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What will you give? Prompting children to give and be generous. http://momistheonlygirl.com

What will you give?

Can you believe the stores are decorated for Christmas already? I don’t really want to think about it yet, but the grandparents have been asking what types of things to get the boys. It got me thinking about this coming holiday from another perspective.

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What are they going to GIVE?

Have you thought about asking your kids what they want to GIVE? I remember asking Cutie Pie (when he was five) what he would give if he could give anything at all.

This was his (5 year old) response…

“A brontosaurus and LEGOs to a boy with no toys.
To my friends I would give pets.
To a stranger, a piece of paper because I don’t know them and they could do a lot of different things with paper.”

What ideas do your kids have to give? Have you asked them?

Carnival of the Animals lion mane craft http://momistheonlygirl.com

Carnival of the Animals – Lion Mane craft

Listening to the music and hearing the roar of a lion, meow of a cat, or the almost irritatingly slow melody of the can-can, as if a tortoise were dancing it. The beautiful melody as the cello makes us think of the swan….

This month we had the privilege of hearing Carnival of the Animals played at our local OrKidstra concert! (You can hear movements of it here.) So today we’re making lion manes!

Carnival of the Animals lion's mane craft http://momistheonlygirl.com Read more

Toy Train ideas at Mom is the Only Girl http://momistheonlygirl.com

Got a train lover?

(UPDATE: These links are not commission-based or affiliate-based, but are provided solely for reference. Please see the note at the bottom of the post.)

Have you got a train loving child and your short a Christmas gift or two? Or maybe you’re looking for ideas for a birthday present? Here are a few train toy ideas based on what my train-loving seven-year-old boy adores (or used to when he was younger)!

Toy train idea suggestions at Mom is the Only Girl http://momistheonlygirl.com

 

LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train Building Set  

This LEGO train toy set is big, making it easy for little hands to grasp, and has a learning component to it with numbers on the sides of the cars. My oldest had a hard time putting the cars in any order other than the correct number sequence! My youngest, just loved pushing it around the track! Of course, these pieces can be built into other objects as well. Great imagination builder!

 

Motorized engine train set with Lego Duplo Compatible

This train toy set isn’t LEGO but it’s compatible with DUPLO pieces. My youngest adored this set, and still some days pulls it out (he’s seven!) This set has basic wheel pieces that can be built upon, as well as pieces that assemble into a bridge. The engine has a button that, once pressed, makes the train go around the track.

 

Fisher Price Thomas the Train set

My sons still pull these wooden trains out to play with. These are wooden tracks and trains that we plan on keeping until we have grandchildren! The wooden trains are relatively inexpensive and are sturdy. The wooden tracks are sturdy as well, and you can purchase both the tracks and the trains/cars non-brand name as well as purchase expansion packs and pieces so this set can grow easily with your child. I, personally, loved putting these tracks together when the boys were very small. Their little hands could grasp the trains, but their minds couldn’t figure out how to build a complete track!

 

Playhut Thomas the Train

There are also bigger train items you can purchase for your little train lover! We had this fabric trainhut for a few years, handed down to us from a friend. My boys loved it! We had picnics in it, pretended we were engineers, packed it full of pillows and read, and of course set up our wooden trains and tracks in it! This was quite durable, considering it was made of lightweight fabric!

 

Power City Trains
This is a terrific option for a child who loves trains, but needs something slightly different than wooden trains or LEGO trains. These trains and cars are battery operated, with plastic track. Sweet Pea has several of these kits and always asks for more. They are not very expensive and make a great starter to see if your older preschooler/kindergartener is ready for something more than Thomas (but of course we all love Thomas!).

 

LEGO City Trains
My youngest can’t get enough of trains. The fact that LEGO has (a few) train sets just puts it over the top. Of course, the price is a little much, but it is for all LEGOs. (This one at the time of posting is $124 through Amazon.) This represents just one of their train sets. My youngest loves LEGO train kits because he can build per the instructions, or use his imagination and build what he likes. These trains are pretty sturdy once built, although they are made of LEGO, and can come apart easily. The tracks are also pretty sturdy and there are additional pieces available to purchase or small packs available. Sweet Pea has always has excellent fine motor skills when it comes to LEGO play, so he graduated to a LEGO train set right after playing a couple of years with the wooden set.

 

Step2 Thomas the Tank Engine Up & Down Coaster

Sweet Pea and Cutie Pie both loved riding on one of these when we visited the local recreation center every Friday during their preschool years when they would open their doors to children inviting them to come and play with their toys! I know this is a little more than most have space for, but definitely an awesome train gift for a little one!

 

These are just a few options of train toys you will find for your train-loving child! There are oh so many more if you do a quick search, but these definitely represent my child’s favorites!

 

*I am linking to these items because my family and I enjoy them, not because we endorse them or receive any commission based on your click-throughs or purchases. None of these links are provided based on commission. Please use your own discretion when purchasing through these links.

What's in the box? -a sense of hearing Christmas game using simple home materials {shared from Mom is the Only Girl http://momistheonlygirl.com}

What’s in the box? – a sense of hearing {Christmas} game

When my boys were smaller we used to play a sense of hearing game called ‘What’s in the cup’ or some other derivative I would come up with when we were ready to play it. (I’ve written about this here and here.) This year I’m calling it ‘What’s in the box?’

What's in the box? A sense of hearing experiment with Christmas items for an extra challenge! (at Mom is the Only Girl http://momistheonlygirl.com)

Sense of hearing Anytime version:

Basically, I’d put a few objects in a container and they would shake and tilt and tip it trying to use their sense of hearing to figure out what the object was. Usually familiar objects were used…paperclips, LEGOs, beads. These items would be placed in a plastic container – think old butter containers with lids taped on!

Sense of hearing Christmastime version:

At Christmastime this game had a fun twist built in to it. The day after we brought out the Christmas items and decorated, I would place smaller items in unbreakable, covered containers and the boys would try to guess what they were. I would use things like extra ornament hangers, a small (unbreakable) ornament, a candy cane (which they would later have as a special treat).

The twist – I have a few special boxes that I had planned on using to help tell the Christmas story (think the three wise men) and most recently used these in our little sense of hearing game! These boxes are made of wood! Think it changes the sounds the boys would hear if the containers were plastic?

The added challenge of using somewhat unfamiliar items usually only seen, touched, and possibly heard ups the ante for children my kids’ ages (seven and just about nine.)

Since I’m using wooden boxes this year, we haven’t done the written portion of the experiment I wrote about here, as it is just too cumbersome trying to involve numbers and recording hypotheses and still keep this a quick activity, although it is a definite possibility if I prepare this activity ahead of time.

Bonus:

We’ve also played this game placing the items in a sock (or stocking at Christmastime) and tried guessing what the object was by sense of touch only, turning it into a sense of touch game!

Red Cardinal Craft http://momistheonlygirl.com

Cardinal Bird Craft

Yesterday I shared the love my family has for the book Stranger in the Woods: a Photographic Fantasy, by Carl R. Sams and Jean Stoick, and a picture of the red cardinal bird we made based on the red cardinal in the book. Today, I’m sharing how we made the cardinal!

Stranger in the Woods Cardinal craft http://momistheonlygirl.com

Please check this book out as a possible gift for your little ones. It is such an endearing story and the photographs in it are beautiful!

 

Here’s how we made the Cardinal from Stranger in the Woods:

 

Cardinal Bird Craft

Supplies:

paper plates (red if possible)
red paint (if plates are not red)
glue
red streamers or construction paper
orange construction paper
white and black construction paper (or google eyes, or black crayons)
scissors

Instructions:

Red Cardinal Craft how-to http://momistheonlygirl.com

    1. Get/make red paper plates. We didn’t have red paper plates the first time we made these, so we painted our white plates red and they came out fine.
    2. Make your feathers for the tail. Make several feathers out of red construction paper for the tail. Sweet Pea had the idea to use red streamers, but we didn’t have any. Simply cut out red construction paper into triangles and fringe one edge. You can get creative with this part, or just make them very simple, depending on what you want your bird’s tail to look like.Red Cardinal Bird Craft Stranger in the Woods http://momistheonlygirl.com
    3. Make the face. You’ll need to add an orange (or black) triangle for the beak. Have it ready for the next step. Make eyes for the cardinal or have google eyes ready.
    4. Get gluing! Once the paint is dry, fold your paper plate in half, matching up the curved edge. The fold line is the top of the bird.
      ~ Glue your red tail feathers into place for the tail. It’s important to fold first! You could simply glue one feather right at the fold and fold that, also make sure to glue it only in that spot. You could also glue a feather or two on to each side of the fold. That’s the tail!
      ~ Then glue the front of the bird only, sticking the folded orange triangle on for the beak.
    5. Finally, make the wings. (By this step you should have just two small spots glued, one in the front by the beak and one in the back by the tail.) Take one sheet of red construction paper and accordion fold it width-wise. Make a small slit in the paper plate about an inch from the fold (that’s the top of the bird). Thread the wings through! I found this easy to do with my rotary cutter or my Xacto knife. (This is definitely for a parent to do!)
    6. Cardinal Bird Craft how to http://momistheonlygirl.comRed Cardinal Bird Craft for Stranger in the Woods http://momistheonlygirl.comWe punched a hole in the top center of the bird (making sure it balanced) and hung it in front of the window!

Red Cardinal Bird Craft for Stranger in the Woods http://momistheonlygirl.com

A beautiful, kid-made red cardinal, just like in Stranger in the Woods!

For me, its not about the finished product, the process, or the boys following directions. Its about spending time together having fun working towards a common goal! When our projects turn out this cute its a bonus!

Bonus: This summer we made these as white birds with rainbow tails, using different colored curled ribbon for the tail. So many ideas for this paper plate bird/cardinal craft!  Wish I had gotten a picture of those – they were very pretty!

 

thankful garland

Thankful garland

Just a quick idea to share with you as you contemplate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Tradition Thankful Garland

A few years ago we made what we call Thankful Garland. Every day in the month of November we wrote one thing we were thankful for on a strip of paper and made a paper garland with them as they were written. (Make a loop with the first paper and staple, then make more loops stringing the paper through the first and stapling those until a garland is formed.)

We left this hanging over the doorway into the family room until we took our Christmas decorations down, making sure to read it when we did as a great reminder of what we are thankful for and reasons to be thankful for Jesus’ birth!

 

rainy day indoor puddle play momistheonlygirl

Rainy Day Puddle Play

As the weather gets cooler and its just too cold to play in the puddles outdoors (like we talked about last week!), we stay indoors to play a puddle jumping game! Its really simple and can be modified for any age-range. (Yep, we sort of made it up and it changes every time we play!)

My boys love this for an extension to their outdoor rainy day puddle play! Read more

pretzels, Oreo cookies make spider cookie

Simple Spider Cookies

spider-shaped cookies made from Oreos and pretzels

Sweet Pea’s kindergarten teacher had some great ideas for Halloween last year. I admittedly am not that into Halloween, so to search out ideas for this particular upcoming holiday has not been high on my to-do list, but has been requested by the boys. So this year, I have a couple of things in mind. Simple things where they can get their hands dirty! Read more

Dinosaur Books for Dino loving kids at http://momistheonlygirl.com

15 Great Dinosaur Books – needs pic

Cutie Pie loves his dinosaur books still, even though he’s really into dragons. With so many books about dinosaurs on our shelves, I thought I’d compile a list of the dinosaur books from our ‘little’ collection for you. I’m sure most of these are in your public library – maybe some are more popular than others.

15 Awesome Dinosaur Books for Dino loving kids at http://momistheonlygirl.com

I’ve only linked to a few books, just so you can check a few out (I’m not an affiliate). Most of these will be available from your local library!

As Cutie Pie started to read on his own more and more, he gravitated toward Graphic Dinosaurs Comics by Rob Shone. Our librarian showed us these books in the comics section. These are laid out in more of a comic book style, and he really liked that about them.

I think to some degree dinosaur books will always be on our shelves! What about yours?

 

Bubble Print Easter Egg Decorations

Friday I shared a simple Marbled Easter Egg Decoration how to. Today it’s all about bubbles! Its the middle of Spring Break for us, so I decided on something a little spring-like!

We first made bubble print art in 2011. It was so simple and it is a great way to make Easter decorations with your little ones.

Bubble Easter Egg How To

Instructions for Bubble Easter Egg Decorations:

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Marbled Easter Egg Decorations

Have you decorated for Easter? (Do you even do that? I only ask because we never really decorate for any holiday other than Christmas – and of course birthdays!)

Marbled Easter Eggs

 

This is a simple activity that you can do with kids of any age. We first made Marble Art about 5 years ago, when Cutie Pie was three, so with a little supervision young ones will be able to create. The older set might like to experiment by taking this large (and probably outdoors! This could become a gross motor activity!) Read more

DIY Spring Bird Feeders

…and you can find a bag of birdseed anywhere…
-from Tom T. Hall’s song Everybody Loves to Hear a Bird Sing 

We made spring bird feeders the other day. Crazy, I know, since there is still about 3 feet of snow on the ground, but we are beginning to see and hear some birds around! Since everything is still frozen, we decided to make bird feeders so our migrating friends won’t starve!

 

Spring Bird FeedersThis method of making bird feeders has been around a long time, and was even put into song by Tom T. Hall in the early years of my life. (Scroll to the bottom to find out who he is!) Hubby even has a picture book that goes along with the record which he kept from his childhood!

                                           …Here’s how to make friends with a bird…

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Coffee Filter Flowers

Coffee Filter Flowers. Simple creative fun for any day.

Sweet pea loves playing with water and color, so we used some medicine droppers and water with food coloring added and had some fun just playing. We got to combine colors, experiment with how we used the medicine droppers, so much to explore!

Then we made our flowers! This isn’t something I came up with, rather a quick search on Pinterest for simple coffee filter flowers will bring many results for how to manipulate the coffee filters into pretty flowers with chenille stems.

This is such an easy craft. But something about scrunching up the centers of these coffee filters when they are dry and wrapping them with a chenille stem to resemble flowers always melts the heart!

Have a wonderful time sharing love to those around you with pretty flowers!

 

Paper Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Paper Hearts Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.comWe all know Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I’m sharing a very simple paper heart craft from my childhood today! I think we called these Magic Hearts when I was little.

All you’ll need is a sheet of both red and white construction paper, scissors, a paint brush, and vinegar.

Paper heart Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.comFirst, cut out your red paper hearts. Great scissor fine motor practice!

Next, using your paintbrush and vinegar, wet down your white construction paper. The wetter, the better! (Of course, we all know kids like to use a lot, but no puddles or it will take a long time to dry!) I know for some kiddos with dry hands the vinegar might sting. You can certainly do this with water, but the resulting color will be faint.

Paper heart Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.com Then, press your paper hearts onto the wet paper and rub them down. Follow this by painting the hearts with vinegar. Again, the wetter, the better! (If you are using water, you’ll want to make sure both the heart and paper are saturated and reapply water several times before letting everything dry.)

Set them aside to dry.

Paper Heart Valentines at http://momistheonlygirl.com
Once dried, gently lift the hearts and you’ll see the color transferred to the white construction paper. If the color is not as dark as desired, simply repeat the process!

This paper is great with just an “I love you!” note written inside the heart, or use the paper and the hearts to make a card!

I think you can tell this project isn’t about the process or a glamorous finished product. Its a great activity to keep little ones busy using their hands! As always, adult supervision is an awesome idea!

Bonus: use the leftover vinegar for some bubbly projects like these: Inflating Balloon Experiment, or Exploding Paint Experiment.

 

Shy Blue science experiment

Affiliate links imageWith the bitterly cold weather we’ve been doing a few more things inside. (Read – experiments!)

Science Experiment at http://momistheonlygirl.com

I’m sharing a fun one today. It’s called Shy Blue and requires only a few materials which you most likely have in your home. (We’ve done this experiment before. I took pictures this most recent time, but only the one with green food coloring came out. The one below is from last year when I prepped another post, but never published it.) Read more

Jax – a snow day treat

Have you ever made Jax? Oh, it is delicious and only takes a fresh snowfall and some maple syrup to make. Well, I guess a bowl, a spoon, and someone to eat it! I thought after all of the snow falling in the northeast some may be looking for a snow day treat!

Snow and Maple Syrup Jax at http://momistheonlygirl.com

Jax is something my dad used to ‘make’ for us when I was a kid. I have no real idea where the name came from, he just always called it that! It’s a great memory!

After a fresh snowfall, when the snow is clean and white, scoop some into a bowl. Pour maple syrup (real or fake, but real is delicious!) over the snow. The syrup will get just a little gooey – and that is the tasty part! Sit back and enjoy!

Jax is a simple, fun, snow day treat for your sense of taste!

Ice ornaments

I don’t know about where you are, but in my area it is sooooo cold! Cold enough for people to be doing those experiments you hear about every winter like throwing boiling water outdoors and it turning into snow.

It’s also a dreary time. Everything seems grayish white unless there is fresh snow in the air or it is bright and sunny, but too cold to go outside. Today is, thankfully, one of the sunny days, however, it is below zero!

Ice at http://momistheonlygirl.com

It seems like the perfect day to share a fun, easy little activity we do when it gets this cold. Ice ornaments! (Adult supervision is a good idea!)

Ice ornaments at http://momistheonlygirl.com

First, get out some tins, cupcake tins, empty yogurt containers, anything you’d like to use as a mold for your ornaments. (Any size will do as long as it isn’t too big to fit flat in your freezer and hang by a string/rope from something!) Outside one house a couple of years ago I saw large ice wreaths with cranberries inside, made from an angel cake mold. It was beautifully big!

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Getting Kids Moving Indoors

As I sit writing this it is 20 degrees outside with a light wind that makes it feel -50! It seems like a good day to post a variety of ways I keep my boys active when it’s too cold outside to get that gross motor play in just by playing in the snow (or green grass as we currently have). Following are just a few of the ideas I turn to. I need a few more in my arsenal now that my almost-eight year old is getting bigger. Any ideas?

Indoorgrossmotorplay

Venturing Out

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The Invisible Boy, a book I really like

This post contains an affiliate link, which is for an item I highly recommend. Making a purchase through this link in no way increases the cost of the product. It just gives this blogger a (little) extra income.

Yesterday I shared a great book about colors, counting and bullying. Today I thought I’d share a book for the shy child. I can totally relate to this book because I could have been the main character in my early elementary grades.

The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig, (links to author’s page) starts out with “Can you see Brian, the invisible boy?” The illustrations show him in pencil sketch at the beginning of the book. He was always the last to be picked for group games and was never invited to parties. No one seems to notice him. But then a new boy starts at the school and invites him to be involved. As he participates more and more he becomes more than a pencil sketch!


As a shy child I had a difficult time, hesitating to be involved because I was so unsure of myself. I could relate to Brian, sometimes feeling I was just a figment of someone’s imagination, watching everything go on around me, but not being part of it. I know there are kiddos today who will be comforted by this book.

This book is a gentle reminder for children to be nice to everyone and include all in their activities. It shows them they can make a difference by being a friend.

If you have a child who is feeling a little shy or a child who easily makes friends, this is a very good book to share with them!

What books can you recommend for a shy child?

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Colors, counting and bullying

This post contains an affiliate link, which is for an item I highly recommend. Making a purchase through this link in no way increases the cost of the product. It just gives this blogger a little extra income.

Are you trying to help a young child learn to count or learn their colors? Or, maybe even more importantly, trying to help a younger child deal with a little bullying situation? Then you would really like this book!

One, by Kathryn Otoshi, is such a simple color and counting book (it covers the numbers one through seven), but has a hidden message about bullying.


See, in this book “Blue was a quiet color. He like being blue… except when he was with Red.” Then one comes and teaches the colors “If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, No.”

In the end all of the colors realize that “Everyone counts!” Even Red.

I love the way this book addresses bullies in such a simple way. It is simply, in our humble opinion, a great book for every early elementary child.

Mom is the Only Girl participtes in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. This means there is no additional cost to you if you click on the link and purchase this item.

Separation Anxiety Resources

Five year old Sweet Pea has been going to Kindergarten Camp for three weeks and still has not gotten over his separation anxiety. The first several days was very excited to go to camp so I thought ‘finally he’s over this.’ However, today he was still clinging to me and screaming when I left. This is really stressful for this mom, although I try very hard not to show it, especially to him. Read more

Four Scavenger Hunt Ideas for Preschoolers

Yesterday I posted about a simple LEGO activity I engaged 5 year old Sweet Pea with last week. Today I’m sharing a few scavenger hunt ideas for the under 5 crowd.

A couple of years ago a mom’s group mom put together a scavenger hunt for the under 5 crowd.

It was basically finding certain spots along a paved path and stopping to place a sticker on that spot on the map. Then you followed the map to the next spot, which was the next spot along the path. 

It was very simple, yet exciting enough for the little ones. All of the clues as to where to stop were in rhyme and using a little pirate lingo. At the end was the treasure – pirate popcorn!

This was so clever. I know I never could have thought of something like this on my own, so thought I’d share! I wish I had a picture!

There are other simple scavenger hunt ideas for the under 5 crowd and here are just a few you can put together quickly with no maps needed (although you could print out cards, like I did up there in that picture):

  • Find x number of toys
  • Find x number of (color) toys
  • Find things that start with (letter)

Like I said just a few ideas for you to pull out of your hat when you need one! There are seriously so many different things you can include in a scavenger hunt!

Chalkboard Letter Learning

Have you ever watched your kiddos drawing on the chalkboard and all they do is scribble all over it and erase it over and over? Sweet Pea loves to do that!

One day I saw an idea of putting clear tape onto the chalkboard and letting your child draw all over it then pull the tape off, sort of like resist painting, but with chalk. I didn’t want to try this for fear our cheap tape wouldn’t come off, so I replaced the clear tape with masking tape. (I tried to find the original place I saw this idea, but I couldn’t. If you know the link please let me know and I will update this!)

When Sweet Pea was once again scribbling all over the chalkboard making a dusty mess, I put some masking tape on it. He was totally confused at first, but once he helped me remove the tape after scribbling on it he was hooked!

This was great and then he started to put the tape on himself, trying to make it in the shape of his name!

What a great activity for fine motor work as well as a little gross motor drawing!

How fast does snow melt?

How fast does snow melt experiment at http://www.momistheonlygirl.comYou know how cold it’s been lately. That means the snow is still sticking around. Are you as tired of the cold as me? And if you are reading this from some nice warm place, please comment so we can all live vicariously through you! And hopefully we’ll see some green grass soon!

Here’s a simple science experiment that you can do with any age – preschool up through mid-elementary would probably find it interesting and stay interested.
Since we have lots of the white stuff I thought it might be fun to do a little science experiment with the boys one recent Saturday when it was bitterly cold. I grabbed 4 cups and filled them up with snow.

I asked if they thought the freezer would keep the snow just as old as the outdoors, and what would happen to the snow if we put it in other locations, too.

We set one cup on the table, put one in the refrigerator, put one in the freezer, and one outside after marking on the glass the level of the snow (using dry erase markers).

The boys thought something would happen to the snow in the freezer, that it might not be cold enough. They thought the other cups would just have ‘melted snow’ in them after a few minutes.

To test their hypothesis, we set a timer for 10 minutes. When it went off we checked the glasses of snow in each location and talked about what we observed, then set the timer for another 10 minutes. We continued the process until the evening, talking about our observations each time.

The boys were surprised by what they saw happen with the snow in the freezer. Will the same happen for your kiddos when they do this little experiment?

It was very simple, but kept the boys interest. They were determined nothing could keep the snow cold like the conditions outside.

If you do, or have done, this with your child comment and let us know your results! (And if it’s warm where you are, let us know so we know there is hope that spring really is coming!)

Dr. Seuss Book Fun

Dr. Seuss’ birthday is celebrated practically everywhere on mom blogs. It’s also celebrated in preschools and elementary schools. This pretty much sums up what I’ve heard about all last week from my kiddos, so it was hard not to extend this focus to some of the things we did here at home, too.

Each night last week we read a different Dr. Seuss book. I had thought about making gloppity glop (flubber) after we read that, but sweet pea had a lot of playdough action last week and didn’t seem that interested, when normally he does, so we didn’t.

We read The Foot Book once at night and as always the boys loved it. I pulled it out again one morning and Sweet Pea and I did it ‘action style’. Meaning we found, or tried to find or act out, every kind of foot described in the book.

It was so much fun doing the motions with him…high feet, low feet…we even went on a search for furry feet and 24 feet! (He still has a little trouble counting to 20, so 24 was hard!)

It’s been a long time since he was this giddy doing something ‘educational’. Of course, he didn’t really see it as educational, so that was probably part of it!

Did you do anything silly and fun for Dr. Seuss’ birthday at your house? What was it?

Indoor Snow

Snow Painting at http://www.momistheonlygirl.com
Painted Snow

My 5 year old is really getting tired of the bitter cold, having a cold and not being able to go outside and play. He loves the snow, so I decided to bring it inside for him.


Now, I know this is not a novel idea, but it’s something I hadn’t thought of doing before. He was so tickled when I suggested it!

After playing with it with our hands, making little snowmen, we got out the watercolor paints, but Sweet Pea kept adding so much water everything melted pretty quickly and there were no pretty colors.

Next, we tried some watered down tempura paints. He liked painting the snow with this, but he wanted bright colors (which is actually pretty unusual for him because when he paints, normally everything turns out a dark brown!)

So out came the food coloring and the medicine cups, along with the medicine droppers and a whole assortment of kitchen utensils! I simply put a drop of food coloring into a medicine cup of water and armed him with one or two utensils at a time. This made the snow last much longer and also made some pretty cool tie-dye-looking snow!

We had so much fun! It was like a mini-sensory lesson with lots of coordination and color-talk involved!

I know we’re all waiting for spring to arrive after some nicer temperatures. But if we have to live with it for a little while longer, we might as well get creative and enjoy it! (And by the way, you can also fill a squirt bottle and paint the snow outdoors, or take your brushes outdoors, too!)

Easy Last Minute Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! Just thought I’d share this really quick and easy Valentine’s note that you or your preschooler can do in a jiffy! I’m sure you haven’t forgotten to make all those cards for your kiddo’s classmates, but sometimes we all forget someone in our lives that could use one or who deserves a special one from your child.

Quick and easy (look here for other ideas, too!)

Sweet Pea’s preschool class has integrated simple sign language into their everyday learning. I thought this was perfect for Valentines for his classmates, and it took a very short time to make 20 of them!

  • Cut as many small hearts out of construction paper as you need.
  • Trace your child’s hand (or yours if this is from you!) onto construction paper of a different color.
  • Cut out the hand you just traced.
  • Glue the heart onto the palm of the hand, then bend the middle and ring fingers down over the heart, forming ‘I love you’ in sign language.

So simple, yet it can communicate so much!

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day, and remember to show love to everyone on this day that it is completely acceptable to do so (at least, within reason!)

L is for Listening – a game

Listening games - http://www.momistheonlygirl.com
Echo drumming listening game

The other day I made a special afternoon treat of chocolate chip cookies. When the timer went off the boys both came running into the kitchen with their high pitched screams of excitement…and Hubby retreated to his den!

To say the excitement-noise in this house is sometimes overwhelming is an understatement. What to do?
I quickly told the boys they couldn’t have their treat until they listened really well to me and did exactly what I asked. Then I proceeded to send them running around our ‘loop’ 3 times. When they were done with that, and obviously still had waaaaaay too much energy, I sent them hopping around for 2 laps…then skipping for 3…then galloping…you get the picture.

Twenty minutes later the cookies were cooled off and the boys were ready to sit down and enjoy their snack. Hubby was also ready to come out of his den hoping it would be a bit quieter! And the boys seemed to be listening better!

This is the perfect picture of a listening game. Calling out instructions (or whispering them when you really need to get their attention) and their following them.

There are so many other lsitening games for you to play that go along with Letter L is for Listening! Here are just a few:

  • Play the old telephone game, speaking into cups strung together with yarn that is held taut from ear to mouth. Can you understand what is being said?
  • Simon Says
  • Echo drumming (like I posted about here)
  • Drawing Instructions game – one person describes an object to another while the other tries to draw it on paper. This is a good one for all ages, don’t think it’s just for older kiddos!

 What sort of listening games do you play with your kids?

When you talk with your child…

Talk with your child

When you talk with your child are you really just talking to them?

Are you engaging them in conversation? Giving them time to answer questions, to respond to what you are saying? Are you giving them enough time to interject with their own comments?

Are you listening to their answers? Or are you planning what you want to say next?

I read a story recently where a parent was stopped in their tracks when their child said they never spoke, because they were never listened to. It truly saddened my heart. It made me stop, mentally, and think about my interactions with my boys.

This large question about how you talk with your child isn’t to point fingers at you or me. It is just something that made me stop and re-evaluate my interactions with my children and I thought if it had that much impact on me maybe others could use a little gentle nudge, too.

Do I kneel down and look at my boys when they speak with me or me with them?

Do I have an open heart and open ears to hear what they are sharing with me?

Do I truly take the time to listen to them – watching their body language, where their gaze is leading me?

Am I seeing life from their perspective or just dismissing their opinions (or fears or questions) because they are little boys?

With the new year just beginning, I’m going to try to pay attention when I am talking with my children. This is just one of my goals. My boys are talkers. And I want to talk with them as they grow.

What is it like when you talk with your child?