Friday, August 29, 2014

Sewing: Stuffed Bear {Art Friday}

Art Fridays are the days that I do my best to share an art related activity. Sometimes these are bigger projects, sometimes they relate to music or the visual arts. Sometimes they are the creative arts (like today). Enjoy! 

In retrospect, this project would have been significantly easier if we just made a pillow. But the house was quiet and I was feeling brave. The house is not quiet anymore and the baby is awake fully surrounded by a sea of Gerber Puffs. Oh well. 

Here is our hand dyed, hand sewn, new stuffy: "The Bear."

Barrett worked on this guy- some on his own- some with a bit of help from me. You can find the free pattern and tutorial over at Purl Bee

The fabric is upcycled curtains that we dyed with a natural homemade blueberry dye. 

Barrett helped pin and cut the pieces. Taking out pins and aligning fabric is an awesome way to include kiddos in a project. 

Using the machine set on low. 

Hand stitching the button eyes. I helped blind stitch the back and the legs on. 

He loves it. Mistakes and all. 

Let's just pretend he doesn't look crazy creepy. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014 {Review from a Montessori Mom}

One of my biggest struggles with doing Montessori "at home" for the elementary years is the lack of group work. The ability to work together in groups and feed each others interests seems to be an integral aspect of a Montessori classroom. We've been able to blend a more classical education with our Montessori inspired activities but it still seems a little forced on my part as "guide." 

When our friends told us about I was super excited. The best way to describe it would be boy scouts without the actual meetings. Kids can learn new skills and share them with friends in a safe online environment. They can earn patches for accomplishing skills and receive feedback from other members of the community. 

Parents get notifications when things are submitted and can log in online on their parent account to monitor conversations. I've been a little nervous about allowing my little guy some social media interactions but it seems to be a great way to learn internet safety in a safe, monitored environment.  It has been free (and still is) but they just added a subscription service where you get the patches for free, feedback, insights and even mentors that push them to do a little better. We had a mentor ask for a closer shot of an activity and Barrett was so proud to do it over I was amazed at the whole experience. 

Barrett has loved participating with his real life friends in an online environment and they seem to encourage each other in their passions and skill sets. I encourage you to check it out! 

I wrote this review for myself. We pay the monthly fee for this service and it has been well worth it. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Simple Purple Dye {Practical Life}

We've been having fun learning about the Phoenicians in our Ancient History book this past week. One of the recommended activities was to make dye. The Phoenicians used snails but fruit and vegetables work great too! 

Blueberries (frozen)
Pots (one for cooking the blueberries, one for cold water)
Cheese cloth (for straining)
Material to Dye (old curtains, fabric, pasta)
Cold Salt Water

Simmer your blueberries on low heat for about an hour. I found that I needed to add some water to our blueberries. Strain the berries and keep the juice. Dye your materials. Rinse with cold salt water- it will dilute your coloring a bit- but the color should stay a little bit longer.  Lay out to dry! 

Once our fabric dries we are going to make some stuffed animals with the sewing machine. Check back on Friday to see how it comes together! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Can You Hear It? {Art Friday}

This particular book has been on my wish list for a while and I was super excited to add it to our collection this year. It's a book of various artists and a cd with music to go along with it. Each page has questions about the music to inspire little ones. The kids LOVE it. I intended to do a page a week but we went through the whole book the first day and it has a coveted place on our bookshelf. 

I pulled out our instrument three part cards (from Peter and the Wolf) and did a three part lesson on a few of the instruments while we listened to some of the music. 

There are so many extensions. Listen to the music and count the beats. Listen to more from the composer or search for more art work from the artist. You could easily do a lesson on Bees after listening to the flight of the bumblebee. We are excited to get to know these artists and their works in the coming months! 

Have fun appreciating art this week! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Astronomy, Understanding the Universe {Science}

I introduced astronomy this week to our little guys. It's a fun album and one that we go back to quite a bit with the oldest.  We started with a discussion of the universe and I showed a picture. It's a good time to emphasize that "the universe contains everything starting with you" and how BIG the universe is. Pass around the picture (or look together). 

A fun (and classic) activity is to make a "universe jar." You need: jar, water, small pitcher, glitter, oil, dropper, and liquid watercolor (or food coloring). 

-put all the materials on a tray
-explain that you are making a model of the universe
-pour a little bit of water into the jar
-take a dropper of oil and add a few drops to the jar
-add a few spoonfuls of glitter
-add a drop of coloring if desired
-screw the lid on and admire
-invite the kids to make one for themselves! 

Other resources: