Craft Review: Geodes Science Kit


The Michael’s Craft Store by us re-opened, so I was excited to take a little trip and pick up a bunch of arts and crafts stuff for us to play with! We got all sorts of fun stuff, but one of Jack’s favorites was the National Geographic Geodes Science Kit. The kit was $9.99 and came with goggles, 2 geodes and a display stand. It is this exact kit from Amazon. There is also a 4 geodes version for $19.99.

To say that Jack got $10 worth of fun out of this little kit is an understatement. He borrowed a hammer and chisel from dad’s garage, put on his safety goggles, and got to work.

It took quite a bit of tapping to get anything to happen, so I’m pretty sure Travis helped a bit. But then… BLAM, the geode broke open and there was treasure inside!

Jack was super excited about the sparkly crystals and it was a great hands-on way for him to do a science experiment in our driveway. Now that he has a bunch of sparkly geode pieces, he has decided to display one on the included stand and then start his brand-new rock collection.

All-in-all not a bad $10 afternoon craft! I would definitely get one of these kits again, and I even ordered one from Amazon for an upcoming birthday gift.

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Jack’s Last Day of 2nd Grade

Back when we took Jack’s photo for the first day of second grade, we had no idea how crazy this year would end up being. Nobody had any idea. And nobody was ready to deal with states suddenly shutting down schools, workplaces sending their employees home, and being told to Stay at Home as much as possible.

In my great big bag of ‘things to worry about’, a pandemic never even crossed my mind.

But, here we are.

Jack’s elementary school closed on March 13, 2020 and we started online schooling soon after. Our teachers actually had some tasks up online as soon as the following week, with actual lessons to be completed online a week or so later.

Every single weekday, Jack and I have worked together for him to complete his Math, ELA, Content, Specials (Music, Media, Health, PE, Media) and more. Every single weekday for the last 13 weeks. I’ve also been working full-time from home for the last 12 weeks.

It’s been hard. Super dooper hard.

However, there have been some positives (when you block out the whining). Rather than coming home with blank worksheets and half-filled out pages of work because he ran out of time in class, Jack had plenty of time and one-on-one attention.

Rather than potentially being ignored in a big group, he was able to work with me on every assignment and I made sure he understood what and why he was doing something.

Rather than being left on his own to misunderstand the text on a quiz question or just give up and guess what they were asking for, he had me encouraging him to sound out each word and ask him whether his guess made sense or not.

While I’ve been worried about him falling behind by being at home, now I’m thinking that I may have actually given him a chance to catch up to his peers. Sure, he’s not reading any chapter books on his own quite yet. But I feel like he might actually have a stronger foothold on his lessons than I expected.

Over the summer, we typically do a bit of schoolwork here and there to keep his brain from fully turning to mush. And I plan to keep up with that this summer.

We have no idea what the fall will look like… whether he will be back at school online or if there will be some sort of hybrid in-person/online schooling plan.

However, we DO know that as of today Jack has completed 2nd grade and I think we both deserve some sort of award for that!

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Kid Activity Idea: Zoom Pokemon Battle

As I’ve mentioned before, since early March I’ve been doing the work-from-home and kid online schooling juggle. Some days go really well and some days… don’t (Parenting through a Pandemic). Both Jack and I have been getting a bit lonely for normal everyday activities and friends. In fact, Jack hasn’t seen any non-family friends for three months. Which when you’re 8 is a really, really, really long time. Actually, when you’re 42 it is also a really long time.

We’ve had the random family Zoom calls/JackBox game nights and Jack has also had some Zoom calls to play Animal Crossing with two of his uncles. Which gave me an idea… what if I set up a Zoom call with one of Jack’s friends, but gave them something they could actually do?

And that is where the Zoom Pokemon Battle idea came from!

Each kiddo was told to gather their Pokemon cards and they could have a battle from the safety of their own homes. We Zoomed one of Jack’s 2nd grader friends and for about 45 minutes they were thrilled to battle it out. There was no touching, or germ sharing…but there were certainly lots of giggles.

To be honest, they were doing great until I ruined it. They seemed to be petering out on the Pokemon Battle, so I suggested they share a virtual whiteboard and take turns making pictures. Bad idea. Bad, BAD idea. It became a tug-of-war and both kids ended up annoyed that they had to keep fighting over whiteboard access. So yeah, don’t do that and just stick with the Pokemon games!

Have you figured out any fun ways to keep your kids connected with other kids while stuck at home? Share in the comments!

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