Saturday, 25 April 2015

Quick Science Experiments

With Ebi-kuns new school schedule we have very little after school time these days :(
So for the little time we have I want to fill it with fun activities to use his brain, ask more questions, expand his English...

Today's experiments were will balloons, quick an easy to set up...

You need:

  • 2 chairs
  • String
  • Balloons
  • Straw
  • Masking tape 

To set up, tie one end of the string to the back of a chair. Then the string through a straw. Tie the other end of the string to the other chair, pull the string so it is tight.

Next, blow up a balloon, don't tie the end, hold onto it! And using the masking tape, stick it to the straw (shown below)

Let go and see what happens...

Once you have done it a couple of times, try experimenting. 

  • What happens if you only tape the front of the balloon? How about just the back?
  • What happens if you tape two balloons facing the same direction, how about two balloons facing the opposite direction?
  • Why does the balloon move the way it does?
  • Would a different gas produce a different result?
  • What if the gas was warmer? Cooler?

Predict the results before you do each experiment.

What other experiments can you try?

I'm looking forward to more quick experiments, I foresee a jojoebi mini series coming on...

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Panda Bus...

And other random photos! After the Yabusame we had a wander around, I think this is the closest I've been to Tokyo Sky Tree, to be honest, I don't fancy being up there if we have another earthquake! Heights don't bother me but through an earthquake into the mix and that is a whole different kettle of fish!

Then there was the panda bus, seriously, how cute? Not only is she adorable with her red bow, but she winks too...

I couldn't possible visit the area without doing the "Golden poo on the head shot" Ebi-kun was obviously not impressed with my antics! The golden poo is actually supposed to beer beer froth and is the Asahi beer company building.

After standing for almost 3 hours to watch the yabusame, we were all pretty tired so we found a spot to have some cake and cuppa before taking some top secret photos for a competition and then heading back home. We dropped lucky with the weather, it has been cold and wet pretty much all month, it was nice to feel the sun for a change!

Now Ebi-kun is back at school and is getting used to his new schedule, I'm hoping we can get back into a routine and start doing more crafts/projects/ this space...

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

yabusame - traditional horseback archery

Saturday we headed off to Tokyo, Sumida ward to watch the Yabusame.
Yabusame is the traditional art of horseback archery, we have seen it before, a few years ago but in a different location.

Unfortunately this place was difficult to get a good spot to watch, all the good places were paid seats, so I recommend the November show if you are planning to see it.

The contenders are dressed in traditional garb, some from the Kamakura period and then some from the later Eno period....

I remembered this horse from last time..

To start with, I was only getting photos of the back of the womans head who was stood in front of me, so I handed my camera over to Ebi-kun since he has managed to sneak to the front...if only he was a little taller!

The ladies who were in the way left after a while, so I snagged a good spot eventually...
Just taken the shot...

And pulling the next arrow for the next target, they have to hit three targets each run...

The archers these days have to be much quicker, the old samurai horses would have been smaller and slower but these days they use European bred horses which are faster and it means that the archers lose a second between targets...

It's quite exciting but it takes them forever to get going. It was scheduled to start at 1pm but they didn't actually start the archery until nearly 2pm. A lot of of waffling and ceremonial stuff, not interesting if you can't see what is going on!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Breaking Out The Grammar boxes

The Montessori approach has a pretty neat way of teaching grammar using manipulative symbols. They get introduced in the Grammar Farm (which is still one of my favourite Montessori lessons) - I show you how to introduce the grammar farm HERE and the printables are HERE. It is a while since we have done any grammar work so we started off really just doing a review of the parts of speech.

First matching the symbol and the part of speech...

black triangle - noun
small light blue triangle - article
dark blue triangle - adjective
purple triangle - pronoun
green crescent - preposition
red circle - verb
orange circle - adverb
pink rectangle - conjunction
gold keyhole - interjection

Once he had got the hang of that, I introduced sentences and he had to match the symbols with the words in the sentence. It's amazing how quickly he picked it up again.

The next step will be for him to write the sentences and draw the symbols and I am hoping he will also make a grammar book. I'll share the printables to go with this soon (like, when I finished making them!)

Ebi-kun did ask me what the point of learning grammar is - I have no idea! Do you?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Ultimate 7 day Kitchen Bootcamp is Back!

Yes, back by popular demand - who'd have thought there was a demand for fun cleaning?

What is bootcamp?

It is 7 days or organized cleaning fun - I jest not! This is the third year I have run the kitchen bootcamp and the results are always amazing. It is actually a load of fun because we do it as a group, share our wins and fails. Brag about our ridiculous finds and our amazing end product.

You don't have to take my word for it...

If your kitchen looks like the devil himself makes dinner in there, then come and join us, you will be amazed at the difference just 7 short days can make!

yes, your email addy is safe with me and you will also get the MOC Playbook: What MacGyver Would do if he had kids!

Want to see some of last years results...

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

And now he is in...

Now he is in the 4th grade!
It doesn't seem that long ago that he was a 1st grader! We were actually a bit late taking the photo this year because the weather has been so awful.

Ebi-kun asked the universe to put him in a specific class and that a particular friend would be in the class too. His first day he came bursting through the door and announced that The Universe Rocks! He got the class and his best best mate and the teacher gets the thumbs up too!

I know someone will ask...the bag he is holding is for his calligraphy kit, brushes, ink, tablet etc.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Legend Of The Guardians and The Paint Box...

It was a pretty miserable day the other day so we decided a snuggle on the sofa and a film was in order. Ebi-kun decided he wanted to watch Legend Of The Guardians again, cute film but quite violent!

After the film he got out his paints and was inspired to do some owly paintings...

He started off with the acrylics and painted a barn owl...

Then he got the water colours out and painted Hedwig from Harry Potter (we are currently on book 4!). Whilst he was painting he was talking a lot about the difference in the paints and how they react differently. It's interesting listening to him make these observations.

And whilst he was chattering away, I was painting my own owl, in between making dinner and downloading and uploading files for the Montessori Crash Course! Bit of a freaky looking owl really..

Monday, 6 April 2015

An Intimate Viewing Of The Impressionists...

It was a beautiful day and so on the spur of the moment we decided to head into Tokyo - the process is much easier now our train line actually goes through Tokyo station - Yeah!

Tokyo station is somewhat iconic with it's red brickwork - very unusual in this neck of the world!

We started at the gallery which was showing a collection of impressionist painting, many of them were quite small and so there was no barrier and you could get up close and personal, which was great when it came to talking about the brush strokes and the colours the artists used.

Ebi-kun is getting quite a keen eye and picked out a Monet from across the room then started to see the patterns so he could figure out which were Degas, Manet and Gauguin. He got excited when he spotted a painting from Katie and The Impressionists book and re-told the story to me.

He was also blown away at the 'splodges' that from a distance looked like people or boats etc. There was an old fella watching Ebi-kun who was obviously intrigued at this kid getting excited over the paintings!

The gallery overlooks this lovely little courtyard, quite hard to believe you are in the centre of Tokyo!

We decided to pick up a bento and eat it in the courtyard, big buildings and beautiful blue skies...

Then we decided to have a walk over to the Imperial palace, love this shot of Giant Ebi-kun! With all the office building behind him. It's exceptionally clean in this part of Tokyo, we didn't spot any litter at all and there was a complete lack of bins.

Our next activity was watching tourists getting told off for going over the fence to get photos under the cherry blossom trees, one would have thought this was the only place in Japan with cherry blossom trees! We stayed on the right side of the fence!

And of course, the obligatory sakura shot...

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Accountants and new best friends…

I needed to go into Tokyo to meet with my accountant, as you can imaging Ebi-kun wasn't thrilled at the idea but I arranged to meet a friend afterwards so he packed some really heavy books into his bag and off we went.

Remind me to NEVER get on and early train into Tokyo on a Monday morning EVER AGAIN!

5 of the main train line were delayed because of "passenger injury" (aka body on the track), it was way too hot and very unpleasant. Ebi-kun announced that he will NEVER be a salaryman and I was secretly grinning inside :)

We ended up getting off our train 4 stops early and taking a risk to hop on another which hopefully had a body free line! We eventually made it to the accountant, although we were a bit late! The accountant, Mori-san is absolutely lovely, explained everything to me and we figured out how to make the who reporting this 10 time easier - I left a happy camper! If you are in Japan and need an English speaking tax accountant, drop me a line and I'll hook you up.

Then we headed back to Ebisu and met up with one of my b-school buddies and her kids, it's the first time I have met them and they are adorable. Little O-kun didn't stop chattering the whole time! Although Ebi-kun is a couple of years older they all got on and spent most of the time running around, playing tag - the universal game!

We parted ways around three and Ebi-kun and I did consider more adventuring but the thought of the busy commuter train on the way home put us off, so we just headed back - us bumpkins, we're not cut out for this big city life!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Can Boys Make Fairy Gardens?

Funny how things work, I've recently seen some cute fairy gardens pop up on my social media stream but dismissed them because I didn't think Ebi-kun would be interested. Well, he helped me dig over the small front garden patch and plant some flowers and then we went round to the yard and he was checking out the succulents 

"These look like tiny trees, it would be fun to make a tiny garden"

Well blow me down! I didn't need any encouragement, we found a pot and got to work. Once we had the basics in, Ebi-kun decided it needed something more. Next minute the craft box was out...

Lots of gluing, sticking and colouring...

Admittedly, it could do with some more "green", we will have to pick up something suitable next time we got the home centre.

Moral of the story - your kids will never stop surprising you!

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