Friday, 26 July 2013

Mr Bloom I presume?

The much anticipated thunderstorms were over and gone in the blink of an eye, so back to being too hot while we whizz about :)

Moppet has acquired a hairbrush and is grooming the boys at every opportunity...


...plus she's taken to carrying these two around, feeding them, kissing them, putting them to sleep... very sweet :)


Sprout's been playing some more with the number scales they chose a few weeks ago, which has led to several days of him shouting random sums at me... Tam, quick! What's sixteen and sixteen? What's two hundred and fifty six plus two hundred and fifty six? What's one billion fifty thousand and seventeen plus thirty million and ten?? 


Terrible photo but Moppet kept pulling my arm... Sprout invented a domino game with levels and points and moss blocks and jewels... it was so much fun! He's made some progress with his tabletop Lego RPG game too but more to do on that this weekend.


He spent some time finding out the highest stable marble run he could build...


...and building clones! He explained to me that his design process involved building several matching modules, assembling them while still next to each other, then moving them apart to make individuals. 


Moppet was fascinated by the marble run and spent ages sending marbles down and watching them.


I unusually spent a car journey in the back with Sprout while Gruff drove, and Sprout was covering up different combinations of letters on his chocolate bar wrapper and asking me what it said.


We spent a particularly quiet home ed group building an epic train track...


...and I loved watching the three of them playing with the house together :)


Moppet really enjoyed playing with the camera on my phone too!


Squidge and I designed this robot, among other things, with a mosaic set too.


Today was our much awaited trip to Mr Bloom and Friends' Big Day Out at Abbey Park in Leicester. The sky looked beautiful from inside the remains of one of the towers of the old abbey (I'm assuming! Too tired to google!)...



First on the agenda after the big walk from where we managed to park was ice lollies while watching the live Rastamouse show...


...then dancing to the Rastamouse song...


...the live Mr Bloom show (which had both boys rapt)...


...then back in the sling...


...for the fairground, which unbeknownst to us was right next to the cBeebies show.





A few rides, a couple of prizes, some candy floss, and a very divided opinion on the ghost train later, and we wandered back to where we were parked, but by a far more scenic route this time. Scenic or not though we were all still worn out so we stopped for a picnic outside the Space Centre, planned our next trip there, and talked about the bench we were sitting on that was covered in plaques from the ITV Year of Promise, where people had promised all sorts of things from sponsoring a child, to losing weight, to looking after sick relatives, to loving their partner for all eternity. Sprout wondered whether the people had stuck to their promises, but I guess there's no way of knowing.


In between times we've been playing with the molecules app (they especially like looking at the DNA molecule and talking about where the two strings come from for them and me and Gruff), the water cycle, how planes fly, and working out all sorts of puzzles on The Sandbox app.

We actually have a quiet week coming up... or at least that's how it's looking now, these things tend to change :)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Learn Nothing Day 2013



Having failed so spectacularly last year on Learn Nothing Day, that day when unschoolers everywhere do their utmost to take a break and learn absolutely nothing, we thought we'd try a different tack this year: We'd only do things we'd done before, and see people we already knew.

We started off with a lie in, and wandered downstairs to eat an ordinary breakfast and watch some Pewdiepie videos we'd seen before. We set off for home ed group armed with only toys we've already played with, and picked up a packed lunch on the way.

As we were driving, Squidge pointed out a 'smooth' cloud among all the fluffy clouds, and also one that looked like a dog. I mentioned that the smooth cirrus cloud was actually a lot higher up than all the fluffy cumulus ones, it just looked close. Oops. A sideways glance at a smiling Squidge confirmed that he was oblivious to my slip up. Unfortunately Sprout piped up and told him how rain is made. I reminded them that we were supposed to be learning absolutely nothing today, and Sprout laughingly agreed to try harder. Two seconds later he asked me how wind is made. *sigh*

Ok, so a quick explanation of how wind is made, and then we'll try harder.

Squidge suggested covering our eyes and ears, which they both did (and Moppet too although the reason was a mystery!), and as I was driving I just did in spirit. After a bit of giggling Sprout started telling me about a game called Deadpool that Nerd Cubed had played. A few minutes into his synopsis, he asked me, "Did you already know about Deadpool?" Nope. "Trolled!" he squealed and laughed raucously, "You learnt something!"

That then pretty much set the tone for the day, with both boys sneakily trying to tell me things I didn't know, or furtively trying to get me to tell them things they didn't know. Each time followed by the triumphant cry of, "Trolled!" Why pupils dilate and constrict, along with experiments and demonstrations ('very creepy' was Sprout's verdict). How cars are made. How twins happen. Whether conjoined twins with one body and two heads are one or two people, and why. How paint is made. That the cola we bought to have with lunch tasted like medicine, and that Coke was originally sold as medicine. Whether Holy Water is a real thing, how different people might answer that question, and whether drinking it gives you superpowers. The difference between naming ceremonies and christenings. What happens to someone's heart rate when they get scared (complete with experiment involving a heart rate monitor!) What special objects Sprout is going to use in his tabletop Lego RPG game that he's developing and why. Demos of the K'nex frisbee launcher that Squidge invented, and of the Iron Man arm that Sprout designed. Whether people always have only ten toes.

Plus quite a few they weren't even trying for... Why chargers sometimes get hot. Why Grandma doesn't like it when you make up new rules for games. Why a clean water supply is so important. Why Haribo melted in the car today but didn't when chocolate melted in there the other day. Why the game Klonks and Klones resulted in me having round bruises on my face for a week as a kid.

Ah well. We tried. As I reflected that we'd done pretty well to make it almost to lunchtime before the whole cloud/rain/wind/weather debacle, Sprout pointed out that actually, before we even got out of bed this morning, he'd downloaded Blockheads for Squidge, showed him how to play, and asked me what the letters S-A-P-P-H-I-R-E spell. So we'd failed even before our feet hit the floor.

There's always next year.

Friday, 19 July 2013

It's too hot to think of a title. Really.

So apparently hot weather puts my three into turbo mode. *melts into a puddle*

Squidge has been taking Moppet for rides on the back of his motorbike :D




And here we have Moppet liberally applying the ganache in the general area of her mouth :)


After taking our Brio train set to one of the home ed groups the boys have found a renewed interest in it and I now have a branch line running through the lounge.


I realised that with having had a hectic couple of months I'd let my usual one on one time with each of the boys slip, so I took Sprout out for the afternoon, first for iced smoothies in an attempt to cool down...


...then to the arcade for some Mario Kart (as usual, he thrashed me)...


...a spot of giant Doodle Jump as he's been enjoying the football version on the iPad...


...and a new automated candy floss machine which he thought was extremely cool...



Back at home we'd finally done the Spring (!) clear up of the garden and refilled the sandpit...


...and Squidge was finally giving in to the heat and snuggling with Gruff to watch all the Spy Kids films on Netflix.


We saw a lovely word cloud someone had done of their plans for the summer and Sprout was keen to do the same, so we spent a bit of time thinking of all the big and small things we'd like to do over the next couple of months...


...and while we had the felt tip pens out the boys decided on some body art too!



Chilling in the shade waiting to go into one of their home ed groups...


...and making different games with our blocks once in there...


...followed by a much needed cool down in the river at Downs Banks.



I'd mentioned to Sprout that it was possible to cut a normal piece of paper in such a way that you could step through it, and he was very keen to have a go...


...and Squidge joined in too.


They added lots of balls to their trampoline and made up some games about avoiding the balls, or making them bounce high, or getting them all to collect around Moppet...


...and when not being bounced Moppet can be mostly found making engine noises...


...playing with magnets...


...and making patterns and music on the Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box app.


We had a trip out to get Fly neutered, and stuck around for these light sabre ice lollies (cool right?) and a sadly abortive trip to Games Workshop (after waiting three hours for it to open the guy was pretty rude and would only grudgingly give us any info on Warhammer as he said Sprout was too young and wouldn't understand it. Grrr.)


Back home again Sprout and I played with the Silly Story Laboratory which he's become interested in now he can read some. His stated aim was to put together the silliest stories possible, and by the amount he laughed I think he succeeded :)



And finally the spy kit I've been putting together for them was complete!


It includes:



Also...

  • A simple code creator/breaker - Simply print off the alphabet on two strips of paper. Align them so that the 'A' on the top strip is level with a different letter. Write that letter (the key) as the first letter on your coded message. Then find the other letters of the message you want to encrypt on the bottom strip, and write their corresponding letters from the top strip. And there you go!



And finally...

  • Four secret identity passports made from notebooks that look like passports...

I put it all together in an old vanity case that someone gave me a while back, which even has a combination lock that I think the two spies like even more than what's inside!

Meet Spyjay Cocopop...




...and Finnfinn Valdez!


I'm pretty sure we've done other stuff this week but it's all a bit of a humid blur - Sprout's been playing Two Birds with me, we've been building a gamers' hotel together on our new Tekkit server, Squidge has been building a spaceship on there too, we've been trying unsuccessfully to install some mods on the new Minecraft 1.6.2, Squidge and I have read *lots* of Mr Men books, Sprout's read (actually!) That's not my Puppy to Moppet as a bedtime story, and we've started picking some strawberries and raspberries from the garden (as although we've taken a break from trying to grow veg here, the fruit is rampant without any assistance from us!)

This insanely unbritish weather looks set to continue, so I'm off to restock the ice lollies and fan my children...