School Time Today: Big Dipper


The little ones and I had a great time talking about stars and constellations.  They are loving dot-to-dots right now and constellations intrigued them because of the similarities. We used the ipad to find pictures to copy and I helped them draw dots on a piece of black construction paper. After we placed our dots they covered them in silver star stickers.  They both copied as much of the word as they wanted to on their own.  Last, I made lines for them to trace the words as well.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Rainbows

Last week the kids and I did a fun activity we have never tried before.  I saw something similar on the internet, and tried to turn it into a simple science experiment for the kids.

I spread out a layer of old baking soda onto a cookie sheet and then filled mini muffin tins with a small amount of white vinegar. I added food coloring to the vinegar and made a few different colors. One drop for red, blue, yellow and green, and a half of a drop (done by using a tooth pick) of each color I used when I was mixing colors. We put on some of the kids play shirts, and went at it. When the vinegar is dropped onto the baking soda with a dropper it sizzles and bubbles.

Later, I offered to give the kids a little pile of flour and had them make hypotheses about what would happen. Would it sizzle and fizz like the baking soda?

They absolutely loved it and spent almost an hour playing quietly.  I was having so much fun watching them that I did not realize how much video I had shot.  Instead of editing it too much, I just decided to put it all up (thank you to Hubs for all the help).  I am pretty sure most of you do not want to watch this much footage of the tots doing this activity, but I thought some other little ones would have fun watching along. I know my children LOVE to watch footage of other children doing anything.

 

Supplies:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • Old medicine droppers
  • Baking sheet
  • Mini muffin tin or small bowls
  • Flour or other things to experiment with

Happy Monday!

Part 1

Part 2

Cleaning up the mess together.

 

Our Arts and Crafts Supply Stash

Fingers, paint, paper.

Since I am always curious to know how other people do things and what they use with their little ones, I thought I would share what art supplies we have and enjoy.

Here is our basic stash that has slowly accumulated over time (along with an affordable source if applicable). I have included the things we use on a fairly regular basis.  We have some other odds and ends, but these are our main supplies.

 

  • Watercolor paints- Purchased during back to school time
  • Paint with water book
  • Tempera type paint- Ikea
  • Paint brushes- Ikea and art store clearance
  • Oil paints-purchased at a local art store with a Groupon
  • Finger paint and paper (paper on clearance at local art store)
  • Couple canvases-Local art store sale or Michaels with coupon
  • Spray bottle of water (for blurring paint and markers)
  • Coloring books
  • Coloring Crayons-Back to school
  • Colored pencils-Back to school
  • Multi colored paper-Ikea (colored regular paper) or sometimes Costco (construction type)
  • White paper
  • Roll of big paper-Ikea
  • Large circle hole punch (great for faces, gift tags, garlands, etc)-Craft store with half off coupon
  • Markers(Washable, regular, and Sharpie). -Back to school for kid ones and Costco for Sharpies.
  • Kid scissors-Back to school
  • Tape-Christmas or back to school
  • Glue sticks-Back to school
  • Stickers (The kids like to create bodies around the little smiley face stickers)-We like to get stickers at Learning Palace
  • Q-Tips-(for painting or paint with water books)-Drug store sale
  • Coffee filters (Usually for coloring in with markers and spraying with water)

 

Future purchases or birthday gifts they will be getting:

  • Water color pencils
  • Do-a-Dot paint (like Bingo daubers)-Michales with 50% off coupon (Thanks Lisa for the tip!)
  • Some sort of clay

What are your favorite arts and crafts supplies to use with your little ones?

 

 

 

Grump Busters: How to change the grumpy tone in your home fast.

Do something with your kids that they LOVE…even if you don’t.

Turn on some music that perks up the grumpy person.  If you are grumpy turn on something you love.  If the kids are grumpy turn on something they can’t resist or ignore.

Pray.

Do something for someone else!  Talk about who you could do something for and then decide together what you could do.

Do something messy!

Take a bath.  You could even let them use some things in the bath that they usually don’t get to (maybe things from your kitchen).

Go for a walk around the block.

If you are overwhelmed by all there is to do start with 2-3 easy things that will get you moving.  Or, set a timer and clean for 5 minutes in the area that it will show the most.

Call someone on the phone…unless that always results in meltdowns and fighting over who gets to talk and push buttons…then don’t do that.

Get out stickers.

Open more blinds.

Light candles.

Make a fort and read a book in it.

Plan something fun for the next day so you have something to look forward to.

Give the grump a big love till their needs are met and finish with a tickle to make them smile.

If all else fails sprinkle a bag of marshmallows on the ground and run for a “potty break”.

Hope your house doesn’t need any of these suggestions today!

Blessings!

P.S. I am writing this post for myself 🙂

How many of these things did we do today? NINE

28 Days of Fun Challenge: Tea Parties or Tantrums Edition.

Okay, here is my goal.  I am going to try and do something “fun,” mildly creative, or educational with the kids every day.  We spend lots of time playing, but I want to try to do something out of routine with the twins (recently turned 3) Monday through Saturday.  We started around Thursday March 31st.

Here are a couple of the things we have done so far.

-Play Doh (and I did not even hide that extruder toy that creates a big mess and mixes all the colors) 🙂

-Went on a “nature walk” at Minto Brown Park.  We even saw a bunny.  But we did not see any “red peckers…um wood-pokers” (woodpeckers) as Little Man calls them.

-Played with the magnetic board and alphabet magnets.

-Forgot to do something fun and pretended something normal was “fun.”

-Went to the opening day of the Saturday Market in the rain.

-Played outside with a little friend.

-Let Sweet Baby (her blog name changes often) roam the play room which is not easy to do with all the tiny pieces of chaos that float about the room (talking about the toys not the twins).

-Cut out little pieces of cardboard and played “recycling” with their recycling truck.

-Had a tea party with Great Grandma during her Monday morning visit.

…more less-interesting things that I already forgot.

If you want to join in on the fun please do.  Post some fun activities you are enjoying with your kids on your blog, or leave a comment.  If you are feeling extra ambitious try to do something fun every M-F or M-Sat.  This is not meant to be tons of work! Just a fun challenge to get you to think outside your mommy box.

Because, Ya know…tea parties with Great Grandma are always more fun than…

…fighting over a stool with your sister.

Happy Monday!

Teaching My 2’s (My attempt to turn chaos into purpose)

Now that the duo are two I am seeing some changes around here.  Because of their increasing vocab the “requests” are becoming more frequent.  This makes for more whining, crying, and asking for the various things they can think of.  Play time was becoming rougher and rougher as they went from entertaining themselves for little pockets of time, to heading in the direction of becoming quite demanding.  While I realize that this is quite “appropriate” for their age, I needed to find ways to channel their energy and ideas into something more productive.  If I did not try we would be eating very specific types of crackers 27 times a day, using our binkies constantly, having only grapes and cheese to eat, playing with mommies i phone, watching Charlie and Lola, and climbing on bar stools ALL DAY LONG. This is a recipe to make a mom crazy.  I don’t want my kids to be ultra demanding, nor do I want them to be crying all day long either when I deny their requests.

Enter-More purposeful play and structure

In my silly head I think of this as “homeschooling”. That’s a joke because the kids are a young two and time time we spend on these things could hardly be labeled as “school.”  This new time of chaos has left me searching for new options to occupy my kids time and our brains.  They are quite capable of learning simple things and I don’t want to waste our time just trying to get through every day.

Here are some of the things we are doing at 2 years 3mo:

-Sometimes staying in our chairs after breakfast to work on something rather than going straight to free play.

-Getting ideas off a really cool blog called Tot School. (Likely more on this later)

-Doing flash cards. Some people don’t like flashcards, but my kids seem to love them and we stop when they get bored. It is very interesting to see what types they are interested in. Little Lady loves the clothes and accessory types (jeans, hat, belt, watch) and Little Man loves the animals and vehicles best. Go figure.

-Working on colors. We frequently ask them what color something is, look at color flashcards sometimes, help them associate colors with objects they recognize (“It is green like Rex.”), ask for things by name and color (“Can you bring me the pink bowl?). Colors seem to be one of the tougher things for toddlers to learn. This is why we have focused on them a little more than other concepts or objects. It is interesting that the colors they are having the easiest time with are the colors that have less shade variation like white, brown, black, red, etc. Green, blue and other colors like them seem to be harder.

-Talking about the days of the week and what we commonly do on those days.

-Coloring

-Playing with Play-Dough

-Folding paper to look like things like butterflies etc.

-Working on having fun with music and learning about different types of instruments. Doing puzzles. Looking at different pictures of instruments and doing the motions that you would do when playing that instrument. Talking about the different sounds and trying to identify what they are. Listing to the Jazz station on our “Music on Demand” channel and naming the instruments they show pictures of during the music.

-Talking about the sizes of things and using words like “tiny, small, medium, big, large” etc.

-Talking about some basic shapes. We are working on these slowly and using the same sorts of techniques as we use with colors.  We name things like crackers by their shape (circle crackers-whole grain Trader Joe’s crackers and square crackers-Wheat Thins) etc.

-Reading Bible stories together before bed and letting them repeat the words they are interested in and point things out in pictures.

-Looking out the windows and naming objects, animals, and colors we see.

-Put up a book rack at their level to encourage them to read their books and organize them on their own.


In case you are interested these are the flashcards we are using. Links are embedded in the images.

The first set we got was the Baby Einstein Numbers and Shapes Discovery Cards. I got them at Tj Maxx for a great price, but I have to say they are just okay.

The second set we got was Trend Enterpirse’s “Picture Words”. I chose these because they covered a variety of topics in one pack. Topics include; animals, clothing, transportation, common objects, shapes, safety signs, and colors. I figured this would be a better value than purchasing a bunch of separate sets. I got mine at Learning Palace. I signed up for their email list and they sent me a coupon (I think it was 20% off one item?). Worth a shot if you are needing something there.

What are your kids enjoying lately? Do you have any suggestions for fun ways to learn, play, and add structure to the day?

Ahhh….Art

When I think of back to school I think of school supplies…when I think of school supplies…I think of art supplies.  I LOVE art supplies (Which is strange for someone who can barely draw a stick person).  I think I got this  from my mother (the love for art and school supplies…not my stick figure skills).  As a homeschooled child we had some cool opportunities to take some very eclectic art classes.  We did things from intricate Ukrainian eggs, to coil pots, and simple drawings.  Even with the exposure I definitely don’t consider myself an artist at all!   But I do like to be creative.  I believe that instilling a love for art and creativity in your children is a very wonderful thing.

And what better time than a Sunday afternoon to have some special family time around the table with some new art supplies.  Here are a couple ideas for both your “littles” and your “olders”.

For the Littles…

crayon-rocks

Grab some of these very fun “Crayon Rocks” from Stubby Pencil Studio (Be sure to look around on their site. They have some really fun stuff!)  They are made to be easy for younger artists to hold and help guide them as they learn to use the “tripod grip” as S.P.S. mentions.  They are made from mineral powders (to tint them) and non-toxic soy wax.  I was excited to see that they were made USA and come in a very cute drawstring pouch (I am a sucker for drawstring pouches).  I am pretty sure my kids need these.

For the Olders…

What could be more fun that some watercolor pencils?   I remember thinking these were magic as a child.  Draw with them like a regular colored pencil and then take a wet brush to them to turn them into a painting.  Here are a couple choices from inexpensive to splurge.

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Crayola Watercolor Pencils $2.99 @ CrayolaStore.com

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Watercolor EcoPencils by Faber-Castell 12 ct. for $6.95 @ StubbyPencilStudio.com

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Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils 36 ct 34.99 @ Dickblick.com

Here is a great watercolor pencil tutorial to help you and your kids learn about technique.

Sit your kids down sometime in the next few days to create something as a family.  They are never too young to enjoy color, texture, and the feel of art supplies in their hands and the beauty they can create.

Have you done anything creative as a family lately?