School Projects

Fun Projects

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Another Round of Pottery Painting Fun

Do you want to see some excited kids?  Come over to my house and whisper "Today is Pottery Day" in your quietest whisper.  You will instantly see pandemonium.  "Pottery Day" is an annual event my Grandmother sponsors for her great-grandchildren who have reached the age of four (this year that meant 8 kids) and live close enough to attend.  They look forward to this day all year and often discuss with each other what they will paint at the next event.
When "Pottery Day" finally actually arrives, we all load up in the car and head north to Green Bay, the location of a coffee shop and craft studio owned by a distant cousin of mine.  The kids get to pick a small piece of decorative pottery (well, we encourage them to pick small, but they always get their hearts set on some large and elaborate piece and we have to talk them down) which they spend the next hour or so painting and decorating with glaze.
Oh, the decisions!
Oh, the excitement!
Oh, the painting!
Oh boy, the mess!
But they are all so happy!
Once the painting is finished we join the younger cousins and aunties and Grandpas at the park for a picnic lunch.
It was a lovely day.  Thanks Grandma - we all love "Pottery Day"!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summertime Front Door "Wreath"

These days, most of my posts have been kid related - either kids doing projects or kids doing school work.  Today, however, you get an honest-to-goodness adult project (although if you wanted to have some children help you with it you probably could).  I've been wanted a new summer-time wreath for my front door since last summer, and after wandering around Pinterest and looking at all kinds of ideas I finally decided on a simple monogram.  I found a wooden "K" at Walmart and started by painting it white with some paint I had left over from another project.
Then I cut apart a bunch of fake flowers (also from Walmart) and hot-glued them onto the letter.
For a hanger I hot-glued a piece of yarn across the back.  That didn't work so well, so I switched to Gorilla glue.  It's still hanging, which I guess means that it was the right material for the job.
Voila!  Other than paint drying time, the whole thing took about 15 minutes to put together.  Which is just about all the time I had between kid activities that day.

Science Experiment #25

The first few pictures are going to make it look like this is not a post about science experiments or activities, but it is - sort of.  On Thursday, our usual science day, we had to leave our house for many hours because our carpets were being cleaned.  So, we headed to the beach at Kohler-Andrae State Park.
 Some of our cousins met us at the park and we played in the water and sand all morning and part of the afternoon.  
 After the cousins left we headed off the beach to a shady spot where we could nurse our sunburns and work on the kids' Wisconsin Explorers books.  We did the pages on patterns and textures in nature, but such boring topics were tossed aside when two White-tailed Deer fawns, still in their spots, wandered into our little spot and spent a few minutes staring at us and wagging their tails. We stared right back. When they finally wandered away the kids were ready to wander on too.
We ended the day by visiting the Sanderling Nature Center and checking out their exhibits, and then walking the associated nature trail.  We were really hopeful of finding a monarch butterfly in all of the milkweed along the trail, but once again our search was fruitless.
We headed home tired and sandy, but with clean carpet and big smiles.
Happy carpet-cleaning, beach combing, nature-book doing, deer spotting, and hiking, everyone!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Birdhouses in Summertime

One of the things my kids like to do every summer is paint birdhouses for me.  I'm not much for garden art or nick-knack decorating, and I'm also not much of a birdwatcher, but I do have a soft spot for these little multi-colored treasures.  The best part is that you can find the wooden craft items for as little as 99 cents, which is a very inexpensive way to make four kids and one mom very happy.

On the particular day this project was done, two children worked very quickly and got their morning chores done in time to feature in the photo session.  Two other children dawdled, and consequently had to do their painting much later under slightly less happy circumstances.
In the end, lessons on speedily completing tasks aside, they all turned out gorgeously
Happy summer, everyone.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Science Experiment #23 and #24

My husband mentioned to me last night that I "haven't posted anything in a while" and he's right.  In an effort to catch up, I am going to post two experiments at once.

I am sorry to report that experiment #23 was a flop.  The idea was to demonstrate solar power by using the hot summer sun to melt old crayon bits into one new multi-color crayon.  
 I found the idea on some blog or other that I happened upon, but I don't remember where or when, so I can't give them credit.  They don't want credit from me anyway, because clearly the person who wrote the blog lived in the middle of Death Valley or much nearer to the equator or in some other place (like the planet Mercury) where the sun shines much more warmly than in the Midwestern USA.  Anyway, the process goes like this: Step 1) unwrap wax crayons and break them in to bits,
 Step 2) put the bits into foil muffin papers (which I didn't have so we used aluminum foil pressed into a mini-muffin tray),
 Step 3) place in a sunny location and let the solar energy do its work.  Except that here in the Midwest we are experiencing Global Cooling or Climate Change or a  Local Ice Age or July or something and despite 3 days of full sun exposure we didn't get even one softened crayon piece.  Oh well, you win some and some flop.

Experiment #24 was more successful, mostly because it was more observation and less experimentation.  It's pretty hard to mess up looking at stuff.  After searching for mushrooms several weeks ago I discovered last Thursday that the Wisconsin Explorer book that Ian and Brynn were doing had a section on mushrooms.  Since our mushroom crop was still doing well (perhaps because of the Global Cooling?) we spent some time in the backyard doing a Fungus Survey.
 We learned that some mushrooms have gills and some are spongy underneath.  The kids enjoyed stomping puffballs.  We also found some Cup Fungi, which I realized has been growing in my garden all along, disguised as "soggy junk" that I was ignoring and hoping would disintegrate.  In all we found five types of fungus.
At the end we made a spore print.  We picked the caps of two mushrooms and put them gill-side down on black construction paper.  We covered them with a bucket overnight, and in the morning we had this:
Pretty cool, I thought.

Happy science, everyone!

Monday, July 6, 2015

No Projects

Hello all.  I might be suffering writer's block or crafter's block or some other kind of block, or it might just be summer vacation.
I hope you are having a lovely summer.  Stay tuned, we'll get to a project sooner or later.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Science Experiment #22

"Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen.
Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen.
Six legs, two antennae, and sometimes wings.
Head, and thorax, abdomen, abdomen." 
(Sung to the tune of "Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes")
That's the song the Wisconsin Explorers book used to teach proper insect recognition, so that is the song the kids sang, at the top of their lungs, as they wandered the backyard in search of "bugs" to capture and examine during last Thursday's weekly science activity.
They managed to catch the two insects most common to our yard: mosquitoes and ants.
We examined the insects and identified their various parts and then filled in the workbook pages.
When we were done we squashed the mosquito and returned the ant to the tree we found it on.  Just doing our little part toward survival of the fittest!

Happy science, everyone.