# Around the House

Chore Chart for Young Kids

Chore Chart for Young Kids

At the beginning of the year, I talked about our new dinner chore charts. Six months later, I can happily say they are still working. They work better than I even imagined.

One of my favorite features is still that the kids only rotate chores with each new month. That gives them a whole month to get proficient at their chore. They and I both also love that we don’t have to keep asking who does what chore. We can actually remember when it doesn’t change daily or weekly.

A month ago, I made up a new chore chart to go along with the dinner one. I added in a new chore that gets rotated monthly. They each have a zone for the month. Our zones are backyard, toy area, couch area and upstairs hall.

That is really their only new chore that they have to do. The others on the chart are make your bed, straighten your room, and their dinner chores that they have already been doing. The other “chores” on their chart are read 20 minutes, piano 20 minutes, take a math facts quiz (a summer goal of ours), do a STEAM project, and pay outside 30 minutes.

I added those in, because the deal is that if they do all those things, they can have unlimited screen time for the rest of the day. I figured if they got everything done, they would have already had a pretty full, physical, and educational day. Then, they could relax with movies or play learning games and I wouldn’t be picky about it.

I’d have to say that so far the new charts are working fairly well. Malena is loving it. She really likes getting a check mark to show her accomplishments, and she earns her movie time almost every day. Some kids feel like it is too much to do to earn screen time. They get paid 10 cents for each check mark (yes, even for playing outside), and they all manage to get enough in a week to feel like they accomplished something.

I wanted to give them a way to earn more money too, since I want them to get used to handling money. I wrote more about that after they each bought a stuffed seal at a gift shop. They are also required to buy some of their own craft supplies. I heard of some families requiring older kids to pay for clothes or gas, and I came up with craft supplies since mine are younger. I want them to learn to use their resources efficiently. So far, they haven’t had to replenish the initial supply I bought for them though. Maybe that’s because they are being so efficient and/or using recycled things…look at me go, teaching them to be good to the earth as well.

Oh, I almost forgot! I also started paying them 5 cents per sock collected from around the house. They each have a zip lock bag taped to the dryer to put them in during the week. I’m a total sell out, but I am so tired of picking up socks from all over, I needed some help.

So, that’s how it stands for now. I’ll have to update you in another six months on whether these charts are panning out or not.

What about you? How do you handle chores and allowances at your house?

 

“See this post at After School Activities Linky Party:

After School Link Party Button

Hosted by: Mama SmilesPlanet Smarty PantsRelentlessly Fun Deceptively EducationalThe Educators’ Spin on It

# Around the House

How to Build a Solar Oven

How to Build A Solar Oven - TheEngineersKids

Inspired by an upcoming trip to Lake Mead last year, during which the forecast predicted temperatures around 115 degrees, the kids and I (well mostly me, but they immediately loved the idea) decided to build a solar oven. There are a number of instructions and tutorials online, so we pulled some ideas from each of those.

We started by finding two cardboard boxes that fit inside one another, with a few inches of gap in between. Then the kids glued black construction paper into the inside of the smaller box.

Solar Oven -  TheEngineersKids

Solar Oven  - TheEngineersKids

Next, we folded the flaps of the smaller box out and inserted the smaller box into the larger one, so the small box flaps were within the gap between the boxes.

The kids raided our paper shredder (but you could use crumpled up paper as well) and stuffed the gap with the paper shreds for insulation. We had part of a sheet of acrylic on hand from a previous project (my husband refurbished the Dance Dance Revolution pad that he had built from scratch in college), so I cut a piece of that for a lid.

Your lid should cover the boxes, but not block the flaps from the larger box from standing up, you need those to stand in a few minutes here.

Cutting acrylic is actually a little tricky. The best thing to do is score it with a box cutter (an exacto knife might work too, but be careful not to break the blade), and then bend it along the score line. It should break along the line easily, although it might not be an exactly clean break. Acryllic seems to be tempermental like that. (Oh, and you should wear safety goggle just in case.) Put a bit of duct tape along the edges of the lid, so they are not sharp.

Next, you line the inside of the large box flaps with aluminum foil. Finally, have fun painting the outside.

Painting  Solar Oven - TheEngineersKids Paint a Solar Oven - TheEngineersKids Colorful Solar Oven - TheEngineersKids

When we tried out the solar oven at the lake, I used some duct tape to fan out the flaps of the large box and hold them in that position. Then, I added some more aluminum foil to the gaps between the flaps, so that we could capture more of those rays of sunlight into our oven and raise its temperature.

We had great success at cooking hot dogs. The internal temperature reached over 165 degrees in about 10 or 15 minutes. The kids really wanted to try Easy Mac. Sadly, that attempt ended up with cups of cheesy mush.

Don't Cook Easy Mac in a Solar Oven - TheEngineersKids

Ummm, gross. If I was to do it again, I’d try heating just the water as hot as I could get it, and then add it to the noodles and cheese.

The scientist in me wishes I had tried the oven out when it was a more normal temperature outside. However, my husband threw it out a few months ago while cleaning the garage.

I’ve seen a couple DIY water desalinators floating around pinterest. Now I’m itching to try making one of those. Being so close to the ocean, I actually think it would be nice to know how to make safe drinking water, in case of an emergency.

Has anyone tried those out? Do you have any links to a good DIY desalinator tutorial?

See this post at After School Activities Linky Party:
After School Link Party Button

Hosted by: Mama SmilesPlanet Smarty PantsRelentlessly Fun Deceptively EducationalThe Educators’ Spin on It

# Adventures

Orange County Fair Imaginology – Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead

OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Shhhh, a few weeks ago, I pulled Finn out of school a bit early on day to attend the Orange County Fair Imaginology. They made a fuss about it in the school office too. School administrators, sheesh.

Imaginology takes place at the Orange County fairgrounds, and involves activities and booths set up by schools, organizations and companies to teach kids about STEAM topics. The kids had so much fun, were asking some really intelligent questions, and were learning a lot.

I wanted to share some of the fun toys we got to play with, and some other fun things they had there.

LEGO robots at OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

We got to play with some robots built with LEGO robotics parts. The robot shown above was a golfing robot and we got to control it to hit the ball into a hole.

LEGO robots, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Another robot could pick up a cup and set it down in another location.

Snap Circuits, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids Build your own circuit with Snap Circuits at OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Finn spent some time building with Snap Circuits, which he has at home, but there more parts there. Snap Circuits are electrical components that snap onto a board and to each other to create fun little circuits. It comes with an instruction book with a whole bunch of projects. My favorite is one where you run a little motor in reverse. The motor powers a fan, so when it is in reverse the wind generated by the fan is blowing downward. If you give the fan a little touch upward it flies up into the air a few feet.

EyeClops handheld microscope, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Meanwhile, Jules, Malena and Leto could not be pried away from this awesome kid microscope. It was called an EyeClops. You put the hand-held piece up to your specimen, and it will magnify it 200 times and display the image on any TV, using A/V jacks (RCA cable). I was searching online to see if they had one with a USB or something for a computer screen, but sadly I couldn’t find one. They do have some other fun stuff, though. Night vision goggles, anyone?

Image displayed on your TV from EyeClops handheld microscope, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Leto was entranced by magnifying a cockroach. Jules and Malena liked seeing all the details of a piece of wood.

Little Bits, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

We got see some displays of LittleBits, which after reading this review, I really want to try. They seem one step more advanced than snap circuits.

Imagination Playground blocks, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Leto got some little boy wiggles out with some Imagination Playground blocks. (Okay, the bigger kids really like these too.) An apartment we once lived in had these in a common play room. They were fabulous to play with during the winter when we couldn’t go outside.

There were some local entrepreneurs and their fun products too.

Fine motor skills development for kids on the autism spectrum, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids
One guy built this toy (called Z Occupational Therapy ToolZ or ZOTTZ) for his autistic son to encourage him in his fine motor skills. When you use the scissors, mini clamp, button, or key a song would play (different one for each object). My kids played for a half an hour, and really I had to pry them away from it to go see more stuff.

Another guy sold kits that he put together himself from electronic components. On display was a robot car that would drive 20-or-so feet, make a U-turn and come back.

Keep them learning at mealtime with a Math Tablecloth, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

One local teacher created a tablecloth full of math problems. You could write on it with washable marker and it would wipe right off with water. My kids wanted to stay and solve all the math problems on the whole thing. I dragged them away, and later regretted not buying one.

Digging for fossils, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids
Finally, we found a few other fun things to play with.

We dug fossil shark teeth out of a rock similar to GeoCentral fossil or Dr. Cool ocean fossil. The group that bought them actually made the little fossil-containing rocks themselves. I think they must have bought a bag of shark teeth (did you know you can buy a bag of shark teeth?) and plaster of paris, and used plastic cups as molds…or maybe cupcake pans. It’d probably pop out of the silicone ones link, right?

clay teapot - TheEngineersKids
We played with clay and made some cute figurines.

clay seal - TheEngineersKids

It was me that really made Malena’s seal. She sometimes prefers to manage the projects rather than do them herself, so she gave me step-by-step instructions. I used to get annoyed when she refused to do the work herself, but then I realized that she has the vision and is using the resourses available (not always me, she gets the other kids to work for her) to accomplish that vision. Although, I do think she does it because she is also a little scared to mess up.

clay elephant - TheEngineersKids

Jules made this elephant all by herself, and frankly I think it is a lot better than my seal. It has more personality.

Carrot music, OC Imaginology - TheEngineersKids

Finally, there was this really fun circuit and display that you could play music on a computer by touching carrots. Each carrot completed a different circuit, so a different note would play. The electricity (of which there was obviously a very small amount) would travel through your body. You could even hold hands with a few kids and still complete the circuits. I don’t have any links for you on this one, so you’re on your own to google electronic carrot music and buy the parts yourself. Update: I tried this and learned all about people who make musical instruments out of carrots and other vegetables. People come up with the craziest ideas, I tell you.

Whew, that was a long post. Kudos to you if you made it through. It was a really fun day though, and so worth missing a few hours of school. We didn’t even get to see everything. Next year, anyone local to Orange County should check out the awesome OC Fair Imaginology. We will be there for sure!

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thanks for supporting us.

 

See this post at After School Activities Linky Party:

After School Link Party Button

Hosted by: Mama SmilesPlanet Smarty PantsRelentlessly Fun Deceptively EducationalThe Educators’ Spin on It

# Family Life

Life with a Husband in School

Life With a Husband in School - TheEngineersKids

When my husband started law school, I came up with an analogy for the differences in our family life between attending law school versus an engineering graduate program. I compared our life in graduate school to a long distance run, maybe a 10K or something. Things started off slow, but throughout the semester Scott had more and more schoolwork, and thus I had more evenings and Saturdays on my own with the kids. At the end there was a definite sprint to the finish line, and then a dead stop. Scott was home. We had no commitments. We could play all day.

In law school we just began at a dead run. What type of race would that be? An 800 meter maybe, where it’s short enough that you never really pace yourself, you just sprint the whole time? Except that the length of semester didn’t get shorter. So a dead run right out of the gates (to mix metaphors a bit), and then a full, very hard sprint through finals. And dead stop. It was harder than graduate school, but there was still a finish line when the semester ended.

That’s the awesome thing about having a husband in school. There is always a dead stop between semesters.

Now that Scott has been working as an attorney for a few years I have a new metaphor for our life. We are running. That never stops, we never slow down, we just keep a fast clip going, just take that as the assumption. We keep this fast pace going, but to make any progress on anything, to get any points in this game, you have to jump up and hit multi-colored balls. There’s the cook a healthy dinner ball, the write a blog post ball, the Jules and Mal have special reports at school this week ball, laundry ball, help Finn with reading ball, take kids to soccer practice ball, by new T-shirts for myself (since the rest have holes) ball, etc.

Every ball I hit gets me one step closer to the goal of that category. See, we just have so many different areas of life going right now. It’s not bad, it’s fun, it’s motivating to have goals in so many areas, and I’m not really overwhelmed by it, but if I have a glazed look in my eye at 4pm some days, it’s just that too many of those balls were hit when I probably should have been sleeping.

But, here’s to reaching some of those goals. We are improving in so many areas, even if we have to be satisfied with continual progress rather than getting to graduate from something in the end.

How about you? Am I the only one who thinks up silly ways to describe my life?

# 0-3 Years, 4-7 Years, 8-12 Years, Gravity, Outdoors

Best Summer Toy for Small Yards or No Yard

Best Summer Toy for Small Yards or No Yards - TheEngineersKids

Happy First Day of Summer! I am so excited. I know everyone else has been out of school for a month, but we just got done last week! It seems so sad, I know, but usually we don’t go back to school until mid September (this year we go back in August, because they are switching us to a more “normal” schedule all because of all the testing the kids have to do in school…lame). And September is a much better month to be out of school in California.

Why you ask? Because all the touristy types have left, so it’s not crowded, and it’s way hotter than it was in May and June. So we are still partying, and picnicking, and surfing, and swimming, and Disneyland-ing, etc. Then San Diego does the whole month of October when kids get into everything free, so we just keep on partying. Which is why we all live here, even though it is so dang expensive, and our houses and yards are much smaller than in other areas.

We live in a condo. It’s small for seven people. And the backyard is only twenty feet by twenty feet, which leaves little room for slip-n-slides, pools of any sort, elaborate sprinkler systems (awwwe, I want one of these for Eva), or especially this monster that my kids are in awe of.

We beat the heat with our good old garden hose, some buckets, and our favorite hot weather toy. The kids call it a chemistry set.

Best summer toy for no yard - Water play - TheEngineersKids

The weather really warmed up here for a few days this week. The kids played chemistry on their picnic table for hours and hours. The set we used came from our local toy library, which normally I love, but this time it kind of hampered their play a bit. I felt protective of the toys, since they weren’t ours and there was mud and soap involved. The set came with a couple of small pitchers with pour-spouts, a few pipettes (like turkey basters), measuring cups and spoons, and some plastic hoses.

Best summer toy for small apartments - Water play - TheEngineersKids

Since the kids were getting the toy library toys muddy, I made them put them all away after that. We never really got them back out again, and then it was time to return them. It made me feel like a mean mom for not letting them play more when they were having so much fun with it.

Best summer toy when you have no yard - Water play - TheEngineersKids

I decided to get out some of our own tools and look into making our own “chemistry” set a little cooler. Maybe I’ll run to the dollar store to see what they have.

Here’s my shopping list:

  • bucket (ours are all cracked, and really all the play buckets at Target and Wal-Mart are just not very sturdy)
  • turkey baster
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • large and small funnels
  • plastic tubing if they’ve got it
  • a colander (so the kids can make an outdoor shower of course)

Or maybe I’ll save myself the trip and just buy this same one, since it really was pretty all-inclusive.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thanks for supporting us.

See this post at After School Activities Linky Party:

After School Link Party ButtonHosted by: Mama SmilesPlanet Smarty PantsRelentlessly Fun Deceptively EducationalThe Educators’ Spin on It

 

# 4-7 Years, Counting

The Enchanted Forest Board Game

The Enchanted Forest Board Game - TheEngineersKids

I mention a lot that we like to change up the rules of games to suit the kids better. Enchanted Forest by Ravensburg is a game of ever-changing rules at our house.* But it has allowed us to keep playing since Finn was 4, and Jules and Mal were 3 (they are 7 and 6 now).

How you’re supposed to play it:

I actually had to go look up the rules to this game, because until the other day we had never played the real rules. Once I found them out though, I’ve been itching to play full on “for reals” with some grown-ups.

The Enchanted Forest -TheEngineersKids

Basically you have a some paths that lead you through the enchanted forest and to a castle. There are thirteen trees in the forest, and each has a picture of a treasure on the bottom. The pictures match a card in the deck. You turn the top card face up and wander the forest looking for the tree that matches the card that is face up. And try to remember which trees house which of the other treasures.

You roll the dice and can go either direction the number of spaces shown on each die. So if I rolled a 1 and a 2, I can go, left 1 left 2, right 1 right 2, left 1 right 2, or right 1 left 2. And you try to land on a space with a tree, so you can check the picture on the bottom.

Board game review of The Enchanted Forest - TheEngineersKids

Once you find a match to the face-up card, you high tail it back to the castle to go tell the king which tree the treasure is under. Watch out though, because anyone who knows you’re headed to the castle can try to land on you on their turn and send you back to the start.

First one to correctly tell the king three correct treasure locations wins.

There’s also magic. When you roll a double you can jump directly to a tree space, move your piece to a certain space right by the castle, or shuffle the cards and turn over a new face-up card.

Who wants to come over for a game night, so I can try this real rules thing out? It sounds so exciting.

How we play – version super-small-kids:

To avoid contention and speed the game up, we always kinda played as a team, by sharing information. Each player does have their own piece to move though. Each player rolls the dice, and you always use your whole count on the dice. If you come to a tree, check the picture and show everyone. If you haven’t gone your allotted number of spaces you can keep going on to towards the next tree.

When you find the tree that matches the face-up card, you get to take the card. Keep looking for all the treasures, and help each other, so everyone has roughly the same number of cards, and no one’s feelings get too hurt.

When all the treasures have been found, make your way to the castle. Keep taking turns until everyone gets to the castle.

How we play – version slightly-older-kids:

Play as in version super-small-kids, but don’t share information. Everyone is on their own looking for the treasures. Once they are all found, the first one back to the castle gets bonus points or kudos or a pat on the back. Finn sometimes gets tired of looking for treasures and heads to the castle claiming to be the winner for getting their first.

Recently, we added in the “magic” feature of the game. The kids have been liking that one.

 

* We love to modify the rules of every game. There’s value in making a game work well for your family, and I love giving a few ideas of alternative play. And sometimes we just dial the competitiveness down a notch to avoid kid fights.

 

Anyone else have any tips to keep make Enchanted Forest fun for kids?

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thanks for supporting us.

# This Week We Played...

This Week We Played – Week 2

This week we played - TheEngineersKids

We’re starting a new weekly series, where The Engineer’s Kids give you a peek at all the fun things we play. Maybe you’ll get a sense of how truly amazing, and fun, and chaotic our life of five kids under 8 really is. The kids are learning so much. Also, man are they ever messy. I can’t keep up with them.

I love my mornings with the two littlest guys. That’s all about to change though, since we only have 4 days left of school!

20150610_104803

Everything is so low-key for the first few hours of the day. Leto always wants to play trains, and Eva has finally stopped destroying the tracks as soon as I get them set up.

20150606_182054

And the littles love getting to jump on the trampoline without getting hurt by the big kids. The Little Tikes one we have makes our super small backyard so much more fun. Oh, and I have another fun activity for small backyards that I will be posting shortly. Stay tuned.

20150610_104130

The big kids made our whole backyard into a mudpit, which was fun, but it takes forever for the ground to dry out there. I’ve had to keep Eva inside a lot, so she wouldn’t get too muddy, and she doesn’t like it. Leto took advantage of making some mud castles though.

20150610_164955

One afternoon the big kids wanted to build a jungle gym in the house out of rope. Deciding that wouldn’t work, we headed over to a playground with lots of climbing structures.

20150610_180744

The kids played a bunch of rounds of “Dead girl.” Does anyone else’s kids play that. It’s sort of like blind-man’s bluff. They are funny to watch, because they all peek. Finn deliberately runs into things, so you won’t know he’s peeking.

20150610_122230

Jules set up an awesome doctor’s office complete with eye chart. She’s always get a store or library or doctor’s office going.

20150610_122057

Here she is diligently taking Malena’s height.

Fun stuff. I ended up getting sick towards the end of the week, which wasn’t fun at all, but I’m on the mend, and the weekend is just beginning.

Check out our link at

link-party-palooza-button

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting us.

# Adventures

A Lesson on “The Man”

Lesson on the man - TheEngineersKids Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotosdotnet

The kids and I had a goal last summer to have more “adventure days” when we go explore some new part of Orange County that we had never been to before. We found a park called the Coastkeeper Natural Play Garden where the kids ran around, slid in the dirt, and climbed trees (only in Orange County do you have to have a dedicated park to run around on tree stumps and rocks), and had a ton of fun and they learned about drought tolerant plants!

The next week we checked our “50 Free Things for Kids to do in Orange County” article from the local newspaper, and decided to check out the Secret Noguchi Sculptural Garden. The article went on about how you should take unimaginative kids there, so they can play and be impressed with the sculptures, etc., etc.

Let me make a quick aside to mention that the kids were watching School of Rock a few days before.

We found ourselves driving around a business area of Costa Mesa trying to find this cool secret garden, but it was raining…drizzling really, but it wasn’t stopping, so we opted to go to Ikea for a bit. After Ikea the rain had stopped, so we thought since we were in Costa Mesa, we should try to find the secret garden. Finally, I figured out where to park, which was by a favorite cookie store, so we picked up some cookies. At this point I was realizing that our destination was less of a park and more of a courtyard between some office buildings. You know the kind of place where the office employees can take their lunch break and eat and enjoy the sculptures and *cough*pretend*cough, cough* nature.

Still the newspaper article had said it was for kids, and they were excited by the stream and rocks, so I sent them off to explore while I sat and fed Eva and enjoyed a cookie. Not five minutes had passed when a man in a suit came up to me saying, “Ma’am, are those you kids? They aren’t allowed to play on that. Could you tell them to get off?” I should have told him to tell them, instead I yelled, “Hey guys! Come here!” across his pristine courtyard. I told the kids about not climbing on anything and they were up. in. arms. Choruses of “it’s not fair” and “why are there so many rules” and “I’m going to poke him in the eye” rang out. And Jules said, “The people who make all the rules, that’s called ‘the man’.”

I almost died laughing. She said she had learned it from School of Rock. Then the kids all explained about how “the man” means there are too many rules and not enough fun and how it’s all just mean. Inside I was cracking up; outside I was sympathetic to their frustrations. After we all enjoyed some cookies, I walked them around the rest of the garden telling them not to climb on anything. The sat down on the edge of the rock river you see above.

Next, Agent Smith from The Matrix came up behind me. Honestly, he even had glasses and the white thing in his ear. He said (in that tone where people are using kind words, but really they don’t mean them at all), “Um, unfortunately, they can’t put their feet in the water. Unfortunately. Sorry. They can’t. It’s a liability issue.” The kids didn’t actually have their feet in the water, but nothing was fun about that place, so we were leaving anyway.

As part of some schoolwork we were doing that summer, I was trying to get Finn to write a few sentences about what we do on “adventure day,” and the girls to draw a picture and give it a title or write one sentence. They hadn’t been too enthusiastic about it, but Finn immediately said he was going to write all about how mean the security was and how they shouldn’t have so many rules. I told them I could send their letter to the security people of those office buildings, and they went off  thinking up ideas to include in their letter. Finn even busted out a paper and pen while we were still in the car. He wrote,

“Security, you have no choice. You have to put me in charge and I will say that there are no rules, and that the only rule is that there is no security and the security guys just have to stand there and do nothing.”

(I would include the misspellings, but I don’t have the original in front of me.) Jules said she would write about how it is not nice to make kids not do things they want to do, and Malena said they should be allowed to do whatever they want at a park, and Leto said “Yeah” and “that so mean” a bunch of times.

I thought the whole thing was just so, so funny, and goodness it was such an amazingly well-taught life lesson. I called Scott as soon as we got home and I was just in tears laughing retelling the whole story.

Jules: “that’s called ‘the man’” So. hilarious. The kids were so awesome in their rebelliousness and they were so motivated to write and take action.

So, don’t go searching out the Secret Noguchi Sculptural Garden (at least not with kids), and here’s to sticking it to the man!

Update: Isamu Noguchi is mentioned in this article about the politics of playgrounds, noting his visionary playground designs that allowed children to really interact and use imagination. Also, this article (also linked above) mentions a similar experience to mine, but points out that the sculpture garden is an abstract representation of the state of California.

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thanks for supporting us.

This week we played - TheEngineersKids
# This Week We Played...

This Week We Played…(week 1)

We’re starting a new weekly series, where The Engineer’s Kids give you a peek at all the fun things we play. Maybe you’ll get a sense of how truly amazing, and fun, and chaotic our life of five kids under 8 really is. The kids are learning so much. Also, man are they ever messy. I can’t keep up with them.

So, without further ado, I give you This Week We Played…

Measure with a Balance - TheEngineersKids

Here’s Leto measuring popsicle sticks and trash in a balance. The kids keep wanting to measure liquid in this thing, which you totally could. I just don’t want that much water being poured into things inside the house.

You can see our sight word flash cards in the background. I was trying a new system of moving them around on the wall in random ways every few days. I thought it might attract the kids’ attention and make them read them more frequently. I’m not sure it worked.

TheEngineerKids build a house with TRIO blocks

We love TRIO blocks at our house. They are the perfect bridge between Mega Blocks and LEGOs. Plus they come with cool instructions (you can see one behind Leto) to build all kinds of things: lots of boats and planes, a crab and a dinosaur, and tons of houses.

TheEngineersKids saved their own money for these

The kids asked if we could check the balance on their family bank accounts, so they could buy some stuff at Knott’s Berry Farm when we went the other day.

TheEngineersKids learned a lesson in finances, when one didn't have enough money to buy something at the souvenir shop

Finn didn’t get to buy anything, because he only has 50 cents to his name. Poor guy. I think he spent it all when we bought the seals.

TheEngineersKids break the ice

Our next door neighbors were cleaning out some closets and brought over a few toys. They are grandparents, and wanted to get rid of all the noisy toys. I accepted the noisy toys with not a little apprehension. Despite the noise, Don’t Break the Ice has been really fun. Even little Eva can break out the ice chunks with her hammer and has a lot of fun.

TheEngineersKids make a jacaranda flower sand cake

The twinners made this awesome flower, sand cake. Take a bite!

That was our week in toys and playing. Until next time on This Week We Played…

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thanks for supporting us.

# 4-7 Years, Language & Stories

Puppetto Theatre Stage

Puppettos Theatre Stage - TheEngineersKids

Being a nerdy engineer, I want to play with the science and math toys.  Luckily I let the kids choose their own play things once in a while. I always underestimate the value and fun in performing, stories, literature, music, and language.

Puppettos Theatre Stage - fingerpuppets - TheEngineersKids

Jules and Malena* chose the Manhattan Toy Puppettos Puppet Theatre to play with today. You can buy the finger puppets separately to customize to your taste. We had princess, dragon, king, knight finger-puppets for all your princess-y fairy tales, and the big bad wolf and the three little pigs, complete with straw, sticks, and bricks. I also saw these cute alien finger puppets that are so cute. I can just imagine the hilarious plays the kids would come up with those.

Puppettos Theatre Stage - Manhattan Toy - TheEngineersKids

The Puppet Theater has doors that fold open in the back to help it stand up. Also, there are little pockets in the doors that come in pretty handy to hold a couple of sets of finger puppets.

*current age of kids 7, 6, 6, 3, 1

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Thanks for supporting us.