Monday, May 14, 2012

Things We Can Throw

Making History and Science interesting for little ones can be challenging.  Especially when your beautiful offspring go beyond the description of "wiggly" into the realm of "Help, I think I've given birth to a visitor from the Other Dimension of Perpetual Motion!  And he brought his sister!"  At five and six, my kids are simply not going to be able to sit through "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."  (And I think only one of their parents could.  I'll let you guess which one...)  So studying these subjects becomes a balancing act between trying to teach them something and trying to capture their interest-quickly.  Because I've usually got about 5 minutes to keep their attention before someone starts poking a pencil in someone's ear.

These may look like typical sunglasses, but they're really protective safety goggles.  Because you never already know who may come after you with pink paint on a brush. 

I have had to learn to make peace with the fact that sometimes the project we do may be, technically, not that educational.  Sure, I'd like every science experiment to be the first step toward their PhD dissertation or their drawings of monuments be done to scale using high level geometry and algebra.  But more often than not, their projects are more educational in the "How to Not Get Glue Stuck in My Nose, Because I Picked My Boogers While Making Macaroni Art 101" or "Advanced How Far Can I Spread Paint Around the House Before Mom Packs It Up and Declares It's Quiet Time."
We've never actually made macaroni art, but if we do, I hope my kids make this.  And then they could sell it for $600 on Etsy.  (

This week we return to study Egypt, as we're getting started to put our historical timeline together.  A recommended project- making Egyptian throwing sticks.  Apparently, these were toys used by Egyptian children, painted to look like serpents, used in throwing games.  I guess this would be useful for children who will grow to hunt and fight with spears.  My kids will use them to bang on the walls and torment the cats.  Like they use every other craft they make.

It's okay, they find their ways to get their revenge.  (Not pictured- poop.  IN MY DRYER.)

Basically, all this build up is going to be disappointing when you see what we made.  We painted wooded spoons to look like snakes:

It's okay, you can relax.  Despite the what the authentic colors and patterns may make you think, these are not actual snakes.

Look how happy we are when we're done painting!

"We smiled for the first fifty-six pictures, now all you get from us in barely-contained rage."

And, the most important part- they can be thrown.

Look at that form!  We're ready to go kill some boar!

Or not.

Duck!  A wooden spoon painted to look like a psychedelic snake from the River Styx is coming right at your face!  That kid in the Where's My Water Shirt means to kill us all!

I have no idea if this throwing stick thing has any historical accuracy.  I also don't know that I think this would be the most valuable fact for my kids to remember about Ancient Egypt.  But they had fun and got to practice some painting.  They got some fresh air and got to throw things.  Overall, I give this project a rating of "Successful: They Had Fun."


  1. You are FUNNY! Glad you I found your blog.

  2. Aw, thanks. It's very therapeutic to write. Keeps me from bashing my head in sometimes. Sometimes.