Creating Little Worlds

The other day Princess happily entertained herself creating little play worlds sitting at the table.

She created a bedroom, complete with bed and some cups to drink from (though I wouldn’t recommend it).
And pets to play with and feed.

Do you ever just turn your kids loose to create their own worlds?  I loved listening to her play with them.

Childhood to do list: WATER FIGHT!

water fight
Step 1: Fill a large bucket (or cooler) full of water and sponges.  If you’re fancy make these from Inner Child Fun (what I originally bought the sponges for).

Step 2:  Grab as many water filled sponges as you can.
Step 3: Start throwing sponges as fast as you can.
You’re guaranteed to be told, “Did you know that you’re my best Mommy ever?”

Of course if you’re participating and trying to get pictures at the same time, that means you get lots of pictures like this:

And after all is said and done, take some time to build with the sponges and swing on your swing.

Muppet movie fun

I LOVE the Muppets.  Back when Jeff and I were first married I got the Muppet Show on DVD.  Every year at Christmas we watch the Muppet Christmas Carol.  I love ALMOST all of their movies (some of their more recent ones have not been kid appropriate, cough cough Muppet Wizard of Oz or that stupid Christmas movie a few years ago, cage dancing?).

But, I digress.  I picked up the movie, because I wanted it.  Then to bribe them I let them make Muppet sandiwches:
muppet sandwich


Supplies (we used): bread, crackers, coconut, peanut butter, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, cream cheese, sprinkles

Then I let them have at it.  There was much giggling and laughter to be had.

And in the end we got things that didn’t look so much like Muppets, but sugar delivery devices.

Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

learning ALL the time!!

Going on a ???????? hunt

learning laboratory at mama smiles
 Sometimes it’s fun to take a break from learning and have some fun that isn’t related to learning at all.

The other day we found these mysterious footprints.  What are they, who put them there?

“Oh no!”  said Superman (I really should have written down who it was when I first took these pictures).  “Some kind of scary animal has invaded our yard.”

“We will defend you from the terrible monster, Princess” her brothers declare.

So Princess happily played and rode her bike while her brothers hunted down the terrible monster.

They practiced sword fighting, so they could defeat it.  It was hard work.

Finally they found the viscous, viscous monster (I think that is spelled wrong, I think I’m spelling a different word than I intend……).
It lay there with its prey and dared them to come attack him.  They ran in and……

vanquished the poor thing.  He collapsed happily and demanded scratches and left the kingdom alone.


How to have a Carnival Party!

With some easy games and set up.

Step 1:  Order some bags and many chocolate and plastic coins from Oriental Trading Company, or similar place.

Step 2.  Collect an insane number of cans and paint them for the game.
Step 3: Set up knock the cans game down with coins, bean bags, and stack of cans.

Step 4:  Set up “basketball” or ball toss game.  You could also just cut holes in a cardboard box and decorate it.  Since we already had this, we used it.

Step 5: Set up catapult game with bowl of coins and rolled up sock ammunition.  If you don’t have a catapult, Family Fun has instructions for one.
Step 6: Set up “gimme game” of hopscotch, a guarantee of getting a coin.

Step 7: Set up, “Find the coin” game.

Step 8: Color bags.

Step 9: Play games and have fun.

Childhood to do list: Build a fort

Build a fort

I remember as a kid every fall my Dad would trim back the trees drastically and I’d build a fort out of all those branches.  It was quite a feat.



We were trimming the trees in our front yard the other day before the spring growth hits, and we had already completely filled one with branches, when I said, “New plan!  We’re making a FORT!”


The kids were now much more enthusiastic to help haul branches.



We filled the wagon and hauled branches back to the back corner of our yard.  It’s quite nicely tucked under our big huge trees, “The Mommy and Daddy trees,” as my kids say.


Then began the real work.


I don’t quite think they thought it was work.


And of course you need a photo shoot afterwards.  With lots of dramatic posing.

Don’t ever forget the dramatic posing.

fort dramatic posesphoto shootreal play

Everyone needs a tree fort sometime.  Maybe I’ll even dig through my Mom’s photo albums and find a picture of MY tree fort.

Spies in the American Revolution or Secret Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunt
This past week for our history coop we learned about spies and secret messages sent during the American Revolution.

To start off the younger kids decoded a simple symbol substitution, which was incredibly easy, but very much enjoyed.  For the older kids we did this worksheet, which was quite a bit harder.

While they were busy doing that I set out the secret messages.

To make the treasure hunt it’s very simple.  Decide the order of the clues, so I knew where it was being put I wrote on the back.  On the front I wrote the clue for where the next place was in pencil.

All of the kids enjoyed the treasure hunt, I’d show you a picture of the “treasure,” but they descended on it too fast and had devoured it before I got there.

Afterwards they got to have a try at writing in invisible ink (AKA lemon juice).  Later we’re going to try revealing what they wrote.  I’m hoping to be more successful than the last time we tried this.

It’s hopefully going to work well.