Monday, October 14, 2013

I Spy Clean Up Game

When possible it is always a good idea to make a task as fun as you can. When kids are involved, all the more reason. The problem is, I'm not always that fun or creative. By chance today we found a fun new way to make a quick pick-up a little more fun. Now, I warn you now, this is not an everyday thing and it won't get your house sparkly clean, but when you want a few particular items picked up or the kids to chip in with a good attitude its worth a go.
Step one: I went around the rooms I wanted picked up most. I took close up pictures of all the items the kids had left out, messes they had made but didn't pick up, or items that were just not put away properly. I tried to zoom in enough that whey could identify the item but not where it was easily.
Step two: I uploaded all the pictures on to the computer and put them on the display.
Step three: I had all the children come in and look at the pictures. The goal of the game is to find the items in the picture and put them away. I gave points but you could do it as a team effort, or time them...however works best for you. Then I deleted the pictures of the items they had found (these I saved special).
Bonus: My 4yo, who normally isn't much of a help much to his sisters' chargrin, saw one picture and said, "I know where that is. I made that mess!" Then he ran off and cleaned it all up. SCORE!
Things got picked up fairly quickly and they were eager to identify items quickly and pick them up so they could get on to another picture. All the random forgotten socks were found and put in the dirty clothes, lost shoes were found, toys, game pieces picked up, books randomly deposited in odd places....all picked up.
Some pictures were easier to identify than others, and when they realized things were not necessarily in the room they belonged they began to notice lots of things they never could "see" before.
Like I said before, this would not be something we do every day, but perhaps doing this a few times might help them learn to look for those items they have lost a little. (I can hope, right)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sun Crayons

Result will very based on your geological location. This is our results (in the Middle East). We sorted crayons into a muffin tin with paper liners. The paper was just to make it easier to remove them when they were done; the crayons do leak through the paper and so the tin will be forever crayon-y. We set the crayons in the sun on our front steps and I also set a thermometer out there too. The thermometer maxed out at 120F and could not handle the heat so it is no longer working and trashed. After an hour the wax was all melted and we brought them in to cool. Now the kids are having fun experimenting with the marbled colors and drawing fantastic pictures. We call these our Kuwaiti Sun Crayons.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fels Naptha for the Laundry

I like my home made laundry soap, but I don't always like grating the bars of Fel Naptha. Over the weekend, a friend mentioned she had heard someone put her bar in the microwave like one can Ivory soap (this make a big fluffy cloud of soap if you haven't heard). It was time for me to make some more laundry soap, so naturally I had to try it. 2.5 minutes later - Voila! Maybe not as poofy as Ivory gets, but it is fun to watch it puff, and when you let it cool completely (it gets HOT) you can easily crumble it with your hands into a nice powder for your soap. SO much easier, and SO much more fun!

Friday, March 15, 2013

No more table work...well, maybe sometimes

Options. That is one reason we chose to home school. Options. As a former public school teacher, I have a tendency toward "desks" but I have been very interested in alternative seating for students for a while. This week I had an epiphany: My kids had options and were utilizing them. I just needed to get the tables out of the way...but not too far out of the way. We are a family of book worms. Even my son who isn't a "reader" loves to curl up with a good book frequently. So, naturally I let my readers curl up to do their independent reading. Usually they choose to curl up in one of these great comfy chairs or on the couch...or in their beds...or in the get the idea. I have one child that often has a difficult time sitting still, so she has been allowed to stand while she works -as long as she can write her neatest. Before, a regular height table worked well. She could stand and the table height was just right. Then she grew and this adjustable computer table became a favorite. It is a bit tippy, so hopefully we'll find another alternative soon. She also has a tendency to find her way onto the floor. She sits, lays, curls up...whatever. My concern is whether or not she understands the work, so if she is writing neatly and showing appropriate comprehension, I say "whatever works". I also realized, she wasn't the only one. My other kiddos may not move around quite as much, but they enjoy the ability to get comfortable when getting their work done (even if that means a tutu). I even got them big clipboards they can use as lap desks. These boards are large enough to support a fully open workbook or notebook. The tables still get used, so we keep them to the sides so they can easily be utilized, but out of the way when they are not. We also have a laptop for some of their work, but it stays at the desk. The reason for this is for the protection of the laptop, and so I can oversee their computer usage. When I moved the tables out of the way and let them take full advantage of the options they had, I was delighted to see how naturally they shifted around the room to get into a comfortable but found appropriate places to do each task. I was also delighted to find that there was a lot less complaining about the work that had to be done. The didn't get things done any quicker, and there is still bouts of procrastination and day dreaming- no more than before, but no less either. They simply didn't seem as grouchy by the end of the day, and as a Mom to 4, I can say I'd move more than tables just to get that result right there.

Packing for vacation

Rolling outfits together! Why hadn't I done this before? I've packed their outfits in baggies but they are so slippery and then the baggies seem to litter every where and get lost, and I always feel like I'm just wasting the bags. I done other methods...but this one really worked. I rolled a complete outfit (including undergarments and socks) and packed them in their suitcases on our most recent trip. (We were traveling to a colder climate or the rolls would not have been so bulky) Extra layers and pajamas fit nicely on top. When it was time for showers or to get dressed, my kiddos could just pick out one roll and they had everything needed. I had the kids help me construct the roll before the trip began, but half way through the trip I had to do laudry. No problem, I just stacked the clothes and rolled up the outfits again. Suitcases stayed neat and tidy (this is BIG for me). My younger two have smaller bags, but the rolls still fit nicely with room for pajamas and an extra jacket. I was able to fit 7 rolls in each kid's luggage.