Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice Craft: Stained Glass Sun

This last week we talked about the sun and the up coming summer solstice. We made a sunshine to put up in our window and see sun shine come through the colors. All you do is cut a circle in the center of the paper plate and some strips of red, yellow, and orange tissue paper and glue them over the opening. 

We thought about crinkling up more tissue paper and putting on the outside ring, but we ran out of time before we had other plans. :) We liked how the over lapping colors created different shades of oranges. This was a really easy craft.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Parenting Book Club: Review of "Wild Things" and a New Book

Last month I suggested the book Wild Things: the art of nurturing boys as the first in a string of parenting books to read and post comments online so that a discussion could occur book club style about said books. I have found this book to be good at offering practical problem solving techniques in ways that will be easy to apply, they are for the most part really really helpful ideas that I can see applying and actually having them work. I remember some of these things begin used with me as a child, like establishing good table talk during dinners by asking questions or telling stories. Having a game night and a movie night to help the family as a whole connect and help boys (or kids in general) feel loved and valued as a part of the family.

I do think at times the authors are stretching a bit on some of these traits being a "boys" trait, but the book is helpful anyway. I really do feel like most if not all of it could apply to by daughter as well. I sometimes wonder how much of gender is constructed and how much is innate. I think from my psychology classes I feel that there is an good argument for nature via nurture. Nature via nurture basically means that we have were created to have certain genetic make ups that could be molded in a different direction based on the things that happen around us. You have to look no further than epigenetics to see evidence for this. 

In any case the book may just be more broadly applicable to both genders rather than just boys and I do think it is worth the time to read. If no other reason than the "putting it into practice" sections are really helpful and easy to do. Beyond that I think that there are things in the developmental phasis that the authors bring up that can be easy to forget when you have a kid who likes to play aggressively and is beginning to really push limits to try and assert their independence. For example, that at this same stage they are also really craving love and the way kids feel loved is not the same for every stage (time versus trust, etc).

Again please feel free to write in the comment section about your favorite and least favorite parts of the book. What did you get out of it? What did you find difficult to swallow? Bring your comments to the fold and help start a discusion. :)

I have already started reading Last Child in the Woods for this month it is really good. I hope you read along and comment! You can get it through this link to Amazon or look for it at your local library. :)

For next month I am going to look for Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion. Again you can just click the link to get it from Amazon there are paperback and kindle versions available. Or check with your local library. :)

I would be happy to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Club: About Raising a Boy

A couple of months ago I ran into a recommendation for the book Wild Things: the art of nurturing boys by Stephen James and David Thomas. I was immediately intrigued by the title and quickly decided to check my local library for the book. I had to put it on hold, but I have finally received it and plan to start reading it today. 

I am hoping that a few people will also read it over the next month or so and be willing to have a discussion about it with me in the comment section of this post and a new post I will write when I am finished with the book. 

I think this has potential to be a great book for me in particular, because I find myself frequently feeling like I don't understand where my son is coming from or unable to keep my own natural anxiety in check for things that are totally natural for kids to do. For example, climbing trees a little higher than I am comfortable with, climbing up our banister, or jumping in waves at the Oregon coast in 60 degree weather (well I did do this at some point in my life).  
If you want to pick up the book you can buy it from the links below:

I hope you will find the book and read along so I will have some people other than meself to mull over this book with. :) I may make this a permanent book club of sorts, I already have next months book in mind. It is one I have been getting distracted from called Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv. So if you want to get ready for May and get this book here are links to that.
                  Paper Back:
I really hope you read along and post comments as you go so we can think about this book together. :) Also if you are interested in following along with future months please follow the blog. :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Inch Worm: Ways to Measure

Recently, at the library, a book about an inch worm caught my eye (Inch by Inch, by Leo Lionni). This cute little picture book is about a cleaver little inch worm who convinces a robin, who is about to eat him for lunch, that he is usefull and can measure the robin. The robin wants his tail measured so he does not eat the worm. After his tail is measured, carries the worm off to measure other birds. One bird at the end makes an unusual request, measure my song. Well the worm feels he can't do that so he finds a cleaver way to escape. 

I thought about this and although it is true you might not be able to measure a song the same way you measure a tail or a beak, you can measure it. I think you could measure it by seeing how many times the worm can move during the song, or by how may seconds long the song is, and I am sure in other ways that I am not thinking of. I decided that this might be a fun measuring experience for my daughter and I to experiment with.

So we read the book and discussed different ways the worm might have approached this problem. We then made an inch worm out of playdoh and started measuring things. We then turned on a song and experiemented with measuring the song with how many times we could move the worm during the duration of the song. We also observed how the song was a particular length of time.

My daughter seems to have enjoy and absorbed both of these measurement methods as she had been going back to them both frequently over the last few days. :) I hope you find this useful and have fun with finding ways to measure a song and other things in your house.

Reading Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni.

Using the playdoh worm to measure the robin's tail.

Time is one measure of a song's length.

Other ways to measure.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from our family to yours! I hope that your 2014 is filled with warmth, joy, curiousity, exploration, and love.

These are the photos I took to send our to family as our holiday cards, they are not the traditional formal pictures I take, but I thought the kids would enjoy this sitting more. I set up a secret hot cocoa picnic compete with artisan marshmallows and candy canes.  It is fun to give them a big treat like that every once and a while.

After taking the photos we went on our annual December float on the Willamette River with our kayaks lit up for the Illuminata Regatta. It is always fun, but this year was so amazingly pleasant. I don't know if it was the really cold (14 degree ferenheit) weather we had in the weeks leading up to the Illuminata Regatta or what, but it felt so warm we didn't even need our gloves!

I hope you enjoy the pictures.
:) Emilia

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Preschool Turkey Activity

Friday morning I decided that I wanted to do an activity with my daughter and the little boys I was taking care of that day. I thought it would be nice to use the homemade playdough I had sitting around and something with fall colors.

I decided that I could easily make colored pasta and then shape the playdough into the shape of a turkey's body. The kids could then use the pasta to decorate the turkeys. I also added in some long pieces of dried spaghetti so the kids would be able to make longer "feathers" by putting the penne pasta over the spaghetti pasta.

While the kids were making their turkeys we talked about the colors, what the playdough felt like, if the noodles stayed in well, what patterns they could make, how they could make the noodles look like feathers on a turkey, and how the colors of the noodles and turkey looked a lot like fall leaves.

They enjoyed this activity a lot and after finishing their turkeys moved on to making their own shapes with the playdough and decorating those. It is great for fine motor skills, sensory play, creative play, learning about patterns, and colors.
To make the pasta all you do is get dried pasta, fill a bowl half way with white vinegar and add food coloring of you choice (I used probably at least 10 drops of color per bowl) then add pasta so that it is covered by the vinegar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, maybe a little more, stirring a couple times while it sits. Then dump out the liquid and lay the pasta flat on a cookie sheet to dry. It took about two hours maybe three for ours to dry completely.

Now you are ready, just set out the materials for the kids to get to work.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall Fun: Pumpkins, and Apples, and Squirrels Oh My!

We take a weekly trip to the library for story time and to check out books. Usually I let the kids check a few out and I choose a couple to check out as well. I try and find books that fit into a weekly theme that I have in mind or that are seasonally appropriate. So a few weeks ago I spotted this cute book about a squirrel who is busy finding food for the winter (called The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri).
Buy it by clicking this link:

The little squirrel picks up various fall foods and takes them back to his nest. At the end of the book you see him asleep with all of his food. It is a cute book that teaches about what a squirrel does to get ready for the winter and shows some of what they eat.

I immediately started thinking of ways I could create activities surrounding this book, so I checked it out. We read it several times before ever getting to the activities, but finally I set things up and we did some writing, math, and science exploring some of the things that squirrel might have picked up to eat.

I got out a large bowl of water for a float or sink test, a measuring tape to measure each item, and some fall vegetables (a sweet dumpling squash and a bright orange squash), an apple, grapes, and dried fruit and nuts.

The plan was to read the book and then talk about why the squirrel was saving for food and if we had any of the same things. Then we put the things in order from largest to smallest.

I had written out a list of what each thing was before hand so then we measured each thing with the measuring tape and I wrote how big it was in yellow and then my daughter traced the number with a black marker.
Next, for each item, we predicted which items would sink and which would float. Then we put each on into the bowl of water to test our predictions. We then put a mark in a column for each one that sank and one in another column for each that floated.
This was my daughter's favorite part of the activity and she wanted to do it several times. We then drew a picture of one of the items as an added art activity. It would also be great fun to use the items to paint or make prints into play-dough.