Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wizard Week

Initially, this was going to be Science Week, but Ellie requested a Wizard Week, so I just tweaked my plans and made it happen. A few of the activities would suit an older crowd, especially since Katie hasn't read or watched any Harry Potter yet (Ellie has seen the first movie, and we read her the first book). Nevertheless, it was fun! It helped that I showed them a few relevant YouTube clips from the movies before the activities to remind Ellie and to give Katie a context for the activities. 

They woke up to find their owl mail with Hogwarts letters. 

We got ready to go to Hogwarts, finding our owls and supplies, like cauldrons and spellbooks, and making a few also, like hats and wands. 

One of the few specific requests Ellie made was to color a wizard picture. 

The wands we made with paper, hot glue, and paint. 

Then they practiced learning incantations and dueling. 

Even Anthony got into the wizarding spirit. 


Potions day! I stayed up late relabeling a few household items to make our magical brews. 

Dry ice bubbles were a huge hit. We made big ones...
And lots of small ones!

I even rigged up a bubble blower so they could "catch" the bubbles. This kept us busy for a long time. 

Then we made "gloppity gloop," also known as oobleck. I had never done it before and was surprised that it wasn't as messy as I had thought. The girls liked making it slip through their fingers, then balling it up again. 

Next was "rainbow water", where we layered liquids of different densities in a bottle. 

The results were pretty. 

We took a break to eat some chocolate frogs (with wizard trading card and all!). 

Then we had one more potion to make... But an ingredient was missing! The Marauder's Map helped us find it. 

The ingredient found, we made a homemade bouncy ball to serve as our Golden Snitch later in the week. 

Anthony was asleep for potions (thankfully), but he played with the "Hogwarts Express" for a little while. 


Herbology: we painted pots and planted seeds in them. 

We identified herbs from our garden by sight and smell. 

We made celery stalks change color. 

Charms: we created a chain reaction with popsicle sticks (let go of the end, and they go flying!). 

We made "swirling dervishes" with milk, food coloring, and soap. 

We blew up balloons with pop rocks and soda (Katie), and baking soda and vinegar (Ellie), and compared which was a better method. 

We gathered different items and predicted whether they would sink or float and then tested our hypotheses. We even made a rock float! 

We also played with gravity, dropping a rock and a feather to see what happens when they fall, and then we tried to "Wingardium Leviosa" our feathers. 

Care of Magical Creatures: we fed my Betta fish, checked on our newest caterpillars, and then we "planted" sea monkey eggs. (Some have hatched now). 

I found dragon eggs that dissolve in water, so we hatched them. 

The baby dragon. They loved this, probably because the dragons were from How to Train Your Dragon. 

Then we made magical foam creatures. 

We also made dragon sock puppets. (The ones I made were for a specific purpose, and they will show up again at Katie's party!)

Divination: using clear glass ornaments, sand, glitter, sequins, and water, we made crystal balls. 

Fun, neat to look at...

... And easily breakable. Ooops. 

Our last activity was a sampling of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. Ellie only had a few (and spat out most), Katie liked Booger flavor, and Anthony just ate them, voraciously and indiscriminately. Ewww. 


Fun for all!

I only have 2 brooms, so we used a Swiffer too. 

Ellie reenacted Harry's famous first catch. The first Snitch we made got a little mangled, so we made a new one that worked perfectly.  

After having a great time with Quidditch, we had some refreshing Butterbeer. 

Then it was time for more potions! We made chewing gum with a kit I bought on Amazon. It tasted much better than I expected, but there was a lot of hard kneading, and I ended up doing most of the work. The girls did like chewing the results!

Lastly, I let the girls raid the pantry for ingredients (approved by me) to make their own potions. It was a fun, nasty mess!

And that was Wizard Week! Totally magical!

No planned theme this week because Ellie's at a camp, so I'm going to give Katie a little one-on-one time. I have a few creative ideas, but I get the feeling my little free spirit will just want to pretend-play with her dragon toys instead. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Art Week

Last week was Art Week. To be honest, it was a little rough. Katie still doesn't have a lot of patience for arts & crafts, and I was a bit overwhelmed, juggling too many other things, and just not that into it. Nevertheless, we pressed on and made the best of it. Ellie said it was her favorite week (though I suspect that each week, as it comes, will be her new "favorite"). I just got back from a much-needed vacation, so I don't remember exactly which days we did what, but here's the rundown of activities. 

We started with some family painting time. 

The kids decorated some blank fabric dolls I made, with fabric markers and yarn. Anthony even got to make a little bear. 

The girls made fingerprint art with the help of an Ed Emberley book I picked up. I remember those books from my childhood, so it was extra special to watch Ellie flip through it and create her pictures. She really enjoyed following the directions and making her pictures. 

We tried to make floam, but it was a terrible sticky mess, so we ended up making plain old slime. 

It was much better, and the girls even colored on it. 

We also tried a little embossing. This project required prep time. The day before, we selected some coloring book pages, traced over the lines with glue, and let it dry. The next day, we covered the images with foil and rubbed the edges until the image was raised in the foil. Then we used shoe polish to rub on and off and help the image appear. It was a fun process, although the result left something to be desired. 

We also did these art books that the kids just happened to get at Chick-fil-a the week before. What a happy coincidence! It had drawing prompts, stickers, stencils, and art facts. A perfect easy (mess-free) activity!

On Wednesday, we went to the Museum of Fine Arts. There was a really cool large installation of long plastic tubes hanging from the ceiling, like rain or a forest. The kids had so much fun walking through it; we probably spent half our time there. 
Then they got hungry, so we ate lunch from a food truck at the sculpture garden. 
After lunch, I asked if they wanted to go back into the museum. To my surprise, they did!
We had fun imitating and laughing at art. 
We also admired the colors and shapes. 
And Ellie searched for the items on her scavenger hunt worksheet. It definitely helped keep things interesting, though she got tired of it at the end. 

Back home, we painted with liquid watercolors. 

And did some patriotic sponge art in honor of Independence Day. 
Ellie's deer, which then turned into... Something else. 

Both girls made sculptures with Nuudles that I picked up on a whim at the craft store. They were super easy to use, and Katie especially loved making "dragons". This is the first craft I've seen her spend more than 15 minutes making. 
Her dragon. 

Another 4th of July craft: blow painting fireworks. We put a drop of liquid watercolor on the paper, then blew on it through a straw.

We had some family Model Magic jewelry making time to round out the week. The girls always love creating with Model Magic, and it's a rare treat since it's a little expensive.

And that was Art Week! I'm super excited about our next theme... Stay tuned for all the details!