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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bursting into July 4th

I know it's a bit early, but I thought I would do my Summer Picnic post now. I am hoping to get the back of our basement organized. It's the room that catches just about everything, just about anywhere. My fear, I'm going to go in there and get lost. If you don't hear from me in a few days, you might want to call the authorities.

This week's picnic is, of course, the celebration of July 4th. I know it may seem silly, but as soon as I hear July 4th it's fireworks! Our public fireworks have been cancelled the last two years because of rain, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this year!

This is a unit I have never done before so I went to that trusty Mailbox and found some great ideas--along with a simple one of my own.

I have a few different July 4th ideas so this post may get a bit long. I hope I can keep your attention. Also, I am not at school much so I'm scrounging around for materials, but I think everything worked out well.

Homemade Fireworks

For this project you will need:

a film canister
paint brush
curling ribbon

The hardest part of this project may be finding a 35mm film canister. I'm lucky I have some hanging around here still.

Poke a hole in the lid of the canister with some scissors. Have your child cut some curling ribbon they like--it can be any color. Your part is to feed the ribbon through the hole and knot them together underneath.

While you take care of the ribbon, have your child paint the INSIDE of the canister with glue. Let them pour in some glitter and shake it up to cover all the inside of the canister.

Pop the lid on and let them through it high in the air. Hooray!

Glitter Fireworks

You will need:

Construction paper

This one is pretty easy--mine of course, very basic. Give your child some glue to draw a firework. Sprinkle glitter over the glue drawing and shake off the excess. If they like they can add more fireworks in different colors. Remember you have to do one at a time if you are doing different colors.

Tissue Paper Fireworks

You will need:

Tissue Paper
Construction Paper

This project turned out pretty cute. I wasn't quite sure at first, but it gave a pretty good bang for the buck. One caution--it can be time consuming for little ones. You might want to make small fireworks.

Again, draw a firework with glue. Take some tissue paper and let the little ones rip it into pieces, make a ball out of it, and then stick it on the glue. (I only had white tissue paper at home. I think this would have looked great in color, or smaller fireworks with different colors).

Our final project:

Exciting Streamers

I had trouble with a name for this project. My family came up with shaker, firework shaker, streamer, shaker streamer thing, pop pom, so take your pick.

You will need:

Crepe paper
pipe cleaner

I was lucky to find some red and blue streamers, but I think you can use any color. I took two lengths of about 1 foot then cut each length into 3 strips--so I had 6 pieces.

Take the pipe cleaner, fold it in half, and twist together the ends--you want to have a loop in the top. Take the part that you twisted and push it down into the straw.

Take one streamer and lay it down. Place the loop on top, put a dot of glue on a piece of the crepe paper and fold it over to glue it to the loop. (I'm hoping the picture is more understandable than that explanation--I'm not sure I even understand that.) Do the same with all the rest of the crepe paper pieces.

Now pick it up and shake it around. I thought it might be fun to take to the parade.

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July. I will probably be back before that, but this seems like a good time to offer good wishes.

Oh, I almost forgot, don't forget to check those fabulous fireworks I made a while back.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Fun at the Outer Banks

Hi everyone. We are back from a wonderful vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As some of you may know, we go down there every year. I just love it there. We have always stayed in South Nags Head which is quiet and peaceful--gotta love that. I was a bit worried that the rain from Southeastern PA was going to follow us down, but it didn't it stayed put in PA while we enjoyed beautiful sunshine.

We had a wonderful new experience this year that I wanted to share as it is great fun for little ones. We took our youngest on a pirate adventure this year and we had a GREAT time. The trip is oriented for children 3-10. We were going to take our 10 year old, but decided against it. Personally I think 8 might be top age for this adventure.

The children first dressed as pirates, then got some pirate paintings on them. They then snuck down to the dock to board the Sea Gypsy. Captain Chum was awaiting our arrival. After instructions were given we headed out to "sea." You actually just keep circling in the sound, but the children don't know that. The first mate has some fun instructions for the children; they have to find the treasure map on the ship, some keys, look for Pirate Pete in his boat, find the floating X, pull up the treasure, share the treasure, and have a party afterward. It was so much fun. Taking down mean old Pirate Pete with the water cannons was a favorite part.

If you go down there with a child, you might want to give this adventure a try. We paid $15.00 each for the trip because it was a Sunday. During the week tickets are $20.00. I truly believe it was worth it though. It was about a 15 minute drive for us from South Nags Head. You go over the Causeway onto Roanoke Island and head into Manteo on the waterfront.

My second most favorite part of the Outer Banks is Jockey's Ridge State Park. This is something we do every year, and it has yet to get old for me. It is a most amazing natural wonder. The kids just love to climb the dunes. Sometimes you feel like you are in a movie where you are in the desert and each time you climb the dune, you find another one. We usually go in the evening after dinner so it's not too hot. It is a magnificent site and the children find it as much fun as I do. (That's probably not saying much since we already know my mind works much like a preschoolers :).

One other thing that is great fun is searching for sharks' teeth. We have a membership to the aquarium so we go there every year. They have a fossil pit where you can dig up lots of fun fossils, but the sharks teeth are always the best loved in our family.

I think he is actually enjoying me finding the sharks teeth. To be honest, I'm the one they usually have to pull away from the pit.

Well, it's great to be back. I have a lot of catching up to do.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

A "Smack" of Jellyfish

I was making these jellyfish and didn't really know what a group of jellyfish are called. I found the answer over at yahoo answers. It said they are called a "smack","brood", "smuth", "smuck", or "fluther." You learn something new everyday.

Don' t forget the jellyfish fingerplay with this craft.

For the project you will need:

an egg carton
tempera paint
yarn or ribbon

First cut the egg carton into 12 individual cups. Let the children paint the cups as they wish. One color, two colors, dots, stripes, pinwheels, etc., just let them have fun with it.

Next cut some ribbon or yarn into pieces for tentacles. The great thing here; the pieces don't have to be any specific lengths. They can also be all kinds of different lengths. Let the children cut the yarn or ribbon--have a ball.

The next part I did. I poked a very small hole in the top of the cup, tied a knot in one end of the yarn, and pulled it through the hole. I used this piece for hanging.

Let the children dab some dots of glue around the inside of the cup--as many or as few as they wish. Then add the the ribbon or yarn for tentacles. I used tacky.

For the most part your done. (I thought they looked like spiders) I took it a little further though. I got a straw and strung a shoe lace through the straw. I then hung three jellyfish on the straw, sort of like a mobile.

The other jellyfish were added to my son's bulletin board. I just put a tack through the hanging piece of yarn. They are a bit hard to see because he wanted a Spongebob themed bulletin board so it's a bit busy. But, doesn't Spongebob just love his jellyfish?

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I will be without the internet for a while. I am actually looking forward to a bit of downtime. Take care and enjoy!

I got a note from Jellyfish Nate who is a jellyfish lover and has a site with information on jellyfish if you're looking for any:

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ABC and 123 Picnic Talk

I hope you all don't mind, but I am a bit swamped here--trying to get a family of 7 ready for vacation. I decided that I would recycle a post I did last summer concerning fun things to keep little ones busy on a trip. I hope you enjoy it:

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Starfish on the Sand

Ironically as I was checking some of the blogs I visit regularly, I found another great starfish activity. Over at Casa Camancho they made some great starfish with Q-tips. Also, last year at the aquarium in North Carolina they were very strong in stressing the point that starfish are now called sea stars. I understand their point, but it's hard to make an "old dog learn new tricks."

For the project you will need:

cardboard, from a cereal box
colored crystals
small shells (optional)

I used a side of a cereal box to make my starfish. I wanted something a little more sturdy than construction paper. My starfish is drawn freehand and cut out by me. If you have an older child, they would be able to cut this out.

Let the children pour glue all over the starfish shape. Then spread it everywhere with their finger. A little sticky, but hey they get to play with glue.

Once the starfish is covered with glue it's time to cover with the crystals. I had some "crystals" from an old Shrinky Dink set that I used years ago, remember those? I was thinking maybe colored decorating sugar would work too. I was looking for something that would give the starfish that "scratchy" feel. Pour the crystals all over the starfish shape then shake off the extra.

Attach the starfish to the sandpaper. I used tacky for a little extra strength. For a final little touch I added some small shells I had around the house.

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