Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arts & Crafts

George has been asking frequently and repeatedly to do crafts.  Poor kid, we haven't been to a MOPS meeting in ages, and we've missed a lot of church over the last few weeks...they've been totally deprived.  And as our house is still a work in progress as far as getting situated, the craft supplies are still packed away.  So I had to come up with something else.  I settled on an activity rather than an actual craft, as I had everything necessary on hand.  So we did shaving cream art.  I know it looks like a glorified mess, but in actuality it was a lot more.  We started off with just a pile of shaving cream in a dish.  Then we added some blue food coloring and swirled it around in one area.  In another area we added some yellow.  And when we swirled them together, ta-DA!  We got green.  So it was an exercise in color mixing.  

The fact that they were encouraged to play around was fun for them, though that is much more up Joshua's alley than George's.  Joshua played a LOT longer in the shaving cream.  He is much more tactile oriented, and he got really creative with it (like seeing shapes in clouds).  It made me realize how I need to make more of an effort in planning activities for them - it was simple and quick, and they really enjoyed it.  And I need to pay attention to how each of them learns - definitely two learning styles here.  I have a lot of ideas of what we will do in our pre-schooling sessions, but I NEED to get the space in order before I can focus on that.  Yes, we're starting "school" late this year, but I guess that's one of the benefits of doing it from home (especially pre-school).

Josh loving the sensation of squishy shaving cream.
I definitely gave the plastic mat to the right kid.  I couldn't find my vinyl tablecloth, and only had one of these, so we went with it.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ripley's Aquarium

Well, I'm not doing very well with keeping up on the blog!  It's been almost a month since I last posted.  I'll try to do better.  Really, I will.  But for those of you who are dying to see more of the kids more often, you can also befriend me on Facebook and see the pics/video clips I post there.  

So the boys and I tagged along on a work call with Chris a couple of weeks ago, and on the way back we drove through Smoky Mountain National Park (awesome scenery) and then stopped in Gatlinburg to visit Ripley's Aquarium.  The kids really enjoyed it, and it was a very nice family attraction.  Here's a bit of what we saw:

This giant catfish was bigger than Josh!
The boys and me, taken quickly so we could get out of the way.
Teeny, neon-colored Poison Dart Frogs.
In the shark tunnel.  The flash made its eyes glow - doesn't it look super fierce that way?
It's hard to tell by the poor quality of this photo, but there are no less than 5 sharks right there.

This was a lazy Sawfish, lying on top of the clear tunnel ceiling.
Shark TEETH.  Scary.
All of the boys in the shark tunnel.
A mean-looking Green Moray Eel.
George & Joshua enjoying the inner view of this tank of puffer fish.
Touching Horseshoe Crabs.
I love Sea Horses.
But have you ever seen Sea Dragons?
A crazy-looking Dragon Eel.
Blake making friends with a Giant Spider Crab (I wanted to dip those legs in some butter, y'all).
A Jellyfish.  And my camera flash.
Deep sea diver, George.
Deep sea diver, Josh.
Mesmerized by the big Sting Rays.
All in all, Ripley's Aquarium was definitely worth going to.  Kids (and adults) of all ages can enjoy it.  It is entertaining, educational, exciting, and beautifully displayed.  They did a great job making this a family-friendly place.  You can spend a few hours there (like we did) and feel like you got to see everything without missing out.  But you could also stay longer and watch the feedings, see shows, and hit every little learning station.  I recommend it!