Thursday, May 1, 2014

Of Wizards, Wind, Wings, and Weaning Ourselves Off of "The Magic School Bus" (The Cool(ish) School(ish) Stuff We've Been Up To)

Have you ever looked back over the last several weeks and wondered how is it possible that we've watched every episode of "The Magic School Bus..."  *twice* ?"  I think that you'll probably agree that this is an unfortunate situation in which to find oneself.  Granted, we've learned an awful lot from The Magic School Bus (Netflix and books) but there comes a point when science has to be more than just taking in the adventures of Ms. Frizzle and Class.

We had a pretty wet and rainy week and were inside a lot, but I declared this a No Magic School Bus week and here's what we did instead...

Of Wizards...

The boys have been Wizard of Oz crazy for over a month now.  They've listened to the unabridged audio version, narrated by Anne Hathaway, at least 10 times.  Literally.  It's really a great  recording and I highly recommend it.  She does voices!  

I decided to "run with" their enthusiasm, so we read a biography of author L. Frank Baum, drew pictures of our favorite part of the book, practiced using our chalk pastels to make tornado pictures, watched The Wizard of Oz (I really don't like that movie, but it's one of Russ' favorites, so I gave in), and ate "Emerald City" popcorn.  

The Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum

by Katheleen Krull

Of Wind...

I recently read the  kids an abridged version of Jules Vern's Around the World in 80 Days.  So we watched that movie too (the 1956 David Niven version, a favorite from my own childhood!)  It took us four nights over two weeks to finish it, but it was still fun!  

Yesterday, inspired by the scene in which Fogg, Princess Aouda, Passepartout, and Inspector Fix travel in a railway car rigged with a sail, the boys built Lego cars and experimented with different size sails as we zoomed them across the kitchen floor.  It's science.  (We even weighed the cars on our kitchen scale first to make it even more science-y)

Of Wings...

Monday we periodically checked in at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to see what was going on with the red-tailed hawks via live nest cam...
Thanks to the fabulous and lovely Nella and Heather for reminding me about the Cornell bird cams :)

We saw a lot of interesting activity, including two cute fluffy babies pecking away at each other (as well as at a dead mole/vole (?) thing) and one of the adults eating a rabbit it had brought to the nest.  

two chicks, one egg, adult in left foreground, dead rabbit in right foreground, dead mole/vole (?) thing in right background, unidentified dead animal in background
Since the photo, the last egg has hatched and today we even saw all three little chicks hopping around the nest and being fed by one of the adults!!!!  (teeny little beaks open, bloody raw meat goes in...appetizing.)

Of Weaning Ourselves Off of The Magic School Bus...

Today we did an activity to really, truly get our recent dependence on Ms. Frizzle under control.  Look, it even says so on this bottle...

We made Soft n' Silky Clay following this recipe here.  (all you need are hair conditioner from the Dollar Store and cornstarch)  The kids really loved the clay, much more than play-doh! 

Now, thankfully, everyone is outside doing science experiments involving mud and muddy water, and dirt that will soon be turned into mud.  Lucky me ;)

And that is the end :)


  1. You are the best! If this weather continues, I may have to steal some ideas. Would you believe I've never read or seen a Magic School Bus episode?

    1. It's a pretty standard cartoon, but I DO have to admit that I've learned a lot just from being in the same room while it's on. I don't care for the books as much b/c there's so much extra "stuff" all over the pages, I find it really distracting. There's a first - me saying the TV show is better than the book? What is this world coming to????

  2. I sure know what you mean about the Magic School 19 year old autistic son watches it any chance he gets...which we have blocked off to the early morning hours before the rest of us get up. Perhaps some anti-Ms Frizzle dough would work for us!? LOL I really love how you integrate other subject with your book studies.

  3. You have absolutely inspired me to get in there and do more crafty things with my kids - I love all that you have going on. I was so good with the older boys, but really need to step up my attention to such with my little ones.
    We have also watched all the Magic School buses (I still like that show).

    1. Funny, Kathy! I get such great ideas from you :) I was just snooping around some of your recipes the other day, trying to figure out what to feed my family this summer.
      I know you have children much older than my own, but even I've already found it hard to keep up all the "fun stuff" with my younger kids that I did with the bigger ones. It's definitely impossible to give them all the "same" childhood experiences, but I do have to be better about devoting more time to the little ones. Thanks for the reminder!


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