Posts Tagged "crafting"

Perpetual Calendar

Posted on Oct 6, 2010 in Learning | 3 comments

Perpetual Calendar

Last month, during the Back-to-School excitement, I wrote about feeling like my little homeschooled Kindergarten boy might be missing out on some of the fun things about actually going to a school. Among the things I remember from Kindergarten was sitting on the carpet every day and talking about what day it was on the calendar. Rain is getting old enough that he can begin to grasp the idea of days and weeks and has been asking about time a lot. I thought this was a good time to introduce the calendar to him. Besides that, one of the things we are focusing on in our learning this year is the idea of rhythm, or cycles. I am borrowing this concept from some of my reading on the Waldorf philosophy earlier this year. Waldorf places a strong emphasis on celebrating yearly festivals, including birthdays, on the seasons and rhythm in the natural world, and on rhythms during the day. Using this as an over-arching theme works well during this Kindergarten year as it provides us opportunity to go on nature walks, to keep a nature table, to learn about natural science and seasons, to learn about festivals around the world (Humanities) and to incorporate lots of cool crafts. But on top of all that, it gives me an opportunity to help Rain understand what it means to wait 5 minutes, or until Saturday—practical stuff (oh yeah, with a bit of math and reading in there too as he learns to recognize numbers and words). I wanted a hands-on calendar, kind of like I remember from school where we each got a turn putting up the number for the day. Last winter, I made an advent calendar that didn’t involve daily presents or chocolates and my google image search for magnetic advent calendars yielded up a bunch of different ideas. I decided to adapt one of them to our present use. Here is the result: To make this, you’ll need: 12 sheets of scrapbook paper in patterns that represent each month Letter size magnet sheets (you can get printable magnet sheets in this size at office supply stores like Staples. Maybe you can find something similar at Michael’s or another craft store. It doesn’t need to be printable. It just needs to be big.) Letter size clear printable labels Rubber cement Decide on the dimensions you want for each piece. For the months, I used 7cm x 28cm. I was able to fit 3 months per magnet sheet. For the days, I used 4 cm x 4 cm and I was able to fit all 31 days on 1 magnet sheet. Trim the scrapbook paper to these dimensions and carefully rubber cement it on to the magnet sheets. Now, trim the magnets to their final sizes. You can use Word or another computer program with lots of fonts to print the numbers and the names of the months and days on to your clear labels. You might be able to print all of it on just a couple of sheets of labels, depending on the size of font you use and how you space them together. Just make sure you leave a bit of room for trimming them. Trim, peel off the backing and stick them on your magnets to create 12 months, 7 days of the week and 31 dates. Stick them to the fridge. We also made some extra magnets for marking important dates. We also have plans to make some that show the weather. Have fun! (It’s not as complicated as it...

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Getting Organized

Posted on Sep 25, 2010 in Learning | 2 comments

Getting Organized

“The best thing I did was fill the house full of projects they could get out and do themselves.” My sister said this to me recently when we were discussing her 7 years homeschooling her 4 children. One of the things that comes up for parents who have multiple children learning at home is how to keep younger children occupied while you are working with an older child on something. This dilemma has been on my mind quite a bit, particularly because the younger children I’ll be wrangling will be a toddler and a newborn. I’ve been reading some posts on how to handle wee ones underfoot while learning with older kids but so far I keep coming back to my sister’s advice. I decided to gather a bunch of kid-friendly projects in one spot. We have this great bank of built-in cupboards at one end of our dining room. This has a bunch of random stuff stuck in it (even in the visible areas, as you can see). I spent Thursday afternoon re-organizing so that now it looks like this: Everything in this cupboard is for the kids. The very top shelf has some items the kids will need help with, but the rest, they can pretty much just go for. The beauty of this little cubbie is that we already had almost everything you see there but it was stored all over the house. The only things I bought were some of the art supplies. The storage boxes are shoe boxes I picked up for free from Payless Shoes after calling them and asking if they’d be willing to set aside boxes that were roughly the same size. They were very accomodating – you can bet I’ll be getting Rain’s new sneakers and Noa’s new rubber boots at Payless after that. Then I covered the ends with scrapbook paper thanks to this idea from Our Big Earth. Wanna see what we’ve got in there? The top shelf has a box of lacing cards, painting materials, notebooks, pencil crayons in glass jars, a box of crafting supplies, a box of art supplies. The middle shelf has foam puzzles, a giant floor puzzle, and various kid games including Mighty Mind*, Memory, Uno, Tangrams and more. The bottom shelf has big kid puzzles and a stack of toddler puzzles. I imagine that the contents of this area will change now and then over the course of the year to keep it fresh and to make space when we get new things. In the mean time, the kids are already thrilled to be able to open the two doors and choose whatever they like to work on. Now if we can just get some kind of handle on a routine for the day, maybe our lives will be as organized as this cupboard. What tips do you have for keeping younger kids busy while you help an older one with a project? What solo projects can your older kids do while you’re busy nursing a baby or putting a toddler down for a nap? How have you organized your house to make it kid-friendly? I would love more ideas for the year(s) ahead. *By the way, Mighty Mind is pretty darn great but their website is terrible, which is why the link above takes you to a place to buy the product. It shows an actual picture so you can see what it is. I’m not trying to make you buy...

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Briefly May

Posted on Jun 1, 2010 in Featured, From The Mouths of Babes | 10 comments

Briefly May

What I learned in May 2010: If either of my children intends to pursue dance in the long term I have to be prepared for a ridiculous schedule of rehearsals at recital time. Rain has to be at dance 11 times over the course of two weeks, which involves hauling a squirming toddler inside and trying to corral her while wrestling Rain into dance shoes and ushering him into class in a sea of parents and preschoolers in a room the size of a closet. Run I mean, fun! Making butter from raw cream straight from the farm is not as straightforward as using store bought whipping cream, but tasty nonetheless and Rain loves kneading bread. I love working at the midwifery clinic as office administrator and when I put my mind to it, I CAN write a bio. I love Sir Ken Robinson, love his TED talks and I am currently loving his new book, The Element. I would sew a lot more if I could leave my sewing machine set up permanently. I can get a lot of sewing done while my daughter naps and having all the pieces cut and ready to go ahead of time makes sewing much more enjoyable. The weather in May is much more unpredictable than I would have predicted. Hello summer? Where are you? The steps to being awesome are easy to come up with but following them is not. Burt’s Bees avocado butter pre-shampoo hair treatment makes my hair happy. Rain is a comedian, an artist and has a flair for showmanship: Rain came out of the bathroom calling “Mom, you have to come see the treat I made you!!” I replied, “Promise me it’s not poop.” He said, “I promise.” As I entered the bathroom, he pulled a towel off the towel bar with much fanfare to reveal his masterpiece: a drawing of himself picking his nose! I can assure you that I was NOT able to keep a straight face as I explained that we do not write on the walls of our rental...

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Make a Laptop

Posted on Jan 29, 2010 in Parenting | 2 comments

Make a Laptop

I’m not much of a kids crafter kind of person. My son usually likes to just do whatever he wants with the materials and takes over completely if there is any kind of agenda. For the most part we just let him do what he wants with the art materials which is usually to cut great wads of paper into tiny pieces, spread them around, declare the craft finished and refuse to put anything in the recycling. We find tiny squares of paper spread through the house for weeks afterwards and there is usually a sizable stash stored in Rain’s nightstand because they are too precious for him to part with. (My family is laughing hysterically right now about how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree or some other dumb thing about how I used to do that, but whatever. I don’t let him have the tape anyways so I don’t even know what they’re talking about.) I got the idea to make a laptop with him out of an egg carton. Of course, a power struggle ensued about how it was to be done. I won because I’m bigger but that meant that I made the craft and Rain mostly watched so now we have no In-Process pictures for the tutorial. The laptop turned out pretty darn cool. I’ll tell you how it’s done and I won’t even be there to boss you around if you want to do it your way. But really, you can’t make a laptop out of a bunch of cut-up pieces of paper so it would be best if you listened to me. Just sayin. You’ll Need: 1 Egg Carton (empty) Scissors Glue Tape Paper 1 Piece of cardstock or thin cardboard I had just received a labeller as a gift from my husband for doing the books and marketing all year for our business. I have a secret stationary/office suply habit so the labeller was like giving me crack. Pretty sweet of him. The laptop would be the first labeller project. Rain also adores the labeller because of all the tiny buttons and portability. It’s like a kid sized computer. Heck, it’s like a laptop. That’s where the power struggle started. He likes to do everything himself. He drops things a lot. I don’t like broken electronics. If broken electronics were a publicly traded commodity, we’d be one of the top shareholders. Enough is enough. You’ll need a labeller or you could just use your computer/printer combo. Or I guess you could write letters with your hand and a pen but that seems kind of old-fashioned now doesn’t it? I mean if you could use a labeller or your own hand, what would you choose? First step, open the egg carton and using your scissors or an exacto (if you’re doing this craft while the kids are in bed, which let’s face it, is a better time to do crafts), cut off the 4-5 points that protrude up towards the lid. Cut them so that they are level with the edges. Next, cut the cardstock into a long rectangle the same size as the lower portion of the egg carton. Fit it in place to check if you have the surface flat enough. Some of the edges may need to be trimmed again. Glue in place. Now the fun part!! Copying the pattern on the keyboard, print off large bold letters and numbers. You can even do the arrows and other keys if you are so inclined. I was planning to do all the SHIFT, CTRL, ALT etc keys but started to get stingy when I saw how much label tape we were going through. I did start to relax though and let Rain press the keys, the print button and use the tape cutter. The labeller was great because we could just cut them and stick them on. If you are printing them on paper, you’ll need to use glue. I hope you don’t get carpel tunnel from not having a labeller for this craft. Especially if you are...

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