Friday, May 30, 2014

Sum, Say, & Spray Math Game

Living in a rural area means we have limited access to pavement for sidewalk chalk play. So, as I've mentioned before on our facebook page when we know rainy weather is coming we use our deck. The other day we combined chalk play with some fun mathematical learning.

Our materials for the game included chalk, two dice, and a spray bottle. Big Brother loves when we find ways to use the spray bottle, so this game was right up his alley. We used our deck, but this game could also be played on the sidewalk, a basketball court, or a paved driveway. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Party Blower Pick-Up" Clean Up Trick

Recently I discovered this quick little tip and couldn't resist sharing. It's made some of our bigger clean up jobs a lot of fun!

Big Brother has a tendency to sprawl out when he plays, and by sprawl, I mean from room to room. Little Brother has some days where he empties several bins all at once. So some days it feels like there are toys everywhere! Although Big Brother has in the past been really helpful with cleaning up, lately it's been a little harder, and the novelty of the old "clean up song" has passed.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this silly little trick, and it's made cleaning up lots of fun! We had a few party blowers laying around and Big Brother kept blowing them. I'll admit, it was driving me crazy, as I was trying to get dinner finished. Finally I told him he could only blow it when he put away a toy. He instantly got to work, happily cleaning up toys while tooting on the party blower. Pretty soon almost everything was put away!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kid Created Obstacle Course

We were really excited to be able to join Emma at P is for Preschooler for the Backyard Games Week series. While Little Brother being under the weather and the actual rainy weather deterred us from doing this earlier in the week, we had a lot of fun with it this weekend.

As a kid I always enjoyed doing obstacle courses, and have set some up for Big Brother in the past. I thought it would be fun to let him create the courses this time.

We love to spend as much time as possible in our large, grassy yard during the summer months and there are several flat spaces perfect for obstacle courses. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quick Pick & Project of the Week: Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! Picture Frame

We've been a little busy with Little Brother being sick this past week, and have not had a lot of time to share what we've been up to. But we did have some time this week to still have a little fun. One of our projects of the week involved creating this seed collage picture frame as part of our Quick Pick & Project of the Week posts.

We recently found Seeds! Seeds! Seeds! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace at our local library and we are really enjoying it. Not only does it give kids great information on how seeds grow, are different, may be used for different things, and what they need; it also gives several different ideas for projects right in the book! Buddy, the Little Bear, receives a special package from his grandfather with five bags. In each bag there is a different seed activity or project for Buddy to do. 

For our project we decided to create a seed picture frame just like Buddy creates near the end of the story. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Treasure Box for Daddy

We made this box last year for Daddy for Father's Day. We couldn't share it then as we wanted to keep it a surprise. But with Father's Day 2014 right around the corner it seemed like a great time to share.

Around this time last year I noticed that many little trinkets were piling up on my husband's dresser. The pile especially included little surprises created by Big Brother, as well as a few other special items. 
I spotted an unfinished photo box at Michael's and knew we could turn that into a wonderful Father's Day Gift. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Simple Straw Drop for Toddlers

I know I've already shared several drop activities for babies and toddlers, but Little Brother has been enjoying this activity for over a week, so I couldn't resist sharing. It was so easy to put together and such a great way to work on fine motor skills.

He loves putting small things into other containers, which inspired me to put together this one afternoon. I used regular drinking straws, a cardboard coffee can, and a hole punch to create this simple activity. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quick Pick & Project of the Week: Commotion in the Ocean Watercolor And Cray Pas Painting

We must have summer on the brain with the nice weather we've had a taste of these past few days because we got excited to think about the ocean. This week's Quick Pick & Project is based on the book Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae.

I absolutely love using cray pas and watercolors as a medium with kids. The cray pas make crisp, colorful lines and the watercolors fill in between the lines. The final pieces are always really vivid. I've used it a lot in the classroom with students.

I especially enjoy using it with kids as a medium for painting underwater scenes as the watercolors give a "watery" look and easily fill a whole page with color. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sugar & Spice Teacher Gifts

Teacher appreciation week officially was last week, but I wanted to share what we put together for Big Brother's preschool teachers.

They were easy and cute to create.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hand Painted Reusable Shopping Bags (Mother's Day Gifts)

We are very blessed to have many different mothers we celebrate on Mother's Day. We have several great grandmothers to honor and three grandmothers. Last year for the grandmother's we enjoyed making our Mother's Day Flower Pots. This year we wanted to make another hand painted project and decided to create reusable shopping bags.

A few years ago we had made butterfly prints with our hands and decided to base our bag theme on the same butterflies. We added in some grass, flowers, and a sun to create a more colorful bag. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pirate's Chest Light Table Game

Ever since Halloween we've loved pirates and pirate play. Beyond dress up, we also have a new pirate ship with wooden pirate dolls and several pirate coloring books. So why not extend our pirate play to the light table?

This recent rainy weather has been perfect for some more light table play as the afternoons have been pretty gray.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Quick Pick & Project of the Week: "Puff Dragon" Paper Bag Puppet

Who doesn't love and remember the beautiful song "Puff the Magic Dragon" from when we were kids? Even though there is a sad element to this song, I've always enjoyed singing along. Big Brother, who loves to sing, has also been really enjoying the song these days.

A few years ago we bought a beautifully illustrated version of the song as a book which also came with a CD.  The words are the original lyrics as written by the song's creators, Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, which mean that often we sing it aloud as we read. What we love best is at the end a little girl returns to find Puff, and there seems to be a grown-up watching from the distance, who although may be now an adult, resembles Jackie Paper as a child.

For this week's Quick Pick and Project of the Week we decided to create a Puff paper bag puppet.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Big Bottle Ball Drop

So as I put this post together I had a little bit of Mama shock when I realized that I can no longer classify activities for Little Brother as "baby play," he has officially entered the realm of toddler hood. Somehow my little guy is no longer so little.

Little Brother continues to be a pretty on the move guy, so I'm always looking for ways to engage his energy. We spontaneously tried this activity one day, and it was a hit.

Last year we wound up with this big bottle from a job my husband was working on; we saved it because we figured it would be good for possible power outages. Little Brother had so much fun with some of the pom pom drop activities we did last month we were looking for other similar activities. We pulled the big bottle out one day with a handful of ping pong balls and gave it a try.