Friday, June 17, 2011

Hit the road -- err, the driveway!

Get out the scooters, bikes, trikes and skates. Good? Now take your bucket of sidewalk chalk (if you don't have one, get one) and make a little mini city on your whole driveway. I'm not sure how well the chalk in these pics will show up, but I think they'll give you the general idea.


Here we are at the corner of Maddie Drive and Bella Lane....



Thankfully our friend Erica who lives across the street and sometimes babysits for us, came out to say hello and I offered to help me finish the roads. It's a little hard on your back, but worth the effort. We had just finished our "city" when it started to sprinkle, but thankfully it didn't last long.

And for a chuckle, here's a business card I got from a kid while we were outside. love it!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Computer Time

Aside from lots and lots of reading, I also have a few other things for the girls to prevent them from experiencing brain drain over the summer. One easy thing we're doing is spending some time on

B's working on recognizing letters and their sounds.

And Sydney is loving the reader portions of the site.

She can read the sentence, clicking on any word she needs help with, and it sounds it out for her.

She can also click on the parts of the picture above the sentence and enjoy the animation.

And I saw today that the ABC portion that B enjoys is now an ipod app. Good to know.

The girls also enjoy:

Disney Junior

and S is obsessed with, Just hit the button below:


THAT'S RIGHT -- Keep hitting it! MORE UNICORNS, rainbows and EVERYTHING SPARKLY. You're welcome.

Leave your kids' favorite websites in the comments!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Making Beds

It may be due to OCD issues but Syd is obsessed with making her bed. This too shall pass, so while she's into it, I've been encouraging her and Brenna to make not only their beds, but whatever beds need making. They pull up the sheets and covers.


And pile on the pillows.

And nothing is very smooth or picture worthy very often, but the point is, they're doing it. Even super littles can help with beds!

While you're at it, you should always do a little jumping as long as it's not an antique or fragile bed. Jumping (one at a time) is pretty safe, in my experience. Sometimes I think we say no too much.


And apparently next up... haircuts!

Chapter Books to Read Aloud

Some of my favorite elementary school memories are of teachers reading aloud from great books. I remember The War with Grandpa (Smith), Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (O'Brien), The Egypt Game (Snyder), and From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweier (Konigsburg.) I took a trip to the bookstore during Mommy Time not long ago and stood in the children's section, awash in memories. I could have spent hundreds stocking up on things I couldn't wait to read to my kiddos.

We've read aloud every day since Syd was teeny tiny and have bookcases full of picture books. And although I've tried reading aloud from chapter books before now, they may have been a bit young. Probably depends on the child. Anyhoo, Syd turned 6 (!!) yesterday and Brenna is 4 and a half. So now I read a couple of picture books to them and then a chapter each night from whichever book we're working through. And they have really gotten into it. We began with the classic The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.


I love anything by Beverly Cleary, I really do. I filled my summer reading program library quotas during my childhood with Ramona, Henry and Beezus, Ribsy stories, and even the lesser known Ellen, Otis and Emily stories. Love me some Beverly Cleary. I choose the Mouse and the Motorcycle book because Brenna loves animals of any kind, and because really... who can resist the idea of a mouse riding a toy motorcycle? Not me. And not them. After initially being disappointed in the scarce pictures present in the paperback, they settled into the idea. Syd flopped over the dog on the floor and Brenna next to me. Ralph has his own series, but I wanted to change it up a little.

When we finished Ralph, we started on Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, friend to all the chlidren in the neighborhood, has an arsenal of cures to help parents solve their children's bad habits. Never-want-to-go-to-bedders, the answer-backers, won't share, won't take a bath, tiny bite takers... Mrs. Piggle Wiggle has a "cure" for everything. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle also has a series, but we I am eyeing Mr. Poppers Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. A loose adaptation of MPP in movie form, starring Jim Carrey is due out in June.

Other readalouds I have on my possibilities list:

Betsy Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
Ronald Dahl books
B is for Betsy and ALL the books by Carolyn Haywood
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
Shel Silverstein poetry
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I love all these books from so long ago. Just a simpler time. But of course there are lots of new series out worth looking at too. A trip to the library and/or bookstore to see what interests your slightly older kids is recommended.

Happy Reading, everyone! If I've left off one of your favorites, leave a comment so we can all benefit.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And We're Back!

Stickers and Habitats

We're starting off on the not-so-creative side of things, folks. I've got to work up to the good stuff.

The girls and I found this big book of animal stickers at our favorite store (Target.)


The girls love animals and all kinds of creatures. They spent quite a while drawing habitats and putting the appropriate stickers on.
"The African Sabannah"

I must not have taken a picture of the ocean scene. Here's the one Brenna and I did together. She told me what to draw and I obliged, and then she did the stickers.

Let Your Flag Fly!

Here's a project my friend Margie put together for our Pre-K Sunday School class this last Sunday (Memorial Day.) She pre-cut all the strips of paper and the blue rectangle. If your kids are older, they could cut out the stripes themself. If they're a lot older, this could be a measuring exercise. No matter how you do it, they sure are cute!