Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A toddler-friendly fall busy box

I've talked before about the busy boxes I created to help keep Logan busy while we do school.  At three, he has a pretty solid attention span, and the activities in each of these bins are perfect for keeping him engaged so that Leah and I can do phonics, memory work or whatever else she needs direct instruction on.

At nearly 14 months, our sweet Olivia is right on the cusp of becoming a walker.  Although she still prefers to be perched on my hip, over the last month or so she has become increasingly independent and interested in venturing away from mommy.  Finally.

It was becoming clear very quickly that she needed something to occupy her time during school, so I created a busy box designed to help her safely explore and grow with a festive theme:

To make this fall-themed busy box, I raided my local craft store and used:

  • One branch of sunflowers
  • One branch of fall leaves
  • One small bag of pinecones
  • One bag of misc. small gourds

The reaction from the littlest member of our crew was awesome!

She got to work right away, sorting and exploring her treasures.

And the fun really started when brother got in on the action.

He brought a whole new level of joy and excitement to the game.

Not to mention... a magnifying glass.

This was a great activity for all three of my little ones, but it is Livvy who keeps coming back for more.

And, her favorite part is that she can leave me little gifts to be surprised by all over the house.

Happy fall!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Strassner Academy: Week 5

We had such a fun week!  We spent the whole week absolutely loving our Noah's ark theme.  Here are a few of the highlights:

We built paper arks, 

and lovingly, painstakingly selected animals to walk two-by-two into the it. 

We did shaving cream letters

and spelling practice.

We made THE COOLEST rainbow playdough EVER.

I like this photo, largely due to the liquid starch, food coloring and coffee cup all coexisting right there in the same space.  Somehow, this accurately reflects my life!

Eventually, all those individual colors began to combine.  But in the mean time, this activity was a total hit!

Leah built a model of an animal cell out of a paper plate, including nucleus, cytoplasm, vacuole, mitochondria, cell membrane and golgi bodies to go along with our CC memory work. 

We marched and practiced keeping a steady beat. 

Logan started gymnastics last week, and Leah is hard at work back at ballet, and that has been really fun for both of them.  

We also have been taking advantage of that fact that, with kids back in school, our local parks are ours for the taking!

This week, we went to Subway and picnic-ed at a park we've never been to before.

These spontaneous little adventures are a huge part of what I love about homeschooling.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Strassner Academy: week 4

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Week 4 was brought to us by the letter A.  As in: apple!

We made apple stamps and created lots of art.  We made an apple tree out of foot, hand and thumbprints.  We diagrammed the parts of an apple.  

We did a science experiment taste-testing apples (which the kids loved and have subsequently asked to do with pretty much anything they can). 

We did a number recognition/counting review where Logan picked the numbers - in order - off of a "tree." 

Leah learned about Monet, and did a watercolor painting while sitting outside observing nature.  I wish I'd taken a photo of it, it was pretty awesome.  She is memorizing the classifications of living things along with our CC curriculum, so we looked at various types of animal habitats using sensory bins.  

The thing that amazes me the most is the way that Logan has taken to his letters.

Until this point, he has shown very little interest in learning letters.  Leah (and Livvy, now) loved letters from the get-go.  She enjoyed flashcards and pointing out letters she knew everywhere she went.  Logan, on the other hand, is awesome with numbers.  He knows them already, and can even do some very early math all by himself.  Letters, though, have not been his thing.  

It's amazing how, when you wait until they are ready, they just absorb the information.  He has learned every letter we've studied so far with complete ease.  I'm really impressed!  

We played a fun "musical chairs" style letter review, where they marched around until the music turned off and had to say the name or sound of the letter they stopped in front of.  

We baked an apple pie (because... obviously!) and made some apple-scented playdough which we then used to build shapes and letters.

And, although I'm not always perfect about it, I try to give Olivia something to do to occupy her as well. 

This week's activity: 

Water play!

So there we have it: another week in the books!  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A busy fall day

Last week, our preschool theme was "G is for Garden."  I wanted to take a trip to a you-pick-it farm to reinforce that garden theme, but since Casey wasn't home we decided to wait and take the field trip on a day when he could participate.

Well, since we don't get all that many days with daddy present, when he is home we end up filling our days chalk full of family fun.

Case and point?  This particular day included a morning trip to Miller Farms, eating and napping in the car and an afternoon visit to Breckenridge for Oktoberfest.  Whew!

First up: Miller Farms.

Miller Farms is so awesome, because they take you out into the fields where the kids had an absolute ball picking potatoes, onions, pumpkins, kale, corn, and oh so much more.

After this, we made a quick stop at home to change and drop off the produce, before getting right back into the car to head into the mountains for Oktoberfest in Breckenridge.

It has been many years - many - since we made that trek.

In fact, the last time was when I had bangs and 2/3rd of our people didn't exist.  The one who did looked like that!

That little face has changed a bit.

Not to mention, we've added some other pretty cute faces, as well.

The kids had an awesome time.  It was the first day of Oktoberfest, and we were up there at about 3:00 on a Friday, so things were still very family friendly and pretty G rated.  With the obvious exception of more than a few rather revealing lederhosen.  Still, the kids loved walking through the streets and enjoying all the festivities.

There were food booths, bounce castles, and activities, but the kids most enjoyed getting their faces painted.

And the food.  Yum.  Drool.  Can we go back today???  How is it that food can taste so good when it's served out of a tiny outdoor tent?

I adore those little faces!

And that one, too.  We're pretty lucky that he is the kind of daddy who comes home from being on the road and can't wait to spend time making wonderful family memories.

Although there were some moments where tempers flared, it was overwhelmingly a day spent enjoying each other.  We're pretty lucky!

I changed my font at thecutestblogontheblock.com