Science Sunday: bats

After reading Christy of Superheroes and Princesses made this super cool bat.  I knew we had to make it.

Mainly because I had a bunch of empty toilet paper rolls sitting in one of the bathrooms.  But, I digress.

So, I made an executive decision to go back in our book to bats, and learn about them for a little bit, rather than continue for this week learning about insects.  Hey, I’m the Mom, and I knew I’d have at least one very happy kid.

And I did.

One of the big things we learned is that bats use echolocation to navigate around.  And when they “hear” something that sounds like food they start making even more clicking sounds to find it.

So, we, and by we I really mean the boys, primarily Batman; set up an obstacle course for our bats to navigate.  He took his “traps” (I think that’s what they were, maybe) and created an obstacle course of crumpled paper for the bat to navigate.

It was so cute watching them pretend to hear the clicks and say, “Oh no something is here, better go another way.”

Then we talked about how scientists studied bats for a very long time and figured out how to use their echolocation for our boats and submarines to use sonar.  Then they had to find a submarine toy and a boat toy and act out how they use sonar.


They also learned most bats eat insects.  So they cut up a bunch of little pieces of paper and said that was the insects for the bath to eat, then they stuffed it inside their bats.

There are some days I just love to sit back and see how their minds work.


And, if you’re needing a nonfiction bat book to read, this is one of the many we’ve checked out over time from the library.  It’s one of our most requested animals to find out about.

Thanks to Phyllis from All Things Beautiful for pointing out I forgot to put in the linky this week (and by the way if you head to her blog she’s starting up a cool mystery series for your kids to do too today, I’m gonna check it out later to see if my kids are ready for it).

Quick last minute Halloween costume


So………  Batman had been going to be Iron Man.

This is the best picture I have of his Iron Man costume, unless you want one in shadows.  He loves it.  And then after watching the stupid, I mean lovely Diego Halloween episode he wanted to be a bat.  And Princess wanted to be a bird.  Both of which necessitated making new costumes.

So, here’s the quick and dirty how to, mostly taken on my phone because yet again I’ve put my camera somewhere “special.”  I wish my camera had a homing device on it I could activate like my phone does.  I’d lose it a lot less.

1.  Have your child lay down on the fabric with one layer of it open.  Mark where their wrists hit it, and about where you want the wings to end.
(and for those who are wondering this picture is actually from the Blue Arrow costume).


2.  Now fold you fabric in half, and using your “measurements” cut out a bat shape.

My scissors are ridiculously dull, and I should buy new ones because I’m atrocious to scissors, so I cut one layer at a time.


3.  Cut 2 strips of 1/4” elastic the length of your child’s wrists and sew that onto the ends of each arm.

4.  Then use some of the scraps you cut off to make the collar.  I laid it over Batman and had him model it to find the right fit.  (Luckily he was wearing the fleece pajamas he found in my winter clothes box, so all fabric stuck to each other).


5.  Pin your “straps” to the back.  Also pin where you’re going to sew on the velcro.

Note to self: stop buying the sticky back velcro, it doesn’t stick very well, and it gums up my needle.


6.  Trim the straps to look like bat wings as well.  Try to get your very wiggly child to stay still for this.

Try very hard to get your kids to stand still to take pictures.  In case you’re wondering they don’t really cooperate.

For Princess’ bird costume, I used the same approach, but cut it to look like feathers, and still need to make her collar/straps.
bat costume

Oh, and this is Batman’s illustration of what his costume is supposed to look like.

I just had to include my “instructions” he gave me.  I think one of those is supposed to be the bat toy I’m making as well.

Preschool Corner: Spookley the Square Pumpkin Widgets

Hmmm, I’m not sure I like what has happened to Live Writer on me.


So, we read this book, and of course we had to make our own pumpkins.  And then the kids had to go in completely a different direction, because that’s what my kids do.


But, the story is about a pumpkin who is feeling bad because he’s different than everyone else.  In case you couldn’t tell from the story, he’s square.  Yes, square.  Through the course of the story he discovers that it is good to be different.


001So, I set them up with a piece of construction paper in their chosen color (to understand that read the story).  And set them to making pumpkins.  I showed them to cut out the shape they wanted and then decorate them.




That was my theory.


Instead, they cut slivers and put dots on them and declared them pumpkins.






Batman drew a pumpkin patch and farmer.  Then cut them out and glued them on the mural.  I guess that is mostly what I was aiming for.




Princess…….  Well, she mostly did the project.  For a while.  Then she decided to paint herself.


Now, I’m partially to blame because I was also trying to work with them on a handprint project at the same time.  Yes, I was multi-tasking our crafts.  Shoot me.


But, if my plan works you will recognize my EVIL GENIUS!  Yes, you will, and then I will rule the world!


Oh, sorry started channeling my inner super-villain.  I’ll get back to my post.


017Where was I?


Oh yes.  The gluing on of the pumpkins.





And as you can see, Batman’s farmer made it onto the mural too.  Though, he did briefly lose his hand, but through the wonders of glue it is back on, and as good as ever.




And, I’ll give you a preview of an upcoming post, and let you guess about the story behind this picture.


I’ll give you a hint, it’s something you wouldn’t expect most 5 year olds to be concerned about, but mine have had a lot of experience with recently.


Bet you’re curious now……..


And now, for some other preschool or kindergarten posts head on over to Homeschool Creations and see what everyone else did this week.

stART: Skeleton Meets Mummy



This super cute Halloween story, that for some reason reminds me of “Little Red Riding Hood,” for no good reason was a lot of fun to read.


Skeleton is sent by his Mom to take a basket to his grandma (the part that reminds me of Riding Hood), and as he goes through the forest is scared by a sound behind him.


A mummy is chasing him, and finally catches him.  Skeleton overcomes his fear by………..  If you want to know, then read the book.


I had this brilliant idea of a craft, which of course my kids wanted to do a completely different craft, so we did several of these.  With only one kid actually completing my project as envisioned.


Supplies: person cut out (you could trace a gingerbread cookie cutter, do a paper doll chain, however), strips of white paper, scissors glue




1.  Glue the strips of paper onto your mummy.


If wanted, draw a face on said mummy.  Batman insisted it’s necessary, “see the book, it has a face Mommy.”




2.  Trim the extra paper away, so it’s a person shape again.





As an alternative you could do Superman’s method.  Just draw lots of lines on it, so it looks like a mummy.





Then glue your mummy on the Halloween Mural of AWESOMENESS.






And stand back and stare in awe at the wonderfulness of your mural.




Now for more ideas head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures.

Math Links: 5 Little Pumpkins

We all know the poem “5 Little Pumpkins,” and how much fun it is to read.

Well, I decided to make it into a math set, and an art project all at once, and my kids LOVED it.

Supplies: printable, stamp pad, markers, scissors, and glue
Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate

On each page we made thumb print pumpkins with the number of pumpkins that are on that page. 


So, on the line saying “The second one said, “There are witches in the air”  we put two pumpkins on, and happily drew faces.

As we went along we found the matching math problem and glued it on the page.  We finished up the math lesson by reciting the poem several times and saying the math problems.

002And, what’s a lesson about pumpkins without decorating some?  My kids have been begging to do this forEVER!  You’d think they never get to do fun stuff the way they talk.

So, they happily sat there drawing on their pumpkins, and decorating them.  And Batman, being Batman had to do it his own way.  He wanted a bat on his.  He was dead set it had to look a certain way.


He hunted down the bat cookie cutter he’d used earlier and traced it and colored his bat.  Then he cut it out and glued it on his pumpkin.  So, on one side it has a face and on the other side is  a bat.  Then they proudly carried their pumpkins out to the front yard and set them right smack in the middle of the driveway.  Which I corrected them on because that would have ended with sad crying kids as their pumpkins were run over.


The pumpkins now happily are sitting on the side of the driveway as a cheery greeting to all who pass by.

The random skeleton parts sticking out of the bushes are not so cheery, but the kids are happy they have something scary.

Head on over to Joyful Learner to see more fun math ideas!

Science Sunday: Why do water striders walk on water?

We read about how water striders walk on water.  Well, obviously you can’t just walk on water, so how do they do that?


Answer: they bend the rules.




Supplies needed: small bowl of water, a piece of toilet paper, small needle





Procedure:  rip a piece of toilet paper into fourths.  Place the toilet paper on top of the water, and gently place the needle on top (like in the photo above).


Now, if you’ve done this right, the toilet paper will be saturated by the water and the needle will float on the surface of the water.  It’s very cool.





Why does this work?


Because water molecules have a very strong molecular bond they want to stick together.  So, the surface tension of the water holds the needle up, if you do it correctly.


That is why the water strider is able to walk on water.  Great wow factor to your kids.



Then we of course had to see if it would work with a normal piece of paper, and it did. 


So, now we know how and why water striders can walk.

Great history books for kids

So, I was emailing with Natalie from Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns about finding good children’s history books.  And I agree they are hard to find, but if you look you can find some good ones.


Of course, it gets easier as the kids get older……  Not too surprising.


I’m just going to highlight some ideas to get you started.


22 I’ve had great luck with the Step Into Reading series.   It comes at many levels, obviously.  The higher the number, the harder it is to read.


When I taught in school I used this book for teaching about Thanksgiving.  It’s at a level that gives good information without being overwhelming.


And some of them are just cute stories (Abe Lincoln’s Hat).




There are a couple of authors that tend to have good books every time, no matter what their topic.  Aliki is one of them, and he (or is it she?  I can’t remember) pretty much always does a good job of explaining on a level most little kids can understand.




Like I said, once you get to about 2nd or 3rd grade it becomes much easier to find good books.  I still have my copy of “Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution” from when I was in school, and I easily read that 20 times.  I found it enthralling the little details she included.  Jean Fritz is a master of writing history books for kids to enjoy (did you know Ben Franklin was carried to the meetings rather like the Egyptian pharaohs because he was too old to be able to ride in a carriage without a lot of pain?).


And again about the third grade level is the Dear America or My America series, there’s a simpler series in the same genre called “My Name is America,” I have most of the Dear America and My America books,  they’re great for particular times in history.  There’s a companion series called “The Royal Diaries,” but I don’t have any of those yet.


And, of course Magic Treehouse, which so many of you have already been writing about has a lot of great history wrapped in it.



Finally, there’s those random ones you find that you got lucky to find and love it.


I found a great copy of the Gettysburg Address one day at Half Price books.  I got this book through a book order.


Usually around the holidays there will be books set up to entice you to buy them.  Great way to stock up your shelves.  Even better, wait for the day after the holiday and get them on clearance for next year.


So, that’s how I’ve found my random cool book finds.  The older your kids gets, the easier it is to find books.  I need to look through my teaching books and reorganize them and find stuff again because I totally didn’t keep up with my stuff, and now it’s all a hodge podge mess.  Kind of.


Head on over to Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns for more great book suggestions.


And two random cute pictures:  (Batman “sleeping” on Daddy)

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I love that fake snore of his, so cute.

Preschool Corner: Daddy’s birthday party

Or, how to get thoroughly soaked while playing in the water and building a dam.

But, I thought that title was probably a little too long.


We met up with some friends for a picnic lunch to celebrate Jeff’s birthday at my favorite park, or one of my two favorite parks.

We got there to discover the playground was closed due to flood damage (and boy was there a lot of it, apparently that little creek rose about 10-15 feet, flooding about 30 yards away from the river and displacing some benches that had been sunk in concrete).011

But, I digress.   The other family’s kids started building a dam and my kids happily helped while trying to figure out such lessons like, how to stop the water.  How big a rock can I carry.

009And the personally most entertaining to me.  Superman’s quest to figure out how he could clean his feet without taking his boots off.

We’d outlawed that after discovering a large amount of broken glass.  We also had to outlaw the picking up of said broken glass, or clutching it tightly in your fist, Princess.  No really, it’s a bad plan.

He solved this problem by scooping up handfuls of water and pouring it into his boots.  He literally sloshed when he walked.  You could see the water splashing out.  But, it was a creative way to solve his problem.


It was interesting to see how older kids effect what my kids try to do.  Previously they hadn’t really shown much interest in building dams or creating a new tributary (as they are trying to do in this picture), but after seeing the other kids try they got very involved in the process.

Princess was inspired by their daughter to search for shells, and discovered a wide variety of fresh water clam shells.  Is it really a clam when it’s a square inch shell?  Probably, but it’s miniscule.

Which of course leads to fun discussions about what you can find in the river, and what is and isn’t a good idea to touch.

026So, all in all, it was  a smashing success of a party.  The parents had a blast talking together, and the kids got to have all sorts of fun sensory experiences and problem solving time.

And any party ending with ice cream is a good one, just ask Batman.

And for my future memory.  Batman is wearing the collared shirt and Iron Man boots.  superman has the non-collared shirt and camo boots (his soldier boots).  And someday I will get to be in pictures.  That’s one thing I dislike about being the photo person.  I’m never in any pictures.  Oh well.  Of course the birthday boy didn’t get to be in too many either.  Note to self, work on group shots and getting pictures of adults.

And thank you very much to Myrnie who pointed out to me that I had mispelled a rather unfortunate word that I used several times……. Sigh, my bad.  Hopefully, I caught all of those mistakes, thanks for emailing me that.

stART: Ten Timid Ghosts


“Ten Timid Ghosts” is about, well…. ten timid ghosts that live in a house, and a mean witch moves in and ‘she wants them out.’


It’s a cute rhyming count down story about how she scares each of the ghosts out, and how they get back at her.


Well after reading it, of course we had to make ghosts.


Supplies: paper, glitter glue, markers, cookie cutters, scissors



1.  Trace around the cookie cutter.  It might help if you hold the cookie cutter for your kid.  I know it helped Princess.


And PS: the bracelet is a reminder to pray for a friend of mine in Afghanistan right now, so prayers are appreciated.




2.  Take your time and cut it out.  Great cutting practice, and there were a few times they tried to give up and have me cut it out, but I insisted and they got it.  Eventually.




3.  Draw a face with markers, or crayons, or what have you.


Poor Superman looks so upset.  I wonder what I did to him.  Apparently yesterday I totally ruined his day by accidentally locking him outside for all of 10 seconds.  He went on and on about it to Aunt Tara who tried very hard to keep a straight face as he explained his horrible depravations.



4.  Start adding the glitter glue and the little decorations.


And if you’re under 10, I’ve learned glitter glue is added in huge piles that are about an inch high.  Apparently the key is to try your best to empty the brand new bottle of glue.  That’s very important.


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And as frequently happens at my house, the kids took this idea and ran with it.  Making about 3 more projects.  Including Batman finally getting to make the bat he’s been wanting to make.

002 001

And there are the finished projects hanging up on the Halloween mural.


I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do with this mural once Halloween is done.


For more great book inspired art head on over to A Mommy’s Adventures.