Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins

My 4-year old and I enjoyed reading this book last night. Being a math person myself, it immediately became clear to me that this was going to be a fun way to learn and practice a bit of mathematics.

You start with 12 cookies divided between 2 kids and then more and more kids keep arriving and they have to divide the cookies up amongst everyone.

It wasn't very hard for my son, once I prompted him to get 12 blocks so he could pretend they were the cookies and divide them up appropriately. He first was trying to do it in his head and that was way too hard. He really seemed to enjoy making the different numbers of piles each time the doorbell rang!

It struck me during the reading of this book that perhaps I was "ruining" the book by trying to make it all educational instead of just relaxing and enjoying the story. But when the book was over, my son said "That was fun, can we do more math?"

Friday, November 23, 2007

New Tradition?

I usually hide in my house the day after Thanksgiving - afraid to encounter the large numbers of people with all their attention focused on finding great deals and buying way too many things they don't really need!

But today, we decided to go to the library. What a great place to be on the busiest shopping day of the year. It was less crowded than I have ever seen it. We enjoyed browsing for books, reading together and playing some games on the computers. And, of course, we brought books home. Lots of books actually, 18, to be exact. And the kids have been enjoying them all day. And we paid not one penny!

I think I am seeing a new tradition...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Unplugged Project : Thankful!

This week's Unplugged Project topic is Thankful!

We decided to make a Thankful Tree. Ours is not quite so lovely as the one on Family Fun, but we also spent no money and utilized some things we already had instead.

And it still met the same goal - a fun activity to do with the kids that also helped us think about and talk about what we are thankful for this year.

So basically, we just colored and cut out leaves, then the boys told me what they were thankful for and I wrote what they said on the leaves. My husband led an expedition outside to find a suitable branch, and then the boys tapes the leaves on the "tree."

It ocupied the kids for a long time with all the coloring and cutting and then the nature walk, plus taping each of the leaves on a carefully selected spot. Fun was had by all!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Packing Lunches

We got 2 fun new Tupperware Containers and I packed the kids lunches in them for the first time today. It seemed to be a big hit all around!
The kids thought it was fun and enjoyed being able to see their whole lunch at once. It was actually easier for me than collecting up and filling a bunch of individual baggies or plastic containers and then having to juggle them.
They are actually made such that the far left section is the right size for a juice box. We don't typically do juice boxes so I just added their SIGG water bottles and used the juice box spot for home-popped popcorn.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Unplugged Project : RED Still Life

At first glance, it may not look like we did a lot this week for our weekly Unplugged Project. All MomUnplugged gave us to go on was 'RED' and we were just supposed to run with it.

First I tried asking my 4-year old what he thought we should do. I spent a long time explaining what it was all about and then sent him away for 5 minutes to think something up. I was pretty impressed that he was game for this but when he came back all he had to say was, "I have a sheet of red construction paper." Hmm! Maybe he is not quite getting it yet.

So that left me to come up with an idea all on my own. Here is what I came up with. Still Life! To make it extra educational, we spent some time talking about art and different types of art, and even wandered around our house looking at various pictures and trying to categorize them. Very funny since I only could think of portrait, landscape and still life, and my 4-year old as always had way more questions than I had answers.

I sent each kid to collect up to 5 items that were red, and then arrange them on some red felt into whatever arrangement they wanted to. Then I snapped some pictures. The first picture with the grocery cart is my 4-year olds and the 2 face-down Cliffords (yes, that is what that is) is my 2-year olds creation.

Then because I was feeling extra patient, I let my 4 year old snap his own photos of his creation.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mama Tamara Goes Gluten-Free

I have not really been posting here this week and to be honest we haven't been doing many fun acitivities.

I've been learning how to eat again and it is NOT FUN! I just found out that I am gluten and dairy intolerant. Is there anything harder to avoid than gluten (wheat, barley,rye and most oats) and dairy (milk, cheese, ICE CREAM)? So I am spending an exorbitant amount of time trying to figure out what to have for dinner and whining, complaining and moping about this new development. Check out my gluten free blog if you find this interesting. I will cease to mope about it here, and hopefully start doing some fun things again soon!

I have been trying to put together a post about Christmas Activities but keep getting distracting thinking about all the Christmas treats I can't eat. (Ok, that is really IT now, no more MOPING!) Anyway, keep you eyes out for it. And of course, what we decide to do with RED.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Unplugged Project : Haiku

This weeks Unplugged Project was haiku.

I have to say that when I first read the idea I was pretty skeptical. My kids are 2 and 4, not reading or writing yet. But I was happy to have a break from painting and after thinking about it, came up with a plan that I thought would work for us.

Day #1 Syllables
We started at the beginning with learning what a syllable is and practicing counting the syllables in a bunch of words. This was something we just did for fun while driving around in the car.

Day #2 Poetry
We read lots of poems and talked about how some poems rhyme and some don't and that some poems are long and some are short. I have a Shel Silverstein book we looked at and my 4-year old loved the silly poems. My 2-year old also enjoyed listening to the poems

Day #3 Haiku Samples
I read the samples that MomUnplugged linked to in her original mail to the kids and had my 4-year old count the syllables. Then we talked about how they were all 5-7-5 and how there are different kinds of poems that follow different rules. After that, I cut the haiku out and let the kids glue them onto sheets of paper and then "illustrate" them. This was another activity they both liked. I was going to include one of my 2-year olds works of art but I can't get it to work right now.
Day #4 Writing Haiku
Only my older child did this one. He dictated some haiku to me and I wrote it down. Of course I had to assist as his lines tended to be really long so I had to help a good bit to get it to follow the patterns. The ideas were his though.

So here are his original compositions:

Up above the world
Find the brown bear in the trees
So that they went on

A boy is eating
In a house with a big boy
Eating on a chair

I am so glad we did this project in spite of my initial hesitation. We really did have a fun time and it was nice to have a project we could do in little pieces as it worked into our schedule.