Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yellow Ball

We had so much fun this week with our Yellow Ball adventures. Rhea has enjoyed the book so much that she would not let me return it to the Library and we still read it every day. Yellow Ball by Molly Bang is about a ball that accidentally gets swept out to sea. The artwork was beautiful as we are shown illustrations of the ball from different angles. The Yellow Ball goes out to sea, gets stuck in a storm, and then makes it back to shore where it is found by a little boy. We really enjoyed reading this book and took the opportunity to throw in a unit on different sports that use balls.

Stephen's sequence and sort project. I had not planed on doing the elaborate project that he created, but he asked to use paper fasteners for his sequencing project. We of course then needed to give it the appropriate decorations.
Stephen's Basketball book and other worksheets
Stephen created a mini-book for each of the sports that we talked about this week. Here is a sample from the Basketball book. Other books included dot-to-dots, mazes, writing and coloring pages.
Stephen's Soccer Book

Our Yellow Ball adventures at the pool where much anticipated all week long. The first picture is of the kids waiting in the dressing room with their yellow ball in hand. We then took a picture of the ball floating away. Stephen talked all day about making a wave for the ball just like in the book. You can see that picture on the bottom left. I will include a larger picture too since it was so important to him. We started to take pictures from different angles, but the lifeguards turned on the cool fountains and Mommy's project was over. Oh well, we at least had a great day throwing our yellow balls at each other and playing in the water while it was snowing outside. Did I mention that it was a heated pool?
The kids looked through Daddy's album of old baseball cards. Stephen then made his own Baseball card and placed it in his lap book next to his Baseball mini-book.
We learned the rules to Baseball just in time before it snowed again, as I mentioned before. Yes, snow at the end of April. Everyone does well at hitting the ball, but we have never talked about the rules. Stephen has been to several baseball games with Daddy, but I think they pretty much eat junk food and heckle the batters the whole time. We began with definitely the bases and running after we hit the ball. We then explained that the base is a safe place where Daddy can't tag you "out" followed by a short lesson in "stealing" the bases and running towards "home". It only took one demonstration and Stephen was hooked!

The Wind up

The Hit

Safe on First

The Steal


Rhea prefers Golf.
....and then wacks Daddy

Other Go-alongs
The Ball Book by Margaret Hillert and Balls by Melanie Davis Jones- goes through each ball sport

Let's Play Ball by Pam Zinnemann-Hope - Very simple

Kenny and the Little Kickers by Claudio Marzollo - Favorite - confidence/self esteem

Soccer Sam by Jean Marzollo - Mulit cultural

Swish by Michael Chesworth - Basketball

Apple Batter by Deborah Turney Zagwyn - Baseball - great for fall

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Red Carpet

Before I tell you about our wonderful time this week, I want to first say that many of these activities were completed by my darling husband. I actually taught a clinic this week and Tom took over some of the Before Five in a Row activities. I took care of helping the kids make their costumes since that would have been cruel of me to ask of him, but he did everything else. We did minimal worksheets that focused on the letters "K", "Q", and "C" since we tied in the Red Carpet by Rex Parkin to Kings and Queens. We still utilized the original Red Carpet concept as seen in the pictures below. For those that are not familiar with the story, it is about a red carpet that scrolls through town to and from a fancy hotel. Stephen used his motorcycles on our "red carpet" and his town play mat. Rhea of course joined in with an array of other vehicles having nothing to do with the story ;-)
Stephen really enjoys making mini-books. Before you ask, these are just clip art and various castle activities that I randomly found and shrunk to a 3X5 size. Nothing special but a ton of fun. I also found a dot-to-dot of the crown of Jesus. We took time to talk about Jesus our King.

Our final activity involved our neighbors and a BIG Pizza Feast and Whipped Cream Jousting (I stole the later from my sister :-) We made invitations for the girls across the street and Stephen decorated the house with left-over crepe paper from our "red carpet". The invitation design was entirely Tom's creation and everyone was very proud of the end result! The rest of the evening was also a huge success. After the kids gobbled up their pizza feast, we headed outside for our version of a "joust". The kids were tentative at first when I told them to get each other with their creamed noddles and had to sacrifice my pants to get the things going. The game was on once they realized that they were not going to get into trouble for making a mess, much less making a mess of each other and getting away with it. You will see that they got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lifetime Fitness

Our latest new adventure has been enjoying our membership to Lifetime Fitness. I needed to address some health issues and found a wonderful team of trainers and nutritionists that actually knew what they were doing when it came to healthy living. As an extra perk, my membership also covers childcare for two hours a day plus use of all family areas including the indoor/outdoor pool. The childcare center is amazing and HUGE. I usually have to take them kicking and screaming to get them OUT of the childcare center when it is time to go home with the exception of the one time a week that I take them swimming. An open house is held once a month allowing Tom to join us for free. I also don't have to worry about trying to find time to eat or get my haircut since there is also a spa and cafe on site. I can actually enjoy a meal in peace and quiet if I choose! Thank you, God, for Lifetime Fitness!!

Check back soon and I will have a couple of videos.

The family changing area is amazing and almost too pretty to let children use. Stephen does a great job changing into his swim suit, showering afterwards and dressing himself. The shower took a little time getting used to, but after I let him just play in the water, he was fine. My first approach of throwing him in the shower didn't work too well. Rhea is seated just outside the shower and both sections are in one small locked room that we have to ourselves. I make sure that I am armed with high sodium or sugary snacks to ensure that I get a nice long shower after the kids are clean and dry. NEVER BRIBE YOUR KIDS (too often :-)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Play With Me

I wasn't sure if the kids would enjoy Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets since the pictures were rather simple and only a couple of them were in color. I definitely have full color type children. We spent the week talking about how God created the animals and plants as preparation for our big trip to the Zoo. The two websites that we used were and Both of these sites have great zoo info and excellent free printable worksheets. This storyline intrigued Stephen and we have been able to have more and more conversations about the details in all of our books. The story begins with a little girl that wants to play with various animals, but they keep running away from her only to reappear to her at the end of the book. We talked about habitats of the various animals, feelings and reflections that we saw in the water created by the little girl and animals. We even managed to see some of the animals on our recent Zoo trip including a squirrel. I know there was a chipmunk in the book, but the cookie-eating squirrel at the Zoo playground was close enough. We had planned to go over the pond to see our own reflections, but it got cold on us after our trip to the Zoo AND there is a chance of snow AGAIN!!

Like I said, we were able to go to the Zoo today thanks to our Zoo membership from Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas gift. Our first stop was to the Family Play Zoo and we were quite impressed. Stephen was more interested in getting an overview of the place instead of focusing on any one activity unless he was grossly interested. I am sure we will get to see more on our return trip :-) Rhea enjoyed playing dress-up while Stephen really did enjoyed the Vet area that emphasized the care of baby animals. He very carefully "helped" all of the animals get better and stacked their cages one by one when he was finished. It was really cute to watch and Rhea join in after she was done running in circles around the building. The kids also had a chance to feed some smaller animals and water the plants with spray bottles. We look forward to going back since the kids were really excited to move on.

Our next stop went by the bears and into the Children's Zoo where we brushed the goats and saw many other animals close up and personal. We put together an animal picture book yesterday and brought stickers to mark the animals we saw. This excited Stephen for the first couple of animals and then he didn't show any interest again until we were headed out to the car. I reassured him that we would come back to finish the book. We also took some time yesterday to print out a map and being to navigate through it today at the Zoo. I numbered the place we were going to go and highlighted the buildings he wanted to visit. His sense of direction still needs a bit of work :-) but at least he understands the concept and not everything relies on Mommy's phone navigator that talks to her in the car.

After a trip to see the monkey's, we finished the trip at the gift shop since Grandma had sent some cash for them to buy what ever they wanted. They of course drifted towards the annoying and potentially dangerous toys, but I think we found things that made everyone happy. Stephen found a bunch of Zoo cars and trucks while Rhea found a bucket of animals and trees to make her own forest. As you can see from the last pictures, we had a fun day and can't wait to go back.