Monday, June 28, 2010

County Fair Projects

The Venango County Fair was something new to me when I was a kid, but since that is where Gary & I met, and we believe in the family friendly atmosphere it is now a given to our family that we will be going and participating in the fair events and friendly competition. With Robert being a 4-H'er he has several projects that he will be exhibiting for 4-H. Along with the projects come the books. These are a great way to keep Robert writing and reading and calculating the costs of his projects. Plus he will learn something new too!
Now Garrett will have his projects too. The fair offers open classes for everyone. There are youth classes for those 8 and under, 8-18, and adults. These projects are what keep the boys busy all summer. Actually it started the planning in January or February because the seed catalogs came out then and they were looking for sunflower seeds. They both enter sunflowers that they have taken care of throughout the summer.
But some simple ideas are: collages, fabric painting, flowers (plant and let the kids water and weed and then select the best looking bloom as needed for each type of flower) farm displays, models,etc. there are lots of things to choose from and they are great ways to use up some of that extra time that you might have this summer!
Gary & I even enter some of the things that we have made throughout the year, just for the fun of it. If anyone is interested I have extra fairbooks with the classes! Venango County does ask for preregistration by July 16th.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vacation Bible School

As a co-director for Vacation Bible School, I am always excited about what is coming for the kids. For some reason this year I was more worried than excited, but our church had the "Backstage with the Bible" from the Go Fish Guys. If you have never heard of the Go Fish Guys, they are a great music group that started in adult Christian music and moved into kids music and the kids (and adults) love the music. Well, the VBS was very exciting - we had 104 registered kids attend VBS and over 40 volunteers. But the most exciting was how the kids took to the music and they really knew the words. Their favorite song _"The 10 Commandment Boogie" How awesome to have a song with God's rules be the kids' favorite song.

Now my boys were very very excited because we do like the Go Fish Guys' music so that made their day all by its' self. But it is so cool when Garrett came home each day and could tell myself or Gary ALL about VBS. The snack, the story, the games, the music, the craft (which he usually had to show us) and even the things he got to buy at the store. Robert had to miss one day because of cap, but he was always ready to put in anything that Garrett maybe missed about the day.

I was a VBS kid meaning that I attended several VBS's each summer and now my boys are doing the same. If you are interested Emlenton Area Church's will be having a "Family VBS" Starting June 21-25 from 6-8:30 each evening. The are presenting "Egypt - Joseph's Journey from Prison to Palace" All are welcome to come and join in on more summer fun!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tents are great

Yesterday Robert asked if he could get out his tent. It is a small 2 person tent (if they are small people) but it was a nice day so he was allowed to get it out, but he had to set it up himself or with the help of his brother. A little while later both boys came to get legos - they could play outside and not loose the legos. The boys spent most of the afternoon playing in the tent. Then last night when I came home from a meeting there is a note saying that Robert was sleeping in the tent by himself. At age 9 I thought this would be an interesting evening. But he made it all night in the tent by himself and he enjoyed it. The tent stayed up today too and they continued to play in it. Aren't new play things in the backyard great? Sometimes something as simple as a tent or when inside a sheet over a table can entertain children for hours. And it seems my boys still like to have close, small space rather than wide open spaces. HAve a great summer weekend and remember tents are for more than camping!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Reading Project

When Robert was younger he tracked the books he read through the summer by adding a body part to a dragon on our upstairs bulletin board. HE really enjoyed the activity that followed reading a book. Well after a lot of looking through bulletin board ideas, the boys and I have talked about having our "Reading Farm"." This week we will draw and color the barn which is the base for our farm then in order to have farm animals, they will have to read a book. For each book read, they will get a farm animal to write the name of the story on and them color the rest of the animal. So by the end of the summer, they are hoping to have an entire farm (maybe I'll even include tractors and equipment - we'll have to wait and see) But this is just an idea that has encouraged my boys to keep reading especially during the summer!

Alphabet Train

Garrett is learning his alphabet and we have tried a couple different things but they haven't clicked for him yet, but on Friday I started "Garrett's Alphabet Train" I found a blank train engine picture and a blank train car for in a classroom or bulletin board. I added Garrett's name right to the train and then printed it off for him. Now Garrett hasn't proved to be much for coloring, but twice now with the Frog Life Cycle and now with the train he has done a wonderful job. He also asked for colored pencils, so don't be afraid to give kids different tools to color with. We have the start of our train ready and on the wall. I took a photo of him and cut it out so there wasn't any background and it is just his head and put it in the engineer's spot on the train. I am planning to have each train car have a different letter and he can either find that letter in a magazine or paper or he can add pictures from the magazines of hings that start with each letter. But if nothing else he is very excited about it. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Last Day of School

I try to make the first and last days of each school year special. We usually have something to give to the teacher for a Thank You for a good year and we usually try to have something for the bus driver too as they did make sure that Robert was safe to and from school each day throughout the year.
But I also have a few things that I do for Robert - first is that there will be pictures as he gets on and off the bus tomorrow. But I also have purchased Crayola's window crayons and Window Markers. SO there will be a little message on the door as he leaves and a new one when he gets home. Something as simple as "The LAST DAY of SCHOOL" or "Good-Bye 3rd Grade" then when he comes home it might say "Look out 4th Grade here comes Robert" Or "Welcome Summer!"
I usually have some type of small gift for the first day of summer too. This might come on the last day of school or it sometimes waits til the first day after school is out. This is usually something that the boys will spend time with this summer. New sports equipment or a few new books to read throughout the summer. What ever it is I do try to go overboard and celebrate each year completed in school! So try something special for your kids!

math games

Robert is to the point that he is learning his multiplication tables, but there have been a few nights that just going through the flash cards is just a bit more than what he can handle. So I got out a deck of regular playing cards and we divided them in half. And we both flipped over 1 card. He had to multiply the 2 cards together. IF he got the answer correct he got the cards, if the answer was wrong, I got the cards. The object of the game is for him to end up with all of the cards. Now we used the jack as 11, the queen as 12 and the King as 1 and the Ace was the Wild card which means that the person who laid it down gets to choose a value for the card. This proved to be a nice way to practice his math facts and was more of a game than a flashcard practice time.

After we had played several times (at his request) I got to thinking that this would work for almost any math. Addition they could easily add. Subtraction they would have to remember to start with the largest card and multiplication as we played it. So maybe throw in a few math games this summer while hanging out outside and the kids won't even realize that they are practicing their math facts.

Teaching Opposites

Garrett and I have been playing a game for a while that he reminded me of the other day as we waited for an appointment. When I was in high school there was a cheer that the cheerleaders did during football that one line was " We say fight, you say Win -fight, win, fight, win" and it continued with other lines. Well I have taken that line and have made it a fun opposites game. I will look at Garrett and say" I say stop, you say go - stop, go, stop, go" We then continue with as many opposites as we can. Sometimes I will start with "I say on, you say- what do you say?" This is where Garrett will tell me off and then we finish the game. This has become a fun little rhyme that we can do anywhere, from in the car, to waiting in line at the store, to waiting for an appointment. And it doesn't take anything but a mind fast enough to remember opposite groups plus it helps the kids remember their opposites.