Category: Fantastic First

{Art} : 3D Hand

A couple of months back the boys and I went to an art studio for a painting class.  While we were there the boys saw a hand that looked like it was 3D.  Of course, they really wanted to try to make their own.  So a couple of weeks back, they boys attempted to make their own.  However, the patience required left our attempt somewhat unsuccessful.

First we started by tracing our hands.  Next, the boys were to draw straight lines until they reached their hand.  Once inside the hand, they were to draw arched lines until they reach the other side.  Needless to say, the boys lost patience pretty quickly.

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However, this is what Thing 1 was able to accomplish before he was done with the art project.

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Thing 2’s.

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Here is mine.

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Have you ever done a 3D handprint?

Clay Boats : Round 3

Every so often I like to repeat experiments that the boys and I have done in the past.  For one it is a great way to see if they learned anything from that experiment.  Secondly, I like to see how there thinking has changed as they have gotten older.  Lastly, Thing 3 all of them are to the age where they can participate.

This week we were suppose to have terrible storms, so I had planned to do a repeat of the clay boat activity we did back in 2011 and 2012.  The big difference this time around is that each boy created a boat on their own.  Ok, I may have helped Thing 3 a little bit, but Thing 1 and Thing 2 were all on their own.

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Here is each ones original creation.

Thing 1

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Thing 2

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Thing 3

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The first thing we did was test to make sure everyone’s boat would float.  While Thing 1 and my boat floated, Thing 2 and Thing 3’s immediately sunk.  So I gave Thing 2 and Thing 3 some time to redesign their boats.

Round 2: Everyone’s boat floated, so we all begin adding pennies to our boats to see whose could hold the most weight.  We may have raised the stakes a little by saying that the losers make dinner.  😉

Thing 2’s redesign

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Thing 3’s redesign

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Thing 3 was the first boat to sink, but that may have been because he added some water to his boat too.

Next was Thing 2, but I think his boat had moved too far away from him, which caused him to sink it with his hand.

Thing 1 and I were close, until Thing 1’s boat sunk and I was the winner!

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The boys continued to build and rebuild boats for at least 45 more minutes.  It was a great time.  I am sure we will be repeating this experiment a few more times in the future.


{LEGO Build Challenge} : Bird

With today being the first day of spring I thought it only appropriate that the kids build a bird today.  This was a pretty quick build because the kids were in a hurry to head outside and enjoy the beautiful day.  Before we started the build we talked about the different characteristics of birds.

LEGO Build Challenges

1.  You can use any LEGOs you wish.
2. Your bird must have wings.
3.  Your bird must have a beak.

As an additional challenge, I told the kids to see if they could make their bird move.

Thing 1 built a bird where it’s head moved.

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Thing 2’s bird head, wings and tail feather moved.

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The other bird bobbed it’s head.

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What have you built with LEGOs lately?

{LEGO Build Challenge} : Bridge

This week’s building challenge at our LEGO group was to build a bridge.

LEGO Build Challenges

1.  Can use any LEGOs you wish.
2. Your bridge must be at least 1 inch off the ground.
3.  Your bridge must connect two things.  Examples: mountain, island, building, house, etc.
4.  Your bridge must be big enough for a mini figure to travel across.

This week we decided to make this an individual challenge, so that everyone could build the bridge they wanted.  By having each kid work on their own bridge they were really able to showcase their creativitiy.  Here are the kids’ creations.

Thing 1’s Build

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Thing 2’s Build

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Have you built a LEGO bridge? Leave a link in the comments below so we can see your creation.

{Art} : Jackson Pollock Art

I had been waiting for a warm day so that the boys and I could do some Jackson Pollock inspired drip painting.  This is a messy, but really pretty cool way to paint that is perfect for boys. 

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I started our activity by reading a little bit about Jackson Pollock and showing the boys images of his work.  It was really interesting to hear what the boys saw within Pollock’s work.  In one painting, Thing 1 said he saw tree branches.  In another he saw what looked like concrete.

I set Thing 1 and Thing 3 in the grass with some watercolor paper (because it was what I had and it is thicker than regular paper), a bucket of paint brushes and paints (red, yellow, and blue).  I explained to the boys he worked and set them loose.

Here is Thing 1’s first work.  It took him a little bit to get into his work.

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Here is Thing 1’s second work.  While he was working he said that painting this way was like sword fighting.  Of course, he would relate to sword fighting, because that is what we do.

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Here is Thing 3’s attempt.  He didn’t quiet get the whole concept, but he really enjoyed watching Thing 1 go crazy with the paints.

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I have really enjoyed doing art projects with the boys over the last few weeks.  I am also thankful for all the space we have to do such projects.  Thing 1 really gets into the art, once he gets started.

How have you studied Jackson Pollock?


Roll & Spell

I am still trying to find fun and creative ways for Thing 1 to practice his spelling words.  Here is another idea I came up with on the spur of the moment.

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Roll & Spell

Notecards with the spelling words written on them
Education Cubes
Or you can use one or two of those printable dice and write the spelling words on them
we also used a Magna Doodle to change it up

Have the child roll/throw a dice.  I have boys so we throw everything.  Whatever word the dice lands on, they write that word down, in this case on the Magna Doodle.  This was simple enough and Thing 1 went through it until he had written all the words.

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At one point, Thing 3 was “helping” Thing 1 by throwing the dice for him.  Both boys were having fun and Thing 1 was still learning his spelling words.

You could also turn this idea into a challenge and give them a certain amount of time and see how many words they can write.

{LEGO Build Challenge} : Creature

Since our move from Texas to Georgia the boys and I have been trying to connect with local homeschoolers, but we haven’t had the best of luck so far.  We have also been looking for some type of LEGO class, similar to the LEGO We Do Robotics class they were involved with in Texas.  Almost two weeks ago, I spent half the morning scouring the internet, once again, for ways for us to get connected with other homeschoolers here in Georgia.  When suddenly it hit me, we should start a LEGO group of our own.

I would love to do a LEGO We Do Robotics group, but I can’t afford to buy the kits.  So instead, with help of the boys, we decided to create a LEGO Build Challenge group.

How it works:
We get together each week.  To start, I give the kids about 5 minutes to build whatever they want.  When the five minutes is up the kids take about 30 seconds and share what they have built.  This gives everyone time to get there are get settled and start to focus on the activity for the day.

Once everyone has shared their 5 minute build.  I introduce the topic for the day and give them the rules of the build.  They then divide into pairs and get to work.  Depending on what the build challenge determines how much time they have to build.  After the time is up, the groups take a minute or two and share what they built.

This week was our first week and they boys had a great time and are excited about next week.  They were also able to meet several other boys around their own age.

LEGO Build Challenges

This Weeks Challenge:  Create a Creature

Since this was the first week and I was unsure how everything was going to go and how it was all going to work, I went with a very open and broad topic.

1. Can use any LEGOs you wish.
2.  They had to name their creature.
3.  They had to tell us what it eats.
4. They had to tell us about its habitat.

I even provided them with a handout that had the rules, questions to help them complete all of the rules and a place where they could draw a picture of their build.

Our Creatures:

A triple headed snake

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Another snake

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A Ladybug. (Thing 1 and his partner built this)

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I really think this was a great experience for these homeschooled kids.  For one they all seemed to have a great time, but it also allowed them the opportunity to…

  •  Speak in front of a group.
  • Use creative and critical thinking.
  • Work collaboratively.  This is probably where my boys struggled the most, because they were not working with each other, but with other kids.  So they had to learn how to handle differences of opinions because, at our house they usually all agree.

Each week I hope to share with you our LEGO Build group challenges, maybe it can inspire the LEGO lover in your life.


Gumdrop & Toothpick Tower Challenge

A couple of years ago, we had invited some friends over to build things out of gumdrops and toothpicks and the boys loved it.  After looking at the weather this week I knew today was supposed to be rainy and cold.  I remembered this activity and thought it would be a perfect rainy, cold day activity, however, this time I challenged the boys to see who could build the tallest tower.

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Gumdrop & Toothpick Tower Challenge


To see who can build the tallest tower only using gumdrops and toothpicks.

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The boys accepted the challenge.  Thing 1 immediately set out constructing a tower made out of cubes.  When his tower was about 2 feet tall, he realized that he was going to need a bigger base to keep his tower from falling.

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Thing 2 started with a similar pattern as Thing 1, however he forgot to brace it in a few places, so it fell over.  This lead him to try something different using a diamond shape.  It was pretty cool to see him try something different.

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Thing 3, well Thing 3 just had a good time sticking toothpicks into gumdrops to create sea creatures.

It was a fun way to spend an afternoon.  Next I want to challenge them to build a bridge…


{Art} One Fish, Two Fish, Stuffed Fish

After visiting an art class last week the boys have decided that they would like to do more art at home.  I will admit, that besides drawing, there hasn’t been a lot art going on around here since before our move.  So I am making an effort to do something art or craft related ever week.  This week we made a stuffed fish.

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Stuffed Fish

2 Large Pieces of White Construction Paper
Tacky Glue
Extra Newspaper

1. Use watercolors to paint both sheets of constructions paper.  You want to paint the entire sheet of paper.  Then let dry.

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2.  Once the 2 painted pieces of paper are dry, turn the pieces of paper so that the blank sides are facing each other.  Sketch the outline of a fish.  Then with the blank sides facing each other cut the fish out.  You have to look close to see my lines.

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3. Now glue almost the entire way around the fish, leaving one area un-glued so that you can stuff newspaper inside.

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4.  Take small pieces of newspaper and gently stuff it inside the fish.  Once you have it stuffed, you can then finish gluing the fish shut.

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5. If you want you can punch a hole through the top fin of the fish and attach a string so that you can hang your fish up.

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While we the boys were working on their fish, I read One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess to the boys.  They thought this was pretty cool and enjoyed listening to a story while they worked.  Thing 1 even said it was better than the art class because they were able to listen to the story.  You could also read Rainbow Fish, while working on this craft.

What have you done for art lately?

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