Activities and fun with Children of All Ages.

Archive for the ‘misc.’ Category

Time is of the Essence

I spent last week with my daughters and grands in Colorado.  What a week!  DD2 and granddog, Fry, took us on a hike in the Cheyenne mountains.ImageImageImage

We spent the rest of the week helping DD1 and her family move from a very small apartment to a very nice home.  DH still has sore muscles from all the heavy lifting and hard work.  He and E., grand1, worked together to be sure the swing set is safe to play on, Image

and she helped paint the new dining room.

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N, grandkid2, is 5 months old now.  He is bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to soar!

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My own Baby (my dog) had a good time as well, hiking and playing with the grands.

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What have you been up to?  What kind of fun things are you planning?

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Hop Along

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Hey all, I’m in Colorado having fun with my grands for a few days. I went hiking with my DD, my DH and grand-dog a few days ago in the Cheyenne Mountains.

Today I’m going to help E finish her paper mâché pig and we’ll have lots of fun on the playground.

What are you doing with your grands this week?

A Fishy Situation

My DD and I went fishing today.  What fun, even if the biggest fish caught was about 1.5 inches in length.  This trip reminded me of all the times we took our girls fishing as they were growing up like the time DD and I were helping our oldest pull a fish out of the lake while keeping a close eye on the younger sitting on the grass.  Next thing we know someone is saying “Oh gross!” just when the younger daughter is slurping a worm into her mouth.  Ah… good times.

Fishing is a wonderful activity for most ages.  You might want to wait to take the grands until they are at least three or four.  There are pint sized rods for just such occasions.  Though their attention span is short, they can also catch crawdads, throw rocks in the water (don’t expect to catch any fish yourself), play in the dirt or water or what ever is around.

There is nothing more wonderful than seeing these things through the eyes of a child.  Today as I was walking around I met a beautiful 4.5 year old little girl on a fishing trip with her grandparents.  This was the first time she had been camping or fishing.  She was very busy putting rocks into a circle to make a fire ring that soon became a fairy ring.  She told me all about the bugs she catches to give her grandma’s chickens and we took pictures together.  Today she saw an osprey catch a fish and an eagle take it away from him.  Her grandpa caught a big fish and shared his knowledge on techniques with us.  She watched her dog chase chipmunks and dragon flies.  This is a day she will remember.

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The Money is in the Bank

One of the things Grandparents need to do is teach the grandchildren how to save money.  A good way to do that is give them a piggy bank.  Here is a paper mache tutorial on how to make their own.  Depending on the age of the child(ren) they can make it all themselves or you can help them.  My granddaughter is almost 2 and my grandson is less than six months old.  I’ll be making N’s bank for him.  I’m going to make most of E’s bank and have her put the finishing touches on with Mod Podge and fabric scraps.

Materials

9 inch round balloon

Newspaper for tearing up

Paper egg carton

Masking tape

Flour

Water

Fabric scraps cut up into small pieces

1 pipe cleaner

Mod Podge, glossy

Bowl (for mixing the paste)

Directions:

1.  Make the paper mache paste by mixing the flour and water.  I’m not sure of     the exact measurements but it should be the consistency of thin pancake batter.  Start with equal parts of flour and water.

2.   Blow up the balloon and tear the newspaper into strips.

3.   Dip each strip in the paste and cover the balloon completely. Let dry completely then put 3 more layers on, letting it dry between each layer.

The Body

4.     After the last layer is dry cut the egg carton into sections.  You need 4 legs, a snout and 2 ears.  The legs and  snouts are made out of the cups where the eggs sit.  The ears can be cut from the corners of the top of the carton.

        

5.  Make more paste, tear more paper, paper mache over and around all the new parts, covering the whole kit and caboodle.  It should be looking like a pig around now.  Let it dry completely then put one last layer on all over making sure to keep the general pig shape.

6.  When the pig is dry, use an exacto knife to cut the money slot in the top and cut an X on the back for a place to put the tail.

7.  Use the pipe cleaner to make the tail.  Wind the pipe cleaner around your finger to curl it.  Poke one end into the X you cut with the knife.

8.  Use the Mod Podge to attach the fabric scraps.  Put some Mod Podge on the pig, place the fabric on top, then cover the fabric with Mod Podge.  Be sure not to cover the slot for the money.  Be sure to secure the tail in well with the Mod Podge and fabric.  Let dry completely.

VOILA!

College, here we come!

What have you created today?

Now We’re Cooking!

It’s been a hot, hot summer so far!  Wednesday, when I picked up my dog from the vet, it was 116 degrees!  This is the perfect weather for making a solar cooker with your grandchildren.  I found these directions on Home training tools with great explanations on the science happening.

Have fun and make some memories along with some hot dogs.

Build a Solar Oven

<<Solar & Alternative Energy Kits

You can use the sun’s energy to heat up a tasty treat with this simple solar oven! (Get an adult to help you with the cutting.)

Download our Solar Oven Recipes to get ideas for what to make with your solar oven.

Materials:

  • Cardboard pizza box (the kind delivered pizza comes in)
  • Box knife or scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear tape
  • Plastic wrap (a heavy-duty or freezer zip lock bag will also work)
  • Black construction paper
  • Newspapers
  • Ruler, or wooden spoon

What to Do: 
diy solar oven

  1. Use a box knife or sharp scissors to cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box. Cut along three sides, leaving about an inch between the sides of the flap and the edges of the lid. Fold this flap out so that it stands up when the box lid is closed.
  2. Cover the inner side of the flap with aluminum foil so that it will reflect rays from the sun. To do this, tightly wrap foil around the flap, then tape it to the back, or outer side of the flap.
  3. Use clear plastic wrap to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter into the box. Do this by opening the box and taping a double layer of plastic wrap over the opening you made when you cut the flap in the lid. Leave about an inch of plastic overlap around the sides and tape each side down securely, sealing out air. If you use a plastic bag, cut out a square big enough to cover the opening, and tape one layer over the opening.
  4. Line the bottom of the box with black construction paper – black absorbs heat. The black surface is where your food will be set to cook.
  5. To insulate your oven so it holds in more heat, roll up sheets of newspaper and place them on the bottom of the box. Tape them down so that they form a border around the cooking area. The newspaper rolls should make it so that the lid can still close, but there is a seal inside of the box, so air cannot escape.
  6. The best hours to set up your solar oven are when the sun is high overhead – from 11 am to 3 pm. Take it outside to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the aluminum foil and onto the plastic-covered window. Use a ruler to prop the flap at the right angle. You may want to angle the entire box by using a rolled up towel.
  7. You can make toast by buttering a slice of bread, or sprinkling cheese on it, then letting the sun do the rest. Cooking a hot dog or making nachos with chips and cheese are also fun treats to make in your solar oven! It would also work great to heat up leftovers. So the paper at the bottom doesn’t get dirty, put what you would like to cook on a clear plastic or glass plate. A pie plate would work well.
  8. To take food out of the oven, open up the lid of the pizza box, and using oven mitts or potholders, lift the glass dish out of the oven.

What’s happening?

The heat from the sun is trapped inside of your pizza box solar oven, and it starts getting very hot. Ovens like this one are called collector boxes, because they collect the sunlight inside. As it sits out in the sun, your oven eventually heats up enough to melt cheese, or cook a hot dog! How does it happen? Rays of light are coming to the earth at an angle. The foil reflects the ray, and bounces it directly into the opening of the box. Once it has gone through the plastic wrap, it heats up the air that is trapped inside. The black paper absorbs the heat at the bottom of the oven, and the newspaper make sure that the heat stays where it is, instead of escaping out the sides of the oven.

Your solar oven will reach about 200° F on a sunny day, and will take longer to heat things than a conventional oven. Although this method will take longer, it is very easy to use, and it is safe to leave alone while the energy from the sun cooks your food. If you do not want to wait long to have a solar-cooked dish, try heating up something that has already been cooked, like leftovers, or a can of soup. Putting solid food in a glass dish and liquids in a heavy plastic zip lock bag works well. You can also pre-heat your oven by setting it in direct sun for up to an hour.

Other recipes you may want to try are making baked potatoes, rice with vegetables, chocolate fondue, s’mores, and roasted apples with cinnamon and sugar. Even on partly cloudy days there may be enough heat and light from the sun to slow cook a special dish. Here are a few tips for having success with your solar oven:

  • Stir liquids (if you’re cooking something like fondue, rice, or soup) every 10 minutes. You can rotate solid food every 10-15 minutes as well, so it cooks evenly.
  • Reposition your solar oven when needed, so that it faces direct sunlight. You should be checking periodically on your oven, to make sure it is in the sun.
  • Make sure that the foil-covered flap is reflecting light into the pizza box, through the plastic-covered window.

Woo Hoo

Thank you so much Cook Up A Story for the One Lovely Blog Award!

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I am honored to be given this by such a wonderful and fun blogger.

I was asked to reveal 7 things about myself.  So, here it goes!

1.  I LOVE growing things. All things: fruits, vegetables, dogs, cats, children, everything.

2.  I am a budding mixed media artist.  My favorite media to work with is gourds.  They look good with all other media.

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3.  I was a special education teacher for 15 years specializing in school to work transitions.

4.  I play guitar and sing when the occasion call for it.

5.  I have 5 grand dogs and 2 grand kids

6.  As a person with a disability, I am an advocate for people with disabilities.

7.  I am thrilled and honored to have received this wonderful award.

I’m sorry it took so long to post this.  I have just returned from five weeks of working at St. Joseph’s Youth camp in lovely Morman Lake, Arizona.  What a learning adventure!

I would like to forward this award to some of my favorite blogs:

Natural Living Mama: naturallivingmama.com

Doodles: http://doodlesnyc.com/

Diary of a Mad Crafter: http://diaryofamadcrafter.wordpress.com/

Millibeads: http://millibeads.wordpress.com/

The Hillbilly Housewife: www.hillbillyhousewife.com

Craft Stew: craftstew.com

Have fun and keep crafting!

Permanent Sand Castles

Once again Doodles comes through with an amazing activity to do with your grands. I highly recommend you check out her blog and subscribe to it.

Doodles

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Today at Barrow Street Preschool, we made sandcastles out of sand-clay, which will harden over the next week, retaining their shape. I had two groups ages 3/4 and 2/3, and began the lesson by talking with them about sandcastles they had made in the past at the beach, and also the different parts that one could put on a sandcastle. Then I put them in front of tons of misc materials and let them go wild. The project worked great for both age groups–super tactile and messy. The younger kids did need a lot of extra help with the molds, but one adult per table of 5 seemed to be plenty.

*the sand recipe needs to be cooked before class

(click through for the full lesson plan)

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