Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I love the idea of camping. It always sounds so amazing, and when I have really great memories of camping as a kid.  I wonder if my mom felt the same way because going camping with little ones seems like an awful lot of work.  Still, I hope someday we can take them and enjoy the great outdoors somewhere.  Not sure how or where one does that here in Nepal.  For now, I promised my son we would camp here at home.  I started a tradition with him that I think is quite fun, and he absolutely adores, and that is "Christmas camping," where we camp out in our sleeping bags by the Christmas tree one of the first days after it is put up.  He has begged to do it more and more.
So, recently, I decided it was time for our camp-out or camp-in, as is more aptly named.
We are pretty light on any formal "school" right now, but we did do a few fun camping-themed things leading up to our camp-in.
I found some pre-writing sheets and a "Which one is different?" page in the Camping Preschool Pack from Homeschool Creations.

One of the activities I was really excited to find was a set of Read! Build! Write! camping cards from 1+1+1=1.  I hadn't ever seen this cards before, and they are a great fit for Isaiah right now, and he really enjoyed them.  We only ended up doing one word, but I know we will use these cards again.  He also insisted on drawing his own picture of the word.

We found a couple fun camping books on  Camping Day and This Monster Cannot Wait!  Both were really fun, cute books, but the boys both especially enjoyed Camping Day.

On the day of our big camping adventure, we constructed a makeshift "tent" in Isaiah's room, which I was really hoping wouldn't come down on us during the night.  It wasn't pretty, but we worked with what we had.

When it was time for dinner (pardon my boys in their post-bath minimalist attire!), we built a campfire.  I actually saw this idea on several sites, and, again, we had to use what we had.  I had saved several paper towel rolls that we used for logs, and then we tore up some red, yellow, and orange streamers I had found at a store here to put in our flames.

We "roasted" marshmallows!

And, we enjoyed our modified s'mores treats.  Since you can't really find graham crackers (or a reasonable substitute) here, I went for these s'mores pops.  The original idea was not mine, but the link on pinterest wasn't working, and it seemed pretty straightforward (though the picture on pinterest looked much prettier!). We melted some chocolate, dipped the marshmallows in the chocolate and then dipped them in crushed crackers (in our case, they were actually sort of a crunchy oatmeal cookie/biscuit).

Isaiah LOVED them.  Zeke mostly enjoyed playing with them. :)

Ezekiel was VERY sad to not actually get to stay the night in the tent with us, but it seemed unlikely that any of us would actually get any sleep, though I have promised him (and myself) that I'll give it a try at least once this summer with him included in the tent!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Octo Ice

There is no way in which this is an original idea, but it was just so crazy and fun, that I just had to share!  You can see the idea and directions over at Growing a Jeweled Rose.
I actually found some cheap noodles that were only about a third of the price of spaghetti here, so I used those, but I'm wondering if the texture might have been better (and held up a bit better with the freezing) if I had gone ahead and just used spaghetti.

Zeke seemed a little unsure of what exactly this thing was and what we were going to do with it!

 After they had been playing awhile, I remembered we had a plate of salt sitting nearby because we had just been doing writing in salt before we did this.  I asked Isaiah if he knew what salt would do to ice, and he said no and asked if we could find out.  At first I sprinkled a bit on, but Isaiah wanted to dump the entire plate of it on our ice octopus!  He was really interested in how the ice got rough and melted from the salt.

 It didn't take long before the heat and the mess led to shirtless boys!

Isaiah actually wanted to take the Octo ice and scoot it around on the sidewalk and, in typical boy fashion, start smashing it into pieces on the ground.  

Zeke kept right on playing with the melted mess and noodles, and as you can see, had to head straight for the bath when we finished.  I am often quite convinced that our neighbors are watching and wondering what on earth the crazy foreigners are doing this time!  Play and exploration aren't exactly culturally normal parts of learning here.

 Pretty proud of his messy ice chunks!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Heading into Summer

As summer is approaching (and with the weather here, it has felt like it has been here for awhile!), we have been getting looser with school time.  We are still trying to finish up the last few units from our Raising Rock Stars Preschool, but we haven't been doing all the activities, and we've been doing a lot more just reading and play-centered activities.  It has actually been really good because it shows me yet again how important those things are and how much the boys love them and thrive when doing them!

A simple one from last week was a little sidewalk painting.  I had just done ice chalk with them the week before, and with not having prepared in advance enough, I basically just mixed up the same concoction (corn starch, water, and washable paint) and pulled out some foam paint brushed to paint on the driveway.
Ezekiel has been really excited lately every time he sees an "E" anywhere, and he shouts "E!  Ezekiel!"  So, he wanted me to paint some "E's."
Isaiah felt the need to get his squirt gun in on a little drawing and writing action.
It has been a really simple activity to pull out often, but Isaiah has been really loving coloring lately and has just jumped ahead leaps in recent weeks with his precision in doing it.  He stays focused for quite a long time doing it!  We bought a tablet of large coloring pages from a family that was leaving here recently.  Kind of captures their different interests right now, as well.

Usually, it makes me a little nervous when the boys are playing upstairs and then things get silent, but one of the afternoons last week, this is what I found when I went up!
It doesn't get much better than discovering my two boys laying next to each other engrossed in their books!