Saturday, June 27, 2009

Penguin Week

It was a long but good week at our house. Dad was in a class every weekday evening for two weeks, so it was long days for Mom. But we are done with that, thankfully. Some of the week's highlights follow.

We took a field trip to a museum in our hometown. They hosted a kids' open house with story time, crafts and a tour.

Some of our favorite activities this week were parquetry blocks from and some Magnetix we bought at a yard sale ($2 for a bin full).

Thing One played with cuisinaire rods for the first time this week. They are a math manipulative to go along with Miquon Math in the fall. The instructions suggest allowing some free play time with them before beginning lessons. Thing One liked making patterns and seeing if I could copy them.

Thing Two enjoyed playing with buttons. I was recently gifted with 13 pounds of buttons by a friend at my quilting guild. The possibilities for these are endless! Sorting by size, shape, color, making jewelry and crafts....Today he just loaded them into his toy trucks and carted them around.

Another favorite was this balancing game (I don't know what it's called, it was a gift):

I also read a nice idea to "Paint with Popsicles." The original idea was to put a bit of powdered tempera paint onto paper, and give the kids popsicles, which will melt and mix with the paint. I pulled out our Aquadoodle pad and we went outside as a lower-mess version. I used colored craft sticks. If I do this again, I will use plain popsicle sticks. The craft sticks turned them nice colors, but Thing Two wanted to eat his as much as draw with it, and I wasn't sure if they were food-safe. And they dyed our hands colors. I used a popsicle mold, but you could use ice cube trays as well.

We made a penguin lapbook. Thing One did about two of the little activities each day. I grabbed these from about ten different websites. His favorite, much to my surprise, were the penguin puppets. He performed a "puppet show" for Thing Two and Daddy while I read a poem, then he made up several scripts for them himself while I cooked dinner. We sang some penguin songs, played some computer games and an interactive tour of Antarctica.

We watched March of the Penguins and Happy Feet. We read tons of books, many non-fiction about penguins. The favorites were a series of books about Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, and Gon: Volume 2 (graphic novel) by Masashi Tanaka. Thing One made some nice drawings of penguins because "coloring pages are boring." Thing Two enjoyed the watercolor/crayon resist art activity I had planned instead.

Another big (surprise) hit were some Landmark flashcards I picked up at Target for $1 in the dollar bin. Thing One knew quite a few (White House, pyramids, Statue of Liberty) and enjoyed learning about some new ones (so did I!).

We played lots of Lego (I'm told the plural is Lego with no "s" by someone whose name starts with John). Even one of our worthless cats got into the act, I mean box.

I even had time to sketch this week! What a pleasure to just sit and draw a while.

We spent lots of time outside enjoying the beautiful sunny yet not-too-hot weather. I threw 20 pennies into the digging hole one afternoon, and the boys enjoyed sifting through the dirt to find them. We planted a few new seeds, watched our mystery plant grow out of our compost pile, and investigated a moth caught in a butterfly net and a beetle found on the patio.

We also encouraged Thing Two in his potty training endeavors. He's doing so awesome!


  1. Is it really plural with no s??!?!?!? really?!?!?!?!

    I'm going to look it up.

  2. Oh and it's called the "Rocking Moon Game." It's available a ton of places, but my favorite is here