Category: Home from School

Slime Time!

G was recently inspired by a book she has been reading called “My Pet Slime” and has been begging to make her own pet slime for about a week.  Of course, each time the idea to make slime pops into her head, we are headed out in the car or getting ready for bed.  So finally, after may days of asking, we put it in our calendar to make sure it happened!  I totally love making slime, so thoroughly appreciate her passion.

She gathered up all of the materials to make a slime just like in the book.  C got involved too once all of the materials were out.  My favorite slime recipe calls for:

1/2 cup of Elmer’s glue

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1/4 cup Sta-Flo liquid starch

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And then the extras – food coloring, glitter, googly eyes, bits of foam, or anything else you are inspired to add to your slime!

This was a little too sticky and needed the starch tap!

G poured the glue into a bowl and added many drops of blue and red food coloring until she got the perfect purple!  C added blue food coloring and loads of glitter!  Once they were pleased with the color, they added small amounts of the liquid starch, stirred, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then continued until all of the starch was incorporated.  After the starch is mostly absorbed, it is time to pick it up and knead it!  The more you knead it, the less sticky it becomes. But, if after several minutes, it is still sticky, tap it in a bit more liquid starch.

 

Then its time to add items and play!  C added several beads and gems and G added 2 giant googly eyes to make her “pet slime”.  She is still working on a name for this little cutey.

 

 

We made these creations a few days ago, and if you put them in a cup and cover them, they keep!  This slime pet has been coming out every day for adventures!

Hope this slime recipe brings you as much joy as it does for C and G (and myself 🙂 )

 

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

Drawing Wednesday with C

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G has been making weekly face-to-face calls on Tuesdays to show a card trick to family and friends, and C wanted to be part of the action!  We talked with C about what he thinks he is good at that he could share with others and Drawing Wednesday began!

C chooses a weekly topic and then calls family and friends on our face-to-face app.  They take some time drawing together and then share their artwork.

This has been a great activity to give C a voice.  He is a little more quiet than G and not as quick to engage in conversation.  Making the phone calls and providing a topic helps him to improve his communication skills, feel more connected with family and friends, and share something that makes him feel proud of himself!  He then gets positive feedback about his artwork from family and friends to add to his sense of pride.

Week 1 Topic – Draw your favorite dinosaur

Week 2 Topic – Draw your favorite food as a character

Everyone is looking forward to what topic he comes up with next and for another chance to feel connected!

Categories: Home from School

Our finished fort!

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We shared a bit about the fort that we started to built, and it has become quite the project so wanted to update!

After gathering the large sticks, we used bungees to secure them to one another and to the central tree for support.  

We wove some sticks to begin to form walls, but we are going to wait for the trees to bud so we can weave leaves for colorful walls!

We are quite pleased with how it came out and even had our old chair tops from when I refinished our kitchen stools so we can picnic inside!

And our course, with the New England weather, we have been able to enjoy the shelter of the fort during the April snowstorm!!

Happy Fort Building!!

 

Categories: Home from School

Cross The Ocean Challenge

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This is one of my favorite team building lessons that we have students participate in each year.  It is a very popular activity, and I love it because it allows us to work on so many important parts of practicing good teamwork!

I have kept the scenario pretty similar over the years, but any fun story can be created for this one.  I have all of the students behind one end of the gymnasium.  I tell them that behind them is an erupting volcano, and we must escape.  The only problem is that they have to cross a giant ocean, and are unable to swim the whole length.  They have special “rocks” that they can step on to help them across. For rocks, I just use blue polyspots that we have in the equipment closet.

I put the students in four separate groups.  For round 1, I give them one extra rock than the number of total students in the group.  Rocks can be picked up, placed down, and handed to each other.  You aren’t allowed to throw or slide a rock.  If any person in the group touches the gym floor, everyone has to re-start.  Once accomplished, I make it harder by taking a rock away.  This forces students to share rocks, or some get creative by piggybacking or leaving a student behind with the idea of going back on a rescue mission.  I love watching students communicate and work together in this one.  Sometimes groups have a hard time working things out, which create good teachable moments!

This game can be played at home, with any number of people.  You can use any kind of material you have around the house for rocks, we used paper plates!  It was fun watching the kids work together to move across the kitchen.  Even Berkeley, our giant puppy, wanted to get involved!

 

Categories: Home from School

Spring Sprouts

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We have been taking a lot of nature walks lately, walking slowly, making observations and taking pieces of nature back home to our “collection”.  C was fascinated to find an acorn that was split and there was “something” coming out of it!  This offered a great opportunity to talk about seeds and he was so surprised to learn that a sprout would come out an acorn to create an oak tree.

Each year we plant seedlings and watch them sprout and grow.  We buy the indoor greenhouse with pellets and have great success!
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But I realized that this activity does not show the very beginning stages of growth.  Several years back, when G was at this curious stage, we did an activity where we started seeds in a clear bottle so we could observe the initial sprout.  I went back and found this picture of her and we planned the activity again and made predictions to make it more of a challenge.

For this seed activity, you need a clear bottle with the top cut off, paper towels, and seeds.

Directions:

1. Wet the paper towels and fill the bottle, with some wiggle room for the seeds to slide in

2. Select several seeds, and fit them with some space in between around the bottle.  You can use a tool like a skewer to help place them where you want

3. Label each seed.  We wrote with Sharpie on the bottle.

4. Place in the sun and observe!

To be more involved in the process we made predictions.  Each kiddo picked 5 seeds and guessed how many days it would take to see the beginning of the sprout and ranked which they thought would be tallest to smallest.  They had clues because we had already planted our seedlings, so they were able to make an educated guess!

Day 7 of our seedlings, cucumber and summer squash are the tallest!

We have been checking in daily to see if their predictions come true!

I will post photo updates later once we have some sprouts 🙂

 

UPDATE: Here are our sprouts 10 days later 🙂

UPDATE: Here is our BEANSTALK 14 days later!

 

 

This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but only share items that I have personally tried and approve.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Home from School

An Old Classic – Wall Ball!

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Some of my favorite childhood memories bring me back to games that we played at recess.  Our school building was pretty old, built in 1896.  One year, part of our recess fun was dodging shingles that randomly fell from the roof.  Recess was right outside of the building, we had a stretch of pavement which was fenced in.  The majority of our recess time, my group of friends and I would play a competitive version of wall ball.  We had a blast playing, it was fun to compete with each other.  We were also getting some good exercise while practicing our hand-eye coordination and throwing skills.

Unfortunately, students at my schools aren’t allowed to play wall ball at recess.  From what I understand, it’s due to the fact that students that are not playing the game might run through and get hurt.  The game itself, if played correctly is totally safe!

We took our kids to a building down the street to teach them, and they absolutely loved it.  Here are the rules that I play with, but modifications can be made!

We have always used a tennis ball, but you can use anything that you have available.  The game begins when one player throws the ball at the wall.  The ball must bounce one time before any other player tries to field it.  If the player attempts to field it, but makes an error, and the ball hits the ground they must run to the wall.  Any other player will then try and pick up the ball, and throw it to the wall before the player who made the error gets there.

This doesn’t need to be competitive at all, and no scoring is necessary.  When we played as kids, any time that we made an error and the ball beat us to the wall, we had an “out”.  When we had three outs, we were eliminated from the game.  In PE, we don’t play games that have students eliminated!  You could have someone that receives three outs do a lap around the playing area to come back into the game, or do an exercise to come back… lots of options!

Categories: Home from School

Cooking Challenge

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We had a cooking class in 8th grade where I remember feeling quite proud of a recipe in which we rolled up a crescent roll around chocolate chips and baked it!  I found a package of crescent rolls in our fridge, so a challenge presented itself!  The kiddos are always asking “can we make a recipe?” and then filling bowls with pepper and salt and flour and cocoa powder and many other miscellaneous items and asking me to bake it…  I love giving them that independence to explore mixing and pouring, but I also want them to make something that we can actually take out of the oven, eat, and have them feel successful.

So, I presented them with a challenge.  They had to make two roll-ups that we could eat for a meal, and two that we could eat for a dessert.  They could use anything they could find to roll in their crescent, and then we would bake them and share them.

Of course, they dug out the candy!  The “dessert” roll-ups were filled with starbursts, tootsie rolls, swedish fish, and a cookie.  But they were a bit more thoughtful about the “meal” roll-ups, in the end, stuffing them with bologna, raisins, cereal, and creamed corn!

We baked them for 12 minutes, and overall the kids gave great reviews! They were able to make something they felt proud of while still using their own creativity for the recipe!  Top votes for the creamed corn “meal” roll-up and the cookie “dessert roll-up.

**One tip** – the starburst melted and overflowed their roll, burning and sticking to the pan, so you might want to avoid this type of ingredient 😉

 

 

Categories: Home from School

Extra Time for CHORES :)

We are really hot and cold with our chore chart and holding kiddos accountable for household responsibilities, so decided that this is the perfect time to get back on our chore game!  We made it simple with our white board, listing the chores and days of the week.  The kids are responsible for putting their G or C in the box after they accomplish the task.  At the end of the week, we add all of their letters up and they get a small, but motivating, stipend!

Chores may seem tedious for kids, but there are so many great benefits, so its worth the groans and eye rolls!  Plus, once they realize that they can earn money, they get a bit more motivated!

So why chores?

Self-regulation

Picking chores that offer opportunities for heavy work can meet two objectives!  1. getting the chores done and 2. self-regulation.  By using the muscles and joints in our bodies, our brain gets comforting information about where the body is in space helping us to feel more grounded.  Think about how good you feel after you clean the house!  This is partially because the act of scrubbing, pushing, and lifting is grounding for your body!  Here are some chores that will provide the most heavy work for kiddos:

Carrying laundry

Vacuuming

Picking up toys, heavy ones!

Sweeping, especially on hands on knees

Putting away groceries – carrying heavy bags, sorting cans

Washing windows

Cleaning anything on hands and knees – dusting, washing tabletop/counters, scrubbing floors

Feeling proud of the clean table – scrubbing on hands and knees for some heavy work!

Self-Esteem

Doesn’t it feel good when you finish cleaning?!  All that scrubbing and tidying not only helps us to feel regulated, but it also gives us a sense of pride.  After the kiddos straighten up their rooms, they most often come out so thrilled for us to see.  They feel so proud when we ask them to help with sweeping the floor and commend them for a good job, or notice them clearing their bowls from the table after breakfast and thank them.  Making a chore chart provides them with reminders of items they can do around the house, which then allows us to offer more positive praise!  Especially now, being in the house, this is a simple way for us to help them to continue feeling good and confident.

Life Skills

Chores will help your children to become more independent.  One day, they will be adults, and isn’t it our job to help them to be functional adults?!  So getting them to pitch in with dishes, laundry, and tidying now will help them to develop skills they will need throughout their life.  Of course it is important to think about what types of chores are age appropriate.

 

 

Theme Week!

As the days are dragging and all blending together, we decided we needed something to make each day special.  We made a list of possible theme days and then picked some favorites for our first theme week.  We posted on social media and shared with friends and family so others could join in and we could all feel more connected!  It was really successful;, the kids grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, school friends, and family friends all got involved.  We got pictures texted or posted to social media throughout the day, helping us feel like we are all in this together!  It made the days pass by more quickly with more laughs and focus on the plan for the day, rather than the uncertainty of the week/month/or more…

Here is how our week went:

Monday –  Favorite Color

 

Tuesday – Sports Team Pride

Wednesday – Crazy Hair

Thursday – Prom with Fancy Dinner

This was definitely our favorite theme day! – from dancing to some real classics 😉 from when we graduated from high school, to letting the kiddos drink tea from our china cups, to dressing up and taking typical prom photos.  The whole evening was a blast!

Friday – was supposed to be dress like your favorite character/animal, but we had so much fun at prom, Friday turned into pajama day!  And we feel like that is okay.  There is no pressure to actually follow through with these as long as each day feels special!

So what themes might you come up with?  We have another week planned and so far we are thinking – career day, dress like your favorite book character, twin day… Let me know what you come up with and how your theme days go!

 

 

Categories: Home from School

Trick Tuesday – Three Pile Card Trick

Our family loves to play cards, and since we are missing that family connection right now, we thought it would be exciting to learn a card trick each week and perform it over Duo or Zoom!  I remembered doing a card trick when I was younger with piles so I searched around YouTube and ended up finding this!  It wasn’t the trick I was looking for, but it is actually easier, and G and C picked it up very quickly!

For this trick, you need 21 cards.

Call up your audience members through your favorite face-to-face app and show them the fronts and backs of the cards, then shuffle.  Once they agree you have shuffled enough, select one card and show it to them with out looking.  Say “this is your card”.

Now one at a time place the cards face up in three rows.

Point to each row and ask if their card is in that row.  Whichever row they tell you, pick that pile up second, so that pile is sandwiched between the other two.

Repeat this two more times.

Now, as you lay the cards into piles for the fourth time, their card will be the eleventh card!  Every time!  So when you get to the eleventh card, say this is your card!  And they will be amazed!!

Categories: Home from School