Rainy Day Fun

We had a wonderful rainy day today, and found some fun inside and outside.

1. A Hallway Obstacle Course:

2013_5_28 obstacle

2. Puddle and Mud Play:

2013_5_28 rain play

and, 3. a Dance-a-thon:

2013_5_28 dance

Though to be fair, we dance almost every day, rain or shine! The children also did yoga (it is so cute to see the toddler doing yoga right alongside her big sisters), I exercised to a kick-box dvd, and we all enjoyed many books together too.

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A Photo Can Be Deceiving…

TheLipperLoppyLife: Running with Kids-in-Tow

TheLipperLoppyLife: Running with Kids-in-Tow

Do you see a difference between these two photos? They both appear to be the same: me running while pushing the jogging stroller (with two kids in it) and the eldest kid riding her bike up ahead, on a beautiful day in a beautiful setting.

WRONG! Well, almost. Both photos were taken at an idyllic moment, but the photo on the left turned out to be a “run from hell” while the photo on the right remained a wonderful time for all.

You see, the first photo was the first run/bike of the week, in a canyon that had a slight incline that I was unaware of. I really thought that my difficulty in pushing the stroller was just my out-of-shape body, especially because it seemed the 6-year-0ld had no problems biking up ahead. But when we turned around, because of my desperation, I suddenly discovered that I could run with ease (being downhill now) and that the 6-year-old was not at all ready for riding her bike down any hill, no matter how gentle the slope. She started crying and complaining about not getting to ride in the stroller. I alternated between running a little bit, and then parking the stroller and helping bring the bike back down. She was still crying by the time we made it back to the car, now with an audience of other bikers and hikers. I am glad that I am at the point in parenthood where I do not get embarrassed about my kids’ behavior in public. It doesn’t stress me out, I just chuckle silently to myself about my predicament and resolve it as best as I can. Those years with child#2 as a toddler have really trained me well!

The second photo (right) was taken a few days later, when we went to a park with a FLAT running track. I tired out sooner than the 6-year-old, but was worried about pushing my luck (with the 6-year-old, and a little bit with myself), so I kept the run to under 15 minutes. When we finished, she did make a complaint about not getting to ride the stroller, but I just reminded her how much she loves to ride her bike. Then we went to the pond in the park and spotted goslings as well as ducklings. So cute! First time the girls got to see goslings. It was a great start to the day!

IMG_4744

In the Style of…Monet and the Impressionists

This month we’ve been exploring Monet and Impressionism. The girls have been familiar with Monet because we own the book, Linnea in Monet’s Garden, but we borrowed some more books about Impressionists from our library. (There are many great books about these artists; I only chose these because of what was available from our library, so look on Amazon for more ideas!) We read (many times!) The Magical Garden of Claude Monet, Katie Meets the Impressionists, Claude Monet: The Painter Who Stopped Trains, Monet Paints a Day, and Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlilies.

20135 books Impressionist

 

We discussed two main identifying features of impressionist art: using individual brush strokes without blending, and interest in light and how it affects the look of things. M remembered how when looking at the paintings up close, they look like a bunch of jumbled splots, but from far away you can get the idea or “impression” of the subject.

Then we explored with painting in the impressionist style. We loosely followed suggestions from this activity, but this art project sounds fun too. We pretended to be in Monet’s garden, painting his waterlily pond and Japanese bridge. We started making our water with various shades of blue, green and purple. Then highlighted the water with white. M wanted to paint the bridge (the activity we were following made bridges out of construction paper instead and added tissue paper waterlilies, which we did not do). C ended up painting both her arms too. It’s really not surprising that C got more paint on herself than the toddler! The toddler insisted on having all the colors to paint with, but M, C and I stuck with the water hues. I also want to mention that never again will I paint on construction paper, even if it is suggested by the project we are following. It always wrinkles so much when dry! Only use thick painting paper!!

TheLipperLoppyLife: In the Style of...Impressionism

TheLipperLoppyLife: In the Style of…Impressionism

Product Review: Lexia for Home

Full Disclosure: I was a given a free trial of this software to write this review.

Lexia for Home is a software program designed to improve reading for students at all levels, including children with dyslexia and other reading challenges. It is used in many school districts and is also available for use at home in the US and Canada. A 1-year home license costs $174.95 for the first child and $109 for each additional child. The software is web-based, so it can be used on multiple computers and is very easy to install. There is also an app available for iPad use (I did not test out the app).

Once your child first logs-in to the program, they complete a placement test. My 4-year-old tested into the Early Reading program, while my 6-year-old tested into the Primary Reading program. I thought they were both placed accurately. The interface is easy for each child to navigate. (Your child should be comfortable with using a mouse.)

The Early Reading program had 4 different games: (1) finding rhyming words; (2) identifying words with the beginning and ending sounds; (3) segmenting words into syllables and sounds; and (4) blending syllables and sounds into words. The Primary Reading program had 5 different games: (1) segmenting CVC words into sounds; (2) completing words with initial/final consonants; (3) sight word search of irregular preprimer Dolch words; (4) sorting letters and words with b, d, and p; and (5) matching short vowel letters to their sounds. A bar graph displays how many units your child completes per game, and the child progresses at their own pace.

The program states that it is most effective when used for 20 minutes daily. I started enforcing that in the beginning, but did not continue at that pace. I let the children decide how long they played (it was usually for about 10-15 minutes) and we did not use it daily. My kindergartner used the program for longer periods and more often than my preschooler did. Computer time is novel in our home and the games are interesting, so both children always enjoyed playing the games, but some days we just did not have time!

I was specifically interested in trying out the software because my apraxic 6-year-old had been doing well with reading but was still anxious about reading books. After the first session, she was solidified in the sight word, the. M also had been mixing b and d, so the game targeting those skills was helpful. The games are a great way to achieve drill practice without boredom. And now, after a few weeks, M has finally exploded into reading books! I do not know if it is purely coincidence or the fact that along with the software, I gave her many reading games to play, or what, but it is exciting. The other night, I caught her reading in bed to her sister. I’m all for avoiding sleep to read! For my preschooler, she already knew her letter sounds and understood rhyming, but was not ready for reading sounds to form words, so the games have been a great introduction to reading skills. Her favorite game by far was the game that blends sounds into words (I think she liked this game best because as you find the solutions it slowly unlocks a picture).

Most of the time, the children played the games without my supervision (computer time was a great time for me to spend with another child or do housework) so it is an added bonus that you can request progress reports anytime you need them. You submit a report request on the website or via email, and within 24 hours you are emailed detailed reports on skill accuracy and usage.

We’ve had a lot of fun exploring this reading program. If you have a child that could use extra help with reading skills, this may be the program for you! For more information about Lexia for Home, visit their website at http://www.lexiaforhome.com/. Also, please like them on Facebook; when they have received 100 likes they are giving out a set of their 72 Family Readers for free. These readers retail for $149 and covers Kindergarten through 2nd-grade reading levels. Go and like them for a chance to win!

Thank  you, Lexia for Home, for this opportunity!

  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    “LipperLoppy” is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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