Monday, January 20, 2014

Still Plowing Through Our Snow Themed Activities - Winter Bucket List Link-Up

I realize that the past few days I have left everyone that only follows our blog hanging (there has been a bit more activity that happened only on our Facebook page). However it is Monday so of course there will be a post, IT'S WINTER BUCKET LIST LINK-UP DAY!!!  The days we missed posting were days that I spent with my kiddos working through some of our activities (as well as some sledding and archery lessons).

So what had we been so busy doing? We marked off another three ideas and started a fourth (which we may have to restart). First we started with our ice candles. I wasn't sure if this was going to work or not. I found the basis for the idea on Pinterest, and many of my Pinterest finds don't always work how they describe them. The idea was to freeze water and food coloring in a balloon. Once it is completely ice you remove the balloon and you have a cool colorful lawn decoration. I figured why couldn't you place a tea lite (or the like) on one and have a festive candle. Tying water balloons isn't one of my strong suits, it's 50/50 if I'm going to spray half the water before I get it tied. Sadly, I'm the only one that know how to tie balloons, so we chanced it. The boys each chose a color they wanted for the balloon and a color for they'd like their candle to be. They squeezed a few drops of dye into the balloons and I hooked them to the kitchen sink. Each boy was in charge of holding onto their balloon while it filled and to let me know when their balloon was the size they wanted. Joey was our first balloon and after filling it we were left with a "nub" on both ends of the balloon, so we decided a little bigger worked better. Sorry no pictures of the filling process, my hands were full at the time, but I managed to tie every balloon without spraying food dye throughout my kitchen. YAY! After all the balloons were filled we placed them outside in the freezing cold (it was 10 degrees that evening). At first we placed them in the snow for fear of them rolling down our sidewalk. The next day half our balloons were frozen, the top halves. The snow was insulating them, so we moved them to our patio. In just less than 24 hours they were completely frozen. All the balloons went straight into the sink, where everybody took turns cutting their balloons away. While the colder temperatures were great for our balloons they were not for us so inside our house was pretty toasty. By the time the last ice ball was released the others had started to melt. It worked out well that in most of our "candles" had a weakened or shallow  spot from the air bubble, which fit a tea light well (except our little nubby blue one). After a quick couple pictures (I mean really quick, they were melting fast), we placed them in our front garden as decorations. They boys were able t get a closer look at the ice candles while the others cut their free. They noticed the looked like a balloon inside a ice balloon, as the dyed portion formed its own bubble. We loved his project and plan on repeating it in the future.


And we made snwflakes

You can see on the table in the background the drying stage of our second activity. We made our Q-tip snowflakes while we waited for our ice candles to freeze. Actually we made a version of these a few year ago and I made them with Joey's second grade class as well. (I high recommend this activity with small groups of children, helping 30 eight year olds is pushing your luck. It can be done with larger groups but request help from other parents). Again a really basic craft. All you need is 15 Q-tips per child, glue, wax paper, and whatever you chose to decorate with. Start with placing the wax paper down so it will make removing the snowflake easier. You can either dip your ends of the Q-tip into the glue or arrange your snowflake then glue the tips where they meet, I recommend the latter. Arrange 5 Q-tips in the middle, I told the boys to make it like a person a head, arms, and legs. Then you use two Q-tips making an upside down "V" to connect an arm to a leg, arm to the head, and so on. Remember it doesn't have to be "perfect" all snowflakes are different and unique. Allow time for them to dry, they ay be a bit flimsy we just flipped them over and added extra glue to the where all the tips meet. This year we used glitter to our snowflakes. In the past I had taken pictures of the boys and cut the pictures to fit within the center of the snowflake, these is also what I chose to do with the second grade class. Seems the snowflake is "empty" there are so many possibilities to creatively decorate them, thinking about using Christmas theme color tissue paper to glue on the backs for this Christmas.

And built a little fort

Sunday is a day spent with the grandparents, but also their backyard which still has a decent amount of snow. While we have a huge mound of snow in front of our home after the snowstorm that came through two weeks ago, it is too packed and mainly ice chunks. Papa and Grandma were away for a few hours at the theater so we were left to entertain ourselves. Seems we unable to produce a snowman for them to admire a few weeks ago we thought they would love a snow fort in their back yard. We started out using small buckets, then Joey started filling their recycling bin. We quickly opted for the recycling bin as we were able to make larger "bricks". Some of the snow was packable while most from the yard was too fluffy. The boys took to shoveling down  the small mounds that were created from shoveling the driveway. Once getting to the icy parts they used the wheelbarrow and tackled the ones from the front yard. We worked on our bottom layer for 45 minutes before heading in to warm up. By the time we could feel our fingers again it was time for archery lessons, so our fort had to wait. After archery (which Jacob participated in this week. Yay!) we went straight back to work as we were losing daylight. The down side of using the recycling bin was that only Jordan and I had the muscle to lift and flip it after the other boys packed it full of snow. We decided two layers was enough for it to be considered as a fort. Well that and it would have been extremely difficult to left them high enough for a third layer. By the time we finished the second layer, after another 45 minutes outside it was getting dark.

We also start growing our icicle candies, but from the looks of it two of our jars aren't forming any "ice", we may have to restart this one. As it takes a week to "grow a icicle" we'll be sharing how successful we were next Monday.

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