend of ours that is having a birthday party today.

C and I read Full House, An Invitation to Fractions by Dayle Ann Dodds.  Miss Bloom runs the Strawberry Inn and over the course of a day, she fills all six rooms with interesting characters.  As each character settles in, the reader can see what fraction of the rooms is full.  This is a simple introduction to fractions and only addresses sixths.  The story is entertaining, and the reinforcement of parts of a whole is well done.

R cannot get enough of Huggly Takes a Bath by Tedd Arnold.  She thinks this book is extremely funny, and she wants me to read it to her constantly.  It is a silly story about a monster who lives under a child's bed (this fact is not really emphasized, but it is obvious) and comes out to explore the bathroom.

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein was also very popular this week.  It's bedtime for the little red chicken, and Papa is trying to read her a story.  The little chicken cannot help interrupting the story to save the characters from the danger she knows is coming.  This means that the little chicken gets very worked up instead of winding down for sleep.  C and R both thought this book was very funny!

Our final selection this week is Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures, The Mount Rushmore Calamity created by Jeff Brown, written by Sara Pennypacker.  C has been a fan of Flat Stanley since we participated in a Flat Stanley exchange (I think that was two years ago).  We reread this book because we were studying South Dakota.  Stanley and his brother, Arthur, team up with a cowgirl named Calamity Jasper for a wild adventure during a trip to see Mount Rushmore.

For more great reads, head over to What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

Friday, June 24, 2011

School's Out for Summer!

I am proud to introduce............

the second grader in the house!  C had a wonderful year in first grade, and we gave him a new scooter for working so hard all year.

I am also proud to introduce the high school freshman in the house.  Yikes!

We gave T this world pin because he is traveling with People to People this summer and they all wear lanyards and collect pins from the countries they visit.

Today was the last day of school for the boys, but I have to include R, so here is the Kindergartener:

To celebrate the last day of school, we completed a task from our Summer Bucket List - we made homemade lemonade!

To make it extra special, I wet the rims of the glasses (with lemonade) and pressed them into colored sugar (pink for R, green for C).  I also added umbrellas because those little umbrellas just make beverages so special!

C's front tooth is SO wiggly!

R loves the way the sugar looks, but she would never put her mouth on such sweetness.  She chose a straw!!!

Welcome to summer!  Forget about the fact that it is only 65 degrees right now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cookbooks for Kids - Part Six

We have decided to work our way through some cookbooks for kids.  There are really no rules, except that we will choose cookbooks written with children in mind and make at least one recipe from each cookbook.  This is just for fun, and to give us an excuse to work together in the kitchen.   To read all of our cookbook reviews, click here.

The sixth cookbook we chose is My Little House Cookbook with recipes by Amy Cotler.  This cookbook features recipes mentioned in the My First Little House Books adapted from The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  There are eleven recipes with illustrations of the cooking process and the final product.  Frontier food was pretty simple, and so are the recipes in this book - homemade butter, strawberry jam, and buttermilk cornbread are just a few.  The strangest recipe in this book is popcorn and milk - you are supposed to fill a glass of milk with popped popcorn, eat the popcorn, and then drink the milk.  Does anyone really do this?

The recipe we chose is "Laura's Little Maple Cakes".  They are mini maple cupcakes dipped in maple icing.  R and I made the cupcakes while C was in school (yes, school is still in session here) and when C came home, they both iced them. 

R thought they were too sweet (she does not have a sweet tooth at all), but the rest of us think they are tasty!  The flavor is similar to eating pancakes with a little maple syrup. 

Normally, I have problems with cookbooks that only have eleven recipes, but in this case, the book features only foods that were mentioned in the My First Little House Books series so I understand why there aren't more recipes.  If you are simply interested in trying out a few of the recipes, borrow this one from the library.  If you love all things Little House, then you might want to own this book for collection purposes rather than as a regular kitchen tool.

FREE World Book's World of Animals iPad app

My sister sent me this information in an email and I thought I would share.  I just downloaded the app myself, so I don't have any additional information, but it's free so why not try it?!
Delve into the fascinating World of Animals—World Book’s NEW educational app for iPads that gives kids of all ages engaging opportunities to explore, compare, rank, and quiz themselves on their favorite animals.
This interactive app features hundreds of stunning pictures, videos and animal sounds, quick facts, encyclopedia articles, a captivating educational game, and more.
HURRY! World Book's World of Animals iPad app is FREE in the iTunes store only until July 10! DOWNLOAD it today.
To learn more and watch a video demonstration of World of Animals, visit the World Book Store.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Paintsicles - Take Two

Remember the paintsicles we made?  To refresh your memory, all we did was squirt a little washable poster paint into styrofoam cups, freeze them for a bit, and then add a popsicle stick to each color and freeze until solid.

Once frozen, we used them to create art.  Well, the last time we did this, it was only sixty degrees, and I was curious about the melting factor in higher temperatures.

C was happy to test them out today in eighty degree weather.  The result was a little different.  The melting helped to create a smoother, creamier paint finish and the color appeared immediately (in the cooler temperature, it took a couple minutes before you could see the paint on the paper).

This is a sunset over the ocean.

Eighty degrees isn't that hot though, so I will definitely post results of paintsicle art in ninety to one hundred degrees as soon as it gets that hot around here!

C's Science Night

The first grade studied a local river and salt marsh habitat over the course of the school year.  Last week, we were invited to visit the classroom to see what they learned.  My favorite part of Science Night was the fact that each student had to guide his or her family members through the exhibit and explain everything along the way.  C did this three times because family members arrived at different times over the hour.  He did a great job explaining everything; we are very proud of him!

Some of the things they learned about while studying the river and salt marsh are:
  • charting air and water temperatures over the course of the year
  • living vs. nonliving things found there
  • life cycle of a salt marsh
C and R used magnifying glasses to look at samples of sand.
There were different types of rocks to compare.

C made a diorama of the river/salt marsh area.  His teacher showed his diorama to the class as an example of how it should be done!  He was very proud of this.

Science Night was great.  I love that our school has events like this to showcase the work of the students.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Silly Putty or Flubber Science

Since our Borax Bouncy Balls didn't really bounce, I thought I would help the kids make silly putty.  I remember making it once before, and I remember it bouncing when rolled into a ball.  I also remember it picking up images from the newspaper, just like the store bought variety.  Unfortunately, I did that in my pre-blogging days and I have no idea which recipe I used. So, I tried a recipe from The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions.

We began by mixing 2 TBSP Elmer's glue with 3 drops food coloring.

Then, we put 1 TBSP liquid starch in a separate cup.  Next, we slowly poured the glue/food coloring mixture on top of the liquid starch and let it stand for five minutes.

The next step is to knead the mixture until it becomes putty.

We tried this twice, but only got slime.  My original thought was that we used too much food coloring, but it didn't make a difference when we used less.  We waited and kneaded and waited and kneaded, but it never solidified.

After some research, I read that some people have better results with white glue rather than school glue.  I'm not sure what the difference is, and I was actually surprised to find a bottle of white glue in our glue stash, so we tried it.

Again, we waited and mixed and waited and mixed, but we never got anything resembling putty that could be kneaded.  It was thicker than the school glue mixture though.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....

Then I came across a recipe for Funny Putty at McCormick (the spice and food coloring people) that called for equal parts of glue and starch (instead of the two parts glue to one part starch recipe we used), so I added more starch to each of the mixtures we still had sitting on the counter.  It didn't quite make silly putty (in the traditional sense), but C and R had a great time playing with it.  I was SO happy to turn this mess into something they could enjoy because they were a bit frustrated and disappointed with the earlier results.

This mixture reminds me of Flubber or the slime in a can you can buy in stores.  I have to warn you, this stuff makes a mess and it was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to clean up!!!!!!  I won't even post pictures of the mess because they may cause my husband great distress!

There is a recipe for silly putty using Borax.  Maybe we will try that next.  I'll keep you posted.

Have you had success making silly putty?

For more science related posts, check out Science Sunday hosted by Adventures in Mommydom.