Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Games, Gingerbread, and Sillhouettes

It's December! Winter break doesn't really apply here. I've noticed we kind of cycle around academic learning and play learning. Actually, the two also mix together quite nicely when you let them! Today, Ava spent almost two hours doing online learning. She covered reading, Spanish, songs, and more. She's also been interested in cursive writing. Noah and Amora also did some online learning and did some painting, as well...and now are in the bath as a result.
Going with the flow is so nice, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The magic of the holidays should be soaked up by children! Lots of memories and living to do! We've been taking long ways home to see the Christmas lights, decorating the house, reading books, playing game, and paid Santa a visit at the mall.

Ava made a treasure hunt game by making a map of the house and then hiding a "treasure" and then putting an 'X' where the treasure is. We took turns trying to find where the treasure was hidden.
We also took down the Wildcraft game for the first time. Well, the kids found it actually. I'd been saving it for a while until they were old enough for it. Ava is at a great age for it and it's now our favorite game to play together. It teaches kids (and adults!) about which natural herbs help which ailments that you get along the hike up the mountain. I also love that there are no winners or losers and it encourages everyone to help each other through the game and get back down the mountain together.

While Ava and I played Wildcraft, the younger two had to be kept busy after they started getting bored with watching it. They were very active that day so it took several ideas to keep them happy:

Bean bag toss game:

Shape puzzles:


And bean sorting/mixing:

Ava got into this later but decided to try out a more advanced version with the electric mixer:

Speaking of kids using big-versions of things, I've been helping the kids learn how to use real knives to cut fruits and veggies. It may feel nice to only let kids use kid stuff that is uber safe and can't cut worth a crap, but kids also don't get to learn how to respect and carefully use the real stuff! At their ages, I supervise them and give them some pointers (don't cut toward yourself, move your thumb! etc.) and keep them put up out of reach in between, but I really think it's useful to let kids use the real thing. Sure they could get a cut (as do I!) but it's all part of learning. Our culture has taken the safety thing too far in so many ways. I'm working on getting away from all the fear and letting the kids have some freedom to learn and explore.

The kids made gingerbread houses at their homeschool group this month. What a blast! They had them eaten all up within 2 days, but they were sure cute! There were around 20 kids that attended that day so there was such a wonderful variation of different houses. Noah also built some block structures with his friends while Ava and Amora played games with the other girls.

This week, Ava headed to a Christmas concert/play with her grandma and aunt and uncle. Ava loved the play and talked about her favorite part when angels flew around the stage.

Meanwhile, I went to an art show where I got to meet my favorite artist, Jane Evershed. Her art is so amazing and is so inspirational and empowering for women and she is such a cool person, all around. I so enjoyed talking with her. I look forward to bringing Ava next year to it since she loves art so much and is familiar with Jane's work from the prints I have at home.

We also did some silhouette shadows. No easy task for the four and two year old. But cool none-the-less. Ava's turned out well, despite my flashlight holder making her shadow fly all over the place. Noah's was a bit of a challenge, but we managed. And Amora, well I didn't get past her hair line since she much preferred to watch the shadow on the wall instead of face forward. But yes, they thought it was great anyways and a couple fun silhouette portraits came out of it.

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