Hands-On Fun: Art Appreciation

While the girls love arts and crafts, I’m not a huge fan of paint, and Trevor loathes the “messy-ness” of artistic creation – part sensory issues/part perfectionism. He hates getting wet or dirty and he hates not knowing if what he’s making will turn out how he pictures it.I can relate… I am not a fan of the beginning of any project. I see a bright, shiny finished product, and fear (sometimes to the point that I am afraid to start) the beginning of a project. Perfectionism, and the struggle with it, is common with gifted kids. Throw the sensory piece in the mix, and art projects become...

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Hands-On Learning: Candle Race

  So… Molly’s on the mend. Amazingly, nobody else got sick this past week, which was such a blessing as Molly was the sickest she’s ever been. Dehydrated, on anti-nausea medication just to get a few sips of water down every eight hours or so, and lots of sleeping. She’s a bit thinner, but back to her usual cheerful self:     Because we’re just getting back into a routine again, I thought I’d leave you with a fun science experiment we tried recently so Molly could learn a little bit about fire, and Trevor could practice following directions, leading his sister, and working with candles in...

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Hands-On Learning: Colors

  We have a lot of fun with science around here. Once you get to know me a little, you come to expect random “science days” or experiments—and lots of messes! It makes sense after all, I write nonfiction for kids, parents, and teachers and mainly focus on science and nature topics. You’d expect, then, that I have brainwashed my children to have a nurtured within my children a love of science, too. One of our favorite recent experiments dealt with color.     We set up baby food jars with water colored with food coloring – red, blue, and yellow, and had one filled with clear water. (We do...

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Hands-On Learning: Bird Nests

  In 2009 I wrote a book for Mitchell Lane Publishers called, A Project Guide to Reptiles and Birds. One of the best things about working on that book was its focus on hands-on projects, experiments, and activities integrated into what would otherwise have been a typical nonfiction book about the topic. Another great thing about writing that book and creating activities to include in it, was that my kids and I had to try all of the projects ourselves.     This forced-immersion into a topic I was researching created some birders and *possibly* a budding ornithologist. Winter, when the...

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Hands-On Fun: Crayon Melt Art

  So… you may have seen the cool crayon art making its way around the Internet. On Pinterest… Being sold on Etsy… On blog after blog…     We saw it, too, and decided it was the perfect way to use up some of those 25-cent boxes of crayons that we picked up during the back-to-school sales. Wanna try? Grab: crayons (we used about 70) a canvas (ours is 16” by 20”) a hot glue gun a hairdryer (or three)Make sure you drape your craft area because if you have little ones wielding hot hairdryers towards melting crayons, you’ll have wax EVERYWHERE – trust me! First, empty the crayons onto the floor...

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