Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baby's First Marks

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On a recent trip to our local favorite playground, I noticed that Kz was making marks in the sand. At first, I thought it was incidental, but after a closer look, I realized his marks were quite intentional. I typically engage in sensory play with Kz and while some of the activities we do are filled with fine motor benefits, I haven't prepared many activities that encourage deliberate mark making. What was I waiting for?

Once I caught on, we started exploring different mark making tools. Kz began writing with sticks so we compared the marks that different sized sticks could make.

This was the biggest stick we could find. 

When sticks became scarce, we got creative and made thick marks with a toy truck...

When Kz found these leaves, he immediately brushed the ground with them. I pointed out the unique marks they made.

He also practiced writing over some doodles of my own.

"Mom, what do you mean we can't draw with that one..."

Kz worked hard with several tools to create this drawing. He didn't seem too impressed with it, but I was one proud mama. We will definitely do some more intentional mark making and pre-writing at home. I'm sorry it wasn't on my radar, Kz!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Terrific Toddler Play {Weekly Kids Coop #10}

Last week, there were tons of toddler play ideas submitted to the Kids Coop.
Here are some of our must-try favorites:

Messy Play Date - B-inspired Mama
Toddler Music Activities - Moms Have Questions Too
DIY Clothespin Color Matching - Plain Vanilla Mom
Exploring Dry Pasta - House of Burke
Matching Shoes - Making Boys Men
Pictionary for Toddlers - Simple.Home.Blessings.
Toddler Cooking with Cornflour, Paint and Color - Mummy Musings and Mahem
Gooey Color Paint Exploration - Powerful Mothering

Thanks for linking up last week! Onto this week's party...Can't wait to read your kid-friendly play ideas and activities.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Golf Ball Drop Activity {100 Days of Play}

We are thrilled to be taking part in the 100 Days of Play 
hosted by Sun Scholars and Life at the Zoo! 

Today, we are sharing an activity that is super simple to set up at home. All you need is 2 or 3 separate containers and about a dozen small objects for filling and emptying. 

Lately, Kz loves to tote around golf balls (...that I deviously "borrowed" from daddy's golf bag) and I've been finding them everywhere ever since.  In toy bins, on shelves, in the seat cushions, under the couch... everywhere. One day, after spending WAY too much time retrieving them from every corner of the house, I decided to set up a little station that would allow Kz to use them more productively. 

I found these two containers from a recent trip to the grocery store (they previously held cherry tomatoes). The hole in the top was just the right size for a golf ball. Any box or container will do. Try using an old wipes box or a shoe box with the hole cutout.

I took another container and filled it with the golf balls I had spent the last hour collecting (No, no, I'm not bitter). I placed the reserve in the center and put one golf ball in one of the quirky containers as an invitation to play. 

First he explored the new containers.

And then he started filling them! 

He filled the red one first. When no golf balls remained, he tried to reach in and take them out with his fingers but the opening was too small. Stumped, he started to shake the container and when one fell out, he excitedly continued to shake. I showed him how to turn the container upside down to help the balls fall out more easily.  

Onto the yellow one! For an older child, this can become a great activity for counting, addition, subtraction or number balancing. 

Kz loved dropping the golf balls from way high up into the center bin. He continued to practice putting them into the smaller containers and watching them fall as he shook them out.

The best part of this activity was not having to crawl around the house to find all the golf balls when he was finished! Success! 

100 Days of Play Blog Hop
Sharing simple ideas on how to connect with your children through play!
New ideas shared each day from 4/1 - 7/9.  

Help us spread the word!
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100 Days of Play is brought to you by these wonderful bloggers
SunScholars . Frogs, Snails & Puppy Dog Tails . Playful Learners . Train Up a Child . Fantastic Fun & Learning . Scribble, Doodle & Draw . Learn. Create. Love. . Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas . Nothing if Not Intentional . My Little 3 & Me . Buggy & Buddy . Sun Hats & Wellie Boots . Twodaloo . True Aim . The Educators' Spin On It . Blog Me Mom . Life At The Zoo . Putti's World . Kitchen Counter Chronicles . Triple T Mum . Busy Kids Happy Mom . Crystal's Tiny Treasures . Rainy Day Mum . Momma's Fun World . My Little Bookcase . Craftulate . One Perfect Day . MumCentral . Artchoo! . Little Artists . Simple. Home. Blessings. . JDaniel4's Mom . NurtureStore . Me & Marie Learning . Child Central Station . Mamas Like Me . Making Boys Men . Powerful Mothering . Craft to Art . 3 Dinosaurs . Domestic Goddesque . Lessons Learnt Journal . Royal Baloo . Smiling Like Sunshine . Adventures at Home with Mum . B-Inspired Mama . PragmaticMom . Eazy Peazy Mealz . Gluesticks . TheBoy&Me . Learning is Messy . My Nearest & Dearest . Growing Book by Book . How to Run a Home Daycare . Here Come the Girls . Think Magnet . Dandelions Picked . 123 Homeschool 4 Me . Our Ordinary Life . Parenting with Professor Poppins . 2 Little Hooligans . Fun-a-Day! . The Non-Martha Mamma . Angelique Felix . My Very Educated Mother . Creative Playhouse . Go Explore Nature . Zing Zing Tree . Sense of Wonder . Childhood 101 . Crayon Freckles . KZ & Me . Serenity You . This Mumma's Life . Leapfrog & Ladybugs . Blue Bear Wood . Growing Together . KC EDventures . Mommy Lessons 101 . Nature & Play . Like Mama Like Daughter . Mums Make Lists . From Wine to Whine . Messy Kids . Babble Dabble Do . Sugar Aunts . Teaching @ Home . Preschool Powol Packets . Clothed in Love . Curiosity Creates . The Magnolia Barn . Strong Start .

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Kz!

Woah. One  year. We made it. There were a few times when I wasn't sure we would, but here we are. One year later. One  year older. One year wiser. One year...crazier?

This has been the most joyful, stressful and most incredible year of our lives. I was so naive about having a child. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I thought I knew what to expect. I soooo didn't.

You know that moment that people talk about when you fall madly in love with your baby the second you see them? Well, that didn't happen to me. I remember looking up from the operating table, making sure everything was ok, and then promptly placing my head back down in an effort to stay alive. I was terrified during my c-section and all those things I said I would do (like immediate skin-to-skin contact and not sending my baby to the nursery) all flew out the window. I knew he was in good hands and my husband proudly held him while they stitched me up, but even after the surgery, I looked down at this tiny baby and wasn't sure what to think. I felt ferociously protective over him, but I didn't know him. Who was this little boy in my arms? Who would he turn out to be? Would he be kind, gentle, sympathetic? Would he respect me? Millions of questions flooded my head, but I just kept caring for him, watching the nurses, heeding my family's advice, reading about the "right" way to do things.

And then, one day, Kz looked at me. I mean he REALLY looked at me. Yes, I know newborns can't focus like that and yes, I know it was probably accidental. But I don't care. I remember him looking directly into my eyes and at that moment, I knew I had loved him all along. I realized that the innate sense to protect him that very first day was instant, unconditional love. Everyday since then, my love has grown. As I sit here now, writing his first birthday post, I can't imagine how I could possibly love him any more than I do. It's a scary feeling, loving someone so much. I want to protect him forever and while I know that is impossible, at one year old, he is my baby to protect. He is always by my side. He laughs at all my jokes. He smiles when I reach to pick him up. He "talks" to me and gives me kisses. He loves me.

My little monster took his first steps at the beginning of the week and he's already practicing jetting around the house. That's just how fast it all goes. When people used to say, "Before you know it, he'll be all grown up," I would smile politely but think, "I already feel like it has been an eternity." Having a a baby is hard work. But he is, by far, my finest work. And no matter how crazy this year has been, I can't wait to see what comes next.

Ok. Enough birthday mush.

We did have a small celebration with family last weekend (thank goodness because Kz is totally teething and miserable today). Here are a few snapshots from the day!
Happy Birthday, Kz! And thank you to all of our followers who help inspire us to create, learn, explore and grow together each day. We love you! 

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Thanks again for stopping by. We hope to see you back here soon! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Baby/Toddler features from the WKC {Weekly Kid's Co-op #9}

I decided to try out a new focus of features from the Kid's Co-op each week. There are so many amazing crafts, experiments, and recipes submitted each week and for a brief while, I was featuring activities for older kids that Kz is not developmentally ready for. I am having a bit of a blog identity crisis and have decided that I'd like to take it back in the direction of babies and toddlers (while Kz is still in that category). So, for the next few weeks I will be looking to feature baby and toddler play ideas exclusively. If you have older children, please feel free to check out the list of submissions in the link! There are endless ideas and the content gets better each week. If you have a baby or toddler (or both!) at home, you'll be able to see my favorite age-appropriate submissions in my weekly featured roundup. Now onto this week's BABY AND TODDLER features!
If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. 
We'd love to hear from you! 
If you are new here, sign up to receive free updates by email or subscribe to our social media sites by clicking the buttons in the sidebar of our blog.  We are most active on Facebook and love pinning on Pinterest. Follow us! 
Thanks again for stopping by. We hope to see you back here soon!

Here's the link up for this week! 

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Very First Magic Moments Link-up!

WELCOME to the newest kid-friendly blog hop! We hope you'll take the time to share some of the magical moments you spend with your children. Big or small, we want to hear them all! I'll start...

For me, the most magical moments with Kz are the ones that I don't plan. Don't get me wrong, I am trilled when Kz is engaged in an activity I've created for him. I love to watch him learn, discover and problem solve. But there is something special about the learning and growth that takes place more organically. The first time you see your shadow, the sound of the rustling leaves in the trees, the sparkling reflection of the sun on the water... these moments are the most magical.

I searched the depths of my photo library and found so many snapshots of wonder, joy, laughter,  and love. It was hard to choose the most magical of them all, but here were a few that sparked an instant smile. 
Watching a flock of birds swirl above the river and quacking at the ducks as they swim by...

Exchanging treasures on an outdoor adventure...

Watching dandelion seeds float on the breeze...

Experiencing sheer joy as the wind hits your face...

Being a fly on the wall to the depths of the unknown..

Learning about family and the power of tradition through awe-inspiring candlelight...

Curious fascination in the things we see each day...

Saying hello to new friends...

And showing love to old friends...

Take a trip down memory lane by looking through your old photos. I'll bet you have a zillion magic moments, waiting to be remembered.

Now it's your turn! We want to hear about the magical moments you've had with your children. 
It's simple:
  • Link a family-friendly post about a special event, big (or small) milestone, important moment, fun activity, wild story, parenting faux pas or lesson learned...anything you consider to be a magical moment between you and your child!
  • Please be kind and link back by including the grab button below in your post or on your site. (Text links work for linking back, too).  
  • Please, no links to promotions or giveaways. They will be deleted. (Mean moderator face)
  • Spread the love! Check out other submissions, leave comments, and tell EVERYONE about our awesome blog hop!  
Stop by the other amazing blogs that are hosting this link party! 
Kz and Me
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