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Rolling ball experiment

Playing indoor bowling the other day led to Sweet Pea asking why balls roll but not stuffed fish. It’s not usual for Sweet Pea to ask a question and stick around for the answer, so we got into investigation mode. Is this how you react when questions are asked?

First, I asked his opinion – why do you think stuffed fish don’t roll. I received a whole lot of answers, but they were pretty far out there. I mean, ‘fish have gills so they can’t roll’ kind of answers.

Then I asked his opinion as to why balls do roll. I got some pretty funny answers, like they are soft (the one in his hand was, so maybe that’s why he said this) to which I countered, ‘are all balls soft?’ This led to finding all the balls in and outside of the house and checking for softness. You get the picture…I kept asking questions about his answers.

Finally, I asked if we should try rolling each of the balls we found and the fish we found (we found 3). Before we did I checked one more time if he thought fish still didn’t roll. Know what? He was right. They don’t!

I think he was excited about his little ‘experiment’ because that’s how he described this activity to his brother, as an experiment!

When your child comes to you with a question, no matter how silly or small, how do you react?


Every child is different

Are there activities you set aside after one child wasn’t interested that you forgot about with the next that you wish you had remembered?


Many parents tell me their children are different, but none tell me that they’ve done anything different with each child at particular ages. Does that make any sense? (On second thought, most of the parents I know don’t really talk about what they do with their kids, just where they go. Hmmm, interesting thought.)

I have to reassess the fun activities I’m doing with Sweet Pea, after all, he’s a different child than Cutie Pie with different interests and abilities than CP had at this age, too. I’m going back to some things I’ve done in the past when CP was 4. Some worked, some didn’t. I just need to pull out some things and try again! Who knows, maybe the things that didn’t work so well the first time will be great this time? And maybe the things that worked just fine will be just the thing for Sweet Pea’s interest to be piqued!

What differences have you noticed between your kiddos? Do you notice yourself treating them differently?



Sneaky Reading Learning

Are you like me and read a lot to your kiddos? This is just one example of how to switch up reading that we do with our kiddos all the time.

My kiddos often pick out the same books over and over again. Sometimes it’s really annoying when it’s a book I don’t necessarily like, but it’s familiar, interesting and probably comforting to our kiddos.

Next time you’re reading one of those books for the umpteenth millionth time, make it into a sneaky learning game by pausing and leaving out a word for your child to fill in. They’ll love it (unless they’re cranky!) You could always use this little technique with an emergent reader, pausing to see if they can read a new word!

(By the way, I’ve added a widget sharing some of our favorite books at the moment. It’s over there on the sidebar.)

Sneaky learning: increasing vocabulary, reading comprehension, pre-reading, concentration, listening skills

LEGO building

Do your kiddos love LEGOs as much as mine do right now? It seems like they are always building something with them.

One time the boys were building a LEGO wall with Nana. She would request specific colors. Cutie Pie would fill his truck with them and then he would count them when he delivered them. Then Nana would ‘pay’ him with more LEGOs and the whole process would repeat.

I love how my boys play even ‘harder’ when sneaky learning is involved!

Dinosaur Game

While trying to distract the boys while waiting for dinner the other night, I suggested playing a game outside. Cutie Pie immediately explained his rules and ran inside to get the necessary items.

What you need:

Large dice, plastic dinosaurs, the outdoors

The Rules:

Determine a finish point. Roll the dice, go that many steps, either in dinosaur lengths or your own steps. The first one there keeps rolling the dice and moving the next player’s dinosaur to help him reach ‘safety’.

Cutie Pie’s game was fun for Sweet Pea, too! He did great counting and following the rules!

Gardening with Preschoolers

I almost forgot to post about our garden! In the spring Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea once again helped Hubby plant his salsa garden. We’ve been growing cucumbers, tomatoes and two kinds of peppers – jalapeno and sweet. About once or twice a week the boys have been checking on how things are growing, while their daddy checks on it every night! They delight in helping to water the veggies!

Not only was the process of planting the garden educational, but watching things grow has been too! I don’t mean in the traditional sense of learning patience or the life cycle of plants growing vegetables. It has renewed a spark in Cutie Pie to eat a balanced diet, something he learned about in prekindergarten!

 

We’ve had many discussions about what things are fruits or vegetables, how much you should put on your plate, how eating foods of different colors is good for you, and how some foods are ‘sometimes’ foods! We have this image from iMom printed out to remind us what amounts to put on our plates as well! We are so proud of Cutie Pie for helping to make sure we’re all eating well!

 

Crushed cereal craft

If you read my post yesterday you know that I had sweet colorful cereal in my home a little while back. We didn’t just lace with the cereal, we played with glue, too!


First Sweet Pea placed some cereal into a plastic baggie, which I sealed for him. Then he smashed it with his hand until it was all small crumbs. Pretty, isn’t it?

I outlined Sweet Pea’s name in pencil, then Sweet Pea traced it with a bead of glue. (letter recognition, fine motor coordination, name recognition)

Sweet Pea then sprinkled the colored crumbs over the glue and pressed lightly. (slightly more gross motor, fine motor, more letter recognition)

I couldn’t have imagined how much Sweet Pea liked this activity before we started! The result was kind of cute, too, and he was very proud to tape it up on the wall! (No, his real name is not Sweet Pea…he had so much fun that I had to make one too!)

Stringing fruity loops

We don’t normally have sweet cereal in our home, but on a whim I bought some a few weeks ago thinking it would be an easy craft/snack to get out on a busy day. I think this was brand new to Sweet Pea and didn’t realize how much fun learning he’d have with the circles!

One afternoon when the kids needed distracting, I got out the pipe cleaners (I know they are called something else nowadays, but I grew up calling them this and just can’t change!) Cutie Pie patiently showed Sweet Pea how to lace the cereal onto the sticks and both boys got to work. In fact, Sweet Pea revisited this activity several afternoons in a row he liked it so much! (His fine motor coordination improved so much just in the few times he had fun with this!)

The boys didn’t just lace. They counted how many they had on the table. Counted how many they laced. They counted how many they had of each color. Sweet Pea enjoyed sorting by color quite a lot!

Cutie Pie took it to the next level when he started snacking on them…he started counting how many he had, would count how many he ate, then how many he had left! I love that he began this all on his own!

I decided after this activity that sweet cereal may not become a permanent fixture in our home, but every once in a great while it’s ok because my kiddos had fun learning with it!

Building Experiment

A couple of weeks ago I came across Science Sparks. I’m sure I must have discovered this blog before, but for whatever reason I found it again and decided to try experimenting with the stability of structures the next time the boys got the Duplos or Legos out. We had a lot of fun building, experimenting and hypothesizing together!

First we built just a house the way Cutie Pie wanted to, with towers of bricks one on top of the other, once standing next to each other and connected at the top. The second time with just four towers and a flat piece at the top holding them in place (like on the left in the above pic). We then went on to build a house with the bricks more interlocking, creating solid walls (like on the right above).

While we were building we talked about what was needed to build something strong. Both boys agreed lots of bricks were needed, but Cutie Pie thought an important component was a solid top to hold everything together.

Then the boys got a few balls. We rolled the balls at Cutie Pie’s first structure and it quickly fell apart. I asked Cutie Pie what he thought could have been done to make it stronger. He thought building it like the second one and then wanted to roll the balls at that one. Of course, it was indeed much stronger. The boys took matters into their own hands to bring down the “strong” house.

It was interesting talking with Cutie Pie as he further explained his building theories, then tried to create a building he described and test it’s strength!

Camps Parents wished existed

Camp Learn to Clean Up
Camp Listening Ears
Camp Please and Thank You
Camp Get Along

Oh my, can you tell what’s been on my mind? Seems like kiddos always get a little off their routine when something is going on in the family. They don’t have your undivided attention anymore and know how to get it, don’t they? I think my distraction with worry for my dad might have taken a little toll on my boys.

Maybe this summer I’ll concentrate on fun for them…Mom Camp style! Cutie Pie has already requested we do an experiment a day! Any ideas for fun? Links to check out?

 

Chalk Shape Game

Cutie Pie made up this outdoor chalk game last May, when I originally posted about it, so I cannot take credit for it at all!

First, make sure you have several different colors of chalk.

Next, draw a few shapes with each color of chalk.

Finally, call out a color and shape and watch the kiddos run to find the correct place to stand!

We made this a little more difficult once or twice by adding a letter or number inside the shape!

We made this more simple by drawing one shape in different colors, calling out the color to run to and by drawing different shapes in the same color, calling out the shape to run to. These were perfect revisions to this game to get Sweet Pea interested. But we also made all one shape and put in different numbers (like in the pic above) or different letters!

Simple, but so fun, and especially neat because Cutie Pie came up with it on his own!

Space Unit Homework Project

A few weeks ago our family had homework assigned to us by Cutie Pie’s UPK teacher. As it was during their unit on space, we had to make a planet together. Cutie Pie came up with a name for our planet almost immediately. After much discussion about how to physically make the planet itself, we decided to make a paper mâché ball as a base. We then discussed the color(s) our planet had to be and how exactly to achieve the final look that Cutie Pie most desired.

As you can see in the collage below, our planet was mostly painted brown. The boys did great painting almost every square millimeter with a little assistance from Hubby!

This is when we all got sick with the stomach bug. But it turned out to provide ample time for the planet to dry well! During our illness we managed to talk a little more about the details of the planet. We decided we needed some felt – tan and green, some thread and some people. We had played with Paper City before and quickly decided the people would work perfectly! As you can see in the final picture, Cutie Pie decided the people also needed a bike and car.
Once we were all healthy, we attached our green island, people and vehicles after Hubby applied a few maroon-ish swirls and created a sign (which I couldn’t get to one out clearly in a pic) which stated the name of the planet…
Maple Syrup Planet

Maple Syrup Planet turned out exactly as Cutie Pie had hoped and it was so fun to create together!

I would like to encourage you to work on a project as a family. Working together to achieve a specific result after determining the details and process to work by definitely has its benefits! (science, fine motor, coordination, process, creativity, fun!)

What have you worked on lately with your kiddos?

 

Eye Dropper Painting

We made our own valentines this year and Cutie Pie gave them out to his classmates! They were so easy and fun to make and have asked to do it again on bigger sheets of paper! This activity is also great for strengthening those little fingers for writing!

  • First we cut heart shapes out of card stock.
  • Then we mixed up some red and some yellow water color paint.
  • We placed the hearts on a tray and I gave each boy an eye dropper.

The idea was that they would drop some paint here and there, pick up the heart, tilting it back and forth to make little paths of paint. However, they had their own ideas (which I knew they would!)

 They had fun simply dropping the paint and letting it go where ever it went, occasionally picking up the hearts to let the paint run off and then placing them on a towel. When we ran out of hearts they asked for more!

Cutie Pie loved this art activity. He talked about the color that was made with the mixing of the paints, swirls and oranges of varying degrees. He also liked the extension activity of writing his classmates’ names on the hearts! Sweet Pea just loved using the eye dropper and making something ‘pretty’.

This was a relatively simple art activity to organize, complete and clean up after. Just the perfect thing for a rainy spring day!

GFC is going away

With the pending departure of GFC I’ve tried to get Mom is the Only Girl on Facebook and Twitter going well to give you an alternative to staying in touch so you don’t miss any of the science experiments or alphabet learning ideas and activities I share. I’m working on Google+, too. I’m a little technically challenged still, so bear with me! Any tips are welcome!

Please like me on facebook! And/or follow me on twitter, @OnlyGirlBlogger.

Thanks!

Spoon Scooping

Materials needed:

  1. Beans or some other small objects
  2. Spoon
  3. Egg carton
  4. Tray with lip
  5. Kiddo to occupy

Sometimes I just need to occupy one of the boys for a while so I can finish something up, but they want to be right by me. This simple activity is perfect and there is very little prep or cleanup, unless your grocery shopping helper grabs a bag of peas rather than beans like mine did – then you might be stepping on peas for a week! 

 

In a tray on the table I set the peas in a bowl along with a spoon, an egg carton and sometimes a cup. My boys create their own activity to occupy themselves…scooping, pouring, counting…sometimes I give them many peas, other times only a handful. Every time it’s a great occupier!

 

Since typing this up I’ve also seen this on several blogs…I’m not original in my thinking!

 

Cutie Pie’s ‘kit’

I’ve seen a lot on mom blogs about activity bags to keep kiddos occupied. Cutie Pie has come up with something very similar all on his own. He calls them ‘kits’!

Cutie Pie was diligently playing by himself near the truck box. Hubby went over after he walked away and checked out the collection of vehicles. Cutie Pie said it was a ‘kit’ and was meant to be played with! He was a little perturbed that Hubby didn’t seem to know right away that he was supposed to get down on the floor and play!

Since then, we’ve seen several kits laid out on the floor. Some are all construction vehicles, others are a mix of cars and trucks, and still others are sorted by size! Every once in a while we even overhear him telling Sweet Pea that he’ll get a kit out for him to play with and Sweet Pea sits patiently waiting until his big brother tells him it’s OK to start playing!

I hadn’t really thought about setting out a particular grouping of toys hoping the boys would play with them, and I seriously doubt if I did that they would! However, it almost seems like sorting, classifying, organizing or whatever you want to call it comes naturally to Cutie Pie. Even when we are cleaning at the end of the day, most times things have to go to their ‘homes’ now, rather than just shoved somewhere to call things clean!

Scavenger Hunt

We have some very creative moms in the MOMs club I belong to. One mom in particular put together a great activity to supplement our open play time at a local playground. This particular play area is on the same grounds with a tennis court, a toddler path, soccer fields, pond and a beautiful garden area.

To begin our play time we had to pick up a treasure map and follow the dotted lines to the clues marked on the map with an X. The map led us all around the park and at each X there was a stamp for our treasure map (so we knew we had been there) and a clue written on a piece of paper. The clues were very cute poems either describing our next destination using descriptions of the surroundings, counting the number of steps to take in a specific direction, or some other super-creative clue. They were also relatively easy for the kiddos to understand and follow, which made it really fun for them in so many ways!

Once we followed all of the clues around bushes, over bridges, and down flowered paths with crazy me taking a ton of pictures, we found ourselves back at the main playground at the treasure chest! The boys each received a gold treasure coin and some Pirate’s Bounty pretzels. Several of the kids pretended they were pirates on ships when they returned to the playground, too! I love that it instigated pretend play!

The boys had so much fun searching for treasure that they often ask me when we are going to go to the park for another one or beg me to make one here at the house! She’s done several other supplemental activities like this and it really does make playground play more exciting!

I really wish I had saved the treasure map from this play time to share with you! Anyway, this activity seemed perfect for Columbus Day! Happy Hunting!

We finally got Rain!

We’ve had a pretty dry summer here. This is a good thing because we haven’t had to mow the lawn for about 5 weeks, but our garden is suffering, along with many crops in the area. However, the other day it rained. (I wrote this before hurricane Irene. In this area we only had high winds and not the damaging weather Northern New York State experienced. My prayers are with those who are still dealing with damages from this hurricane, especially my friends and family in Northern NY.)


This was a good thing for us. The boys and I talked again about why rain is good for the ground, plants, animals and farmers (and have since talked about what happens when we get too much). All through the month of July while we watered the garden we talked about the plants drinking the water from the ground up and were careful to not water the leaves, but the roots to help the plants the most.

This summer it’s been fun watching the garden grow with the boys. We’ve got lots of tomatoes and peppers growing! What have you been growing in your garden? Have you had a great harvest this season?

Press Here Book Review and activity

We recently found the book Press Here by Herve Tullet at the library and I immediately fell in love with it! It actually took me a few attempts to get Cutie Pie to read it with me. Once he did he was in love with it too! It is a great interactive book, one that we can never seem to read only once at each sitting!

I’ve discovered some book publishers have activities related to the books they publish on-line, free for their readers. I looked for an already prepared activity for this book, and upon not finding one I decided it was easy enough for us to make our own spot books!

To make our spot books I simply cut card stock into quarters and made daubers, since we don’t have our own. (How to: I simply took bottle caps, wrapped them in half a paper towel, secured that with a rubber band and pressed the pad into the palm of my hand to make it round in shape. The excess paper towel made a great handle.) Then I put some watered-down paint on a paper towel, making a stamp pad if you will, and we made dots on the card stock, setting each page aside to dry. Once dry I bound them simply and we have our spot books! Cutie Pie even added words so his spot book became a story all his own.

I think we are going to keep this book as long as our library allows and then find it at our local bookstore!

1,2,3 Car Ride Fun

We took a little road trip with the boys the other day and we all found ourselves doing a lot of counting.

Cutie Pie noticed we were going under a lot of bridges and signs that spanned the highway. He started counting “1,2,3..duck!” and expected everyone in the car to duck as if we were going to knock our heads on whatever our car was going under. Hubby and I started counting, too, sometimes way in advance to reach higher numbers. Soon both boys were counting with us!

Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea could definitely count higher that afternoon than they could in the morning – they got a lot of practice and it kept them very occupied on our car ride!

Planting

I came across some pics and draft posts that never made it to the blog. I’m going to work on sharing those with you this week.
Did you plant a garden this year? We have a salsa garden growing again this year, but we also tried to grow some hostas from seed. None of them grew, but the boys sure had fun planting them earlier this spring!
Cutie Pie was so very careful to poke a hole, drop the seed in and pat some dirt over it. Over and over again, and very careful each time and we counted as we planted.

He was also very good about watering the soil right after planting and reminding me to help him water them daily.

After about 8 weeks with no growth we decided something went wrong. I read about hostas in my garden book and think maybe it’s right – they are slightly hard to grow from seed. 
Ack, we’ll probably forget and try again next year. It was a great lesson in following directions for Cutie Pie, as well as patience and handling disappointment!

Thunder

Last night we had quite a thunderstorm. I hadn’t really thought about it, but it was the first in a while and it totally took Sweet Pea by surprise. I remember Cutie Pie not liking storms, but not to the same degree. Poor Sweet Pea was so scared that he climbed into Hubby’s arms, was shaking, and refused to get down. He wouldn’t eat his dinner, drink his milk, nothing! He would, however, hug Hippo, but that was about it until almost an hour after the storm passed. I’m not sure if he finally calmed down or if the special cookie that Hubby brought home for him coaxed him to eat his dinner…

How do you calm your kiddies down during a storm?

Rainy Day Play

We’ve had some pretty rainy or cold and damp days here lately and I found myself bringing out some tried and true activities for the boys when I’m baked out, frazzled from trying to think of ways to keep them busy and we’ve gone to all the favorite places to play.

First, Sweet Pea asked for his pom poms and tweezers. I got them out along with a couple of big bowls and he sat and played for a very long time! (He prefers these tweezers that we have – they have a scissor-like handle and since using them he’s become good at cutting paper, too!)

The second activity I pulled out, and have relied on several times since the snow turned to mud, is the rice box! Of course, that means more sweeping for me, but it’s been a construction site, a place to practice pouring and a multitude of other things and mostly has been a huge form of entertainment for the boys!

I’ll be glad when it’s spring in more than name only, however, being stuck inside has led to opportunities to develop coordination, fine motor skills, gross motor skills (believe it or not!), social skills like taking turns…so I can’t really complain all that much!
Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

Snow happens

So I mentioned earlier this week that we had a lot of snow after a terrific thaw, so I thought I’d share some pics. Not only did we have a lot of snow here, but 2 hours away while we were on our way to see my dad and my mom, and we ended up driving into a blizzard! It made a simple overnight trip quite an adventure!

My dad’s house is on a road that runs up the side of a steep hill (remember the photos I posted here from our last trip there?) As a kid I remember many days staying home from school because the bus couldn’t make it up the hill, and long, cold walks up the hill in sneakers after school when the plow hadn’t yet made it up the hill and I forgot to wear boots that day. Of course, I also got to ride in a snow plow once when it was arriving to plow the road at the same time the bus was! What an adventure! Growing up there playing in the nature surrounding me and the peace it afforded has offered many wonderful memories!

This particular weekend we made 5 attempts to make it up the hill to see my dad, the last being after dark, which hubby did not like at all! (Have you ever tried backing 1/4 mile down an icy hill where the sides of the road aren’t marked in the dark? Not fun!) Amazingly Cutie Pie fell asleep and missed the whole thing! Sweet Pea was awake in his carseat, and was very patient through the whole hour long ordeal! We ended up staying overnight in my mom’s one bedroom apartment. That was something we’ve never done before with 2 kids! This is what my car’s wheels looked like the next morning as we finally pulled into my dad’s driveway…

As a kid my dad and neighbor built wooden ramps and a toboggan run down our back hill. The new neighbor made an awesome snow ramp for us! 
Grampa and Hubby trying to convince Cutie Pie how much fun sledding down a huge hill can be…they only went 1/4 of the way down, and Cutie Pie was not convinced!

Back at home, following animal tracks. Poor Cutie Pie could hardly walk the snow was so deep, but enjoyed every minute of it! Loves his science!
Sweet Pea saw his bike and was convinced he could ride it outside in the snow. He was wrong.
I’m participating in
Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

It’s a race and Blog Hop Friday!

It’s been so cold and snowy here lately that we’ve had to come up with alternative ways to get our kiddos moving and tired which is proving to be hard with this many days in a row indoors and with runny noses and coughs preventing us from going to fun places!

One thing that remains consistent is our kids’ desire to run around ‘the loop’ in our house. To encourage this tiring activity and add a bit of fun to the mix, Hubby taped one edge of a length of crepe paper to a doorway and held the other end making a finish line. Even though the boys weren’t racing each other, they each loved running through the finish line and seeing it fall as they kept running. I know the photo makes it look like it’s going to choke Cutie Pie, but believe me Hubby was holding it very lightly and more often dropped the crepe paper before they crossed the line (and heard about it from Cutie Pie!) And to see Sweet Pea’s coordination improving was great – he runs like a little boy, not a toddler! The next time we want these boys to get tired on a rainy day we will be pulling out the party supplies for more crepe paper for sure!

I’m participating in the following blog hops today. Hop along with me!

New Friend
FridaysA Mommy's Sweet Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

Friend Finding FridaysBoostMyBlogFriday

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!

We Play – fort or bear’s den or reading nook or….

Rainy….dreary….Sweet Pea with a cold…getting on each other’s nerves….Mom needs a quick, fun idea to fill the gap until rest time…….

I was amazed at how many places this little structure became all at the minds of my kiddos! At some time throughout the short time it existed we had a fort, a bear’s den, a reading nook, a hidey-hole, a ‘rest area’, a lion’s hide-out…and the list goes on!

We have a rule in our house that the pillows do not come off the furniture. I was really desperate, though, so I made an exception. Of course, I know that means this will happen again in the future, but hopefully only when I’m in dire need! But yet, they loved this so much, it would be worth seeing the excitement if I were to say yes when asked (which will probably happen tomorrow!)

Check out other ways little ones are playing over at We Play – Childhood 101!

Singin’ in the rain

What are some ways you keep your kiddos happy on rainy days?

It’s been rainy here yesterday off and on and so far today (yes, I know it’s still too early to say necessarily for today, but the droppy rain on my roof lulled me back to sleep for an extra hour after my alarm went off so it seems fair to say!) It’s also been a bit too chilly to go outside and splash in puddles like Sweet Pea, Cutie Pie and I did the last time it rained. That’s when I got this adorable pic of Sweet Pea trying to walk straddling the puddles and while trying to sing his ABC’s!

I will admit I was poorly prepared mentally yesterday for a ‘rain day’ and that it could have gone much better had I planned a little better and looked at my rainy day resources a little earlier. Speaking of that, I’d love to have more activities and ideas for my rainy day arsenal, as I’m sure you probably would too! Let’s share our ideas!

I don’t like it when it rains when it’s cooler out because my kiddos get a little ornery when we can’t get out. Actually, yesterday we did try to take a field trip to the hardware store, but Sweet Pea was already cranky enough to be very disagreeable to the point of making it a very likely terrible field trip. Instead we excavated some frozen dinosaurs, played trains, ran around the house ‘like ninnies’ (my word for in any crazy style you’d like) and spent a lot of time trying to keep Sweet Pea from crying and grabbing every single toy from his brother.

I’d love to hear ways you keep your kiddos happy on rainy days. Please share!

Veggie Garden – finally!

The other garden we planted in May: our vegetable garden, and yes, I am painfully aware this post was left out way back then, so here it is now with a recent photo so you can see our progress. Cutie Pie was a good helper to Hubby who plants a salsa garden every year. This year was the first year Cutie Pie was interested. Above he is pictured raking the garden just before the peat moss was added. 
Here he is helping Hubby mix the peat moss into the soil to make a good base for the tomato plants and the two types of peppers that are now planted there. Of course, our garden dwarfs in comparison to our neighbors, which you can see in the background, although she does grow different crops and has been teaching our boys all about sharing – she had delicious strawberries this year and her raspberries were scrumptious!

And here’s our veggie garden now! With help of grass clippings for mulch, the plants have really blossomed! Cutie Pie’s proud he helped create this and loves the homemade salsa – another lesson in patience!

We Play!

This is the first official week of We Play at Childhood 101. I like to visit that site, so I thought I’d join their Tuesday posting of a play space we’ve enjoyed during the week. It is supposed to be a playspace at home, preschool, child care or kindy, so I’m including two since we are trying to play everywhere we can, not just at home (because I don’t do preschool with my 3 yr old yet) and I want to play by the rules.
The first is where we went today. It’s a favorite of Cutie Pie, a local hands-on science museum that currently has a traveling dinosaur exhibit. One of their permanent exhibits, if you will, is a sand and water tub where the boys head every time. The water is continually circulating and the main reason for the exhibit is to explain water erosion, among other things, but my boys just love playing in the water! I’m sure they see what happens to the sand when the water runs into it, and we do talk about it, but they really just have fun with it!
The second photo is our ‘gravel pit’ by our driveway. Cutie Pie is sooooo attracted to it to play with toys, and Sweet Pea for the gravel! And yes, his construction vehicles have a purpose there! Lots of pretend play and imaginary building go on here on an almost daily basis! Lucky for us (?) we don’t have a vehicle that needs to use this spot by our driveway as a parking spot! Talk about keeping the boys occupied for hours!
So, for other ideas on where to play “Come over and play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up” , click here!

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 (placed in a cup of cupcake tin). While each soaked in its 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!