Scarecrow Decorates for Fall

image

After a rain induced 2 day sabbatical, Scarecrow has returned to check on the cleanliness of the playroom and to reward tidiness with tidings of Fall decor. Maxwell industrially cleaned up the room this morning to remedy the hot mess he’d left last night. I helped scarecrow decorate during the rare occasion when Patrick actually napped while Maxwell was at his two day a week school.

image

The pumpkin/jack-o-lantern window cling was only a dollar at Target. I plan on having Maxwell and Patrick change the face each day. It’ll be good for Patrick especially to identify facial feature names.

I’m holding a lot of decorations back so that the boys can earn them by taking care of their things and following directions.

More about The Scarecrow in the Yard:
Introducing: The SCARECROW in the Yard

image

Introducing: The SCARECROW in the Yard

imageYou may have heard of The Elf on the Shelf but I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of The Scarecrow in the a Yard. Why haven’t you heard of it?  Probably because I made it up three days ago when I saw a 5ft scarecrow for sale at the craft store for $7.

Who is this mysterious straw stuffed friend?
He was inspired by the character No Noggin from the special Curious George: Halloween Boofest (also on Netflix)-a scarecrow who looses his pumpkin head. Maxwell loooooves this show. So, I knew he’d be totally bumped if we had a scarecrow of our very own. Our Fall Friend Scarecrows(very important to market him as a friendly-not scary – scarecrow) was waiting to meet Maxwell and Patrick right outside their playroom window one morning after I’d told Maxwell I thought I heard a scarecrow outside the night before.

The Scarecrow stays outside all day scaring away crows, but at night when all of the birds are asleep he can come down from his stick!

What can scarecrow do?
1) He watches kids play all day and has fun watching them clean up, share,  and learn.
2) If any toys are left inside at the end of the day he likes to sneak inside at night and take them!
3) When he sees children make happy choices he will get them surprises.
4) He loves Fall and likes to surprise people by decorating their house at night.

Why a Fall Friend Scarecrow?
1) It’s fun.
2) Apparently, the good opinion of a straw stuffed piece of felt holds greater sway over my sons’ actions than does mine. They really wanna impress this guy.
3) He helps me keep the playroom clean by stealing toys.
4) There are so few ways to meaningfully observe Fall in Texas since the two seasons here are Summer (April – September) and slightly less hot summer (October-March).
5) It’s super cheap.
6) It probably creeps out our neighbors to see a scarecrow facing into our house and periodically moving it’s position around our yard. This just makes me chuckle 🙂

I will continue to make updates on new ways Scarecrow interacts with us throughout the Fall. Goodness I love how kids make MY imagination come alive 🙂

Updates:
Scarecrow Decorates for Fall

Great Website with Lots of Songs About Fall and Scarecrows
http://www.preschooleducation.com/sfall.shtml
Before revealing scarecrow each day we sing one of our scarecrow songs.

The Floppy Scarecrow
Sung to: The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The Floppy, floppy scarecrow
Guards his fields all day.
He waves his floppy, floppy hands
To scare the crows away!
Repeat and replace Hands with arms, toes, head, legs, etc…

Scarecrow
Sung to: “Teddy Bear, Teddy bear turn around”

Scarecrow, Scarecrow, turn around.
Scarecrow, scarecrow, jump up and down
Scarecrow, scarecrow, arms up high
Scarecrow, Scarecrow, wink one eye
Scarecrow, scarecrow, bend your knee
Scarecrow, scarecrow, flap in the breeze
Scarecrow, scarecrow, climb into bed
Scarecrow, scarecrow, rest your head

I’m a little Scarecrow
Sung to: “I’m a little teapot”

I’m a little scarecrow stuffed with hay.
Here I stand in a field all day.
When I see the crows,
I like to shout
“Hey! You crows, you better get out!”

Boys Swinging Birches and The Peace of Wild Things

image

Today I felt like quitting. One can only endure so much screaming, throwing, yelling, and biting. I wanted to cry, scream, and walk off of the job, but being a mother doesn’t allow for such selfish impulses. Instead, I parked the car, stepped out, took a few deep breaths, made two sandwiches, got back into the car and headed for the one place I knew could cool my soul and quiet my mind-the woods.

After a picnic lunch, I could already breath more deeply. The tall pines with their spicy warm scent cast long shadows in the afternoon sun and I didn’t have to be afraid of the boys breaking them. The rocks too where made of much tougher stuff than even my little ruffians and I didn’t worry about losing one under a peace of furniture or breaking one underfoot. The birds may have objected to our boisterous racket, but they’re a significantly less judgemental lot then the public at large. I suppose once you’ve taught your children to fly you can take pity on the ineptitude of human parents.

Amazingly, the boys seemed to sense that they were not the most wild things within earshot and stopped trying to claim the title in favor of observing bugs and collecting nature’s ephemera.

Our walk reminded me of two poems:
Birches by Robert Frost

image

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

image

It’s amazing how one beauty so often summons up memories of others and how the peace of the woods can stay with you throughout the day.

Hidden Message Writing Activity

image

Paper, matching crayons, and watercolor paints-bam you’ve got a hidden message writing activity.

My good friend Kristin shared this idea and I had to try it out. Both boys loved it and it was simple/fun enough that my husband was able to step in and be the teacher for the activity.

Tips:
-Lighter colors work best like white paper and white crayons or yellow paper and yellow crayons and use darker contrasting paint colors.
-To really focus on fine motor development try to have your kiddos only paint on the areas with crayon. Helps them prepare to write the letters themselves.
-Draw pictures and shapes for littler kiddos

Fall Songs and Videos

image

September 21st marks the Autumnal Equinox and the first day of Fall.I thought I’d share this unvetted list in case anyone else is also in the beginning stages of planning their Fall playlist. In addition to lots of leaf, apple, and pumpkin activities that I plan on doing throughout the season we’ll be singing lots of Fall songs. I just began my search for songs and videos.

YouTube Videos About Fall and the Seasons
Falling Leaves
Fall and Autumn Counting Song
Sesame Street: Guess the Season Song

Great Website with Lots of Songs About Fall
http://www.preschooleducation.com/sfall.shtml
A selection of the songs I think we’ll try first
The Leaves are falling  “Farmer in the Dell”

The leaves are falling down
The leaves are falling down
Red, yellow, green, and brown
The leaves are falling down

A Squirrel Song
Sung to: “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”

I’ll be gathering all the acorns till they’re gone.
I’ll be gathering all the acorns till they’re gone.
I’ll be gathering all the acorns, gathering all the acorns,
Gathering all the acorns till they’re gone.
(Children make collecting motion with their hands)

And I’ll put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside, put them all inside,
Put them all inside my little home.
(children pretend to place nuts in tree house)

And I’ll eat the nuts until the winter’s gone.
I will eat the nuts until the winter’s gone.
I will eat the nuts until, eat the nuts until,
Eat the nuts until the winter’s gone.
(children pretend to eat acorns)

Then I’ll do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again, do it all again,
Do it all again come next fall.
(children make gathering motion with hands and arms again

Frisky Squirrel
Sung to: “The Grand Old Duke of York”

Oh, the frisky little squirrel
He gathers nuts and seeds.
He hides them for the winter months
So he’ll have all he needs.

Refrain:
Oh, up-up-up he goes
And down-down-down he comes.
He runs around – goes up and down.
His work is never done. (repeat refrain)

Tiny Green Thumbs

image

“But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet, and good tilled earth. For all Hobbits share a love of things that grow.”  Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Rings

Although we may not have much peace and quiet around our house today we did try to have some good tilled earth. The boys got their tiny green thumbs good and dirty too.
This quote from Lord of the Rings always makes me give an internal sigh of frustration at my own lack of green thumb. I’ve always felt a strong kinship to the jolly little Hobbits in no small part because I share their literal and figurative closeness to the earth.

Also, sharing Hobbits’ love of food we enjoy cooking at our house and I’m always shaking my head at the ridiculous price of fresh herbs at the grocery store. So, we decided to plant basil, thyme, oregano, and peppermint. I also read that these were easy to grow-another vote in their favor for our first attempt at gardening.

image

Maxwell and Patrick were both so excited that I was actually encouraging them to dig in the dirt. The gardening gloves I got them were so laughably insufficient at keeping them clean that I quickly surrendered to the chaos of “good tilled earth” all over our persons and just gave us all a good hosing before going back into the house.

image

My mother has a lovely set of green thumbs that I can only hope the boys will inherit from her. I struggle to keep desk cactus alive longer than a week. I’m sure I’ll be calling my parents for tips on the regular, but I’m not going to be too upset if I kill everything and have to start over. Even if we don’t get any caprese salad or herb marinated chicken out of our little potted garden I hope to least teach the boys that plants need soil, sun, water, and attention to grow.

Morning 45 Didn’t Happen, But Bubbles and Cuddles Did and That’s Okay With a Me

image

An hour a day is a goal. Today we did not accomplish our goal, but the boys did attend their first music class of the Fall season and played in the backyard with water and bubbles. So, I’d call it a good day. In order for me to maintain this goal of an hour of structured play outside of the classroom for the long haul I feel like I can’t beat myself up over days like today.

When Maxwell scampered into my bedroom for cuddles this morning I could have jumped out of bed and rushed through our morning homeschool time before heading to our 9:30am music class, but instead I cuddled him in close and enjoyed the coziness that I knew would end all too soon.