Monday, August 29, 2016

Our Latest Letters

During the summer months, we didn't have as much time to work on our Letter of the Week activities at home, but we still covered several letters. I continue to appreciate the way this format of activity planning encourages me to research new ideas for the boys. We've done a variety of activities I never would have thought of otherwise!

Letter C
We started our letter C learning by painting paper cookies. First, we did the brown background.

Then, after Mommy cut the brown-painted paper into circles, Cody and Jaden used Q-tips to paint on the chocolate chips.

These paper cookies may not taste as good as the real ones, but they sure looked cute! :)

Since the boys are getting older, I figured they might be able to grasp this "sound cover" activity. We said the name of each picture aloud, and if the object in the picture started with a C-sound, we covered it with a poker chip. They weren't able to identify every initial letter sound perfectly, but it was excellent practice and an activity that kept their attention.

Then, we did an activity involving coins. Jaden and Cody don't know the difference between pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters yet, so this was a fun way to practice that skill. First, the boys each rolled a die. I would pick a certain type of coin and tell the boys to drop that many coins into their piggy banks.

Since the boys LOVED dropping coins into the banks, they didn't mind repeating this activity over and over again. 

I only included this next photo because it amazes me how my boys can squat like this... and actually find it comfortable!

Another day, we extended our coin identification learning by searching for coins in cloud dough (aka moon sand). After finding each coin, Jaden and Cody told me which type of coin they found and then placed it on the corresponding picture.

They took the treasure hunting very seriously at first!

Placing the coins on the right spot was a bit tricky. The boys discovered that the two sides of every coin look different!

After finding all the hidden coins, we had to have some cloud dough playtime. This stuff is messy, but great!

Letter O
We brought out the paint for activity #1 with O. Using milk jug lids, cups, and markers as stamps, we found that we could make a whole collage full of letter Os.

I was super excited about this next idea-- "Outdoor Math" is where the O part comes in, in case you're wondering! :) The boys, unfortunately, didn't really get into the activity at all, so I'll have to remember to try it another day. We started by making number boxes on our driveway.

Then, Jaden and Cody had to find items from nature to fill up each box (1 leaf, 3 flowers, etc.). I think they each filled up two or three boxes before they asked if they could be done. Perhaps the day was just too muggy...

Instead of going back inside, we headed to the backyard for a bit more Outdoor Math. This activity was a big hit! It was full of movement, and I'm sure the shady backyard helped too. Cody and Jaden took turns drawing directions from this pile of paper. All of the directions had something to do with big or small.

Examples included... "Hug something that is bigger than you."

"Bring me the smallest thing you can find."

"Pretend to pick up something that is very, very big."

Both boys' favorite direction was to "do a silly dance around something that is bigger than you." They both hammed this one up! :)

Letter G
We pulled out the sound cover activity again for letter G but this time used dot painters rather than poker chips to cover the pictures. The lady who designs these sheets wisely selected pictures that only made one sound for G (just the hard sound), so it didn't get confusing for the boys. 

Another day, we pulled out a Gingerbread reindeer kit that had been sitting in my pantry since Christmas!! Totally forgot about this thing! What better time to use it than letter G week?? :) The reindeer was super easy for the boys to assemble independently.

The frosting was a little hard, though (didn't help that it was 8 months old!!), so I had to squirt on the frosting when it was time to decorate the reindeer.

Neither boy even asked to taste the reindeer, thankfully, since they weren't excited about the gingerbread smell. It was perfectly fine by us to just have this reindeer stay as a display. :) Merry Christmas in August!

This next activity didn't quite go as planned, but it still gave us some good basic discussion about a new science concept--- gravity. I knew the boys wouldn't grasp the concept at all, but the activity at least gave them exposure to the term. We started by collecting random objects from around our house. Then, Jaden and Cody took turns dropping objects 2 at a time over the edge of our staircase. Before the drop, both boys predicted which object might fall to the ground first.

Our main difficulty lay in the fact that neither boy was quite tall enough to reach over the edge of the staircase. :) As you can tell in the next two pics, it's pretty tough for the boys to hold the objects out at an even level. Obviously, this greatly affected our results. :)

I wasn't really planning to go into a deeper discussion of weight or density and how it relates to the object's gravitational pull, so it all worked out okay. Basically, it was just fun times to have mommy permit you to drop items over the staircase! :)

And that's about all we accomplished for our summer letter activities! Even with preschool starting for the boys, I still hope to squeeze in a few more letter activities, at least so we can finish our tactile letter book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fish Gallery

During the last week of July, Jaden, Cody, and I went on a field trip with my Mothers of Multiples group. I'm not very active in this group since most of the activities are between 30-45 min. away, but we make the drive when the events sound especially unique. This field trip to the Fish Gallery, a local tropical fish store, fit that criteria, as it was something completely new for the boys.

When we arrived, we tried out the fun-looking photo board, even though we hadn't participated in their summer reading program.

While waiting for the other twins to arrive, we observed all kinds of beautiful fish and some pretty fancy aquariums too!

When the other families arrived, our tour guide from the Fish Gallery started by reading Eric Carle's book Mister Seahorse to the kids.

Then, she gave all the kids food for feeding the koi fish.

We LOVED this fun aquarium feature! The boys could feel like they were right inside the tank with the fish. :)

Next, we watched another employee feed some of the other fish.

The best part of the field trip was experiencing the Touch Tank. All of the children got to get up close and personal with a small blue crab,

a sea snail,

and some other sea life that I don't remember... :)

At the very end of our trip, we received materials to make origami sharks. This activity was a little too complicated for most of our group's attendees and ended up requiring quite a bit of adult-help (not the easiest thing when every single mom there had at least two kiddos to help!). The final product was something that Cody and Jaden really enjoyed playing with, though.

All three of us felt like this was a worthwhile field trip. We were happy for the opportunity to go!