Catching up - mid October

Beware this is a long one.  I'm going to attempt to catch-up on my blog posts.  I've been busy living life and enjoying my awesome kids, but no worries I'm back to fill you in on some of our adventures (the ones my camera caught a record of).

Leaves, leaves and more leaves.  I do love our home next to the forrest.  We have been taking several tarp loads of leaves off the lawn every day for weeks on end.  There are still lots more to go.  I'll admit I'm loosing my enthusiasm but the boys are awesome helpers.  Every so often we stop the work to just play and jump and enjoy the autumn colours!!

 A friend sent me a great link to Playful Learning about a skeleton activity that was perfect for MJ's love of the human body.  I set out a body book, glue, dry pasta and beans.  Immediatly MJ starts to ponder how he would made the heel bone as it is round.  I suggested a bean and he was excited.  The two boys studied the book and got to work on their own pictures.  MJ was in the mood to make a Wall-E skeleton with the funny eyes.  He did help TJ a lot while working on his very detailed project. He added a spinal cord in the spine, ribs, heel bones.  We noticed the kidney beans looked like our kidneys so then they were added along with tubes and a bladder (the extra cheerios).  I am always inspired and encouraged by how much they remember from our reading and discussions.  The two boys got into some great discussions while they were at work.

In the summer we added flowers to our flower/leaf press.  We took them out to press some leaves in the fall.  Since Nanny's birthday was coming up we used our flowers to make pictures.  I started to use the flowers to make objects such as birds, sun and clouds.  TJ was inspired to make trees, flowers, birds and such too.  MJ's card was delightful and unique as well.  We had a great time decorating and baking to celebrate with Nanny, my younger sister and her children.

One day the boys pulled out the Playmobil farm.  They each set up a farm and spent over four hours playing together (I got lots done that day).  I of course drifted in and out of their action.  We pulled out the dry beans for more fun.  MJ got right into it!  TJ used his digger and beans to make swimming pools for his farm animals.  Oh how I love their imaginations.  We are blessed with uninterrupted time to fully delve into their imaginations and small worlds.
While playing farm, TJ rediscovered a map he has.  This led to an adventure to visit a waterfall.  TJ, not satisfied with a play waterfall, was determined to build his own.   He hauled loads of river rocks to make a pile.  After realizing that this was going to be a big job he went to have a talk with daddy.  TJ drew out what he was wanting to do. We offered a few suggestions that seemed to frustrate the little guy more.  Then we talked about making some real water features for our property in the spring and using the winter to research more about what we'd need.  TJ and I went on a date to visit a real local waterfall.  He then noticed that the rock face was solid rather than little rocks.  He was satisfied and very pleased with our outing and moved on from this project for now.

So on to TJ's next big idea... stilts!  I do love that I can say yes often.  I already knew of some online plans but TJ first shared his ideas.  We got to work ourselves, then the next morning daddy helped with some power tools.  The stilts are a lot harder to use than we all thought.  TJ got off to a good start.  He's lost a bit of interest but I think we'll be back to try again soon.  He was able to do about 3-4 steps last week.

I had been wanting to do some more painting so I set up an autumn inspired table.  First we did some leaf rubbings which we painted over with watercolours.  I love how that worked out (the above photos are TJ and mommy's).    

The pumpkins on the table led us to some still life drawings.  MJ traced his pumpkin and started trying to write the word pumpkin on the top.  With a little help from big brother they almost got that figured out!!  TJ is now adding great details in his work.  I loved everything about this time together.

Some other things we are doing is to do some workbook pages, math stories, reading and using games to reinforce what we are learning on our own.  We've been to the YMCA a lot (wow my boys are getting good in the water) and have had some fantastic play dates too.