Monthly Archives: July 2019

3-2-1 Blastoff!

DSC_0756Summer is coming to an end. It’s hot and we’re burnt out. We school throughout the year but have been pushing to finish a few areas before moving on in August. Curriculum boxes are arriving. We are anxious to start the new and the boys are tired of the (same) old.

Sometimes, you just need an escape day. A day when you mix it up and do something different. Luckily, Mr. Man is flexible enough now to handle this without too many issues. Provided I give him a list of what we are doing.

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Blasting off!

Today’s destination: Outer Space. With the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing, the boys have been asking a lot of questions about the moon and stars. Of course, discussing the sun and temperature is also a daily topic around here. Over 110 degrees and Monkey declares, “We are toast!”

On a recent trip out of town, I picked up several books on the topic and planned a special day to remember why we enjoy homeschooling. The boys were extremely excited to begin our adventure.

The Plan:

  • Read our new space books, together
  • Create notebooking pages for each story
  • Create our own planet
  • Create an alien
  • Watch a space-themed movie (including Planetary Popcorn)

DSC_0739Space day was a hit! The books we read (Moon! Earth’s Best Friend, Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, Sun! One in a Billion and A Place for Plutowere beyond cute and full of great facts. The humor was enough to keep Mama (and later Dad) enjoying them, as well. Of course, Peppa Pig HAD to be included, too.

I love notebooking and was very excited to see the DSC_0748boys having fun with it, as well. We had tried it in the past and I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t work for us. However, the next day Mr. Man specifically asked to do school that way, again. Success! Mr. Man completed his notebooking page on his own. Monkey is still learning to write, so he dictates to me and I write it down using a highlighter, which he goes back over and traces with his pencil. Then, he adds his own artwork.

 

I had to laugh at the boys’ planets. Mr. Man created a lava planet (so like him!) and Monkey made an ice planet. Typical, that even in their creations they are completely different. I was also excited to see how well Monkey completed this project because he typically balks at any activity that requires him to color.

 

I gave the boys outlines of aliens, so they could design their own creature. I was thoroughly impressed with the muscles on Mr. Man’s alien. Does anyone else see the Thanos resemblance? Monkey was very creative here giving his alien a lot of eyes, polka dots, and spikes.

 

I let the boys choose any space-themed movie that happened to be on Netflix for our afternoon calm down on this day. They chose Planet 51, though they didn’t make it through the entire movie. They did, however, finish off the Planetary Popcorn.

I love seeing my boys be creative. Sadly, this is an area Mama has struggled with this past year. But it is definitely something that we will be focusing more on as we start our new year. We will be doing more science topics this year and will definitely plan on scheduling more themed days, like this, into our routine.

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Melting Crayons in the Desert

It’s summer….it’s Arizona…..and this Mama doesn’t do the heat. This is one of the reasons we continue to school throughout the year. Not the most important reason, but one of them. Keeping our schedule as consistent as possible is extremely important in our world. But we make sure to occasionally incorporate fun learning activities that break up the monotony of hibernating in our AC. This summer, our local mall has opened the new Crayola Experience and I have heard many ask about it. So, I decided to take a moment and let everyone know what we thought about it.

In an attempt to avoid the crowds at a brand new indoor attraction, we decided to go check out the Crayola Experience to celebrate Monkey’s birthday on the 4th of July. I was delighted that our plan worked and we were not overwhelmed by large crowds. VERY important in our world.

What is there to do at the Crayola Experience?

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When you enter, you are given coins which you can use to get modeling doh or create a personalized label to put on a crayon. The boys enjoyed this activity and Mama found the process of putting the labels on the crayon oddly mesmerizing. The rest of the experience is broken into several stations that the children can move between creating various types of art.

  • Be a Star: At this station, you can take your photo and design your own personalized coloring pages. We really enjoyed this activity and brought home several pages for the kids to color later. My only complaint is that once you push the ‘take picture’ button, the camera is quite slow in responding. We all know kids don’t sit for that long! It took several attempts to get a good picture. Though, we did bring home some great outtakes, too.
  • Melt and Mold: DSC_0402 copyHere, the children were each given a crayon and chose a mold to design a ring or racecar crayon. Of course, the boys chose racecars. They would insert their crayon into the machine and watch the crayon melt and fill up the mold. Then, they watched as the crayon was cooled and rehardened. After the activity was complete, they were able to take their racecar with them. The children enjoyed watching the process and I was surprised that they were patient throughout the activity.
  • DSC_0397 copyDrip Art: Like Melt and Mold, the children are given crayons to put into the melting machine. At this station, the crayons are dripped onto spinning paper, similar to the old paint spinners I remember as a child. The outcome is a unique work of art. There is a lever that allows you to control the speed of the spinning and change the effect of the design.
  • Silly Selfies: This station is set up with several iPads and allow the children to create silly faces before taking a selfie to add their image to their creation. Monkey especially liked this station (of course he did!) and kept asking for Mama’s email, to send his pictures to me.
  • Colossal Caddy: This station consists of a giant carousel of crayons with plenty of coloring pages for the young artists to enjoy. A child who enjoys coloring (or one that can sit still) would definitely enjoy spending some time at this station.
  • Rockin’ Paper: At this station, the children got to color (in our case) a frog. The frog is then punched out and given metal clasps on the feet. The Crayola workers will then place your frog on a special stage, add music and watch your frog dance.
  • Meltdown: At this station, you can create artwork using melted crayons in special glue gun style pens. The idea at this station seems like a lot of fun, but we found the pens were often running low on crayons (replaced by workers) and the effect was disappointing.
  • Color Magic: DSC_0408 copyAt this station, you color a picture (dragon, unicorn, fairy, etc.) and then scan it into the computers. Your picture is turned into a digital design. You can choose a background for your creation and email it to yourself.
  • Rainbow Rain: This station was one of the biggest hits. The children stood (or in our case danced)DSC_0450 copy in front of a screen. Their picture was projected in front of them as a rainbow of paint poured down over their heads. The kids spent quite some time enjoying this station.
  • You Design: This station was another one of our favorites. Here you design a car or create clothing for a fashion model. After scanning your creation, you can see your designs come to life on the giant tv screens in front of you.
  • Scribble Square: At this station, the world is a chalkboard and your little ones can go graffiti crazy creating their own world. There is also a giant LiteBrite, next to Scribble Square, for the children to get creative with

DSC_0474 copyThere is also a snack and dessert shop available if you get hungry. We stopped here to enjoys some brownies (who needs birthday cake?) The last activity we enjoyed was a panning for gold type station. Although, this is an added cost activity. You purchase a bag of sand and pan for different types of rocks. Monkey loves rocks, so for his special day, we went ahead and got the kids some sand. This activity was much faster than expected, but they were happy with the treasures they were able to take home.

Is it educational?

There are definitely some educational aspects to the Crayola Experience. For us, any outing that involves interacting with others, waiting in line and following directions is educational! Obviously, this experience is filled with a great deal of art and creativity. I liked how the children had the opportunity to see how crayons are created at the Melt and Mold station. I also liked how the children had the opportunity to see the different ways they can use their creativity to create something bigger than a simple picture. My husband is currently looking for a graphic designer for a project he is working on, so I loved that my children had the opportunity to see how they can take what they create on paper and bring it to life on the screen in a unique way.

 

Is it worth the cost?

This is a question that I have been asked a lot! So, here is my honest opinion. For those with super young children, you can probably go through all the stations in about an hour. Older children and those who enjoy spending more time coloring and creating could definitely spend longer there. At $14.99 a person, this seems a bit steep for this Mama. However, since the location is so convenient for us, the annual pass (at $29.99) is quite reasonable. We can stop in for a little break whenever we are in the area. If Mama needs to do something at the mall, there is something the kids can easily look forward to, as well. Plus, with the annual pass, you get 20% off of food shops and the attached Crayola Store….which can easily be a dangerous place!

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Rainbow Rain

Take away – If you enjoy coloring and are looking for a cool activity to get out of the house this summer, you should definitely check out the Crayola Experience. Both Mr. Man and Monkey said they enjoyed it a lot and want to go again. I was also pleasantly surprised that Mr. Man handled the lights and sounds very well. We did not have a single issue/meltdown and I do not recall any whining…..success!

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