Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Astronomy Escape Room

We are studying Apologia's Astronomy textbook this semester and for our chapter about Earth I decided to do an Escape Room.  If you've never done one of these before they are super popular right now.  Basically the idea is that your team is "locked" in a room and must solve puzzles to escape.
We went to a fun Escape Room on vacation with my in-laws, but they are very expensive so I wrote one for my class to do.
There are three puzzles the kids had to solve and it took them about 30 minutes.  I was in the room, but I didn't help them at all.  They had to work together as a team.
I began by explaining that they were all junior scientists working for NASA and they had to stop a meteor from hitting the Earth by launching a rocket to explode the meteor.  However, their boss had the code and he was stuck in traffic!  They needed to solve the puzzles in the room to get the final code word to save the Earth!

The first puzzle was a layers of the Earth puzzle that went along with chapter five of the Apologia book.  I wrote the code and instructions to unlock the box for the next puzzle on various layers and they had to put it together in order to get the order and numbers for the lock.

Here is a picture of the box.  Inside was all the components (except water) for the next puzzle (also from the book), a compass.

Figuring out the puzzle

In this picture you can see them working on the first puzzle, the green lockbox with the compass pieces, the water, and the final word lock which is the brown bag.

The instructions for the compass were in their notebooks which I gave them in the room.  The rule was they could use anything in the room, but they could not leave the room to get anything.

The compass instructions included the clue to check all four directions for their next puzzle.  I wrote on the various space posters with invisible ink pens and had blacklight flashlights for them to use.  This was a HUGE hit!  They were SO SO SO excited when they found these clues.

You can see the clue in the light above

Each letter had a symbol by it...

They had to check the book to see what symbol went with what planet

Then they had to put the planet symbols in order to spell out the final mystery word

The final word to unlock the room was "solar"

The prize for finishing?  Earth cookies of course!  The kids all LOVED the hands-on way of reviewing what we learned about with the Earth.  I am planning on writing another Escape Room when we study the weather...stay tuned ;)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Power Ranger Birthday Party

We recently had a super fun, super crazy birthday party for my son with ten of his friends.  It was a LOT of testosterone running around :)
Here are the games that we played since it is SO hard to find fun games for parties:

First, we made "morphers" or "throwing stars" with cut up cardboard cereal boxes, duck tape, stickers, and sharpies.
A punch board with different colored Power Ranger sashes in them.  I bought satin ribbon on sale at Hobby Lobby and used freezer paper stencils and paint to put the symbol from the newest movie on them.
Then, we had a Nerf "shooting the bad guys" contest.  I used this fun beanbag toss game my sister-in-law made my kids for Christmas last year and taped printed Power Ranger villains to the inside of the holes.  It was WAY harder than it looked but the boys loved it.
After that, we had water balloon training outside.  My husband was in charge of this so I could clean up from feeding the masses.  He had them toss a balloon back and forth, try to hit one tossed at you with a bat, and see how far you could throw it.
Next, the birthday boy had made up an obstacle course in our back yard that he wanted everyone to follow him and do so they all ran around and did that for a while.
The final game that we used was a "collect the energems" game.  I made up 100 energems using bead tubes, glue, water, and glitter.  I hot glued the tops on so they wouldn't come off.  I also made bags for each child using iron on printed Power Rangers to match their color sash.  (I got the bags at Hobby Lobby too)  They each got to find 10 energems and then we split them so they had one of each color.  It was a bit like an Easter Egg hunt, but the boys loved it and because my husband hid all the energems for me, it took them a while to find them all.  It was pretty cool to see them helping each other after they found all their items and working together so nicely.  Totally worth all the time I put into making the little things!
For party favors the boys took home their sashes, bags, energems, and a small bag of candy (pulled from my kids' 4th of July stash, lol)  It ended up being a super loud, but super smooth, easy party!

All the sashes drying.  I used craft acrylic paint on satin ribbon and it worked beautifully!

The bags.  Birthday boy got the super big picture.  They turned out pretty cool.

The nerf game.  You could also use a cardboard box with cutout holes but I happened to have this.

The top view of the punch board.  I used clear cups because A. I had them and B. I could see what color sash each kid would get that way.  Some had strong preferences.

Front view of the punch board.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Where's Max Quiet Book

This is not my pattern.  I purchased it off Etsy to make as a baby gift.  Oh my WORD it is cute!
Best part was I didn't need to purchase anything to make this as my hoarding, crafty self had everything in my stash of fabric and craft stuff :)  I LOVE gifts that only cost me time and look so fabulous!

the cover

all the animals are attached with elastic so they can stretch out of their homes

Max is attached with ribbon so he can't get lost :)

Isn't it just precious?  I love how the designer has a mix of fabric and felt.  Really brings so much texture and color to the book!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mini Snow Globe Craft

I am in the planning phase right now for the upcoming Awana Sparks year!  One of the crafts we will be doing in December are these adorable mini snow globes.  I am super excited about them.

Aren't they cool looking?  My favorite part is their durability.  I dropped one a few times on my tile bathroom floor & it didn't break!  Then I let my boys carry it around and play with them for a while.  Still intact & not leaking at all!

Here is what you need to make your own: 2" Vending Machine Bubbles1" cross charms (with jump ring removed), hot glue gun & glue, distilled water, glycerin, & glitter.

It took me a bit of trial and error to figure out how best to do these, but I think I've got it down to a science now.  Sparks are ages 5-7 so I wanted them to be able to do as much as possible to make it themselves.  Here are the steps I will follow: 
1) pre-hot glue the cross charms to the base (notice it is upside down!) 
2) Let each child choose their cross & write their name on the bottom
3) Let each child put 1/2 teaspoon of glitter in the globe piece
4) Let each child fill the globe piece with distilled water using a turkey baster, leaving 1/2 inch or so from top
5) Let each child put 5 drops of glycerin in the globe
6) Then I will put a line of hot glue around the lip of the lid, turn over the cross lid, set it into the globe, and make sure it seals around the edge (over a bowl just in case).  Hopefully the picture below shows this better:

Only a single line of glue is needed to fully seal the lid!  Even if the kids overfill with water the hot glue works great at sealing the globe.  Overfilling just makes the glue look less nice and professional :)  Just make sure you don't hand the snow globe to the child until the glue is dry.  With hot glue that only takes a couple minutes, yay!
And that it!  I am planning for 48 kids to participate in this project & have twenty minutes to get it done.  I plan on talking about Christmas & the best present of all (Jesus) and how even at Christmas we are looking ahead to Easter & the reason that Jesus came to earth (to die for our sins).
Originally I was going to use the lids as intended and snap them on, but the shape of the lids meant there wasn't enough water in the capsule that way.
What do you think?  I have extra capsules so I might also use them for Science Class this year with some large plastic beads.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Transcontinental Railroad

My mom is a genius.  Seriously.  I'm not just saying that because she reads this blog either (Hi Mom :)

During this semester, she is teaching a history co-op class to my boys, my little brothers, and another family's kids.  One of the subjects she covered was the building of the First Transcontinental Railroad.  In addition to reading the kid's a couple books about it and I think watching a YouTube video or two, she came up with this great activity using wooden trains and track for the class to do to help them understand and remember how the building went.
So the kids were divided into two teams and each started at one end of the room.  The kid by the basket of train tracks was responsible for choosing and handing a piece of track to the kid with the train, who then had to drive it down the track to the kid at the end, who then got to lay the track.  Then the train had to go back to the beginning and do it again.  The idea was to help the kids understand that this was how the REAL train track was built (transporting the materials to the end and building as they went)

The thing that made it really exciting though, was that just like the real railroad build, there were TWO teams building at the same time at opposite ends of the country and they met in the middle.  So the other team of kids was doing the same process at the other end of the classroom (and as the teams had lots of boys, it got rather competitive) to see who could reach the middle first.

Then, the two trains met in the middle of the track and everyone came to see the dedication of the First Transcontinental Railroad!

We were sort of trying to copy that famous picture of the two trains meeting and driving the golden spike moment.  Sorry it turned out kind of blurry.  Hopefully you get the idea :)

I had never seen anything similar to this activity done (even on Pinterest!) and thought it was a really ingenious way for the kids to have a hands-on way to review and remember this incredible event in our nation's history.