Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Water Play

With the Fourth of July holiday coming up this weekend, you know hot, hot days are ahead for central Illinois (although I think it was cold and I was wrapped up in blanket for Red, White and Boom last year!). Here are some fun activities with water for your get together with family, friends or neighbors-
*play muscial sprinkler. Turn the sprinkler OFF. Have the children run, jump, and pose. Turn the sprinkler ON and the children must freeze.
*wet some sponges. Have a relay passing the sponge over the head and then between the legs.
*more relays-for each team have two buckets (one filled with water and one empty). Place the buckets some distance apart. Sponge relay/dip sponge in water, run and wring into the empty bucket. Measure water after two minutes or a set time. Ladle relay/same concept scooping water with a kitchen ladle. Cup relay/scoop water in plastic drinking glass. Hold glass on top of your head and dump into bucket. Cup relay w/a partner-have teams of two. One team member is by a water bucket with a plastic drinking cup and the other person is sitting on the ground or lawn chair holding a cup on top of their head (having kids and parents do this together is hilarious. The parent has the cup on their head). Child scoops up water runs and tries to pour into cup on top of their parent's head. Gaurenteed laughs and giggles!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hidden Fortunes

Family Fun magazine has such a wide variety of great ideas, crafts and recipes. I love this idea and plan on doing it myself. The idea comes from Keri Smith who is a mom and illustrator. She wants you to "be amazed, improvise, get outside, collect stuff, leave your kids alone and break the rules." Read about Keri at http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/artist-of-the-everyday-feature-892806/

I love the idea of Hidden Fortunes. Imagine finding a little snippet of paper that just makes you feel good! The basic premise is to write a fortune or compliment on paper and place them randomly in stores, libraries, or other public places. Keri's instructions call for small pieces of paper but I think you could use post-its, too. Using post-its you could place them on shopping carts or store shelves. I like this activity because older children can create their own fortunes and younger children can dictate to an adult or older sibling. This might even make shopping with your children more tolerable this summer.

For more information and the directions, go to http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/home-garden-projects/outdoor-projects/artist-of-the-everyday-feature-892806/2/ I will be looking for snippets of paper everywhere now!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old Settler's Days

Old Settler's Days begins tomorrow at 5:30! Funnel cakes, corn dogs and other deep fried tasty treats await. The parade is Saturday at 10 a.m. Look for the MCP float, give us a shout and we will throw some candy your way!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Reading List

Summer is my time to catch up on my reading. I love to read but often don't have time or make time during the school year. I just finished my sixth novel and am starting the seventh. I am very fortunate both of my boys are not only good readers but they love to read (there is a difference). My husband also loves to read so the boys have grown up seeing the both us reading daily. This is important for your child's reading development and skills. Want a good reader? Read to your child and let your child see you reading!
Broaden you and your child's experience in children's literature. Face it-you can only read so many book titles where the main character is also a television character.

In 1922, the American Library Association http://www.ala.org/ began to award the Newberry Medal for outstanding children's literature. This would be an excellent list for older children or good readers. A Cricket in Times Square, Frog and Toad Together, Hatchet, Ella Enchanted and A Wrinkle in Time are some of the past winners. I might have to reread A Wrinkle in Time this summer. Here is a link for the complete list of Newberry Medal winners and honor books-
In 1938, the Caldecott Medal was created by the ALA. This medal is awarded for children's illustrations in literature and the medal is awarded to the artist not the the author. These are book titles you are familiar with-The Polar Express, Jumanji (yes, both were first a book and then a movie), Madeline's Rescue and Where the Wild Things Are (my absolute favorite children's book and should have never been made into a movie in my opinion but I digress). http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecottwinners/caldecottmedal.cfm

If that does not give you and your child enough reading material, try the top 1oo children's books of all time. If you Google 'Top 100 Children's Books' there are loads of sites. I liked this one. http://childrensbooksguide.com/top-100 It had a great combination of the old and the new.

So get to the library, visit your favorite book store, turn off the television, shut down the computer and read!

Friday, June 11, 2010

To Infinity and Beyond!

Howdy, howdy, howdy! I am anxiously awaiting the release of Toy Story 3 http://disney.go.com/toystory/ on Friday, June 18th. Toy Story hit the theaters in 1995 when my youngest son was four. Our family loves Pixar and especially the Toy Story movies. The newest production is about Andy heading off to college. Ahhhh....yes, my youngest, my baby, my little guy is heading off to college, too. I better bring a box of tissues to the theater and sit in the back. And I thought sending them to kindergarten was tough.
What to do this week?
Watch Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

Discuss the movies. Part of the movie experience should be discussing with your child what they have just seen. Parts they liked, didn't like, characters they liked and didn't like. Aside from Buzz or Woody, who is your favorite? (Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head for me.) It doesn't have to be deep or heavy but talk with your child about the show.

Make Alien Cupcakes. In this months issue of Family Fun magazine http://familyfun.go.com/ , there is a recipe for Edible Aliens from the Pizza Planet. These are seriously too cute!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stuff to Do

Have your kids said their bored already? On Friday, there is a FREE concert at the Morton Public Library. There will be an outdoor performance featuring Julie K. Julie K is a children's recording artist http://www.juliekmusic.com/ Check out the website to learn about Julie and listen to some of her songs. Julie will begin her show at 12:30 but you are invited to bring a picnic lunch and eat outdoors at noon. The Morton Public Library is located at 315 W. Pershing. For additional information, call the library at 263-2200. If you enjoy good coffee, I highly recommend Eli's which is a coffee shop/bakery across the street.

Over the weekend, you can attend the 19th Annual Return to Pimiteoui Pow Wow at Sommer Park. This would a great family field trip and a fabulous experience for all ages. The event runs Saturday from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. -4:3o p.m. Cost is $8 a car. There will be singing, dancing, food, a cultural center, and traders. For more information, call 691-8423.
Go out with your family and have some fun!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Farmer's Market

This weekend many of the local farmers' markets open. This is another opportunity for the family field trip. Farmers' markets are not only fun but provide a unique environment for you to engage your child. The farmers' market is not just farm fresh veggies. It's bread, music and entertainment, art, flowers and much more.

Some ideas and helpful hints-
Bring water bottles, a few snacks and your own grocery bags. Wear sunscreen.

Have your child bring their own spending money to make a small purchase.

Before you start out, look for a new recipe with your child. Shop for the ingredients. Cooking with your child helps with following directions and reading and math skills.

Have your child touch and look at the vegetables. Talk about the color, shape, texture, size and weight of the vegetables.

Of course, I am going to tell you to write about and illustrate the experience.

Here is a list of the some of the markets in our area. Websites are included because they often include entertainment schedules. See you on the riverfront!

Peoria Riverfront Market

Peoria Metro Centre

Peoria Heights at Heritage Square
Wednesday nights from 4-7 p.m.

Metamora on the square

Bloomington Farmers Market and Artist Alley

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I Scream! You Scream! We all...

Nothing screams summer more than ice cream. Are there still ice cream trucks out there in the neighborhoods? That might be a good summer job for me!

Here is an idea for you and your family to do all summer long-The Search for the Greatest Ice Cream in the Area! This could be an activity incorporated into your family Mystery Adventures.

First, you might want to consider setting a 'budget'. Give your child (or children) the amount they can spend. This is a good for your child because they can order, pay and receive the change. It will help with decision making. If they have two dollars, there are choices to be made. You might want to allow them to keep the change for the next trip. Your child will feel an important part of the process when they can do these simple things on their own.

Before I get into some supplemental learning activities, here is a short list of some locations for ice cream in the area. I have included websites because some of the larger chains offer coupons. We love coupons.

Jubilee in Germantown Hills*Culver's http://www.culvers.com/ (Peoria, East Peoria, Morton)*Dairy Queen http://www.dairyqueen.com/ (Metamora, Morton, Peoria), Charlotte's in Spring Bay*Cold Stone Creamery http://www.coldstonecreamery.com/ (Grand Prairie)*Theo's on Sterling* The Ice Cream Shack on Adams in Peoria* The Dairy Barn in Eureka*Emo's on War Memorial*Emack and Bolios http://www.emackandbolios.com/ on Prospect in Peoria Heights

Now, what can you do after you eat all this ice cream?

Talk about the experience.

Older children can count their change. Create a a graph and record who liked and disliked their ice cream. Older children should be able to create a graph on their own. Your preschooler will have ideas on how to label the graph. Have the family rate the ice cream and record the ratings (you could grade A, B, C or use 1-10).

Have your child draw a picture of the trip, the location and what everyone ate.

Older children could write a restaurant type review of each experience. For preschool children, have your child dictate to you about the experience, type up and put with the rest of their dictated stories. Underline and bold the word ice cream. Use clip art and picture clues like what we do with school stories.

Do you feel really energetic? If you look either under Science or in November 2009, there is the How To's of how to make Tin Can Ice Cream.

Put a cherry on top of your ice cream and enjoy your summer!