Monday, 2 July 2012

Busy "Lazy Monday"

How many people do you know who LOVE Mondays?   Me and some other Home Edders, probably!  Today was a lovely relaxed day (the rain outside just heightened the enjoyment of being cosied up at home and not having to go out), and as is becoming tradition, it was a 'pyjama day' for Middle and Youngest (Eldest seems to have inherited my compulsion to get dressed as soon we get up).  We all snuggled in bed for a story, The Snail and the Whale (we love pretty much all books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler)  Not only is it beneficial to open a book together just to enjoy the experience together, we also appreciate the clever rhymes and detailed illustrations - and today we got to have a little wordplay of our own.  I was explaining what 'itchy foot' means as an expression (someone who likes to travel and explore), and Eldest asked if there was an expression for someone with an 'itchy bum' meaning someone who just liked to sit down all the time.  We loved this idea - and although it seems such a small thing, that kind of play with words expands their vocabulary and ability to connect with language.  You see, even the tiny moments can be significant!
Talking of tiny (or not so tiny any more), today while we ate breakfast we spent quite a while watching the caterpillars who are much, much bigger than they were a week ago! 


this was them last Monday, for comparison...
I don't like seeing them cooped up in the little pot now, but they look like they're getting ready to form into chrysalises soon, then we'll be able to get them out of it. Middle and Youngest got very excited every time a caterpillar crawled to the top, and kept yelling (even though I was sat right next to them), "Mummy, look: they might be making a 'J-shape'!" (the shape they assume when forming their pupal casing).  Science is so exciting!
Eldest has found a couple of new TV programmes that he enjoys: Secrets of our Living Planet (currently on Sunday evenings, BBC2) and Barney's Barrier Reef from CBBC, both of which are great at showing the way all creatures within an environment relate to each other, so we've set both series to record, and the boys all enjoyed watching the latter one this morning, followed by another Deadly Art episode, which inspired Middle to draw another picture - this time of a Rattlesnake :)

Time for a quick break for us all to put the groceries away that had just arrived, and then Eldest got stuck into making a fabulous grasshopper cake!  I really try to be as 'hands-off' as possible and just cast an overseeing eye on proceedings, although there was a bit of a testing moment for me when Eldest cracked an egg and completely missed the glass he was supposed to be cracking it into, thus wasting the egg.  I was SO tempted to take over and not risk wasting any more eggs, but I managed to suppress the instinct because I knew that if I did, it would really knock his confidence.  It was much better for him to think of an improved way to do it and try again immediately (he cracked the next one into a bigger bowl).  It worked fine, and I was so glad that I'd managed to stay chilled and help him learn from the mistake, rather than giving up :)  And of course, the finished cake was de-lic-ious!!!

Meanwhile, Youngest was back on Reading Eggs.  I noticed that he'd been stalling on taking the quiz at the end of the level (because it had been a negative experience for him at the end of level one), so once Eldest's cake was in the oven, I sat with Youngest on Reading Eggs and made it a nice cosy moment, going through the quiz together.  Obviously I didn't help him answer the questions as the purpose of the quiz is to establish what sounds and words he has mastered himself, but I did take over the mouse, as he had a habit of clicking on any old answer without stopping to work it out.  I gave him space to work out his own answer, and then I clicked on his chosen answer (even when I knew it was incorrect), just so he and I knew that he'd read/ heard the answer and had time to think about it, rather than him being trigger-happy with the mouse!  Anyway, he got 13 out of 15 right first time, clever sausage - so he has gone on to the next level, and hopefully won't be so reluctant by the time he gets to the level three quiz...
While all of this was going on, Middle was making another collage of an undersea scene, complete with different zones...

Eldest had by now found 'Backyard Science' on our recorded TV programme list, and was watching an experiment using oil, water, and food dye, so he promptly decided he wanted a try... well all the boys were fascinated by the way the oil couldn't be mixed with the water without separating again immediately - and then had great fun, trying to guess when the 'bubble' of food colouring was going to 'pop' and disperse once it reached the water layer. 

It reminded me of something I'd seen in another blog: make your own toroidal vortex - so we had a go at that too, but because we didn't have a pipette our drops were a bit big (and heavy), so although it did kind of happen as it should, it all happened a bit too quickly - we'll try again when we've got better equipment :)
Middle then decided he wanted to do an experiment he'd seen with water, food colouring, bicarb and vinegar... he was suitably impressed with the immediate reaction (and would have carried on repeating it all day had we not run low of ingredients).

Finally, Eldest took his turn on the computer (Maths Whizz) while Youngest and Middle made some 'Zappy Zoomers' with Mummy, from our Big Book of Science Things to Make and Do

So that was one very busy "Lazy Monday" - I felt like a pinball bouncing from one learning area to another - and I absolutely loved it!  It felt like a nice balance of the more passive learning such as watching documentaries on TV and playing on computer-based learning games, and more hands on learning like creating art projects and experiencing practical experiments, recipes etc.  Happily for me it all flowed naturally so there were no clashes over who wanted to use the computer/ TV/ craft table etc.  In fact, I think I might bookmark this blog entry to re-read next time I have an 'off day', just to remind myself of how good it can be :)


  1. Gosh, you have had a busy day! I always seem to find Mondays a bit slow as we try to get going again after the weekend! But you have reminded of all the "kitchen science" experiments I've been meaning to do with Joe, so I think we might have a go at some tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of the week!

    1. Thanks Rachel :) Our Mondays are usually really low-key after a busy weekend, hence the name we have recently given them: "Lazy Mondays". I deliberately plan no trips out & have a gentle day at home - it just happned today that there was LOTS they wanted to do and kept me very busy ;)
      Have fun with Joe & the kitchen experiments, or whatever you get to do :) xx

  2. Nice to see you did no school today as planned :-P

    1. LOL that's right: no school at all! Just can't stop them learning, eh? ;) xx