Make/Play/Learn

Make Healthy Snacks

Ok wait. Let’s be clear. I just took brownies out of the oven and am trying to learn the art of making sourdough bread, it is not at all health central around here. However, last week when I picked up my groceries I realized that there were six, SIX, different bags of chips. I also knew they would be all gone by the weekend. So I’ve tried to offer up healthier snacks during the day so that no one gets hangry and maybe we’ll get like half of our daily nutrients by the end of the week. Here’s what I make

crispy chickpeas– roast chickpeas and then flavor however you want. They have a great crunch and I like to make them salty so, while no one would mistake them for Ruffles, they kind of fill that need

brown rice and nutritional yeast– I know, I know, what kind of hippie shit is this? But this was a weekly snack at my kids’ school and they love it. I make the rice first thing in the morning in my instant pot so it’s pretty easy to throw together. If you haven’t had nutritional yeast before it has a cheesy, salty kind of flavor and it’s delicious. Just sprinkle it on top of the rice and enjoy!

lentils- again, I know! But my kids love green lentils with cheese and salsa on top. Again I make them in the instant pot so they’re ready when my kids come looking for a snack

Peanut butter and apples– classic for a reason!

hummus and veggies and crackers

At least once a week I fill up a cupcake baking tin with all kinds of goodies. It works because I can mix in goldfish or chips with fruit, cheese, or some other kind of protein.

Play with Lovevery

I recently subscribed to Lovevery, a Montessori box catering to toddlers, and I have to say it’s a huge hit. The toys are really well made and the twins like helping Sam figure out whatever new thing we pull out that day is. Right now we love this Simon Says cube. There are different pictures showing an action on each side. You roll the cube and then everyone does that action. You could absolutely make your own or create a similar kind of game. It’s fun to see all three kids giggling over something together.

Learn about the states

My mom sent the kids this table cloth of the United States that you can color in with permanent markers. Each state has the state animal, bird, and flower in it and my kids have been loving looking them all up. So they are learning geography and biology while also getting absorbed in something without needing my help at all. It’s amazing!

We are on the final countdown of school and I have to say that I am ready. I know summer won’t look too different over here, but keeping up with Zoom calls and school work is getting old, no matter how many brownies I make. We’re at the point where if the kids get frustrated I just pack everything up and tell them to go play outside.

They also have a birthday coming up and I’d be interested to hear if any of y’all have done something special for an isolation birthday! I’m trying to think of fun ways to make the day feel important to two of my favorite people.

Make/Play/Learn

Make

These lemon squares from the NY Times. For some reason I have an abundance of lemons (I think a weird substitution in my grocery pick up?) so I made these and everyone is happy that there are plenty of lemons to make more. Simple to make and the perfect balance of sweet/tart flavor.

Play

Outside! We got Sam a toddler swing and he loves it. He likes being able to play outside with the big kids and his chuckle when we push him is adorable.

Learn

I just happened to check out this book, Women in Art by Rachel Ignotofsky, right before the libraries closed. Then the author began sharing some of her art work as coloring pages (check them out here!) so I printed off her art principles and a lesson plan was born. Each week we will work our way through the elements and principles, try them out to create our own artwork, and then read about a woman in art history.

We had a lot of fun with this Friday and it was easy for me to set up so I’m looking forward to continuing. Search through books and resources you have, I bet you’ll be surprised what you could use for a simple lesson!

Make/Play/Learn

 

Make: Masks

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I spent last weekend making masks. I had a friend that works in a rehab clinic request masks for her and her colleagues and when I got making them I couldn’t stop! I made some for my family, my parents, and my brother. I really was able to get an assembly line going and if I needed to make more I think I could whip them out fairly quickly.

I used this pattern from State the Label and got creative with what I used to tie since I ran out of elastic. Strips of knit fabric turned out to be a great solution- and really comfy.

Play: GoNoodle

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I’ve seen a lot of people share different things and GoNoodle is one that is absolutely worth putting on your radar. It’s an app (and a website) full of silly dances and games and they are perfect for when your kids need a wiggle break during the day. Our favorite is the guacamole song, it will get any of us out of any bad mood pretty quickly!

Learn: Zoom

Real talk, this past week was all about figuring out zoom. I set up each child with their own account, figured out their unique class schedules, and taught the kids how to operate it. Whew. They’re already almost pros and we’ve even had a family zoom and all the parents and cousins and siblings are pros too! Thank the Lord for technology and being able to stay connected right now!

Make/Play/Learn

Make An Art Wall

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We always have a lot of art around here, but right now it’s a bigger collection than ever! We decided to have a designated wall where we could keep new art on display. I hung up some favorites and then used this curtain wire from Ikea to clip up work that we can change out.  We also put up a map, some posters, and a favorite picture from when they were babies. Makes for a great space to gather round and start our school days!

Play Board Games

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Sunday we decided we needed a completely screen free day. We told the kids they each got to pick a board game and we would play games all day. This is our pile above but we only got through the kids’ picks, Life and Throw Throw Burrito. Then we had a nerf gun hike, a long walk, and time to set up the rest of our school room. Go through your stash of board games or order a few new ones and declare a gaming day. There might be moans at the beginning but I promise by the end there will be a lot of laughter. And maybe, like us, it will just naturally turn into other fun things to do together that don’t involve screens!

Learn: Greek Mythology

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Last Christmas I got the kids the book A Child’s Introduction to Greek Mythology by Heather Alexander. (I’ve linked to Amazon for ease, but please order from a local bookstore! Most are still making online orders and if they don’t have it, see if they could order it for you!) I found it when I was unpacking and thought it would be a great addition to our morning time together. Once a week we read a page or two and we’re all loving it. The book is organized in a way that makes a lot of sense and has wonderful illustrations and a lot of humor mixed in. It also comes with a family tree, stickers and a pronunciation guide.

I know there are a few books in this series on different topics and I would highly recommend checking them out!

 

Make/Play/Learn

Listen. I woke up yesterday proud of myself for making it through half the week and then realized it was only Tuesday. I’m not here to pretend that this has been all wonderful, but let’s talk about the highlights and celebrate that now, today, it is actually Wednesday and we’re still here, still laughing, only occasionally breaking up fights, and the sun is shining. Here’s our first edition of Make/Play/Learn

Make: Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Crackle Cookies

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I know baking with kids isn’t everyone’s favorite, but let me sell you on why these cookies are great for it. You see, I make the dough while the kids are doing something else because it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours. Then when everyone’s getting cranky and telling you they’re bored you say ‘let’s make these cookies!’ and you pull them out and let them have the task of rolling the dough into balls, dipping them in powdered sugar and baking them. Less messy than having them do the whole thing, they get to lick chocolate off their hands, and these cookies are so hard to mess up that you don’t have to stress about them all being even and can let the kids have at it. Plus, and this is the best part, then you have cookies!!!!

Play: The Floor is Lava

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Even if you don’t know this game, your kids do I promise. It’s just like it sounds, the floor is lava and you can’t touch it. So the kids set up intricate obstacle courses to get around and made a big mess and had a lot of fun. I was able to have a Zoom call because of it and am going to add it to the list of things to suggest when everyone is feeling bored and cooped up.

Learn: Zaha Hadid

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We subscribe to Bravery magazine and I can’t recommend it enough. Right now they are putting out a 4 week curriculum to go along with their magazines and I’m pulling from it to add to our low key homeschool (virtual learning starts next week!). This week the focus is on Zaha Hadid the architect and we’ve been reading about her life and doing at least one of the activities they suggest for the week. We’ve cut out shapes and created our own buildings and animals and today we’re going to be measuring objects around the house. Friday my big plan is to try and construct bridges out of different materials and see how much we can get them to hold.

We’re doing it! Keep going guys, we got this!