Treasure hunt

This was a Hands on Play Challenge, but do you know what Maisy wanted to do on Thursday?  She wanted to go on a hunt - an idea she came up with because she had been watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  She went and hid a treasure box outside and then came in to draw a map for us to follow.  She said we needed to be sure to have our cameras ready for this hunt.

We followed our map and it took us to the sand box.  She dug the treasure right out - she was pretty excited about it for having hidden it herself just a couple minutes earlier. 

She needed to be sure she got a picture of me holding the treasure box.

And then she and Mina had loads of fun taking pictures of each other.  They played with these cameras for well over an hour.  Come to think of it, the only reason they had to stop was because Maisy wore out her battery. 

Before we started our treasure hunt, they were both fighting over this camera.

I let Maisy use this other camera of mine and I was impressed with the way she took care of it. 

Stocking Advent Calendar

A few years ago we began this tradition after seeing it in Family Fun magazine.  The idea is to take 24 colorful socks you already have (although I did buy a few to make it a little more festive looking) and pin them up on a line across your mantle. 

Each  night in December (except Christmas Eve when we'll put up our real stockings) I will put in a note, activity, treat, etc. and each morning the kids will be able to take down a sock and see what fun we will be having that day. 

Now that my oldest daughter is in school all day we have to do it a little different.  We don't always have time to do a craft project between homework, piano practice, and whatever else may get in the way. 

Some activities we may do include:
  • Making paper snowflakes
  • Making our own Christmas cards to send out
  • Going to see the lights downtown
  • A service project for someone less fortunate (Sub for Santa)
  • Making Christmas cookies
  • Caroling
  • Painting pinecones
  • Making ornaments
  • Choose a new Christmas book
  • A simple game to play
  • Build with marshmallows
  • A simple treat
  • Watch a Christmas movie
  • Have a slumber party with the family
  • Leave a note to "Get out of Chores Free"

These are just a few of the things we will do (I am not much of a long term planner and like to see how things play out before I set it in stone).  We may also be following along a bit with the Creative Christmas Countdown {more about that tomorrow}. 

Another idea to do with the stockings is to put a puzzle piece in each sock and gradually build it over the course of those few weeks.  Or if your kids are into collecting sports or other cards, you could put one of those in each sock.

I have found that this is a great way to have a little Christmas fun each day leading up to the big day.  It makes that {long} wait more bearable for the kids. 

Coffee filter and paper tube trees

We started this project way back on the first of October...

by getting the coffee filters wet and then painted on them with these bingo markers.

The girls loved to see the way the colors ran together - they made such pretty designs. 

Even the paper towel underneath was made beautiful.

I love the way the light shined through.

We tried to do a few without wetting the coffee filter first - they had more distinct dots,
                                                                  but we preferred for the colors to run together.

Once they were dried we had quite a stack of colorful coffee filters - they eventually got put away in a drawer.  Isn't that sad?  I just didn't know what we could do with them - I wanted to do something fall related, but couldn't figure out what.

Eventually - a month and a half later we took them out once again.  The girls got some scissors and began cutting them up into triangular shapes. 

In fact, that's all Mina wanted to do - cut, cut, cut.  She LOVES her scissors.

Once we glued and taped them to some paper tubes we had some little fall trees.  I like them all - Some trees are at a different stage than others it seems.

Leaf nests (Outdoor play challenge)

Our weather can be so unpredictable - just a couple days ago it was snowing  heavily and we made a snowman, then yesterday the temps soared to around 60 degrees.  It was so beautiful out there, we finally went out and had some serious fall play time. 

We don't really have trees in our yard except for some small babies we have planted.  But it's been so windy that quite a lot of leaves have been blown into our yard from all the neighbors.  I brought out a couple of rakes and started to gather the leaves from the edges of the yard and made a nice big pile for the girls to come and jump in.  Mina came and jumped right in and was really enjoying it. 

Then her sisters came out and grabbed the rakes and decided to do something else with that nice big pile I had raked.  Lou decided she wanted to make her own little fort with the leaves...

Which really turned out to look like a birds nest. 

So then Maisy wanted to make her own nest, luckily she was willing to share her nest with Mina.  Actually the older girls were both trying to beckon Mina to their nest, but this is the one Mina chose first. 

While Lou was taking a little rest in her nest...

                                                                        The other birds were flying around the yard.

Mixing our own concoctions - Hands on Play Challenge

Day 10 of the Hands on Play Challenge was to mix concoctions.  We had another little friend joining us this day and we had a blast mixing to our hearts content. 

Everyone started out with a jar filled up with some water so we could first do a little science experiment.  Everyone had to have a similar container - I started out with bowls and my 7 year old (yes, that's right - the oldest one) had a serious fit about not getting the one she wanted.  So everyone got a jar instead.

We added some pepper to the jars and everyone stuck their finger in to see what the pepper would do - it clinged right to their fingers.

Then everyone got a little squirt of soap on their finger and stuck it in the peppered water again.  The pepper magically resisted their fingers this time - no they were not very amused so we moved on.  I asked them what else they wanted to add to their jar.

A waffle?  Well, alright.  I went for a piece of bread instead because I didn't want to just waste our all too precious Eggos.  One of the girls put her whole chunk of bread right in, two of them tore it up into smaller pieces and dropped them in, and...

Mina decided she would rather eat hers. 

The other girls stirred up the bread in their water and it began to look pretty mucky as the bread dissolved in the water.    After  they were done stirring up their bread water, we started new again with some clean water - this time only filling the jars up half way.

And they began to add some food coloring.  They loved to mix the colors and see what combinations they could come up with.  We also stirred some baking soda to see if we could get another reaction once we added some vinegar.

It took more vinegar than I thought - probably because we started with so much water.  This green jar ended up spilling over though - finally a little more exciting reaction. 

Finally I helped them add a little bleach to their colored concoctions.  Mina watched as her mixture slowly began to change color.  Of course with bleach I made sure no one was putting anything into their mouth anymore or getting it onto their hands. 

Eventually, they all had nearly clear water once again.  I had everyone wash their hands off with clean water and soap just in case there was any bit of the bleach on their skin. 

They all wanted to keep going but...I was ready to be done :-) 

Play Dough Exploration - Hands on Play Challenge

A boy's influence - a rocket ship!

Yes, this was the day 5 challenge and we just barely got around to it - but the point is that we did it!  I just needed to find that clever place I put my new box of salt so I could make a new batch of dough. 

This time I made this Kool-aid playdough recipe - I had mixed reactions to it.  I loved the smell and colors of some of the dough, but I really didn't like others.  Maybe it was all the different fragrances entering the air at the same time that put me off.   Ok, enough about me not liking the smell - the kids didn't seem to mind it.  In fact, they loved this dough and have played with it almost daily since we made it last week. 

I gave them some things to help them hopefully explore the dough in a different way than they usually do.  Usually my kids like to "bake" with their dough.  This day wasn't really any different except we had some play friends over (boys, that is) so it did turn out a tiny bit different because of this boy influence. 

Of course I love the rolled out birthday cake. 

And here are some little nuggets of some sort (I know what you're thinking, but this is some of the dough we made from Maisy's birthday party and it is very brown).

I brought out some rubber stamps to see if the kids might be interested in making imprints in their dough.  Mina liked to stick a bunch on and leave them. 

Lou did branch out a bit from the food theme she normally sticks to and made a little volcano (would have been perfect for the concoction challenge).

And I had a little bit of fun with them, too.  I made a Thansgiving turkey (I hope you can tell). 

Indian corn shakers - Hand on Play Challenge

I saw these fun looking corn shakers a while back on Little Wonders' Days - and today I thought they would be perfect for the 'Play with Junk' challenge.  Not too long ago we had done some very open- ended play with our junk so this time I wanted it do be a little more guided. 

We pulled out some paper tubes (we used 1 toilet paper and 1 paper towel tube cut in half) and our colored bingo markers we found at the dollar store.   The dollar store didn't have yellow - no worries, Indian corn doesn't just come in yellow and orange - it comes in a rainbow of colors really.

I don't think there's another medium my girls would rather use - they love these markers
and enjoyed putting colorful spots all over their paper tubes.  I made one, too, just for fun. 

Yes, those are bandages being used to seal up those ends after we put about a tablespoon of popcorn kernels inside .  I know it's not very conventional, but they were sticky enough and also the right colors (also from the dollar store).  They held up through all the shaking that went on the rest of the afternoon - until big sister came home and decided to chuck them across the room

Still, they only tore a little (luckily not much popcorn escaped) and I covered them up better with some clear packing tape.  I had also attached a little raffia to the top to give it the appearance of corn - Maisy liked the idea and Mina wouldn't allow hers to have it. 

Let the shaking begin!

Maisy danced and sang with them all afternoon. 

And Mina ran laps around the house.

Our thankful cornucopia

On Monday night, we played a fun little game together as a family.  To prepare I had gone and found several pieces of healthy food clipart and printed it off.  I also drew a cornucopia onto a piece of brown cardstock and attached it to another piece of white cardstock to make for a larger area too attach our pictures to.  I taped the cornucopia up on the wall.  Before we began our game, we talked about what the cornucopia symbloizes and why it is a symbol used for our Thanksgiving holiday.

We let the girls fish for the food pictures so we could fill up our cornucopia - each piece of food had a paperclip attached to it and the fishing pole of course had a magnet on the end of the string. 

The girls took turns fishing for a piece of the food.  When they got one, they had to tell me one thing they were thankful for and I wrote it down on the picture of food (Lou, of course, was able to write down on her own what she was thankful for).  Then we put a little glue on the picture and they attached it to the cornucopia. 

 It was a fun way to share with each other the things that we are thankful for.


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