Sunday, December 14, 2008

THIS is the science kit

I've been looking at a lot of kids' science kits this holiday season. First I listed My First Scientist in my little gift guide, but the reviews weren't glowing. So I replaced it with Stepping Into Science, but when I looked at it in a store I wasn't that impressed.

Here's what I'm looking for: serious content, not just "mix these things together and make colored crystals." Something that will actually teach my son the process of investigation. Substantive and varied experiments.

But then, at a local toy store, I found science kits by The Young Scientists Club. This is it! The problem is, there is no one, ideal, all-encompassing science kit. There's just too out there to be contained in one little kit. The Young Scientist Club has a series of kits. Each kit covers three different themes (like volcanoes or recycling). You can sign up for a monthly kit, which I would do except that my local toy store sells most of them--I'd like to support them and avoid shipping costs. But the YSC website has great additional resources.

Jasper meets Santa 2009

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Jasper Christmas/Birthday Gift Guide

Wondering what to give the boy for Christmas or his birthday? Here's a few ideas!
Stepping Into Science Kit

Matchbox Shuttle Mission

Lego Deep Sea Quest

The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer, or any other titles by Ungerer.

Backhoe by Bruder from Diana Toy Store

Zoom to the Moon playset from Modern Tots. This one has already been ordered for Jasper, but I'm leaving it up in case anyone else in the blogsphere is looking for ideas for their own lists.

He keeps asking for this Ariel doll, which is currently on display at our local drug store. I think he has a crush.

Mars Mission MT-61 Crystal Reaper (this has been ordered)

Mobilehome dollhouse you can decorate yourself, from The Pajama Squid

Superstructs Castle Set (this has been ordered)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Last year he was a Blood Monster. The year before, a red M&M. This year Jasper's brilliant idea for a costume was an Alien Eyeball.

Where The Wild Things Are

Jasper did a fantastic job playing Max in his class play of Where The Wild Things Are. His classmates were most ferocious as well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

He finally let me give him a haircut

Don't get me wrong -- I looooved Jasper's long hair. But the tangles were making me batty.

We like to hypnotize Jasper with PBS Kids first thing in the morning.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I love how Jasper's eyes turn gray when he wears gray.

He loves the way this blurry picture makes him look like Gadunka.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bored? Today is Fun

Thanks to Twitter I just discovered a great new blog, Today is Fun. It's a dad-authored blog filled with fun things to do with your kids. And because it's dad-authored, it's got a great boy vibe to it (imho).

Jasper and I made the parachute and it was a big hit. I reinforced the punched-out holes with tape, fyi. We had a lot of fun with this and his "superhero" Playmobil guy on our apartment building's banisters. Check it out!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This explains a lot

Jasper looked over my shoulder as I was reading the news on my laptop. He saw a photo of Sarah Palin and said "Mama, that's John McCain."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First day of school!

Jasper started school this week! He's attending Pre-K at our local elementary school, which means all day, every day. I was worried about this, but I think he's going to be just fine. His teacher is the warmest, most lovey-dovey teacher you could ask for, and her assistant also seems sweet.

Ah, but public school in New York City... I knew what was coming but I was still a little surprised at how much the class needs. We parents picked up items from the teachers' wish list, things like a small refrigerator, a printer, and computer software. I may pick up a few plants over the weekend. There was a bare-bones feeling to the clean, tidy room. Soon it will be covered with kid art classroom charts.

It was a quick lesson on how important parent involvement is to the public school experience. I have friends sending their children to private schools and couldn't help imagining how different their classroom experiences must be. Still, this seems to be the kind of teacher who makes love and imagination go a long way. I think it will be a great year.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rodeo and bungee

While in Colorado we went to a rodeo! Yeee-haaaaaaaw! Uncle Greg picked up a hat and some boots for Jasper and he wore them with the cowboy shirt Aunt Angelica got from Rockmount. In addition to roping there was bull riding, a bouncy tent, pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, and treats.

(Image blurred because I dropped Jasper's snow cone on the camera while trying to photograph him on a pony.)

My favorite part was the "mutton busters." Parents placed their 3-to-7-year-old children atop lambs and the kids held on as long as they could until the lambs bucked them off. Supposedly the lambs leap over the kids, but from where I was standing it looked like they were jumping on them. Wow, I'd love to see the neurotic helicopter parents of Park Slope try that!

"What a bad idea!" I couldn't help yelling when I saw it. "Yeah, it is a bad idea," said the woman standing next to me. "But my kids love it, so we let them. Tomorrow we're doing bungee jumping."

Bungee jumping? It turns out you can do that at Beaver "not exactly roughing it" Creek. Jasper loved it. My sister's family outfitted Jasper once again, this time in cousin Garrin's old leather biker jacket with Batman painted on the back. What a tough guy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Toothpick sea urchins

Jasper noticed a fun project in one of his Magic School Bus books (we both love the series). Toothpick sea urchins! Simply roll clay into a ball and add toothpicks all around. Jasper's sea urchin is "the most dangerous ever seen by mankind."

We also made sea stars, robot kelp, baby mola molas and a bola bola kolakakoma. Guy Cousteau, Jean-Michel's young renegade nephew, discovered these creatures.

Look out of the man-eating sea urchin, Guy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A few favorite things

It's still spaceships, spaceships, spaceships around here. Jasper especially loves building them with Daddy. I'll post a few examples soon. Most important element: they HAVE to be symmetrical.

I got a copy of The Meatrix, which I highly recommend for all adults. Jasper happens to love it, too. As it turns out, it's a pretty good teaching tool for kids.

Another mania is pretending to hatch from an egg. Jasper pretends to be all sorts of animals, pteranodons, bats, birds, humans. Yes, we know some of these animals do not actually hatch from eggs. Jasper pretends to be the first bat, human, etc. to ever hatch from an egg. I do a news report.

Jasper also loves the "golden lady" in front of our neighborhood Indian restaurant.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A castle for my son

Jasper has been asking for a castle and/or dollhouse for a while. Inspired by this post and this post I decided to try making one as a surprise while he was at school.

There's a dragon's lair.

Lookout towers.

A long, orange, modern sofa.

I thought we'd eventually buy the usual wooden dollhouse furniture, but Jasper is not interested. He'd rather construct his own.

I had to add some support structures.

Don't forget the gardens!