Archive for September, 2010

Down to the River they did go, Wibble Wobble to and fro’

September 29, 2010

Possum is 4 years 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 2 months

We are really blessed where we live.  We have a number of National Parks nearby.  This park lies enroute between our home and DH’s office (and many other places), so we often drive past it.

(Yes, Bandicoot is blurry in this picture.  You should see the ones I did not upload.  Keeping still is NOT his forte.)

On this particular day we chose to play in a grassed picnic area near one of the creeks.  The boys had great fun, running around and exploring.  (And dare I say it?  Dropping rocks in the water!)

Just before it was time for us to leave a family of ducks came swimming up the river.  Have a look at the size of this!


I couldn’t believe it.  22 ducklings!  That poor Mummy and Daddy duck.  They looked quite young, so this is possibly their first season as parents, but I was so impressed with the way they watched them and herded them, making sure no one was left behind.  Then they took turns in being sentinel each while the other ate.  Really an inspiration.

They boys – both duck mad – loved watching them, even if they didn’t grasp the amazing size of the family.

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Stone Soup

September 27, 2010

Possum is 4 years 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 2 months

Today we tried a different technique for story-telling.  Instead of reading a book, I told the boys the story, “Stone Soup“.

It was hard going.  It was one of those short attention span days.

We acted out the story, too, using wooden and material vegetables.  The wooden veges needed to be chopped before going in the saucepans, so that was lots of fun.

We also discussed what would happen if you made a soup with only a stone in it.  Would it have any taste?  I had actually sterilised some stones so that we could cook them up, but it really wasn’t soup-eating-weather.

Post Script 2 months later:

I had thought that the boys were not that interested in this week’s activities, but I have caught them playing “Stone Soup”, including the retelling of the story many, many times since then.  Just goes to show you, they might not LOOK like they are listening…

Harvest Time! And Planting Time, too.

September 27, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

We had lots of fun digging up the spuds in our square foot garden.  Unfortunately, this was the entire crop from two plants!

Ah, never mind.  We roasted them for dinner, and you have never tasted a potato so good!  Next year we will need to plant more.

We also started our strawberry planter today.  It was rather too heavy once full to hang in the spot I had planned.  We have found a lovely sunny spot in the front yard for them to grow.  Fingers crossed for a yummy crop this summer!

Cherry Trees

September 20, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

Around here there are lots of ornamental cherry trees.  These trees are bare all winter and then in spring blossom in a gorgeous display of pink or white.

Over a period of a few weeks, I took the boys around the area to watch some of them.  They were fascinated to watch the change.

We did this simple craft to celebrate:

The Very Busy Spider

September 20, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

We love this book.  The boys love bugs and insects and creepy crawlies.  I love the way you can feel the spider’s web all the way through the book.  I have previously borrowed this book from the library and this time we borrowed it from a friend, but it is definitely on my wish list.

As I was setting up, Bandicoot discovered my basket…

Apparently I was taking too long to move on to the interesting stuff…

We made these little spiders – inspired by Mama Jenn.  Unfortunately, the legs didn’t stick on with the craft glue we had, so we added some tape “until the glue dried”.

That night I used a bit of Mummy Magic (also known as a hot glue gun in this case) and attached them more permanently.

And the other problem with using pipe-cleaners (er, sorry, chenille sticks as we are supposed to call them now)?  When you stand them on a hard surface and bump them, they make a rather skin crawling sound.  (Admittedly, they sound a good deal more like cockroaches than spiders, but even so…)

Did I mention how much I HATE spiders?  They really scare me.  Pictures, toys – any of them.  I justify myself because we live in a red-back and Sydney funnel-web area, but really they all give me the heeby-jeebies!

But I digress…

I prepared a magic painting for the boys before hand.  I used a white oil pastel to draw spider webs on a piece of white paper.  They then used watered down paint to make the webs show up.  This is possum working hard on his, with his little spider keeping him company.

And this is one of the finished webs:

I was a little disappointed with they way the web showed.  Maybe I should have used tempura paint instead.  However, when we held them against the window, they looked pretty good.

We had quite a discussion about HOW spiders build webs.  I had done a bit of research on this, which was scary business, because you just never knew when you were going to stumble on a picture of a spider.  I found it really fascinating, ‘though.  I was also pleased to see that the pictures in the book were pretty accurate – the drift thread first, then anchor threads, then the radials, (then there was supposed to be the spiral guide thread) and finally the (argh!  Can’t remember the correct name) the threads that go round and round.

Other interesting facts that we learnt:

The distance between the concentric circles is determined by the length of the spider’s legs.  That means that little spiders can catch little bugs and big spiders can catch big bugs.

A webbing spider has three spinerettes (the things that make web).  They have one type for the drift thread and anchor threads.  Another type to build the web and finally a third type for wrapping up their prey.  Cool, huh?

So, using our knowledge about how a spider’s web is built, we drew one in chalk on the driveway (wow, it used a lot of chalk!)

Can you see the blue cross on there?  Possum drew that, because he wanted the spider “to know all about Jesus and how He loves him and how He died to save him”.  I guess the Christian education is sinking in!

We then used the web to play spider and flies.  I thought we might take turns at this, but it is much more fun apparently if it is Mummy spider.

The boys buzzed around the yard and then “got caught” in the web.  Here you can see two little flies waiting to be eaten:

I then had to tip-toe carefully around the web to reach them, wrap them up and eat them.  They thought this was the best game ever!

A couple of days later, we had a lesson on the transience of spiders’ webs.  It rained and washed our web off the driveway, just like what happened to all the real spiders webs out there.

Given my, ahem, lack of affection for the subject matter, I really enjoyed this unit with the boys.

An update on those seeds…

September 20, 2010

Remember the seeds?  Well this is what they looked like three weeks later:

Christmas Paper

September 18, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

The boys were helping Mummy get a head start on the Christmas season by decorating our Christmas paper.  We try to do something like this each year, but given the kid’s ages it is a little repetitive at the moment.  No one cares, ‘though – it is messy and lots of fun.

I use a roll of drawing paper and this year we got some Christmas stampers.  I usually find that the paint stamp pads are a great thing to use.

Of course, I wasn’t counting on Bandicoot and his special gift for making a mess.  There are quite a few multi coloured foot prints on that paper, too!  That boy can make a mess in anything – I have never met anyone like him.  He certainly leaves us in awe.

And if you are a male in my DH’s family for anywhere in the three living generations at least, some things are just more important.

Name Change!!

September 16, 2010

My little Chicken is Chicken no more.  He has informed me that he is, “Mummy’s Little Bandicoot”.

We have had a wild bandicoot visiting our yard in the evenings, and he is enraptured by it.  We find lots of evidence on different days, including holes in the grass and ‘coot poo.  Some nights we even get to watch it play and forage if we are outside (my camera is not good enough to get photos, but Oh! how I have tried.)

Anyway, I am happy to have too little indigenous animals to represent my boys, especially as both species are visitors to our yard.  Not sure what we will call our new bubby when she arrives, ‘though – Magpie?  Sulphur Crested Cockie? Flying Fox? Butcher Bird?  Don’t have the same ring, do they?

Boy Food

September 14, 2010

‘cos sometimes this is what you have to do to get a kid to eat….

Parts of a Plant

September 14, 2010

Possum is 4 years 4 months

Chicken is 2 years 2 months

 

Here is a Montessori style concept book that I made with the boys.  It goes through the various parts of the plant.

(Mine is on the left, Chicken’s in the middle, and Possum’s on the right).

Possum particularly loved doing this.  Chicken loved it because he felt very grown up and was having Daddy cuddles at the same time.  (This was another waiting activity in a cafe).

The plan is to tie it in to discussions about veges and what parts of plants we eat.

I am learning this is all a much more organic process and formalising it doesn’t work unless that is what the kids want – at least at this stage.  (I always knew that, but sometimes it takes me a while to listen to myself!)