Friday, February 22, 2013

PeeWee Field Trip: Metro (and a bonus Hickman field trip!)

 What I think when I see this picture is, "Our little PeeWees are growing up!"

To go with Lisa's lessons a few weeks ago about trains (see here and here), we took the kids on a field trip to ride the metro. 

Before we went down the escalator into the station, Lisa reviewed what they had learned about passenger trains.  And firmly laid down some safety rules for our trip.
 Everyone was thrilled when they saw the metro map, larger than life, and they recognized it from the one Lisa had made with colored straws at home.

 We stand waaay back from the tracks, and watch for the blinking lights to tell us a train is coming.
 Zoom!  Wave to the passengers!
 We didn't want a long, exhausting trip into the city, but we did want some kind of destination.  What better place to take the train than...the airport!
 We got off the train, took an elevator and a short path, and we were in the terminal.

 We watched the planes and other airport vehicles and had a snack.

 Played in the terminal a bit, then used the bathroom, and took the metro back home!

I was so inspired by how much the PeeWees loved this field trip, talking about the trains, and the tickets, and the lights, and the stops, and the escalators and elevators, that I knew my other girls would love it, too.  We never take the metro anywhere, mostly because driving is faster, and we always seem to be pressed for time.  But last Saturday Ed was in class, and I had a whole empty day to do something fun with the girls.  I saw in the newspaper they were doing a family event at the National Museum of American Art for Presidents' Day.  That's right by a metro stop.  So we did it. 

 Ginger and Hazel loved reading the metro map, and doing their own tickets, and reading the station signs at each stop. 

It's kind of amazing - revelatory - to have big(-ish) kids.  It still surprises me to have big girls that understand so much, that I don't have to do everything for, that can help with things.  It is so freaking fun!  I loooove doing things with them!  When we got back to our starting place, we popped into a Starbucks on the corner for some hot chocolate (with whipped cream of course!) before heading back home.  Two awesome blossom metro field trips in one month!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

PeeWees: Olivia (week 1)

Olivia by Ian Falconer is a special book to me.  When Hazel, my oldest, was just a week or two old, I was out of my mind with sleep deprivation, overwhelmed by new motherhood, and living in a temporary apartment where I didn't know anyone.  A woman from church, who I didn't know, but who had two children, and was therefore awe-inspiring, came by one night.  She brought us a dinner of curry chicken with rice, the most perfect and amazing food I've ever eaten, and a crisp clean copy of Olivia with a big red ribbon around it.  She said it was one of their family's favorite books.  I looked at the small print and real paper pages, and it was impossible to imagine Hazel ever being old enough to read a book like that. 

Eight years and innumerable readings later, we still have that copy of OliviaGinger was Olivia for Halloween two years ago.  Olivia is each of my girls, in her own way.  Because of one stranger's kindness, and of course because of Olivia herself, it is one of my most cherished books in our whole library.

So with only two books left to choose for teaching PeeWees, and with its wealth of PeeWee possibilities, this time around, I chose Olivia

Synopsis:  The book Olivia is part story, part character sketch.  At the very outset, we learn that Olivia is especially good at wearing people out.  She even wears herself out.  Therefore, wearing ourselves out became the objective of our day.  Olivia lives with her mother, father, little brother Ian, and a dog and cat.  Ian copies her a lot, and sometimes she wants him to leave her alone.  In the morning, Olivia gets dressed and has to try everything on.  On sunny days, she likes to go to the beach.  On rainy days, the art museum.  But she doesn't "get" David Hockney's art, claiming, "I could do that in about 5 minutes!"  When they get home, she tries, and gets in time-out for painting on the walls.  She has a bath, dinner (spaghetti with meatballs), and then negotiates with her mom how many books they will read at bedtime ("5 - 1 - 4 - 2 -3 - OK, three but that's it!")  At the end, after reading bedtime stories, Olivia's mom says, "You know, you really wear me out.  But I love you anyway."  Olivia answers, "I love you anyway too."

 Arrival:  Drawing from the page that tells who Olivia lives with, I set out the dollhouse, dolls, and some furniture for the kids to play with.  I was curious if the boys would like this; I didn't think any of them had a dollhouse at home, but it's actually a very gender neutral toy (unless it's all pink and purple plastic, which ours isn't.)  They played great, putting the dolls to bed, walking them up the stairs, cooking in the kitchen, etc.  Of course, there was also racing the baby stroller off the roof.

Circle Time:  We sang our stand up song, did the ABC's, and I had everyone find their name's letters on the alphabet chart.  Then I had them come back up and find their last name's letter; this was a little confusing at first, but we got it sorted out and everyone was successful.  For counting to 20, we counted books (since Olivia negotiates how many books with her mom.)  Getting better at the teens!  Fourteen through sixteen seem the toughest to get through. 

We read the book, and pointed out some notable things, like Olivia is a pig, all the different things Olivia tries on when she gets dressed...

and by far the most memorable event for everyone was when she paints on the walls and got in time-out.  Every PeeWee knows we don't paint on walls!

After the story, we took off everyone's socks and played "This Little Piggy" with our toes.  I couldn't tell if they had done this before.  Some of them knew how the words went, but no one seemed accustomed to doing this with their toes - but it was really cute!

Snack:  We washed our hands and had, big surprise, spaghetti and meatballs for snack!  I was a little worried not everyone would like the meatballs and sauce, but I heard no complaints.

Art:  When Olivia really wants her brother Ian to leave her alone, she has to be firm.  And you know what that means.  A sca-a-a-a-ary mask!
So we made our own, with black and white paint on paper bags.
 I have to say, turning the bags inside out without ripping them was the worst part of my day.  Cutting eye and arm holes was much easier.
 At one point, Bodie called out, "Hey look!  Henry made silver!!!"  Everyone was fascinated at this foray into color theory.
The masks were still drying at pick-up time, so we will save them for next week, and see if we can scare each other with them.

As I helped them all clean up and wash their hands, I gave them the tongue twister "higglety pigglety" to practice saying - it was hilarious!

Activity 1:  I wanted to revisit the page that tells about Olivia's family.
I got out some flannel board family figures, and made Olivia's family with them - mother, father, sister, brother.  Then I had each child come up and make his or her family with the figures.  The first time was a little confusing, since the people didn't look exactly like us, but everyone got to do it twice, and the second time through they found it really fun.
 (It was fun to see Bodie add a baby to his family above - his mom is due this summer.)
I noticed everyone, every time, put Mom on the board first.  Except Poppy.  She did her two sisters, then Dad, then herself (as a baby, even though I had three big girl sister figures available), and then she was done.  I had to prompt her to add me.  Both times.  Thanks, man.

Activity 2:  Olivia's little brother is always copying her.  So we decided to do some copying, too.
We turned to the page where Olivia is wearing everyone, including herself, out, and took turns picking an action to do for "Follow the Leader," or as we called it, "Copy Pig."  Each kid chose an action and showed us, then we copied him for a few seconds, then we all shouted, "COPY PIG!"  Next kid's turn.
Activity 3:  No pictures for this one - I had both hands in the whole time.  We have a parachute in the PeeWee bin, so we put a beach ball on the parachute, everyone took two handles, and we popped and shook that beach ball all around (Olivia has a beach ball at the beach.)
While we shook the ball around, we chanted this rhyme:
Piggy, piggy, piggy,
Piggy piggy POP!
Piggy, piggy, piggy,
Pop, pop, POP!

When everyone started fighting over the ball, we put the ball and parachute away, and sat back down on our mats to re-read the story, after which we did our good-bye chant.

And for the last 5 minutes, even though it had nothing to do with Olivia, we did this:
Just because I have it and we can.  No, I take that back.  One thing Olivia does to wear herself out is jump.  So there it is.  We also put the beach ball in there for part of the time, and jumped to make it bounce.  So there you go.

Those PeeWees really wear me out.  But I love them anyway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

PeeWees: Corduroy (week 2)

[from PeeWee mom Julia...]
Arrival:  So, last week we did a lot with buttons. We started the day with three activities: button tosses into a bowl, button stacks, and button sorting. The button toss was the same as the week before but I actually made them stand back a little bit. It wasn't easy for them and they learned that the smaller buttons were more likely to stay in the bowl than the bigger ones that tended to bounce out.

The button stacks were fun and challenging: they had to stack as many buttons on top of each other as they could. They stuck with this for longer than I'd thought-- they were actually willing to try several different times. Then they began to build with certain colors. Bodie wanted black, Jackson had green, Poppy had pink, and Henry had white.

When they got tired of this we started sorting buttons. I originally had three bowls to sort the buttons into: small, medium, and large. But the medium bowl was a little confusing so we stuck to small and large. Everyone took part in this one but Bodie was primarily a fan of big buttons and Poppy collected lots of small ones. So, so interesting to watch their personalities come out.

Circle Time: After our welcome song, ABC's with jumping jacks, and counting buttons, I had them tell me what they remembered about the book. Everyone remembered how Corduroy went looking for his button but no one remembered the ending. We re-read the book and then acted it out with our bears and flashlights. 

Snack: teddy grahams and button-sliced bananas.
Art:  I helped them each glue a heart of their choice (I had all different sizes) on a piece of cardstock and then they all glued their own buttons all over. They applied the glue with a q-tip and put each button on themselves. Poppy was not done until ALL of her buttons were glued. The boys' attention lasted not quite as long but each of them glued a good number of buttons on their valentines for their moms. I was impressed! As they finished, I helped them choose some of their favorite buttons to make magnets that took forever to dry but were really cute in assembly.

Activities:  Then we played two games. One was on their own-- they tried to swing the buttons into their cups that they brought home. This was much harder for them than I realized it was going to be. Bodie and Poppy both did it by accident. Getting the swinging motion controlled enough to land the button in the cup was pretty tricky! However, no one got frustrated and no one got hit in the eye by a flying button-on-a-string so I counted it as successful.

Our second game was "Hide the Button." With "Who's Got the Button" not being overly successful last week, we tried this one. I hid the button first and tried to explain about "hot and cold" as they got closer and further away while they were looking. The hot and cold idea was over their heads so then I resorted to "closer" and "farther" which definitely worked better. After the first few rounds they began to get the hang of it more and more. Each of them found it at least once and each of them got to hide it at least once. The hiders had a hard time keeping the button's location a secret which was at times hilarious but by the end they'd gotten the idea.

We finished up with a re-cap of the story and another bear hunt and headed out for the trampoline. In spite of rather inclement weather the trampoline is what they really look forward to at my house. They are so cute and such great kids. Thanks for lending them for the morning!

Monday, February 18, 2013

6th Annual Easter Basket Exchange

OK, ladies!  It is already that time again.  I guess it has been a whole year, but I'm still enjoying some of the fun things from my basket (the bling!), so it doesn't actually seem that long ago.  But Easter is in March this year, so we need to get on this!

The Short:  If you know how it all works, everything is the same.  Deadline to enter the exchange is Saturday, March 2 at midnight.  I will send out assignments that Sunday or Monday.  Enter by leaving comment here with your email address (if I don't have it), or email me directly at kyounc[at]yahoo[dot]com.

The Long:  If you are new to my blog, or the Easter Basket Exchange (EBX), this is something we've been doing for many years.  It began with women who put a lot of love into Easter baskets for their families, but never quite got the same treatment themselves.  The EBX is for anyone who wants to both create and receive something extra special for Easter.

Who Can Participate

1. You do not have to be a mother, married, female or Christian. You can fit pretty much any demographic as long as you qualify under #2 and #3. You can even be one of the poor unfortunates who knew about the exchange in past years and chose not to participate.

2. But you do have to live in the continental U.S. or have an APO address.

3.  I don't have to know you personally, but if I don't, please just email me a little about yourself so I can feel like you're a real person who won't flake out.  If I do know you already, all the better.

How It Works

1. Leave a comment to this post or email me directly (kyounc at yahoo dot com) to say you want to participate. Make sure I have your email address!!! The deadline to sign up is Saturday, March 2, which gives you almost two weeks to sign up (but don't wait!), three weeks to put your basket together, and a week to get it mailed.
2. I'll email you a questionnaire to fill out; this will be forwarded to your giver to give her a little info and direction. Around March 3 I will make the assignments and you can get started on your basket!

3. Based on your person's questionnaire answers, and your own awesomeness, put together the funnest, coolest, most amazing Easter basket ever for her. Make it her (or your) dream basket. Spending guideline is $30, not including shipping. The one requirement for everyone is that you must include quality chocolate, and I mean good quality chocolate. Other than that, run with it.

4. Put your basket/package together and mail it to your person so s/he will receive it by Easter. Please ship Priority Mail - this will insure it arriving within a week. I usually like to use a flat rate box, available in various sizes from the post office, so I'm not limited by weight.

5. Wake up Easter morning and have an awesome time opening your package! Email me a picture for the blog, and send your sender a thank you card.

That's it! Post a comment (with your email address) or shoot me an email to get started!

Check out our baskets from past years!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

PeeWees: Corduroy (week 1)

[From PeeWee mom Julia...]
Okay, today was so much fun!

Synopsis - The book was Corduroy, which I think you are all familiar with. A brown bear in green overalls is waiting to be bought by a child at a department store. One day a little girl comes and want to buy him but her mom won't let her, saying, "besides, he doesn't look new. He's lost the button to one of his shoulder straps." Corduroy goes looking at night for the button and ends up on another floor of the store with all the furniture and finds "his" button sewn down to a mattress! He pulls it off but makes noise as he falls off the bed, which sends the night watchman looking for him. The next morning the little girl is back and buys him, takes him home, and sews a new button on his strap.

 Arrival - So we started the day with sewing and stringing activities. I had our "Very Hungry Caterpillar" stringing set as well as a couple others that the kids took turns stringing together. They were all really good at this. Then everyone took a lacing card and worked on that. I could tell Jackson was already familiar with these. Everyone caught on, though! Poppy was the least interested in the lacing and really got into the Very Hungry Caterpillar stringing. But she was really great at sharing it with others, which was impressive too. This activity kept their attention longer than I thought it would.

Circle Time - Then we sat down for circle time, doing our welcome song, our ABC's (twice!), and counted buttons to 20. The last time we counted I made them do it without me. They are getting BETTER at this.
 Then I introduced the book and everyone got a bear to hold. I didn't have brown bears so everyone got a Valentines polar bear instead (who knew the thrift store would have 50 valentines polar bears??!!). Anyway, they got into the story and liked that Lisa (the little girl) came back to get Corduroy.

Snack - Then it was time for a potty break and snack. We had round snacks: cut up carrots in rounds, raisins, bunny crackers (I thought they were bears, but they were bunnies-- lame!). And then for snack "dessert": gummy bears of course.

Art - Art came next and we constructed our own Corduroy bears. They first colored a bear brown, glued on the green overalls, and then added buttons wherever they felt they needed them. I had done a sample but I love that none of theirs looked like mine. You can see in the picture how their different personalities come out in their art.

Activity - Then we played two games: "Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?" and a button toss into a bowl. In button, button they didn't really understand about keeping it a secret. Jackson was the only one who kept the button in his hand and didn't show it prematurely. Henry was the best guesser (or best at watching me put it in others' hands).  When Poppy, Bodie, and Henry had it and we sang "button, button, who's got the button?" they would just show it! Hilarious.

But the button toss was actually pretty successful. Of course they all tried to get closer and closer to the bowl but each of them had some success getting it in the bowl. I think we'll play this one again and I'll see how far back they can stand and still get it in next week.

Closing - Before going outside we gathered on the mats again to review the book and talk about bears. Then we read, "We're Going on a Bear Hunt." The kids eyes were SO wide at the end (I got really into it). Then we went outside and had our own bear hunt. The bear was hiding in a "cave" (the garage) and we started at "home" (the trampoline) and went through tall grass, a river, mud, a forest, a snowstorm and finally arrived at the cave. Then we ran all the way home and hid on the trampoline, where they finished the last 5 minutes bouncing away. It was a great day!
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