Night Sky Family Night

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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Sometimes you just need a little party in your life. Like... a dinner party for just your family, nothing fancy, just something a little be more than normal. With that in mind, I created this themed evening for two- myself and Ronan- that was centered around one of my favorite things - the summer night sky.

This night started at the dinner table. Using things that I just had around the house, the centerpiece was a tray full of containers of varying heights holding sparklers, candles, matches, etc. I was going for a textural melody that was also functional. I was enchanted by the colors of these blue enamel camping plates, really I think they are what inspired this whole thing, so I used them as the pop of color among the gray tones. Then I topped off the place setting with a simple star crown that I created with paper and tape, using the same technique you use for a paper people chain.

To stay within the theme of the night, we created a few simple star crafts. Using dark blue tempera paint (created with a mix of normal blue with a bit of black in it), we painted sticks to match the night sky. Perfection wasn't necessary, so even my almost-2-year-old could help with this. We let the sticks dry, then I hot glued them into a star shape. We added a string and hung them up, giving Ronan a chance to point show them off every time I asked him where the star was.

For our second art activity, we painted some heavy paper with the same dark blue paint and glow in the dark paint. I cut both of the papers into stars and put them in a jar to be used later during storytime.

I like to keep themed baskets around the house for Ronan to enjoy. This storytime basket included an adorable starlight that we played with in our forts, the jar full of stars that I mentioned earlier, and a ton of books. The Stars by H.A. Rey is a simply beautifully designed book that is full of information. Moon by Britta Teckentrup is a beautifully illustrated peek through book that goes through the phases of the moon. Starry Skies by Samantha Chagollan was a book with glossy/raised constellations that Ro loved to touch. I particularly loved the Stars book by Mary Lyn Ray. It had a great message, and after reading it I painted a special silver star just to be kept in Ronan's own pocket.

Some other books that were in the basket where Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin HenkesOnce Upon A Starry Night by Jacqueline Mitton, and Faces of the Moon by Bob Crelin.

Because of the simplicity of this theme, there are a ton of other activities that could be easily incorporated to make it a fun-filled night. Backyard camping, firefly catching, sparklers...  I think that anything that makes you get that warm feeling of a classic summer night is the perfect addition.

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Going on a Bug Hunt

Thursday, August 1, 2019

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"We are going on a bug hunt!" I announce to my almost two year old. I am met with a blank stare. Yup, this is pretty much how I expected this to go. I herd him over to the couch and dump out the contents of the bag in my hands. A small notebook, "map," bug examination box and measuring tape fall out. I let him examine everything, the pack it back into his small bag and sling it over his shoulder. "Let's go!" I exclaim, met by another bewildered look. 
In my own bag I have a pile of colorful bugs I had drawn on contact paper while he was sleeping. I put one down and gasped. "I found a bug! Look!" Ronan follows my pointed finger, and his eyes light up. He makes the comically exaggerated "omg" face that I had been hoping for. I tell him to put it in the bag, and he toddles over to grab his discovery.


Amazingly, we are able to find most of the bugs before he loses interest.  I put them in the examination box, and make references to what he found all night, being sure to tell Dad when he gets home. 

The next day I ask Ronan if he wants to look at his bugs. We get them out and one by one stick them in our notebook and measure them. (Measuring is one of his favorite activities). It takes about a week to fill the whole notebook, but now he has a book he can get out and look at. When he is a bit older I'd like to name the bugs, or even have him draw them!

Supplies for this actrivity:
contact paper
colorful permanent markers
a notebook
a ruler
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