Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to keep a 4 year old busy for 5,000 miles...

Well, it's all starting at last! We're already on the first leg of our round-the-country trip to say goodbye to friends and family, and then to head to Hawaii. Crumpet and I will be spending about 5,000 miles in the car together. For 2,000 miles of that, my husband won't be with us, so Crumpet will be alone in the back seat. We'll be visiting Charlotte, NC; Ithaca, NY; Northamptom, MA; Providence, RI; Lebanon, CT; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; Memphis, TN; the Painted Desert, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; and finally, flying to Hawaii. (It's easier to ship the cats from California, and cheaper to ship our second car from there - otherwise, we'd just fly from GA...).
I've spent a lot of time thinking about what to put in Crumpet's backpack to keep him busy in the car, and also in hotels and childless friends' homes. Here's what I came up with:

A small collection of Legos. We could not live without these. Seriously, I should write the company a love letter for saving my life over the last month.

The evil car television... I don't like these, but on my first trip from GA to NY alone with a 2 year old, I caved and bought one. We use it once or twice a year, and if you're driving long distances and can't entertain your child, they are pretty handy!
Old file folder games I found in my cupboards:
Our new, beloved, white board. We spent an hour and a half in church for my godchild's first Holy Communion yesterday, and Crumpet and a friend spent the whole time drawing pictures for each other. We love this thing!
A preschool workbook. We don't use these often, so when we do, Crumpet thinks they are a great game.
A travel Lite Brite:
Travel Bingo. We've used this before, and we all love the game.
An I Spy book.

A shapes coloring book.
A really cool I Spy magnetic game board. There are multiple ways to play this, including games to find objects that start with certain sounds, and games which involve number recognition.
A new card game. And this handy dandy card holder to help Crumpet hold all the cards in his hand at once.
A Treasury of Children's Literature. This is a fantastic collection of fairy tales and other traditional children's stories.
A great travel Playmobil pirate set.
Flashcards. The last time we went on one of these extended trips, Crumpet forgot everything he knew. I'm working harder this time to make learning a part of everything we do, and every once in a while, we'll do a little basic review. If we ever manage to settle down enough, I plan to homeschool year round to avoid this massive backslide...
This is a very heavy backpack! I'm hoping there's enough in there to avoid total meltdown along the way (him or me...).

And here's a goofy picture to leave you with. My child sucking his thumb and his toe. He was very proud.. He's turning into quite a clown these days!
I may occasionally post short notes about where we are and what we've been up to, but there's a good chance I won't be able to blog again until the end of June when our boxes arrive in Hawaii. Stay tuned!

The Art Box 4/28

I bought a white board to use in school in the future but Crumpet found it, and he has spent hours drawing on it. He has drawn many, many pictures, but I'll just include one. This one is of "a person in the grass with another person".
And he made a tarantula one day. We spent the whole day pretending to be tarantulas after this:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pirate Birthday Party

Crumpet has been planning a pirate birthday party since the day after his Lightning McQueen party last year. At last, it came to pass on Sunday! He could barely contain himself the whole week before. We ended up having beautiful weather for the day, and all of Crumpet's friends were there. It was a good celebration of Crumpet turning 4 (I have a 4 year old??? - as of tomorrow, I guess I do. Yikes!), and also a last chance for us all to get together.

I made pirate cupcakes:
And a pirate ship cake:
We had a very simple scavenger hunt. I stuck plastic bugs up around the yard, and gave each family a sheet with pictures of all the bugs they needed to find. There were prizes if the kids found 10, 15 or all of the bugs. Everyone found them all - there was a lot of cooperating going on, which was awesome to see!
Crumpet and his dad searching for bugs:
The whole group looking together for one of the hardest-to-find bugs:
Crumpet and a friend discussing where to find the last few bugs:
We had a pirate ship pinata:
And Crumpet got some awesome presents:
Here's the whole gang:
Every year, after these parties, I say "Never Again!" because they are exhausting! But Crumpet is already planning his Star Wars party for next year, so I guess I'd better start thinking of ideas...

The Art Box - April 19

This week, Crumpet drew a fish. I think it actually looks like a fish!
He made a snowman...because when it's 86 degrees out, what else would you be thinking about??
And, one day, he came to me requesting "socks, cardboard, and some glue". I said, "Huh? Um, ok?" He had been watching something on t.v. and was inspired to make his own doll. It's a rabbit doll:
When we opened the craft cupboard to look for glue, Crumpet found lots of other cool things to add to the doll. I think it's adorable!
(Crumpet did learn an important life lesson while making this doll - hot glue is really hot, and maybe it should be a Mommy job to work with it... He never believed me before.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How to entertain a child while you pack up the house...

Poor Crumpet has been horribly ignored this week. We had a yard sale Saturday and the first set of movers arrives tomorrow. We are madly organizing the house, and choosing what things to send to storage tomorrow. So there has been a fair amount of t.v. watching. However, he has also spent hours building with Legos. He plays with playdoh. Once, he made a volcano with playdoh, added baking soda and vinegar, and watched it bubble over for a long, long time while I went through the kitchen cabinets. And today, he washed my car all by himself while we dug through the junk in the garage! Any pictures? No, I keep thinking to grab my camera just as he decides he's done with a project. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Preschool Week of 4/9

Preparations for our move are starting to swing into high gear, so this was a pretty slow school week.


We played Scrabble! Crumpet found the game when I was clearing out closets, and he insisted that we play. I looked at his letters and came up with easy words to make. Then I helped him sound out the words so he could spell them. He found the correct letters and placed them on the board. This was great for phonics, letter recognition, and also counting as he replaced the tiles he used.


We borrowed The Science Book of Gravity by Neil Ardley from the library. We've only looked at the first couple of experiments, but found that they were simple and fun.
First, we dropped a ping pong ball and a ball bearing from the same height to see which would land first. Crumpet thought the lighter ball would land first, but discovered that they land at the same time.

We built a little contraption (the one in the book was much nicer looking, but hey, I worked with what I had...) and rolled balls of many different sizes and weights down it to see if they landed in different places. It turns out, they always landed in our green container.

I don't think Crumpet really learned much from these experiments. We repeated them the next day, and he still made the wrong predictions. He really enjoyed them though, and we did them over and over.


I don't have any pictures, but we played store for a little while this week. Crumpet was the store owner this time, and he put prices on his toys so that I could buy them. I was tricky, and often gave him the wrong amount of money. I made him count the coins. Then I made him add and subtract to tell me if I owed him more or less money and how much I was off by.


We colored Easter eggs. We had a great kit with lots of different paints, stickers, beads, stamps, etc. so we had a lot of fun, and we created some beautiful eggs!

I've decided to go ahead and start summer vacation. The moving process is really overwhelming right now, and I'm finding that coming up with school activities and finding a special time to do them is just too much right now! Moving overseas will be a huge education in itself (for all of us). I will continue to teach as we travel, and I'll post a little bit here and there if we do something interesting. We won't have daily access to a computer from May 1 to June 30, but I'll try to update you all as to where in the country we are, and what fun things we are doing on the way to Hawaii. Please stick around to see how it goes! We'll start school back up in July, I'm guessing, and I'm looking forward to working with a 4 year old and doing a year of "Pre-K"!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Art Box - April 5

Crumpet has been experimenting with different media this week.

Cardboard and lots of glue (this is a bridge):
He colored a random glass jar I had saved:
He also colored a paper Easter egg, at my request, but clearly wasn't interested:
And, we decorated Easter eggs. We got a really cool kit with tons of possibilities. He dyed the one below, then stamped it with foam stamps and paint, then glued on beads:
Mulitple colors and glitter:
He worked with stickers. This is a pirate battle scene. After I took the picture, he "blew up" the ships by peeling them off the paper and cutting them into tiny pieces.
A friend mentioned that he will probably have to draw a person at his 4 year check up so the doctor can check his development. He has drawn maybe 2 people in his life, so I got a little nervous and asked him to draw one just to see what is likely to happen. I guess he has the general idea (I asked him to add arms, his person had none...)
The Easter bunny brought some little magnets to paint.
After he painted them, he decided that he would send them back to the Easter bunny as a thank you gift for the other things which were in his basket. So he wrapped them in wrapping paper:
And mailed them! Now, um, what do I do with them??

Friday, April 2, 2010

Field Trip Friday - Discovery Place

A couple of weeks ago, we went to Charlotte, NC and visited a couple of good children's museums. The second place we visited was Discovery Place, which is a great science museum. We have been there 3 times now, and each time, the exhibits have been completely different. They even redo the play area for young children. This time was definitely the coolest.

There is a great water play area:

A giant fan with pinwheels, and ribbons and pom poms to play with in the wind:

Crumpet's favorite parts of the museum this time were the many, many building areas. There were endless types of fun building materials. In one area, there are boxes and boxes of flat, rectangular pieces of wood, and people have built amazing structures with these. Here is Crumpet building a pirate ship:

Here's the ship he was trying to copy:

One of many fabulous creations:

We also played with sailboats. This was part of an area demonstrating different forms of motion. There is a fan that blows onto this table, and depending on how you turn the sails and the fan, the boats race pretty fast!

I love this picture of Crumpet and his Gee Gee. They were both concentrating so hard to build a bridge. The challenge was to build a bridge that could hold 300 grams of weight. Ours held 700 grams when we were done!

There was a giant lite brite board. This was my favorite!

We found a wall lined with kitchen utensils and pots and pans that made a great drum set!

Crumpet gave his Gee Gee a rain shaker and they played in a band together:

The traveling exhibit this time was based on the show CSI. It was definitely cool, but gross and so not meant for Crumpet. We tried to steer him away from that area, but didn't get him out in time. He saw a mannequin demonstrating what happens when maggots get into a dead body... We are still talking about this, and probably will be for years. Uggh. Oops!

Also, there is normally a rainforest area with animals, but that was closed for renovation. We did go to a short talk about birds, and the animal keeper brought one of the museum's parrots with her, which was fun.

We had a great day. If you ever get the chance, check this place out!

Oops, the first time I published this, I forgot to include the link to Live the Adventure. Head on over to check out more Field Trip Fun!