Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trick-o-Treating at The Museum

Dorothy & The Two Year Old

Doon Heritage Village offers a fantastic alternative to traditional Trick-o-Treating. 
They host an evening of trick-o-treating, history and arts in the museum and adjacent village. 
This is our second annual Hallowe'en at Doon and they did not disappoint, adding new activities to the event.

The Weaving House
The children continue with the door-to-door festivities, but also receive a little history lesson in the form of an old school game or tradition.
At the weaving house, apples were strung from the ceiling at different heights for bobbing for apples.

The old train station, brought in from Peterborough,  handed out homemade sugar cookies made by staff on site.

Next stop was hot apple cider brewing in a giant cauldron!
Doon included extra bonfire stops this year, to keep toes and fingers warm!

Fortune Telling
While you were sitting by the fire, you could have your fortune told, or just pick out a fortune of your liking!!

While the various houses in the village offered popcorn, salt water toffee, caramel apples and old fashioned postcards, families could take horse and wagon rides or continue onto the museum building, where staff hosted Hallowe'en arts and crafts tables.

Spooky Sums: Ghost Writing

Ghost writing is a fantastic activity all year round, but seemed most fitting for Hallowe'en week!

I set O up with some watercolour paints and her Ghost Worksheet to find the hidden answers.
You can use a white crayon, white candlestick or in our case, white birthday candle!

O was surprised when the ghosts revealed the numbers and wanted to do this activity over and over again!
Be prepared to offer more secret sheets, or invite your child to write their own Ghost Messages!

'I'm Melting' Rainbows

Rainbow Melt
A very pretty project for mini pumpkins and a few crayons needing new life.

O did the arranging, while Daddy helped with the heat gun. These crayons were not brand name and had an extra dose of strong wax! It took a good 10 minutes to get them to melt!

Pink Jack

O picked out a Pink Pumpkin to decorate this year, with the help of some Mr. Potato Head features!

China Ends One-Child Policy

Lots of little Babies

I have an emotional connection with China, that has further expanded upon hearing the news about the end of the 36 year-long 'One-Child Policy'. The policy was put into place, the year I was born and has effected families worldwide; those in China and those waiting for children abroad.

While families waiting abroad for children saw the original policy as a gain, it has been an extreme loss for Chinese families and they are now feeling the social impact of an acutely complex 'answer' to overpopulation. They have dealt with an increased rate of abortion, many of which have been carried out in secret or worse, a vastly uneven population ratio of boys to girls, poor prenatal care (leading to unhealthy babies) due to fear of government discovering pregnancy, an increase in demands for orphanages, pressure on the only child in the family to succeed in school and life as well as to take care of aging parents...and the emotional strain on mother and her newborn baby of the worlds most unnatural separation.

Originally my thoughts were purely selfish, 
"What does this mean for my family? Will we be bumped another few years of our promised wait time? Will we be contacted by our social worker whose phones are likely ringing off the hook, to be told that our file will be removed completely?" 
We are coming into our fourth year of five...of waiting.

Then I received an email from an adoptive mother with this article and it reminded me of how adoptive families and birth mothers from the past 36 years are going to struggle with this 'joyous' news.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Butterfly Conservatory: Woolly Bear Day

 Touch Table

When we enter the Butterfly Conservatory, the butterflies themselves are 100% off limits, in terms of touching. They can land on you, but you cannot make contact with them. 
However, the staff make sure that wee hands get their fill of touch wherever possible!
There were loads of opportunities to keep hands busy during yesterdays Home School Day.

 Woolly Bears

The gentle woolly bears were preparing for this winters hibernation.
The Caterpillar Stage is the second stage of a butterflies Life Cycle; Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis and Butterfly. They spend one season in each cycle.
 Stick Bugs
 La Cucaracha!

Having lived and traveled in Central & South America, I'm no stranger to the Cucaracha.
At the Conservatory, these insects are respected as highly as the rest!
Not so much in the Southern America's!

A Woolly Bear scavenger hunt took place in the conservatory. Children located Fact Sheets that had co-responding letters, to complete their Woolly Bear postcard.
Fascinating Facts.

Positive & Negative Jack

 Scissor Love
'Buggy & Buddy' has a symmetry art project for the beloved Jack-o-lantern!

I worked along with O on this project, as the little features she cut out were nearly discarded.
I love that her work can be turned around and both expressions are smiling!

Pumpkin Illusion. We tried this out as it takes two minutes and we had scraps left over from above project!
It's basic animation, referred to as a Thaumatrope

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Naked Eggs-periment

 Day One-Hour One
In addition to our Bone Study, we slipped in this science eggs-speriment; 'The Naked Egg'
There are loads of tutorials about how to conduct this experiment around the internet, but this one explains the scientific component in good detail.

Before filling the mason jar with vinegar, we...
~felt and described the egg (hard, rounded, oval, brown)
~made a hypothesis as to what would happen when we added vinegar ("Float!" "Sink!" "Break Open!")

After adding the vinegar, we started observation that continued throughout the day.
Immediately, bubbles started forming on the egg, which is the reaction of acid and calcium carbonate to produce CO2.

 Day One-Midday

By midday, we had noted that not only was our egg getting larger-looking, it was also shedding it's brown tan! The vinegar had eroded it's pigment!

 Day Three

After three days in vinegar, the egg made significant changes!
And all three hypothesis were accurate. There was a point when it floated (Day One), sank (Day Three) and broke open (with the help of the eager little sister!)
It also increased in size and became astonishingly rubbery! 
We did have a chance to bounce it before it exploded!


Teach the Scientific Method. Even wee ones can grasp concepts used in the Scientific Method, especially if you discuss the process of an experiment every time you're working on science.
Pose question/problem

Form hypothesis/educated guess

Develop experiment w controls & variables


Analysis & Conclusion

Dem Bones

 Mr. Bones

We used the upcoming Samhain (Hallowe'en) festivities to sneak in a little human biology!
After displaying Mr. Bones, the beautiful fabric skeleton from Lens Mills, we brought out some of our books on the Human Body and searched for pages that showed our bones!

Then we set out some dried pasta shapes and Q-tips to create versions of Martha Stewart's 'Pasta Skeletons'
Martha makes this look easy!

O described hers as teeth and snuck in some letters 'A's', as well as a brain;)

Baby C's version of her bones ended up being this blank piece of paper.
She couldn't resist eating her art!

We added some music to our activity, with the old Dem Bones song. (The Skeleton Dance)

String Art Skull. This is a fantastic addition to a science class, or Hallowe'en decor from the lovely ladies at 'A Beautiful Mess'

Simple Skeleton.

BOOKS! We have a nice collection growing of Human Bio Books, purchased from homeschoolers that have gone before us, as well as local libraries selling their discards!

Open Me Up. DK books are always worth buying. They combine a generous number of pictures with loads of easy-to-read facts. This book has several clear overlays that display various systems of the body.

Body; An amazing tour of the human anatomy. Combined with a computer CD, this book has intricate detail about the workings of the human body.

Alive. Also DK. This is the family favourite. When you open it, a heart starts to beat out loud! Each page is made of delicately cut pop-ups of skulls, intestines, rib cages and more!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Spooky Shadow Puppets

Mini Eco featured this slightly spooky Shadow Puppet tutorial We had to tone down the spookiness for our version.
Instead, we featured three characters from Baby C's favourite book,
'Hallowe'en Mice"

Felt Shadow Puppets

We have an extra sturdy roll of felt that served as the perfect medium for delicately-cut silhouettes.

A small rectangle patch was sewn on the back to insert a chopstick!

The book features some sweet shadow pictures, so it wasn't difficult to find models for puppets.

The puppeteers worked hard juggling flashlights and characters for the show!
A simple cloth sheet can serve as a canvas, but the teepee is already set up in our living room, so we used this instead.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gem & Mineral Show

 Excavating Fossils

It was our second annual visit to the University of Waterloo's Gem & Mineral Show.
Saturday is full of activities for children to participate in alongside students and teachers at the U of W.

Our first stop was a table set up for fossil excavation.
The student asked us to smell our fossil and compared it to the likeness of asphalt (the smell of a local construction site.) She went on to explain that these are how fossil fuels are derived!

O & Baby C were quite happy to be donning safety glasses and doing important work!

The most popular exhibit was the Rock Creature craft table.
Children lined up to chose their favourite rock, before detailing them with paint, feathers, googly eyes and pom poms! We were invited to continue on with the show, while our creatures dried off!

As soon as Baby C caught site of the tiny swimming pool, she was not really interested in panning for gold flakes! We could only stay a minute before we wreaked havoc on that exhibit!!

A permanent part of the Earth Sciences Museum at the University is this mounted viewing station, depicting the fate of the Mastodon. The mural on the wall is a fixed feature, but when you use the computer monitor, it gives you options to demonstrate periods of time and the death of the mastodon.

In the Plant Lab, students showed several species of tree rings. She explained that the space between rings indicates warm versus cold seasons (larger spaces indicate longer growth periods in warmer seasons).
She also talked about 'heartwood' being the center of the tree trunk and how tannins play a part in colouring the wood.

 Liquid Crystals

O & Baby C used their body heat to change the colour of these thermotropic Liquid Crystals.
Think Mood Rings of your childhood! 

We watched as the test tube seemed to disappear in this Oil & Glass Refraction experiment!

 DIY Button!
My personal favourite is the study of simple machines.
A while back I borrowed a book from our local library that explained that there are six basic machines, most of which were developed many moons ago, but improved upon with advanced technology and design.
I love the simplicity of the base models and how we continue to construct machines today, from these original idea's!
Levers (ex. teeter-totter)
Inclined Plane (ex. ladder)
Wedge (ex. hammer end)
Pulley (ex. water well lift system)
Wheel & Axis (ex. bicycle)
Screw (ex. mason jar lid)

The University used a Button-Making Press as an example of a lever.

At the entrance/exit door there were boxes of 'Free Rocks' for the taking.
We spent quite a while choosing our favourites!

Since our visit last year, the Uni has installed a "Periodic Table Project."
The known elements have been featured with art projects representing their properties.
Theodore Grey is the author of amazing visual literature of the elements, on our wish list now!

We barely reached half of the exhibits they had available, before calling it a day.

Thank you to the University for enticing your future scientists!