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Friday, July 24, 2020

Camp Quarantine Week 3: Space

Makers Monday
Design a space shuttle

We kicked off space week by designing space shuttles made from cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls. You gotta love the versatility of toilet paper rolls, right? I used this template from Pink Stripey Socks and the shuttles came out perfect.

Tasty Tuesday
Try astronaut ice cream

I thought it would be fun to have the kids try astronaut ice cream aka freeze dried ice cream. The verdict? It was too hard and not nearly as delicious as regular ice cream. We had a long conversation about why food needs to be modified for consumption in space and watched a bunch of astronaut Chris Hadfield's videos about living in space. 

Learn phases of the moon with Oreos

Our second Tasty Tuesday activity was learning the phases of the moon using Oreo cookies. I didn't get any good pictures but we ate soooo many cookies. Check out the directions from The Brighter Writer.

Whatever Wednesday
Create playdough aliens

I wonder at what age kids no longer think play dough is fun. It's such a versatile medium for all sorts of projects. The kids used play dough and their imaginations to create models of what they think aliens look like. This was a super simple project inspired by Rainy Day Mum.

Thinking and Thoughtful Thursday
Design your own planet

We use this free worksheet from to design our own planets and then recreated our planets using perler beads. The kids had to come up with a planet name, describe how people would be able to live there and what they would do to protect the planet's environment. The real winner here was the decision to use perler beads to recreate the planets they drew. They LOVED doing it and it took such a long time. 

Fun Friday
Create a model solar system

This create your own solar system project sounded fun but turned out to be a hot mess. The paint colors didn't include brown so the kids mixed a bunch of colors together and made a huge mess, they spilled paint on the floor and the strings kept getting tangled. Perhaps this would be more successful if the kids were older? Who knows. I tossed the model after this project was done.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Camp Quarantine Week 2: Ocean

Makers Monday

I had planned to have the kids make tidepool aquariums but our plans were doomed by June gloom. Whomp whomp.

Tasty Tuesday
Make sushi

This activity was a BIG HIT with Parker. He loved making his own lunch. I purchased everything at our local H Mart (Korean market) and now we own bamboo rolling mats and can make sushi at home anytime! I picked up some teriyaki chicken to make this extra kid and budget friendly. 

Whatever Wednesday
Watercolor seahorses

Much of our camp activities are determined by the craft supplies I already have on hand. I had watercolors from a game I set up for my BFFs baby shower so we made water color seahorses inspired by Hello Wonderful

Thinking and Thoughtful Thursday
Beach clean up

My co camp director totally failed and at the beach clean up part and let the kids go directly into the water to boogie board. Something things don't go as planned but you just have to roll with it.

Fun Friday
Wooden wiggle fish

This was a fun and quick project inspired by Oriental Trading using acrylic paints I already had. I ordered the wiggle fish from Amazon thinking it was a 6 pack. I was wrong. The fish model was 6 and there was only 1 fish. Learn from my mistake! You can get similar "wiggle" ocean animals at Hobby Lobby for cheap. Don't forget that 40% coupon!

In addition to the crafts and activities we do throughout the week, Parker always write prompts based on the week's theme. Enjoy this illustration by P. The prompt was "If you lived in the ocean, what animal would you be?" He picked a shrimp.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Camp Quarantine Week 1: Colors!

Makers Monday
Create tie dye shirts

Is camp even camp without tie dye shirts? Hundreds of dollars spent on past summer camps tells me the answer is no. We kicked off Color Week of camp by making tie dye shirts because 1. they are very colorful and 2. we're going to need at least a couple of shirts that P can wear when doing messy crafts and activities this summer. The tie dye kit I purchased came with instructions but if you need additional guidance check out these instructions from Happiness if Homemade.

FYI, tie dye kits are hard to come by these days since tie dye is currently all the rage but I managed to snag some at Hobby Lobby. Our local Michaels had zero in stock for weeks!

Tasty Tuesday
Rainbow popsicles

These pudding pops were easy and delicious. Get the full instructions from One Little Project.

Whatever Wednesday
Skittles science experiment

No photos but you can find the instructions on Fun With Mama.

Thinking and Thoughtful Thursday
Sidewalk chalk murals to brighten up the neighborhood

We missed the #chalkyourwalk movement that happened at the beginning of quarantine but made up for it during Color Week. I taped out a few fun shapes and phrases and Parker went to town coloring them in. I hope our neighbors enjoyed this pop of color!

Make clay rainbow magnets for friends and family 

This was by far my favorite craft project of the week. To make it as kid friendly as possible, I created a work area for Parker with freezer paper (clay won't stick to it) and drew out the length of each section of the rainbow. He really enjoyed rolling the polymer clay and selecting colors. While we worked we talked about the different colors of the rainbow and how color is only possible when there is light. We made a big batch of clay rainbows and I baked them in the oven. Once they were dry, I glued magnets to the back. All supplies were purchased at Michaels. Get the original instructions on Crafts Unleashed

Fun Friday
Color scavenger hunt

I failed to take pictures of the scavenger hunt but you can find a free printable on Made with Happy.

Next up is Ocean Week! If you want to follow along in real time, you can find me on Instagram @thoughts_by_mary.

Pandemic Parenting - Chapter 1

I've been itching to write down some of my thoughts on what it's been like to parent during the COVID-19 crisis. In a word: unpredictable. One day I'm going about my business, dropping the kids off at daycare and school, going to work, going to the gym and then BOOM. School is temporarily closed, then permanently closed. Then my office closed indefinitely. I'm one of the lucky ones with an understanding manager and the ability to work remotely (shout out to Yardi!). This is something I will be forever grateful for.

The first few weeks of homeschooling were exhausting. Figuring out how to manage my increased work load, Parker's school work, my conference calls, his conference calls. Learning new technology in order to make it all work. I pride myself in my ability to plan ahead but there was no planning ahead in this case. For the first couple of weeks while teachers were courageously transitioning to distance learning and parents were trying to wrap their brains around what was safe and not safe, while we were all absorbing all the news we could find and trying to figure out how to navigate this new world we found ourselves in, there was no planning. Everyone was looking for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes and pasta sauce. Stores started limiting how much you could buy. Governor Newsom announced a statewide lock down. It was a scary time. We tried to pass all info to Parker through a kid filter, limit how much direct news reached his ears and tried to explain the situation to him in a way he would understand. The thing that saved me was the fact that Harrison's daycare stayed open. Thank God for Rosa! It's one thing to work from home with a 7 year old. It's an entire different thing to try to work from home with a 1 1/2 year old. You best believe that when I was making masks for our family, I also made a bunch for her family.

Once we realized homeschooling was going to be a permanent thing for the rest of the school year, I went into planning mode. I created a Google sheet where I would track and plan all of Parker's school work. We had daily morning meetings to discuss our schedules and quickly fell into a rhythm.  Drop off Harry, breakfast, gardening or going for a walk with Frank, school work, lunch and then more school work and Zoom calls until Tuan came home. He learned really fast that he could get away with iPad time while I was on conference calls. There were some very difficult crying and yelling moments but overall I'm grateful for all the quality time I got to spend with Parker. We starting filming "Parker's Nature Show," took hikes, started a garden, he learned to ride a bike! I homeschooled for 13 weeks and now it's time to complete the survey for our preference for the fall. When I asked what his preference was, Parker said he wants to stay home with me so I guess I didn't do so bad.

As the economy rushes to open up, we're taking things nice and slow. We're keeping our masks on and continuing to limit the kids' exposure to any public indoor spaces. If history has taught us anything, the 2nd wave this fall will be even worse. Hang in their mamas.