Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Box City

Inspired by Teacher Tom, we decided to build Box city.  We grabbed up all the boxes that we had around the house, pulled out the glue gun and some tape and set to work.   
 They were so excited to get to man the glue gun all by themselves.  Each of them ended up burned but when asked if they wanted to stop building they all emphatically told me no. Each child decided that he or she just needed to be more careful. 
They made sure that the city was aesthetically pleasing as well as structurally sound.  Of course there were plenty of booby traps and snares for any bad guys that might be lurking in the grass.  Two of my favorites were the spider trap (made from an old Parmesan cheese container) and the ball catapult and connecting track.  Sorry, no pics of those.  My camera's battery latch is broken and it is a serious pain to take photos with it. 

Here Carter is attaching his radio tower complete with several satellites and antennae.  Layne is busy fixing up an escalator so that the people can get into the party store. 
The Tindle kids spent about two hours building and fortifying their city.  It was complete with a pool, a satellite, a water tower, city hall, the public library, a science center, several hide outs and tunnels, a bridge, a couple hotels and a party store.  After they were all finished building they grabbed a ton of action figures, some of their great grandpa's old figurines and the kung zhu hamsters and spent another two hours racing the hamsters through the "dark city streets."  Four hours of play and learning for about fifty cents worth of glue sticks and a month's worth of recycling, yeah, I'm good with that investment. 

I think we will have a dynamic little play area, at least as long as the rain holds out.  If I'm brave enough, I might let them paint it Teacher Tom style in the next day or two.  We'll see.

Here is the academic breakdown.  
~ Everybody learned a bit about safe practices when dealing with heat and electricity. This also ended up being a great opportunity to talk about appropriate first aid for burns.  Each of the kids either dealt with their own burn or helped someone else dress theirs, with supervision. 
~They naturally learned a bit about structures and balance.  These "blocks" were very different from their stable wooden set in the house. 
~They added in social studies by discussing the purposes of the various buildings.  When they grabbed their toys and started acting out their stories they began putting a librarian in the library and a scientist in the science center. 
~Creative story telling is only a skip and a jump away from creative writing.  My kids had plenty of stories to tell about the building process, various "construction zones," different enemies and the heroes who would protect the city, etc.  This is an ongoing play mode in our home but what they create verbally while playing usually ends up finding it's way to paper eventually. 
~It was also a great exercise in cooperation and communication.  We had four kids and one glue gun, they had to work together in order to build anything. 
~It is an obvious art link, especially if we decide to finish decorating it. 
~We didn't, but you could incorporate math by counting boxes as they are added, multiplying by fours and sixes (number of sides) and subtracting if something was pulled off the structure.

See, plenty of learning to be had.

Hope you are all having a great week. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Family Fun gone Awry

Have you ever read a blog and thought, "Boy, my life just doesn't work out like that?"  Yeah, me too.  All those beautiful pictures of sun drenched babies that don't have a smudge of food on their cheeks or a hair out of place, seem completely foreign to me.  The interiors really get me though, how do these women get photos of their kids room or art space where there isn't a single rogue matchbox car in the shot or a pile of broken crayons most of them missing their papers?  I don't know, I can barely manage to get a photo that isn't blurry and even then I spend half an hour on picnik trying to crop out the baskets of dirty laundry or the stained cushion on my couch.  Well here is a post that will not make you wonder how "their days are always so perfect." Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a glimpse of normalcy.

Today, we decided to head to the beach for a little kite flying.  We've done this several years in a row and always have a great time. So, of course, I grab the camera hoping to get some pictures of colorful kites dotting the horizon as waves rush in to meet the shore and bare footed babies dabble their toes in the cool water....

Instead, I got these
My husband is not trying to be funny here.  The wind was so strong that it just about carried us away, here it has blown his shirt up over his head and is threatening to knock over our little daughter who is standing out of sight just behind him.

Carter is bravely trying to get his kite flying while James is struggling to cover exposed skin areas to protect them from the onslaught of blowing sand.

Again, poor Erik is trying to get these kites assembled while the wind blows the dollar kites away and poor Logan is shielding his eyes from flying sand.

Here is Logan taking cues from the Earthquake protection plan as he curls into the fetal position to avoid the continuous pelting. 

Kites dotting blue skies? Didn't happen.  Nope, this is as high as those poor kites ever got.

See, normalcy.  Or at least normalcy for the Tindle clan.  We don't have very many days where everything just works out perfectly.  We have fun, we laugh, we enjoy each other but most of the time it is in spite of whatever funky circumstances we find ourselves in not because of any brilliant planning on my part. 

This day at the beach will probably become one of our favorite campfire stories, a story told in hilarious bursts of laughter and with such enthusiasm that we will all feel the tiny pebbles of sand biting our necks again.  A story that ranks right up there with the time that the raccoons ate our plaster of paris, the day that Dad saw a steep hill sign and thought that it meant peddle faster, the day that the snakes chose dinner time to wiggle out of Poppy's pockets and the day that Memaw's brothers hung her in the well. A perfect day at the beach just wouldn't have made the cut. 

Thanks a bunch for reading,