Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sight Word Bracelets

As I mentioned earlier this month in our "Wintery Mix" Sight Words post, Big Brother's reading is starting to take off which is really exciting for those of us around him. Beyond having him pick a short book to read to us each day, we continue to find ways to have fun with reading skills at home. When we're practicing here at home, my goal is to keep the learning light, fun, and playful.

Big Brother has always loved beading, so combining some learning with alphabet beads was a perfect fit. And the perfect chance to practice more sight words.

This was also a great after school activity, it didn't take too long so there was also lots of time for needed free play. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mail "Winter" to A Friend

We recently learned about the 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge that Toddler Approved and Coffee Cups and Crayons are co-hosting. From Martin Luther King Day to Valentine's Day they focus on Kindness, and challenge their families and others to 100 Acts of Kindness. Each week they have a different theme but the kindness acts can stand on their own. They can also be a bigger act or something small and daily.

We're joining in a little late this year, but excited to try acts of kindness ourselves. We're kicking off our participation by putting together a "winter" surprise to mail off to friends. 

I know, there are some of you out there whom probably think the idea of sending winter to someone is not necessarily a kindness act, but it is for these specific friends. This summer a family of friends moved to Florida. When we saw them briefly at Christmas, their two boys both mentioned missing the New England winter weather. 

So we decided, why not mail a little "winter" to them down in Florida?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Confetti Snow Dough

Over the holiday break I took a bag of confetti out of the party box as we got ready to celebrate New Year's Eve. Yet, I couldn't quite bring myself to let confetti out free rein with the boys . . . who knows what corners of the house it would wind up in.

Mid-month I got the idea of mixing the confetti into some fun sensory play and we came up with this confetti snow dough.

In the past we've had fun making "Cold" Sparkle and Snow Dough which we originally learned of through Growing a Jeweled Rose. This is such a great sensory recipe that creates an actual cold feeling sensory snow. This time we enjoyed throwing in a little extra special sparkle: the confetti! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Snowmen at Work Playdough Play

Many people know the books Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn and Mark Buehner, we were pleased to buy the books in a set a few years ago. Along with the set came Snowmen at Work, which is part of the same series but not as well known. This winter the boys have discovered the book and they love reading it. In the book a little boy ponders if the snowmen (and snowwomen) have jobs they do when humans are not looking.

We used the book as a launching point to inspire our newest playdough play invitation. 

To begin with I made up a batch of our basic cooked playdough and kept it white. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

"Our Big Heart" Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

Last year we really enjoyed participating in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Martin Luther King series, so much so we were really glad to join in again this year. Last year we were inspired to focus on his messages of peace by reading several peace books for kids and creating peace doves.

This year we learned a little more about the man himself and his "big heart." 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Snowball Fight Painting

Little Brother is quickly approaching three (how did that happen?!) but in true toddler fashion he still tends to like projects best that are pretty quick. If there are too many steps to a project it tends to lose his interest. This snowball fight painting was right up his alley the other day though.

While we've been happy to get a little snow, it's still not quite enough to enjoy our typical winter activities and we find ourselves wishing for more snow. Until then, we're trying to create winter fun in other ways.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Basic Cooked Playdough

We do a lot of playdough play here, in fact we usually try to vary up our playdough play every month or so. Although there are a lot of different non-cook playdough recipes out there, we're still a big fan of a basic cooked playdough.

All of our playdough recipes stem from this basic recipe, which we've finally decided to share!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Wintery Mix" Sight Words Practice

One of the thrills of being the parent of a kindergartner is watching him begin to take off in reading. I love hearing him work at sounding out words and being excited when he recognizes a word. His classroom teachers take both a phonics and whole word approach to teaching reading, which means each week they sound home both the letters/sounds they are working on and a few sight words for the week.

Sight words are primarily common words that are also tricky to sound out. You can find some examples of common kindergarten sight words here, although there are many different lists out there.

As a parent I can support his learning by giving him chances to read and write his school words at home. Over the break we came up with this fun alternative to writing with pencil and paper: using epsom salts on the light table. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 2016 Goal: Organize the Household Clutter

Last year we joined the Monthly Goals series and found it to be a great way to keep us motivated during the year to tackle a variety of resolutions. Rather than kicking off January with a whole list of resolutions, each month we selected a new goal and worked towards meeting that goal.

This year we're again excited to be joining in on the Monthly Goals series. I quickly realized last year that it was best for our family to focus on just one set of goals at a time, so each month we'll have a specific theme.
For January 2016 we're actually returning to a 2015 goal: 
Organize the Household Clutter

We spent the early part of the beginning of 2015 focusing on the goals of organizing and decluttering. I loved the changes we were able to make in our house. We redesigned household spaces, donated or gave away unused items, and in general had less clutter laying around.