Tuesday, October 15, 2013


       I've seen variations of this project allover Etsy and Pinterest and it's something I've been meaning to make for over a year (yes, it took me over a year...).  All the stones were hand-selected from the beach, but, to save time, you could always just buy a bag of polished stones at the craft shop.

       After a couple of failed attempts with a paintbrush, I used paint markers (genius invention!) for the letters and then outlined them in permanent marker.  They are lowercase on one side and uppercase on the reverse.  I then finished them off with a thin coat of Mod Podge for a bit of extra gloss.  There is something very appealing about the size and weight and smoothness of them.  They are the perfect, multi-sensory alphabet for little hands.   

My initial picture said "word up b*tches" and although I found that humorous, I didn't know how appropriate it was for a kids blog ;)

I also made these little math babies, which will be for my next rock project- math rocks!  I just need to collect a bunch of baby-shaped rocks for "counting babies" and some more round(ish) ones for the numbers.  I think another visit to the beach is in order.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The "Me Tree"

We had so much fun home (really un-) schooling last year, that we decided to do it again!  A common theme in many schools at the start of the school year is "All About Me."  Mini egotists that they are, young children love doing projects about themselves!  It's also a fun way to record what they are like at a particular age, and for comparison at the end of the year, as well as future years.  One of our projects for September was a "Me Tree."  I was inspired by a lovely drawing that Ocean did, which was a tracing of her hand with tiny leaves decorating the fingers.  We traced her hands and arms to make the trunk and branches of the tree, which I hot-glued (alas, you can tell I'm no Martha Stewart with the glue gun!) to a piece of (slightly warped) cardboard from the recycle box.  I then cut out leaves, on which Ocean wrote out things that she loves right now, at five-and-a-half (unicorns, dogs, books, etc.).  We glued them on along with some pictures of favorite things from magazines.  She completed the project with a self-portrait.  Maybe we'll put this aside and make another for comparison at the end of the school year, to see how she's grown and changed.

I feel like this craft has so many possibilities.  With a classroom, you could make a huge tree with branches and leaves for each child.  Another thing that came to mind was expanding on this idea to include "roots" for a genealogy lesson. You could add photos of relatives and ancestors with *their* favorite things.  Maybe we'll do that someday.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Art: Watercolor Trees

All you need for this art activity is: masking tape (we used green craft tape), watercolor paper, and watercolors.

First, you tear the tape into strips to use as branches and a trunk.  Press the tape down firmly in the shape that you want.   

Mine is on the left and Ocean's is on the right (she decided to add "snowflakes" to hers).

Add your watercolors:

Once the paint is dry, remove the tape.

We may do this project again, but with darker paints for a greater contrast.  Maybe we'll make grids or road maps...or spider webs?  I also liked the way it looked with the tape on so we might do some like that as well.  

Science: The Naked Egg

This week, we did a really easy & fun science experiment.  All you need is an egg (or two, in case one breaks), some white vinegar, and a jar.  You put the egg in the jar, cover it with the vinegar, and then let it sit for 3-4 days (changing the vinegar once, after the first 24 hours).  The acid in the vinegar breaks down the eggshell (base), so that you're left with just the translucent membrane.
To supplement our experiment, we read "The Egg," which is a Scholastic "First Discovery book."  I love these books as they let you "look inside" things.  After 4 days, we found that the egg was soft and bouncy (we bounced it -carefully- on the kitchen table).  We also held it up to the window so we could see the "nucleus" (yolk) and the "cytoplasm" (the whites) inside.  Ocean also enjoyed looking at it with a flashlight.

 This is what it looked like right away, you can already see the shell breaking down.
 Ocean's drawing of the experiment (although, of course, our egg did not produce a chick...I think that was wishful thinking on her part).  She also practiced writing the word, "egg."
 So cool how it glowed in the sunlight.