Friday, August 2, 2013

Flour + Water

Stuck home on a rainy day, Kz and I were getting stir crazy. He clearly wanted to go outside. And I wanted to stay, well, dry. I quickly searched my "goodies" closet for something fun to play with but I was feeling uninspired. Kz had been whining and whining and whining...and I just needed a moment to think so I could get him engaged. So, I cracked...and took him outside in the rain.

I got wet. He squinted and blinked while looking up at the drops falling from the sky. We hopped in puddles and ran in and out of the awning of our entryway. After a few short moments, we were both laughing and feeling a million times better. When we'd had enough (Ok, it was me who'd had enough...) we came back inside and I decided to let Kz get a bit messier.

Still uninspired by my tired materials, I grabbed some flour and plopped it on his high chair tray. He was curious and asked to sit in the chair. His hands hadn't been dried so well, and the flour began to stick. I got more water and poured it onto the tray, helping some of the newly formed dough into balls. When the dough got too sticky, I simply added more flour and helped Kz pull the bulk of it off his hands.

After a while, I gave him a spoon to use as a tool. He scooped, pushed, mashed and made marks on the flour tray. 

Inevitably, some fell on the floor. But it was easy to clean with a moist paper towel. 

Kz enjoyed the messy play and more importantly, he was whine-free for hours. Don't have the energy to make an elaborate sensory bin for your child? Just work with what you have. Your kids will love it!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Help! It's Summer and My Child is afraid of the A/C!

Welcome! Don't miss a playful moment...Follow us on Facebook for regular updates and check out our Pinterest boards for hundreds of activities and adventures for you and your children! 

So, Kz is afraid of the air conditioner. Not in a terrified-run-away-screaming kind of way, but in an anxious-and-constantly-aware-of-its-presence kind of way. 

It manifests like this...Kz will be going about his business and suddenly become distracted by the A/C. He points to it and offers a small "mmm" noise. He waits for a response from an adult (Typically we label it, "Air conditioner," or give a short explanation like "The A/C keeps us cool.") and then, seemingly satisfied, Kz goes back to whatever he was doing.

This started happening more and more frequently until it got to the point where no answer my husband or I offered would satisfy his curiosity. He started perseverating on it, constantly pointing and "mmm-ing" at it.

After some extended observation, we discovered his interest/concern was NOT tied to: 
1) The noise it makes  - He does fine with the vacuum, hair dryer, etc.
2) The air it blows - Kz loves the  breeze outside and even standing in front of the fan provokes a smile.
3) It being on or off - Kz points and asks about the A/C equally whether it is on or off.

We've tried remedying this by talking about it, getting close and touching the buttons and visiting the A/C in different rooms and in other people's homes. When the conversation got old, we tried NOT talking about it and ignoring it, thinking perhaps we had drawn too much attention to it. Nothing seemed to work. 
When I mentioned this to my mother (Nana Kitty), she suggested I tie some streamers to it to make it visually appealing and fun. Fab idea mom! We were willing to try anything. Here's what we did... 
First we took some of our leftover shredded paper from previous sensory fun... 
Any light weight  paper will do.

I didn't want to spend the time coloring each strip, but this could really be beautiful if you have more patience or a better selection of paper than I did. As a time saver, I drew one line down the center of each strip to add some pizazz and attached them with scotch tape to the top of the unit, just above the vent. 

We flipped the switch...

The moment of truth...
We left the streamers flying for a while, and when the house was nice and cool, turned the A/C off. 
A few minutes later...
More pointing and "mmm-ing."

I searched my craft closet for some inspiration and came out with these: 

What could be more fun? Kz couldn't possibly be afraid of the A/C after this...

Alas, a few hours later, more pointing and "mmm-ing." 

Since this day o' fun with the A/C we have resorted to cheering whenever Kz asks about it. He points and we hoot and holler about how amazingly awesome the air conditioner is. He smiles, claps along, and eventually, asks about it again. 

I really hope Kz remembers being so fascinated with it so that one day, when he talks, he can explain it to me. I imagine him saying, "Mom, I just wondering about its internal cooling mechanism," or "I just wanted to figure out how to change the direction of the air flow." Of course. How could I have missed that? Then he'd add, "Silly mommy. Those streamers and pinwheels were a real riot, though." 
Do your children have any fears or fascinations that you can't quite understand??? 
Tell us about them by leaving a comment on our Facebook page or in the comments below! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baby's First Marks

Welcome! Don't miss a playful moment...Follow us on Facebook for regular updates and check out our Pinterest boards for hundreds of activities and adventures for you and your children! 


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.  

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