School Projects

Fun Projects

Monday, April 29, 2013

Watercolor Pencils

Check out these cool new art supplies from Auntie Sonja!
My sister is getting ready to move to Africa next year, and has been cleaning out some of her stuff.  She gave us a box of things, and the kids pounced on these as soon as they saw them.
First they colored.
Then they painted (with water).
And ended up with these fun pictures.
Thanks, Auntie Sonja

Linked up at: Real Family Fun,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Art in the Family

 Being "artsy" runs in the family.  My grandpa went to art school and was an art teacher his whole career.  After he retired, he taught an art class every week to the home school group that my mom was a part of until my youngest sister finished up a few years ago.  All the years my grandpa taught the home school kids, my mom assisted.  She's pretty artistic herself, and now she teaches her own grandkids on Project Days.  Maybe if I help her out long enough, I'll finally learn to draw.....but I digress.

This week, when we arrived for Project Day, my mom was unloading a box of goodies that my grandpa had cleaned out of his basement.  They were old samples and extra materials that he had collected during his years of teaching.  He realized he was never going to use them (the "collect and save art supplies" gene runs deep too), so he passed them on to us.  Those boxes may be old, but the crayons were fantastic.  The colors were much more intense and a lot less waxy then some of the crayons you can get these days.
 My sister-in-law suggested we open an Etsy shop and sell these "vintage" crayons instead of using them.  She might be on to something there!
 Instead, we used them.  Grammie had another fun lesson illustrating the versatility of the crayon.
 They started out with a black crayon and drew the outline of a face and the basic features.  Then, still using the crayon, they drew lines across the face to divide it into sections.  Within each section they could color whatever pattern they liked.  At first they had a hard time understanding that these pictures were not supposed to look "real", but eventually they really go into it.
Thanks for the art supplies Great-Grandpa!

Linked up at: Real Family Fun

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

School Project: US Map

Last week I was in such a slump.  The whole week went by and I didn't do much of anything.  Winter time "blues" have never been a real problem for me, but this seemingly endless wet and grey weather have sucked the energy right out of me.  As I look out the window right now and see more rain, it doesn't appear that this week will be much better.
On Thursday of last week I did manage to pull myself together for one project.  I had the twin motivations of highly excited participants and finishing off Ian's grade one Social Studies curriculum.  As you may have noticed, finishing something is almost irresistible to me.
This year in Social Studies Ian learned about each state in our country, region by region.  We used the Road Trip USA program.  (If you are interested, I posted one of the other projects here.)  For the final review, we had to make a salt dough map of the United States, add labels, and paint each region a different color.
Salt dough was a new experience for us, and the kids really enjoyed mixing up a batch by hand.
2 cups salt
2 cups water
4 cups flour
2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar
Mix by hand until the dough is the consistency of play dough, adding more flour or water as necessary.

I drew an outline of the country on some posterboard and Ian pressed the dough into the proper shape.
Brynnie made her own Island-Country.
Major mountain ranges were added by pinching up the dough, regional flags were placed using toothpicks, and then we put the dough away overnight to dry.
The next day the kids painted their maps.  Can you believe I forgot smocks?
It was a fun way to end a long and dreary school week.  Hopefully the sun comes out soon, because I have a lot of garden projects I would really like to get started (and finished)!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Remembering Stilts

Never, ever, ever doubt the memory of your children.
When you tell them to do a job, and they don't do the job, and then they tell you "I forgot," don't believe them.  When you ask them, "What did I just say to you?" and they answer, "I don't know, I can't remember!" do NOT  believe them.  I have PROOF that their memories are better then that.

About a month ago I bought some cans of soup.  It was chicken noodle soup (I wanted to prove that my memory works too).  For some reason, the cans of soup made me nostalgic for my childhood, and I said to my kids "After we eat this soup, remind me to show you how to make the cans into stilts."  They seemed mildly interested, but were soon distracted by some other, shinier marketing ploy in the grocery store aisle and the subject of stilts seemed to be forgotten.

Fast forward a month.  As meal time neared, my oldest child approached me to ask his usual question: "What are we eating for lunch?"  I innocently replied "Chicken Noodle soup, I think."  Instantly I was mobbed by two howling hooligans screaming "YOU PROMISED US WE COULD MAKE STILTS!  YOU PROMISED US WE COULD MAKE STILTS!  YOU PROMISED!"  See what I mean?  Their memories work just fine.

So, later that day we made the stilts.  It turned out to be good timing because it was raining outside (again) and the kids were in need of some new distraction.
Ian used a nail to punch two holes in the sides of each can.
Brynn threaded twine through the holes and I tied the ends together to make the loop handles.
Then they practiced balancing.
Now, if only I could get them to remember to brush their teeth every morning!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just One Word

Sometimes you only need one picture and one word to describe Project Day: PAINT

Linked up at: Real Family Fun

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Got Things DONE This Weekend

This past weekend was all about finishing up projects that I had started during the week but had never completed.  One of those projects was this tray, which I started over a week ago and worked at in fits and starts.  Waiting for each layer of paint to dry left so many opportunities for distraction.  I didn't end up finishing the last bit until yesterday evening (almost missed the weekend deadline!).
If, by chance, you are interested in making a similar tray, check out the instructions on this blog.  I found her idea via Pinterest, and I should have paid more attention to her instructions, because my lack of method ended up being a lot of extra work.
I also sewed the jacket that was supposed to go with Brynn's Easter dress.  I should have done it last weekend, because it went much faster then I had anticipated.  
On Sunday morning I took pictures of the two girls together, all dressed up.  That turned out to be a project in itself.
The last project I finished during the weekend had to do with this young lady's wardrobe.  As you can see, she's a bit of a clothes horse, thanks to hand-me-downs from cousins and friends.  However, she has been growing lately, and we needed to sort out what still fit and what was too small.  She had great fun trying things on - even when my idea of what fit and her idea of what fit differed.  After several hours (yes, I think it took us two hours all together) we had everything sorted and the rejects stuffed into a laundry basket, to be dealt with at a future date.
What did she say when we were all done?  "MOM, my closet is too EMPTY.  We need to go shopping."
Sigh.  That is a project for a different weekend (maybe a different year).
Did you get anything done this weekend?

Linked up at: Real Family Fun

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Project Day: Sketching What You See

This week, Art Teacher Grammie had to take a leave of absence so that she could serve as Poll Worker Grammie instead.  That left me to substitute as Art Teacher Mommy-Auntie.  I decided to do a project that was one of my favorites from my art class days: outdoor sketching.   The weather was just a tad chilly to actually go outside though, so we utilized these fantastic windows instead.
Before I handed out the materials, we talked about how artists have to practice before they paint great masterpieces.  They have to use their eyes to look at the world around them, and then practice drawing what they see.  I think the kids got a kick out of the idea that "great artists" practice too.
As an added twist, I set a timer for 10 minutes.  Their drawing was done when the timer went off, and then they all switched seats.  For the next 10 minute session they could either draw the same thing from a different position or else something different that they could see.
The students range from almost 8 (counting down the days) to 2 years old, so it was entertaining to see how they each portrayed what they saw onto the paper. 
For the last few minutes of the class, the older kids turned around and sketched something that they could see inside.
My sweet niece decided to sketch me.  I'm so glad she gives me that cute smile, even though she really knows I'm just another of her crazy aunties.
Here are some close ups of the sketches:
Ian (6) drew a tree - and then he just couldn't resist adding a boy sledding down the hill behind the tree.
Brynn (4) drew the same hill, only without the sled.
Watching the kids working away on their pictures kinda made me want to dig out my old sketch books and join in the fun.  Maybe I will - but I won't be posting any pictures of that!

Linked up at: Real Family Fun

Monday, April 1, 2013

This Past Weekend

April Fools Day is drawing to a close and nobody played any tricks on me.  I'm not too disappointed, actually.  Don't get me wrong, I like a good prank now and then (and try to show good grace when I am the victim), but today I just wasn't feelin' it.

I do feel like showing off a few of the things we got done this weekend.  One of the most exciting achievements was the cleaning of our garage.  It had become the dumping ground for tools, construction supplies, toys, yard equipment and other miscellaneous "stuff" and Aaron decided it desperately needed attention.  Several hours, and a trip to Menards (for shelving) and the dump (you don't want to know what went to the dump - suffice it to say that some of the items used to be alive...) later, the garage is almost pretty.  Hurrah.
Then, late at night, Aaron also installed the curtain rod over our front window.  
I'd be a little more excited about this if I had actually had the curtains themselves ready to hang, but for now I can be excited to hang the current bed sheet in a little more style.  Aaron told me I had 8 month deadline to get the curtains up onto the rods, but I'm hoping I can beat that deadline by several weeks (or maybe even several months).

And what was I doing, you ask, while Aaron was slaving away on our house and garage?  I was frantically trying to finish up the Easter dresses I was making the girls.  I had started with plenty of time, but somehow I kept finding other things that had to get done first.  Then, the weekend arrived, and it was crunch time.  
Wouldn't you know, in the hustle and bustle of Easter morning, I forgot to get a picture of the two girls together in their new dresses.  I'll be sure to do it soon.

On Easter Sunday, we visited a different church, because one of my younger sisters and her husband were being commended as missionaries to the country of Burundi as part of that church's Easter service.  It was a unique a way to consider the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as the starting point for their obedience to the Great Commission. 

The weekend ended with food and family (first my family and then Aaron's), as all holidays should.  I hope you all had a joyful Easter and a pleasant April Fool's Day too.