Week’s Round Up : First 10 days of January

Hello, and Happy New Year to everyone who reads me 🙂 It’s been a while, but we’re back again.

Photo of the week:

 

 

New Year met us with nice biting frost, such beauty!

New Year met us with nice biting frost, such beauty!

What we were up to until now:

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THE BEST SEASON OF ALL 2015: Days 4-7

Our season of small celebrations continues.

Day 4: Family movie night! Kids watched Home Alone for the first time, I haven’t seen this movie in more than 20 years so it was nice to return to childhood for a little bit (but I do admit I cringed at injuries of unlucky thieves, ugh).

Day 5: We put a little bit of lights outside

TBSOA 2015- lights outside

 

Day 6: D. and his choir performed in Christmas Concert and it was absolutely amazing. Well done once again!

TBSOA 2015- CHoir

 

Day 7: It was our “Winter Art” day. We read one of our most beloved winter books – “Buying Mittens” by Nankichi Niimi, such a lovely, kind tale and Kurai Ken’s illustrations are gorgeous!

Kids then painted their own illustrations- splitting the task, D. painted background and made a tissue paper foxes applique on it and C. created mittens for the little fox.

TBSOA 2015- winter art

 

I did a little bit of winter art myself, comparing forest scenery and what it’s like in the city

more at instagram

We listened to a lot of holiday tunes, kids also watched Russian movie “The Snow Queen”, beautiful fairy tale.

The song of the first week of holiday celebrations is Ukranian song Shchedryk (more known to English speaking friends as “Carol of the Bells”

 

Two Weeks Roundup: Goodbye May and first week of June, 2015

Sunflowerous summer is in full mode!

Such a bliss to wake up on some days and not have any plans at all!

Picture of the week:

our summer playground aka Roxborough State Park

our summer playground aka Roxborough State Park

What we’ve been up to so far:

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Book Spine Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, so exciting!

Saw an awesome idea at 100 Scope Notes about creating book spines poetry. We decided to give it a try today. Kids pulled down half of a bookcase and here’s the very first cento  they came up with:

One Big Rain It's Raining Pigs and Noodles. The Cat in THe Hat Buying Mittens, The Vasa Piglet  Instruct[ion]s Blue Chicken To Fly Outside Your Window. Shapeshifters Hop on Pop, Maps  Sing a Song of Popcorn

One Big Rain
It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles.
The Cat in The Hat
Buying Mittens,
The Vasa Piglet
Instruct[ion]s
Blue Chicken
To Fly
Outside Your Window.
Shapeshifters
Hop on Pop,
Maps
Sing a Song of Popcorn

Quite silly, but the part about blue chicken is quite beautiful too.

Such fun game, I’m curious to see what they will come up with next.

Silk Road Study part 1

This week we began our Silk Road Study, this is part one.

We had an awesome visit at Denver Museum of Nature and Science exhibit. It is called Traveling the Silk Road. It was most interesting visit. We got to learn a lot about major stops of the Great Silk Road. We learned about market life, means of transportation, tales and perils.I highly recommend this exhibition, it is on for another month.

Silk Road exhibition

Before visiting the museum we watched TED video about Silk Road

I decided to use Marco Polo’s travels as a guideline for our study. A biography video for Marco Polo can be found here. I got a very good book at the museum’s shop. Marco Polo for Kids: His Marvelous Journey to China by Janise Herbert. This book is great, it talks about Marco Polo’s travels and provides around 20 activities.

Marco Polo for kids book

This week we talked about  Marco setting off on his journey. Children created a medieval map. We looked at a few  old maps and tried to re-create them, not forgetting to include monsters that lurked in the seas and lands long ago. The fact that we visited Mythic Creatures exhibit earlier this week helped a lot. Children painted their maps on paper grocery bags, I made little boats for them out of polymer clay.

medieval map making

medieval map and clay boat

Our next stop this week was Turkey. We located it on the map, learned a bit about its history, practiced saying simple words in Turkish( a video for common words and phrases can be found here)

We talked about carpets that were made there (children actually got a couple of souvenir bookmarks from the exhibition) and children found it fascinating that making of a carpet could take months. We tried cereal box weaving at home.  It is very simple to make a loom cut a large rectangle out of a cardboard box, make notches to string the yarn and start weaving using yarn, fabric or embroidery thread. Children used grandma’s knitting left overs.

cereal box weaving

final result

final result

Children loved this project.

We also visited Denver Mint this week and besides learning how the coins are made, we had a chance to discuss what was used as a payment among the traders of long ago.

This was first part of our learning about the Great Silk Road, stay tuned for more.

Week’s Roundup: Goodbye February 2015

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February is over and thank goodness it is. It was a good month, but it seemed long and heavy. Russians congratulated each other on the beginning of spring today. And even though here, in the US it doesn’t come for a couple of weeks at least, I think it is here already, lurking in the woods and soon will drive winter out completely.

Photo of the week:

nothing better than spending Sunday afternoon with my baby girl by my side, all nice and cozy

nothing better than spending Sunday afternoon with my baby girl by my side, all nice and cozy

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Lunar New Year

Our week flies buy in another blur of business, but we did have a little event for Lunar New Year yesterday.

First, we talked about why some people celebrate New Year’s arrival on the days other than January 1st  (such as Rosh Hashana, Russian “old style” New Year (January 13th) and Lunar New Year among them). Then we read D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine (affiliate link) to see the major elements of Chinese New Year Celebration.

d is for dragon dance

Then we read about the legend of Chinese Zodiac animals in Russian (Легенда о Восточном Календаре. Мария Ершова, Игорь Олейников. Еще мы  прочли Нианское чудовище, тоже Олейникова иллюстрации)

legenda o vostochnom kalendare

nianskoe chudoviwe

and read our horoscopes for the upcoming Lunar Year, C. was delighted to find that she will have a very lucky year, D. was promised reward for his hard work, mine was more or less ok, my husband’s year is supposed to be luckier than the one that just ended. We’ll see 🙂

We did a couple of simple art projects

1. The idea for this finger print art came from this blog. It’s a simple and fun art project. First children painted their backgrounds using watercolor paints. Second I printed out some articles in Chinese (you can use newspaper too if available in your area) and children cut out buildings. Third, buildings are pasted onto the background. Children added cute panda stickers (affiliate link)  too. Then they put yellow and red blobs on the page (we used acrylic paint and brushes for that, but for tiny artists fingerprints would be more fun). After everything was dry, children connected their lanterns to create a garland, and added fireworks in the sky.

D.'s artwork

D.’s artwork

C.'s scenery

C.’s scenery

2. The second art project was to create a sheep- symbol of the new Lunar Year. Children painted the background -sky and grass, then painted the sheep- paying attention to the head and legs and just outlining the body. The body was filled in with pom-poms and cotton balls. Since it’s the year of Wooden Sheep they used some brown pom-poms in addition to the white ones. Oh, and don’t forget the googly eyes 🙂

D's sheep

D’s sheep

C. draws rainbows a lot nowadays, I love her sheep's ears too :)

C. draws rainbows a lot nowadays, I love her sheep’s ears too 🙂

So, this was our little event for this Lunar New Year celebration. Hope the Year of the Sheep will bring a good fortune to everyone!