Friday, July 30, 2021

Olympics Thursday: Volleyball


Maybe it was the humidity or maybe it was because they had to learn the ins and outs of volleyball before we started, but volleyball has been their least favorite Olympics activity for the week. They still had fun and quite a few kids played for two hours, but others opted to not play at all and be spectators. We tried it at first with a beach ball, but it was "too rogue" as the kids said. We then switched to an inflatable ball and it worked much better!

I was hesitant to use an actual volleyball since we had some littles playing with us, so the inflatable ball was a great alternative. The highlight of the day for me was looking back on the pictures and absolutely laughing until I cried at the action shots. Some kids look terrified, one looked angry, one was playing with his shirt up (same kid who also chest butted the ball to serve it), a few were dancing around their side of the net, and another was in her own little world. I love all of these personalities blended together!

One of the only successful serves over the net!

The best move in all of the game: a chest-butt serve! 

Then the little who tried to serve, but the ball went straight up in the air and nearly knocked him in the head! A good reason we didn't use an actual volleyball!

An afternoon of card games and making faces with the peg board. Actually, that face is supposed to be me, or so says a kid!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Olympics Wednesday: Sprinkler Races


It was 100 degrees today. I couldn't make the kids have a regular race when I myself wouldn't run in 100 degree heat! Instead, we got creative. I purchased a new volleyball net for Thursday's Olympic activity and pulled the net down. A sprinkler went in the middle of the yard and our disc golf set served as the halfway point. It was simple: jump over the net, run through the sprinkler, run around one of the disc golf nets, back through the sprinkler, and one last jump over the net. Not running through the sprinkler was an automatic disqualification.

The quickest kid ran the course in 7 seconds, while the last placer ran it in 45 seconds due running away from the sprinkler and running laps around the playset instead! After everyone had a turn, nearly all of the kids chose to stay outside for a few more rounds of individual races, team races, and group races. A few of the kids stayed out for two hours coming up with new routes around the yard.

My favorite pictures are of the kids who attempted to hop over the net, jump over the sprinkler, and those with their arms out in front of them, shielding the water. I got some good laughs looking over the pictures at the end of the day!

I am loving Olympics Week! The kids have had so much fun with it too! Activities have been in the morning and our afternoons have been filled with card games. Shucking corn, more card games (this time Cards Against Humanity Family Edition), and naps rounded out our races day. All of it has been a good (and quite memorable) time.

Baking Cookies In The Car WORKS!

I got my shock for the week yesterday at the end of our science experiment. It should be of no surprise, but a lot of things just don't work out. Whether it's recipes, activities, nap time, or life plans, things always seem to go awry. Usually the turn of events are humorous and many times work out better than planned.

Of course, I fully expected our attempt at baking cookies in the car under the hot sun to fail. I was picturing that time I attempted a cookie bowl recipe from Pinterest. My husband spent several hours cleaning the oven after the dough went everywhere and we never got our cookie bowls.

With 100+ degree temps on hand for Wednesday, I decided to put a science experiment to the test: can you bake cookies in a car? A few of the kids whipped up a package of Betty Crock oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I had sitting in the cupboard. I quickily slapped them on the tray, put them in my tightly sealed car that was in the sun, and let them go. I checked in on them every 2 hours. 6 hours later, our cookies were done!! I've never been so shocked about anything in my life! Okay, that's a lie, but nothing has shocked me more this week than our cookies actually baking!

The cookies were a bit gooey. Fully done, but more gooey than they would have been in the oven. My car smelled like baking cookies (unfortunately that smell has not lasted), the kids had a treat, and everyone asked when we could bake something else in the car. Thankfully, there's no more 100 degree days in our forecast, so I couldn't give them an answer for sure, but we will attempt it again at some point. Who knew I'd be using my car as an oven??!!?

** We did not use a cooking thermometer to see how hot the car actually got. Every time I checked on the cookies, I'd poke at the cookies and I opened one up to see how it was baking inside. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Olympics Tuesday: Gymnastics

 This was the simple activity for the week. We brought out the little tramplines, balance beams, gym mat, trapeze bar on the swing set, hula hoops, and I let the kids do what they wanted! The trapeze bar had to be taken down a few weeks ago because the kids really like to swing it and it never fails to nail a friend in the head. I put it back up for gymnastics day and surprisingly, no one ended up with a bump on the head....although there was a close call when the middle mini flipped himself off and almost didn't make the landing!

Some kids tried to do cartwheels on the beams, other kids jumped on and off the trampoline, while others tried hula hooping with their necks. It was a warm day, so many of the kids didn't last long outside, but two kids stayed out all morning. They performed tricks on the monkey bars and trampolines. Together. There are no pictures because I was busy spotting these tricks.

An important part of exercising and playing our Olympic Games in the heat is hydration. I told the kids to drink tons of water yesterday, but I went extra and we rehydrated with a giant watermelon slushy at the end of the day. It was refreshing and delicious! 

Pop Its have been the preferred way to relax this summer. 

We are having so much fun with our Olympics Week! I love seeing the kids get involved in it all and learn about the different events the Olympics covers.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Olympics Monday: Shooting


The much anticipated 2020 Olympic Games began Friday in Tokyo. We're celebrating the Olympics with our own Daycare Olympic Games. Each day we have a new event to participate in, all while the actual Olympic games play on the TV. The games were on ALL day yesterday, with the kids paying attention to all of the events and scores. 

Monday we put our plethora of Nerf guns to use with our shooting event. I bought a Nerf target for the kids to aim at, while each child got three tries in two rounds. At the end of the two rounds, we tallied up the scores. The oldest and one of the youngest won gold and silver medals (that the kids made for each other). It was such a fun and simple activity that the kids LOVED. They asked to have third and fourth rounds, but we didn't get around to that happening (due to a crazy game of You've Got Crabs being played).

Waiting patiently for their turns while watching the games on TV.


My favorite parts of this activity was listening to the kids decide which country they were representing and how they cheered each other on. There were a few kids who never hit the target, but everyone cheered and congratulated them on their good shooting. 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Nine Eagles State Park

We left for a hiking adventure bright and early Saturday morning. We hoped to get a good hike in before the temps reached the high 90's. We got a sorta hike in before minis and pups melted on the trail and we cut the hike short. After taking a couple of months off from our state parks tour, we came back in July with a weekend in NE Iowa (read about that here) and a quick visit to Nine Eagles State Park. Unfortunately, Iowa's water quality in lakes is terrible right now, so our hopes for doing water activities were destroyed.

The drive down to Nine Eagles State Park is easy, straight down I-35, into an Amish community, and then through the park. This area would be gorgeous in the fall. The park itself seemed to be well kept, but the trails are a different story. The hiking trails were overgrown, full of cob webs (which makes me believe very few people hike on these trails), and parts of the trail had open wires on it. I'm confused about that or where the lines were even leading to. 

Zeus was so disappointed we told him, "no water!" that he cried. He was very hopeful for a dip in the lake!

The minis were excited to see lily pads on the lake. When I asked them why, they repeated some random thing we learned about lily pads during homeschool last year and I had no idea what they were talking about. Clearly, it's been a long year!

Anyway, I would love to say that the heat was the reason we didn't have fun, but in all honesty, the unkept trails ruined it for us. The park did have decent camgrounds and even had a large equestrian campground. There were large spaces for camping, places for hay, and well built hitching posts. Not a single person was staying in the equestrian campground, nor did the equestrian trails look recently used, but we didn't hike on those trails, so I can't say for sure. The clearest portions of the trails around the lake had been recently mowed, but those happened to be around all the fishing areas, which were well kept as were all picnic areas.

This would have been a great lake to take the kayaks out on, but due to high levels of Ecoli in the water, we didn't feel comfortable taking the risk. Despite the water quality warning posted at the beach, there were still families swimming in the water and having beach picnics. We're keeping our eyes on the water quality reports, so we know just what state parks to head to next because we're really hoping to turn those into days on the water!