Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Random Collection of Good Things

This week's Tungsten Hippo post has a few recommendations for short eBooks that might help you with your New Year's Resolutions.

We've already started in on our 2014 family fun list, visiting a doughnut shop for treats after our park outing yesterday. Maybe the key to keeping your resolutions is making the fun and easy to do!


I've come across some great things for the kids lately, and I feel like sharing them:

My Mom brought over her Quiddler game and played a modified version with Pumpkin, who loved it. I think this is a great way to practice spelling and vocabulary for kids who aren't quite ready for full on Scrabble yet. I'm tempted to buy the game for our house, but we already have a bunch of games, so I may not. If you're feeling a bit light in the game department, check this one out.

My parents got Pumpkin the basic Roominate set, and so far I am quite impressed. Pumpkin was able to build it and wire up the motor by herself, and she is having a lot of fun with it. My only complaint is that it is sized for small dolls (the ones that are about 3-4 inches high) and not Barbies. However, this is not because the Pumpkin isn't enjoying playing with her smaller dolls and this toy. It is because my kids really want a Barbie house and I really do not want to store a big plastic one.

My in-laws send Pumpkin this really cool Magic Cherry Blossom Tree. It is a crystal growing experiment made super cool. Both kids love it. And I love that it will go away after about a month, so I don't have to store anything. (I spent several hours today finding homes for all the new Christmas toys, so lack of storage requirement seems like a big plus to me right now!) My only criticism is that there was that the solution came pre-mixed. This is probably necessary to get the exact right mixture, but it meant that there wasn't much for Pumpkin to do in the set up. But she and Petunia both really loved watching the growing process, though, which gave me a chance to try to explain crystallization at the appropriate level (I'd give myself a B- on that).

About an hour or two in

Roughly 6 hours in

Finished product

Moving on... I love Giants Beware! for older kids. A friend's husband did the color on this graphic novel, which is how I heard about it. I read it and loved it, and think Pumpkin will love it in a few years, too.

We've also been exploring apps for the kids to play on my Kindle Fire. It is usually restricted to times when we need them to be someplace boring and put up with it- e.g., car rides, restaurant waits, and the like. Of course, as I type this, Pumpkin is playing with it now just because I said she could. Maybe at some point, I'll write up an entire post about apps aimed at kids, but for now I'll just note that both kids really like the apps put out by Kevin Bradford. Petunia is particularly fond of the subtraction game in the Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games app, because she likes tapping the items with "X" on them and making them disappear. It will be pretty funny if this means she learns to subtract before she learns to add.

One day a few weeks ago, Mr. Snarky was home with a sick Petunia, and he sent me an email telling me she loved the Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse show. My initial reaction was "WTF are you doing showing her that?" but he made me watch it when I got home, and it is surprisingly good. Or at least not terrible. Here are episodes we've watched. Look for the Star Trek, Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark references.

And finally, Petunia wanted to watch Gangnam style on "the big TV" (instead of Pumpkin's computer, where we have installed a version from Dance Dance Revolution), and we stumbled on this, which caused both kids to laugh uproariously:


Finally, both kids have some original humor I'd like to share.

Let's start with Petunia (4 years old):

Who's there?
A chicken.
A chicken who?
A chicken got on the hood of a car and a man came and cleaned it off but it kept getting back on the car and the man kept having to clean it off.

Here is Pumpkin's original joke:

What is the difference between a teacher and a tutor?
The tutor farts a lot.

And I think I'll leave it there. I can't top that joke.

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