We used to go to the Cleveland Children’s Museum fairly regularly when the kids were younger. One of my son’s favorite things the last time we went was a computer program that lets you create kaleidoscope images. You get to choose what kind of symmetry you want, if you want it straight or skewed, if you want a black background or white, and then you get to paint using a color palette or objects like shells, flowers, fruits, and more. It is easy to use and makes amazing images. I found it at the thrift store the other night along with a bunch of other games and was hoping it would work. It does and both kids have been enjoying creating with it. My son asked me to take a picture every time he made one until I finally handed over my camera and let him shoot away. He took over 40 pictures. Here are some of my favorites. I especially liked seeing him make the ones with bilateral symmetry. He could “see” what the picture was becoming as he drew it.

Here is a shot showing the controls to the sides:

What is it Like to be a Boy?

My daughter was driving my son and I crazy being a dog and a cat today complete with barking and rubbing up against us. We were kinda bothered by the noise. She decided she would try being “deaf” for the day, which to her meant writing everything out again (I didn’t go into the fact that that is technically “mute”- wasn’t ready for that discussion). Then she changed her mind and decided to be a boy. She borrowed my son’s clothes, tucked her hair under a ball cap, and took out her earrings. Now my son is taking her around the house teaching her “how to be a boy”. They are playing Lego Star Wars and he is telling her what to do as I type…

Number Jugglers

While playing Lego Star Wars with our friend on Sunday, my son started talking about numbers and their relationships a bit. They had 4 minikits, so he knew they needed 6 more to find all of them for the level. Then he started looking around the room and saw dice and pointed out that 3 and 3 make 6. Then he went on to say “That’s not the only way to make 6…you can also do 2X3 or 1+1+1+1+1+1 or 4 +2”. It made me think of a book I had stashed, so I pulled it out. When they took a break from the game, we tried out “The Number Ladder” game using the book “Number Jugglers” and the cards that came with it. Basically, you deal out 10 cards and then try to make equations equal to each number 1-10. He did it pretty easily and liked it. I think the book is really good. Not only does it have number games in it, but it goes over all kinds of basic ideas about math, like multiplying by 1 is the same number, adding or subtracting zero is the same number, etc. Many of the games give you more points if you use more cards, so using some of your cards to make 1 or zero (and using them appropriately) can earn you more points.

Dough and Chickens

One of the other treasures I found at the thrift store was the game “Chicken Run”. I couldn’t resist picking up a game where you get to move your pieces (chickens made out of dough) and if the farmer or his wife catches you, you get squished into a meat pie. When we opened the box, all the pieces were there, but the dough had long since dried out. We quickly whipped up a few batches of homemade playdough using generic Kool-Aid and moved on with the game!

Getting the dough ready:

Checking out the parts. The cards let you get helpful parts like a trough to hide under. They also tell you which chickens to squish into pies or let you try to aim for a getaway with a canon you shoot. :


Sooooo many meat pies! (The squished rounds on the board) When you roll to move, you jump over any pies or other players, so the more pies, the farther you can move on a given roll:

After the game, my daughter made this picture with some of the leftover dough. It is a seed under some dirt getting watered, followed by a seedling, and then a tree :):

Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs!

My son and I played a bit of “Dino Hunt” again the other day and he has been watching the show “Prehistoric Planet” on TV. When I saw this puzzle at the thrift store today, I knew he would like it! (And yes, I opened it and counted all the pieces to make sure they were there before I bought it) Each piece has the name and some information about what is on the front side written on the back.

I thought it was $1.50, but I just saw the box and it was only 80 cents!

And he is doing it again as I type 🙂

Dino Hunt: