Friday, July 6, 2018

Summer Weeks 4 & 5

June 18 - 29

Aaahhh, summer. Our states are keeping us busy, but there's also been plenty of other "stuff" too. There's been backyard playing, cartwheel and hand stand practicing, races, basketball "shoot offs," creating, game playing, and so much more. These kiddos know how to keep busy and keep the days entertaining as well. The kids continue to LOVE our states theme and seem to be picking up on a lot (much to my surprise).

Here's a look at some of the "stuff" that keeps everyone smiling through the days of summer:

Horse stick races for Kentucky. I snagged three stick horses from Walmart for $10 a piece. I bought one years ago at a garage sale that was destroyed. I'm a tad shocked to see that these horses have held up well for the last few weeks.

The Wizard of Oz was a MUST for Kansas. We've watched this movie a few times at daycare (in the past), so it was nothing new for the kids. It was perfect for a hot afternoon and relaxing in the living room though.

When we came to Louisiana, my minis requested a full on Mardi Gras party: dancing, a parade, a King's Cake, and masks. I didn't want to do a full party like that, so we settled on a Mardi Gras themed photo booth. Instead of using the Fuji Instamax or disposable cameras, I gave them my cell phone to take pictures. I discovered A LOT of selfies at the end of the day, two kids kissing each other (that somehow went unnoticed even with two of us supervising), and a whole lot of shenanigans. They have this Mardi Gras thing down perfectly.

Oriental Trading has some awesome Mardi Gras party supplies (where I picked up our items). Check it out here.

Just a few samples of selfies I came across. At the end of the day, I had over 300 photos from four hours of our day.

I bought a soap making kit for Christmas a couple of years ago and completely forgot about! I put it in a bin for storage when we moved and came across it in the spring. I set it aside for a rainy or hot day. It was a super easy kit that required minimal help from an adult. Since it involved hot glycerin, I deemed it a big kid only activity during nap times.

One of the littles brought a homemade drum set (with paper plates). The bigs had to do it too and the last 45 minutes of a day was me saying "ready go!" followed by "stop!" Whoever stopped banging on their "drum" first, won. That was the game. Nothing more to it. So simple yet so entertaining.

We tried Santa Claus melon for morning snack one day. Some kids loved it, others couldn't stand it, but everyone happily tried it (and asked for more if they liked it).

I loved our Maine day. There were lighthouse coloring pages, which were perfect for the younger crowd. However, the older kids built lighthouses using recyclables I had kept over the past month. They got really creative and once their lighthouse town was built, they made cars, purses, animals, and a collection of other things. We went through a lot of masking tape that day!

During lighthouse building, one of the kids came across an empty beer can (mine...oops!) and Elizabeth snagged it away. She used it as her doll's sippy cup for the day and kept asking the other kids, "oh can you please can me my beer sippy please?" I never did ask what the other parents heard about it that night!

Face painting at its finest. Two kids (including Harrison) made themselves dalmatians, other kids painted their legs and arms. Somehow green face paint wound up smeared into the carpet, so we now have bright green splotches in various parts of the daycare room. I couldn't really be upset about it when I think about the story behind it (me walking out of the room to use the restroom, only to return to the proudest kids who were turning one kid into the hulk).

I love this picture because Harrison happily took over decorating his own birthday cupcakes and was sooo proud of how they turned out.

We have an insane amount of dress up clothes. They kept the kids busy for a full day, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

Harrison had a "fantabulous" birthday. Check out how he spent his day here.

The kids got creative with their box cars for Michigan. As they decorated we listened to Motown. 

Going over the rules for their Lightsaber battles. I laughed as I listened because they were instructing each other on how NOT to hold Lightsabers "or your hand can be cut clean off!"

Another selfie I happened across on my phone.

Minnesota day was almost cancelled and rescheduled for another day due to rain in the forecast. But the rain stayed away and the kids played in the tent and practiced their rafting skills (they pretty much have none) in the yard. The only thing that would have made this day better was if we had a pool big enough for the raft so the kids could get the full effect.

One of the things I love about doing daycare is that it has taught my kids to share. They got new gifts (from daycare friends) and they instantly got them out for everybody to enjoy. Harrison mostly scared people with his fake "adult finger that just randomly grew" and chased people around with it. Max built his rocket and gave it a try and then explained the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar (which we use a lot for our experiments, so it was nothing new, but no one said a thing to him as he explained it yet again). Meanwhile, Elizabeth and all the girls made bracelets for each other and our helpers.

In and out, in and out. As I sit in my chair in the daycare, this is the sight I see a lot: kids running in and out the door. My helpers and I have it down: one of us inside (usually sitting in the chair as much as possible because you can see numerous locations of the house from that spot: the doors, the deck/patio, the entire playroom, the kitchen, and part of the hallway to the bathroom) and one of us outside at the back of the yard (so you can see the entire yard, gates, and if a ball goes over the fence).

Max's hot peppers grew! The minis picked them and we made a few batches of salsa.

More Lakeshore goodies: a balancing game and some sensory activities. The weather has either been really hot or rainy, so there's been more indoor time than usual. Games, Lego's, and sensory activities seem to take their minds off the fact that they're not running around the backyard.

St. Louis BBQ (pulled pork with a variety of bbq sauces. The kids loved trying them all) while we listened to blues music. Missouri and Mississippi was easy peasy since the Crock Pot took care of lunch and the Echo took care of the music.

One evening after daycare, the minis and I made one last stop at Toys R Us before they closed. We didn't get the large trampoline that was less than $100 (that one got vetoed because we had no room to transport it in the minivan), but walked out with a few odds and ends. One of them being this Sweet Shaper. Easy enough that the bigs can do it by themselves (and help the littles) and simple enough that I can tell the kids "finish your lunch and you can have one piece of fun candy." I guess it's a win win.

We went on a bear hunt for Montana (and also read and watched We're Going On A Bear Hunt). I had a blast hiding the bears for round 1 of our hunt, but the kids had more fun playing with them on the playset.

These kids flew to California on their "airplane." Those IKEA stools have gotten a work out this summer and it shows: we've already had two broken five weeks into summer. At $8 a stool that's not really an issue though! 

Kool Aid painting for Nebraska (Kool Aid was invented in Nebraska as I've learned) on a hot day. So hot that as the paint dried it bubbled up on the cement! And as typical, the kids had to try out the paint because it smelled "sooo good." We can all confirm it does NOT taste as good as it smells. They try this every time we use Kool Aid for an activity, but never seem to learn! 

Max also had a great birthday at daycare, which included a new messy sensory game! Read about his birthday here.

And another birthday the very next day! An ice cream cake for morning snack and plenty of leftover pizza from Max's birthday the day before left everyone with birthday hangovers!

The sprinkler dinosaur has become a daycare fixture. The kids love to have it spray on the playset because the slide is "super duper slippery" and they land in the mud at the end of the slide. Surprisingly no one has had more than a bruise on their leg from this weekly activity.

New Jersey has more diners than any other state. It's only appropriate that the kids played diner with the new diner playset and ate diner food for lunch.

For the first couple of weeks I had issues getting the girls to read during reading time (the half hour directly after lunch that the kids read books by themselves, to each other, or to the younger kids). They gabbed about American Girl dolls and make up...pretty much everything but reading. Then they went for a few days reading each other American Girl doll books, but that still resulted in them talking about the dolls. We finally figured out that reading TO their dolls does the trick.

I had several ideas of what to do for New Hampshire, but the oldest mini loves poetry and wanted to read Robert Frost for daycare (Frost lived in NH). Naturally I read The Road Not Taken. The kids listened intently while I read. When I was done, they had this to say, "that was weird." "What was THAT?" "There's two roads next to my house." 

I'm super excited because I saved some of the kid's favorite activities and theme days for July. We'll be finishing up our states theme in mid-July (yes, before the 50 days) so we can get in our faves and maybe even another theme. Stay tuned!