Wednesday, October 31, 2012

heh heh heh!

...and WHOOSH! 
We're off!
Happy Halloween to all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Felt Jacks

Have I ever told you that we keep oodles of felt on hand here?  Does everyone, maybe?  It's, well, a jack-of-all-trades (sorry).  It's versatile and easy to work with at all ages.  Sela and I whipped this up in a jiffy (really!!) last year when both kids were sick one day & we needed something fun to do. 

Sometimes we just put together fun faces, other times we play a game with it.  We created a die out of a block by cutting construction paper pieces to represent each of the four categories.  On your turn, you roll the die and put up the piece you rolled.  The first to complete her pumpkin "wins."

The feltboard is a homemade job, too.  Felt by the yard hotglued to a canvas from the craft store.  I've seen felt glued to an old cookie sheet, too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Bat, a Spider & a Cat Walked into a...

I saw these as pencil toppers last year, but I thought they'd make great finger puppets.  They're fun for playing around with, and also for playwriting!  Sharpen your pencils, hand out parts & GO!

We used pipe cleaners, googly eyes & glue, and for the black heads we made little black yarn balls.  Pom-poms would have worked, but we didn't have any.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

GOOD morning!

Monday's Mission: Be the Fall.
Cook a pumpkin.
Make Halloween sugar cookies.
Enjoy every drip, drip, drip out the window.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The ghostly moans were mostly groans.

Can you tell what this is?  These are my children, riding in the car, of course.  Of course!

Family life is full of silly fun.  Some evening, when things have gone off the rails at your house, try reading something silly like Six Sheep Sip Thick Shakes, and Other Tricky Tongue Twisters.  (Because silly is always better than the other way...)

And then, after a good night's sleep, why not make up your own?  At the back of the book we found a page titled "Make Your Own Tongue Twisters" -- so we did.

We enjoy Cleary's whole series, Words are CATegorical, for an entertaining and informative look at language.  Some of his titles include:
Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What is an Adverb?
How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear?: What are Homonyms and Homophones?
Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What is an Interjection?

I'm just discovering he has a website that looks like it might be fun to check out!  And I notice his official title is Word Nerd -- I knew I liked that guy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There's Nothin' Like a Field Trip!

Sela asked me what "physics" was recently.  Well, my dear, it just so happens that we, Mamas, have been conspiring to take a field trip to talk about just that!  What better place to talk about physics than at the bowling alley?!  Dawn blogged the details better than I could -- check them out!  I'm just spreadin' the word about about how fun and fruitful field trips can be.

So, Sela's most recent question on the topic was (in a truly exasperated tone), "Ma-maaa!  When are you going to teach me PHYSICS?!"  This was funny for so many reasons: a) the phrasing; b) that she thinks I could actually; and c) because I had *just* nearly tripped over and tossed into the library bag an audiobook about Newton and his laws of motion!

We listened to it; we enjoyed it, even as it got complicated at parts.  I don't need for her (or me!) to understand all the nitty-gritty details.  We're interested -- and that's enough.  I've pulled out a couple physics experiment books I picked up at a library book sale, thinking we might be interested in exploring it some day.  So, it's some day.  Great!  I love living with curious people.

Check these out:
Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities by Hollihan
Janice VanCleave's Physics for Every Kid by VanCleave

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Looking for Good Stories?

We just finished listening to The Railway Children audiobook by Edith Nesbit.  She and Arthur Ransome (of Swallows and Amazons) have rocketed to the top of my Favorite Authors list.

We returned it (thank you, Linus), and I am missing those three kids!  Linus asked if there was "anover book of da railway chid-wen" -- I think he's missing them, too...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Acorn Caps

I love fall.  I think I love everything about it.  I love that the weather is cool enough to think about really doing outside activities again -- like playing at the park without a careful calculation of the timing, riding bikes, walking farther than across a parking lot to the car.  I love the foods of fall, the colors, the hours spent at the pumpkin patch, the morning and evening chill.  The acorn caps.  Sounds funny, I know!  I'm drawn to them.  I feel compelled to pick them up and collect them.  They're tiny hats to homemade dolls, fairy bowls, caps to felt "acorns."

As Linus and I enjoyed a morning walk to the library I couldn't help but see this one, lying in the middle of the path, open-side up, all by itself, as an empty bowl -- a beggar's bowl.  Whatever is placed in the beggar's bowl is a monk's nourishment for the day.  Sue Bender wrote in one of my favorite books, Everyday Sacred, "Like the monk going out with his empty bowl, I set out to see what each day offered."

Friday, October 12, 2012

Number Patterns

We've been working with patterns in math lately. Our wonderful Mathy Mamas at math group kicked off our year with a hands-on exploration of Fibonacci numbers.

I've seen math referred to as the "science of patterns."  This made more sense to me when I heard myself say to Sela one day as she worked through a math problem, "Look for a pattern.  What do you notice?"  Sadly, "exploring" math is still outside my natural comfort zone as a homeschooling mama, but I came across an article that focused on "pattern-based thinking."  I liked that term.  It's concrete language to help me remember that when children are comfortable looking for patterns and then using those patterns to solve problems, then they can develop understanding of new concepts in the same way.

So, I enjoyed the kids enjoying exploration of this math pattern! They used natural objects, graph paper & colored pencils, dough, pipe cleaners and beads.  We keep saying we're going to make Fibonacci cookies -- why haven't we yet?!

These books are fantastic -- engaging and not overly complicated -- and I highly recommend:
Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci by D'Agnese
Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Campbell

I listened to an interview with the author of this book and it sounded great -- I hope to read it sometime,
The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution by Devlin

For more activities, either with a nature-based or pencil & paper focus, I came across these two sites worth checking out.

We added a field trip to the bead store.  Can you see why?





Thursday, October 11, 2012

Community Art - WOW

Because I mentioned earlier that we participated in a great community art project, I want to share the results with you!  The original image (top picture) was divided into over a hundred sections. Participants were each given a sheet of paper that had mysterious blobs of color on it (with no idea of what the "big picture" looked like), and we were to reproduce is -- using anything at all.  And although we went traditional with ours -- oil pastels and watercolors -- the variety of materials used was fascinating: wool, magazines, embroidery floss, yarn (all below), glitter, fabric, found objects, shells, freeze-dried green beans (!).  The result was beautiful!

This is our contribution -- we matched up pretty well! 
I'm happy I stretched myself to try it -- that felt good.