Monday, January 31, 2011
This Thursday (February 3) is the Chinese New Year. I decided it would be fun to celebrate by doing a fine motor activity with chopsticks.
I ordered the chopsticks above from Oriental Trading Company. They are "cheater" chopsticks because they are connected at the top.
You then get two containers. Maybe bowls, jars (with a large opening), cups, etc. You then put whatever you want in one of the containers. Paper, flower petals, foamies, etc. You have your child transfer the items from one container to the other using the chopsticks.
Another idea is to combine sorting with the fine motor. Put all items in a pile and have your child sort them into a container. You can sort by type, size, color, etc.
Happy New Year! Again.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Anything you can do to get your kids outside during the winter is great. Having some fun ideas for them to do will get them moving so they are warm and get that exercise in. I have already shared the ideas of building a snowman and sledding. Last year, Raegan shared the fun idea of Snow Painting.
Another great idea is to build snow sculptures. You could do shapes for the children who are not as coordinated. As children get older, you can do more complicated items. Above you can see the couch we made--kind of. If you didn't realize, they are sitting on a couch :).
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Another great way to get exercise during the winter and also enjoy the snow is to go sledding. You are outside. You have to walk up the hill again if you want to go down it again. Great exercise, and great fun!
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A fun craft activity you can give as gifts. This is great for baby on up.
This activity was so popular that my kids have hardly left it alone for the last year! I think it will be a hit with your children too!
Valentines Day Snacks
Raegan compiled a list of snack ideas for you to make!
Since we were in our infant year last year, we had no archive of Valentine activities. I searched the web and created a list of fun ideas to do for Valentines Day!
Monday, January 24, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
- Make a list of things you are grateful for, with each family member participating.
- Blessings/Grace- helps foster an atmosphere of thankfulness.
- Thank you notes- This is true for gifts, but also helping them with writing thank you letters to others that have been meaningful, helpful, or encouraging.
- Set limits- Avoid overindulging w/ material items to learn to appreciate what they have. "A little sacrifice causes us to miss things that we take for granted and helps us to be humble and grateful."
- Offer service- Volunteer together! Some examples: homeless shelter, nursing home, SPCA, shopping for a food pantry,etc. This helps build an appreciation for their blessings.
- Set an example- Thank people!! This includes your kids, sales people, the mailman, etc. Look for people doing good deeds and point it out to your children.
Some recommended books for stories about gratitude and having a grateful heart from the article:
Thank You Bear by Greg Foley. "Bear has found a present for his friend Mouse, but by the time Bear shows it to him, he is not convinced of its value. Everyone Bear has met along the way has devalued his gift, causing him to question if Mouse will like it. Unlike everyone else, Mouse is thankful for his friend's thoughtfulness and agrees that the gift is the greatest thing ever."
Monday, January 17, 2011
The easel is one of those sweet blessing from heaven. This thing keeps my children happy for hours, upon hours, upon hours (not in a row, just in general). Our easel is from IKEA--it was 20-30 dollars. Amazing. It can have paper, has a white board, and has a chalkboard. That means writing with markers, crayons, chalk, paint, pencils, pens, etc. We like it so much we got the Melissa & Doug Easel Accessory Set for Christmas. It is about as much as our easel was alone, but well worth it if you don't have the supplies. And those paint cups are fabulous. Oh, and by the way, the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel is only $43 and has a tray on both sides of the easel, so that is a nice feature. It is very, very well rated.
Anyway, this is a great activity to have for indoor play. I highly recommend it. It is great for creative art projects and gross motor as well as fine motor control.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I'm not usually one to rave about a certain learning DVD...probably because I've come across few that you can really rave about. I heard mom after mom recommend this DVD and reluctantly I watched it. It's a really cute DVD with a super-catchy song. But what really struck me was how much and how quickly my daughters (1 and 3) remembered the letters, what they look like, and the sounds that go with them. It's completely amazing. We've been learning and practicing letters for what seems like forever. I'm constantly trying to find and utilize teachable moments to help facilitate learning for the girls. My youngest loves to learn and can't seem to get enough, even at her young age. My oldest (3.5) would rather daydream and pretend. She literally used to cry when I'd get out the craft supplies.
I wouldn't use this tool alone, but it was certainly worth every penny I paid to add this to our "tool belt." We also have the Word Factory DVD, a great supplement to this DVD.
I'm so thrilled with this DVD I had to share it with you all.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
As the kids learn letters, I'm always looking for new ways to practice with sounds, letter formation, or just reviewing what they've learned. One of my daughter's favorite things for lunch is turkey or chicken, rolled up, and on a toothpick. (Basically she'll eat anything if it's on a toothpick.) As we sat eating lunch together and she emptied her toothpicks, she started creating shapes. It turned into a letter review and a great fine motor activity. We talked about why some letters can be made w/ toothpicks (straight lines) and how some need curves to make them correctly. So we went straight through the alphabet, trying each letter and making new discoveries. I also got the chance to see which letters she was having a harder time making and we got some extra fun practice in.
After our activity, I took out some index cards and drew the letters. Now we have a great independent practice activity for her to do while I prepare dinner or during another learning time.
*If toothpicks + preschoolers make you nervous, try other things, like straws, crayons....basically anything straight!
Monday, January 10, 2011
One of the major problems with being stuck in the house is a lack of exercise. Exercise is good for the body, but also good for the brain. Okay, the brain is part of the body...but you get what I mean. So an important element to surviving winter is getting exercise in. A great and easy way to do that is with dancing.
There are many ways to get dancing into your day.
The simplest and most basic way to do this is by turning music on and dancing with your child. Back when it was just Brayden and me at home, this is what we did. I did everything from children's music, to modern tunes with a beat, to big band swing music. We just danced and danced. We of course still do this today, and it is even more fun with a group of children :)
Another fun element you can add in is dress up. You can see in the picture that my girls love to wear tutus to dance in.
Many children's CDs have songs that you can play that offer some guidance for how to dance. Examples are The Hokey Pokey, The Ants Go Marching, and If You're Happy And You Know It.
You can also get DVDs that are interactive about dance. The only ones I have that I can speak to are the Prima Princessa Ballet DVDs. I reviewed one on my babywise blog last year and liked it so much I ordered one for Kaitlyn for Christmas.
Another idea is to take dance lessons. You could either do a parent/child dance class or a class just for your child.
A final idea from me is the many interactive dance video games. A good one is Just Dance Kids. These really provide good exercise and are a lot of fun.
Do you have any fun ways you dance with your children? Any great DVDs? CDs? Video games? Please share!
|Playing Just Dance at a friend's house|
Friday, January 7, 2011
This is a fun treat you can make while learning about snowmen.
Paper Plate Snowman
A fun way to make a snowman indoors :)
Cotton Ball Snowman
Fun texture activity for building a snowman.
Snowmen Rice Krispie Treats
YUM! I love rice krispie treats so this one fills me nicely.
Nutter Butter Snowman
A simple treat that looks a bit silly, but works.
A fun gross motor activity.
Icy Winter Scenes
Have some fun outside with this snow painting activity!
Slippery Roads: A Science Lesson
Fun ice activity for getting science into your day.
Have an indoor snowball fight and burn some energy! But with paper snowballs.
De-Frosty The Snowman
This is a fun one for when (if) your snow starts melting.
And don't forget about the Winter Books Recommendations.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
- Thank and link to the person who gave it to you
- Share 7 things about yourself
- Pass it on to others
- Amanda now has two children--her second baby was born relatively recently.
- Raegan is pregnant with her third child and actually due very soon.
- Valerie's favorite football team is the Kansas City Chiefs. I have big plans for them this playoff season.
- Amanda lives where it is cold in the winter...and basically no one else lives where she lives.
- Raegan lives where it is warm most of the time (warm in my eyes).
- Valerie lives where it is 10 degrees as a high today.
- We are moms.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
- Spoons/measuring spoons
- Cups of various sizes
- Measuring cups
- Washcloth (my kids like to wipe the walls)
- Squirt bottle
- Paint brushes
- Tub Painting
- Bath Letters are great for adding some fun letter learning to bath time
- I have written a Toy Review on Bath Toys
- I have also written a Best Toys For Children on bath toys, and it includes care guidelines of bath toys
- Play with the kids
- Sneak extra learning in there (like with the alphabet letters--"What sound does A say?"
- Sit and quietly read a book. This is very relaxing! It is nice and warm and humid!
- Clean the bathroom
- Call a friend if you can still focus on the kids
- Take pictures--enjoy these sweet moments
- Get ready for the day
- Sit and do nothing! How fun does that sound?
Monday, January 3, 2011
|Pile of Projects|
Do you have a New Year's resolution to be more organized? Or are you already there? Kids' crafts pose a problem for the organization of homes everywhere. What do you do with all of the many, many crafts your kids make?
Even though you want to, you can't possibly save them all. It really starts to take up quite a lot of space. Here is what I do.
First, I take a picture of each craft as soon as they are done with it or as soon as they bring it home. That way I get the photo when it is fresh. Also, I can save things in a photo and can then easier throw items away.
Next, I put it in a certain place in a closet.
Then about twice a year, I go through the items. I sort them into three piles: keep, maybe, throw away. I throw away the throw away pile, put the keeps in my storage container, and go through my maybe pile again. I don't keep anything that exceeds the size of my storage container. I like giving it some time to think about because with time I become more removed from the item.
By the end of the year, I get the items I want to keep down to what will fit into a pizza box (my storage container). Last year, Brayden's preschool teacher gave us a clean pizza box all decorated. I saved only enough items that could fit in that box with it shut.
I do plan to cut this back more in the future. I will have to keep only a few items from every year.
I know there are lots of good ideas out there, so please share yours!