Friday, 14 December 2012

What Hibernating?

Well I wasn't expecting that!  What a day crammed with fun and learning we have had!  (warning, this kind of day happens less frequently than the proverbial blue moon - please don't read if you're feeling insecure!)  Unusually the house was in a fairly ordered state this morning, so I wasn't distracted by a load of jobs that needed doing - and I was up before the boys, and therefore able to usher them straight into the kitchen for breakfast, so they weren't distracted by the temptation of TV or computer (their default at the moment).  Well, we hadn't all finished breakfast before the table was being cleared ready for an experiment, prompted by the episode of Blast Lab that we watched the other day, on buoyancy.  We had a tub filled with water on the table, and the boys went hunting for various objects that they could test to see whether they thought they would float or sink.  Eldest and Middle were quite good at predicting the buoyancy of most of the items - Youngest was a bit more 'hit and miss', which wasn't surprising given his age, but I could see his mind trying to work it out, so that was still a valuable experience for him.  And there were a few surpirses for everyone, like the lemon that they all thought would sink, but actually floated low in the water, and the egg that they expected would float, but actually sank. (I'm glad the egg sank - as I told them later, if it had floated it would have been a bad 'un!)... 


(this last photo was the experiment to see how many minifigures we could get onto Eldest's lego raft before it started sinking.  Actually, although it was letting on water & became partially submerged, it continued to float regardless of number of passengers)

That same egg then led us on to our next activity.  While it was "carefully" being put way, it got damaged, so we then had to have a bit of impromptu baking, to use it up.  I remembered a recipe for Christmas buns in our Yummy Little Cookbook.  I should have listened to instinct though, as I thought twenty minutes was a bit long to bake them for.  The boys were already moving on to the next activity though, so I didn't really think about it, just put them in the oven for the prescribed amount of time - and yes, they came out very well done!  Not burnt, mind - but pretty dry.  Still, they looked lovely after the boys had had fun decorating them...

The next activity was found in our Big Book of Christmas Things to Make and Do - a hand-printed angel that Youngest and Middle wanted to do.  Eldest wasn't keen, but he really wanted to paint a sheep - then Middle decided we needed a painting of the baby Jesus to go with the other Nativity characters.

 Middle's 'Angel'
 Youngest's 'Angel' (Mummy helped with the face after Youngest got distracted)
Eldest's 'Sheep' 

Middle's 'Baby Jesus'

By this point the boys were getting really carried away with what they could do next.  Eldest wanted to do an experiment with baby oil that he'd seen somewhere.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but was happy for him to educate me.  It was a really cool experiment - we put a small glass tumbler inside a glass jug, and filled the space between them with baby oil.  When it was half-full we looked through the side of jug, and were excited to see that the tumbler was disappearing!  We had to fill the tumbler with water as it was more buoyant than expected, and then finished filling the gap with baby oil until it completely disappeared!  very cool - and a proud Mummy when Eldest explained to us that it was all an "optical illusion" made by the oil bending the light.  If you fancy having a go and want a more 'in-depth' explanation, follow this link.

Now you see it... 

... now you don't.

Middle then wanted to try an experment that he had seen - he coloured a black fel-tip shape onto a paper coffee filter, and put the end of the paper in water.  As trhe water was absorbed up the filter paper, the ink bled and showed that as Middle said, the colour black is actually made up of different colurs (in this case, blue and green)...

By this point Youngest had gone off by himself, and I found him flooding the downstairs wc, playing with the water - so Mummy called time-out on the experimenting while we mopped up - and then put the TV on for a bit of non-messy learning (disapprove if you will, but I know my limits: there's only so much my sanity can take - and a mad Mummy is not something that is conducive to a positive leanring experience!)

So the learning carried on courtesy of the recorded programmes on our sky box.  We had lessons on the natural world, thanks to 'Naomi's Nightmares of Nature' (CBBC) and 'Frozen Planet' (Eden); we learned more about art, via 'Your Paintings' (BBC2 learning zone); we learned about the Human Body, courtesy of 'Operation Ouch' (CBBC) - and all this by lunchtime!  This afternoon the learning has been continuing on a history theme, with 'History Hunt' (BBC2 learning zone again) and 'Horrible Histories' (CBBC) - and then we're going to do some gift-wrapping & finish decorating the house - getting a bit more hands-on again. 

Finally, I was hoping to get out for a frosty walk today, but the weather has turned & it's been raining all day.  Sad though I am not to get out, I've obviously enjoyed our busy morning in - and there's another benefit too: Midge and Squidge (our rescued hedgehogs) have been in the garage for a week, acclimatising to lower temperatures, waiting for a mild spell so I can put them into the garden shed, hopefully to hibernate.  It looks like tonight's the night, as we have at least a few nights of mild temperatures forecast.  So I thought I'd post some photos of them here for those of you who have been interested in our hedgehog adventures - if all goes to plan, there will be nothing to report on the prickly front for a good few months now.
Midge when he arrived, weighing 430g     Midge as he is now, weighing 882g

 Squidge when she arrived, at 432g      Squidge as she is now, at 807g

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