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family fun kids learn links science videos

5 Science Experiments and Videos to share with your kids!

My kids are officially on summer vacation and to prevent screen time overload brain mushiness, I nerded my heart out last month and concocted a summer plan of learning. It’s more of an outline than an actual concrete plan. Because each day and week of our summer will look different than the one before, I simply came up with a list of themes that will shape each week.

To decide on the themes that would most interest the kids, I had them write down things they wanted to learn more about on the whiteboard in our dining room. I noticed a lot of countries and landmarks written down with a few other topics like science experiments and astronomy. So the majority of our weeks will revolve around the wanderlust my kids seemed to inherit from me but THIS week we are learning about SCIENCE.

What does that actually mean? Well first I went to Pinterest and rounded up a handful of science experiments that I can do with the kids that are basically free and not so messy or complicated that it will end with me crying into a pile of paper towels. Things like:

mixing oil and water, making gummy worms dance, the disappearing egg shell, turning milk into plastic and making a fidget spinner using cardboard and pennies

Next I went to youtube and searched for videos of cool science experiments, creating my own playlist so that I could easily keep all my good finds organized. You can find my entire playlist here. Some of my kids’ favorites were:

My seven year old is officially hooked on the SciShow Kids video series. This video about cleaning a penny with things like ketchup or soda fascinated her.

Incredible Science is a good bet for older kids. We watched several of his videos and they have the shock and awe factor down and plenty of cool things to learn, too. My kids were particularly impressed with the shaving cream / food coloring rainstorm in a bottle.

I love the SloMo Guys – gorgeous videos that will appeal to fans of science, fans of filmography or even just fans of things blowing up in slow motion i.e. all of us. Watching a CD shatter at 170,000FPS was enjoyed by all.

So we love watching things spin and explode and since we have two young kids in the house we know all about the fidget spinner craze. What could be more cathartic than watching fidget spinners explode? This was a fun video although we had a tough time understanding their awesome accents sometimes, the video speaks for itself.

Maybe you’ve already seen this awesome video of Station Commander Chris Hadfield sharing science in space. If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a watch. Hadfield is a pretty awesome guy and his videos are always amusing. Plus now we get to combine science and space in one video! Extra credit, right?

So how else will we round out our week of science fun? Well we’re looking for science books, tv shows and movies when we indulge in some R&R and just generally being inquisitive as we go about our days. I think you’ll find that anytime you spend a good amount of time thinking about any topic, you will find that it pops up everywhere you go.

Any other favorite science videos or experiments that we should add to our list?

Categories
entertainment learn links

weekend link love: june 20, 2014

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We’re having a lazy summer day here. The kids are playing some epic game of make believe, the dog is peacefully snoozing (for once) and I’m trying to catch up on email, RSS feeds and household chores and scrambling to get the family ready for an upcoming trip. But first, it’s time for my weekend link love – because I’m fairly certain the world would end if I didn’t share these links with you. Or nobody would notice at all. Definitely one of those.

That’s all for now – have a great weekend guys!

Categories
family fun learn

The difference a year makes.

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The prompt I chose for this week’s Writer’s Workshop hosted by Mama Kat is:

1.) What were you writing about last year at this time? What has changed?

On April 18, 2013 – one year and one day ago – I wrote about having our request to transfer the kids into another local public school denied and coming to terms with our plan for the fall. I wrote about the various options we had considered and the pros and cons for each. That fall BB entered 4k at the same local school that MM attends – it was kind of a major life change for us with both kids about to be at school in the mornings. But it was really just dipping a toe into that world since BB would only be in school for a few hours in the mornings Tuesday-Friday.

Both kids have really had a great academic year but for all the reasons I mentioned in my blog post last year (and a few new ones) we continued to look into other options. This fall she will be starting kindergarten, he third grade. This means both kids will be at school for a full school day – they will arrive and leave together at the same times. I will have a lot more time on my hand to either spend getting into shape, walking the dog and keeping a clean house; finding gainful employment; or playing even more games on Facebook.

This week I dropped off enrollment packets at a local Lutheran school that MM’s best friend attends and LOVES. It’s got the vigorous education standards that the local Catholic schools might boast but at a fraction of the price – and it’s close and comes with a few built in friends for the kids, which means a slightly less scary transition. I’m also a major fan of the fact that they have the same hours every day – no early release or late starts. Also we really got great vibes from the school tour we took a few weeks ago.

This has not been an easy decision – there’s been much deliberation which I won’t get into here just yet and the process is not actually done – we don’t have a for sure spot in the school yet but the odds seem likely that (knock on wood) this will probably be the school our kids attend in the fall.

So – yes – what a difference a year makes! Though I am so glad that I sent the kids to their local public school another year and have been happy with their teachers, all the reasons we’ve thought of transferring them have not changed and the timing feels right now. With BB starting kindergarten in the fall, this seems like an ideal time to make the switch if we are going to. So cross your fingers for us!

Do your kids go to public school, private or other?

What kind of schools did you attend growing up?

Tell me more about it in the comments section!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Categories
learn motherhood

Eco Friendly Craft Ideas: Make your own upcycled puzzles!

puzzle

Here’s an easy project for a cold, rainy afternoon. Kids are bored beyond belief and need a new distraction? Pull out a piece of cardboard from your recycling with an interesting picture and cut it into a jigsaw puzzle. We used the box from a frozen pizza.

You could do this with a cereal box, the box a new toy comes in, frozen pizza boxes, etc. Sky’s the limit here really – and you can make the puzzle as easy or as complex as you want to suit your kiddos needs. If they lose a piece (or twelve) you won’t really care because it didn’t cost you anything more than time!

What simple rainy day activities are your favorite?

Categories
learn

quick activity idea: make sticker stories!

sticker stories

Feeling the Mid Summer Blahs? Here’s a quick activity to do with your kids that is pretty open ended, easy and frugal. Make & Takes shared the idea for writing sticker rebus stories today and I immediately ran to our little crafting cabinet and pulled all of our sheets of stickers that I’ve been halfheartedly stock piling over the years. We always seem to accumulate extra sheets of stickers at birthday parties or through magazines and craft kits and I save whatever I can for a rainy day.

We’re sticking close to home today because both kids have a runny nose – probably nothing but one day of rest never hurt anyone so after letting them watch a few tv shows after breakfast, I wanted a quick & easy craft type project that they could do, preferably with minimal involvement on my part! This project was perfect. I scattered a half dozen sticker sheets on the dining room table and asked, in my very best Super Excited Mom Voice:

“Have you ever made sticker stories before?”

They were immediately excited to see what I meant so I pulled out a sheet of notebook paper and started writing a story (see the image at the top of the collage above). My eldest son, MM (age 7) read along as I wrote so when I asked what should happen next he immediately had ideas. I showed them both how you could use the stickers as inspiration for what should happen next in the story. I wrote out a quick paragraph to illustrate the idea and then let them take the idea and run with it.

MM immediately wanted to write a Star Wars story (you can see snippets above) and my nearly 4 year old daughter, BB, was super excited to use the Elmo Stickers. I could have sat and helped her write a story but she tends to be pretty independent with her projects so I let her do her own thing and just have fun playing with the stickers and “pretending to write”.

Both were incredibly proud of their results and I loved getting to see an example of my son’s handwriting (it’s always this messy – just like his dad!)  and also his spelling and story writing skill. He actually wrote a pretty well thought out story considering he was flying by the seat of his pants and had no help from me at all. My daughter’s little sticker collage is just adorable and I loved the little squiggles of mock handwriting throughout.

You could make this concept as challenging or open ended as you wanted really and different themed stickers will yield different stories and results, obviously. I thought this was such a great idea and it was the perfect cure for a lazy summer morning – plus it’ll keep your kids’ minds active during the summer months.

This is definitely an idea to keep in your back pocket!