Sunday, October 30, 2016

Letter Activities

So, we've still been slowly making our way through the at-home letter activities that I started with the boys just over a year ago. Cody and Jaden have no problem identifying their letters and can even write most of them now too, but I still enjoy having an excuse to bring out new activities at home. Plus, I'm a finisher, and I'd love to have them complete their tactile letter book that is just 6 letters shy of the entire alphabet. The goal is to complete it before baby arrives! We'll see! :) Here are our latest activities:

Letter S
My favorite activity with this letter was trying Splat painting for the first time. I wasn't sure how messy the project would be, so the boys stayed in their PJs for our morning project. First, we filled the bottom of a leg of pantyhose with a small amount of rice. Then, I taped a piece of paper to the ground. Cody and Jaden each picked a couple colors of paint to squirt on their paper.


Then, it was time to SPLAT the paint!


It took the boys a little while to get the hang of how to use their funny-looking painting instrument, but soon they went to town.



The paint didn't splatter nearly as much as I feared (thankfully) and it made some cool designs, particularly when you could pick out the rice shapes in the paint. This turned out to be quite the fun project!



Here is Cody's final painting, and then Jaden's.



Since the letter S is a tricky one to draw, I used this worksheet from a blog that I love called The Measured Mom to have the boys practice writing a few of their letters. I love the concept of writing the letters large first and then progressively smaller.



For our tactile letter page, I gave Jaden and Cody the option of covering their S with either seeds or stickers. You can see which choice won out -- the messy one!


Since it's October, I did a counting activity with spiders. We used a little booklet from Pinterest that had each page covered with a spiderweb. The boys' job was to use their thumbprint to put a varying amount of spiders on each page.



Then, the boys drew 8 legs on each spider, and Mommy filled in the appropriate number in the blank on each page: "I see _____ spiders." It made the boys proud to have a book that they could read to Daddy all by themselves when he came home.




Finally, we went on a scavenger hunt around the house. I had taken a variety of random pictures around our home such as the following: 



I showed each picture one at a time to the boys from my camera, and they had to figure out where in the house that item was. It turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I thought. Either my photos were a little too obscure or Jaden and Cody just aren't that observant! For some reason, the boys wanted to take their flashlights with them on the hunt. They proudly shone their flashlight on the correct item when it was found.


Letter I
Our first letter I activity had to do with insects. Jaden and Cody each rolled a die and then placed that number of paper insects into their paper jar. 




Then, they counted up the number of dots on each ice cream cone and labeled each cone with the correct cut-out number. Both activities were fairly simple for Cody and Jaden but they seemed to enjoy them well enough.



We used the same clip-art insects for our letter I alphabet book page.



The best activities for Cody and Jaden, though, are always the active ones. The boys loved going on this Inch Measuring Hunt. First, I gave each of them a 1x1 inch square piece of paper to use as a guide. They held up this square next to various objects to test whether or not the object was larger or smaller than one inch. The boys found it hilarious to hold the small square up to extra large items in our home.


 Finding objects that were smaller than an inch was a little more difficult and sometimes surprising. :)



They drew pictures of their findings on a simple chart.




We even hunted for some objects outside, where Jaden thought it'd be great fun to tuck his marker behind his ear. I can't figure out where he might have seen someone do this.



Their resulting charts were pretty cute.



Hopefully we'll share a few more letter adventures again soon!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Galveston

For the past few months, Jaden and Cody have asked about a visit to the beach. Finally, we set a date for a trip earlier this month to Galveston with the majority of our Texas family. Daddy and Uncle Jon had work commitments and couldn't attend, unfortunately. Our last two family visits to the beach (over Easter and in November) were both on rather chilly days, so it was such a pleasure to spend time on the sand and in the water when it was actually hot outside! We had a beautiful mid-80 degree weather day. On the drive down, Grammy and Papa rode with the boys and me. We met MKIRN and Chelsea and Isaiah at the ferry landing.


We arrived just in time to see the car ferry pull out of the dock, so the boys climbed on some nearby propellers as we waited for the next ferry.



The conditions were just right for seeing dolphins that day. We saw a bunch! Even the little boys could spot the dolphins on their own.


Grammy helped Cody see better over the railing.


We did some viewing from inside the ferry too, simply for a new perspective.


Ian, Cody, Jaden, Grammy, Ryan

Chelsea, Isaiah, Matt, Kim, Nathan



Quite likely one of our best-ever cousin pictures of these 6!

Ryan, Nathan, Isaiah, Jaden, Ian, Cody
 Once we arrived at the beach, Cody and Jaden were most excited to spend time in the waves. I noticed a significant difference with the boys' confidence in the water on this beach visit compared to our last visits. Our summer swimming lessons have made a big difference! (The more comfortable water temperature certainly helped a bit too!) Even though I'm holding the boys' hands in this picture, that wasn't the norm at the start. Jaden and Cody loved wading out into the water all on their own until the water level was close to their shoulders. They'd wait for a wave to come and jump right into it. Jaden would often hold his breath and go all the way underwater after each wave came.


Later on in the afternoon, the 4-year-old boys all wanted to "wave jump" with another adult. We spent so much time doing this that my arms were actually starting to get sore from lifting the boys up over the waves! These boys just LOVED being in the water.



Jaden tried his hand at riding the waves on one of Matt and Kim's kickboards.



The boys also spent a small amount of time building sand castles...


...and feeding the seagulls.



What a lovely day to enjoy God's creation and to hang out with family!