April 2017: Electronics Free Month

by Chrissie Wainright on June 1st, 2017
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April was electronics free again!  We are all skeptical about it the first few days, but by the end of the first week we really enjoy having some time without electronics.  This year, we spent a lot of it playing Mice and Mystics!  It’s a really fun dungeons and dragon style game geared towards kids.  Serenity, Donovan, Eric and I each got to play different Mice characters as they fought their way through a castle trying to save the king from an evil shape changer.  We fought roaches and spiders and rats.  They LOVED it.  They begged for it nearly every night.  It’s set up like a book, in chapters, as you play through the story.  It was fun for all of us!   The big kids also did a LOT of origami.  They hung out on the top bunk in DZ’s room making dozens of cool things.

Mice and Mystics


I moved the dollhouse and it got a lot more interesting =) We still keep the Calico Critters in it instead of dolls though.

They love group hugs =)

Serenity and Donovan especially loved finding Easter Eggs in challenging hiding places.  Eric and I both hid eggs for them in the yard, and they didn’t even care if there were treats inside.  I put tiny Pokemon figures in most of them since we didn’t really eat all the candy last year before it was time for Halloween candy.  Maia loved the Easter baskets and carried them around the house until I was done picking up the eggs for the year and hid them in the closet.

This is the tree Serenity gave me for my birthday last year. It bloomed beautifully! And it’s a good place to hide eggs =)

Charizard hiding in the Easter Egg =)

Finding the last Easter Egg. Eric can really hide them =)

Our bunny hunt went really well!  Each of the kids had clues that led them to the next bunny.  Serenity and Donovan had cypher codes to figure out, and Maia read her own clues this year(They led to Blue’s Clues style pawprints, which sent all three kids to their baskets)!  So fun!  They led to the Easter Baskets, which were mostly empty this year.  They each got a book or two and an egg with Skittles or M&Ms, a couple fruit snacks.  The rest of their present didn’t fit in the baskets… they got skates!  I found these fun skates that are adjustable, that you wear with your own shoes.  So they will last awhile.  These turned out to be the most fun thing of electronics free month!  Serenity especially spent hours riding around our living room in her skates!  She’s getting really good.  DZ had a hard time at first but he can get around now too.  Maia wanted to use hers as well, but she mostly needs hands to hold, or the couch.  She can kind of crawl around on her skates, or use them on the carpet.  But she is fiercely determined!  Eric was holding her on the bed while she was wearing her skates, and she stood up on the bed and said “Here I go!” And she skated right off the bed!!! And landed on her feet!!!!  We all heard him yell “WHOA!” from clear across the house.  =)

I’d say the skates were a success if she’s even reading while skating =)

We decorated some eggs!  I found this Emoji Egg kit, and it was hilarious!  After we colored the eggs, each of the kids added stickers to their eggs to make them into Emojis.  Then Serenity and Donovan came up with the idea of taking pictures making faces matching the Emoji Eggs.  SO FUNNY!  I love them =)  Everyone had fun dyeing the eggs.  We don’t hide those eggs, but Eric ate them all =)

Easter activities this year included a neighborhood Easter egg hunt and petting zoo, hiding eggs in challenging places in the backyard, our traditional bunny hunt, and a new nesting egg game that focuses on the actual story of Easter.  The nesting egg has a picture on each egg as you read through the story of Easter.  We ended up reading it all in one day as they were interested to find out what would be inside each egg, but the kids played with it the rest of the month too.

The hat stayed on for about a minute before it blew away but he’s too cute =)


Serenity in April:

Birthday treats!

Girl Scouts: Our April Meeting for Girl Scouts was the Pets badge!  The girls had been begging me all year to work on this badge, but I thought it was a good idea to wait for warmer weather so we could maybe have actual animals.  And we did!  We first made fleece toys to give to dogs and cats.  The dogs got braided chew toys, and cats got little sticks with colorful strips of fleece to chase.  The girls loved making it, and everyone made a few toys for their pets or to give away.  Serenity gave hers to Grandma’s dogs and Forrest, and she was so happy when they played with them!  The girls also made budgets for imaginary pets to learn about what it costs to have a pet.  Molly brought Wren’s pet bunnies, so the girls got to love on them, feed them, and learn about being calm and gently with pets.  They were very protective of the bunnies and made sure no one was too loud or crazy with them when other kids came by.  It was a fun meeting!  Serenity had to do a little extra work to earn her badge.  All the other girls already had a pet they were responsible for feeding at home, but since we don’t have pets, she visited Papa’s cat Friendly and fed him, and visited Grandma’s menagerie and helped to feed them as well.

EOYB: For the end of the year party for Girl Scouts this year, the girls wanted to finish up some badges.  So we did the Outdoor Adventurer badge!  I found an idea for a compass game to teach them to use a compass, and Eric made it a reality!  He and Donovan measured went to the greenbelt and placed golf tees at intervals, and wrote compass directions like “Take ten steps North, then 50 steps Southwest.”  They all ended at our favorite tree on the greenbelt for a group picture.  It was SO much fun!

We made four different kinds of bird feeders that we tied into a garland for the birds.  It was pretty and the birds enjoyed it at my house all month!  Each of the girls took some home as well.  We used sunbutter on pinecones rolled in birdseed, and cut up oranges and hollowed them out to hold birdseed.  We also used cookie cutters to cut out suet cakes and hang them on the line.  I also cut out apple slices that they strung, and orange slices in little metal spirals to attract birds or butterflies.  Fun!

They practiced rolling up sleeping bags.  It’s harder than it looks.  Slippery little suckers.

We also did some splatter painting to finish up the Brownie Painting badge.  Serenity and several of the other girls went to the Brownie Painting event offered by council, where they did 4 of the 5 steps, so we did the least one, painting without brushes.  I’d seen a pin about painting with hammers, and it was just as messy and fun as I thought it would be.


Field Trip to Earth Day

I got to go with Serenity’s class to the Earth Day event at T.U.  Raegan had a booth with her Earth Matters club!  So cool!  Donovan’s class went to, but I’d already volunteered with Serenity’s class by the time I knew that.  They got enough parents though, with groups of just two kids per adult.  But it was fun seeing Donovan with his friend Jack there too!

So last week, Serenity wore this Jean skirt I got her four days in a row. I told her she had to wash it before she could wear it again and I was thinking, kids are funny.

Then last night I washed this Carly so I could wear it two days running 😂

The favored jean skirt =)

Maia in April:

Maia was very confused by electronics free month for the first day or two.  I finally just kept telling her the television was broken, and since we’d hidden all the ipads, she stopped asking.  It took less time than I thought for her to adjust though.  We played a couple things a LOT this month.  First, Play-doh.  I picked up a play-doh pizza set for something new, and we played it every single day until all the colors were brown and they started to dry out.  Then we got some sparkly play-doh that quickly turned from a rainbow of colors to a medium blue.  It’s still sparkly and soft so we hear a lot of “oooooh pretty!” When she’s working with it.

Playing Chef:  Since we had so much fun with the play-doh pizza, I pulled out the play food tub.  This was a huge hit!  I guess Maia had never really played with it before, and she LOVED her chef’s hat and the apron.  She wore it for more than a week and kept going back for it even after that.  She loved filling the pots with all the felt treats I’d made over the years.  Yay!  I love it when things get used!

Maia is seriously improving on the bike.  Both in ability and attitude.  The first few times we went, she needed a lot of help.  Then she still needed help, but she would say “nonononono” and “I can do it myself!”  Which made the very short ride to the park take a long time!  Now, she is much better at doing it herself, and if she goes off into the grass she asks us to help her straighten it out so it’s a lot more fun for everyone =)
DZ in April:

Donovan’s baseball skills are really improving!  And he loves it!  He begged for a new baseball tee so he could practice hitting the ball at home.  We were a bit skeptical but he has used it a lot!  And now he can catch balls in the glove, and stop them on the ground when they come his way.  The thing I like best about his baseball playing is his enthusiasm though.  He really RUNS for every ball, and he’s the first kid out of the dugout with his glove, ready to get his outfield assignment from Eric.  He really enjoys it and talks about playing again next season.  Well, the fall season as we are skipping summer for sure.  Too hot!


Greenbelt:  We spend a lot of time in April in the greenbelt!  The weather is pretty, and we like it when it rains and there are extra puddles to splash in!

I got to play with flowers for the Gala for Uschool

DZ working on his Star Student Poster

Maia loves the big girl legos! She doesn’t build them exactly, but she plays with the people and the buildings a lot! She is just beginning to put them together.

Lots of Game Night Fun in April!

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