It was a funny sort of morning. I had planned to do some English and Maths, saving the Science ice investigations for when Elizabeth was home in the afternoon. Francesca had other ideas, and, for once, they were happy, sensible plans. I decided that she might benefit from being in the driving seat, as it were, for once, and decided to relax and comply.
We had a party, on a rug in the living room. Francesca had arranged several guests, comprising three teddies, a toy telephone who has eyes and is usually called Pippin but was, for today, called Strawberry and was pretending to be a dog (you following?!) as well as myself and Sebastian.
We each had a plate and were served a starter of "It looks like clothes pegs but it's prawn moray," (which did, indeed, look like clothes pegs that Sebastian had been playing with in several of my pans). I didn't ask for an explanation of 'moray' - pronounced "more-AY" but it was delicious ;)
Then the games: she had put out several toys for us to play with, which we were to use in turn: "Now we're all going to play this..." saving the "Best ever thing!" 'til last, which was her Lego construction from yesterday, with the Lego people all in their separate bunks. Then there was dancing, to the Little Detective Agency CD, then party food, which I hastily concocted during the last dance.
There were even party bags! Recycled pink party bags from a previous (real) party, containing a selection of things from the desk and surroundings. I got a box of crayons, a ruler and a fancy pencil.
So how to follow that?!
I somehow managed to persuade her that Maths would be a good idea. I suppose I managed to do that by not mentioning Maths. "Let's stick stickers," I think was how I put it.
I gave her a grid on which to stick the correct amount of stickers for all the answers to the two times table. We gave Sebastian some random stickers to stick too, so he didn't feel left out.
Francesca made a great pattern, showing that each time, there are two more stickers and that all the answers are even numbers and we talked about how it's just like doubling... We're getting there.
After lunch, we got to the more fun stuff. The Science. Elizabeth and Sebastian donned their lab coats to be The Investigators, but Francesca could hardly be prized away from her story tape. She got more into it when The Secret Seven were forgotten.
We started with some ice cubes into which I had frozen marbles. We wanted to know what we could sprinkle on the ice to make it melt faster. Which would be first to release the marble? The girls chose to test: salt, pepper, sugar, flour and hot chocolate powder, so I gave them six ice cubes each (including one as a control, to which we added nothing) and let them sprinkle on the substances.
Sebastian had an ice cube of his own to study.
Yes, Francesca is dressed in mouse ears.
Apparently, Sebastian's ice cube wasn't all that interesting.
Elizabeth was really keen.
We filled in results sheets (thanks mum!) and, while we waited for the ice cubes to melt, took a look at yesterday's experiment, about freezing water with different substances stirred in. The salty water took waaaay longer than the others to freeze. Which would take longest to melt?
Sebastian decided that stickers were more fun.
Elizabeth was keen to fill in her results sheet and have an occasional prod at her ice.
It was rather a slow process. Francesca decided that she could multi task and would check her ice every few minutes whilst also doing some more of her mosaic. She got all the tiles fixed in place.
I gave Elizabeth the spare tile adhesive that I had mixed up, spreading it into a recycled plastic lid, from olives or something, so that she could stick beads, sequins, lentils, pasta and even a little blue feather into it, to make a "beautiful picture," which she was quite taken with.
We tried an experiment with two-tone ice cubes. We'd make ice cubes that were blue on the bottom half (water with food colouring) and plain on the top half. We placed them in water to watch them melt and were expecting to see them roll over as they melted (according to the instructions). They did not roll. I think my ice cubes were a funny shape - not so much cubes as near-triangular. I plan to dig out my other ice cube trays and see if I can make cubier ones to try this demonstration again.
Later, Francesca made another great train layout 'for Sebastian' but I think she had the most fun with it.
And here's a shot of the mosaic mirror so far, along with Elizabeth's creation: