Monday, October 31, 2011
We broke the sticks and turned out the lights to make our bathtub glow! AMAZING!!
What things have you added to your kids baths to make them more fun?
Saturday, October 29, 2011
He started off by crawling underneath.
And then the destruction began!
He went through and tore every piece of paper off the wall…
and played with a few ghosts along the way!
Yep! I’d say he had fun!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Have you heard of Play at Home Mom? Their blog is amazing and we have similar philosophies on children and their play. They do some amazing things with light trays to enhance a child’s sensory experience while playing.
However…light trays can be expensive. So, I went down to my local Walmart and bought a plastic box and an under the counter light. And….$15 later…a light box! I added white tissue paper in the box to deflect the light some.
Today I put some sand on the lid and provided Halloween cookie cutters and glow in the dark skeletons for him to use if he wanted.
Here’s how it went down.
We started off with just orange sand.
He kept signing for more so I added some green sand.
Then he wanted to see from a different angle I guess, so he climbed on up.
He then wanted his feet in the sand….who wouldn’t want want that?
Then came the zoo animals. Guess he wasn’t in the mood for Halloween stuff.
And then, after an endless amount of signing for more, we added some blue sand into the mix.
I’m always amazed at how a simple activity can grow and grow. This was SO MUCH FUN! I can’t wait to use light in more of his play.
And…seriously…go check out Play at Home Mom…they do some amazing stuff over there.
Why I the world am I telling you this…?
Well, I wanted to give J an opportunity to decorate his pumpkin in a new and original way that hasn’t been done over and over again. Well, my creative juices are just not flowing very well this week and I came up with nothing…nada.
Then I thought about it….finger painting pumpkins is such a great learning experience for this age. So, I gave up trying to be original and let J finger paint his pumpkin….and boy am I glad I did!
Painting the pumpkin soon turned into….
learning how to open and close the paint containers…
how to squeeze the paint onto the pumpkin….
and then how to put the paints back in the box.
How have your children decorated pumpkins this year?
Thursday, October 27, 2011
He got to practice his fine motor skills by pouring and stirring. He was able to see how things change when you add your wet mixture to your dry mixture. He smelled new smells, touched new textures, tasted new tastes, and heard new words…the learning experiences are endless!
Today we made sweet potato muffins. I got this recipe from Weelicious. You should really check out her recipes…they’re fabulous.
We gathered all our materials.
I measured…J poured…
We then mixed the wet and dry ingredients together and scooped the mixture into mini muffin pans. I didn’t get pictures of this…it’s a bit difficult to take pictures while cooking with a toddler….I’m happy I got any at all!
The finished product. Can you guess which one J helped fill? This is a bit of a messy activity…but oh so much fun!
How old were your kids when they started to help in the kitchen?
Mini Sweet Potato Muffins from Weelicious.
1 C All Purpose Flour (I used whole wheat)
1 C Old Fashioned Oats
1/3C Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs, wisked
1 C Sweet Potato Puree, cooked* (I’ve also used store bought Gerber and it works well)
1/2 C Milk
1/4 C Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2, Place the first 7 ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine
3. In a separate bowl whisk the remaining ingredients.
4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients just until they are combined (be careful not to over mix the batter)
5. Place 1 tbsp of batter in each cup of greased mini muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes
* To make sweet potato puree, bake sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for one hour, allow to cool, slice in half lengthwise and mash flesh with a fork until smooth.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Did you know that even the youngest infants can remember people’s faces from pictures? I always thought that was pretty cool.
We live pretty far away from family and only really get to see them a few times a year. It is very important to me to have J know his extended family. One way I do that is by having magnetic pictures of our family that I put on the fridge for J to explore.
These are so easy to make! I gathered the pictures I wanted to use, magnets, and self-laminating sheets. I placed the magnet on the picture before laminating it (magnets are a choking hazard). One of the best things about displaying picture in laminating sheets is that they can be cleaned so easily and they are nearly impossible to ruin.
The weather is turning colder and Fall is officially here. It is my favorite time of year and I am looking forward to introducing J to everything Fall!
ORANGE is currently my favorite color! Yes, my favorite color does seem to change depending on my mood, the season, or just on a whim. Orange is always on my list of favorites. I love that it’s such a great Fall color, so we have been working with the color orange a lot lately.
During naptime I made some playdough and dyed it orange (see recipe at the end of the post for the playdough). It was J’s first time exploring playdough and he was really focused on it for a long while. Based on his smiles and laughter…I’d say he loved it! Playdough is such a wonderful sensory experience and is great for cognitive development and problem solving.
Paint in a plastic bag that’s taped to a window. I can’t say that this was a favorite of J’s, but I’ve seen other children love this.
Orange leaf drawings. J and I went on a nature walk and collected leaves along the way. I taped some of the leaves between two sheets of paper and then gave J an orange crayon. That’s about all the direction that he needed. He immediately started scribbling and the impressions of the leaves showed right up! J was very interested in the texture of the leaves so I opened up the top sheet to show him the leaves beneath. I do not believe in destroying a child’s artwork in front of them and I tried not to rip the top sheet….however, J had other plans.
Here are some more ways to incorporate learning colors into your day:
-Dress in the color of the day
-Have a snack in that color (orange cheese, goldfish, carrots)
-Do a scavenger hunt and find as many objects in that color as possible
-Make a sensory tray only using that color
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 C salt
1 1/2 C water
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 Tbs cream of tarter
As much food coloring as you wish
Put all ingredients into a pot on medium-low heat and stir occasionally until ingredients mold together into one lump. Then pour dough onto a piece of wax paper and let cool for a minutes.
Here’s a website with a bunch different ways to make playdough.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
WHY do a sensory tray?
I’ve recently had one Mom ask me why I do sensory trays with J and what the purpose was. Well, here’s the breakdown. Sensory trays help enhance all the senses and it provides a wonderful self-directed play time. It also helps with the development of creativity, fine motor skills, and cognitive development. Another perk is that it helps build self-esteem!
Think about it…
Today J took a bunch of dry beans and put them inside a cylinder container and then poured all the beans into another cup. That may not seem like a big deal to an adult, but J thought it was the best thing ever. He learned that he was able to make a plan, try it, and succeed at it. Isn’t that what builds confidence in all of us…making a plan, trying, and then succeeding!?
Plus, if you’re anything like me, having your child sitting and engaged in something for 20 minutes is heaven!
So….HOW do you do a sensory tray?
First of all, sensory trays can be used for pretty much any age…starting at infancy. Just make sure that the objects are age appropriate (like no choking hazards for babies).
Use any container that you wish. I’ve used tubberware boxes and cardboard boxes. My favorite box is the white dishwashing tub I found a Target super cheap. You don’t need anything special, just any ol’ box will do.
Sensory trays are probably the easiest thing to do with your children. You can put anything you want into the tray! Most of the time I look around the house and see what I already have laying around that would be good in the box.
Most of my trays follow some sort of theme
BLUE TRAY - rice, blue beads, blue construction paper, blue and white pom poms, blue pipe cleaners, blue foam stars, a blue magnet I had, and a blue chip clip.
RED TRAY - red beans, red hearts, white pom poms, red pipe cleaners, red bowl, and red letters.
WHITE TRAY - Pasta, white dog bones, foam stars, pom poms, white pipe cleaners, paper plate, and navy beans in a white container.
DINOSAUR TRAY - navy beans, foam dinosaur shapes, 2 small bowls, marbles, and pasta.
FARM ANIMAL TRAY - oats, rake, bowls, easter eggs, and farm animals from a puzzle.
HALLOWEEN TRAY - black beans, bouncy ball eyeballs, bat rings, spider rings, marbles, plastic skeletons, orange foam bucket…I added a cylinder container later.
AUTUMN NATURE TRAY - leaves and pine straw we picked up on our nature walk, and fall colored feathers.
SAND TRAY - sand from our sandbox, shovel, marbles, and bowls.
WATER TRAY - I dyed the water in this one red, but I’ve also done others where I added soap for bubbles, or done them just plain. Add cups, measuring spoons, things that sink or float. The ideas on endless on this one.
RICE TRAY - rice, beads, measuring spoons
DIRT TRAY - planting soil and cars
Some other ideas are:
-Playdough (or any kind of gooey dough)
-Paper and scissors
You can seriously add whatever you want. It’s a great way for you to get creative too!
WHERE do you do a sensory tray?
Anywhere you want!
There can be a bit of a mess factor, so you might want to take that into consideration before picking a spot. I usually do them in J’s high chair or booster seat. There’s no good reason for this…it’s just where we do it. As you can see from the examples, I’ve also done them on the floor. It could be fun to do them outside as well. Outside is also a good place if you mind the mess that these can sometimes make.
The most important thing about picking a place is that you want to make sure that the child is able to fully explore the tray. Make sure that’s not too tall that he can’t see or reach everything inside the box.
NOW…go out there, get creative, and make a sensory tray! They are the best things ever…in my opinion.
Monday, October 24, 2011
I’ve heard so many Mom’s say that their child is too young to do crafts with or that they can’t wait until their kids are old enough to do holiday activities. I say…they’re never too young! Check out J at 17 months helping us carve pumpkins.
He loved scooping out the slimy insides of the pumpkin and watching Dad carve out the face.
Later that day he helped season and stir the seeds for toasting.