Friday, October 15, 2010

Mr. Science

Levi has been taking a great science class at the rec center called "Mr. Science". Mr. Science is a funny guy who does all kinds of neat experiments with the kids. He does a good job of keeping them engaged through the hour-long class, and he throws in info for the grown-ups too. I really like that he teaches science in a way the kids can understand, but also uses scientific vocabulary (and explains it to them), and teaches them interesting concepts in a way they can understand, but not in a way that dumbs it down to nothing.
I'm glad we found the program as an addition to the other homeschool activities we do, because science is not one of my strong points. Its hard for me to come up with fun ideas, but its easy to expand on what he learns in Mr. Science class, and often we repeat experiments at home!

DSC05000.jpg Bearded Dragon picture by leighi123

DSC04996.jpg hermit crap (Mr. Pinchey) picture by leighi123

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jumping Boy!

Levi likes to jump on everything, so he was excited to try out the bungee trampoline!

Here is my jumping boy:

And today I entered to win some boys patterns! Check out the give away here

Monday, September 20, 2010

Levi's First camping trip - And a BEAR!

IMG_0769.jpg camping picture by leighi123

We went on Levi's first camping trip, just an hours drive from our vacation home in Tahoe. We went to a campsite at Fallen Leaf Lake and decided to just stay one night for the experience. It was fun!

The bear story:

I rosted marshmallows for my mom, and she decided not to eat one of them so threw it in the fire. Jokingly I commented on how "a bear was going to come and eat it now"

5 min later, Levi and Nai Nai were getting some lemonade out of the bear-proof storage box, and I was sitting in a low chair on the ground by the picnic table.
All of a sudden I heard a 'crinkle' sound coming from behind me. Sense I could see Levi/my mom, I knew it wasn't one of them. I turn around thinking its a person, and its a BEAR!
There was a bear on the picnic table! It looked up at me, I think it saw me at the same time I did. I jumped up from my seat and said "Get in the car". My mom hadn't seen the bear yet, I said again "there is a bear, get in the car".
I started towards Levi (mommy instinct, even though my mom was already picking him up and slamming shut the bear-box) and we all got in the car.
The bear lumbered around for a while and walked off.
It had ripped open an empty cookie packet that we had JUST set on the table, knocked over the lemonade, stuck its nose in my lemonade, and sniffed the grill.

We asked the park ranger what we should have done, and she said walk diagonally away from the bear, which is exactly what I had done when I headed towards Levi.

It made Levi's first camping trip 'official' and will be a great story to tell!

Some other camping adventures: (We also went to Stanford Camp during the camping trip, also on Fallen Leaf Lake)
DSC04641.jpg kayak picture by leighi123

DSC04636.jpg Pinky and mom picture by leighi123
Paddle boat ride

DSC04649.jpg in the meadow picture by leighi123
Nature Walk (guided tour)

DSC04628.jpg crawdad picture by leighi123
Catching crawdads (and letting them go right after pics)

Some random pics of other activites

DSC04434.jpg Levi doing yoga image by leighi123
Kids Yoga

DSC04437.jpg image by leighi123
Giant Magnifying glass

DSC04439.jpg From Isaac image by leighi123
Writing practice

DSC04450.jpg space man! image by leighi123
Space man

Blowing up balloons in a New way!

This simple experiment was a big hit with Levi who loves balloons. Normal balloons work best, not the skinny kind which is hard to put on the bottle.

Use a funnel to fill the balloon with baking soda. Put a cup or so of vinegar in the bottle (if your kid is allergic to it like mine is, don't let them help with this part!)

Stretch the balloon over the opening of the bottle and make sure its very secure (rubber band it or even hold onto it if necessary)

Now let the kiddo tip the balloon upright, releasing the baking soda into the bottle. Watch what happens!

Check out the link to our experiment:

Paper Mache

Paper mache recipe:

1 part cornstarch
3+ parts water

boil until glue like consistency. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so stir often and add more water as needed.

DSC04423.jpg paper mache picture by leighi123

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lost and Found

"Stuff" being left all over the house has become a problem. I am constantly stepping on little random toys and other junk that Levi has accumulated.

After leaving his shoes at the rec center, Levi collected them from the lost and found box the following week. On the box was a sign stating that items not picked up after a certain time would be donated. This gave me a great idea which we put into use at our house.

DSC04396.jpg lost ad found picture by leighi123

Random stuff I find around, goes into the box. And I explained to Levi that it is his responsibility to check the box frequently and decide what he wants to keep or give away. If he wants to keep it, it needs to go back where it belongs (anywhere else and it goes right back into the box). Items he doesn't want, go into a bag in the garage along with outgrown clothes and other give aways. When it gets full, we donate the bag.

He understands that 'give away' items are given to someone else who needs them, and he will not see them again (there are no 'take backs' from the give away bag!). Often he chooses something to donate (sometimes something no one would want, but I don't tell him that!)

This system has worked surprisingly well - Levi notices right away if something is in there and takes care of it.

Stuffed Animal Beauty Pageant

Levi participated in a stuffed animal beauty pageant! This is an annual thing that has been going on for many years now. It was cute how they had it set up.DSC04380.jpg group photo picture by leighi123

Levi decided to bring his monkey, which he named 'Five' (???). He wanted a dress for it, so I made one using the same fabrics as one of his shirts that I made for him.

He stood up at the podium and answered questions about his monkey. He is way better at public speaking that his mommy is! No fear and no problems answering the questions. (they asked a lot of stuff even to the little ones!)

Each child won a certificate and a 'title' . Levi and Five won 'Best Match' thanks to their custom, mommy made outfits!

Rolling and folding Napkins

I love activities that take only a few seconds to set up, and this is one of them!

Here Levi is rolling napkins (an 'unpaper' towel actually). The trick is to roll it tightly enough so that he can put it in the napkin ring. Not an easy task for a 3yr old!

We have also done napkin folding - initially by drawing 'fold lines' on a napkin with a sharpie (or you can stitch the lines), and showing him step-by-step how to fold one demonstrating with my own napkin. Then I leave the sample for him to look at, and let him try it without help.

Levi also can set the table - folding napkins, counting the correct number of forks/spoons/knives, and putting them on the table. Still working on correct placement, but he manages to put one of each utensil on top of a napkin at each place setting, which is good enough for our family!DSC04273.jpg rolling napkins picture by leighi123


We got a season pass to Aquatica, and Levi really enjoys it. They have a bunch of rides he can go on, as some don't have a height limit, they just have a 'must be able to hold the handles' requirement (which he can hardly do, but he is a strong swimmer, AND they require kids his height to wear a lifejacket anyway!)

While we were there, we learned about commissary dolphins, which are beautiful black and white dolphins. Levi asked the lady working there all sorts of questions about their names, what they eat, why they are black and white, how to tell them apart etc.

DSC04261.jpg picture by leighi123

Learning to Sew

Sense I sew myself, Levi wanted to learn. Lucky for him, my sewing machine has a 'sew verrrrry verrrrry slowwwly' setting.

I set up the machine on his little desk, and he was able to make a little (somewhat wonky) beanbag with very little help from me.

Looking forward to teaching him more projects, maybe eventually he can help me with my sewing projects!

DSC04211.jpg holding it up image by leighi123DSC04210.jpg proud of his beanbag image by leighi123


Saturday, July 24, 2010


Levi planted these sunflowers from a tiny seed, transplanted the seedlings into his garden, and watched them grow! They got to be over 6feet tall. Unfortunatly, something ate the seeds before we got the chance to save them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Safety Patrol

Levi loves to ride his bike and is big on safety. He always wears his helmet and watches for cars! He also is very concerned about other people on bikes, and is always checking to see if they are wearing a helmet (usually they are not).
Bike saftey vest - white and yellow, with reflection tape and glow in the dark paint for visibility, there is a a big reflective triangle on the back (like a 'caution' sign)
And a shirt I made in honer of Levi's favorite question to ask fellow bike riders!

Between Levi with the bike safety and compleating the ISR course (survival swimming), and me with my carseat checks (Im a carseat tech!), we have the saftey thing covered!

From the co-op garden

Honey-comb: its amazing how perfectly each hole is shaped! We checked this out with a magnifying glass and also read "The Magic Schoolbus Inside a Beehive".
Levi showing off what he helped to grow! Potatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant.. made a tasty dinner!

And of course we got some more fresh made honey too... its a lot lighter in color this time!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


A scooping activity - bowl of beans, a mini scoop, 3 containers with different sized openings (the yellow one was the same width as the scoop). He simply scooped beans into the containers, starting with the widest to the narrowest. Each container got a little more challanging!


Levi participated in a play, Cinderella! He auditioned for the show, got a part (as a villager) and proformed in the show with the rest of the cast (all much older kids/adults). He had a wonderful time, made some friends and did great up on stage! So proud of my little man!
Here he is dressed up in one of his costumes for the 'wedding scene' at the end of the play. (I made his costume of course!)

The Letter 'T'

Here Levi is doing a shape activity, I just traced popsicle sticks so he could match them up. We counted corners, and sides and compared the two shapes.
I also did a similar activity where I put colored dots on the end of the popsicle sticks, matching colors would make a shape!
Brushing teeth! We used an old toothbrush to brush 'teeth' to make them white and clean! We talked about WHY it is important to brush your teeth, and how to make sure to brush them all.

Outdoor time - we looked at all the different trees around our house, did some tree rubbings (which we later made into a little book), and pretended to be a tree!

Arts and crafts tree - popsicle stick for the trunk, strip of paper for the grass and crumpled tissue paper for leaves. Discussed the parts of a tree as well (he already knew them though)
Another activity Levi initiated was with his trains. He took my small ironing board and made a ramp to race them down. I found some poker chips that we used to mark where the trains landed, and compared different trains, and then different angles of the ramp. This kept him entertained for a looong time, but because he was using my ironing board I couldnt get much sewing done without it!

T is for:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Working with Real Tools

Levi learned how to use a hammer and screwdriver.
We got this peice of foam from a packaged mailed to us, and its perfect for him to practice using tools. I demonstrated what to do, and reminded him to watch his fingers and he hammered away! When he ran out of nails I taught him how to use the back of the hammer to remove them, which was even more challanging.
Later we used a screwdriver to put screws in. He ended up using the hammer method to remove the screws as well.
He did these activites multiple times over the week, until I got tired of picking up styrafoam bits and recycled it!

Mini Garden

We got a little garden kit that came with paints, seeds, little mushrooms/house, fairy, gems and a plastic tray (you could use one of those trays that go under potted plants to catch water). We planted the seeds and, like everything in Florida, they grew very fast.

It was an easy and fun project to make a little fairy garden!

Monday, May 24, 2010


A drawing of ME. The first one that is an actual attempt at making something look like me.

He drew the oval and hair, and told me it was a picture of me. So I sat across from him and asked him what else was on my face. He said 'mouth' and chose red, and added it on. Then "eyes" and drew some eyes with blue (one is on my forehead), and then drew a nose dot.

Afterwards, he wanted to draw himself, so I let him look in the mirror. He got bored of the idea after drawing the oval though, and ended up drawing a bunch of rainbow ovals all over.

We used crayon rocks for this activity.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Charlotte's Web - Children's theater

We read the book Charlottes Web, and found out that the Children's theater program at the King Center was putting on the play! So a group of us got tickets and took the kids!

I made Levi this shirt the morning of the show (on the front there is a pig applique with a curly tail!), and he insisted on a matching hat, so I told him to make it! I drew triangles on pink paper for him to color and cut out, and then he traced the words 'Some Pig' on a strip of paper. A little glue and some staples and he had a hat to wear!

This is one of the characters from the show - 'Uncle'

Anna and Levi waiting for the show to start!


Using the insects 'toob' and some other random plastic insects, we sorted insects into matching pairs. We then sorted by insects that fly, and ones that don't fly. We looked at body parts (antennea, legs, head, thorax, abdomen, wings etc.)

Levi found the tweezers on his own and decided to dump all of the marbles in the tray and then transfer them to the jar. This was difficult because they were slippery from the paint.

Another sorting activity, this time using tweesers to transfer the insects to the ice cub tray, and carefully putting them side by side. Here he accidently put the last lady bug in the wrong spot, but didn't notice until he had almost filled the tray. Some insects were harder to hold than others.

The tray is lined with paper cut to size (I traced the tray). A couple small globs of paint and marbles to roll around. Sprinkled with a little glitter, and a pompom with googly eyes added in the center, and you have a spider web!

This time Levi is the spider! A few bugs and lengths of string were in the tray, and his task was to wrap up each insect. When he was done, he of course unwrapped them to set them free!
He is also wearing butterfly wings, made at his request to attend a butterfly garden meeting at the library. I just cut foam into a wing shape, and added velcro straps.

Let's go Fly a Kite

Levi's first kite! This one cost $1 at walmart, and has a HUGE tail. But I held it up and it took off right away! Levi ran all the way down the beach and back again and had a great time.


Levi's new easel! Thanks to craigslist! It folds easily so we store it behind the door. The other side is a chalkboard.
I have been giving him two different colors of paint, so Levi can see what happens when colors are mixed. Painting, and drawing on a vertical surface helps develop wrist strength and coordination needed for learning to write.

The Letter S

S is for:

Here Levi is practicing sweeping. He is to sweep the beans into the blue square, and then carefuly pour them into the black container. This is quite a challange!

I got Levi some dot markers, and this is the first time he used them. He got the idea right away and compleated the task in a very short time. Next time I am going to try to encourage him to start from the top of the letter and work his way down, because this time he did the middle first, then the top, then the bottom.

Sand play - here he is filling an ice cube tray with sand. He also has a letter 's' stencil which he used to practice tracing the shape of an 's' in the sand.

This is a snake cutting activity. First he decorated it, and then Levi had to concentrate in order to cut the spiral shape to make his snake. Once cut out, we glued a tounge and googly eyes on where I had drawn the dots, and attached a string to the center for hanging.

I'm not sure what these pegs are called, but they look similar to thumbtacks only they are plastic. They can be placed into the plastic board which is full of holes. To get them out, you push them from the other side (and it helps to hold it over the storage box so they don't go flying!). I simply drew the letter 'S' onto the board with a whiteboard marker, which wiped off when he was done.
I've had this peg set sense I was a little kid!