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Category: 4 yr old

Ice Ornaments

Just before Christmas we had so much snow. We had decorated the inside already and Cutie Pie asked when we would be decorating outside. That’s when I remembered this neat idea to make ice ornaments to hang on a tree! I had seen this idea in several places, but loved the Lego look of these! This was the perfect project for Cutie Pie and I do do instead of a hot cocoa date!
First get out some tins, cupcake tins, empty yogurt containers, anything you’d like to use as a mold for your ornaments. One place I saw large ice wreaths with cranberries inside, made from an angel cake mold.
Also have string, yarn, unbent paperclips, or anything else you’d like to use as hangers ready to go. We used unbent paperclips as they seemed easiest to hang over a tree branch because you could adjust the hook.
Next, gather some items you might like to place inside the ice, like pine cones, an unbreakable ornament, birdseed, cranberries, if you’d like. Remember, if you are using something that doesn’t melt or food for the animals you’ll have to bring it in later.

Fill up your containers with water and add food coloring to create your desired color. (fine motor, science – colors) We made ours vibrant, or so we thought. Next time we’ll add more coloring and we’ll make a lot more or make bigger ornaments!

Add your contents, if any, remembering to add a hanger.

Then either set outside on a flat surface (if it is cold enough) or in the freezer to freeze! (science) When everything is frozen remove from the mold and hang outside on a tree or clothesline, anything that needs some color and enjoy!

We Play – Look it’s a sled!

Cutie Pie found a strong magnet on the fridge, one that we usually keep up high but for some reason were using it low enough for him to reach. He was also playing with two Christmas tins that had been holding the ornaments for the little Christmas tree. Somehow the magnet  made it between the two tins and Cutie Pie was immediately excited! A sled was born! Wish I could post a pic, but the computer that houses our pics is currently having a few adjustments made, which will mean pics for future posts!

Teddy bears, hippo, Pooh, all took a ride in the sled across our floors. They also took turns being in front! Why can’t he make discoveries like this earlier in the day to keep himself occupied rather than just before bedtime?! Nonetheless, his little discoveries usually lead to other experiments some other day, so it has left me wondering what we’ll be trying tomorrow!

Slide on over to We Play at Childhood 101 to see how others are playing!

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…

Well, it came and went. We had a long, tiring weekend of celebrating Christ’s birth with family all in different locations. First with Hubby’s family, then with my dad and sister, then my mom, then finally just us. I know it would have been so much easier taking our gifts to one of the celebrations, but I’ve always wanted my kids to experience Christmas in their own home, too, even if it has to be 2 days after the 25th.

My hubby was able to get a video of the kiddos singing and created a video Christmas card for our friends and family. In it my (just about) 4 yr old sang “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” among other songs. It was adorable! It tickled my heart!

The kiddos received wonderful gifts – construction toys, train toys, books – and have enjoyed playing with them and discovering with them. I cannot pinpoint any one gift that I’d say was the highlight of the  Christmas celebrations, but I can say it was so wonderful to see cherished family in each home that the presents just didn’t seem to matter compared to the memories that were made.

I absolutely love watching my kiddos open their gifts, not because I want new toys to play with, but because the glee they show just tickles my heart. I sometimes find myself wondering if I ever experienced that joy because I just cannot remember it…and so wish I could remember that feeling!

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and created wonderful memories with loved ones! I’d love to hear about something from this Christmas that tickled your heart or that special memory that was made! Please share!

Our Geoboard

I saw this idea a long time ago on No Time for Flashcards. It’s a simple geoboard! The homemade one I saw used a larger board, nails and colored rubber-bands, but, since I was making this for younger kiddos than the one pictured on that blog, I made a few changes. I used small ponytail holders ($1 bargain area at Target), red thumbtacks (they have that little lip at top to help hold the ponytail holders on a little more securely) and a smaller board (because I know my preschooler would feel like he had to fill up the whole board and would get frustrated if it were too hard at first and might not try it again as happens with some fine-motor activities. I got the board for a couple of bucks at JoAnn’s.)

My kiddos love this! Every once in a while when it gets quiet, I find Cutie Pie on the floor playing with this or Sweet Pea ‘making a track’ on it. I’m so glad Cutie Pie didn’t get frustrated the first time using this and that they both find it a fun way to amuse themselves! Little do they know they are improving their coordination, using logic, math and a bit of science along with working on their fine motor skills!

One time Hubby saw the geoboard after the boys had gone to sleep and it had a ‘G’ on it. When he asked Cutie Pie the next morning what it was he said he made the ‘G’ because he wanted to! LOVE it! I think when I see his interest wain in this I will have him help make a larger one with nails and use colored rubber-bands with it!

Flowers for Great-Grandmother

Great-Grandmother visits once a year from California. We love it when she comes because we love family! This year the boys were old enough that we could actually make something for her that was nice and especially, made by them, not me from them! 
I looked around a bit on the internet for ideas, and saw several ideas for making flowers from egg cartons. Although I gleaned from these ideas, the end product isn’t necessarily like what I saw on any of the pages I just linked to (yes, there are 3 different ideas, so check them all out). We had two cardboard egg cartons to work with and no pompoms available. I sort of wanted to try using food coloring for the color, I’m not sure why, but it didn’t work very well.
First, after explaining to the boys the process of how we were going to create flowers, I cut out the bowl portions of the egg carton and poked a small hole in the bottom of each. Cutie Pie counted how many ‘flowers’ we had and counted out the same number of pipe cleaners to use as stems.
Then, I rounded the corners and tried to make each ‘flower’ a little different from the next. I thought about cutting each into petals, but working with a little 2 year old made me hurry along and not do it, but next time I might try it.
Next, Cutie Pie and I placed each flower bottom into a puddle of watered down food coloring in a cupcake cup. While each soaked in it’s own color, we used eye droppers to drip different colors onto the petals. Unfortunately the color didn’t soak in very quickly so the colors were pretty muted. This was a great science lesson reinforcing how colors combine to make new colors, though! Sweet Pea was really into this part of it and by the end all of our flowers were a tint of brown. It was also a great fine-motor exercise for both boys!

Finally, after the flowers were dried on paper towels, Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea poked pipe cleaners through the holes (more fine-motor), bent them into funny shapes to hold them in the flower and stuck them all into a vase. 
Here’s the end result, although, like I said the colors turned out muted, so they show up even less in the photo.

Next time I think I will try using straight food coloring or a bold paint. I also think making the stems green would make it look nicer, and might also play around with making actual petals. But, for working with a 2 year old with a short attention span and wanting this to be a project made (almost) completely by the kiddos, I think this turned out great! Great-Grandmother loved them!