Playing in the Rain

We don't get much rain in North Texas but this spring has been an exception.  Today we had a sudden heavy storm that came and went rather quickly but it caused some flash flooding.  The kids loved it!

They went out to play in the sprinkles at the end of the storm and found the big flow of water coming from down the street to the storm drain in front of our house.  Rachel put on her raincoat and rain hat and then stood right in the middle of the flow!

Then Nicholas joined her.  The grabbed some spare boards and made a small dam.  Nicholas brought out a styrofoam tray that we had contained some sliced fruit from the grocery store.  He walked down the street and put the tray in the water and they watched their "boat" sail down the waterway.

Of course they enjoyed it when the boat hit their dam.  I enjoy watching them process discovery learning of some basic principles of physics and not even realize that they are learning!

They played with their styrofoam boat for a while then sailed leaves and other sticks down the street.  Nicholas disappeared for a while and then I found him on the front step carving a boat. His ideas, creativity, and resourcefulness always amaze me!

In the meantime, Rachel was having a blast playing with a whirlpool that had accidentally formed on one side of the dam. It sucked things down into it and spit them out on the other side of the dam!  Take a look at this quick video clip:

I checked back on Rachel who had decided to try to dam up the storm drain!  Actually the purpose of this dam was simply to keep their boats safe from being sucked down the drain with the water flow.  Good thinking!

By now Nicholas had finished his boat and they sailed it down the street for a while.  So cool!

They worked on their dam some more.  It was no longer raining so Rachel took off her rain gear but it didn't really matter because she was halfway soaked from splashing in the water for fun!

One of my favorite times today was when Rachel asked me to pretend to come to her store and ask to see the "Splashing Machine".  Check it out in the video below.  She may not know the names for what she created but she learned a lot about levers, fulcrums, load, and effort today.

What a fun way to explore and learn about the world around them!

Stamps Teach Plus

My kids are strangely in love with collecting and trading Pokemon cards.  I don't know how this started except that they've seen other kids trading these cards but the whole thing seems completely pointless to me. 

So I decided to try to introduce them to collecting stamps instead in hopes that they might actually learn a few things while collecting.  I found this wonderful resource called Stamps Teach Plus.  There are downloadable lesson plans and worksheets about stamp collecting but what is really amazing is that when I signed them up for the program, they received all of this wonderful stamp collecting material pictured below...for free!

There are First Day Covers which are envelopes that have a stamp that is cancelled on the first day of issue for that stamp.  It's a commemorative keepsake for the day the stamp was first released.

There are challenges called StampVentures that get the kids to look through stamps for specific objects and they cover school subjects of Math, Science, Social Studies, Fine Arts, and Language Arts.  

There are also small StampVentures posters for each subject.  The one below challenges kids to look for stamps that represent countries where their ancestors were born.  I hope the kids enjoy these challenges and learn a little along the way.

There are colorful stickers for some stamp themes.

They each received several stamp albums for their collections.

More stamp related educational material - word searches, cross word puzzles, etc.  Love it!

There is also some introductory info to stamp collecting as well as a membership application to the American Philatelic Society.  I'm signing them both up...and I might just join myself so I can learn more too!

Some stamps and historical information.

Lots more First Day Covers!

A few colorful posters covering different stamp themes.  The Reptiles and Amphibians poster is Rachel's favorite.

There are also some small educational posters that go along 

And what is most fun is the giant pile of cancelled stamps they received to start their collections off right.  How cool is that?!

What a wonderful resource for introducing kids to stamp collecting!

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