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Playing in a new space

I posted a little while ago about playing a game by other rules. What if we extend this idea to playing with other things in different ways? What about playing in a new space with an old toy? Will it lead to discovery and exploration? You bet ya!


Playing with Lots of LEGOs

New Play Space Suggestion

The other day Sweet Pea asked if he could play with the Legos in the dining room. He wanted to make a train on the table. At first I wasn’t so sure ~ we always play with the with the Legos on the floor laid out on a blanket. This was a new space for Legos and I wasn’t really keen on the mess to follow. However, he had a very good idea, so why not?

To Sweet Pea this was the greatest room! It wasn’t just the dining room-turned-train room ~ it was the Lego train room! And I could clearly see how he was playing with his Legos and his trains in a much different way than when we set up his Legos and trains on the floor.

Playing LEGO trains on the dining room table

Imaginative Playing

Sweet Pea created just a basic oval track set up for his Lego train (that he made) and eventually all sorts of things were around this track! A carousel made of little people sitting in their airplanes. Dinosaurs with little girls riding them. Any and all sorts of things that my kids can imagine were around the Lego track. I really had never seen this kind of play extension  with the Legos when it’s just us on the floor creating or even playing with his trains!

Let me tell you it was a pain to get them to take it down so we could use the table again, but it was a good problem! Both boys wanted to keep it up because they were having so much fun creating and playing in ways they hadn’t before. It was spurring their imaginations!

Sometimes playing a game by different rules or playing with toys in a new space will lead to a whole new world of creativity!

Action Plan:

My challenge to you today is to let your kids play with their toys in a space they haven’t played with them before. See where their imaginations take them with it!


Rocking to sleep

He is warm in my arms, head cradled against my bicep as if he’d be looking at my cheek if his eyes were open like when he was a baby. Cuddled with his body close and still after having a wave of emotion and crumbling into a little crying heap in his bed as he was going to sleep earlier, I feel his steady breathing. I feel his body’s little twitches as it settles in and relaxes.

I breathe him in and try to take note of every detail of the moment.

He is six and a little too big for me to be rocking to sleep, yet I know I won’t have this privilege for much longer as my little boy is getting bigger. Soon we both won’t fit in this rocking chair I was rocked in as a little girl, listening to the chair creak and squeak with every movement as it does now.

Just earlier he was saying how he wants to grow. Not learn more. Not do more. But grow. And grow he will.

He will become a young man so quickly. One I pray is God-fearing, loving and kind. But for now, he’s my little dirty-blond six-year-old who needs his mommy and I’m going to hold on to that for as long as I can and rock him to sleep tonight.

What I tell myself

What I tell myself

“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” ~ Rachel Carson

I read this quote the other day and realized I don’t think this often enough.

When my boys were younger I could so easily see things through their eyes as they were experiencing things for the first time. Now that they are older I find it harder to do, maybe because they aren’t having new experiences as often.

Today, however, my boys and I are home alone (school conferences, so Hubby still has work) and I’m telling myself to see things as if I’d never seen them before, and as if I will never see them again. I tried last night as we sat at the sewing machine. They wanted to make beanbags…And I did find myself starting to be excited with them.

I do have a question, though, and I sincerely hope you all will take a minute to answer, because as tired moms I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves wondering this…

If what we do is something I have experienced, how do I make this transition in my mind and find the excitement of seeing it for the first time?




Does it add up? (experiment)

This is a fun experiment that’s almost like a magic trick. I came upon this when we were having fun with the materials for the Sky Blue Experiment and Cutie Pie was trying to make his own little experiment.

Since this involves both water and rubbing alcohol, which look the same when in a clear container, you can easily leave your child totally confused if you don’t let them know you are using two different liquids! (I’ll leave it up to you if you’d like to be a magician or not!)

Does it add up? Experiment with rubbing alcohol and water

It goes without saying that this is a science experiment, so use protective clothing, cover your workspace if you deem it necessary and make sure there is an adult around! Read More…

Where’s your path?

Hubby blows a path through the snow from our drive to the driveways on either side of ours for the mail carrier. (Yes, I’m still talking snow here in Rochester, NY, although it is finally melting and I can see just a little bit of grass poking through.) Our neighbors all down this side of the street do the same, so there is a path running near the front of every house from one end of the street to the other. Every morning we traipse through the path to the bus stop next door. Every morning there is a fresh set of paw prints as well, and I am pretty sure they run the length of the street.

picture of a boy stepping off a snowy path
Read More…

Puffy Painting

Do your kiddos like painting? Have they tried puffy painting yet?

This is another activity we did a while back and brought out again when it was definitely indoor weather! (My original post about it is here. The post that originally inspired me to do this activity is here on Making Memories with Your Kids from back in 2010.)

Puffy Paint is very simple to make, so let your kids help! And, as with all cooking projects, be safe – make sure there is an adult supervising and be careful of heated surfaces.

Puffy Paint Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp self-rising flour (make sure you have self-rising flour! If not, here’s how to make 1 cup of it – but remember you only need 1tbsp: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp. baking powder)
  • 1tbsp salt
  • small amount of water
  • food coloring

Materials needed:

  • paper – small enough to fit into your microwave
  • paint brush
  • microwave

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly add the water until reaching the desired paint consistency, erring on the side of thick. Add food coloring according to your needs.

Using your paintbrush or fingers, apply the paint to your painting surface. The paint itself does not puff up until heated. The thinner the coat of paint the less puffy it will be. (fine motor, coordination, colors)

Carefully slide the project into your microwave and “cook” for up to 30 seconds. This is the neat science part – watching the paint puff up! Be careful when removing it from the microwave, and let dry before touching!

The boys and I really enjoyed working with this paint again. Of course, they made Minecraft figures, but I painted simple shapes and cut them out to make a little garland to hang by a window. It added so much color to the bland landscape behind it!

Have your kiddos painted with puffy paint before? What other paint mediums have your kids used and enjoyed?

Action Plan:

Try out a new method of painting next time your kids say “I’m bored!”

Chalkboard Fun

A few weeks ago during our bitterly cold spell I pulled out an activity we haven’t done in a while…using masking tape, a chalkboard and some chalk! I originally posted about this letter-learning activity here.

Sweet Pea still loves to create shape and letter resist art this way! I just wish I had updated pictures of it to share with you! I did want to share this with you, again, though, because I found it interesting that almost a year and a half since first trying this activity he still really enjoys it!

boy peeling masking tape off a chalkboard easle

peeling the tape

This activity is so simple and fun! Simply put masking tape onto a wiped off chalkboard and draw all over it. Then pull the tape off. It’s sort of like resist painting, but with chalk and uses little fingers to remove the tape! (Great fine motor exercise!)

I’ve pulled this little idea out of my hat during this most recent cold spell and it hasn’t lost it’s magic, even now that he’s six and knows his letters ~ he just made different things with the tape!

What a great activity for fine motor work as well as a little gross motor drawing! (One warning, though, clear tape doesn’t work quite as nicely and if stays on too long your chalkboard will be sticky!)

By the way, check out all these ideas I found on Pinterest when I tried searching for the first place I found this activity! Creating with chalkboard paint is still a huge thing! (And here’s a very fun painting job for you to check out, although its one that could cause problems with unwanted words…)

Action Plan

Think of other ways you can have fun with a chalkboard and try them out!

It’s OK to ask for help

Coming upstairs I could hear Sweet Pea trying to open his bedroom door. I gave the knob a turn to help and saw him with his messy bed hair stooped over trying desperately to hold onto about 15 of his lovies while also trying to scoop up another.

Words It's OK to Ask for Help

Isn’t this just like how we often try to break through whatever we’re struggling with, while still juggling everything else? Some times we just need to let someone help us.

As moms we have this false expectation that we have got to do it all. I think this is true for others in light of letting God in ~ why let Him in when we are managing? In both cases we are so caught up in getting through that we can’t see there is someone who can help.

It’s ok to ask for help, just like children do. Sometimes that’s the only way we can make it through whatever we’re dealing with or trying to accomplish. Are there things other family members can do? Are your kids actually old enough to help with a few things?

It’s not only good for us to have help, it’s good for our family to see we are not the SuperMom they think we are. It makes us a real-life example for them. It shows them we are vulnerable, real. And this makes us stronger.

So Beautiful Mom reading this, be strong and ask for help. I know it’s hard, but it’s a good hard.

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