Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy Drinking Straw Day!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Before we start on today's fun, I am making yet another change to the blog posts in this new year.  I have received plenty of feedback from the old posts that everyone enjoys the craft ideas and photos, but not many of you are reading the rundown at the end, the part where I detail the reading we did, worksheets, etc., for the day.  Don't worry, I'm not offended ... who has the time, really?  From this point on, I will only list supplemental readings we've done if I feel it's pertinent to the craft or project shown.  That way, you can add it to your own curriculums without worrying that it may not be applicable.  I'll also list those materials that I think are real gems, because as every homeschooling Mom knows, there are so many options out there, but where to begin???  So ... long story short ... less talk, more pictures, more to the point.  If anyone wishes to know how I'm supplementing these crafts with reading and busy work, let me know.  I'll be more than happy to share.  We're still doing daily Bible study, daily weather and calendar updates, letter work, and phonics.  I'm just sparing you all the details in each post.  From now on, you'll just be seeing the fun stuff.  Now, on with the show!

So, it's Drinking Straw Day.  Yep, that's right.  Drinking Straw Day.  I'm betting you didn't know.  But when I read that it was coming up, I decided to make a curriculum of it, along with a two-week-long study of Winter. Tomorrow, we'll also start our Geography course, which we'll cover two days a week for now, but enough on what's coming up.  I've saved the best news for last ... MAGGIE READ HER FIRST BOOK TODAY!  I was ecstatic and so proud!  She has been sounding out 3-letter words for a month or so, and thanks to my buddy, Anna, we practiced with the first Bob book today, and she read it cover to cover!  (Daddy's bringing her home a surprise to congratulate her!)

Here, showing off the book she read!
 Then, we started our study of the drinking straw, along with the reading of this cute poem out of Highlights magazine, August 2009, page 15.
And, of course, everything we drank today was with these super cool curly straws!  :)
One of our first straw projects today was 'Straw Measurements,' borrowed from our Playskool: Toddler's Busy Play Book, page 259, which required some straws, scissors, and a ruler.  Using your scissors, cut your straws so that you have many different lengths.
Then, place them in order of size ... 
 ... and measure them, too!  Easy math lesson!
When we were done, we took our straw pieces and made a photo frame, as directed at  http://dailycelebration.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/happy-drinking-straw-day/.  For the same, you'll need your straw pieces, a piece of craft foam for the base of your frame, scissors, tacky glue, a magnet, and a photo.  (Maggie chose to frame a picture of her new kitten, Emmett.)  Cut your foam to fit your photo.
Next, line your foam with tacky glue, adding your straws to cover it.  (You will need your scissors to make some pieces fit better.)
 Here is our frame, drying.  Once dry, add your picture and glue your magnet to the back so it can be displayed on your refrigerator ...
... like ours!  So cute!
After that, we set out to do some painting with straws, as instructed at http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/drinkingstrawsartscraftsideaskidsprojects.html.  For the same, you will need white paper, a drinking straw, and some food coloring.  
 Drop a few colors of food coloring onto your paper and using your straw, blow air out over the drops to send them moving.
 Very neat!  (She loved this activity!)
All done!  A masterpiece!  Why paint with a paintbrush anymore when you can paint with a straw?
And for our last straw activity for the day, we made a 'Straw House,' as directed by our Good Things for Kids: Get Crafty! magazine, Winter 2008, page 32.  For the same, you need drinking straws, index cards, and scissors.  (We used bendy straws to help with our corners, but if you don't have bendy straws, you can simply use the cards, folded, for yours.)
Using your scissors, cut your straws into 2-inch pieces.  Then, cut slits into the ends of each piece for sliding over the cards.  (The straws serve as your 'connectors.')  For a corner, we bent our straws, like below.
 Building ...
 It is amazing what you can do with some paper and straws!
 Later, I let her design her own straw art.  She said, 'I only need some glue and cardboard.'  Ok!  :)
We also did some reading and work to better understand our use of calendars in a small 'New Year' study.  (Think of asking questions like, 'What day does the 9th fall on?')  Here, Mags is using calendar stickers to add important dates to her kitten calendar she got for Christmas.  
Then, she was so excited to hang it in her room!  (We'll be updating each new month at the beginning of the month as a review for her on how calendars work.)
 Then, we moved on to learn about Winter.  After some reading (a lot, actually), we put together this 'Forest Cottage' activity out of the back of our November/December 2011 issue of Ladybug magazine.  (It went with their 'Any Room for Me?' story on pages 23-28, about animals that find shelter in a lost mitten.  She loved it.)  
 Acting out the story on her own ...
 And for today's Winter craft, we did 'Ice-Cube Painting, as seen in our The Everything Toddler Activities Book, page 233, using ice cube trays, Popsicle sticks, white paper, and powdered tempera paints.  (You'll have to prepare the 'brushes' in advance, by freezing Popsicle sticks in water in your ice cube trays so that they can be popped out in time for the craft.  I used blue, knowing they'd bleed a bit, because they looked more wintry to me!)
Ready to go!  Our 'brushes!'
Ready for Mom's instructions ...
 Let your child sprinkle a bit of the powdered tempera paints onto their paper, then when the ice has started to melt just slightly, let them glide it over the powder to 'paint!'  
So, that wraps up today's fun work!  Check us out again tomorrow when we start a study of maps, and make a Winter crystal tree and a Winter painting using doilies!  See you then!

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