Monday, August 8, 2016

Week In Review: July 11 - August 5

Obviously I've been TERRIBLE at keeping everyone updated about our daycare happenings. We haven't done too many theme days because the kids haven't been as interested in them (or they've lost interest very quickly). We did do a Coffee Shop Day that every kid LOVED. Mostly the kids have created their own fun, making up games or drawings, playing Hide and Seek, catching bugs (and dissecting them), running through the sprinklers, and building. So much building happenings: building rockets with the Crystal Climbers, building Lego towns, building houses with the Waffle Blocks (both the big and little blocks), building with the Magformers (the bigger pieces also make for excellent teethers for the babies), and building Zoob necklaces.

Every day after lunch the big kids (all those school age), read for thirty minutes and do ten minutes of writing. Some of the younger school age kids read easy readers, practice their writing with our dry erase writing books, and practice site words. Then it's back outside or whatever they'd like to do. A few of the kids opt for watching PBS Kids for a bit of resting.

The older kids have been learning about respecting each other and how to speak to each other kindly. They've had some tough lessons to learn and some days that weren't so fun for them, but finally at the end of summer, they're doing a much better job of talking through their problems and compromising. 
The littles have kept themselves busy watching the bigs and trying their hardest to keep up with them. We've all been working on table manners, taking turns talking, and following directions the first time.

In addition to the things we've been working on, here's a look at a few of the activities from the last month:

We threw the blog a birthday party. Ok, so the kids hardly had a clue about what we were celebrating, but they happily sang and ate cake! Read more about the Blog's birthday here.


Yes, I played dress up too.

Building with cardboard boxes. They all had excellent, creative ideas, but first they had to agree on what to build. It was a challenging activity, but they built some very cool structures.

Building with "little big kids Lego's." This has been done in the boy's room so we can keep the little pieces out of the carpet. The kids have built some really cool things! They can spend hours building things.

We had a Circus one rainy day. The kids made tickets for the Circus during art time and then gave the tickets out for the show. There wasn't a show as much as it became kids jumping in and out of the tent and tossing a tiger in the air. 

We re-created Book Store Day for a day full of reading.

We held a Game Day, when the kids played board games one rainy day. This was actually a great day. The bigs taught the littles how to play Candyland. They cracked me up with Star Wars Operation: every time they hit the edge and heard the buzzing sound, they took that as a que to keep going despite being told the buzzing was a "bad sound." This is also the day the kids became obsessed with winning and losing.

We've shucked a lot of corn this summer! I even made the kids work for their lunch one day and had them shuck their own corn!

When it's too hot to go outside, you bring the pools inside! One day we did a Polar Ice Pool (similar to our Polar Ice Table). The kids were more interested in eating the ice, but whatever.

I was looking for a new activity/something to keep the kids busy. I wound up at Toys R Us with 8 water babies for a baby washing day. All of the kids loved it--even the eight year old boys I have! The kids wanted to know the proper way to wash newborn babies. I love how a "silly" and simple activity can turn into learning.

A favorite snack this summer: watermelon popsicles! 

Science experiments keep all ages intrigued. On this day the kids made their own bubble gum using this kit!

On the same day that we released our lady bugs (we didn't have to hold lady bug funerals this year!! Not a single one got crushed before they learned to fly!), our praying mantis arrived. Poor guy/girl (??? we're not quite sure) only lasted a week much to the kid's dismay. I am not disappointed...that thing was high maintenance! We've had a lot of bugs in the house this summer: fire ants, butterflies, lady bugs, praying mantis, and cicadas. Yes, the kids caught live cicadas on one of their numerous bug catching adventures and decided to keep it. Ultimately they killed the cicada by painting it red with paint and then trying to give it a bath....all in one afternoon.

We haven't gotten to go on a lot of walks this summer, but I've taken advantage of a nice day here and there and taken the kids on 1+ miles walks. The kids do a great job of practicing safety and staying with their hand holding partners the entire walk.

Matching games, Go Fish, and United States puzzles have been a part of nearly every day.

Slip N Slide Hockey was A BLAST!! This is going on our 'every summer' list.

I've discovered even the big kids need a short rest during the day or they're exhausted by the end of the day. Case in point, they'll fall asleep with their head in a book, pass out on the couch in a pool of drool, or fall asleep coloring (or they'll just be crying, whining messes).

I've been asked these last few weeks how I keep myself sane. Well, I've given myself plenty of night's out (yes, that's me in the picture above playing Skee Ball in a bar) and plenty of downtime in the evenings and on the weekends.

Just like we do every summer, we held The Great Toy Wash and everything got cleaned.

They've run through a lot of sprinklers this summer.

The new Waffle Blocks provided a great day of fun. In order to build something with them, the kids had to agree on what to build, how to build it, and how to play with it. These rules (I created) resulted in the kids taking the time to brainstorm what they wanted to build, being "architects" and drawing their building ideas on papers, voting on what to build, and then working together to build it. A few of their creations included houses, a bunny barn, a doctor's office, and hover crafts. I loved these so much that I placed an order for a few more sets!

A few weeks ago, the minis, Hubs and I completed a 31 Parks challenge (you can read about that here, where we completed all 31 parks in a weekend!). Daycare ended early one day so we could compete in a trivia contest about Des Moines Parks. Well, we didn't win, but we did get some cool prizes for finishing the parks and we got to take a beautiful walk along the Des Moines River after trivia.

There's a lot of "oh my god!" moments every day of every hour. This moment of panic was brought to you by a child who decided to wipe their hands, that was full of red paint, with a baby wipe and then throw it in the toilet. Thankfully I remembered they were using red paint before I checked everyone for cuts.

This started as Squirt Painting (paint in squirt bottles) that became feet painting that then became full body painting for some of the kids.

The kids can never pass up a good game of Hide and Seek. They have amazing hiding skills, I can hardly find them (wink, wink).

We brought the trampoline out for jumping....or that's what I had pictured. Instead, the kids created an obstacle course (centered around the trampoline of course) all on their own.

It's been a good summer that's coming to a close all too quickly. It's been challenging, fun, exciting, with plenty of moments of love and frustration. Now that we're in the last couple weeks of summer vacation, we're trying to fit in as much as we can!