Monday, November 9, 2015

Pumpkins!

The arrival of October means planning a visit to the pumpkin patch. It's still hard for us former-northerners to believe that this activity can be done in shorts here! At the pumpkin patch we visited, large piles of pre-harvested pumpkins adorned the field. These piles made festive photo backdrops.

Jaden and Cody at their first TX pumpkin patch
We purposely planned our pumpkin patch trip with cousins Ian, Ryan, Nathan...


...and Grandpa and Grandma who had just arrived in town for a visit!


One of the first activities we did was to ride the train. We waited in line on these hay bale paths.

Can you pick out Cody hiding between Ian and Jaden?
 Kinda looks like a phantom set of arms and legs! :)


This train ride was a first for Nathan, I believe, and a highlight for the other little boys!



Then, thanks to Grandpa and Grandma's ticket purchases, the 3-year-old boys rode down the inflatable slides.



We used up our final tickets by riding on this hayride. Thankfully, we all made it through without any little guys falling off the nearby edge! :)


Grandpa's wagon rides were just as fun as the hayride! :)


At the very end, we fed hay to some goats...


...and climbed a bit more on the pumpkin piles! On the way home, Jaden and Cody said that the pumpkin climbing was their favorite part of the entire trip.



About a week before Halloween, our family did some pumpkin carving. Cody and Jaden remembered (most likely from some books we had read recently) that the inside of the pumpkins contained "yucky pulp and seeds." They were curious to get a glimpse of (but NOT to touch) what was inside.


Then, they directed Mommy and Daddy to design one happy face and one sad face on our pumpkins.


After that, the boys pretty much lost interest in the activity. :) The rest of our family pumpkin carving fun consisted of Mommy and Daddy doing all the work and Cody and Jaden playing with their toys in the driveway. We did draw them back for a short time to help Daddy carve the sad face pumpkin.


Jaden was even willing to try out the carving knife for one or two cuts.


In the end, the boys were quite pleased with our completed pumpkins. So pleased, in fact, that they wanted to pose just like their pumpkin faces. :)


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Letters P & B

During the month of October, Jaden and Cody explored the letters P and B. Thanks to Aunt Kim's creative planning, we even wove in some Halloween pumpkin activities for the letter P. We started off our P week by making a tactile letter page with colorful pom poms.


Later that day, Jaden and Cody pulled out pennies from a jar of change. We then used these pennies for a pumpkin toss activity.


Another day we threw pieces of popped popcorn in the driveway. First, I asked the boys to predict how far they thought they could throw it. I nearly laughed out loud when I saw how far Cody thought his popcorn could go! Jaden's prediction was much more conservative. :) We marked their prediction spots with small stickers.


Then, it was time to chuck some popcorn! Be sure to notice the popcorn piece flying above Cody's head in the picture below. He didn't quite throw to his own expectations... :)


Jaden carefully analyzes his toss.


After throwing a few more popcorn pieces, the boys thought it would be much more fun to simply place stickers on the driveway and then put the popcorn directly on top.




October was a perfect month to learn about P. Of course, we had to do some pumpkin crafts! We started with some crayon melt pumpkins.


I think my hair dryer must be slowly dying because the crayons took a loooong time to melt! Cody and Jaden lost interest after a short while, so Mommy had to take over.



When the crayons finally started melting, the boys' interest rekindled. In the end, we all loved our abstract pumpkin!


Then, we painted some tape-resist pumpkins. The pumpkins were probably a bit too small for this activity, but the boys still enjoyed the process.




Our last pumpkin craft was easily the boys' favorite-- hammering nails into pumpkins!


After using up a couple dozen nails, the boys helped me weave some yarn around the nails. Another fun looking pumpkin! We enjoyed having all of these pumpkins adorn our mantel during the Halloween season.


For the letter B, we explored a bit with balloons. Jaden and Cody were pretty "wowed" to watch the balloon blow up all by itself with this fun science experiment.


Here's the video of them watching the balloon right after Cody dumped in the baking soda.


Jaden and Cody absolutely loved sending these balloon rockets back and forth across the kitchen. (Thanks, Aunt Sarah, for this great idea from Abby's birthday party!)



This was a perfect activity for two boys! Cody and Jaden just giggled and giggled when they would send the balloon back and forth to each other.


This video is the wrong direction (sorry!), but it gives you an idea of their enthusiasm.


Another day, we did "B is for bear" color sorting with gummy bears. Cody and Jaden were quite excited to have this tasty treat for a morning snack.


Probably the B activity that captured the boys interest for the longest period of time was playing with bubbles and blocks. This bowl was simply full of water, dish soap, and Duplo blocks. It was a delightful sensory playtime for Jaden and Cody. We started out on a table...


...then quickly realized it was easier to play on the floor.


The boys soon got up to their elbows in bubbles!


After quite a while, Mommy finally realized that having two bowls would probably be even easier! Oh, the obvious things that so frequently pass me by.... :) 

 

Our bead-stringing activity interested the boys for quite some time, too. They each asked to make two bracelets. Jaden even wore one of his on his ankle for a short period of time that afternoon. They were very proud to show their completed projects to Daddy when he came home.



One of our last B activities was done with ping pong balls. We numbered twelve balls from 1-12 and placed them all into this water-filled bowl. The boys took turns fishing the balls out in consecutive order.


Then, the boys took out whichever ball they wanted and identified the numbers for me. At the end, they just stirred the balls around the bowl like crazy. :)


We're continuing to enjoy our letter fun each month!