Saturday, May 27, 2017

f is for frogs (year 3, week 31)

This was our last official week of Mommy School, but we didn't actually do anything related to our theme.  So, here's what we did and a bunch of ideas for a frog-themed homeschool week.

When we arrived home, our yard was filled with dandelion poofs.  I sent Tadpole out in the yard with a pair of children's (blunt) scissors to cut their heads off.  He happily attacked them, sometimes recklessly and sometimes with more concentration.  When he got tried of that game, he

I spent most of the week blogging and putting things back together.  The kids spent it playing and napping.  They're so excited to be home where they can go outside whenever they'd like and can yell and stomp in the house if they want (not in a hotel anymore).  We also reflected on our trip and talked about what we wanted to learn more about from the things we saw.

Blog Posts About Frogs
- Lily Pad Skip Counting Gross Motor Skills Activity
- e is for eggs (year 2)
- tree frogs (summer theme)

metamorphosis games (frog and butterfly)
counting frogs
what hatches from an egg
tadpole to frog science notebook pages
butterfly lapbook
parts of a frog 3-part cards
frog toob printables
fly counting cards
life cycle of a frog 3-part cards
hungry caterpillar preschool pack

f is for frogs!  Homeschool Theme Unit  #montessoriIdeas
croaking frog
frog life cycle video
feed the frog with tweezers
butterfly sensory bin
no sew caterpillar that turns into a butterfly

- life cycle of a frog
- all about amphibians

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Family Friendly Attractions- Oregon Coast

Family Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast  #roadtrip #kids #vacation

We're home from our three night, four day vacation on the Oregon Coast.  While we did spend a lot of time exploring the beach near our hotel, we also visited four popular attractions in the Portland area.  Every attraction has been given a family-friendliness rating of 1 to 5 🌟 to help you decide the best fit for your family.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion of these places, and I have received nothing for these reviews.  I hope this list encourages you to make some fun family memories this summer.

Two of our family-friendly attractions were completely free!  On the way to the beach, we took a potty stop at MULTNOMAH FALLS.  There is a nice, well-maintained hiking trail up to the falls, a gift shop with bathrooms, and lots of parking.  It's always cooler near the falls than in the parking lot so it's a refreshing place to visit on a summer day.  You can spend ten minutes at the falls or an hour with a picnic and a hike.  Highly recommended for family-friendliness.  🌟🌟🌟🌟


Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

On the way home, we stopped at the BONNEVILLE FISH HATCHERY to stretch our legs.  The kids insisted on calling it a "fish factory," which I love.  I don't think it quite met their expectations.  They were also hoping to see more aspects of a fish life cycle.  We did get to see a huge sturgeon in a pond, and some big brooding trout.  The waking paths were lovely and well-maintained.  The hatchery was free, but it was also low on amenities.  Very family-friendly but sort of non-climatic.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon


Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon
photo credit- Emily Wilson

One day, we drove down the coast to visit the SEA LION CAVES, which is the world's largest sea cave and the brooding grounds of sea lions.  The bathrooms are free, but everything else is quite dear.  You pay to take an elevator down into the cave, where you encounter sea lions in their natural habitation.  The cave also had a few educational exhibits and a skeleton of a sea lion.  This attraction is not handicap accessible, and didn't offer very much for the amount of money that it cost.  🌟🌟🌟


Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

Our very favorite attraction was the OREGON COAST AQUARIUM.  It was costly, but worth the extra money.  We spent about two hours there, but a family with older, interested kids could spend a lot longer.  They have a good variety of things that are found on the Oregon coast and beyond.  They have seals, sea lions, and otters in the mammal category, invertebrates like jellyfish and an octopus, sharks, and lots of fish.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

I love this picture because all the kids are doing similar things with their hands and all seem so engaged.  We saw sea lions sunbathing and seals swimming.  We missed the feed time, but I'm sure they would have enjoyed that as well.  We loved how this exhibit could be viewed from so many different sides and levels.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon
photo credit- Emily Wilson
I was really surprised how much my kids loved the touch tank (we did it twice).  None of them hesitated at all to gently poke the creatures- skates, starfish, urchins, sea cucumbers, nudibranch, shrimp, and anemone.  We could have spent a lot of time here, too, if the kids had been better rested.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

One of the best known features of the aquarium is the tunnel.  There are 4 different types of tanks, which ends with the sharks.  The kids were so engaged in this exhibit, watching the fish from the sides, above and below.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

The kids spent a lot of time laying on their bellies and staring down at the fish.  It was such an interesting experience- a peek into the aquatic world from their level.  At one point, Tadpole moved his arms and legs like his was swimming and scooted across the window.  I think this area would have been a lot less interesting if it had been crowded with people.  We went on a Friday, and had lots of room for laying on the floor.

Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast   #road trips  #kids  #family  #vacation  #oregon

There were many more thing that we saw and experienced that I'm not going to talk about today.  The aquarium is opening a new exhibit soon (Memorial Day weekend 2017), so we'll have to go back again.  Even without the new tanks, I know that we'll return because the aquarium was so nice and is the sort of place with will grow with the kids.  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

*A lot of it is outdoors, so be prepared if the weather is rainy*


So, that's it for my reviews.  It look me most of the day, so I hope you find it helpful.

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Family-Friendly Attractions on the Oregon Coast  #roadtrips  #kids  #vacation  #oregon

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

DIY Travel Sensory Toys

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY

It's travel season, which means lots of time stuck in an plane, train, or automobile.  When you have sensory-sensitive kids, travel time can be challenging.  Here are a bunch of DIY take-them-with-you sensory toy ideas for your vacation.

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY  #howisafari  #sensorybottle

Sensory bottles are great for sensory-seekers, because it provides visual (watching the rice), auditory (gentle shaking), and proprioception (weight of bottle) stimulation.  It's good for sensory-avoiders by providing something calming to focus on in times of over-stimulation.  The i-spy activity is also educational, as kids seek out letters, numbers, explore scientific principles (like oil and water), and practice patience.  This bottle was made with Safari Ltd's Good Luck Mini Ocean Pack, which we received as part of the company's #HowiSafari Campaign.  The kids really love the feel of the minis, and were disappointed that I didn't let them play with the toys in that way (we have other good luck minis for squishing).  However, they loved the sensory bottle, and it was perfect for the road trip.  We saw whales, sharks, and starfish on our beach vacation, which made the sensory bottle a good learning tool and souvenir of the trip.  Of course, I super-glued the lid on before giving it to them.

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY

For this activity, I cut a hole in a small round container with a lid.  The kids can poke the porcupine balls into the hole and run the balls through their fingers.  I even saved some extras for myself to fidget with in the car.

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY

These poking tubes come from a mom, Jessica LaPorte, whose daughter loves to poke her finger in small places.  She and I brainstormed on Facebook to make something that her daughter could have with her at all times.  Jessica bought some 1/2 inch PVC pipes at the hardware store, drilled small holes in the walls for the key rings, and attached them to a breakaway landyard.  To make the tubes fun, Jessica wrapped them in washi tape that she had around the house.  Her daughter's favorite tube is the one with glitter tape on it because it has an interesting texture.  Other textures could be make with rough stick-on velcro, felt (which also comes with a sticker back), sandpaper, or fabric.  I love what Jessica did, and I especially love how she created something that home to help regulate her child anywhere they go.

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY

I ran across this idea on the the internet and knew that I had to make them for myself.  I really needed something to do with my hands while I was in the car or waiting somewhere.  The Fiddle Key Chain is simply five metal key rings with pony beads on them, all connected together.  My 5 year old decided that she loved them and needed one in pink, so I made one and attached it to her water bottle.  I'm hoping that by hanging it off the water bottle, it will make it harder to lose and encourage her to drink more.  I make a similar ones for my oral-seeking boy, with food-safe plastic tubing instead of beads.  They're neat as a sensory toy, but I also like them as a water bottle ID tag, especially in places where lots of people will have bottles lying around.  To save my fingernails while working with all those key rings, I used a staple remover.  It made the whole project a lot less stressful and a lot faster.

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY

I've been wanting to make this activity for a long time.  It looks so simple to make but the weight of it made it very challenging.  I used various buckles and fasteners from my stash and a bunch of different sized ribbons.  I put a piece of plastic canvas in between the layers of felt to give the activity board some structure.  The kids enjoyed this one on our recent road trip as well.

DIY Sensory Toys  #travel  #autism  #sensory  #kids  #DIY

My Specifically Sensory blog post from last year's road trip is also helpful this year.  We brought a lot of the same things with us this year too.

DIY Ideas from Around the Web