More Outdoor Crafts and Activities!

Going for more walks?

We are. I have high energy children, and I know where they got it from. Me. They got it from me. And at one point, my energy surpassed theirs. I was the hurricane to their tornadoes. But since this damn depression hit, I barely keep up. Stupid depression.

Anyways. My tornadoes need walks. They need to move. If they stay cooped up inside too long, they get aggravated and pick on each other. Before long that picking becomes fighting. This isn’t just a shelter-in-place-thing. This is too-much-screen-time thing too.

So now walks. Two or three walks a day. Is this what it’s like to have dogs?

Here are some things to do while walking.

1. Scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of things to look for. Everyone is suggesting this one. There are tons of lists online right now. We are all desperate, bored people.
2. Photography. Come up with a list of things to look for and take pictures.
3. Make a cool nature collage with those pictures.


4. (In the desert, this gets a little tricky) Find cool leaves and bring them home. Make crayon rubbings with them.


5. Find cool leaves and use them as stamps. Pour some paint on a paper plate or pie tin. Dip the surface of the leaf into the paint. Press the leaf to some paper. In theory, it’ll make a print. Unless your kid smears it. Then they just have fun.


6. Use leaves and sticks as paint brushes. We never had much success with this, but sure, give it a try. I mean, why not? We’re all bored any ways.


7. Press flowers. Collect flowers. Put them between wax paper. Put them between a couple of heavy books. Leave for several days.


More crafts to come. Stay safe! Stay Sane!

Easy Science Crafts – with Glue

Always with glue. Most of these are astronomy related. I like astronomy.

The reason I will not move from the desert is because of the stars. They’re amazing here. So I made, built, remembered a lot of ways to get my kids interested in the stars.
1. Take cotton balls and stretch them and glue them on paper (preferably blue paper but orange or pink would be cool) like clouds. Make cool designs. Go outside and observe the clouds.

1.a. Look up different types of clouds (if your child doesn’t know them or quiz your child if s/he does know them. They will roll their eyes and be annoyed that you don’t know them. But review!) Make the cotton balls into the different types of clouds and label them.
2. Make constellations on black or blue paper. Drip glue in a pattern of dots and sprinkle glitter. Connect the dots with black marker or white chalk. Make real constellations. Make fake.
3. You can make constellations with star stickers too.


4. You can make constellations with white chalk dots and connect the dots. To keep the chalk from wiping off, spray the paper with hair spray.


5. You can use white paint and q-tips to make the night sky. Or white fabric paint. (For some reason I always have fabric paint at my house.)


6. Go out each night and observe the sky. Have the child draw the moon every night.


7. Have the child draw the stars every night. If you go out the same time every night for several nights, your child will notice the sky changing. Or go out several times in one night.


8. Extra points for using Oreos in the phases of the moon. Top off exposes the cream, making it a full moon. Top on makes it like the no moon or eclipse, whatever. Then break the top part of the cookie in different shapes revealing the different phases of the moon or remove the top cookie and cut the cream in different shapes revealing the different phases of the moon. I can’t take credit for this so type in “moon phases oreo” in a search bar an you’ll see what I mean.

Good luck, parents! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Stupid Easy Things to Do

In a crisis, we tend to forget about easy stuff to do. Sometimes we just forget to do things when we’re bored. Or we just forget.

God only know how many times I’ve wandered around the house bored, not knowing what to do, and then later realizing, “Holy Cow, I could have done X; sonofabitch!”
1. Let kids draw on the steam mirror. You can have them clean the mirror after. Kids are entertained by both. Also drawing something on the mirror as a surprise is cool too.
2. Dry erase markers work on mirrors and windows. Just make sure you supervise them kiddos.
3. Bubble baths are awesome any time of day. A few drops of food coloring in the water. Magic. You can also write words and draw pictures with the food coloring drops on the bubbles.
4. Night baths with glow sticks and bathroom light off.


5. Remember that game you played as kids where you had to keep the balloon in the air. That is still an awesome game.


6. Same game as 5 but you glue/tape popsicle sticks on the back of paper plates and use them as rackets. Have the kids decorate their rackets. Heck, draw a face on the balloon.


7. Since some of us bought up a 3 years supply of toilet paper, you can dress up as mummies. Not us, you. Some of you bought a huge supply. Make a fort out of it.


More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane. You’ve got this parents!

Crafts with Glue!

I have a lot of easy crafts with glue because glue and paper are cheap and easy. (I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere.) I am sure I will post more glue activities.

Another day in the madhouse here, just like it probably is at your house. My boys have school work, but it’s a struggle to keep them from not plugging in to YouTube and videos games not having anything else to do. So I’m pulling out art supplies and science experiments here.

It slightly reminds me of the horror when all three of my boys had Foot, Mouth, Hand Disease. Tornado E was 6; Tornado S was 4, and Tornado A was 1. I saw no other adult for a week. It was …. It was hellish.

So good luck, parents. You can do this.

(Some of these use food supplies; just remember the supply chain isn’t cut, and things will be back to normal soon.)

 
1. Glue and rice. Make a design with glue, sprinkle rice, shake of excess, let it dry. I was promised a glitter effect, but no. It still looks cool.
2. Noodle Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with noodles. Perhaps various noodles. Glue them down.
2.a. Or let them just glue noodles down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


3. Rock Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with rocks. Glue them done. Like the noodle mosaics, people make some awesome pictures.

3.a. Or let them just glue rocks down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


4. Bean Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with dry beans. Perhaps a variety of beans. Then glue them down.
4.a. Or let them glue beans down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


5. Decorate those large noodle shells. We’ve done markers, glitter glue, fabric paint, googly eyes. It’s great.


6. Print out or draw a large letter or word. Have the child draw glue on it. Then have the child decorate it with buttons, noodles, rock, glitter, whatever you have. This is how I taught letters and words to my own sons.


Stay safe. Stay sane

More Crafts: Cheap and Easy Edition

I meant to post sooner, but I have kids to teach like we all do, and I work from home, like most of us do. Teaching online is just as hard as kids learning online. I am embarrassed by my own tech savviness. Or really the lack of it.

Then to add that the kids need to move or they start attacking each other. And I have to move of I start feeling anxious. It’s a mess.

Here are some more easy things to do to entertain kids or yourself. (Also I swear that I’m putting line breaks between the numbers, but it’s just not showing up. I am a tech genius.)
1. Water painting. Bucket of water, brush, wall. Preferably outside.
2. Ice painting. Ice cube, sidewalk, preferably outside. (I have a chalk ice recipe somewhere…. I haven’t tried it, but I’ll let you know.)
3. Sand painting. Let them glue a design on paper. Let them pour sand on the paper. Shake off excess sand. Preferably outside. You can dye the sand with food dye over night. It may dye your hands. Just saying.
4. Freeze toys in ice cubes. (Do people still have ice cube trays?) (Use plastic or paper cups that you can destroy to get the ice cube out) Let child figure out how to break it open. Give them “tools” they can use. Or they will just throw them on the ground. Still fun.


5. Glitter painting. Let them glue a design on paper. Let them pour glitter on the paper. Shake excess glitter off the paper. Teach your child to sweep. Then swifter. Then vacuum. Find glitter two weeks later. The gift that keeps giving.

More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane. We’re all in this together.

I’m bored!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written due to teaching and parenting and whatever other chaos has come my way. But after the last several days of giving suggestions to my colleagues and friends with younger children, I realized that I can help a lot of parents out there. Sure, I have the craft section of this blog, but I figured that I can just post quick ideas, and if you want the pictures, you can move over to the craft section.

So day 1 of craft and activity ideas for bored children and adults.

1. Baking soda in a pie tin. Give your kid a glass of colored vinegar and an eye dropper. This will amuse a kid (or an adult) until the baking soda is slop.
2. Bread painting. New (or really clean) paint brush. Color some milk. Let the kid paint the bread with milk. Toast the bread and butter it. Snack!
3. Stickers. Fish stickers on blue is an ocean scene. Have the child draw some seaweed, glue on some sand at the bottom edge, put on some fish stickers. Then cover it with plastic wrap. An aquarium. Animal stickers on green paper could be a jungle or forest. Have the kid make a zoo.


4. Pet rocks! First go rock hunting. You can stretch this out for a while. Is that the perfect rock? You can paint rocks. You can use markers on rocks. You can make monsters, pets, fun designs. Warm up the rock (or wait until “summer”), and you can use crayon, and it melts on the rock.


5. If you can wait, order shrink-a-dink paper. My kids loved shrink-a-dinks. Don’t let anyone tell you to use styrofoam meat trays. First it doesn’t work. Second no matter how clean a used one is, it’s not clean enough and will smell like cooked meat.

 

Good luck! Stay safe. Stay sane. We are all in this together.

Philosopher Princes

I’m a sucker for intelligent, funny boys. While the humor comes from the bloodline, I blame the drama boys who easily linked their crazy sense of humor to philosophy, engineering, pop culture, and literature. And so it was just a natural step that I encouraged the same thing from my own boys.

I’ve written dozens of posts on their sense of humor, and dozens more to come, but lately it’s the intelligence that catches me off guard.

My boys do not seem to inherited the quick-witted, street-smarts, jury-rigged intelligence that haunts my family. Perhaps I should just drop a box of wood, gears, and tools at their feet and see what happens. Although, I do see glimmers of it as they build unique Lego structures.

But what my boys have inherited is my lust for knowledge, the delver of something in books, something hidden that must be found. We have “scientific” books on monsters. The boys fish for articles and videos on video games and their theories. The why stage never ended.

Why are they burning Nikes?

Why does Grandma get so mad?

Why did our President say that?

Why can’t you take me to school?

Why do we have to have spinach again?

Ah, life’s mysteries. (Because spinach is good for you, and I’m hoping the taste will grow on you. Do you need to hear the hummus story again?)

But my favorite part of this intelligence is the connections. The boys come up with a theory, work it out in their heads, and then present it to me in a mini-lecture. On video games, on movies, on characters, on history, on philosophy. Marvel, DC, Trump, classmates, teachers, 9/11, environment, racism, sexism, Hello Neighbor.

They want my input. Without asking, they wait for the judgement. Did they guess right? Did they put the pieces to make the right shape? Is it strong enough?

Hoping I’m doing the right thing, I ask questions, prod their theories, correct assumptions, help recalibrate their understanding. I marvel as they try to figure out human understanding, to figure out how to solve the world’s problems, remembering that at their age, no one would listen to my philosophies.

I look forward to the day of peer-to-peer discussions with my own philosopher kings.

A Punny Teen

He’s growing tall, my boy. Four inches over the last. Still more to go. And still very goofy.

I went after the Bookfair, where I left him, to pick him up. He was the last student to stay to clean up. He looked over at me.

Tornado E: Hi, Mama!

Me: Hi, sweetheart. Are you done?

Tornado E: I don’t know.

Me: Go ask what else you can do. Ask until everything’s done.

I want him to be helpful. I want him to be of service. I want him to stay until everything is done.

One of the moms: Thanks, Tornado E. Could you go get me my fan?

She was loading up her car with several tables. There was nothing for me to do. Tornado E came out of the school, carrying a large box fan. The mom turned and reached out for it.

Tornado E: This is my biggest fan. Be careful with him.

The mom burst out laughing.

She turned to me: I love his sense of humor. (She turned to him) I love those types of jokes.

He beamed.

The mom: That’s everything. Thank you so much, Tornado E. You can go home.

He came to me. I put my arm around him and walked to the car.

How did this kid get so much of me in him? I wonder if anyone sees anything else but me hanging out behind his eyes.

I kissed his head.

Nah. It’s all him. I could never enjoy math the way he does.

Telling a Lesson

Me:

Me: Sit down (to the kid who was up for the 10th time)

Kid: I can’t miss.

Me: You’re 14; you can sit for 50 minutes.

Kid: But you don’t. You never sit for 50 minutes.

Me: First, I chose a career where I don’t have to sit for 50 minutes at a time. I like standing. And kid, I went to Catholic school. I had to kneel for 50 minutes. Now. SIT.

I smirked at the end of the story that I was telling my mom in the kitchen.

Tornado E: Mama, why did you have to kneel for 50 minutes?

Me: It was a punishment. I talked in church.

Tornado E: Did you tell your student that?

Me: What? No. I’m not an idiot.

Tornado E: Huh.

Huh, in deed…..

Early Bloomer

Tornado E: Mama? Remember in third grade when the kids didn’t get my jokes?

Yes. Like when your teacher came up to me to tell me how bright you were and how advanced your humor was, that your classmates didn’t understand your jokes or sarcasm. Like when I started sending school notes with corny kid jokes to expand your humor to something closer to your peers. Like when you wanted to give your best friend a My Little Pony Pinkie Pie for her birthday because she had a nightmare about it and that would be hilarious.

You’re right. It would’ve been. If you were older. Like teenagers. In college. Adults. Not third grade.

Third grade when I had to explain it was ok to tease someone but when that person is hurt or offended, you apologize and never make that joke again. It’s ok to make a mistake and cross a boundary you didn’t know was there. But it was never ok to keep hurting a person like that. Sometimes people won’t be able to tell you they are hurt, so you have to watch for physical cues, and then you back off when you hurt someone. Always.

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: They get my jokes now. They think I’m funny. They try to copy my jokes. They like insulting each other now. They’re trying to be sarcastic. It’s kind of funny.

So it only took them three years to start catching up to Tornado E. I’d pitch him against any of my freshmen any day of the week.