Today a total solar eclipse was 58% visible from where we live. I had my oldest with me (school FINALLY starts back up next week). And because our library system is the greatest thang in the whole darn place, we went to a local branch’s “Sky Party,” where they had pinhole viewers, box viewers, many many eclipse glasses to pass around, sun print paper, and a lovely courtyard with a great view of the sun at the appointed hour.
In another post, I will have to detail how our library system made our whole summer special with a Waldo hunt through all the branches. It was really fun and memorable and genius. It cemented my library love.
So today, my brother took an “eclipse day” off of work, and at the library we got only our 58% eclipse, but it was 100% fun because there was such a huge turnout. I knew we would want to be surrounded a community to share in this phenomenon. Every natural phenomenon is enhanced by the wonderment of others. And honestly, the kids were so creative. I noticed some kids looking at their shadows and making fists, and realized every person can create their own little pinhole viewers with their hand. So clever. And it was more fun to pass around and share the glasses than to have hunted down a pair of my own, what with all the eclipse excitement this year. Supplies were scarce. This way, we all got to take peeks and then hand them to another person and watch them marvel, too.
My daughter claimed it was her favorite day ever. That might be because we stopped at Chuck E. Cheese for lunch post-eclipse, but I like to think it was because of science!
On Friday night, I left out a couple of plastic bottles for the kids. A couple weeks ago, there must have been some project at school where they made bugs out of plastic bottles because ever since, my daughter has been digging through recycling and making these paper handprints to “make a bug.” She even hand-wrote “make a bug” on her list of homework assignments for the month.
So when we woke up at 9(!) on Saturday, the kids had made their own bugs. The mess of paper and glue and googly eyes everywhere was a small price to pay.
My daughter also got a coupon for free froyo from her school Jogathon, so I took the kids to cash in. Then we went to our second favorite library (the “red library” in the next neighborhood over is just a skosh better), the “blue library.”
I spotted these adorable crochet test tubes in a little science exhibit, and I need to figure out how to make them. I have had a little finger knit loom since I was about 8, used for making the fingers in gloves, I think. I’ll see if I can make them.
The kids picked out about a dozen videos, then mean mommy made them narrow it down to 4. They colored, they fought over computers, they helped me pick up my hold books. Happiest Place on Earth.
I stopped at my favorite Goodwill store today after dropping off one kid and before picking up the other. This is a period of time that generally lasts about 15 seconds. Today I spent my 15 seconds thrift hunting.
I found a sweet wooden e with holes for hanging on the wall and the biggest score of all which you’ll have to wait to see: a tshirt with a Starry Night style portrait of Batman. I’m turning it into a decorative pillow for E for his birthday next month.
When the kids were home, I got out the yarn, washi tapes, and scissors, and we wrapped that letter up good. I love how it turned out.
Whether or not you celebrate Easter, there are so many fun egg dying and egg art projects out there for young kids, I hope you partook of some artsy craftsy eggs-perimentation (ha! i’m so clever) anyway. We think of all projects this time of year as celebrations of Spring and abundance.
We eat eggs all year. My son is the world’s biggest fan of quiche (I make mine with potatoes in it, which really increases its kid-friendliness), and I am a fan of frugality, and eggs are a super cost-effective source of protein.
I am not sure if it is my crafty DNA, or my previous career as a teacher, but something in me won’t let me throw away an egg carton, and I know I’m not alone. Luckily, with small children around, I finally have good reason. They come in so handy.
My youngest was on spring break from preschool last week, and in between frequent viewings of Moana, I created a lot of art and craft and experimentation opportunities for him. I was running out of patience and ideas after a few days, but in a surge of desperation-fueled inspiration, I handed him an 18-egg cardboard carton and told him to go check the backyard for rocks that might fit. You should have seen his little face light up! Who knew? His favorite assignment of the week by far.
After he filled his carton, he and his sister had some rock painting time. This was a free-painting process art kind of project, but I am already looking forward to making more directed paintings, like pet rocks or rock monsters.
So here are a few more ideas:
- Collections: If you also have a backyard or are near a park, collect rocks, shells, flowers, leaves, etc. If you are inside, collect small toys, crayons, legos. Littler kids love filling each cup and are reinforcing one to one correspondence.
- Paint Pallet: Fill each cup with paint and use the top to hold your brushes. If you have styrofoam containers (it happens), you can even put your water in one, for rinsing brushes.
- Sorting: Are your kids into pony beads or Perler beads? Sort those babies by color. Legos? size and shape. Do you have a button collection? If you do, it is surely not as intense as mine, but there are countless sorting opportunities in there. Sometimes when I’m stressed, a good button sorting session can really take the edge off.
- Snacks! a couple grapes in here, a couple goldfish there. I think you can fill in the rest.
- Planters: This works best with the smaller 6 or 12 count cartons, in my experience. 18 is a lot of dirt and seeds.
- This pirate ship! This activity is so great because making the sails could be an entirely separate art experience. Stickered, watercolored, stamped, crayon resisted, or even art they’ve already created and you don’t know what to do with it. Cut it up and use it as the sails.
- Animals: This is kind of the Old Reliable of egg carton crafts. Clams, penguins, frogs, chicks, just use paint and googly eyes as your basic prompts, and let those kids follow their own drumbeats. Maybe have some pipe cleaners or feathers handy, too.
- Someday when the children are both in school, I am going to crack open an egg carton for myself and do one of those gorgeous egg carton flower wreaths. I’ll let you know if those are legit, or merely a Pinterest urban legend.