Monday, August 27, 2007


D. painted some shells to keep busy when her brother was doing his spelling lesson this morning.
T. painted some shells after he finished his morning subjects. I need to thank my MIL who brought us back a HUGE bag of shells from her winter trip to Florida. I have a year supply of shells to keep the children busy.
T. made some pencil toppers to dress up his new school supplies and to give him something to fidget with when he is thinking and doing his school work. If he doesn't have something to fidget with he often falls off the chairs when doing school work. If he can fidget with his fingers he has an easier time keep his rump in place. LOL! Crazy YUP! BUT it works for us!

I was such a good mama today! I gave my children some new toys! LOOK! LOL!
YUP! Pop bottles cut up! I gave 2 pieces to D. and the rest to T.

D. now has a new funnel AND a new way of making sand castles! Not every child has such fancy sand and water toys. LOL! BTW The next soda bottle I get I plan on poking holes in the bottom of and making it a sand sifter/ water sprinkler. My children are very easy to please!T. used his new toys in his new invention. I will start at the beginning to explain his new invention. T. asked to build a roller coaster today with cardboard tubes. We don't have enough wrapping paper, paper towel, and tp cores to do that (well to make on the size he wanted anyway). Instead he decided to downs size his invention and use paper and my favorite school supply MASKING TAPE! I know everyone who knows me KNOWS that I think masking tape is at the top of my must have on the school supply list! I don't know if I will ever run out of uses for masking tape. My son is following in my footsteps. Rob brought home a new roll of tape for T. tonight and he jumped up and down and squealed with excitement. He was more excited over this roll of tape than he is on his birthday in front of a stack of gifts. LOL! He LOVES tape! Anyway, this is what he came up with.

Picture below shows the first few tubes taped to the wall.
This next one shows a ramp that lets the marble go a bit uphill if it is rolling fast then it goes down the second slope. I had to show T. how this could work. He tried many times to find a way to get a second ramp going down to work. He first put tape at the end to block the tube off and the marble would stick and not work for him or he would make a big drop down to let the ball drop near the ground. He got a bit frustrated not being able to think of a way to get it to move the other way without a big drop (he wanted to keep lots of wall space open to keep the run going.Funnel was added to watch the ball swirl around.
Then another funnel and the ramp goes back to the left again. The green is the tubes made from the soda bottle centers.

Then a clear tube (clear soda bottle) and a cup (bottle bottom) at the end to catch the marbles.D. thinks this is HER new toy!!! LOL! She screams and cries I need beans! She thought marbles are beans. We told her they are marbles and now she screams and yells marbles. T. and her had so much fun playing with this tonight! I know D. will break it tomorrow and T. will build it a new way. I hope to get a video of how cute the 2 of them are with this! They can be so nice with each other.

I know this is NOT a true invention (but I will not tell T. that). It is just a marble run. Now I want you to know he has a NICE marble run set made out of wood but that is not what he wanted today. It is true we have lots of homemade toys made with paper and tape but he does have real toys also (giggle). He wanted to make his own invention himself today. Well, I did have to make the clear tubes from the center of the soda bottles at the bottom (I didn't think they would stay stuck shut with masking tape. I used duck tape to make them into tubes for him. This project he worked on off and on all day. He would have spent more time on it if he didn't have to do school but I told him he had to do his school work! We did agree that he could add 1 tube after every 5 math problems. It seemed to speed up his math. Before I agreed to that he kind of sat in front of the math book looking at the tubes just thinking about what he wanted to do. I know this is NOT the perfect way to teach a child but he did get his work done and I didn't have to deal with the daydreaming he was doing before I agreed to this. I think of it as a win win situation not a naughty child and bad teacher one like some might see it. I do hope to someday have my children sitting well at desks or a table and working hard on stuff with no noise or bouncing around but I haven't figured out how to do that yet. For now I will keep doing what works for us.

Below is a video of his creation earlier in the day. I tried to take a video of it tonight but it was so dark it didn't show up well. This does not show all of his tubes he has going right now. It is my voice at the end. I often call T. buddy.

T.'s Marble run.


Heather said...

Sea Shells are great to have around. We actually live a couple of miles from the beach so I can pick up new ones any time I need. Very handy. Keep that in mind if you need more, just let me know. You have some really creative children, that marble run is amazing. Maybe I will try that with Sammy and Gabe this weekend. Thanks for the idea. :)

Fun Mommy of 2 said...

WOw, I am really impressed with all your ideas. Ok 1. the bottle "toys". That is was a great idea. I absolutely love the poking of the holes.
2. The marble and the funnel is an awesome idea. I might have to try this with Z. That is neat that T. can make this on his own. VERY GOOD.

Lelani said...

Wow, Amber thanks for the award! It really made my day to find such a nice comment! I love your son's rollercoaster. I can't wait to show my son. I'm sure he'll want to get right on doing one himself. Now I just need to pick a wall.....

Amber said...

Heather you are so kind! My MIL spends winters in Florida and she brought me home so many I don't know if I will ever run out of shells.LOL! I should warn you that the marble run does not look attractive on the wall. I never care how it looks if the children are having fun and learning but I don't know if it is the choice all parents would make.

Yasmina, thanks for making me feel good about my "toys" LOL! I felt very silly posting pictures of our soda bottles.

I think your son and even your daughter could make a marble run with very little help from you! If you use paper towel, gift wrap, and toilet paper cores for the run and add in some soda bottle funnels. The paper ones don't hold well so you have to keep adjusting it because the printer paper bends from the weight of the marbles. I don't know if a 4 year old could figure that part out alone but the cardboard cores is a lot easier for young children to work with. I think the fact that the paper run needs adjusting all the time is wonderful for T. (a child 7 years old) because he has to observe and fix it over and over but I know younger children would not be able to do all fixing every few minutes. I would get frustrated if I had to keep helping T. fix it. I can see that D. learned a lot on how the marble run works from watching T. she even adjusted it correctly twice. I am going to let her build her own when T. is done with his. I will use sturdier cores or even card stock paper for her and I will put the tape on the tubes so she gets enough on. She will just need to pick out the piece of tube and help me decide where to put it. We will try over and over to see how to place the next tube so it will work. When we do it I will try to get a small video clip for you to see.

Lelani, You are very welcome! I love reading what your children are doing (that is when I get free time to read blogs). I love seeing your adventures! Your writing on your blog is often the same way I talk to my children (we have lots of potato people, rock people, stick people, and paper people adventures in my house also). I had to show your blog to my hubby a few times so he could see it isn't just me who does stuff like that!