Australia Day!

YEY! Did you know that January 26th is Australia Day! Get ready to party!
(Yes, I know today’s date. I’m giving you a heads up so you can prepare!)

Here are some fun activities to help you celebrate. Alternately, you may want to incorporate some of these into your lesson plans for a unit study on Australia if you do one at home or in a co-op class.

  • First of all, did you know that although Aussies speak English, you may not actually understand them? For instance, if I told you, “Hey Bloke, I’m feeling peckish. Let’s go to Macca’s and get some tucka”, would you know what I was saying?

Start out Australia day with this fun Aussie slang/American term match-up:
Aussie Slang Match-Up
AussieMatch-Up Answer Key

  • Another Australian phrase is “Fred Nerk”. Basically Fred Nerk is like “John Doe” or “Mr. Nobody”. Whatever happens on Australia Day, you can use this to get off the hook–
    “FRED NERK DID IT!”

-Two players throw a ball back and forth.
-When 1 of the players drops the ball, both, say down, down, down.
-After that, the player who dropped the ball gets down on 1 knee, elbow,or chin, etc.
-The game continues on like this until one of the players cannot go “down” anymore.

  • Next it’s time for a little art—check out this great Aboriginal Australian dot art, and try some of your own. For EVEN MORE fun- grab some face paint and use each other as canvases! 🙂
  • Now for the sounds of Australia:

The Kookaburra is a funny Australian bird who “laughs”. Listen to him here:

The Didgeridoo is a fun instrument to listen to (you already got a small taste when watching the art vid). Check out this music!

  • Check out some books from your library. Try these:

Are We There YetAre we there yet? : a journey around Australia is a great book that follows a family on vacation & describes all of the different and diverse places you can find in the land down under!

Aboriginal Australians

Aboriginal Australians is an informative book about the indigenous people of Australia, and I like it mainly for the pictures.

  • If all this fun is making you hungry, try this recipe for ANZAC Biscuits. (If you took the quiz above, you know that biscuit does NOT mean biscuit.) ANZAC is the name of Australia and New Zealand’s Army Corp, and rumor has it that these were invented so that folks back home could send the troops a treat that wouldn’t easily go stale. I wouldn’t know. When we made them, there wasn’t an opportunity to see if they’d go stale…I don’t even like coconut and frankly the batter hardly made it to the cookie sheet…YUMMY!
  • While you are in the mood for taste-testing, you may want to make a run to a place like World Market or other international food store to pick up some VEGEMITE! (You can also order it online.) This is another Australian favorite, but unlike the ANZACs…it is…less than tasty. Much less. However, it’s fun to try. Use caution and spread only a THIN layer on a piece of toast.
    Vegemite @ Three Cornered Hug

Unfortunately, you can only complete this last step if you visit or live in the state of Kentucky…

  • Visit Kentucky Down under where you can actually PET A KANGAROO (I know, how cool is that?!), watch some border collies and their sheep-herding action, laugh out loud with a Kookaburra, and see and hear a didgeridoo up close. It’s a little expensive, but sometimes they run great specials on sites like Groupon. They also have a good discount during some months if you simply show them proof that you homeschool. With the discount, KDU is WELL WORTH IT!Check out their website: http://www.kdu.com/

This should get you started. If you come up with some other activities, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

G’day Mate!

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Beat Summer Boredom: DIY Sidewalk Paint

DIY Sidewalkpaint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.comThis is something we’ve done every summer for the last several years. Kids of all ages love it, and children come from all over to join in–even those that one might think would be “too old”.

Sidewalk Paint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.comIt’s a pretty simple recipe. You can just put a little bit of flour, or even cornstarch into a disposable cup or storage container and add a little bit of water at a time until you get a thick consistency, almost like gloopy pancake batter.

Next, you add, some food coloring until it looks nice and vivid. Red tends to require more, and I used a really concentrated dye this time. DIY sidewalk paint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.com

I know the biggest question here is, “Will it wash off“? The answer is yes, it will wash off of your sidewalk, but it may not wash off of your kids’ clothing. Make sure they dress accordingly 🙂

Sidewalk paint @ threecorneredhug.wordpress.com

Beat Summer Boredom: Printable Paper Planes

Printable Airplane & Helicopter PatternsSome years ago, I found this great site for printing out plane and “helicopter” templates. I’ve found that they never, never cease to amaze kids. The planes have varying degrees of difficulty, but the helicopters are so simple, it’s ridiculous, and they’ll keep kids busy for EVER- especially boys. And just a warning: if you make a boy one of these copters, he’ll want you to make more. Many more. You can make them fly just by throwing them up, but if you’re a cool mom you’ll let the kids stand on a chair.

*note: you’ll need a paper clip for each little helicopter.

Find the templates here.

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Beat Summer Boredom: Reverse Tie Dye

Twisted

My Grandma’s parents both passed away very early. The many kids that survived them were split among relatives. Grandma was sent to live with her Grandmother who was a pretty tough- she ran a maternity hospital in the Detroit area which was no small feat for a woman back in her day. My Grandma spent most of her childhood in that hospital helping out, and as a result she was a pretty spunky lady. She lived with us when I was growing up, and many colorful times were painted on the canvas of my life as a result of her colorful personality.

One of the things that sticks out most in my mind about our wonder years is that boredom was simply not allowed. “Sarah,” she would say, “only stupid people get bored.” (This was one of her many signature quotes. She really had a way with words, no?)

Now considering all of this, I have been wondering lately just WHY the summertime makes me feel so stupid. Read: BORED! I guess it’s because our homeschool group doesn’t do much during the summer, everyone is on vacation, and we don’t have family in town. Really, here it’s so hot and muggy that one doesn’t feel like doing much at all- but that’s so…boring!

Fortunately, there was a second half to her saying: “Smart people find something to do.” Now if you ask my husband, he will tell you that this is a driving force behind my everyday life. I don’t sit around for too long before I’ll find something to do. I’ve always got a project going.

Also fortunately (for you!), I’m going to try to share some of the kinds of boredom killers we’ve tried so you’ll have some things to do to finish out your summer with a bang!

One thing we’ve had a lot of fun with is reverse tie dying. The thought hit me awhile back after doing some “traditional” tie dye that it may be able to be done in reverse with bleach. So what did I do first? The same thing you would do! A quick search on Pinterest proved that I wasn’t the first one to imagine the possibilities here. Since then, we’ve tried it many different ways. While one can get contact paper and cut out a design to stick on and spray around, it seems that the more traditional tie dye looking shirts are a bigger hit with the younger folks.

Fan foldFor the yellow example shown above, we put the shirt down flat on a table, grabbed it in the middle and started twisting until we got a flat sort of ball. Rubber bands were wrapped just snugly around the sides to spray. For the one with diagonal stripes, just use a fan fold on the shirt starting at one sleeve. This one was harder and took a couple of tries to get it folded right. It was then secured by putting rubber bands around it all along the length. It helps to have more than one set of hands for this.

Put some full strength bleach in a spray bottle and go to town!

Tips:

  • Use a 100% cotton if possible.
  • Make sure you get enough bleach on the exposed parts. It doesn’t spread as much as traditional dye. However, sometimes as with the fan fold, you can try it, let it sit a few minutes unfold and fold again to reapply if needed. (This does not apply to doing shirts with contact paper designs as mentioned above. Less is more with that method.)
  • When you are finished letting the bleach do it’s job, just hose it out well and then wash, or throw it right into the washer (alone).

This is a fun project and it’s really neat to see how the colors change. The yellow shirt turned to a white and the bluish green turned into a peachy cream (although it’s hard to tell in the pic). We’ve also tried black which lightens to a rusty sort of color and some red just turns lighter red.

Enjoy!

*PS I apologize for using a potty word which may or may not be allowed in your house. I sincerely hope your little ones were not reading over your shoulder. Keepin’ it real 🙂