Free Event at the Local Libray

Day 2 of spring break was full of fun. We started at the pool for preschool splash time. Then went across the street to the library to build blocks while we wait for the special event presented by Sno Isle Library.


Museum of Curious Things


The Museum of Curious Things was visiting the library. It is a travel museum in a cool Airstream travel trailer. With a quick look inside, I knew It wasn’t for my kiddos. There were animal skeletons inside. I’m sure it was educational but I’m not ready for my kids to grow up that quickly. I know I’m being selfish so I googled what is an appropriate age to discuss death with my kids? It sounds like talking about death is good for kids based on Psychology Today‘s research.

Also, Lesson Learnt Journal has a lesson plan to teach preschoolers about skeletons and their functions. Now, I kind of feel bad we didn’t check it out… Next time.

Inside the library’s conference room, there was a display of the different animals in resin. Each animal had a different fun fact.

Did you know? Starfish have no brain and no blood.

To end the day, my daughters picked two different bug embossed prints for their crayon rubbing. Crayon rubbings is a great gross motor exercise in holding the paper still so the crayon can reveal the bug below. I helped hold my toddler’s paper still so we could recognize the ant print. I didn’t do the best job. I need to work on my gross motor skills. Also, remind the kiddos to use the side of the crayon instead of the top otherwise the picture isn’t as clear.

What do you think? Do you think talking to preschooler and/or show them skeletons is too early? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Classic Train Set

Playing with the classics is always a good time. In 1936, Skaneateles Handicrafters were one of the first toy companies to make a wooden toy train and track very similar to that used by most companies today.


Engineering Skills for Kids


My kiddos love playing with the wooden trains. It isn’t their first choice in toys but once they get started they will play for hours. Learning about magnetism with the cars connections and track layout are great skills gained from wooden trains.


IKEA vs Kids Destiny Brand


When I started to look for my kids first wooden train set, I didn’t realize there were so many options. We originally purchased Kids Destiny Wooden Train Track 59 Piece Pack which states it is 100% Compatible with All Major Brands Including Thomas Train Wooden Railway System making this a great starter kit.

A year later, we were gifted an IKEA train set. I assumed the two sets were compatible. However, the two sets are not compatible. The plastic connectors of the IKEA train tracks doesn’t fit in the inserted connectors of the Kids Destiny tracks. Both are great train track sets but not together.

As you can see in the photo below, we mix and match them but it takes extra planning where the different tracks can go. Kids get a little frustrated and I have to help make it work.

When researching what skills are developed from wooden trains, I was surprised to find a long list at ChildDevelopment.com. Here is some of the concepts that I found interesting. Check out their website for a full description.

• Understanding/recognising items.

• Vocabulary.

• Following instructions.

• Turn taking.

• Counting.

• Requesting.

• Grammar.

▪ Pronouns.

• Moving Concepts.

• Imaginative play skills.

▪ Boundary setting.

▪ Motivator.

▪ Expand play.

Snow Day Activities Outside

It is snowing in the Pacific Northwest. A beautiful winter wonderland surrounds my eager and joyful kids looking forward to touching the snow.


Snow Engineering


My oldest daughter keeps going outside and sticking her finger in the snow to check it’s depth. She is excited to have it up to her knuckles. I’ve already gotten the call that school is canceled today. The excitement to stay home to play in the snow is exploding in my house.

The first order of business is to make a snow angel. My daughter plopped herself down in the middle of the front yard and started to wave her arms and legs.

After a few angels appeared, she set off to collect snow for her annual mini snowman. Whenever she sees snow, she has a strong desire to build a snowman. Side note, don’t try to sing the Frozen song ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ because she will shut you down pretty fast.

The snowman is approximately 1 foot tall that is about all the snow we get around here. We found some rocks for eyes and sticks for arms. Mr Snowman turned out pretty well.


Science Behind the Snow


Why do we have snow?

National Snow and Ice Data Center explains snow as ice crystals (aka. snowflakes) that formed in the atmosphere surrounding the clouds. The ice crystals grow by absorbing surrounding water droplets. In many cases, the temperature on the ground level is warmer than in the clouds were the crystals form so as the crystals melt as it reach the ground. But when the temperatures are freezing outside (below 32 degrees), the crystals (snowflakes) stay frozen and creates snow.

Happy snow day!

Building Rollercoasters

For the last day of January, we received our Stem Club toy from Amazon. This month we received the Roller Coaster Challenge by ThinkFun.


Thrill Ride Building Game


Game time. My daughter loves this game. While playing, she asked me if I liked the game too since it is similar to my favorite game Mouse Trap. Not sure if it is my favorite game but I remember being obsessed with playing Mouse Trap as a kid. I recently gave my girls Mouse Trap as a Christmas gift.

This game was amazing because it is challenging and educational. There are 40 roller coaster challenges to solve starting at easy level going up to expert. My daughter completed the easy levels with little help from me. She is doing math and engineering problem solving to figure out the different post and track configurations.

Once she thought she constructed a successful roller coaster track, she gave the little roller coaster car a push and watched it go.

Toward the end of the easy level, the challenge includes a loop the loop. I think my daughter finished the first 9 challenges so she can try the loop the loop.

We didn’t get a chance for free-form play yet but I’m sure my daughter will be excited to mix tracks up and be creative.

Build a campfire

Review

During a family reunion this summer, we had a wonderful teacher (my cousin, Hunter) show my family how to build two different types of camp fires, which is today’s 4h challenge. I’m kicking myself right now because I do not have a picture of either of them. But I didn’t know I would be writing about campfires today.

For those of you who have just joined me, today is Day 26 of the 30 day challenge 4H is doing to “inspire kids to do.” There is a $10,000 grand prize of a scholarship for the kid who is inspired to do. Check out the whole challenge at 4H.org.

The Activity

Well, another time of year we always build a campfire is the 4th of July. Below is a picture of daddy and grandpa building a fire.

Most of our fires gather friends and family to cook marshmallows aka s’mores. My daughters style of s’more is chocolate marshmallow chocolate. No graham cracker for my daughter.

To build a good fire, you need three kinds of wood.

Tinder are small twigs, dry leaves, needles or forest duff to start the fire.

Kindling are small sticks to get the fire going.

Firewood is the larger pieces of wood you put on top to keep the fire going.

Option 1: teepee campfire

WikiHow has a great step by step instructions to build a teepee style campfire.

Option 2: pyramid campfire

Pyramid campfire is built like a jenga game. WildernessArena has a great step by step instructions. Check it out here.

Engineering- Boat Race

Review

Today is the boat race challenge for the 4H photo contest. By participating in the photo contest, you have a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship. Check out all the activities here!! Download the list here.

The Activity

Since we live in Washington state, we are surrounded by ferries that will take you back and forth from the San Juan Island. The ferry rides are about a half hour one way and if you ask nicely you can go round trip. It is just long (or short) enough to be exciting versus boring.

During the ferry ride is a great time to talk about different types of boats which will aid the kiddos in designing a boat for the boat race. Once the kids are familiar with the different types of boats, this is a great time to play eye spy with boats on the water.

Book Review:

  • The Activity

    We started the project by coloring 4×4 inch pieces of paper for the sail then we lined up popsicle sticks and glue support braces.

    I recommend assembling it upside down. Let the glue dry then flip it over and glue a few popsicle sticks on the sides. Voila!!

    Engineering – Building Shapes

    For our August STEM project from Amazon, we received Magna-Qubix 29-Piece Set. This toy is “the Original, Award-Winning Magnetic 3D Building Shapes.”

    My 5 year old loved it’s creativity aspect and I love it’s educational aspect. Learning the difference between a pyramid and triangle. Or cube and square. The 3D shapes really help my kids understand the difference between 2D and 3D.

    My 1 year old was ready to take them apart to get the small magnetic balls inside them. She was unsuccessful thanks to the quality of this toy. Yeah!! She got bored of them or maybe sister wasn’t sharing very well. Either way she moved on.

    Needless to say, my oldest was excited she got to use them all to make this magnificent castle. At least I think it is a castle. Maybe robot?!? Either way she was exercising her creativity making me happy!

    Sometimes my kids need a jumpstart on their creativity.

    What can you do with this toy?

    So I made some exercise for you and your kiddos to do to get the juices flowing. Enjoy!

    Here are some other puzzles to assemble:

    Geologists- Kinetic Sand

    We love kinetic sand because it is a great indoor activity on a rainy day or the weather is too hot to go outside. PLUS when your kids are tired of play doh; it is a great alternative.

    It does get ground into the carpet like play doh does.

    I tried the sandbox this summer thinking it would be a good activity but the sand gets in the house, toes or fingernails. Kinetic sand is so much easier to clean up.

    The kit comes with molds but we added some small gems to the activity that my kids loves to hide in the sand or use to decorate their sand castles. We make handprints. It is fun for all ages (but the sand is recommended for 3 yrs old plus).

    Other great additions to the kinetic sand is:

    • Small dump trucks
    • Small seashells
    • Little people or animals

    Kinetic Sand The One Only Sandcastle Set 1lb Sand, Molds Tools (Colors Vary)

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