Wednesday, September 26, 2012

we are on a crafty roll!

I decided to stretch out our school year so there wouldn't be any gap between our years.  So, we are finishing up our school year now.  We probably have the rest of the week and one more week before we are finished. 

Pretty good timing since we are flying to the States in 2.5 weeks!  And, our new kindergarten curriculum materials are waiting at my mom's house. 

The girls have done really well this year.  I know it is all basic stuff...alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc.  But, I can see a major improvement in how they understand concepts and how their confidence has increased.  They know all their letters, and sounds for a lot of them.  They know most numbers...we are working on that.  I concentrated so heavily on the alphabet, that it is my fault that they are not fully up on their numbers.

I found a fun little way to practice number recognition via Pinterest.  After doing some of our workbook work, we got out the cupcake pans and buttons.  It was a big hit with the girls.

I wrote the numbers 1 through 12 on a cupcake liner and gave them a bowl full of buttons.  They just had to put the correct amount of buttons in each liner.  Emily had a few hiccups and Bella just had one.

They were almost as thrilled to see what sort of different buttons we had in the jar.  It doesn't take much to entertain them.

We added a fun weather chart to our classroom.  Not that the weather changes a whole lot here.  But, they can learn the words that are on the chart.  I finally bought the clothes pins at the store last night so today was our first day using it.  I think it is pretty cute.  You can get your own here.

And, since we bought clothes pins, we did another little art project that I had been wanting to do.  Ours definitely didn't turn out so beautiful like the ones pictured here.  But, ours are special in their own way.  And, right now, the girls are playing with them.  That means it was a success!  There is no fighting right now.

Emily made a million and one of them.  She was into it big time!  You can see the ones that I cut out for her verses the ones she cut out.  If they hold up for the week, that is good enough!  We can always make more.

Bella, on the other hand, was not being a good sport.  Or, more like, she was in a perfectionist mode.  And, that is never good.  It usually ends with her whining that she can't do something.  I didn't allow her to give up and made her make one.  Emily ended up sharing with Bella, so that was nice, too.

And, I had to join in on the fun.  I made a fish for each of the girls. 

The heads may detach from the bodies on these guys.  Or, their whole body comes apart.  But, we don't care.  We made it our way!  We did use card stock so they would hold up a little better.  Try them for yourself!

Friday, September 21, 2012

learning about absorption

If I don't stop posting our art/school projects, I am going to have to change the name of this blog.  But, this is life.  And, not much else is going on right now.  We have three weeks until we leave for the US.  We are very excited about that.  We will be there for a month!  So, we have been busy thinking about what we want to do there and what Halloween costumes we need to buy!  And, of course, I have been spending money like I have a money tree in my backyard. 

Anyway, today we did another fun art/science project that I found on Pinterest.  You can find the link here.

We took glue, salt and watercolors and made pretty pictures.  I did join in on the fun to show the girls how gently they needed to squeeze on the glue bottle.  And, how to control how much salt went on the picture.

Here they started to draw their pictures with the glue.

Once that was done, salt was sprinkled on top of the wet glue.

Here are all of our works of art before we started painting them.  Yes, my art skills peaked in the first grade!

Then, we cleaned up the table to bring out the watercolor paint.  This is where we introduced the word absorption.  We talked about how the salt was absorbing the watercolors.  The girls were thrilled when they would put the paint brush on one spot and the color spread out where the salt was.  Almost like MAGIC! :)

Emily, at this point, worked another lesson into our project.  She wanted to mix colors and make new ones.  She was making purple here.  As you will see on her finished picture, she experimented a lot with mixing colors.  This one is a curious child.  She will create a mess in a heartbeat and it doesn't bother her in the least.

Bella, on the other hand, has to stick to clean, non-abstract drawings.  It is very typical of her.  Often she tells Emily that the way she is drawing/coloring something is wrong.  I always tell Bella that Emily is using her imagination and whatever Emily chooses to do is fine.  It isn't as easy for Bella to accept that.

Here they are showing you their finished pictures.

We put them all outside to dry. 

This was a very fun and successful project.  Even with all the salt everywhere, it wasn't too messy of a project.  I would definitely suggest trying this one for yourself.

Friday, September 14, 2012

handmade ornaments

I've been working on spending better quality time with the girls.  Some days I am better at it than others.  And, as you all know, Pinterest is an invaluable resource to find things to do with the girls. 

The other day I found a link to make ornaments from cornstarch, baking soda, and water.  Simple!  Today, we took on the challenge, and overall, it turned out pretty nice.

We took advantage of having stamps and stamped some images onto the rolled out dough.  I need to invest in more stamps!  This was a fun project and cheap!  Even if you just make them for the fun of it, that is good enough!

Here are the girls using cookie cutters to cut out their ornaments and stamping some designs into them.

And, I thought we might as well paint them before we threw them in the oven.  I just got out the watercolors and it worked rather well.

Here are all the ones we ended up making and painting.  There was a handful of dough left after making all of these.  But, we stopped for now. 

As expected, the color slightly dulled after baking them.  But, look!  They are great!  I think we will figure out where we can hang them until the Christmas tree comes out.  If you are curious, I did the three down the middle: the green leaf and the two with horses on them.  Everything to the left of mine are Bella's.  Everything to the right of mine are Emily's.  I stamped an E (for Emily) and B (for Bella) on the back of them so we can tell who did what. 

Next up, I really want to do these cute clothespin animals.  Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ceramic mug project

I found a project via Pinterest the other day that I thought would be fun for the girls to do.  Buy some white ceramic mugs and sharpie markers and decorate them.  How simple!  Bake and the markers set.

Now, there were some comments on the site that listed the project that didn't have complete success.  But, I'm not really worried about that.  A few have said after baking the mugs, the marker still comes off after washing the mug.

Either way, I knew the girls would like it.  If after a few washes, the marker comes off, we can just do it again!  A never ending colored mug.  Sounds like a plan to me.  I will just take pictures every time so we can always remember what we colored.

The girls did really well.  Just like everything they do, their personalities shine in their styles.  I love that the most.

Here are some pictures of the process.

The mugs are cooling off in the oven right now.  Hopefully, they keep the drawings on them.  Time will tell!  The girls are just ready to use them.  We are going to have hot chocolate!  If you try them, let me know how it worked out for you!