Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spice Up Your Painting

(26 Months)

Every morning Wild One asks to "make coffee" I have a feeling it's because he likes the smell of the coffee grinds.  Maybe he likes scooping the grinds into the filter.  I don't know.  All I know is that every morning, without fail, he asks to "make coffee".

I've been wanting to do a scent-based activity for months (wow- it's actually been over a year now, where does the time go?).  I was going to make scent bottles, however I always got sidetracked for a more interesting project.  Last night I found this spice painting project and immediately took out the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, vanilla, cocoa and the jar of coffee.

Wild One tried to help me make the paints by squeezing the glue.  It was coming out so slowly when he squeezed that I wound up taking the cap off of the glue and letting him pour the glue into the mixing bowls (I tried to snap a picture, but of course now the glue started pouring out too quickly).  He liked tapping the spices into the glue containers and mixing each container.  His favorite scent was (of course) the coffee.

I love the progression of his painting.  It goes from light, little dabs of paint to full out dumping the containers onto the paper, and then came the swirling and hand painting.  It's not at all like the one I saw on Play Create and Explore, their's was this perfect segmented painting - and ours, well... it sure does smell nice.  My favorite scent creation that Wild One made was the cocoa and coffee, yum.

This is completely unrelated, here is a picture of Little Miss drawing a face on her Magna Doodle.  How awesome is this?!?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Creating Pipe Cleaner Bracelets

(26 Months)

We've been trying to string beads on thin rope for months and haven't had much success.  What has worked really well is stringing pony beads on pipe cleaners and stringing beads on wooden dowels.

For months, I've been saving the tops of plastic straws for some unknown project (we use them in our straw cups when we're out).  Then an idea struck me, let's string the straws and pony beads onto pipe cleaners and turn them into bracelets!  When I was little we made pasta necklaces, so this is just a play on that.  As soon as I brought out the two trays of materials, the kids immediately sat down at the table and got right to work.  Wild One preferred the cuts of straw, whereas Little Miss really liked "the teeny tiny pinks" (pink pony beads).  I loved watching their pincer grip hard at work as they strung straw/bead by straw/bead.  I originally wanted to work on patterning with the straws and beads, but they had so much fun creating their bracelets that I let them just work on their own masterpieces.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Geometric Matching

(26 Months)

Uncle Keith has these huge geometric volume containers.  When he brought them out, my eyes lit up.  Oh the possibilities (my geeky teacher side started coming through).  We first laid a couple of them out and watched their reactions as the sunlight passed through the container's colored base- the kids were amazed that the driveway changed color.  Little Miss kept moving her hand in and out of the light watching her hand go from skin color to green to skin color to green.  I took a few pictures but they didn't show the colors (so sad).

Here we are practicing following directions (please place the containers inside this rectangle).  It's amazing how well they follow directions when it's a game!  Although this did turn into a construction activity when the boys started stacking the containers on top of one another.  We never did say how to place the containers inside the rectangle- boys, so creative.

Next, we traced the bases of each of the containers onto the driveway with sidewalk chalk, then we asked the kids to match up the colored bases (bottoms) of the containers to the shapes in the driveway.  They really got into this, they quickly started working finding a shape and looking for the match.  I love how in the second picture, Buddy is "reading" the instructions for the geometric shapes.
The twins really liked this part of the activity so to modify it for home, I'm going to start saving empty tissue boxes, cereal boxes, plastic mayonnaise jars, plastic peanut butter jars... and we'll do this again.

We never did get around to using the geometric shapes as they were designed (to demonstrate volume), we'll try again on our next visit.  They had so much fun, just matching up shapes, looking through the bases seeing the world another color, stacking and watching the tower crash with the loud banging sounds.

Can You Spot the Learning?

(26 Months)

What an incredible week!  We just got back from a week of fun-filled activities and playing (and hardly any sleep) with our cousin, Aunt Jeanine and Uncle Keith.  Their backyard is nicknamed The Amusement Park, because they have a huge backyard FILLED with toys: a bounce house, a ball pit, a play house, three slides, a huge swing set with three swings, slide, rock climbing wall and fort, plus they have a trampoline, roller coaster- yes, a roller coaster, peddle cars, tree swings, bubble machines, walk-in bubble ball, water table, outdoor kitchen, oh yeah and of course an outdoor movie theater!
That's our cousin, working out on the toddler
version of his daddy's CrossFit rings.  
Wild Man and his buddy jumping on
their trampoline.  
Little Miss is practicing the hula hoop
and the concept of "in". 
The boys are also learning about "in"
 (although they think they are just playing).  
Teamwork at it's finest!  Look at them working
on their gross motor skills. 
As you can see, these two were inseparable.  
One of their favorite things to do is to
wave at the school buses as they drive past.
Little Miss is picking yellow dandelions.  
"You've got a friend in me.  You've got a friend in me." 
Aunt Jeanine and Little Miss playing with Baby. 
Uncle Keith captivating the kids' attention
while reading a story.
Busy creating and practicing using our writing grip.
Aunt Jeanine and Wild One lead the
pack all the way up the trail.
Wild One stopped to pick a dandelion.
Little Miss is cooking in the play center at their local library. 
She has never done this before.  She set up a
tea service for two dolls and began playing mommy. 
The boys cooking - always together.
Buddy is "reading" a story to Wild One. 
Uncle Keith and Aunt Jeanine bought Play
Cookie Dough.  Look how vibrant those colors are!
I think the grown-ups had more fun
creating the cookies than the kids.
Look at Uncle Keith!
Buddy is eating Blue (from Blue's Clues). 
Aunt Jeanine is watching as Buddy colors in Woody.
Little Miss chose three different shades of pink markers.
She actually did pretty well at staying within the lines (I forgot to take a picture).
Wild One used a brown for his potato heads - pretty good color recognition.   
Little Miss kept looking at Lotso while she
was drawing him on the Magna Doodle.  
Buddy is playing in their sand pit.
He's practicing scooping and pouring.  

Thank you again Aunt Jeanine, Uncle Keith and Buddy for an amazing week!  We love you and miss you.  xoxo

Were you able to spot the learning?  Gross motor skills (including balancing, jumping and pushing), learning the concept of "in" and "out", observation, fine motor skills, imaginative play, "reading", comparing, scooping and transferring.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Learning with Clay

(26 Months)

We bought one of those fun triangle golf tee games that they keep on the dining tables at Cracker Barrel (yum).  I was thinking - oh this is perfect, we can use this for fine motor skills!  Then I was flipping through John Bowman's book, "How to Help Your Preschooler Build a Better Brain" (it has excellent ideas, websites to refer back to and a list of materials to gather).  He has an activity of placing marbles on top of each of the tees (to work on more delicate fine motor skills).  I would love to do this, but the thought of Wild One finding an escaped marble and then putting it into his mouth scares me too much to try this.  Instead we took out some clay or play-doh and I rolled them into small marbles.

They both practiced pushing the tees into the clay and inserting the tees into the little peg holes in the triangle.

Little Miss liked drawing with the tees into the clay.  She kept asking for a daddy A and a baby A, even though I kept insisting the terms capital A and lowercase A (I'll even accept big and little A's- but daddy and baby?).

At first Wild One kept pushing the tiny clay balls in between the tees instead of on top, but then he saw Little Miss put the tiny balls one by one on top of each tee and he started to do the same.

They both liked lining up and counting the balls.  Little Miss really liked working with the "pink" (that's what she nicknamed the clay).

They asked for this activity three days in a row now.  It's definitely a keeper.