Crayons Optional

Tomorrow is my son’s first day of 2nd grade.  I’m feeling a little bit, somewhat, A LOT nostalgic right now, so I’m afraid you’ll have to indulge me on this blog article 🙂

We got his school supplies last week (yeah…I’m a procrastinator!).  There were pencils, paper, notebook binders, spiral notebooks and notebook paper on the list.  We even had hand sanitizer, tissues and ziploc bags.  What I noticed at the bottom of the list was this:

Crayons (optional)

Colored pencils (optional)

Washable markers (optional)

What????  Second grade & crayons are already optional????  When did this happen?  I remember having crayons pretty much up until Junior High & then, we might have had them there too.  

This got me to thinking…kids grow up so fast in today’s world.  My kids love watching the Disney Channel.  Sophie loves Doc McStuffins & Brayden is really into Phineas & Ferb.  What my husband and I noticed is the other shows & how much older the kids are acting.  There’s a show where the kids dance and it just seems they’re dancing more “grown up”…not necessarily what some would consider provacative, but still more than what I’m comfortable with.

I understand I can’t base my opinion on teeny-bopper shows on the Disney Channel, but I see it in other areas of life.  I know I was ready to learn how to drive when I was 12 & wished a lot of years away.  I couldn’t wait to get to Junior High, couldn’t wait to get to High School, college, driving, dating, etc.  Isn’t it interesting that when we’re kids, we can’t wait to be “grown up” and when we grow up, we wish we were kids again?!?!

Kids have a lot of pressure on them today.  I didn’t even think about ACT tests and college entrance exams until about Sophomore or Junior year of HS, but I think it starts much earlier now.  You see Little Leaguers dreaming about making it to the big leagues when they’re 8 & 9 years old & parents push them into lessons and playing baseball year round.  Don’t even get me started about toddler pageant shows….

I was thinking today about children…particularly about a story in the Bible where the disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.  For some, that’s a reasonable question.  We have a pecking order in school, at work, why not here?  Jesus’ answer?  He called a child into their midst and said “…unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven”.  Matt. 18:3.

Now, does that mean we’re supposed to act like the “Wal-Mart babies”, as my hubby calls them?  Running around, spoiled & wanting everyone to wait on us, hand and foot?  I don’t think so.  What I picture is my son, asking questions about the Bible and the wonder on his face when we tell him stories about how God created the world, about the donkey that spoke to a man, about how a man and his 3 sons built a boat by hand & then loaded up all of the animals on earth & lived on it for the better part of a year.  I think of the innocence of my daughter and how she is learning something new every day.

So, instead of pushing for our kids to grow up faster and faster, let’s take some time to enjoy whatever stage their in…celebrate the day and live for each moment we have 🙂  

ImageBrayden’s first day of Kindergarten

ImageBrayden’s first day of First Grade


















She Blinded Me With Science

Well, summer is quickly drawing to a close at our house.  My son will be starting the 2nd grade on August 20th.  This is crazy for 2 reasons…#1:  he just got out in June!!!  I’m from Oklahoma & I am used to schools getting out before Memorial Day…not after!!  #2:  I remember 2nd grade & it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.  Maybe I’m in denial, but I CAN’T  possibly be old enough to have a second grader, but, here we are.

Keeping a 7 year old entertained during the summer without letting his mind turn to mush has been challenging.  We’ve been doing lots of reading & this old fashioned thing called letter writing.  I hear people used to do it long ago, before e-mail & telephones.  They would write words down on paper, and get this, take them to a Post Office where they would be mailed to the other person.  Takes days!!!  Can you believe it??  

We did this to work on my son’s handwriting.  If it’s any indication, we have a budding doctor on our hands!  I thought it would be nice for him to learn the art of letter writing, plus the grandparents LOVE getting letters from him.  I think it’s been a great experience.

Another thing we did is some cool, hands on experiments.  I found a pin on Pinterest that has a bunch of science-y projects you can try.  We only did 2 of them (so far).  Here’s the link:

I haven’t explored the website, but it looks really cool…very educational and stuff.  We tried the milk experiment and the Elephant Toothpaste experiment.

ImageHere we are at the beginning…my son ran and got his safety goggles on…”you know Mom, safety first!!”

ImageImageHe was amazed!!!  He loved it so much, we had to do it a second time when Dad came home 🙂

ImageHe played with this for a long time.  Eventually, all of the colors blend together and you have to just dump it out and start over.  We used whole milk.  You need to use either that or 2% milk…the experiment works on the fat content of milk, so obviously skim just won’t do.

The second experiment we did was the Elephant Toothpaste on the same link.  Here’s what happened the first time we did it:

ImageThe yeast did react to the hydrogen peroxide, but it just didn’t fizz up like I thought it should.  So, I hopped on Pinterest to see if there were different directions to do this particular experiment.  I found this link:

The main differences I found was the first website had you using a LOT more dish soap.  It calls for 1/4 cup, while the second one calls for 3 tablespoons…huge difference.  Also, the first has you dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup of warm water, while the second site has you dissolve the yeast in 1 tablespoon.  

Here are the results from experiment #2 using that second linkImage

ImageMuch better!!  Upon further research, I read where they recommend you use hydrogen peroxide that is 6%…we were using 3%.  I’m sure if we do this again (and we will…gotta show Dad!), I will get the 6% stuff instead.  

Overall, I have a very impressed 7 year old on my hands who is now talking about doing the Elephant Toothpaste project as a science experiment for school this years 🙂  Can’t argue with that!!!

Take advantage of these great experiments that are on Pinterest.  Even if they don’t work (like ours), you are still learning what works & what doesn’t & I think it’s good sometimes for kids to see that things don’t always work out right the first time around.