Thursday, March 31, 2011

Disney On Ice - Toy Story 3

We went to Disney On Ice - Toy Story 3 tonight! It was so much fun.



We told Nicholas and Rachel that we were going to a special event tonight but didn't tell them where we were going. We had just barely gotten out of our own little town when Nicholas guessed that we were going to a Dallas Stars game. Interesting that we were going to the same arena where Stars games are played but this evening there would be no Stars game.

We pulled up to the American Airlines Center and Nicholas said, "I knew it! We're going to a Stars game!" We parked in our usual game parking lot and the kids were both excited about the hockey game they thought they were going to see.



Nicholas even commented that he remembered this blue wall from the last Stars game he went to so surely we must be going to another Stars game.



As we were waiting in line, Stuart was holding Rachel in his arms. She was smiling and I said she had a happy face. She replied, "Here is my grumpy face" and posed for me.



As we were in line, Nicholas started questioning his assumption about the Stars game. He noticed that there wasn't anyone there wearing a Stars jersey. He did notice that there were a lot of kids there wearing Toy Story shirts. He guessed that we were going to see Toy Story and I showed him the tickets so he could read it for himself.



I don't think it really sunk in until we were inside the arena and he saw all of the Toy Story promotional items. He then let us know that he was just a little excited about being here....



I love these little guys and I love to see them so excited to be here.







Once the show started, Rachel was just amazed at the lights and effects and seeing her favorite Toy Story characters dancing around on the ice.



I was pretty amazed too. The costumes, music, and routines were fun and engaging. I really had a great time myself.



That is, until this lady sat down in front of me. What's up with that hair? It must stick up 2-3 inches high! Fortunately she moved back to her original seat and quit blocking my view!



I wasn't really sure what to expect of the show but all the characters were there and they performed the entire Toy Story 3 movie. It was a lot of fun!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Indian Weaving

Nicholas is so proud of this art project. As you know, we have been studying Indians. We've learned about how they use materials on their land to make the things they need to live including their own clothing.

We learned a little bit about weaving and we decided to make our own Indian weaving out of cardstock paper.

Nicholas started by cutting one color into 1 inch strips. Then for the other sheet of paper, he folded it in half and used a ruler to draw lines from the fold to one inch from the edge of the page and 1 inch intervals. Then he cut along the lines.

Finally, he wove the strips of paper into the cut piece of paper.



It got a little tedious but Nicholas was so excited to see what he work was producing that he didn't mind it. He kept looking at the progress he was making and just kept going.



And now he has his very own weaving, created entirely on his own!



He also trimmed to strips flush with the larger sheet of paper so there is no overhang. Then he glued the strips down for a finished look.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Iroquois Plate Game

We've been learning a lot about Indians through our history curriculum. Nicholas loves studying Indians and the Iroquois are one of his favorite tribes.

We created an Iroquois Plate Game which is similar to an old game that these Indians are said to have played.

Supplies needed:
marker
6 lima beans
paper plate (we only had styrofoam)

Nicholas started by using a marker to color one side of six lima beans.



We should have used a different kind of marker. This one dries fine on paper but took forever to dry on a lima bean or a styrofoam plate.



Nicholas then used a ruler and marker to divide his plate into four sections. Then he drew symbols to represent the four Iroquois clan symbols - turtle, wolf, deer, and bear. He was going to color them with markers but again, these markers weren't drying well and after smearing the blue lines on the plate he decided against using those markers anymore.



Now the game was complete.

Time to play!

Nicholas started the game off. He put the six lima beans on the plate and gripped the plate rim with both hands. He tapped it down on the table just enough to make the lima beans jump up and then we watched to see where they would land. If five out of six lima beans land with the same color facing up then the player gets one point. The first person to 10 points wins the game. Rachel and I took our turns and we continued to play until Nicholas finally won the game.



Games and crafts are a fun way to bring other cultures to life for children. We try to integrate hands-on activities like this in our daily homeschool life.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can You Have Fun Without Getting Wet?

After playing at the park with friends today, we were all a little overheated. What better way to cool off then to play in the fountains at The Shops at Highland Village?

Rachel was a little hesitant at first. She stood on the sidelines just watching the other kids run through the sprays of water.



I wonder what she was thinking.



Eventually she stuck her toes in a fountain's down spray while making sure to keep her body at a safe distance from the water.



Oh no! I got a little wet!



Rachel couldn't believe what her big brother was doing in the fountains! Yes, that's him right behind her...



...and again here.



Attempt #2 to play in the fountains. I know it's going to spray any minute but I don't want to get too close to actually get wet!



I know! I'll just pick up some unknown girl's shoe and put it in the fountain. That's almost as fun as getting in the fountain myself!



Rachel tried to stop the flow of the water coming out by putting her little feet over the spout! I love those cute little feet!



Next thing you know, there are three girls trying to stand on one spout to block the water flow. Cute!



Nicholas and some of the other boys were doing experiments in the fountains. They put some little drinking straws in the water spouts when the water wasn't coming out and then they would see how far each of the straws would shoot up into the air when the water came back on. Science really is everywhere and it can be fun :)



Rachel enjoyed looking at the statues of the little boy and little girl that is next to the fountains....and now she is WEARING some stanger's shoes!



The Shops at Highland Village is a great shopping center located at the northwest corner of FM 2499 and FM 407 in Highland Village.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oobleck



We've had a nice St. Patrick's Day. We had green grits for breakfast and all wore green shirts. We did some crafts and had some fun.



But the most fun we had today was making Oobleck, the ultimate green goo! Grandmother C. introduced us to Oobleck when she read "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" by Dr. Seuss to Nicholas years ago. Since then we regularly read the book and make our own Oobleck.

Oobleck is fascinating stuff to experiment and play with. Scientifically, it's called a non-newtonian fluid because it's viscosity changes based on the stress applied to it. When action is taken on it, it is firm. You can pick it up and hold it. But once the stress if removed, it seems to melt and oozes right out of your hand. It's hard enough to walk on but it pours like a liquid.

It's really crazy fun for kids and adults.

And best of all, it just washes clean!

Ingredients:
2 cups corn starch
1 cup water
A few drops of green food coloring

Yep, that's it. Simple ingredients and so simple to make.

Nicholas did the measuring.



Rachel did the pouring.



Both kids had to take turns adding the food coloring.



I told them to mix it all up with their hands. Rachel didn't like the texture of it and wanted to go wash her hands.



Nicholas dunked his hands right into the Oobleck.



And he picked off chunks of it and held it up for us to see.



But as he held it for a moment, the Oobleck became a liquid again and dripped right out of his hands.



Nicholas tried to put his whole hand down in the Oobleck. He had to push really hard to get it this far in.



When he pulled out his hand, he saw the imprint it made in the Oobleck.



This whole time, Rachel was still picking at the dried Oobleck on her hands from her original attempt at mixing.



We convinced her to try to push the Oobleck like Nicholas had done.



She pushed and she pushed. It was hard.



Sticky goo stuck to her fingers!



If you've never played with Oobleek then you should really give it a try. It's like nothing you've ever seen before!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Texas Nature Challenge: Bob Jones Nature Preserve

We are participating in the Texas Nature Challenge again this year. There are missions at 32 different nature locations in our area. We started our challenge this year with some friends at Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve in Southlake. It's a great place to go on nature walks with children. The path is only about a mile and there are lots of different habitats and features to look at and explore. For our nature mission, we are will stop by the Nature Center to pick up a container to collect various artifacts that we find at stations along the trail. Some of the artifacts at the stations include leaves, branches, seedpods, rocks, tracks and more items that represent the flora, fauna, and geology of the Cross Timber ecosystem. Once we finish the trail, we will go to the patio at the Nature Center and arrange the collection of artifacts within that frame to create a unique piece of natural art. Here's the map of the trail and the stations in the mission:


Nicholas was quick to find goodies for his collection bag.
Rachel enjoyed dragging her empty bag behind her.
The nature stations were well organized. This station was labeled "Trees" and contained a collection of branches, leaves,and seedpods. The kids chose their favorite pieces from this station and put them in their bags.


There are plenty of benches along the trail and this was the perfect spot for our lunch.


We said "Hi" to some people on horses that were following another trail on the adjoining property. Rachel had fun climbing up and down the fence between the properties.


I love going on nature walks with kids. As long as they understand that basic rules of the trail, it's wonderful to be able to let them just wander and explore on their own (within sight and reasonable distance, of course!)


Reasonable distances are shorter for the smaller children.


We made our way back to the pond. We were amazed how low the water level was and talked about the markings around the bank that showed the previous water levels.


Here is the "Grass" station complete with mutliple types of dried grasses and an idenitification card to help learn the names of the grasses.




Watch out! Look at the size of the thorns on this tree! They are about 2-3 inches long.


Rachel enjoyed reading the many identifying labels for the trees around the property. She points to the words and says random letters of the alphabet.

"A,W,P,S,L".


Nicholas and his friend were really good about sharing their discoveries and explorations with Rachel. She felt pretty special.


This station had really cool finds. There were feathers and snake skins...


...animal tracks in plaster of paris...


...and even a wasp nest!
Rachel collected some things at the nature stations but she was more interested in walking and exploring. What a great way to have fun while getting some good exercise.




The geology station had rocks, sand, and shells. Rachel enjoyed just feeling all the different textures on each of the items....smooth, bumpy, gritty...


We completed all of the nature stations and headed back to the Nature Center.


Before we went inside, we played in the digging station - a big tray filled with dirt and digging tools.

As the kids dug in the dirt, they found interesting worms, bugs, and critters like the one below.

Besides the created finds in the digging station, Nicholas found this cool bug body part!


We finally made it back into the Nature Center. Nicholas put his frame on a table and enjoyed dumping his bag of goodies into the frame.


He created his natural masterpiece. Ta-dah!


I love the art work that our friend made. There was a lot of different materials used, particularly sand which added an extra layer of texture to the picture. Nice!


Feathers...


We spent a little time just looking around the Nature Center. Nicholas loves this cool snake...dead and stuffed, of course!


Rachel enjoyed the paper mache caterpillar. This would be a fun project to do at home...but maybe on a smaller scale!


The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is located at 355 E. Bob Jones Rd in Southlake, TX. For more information, please call them at 817-491-6333 or visit the Bob Jones Nature Center website.