DR. BONES (and other things nominally related to the Halloween season)

About five or six years ago Dr. Bones, an approximately two-foot tall, plastic decorative skeleton, entered our family.  Well, back then he was just Mr. Bones.  Apparently he has since completed his doctoral thesis, because the boys have conferred upon  him the title of higher learning.   Here he is two years ago relaxing with A watching a bit of television.

Watching a game with Dr. BonesHe graces our door at this time of year, the bones from his femur to his metatarsals swaying and clattering eerily against the front door at the slightest provocation, like a gentle breeze.  We hesitated to bring him out of his garage hibernation when G was a baby, thinking perhaps it would scare him.  Instead, early exposure must prevent fear, or in other words, it might be that someone cannot be afraid of something unless they are told they should be.  Either way, Dr. Bones has always been a great friend to G.  He takes him off the door periodically and they play board games or just sit in the pop-up tent together.  Dr. Bones is someone who entertains us for the month of October.

Last year he became quite useful when we  studied human anatomy and physiology.  We used Apologia, if you wish to view the curriculum here.  He allowed us to label him with sticky notes.  Patiently, he sported signs which read, “Cranium,” “patella,” and “ulna, radius.”  Although this year A and S are concentrating on astronomy, G still likes to get out a few of our books for kids on anatomy.  This layered Scholastic find is one of his favorites.

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The other day Dr. Bones aided us in our research of the skeletal system.  On our metal-topped kitchen table we laid out the magnetic pieces from our Greggo Magnetic skeleton kit.  You can take a look at it more closely here.  They also make a wonderful kit for the human organs.  photo 1 (1)

Dr. Bones acted as the model for G to connect the bones in the correct order, orienting them in the right direction.  Once completed, we named and pointed to several of the bones I knew he recognized.  Then, they left to go play in the family room.

photo 2 (1)

An Unfortunate Epilogue:

Even in the midst of typing these words, G has brought to me the severed head of Dr. Bones.  An investigation still ensues.  I am attempting to re-attach it, experimenting with a couple of kinds of glue.  The prognosis does not look good.  I fear we may need a gruesome sign: R.I.P., Dr. Bones.  But how do you lay to rest an entity who was even originally a lifeless skeleton?  He served us well.

Happy Halloween.

Hanging Halloween Patterns


Believe it or not, these flimsy construction paper cut-outs have survived six or seven Halloweens.  They originally came to life when A and S were still small.  They have recently had a reinvented purpose wtih G, who merely knows the label “ghost,” but truly has no idea what it represents.

I discovered them buried in a drawer of the dining room hutch as I was digging for a tablecloth.  How fortuitous, given the season!  I thought they would be perfect for G to practice his patterns.

This was not a new concept for him.  We have periodically worked on patterns whenever we see them appear naturally.  Last year we used a fall theme to create an ABB pattern with pumpkins and pinecones.

Fall ABB patterns

Below, G has created an ABC pattern.  Recognizing and predicting patterns is an important skill for 3-5 year olds.  We encounter patterns in nature, music, mathematics, grammar, and in so many other areas.  This is slowly preparing G for some higher level thinking.  At least, I hope so.  Right now, we are just having fun.

"Owl, pumpkin, ghost, owl, pumpkin, ghost, owl..."
“Owl, pumpkin, ghost, owl, pumpkin, ghost, owl…”

I have been wanting to play with clothes pins lately, ever since this summer when G discovered them at Oma’s house.  They are such a great way to practice some fine motor skills.  Not only do they provide a challenge beyond the pincer grasp, but they are a solid pre-writing exercise.  Just the act of opening a clothes pin strengthens those hand muscles necessary for holding a pencil and writing.


A simple rope tied to two kitchen chairs, some construction paper shapes and clothes pins were all we needed.  Initially, I had intended for him to continue his AB patterns on the clothesline.  However, it was quite the challenge for him to hold the paper still with one hand while squeezing hard enough with the other, so I just let him have fun hanging them all up.


He made sure we kept them up for the rest of the day.