Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall and Thanksgiving Crafts

Leaves Falling Down

This was a messy project...I don't think it had to be, but it's more fun when things get messy!  We painted with paint brushes and with pom-poms.  Paint was....everywhere!    

First I drew a spiral on a piece of paper and the boys painted it.  We set that aside and they painted all different shapes of leaves that I had drawn on construction paper.

When the leaves and spiral were dry I cut them out and we used double-sided tape to attach the leaves to the spiral.
We thought the perfect place for our leaves to hang was over our kitchen table.  This stayed over our table until after Thanksgiving; it made our kitchen feel so Fall-like!

Thankful Chain
Sometime in mid-November we started a Thankful Chain. I found the idea on the silverbox blog, and I decided to make it more kid friendly. In the evenings, after dinner was done and cleaned up, we spent some time talking about what we were thankful for.  I had the paper pre-cut so all we had to do was grab a marker and start writing.  Greg and I wrote for the boys and they drew a picture. Oliver just loves writing with markers right now - when he wants to draw he says, "E, E, E, E" (I think this is because he always hears Elliott saying, "E" when he writes his name).  This time was also a good chance for Elliott to practice writing his name.  We didn't add a chain every night - some nights we just forgot, but the nights we did were great opportunities to discuss being grateful with boys, and I love the family time this activity provided.  Here are some pictures...

This first picture is all four of us working on our chain.  This particular night we made homemade hot chocolate!

These pictures below are of the boys showing off our chain.  It was one of the crafts that I would have loved to keep....but it would've taken up too much space.  For that reason, I'm thankful for cameras!

Paper Plate Turkeys
This craft was so simple, but fun and festive!  Originally we were supposed to have a friend over to make these turkeys with us and play, however Elliott woke up that day with a yucky cough so we had to cancel.  

Apple Turkeys
These turkeys were really fun to make, and I thought they would make a yummy snack for the boys.  Funny thing is, the boys didn't end up eating them!  I found the idea over at I Can Teach My Child.
She used marshmallows for the feathers, but Oliver can't eat marshmallows (because they contain corn), so I had the idea to use peppers.  It was just as colorful! 
 Here's Elliott putting his feathers on his apple.

Here's Oliver with his turkey!

And here's Elliott with his turkey!

Making Letters with Feathers
Elliott used feathers to make letters that I had written on a marker board.  After he made the letter, he used the feather to trace it.  I found this idea at I Can Teach My Child.
So fun!


Homemade Fall Leaves
For this activity I filled up an ice-cube tray with water and added some drops of food coloring.  The boys used medicine droppers to squirt water onto the coffee filters.  This was an art project, but it also included science as the boys mixed colors, and we even tied in some math skills as we talked about which cubes had the most/least water and we counted the leaves.  The leaves didn't actually look like Fall leaves when they dried - they weren't very dark colors - but it was still a great experience.  

Handprint Turkeys
I found this idea at Meet the Dubiens 
Our neighbor friend, Sutton, was over playing at our house, and the boys look liked they were interested in a craft!!  I didn't grab a picture of Sutton's before he went home, but here are Elliott and Oliver's!  I think they're just adorable! Elliott was getting a little goofy (happens a lot when Sutton is here, haha!) and he put an extra handprint at the bottom.     

Rolling Pumpkins
This activity was 100% play inspired.  The boys started it and it turned out to be a great learning opportunity.  They were playing with our left-over gourds and small pumpkins and rolling them down the slide.  It was great to talk about which ones rolled the farthest and why, and which ones bounced down the slide instead of rolled, etc...  We had a fun time having a contest to see which ones rolled the farthest!

 November was a great month!  I'm getting excited about what December will bring!  I love this precious time with my boys!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pepper and a Bar of Soap

I found this really fun experiment on someone's blog, but I can't remember where, and If I could, I would link up to it.

First, we put some water in a bowl  and the boys put their fingers in to test out the water. 

Next, we sprinkled in some pepper and the boys put their fingers in to see what would happen.

When they pulled the fingers out of the water, their fingers were covered with pepper, or "dirty", as we liked to say.
We cleaned off the pepper to get ready for the next experiment. This time we rubbed our fingers all over a bar of soap.  This was a new experience for the boys since we never use bar soap at our house!

Next, we put the soapy fingers into the water with the pepper (aka dirt!)  When the soapy fingers went in, the pepper, in Elliott's words, "moved away", and he said, "the soap was pushing it away."

When we pulled our soapy fingers out of the water, they were clean - no pepper!

We didn't get into the details about surface tension and how soap changes the molecules of the water this time, but Elliott thought this was super cool!  It was a great experiment to show how soap cleans things!

As always, when doing experiments with kids, the original experiment turned into other investigations.  Here's a pic of Elliott playing and experimenting with the soap, water and pepper.  That night when we took a bath,  you guessed it, the soap went into the tub for more experimenting!!

If and when we do this again, I will use a bigger dish for the water.  I think the boys wanted to do a little more playing around than I had planned on (silly me), and a bigger container would work better.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oxley Nature Center

A few weeks ago our Play and Learn Group went to the Oxley Nature Center to learn about trees and leaves.  Here are a few highlights:

 Michelle made a delicious cinnamon bread and she was so nice to make it will ingredients that we safe for Elliott and Oliver!!

 After we ate our snack we headed outside to find leaves!  Here's Jacob finding a stick to add to his collections.

 His Elliott showing off one of his leaves.

 Lilly found a good one!

 Michelle was so good about knowing which leaves belonged to which trees.  She knew all of the names of the trees, too (I was pretty clueless)!  It was great learning for me, too!

 Here's Linnea and Oliver collecting items for the bags.

 Lilly and Ben were on the hunt for leaves!

 Such cute kids!!  From left to right: Lilly, Jacob, Ben, Elliott, Linnea and Oliver.

 Oliver enjoyed the nature walk!

 The Nature Center has a fun little area for the kids to play.

 Here's Lilly climbing through the pretend log inside the Nature Center.

 Michelle planned some activities for us.  We made bird feeders with pine cones, sunflower seed butter and bird seed.

 Here's Lilly finishing hers.

The kiddos also made leaf t-shirts.  Michelle helped them paint each leaf and then press it onto the t-shirt.  They turned about really neat!

Play and Learn Group - Shepard's Cross

 Last Friday we went out to Claremore to visit Shepard's Cross Pumpkin Patch with our Play and Learn Group.  The weather was beautiful and was a perfectly perfect day for a pumpkin patch visit!  Here are some highlights:

Group shots are always a challenge with three 3-year-olds and three 1-year-olds!  From left to right: Jacob, Oliver, Ben, Elliott, Lilly and Linnea

Oliver, Jacob, Lilly and Linnea were hanging out together playing a pumpkin game.

 We took a hayride!

 Here are all the kiddos wearing the leaf shirts they made when our group went to the Nature Center.

 We thought it would be fun to make a scarecrow. We were able to bring our own clothes and the pumpkin patch provide the hay.  This was a bigger challenge than what I thought it would be.  I brought Greg's pants and one of his Cardinal's shirts (the Cards were playing that night to win the 2011 World Series!!!)  It took A LOT of hay to fill his time I think I'll make a smaller scarecrow.  The kids ended up playing around more than helping, but it was still fun.  The pic above is of Elliott as he was sliding off the hay.  Super fun!

Here's Lilly, Elliott and Oliver walking through the pumpkin patch together.  So cute!

 Holly worked hard the whole morning to keep Linnea's glasses on so that Linnea would get used to them!  Good job, Holly!

 There were ponies, goats, sheep and donkeys to pet.  They also had chickens and a rabbit.

 Here's Ben, Elliott and Jacob petting the sheep.

The kids were able to pick a free pumpkin to take home with them.

Here's our Cardinal's scarecrow!  After this picture was taken we painted one of our white pumpkins and made it look like a baseball!