Sunday, January 29, 2012

Be Prepared Printable

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feel free to save this and print it out for yourself.
 
 
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Friday, January 27, 2012

our play room...before and in-between

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not too long after i started blogging and started seeing all of these aMaZiNG pictures of pLayRooMS, i wanted one for our house.  we have an average sized split-entry home with  3 bdrms and a bonus room/den for my hubs.  up until recently, our family room had a pull-out couch in it that had only been used about 10 times.  the room itself was rarely ever used.  so it was just wasted space.  enter Craigslist.  we listed the couch and were able to sell it in a couple of weeks. i threw dumped placed everything that was going to go in the room in piles.  it looked like this:

not much room for Bear to play, right? 

after a bit of work, it now looks like this:



absolutely nOT what i'm envisioning in my head... but it'll have to wait until spring when i can open the windows and PaiNT :)

What does your ideal playroom look like?
feel free to post your links!
 
 
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

stopping boredom with a clothes basket

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isn't it funny how our children can have all of these toYS aNd gAmES, but there are some times that they can't immerse themselves in anything?  Bear was BoREd.  so bored.  nothing that the hubs and i could come up was working to keep him occupied.

until i got out an empty laundry basket
and our foam stamps.


empty clothes basket activity
do you see the intensity in his body language?  funniest thing i've seen in a while.

what boredom busting games do you come up with? 
 
 
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the definition of play

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how do you define play? 

what is it?
what does it look like?
sound like?
feel like?

here is my take on it...


definition of play for educators
how do you define play?
 
 
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**thanks to The Nurture Store for the inspiration to do a video presentation**

Monday, January 23, 2012

in {her} shoes...maggy

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Maggy from Red Ted Art is another amazing woman i've met through the blogosphere.  she offers a wide variety of resoureces on her blog; from printables to recipes and projects to ebooks!  pop over there for a little inspiration today!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hello, my name is Maggy and I blog over at Red Ted Art. I regularly get crafty with my children in my weekly kids crafts and also like to make things “for myself” in my weekly tutorials. What kind of mum am I? A very busy one for sure. I decided to “stay at home”, to spend time with my children. In order to keep my mind active I started blogging and rediscovered a life long passion of mine – crafting. It is now more than just a hobby and I hope one day to make a proper living from it.What is the most challenging part of being the type of mom you are?
I am always "very busy", doing lots of different things - this includes running around seeing friends with the children, as well as making and doing things at home. So I guess the main challenge for me and my children is to find some "down time". I think it is very important that children "experience boredom" and learn to play of their own accord. They shouldn't constantly be entertained and stimulated. So each week I try and keep at least an afternoon or two free of any activity for them. Similarly, I need to time for me to wind down and do nothing. I regret that I often forget my friend's birthdays. I used to be SO good at remembering them. These days my heads is just too full of stuff!

The other is the classic “work life” balance and not letting myself get too carried away by my blogging activities – remembering that I am here first for the kids... and then to blog!

What is the most rewarding?
Spending time with my children. Seeing them grow up and knowing what things they really like (e.g. getting their Christmas presents 100% right). Having fun together and I do love a cuddle on the sofa with them. The holidays are best as there is no rush to get anywhere and we just get to hang out on our PJs and take it easy!

In your opinion, what’s the most important value(s) parents can instill in their children?
Being thoughtful and caring for others. I do hope that they grow up to be compassionate people and that they may take an interest in doing charity work and helping others.

Followed by trying to do your best and working hard (I am not too keen on laziness!).

If your children could describe you in 3 words, which ones would they pick?
They would probably say strict. I would hope they would say loving and also fun. I just asked my almost 4 year old and he said "You are pretty, you are lovely and very very special". Aaah. I hasten to add, that we often talk at night and I tell him, that "You are handsome, you are thoughtful and very very special" - so I guess that that has been prompted a little! Still made me smile though!


As to my shoes: you will see that they are rather sensible and practical. Easy to slip in and out of (especially when you are helping others put their shoes on all day), flat (for walking everywhere in a hurry) and black (goes with everything).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

God's Canvas

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if this inspires you or touches your heart, feel free to save it as a printable for your home!
 
 
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Saturday, January 21, 2012

you know you spend a lot of time around children when....

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the idea for this post popped into my head the other day when i used a random rhyming phrase.  [i can't remember what it was for the life of me].  why did it make me giggle?  only because the words rhymed and it sounded silly.  that's how i know i spend alot of time around kiddos.

i wanted to get some other people's responses to this, so i asked some of my friends in the Kid's Blog Network.  here are their answers!




you know you spend alot time around children when...

...you think that play-doh, shaving cream, and tempera paint smell better than any scented lotion, body spray, or perfume on the market.
me, andie

...you arrive at playgroup and are told that you have "A star attached to you back", "Rice cake on your jeans" and "Something of unknown origin in your hair"
Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum

‎... you're okay talking about poop on a daily basis.


...you go to pay for groceries and find Lego in your purse.

...you reach in your coat pocket while at work and find a diaper or even worse, a pair of little kid's underwear. (Both of which happened during my working years when my two were in daycare!)

...going out for the day involves checking the backpack has enough diapers, wipies, snacks, toys, juice boxes, the favourite plush, spare socks, pants, shirt, book, a coat, the pet rock collection, some pieces of paper, a pen, a pencil, some plastic scissors, the favourite DVD (no DVD player in the car), some pretend kitchen utensils, a flashlight, a pillow, a rocking chair and something else...oh yeah, the child!

...your fingers and fingernails are constantly stained green...purple...blue...

...when your walk-in pantry is 2 third full of art supplies, toys and books :)
Caroline @ De Tout Et De Rien

...when you tell other adults you have to go potty.


...when you have holes in the knees of most of your pants from crawling around and playing on the floor all day.
Rebekah @ The Golden Gleam


...you'd rather save your cash for a college fund or Batman Imaginext Lair rather than that Cole Haan purse you used to covet.

...the inside of your car is never ever clean any more...
Deborah @ Teach Preschool


...when you are reading an interesting article from the paper to your husband and he lovingly asks you to use your real voice and not your "Once Upon a Time" voice. :)


...you get giddy when you get to go grocery shopping by yourself, but then you spend the whole time having mini-panics and having to remind yourself that, no, you didn't lose someone, they are simply home with daddy...
Alissa @ Creative with Kids

...your heart beats louder of joy of playing with lego or something you have bever experienced before when you were a kid...and when you get hugged by two or more little arms, those precious moments.
Angelique @ AngeliqueFelix.com

...automatically put everything dangerous on top of the fridge or a bookcase that is tall.
Deirdre @ JDaniel4s Mom

and now it's your turn to finish the sentence. 
you know you spend a lot of time with children when...

 
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Friday, January 20, 2012

if you give a moose a muffin

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since we're on the Letter Mm, i used on of our favorite books to do some activities.  i'm going to condense all of the If You Give a Moose a Muffin activities into one post, so it's a little long.  we had 2 project fails, so reader beware :)

the first activity was Bear-requested.  he wanted to make a mOOsE.  so i cut out a head, ears, and nose hole shapes out of paper.  then i traced his hands on cream paper for the antlers.  he decided not to use a glue stick.  he wanted to use some of our homemade colored glue.  see how his moose turned out in the next picture.

next came the If You Give a Moose a Muffin math activity.  ahead of time, i used a marker to write the nuMBeRS 1-10 on the bottom of muffin liners.  i let Bear put the liners into the muffin pans.  he put them in random spots, which was a good thing.  with them not being in numerical order, it helped him to practice identifying the numbers.  then we used Graham Crackers so Bear could give his moose some muffins.

then Bear counted out the appropriate number of "muFFiNS" into each cup to practice one-to-one correspondence. he needed help on some of the bigger numbers, but with a little guidance he got back on track. 



then, in the spirit of the moose's activities in the book, we made soCK puPPeTs.

our last activity was also a major project fail.  i thought that it'd be a fun idea to make some homemade blackberry jam for Bear's dad to put on his english muffins.  i even found a super easy recipe online that didn't require pectin. 



mashing the berries and mixing the ingredients up was fun.  about halfway through the cooking time, it smelled like it was burning.  after it was supposed to be done, i poured it into a corningware dish so it could cool.  a few minutes later, i went to get a small taste and  realized something was wRoNG.  it had cooled and turned roCK soLiD.  i just threw the whole dish away... there was no way i would've been able to get it out.

you win some, you lose some...right?  i think it's good for him to have experiences where things don't come out as expected every now and then.  ((it helps him learn to deal with disappointment)).  
the counting activity was the one Bear seemed to like the most.
we moose-t do it again!

 
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

microwave science experiments

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not too long ago, while at a linky party, i saw a link that was titled
"put a marshmallow in the microwave"
((so sorry i'm not sure what blog it was... i didn't read the post))

so i thought...hey, why not?
i'm not sure what i thought was going to happen,
but both Bear and i were extremely disappointed with the results.
all that happened was the marshmallows puffed up, then burnt.

pRojeCT fAiL.
the only consolation was that we paired the burnt marshmallows with chocolate animal crackers to get a s'more like snack :)

after this failed experience, i was bound and determined to do something cool.  so i did a bing search for microwave science experiments

and i found the awesomest experiment ever!  though i had to admit that i was a bit scared at first.  all that ehow.com said was to put a bar of soap in the microwave and watch what happens.  i had no idea if it was going to explode or melt all over the place or what. 
i found myself wondering
would i have a microwave after this?

after contemplating on how i would explain soap all over the inside of the microwave to my husband, i broke off a small piece for us to try first. i let Bear handle putting it all in the microwave.  he even set the timer for 1 minute.  ((it's good practice identifying the numbers 1 and 0))

the results were so neat to watch!  the soap did this LaVa-LiKE pouring out.  it was quite similar to what those black tabs you buy on the fourth of july do. here's what they looked like:



i think that the texture was the coolest part.  it was a bit RuBBeRY, but cRumBLeD when we squeezed it between our fingers.  the only drawback was that the only bar soap i had was jergens.  so our kitchen and microwave smelled pretty strong when we were done.  but i left the microwave door open and the smell was gone by dinnertime. 

Bear and i did two pieces. then another when Pip got home. then another when Gramma came over the next day.  and we'll do it again in a few weeks, i'm sure.  next time i will definitely use an UNsceNteD sOAp, though.

so... are you going to try out this soap-er experiment?
 
 
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

when preschoolers develop fears

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Bear (who is 3) has recently developed a feAR oF tHe dARk and going to sleep.  i will admit that this surprises me, especially when we have a family bed.  it has gotten so that it is a 45-sometimes 90 minute struggle to get him to go to sleep for naptime and bed.  as you can imagine, this leads to a grumpy Bear and a disgruntled Momma.

after talking to him about his fears, he told me that he's afraid to go to sleep because he doesn't want to have baD dReaMS.  this current development has prompted some hard thinking on my part about how sleep times are handled in our house.  as a practicer of attachment parenting, i want to do everything in my power to help my son feel secure and safe... and to be assured that it's okay to feel the way he does. 


there are a many things that children can be afraid of:
the dark
monsters
bad dreams
strangers
animals
doctors
thunderstorms
people in costumes
the flushing of the toilet
haircuts
being alone/without parents

i will openly admit to being afraid of clowns/mimes/some porcelean dolls and drive-thru car washes.  silly and irrational?  absolutely.  but are they paralyzing to me? absolutely.
knowing that i have these fears, i want others around me to validate them.
i don't want to be made to feel stupid or embarrassed about them.
i take all of this in consideration when dealing with Bear and his fears.  


how can we deal with these fears that strike our children so hard, but are illogical to us?

  • Make your child comfortable.  shoving your 3 year old towards the great-aunt sally he sees once a year is likely to induce even more anxiety in your child causing them to cry or cling to you.
  • Don't share your fears with your kiddo.  for instance, my fear of clowns really shouldn't be shared with my son, though i admit to doing it. [mommy fail]
  • Try bibliotherapy.  there is such a wide variety of children's books out there that cover fear inducing topics such as: monsters under the bed, first haircuts, going to the doctor, the first day of school, etc.  reading books of this variety may help children to deal with their fears.
  • Sympathize with your child.  try not to belittle their feelings by telling them that they shouldn't be afraid.  instead try an approach that shows you understand and validate their fears.  for instance, "i know that thunderstorms can be scary because of all the noise.  would you like to cuddle and read a book/sing a song/watch a movie/pray together?"
  • Turn to your faith.  if you are a family that practices a faith, pray together that you can hand your fears up to God.  A simple verse is "Don't be afraid for I am with you." Isaiah 41:10, NLT

these are just the approaches that i've used with Bear.  but i'd like to know:

how do you handle the fears of your child?

 
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

open-ended sculptures with junk

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junk.

i've got no other word to call the random stuff i save in our craft cabinet.
egg cartons
cardboard corners from picture frames
toilet paper rolls
scraps of foam sheets
the list goes on and on

i got a bunch of it out one day along with glue, pipe cleaners, scissors, the stapler, and my low heat glue gun.  i put them on our preschool table and began fiDDLinG with them to see if Bear would become interested.  soon he came over and began building a sculpture like Bob the Builder would (according to him). 



***if you let your child use a stapler or glue gun, make sure they are properly supervised***

the final product:


 
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Friday, January 13, 2012

shaving cream snow

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we like playing with shaving cream at our house.

this is the kind we use.  Bear has extremely seNsiTiVE sKiN and some eCzeMA, so i have to be careful what i let him play with and eat.  this type of cream is made for sensitive skin and smells really good!  plus we can pick it up for less than $1.

it was a bit of a down moment the other day and Bear was struggling to decide what he wanted to do, so i offered up the shaving cream.  of course, he agreed.  i squirted some of the table and was amazed at what i saw.

as some of you may know, i'm a supporter of child-directed play, art, learning.  granted, there are times when we do crafts for gifts or something.  but a lot of times i like to put things on the table and let him go off in his own direction.

as i was spraying the shaving cream on the table, he did his little trying-to-fly-happy-dance.  then he ran and got some of his little trucks.  then he used this sNowPLoW to move the "snow" around the table.  his inventiveness makes me smile. 
he came up with an awesome winter sensory activity! 


after a while, he wanted to clean the truck off so he could start over, to i pulled out the hose and let him waSH iT oFF.  little bits of water on the counter, clothes, and floor.  but if you don't make a mess, you're not having enough fun :)

there's a trick i've found to cLeaNiNG uP shaving cream.  use a spatula to scoop it all up like this.  then there's only a little amount left to spray and wipe up.

so there it is.  i'm hoping that some of you will have fun with this winter play idea! 
so go on.... get messy!
 
 
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Mitten: making felt mittens

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we're currently doing the letter Mm and we're doing winter activities... so it only makes sense that we read one of my favorite stories ever!

Jan Brett's The Mitten


i thought it'd be fun to mAKe ouR oWN miTTeNS.  sure, we have lots of sets floating around the house... but i'd never made them before.  i figured if i was excited about it, Bear would be too!

i used some old felt that i had lying around and traced a mitten shape around Bear's hand on it using a pen.  i went about 1"-1.5" bigger than his actual hand to allow for the glue and stretching spaces. 

once i got them cut out, i offered up several things for him to decorate them with:
bingo markers
pom pom balls
sequins
glitter paint


he opted to just use the bingo markers...
((by the way, i got several different colors $1/piece at Dollar Tree
if you have one in your area, it's a great source for craft supplies))

do you see his little Barbie helper?? ((more on boys and Barbies later))

i used a thin line of glue around the outside of the mitten to seal them.

after they dried, Bear wore them around the house for quite a while!  he thinks that they're the greatest thing to wear while he plays with his winter sensory bin


so... are you smitten with The Mitten
what are your other favorite winter books?
 
 
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