Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Best Way to Use Old Marker Ink - Paint the Snow!

Dried Up Markers
A couple months ago I explained how you can salvage ink in dried up markers. By putting them in bottles of water and letting the ink leach out into the bottle, you can create liquid water colors.

Mediocre Watercolors on Paper --> Color the Snow
In that post, you can see that the water colors do not make terribly vivid colors on paper. However, that isn't why I make these liquid water colors. I make these liquid water colors for winter.

The Biggest Canvas of All
When it snows, our backyard becomes the biggest canvas of all. The white snow practically screams "PAINT ME!" And so we do.

I stand at the back door to refill empty bottles. The kids squirt their colors all over the yard. Not only is it great fun to color such a large canvas, it is fun to watch the water erode the snow. We can fill an hour with this activity!

Tips that Work
- Dilute the colors. You don't need much liquid water color to make vivid colors on the snow. I use a finger of color and fill the rest of the bottle with water.
- Use hot water. It feels good on their hands in the cold weather.

Get Ready Before the Next Big Snow
These are the things we have on hand that you will need.
- DIY Liquid Water colors
- Condiment bottles. (I get mine for cheap at the local thrift store.)

If you do a little prep now then the next snow storm will bring your children the biggest art project of your lives...for now.


Adventures in ING: GivING


Adventures in ING
ING is a wonderful world where kindness is important. In fact, kindness is the most important thing in ING and all the elves, sprites, fairies, and gnomes who live there celebrate kindness every chance they get. They celebrate small kindnesses like when someone smiles at them and they smile back. And they celebrate big kindnesses like...well...like when someone smiles at them and they smile back.

One of the best things about ING is that everyone knows that there are countless ways of being kind and countless ways of celebrating kindness. The tricky thing for humans to learn is how to notice kindnesses. Humans have to learn to notice when other people are being kind to them just as much as the need to learn to notice when they are being kind to others (and themselves). (Yes! You can practice being kind to yourself!)

But...once someone learns how to notice kindness, many wonderful things happen. First, they start to see kindness everywhere. Then they are able to be kind wherever they go. And the funny thing about being kind - the more you do it, the more you want to do it, and the more ways you imagine to do it!

Those are the Adventures in ING. Noticing kindnesses. Being kind. Imagining new ways of being kind.


December is for Giving
The elves from ING take turns inviting humans to practice being kind. Every once in a while a couple of experts from ING offer ideas about how little humans can learn about giving, sharing, caring, loving, laughing, and living in kindness.

In December the Giving Elves, named Portu and Porvu, like to imagine all the ways to be kind through giving.



A Letter of Introduction
When they arrive, Portu and Porvu like to introduce themselves because that is the kind (and polite) thing to do.
Dear Little Humans, 
Our names are Portu and Porvu. We are elves from ING, Giving elves to be exact. We like to visit little humans, like yourselves, in December. Together we can imagine all the ways we can bring kindness to others through giving.
We look forward to doing this fun and important work with you! Sincerely,  
Portu & Porvu


What is Giving?
After introducing themselves, Portu and Porvu like to explain a little about Giving.

Giving is the simple act of offering something you have to someone else. 


Four Weeks of Giving - Some Ideas

Then Portu and Porvu suggest some ways to notice giving and even ways to practice giving. Once a week, they ask the children to notice when other people give something to them and when they give something to others.

WEEK ONE: GIVING AFFECTION

Dear Little Humans,  
A sign of affection is a gentle way of touching someone. 
It can be a hug, a high-five, a friendly pat on the back, or a gentle squeeze of the hand (we like to call these "hand hugs"). 
You can hug yourself or... 
...ask someone if you can hug them. 
We think Giving Affection is easy! Do you think you can Give Affection to someone today? Tomorrow? Every day this week? 
Hugs,
Portu & Porvu 

WEEK TWO: GIVING KIND WORDS

Dear Little Humans,  
A kind word can change someone's day. "Please" and "Thank you" are kind words. So are Compliments. 
Compliments usually start with "I like..." or "I feel happy when..." You can say things like "I like the bright color of your shirt."  or "I feel happy when we play together." You can Give a Compliment to yourself and to other people! You can say compliments out loud or sing them. You can even write them down. 
We think Giving Kind Words is easy! Do you think you can Give Kind Words to someone today? Tomorrow? Every day this week? 
Portu & Porvu 

WEEK THREE: GIVING GOODS
Dear Little Humans,  
Goods are things that you can hold in your hand like food, money, or presents. 
We like to give food to all sorts of people. Sometimes we make cookies for our neighbors. Other times we make a meal for people who cannot afford to make their own meal. 
We also like to draw pictures or make something special for our family or friends.
We think Giving Goods is fun! Do you think you can Give Goods to someone today? Tomorrow? Every day this week? 
Portu & Porvu 


WEEK FOUR: GIVING SPACE

Dear Little Humans,  
Giving Space is sometimes the easiest thing to give! Here are some ways you can Give Space to someone: 
- You can hold the door open for someone. - You can move over to let someone sit next to you. - You can let someone else go first. - You can even give space to yourself by finding a quiet place to hide when things are loud.   
We think Giving Space is tricky but fun! Do you think you can Give Space to someone today? Tomorrow? Every day this week? 
Portu & Porvu 


Saying Goodbye
Before departing, the Giving elves say goodbye because that is the kind thing to do.

Dear Little Humans, 
We have had great fun with you. Thank you for practicing giving with us. You had many clever ways of giving big and giving small. And every kindness counts! 
Portu & Porvu


++++++++++

A Letter of Transition
If you are recovering from Elf on the Shelf, then here is a letter to introduce the world of ING, and its agents to your family.
Dear Little Humans, 
Our names are Portu and Porvu. We are elves from ING, Giving elves to be exact. We heard that the Elf on the Shelf was causing problems by looking for problems. Well we are optimists and like to look for good things instead of bad things. It is a much nicer way to see the world, don't you think? We are here to teach the Elf on the Shelf about the goodest goodness in life - kindness. 
We like to visit little humans, like yourselves, in December. Together we can imagine all the ways we can bring kindness to others through giving.
We look forward to doing this fun and important work with you! Sincerely,  
Portu & Porvu


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

To Do Homework or Not: That is Not the Question


To Do Homework or Not
Until we were in the thick of it, I always thought I would forbid my son from doing homework. We have spent years cultivating playful independent learning and we are really good at it. So why not keep doing it?

Because he wants to do homework, kind of. Of course, it is arguable that he wants to do homework because he wants to please his teacher and fit in at school. They tell him, “Homework makes you smarter.” He believes them. His classmates believe them. His classmates’ parents believe them.

And I am the odd woman out.

Treat it as an Invitation
What I have discovered is a happy medium. I do not actively oppose homework nor do I actively push it on my child.

I treat it as an invitation to learn.

Read the entire article at Fat Brain Toys...