Middle received some pet gerbils for his birthday. He named them Goldie and Badger. We have put them in a "gerbilarium" (tank with cage top) and put organic compost in for them to dig tunnels in. The boys have all enjoyed watching them tunnelling and generally being cute. Middle has been a very responsible pet owner too - I haven't had to remind him once to feed them. He's a bit nervous about holding them because he doesn't want them to hurt the scratch on his hand (and they are pretty speedy), but I am very happy to help get them used to being handled!
Last week we also did some painting. We had a look at Klimt's "Beech Forest" and talked about the colours and the fact that we couldn't see the tree tops etc, then we used some metallic paints (and a few other colours), and then all painted our own tree pictures. Sadly Youngest's has gone missing - I will add it later if it turns up...
Eldest's "Autumn Minecraft Trees"
Middle's "Apple Tree"
Mummy's "Autumn Beech Trees"
On Thursday morning we were supposed to go swimming, but had to stay home, so we did something different and the boys sat round for me to read them a story from our British History story book. We read about the Great Fire of London - they were all engrossed! History lends itself so naturally to story telling, it's great! Later we looked up a youtube clip of a Horrible Histories sketch on the same subject - HH always goes down well with my boys. Then Eldest was inspired to indulge in a spot of baking (happily not burning down the town as a result) and made some orange muffins decorated as Angry Birds. I didn't go into the kitchen once - he is now a fully competent baker by himself - and the results were yummy!
At the weekend we took part in the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch. It is tradition for us to position the sofa right in front of the patio doors so we have the best view of the whole garden - and we indulge in some hot chocolate and doughnuts while we record the birds we see. Middle was only really interested in the doughnuts this year as he was engrossed in his book - but Eldest came and helped me spot birds for a while, and Youngest stayed for ages, wanting his own pen and paper to note down his findings. I wrote the words for him and then he read them back every time he needed to add a bird. He's getting very good at identifying our feathered visitors.
The book that Middle was engrossed in was Captain Underpants' Extra Crunchy Book O' Fun. For some reason I hadn't realised when we got it that it was an interactive book so I wasn't expecting Middle to do a spot of creative writing in it (probably just as well, as he is happiest when he is not being watched). In the book there are lots of puzzles etc, and a mini story with spaces for the reader to fill in. Every time there was a blank, they would give a hint, such as 'adjective'/ 'your name'/ 'body part' etc, and Middle filled it in. I was so busy watching birds that I didn't even register him asking me for spellings or what an adjective was - I just told him and carried on trying to count the great tits on the feeder. When I saw the story he had co-written and illustrated, I was thrilled! He loved reading it to me, checking to make sure I laughed in all the right places (of course I did).
Yesterday Eldest found a box that we were no longer using and asked for some scissors and sellotape. He took himself off into the kitchen and came back about an hour later with "Mario 3D world". I just loved his creativity! And made a mental note made to buy some more sellotape!
Meanwhile this weekend Youngest has had a lovely time playing lots of games, especially enjoying playing Top Trumps (Wonders of the World) with Daddy, who was suitably impressed at his ability to read 4-digit numbers. Youngest also sped his way through a Maths workbook. He got stuck a couple of times and really wanted to complete the whole book, so I gave the help he needed and then he was away again. It really wasn't long before he was finished and asking me to buy the next one in the series (thank you Amazon). It has since arrived and he has started already!
Oh, and Middle made some origami star wars characters, prompted by the Origami Yoda book that Daddy has been reading to them at bedtime...
Today the boys received their new DVD from the Rock n Learn series, which they love. It's the new "Life Science" DVD, and Middle and Youngest watched it this morning while Eldest was tidying his room. It's great - goes through plants structure, life cycle of a butterfly, characteristics of animal groups, ecosystems, and even touches on genetics, all in a way that the boys engage with easily. Some of it was a bit beyond Youngest's comprehension I think, but he happily sat and watched it... who knows what they take in when we don't expect it?!
Then Middle got to grips with one of his birthday presents, a Star Wars Shaker Maker, while Youngest looked on and offered "creative advice" before doing a jigsaw (Eldest still 'tidying his room', aka playing with his 3D Mario world). It was a great present - Middle loves it!
So you see why I wanted to make a note of it all? It was actually a fairly low-key week for us as the boys picked up a cold and weren't up to do anything much that was structured. And yet it still turned out to be a really lovely week!