Momma Learn with Me

Hugs, Kisses and the ABC's


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Volcanos!

The boys have these great dinosaur placemats from Target and at lunch the other day we were playing i-spy with them: how many eyes can you find, can you find something green, etc.

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We ended up talking about volcanos: how they erupt, the hot lava exploding out. I mentioned we could make our own volcanos at home and they boys were hooked!

During their quiet time / nap time I got the supplies ready: I added some vinegar and water to a plastic water bottle (yes, you can use watered down vinegar!) and some food coloring (not necessary but its more fun). Then I had baking soda and one of the kids teaspoons ready. So simple and all things I already had at home.

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Once Hamilton and Joshua were up, I used an old flower pot and had the boys make a hole in the dirt to hold up the water bottle.

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Then we grabbed some of our rocks and make a nice little mountain so you could only see the top of the water bottle.

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The boys then took turns adding baking soda and watching to see what would happen. I love how serious Hamilton is while pouring the baking soda.

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And Joshua’s anticipation is palpable in the this picture.

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Watching closely to see what will happen

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And, it ERUPTS!

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They had so much fun! And repeated the experiment over and over until we ran out of vinegar. And they were just as excited the last time as the first.

We left our volcano set up so we can make it erupt again soon.

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Grass Men

We have been working hard on yard and growing grass this year. They boys have both been interested in the process and watching for the grass to grow. Noticing their interested, I wanted to play off of that and decided to make grass men. This project has really been a fun way to learn about nature and growing.

To start you need a pair of pantyhose. Then cut off the toes keeping about a 6 inches. I held open the hose and had the boys take a big scoop of grass seed and put it in the toe.

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We followed that up with several scoops of dirt.

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Then to make them into men I pinched of a little bit of the dirt and twisted the hose to make a nose, tying it with little piece of yarn to hold.

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We talk about how to decorate the men and the boys decided on button for eyes and string for a mouth. They really wanted to glue on the eyes themselves and then I went back over it with a little yarn so when we watered the men their eyes wouldn’t fall off! Although I have a few beginning sewing projects to hopefully tackle soon I went ahead and sewed the mouth in the shape the boys requested.

The boys then filled their little containers with rocks and we put the grass men on top of the container an gave it a good soak. (Since this first good soak I’ve just had boys gently lift their grass men off top and fill containers and let soil soak up water as needed so they don’t get too wet and mold/rot.) This also provided a great discussion on what plants need to grow (sun and water) and how they get their water thru roots which live underground and we generally can’t see.

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We were so excited after about a week to see the beginning of grass growing!

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And now a few days after that the grass is really coming in.

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And some roots which we used to reinforce the idea of how plants drink their water.

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The boys have been told that they not only will need to water their grass men to keep them alive, but give them haircuts (like how Mommy and Daddy cut the grass) and they are waiting with baited breath for the first haircut. Which I think may happen this weekend so keep an eye out for pictures on instagram.

I have to thank my husband for taking pictures of the process so I could share with you. And he snapped this adorable one of sweet Joshua patiently waiting for his turn…

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Tissue Paper Art

I so often find with art the simpler the better and this tissue paper art is no exception.

The boys started by selecting their paper. Because the paper came to us rolled up I taped down the corners on our trusty art trays so they would lay flat.

I had premixed watered-down glue in a pot, small foam brush, and a bowl with precut tissue paper circles. The tissue paper circles can be found on Amazon or at craft stores.

I like to see where the boys go on their own to allow their creativity to flourish, so as typical, I didn’t provide any instructions. Hamilton and Joshua jumped right in and got busy applying glue to their entire sheets of paper!DSC_0789

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And once the sheets were sufficiently saturated with glue it was time for the tissue paper fun to begin!

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Joshua and his masterpiece

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I’m loving how the tissue paper color bleeds together when overlapped.DSC_0811

Hamilton and the last dot he put on!

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It is always so fascinating to see how both children can create such different art work with the same materials.  Joshua’s is a happy mix of the tissue paper jumbled together while Hamilton precisely placed each dot with careful thought. And, if you know my boys this probably doesn’t surprise you!

(And, if you follow us on instagram you can see that we are still loving our egg carton flowers!)


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Construction Zone

My boys love nothing more than playing outside and playing construction. I saw something online about making a backyard racetrack and my wheels started spinning…I decided to tailor it to my boys and make a special construction zone.

I began by buying these inexpensive gray blocks from Lowe’s (gray so it looks like a roadway). I set them up into a rectangle and then painted a solid white line using some exterior paint I already had. In retrospect, I wish the line was dotted.

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Then, since we are currently doing some yard projects (making pathways/drainage areas) we have lots of rock lying around which they boys have been enjoying playing with.

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I scooped up a play pail full of each type and put it in the middle of “roadway”. I later added a large rock (not pictured) to the center as well for the truck (and dinosaurs) to climb.

It was so nice to see the boys reactions when they first saw this new area for play in the yard. And then to watch them dig right in was priceless.

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Having my oldest child look up at me with a smile and say “Oh, Mommy, this is really fun! Really, really thank you!! – was something I’ll remember and cherish for a long time.


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Blossom Tree

I’ve been wanting to make this since it started to feel like Spring, yet somehow we never find the time. I am so glad we finally did today! We began by reading, Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. This is my FAVORITE book about the seasons – if you aren’t familiar with it RUN to the library or book store. It’s set up like Press Here by Herve Tullet but it goes through the seasonal lifecycle of an apple tree. The illustrations are simple and beautiful, as is the participatory narrative.

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Once we finished we went back to look at the page with the beautiful apple blossoms and looked outside our windows to see what was happening to our trees. We happen to have lots of dogwoods that have just bloomed and tiny leaves are just starting to appear. Our timing was perfect! I’m actually so glad this work was delayed.

I started by making trays with brown foam cut into a rectangle, pot of pink tissue paper, green solid tempera paint and, of course, glue. (I water down my glue to so we can use less and use paint brushes for easy application – easier for these ages!)

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I then left it up to the boys to use the materials, and their imaginations, to make their own blossom tree using the materials. While painting with the solid tempera paints there was definitely some talk of making trucks, buses and cars. 😉

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I love how unique these are and represent each child’s unique personality and style. And, I am so glad we used an 8×8 canvas so we can hang these up.


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Shaving Cream Art

I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time. But, I always forget to buy shaving cream at The Dollar Store. This time I just went ahead and spent the whole $2.00 at the grocery store. The materials are simple: shaving cream, food coloring, craft sticks and paper (I used watercolor paper).

It all happened fast so I wasn’t able to get pictures of all the steps but it’s easy. I started by having kids spray shaving cream into a pan/tray with sides. Then, I let them each select two colors and I added a few drops of their selected colors of food coloring around the shaving cream.

Now to the fun! The boys used their craft sticks to swirl around the color in the shaving cream. (I plan to do again with washable liquid watercolors and let them use hands – total sensory experience!!)

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Once it was good and swirled the took their paper and pressed it onto the shaving cream and the pulled up. The boys “ooh-ed” and “ahh-ed” over how pretty they looked already.

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We set them aside for about 5-10 minutes and then used our craft sticks to scrape off the shaving cream and reveal out beautiful art! I can’t wait to get these beauties hung!!

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Simple Bird Feeders

After reading “Are You My Mother?” by P. D. Eastman, building bird nests and playing with the nest and birds, my boys were really worried that their birds were hungry. I spied an empty paper towel tube on the counter (sometimes it pays to be messy?!?) and jumped at the chance to make bird feeders. I had been looking at some on pinterest and found some truly cool ones (maybe we can try those later this Spring?).

Since this was happening quickly I went with an old standby. It is also extremely quick and easy – kids really can do almost the entire thing themselves. Since I needed to make two I cut our paper towel tube in half and punched holes in one side. Then, we had a little field trip to the garage to get the bird seed.

Once we were back I asked how we could get the bird seed to stick onto the paper towel tube? Hamilton suggested glue.  When asked if glue is safe to eat and he said “no”. There were no other ideas until they saw the jar of peanut butter I had placed on the table.

They were able to spread the peanut butter by themselves.

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I then poured bird seed onto one of our craft trays and the boys had a ball rolling the paper towel tubes to get them covered in seeds.

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We quickly tied yarn thru the holes I had already punched and ran outside to hang them in our trees. Right next to Mommy’s bird feeder; clearly the best place in the yard. 😉 And, I got my bird feeder filled just after the picture. We should have lots of happy birds in the neighborhood.DSC_0619