Christmas generally is a D.I.Y. extravaganza here at Hoffman Haus. Besides the mountains of cookies being baked, there is always an array of artistic projects ranging from photography, papercraft, sewing, woodworking, etc... splayed out all over the house. In the midst of all this wonderful madness, there must be time made for your regularly scheduled madness! So, what kinds of things have been occupying the young minds of the house lately?
Well, the most popular subject is tornadoes. The kids are besides themselves with a hunger for info on the topic. They have favorite tornado videos that they love to have pulled of youtube for their edification. The baby wakes up every morning asking if tornadoes are hot or cold, then reassures me that they are, and I quote, "violent rotating columns of air." Wolfie tries his best to educate me on the finer points of tornadoes, like the fact that they love cookies, and that they only like to destroy bad things like wicked witches from the east. So, I made a binder book entitled "The Hoffman Guide To Meteorological Phenomena." It has a description of what meteorological phenomena are actually, followed by sections on tornadoes (natch), snow, dew, frost, rain, rainbows, lightning and clouds. Each section has lots of pictures and short descriptions about the phenomena. They love it and read it over and over. It has started an interest in reading the weather report in the paper every morning, checking our thermometer at different times of day to compare temperatures and learning lots of new vocabulary, like precipitation and atmosphere. The nice thing is that you can make books like this for any topic that interests your child.
Which brings us to another binder book, "Wolfie's Unabridged Guidebook to Signs". This kid is obsessed with signs! It started with the sign on the lid of a large storage bin that shows a baby falling in the bin, complete with red circle and line through it. Then there was a Curious George episode about signs, which fanned the flames. We used my printshop program to find pictures of many common and not so common signs to put in the book. We scanned his many, many individual pictures of homemade signs like "No butts on the table!", and "No squirrels allowed to punch alligators!" and included them in the book. He pays attention everywhere we go, on the lookout for new signs. On the up side, he is learning a lot about rules and responsibilities. He saw a man smoking next to a "No Smoking" sign and politely indicated to the man that he was breaking the rules. The man actually went across the street to finish smoking!
Vladdie, on the other hand, is our art guy. Artist, appreciator of art, critic, and discoverer of art in odd locations, he craves "more art please!" So he has "The Hoffmanhaus Gallery Guide to Art". I photographed anything in the house that qualifies as art. There was a surprising amount! Printed out and put into a book, he now has lots of beautiful art to appreciate when he isn't busy writing on the walls!
That is the beauty of these D.I.Y. books. They can be personal and meaningful as well as educational and entertaining. Plus, they used up a few old binders I scrounged from somewhere and the backsides of paper that only had one side used, so they are even sort of green too.