School Projects

Fun Projects

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How to Take Advantage of Nasty Weather

You might not know it, but summer is finally here. The weather has not been a faithful indicator, but in the past week our summer schedule has taken off and proven that summer really is here. The phrase "lazy days of summer" is VERY inaccurate! But, we seem to be settling into some sort of routine, so I can post about something we did last week when the weather was at it's gloomiest. Since we couldn't really go outside to play, the kids needed entertainment, so we made a weather chart to hang on the refrigerator. Ian drew small pictures describing various sorts of weather (i.e. fog, partly cloudy, snow, rainbow) and also different articles of clothing - so that he would know what to wear for each type of weather - and then we attached magnets to them.

Brynnie felt that the only item of clothing needed for any weather was a "princess dress." When that only took her a few minutes, and Ian was still working away, she decided Blair needed one too.

Ian is a boy after my own heart. Check out that organization:

Here is the finished display, ready and waiting for a change in the weather.

And here is the selection for the day we made the chart. Can you believe this June?

Grown Up Playdough

My kids love playdough. Their version of playdough playing just drives me nuts, though, because they MIX the colors (I know, it's shocking) until they have one greyish lump. I can't watch. But, I have to admit that playing with the stuff is kinda fun - rolling it, shaping it, trying to do something recognisable with it - it makes me feel a little bit like a kid again. So, when I discovered playdough for grown-ups, I was a little excited. I suppose everyone else already knew about oven-baked clay? So I'm a little slow - go ahead and shoot me.

I bought some, and just started playing around with it. I didn't create any masterpieces, but I did start to get a feel for the stuff, and I also started getting a few ideas for actual masterpieces.
Here's what I did:

I suppose that one needs some explaination - I made one large bead, and then after baking it, I "carved" it. I saw this on a blog (Asthetic Outbursts). Sadly, my version looked like a dried out baby carrot.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Watering Flowers

I FINALLY had time to go to the green house and get a few annuals and tomato plants. Oh, I could spend a lot of time and money in that place!
I have two large red pots (previously seen here), so each kid got to take responsibility for one. Watering is the best part, obviously.

Thank you Martha Stewart (I think) for the lessons in flower pot filling: Thriller (Coleus), Filler (Dusty Miller), and Spiller (Sweet Potato Vine) all present and accounted for.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Project Updates

Today is rainy and gloomy, but that's okay since Monday and Tuesday were both beautiful days. It's really amazing what even a little bit of nice weather will do. Since we haven't been inside very much, I thought maybe you'd like an update on what we've been doing - mostly yard work.
I finally found a way (thanks to my sister) to hang the birdhouses we made a few weeks ago.
Our beans are coming along very nicely: After using a lot of chemical spray (and keeping the kids out of the backyard for a day), I was able to venture into our "woods" without being swarmed by millions of bloodsucking mosquitoes. I dug up some Phlox to add to my one remaining front garden. This garden started as a place to "store" plants, but with the rest of our yard being something of a mess (a future post will fill in all those details) it is becoming more and more permanent. The gaps are nicely filled by a few annuals.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fun with Footprints

During our short-lived visit to the beach yesterday (the temperature dropped from 83 at our house to 59 at the beach), I stopped in at the state park office to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet for the kids. I thought it would be a fun way to incorporate some "Science" into our summer vacation. Ian was thrilled with the idea of solving Science mysteries.
The weather is pretty rotten today: pretty hot, but with thunderstorms blowing through, so the kids couldn't go in the pool. They were (are) grumpy and I was fast becoming so. I thought of the book and hoped there was an activity in it that we could do inside the house. Thankfully, there was. We traced our feet - one foot with a shoe on and one with no shoe. Then the kids tried to draw in the parts that were missing, like toes and tread patterns.

It was fun, but finished up way too quickly, so I decided to keep the track theme going and make some more footprints. Call me crazy, but I let my kids stand in paint and then walk across some long pieces of paper.
It went surprisingly well, with only a few little messes at the end. What you can't see in the picture is the massive "Cleaning station" at the end of the paper with soapy water in a bucket and piles of rags and ratty old towels. We also made hand and footprints on smaller pieces of paper for me to put in their baby books.
Blair even got in on the printing action - although she hated it.
Thank you guest photographer Ian for capturing this part of the project. At least the most important stuff is in the picture, if not quite centered. (His other shots were less useful, unless you wanted to see the spider web in the corner above the back door.)
Aren't her little 9-month-old feet cute?

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Mommy, how do seeds grow?"

After planting our garden yesterday, Ian was very curious about how those hard "seed things" grew into plants. Since we had a few seeds left over, I brought out glasses, water and black construction paper, and we "planted" bean seeds so the kids could see what happens.

(Poor Brynnie - yesterday she somehow hit herself just below her eye with her own shovel. Then to add to the indignity, she got a mosquito bite on top of the bruise.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Let the Growing Commence!

Since the warm weather finally seems to be sticking around, the kids and I decided that today would be a good day to start planting some of our garden. We had laid out a new bed last fall - along the west side of our garage - and we hope it gets enough sun between the tree branches to grow some "full sun" plants, like Sunflowers and Tomatoes.
The kids love to help, but when you give Ian any sort of tool you have to watch out for your fingers because everything is done at hyper-speed.
Ian got to plant the back row with "Mammoth" sunflowers that are supposed to achieve 12 feet of growth. When you are 4, 12 feet doesn't have a lot of significance, but when I said "taller then Daddy" he was satisfied that these were the right sort of flowers for soldiers to plant.
Brynnie got to plant the "Dwarf" (aprox. 3 feet tall) version in the front row.
Then we moved on to what my husband calls my "White Trash" garden. Since getting full sun in our yard is a challenge, last year I tried container gardening in 5 gallon buckets, which I could move around as needed. I thought it was a great success, but Aaron wasn't quite as thrilled. I decided not to fill as many buckets this year, but the allure of growing my own fresh beans was too much. So, using the excuse of "science lessons", I let the kids plant four buckets with bean seeds.
They even managed to cooperate with the hose. There are so many benefits to gardening!