Fun parks

I’ve been working on slowly finding and learning great parks in my area. So, here’s the one we went to this week: Katherine Fleischer Park.

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera out much, so the only good picture I have is this one:

This is an awesome park, and has several different features. Of course there’s the usual playground, but since this is an older playground, it’s actually shaded most of the day. A very important feature in Texas. It has a couple of different playscapes to play on. There’s also a fun house to play in with a couple of stories and lots of little nooks and corners in it.
I just remembered I have pictures from an earlier trip, so here’s what it looks like inside the house, forgive the weird blurriness, all of the pictures in the house look like that.
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There’s a great set of trails behind it that lead to a frontier village. How do you like the genuine vintage dress on Princess? It’s about mumble mumble years old (also known as I wore it when I was a baby).

There’s also a frontier village, which sadly you can’t go inside the buildings except on special occasions. I understand why they need to do that, but I wish it wasn’t neccessary. I found a post elsewhere on the village: http://www.texasescapes.com/MikeCoxTexasTales/237-Wells-Branch.htm

So overall I’d say it’s a great park. I only wish it was a little closer to my house and not a 10 minute drive. I treat you to a look at an adventerous squirrel on my stroller. Batman thinks this picture is absolutely hilarious.

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Jack and Jill

Today we made our latest foray into the fun of nursery rhymes. I wanted to try something a little different and made another interactive feature.
As always first we glued the rhyme down onto the page. I have no pictures this week because Princess was busy trying to cut her lines into individual letters, and then Superman decided to cut his into separate words. So no pictures of that step.

Next we went through and colored the pictures I’d hastily drawn to illustrate the rhyme.

 
They were all set to scribble one line and then get right to the glueing, but I reminded them we like lots of color, and they started working harder on the coloring.
Princess was all set to cut everything into little pieces, so I set her to cutting out the hill for Jack and Jill to climb.

 
Then to provide some background color and also to stiffen up the paper so it will not be destroyed quite so easily the kids cut up blue construction paper and glued it all over to make the sky.

Finally I glued on the last hill, since I had made it a more complicated piece to glue. And here’s the completed picture:

Hmmmm…… No completed picture.

Calendar time

I decided to take a page from my school teacher days, and use some things that work there. So, every morning as we start school time we have calendar time and I have a helper for the day.

My helper gets to point to the days as we count them, now with our new egg pointer (since I took a hint from Carissa at http://1plus1plus1equals1.blogspot.com/ ). Next my helper for the day passes out our lap boards from Lakeshore, they’re essentially a small flannel board.


My helper draws a number and each of them puts that number of flannel objects on their board. When I worked at a teacher supply store I got the beginning counting flannel board set. Each kid gets to count it out on their board.


When they think they have the right number we count together, and when it is right we hold it up for everyone to see.


Next we do a pattern for the day. I figured out the cushions we’ve been leaning against are splendid little flannel boards, so I added it into our learning time. Again my helper gets to figure out the pattern for the day.

Finally we also have an alphabet sticker book that we add a new sticker to each day. At first I was only having the helper put a sticker in, but I figured out that was limiting the other kiddos chance to learn more. So they get a sticker and have to figure out what letter the picture starts with. We’re also putting in any craft activities we do related to each letter. So yesterday we made apples from Homeschool Creations http://homeschoolcreations.blogspot.com/2008/09/preschool-corner-letter.html .
Our apples had quite a lot of seeds, they thought this was the most exciting part of all.

When we’re done with calendar time, we head off to complete our activities for the day. Today it was working on our current nursery rhyme, which I’ll finish posting about tomorrow. I was going to post on that today, but I forgot to get a picture of the completed project.

Tot School
For more Tot School ideas visit: http://lapbooksbycarisa.homestead.com/TotSchool.html

Why not to keep stamp pads available

The other day after the kids had “gone to bed,” Jeff and I were playing WoW with some friends and were busy running through a dungeon, when I heard kids playing. I excused myself for a second and come upstairs to this sight
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So….. The boys had discovered the door between their room and the schoolroom was unlocked. They had gone in there, found the blue “washable” stamp pad, and the letter stamps. They looked around and didn’t have anything to stamp on, so they decided to stamp themselves. By the time we figured out what they were up to, they were completely blue. I’d show you the head to toe photos, but by the time I’d found my camera they’d already stripped down to nothing….. so I’ve opted not to post that.
I yelled for Jeff to come upstairs and help me.

Well, we try to wash their hands, and it does not come off. It also did not come off of the marble sink, or the tile, and the bath tub when we put them in. It faded slightly after much washing. I sat there and scrubbed each of them for five minutes or so, and it faded slightly. That’s the picture you see above. I think that’s Batman’s legs as he sits in the bathtub. The water turned blue, but nothing really made it any less noticable.

About two weeks later it has faded to mostly not noticable, and they’ve had a lot of baths in between then, but man I’ve learned a couple of things from this: 1. Don’t keep stamp pads where kids can reach them. 2. Washable is not. 3. Always have your camera handy, because by the time you find it, the shot is gone. Oh well, now I have a very amusing picture to show their future wife after they’ve married.

Embellishing a Valentine shirt

I found a red shirt with ruffled edges and these cute little pants, that I thought would make such a perfect Valentine’s outfit for my little Princess, with only a little extra help from me. I figured for a $5 investment, that wasn’t that bad a deal.

So, I embroidered little heart balloons on the shirt and the pants. The only problem is the pants are about 4 inches too long, so you can’t see the cute little balloons I embroidered on them. Oh well.
And, yes she desperately needs a hair cut, but it’s hard to cut her hair when she doesn’t stay still long. I get nervous about cutting it. I have now discovered that it works really well to cut it when she’s buckled in her car seat. Less wiggling then.

First ever Chuck E Cheese party

Our kids went to Chuck E Cheese for the first time ever for a Valentine’s Day party


The key to this game when your kids can’t reach the pedals: You stand in front, and you pedal it with your hands. The more you pedal the higher you go, and the longer you stay up. All three of my kids had to try it.
They discovered the wonders of getting lots of tokens and being able to stuff them into slots and play games. I learned never to let a toddler have more than one token at a time. Princess seemed to think the most fun part was stuffing the tokens in, so she kept stuffing them in and then stuffing in more tokens, needless to say, I tried to discourage that….. I was not always successful.

I also learned that sitting next to the stage is a very loud area and will give you a headache, or it will if you are sensitive to noise. The pizza is surprisingly good for the price and the environment.
As always with my kids, things you can ride are very popular, but they’ve also discovered the joy of skee ball. Which they think is played by lobbing the ball as hard as they can.

Notice Superman in the background all set to lob the ball as hard as he can. Eventually after watching me play a little they figured out how to throw it underhanded.
They had a blast and really enjoyed exchanging Valentine’s with their friends. Now, some of their friends may have gotten about 10 copies of the Valentine’s they were handing out, but they had so much fun putting it in their friend’s bag, and seeing what their friends gave them.

So, all in all I’d say this was a win, and gave us a new place we can go to for special occasions/times we want to get out of the house. That, and I had fun making Princess sit with me for the illustrator booth.

Hickory Dickory Dock

To continue our nursery rhyme craft for this week, we completed Hickory Dickory Dock

First we cut the rhyme apart and glued it on the paper


Next the kids got to color and glue on the clock while I ran to the sewing room and made a very quick mouse.

Finally to make the page more sturdy and to let them have more fun with glueing, I let them glue lots of random pieces all over.

And now we get to play it, as they say.

I just have to figure out what other Nursery Rhymes we’re going to do now.