Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pick and Draw Game: Review and Giveaway!

Pick and Draw is an AWESOME drawing game created by freelance illustrator Rich Davis. I first heard about the game during a giveaway from another homeschool blog I follow, and while I did not win that giveaway, I was thrilled when Rich sent me a complimentary set to review on my blog, as well as another to giveaway for free to a lucky reader!!
Here is how it works: the kids pick a feature from the deck of cards to draw their own cartoon character. First a face, then eyes, a nose, mouth and hair. When they are drawing one thing at a time it becomes simple for even the youngest child to create a one-of-a-kind cartoon character. When they're done, they draw from the deck again to create another totally unique character all on their own.

I brought this to our homeschool co-op for art time with the kids and they ALL loved it! Students ages 4 to 9 all had a blast as I passed out different faces, eyes, etc. (and that age range could reach a lot further, too!) Each child delighted in seeing the outcome of theirs and their friends'! They wanted to do it again and again, excited to see what card they'd be dealt next.
My kindergartner asked to do it later when we got home and also for over an hour the following day. "I really love this game mom," she told me. "It makes me feel like a really good artist and I love to draw!"

Super cool stuff!
Without further ado, here's what you have to do to win your very own copy of this fantastically creative game:

1. Check out Rich's website at and his amazing art instruction blog:

2. If you haven't yet, join my blog's facebook page.

3. Post as your facebook status: "Hoping to win an awesome Pick and Draw game for free from @To Every Purpose: A homeschool family's journey!" (Make sure you put the @ symbol in front of my blog's name so it links back to my facebook page!)

4. Comment either on this post or on my blog's facebook page that you did the above 3 steps and your name will be entered to win!!!

I'll be "drawing" the winner next week, Saturday, March 5 at 9 a.m.! Thanks everyone and God Bless!!

Adventures with The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat has always held an affectionate place in my heart. It is the book I learned to read with when I was 4 years old. Having my kids enjoy it as well makes my heart smile. Don't you just love those moments where you can sense the passage of time in a moment?

I did a brief Cat in the Hat class at our homeschool co-op last trimester during a pre-hour, where we read the book every week and practiced our phonograms and rhyming words. We used different rhyming words each week from the book and the kids wrote the word families (AT, CAT, HAT, THAT, SAT, etc.) down on index cards to take home. Here's a helpful link I came across (after the class, go figure, but still a useful resource!) Cat in the Hat mini lesson. And of course there's the new pbs show, "The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!"

To quote the cat himself, "It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how!"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Color your clothes! Tie-Dye and other wearable art

Wearable art is fun for all ages! This color-yourself Disney shirt featuring my daughter's favorite mermaid was definitely worth the $8 at K-Mart, because you can wash it and color it again and again! And you can use your own crayons! I was skeptical at first whether it would wash and work again, but it does.

Want something more groovy? Don't forget how much fun it is to tie-dye! We did it recently at our homeschool co-op and it was a blast! I had the kids line up after they tied up their shirts, socks, pillowcases and washclothes with rubber bands for the designs, then with plastic gloves I dipped both sides of their stuff in big buckets of fabric dye. I had 3 more buckets just filled with hot water for rinsing and with the help of the other moms we got an assembly line going. It was a day to remember!

Here's how my daughter's shirt turned out! We also did a washcloth and one of daddy's old stinky socks, too. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents Day Extravaganza!

We're having fun with President's Day and Washington's Birthday this week in our homeschool by celebrating and learning about George and Abe. We made powdered wigs out of paper bags, cotton balls and baby powder and we made Abe Lincoln hats out of large black construction paper. Books from the library included Scholastic's "George Washington, America's First President" by Justin MCory Martin and "George Washington, A Picture Book Biography" by James Cross Giblin. The two we got for Mr. Lincoln were my favorites, which were "Abe Lincoln, The Boy Who Loved Books" by Kay Winters and "Abe Lincoln's Hat" by Martha Brenner. (Did you know Lincoln kept important papers and letters in his hat?)

Aside from coloring pages and various activities, another cool thing I did as we talked about the ways we honor and remember the Presidents with coins, etc. was I printed out a cut-out of the front of the quarter with Washington, had my kindergartner color and glue it to the back of a paper plate. Then printed out 25 penny cutouts with Lincoln and had her count them out and glue them to the front of the paper plate to practice how many pennies equal a quarter to make 25-cents. Then the kids stacked the real coins on the opposing sides of the plate (real pennies on the paper quarter side, real quarter on the paper pennies side.) It was a lot of fun and gave great money, counting and placement practice.

Tomorrow we're making a Lincoln log cabin out of either popsicle sticks or pretzels, and we'll be cooking a banana cake to celebrate Washington's birthday. God Bless the USA!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Great Backyard Bird Count

The Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual four-day event that, “engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent” begins this Friday, February 18 through Monday, February 21. Anyone can participate in the survey, from beginning bird watchers to experts.

My homeschool group started preparing for the count last Friday morning at our weekly learning cooperative with a “Get to Know Your Backyard Birds” workshop, taught by my mom, a lifelong bird lover. The kids learned tips for identifying birds starting with size, color, markings and song. Everyone was also given complimentary bags of bird seed with guidelines for good feeder locations along full-color posters depicting common eastern North American birds donated by Wild Birds Unlimited.

The GBBC is free to participate in and takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the four-day event. Counting helps determine how each species is doing year by year, how weather is affecting flocks and if conservation efforts are needed for a species receiving an alarmingly low count for the year.

February is also national bird feeding month, as it is the toughest time for birds to find food in the wild. For more information about The Great Backyard Bird Count, visit

Blizzard 2011

Groundhog day this year brought a blizzard of activities in our homeschool: we studied the word blizzard and how to look it up in a dictionary, then did various snow science experiments such as timing and observing a gallon of snow melting (they were amazed how little water is left after the snow shrinks away), measuring how much water expands when it freezes into ice, dying snow with food coloring and more. We also tried this delicious snow ice cream recipe, which the kids had a lot of fun with!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Banana Graham

Using the same ingredients as one of my Kids Favorite Snacks, our family's "Banana Graham" is a fun, delicious treat my kids love to help make. Simply crush up graham crackers with a rolling pin, and roll a peanut-butter covered banana in the crumbs. For best manageability, thread the banana with a kabob stick before serving. Yum!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How Things Work: A Learn and Discover Day

Take any First Questions and Answers book, such as Time Life for Children's "Why Do Balls Bounce?" and as you read through the questions, demonstrate them. This takes it right off the page and into an instant lesson. Time Life's How Things Work book answers simple questions like why does toast pop up? How does water come out of the faucet? How can I hear my friend on the telephone? How do pens write? How do toilets flush? How do light bulbs make light? etc. Demonstrate these things with simple experiments as you go along and you'll literally watch their minds capturing the concrete value to what they are learning.

My kids loved spending a day doing experiments based on each page. It made for a great learn and discover day!

Telephone string cups really work!