Sunday, November 15, 2009

Family Event 2009 - Gullywasher

This week-end our Five in a Row homeschool group hosted our biggest event of the year.  This is an event we have done annually and this year marked our 8th event!  It is a wonderful co-operative event.  I love seeing how it all comes together.  Each Mom has a job and is responsible for carrying out that job.  Seeing the gifts, talents and creativity displayed is an awesome thing!  Many of the children and adults come in costume to just make the day one that is exceptionally fun!  (I didn't get a family shot, but think I have photos of all but me to share.)

This year we choose the book The Gullywasher around which to build our day.  The story takes place in etiher Mexico or the Southwestern US (it isn't clearly stated).  It is a tall tale told by a Grandfather to his grandaughter. 

I have lots of pictures and it was hard weeding it down.  Hopefully you'll get a good idea of our day as I explain what we did.  It started early for some of the gals who were busy getting things set up.  There is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into much of this and this year was no exception.  I love seeing how an grassy field and picnic shelter are transformed into something special!

We began the morning with a welcome and a prayer for the day.  Then we had a telling of the story.  This year it was done with a puppet show.

There were some liberties taken with the story, but the general ideas were all there.  The children were mesmerized and it was new way to experience the story.

After the story, we were divided into 6 groups to go through an activity/obstacle course.  It was not a race, but rather an activity to do as a group.  Our group started with lassoing a steer.

Everyone wanted a try.

Even Roger.

It wasn't easy though and most found it hard to get close to the target!

Next, was the rain from the gullywasher.  This one was a huge hit with our group.  Each child was givein a water gun.

They were to aim at a rain cloud.  (Each group had a different cloud.) 

As the water hit the cloud, the paint from the cloud begain to "rain" down on the catci below!  This was really neat!

A really fun water event even though it was still a bit chilly at this point in the morning!

Next was building birds nests.  Each child was given a baking cup and had to search for items with which to build the nest.

Our fourth station was corn grinding.  There were ears of Indian Corn and after grinding the corn off the cob, it was used for a craft activity.

Each child selected a fun foam that had a frame in the shape of an ear of corn.  The inside was sticky so you just had to press the corn into the picture along with some of the husks at the top.

Even Eliana enjoyed doing this one.

If you notice the "wheel" around his neck, that shows a picture of each station and the order in which to go. 

Our fifth station was "pop, pop, pop".  There were two parts to this one.  First each child had bubble wrap that they stomped on to make it pop and pop. 

Next they were able to choose some popcorn to eat - either plain or spicy.

The last station was a carry the horse station (like in the story).  We had one person to be the horse (a small person) and then the rest of the group stood in a circle.  The horse was then carried from person to person.

Or if the person was smaller than the horse, they might choose to just push the horse.

There was festive music playing while this was going on.  It was the scene of much laughter!

When we finished this event, we gathered for a group photo.

Next it was lunch time!  What a beautiful spread of delicious foods we had to choose from.  Each family brought a main dish, a side and either an appetizer or a dessert.  It was so very yummy. 

We ate in a beautifully decorated shelter too.  I unfortunatly, don't have any really good pictures.  Here you can see some of it - but mostly my little sweetie looking up at a pinata.

After lunch, the children had three choices of activities to enjoy.  One was an art area in which they could do sand art (peel a piece of paper off the picture and pour colored sand onto the adhesive background) or sticker art (fiesta theme).

There was a science area in which they could learn about a tornado in a bottle or sand/water erosion.  There was a demo of how sand was affected by rain (small hole in a cup of water) and flooding (larger hole). 

The children were fascinating to see what happened.  There were even had houses to show the effects during flooding.

The last area was a sound discovery station.  You could expore sound by trying to discern different sounds.  There were group of numbered bottles with different items inside (paper clip, screw, coin, etc.) and you would shake the bottle and try to figure out which of the four items was inside.  There were able 7 different groups of these to try out.  You could then lift the flaps to find the answers.

You could also choose to make instruments like shakers - with a variety of things to go inside and ways to decorate the outside.  Tamborines were made from lids that were hole-punched and then strung with floss, bells and washers.  Drums were made from empty containers, a balloon and a rubber band.

There was also a free play area with sand, play-doh, horses (stick and plastic) to play with at any time during the event.  I have so many pictures that I haven't posted of the creative signs and the set-up at the stations, lots more of many children enjoying the day.  Just too many for one blog post.  One last picture I wanted to share of two little cuties.  Rebecca made these adorable ponchos for Eliana and her friend J.  They even wore them the whole day. 

We had a beautiful day!  That was a real blessing as it rained and rained and rained the days leading up to it.  Someone asked me what our back-up plan was - and the answer is that there isn't one.  We are able to use this site for free (which helps tremendously with the budgeting for the event) and it has worked beautifully for us for many years.  I'm thankful God planned for this to be a beautiful day weather wise (cool and cloudy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon) which was perfect for our day!

I am so thankful to be a part of this group and thankful for each family in it (whether they were there or not).  I'm thankful for the moms (and some Dads too) being willing to invest time, talent and energy into pulling off this incredible event.  I'm thankful to have such a sweet group with which to share this homeschooling journey!  Thanks friends!