Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Writing Series - X, Y and Z

This was a fun week writing X, Y and Z. It seems like it should be the end, but we are a little more than half way through. Oh my - we are half way through the summer. Yikes! This week was extra special because we celebrated the 4th of July towards the end of the week and my husband and I had some time off so we had lots of family time.

Our field trip to see Zinnias was not what we expected. Apparently zinnias are not in season so there were none at the gardens we visited nor did a local home improvement store have them and since it was a holiday our favorite nursery was closed for the day. So we headed to a craft store and found one color of zinnias in the floral department. Thank goodness for fake flowers!

If you are new to our series (or just need the links again), here are some links you may need:
  • Summer Writing Plan (here)
  • handwriting page (here) - write  "X   X   X   x   x   x" or "Y   Y   Y   y   y   y" or "Z   Z   Z   z   z   z" and be careful of all extra links/downloads.

Here's what we did this week:

We started with the letter X: 

We had a good time with this one, we researched how to do yarn flowers. It was a little bit more complicated than I expected but here's how we made them:

 I used an old ribbon holder and cut some grooves, then we wrapped the yellow yarn around and to the opposite side, moving one to the side each time. We went around twice. Then we used a make shift pipe cleaner needle and threaded the yarn over and under each of the petals. Again we went around twice to make a nice center. Then we slipped them off the cardboard. Pretty easy. (Here's where I got the idea: here) However, we did choose to only make 2.

This worked out perfectly as we used those to mark the top of each line, the starting points for the X.

We used flowers, flower petals from some fake flowers that I've had for years and ribbons with printed flowers. But use whatever you would like. We used flowers because we were talking about flowers and gardens (and my plan for our field trip was to go see some zinnias).

We went out of order a little bit and did Z next:

This activity was a ton of fun. We've done marble painting in the past and we always love the process as well as the end result! We decided to stick with red, white and blue as our paint colors since it was the 4th of July and we were feeling very patriotic (plus those are some of our favorite colors!).

We put red, white and blue tempera paint in a little dish (not sure where I got this little plastic dish or even what it's meant for but we use it all the time!) and tossed in a few mini marbles. I put away our regular marbles since they are a choking hazard for Little W (age 16 months) but I can't remember where that spot is, so we scrounged around in my craft room/office and found these mini marbles. They worked great. If you don't have marbles at home, we've also used large jingle bells and the cherries out of Hi Ho Cherry-O. Sometimes, you have to get creative especially when you are desperate!

 I set the Z-paper in a diaper box and she (using a spoon so she wouldn't have to touch the paint) tossed the marbles into the box one color at a time. She shook, turned and moved that box like crazy!

We couldn't stop at just the letter Z so we did a few plain pages as well for some note writing.

Last we did Y:

To be completely honest, I was so excited about doing this bathroom painting that I had both kids dressed in bathing suits and painting colored shaving cream on the walls in the bathroom that I forgot to have Big Sister do her Y practice page first (sometimes I feel like my blog is the place I confess!). When I encouraged her to write her letter on the wall first, she explained "I don't know how to write a Y" Ooops! That's my fault. She did practice her Y, but then had fun writing and drawing lots of other things. And we did go back later and do her Y practice page.

They painted for quite some time and were disappointed when I said it was time to stop. I want to give a warning here: the shaving cream made the floor of the tub very slippery. So, when Little W couldn't stand up safely any more I ended it.

The recipe is simple: shaving cream and tempera paint. I mixed an amount of yellow into the first batch. Then less yellow in the second for a light yellow. Then I did a little bit of yellow and a very little bit of black hoping it would be a darker yellow. But no - it was a muddy green. They didn't care. Next time, I'll mix in different colors, but this time we kept it to yellow (well, mostly yellow) for the letter Y.

We took a field trip to a local garden. It was fun and hot. We walked along a river, followed a path through a marsh, ate a picnic lunch, saw turtles, a big white bird and bugs. But we did not see any zinnias.

We called a local home improvement store but they did not have any zinnias in stock. We drove to a local nursery but they were closed. We were bummed but we had one last idea - a craft store! And there (after much searching and a little help from an employee!) we found one set of zinnias. I was expecting many in lots of different colors, but we were thankful to find any!

I hope your child has fun with these activities, mine sure did!

If zinnias are not your thing (or you are doing this in the summer when zinnias are not in season), you could look for zephyranthes (right? I have no idea, but it's a flower that starts with Z!) or maybe go to a farmers market to find some zucchini. That may prove to be easier! For Y, you could visit a yarn shop or try to see a yak. For X you could visit a music store and play a xylophone.  Just don't go break an arm or a leg so you can get an X-ray! Or (something I've always wanted to do), do a huge tic-tac-toe board with giant letter Xs and Os. It's not really a field trip, but something fun and new to do!

However you celebrate the letters X, Y and Z, have fun! Make it an adventure. Let me know how it goes!

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Please know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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