Thursday, 24 July 2014

Learn Nothing Day 2014

Following our abject failure in previous years to learn nothing for just this one day of the year, we prepared well for today. Cleared the calendar. Cancelled all plans. Decided on a day at home, well away from anything potentially educational, interesting or informative.

I started off well, up early with Moppet and too bleary eyed to take anything in anyway. One by one the boys woke up for the day, and came and formed a snuggly pile with us on the settee.

Squidge wanted to watch some Skylanders Trap Team gameplay on YouTube. We searched and then carefully selected only videos we'd seen before, just to be on the safe side. We didn't want to accidentally learn anything, after all. While he watched that, we made breakfast, tidied up a bit, I did a bit of work... nothing risky or out of the ordinary, just a normal chilled day at home. Sprout played an old platform game that he designed at HesFes a few years ago. All perfectly safe.

Once they'd watched a few videos, Sprout went upstairs to watch some Pewdiepie, and Squidge, inspired by the videos, decided to play some Skylanders Swap Force. Totally safe: he's had it for months, no new characters at the moment, and replaying an old level. No risk of learning anything new.

He asked me what his character was, and I said I thought it was a cobra. We had a closer look and noticed the diamond markings on it, and I asked if he knew what a diamondback was. He didn't, so I mentioned it was a sort of rattlesnake, and then I noticed the end of the character's tail, and pointed it out. I asked if he wanted to see a video of one making their noise? He did, so we found one on YouTube here "Oh!" he said, and then showed me the character's name on the screen. In true pun-laden Skylanders style, it was Rattle Shake :) Squidge went back to playing, and I realised that, at 8.28am, we had managed less than an hour and a half without learning anything explicitly obviously new.

Moppet lasted slightly longer, but it wasn't long before she was showing me that she'd noticed her cup had pictures of both apples and strawberries on it, her straw had not one but two colours, and when she blows into her drink and hums at the same time it makes a funny noise.

While Sprout was off watching videos, he found out about the money making possibilities of YouTube, multiplayer mods for Skyrim, and a new YouTuber, then played a board game with his friends which he found out the real rules for for the first time, then came and learnt how to play Minecraft online on the Xbox360 for the first time, and found out some spellings to type signs to his friend. And this was all by lunchtime.

Better luck next year?

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Face Painting, Lego Creating and Queue Waiting

We started the week with a bit of face painting, Squidge being the Dark Knight...

...and Moppet being a pirate (here she's saying, "Ho ho hooooo!" which is her version of Arrrrrrrrr!)

I practised a little fairy on myself while I was at it :) 

Squidge played with some dinosaurs on Little Big Planet 2...

...while Moppet found my jewellery and scarves and things and had a dress up session :)

In all the stuff she was playing with we found a magnetic nail varnish, and Squidge wanted to try it out, so we did. The built in magnet was a bit lame though so we got out our neodymium magnet and tried with that instead, he loved seeing the silver swirls appear!

While we had the magnet out we got out the putty that goes with it, and played with its magnetic and non-Newtonian liquid properties.

Squidge got out some modelling balloons and I was quite surprised when he spontaneously made a dog on a lead, fab!

We then made lots of others and Moppet's favourite was this pink poodle :)

Squidge had a couple of friends round (well they've been here for most of the week) and they picked raspberries. Squidge was making sure he got the ones that had grown under the table :)

Moppet has had a bit of a story fest this week, and here she is dancing to the tune that the Peppa Pig book plays.

Sprout has told me a *lot* of stuff this week. Science stuff and magic stuff and game stuff, his idea for an Ultimate Truth-knowing computer, Japanese mythology, how demons might have evolved if they were real, fainting goats, which languages might be easier and harder to learn and why, guinea pigs, assault weapons, and some things about Sweden. And he's asked lots too, about computers and doughnuts and tap shoes and snails and all sorts of other things. 

Sprout and I watched some Pewdiepie and laughed rather a lot :)

He wanted to know whether marshmallows would burn, so he tried a few different kindlings and different ways of igniting them, with varying success. 

Sprout has been the welcome advisor while Squidge has played on the Lego Movie Game.

Sprout asked me to help find out the original story of the Oni (a Japanese demon)...

...and all the related games.

He and I had a read of Science Uncovered together, and thought this was funny because it was exactly what happened when he did a Pepsi/Coke taste test a few months ago :)

He then carried on reading the magazine himself and telling me various snippets from it, notably about the homing habits of snails :D

More cooperative videogame play for the boys...

...and a home ed group meet at the park where Squidge practised his 'parkour' :)

...while Sprout and Moppet mostly looked on and tried to stay cool in the heat!

Moppet is a *huge* digger fan so was excited to see this little blue one outside the park.

We were lucky enough to be given a couple of Legoland Windsor tickets by a friend, so drove down there early one day. First stop was the pirate cafe where the three of them played in the Lego pit. Sprout built this three layer nuclear reactor complete with insulation and reactive core, all of which were removable for maintenance and use :)

We all put out a 'fire' together which they loved :)

Waited in a lot of queues... Here Sprout was wondering how they made the 'hot air balloons' for the ride.

We all cooled down in Drench Towers, where the boys sprayed each other and themselves, and Sprout took massive delight in the bucket that you fill and tip onto people going down the waterslide :D

We stopped a few times on the way home as Moppet had had enough of being in the car full stop, so I picked up a few fun things at the services that she'd enjoy :)

We brought home a Lego wall with a picture of the boys on their way into the Atlantis sub...

...and a couple of new sets.

Squidge and Moppet took the picnic blankets outside one day and asked me for a picnic...

...and later Moppet played for an hour as only a toddler can with a pint glass, an apple and a felt tip pen :)

A lovely meet up with friends at the end of the week at Funsters... Sprout is charging Moppet £111 for a teapot :)

Sprout and Squidge had their friend round again and they all played a bit of Call of Duty, Sprout was ecstatic in their victory :)

Then Sprout and I had a couple of hours one on one time when he asked to go to the arcade.

He was *hugely* excited (think leaping, sky-punching laps round the arcade shouting, "Yeah! YEAAHHH!!!") to get the ticket jackpot on the wheel of fortune :D

And he got first place on Mario Kart too :)

Cashing in his tickets, he exchanged them for a little Lego set, some sweets, and a sticker set each for Moppet and Squidge <3

Sprout brought me a note this morning he had written about Nerd Cubed and a pretend score for a game :)

And then while Moppet slept, the boys and a friend played battle arena on the trampoline (think wrestling but with more falling over!)

The kids' school-going friends have broken up for the summer now and have already become even more of a fixture than normal here! We've usually tended towards a quieter life over summer holidays but now the kids are getting older and making their own individual friends and developing more diverse preferences, weeks are becoming fuller and fuller between them all! We've got a very busy week coming up between the three of them so I'm going to need to make sure that their individual needs for time alone and at home are supported too :)