montpelier mansion family fun day

montpelier mansion is a hands-on way to go back in history.
plus it’s free. that’s always good.

our first stop was the carriage house.

a maid prepares meals in a kitchen in the carriage house

next, we explored the mansion as we moved from room to room doing different activities:
we made paper crafts
— a butterfly and paper cup —
like a child would have done in the 19th century,
using whatever was available to be creative.

we played with toys,

timeless mesmerizing toy: jacob's ladder

and played dress-up.

dress-up in bonnet, apron, pocket and wooden garden shoes

did you know that women’s clothes used to not have pockets. so, they would tie on a pocket! see above in aya’s left hand.

then, we finished with a light refreshment of cookies and lemon-drink,
and a short romp out in the flower garden surrounded by a white picket fence.

there were literally five families there, and i truly don’t understand why there wasn’t more. it was a LOT of fun.

in a flier about montpelier mansion events,
there was a girl scout program that piqued my interest,
although i am not a girl scout, nor am i mother to any.

Girl Scout Etiquette Teas
A fun 2-hour program that will teach the finer points of tea service, table manners and conversation. Fee includes tea and scones, party favors, and a tour of Montpelier. Reservations required. Please call 301-377-7817 for more information or reservations.
Teas: $15/scout.

girls just love tea parties. would anyone be interested in attending this event as a group?

exploreAsia at freer gallery of art

we attended explorAsia: a drop-in art adventure for families at the freer gallery of art. this program is definitely flexible: any age can participate, ask as many questions as you want, and you can come at any time between 2pm and 4pm. if you’re talking about asia in homeschool, it can definitely bring it to life.

at this session we were guided through japanese screens including how and with what they were constructed, touching the artists tools used to paint the screens, and playing i-spy with a screen where each panel displayed a season of a village as it plants and harvests rice.

national gallery of art summer stories in art

i’ve been wanting to attend the national gallery of art‘s stories in art series since winter, but i couldn’t find the motivation to get up and out on those cold winter weekends. now i know i’ve been missing out.

when the girls signed up they received an italian greeting — buongiorno! — and their n.g.a. passports. they were taking an art journey to italy!

after the girls joined their guide and group, they sat down in front a painting by an italian artist called giotto.

madonna and child by giotto

first the guide discussed a few facts about italy. then they examined the golden madonna and child painting. the guide talked about how it was done and showed us a few of the tools used in creating the painting. on top of that, she had an unfinished replica which our guide used to demonstrate how the painting was done in layers: paint upon gesso upon wood and for the golden areas gold upon clay upon wood.

next, she read the story “a boy named giotto” by paolo guarnieri, about a young boy who longs to study painting with a local artist.

A Boy Named Giotto by Paolo Guarnieri

finally the kids made a “golden” painting of their own, which is now hanging at home in our 25th avenue gallery.

while the program is for ages 4-7, many parents, including myself, brought younger ones. my 3-year old was able to pay attention to the story and participate in the art project afterward.

we just attended our second one yesterday and i was still very impressed with both the guides techniques for sharing their love of art and handling large groups of children. i also learned something along with my children, as usual. it may be helpful to bring crayons or colored pencils and paper for the young ones in case they get bored so they can create their own work of art while they wait.

have you attended nga’s stories and art? did you have a similar fabulous experience?

romeo and juliet at magruder park

the maryland shakespeare festival hit hyattsville with a
short, but hilarious warm-up pre-performance
and energetic performance of romeo and juliet.
it only added to the ambiance that as the play developed, dusk slowly settled in.

romeo and juliet get married secretly.

there is nothing like a live performance.
although the kids — and even i — couldn’t understand all of shakespeare’s nuanced genius,
there is nothing like live performance
where an actor so immersed in her/his character
can look you in the eye
while reciting her/his lines with such vigor.
good show!

clearwater nature center animal show

as part of p.g. county library’s summer reading program,
we attended clearwater nature center‘s live animal show.
it was exciting to actually be able and touch the animals
(and surprising since one of my children is scared of butterflies)
while we learned about them from their friendly keepers, ms. beth and mr. curtis.

more science days

we’re almost finished with janice vanCleave’s play and find out about science.

we’ve been investigating why eggs don’t break under a chicken

she squeezed as hard as she could, but she couldn't break the egg!

a fourth book finally cracked the eggs.

how paper towels soak up water,

some colors separated on the paper towels. other colors spread out more.

we had a race between two competing paper towels to see which one would soak up the most.

why things roll downhill,

we set the baby powder-covered cookie sheet at different heights and watched the rolypolies roll down at different speeds.

and why boats float.

a ball of clay didn't float, but...

...if you give that same ball of clay a certain shape, it will.
salty water (right) makes things float more than tap water (left)