Ideas for Jack-O-Lanterns

Here are a few of the photos of our family’s jack-o-lanterns. They might give you ideas to try if you are carving one or more with your family this year. Have FUN together.

Jack-O-Lantern possibilities are endless

Jack-O-Lantern possibilities are endless

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New info from Kas

Yesterday, we did some work on the blog. It included switching the service we use to send posts out to our followers. This could mean that someone who signed up to follow my blog and then opted out could be back on the list by mistake. If this has happened to you, please email me at: kaswinmark@cox.net and I will correct it right away.

We also changed the schedule for posts being delivered. Instead of sending them out when there are three posts, as we have been doing, all posts for the week will be emailed on Wednesdays.

These are minor changes, but will simplify a couple of things.

The sign-up form to receive your FREE download of my 72 page book, “Teach a Child to Think. De-Stress the Test” has been simplified. If you did not already get your copy, fill in the blanks to receive a direct link to the downloadable file. (If you like it, feel free to share this link with others. We like making new friends!)

We hope you are enjoying our family ideas and possibilities. and even trying some with your child, children, or grandchildren.

Kas Winters

72 pages of ideas to help toddlers through teens gain confidence in their abilities.

72 pages of ideas to help toddlers through teens gain confidence in their abilities.

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Tools for Making Jack-O-Lanterns

Get creative with tools for creating jack-o-lanterns. It teaches skills and safety too.

Have fun with tools for creating jack-o-lanterns. Teach skills and safety too.

In our family, we got really creative with tools for carving jack-o-lanterns. In the process, our kids experienced using a variety of cutters and were taught safety at the same time. We had fun with the usual kitchen knives, and sometimes an X-acto™ craft knife. Some had straight edges and others were serrated. Of course, their use was overseen by adults. Children who were too young to cut safely drew their designs on the pumpkins and adults did the cutting.

In addition to knives, over the years, we added an electric drill and a skill saw to the mix as well as other options including an ice pick, wood and linoleum block carving tools, and specialized kitchen items like a potato peeler, zest cutter, and similar things. We learned to be careful, creative. We laughed and made memories too.

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Oops! I goofed. The Lunar Eclipse was Last Night.

Many apologies to all of my followers! I had it on my calendar for today, but must have misinterpreted things. Since it occurred in the middle of the night, but after midnight, I should have dated it for yesterday. You can still look up at the moon and see if you can see any stars. (In many areas light pollution is hiding lots of them.) The photos on the original post were taken of a lunar eclipse in April.

DSCF1780

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Weave a Web for Halloween

Spider Web Halloween Craft

Spider Web Halloween Craft

This is a simple craft that teaches a little bit about weaving as part of the fun. Materials include a small plastic disposable dessert plate, a plastic spider and another plastic bug or two, string, and scissors. Cut twelve or fourteen 1/4″ slits around the outside edge of the plate. (We used a black plate so our white string web would be easy to see.) Tie a knot at the end of a long piece of string. Begin with the knot on the bottom of the plate and bring the string up through one of the slits. Take the string across the top of the plate and then through a slit on the opposite side of the plate. The string will be on the bottom of the plate. Take it to the nearest slit and bring it back up to the top. Repeat this process, crisscrossing string on top, until all the slits are full. Knot and cut the string. (If necessary, you can add additional pieces of string to complete the web.) Cut another piece of string. Use it to tie all of the crisscrossed strings together in the middle of the plate. Then take the untied end of the string and weave it over and under strings, around in a circle until you are happy with the way your spider web looks. Tie a knot at the end. Add a plastic spider. Other bugs can be placed on the web too. Spiders build webs to catch bugs for dinner.

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Look Up at the Sky!

lunarEclipse

Last night, October 7th, there was a Lunar Eclipse. It was the second one this year. What a fun way to learn a little science, especially for older kids. Initially, I thought it would be tonight, but my calendar was not correct, so we missed the opportunity to see it. It was cloudy here in the area of Arizona where I live, so we probably would not have seen much last night here. I’m sorry I didn’t get the information out in time for parents and kids to take a look and enjoy it.

Kids are interested in things like this. The photos here are the ones I took of the eclipse in April of this year. It was fun to watch, even though it meant waking up in the middle of the night! If you have children who are interested in science, astronomy, and even space travel, encourage them to do some research on this topic. The pictures above show the “blood moon” too. The sun is no longer lighting the moon directly, and it takes on a reddish color. Following that, the opposite side of the moon is a white crescent and keeps getting larger until it is well lit again. The pictures of that would be the reverse of those shown here.

There is plenty to see when you look up. So many areas have light pollution that it is becoming more challenging to see stars, constellations, and planets. If you can get away from city lights, there are many wonders to see if you look UP!

 

 

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Build Confidence with Many Successes

One of our goals with our children was to build a succession of successful successes. We started small and kept adding new experiences and skills to increase their confidence in a variety of areas. This helped them to see themselves as capable. Each time a new achievement was added, confidence increased. As adults they rappel down mountains after climbing them, parachute, work at heights of 185 feet over the crowd, travel worldwide, develop complex marketing plans for corporations, create laser shows for events, and more. Our grandchildren are also building skills. This stuff works because it can be keyed to each child’s individual interests and abilities.

With schools focusing on teaching to tests, kids today need to know they ARE capable in various areas to offset any negativity that might occur from testing pressure and grades. Children who are confident in areas other than the classroom KNOW what they CAN do. That goes a long way toward offsetting negative test results. With only 50% of students passing CCSS tests last year in the state with the highest number of kids with passing grades, many of our kids are going to need to know they are not failures.

Build an “I can do that” self-image, one step at a time.

Help Children Build Skills

Help Children Build Skills

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Make Splatter Prints with Fall Leaves

Flick the brush to put paint on the paper so it covers the leaf and area around it.

MATERIALS: leaves, paper (plain white paper, butcher paper, or colored construction paper), poster paints or acrylic paints, an old toothbrush, newspaper or a disposable plastic tablecloth to protect the painting area, paint shirts for children

DIRECTIONS: Begin by covering the work area with newspapers or plastic to protect it from paint. Large trash bags or disposable plastic tablecloths work well. (As always, watch small children around plastic bags, which can be dangerous to little ones if they block breathing.) Put paint shirts on children to cover clothes.

Place a leaf or an arrangement of leaves on a piece of paper. Dip the old toothbrush in paint (your choice of color or colors.) Use your thumb to fllick the bristles of the brush so the paint is splattered on the paper. Repeat until the area around the leaves is covered with as much paint as you choose. You can use more than one color to make it look artistic. When you have finished painting, and the paint is dry, remove the leaves carefully. Silhouette shapes of the leaves will be surrounded by the speckled colors of paint. You can also paint on fabric to decorate T-shirts, sweatshirts, tablecloths or napkins for fall.

Use paper paintings for wall decorations, scrapbook covers, party invitations, fall greeting cards, or just post them on the refrigerator with pride!

Finished Leaf Print

Finished Leaf Prints can be used in many ways for fall decorating.

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Try Spider Snacks for a Treat!

So many Halloween treats are filled with an overwhelming amount of sugar, and it’s nice to have an option that is fun and reasonably healthy too. Start with round crackers of your choice. Add cream cheese and give each spider two raisin eyes. For legs, break small pretzel sticks in half and insert eight of them around the cream cheese. It’s easy enough for most kids to make their own.

Spider Snacks for Fall and Halloween

Spider Snacks for Fall and Halloween

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Have Fun Making a Halloween Tree

We started our Halloween tree with a sturdy branch from a manzanita bush, but many kinds of branches will work just fine. You can spray paint it or leave it natural. Fill a pot with dirt, sand or other material to hold the branch in an upright position so it looks like a tree. Twinkle lights are a nice addition. The ornaments are all handmade. Ghosts are fabric, gauze, and dried white glue. Scarecrows are yarn dolls with pieces of felt, burlap, and jiggle eyes. Felt can be used for many different decorations. Salt dough can also be used to make just about everything on your tree. Pipe cleaners, pom poms and jiggle eyes are perfect for spiders. One of the pumpkins is an eggshell with pieces of tissue paper glued to it for color. Witches are clothes  pins dressed in felt with yarn hair and painted faces. The owls are pinecones with feathers, eyes and a construction paper or felt beak. The bat is folded construction paper. If you supply some of these materials and share the photo with kids, they are quite likely to come up with their original creations for decorations. That kind of creative play also builds confidence in their abilities.

Halloween Tree with options for easy-to-make decorations

Halloween Tree with options for easy-to-make decorations

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