Little K and I team up to construct his very first set of Valentines for his classmates.
We use a photo from his hammerin’ heartsies experience and mount them on a piece of red construction paper.
I write “hammerin heartsies” on top.
He writes his name on the bottom.
He hasn’t ever really been asked to write his name, and he wasn’t so interested in doing it.
But a mom’s job sometimes, is to give a gentle nudge.
I gave him the schpeel…
“This a way to show your friends that you care, to put your special letters on this paper.”
He wrote his name 20 times.
“This is taking 100 years!”
These are some gentle ways to encourage this activity:
-Demonstrate how to hold the writing tool and how to write out the letters.
-Display the name. I folded a piece of paper that stood at the center of the table. We referred to it many times.
-Keep the project and supplies out so he can return to it at will.
-Add some other supplies that might act as comic relief, like stickers, cool markers and whole punchers.
-Spread the project out over a long period of time, working a little at a time to reach your goal.
-Be supportive by sitting with him/her while he/she works, so you can lend help when needed.
-Respond positively. Little K made a long line across the whole piece of paper as one of “K” parts. He started to look discouraged. I said, “Wow, that letter is so cool. It looked like a Rapunzel letter, it’s so long.”
Little K has started using playdough differently lately. Instead of burying tools and vehicles, he’s started to competently roll the dough out and makes prints with tools. I wanted to set up a provocation for him while we were stuck in the house due to sick family members.
Inspired by the “After Christmas Tree,” the kids and I roll out a large slab of peppermint scented, green playdough. I cut it into a tree shape and add lots of small recycled caps to press into and decorate the tree.
We use our favorite play dough recipe and add peppermint extract. The boys press the caps into the dough, making prints, followed by carving out the shapes to create negative space. With the chunks of dough they pull out, they build other things. Little K makes Angels and Little J makes a sun.
1. Carve your pumpkin outdoors or cover work area with newspaper for easy clean up.
2. If kids don’t like to feel the insides with their bare hands, use a garden, rubber, or winter glove to remove pulp.
3. Dry the pumpkin with a cloth before drawing a face with Sharpie.
4. Talk to your kids about the parts of the face and let them draw and carve it themselves to the best of their ability. (Parent supervision and help is a given.)
5. Don’t dump seeds in the compost or you’ll have a surprise pumpkin patch in the spring when you use your soil for the garden. (I say this from personal experience.)
6. Roast the seeds in your oven or dry them in the sun for next year’s harvest. We’re doing both.
Three Great Pumkiny, Halloweeny Books
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell, tells the story of a little boy, who’s leftover decomposing pumpkin, plants seeds for the next jack o lantern.
Halloween by Harry Behn, Halloween poetry paired with beautiful illustrations of children out on Halloween night.
Pumpkin Moon by Tim Preston, tells the magical story of pumpkins on Halloween night after the trick or treating is over.
Lily stalks are really fun and satisfying to snip with scissors.
For the younger kids, this may be too hard for their little hand muscles, but it’s a great challenge for the older kids.
I’ll warn you, the pieces pop up when they are cut and can be a hazard to those Betty Davis eyes, so hold it away from you as you snip.
I snatch up some interesting cardboard from our stash and some of our colored glue, arranging it all on the cement porch, right next to our lily patch.
The kids busy themselves, snipping and gluing.
There is a plastics corporation in the next town over that has a “community store,” where educators can shop for free rejected materials. Their main supply is contact paper, so of course, I trek my way there and snatch a stack. There are usually local resources like this available to educators and parents…you should take a look around to see if there is a resource like this in your community.
I tape the contact paper down onto the little kid table and fill small bowls with snips of foam paper and crayon wrappers left over from other projects.
The kids keep cutting up the foam and paper, sticking all the pieces onto the sticky surface.
sponge, cut to whatever size you like
straws for the mast
paper to make sails
tape to attach the sails to the mast
Cut the sponge to the shape boat you like.
Poke a hole in the middle of your sponge with a sharp scissor.
Insert straw into hole.
Cut out a sail shape from paper
Tape sail to straw
Warning: I’m not suggesting you hand over your favorite chopping knife to your children.
Starting at 3, I began to carefully supervise my oldest as he cut his own food with a real knife.
I think for every parent and every child, there is a different age that feels comfortable.
I often cut up Little J’s food right at the table, and of course, he expressed his curiosity.
When my kids are genuinely and sincerely curious about a thing, I can trust them to be focused and careful.
When a child is having fun and learning, there’s not a lot of room for destructive behavior, which usually stems from boredom or unmet needs.
Little E and Miss L have joined us for many lunches this summer. Their parents own a restaurant and cooking, baking is a frequently practiced language at their home. One day, I bring cheese, cucumber, apple, pretzels and hummus to the table. They all proclaim their desire to cut up their own food. A while back I bought some really colorful paring knives with covers, specifically to have them for the kids to use. They are real knives and would cause a wound if used improperly, and I warn them of this, teaching them how to hold a knife and which part is sharp.
4 kids sit around the lunch table and slice up their own lunch, the fifth child is 2 and wants to use a knife too. I give him a pumpkin carving knife, strong enough to do the job, but unable to cut his precious little digits. This is probably the most peaceful lunch I have ever sat through with a group of children.
I’m already lamenting the fact that it’s probably frowned upon to pack a knife in Little J’s kindergarten lunch box so he can enjoy the prep of his own foods. The thought of him with a knife at school sends chills up my spine, an example of how the illusion of making kids “safe” deprives them of important life lessons.
The library hosts a summer “Crafternoon,” where our children’s librarian invites guest “crafters” to have a table, and offers 2 hours of projects to the families signed up for the event.
There are 4 tables:
There is an origami table, where Little J and Friend A work on a volcano made from paper. They also learn step-by-step, how to make a great crane and paper airplane.
The second table Ms. McDonald is helping kids make dreamcatchers with paper plates, yarn, beads feathers and markers. Little K has been asking for a dreamcatcher for weeks and this project could not have come along for him at a better time.
The third table, I didn’t get a photos of, Little J and Friend K making a foam frame decorated with tent, raccoon, bon fire and marshmallows. It is a prepackaged kit that the kids arrange and glue themselves.
The last table is for happylittlemesses. We are originally asked to help with tie dye, but we suggest the good old Pinterest favorite, color sharpie and rubbing alcohol, instead.
This summer’s reading program has been themed “Dream Big,” featuring night time stories about fireflies, bats, camping and big dreams. To go along with that theme, we work with sharpie and rubbing alcohol on white pillow cases.
I refrain from guiding the kids as they draw with the sharpie. The ideas online all point towards making dots and circles with the marker. The marks bleed together and create a fireworks effect that is beautiful. I want the kids to have the supplies and make their own ideas/interpretation. Maybe they’ll teach me something.
When they are finished with their drawings, they get a little cup of rubbing alcohol with a q-tip. The fumes in the room become very overwhelming. We open all the windows and doors. In hind sight, it might have been better to do this project outside. If you’d like better directions on the how to for sharpie tie dye, see these instructions.
There’s no need to wait for your local library to come up with this great idea so you can join in. Get a great group of friends together, have each family bring a project to the table and have yourselves a good Crafternoon.
Christine and Jessie have a turn at the Art Playgroup this week. They come up with project where the kids create a half face with a magnet that says, “Look what I did in school.” Whatever you hang on the fridge with this magnet looks like the little face is peeking down at the work of art or math equation.
The table is set with pom poms, markers, half moon papers, googely eyes, glue, scissors and strips of paper.
The kids design a face and attach hair. Christine hot glues a strong magnet to the back.
I’m looking forward to hanging up the kids school work on the fridge with our new magnet.
I’ve been growing my hair since Little K was born. He’s always found a lot of comfort in rubbing my strands of hair between his fingers, especially when breastfeeding. Otherwise, I’m a short hair girl. I feel the most myself with a short hairdo. I thought, since I was growing my hair out anyway, I might be able to donate it to a worthy cause.
I choose to donate my braid to Pantene. They take 8 inches or more and do not charge clients for wigs. Locks for Love charges clients a partial fee for wigs and also needs 10 inches. I only had 9 inches.
Do you know how to donate your hair? I got this information from Oprah’s website.
Hair must be clean (shampooed and/or conditioned) without styling, hairspray or additional hair products.
Gather hair at the nape of the neck.
Create a ponytail using an elastic band. Ensure the band is tight around the hair to keep the hair together after cutting. If the hair comes out of the band it will not be usable. (A second hair band can be placed around the middle of the ponytail to help keep the hair together after cutting.)
Ensure the elastic band is just below where you want to cut your hair.
Measure the length of the ponytail from the elastic band; make sure the hair is at least 8 inches. Any length shorter than 8 inches is too short to be used in a wig and will not be used. There is no maximum length requirement. (If your hair is not 8 inches, continue to grow your hair out.)
Cut the hair just above the elastic band such that the band remains on the ponytail after cutting and keeps the hair together. Do not wash or style the ponytail in any way after it has been cut off.
Place the ponytail, kept intact and completely dry, in a plastic zipper-lock bag.
Place the plastic bag with the ponytail in a padded or plastic envelope and mail to:
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
511 Wisconsin Drive
New Richmond, WI 54017-2613.
This is the cut I had before I had kids, and it’s strange to have my hair in a bob again. I’ve changed so much since I last had this hair cut. I wonder if it’s me anymore on the first day with my hair short. I’ll have to see how I feel as time ticks. It will definitely be cooler in this humid New England summer.