Lego Mania Completed

We finally made it!  We spent around an hour a day working on the Lego castle and we are finally done.  We made sure that our son did most of the work…we set out the instruction manual and pointed out each step and talked through it with him.  That way it was truly his and he could be proud of his hard work and persistence.  It would have been a lot quicker if my husband and I had just worked on the castle on our own, but it was so much better this way.  Below are the pictures of our progress through this project over the past few days.  Tomorrow we get to go back to doing our craft and science projects, I can’t wait!

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Lego mania

Yesterday afternoon I had a girl’s snowshoe day with some of my friends so I left my husband in charge of the craft project.  I felt that I was wonderfully organized and presented a binder full of activities that we had the supplies for (trying to keep with my goal of creating homemade projects without having to go out and buy supplies every day).  As proud as I might have been of my organizational skills it just did not fit my boy’s style so they decided to go on their own craft adventure.

They headed out to the store and scoured over the lego section until they found the perfect project…a ninja “castle” with a giant dragon.  If you have read any of my previous posts you would be well aware that our house revolves around dragons and dinosaurs.  Needless to say my son was more excited about the dragon lego project then he has been about any of my craft projects.  When I arrived home they had completed the magnificent dragon which was laid out on a place of honor so that I would see it as soon as I entered the room.

 

As they told me about the dragon I was informed that the castle would be our project for Monday as well.  This evening while dinner is cooking we will start on the castle, but I highly doubt if we will finish the project today…the darn thing comes with two instruction manuals, each about 80-87 pages long.  That’s over 160 pages of instructions for one knee-high castle!  This may be a week long craft project…who knows, maybe I’ll try and claim it as another lesson in patience.  I’ll keep you posted as this castle comes together and I’ll add pictures as the 7 bags of legos start to turn into a castle.  However, knowing my engineering prowess that may be a few months.  All kidding aside this may turn into a fun activity.  My son is so excited that he actually scrubbed his bathroom then cleaned his bedroom and toy room this morning.  Which was my requirements for moving a table up to the toy room for the lego building project (when I set those rules this morning I didn’t think that he would actually follow through with it, but he was determined).

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Wrapping paper

Today we had a birthday party to go to and we decided to let our son run the show.  First we went out and let him pick the present entirely on his own, which was a dangerous decision letting our four-year-old son pick out the present for an eleven-year-old girl.  All possible disasters considered, he did a great job picking out the present.  We don’t ever have birthday wrapping paper here, but we always have an overabundance of Christmas wrapping paper.  So my husband wrapped the present in Christmas wrap turned inside out and we had our son decorate the wrapping paper.  He decided to draw a dragon’s nest on the top.  If you look close you can somewhat see the grinch through the paper, but I think that makes it fun. After he was done coloring the wrapping paper we gave him some paper and let him create her birthday card.  He told us that he was drawing a dragon fossil next to a fossil nest with fossil eggs.

While he worked on his fossil drawing he reminded me of his dragon hypothesis, “Mommy, do you know that dragons lived during the time of the dinosaurs?  But, paleontologists cannot find their fossils because when dragons died they caught on fire and it melted their bones so there was nothing left to find.”  I think it’s a perfectly rational hypothesis.

When he was done we took our dragon themed wrapping paper and card over to a girl’s party and, believe it or not, they were actually the hit of the party…maybe it’s because our son was so excited about the gift and he told everyone about the dragon fossils.  You could literally feel his excitement as she opened the gift that he picked out and “wrapped.”

Project rating – A

There is nothing more special than a card and wrap made specially for the gift receiver, especially when it comes from someone who is so excited about the work he did.  I think we will keep doing this for all birthdays…maybe someday we will make it through the ridiculous stock of Christmas wrapping paper that we have tucked away in the closet!

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Yarn Chandelier

While clicking through Pinterest together my son fell in love with a picture for yarn chandeliers from “HTWM.” His exact words were, “Oh my dear goodness mommy we have to make those right now for my birthday party!” So we gathered up the supplies and set out for our next great adventure…sadly less than 15 minutes our great adventure went up in flames and crashed with a glorious explosion. This is a great project for adults but it does not work well with bouncy four-year-olds (at least not mine). The directions call for tying the strands of yarn at the top of the balloon, but my son’s hands are not quite nimble or coordinated enough just yet so we tried interweaving the strands of yarn. That did not work and many of the strands started falling off the balloon making a plopping noise when they landed. The first plop was pretty funny, but it didn’t take long until the plop became quite annoying. Between the tying problems and the falling strands my son asked “do I have to do this one, or can you make all the balloons for my birthday?” Since I have until July to make them for his birthday I dismissed him from the project, but I had to promise that I would let him pop the balloon tomorrow when the yarn was dried.

Project rating – c (for kids) A (for adults)

Sadly this project was our first flop, however I do honestly plan on making these for this birthday party. I’ll do it as a surprise because I don’t want him getting frustrated again. Even our flop was pretty cool once it dried, so I’m sure a well done chandelier would look amazing.

Reference- HTWM (5)

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Pardon Me Pete

Today we watched bits and pieces from the “Jack Frost” movie as a part of our groundhog’s day lesson.  After watching “pardon me pete” sing his song about February 2 we decided to do some shadow play.  Unfortunately, my camera didn’t work out so well with the shadow play so I don’t have any pictures from today’s activity.  First we started out having my son stand in the dark room and moved the light around to see where the sun would have to be in order for him to see his shadow.  From there things became goofy while we played with shadow puppets and also placed random objects (toys, the phone, a chair…) in front of the light to see what their shadow looked like.  I wanted to try shadow tracing by putting a paper on the ground and tracing the shadow from one of the toys but my son was more interested in just making the shadows today instead of drawing.

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Bubble Painting

My son spent the afternoon at his friend’s house and so we decided to make a thank you card that he could put in his friend’s mailbox at school tomorrow.  We already created a pop-up thank you card earlier this week so we had to come up with a new idea for the card.  Last year I had tried doing bubble paintings at my son’s preschool, but all the kids kept drinking the bubble/paint solution so I had to scrap that idea quickly.  However, I was flipping through “Scribble Cookies” this afternoon and found that if you puncture the straw then it prevents them from drinking the solution but does not keep them from blowing the bubbles.  With that information I decided to give bubble painting another try…and I’m very grateful for that tip because the first thing my son asked when he saw the green bubble solution was, “Oh yum, mommy can I drink it?”

From there he started blowing bubbles then dropped a piece of construction paper to pop the colored bubbles on the paper.  He kept doing that process until he had added enough green paint.

We let the green paint dry while we ate dinner then created another cup of bubble paint (He picked pink this time).  We will let the bubble card dry overnight then add his thank you note to the card in the morning.

Project Rating – B

This project is very quick and easy (just allow dry time in-between colors for the best results) so it is possible to do several at a time without the kids getting bored.  My son was actually disappointed when we were done with the project because he wanted to keep making bubbles, so I let him play with the bubble paints for a while after we were done.  Just be sure to poke a hole in the straw so that they cannot drink the bubble solution!

References – Scribble Cookies (4)

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Viking Journey

This is the follow up from yesterday’s boat craft project…

My son is absolutely in love with the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies, in fact he just loves anything to do with dragons.  So I decided to use that to spark interest in our toy boat science project.  I told him that all the food was gone at Viking island so all the vikings and their dragons had to move to a new home and they could only take one boat.  To top it all off, he had been chose as the official boat tester.  So we grabbed our bucket of toy vikings and  dragons as well as a clipboard and decided our test parameters.

 

As you can see (hopefully) on the chart above the boat had to float, it had to move in the wind and it needed to be able to hold our dragons and vikings for the journey.  We started by placing the boats into the tub one by one and found that they all floated well (just a note…if you paint the bottom of the boats with Tempera paint it will all wash of the boats and stick to the bottom of your tub).  Once we found that they all floated my son gave each boat the wind test to see if they would move in the wind without tipping over.

Again all the boats passed the test so it was still a tie for the journey to the new viking island.  That meant it was down to our final test to determine the winning boat.  We started by placing the vikings and dragons in the butter tub boat.  Having the mast in the middle of that boat was a disadvantage because when the first two vikings were placed inside the boat was thrown off kilter and tipped over then sunk, taking that boat out of the race.  Both the foam boat and the egg carton boat held all 27 dragons and vikings, however, the foam boats did not have side walls so our travelers kept falling overboard.  That made the egg carton boat the clear winner!

Project rating – A+

Make sure that you set up the theme to fit your child’s interests that way they will stay with you through the entire project giving you the opportunity to work on counting, graphs and reasoning.  My son loved our little adventure and even picked the winner on his own without coaching.  We had a blast and made another mess!

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Toy Boats

Today we went to the boat show in our area with our family and wandered around for a few hours.  It was a nice way to spend a rainy day.  When we returned home I set up our newest project.  We took several different materials out for creating toy boats (and tomorrow we will do a science project with those boats).  For our boats we chose; an egg carton wrapped in foil (so it does not get soggy), a foam block and an old butter tub.

My son picked red and black paint for his boats and went to work decorating the boat bases.  It wasn’t long before he was mixing his paint colors hoping that his boats would look like the striped boats that we saw at the boat show.  As you know, red and black don’t mix well so his boats are just black.

We looked at several different materials for the masts: construction paper on craft sticks, fabric on wooden dowels, or cardboard on small wooden dowels.  We settled on the cardboard cutouts with wooden dowels, and used some of the foam to attach them to the egg carton and butter dish boats.

We will let our boats dry overnight and tomorrow evening we will place them in the tub to test them out.

Project rating – B

The nice thing about this project is that you don’t need to buy anything to make the base for the boats.  You can recycle almost any container and use it as a boat, just make sure that you wrap paper based containers in aluminum foil so that they do not breakdown in the water.

References – Create-Kids-Crafts (3)

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Pop-up Cards

My son has recently been working on a thank you gift for a family member and I asked him to make a card to go with the gift. He then informed me that he only likes cards with music or that talk. Since we cannot make a talking card I asked him to try a pop up card instead. This was a really easy project but he loved making it. He started by cutting out a design for his pop-up card…he chose a heart:

Then he laid the heart on the inside page of the card (you will need two sheets of paper to make the pop-up card), and cut alongside the heart.  Making sure that the cuts were longer than the heart so that it would stand up.

Once the cuts were made he folded the pop-up portion inward and glued the outside of the sheet of paper and attached it to the inside of the other sheet of paper.  Make sure that you do not glue the pop-up section or the card will not work.  Give the glue a few minutes to dry then it’s ready to decorate.

Project rating – A

This project may be very quick and simple, but that’s why I love it!  My four-year-old son was able to complete the entire project on his own.  They make great gifts/thank you cards and they mean so much more than a store bought card.

 

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Paper Mache Nest

My son recently picked out a baby bird toy with an egg and kept saying that his baby “kevin” needed a nest.  I spent the past few days trying to come up with a way to make a nest for this little toy, each more elaborate than the next (including shaping wire into a bowl then weaving paper, straw and branches through it).  Finally I came back down to earth and realized that this is a toy nest that will be forgotten or destroyed after a few days.  I settled on using a tupperware bowl and paper mache to make the nest.  Sometimes the best idea is the easiest idea!  We started by tearing the strips of newspaper.  I hadn’t paid attention to what section we were using, but my son noticed, “Awesome mom!  It’s good that we’re using the joke pages, now Kevin will have something to read when he is in his nest.”

Once the paper strips were ready it was time to dip the paper in the glue mixture (I poured a 4oz. bottle of Elmer’s glue into a bowl then filled the bottle back up with water then added the water to the bowl.  So pretty close to a 50/50 mix).

The goo was the best part of the whole project!  My son was pretending that the papers strips were snakes sliding in the mud then moving into the nest.  I was laughing so hard that I was crying, which is slightly dangerous when your hands are covered in glue.  When we were done placing all the newspaper strips in the bowl we had quite a large puddle of glue in the bottom of the bowl so we decided to add some dry strips of construction paper to soak up the rest of the glue.

My goofy little boy was really into this project and wanted to do most of it by himself.  We finished this project less than an hour and he has already checked on it 3 times to see if it is dry.  He really wants to take the nest out of the bowl so that he can use it, but I think it will need to sit all night if not longer…we used a lot of glue!  When the nest is all dry I’ll update this post so that you can see the final product.

Project rating – A+++

This has been the best project this week.  My son loved getting messy in the glue mixture and kept saying “Eww, this is disgusting…I better wash my hands in it!”  We are still picking glue off of our arms and cheeks (he sent glue flying a few times).  Clean up was a breeze, just lay down a layer of newspaper before you start then the mess just rolls right up.  If you rinse the bowl and your hands as soon as you are done then it all just washes away easily.

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