School Projects

Fun Projects

Saturday, January 28, 2012

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Have Art Class

Project Day usually consists of 1 Grammie, 3 Moms, and 7 kids. This year, all three of the moms are pregnant. On Tuesday, we almost had to cancel Project Day because one of the Moms was placed on bed rest and another Mom was in the hospital with a kidney stone. The poor Grammie was pulled in several different directions, trying to help everyone at once. It seemed that Project Day would have to be sacrificed.

This decision made sense to the Mommies and Grammie involved, but it did NOT make sense to the kids. "What? No Project Day?" They made is seem akin to the British people giving up and caving in during the Battle of Britain. When faced with that sort of determination, we had to try to do SOMETHING!

So, those of us among the "able to walk" congregated at the home of the "bed resting" (the "kidney-stoned" stayed at the hospital and continued to suffer) and had another painting lesson. It was a little unorthodox, but it satisfied the junior contingent.

I love her hands in this picture - it's like she is holding them back from grabbing the brushes and just splashing on the paint.
**Note - I wrote this post last week Friday, but due to sickness and other events I didn't get around to publishing it until today. That should explain any time discrepancies you might have noticed. Also, the mom with the kidney stone has mostly recovered. It was quite a week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Busy Day

For a whole host of reasons, the last few days have been a bit crazy around here. I guess that's my excuse for waiting until Thursday to blog about Monday. Monday wasn't exactly normal itself, but it was one of those days that everything just seemed to fall into place. School was finished much more quickly then usual, and the usual weekend recovery went much more smoothly then usual. I even managed to get the bathroom closet reorganized without too much stress. When I am having that sort of day, I always feel compelled to take advantage of it, and get as much checked off the old list as possible, because those days rarely come two-in-a-row.
The first project has been on my mind for a while. I wanted some bulletin boards to organize my "To Do" list. (Yes, I realize that organizing a "to do" list might be considered at least excessive and at most weird, but I am willing to accept those labels - as long as I can have the organization I want.) This project was also an opportunity to try out some color combinations for our future master bedroom. So, I got 3 12"x12" cork boards and some fabric.

Using hot glue, I wrapped the cork board in the fabric, and then added a loop of string to hang the boards.

Then I hung them in my room. Obviously that nasty dirty blue is not a color choice I made. We have two greens picked out for the bedroom project, and I am experimenting with grey. In case you can't read the labels, they say "Today," "This Week," and "This Month." Those boards really didn't take very long at all, so once the table was cleared off, the kids wanted to do a project too. I'm telling you, this was one especially productive day!
We made play dough.
If you want a recipe, there are about a million to choose from online.
That smell though, it brings back some memories of childhood. It actually brings back the TASTE of that stuff. Yuck - do not taste play dough. I think I need to get better food coloring, though, if I want to imitate these colors of play dough: Oh, and in case you were wondering? Tuesday, Wednesday, and so far today, things have not been nearly so productive. Maybe someday I'll get two in a row.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Lights

I think I've mentioned before on this blog that I can't quite bring myself to go "special decoration free" right after Christmas, so in January I decorate with snow themed items. Shortly after I finished my Finnish Stars (check back a few posts), I got started on a new project that I spotted on Pinterest.It seemed easy enough, so I didn't bother following the link and reading any helpful hints. I just bought some sheets of that really stiff felt, made a pattern, and cut out enough for 6.

Sadly, I didn't consider how difficult this stuff would be to glue, since it didn't want to stay folded long enough for the glue to get tacky. I'd have used hot glue, but the trigger on my glue gun broke a while back, and this project was just to complicated for me to manually shove a glue stick into the chute and manipulate the felt at the same time. Instead, my dresser turned into a miniature housing development as I used random moments to glue down, pin down and weight down the next joint.

But, I finally got them all done AND remembered to buy battery operated tealight candles at the dollar store - just in time for a real snowstorm outside.

I guess I'm a little bit proud of the addition to the new addition to my "mantle."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Science Project

Back in November, Ian got this book for his birthday from his Great-Auntie Lynda.

He carefully went through the book and marked the projects he wanted to do....which means he dog-eared EVERY SINGLE PAGE. Mercifully, since he just turned five, he managed to lose the book under a pile of other treasures. I had several months to mentally prepare for an onslaught of science "experiments." Sadly, my prego brain is about as good at remembering this sort of thing as Ian's five-year-old brain is good at keeping track of his treasures. He finally found the book yesterday, but I failed to mentally prepare.

After 24 hours of begging, I agreed to do one of the projects, IF we had all the supplies. On page 8 we found "Cooking With the Sun." You line a bowl with tin foil, stick some mini-marshmallows on toothpicks, stick the other ends of the toothpicks into a wad of playdough inside the bowl, and then cover the whole thing with plastic wrap. We followed the steps and then set the bowl in a sunny spot for 15 minutes. During an inattentive moment, Blair managed to steal the first attempt and eat all the marshmallows, but on the second attempt, the marshmallows actually started to get a little warm and gooey. I think if we hadn't crumpled our tin foil quite so much, it would have worked even better. Yummy Science!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Way, way back in September, my kids watched an episode of PBS Kids Curious George where George learned to use snowshoes. If you are familiar with the show, between segments of animated Curious George adventures, there are short segments featuring kids doing some sort of "sciency" experiment in imitation of George. In this instance, the kids made snowshoes out of cardboard. Ian extracted a promise from me that we would do something similar as soon as it snowed. I gave the requested promise and promptly forgot about it. One month passed, then two, then another. Finally, January arrived, and along with it (well, along with the middle of it), came our first snowfall. Ian dragged out the promise the moment the first flakes started falling. Thankfully, I actually had both cardboard and twine in house, so we got to work.

Ian punched the holes (and yes, he does have an upper half to his face - but getting him to remove his hat long enough to capture a digital image of it is a rare occurrence. Please don't ask me if he sleeps in the hat.....the answer is yes).

Brynnie (with a little help) did the lacing.
With a little help from me they got their snowsuits on and their snowshoes attached.
(See, you can see his eyes!)
Then they headed out.

But where are the pictures of kids playing in the snow with their snowshoes? Well, there aren't any. They discovered that walking in snowshoes is not easy, at all. Brynn never made it off the front steps, and Ian only made it as far as the driveway. Oh well.
You win some, you lose some.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Project Day: Painting a Story

Yesterday was the BEST Art Class EVER. Why? Because Grammie brought the paint. To kick of the Art Classes of 2012, yesterday's lesson was about telling a story with paint. Getting the kids to think of a story BEFORE putting paint to paper was the biggest challenge.
It was fun to see each child's individual interests taking shape on the paper.

The junior members got to play with water paint (mostly water) in their own class.

At the end of the lesson, each kid gave a "Picture Talk" to explain the story behind their painting. They took their reports pretty seriously - requesting attention and quiet from the chatting mommies.

(In case you are wondering, this painting is of animals in a forest)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Resolved to be Unresolved

When the New Year was still approaching, I was rolling around some ideas for New Year's Resolutions and also for things to blog about. Then, over the holidays, we got hit with the flu that was going around, and everything was knocked kitty-wumpus (I have no idea how to spell that). It's taken me this long to recover and get my precious schedule back on track. Since today is the 9th of January, it seems just a little late to do a "retrospective" post on all the things we did last year, and it also seems to late to do a "looking forward" post. So, I am resolved to attack this new year, 2012, in an unresolved state. And you know what? It doesn't seem to be bothering my OCD at all!
However, now that we are back on track, we are getting back into the swing of organized projects. The kids made snowflakes, in hopes (I think) of salting the clouds and bringing down the real stuff. So far they haven't been successful.

I tried my hand at making Finnish Stars. They take 12 strips of paper, glue, paperclips, and quite a bit of time, but are not as complicated as you might think.

I found the idea via Pinterest, and if you are interested there is a good tutorial on this website.Then I hung the finished stars above the bookcases that act as my pretend mantel. I think it would be cool to try these with some patterned papers or little lights. Happy belated New Years!