outside ideas

What we have been up to!

It has been hard to get posting done again! It turns out that I seem to be in the homona haze again that just doesn’t allow good thinking. Which means that I am not thinking well enough to write! 🙂 But we have been having fun! Today we had lego class again and my sister’s birthday, the other day we went to the park, and we got to have my baby nephew over for the day! Here are some pictures!

B&W Girls IMG_6450 IMG_6461 IMG_6469 IMG_6479 IMG_6504 IMG_6528 IMG_6549 IMG_6563 IMG_6575 IMG_6580 IMG_6582 IMG_6836 IMG_6871 IMG_6887 IMG_6888 IMG_6975 IMG_7028 IMG_7036 IMG_7043 IMG_7049 IMG_7056 IMG_7076 IMG_7081 IMG_7085 IMG_7094 IMG_7097 IMG_7098 IMG_7099 IMG_7100 IMG_7101 IMG_7109 IMG_7111 IMG_7115 IMG_7118 IMG_7128 IMG_7142So there you have it! This is what we have been up to! I am hoping to start writing more soon. Pup has been working on learning about animals in winter, and Bunny has been learning about all the normal stuff! Happy Learning and Living!

Leftover Pumpkin Learning

So do any of you wonder what to do with those pumpkins that are leftover from Halloween? I don’t know about you, but we have one or two still decorating the yard that we didn’t carve in t Jack-o-lanterns. They will look just fine for a couple more weeks, but I thought that using them for some fun learning would be another way to get a wee bit more use out of them before we compost them. Some of these ideas are from a long time ago, so enjoy seeing my much younger “babies”!

 Bunny was interested in pounding nails and asked if she could pound them into the pumpkin. I said sure and away she went to get her stuff. What we learned is that pounding nails into a pumpkin is easy and fun! It is an awesome way to learn how to use a hammer and nail without the difficulty that comes with trying to get the nail started in wood. It was an activity that everyone wanted to get in on!!!!

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Another fun thing to do is pumpkin washing. Its an oldie, but a goodie! my girls have loved this activity a lot over the years. I would simple get a scrub brush, a bucket of water and a towel. If you want you can add soup too. The child dips the brush in the water, and scrubs the dirt off the pumpkin! Here are some pictures of Bug and Pup doing this a few years ago.

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Another one that we did a while ago, was cut a pumpkin apart sideways and explored the parts of a pumpkin. It was different then when we carve it because Bunny was able to play in it and really see all the parts! There is really something so exciting about being able to play in something that you don’t normally get to!

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So there you go! A few ideas of what to do with those pumpkins that are laying around still! I would love to add a few more ideas so share one below! How do you use those pumpkins?

A Farmers Market

A couple of weeks ago my sister and I thought it would be fun to make the girls a farmers market for them to play with in the yard! I thought it would be a fun way to play and learn outside. We used some simple pieces of wood and my hubbie helped put it all together! Add some baskets, and it is a perfect place to play!

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The more I have thought about our new addition to our backyard, the more ideas I have had to play and learn together! Here are a few ideas I had:

~ Money: use play money to buy and sell fruits and veggies! It is a fun, easy way to practice using money! Besides what kids don’t want to carry around purses of fake money?

~ Sorting fruits and veggies: It is really interesting to see sometime how many kids are unsure of what is a fruit and what is a veggie! This is something that becomes a point of interest when you are setting up shop!

~ Sharing and Taking Turns: This has been a big lesson here! 🙂 Both want to be the cashier and that means someone needs to take turns. Its no fun at all if you don’t play together and two cashiers with no shoppers is well…..less interesting!

~ Picking out a Meal: Think of how fun it would be to put real fruits and veggies out and letting them “shop” for a real meal! Buy, prepare, and cook with their purchases! We are so doing that.

~ Set Up a Town: With some rearranging, and some creativity, the market can easily turn into any part of a town! Add with our other backyard work center, and swing set, they can have a whole town!

So do you want to make a market of your own? Well….I wouldn’t use my plans! I made them up. But there are a ton of great play ideas out there for simple market sets! You can find some ideas on my Playtime Pintrest Board! What are your favorite Market play ideas?

Bunny’s Watepark

Yesterday Bunny had an idea to use hula hoops to create a tunnel over the slide to make it like a waterpark. I am not sure exactly where this idea came from, but she was working so hard on it! She tried to prop the three hula hoops up with each other, she tied them to the top and then together, and she tried using Pup as a prop! 😉  Unfortunately she really couldn’t quite figure it all out. It was Daddy to the rescue! She explained her idea and together they brain stormed an idea that was easier (ok…safer maybe)! The result made Bunny so happy she was glowing! She LOVED it! It was just what she was thinking (she didn’t know the slide would lift up and she really needed more rope). It only too a few seconds for her to beg for the sprinkler to be set up so she could try it. I of course said yes! After being told we were the best parents in the world, the water park was open for business! Bunny and Pup had the best time playing! I think that all the work Bunny put into it made it all the more exciting! Something that she thought up in her head, she was playing on!

Here is her First Design:

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So there you have some of Bunny’s summer engineering fun! She loved to build things into bigger, better things! I love that our outdoor environment allows her to find the things she needs to start making things on her own (this brain child happened while I was cleaning up dinner)! As Bunny gets older and we move away from the traditional Montessori work, I can still see how making sure that we keep with those Montessori essentials is so important! Having an environment that has materials available is something that has made our world what it is!

  I have also been noticing that Bunny has been paying a lot of attention to how things work. I think she may really love to take something apart, like a radio or vacuum or something like that! Right now…we are going to keep slipping and sliding.! That is until there is a hole in the yard or someone gets a bruised hinny! Happy Summer!

Now I know that this isn’t all traditional Montessori work, but it is summer! So if you are looking for some more amazing Montessori fun, be sure to stop by Montessori Monday! We are there! We are also hopping over to Link & Learn! Stop there for some summer fun ideas!

Practical Life Potato Fun!

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Yes you read that right, Potato fun! Today Bunny had her standardized test and it was my job to help keep Pup and my sister happy and occupied! Well while I browsed for ideas and found that potato flakes make awesome sensory play material! We we just had to try it, plus it is something that works really well for most practical life activities! So I thought that they would love pouring, scooping, transferring, and yes…dumping these flakes! They loved it! They worked together serving each other, they poured from big containers to smaller one, they scooped into a cups and bowls, and so many other things! It was so fun, the other kids just had to play too once the kids were all done with their test.

 
Fun right! It was, as you can see a huge mess! However the hose seemed to clean it all up! Simple, messy, easy fun! Plus you get some awesome practical life practice!
On the testing, it seemed that Bunny did really well! She got a wee bit tired, but didn’t seem to think it was awful! I am so proud of her!
 

Happy Schooling (and playtime)!
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Tree, Trees, and More Trees!

Today we were back into trees study! I am really surprised that we got to a day two on this! Bunny seems really interested in it and I am doing some work with Pup too! It seems like the perfect way to get into the feeling of fall too! I am hoping to do a fall theme for Pup here next week! So we started the day with all the normal work. Pup and I worked on the parts of a tree puzzle and some spindles. Bunny read a book, then decided she wanted to write a book. It was a supposed to be be a surprise from me, but I needed to help her with some spelling! She wrote a book about conifer trees all on her own!

 

Ever since we have been doing sandpaper letter, Pup thinks she can read! Its really cute, but I keep telling her we need more practice!

After the puzzle, she traced the control chart! She really loves to trace things!

Bunny wanted to do some grammar work! So I offered to let her make some noun family groups. She loved the idea. With all her talk about perfectionism, I thought that she may want to use the moveable alphabet to form words so she doesnt have to earase them! She loved the idea! We’ll see, but I think she may finally be interested in using this material!

Writing her book!

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Since we were still working on trees, I took a tip from Annicles on ways to incorporate math into the study of trees! She gave me the idea to help Bunny graph the number of conifer trees in an area. This is a math work we really havent had the chance to get to! So we wanted to look for the different types of trees on our street. This led us to a discussion of the difference between conifer trees and deciduous trees. After talking about that, we headed out to our street to count the trees! We found 8 conifer trees and over 30 deciduous trees! While we were out I took a chance to reinforce the parts of a tree with Pup too! She got it! When we got home, Bunny and I talked about the parts of a chart and proceeded to make a bar graph of the information we gathered! She loved it! In fact we took a basket of acorns, rocks, and buckeyes off our nature tray to graph after that! It was alot of fun, plus it covered some math with our tree work! Later on we did a few story problems and she had fun with that! I find that if I tell her a little story using numbers, she can do alot of the problems in her head! Pretty impressive!

This is Pup pointing out the parts of the tree!

 
So there you have it! Trees are what we are doing here! Conifer trees to be exact. I asked Bunny tonight where she thinks they grow? Is it just around here or are there other places in the world that they grow too. She wasnt sure. I am hoping that we can get into some geography too! I hope your school week is going well! Happy Schooling!
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Nature and Grammer~ Homeschooling is Awesome!

Today we had a chance to head out to the park with some friends today for a nature walk! It turned out to be a really beautiful morning and it is a perfect time for beginning of fall nature walk! The acorns and buckeyes are on the ground, the leaves are starting to get some colors, and the weather is perfect! The kids had some bags to collect a few seasonal treasures and it was fun to wander the trails of the forest! Our wandering led us right over to the playground, which was of course an amazing way to end a pretty awesome morning!

 

 
I love so much that as homeschoolers we are able to get out and just be sometimes! I cant tell you how much benefit it can be for the kids to just go out a walk in the world. It seemed like when we got home they were more interested in really thinking, playing, and going back outside (as opposed to watching tv). Later on in the day, when we finally got downstairs to do some school work, they were both interested in getting to work! Bunny and I did a new grammar presentation (the adjective) and Pup worked on some zoology puzzles with me! Pup seems to be starting to entering into a sensitive period for words! She was trying to “read” the words on the control chart. So I told her what they said and then she “read” them back to me! It was sweet and it is really cool to watch her growing and learning!
 
 
Bunny love love loves the grammar symbols, so I have been presenting them to her in a rather quick way. Today we did the adjective! We did the first presentation and she loved it! It was alot of fun and we spent some time writing some descriptive word in her notebook afterwards! I think that we are going to have to really get those grammar boxes made quickly!
 

 
So there you have it for today! We got to have a lot of fun out in nature and we also did some great work! Does learning get better then that? It is a beautiful option that we have to be able to learn however is best for us. Sometimes it seems like I forget what a great gift, and opportunity homeschooling is. It is easy to get caught up in the work, the worry, and the requirements that come with it. But when we remember that this is a gift given to us to give our children, it all seems like the greatest chance of a lifetime! So Happy Schooling Everyone!

Sensory Playtime

As we all know, sensory play is the best kind of fun for little ones! Since my nephew is still with us, we thought it would be fun to so something super crazy and different! I pulled out some shaving cream and planned a painting day! We had our friends over to join in the fun. My first thought was to set up everything on the fence like an easel. It looked great, but the kids had other ideas! They tried painting, but it was difficult and the 2 year old thought it would be better to play in it instead of paint with it. So I cleared the picnic table and simply dumped all the shaving cream out for them to play in! It was a hit! There was shaving cream everywhere and everyone thought it was great! Even Bunny thought it was fun!

Yes, Pup did cover herself with it! She told me later, she loved getting messy and I was the best mommy ever for letting her! 🙂 So how did the clean up go? Like this….
 

 
So…do you want to paint with shaving cream? Here is how to do it!
~ Shaving Cream
~ Tempera Paint
~ Small Disposable cups
~ Popsicle sticks (for mixing)
 
All you need to do is fill the cup about 2/3 of the way full of shaving cream, then squirt a couple of teaspoons of paint on the top (the more you add the darker the paint). Then mix it all together with the Popsicle stick and paint away! Pretty simple! I will warn you however, this is super messy and the kids are going to want to use their hands! 🙂 Outside it a good place for this project! Happy painting!!!!!
 
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Beauty and Education

That humanity which is revealed in all its intellectual splendor during the sweet and tender age of childhood should be respected with a kind of religious veneration. It is like the sun which appears at dawn or a flower just beginning to bloom. Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child to open up himself to life. ~Maria Montessori
 
Have you ever watched a child as he discovers nature at his own pace? Today I took the kids  to the park again. My nephew is staying with us for a few days and I thought he would have fun! He did, and so did the girls! They ran and played and then they sat. That’s right they sat….in a mud puddle! Before I knew what was happening, shoes were off, hands were busy, and everyone was dirty. But what did they gain from this? The felt the soil of the earth. They found clay soil and worked it into shapes. The were free to discover life in that moment of play! They saw the beauty of life in the messiness of the earth. They saw life is beautiful! That is what I think it is my job as parent/teacher is all about, to help my kids know that no matter where they go, or what they do, there is the beauty of God there. Be it messy, organized, successful, or unimpressive…beauty is there.God is there. Life is exciting and amazing and being open to it is something that is invaluable! Without being able to love life, education would be pointless. After all, education is all about learning about life!
 

 
How are your kids opening up to life and real education?
 
 

Taking Time Tuesday~ Fort Building in the Park!

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Welcome to our second Taking Time Tuesday Party! Last week was awesome and I am so glad that I had so many wonderful links! It is so much fun to see everyone’s ideas! I really hope you take a second to link up here again! I cant wait to see what you too time to do this week!

Today we had a playdate with some friends at the park and I thought it would be fun to pack some stuff to make forts while we were there. The idea was a hit! There was so much brainstorming, laughing, helping, and fun going on all over! After our amazing creation was built, the kids played there all morning! They played house (I think) and since I had brought dishes, there were alot of interesting dirt/ grass creations made! What I loved the most was seeing all them happy, in their own imaginary world working together! Since we set up really close to the playground, I noticed there were alot of curious glances and a few of the other kids even wandered up to see what was happening! Nothing inspired more then a world of fun right?

When all things considered this was a really simple idea that didnt take too much thought! In fact you could do it anywhere really, so long as there is something to hold your fort up! So why dont you make a fort building kit for your next trip to the park? Here are somethings you need:
~ Sheets or tablecloths can can get dirty
~ Twine or thin rope
~ Clothes Pins
~ Safety Pins (Wish I would have had these)
~ Scissors (to cut the twine)
~ A Hammer (this would have made things ALOT easier)
~ Some little play dishes to make it all come together
See how simple? A great day of fun and learning is right in your closet! 🙂
Now its your turn! What did you do this week with your kiddos? Did you do a craft, take a trip, bake a cake, read a book? Link up and share your ideas! And spread the work! Dont forget to link back here in your post! If you want my adorable button, you can grab the code on the top left sidebar of my blog! Happy Tuesday!
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