Saturday, 4 August 2012

Boredom busters

We've been having temperatures in the mid-30s, accompanied by high humidity, every day for the last 2 weeks or so. Even here in Japan, where hot and humid summers are the norm, this is extreme. Our prefecture has been noted on the national news several times as the hottest place in the country and the heat stroke warnings continue.

It's enough to make you want to just stay in the living room with the air conditioning on all day. Oh, hang on, that is exactly what we have been doing. Well, we do venture out occasionally but most of the summer holidays so far have been spent here, at a positively chilly 28 degrees.

Usually we have a No TV Before 5pm rule (generally interpreted by K as It's 5pm So We Must Switch On The TV...), but the Olympics have given me an excuse to break that. Half an hour here and there of gymnastics, swimming or football help to break up the day. Last weekend we recorded the opening ceremony and watched it in 3 sittings; K enjoyed identifying the national flags.

It's not all watching TV and sweating though. One apparent benefit of the weather is that seems to be encouraging T to take a nap in the afternoons, giving K a bit of time to do things without a 16 month old assistant. Some days I've been brave and purposely got T involved too!

If you like visiting crafty/homeschooling/activities with kids blogs, you've probably already seen the free Olympic printables available at Tinyme a million times. We used the bingo cards for the opening ceremony and I've also printed out the board game to do one day. K had fun matching the national flags to their countries, and drawing his own flag.

I was surprised that K knew all the flags except France and Italy, and that he identified Ireland and Russia before Australia and China. I was also amused by his connecting lines ;-)

He chose to copy the Union Jack above to produce the one below. Normally he soon gets fed up with colouring but this time he worked quietly by himself and was very proud of his completed work:

Another day we used toilet roll middles to print the Olympic rings. There are K's, non-connected, rings at the top, and T's fun with the paint below:

I'd love to show you a photo of T after that, wearing only a nappy and covered in paint. Sadly I didn't have a clean free hand to get the camera before taking him away for a mid-morning shower.

While we had the paints out K also made a handprinted sea scene. The stripey one is a fish, the red one an octopus and the cross-shaped thing is a starfish:

On Tuesday afternoon we tried out Puffy Paint, having read about it on Jo's blog. K enjoyed every step of the process, from making the paint (mixing flour, baking soda, salt and water), to piping designs on paper plates...

...and then putting them in the microwave for a few seconds and watching them puff up! Great fun.

We also made a wave bottle one day. K helped me put baby oil, water, food colouring and sequins in an old plastic bottle, and then I glued on the lid. K and T both like tipping it up to make waves, or shaking it and then watching the oil and water separate again.

I bought a little bead kit for K at the 100 yen shop ages ago but didn't want to get it out when T was around. He had a good nap the other day, giving K time to make 2 necklaces and a bracelet. He sat and concentrated on it for a good half hour or more, and surprised me by following a pattern ('pink, pink, red, blue', repeatedly muttered to himself) rather than just threading the beads on at random. I think he looks like a little 80s surfer boy...

And when all else fails, make a tent. We turned the sofas back to back and draped sheets over the top. And that was it!

It was the first time the boys had had a big tent like this indoors, and they were both so excited. It kept them occupied (if not exactly quiet) for ages...

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