San Diego Maker Faire

We headed to the San Diego Maker Faire Today, and though we were there most of the day… we didn’t even see half of what there was to see! We hit up the Northeast end of the park, and my little guys (7 and 3) had a blast. The youngest passed out in the car on the way home… and won’t wake up again until tomorrow.

The San Diego Maker Faire was in Balboa Park. We parked in the Inspiration Point Parking Lot, and took the Trolley up to the Mayor’s Maker Plaza. From there we went East, hitting up several of the exhibits. Each section is set up in one of the museums in Balboa Park. For Example, the “Families, Kids, and Fun” Section was in the NAT. There were other sections within other museums – so we got to check out both the museum exhibits AND the booths that were part of the San Diego Maker Faire. Which was awesome. As a newbie to San Diego, we got to check out several of the awesome museums that Balboa Park has to offer while getting the added bonus of the Maker Faire. All for the price of the Maker Faire. Which was pricey – $25 per adult and $15 per kiddo.

I didn’t have time to take pictures of everything… but here are some of the highlights.

When my oldest met R2D2… that made his day. We were less than 30 minutes into the event, and if we left right then, he was set. He has already asked that I print these photos for him.

meeting-r2d2

Of course there were several booths with the Lego Mindstorm robots. One of these days, we’ll need to get one of these for my tech-loving kiddos. We saw them earlier this year, and they combine Lego and programming… but they are not cheap!play-with-robots

My oldest and I hit up a presentation that Qualcomm was giving using their Dragon Boards. We used wires to link the board up to a motion sensor and a color sensor. It looks like this board is basically a smartphone backbone that you can use to create all kinds of devices.programming-with-dragon-boa

The boys also loved using smartphones to control cars. Here is my youngest operating a little smartphone car. He’s 3, y’all!! These kiddos can manipulate tech so easily… it is normal to them!robot-phone

And there were some less “tech” focused areas. Like this artwork made from pushpins.thumbtack-art

And digging through dirt at the NAT. Though… they showed how archaeologists scan the items they find, and then 3D print models so that they don’t handle the artifacts more than needed.

digging-at-the-NAT

Really, robots were the highlight of the day for my kiddos.controlling-robots

And robot cars.driving-robots

Even if they weren’t manipulating the robots… just watching the robots was pretty cool.  go-robot-go

They also liked making Marshmallow guns from PVC pipe. Which was also one of my favorites – all the pre-cut PVC pieces were right there for making the gun. It took seconds to make – instead of hours of mom’s time to source all the joints, cut all the PVC – and then seconds for the kiddos to assemble.

There was one thing that trumped robots… Legos. There was a booth where they were engraving lego bricks with each child’s name. Personalized Lego bricks? WINNING!

engraving-lego-block

Some links to cool stuff from today, in case you’re interested:

San Diego Maker Faire
Engraved Lego Bricks
Balboa Park
Robotics Competitions

Southwest Robotics

Simple Money for Kids

This holiday, I thought my oldest son, now 6, needed more help understanding that Christmas is about giving. With so many aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, and grandparents, there sure is a lot of getting going on! Getting is easy to enjoy… but so is giving. Giving time, giving thought, and giving donations are all ways that we can help support our communities. I love this article from Yahoo sharing  6 simple ways to give back. A great place to get started when thinking about others.

I came up with a plan for him to help earn some Christmas money that would be spent on holiday gifts. He enjoyed helping, and he loved shopping. It was hard for him to pick gifts for others when there were so many cool things HE wanted. And it was hard for him to spend money he had worked for on others. But he did enjoy finding the right thing for each person, and getting some special shopping time with me.

As he gets older, I want to keep this lesson of giving, as well as an overall responsibility with money. These are great lessons to learn young.

To help teach these concepts all year long, I grabbed three mason jars, some construction paper, scissors, and pens. I made three mason jars – one for money to save, one for money to spend, and one for money to give. I know some people use a similar system, and have certain percentages of their money that should go into each. I don’t want this system to be that rigid. I’d rather my son decide where he’d like his money to go. And because the jars are glass, he can see how much money is in each.

Simple Money for kids

I traced the lids onto the construction paper.

trace lids

Cut them out, then cut a slit in each. Make sure the hole is big enough that a folded dollar can fit in.

cut hole

Each lid gets a word – spend, save, give. You can choose different words if you like.

write on papers

Remove the metal plate portion of each lid, replace with the paper, and screw the lid back in place.

put on lid

Repeat for all the lids, your jars are done!

finished savings jars

If you’re looking for more ideas for giving, check out the Yahoo article on  6 simple ways to give back.

Easter Bunny Pocket Shirt

Bunny Applique pocket

Happy Easter! I thought I’d share my son modeling his Easter shirt. You can find my tutorial for this little Easter Bunny Pocket Shirt over at the Thermoweb blog. My youngest is almost two, and he’s in love with pockets. His older brother was, too, at that age. He loves putting things in, and taking them out. The whole concept of a pocket and its functionality is fascinating to him! Funny how we take these things for granted later in life, isn’t it?

Easter bunny pocket shirt

As I was taking these pictures, I realized how few handmade things I’ve made for my youngest. His big brother got quite a few, and they are doing a great job as hand-me-downs… but cute things like this just for him? Not very many at all. As a second child myself, I feel I have a lot of catching up to do!

hunting for eggs

Especially since this kid is pretty darn photogenic! If I do say so myself (and I do!). He did a great job of putting up with me while posing for these photos…

looking for eggs in bunny shirt

I put together full instructions on making the bunny applique and pocket, you can see them over on the Therm-o-Web blog. A fun Easter shirt for a boy to wear…

make an applique pocket

Sight Word Board Game

Erasable Sight Word Board Game

My Kindergartener loves playing board games. There is something about rolling the dice, and moving his playing piece that he just loves. Since we are working on sight words, I thought I’d make a sight word board game. The problem is – depending on which list you pick, there are hundreds of sight words! This game is great for working on just 6 sight words at a time. Once your child has mastered those six, you can erase the words and write in new ones. You don’t have to re-make the game for each set of words, just use a wet-erase marker and in a few minutes, the game has been re-made with new words! Let me show you how…

Supplies:
supplies for sight word board gameFoam Core
Duck Tape Deco Dry Erase Laminate
Solid Color Duck Tape (I chose red)
Wooden Block
Scissors
Craft Knife
Pencil
Permanent Marker
Wet-Erase Markers (Vis-a-vis)
Favorite candy (to use as playing pieces – my son’s favorite are red Mentos)

Start by cutting the foam-core into a board-game-ish size. You don’t have to be super perfect, just two pieces that are the same size will do.

Stack the two pieces, and tape together with a piece of Duck Tape along one long edge. Trim the excess.

tape pieces together

Cut a piece of the Duck Tape Deco Dry Erase Laminate that is roughly the size of the entire board when open. Open up the taped together foam core, carefully peel off the backing paper, and cover the inside of the board with the Dry Erase Laminate. Then cover all the edges with the duck tape. Before folding over the edges, clip the tape at the fold.

tape edges of board

The board is all put together!

board ready for game

Using your permanent marker, draw a big squiggle on the board, then a second line about 1.5″ from the first. Segment off the lines into boxes. I drew a star at the end to represent the finish.

draw board game

I counted the number of squares, then divided by 6. I wrote the numbers 1-6 randomly this number of times in the boxes. This helps when changing out the sight words.

Now to make the dice! Wooden blocks are inexpensive, so you can buy several, and write a sight word on each face of all the die, using different die when you want to practice different sight words. Or you can make erasable die to go with your erasable board. Start by cutting 6 squares slightly larger than the face of the block.

cut six squares

Peel back the paper and put a square on each face, trimming away the excess.

trim off excess

Cut twelve 1/4″ strips of Duck Tape.

quarter inch strips of Duck Tape

Put the strips along each of the edges of the dice. This will make sure all the edges stay in place through lots and lots of sight word practice!

finished erasable dice

To play, select 6 sight words. Write one on each side of the dice. Pick one side, write that word in all the boxes labeled with 1. Pick a second side, write that word in all the boxes labeled with 2. Repeat with all 6 sides.

write in words

Grab your favorite candy.

Use favorite candies to play a sight word game

Assign each player a piece, and start playing!

Sight Word Board Game played with Candy

Help your young learner out. Make sure all the words are facing their direction to make them easy to read. After the die is rolled, turn it to make it easy for them to read each time.

Each player takes turns rolling, then advances their candy to the next matching word on the board. When they get to the end and roll a word that there are no more of, they put their candy on the star, and win! When each player reaches the end, they get to eat their candy – everyone is a winner!

If you’re playing with a child who has sticky or sweaty fingers, you might need to keep your marker handy so you can re-write in the words as you play.

sight word dice after playing

Sight Word Matching Game

Play a Sight Word Matching Game

Playing “Memory” with Sight Words is a great way to help children interact with their sight words! To keep the game manageable, don’t start with an entire table covered with sight word cards. Start with 3 pairs, then work your way up to more. When you see your child start to get frustrated, use less pairs. The goal is to have your child interact with the words, recognize the words, and have fun. When they get frustrated, the game is no longer fun, and they won’t get as much learning out of it. Plus, they won’t want to play in the future.

To play the Sight Word Matching game, you need to print up duplicates of the Free Sight Word Printable Flashcards. Instead of making it a “Me vs. You” game, I paired up with my Kindergartener to help him. He got to turn over two cards, we identified the words, then turned them back over if they didn’t match. If they did match, we put them in a pile next to him. Once he got all 3 pairs, I put down three more pairs. You could play Sight Word Memory as a two-player game, where each person tries to find the most pairs, but I decided that I wanted only one goal when playing this game: have fun learning sight words. I didn’t want that goal to compete with other lessons like taking turns and sportsmanship. Those are valuable lessons, but not ones I wanted to focus on for this exercise.

Sight Word Matching Game

 

Sight Word Go Fish

Sight Word Go Fish Game

Are you ready for another fun sight word game? This game uses the Sight Word Printable Flashcards from yesterday. You’ll want to print out 3 pages, 2 copies of each. Any more than that, and the game will get too long to keep most youngsters interested. But feel free to pick out more, and just use 20-25 pairs each time you play.

We played a two player game. Our kindergartener is still learning his sight words, so he hung out in dad’s lap while I played against them. I think kids like to learn when they get to be in your lap. And it made the game more fun and didn’t put a lot of pressure on him to know all of his sight words. Great for an emerging learner.

Deal Cards for Sight Word Go Fish

Here is how to play:
Use 20-25 pairs of words (so, two cards of each word)

Deal 8 cards to each player, if playing with two people. If playing with more than two people, deal 6 to each. Put the remainder in a pile, face down, in the middle.

The first player selects a card from their hand, and asks another player if they have the matching card in their hand. “Do you have ‘the’ in your hand?”

If the second player does, they surrender the card to the first player. The first player lays the pair in front of them, they have a point! The first player continues, asking for a specific sight word card.

When the player encounters a “no”, they are told, “no, go fish!” They draw a card from the pile in the middle, and their turn is over. UNLESS they draw the card they were looking for. They then get to say “Fished what I wanted!” Their turn continues.

Each time a player doesn’t get the card they want, the next player in the circle gets a turn.

When someone runs out of cards in their hand, they pull the top two cards from the deck.

Keep playing until there are no more cards. The person with the most points wins.

pairs of sight word go fish game

Sight Word Flashcard Printables

Printable Sight Word Flashcards

I’ve made some sight word flashcard printables for you. But I’m going to ask you to NOT use them like normal flashcards. Ok, maybe sometimes. But rarely. Because flashcards are boring. Maybe don’t even call them sight word flashcards. Maybe call them Sight Word Game Cards. Because while you can use these Sight Word Flashcard Printables like standard flashcards, you should really use these sight word flashcards for playing games. Yesterday I shared my Sight Word Jumping Frog Game, and I’ll be sharing more fun sight word games later this week… for some of them you need flashcards ahem, I mean Game Cards. So I thought I’d whip some up for you.

I have 8 pages of flashcards, each with 8 words. I used the Dolch Sight Words for Primer and Pre-Primer. I didn’t include all of them, so I added a blank sheet if you want to make more. I made them in PhotoShop Elements, the font is Quick Type (size: 60 pt).

Print the Sight Word Flashcard Printables out on cardstock – plain or a light color if you like. I’d suggest printing two sets while you’re at it, because some games require duplicates.

Sight Word Flashcard Printables

Sight Word Flashcards Page 1 – the, to, and, a, I, you, it, in

Sight Word Flashcards Page 2 – for, up, is, go, we, can, see, not

Sight Word Flashcards Page 3 – one, my, me, big, come, where, here, make

Sight Word Flashcards Page 4 – he, was, that, she, on, they, but, at

Sight Word Flashcards Page 5 – with, all, there, out, be, have, am, do

Sight Word Flashcards Page 6 – did, what, so, get, like, this, will, yes

Sight Word Flashcards Page 7 – went, are, now, no, came, good, too, saw

Sight Word Flashcards Page 8 – well, who, new, must, soon, ate, say, please

Sight Word Flashcards Page – blank (boxes only – no words)

 

Dr. Seuss “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Wallhanging

Quilt based on Oh the Places Youll Go by Dr Seuss

Last year I made a quilted wallhanging using a simplified version of one of the last images in my favorite Dr. Seuss Book – “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” I think the Dr Seuss Quilt is one of my favorite things I’ve made, and now it has a companion in a second Dr Seuss Quilt. I love the quote from the book. I love the whimsy of the image, and I love that it is the first thing I ever free-motion quilted. I decided to make a companion piece this year, using the same techniques, but a different image from the same book. My hope is to make another one next year so that I can have the three hanging side-by-side in the playroom. Here are the two I have so far.

Seuss Wallhangings in Playroom

I used basically the same technique I did last year. I started by drawing out the image, and picking fabrics. I labeled my drawing so that I would know what color each part would be.

draw out and pick colors

Then I created Printable versions of each part, fused them onto the right color fabric, and fused those onto the background. I used the dark orange as a background color, cut it to 18″ square before fusing on all the pieces.

Fuse pieces in place

Then I started stitching. Using the image from the book as a reference, I spent about  4 hours quilting, which adds all the beautiful detail. I love that it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the less perfect, the better! Here it is quilted, but not bound.

quilted and not bound

I did make one change from last year. I painted in the lettering. Last year I took the time to cut out each individual letter, then press it, and stitch it in place. Since I was doing four lines of text this year, and they were going to be smaller, I decided that painting them in was the best choice. It was tedious, but so much better than cutting and stitching!

After quilting, I trimmed everything down, and bound the quilt, adding pockets in the corner so I could easily add a rod for hanging.

If you’re interested in making your own, here is what you’ll need:
OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO QUILT
(finished size 21″x26″)

Fat Quarter Dark Orange fabric, cut to 18″ square.
1/2 yard green fabric (for borders – cut two pieces each 2″x18″ and two pieces 4.5″x21″)
1 1/2 yards black fabric (binding, backing)
Black thread
Small pieces (I used Fat Quarters) of the following colors: Orange, Light Orange, Light Yellow, Medium Yellow, Green, Light Gray (for the child’s hands and face)
Applique pattern pieces printed onto Jenny Haskins Web Magic (printable fusable for applique) – found at quilt shops that cater to machine embroidery
Basting Spray
Batting
Mechanical Pencil

Here are the pattern pieces:
Green 1 Fusible
Green 2 Fusible
Medium Yellow Fusible
Orange 1 Fusible
Orange 2 Fusible
Seuss Light Yellow Fusible

Even in my messy playroom, I love the way these look on my wall!

messy playroom

Please note: These instructions are for personal use only. The pattern and quilt are not for sale. The pattern is intended for personal use only. If you’re interested in purchasing Dr Seuss fabric, Robert Kaufman has awesome Seuss Fabrics.

Snow Day

My kiddo goes back to school tomorrow, so before the winter holiday was over, we decided to take the kids up to the mountains for a snow day. We don’t usually get much snow in the desert where we live, so we drove to some nearby mountains, found what looked like a good sledding spot, and put on our snow gear.

Loving the snow

L had been asking to go to the snow for weeks. He’d been hoping for a White Christmas… but was willing to settle for a trip to the snow.

sledding with dad

L loved going down the hill with his dad.

Sledding down the hill

However, after getting bundled up, having his hands covered up with gloves, and having a tough time walking on the iced-over snow… Baby B wasn’t so thrilled.

Grumpy doesn't like the snow

Hope you are having a fabulous winter!

Wordless Wednesday – a visit to Santa

Christmas 2013 Photo