Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up (and a birthday party!)

Our week was a little scattered (still lots of non-homeschooling stuff to take care of lately).  We did some fun crafts and reading that I'd like to schedule in more articulate posts next week.  For instance, we learned a lot about ladybugs (post coming soon).

This week's letter craft at our homeschooling playdate was H, and the kids used watercolors to paint hearts made out of Model Magic and strung them on pipe cleaners to make bracelets (or bookmark/hanging decorations).  I posted earlier in the week about how we played with a set of 1-20 numbered hearts left over from the preparation for this activity.

We also made a fun pop-up book at the library's craft hour.  They had all sorts of fancy samples laid out, but all of the kids seemed to end up at the simplest table.  Maybe I'm easily impressed, but I had never seen this before - two scissor snips and you can turn a piece of construction paper into a pop-up!  I'm thinking this would be adorable for birthday cards.  Maybe we'll even try it for some thank you cards soon.

We went on a fun walk around the neighborhood, complete with a nature scavenger hunt (in a Halloween goodie bag), and some photo-taking by the little guy.  His enthusiasm during the walk made me realize how little walking we have done in the past few months (since we bought a car, after being auto-less for over a year).  I think as my due date gets closer, I am going to try to get in a daily walk like this every afternoon.

We created and added to our felt Thankful Tree (full post here), my favorite Thanksgiving craft. 

This impromptu map-making (with sites from the Disney cars movie/books) turned out to be hugely popular.  I had thought to combine it with some sort of map-making thematic study and blog post, but it never really happened.  


The big excitement of the week was throwing the Bibliophile his 3-year birthday party at a bowling alley this weekend.  I tried to keep it all very simple.  He had requested a "Jamba Juice" party, so we bought an armload of large strawberry smoothies and split them between 8 oz kids cups for everyone.  I also baked some brownies that, due to the fickle nature of gluten free, dairy free, egg free baking, turned into more of a crunchy chocolate cookie square, but hey, they were chocolate so you can't really go wrong!

We found really cute mini bowling sets at Toys R Us to hand out as party favors, and he picked out four balloons at the supermarket the day before.  I also ordered him an adorable bowling shirt.

He received so many thoughtful, fun gifts from his friends.

This is what we bought him --
No Stress ChessNo Stress Chess
He enjoys playing chess with Daddy on a regular set, but of course doesn't fully understand the rules for how the pieces can move, let alone strategy.  In No Stress Chess, cards show you how the pieces can move.  At its simplest level, players draw cards which tell them which piece to move next.  A few additional levels of play provide for players to also have a hand of cards to choose from each turn, adding the chess strategy in a little at a time, as kids are ready for it.  I love games that allow for escalation of skills!  He is on his 4th game in a row of this with Daddy as I draft this post.

Mater's Tall Tales
Cars Toon: Mater's Tall TalesThe Bibliophile watches very, very little in the way of television/videos (don't praise me too much - we more than make up for it in computer time!).  We don't own a television, so what we watch is done on my laptop.  Disney Cars has long been his favorite movie, and often the only one he'll consent to watch.  He also likes instructional Spanish videos here and there, but other character-based shows - Diego, Thomas, Sid the Science Kid, Blues Clues, etc. - have all been watched briefly and then declared to be something he does not want to watch "at all."  So, when I saw that another Disney Cars-related video was coming out, I pre-ordered it.  It is just a series of 9 shorts, but thankfully none have been deemed scary yet.  Admittedly, I actually gave this to him last week after a particularly trying day at the allergist's office.

And these are some of the wonderful gifts from others:

Tomy/Tomika Roads and Rails set (I don't see it on Amazon, but this link is to Toys R Us): He was itching to tear into this right away, and it has been set up in our living room all day for him to go back to in between jaunts with other toys.

Gizmos and Gears
(Ages 7+)  We recently reviewed The Robot Book, which features gears (go and enter our give away to win your own copy here!).  So, this was really nicely timed and super fun.  I'm pretty sure Mommy and Daddy enjoyed it as much as the Bibliophile did.
Power Tool Set with Carry CaseToy Power Tool Set with Carry Case
-- A very astute mama saw how fixated he was with a friend's tool set (asking me to order him to fix everything in the room with his tools), and bought him this set.  He's really been enjoying pretend play lately, and he loves this.

National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers, Third EditionNational Geographic children's atlas
I have actually thought about buying this for the Bibliophile in the past, after reading positive reviews of it.  It is very advanced for his age, but given his love of maps, it was a perfect gift!

DK Games: Silly SentencesVery Silly Sentences
(Ages 4-7)  I was really excited to open this up.  I've often thought sentence formation is a fun next activity for us to start on, and I can't think of a better way to make it fun for him than with silly cards packaged as a game (complete with dice, spinner, game board, and cards).  We all enjoyed playing it.  Our only criticism is that the dice - a dodecahedron - is made out of paper, so I'm not sure how long it will last without some sort of preservation work.  I think we can rig up a sturdier one to replace it. 

Bendomino JuniorBendomino  (Ages 3 and up)  This looks like a very fun game, labeled "dominos with a twist!"  It is a testament to how tired the Bibliophile was tonight, after a day's worth of excitement with no nap, that he chose to save this until tomorrow when given the choice to play tonight or not. 

I'm really touched that so many of our friends made it to his party on such a busy weekend, and of course thankful for all of the kind gifts that suited the Bibliophile so well.  We missed those who couldn't make it, but we bowled for you in spirit!

This week's homeschooling goals will be to play with all of these new toys (many of which are educational - yay!), squeeze in any related learning (if it's fun), craft up some thank you cards together, and get ready for a big visit from Nana.

I am linking this post up with Preschool Corner, Weekly Wrap-Up, and Tot School.

Comment: What toys did your children love when they were 3?  (And a quick reminder -- we have two give-aways ending early this week, both for wonderful board books).

Disclosure: if you click on any of the links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Joyful Learner said...

Isn't the No Stress Chess awesome?! I just realized the die was missing from Silly Rhymes. I forgot how it looked like. I need to make a new one.

Happy belated birthday!! Great gifts!

As for the Jamba Juice, I gave a sip to JC one time and she broke out. You have to ask for the lactose free ones.

Infant Bibliophile said...

We just get the all fruit ones - no milk. So the "strawberry whirl" is only strawberries, bananas, and apple-strawberry juice, I think. Doesn't mean I still don't tell them about his allergy and quiz them about the blender and spoons every time, but we've never had an issue. =)

MaryAnne said...

Happy Birthday to the IB! No Stress Chess sounds like a great game!

Great idea with the Jamba Juice - that's something I really miss from the West Coast...

Giggly Girls said...

Happy Birthday Big Guy!!

I love the chess set. Even more, I love that your 3-year old can play and I can't make heads or tails of it at 39. LOL

kewkew said...

The Silly Sentences Game sounds perfect for Tabitha.
Looks like he had a great birthday.
Cute Thankfulness Tree. We are making a Thankful Turkeys banner (each day of the month until Thanksgiving we are thinking of and writing down something new we are thankful for, one alphabet letter at a time)
Really gotta post about that.

Raising a Happy Child said...

Happy Birthday to IB - it sounds like the party was a great success. All the gifts look great to me - we also love board games here.

Karrie said...

Visiting from 1+1+1=1. My son is in love with Mater's Tall Tales. Looks like it was a great birthday. Thanks for posting the gifts. Great ideas for Christmas list.

Christy said...

It sounds like he had a great birthday! We have that sentence game. Great gifts!

We haven't done much walking lately either. I have to make more of an effort.

The Iowa Farmer's Wife said...

Such an adorable felt tree! Did you make it all from scratch?

Brimful Curiosities said...

Great list of toys/games. Looking into a few for my son for Christmas.