Monday, July 18, 2011

The Great Water Week Round Up!

There's a dolphin up there if you look hard.
Ah, Water Week. this week was a little tougher than I expected, partly because there are SO MANY things to do and learn about that have to do with water. Then again, pretty much anything we did could be linked to Water Week somehow or another.

An easier option might have been Oceans Week. Or Lakes and Streams Week. Or I Vow to Give My Kids a Bath EVERY NIGHT Week.

We did none of those weeks.

Rather, we explored bridges (with no water underneath), streams, water from the tap, and the National Aquarium.

Usually for Camp Stimey, I try to hold a circle time each day to actually, you know, teach my kids something. I didn't do that this week. Instead, we learned by doing.

We started Monday by walking across a bridge that spanned a road we often drive on. See, we drive under this bridge every day to take Jack to (and from and to and from) camp every day. We also drive under it to get to speech therapy every week. AND we watched the thing be built from scratch last year as Quinn and I drove to and from his preschool every day.

You can't tell from the back, but Quinn was really whiny because it was hot.

After that, we headed to a park to meet some friends and explore a stream.

You can't tell from the back, but Alex was really whiny because it was hot.

This next photo is specifically for Missy, who has apparently been hoping for an Ultimate Frisbee Day as part of a Sports Week. Well, Missy, we didn't have an ultimate frisbee, but we did toss the fris around a little.

You can tell from the front that Sam was really whiny because it was hot.

Whining lessened when we headed down to the stream. We had come prepared with buckets and nets and set about catching some small swimming things. There was some dispute over whether they were tadpoles or baby fish.

What say you?

Sam, Alex, and I came down on the side of tadpoles. We do have some experience with the subject, you may remember. The other family was convinced that they were fish.

Quinn was more interested in rocks.

Eventually, however, all the kids came to an agreement that wading in the murky water trumped all else, thereby ensuring that none of us could ever visit that particular park again unless we were prepared to get all wet.

That water doesn't look gross at all.

We turned to cleaner water on Tuesday. Remember how all of you were like, "Hey! Water balloons would be a GREAT idea for Water Week!"? Where were all of you when I was sadly filling 175 water balloons from the hose Tuesday morning?

We waited patiently until Jack got home from camp to have our balloon fight, because how sad would it have been to have Jack discover hundreds of tiny bits of broken balloons on the grass and then burst into tears? (Which, incidentally, is a whole other kind of water.)

Sam was ready and eager to go!

The dog probably should be more concerned than she looks.

Alex didn't agree that I was off limits.

Balloon filling aside, water balloons were a brilliant idea.

Wednesday, we had a whole little series of water activities, starting with watercolor painting. We usually paint with some other kind of paint (Tempura, maybe? All I know is that it smells bad.), so the watercolors were a nice change of pace.

Sam didn't just paint a picture, but also parts of the floor.

Jack's art is always amusing to me. That kid has such a cool little brain in him.

That's a straw, and the guy is saying, "Thirsty."

Quinn went for more of a multi-media approach.

After we painted, we did some experiments with glasses of water. We started by dying the water with food coloring. Then we made music by banging spoons on the glasses, each of which had a different amount of water in it.

Sam was hopeful that he could make music by blowing across the top of the glass, like you can with bottles of water.

He was not successful.

Jack, tired after a full day of camp, bailed after that, but Sam and Quinn stuck around to see what happened when you mixed the different colored waters together.

Turns out that they all turned black. Who would've thunk it?

This next part may not be for the easily queasy. Now, intellectually, I know that water turned black by food coloring is just like any other water. But there is no way on earth that I would drink any of it. Quinn, however, the kid who is sooo particular that he would only wear yellow t-shirts for two years of his life, was not so timid.

He sampled all of them. Then his teeth turned black.

I'm pretty excited about our Friday activity. We made giant fish. To do this, you cut out two identical giant shapes of fish for each child and then have them color them. Make sure they color on the correct two sides, otherwise their artwork may end up on the inside of the fish.

Cutting out realistic looking fish shapes is a whole other story.

After your kid has finished coloring the fish, staple around part of the edge and stuff it with crumpled up newspaper—or, the edges of the paper from which you originally cut the fish. You have to have a working stapler in order to make this happen. If you are me, you will cycle through all three of your house staplers before you find one appropriate for the task.

Then, hang the fish and have a fist fight under them!

Only Sam and Quinn were around to do this, but I don't know that Jack has even noticed these hanging over the back door, so no harm, no foul.

The reason we made these fish is because I have fond memories of them. When I was in grade school, I did this very same craft in some class. I remember that not all the kids wanted to take their finished projects home, so I walked home from school one day with, like, 17 fish dangling from my hand. I hung them up all over my room. My mom hated them. She kept trying to get me to get rid of them by telling me that spiders were probably building nests inside them.

That last part may not be true (and it will almost certainly make my mother aghast), but that is what my very reliable memory tells me.

Okay, the last thing we did (I promise! Also, jeez, I promise to not do any more all-one-day recap posts.) was go to the aquarium on Sunday. We used to have a membership to the National Aquarium in Baltimore because I liked going someplace that would keep my kids forcibly strapped into car seats for an hour each way. The aquarium also costs a million dollars, so if you go more than twice, you have paid for your membership.

What I am saying here, is that although we used to go to the aquarium a lot, we haven't been at all for the past probably three years. We were supposed to be meeting Joeymom there, but she and her family actually arrived at the agreed upon time, whereas I arrived terribly, unfashionably late. I had assumed that we would be able to pretty quickly catch up with her on one of the upper levels, but I hadn't taken into account the fact that, holy frijoles, my kids love fish.

They stopped at every single tank and inspected everything in each one. They were so excited. I didn't expect that. It was really lovely. That said, it was also really dark and there were a lot of people there, so I kept on with an internal and external little chant.

Internal: "One...two...where's Quinn?...three. One...two...where the hell did Sam go?...three. One...two..."

External: "Team Stimey, stick together! Don't get on that escalator until Jack catches up! Look! An octopus! Sam, come back here! Quinn, please, for the love of all that is good in the world, do not drop my iPhone into the bat ray tank!"

Why don't I remember to dress my kids in fluorescent orange at these places?

We finally met up with Joeymom and her family and stopped for lunch, which for Quinn mostly consisted of cookies and for Jack mostly consisted of air and watching the harbor below.

He sat like that for a good twenty minutes.

Quinn and cookies. See Joeymom back there?

After "lunch," we headed down the aquarium ramp past the giant tanks. We were lucky in that we got there as the divers were feeding the fish. We watched a diver hand feed shrimp to a ray and we watched them put heads of lettuce down for the fish and we watched them squirt some sort of chum out of little squeezy bottles for the non-lettuce eating fish.

We also watched one of them play patty-cake with Jack.

We ended our day by spending a long time watching dolphins and then going to check out the jellyfish exhibit, which was incredibly cool. Those are some nifty animals, those jellyfish. Sam doesn't care for them because he was stung by one once, but I think Jack could have studied the way they moved for hours.

"Without water there would be no..."
So there you have it: Water Week. When I put it all in one post, it looks like we did a lot. (When you were here at my house with me, it looked a lot more like my kids just went swimming a lot.)

This week we are going to learn about the Five+ (not to be confused with Google+) Senses. Stay tuned as we do such tangentially sensory-related things as go swimming for Touch Day and tie-dye shirts for Sight Day (which will double as Color Day)!

Have a great week!

See more about Camp Stimey here!

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