Posts Tagged ‘Plants vs zombies’

Ode to Plants vs Zombies

April 9, 2013

People say, what does home education look like? What do you do? For us, we are child led. Of course the kids are only 3.5, but we have no plans to try to recreate school at home as they get older.

What does child led mean?

Well, they like Plants vs Zombies, Snort in particular. The game itself offers a child a chance to learn strategy, use maths (storing those suns to buy plants, people!), basic reading (‘It says a huge amount of zombies are going to attack,’ says Coconut), develop memory skills (all those fucking plants, my god), talk about emotions (Why does that potato guy look sad? etc), and have fun. The fun is the incentive and the reward, as well as the fact that all three of us often play together all snuggled up in one chair.

But the spin off activities have been adding to the great fun. I’ll write some of them here, but hastily add that I did no lesson planning, and actually most of these were child inspired. I often follow their lead and am pleasantly surprised by how accidentally creative we are, and how many subjects actually branch off from one hobby.


Coco loves medical stuff, and always has, and the whole zombies eating brains thing has prompted ongoing discussions about brains. The skull that keeps them safe, the different parts of the brain and how they have different jobs, how the brain interacts with muscles, etc. and then obviously quite a lot of science spin off stuff from there!


Snort can do a wicked impersonation of a wide variety of the zombies from the game, and we often have fun physically acting out the game. Some of us are plants, some zombies, and sometimes we just sit back and watch Snort perform.


Using a deep lid of a cardboard box, we lined it with green felt for grass, and TMD helped the kids make trees and other plants so we could build our own Plants vs Zombies set.


Snort almost shat himself with joy when he saw chili pepper seeds at the shop. Now we have planted chili peppers and tomatoes, along with some potatoes that we have been chitting for a few weeks. Lots of talk of how plants grow, etc, which is also science, of course. Photosynthesis for the win!


Yes, I jest, but the ten minutes of zombie exercises the other day were truly awesome.

taste tests

Waiting for the chili peppers to grow is agonising, so we had some chili peppers delivered with our shopping last night. Hence having a taste test of green and red peppers this morning at 7:30 am. Snort, king of not trying vegetables, was keen to reassure us that Coco was wrong, that his mouth would not be on fire. Ha. One absolutely GIANT bite directly into the middle of a green pepper promoted a facial expression that is burned into my retinas. He deigned to lick the outside of the red one, hammed it up, and then watched with interest as I fanned my mouth and gulped milk.

I’m sure there’s been lots more related stuff, but these are the first examples I could come up with in a limited span of time.

Stay tuned for a possible upcoming ode to Angry Birds, which is promoting an ongoing explosion of creative thinking, crafting, and physics. I never thought I’d let my kids play video games this young, but am seeing them as a valid and fun way to spend some time, and seeing the continuous outpouring of creative learning is winning me over.


Weekly roundup 9 March – 15 March

March 16, 2013


Blondie arrived Friday night, and the kids knew when they woke up Saturday she’d be here. Cue manic levels of happiness to start the weekend. Blondie had previously sent us a package that we opened with her, and it was a big marble run. Snort’s head almost exploded, and every second we were in the house yesterday he played with it. I admit it wields a strange power over me as well. We also had other packages at the post office, and Snort is always desperate for ‘all our family’ to do stuff together, so it became a group outing and he was just overwhelmed with joy! Then a quick trip to get Blondie a swimming costume, and we were off for a mini road trip to the pirate pool. After a quick, unhealthy, yet awesome lunch at McDonald’s, we swam, slid, and splashed to our heart’s content. Eventually we got out, had snacks at the cafe, and then Snort asked if he could ask the lady if the soft play was open (‘I ask all by myself!’), so we spent a goodish amount of time in their mini soft play. It was our kids and two six year olds, one of which was a mean mofo. All children ended up topless with lots of rough housing, and it ended with Coco saying, ‘I want to live in this ball place. It is fun!’ The way home included a driving tour for Blondie, and as Snort snoozed, we recounted our day. Coco summed it up, ‘We went to the pirate pool AND the ball place! THIS WAS THE BEST DAY EVER!’

Coconut is now obsessed with Blondie and everything she says starts with Blondie’s name, as she only wants to talk to her, sit next to her, etc.

The other noteable thing was that a few weeks ago, some bigger boys had grabbed Bunny and taken her from Coco. We talked about how she needs to tell kids to be careful with Bunny. So there we are in a soft play with two very big, rough kids and this extremely petite three year old marches up to them and says, ‘You need to be very careful with Bunny. She’s just a baby.’ And these giant karate rough housing boys listened to her. Score.

Snort stayed up later as he’d passed out in the car, which led to one of my life highlights: seeing him imitating a zombie and making us all be plants that shot at him. His arms fell off, he limped, he even did the whole balloon carrying zombie being blown away. Having an aunt who works in gaming makes her cool and us nerdier. It’s fun.


Very cold and windy – a nice day for flags, but not for people, as Coconut says. Spent the morning hanging out in the lounge. Blondie and I tried to manuveur books onto my kindle, while the kids played various apps independently and with adult interaction. Eventually bundled up and went into town. Had lunch out, wandered a bit, then played in a certain museum we seem to spend an awful lot of time in (aka the green bus museum).


Coco went to Nana’s and Snort had his first solo gymnastics session. He loved it and was so happy to be there! We tried the less advanced class today, and he says he wants to try the advanced one next week. I’m not convinced he will like the increased floor exercises and decreased apparatus time, but on the bright side we met a nice boy today who is going to try to advanced class with us next week. Snort is very physically fearless at gym and I think he was pretending to be a superhero for much of the class. Afterwards we drove to football to have lunch with his footie friends. He knows this is our last time doing this, but I thought it might be nice closure. We have invited them round next Monday afternoon.

It is absolutely freezing today, and so windy it literally almost blew Snort off his sturdy little feet. Snort did go in the garden briefly to watch his grampy and our neighbour putting up a new fence, but the cold and snow beat him. So we are spending the afternoon inside. Spent a big whack of time doing marble run (endlessly fascinating for us all!) before retiring upstairs to watch a bit of Cars 2. Snort is now downstairs showing Grampy marble run, while I have a little Coconut snuggled up next to me in my bed watching Charlie and Lola. The rest of the afternoon saw Snort dressed as a knight, Coco as Tree Fu Tom, and they fought Bad Guy Grampy and put him in the police station. In the meantime, I dealt with loads of dentist drama and pounded back a glass and a half of wine.


Still bitter and snowing, so stayed in. Snort built a zoo from wooden blocks and plastic animals, both kids played with alphabet fridge magnets, we did some playing of apps together (mainly literacy), then Coconut did some maths play on her own with apps. Read lots of books, I had a brain meltdown because I cannot find our set of Roald Dahl books, kids read independently and to each other while snuggled up on couch.

We then bundled up and headed over to my/our new dentist, where I almost offered to bear his children because I loved him THAT much. He told me he likes Country A accents better than Country B ones, so my vocal chords also preened because he may be the only person in the universe who has that opinion.

Once home, Coco watched and sort of danced along with about ten minutes of Boogie Beebies, while Snort watched Spiderman in my room. We all ended up watching a couple of episodes, before another trip out to the doctor. Coco has an ear infection (any natural remedies you know of?) and antibiotics are no longer proscribed. Fine. Pass the painkillers. We also had our first experience of urine collection for a small person and it was pretty awesome, at least in the wedidit and noshehasnoweeinfection sort of ways. Came home. They are doing free play. No clue what, as I am holed up in the kitchen making tea. I hear lots of talking out loud and happy noises, though.


My sister works for a prominent gaming company, and this morning was started with the kids watching YouTube music videos of the characters, followed by a bit of good old Looney Tunes. I really want the Looney Tunes box set from amazon one of these days! Then spent a bit of time taking care of wooden dogs, doing marble run, Snort pretending to be a baby. Loads of time at play kitchen, Coco particularly into playing chef/cafe. Snort reverted to playmobil, Coco joined in, I played with them a little, watched them play a little, and ignored them a little!

Snort was desperate to take some playmobil into the garden, so I suppressed my inner OCD toy lady and bundled both kids up. Freezing again today, though sunny. We were due to go to a jazz guitar concert in town, but the kids say they’d rather play at home….and quite frankly, they were so keen to go outside I couldn’t say no. They are currently in the playhouse while I’m sat in my favourite big round chair, next to the radiator (!) and the patio doors.

After they came in and thawed out, we discussed the day. Both want to stay home and play, and I gave up on my ‘oh my god what an adventureless week’ worrying when I realised we have not had a day where we stayed in since February 26! Now onto my ‘should we cook, what games can we play, etc’ worrying which I am knocking on the head while we picnic on pizza and pretend tea, with the television on. I’m verging on being a wee bit crazy as it is the week before my period, so staying in probably isn’t a bad idea! That being said, I gave them cornflakes this morning so they could cook with them at the play kitchen, and cornflakes are now ground into every bit of the carpet and of my soul, and being in means I am helping grind them in with every movement. Oh well! Ha.

Snort spent some time watching tv, chasing the cat, and crying about the box of old fridge magnets we cannot find anywhere. Coconut kept asking me for bowls filled with water, and she took off all her clothes. I chose to avert my eyes from potential mess – it is only water – and go to my room. Yes, it is Cozy Sweatpants Time. Oh yeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaah. Coco just come up to show me that she was a cave girl (what? How?) and her outfit. She asked me to come see the way to her cave.

Me: I’ll be down in two minutes. Is that okay?
Her: nope! Five minutes.

No argument here. Coco ended up coming up again, and we played a LOT of games together on the iPad, while Snort took the world’s longest nap downstairs. When he woke up, we three way played Plants vs Zombies, and I left them to whack-a-zombie while I made dinner. Judge not lest ye be judged. I heard, ‘Snort, help me! Smash the zombies! I can’t do it on my own! Snooooooorrrrrrtttt! Mama, he’s just watching the zombies eat our brains!’ He then moved on to playing with his toy eye cars and making a race, while Coco puttered around.

All in all a long, long day.


After a few nightmare nights, this morning all I hear is screams from downstairs. You know it is going to be a great day when you wife suggests boiling your daughter’s mooncup because she is so fucking grumpy! All settled down now. Coco is playing with her toy dogs, Snort is playing with his superheroes in the superhero house. I am afraid to move into a more comfortable chair or position in case I ruin the spell of peaceful play – because every time I ever sit somewhere comfy, they instantly need me. It’s a rule.

Our normal Thursday home ed meet up was off, for various reasons, so we had the whole day free. The kids were playing with empty laundry baskets, making picnic blankets out of scarves and hats, posting letters through various places – essentially lots of weird fun, but I was keen to go out for a bit. Decided to randomly look up superhero toys at a semi localish place….Snort has been wanting a ‘naughty’ spiderman for about five months now. It’s essentially a variation on his normal spiderman. You or I wouldn’t notice the difference, but his geeky collector soul does. So it appeared this place had it, we mounted up, and we conquered the acquisition of said superhero. Score! This is a big fucking deal. I’ve been unsuccessfully hunting for this little plastic guy for months. We then went to lunch, at which I lamented us wasting the first warmish day in forever to go toy shopping. That being said, the car ride was fun – we did rhyming the whole way, real words and gibberish. We also took breaks to discuss the motorways we would be taking and spot them on the signs.

The wonder of satnavs is that I wondered, ‘Hmm. How far is the zoo from here?’ Lo and behold, fifteen minutes, so off we went! First trip of the ‘spring’. Lots of playgrounding, climbing rocks, animal looking, finding other people’s missing cameras and handing them in, willow mazing, and giant sliding, water squirting, monkey training watching. Gorgeous fun. Home again and Coco is playing Octonauts – again with the nudity and bowls of water – and Snort is watching a Tom & Jerry DVD we found for sale at the shop for a pound! I’m hiding in the kitchen, cooking fish fingers, and playing plants vs zombies.

Dinner featured some instrumental Ghanian music, and I treated everyone to my stylistic vocalising, making up kick ass songs. The kids joined in, and we did a bit of percussion with body parts while they also shoved food down their throats at an alarming rate. In the space between dinner ending and Mummy arriving home, we all snuggled under a special blanket and watched more Tom & Jerry. Delicious.


Morning spent doing, well, morning stuff. Lots of free play, featuring Coconut making a ‘collection’ and inputting data of her collection into a pretend computer, while I was a monster who liked visiting collections. Snort been busy with superheroes and planes.

Got a phone call from my very upset mother saying Blondie was mugged and attacked this am. Spoke briefly with Blondie, but she is now with police. Half planning to drive over to Big Capitol City this afternoon, but I guess we will see what she says. Texting her info on the embassy and waiting to hear back. While I discuss robberies of relatives, the kids get into a very intense game which involves putting stickers all over the play kitchen and getting ready for the ‘star show.’ I don’t pretend to know what this means, but it was so absorbing they didn’t even notice Nana walk in or respond when called.

Went to gym with Coco. The very first thing she wanted to do was go on the rope, and she just stood and waited for her coach to set it up. Interesting. Afterward we went to the park/playground for our usual picnic with Catgirl and her mum. Her little friend Chuckles also came for the first time – I love Chuckles’ mum. We laugh a lot during the exercises at gym, especially when Coco and Chuckles are being maniacs and having lots of weird fun together. The picnic was very soggy as it was an absolutely downpour, so we cut it short, but not before most of us managed to fall downs flight of stairs. My pelvis is protesting and I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Came home, TMD had half day due to previously planned social work visit (cancelled, will post on this all later). I went up to bed with an ice pack on my crotch and a heating pad on my ass. So this next bit is copy and pasted from my email, as TMD jotted things down –

Nana brought Snort home complete with two egg surprises. Coconut tried her first one and declared she liked it. Inside where some sticker sheets with arctic animals on so they both completed these with nana. Then Snort was desperate to watch Blingo so they both watched moshi videos for a bit and this morphed into my little pony cartoons (for the love of god). When they’d finished with these they both played for a bit. Coco with superheroes in the house and Snort and i put the marble run back together. They played for a while at various things (some involving water on the floor so that octonaut penguin could swim) and then came up and annoyed you. Lured them back downstairs with the promise of Sarah and Duck. We watched this and the start of Andy’s adventures together and then I made the tea. They watched tv and played.

We ate tea and Coconut came up with the plan of going outside in the rain. Snort wanted none of it as I’d promised him water for the penguin after dinner. When Coconit had her fireman Sam suit on the naked Snort thought that going outside was actually a great idea so we got him dressed and into his rain suit. Went outside for about half and hour till all cold. Came in, had bath. Read Tom rabbit, fireman Sam and the crazy mix up book and then Coconut went straight to sleep. Snort was up for a while standing up all his superheroes in the bedroom. He only had the light of the bears so he had to keep going over to the star to check which hero he had. Finally went to sleep on the floor next to his guys.

random addendum

Snort’s use of the word ‘four’ for whenever something is plural. He’s done this for ages, probably over a year. If you ask him how many objects there are, he will accurately tell you, but in general ‘four’ is used a lot!

A new favourite game is ‘hiding from the fan.’ Turning the fan in my room on, screaming and jumping under the bed with me, pulling the covers up to make a tent/cave.

Coco been using versions of the phrase ‘you understand’ a lot. We understand, you understand, in songs she makes up, in all her play.