Cold Weather Learning

It has been crazy cold where we live…I mean super cold! Windchill values that risk frostbite in under 5 minutes cold. Of course this means that the kids can’t go play in the back yard and dig in the snow fort they started with their dad last week or ride their snow saucers on our little sliding hill we made. There has been TOO MUCH screen time and a lot of rough housing these last few super cold days. Of course we have built forts, played new games, and had free play time but the lack of ability to pitch the kids outside for even 15 minute intervals is getting OLD!

Super cold!

Super cold!

Today we organized our craft supplies and made a few crafts then saw our Mega Bloks/Duplo sets and I decided to work on some math concepts (in italicized text) with Bubba. Bubba is 4 now and catches on to concepts quickly so I thought it was a perfect opportunity. First, I laid out all the square blocks in rows by colour. Bubba was intrigued and came over to see what I was doing. He quickly went to work building monochromatic block towers. I helped him line them up by ascending height and he got to counting.

Blocks in ascending order

Blocks in ascending order

Bubba counted each tower of blocks accurately and at the dark green tower I stopped him and introduced the concept of counting on. I asked how many blocks were in the purple tower, to which he answered, “Eight!” I showed him that the green tower had one more than the purple tower and since we already knew that the purple tower had eight we could just count on from eight. “Nine!” he replied. We repeated the counting on discussion with the red tower.

Counting to 13

Counting to 13

We discussed how lime green, black, and orange all had the same number of blocks as well as yellow and purple and dark green and blue. After that I introduced the term “equal to” and we went through the same discussion using “equal to” in place of “same number”.

The green is equal to the blue

The green is equal to the blue

Then I asked which colour had the most blocks and which had the least. We compared towers with differing numbers of blocks and I introduced the concept of “greater than“. I made a statement that “the green tower is greater than the purple tower” and had Bubba repeat the statement. We replicated the “greater than” discussion with all the other combinations of block towers.

The blue is greater than the white

The blue is greater than the white

By this time Bubba was wearing thin on patience with all my math talk and just wanted to make the hugest tower possible! We worked together and made a tower out of all the smaller block towers. I had to stuff one more math concept into our play and we counted all of the blocks when I prompted with, “How many blocks are there all together?” Bubba needed a bit of help after twenty-three but we got through it together and counted all fifty-eight blocks!

All in all I was pretty proud of Bubba and how he picked up on the math concepts. We’ll revisit them in days to come.

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My Babies are Growing Up.

I haven’t shed any tears yet but I’m sure they’ll come. In the dark loneliness of 2 am baby wake-ups. I have recently been realizing that my babies are growing up.

Now, I’m not delusional. I see my kids every day and marvel at the learning they do. It’s just become apparent lately that they’re all growing up. Before we know it, the hubby and I will be empty nesters wondering where the last 20+ years have gone and how to get our mojo back.

A few examples of how I know my babies are growing up:
10. Baby is no longer interested in nursing to sleep.
9.   Bubba happily goes to preschool 2 days a week without any tears.
8.   Baby is nearing age one and he stands, holding on to everything!
7.   Bubba and Boo (who share a room) had to fall asleep alone tonight because Hubby is away for work and I’m trying to do bedtime with 3 kids at once!
6.   Baby has had a few bruises on his head, one most notably from letting go of the ottoman and landing face first on a piece of wooden toy railroad track.
5.   Boo is working on his “big boy voice” instead of whining. It’s quite cute. He’ll raise his squeaky little 3 year old voice and ask things like, “Mommy, can I have a glass of milk, please?” instead of whinging and whining at my legs while I open the fridge door.
4.   Baby is very independent and even though he has no teeth in his mouth he can eat a cheese quesadilla like nobody’s business.
3.   We just ordered Bubba his first pedal bike and since he’s been using a balance bike for 2 summers we’re not using training wheels!
2.  Bubba is very into superheros and tells me things like “Superheroes don’t need mitts” and “Superheroes don’t need to eat supper”

And the number one way I know my kids are growing up?

We took the kids swimming yesterday since it was a holiday and Hubby didn’t have to work. I took Bubba up the 40+ stairs to the top of the waterslide. He’s awfully skinny so I was holding him to help keep him warm. I instinctively nuzzled him and kissed his cheek to which he said, “Mommy, please don’t kiss me while we’re waiting for the waterslide.” I was a bit taken aback; a tiny bit injured that my baby was rebuking my love in the form of a kiss. I asked him why I couldn’t kiss him while waiting for the waterslide and he said it was “embarassing.”

*SIGH*

My babies are growing up.

 

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Summer Time and the Living is Easy….

If you’re like me you’re singing in your head right now. Here’s a version from a homegrown girl, Theresa Sokyrka. You may remember her from season 2 of Canadian Idol.

I have been so busy enjoying the nice warm (and sometimes rainy) weather with my boys that I haven’t taken time to blog lately. As a mother and a teacher I know that play is the work of children. We have been spending so much time playing lately. Here are a few of our latest adventures.

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Spring Science

We live on kind of a busy street so I took the boys for a walk yesterday to a nearby crescent that opens to the park. There is a nice quiet corner in that crescent that is just perfect for some spring science.

Thank goodness for splash pants

Thank goodness for splash pants

What, you may ask, is spring science. Well, I’m sure most of you have done it even though you may not know it. It’s when you take things like sticks, leaves, and ice chunks and float them in the melting snow water that is flowing towards the sewer drains. My boys loved investigating this “pond” as they called it.

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There was a shelf of snow near the base of the driveway you can see in many of the pictures. All the objects we floated would disappear under the shelf of snow and not come back out. Bubba was determined to get just one twig, leaf, or chunk of ice to come out the other side and go down the sewer grate. He must have floated at least 40 items through the water and not a one came out the other side. When his hands got so cold that he wanted to walk back home he took 2 twigs, walked up to the sewer grate, and ceremoniously stuffed the twigs down the grate. “There!” he said, and he was ready to go home.

There are all kinds of things my boys were learning by repeatedly floating found objects down the runoff. We made predictions as to whether the pieces would sink or float, if they would make it all the way to the sewer grate, if size made a difference. We learned about buoyancy and density and surface area. We learned that wet mitts make for cold hands. Nobody fell in the very cold water which is a plus! We stayed there for 30-40 minutes investigating over and over again.

We plan to go back every couple of days and see how the snow has changed from melting and hopefully in a day or 2 the snow will have receded enough that Bubba can float his leaves and twigs right into the sewer grate.

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Movie Night on a Chilly Thursday Morning

Even though it’s April 4th, it is COLD and SNOWY where we live. It was -16° Celsius here this morning. For people who know Fahrenheit, that’s 3°. We still have tons of snow on the ground. Actually, the kids have been making snow castles in the yard.

Snow castles on March 28, 2013

Snow castles on March 28, 2013

Our yard on April 2, 2013

Our yard on April 2, 2013

Bubba with Roscoe. He said, "Hey, the snow's almost gone!"

Bubba with Roscoe. He said, “Hey, the snow’s almost gone!”

MUCH different from 7 years ago when my hubby and I got married. We were wed on April 8, 2006 and it was +17° Celsius (62° F) that day. There was no snow on the ground and it was amazing!

Our wedding on April 8, 2006.

Our wedding on April 8, 2006.

Seriously though, this morning the kids were going bonkers and I didn’t feel right sending them outside when it was so cold so we turned on a movie, made popcorn in the microwave (brown bag, 1/3 cup kernels, popcorn setting +30 seconds) and now we’re having a movie night on a Thursday morning in our jammies!

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Shake Your Groove Thang!

So the boys and I have been testing out our shakers for the last few days. The Gorilla Glue I used initially to glue them shut didn’t hold up so I decided to try hot glue. So far, so good. Today we each chose 2 shakers and did the song from story time. It is sung to the tune of “The More we Get Together” and goes like this:

We shake our eggs together, together, together,
We shake our eggs together because it’s fun to do.
Shake them high (Arms over head)
Shake them low (Arms by toes)
In the middle (Arms by waist)
Nice and slow (slow shaking down)
We shake our eggs together because it’s fun to do!

It’s so cute, Bubba is even remembering the words AND singing in tune. Singing in tune is a huge feat for a 3 year old!

After we sang We Shake our Eggs Together a few times I decided to look on You Tube for some shaker songs. I came across Miss Nina and LOVED her! We shook our eggs along to “Shake Your Egg Shakers” and “Shake My Sillies Out”. The boys had a great time! More egg shaking is in our future.

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Shaky, shaky, shaky!

Today we went to story time at our local library. My boys always love when the librarian gets to distributing the egg shakers for a rhyme or two. They carefully select the color of egg they think will shake just right for them and shake with all their might during the rhymes.

I have often thought of buying a few egg shakers to have at home but today during story time I had a brain wave. Let’s make our own egg shakers! I had a bag of those colorful plastic filler eggs from last Easter that were just sitting in the craft room…or as Bubba calls it, “the mess room”. While Boo and Baby took much-needed naps, Bubba and I raided the pantry and filled some eggs.

We put in breadcrumbs, table salt, brown rice, tiny star shaped pasta, dried split peas, and popcorn seeds. Bubba had a great time pouring, snapping the eggs shut, and testing them to see what they sounded like. While shaking the breadcrumb egg, Bubba squeezed a bit and the egg popped open. My first thought was “UGH! Another mess to clean up!” Instead of getting frustrated,we just swept the breadcrumbs aside and kept filling our eggs! I also decided at that moment to super glue them shut so we didn’t have pasta and salt in all the rugs!

We noticed that the salt and breadcrumbs make soft noises and the popcorn and rice make louder noises. I played a guessing/memory game with Bubba as we glued the eggs shut. He shook each egg and guessed what was inside then I put glue around the lip and snapped them shut. We also commented on the quality of sound each pantry item made in the egg. When we shook the salt and it was very quiet Bubba said, “I need to shake this one quietly.” Now, if you know any 3 1/2 year old boy, they don’t do much quietly!

Bubba wanted to keep filling eggs so we raided the pantry some more and filled 3 more eggs. One with toothpicks, one with small shell shaped pasta, and one with sea salt. I’m interested to hear him compare the table salt and sea salt shakers. The toothpicks didn’t do much since they are so long so I decided to break them in half. They make a much better sound now.

Another mishap was had when Bubba opened the egg with the table salt in it. We spilled a bit on the counter. As we all know, table salt and white sugar look similar. Bubba asked, “Can I lick up this salt?” I said, “Okay.” He took a biiiiiig lick and then made a face, spit, wiped his tongue, and then asked me to wipe off his tongue. Poor kiddo! When he opened the sea salt container he turned his head and said, “I’m not eating that!” I laughed and told him he didn’t have to.

When Boo wakes up from his nap we’ll see what he thinks of our endeavours.

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