Wednesday, October 21, 2009

animal charades

We tried a new game from the book Math Play today and it went over really well with the boys. It's called Number Charades. I printed the numbers 1 through 10 on index cards and put them in one bag. Then, I printed about 20 different cards with different actions. Things like: pat your head, touch your toes, jump like a frog, hiss like a snake, walk backwards, etc. It's a great way to get some of that energy out, even if you can't go outside to play.

The boys LOVED it, although they didnt quite get the concept of only doing the action the number of times that the card said. And, once the "run in a circle" card was pulled the game morphed into do the action requested WHILE running in a circle...until the "join hands and circle around" card was pulled. Then, it became a game of crack the whip...

I think this may become a favorite of ours for some laughter laced fun! ;)

(ps - jury is still out on the rest of the book...the first few activities i thumbed through were not ones we'll ever use...)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

lazy days and wagon rides

My boys are whirlwinds, but sometimes they need some downtime and just want to hang out for a ride. Especially if that ride happens to be in their red wagon. It doesn't matter where they go - they can go in the same circles twenty times in a row and thats fine with them.

However, their daddy gets bored with the endless circles around the cul de sac. He thought he could do better than that... and he did...

Only problem is that little remote control car only had enough power to pull one boy around at a time. Guess who's looking to (insert best Tim the Tool Man Taylor impression here) add more power to the lil car? Ahuh. Apparently, he won't rest until its capable of pulling both boys around at the same time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cornstarch and water fun...

What do you do on days when Mom just has no idea, no patience and needs some time to straighten out the house that the hurricane (and by hurricane I mean two very high energy boys) has just come through?

Why... cornstarch and water to the rescue. The liquid? solid? whatever will keep boys intrigued and engaged for quite some time... and that kitchen? Well, it was a wreck to start with anyway... add some colors to mix and voila! Entertainment of the icky sticky variety...

It all started out so well... both boys got bowls full of cornstarch and water to mix together themselves. Then they got to choose a color to add to the water... Monkey chose blue

and Jumps chose purple. Jumps got to mix red and blue together again - I swear that's his favorite activity these days.

Color was all mixed in - time to have some ooey gooey fun, keeping in mind that mom said the goo has to STAY IN THE BOWL!

And then, I turned my back to open the dishwasher.

Turns out, the house was not nearly as much of a wreck as I thought. Bath time with the boys was next on the agenda... one of these days, I'll live in a clean house. Of course, it will be quite a bit lonelier without my mess makers around!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our ABC Books

We started our ABC books. So far all we've done is the cover, but we're going to do projects (a la No Time for Flashcards) and a collage of "letter" words for each letter and put them together to make a binder book. I haven't quite decided how in depth we'll go with these, but I'm going to laminate (I can't wait for the laminator I just ordered to arrive and get started!) the pages so the boys can "read" their very own ABC books!

I used a black crayon to outline Name's ABC Book and let the boys color away. Monkey totally got it, and colored each letter in a different color...

Jumps made his three color...

As soon as I think of what we're going to do for the back cover, I'll cover the binder with clear contact paper and it's ready to add pages...

We are also going to make random art books as well. I throw away way too many of the pictures they draw and want to start saving them. A binder will make a much nicer keepsake than the many random photographs I have of this picture or that I think...


Blog posts are listed in the order you create them, regardless of the order you actually publish them. Anyone know if you can change that?


christmas presents... boy style - step 1

Every year the boys make their own presents for everyone in the family - and its always some variation of an ornament for the tree. For Monkey's second Christmas, I bought clear glass balls and added paint to the inside for him to shake... for Monkey's third christmas both boys made salt dough ornaments of their handprints... and we've already started work on this years ornament. Inspired by all of the mosaics going round the blogosphere (growing and learning by leaps and bounds fault) and a family fun project, we are going to make mosaic handprint ornaments. They will probably be a little heavy, but I'm very excited about them.

First we collected a bunch of small rocks from the landscaping out back... and we colored them in the colors that everyone decorates in (blue/silver for gram c, burgundy/gold for aunt gi, burgundy/pink/silver for me and red/green for everyone else). Throw rocks in ziploc bag, add a small amount of craft paint and rub/shake. Once color is all over - sprinkle on some glitter and shake some more. I sprinkled a lil extra on once they were on the plates only because some of the glitter got colored by the paint and was hard to see...

Empty onto plastic plates and let dry. We'll use these in our handprint ornaments later, but for now they are adorning my dining room table... hmmm, the colors just don't come out as well in the photos as they do in person. They're actually quite true to color and very sparkly - we just used craft paint for these (from left to right: silver with silver glitter, pink with white glitter, green with green glitter, burgundy with gold glitter, gold with gold glitter, blue with blue and silver glitter, and red with white glitter)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I think we're going to jump on board with the great stART projects going on over at A Mommy's Adventures and we did our first reading + art project today... I've been wanting to incorporate some of these into our days... so we finally did it. And our first topic is... rainbows!

First we got out our leftover playdough from open ended art (note: homemade playdough - when wrapped in saran wrap to store - gets sticky after a few days)
I gave both boys a picture I drew quickly of a rainbow and asked them what color dough they'd need to make their own. As they called out the colors, they got a small piece of it... Then they went to work and I played two rainbow songs I found on this site for them - the rainbow song says there are 7 colors in the rainbow and included indigo (umm, ok?) ...we went with it, but our rainbows only have 6 colors...

Monkey did really well - he usually insists that i roll out snakes for him in playdough, but he was totally concentrating and made his own...

He ended up with this - a pretty good rainbow if i do say so myself...

Jumps, on the other hand, was overjoyed to go to town with rainbow colors... he lined his balls up...

And then proceeded to smoosh them all together and laugh as his rainbow went from colorful to a purpley-gray...

And then we used crayons to draw a rainbow...

We decided not to stop there... why not run to the library for some rainbow books? Usually I order books and they have them waiting at the desk so this was their first introduction to looking up a book on the computer and then finding it on the shelves. Monkey just wanted to draw on the lil slips of paper and Jumps ran off to play.... totally unimpressed!

Our book finds:
Duckie's Rainbow by Frances Barrow

A very cute, very quick read that opens at the end to show a rainbow!! Duckie's rainbow also included indigo... so apparently i've been misinforned of my rainbow colors for years!

The Deep Blue Sea by Bruce and Audrey Wood

This is a fun book in a repetitive way - we LOVED it (this is the deep blue sea, this is the red rock on the deep blue sea, etc. etc. ... it wasn't about rainbows per se - it was more about colors, but the last page DID have a rainbow on it, so I'm counting it!

Bean mosaic, take 2

Well, I decided to give the old mosaic thing another go... Knowing my boys and how they roll, I sacrificed one of the many cardboard boxes in the garage as our base for this project. And, to make things even more interesting, the boys and I decided we'd mosaic houses (monkey's suggestion) and trees (jumps' idea). I drew them on in black marker, handed each child a cardboard base, a glue bottle, and some beans... and then hoped I'd have a kitchen left when they were done.. :)

They were both VERY industrious and serious about it... yes, glue puddles abounded, but nothing terrible happened. Its about to go downhill for Jumps though - he has about 3 more beans to put in place before destruction wins out over creation...

And these are the finished products. Note how few beans remain on Jumps... Monkey actually "got it" ...i was impressed!

The glare on Jumps' finished board is because it became a sticky sensory experience for him.

Songs to learn by...

Just a flyby post since I just found a great site full of cheesey kids songs about all sorts of learning topics...
(the weather related songs are under geography).

They are free to listen to, and worked perfectly while we did our rainbow craft today! I'll post more about that later...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Open Ended Art: Beans

I've been meaning to jump on board with the Open Ended Art project of the week for a while that's hosted by Growing and Learning By Leaps and Bounds... and we're finally ready to play! I'm totally excited! (I realize we're not totally adhering to the rules - I give a bit of direction along the way, but I REALLY don't want a repeat of what happened when I let the boys loose with paper, pasta, and a bottle of glue each... i don't have any pictures but trust me when I say it wasn't pretty.

I made up a batch of salt dough - 2 cups all-purpose flour,1 cup salt, 1 cup cold water and Jumps helped me to color it - we did 1 ball blue, 1 red, and 1 yellow. (Jumps woke up before I had the dough all made so he was the only one to help smoosh the color in - its amazing how much less of a mess occurs when only one of the boys is awake!)

When we were ready to begin, I let each boy pick out the color of choice and roll it out. I took out the train cookie cutters, and let them choose a car (note: if you roll out the dough on wax paper, you won't distort the image when you have to lift it off the table to put it on the paper - lesson learned :) But that is why Monkey's train looks like an engine and Jumps' is just a blob. He DID have some sort of train car way back when...)

Once they had their shapes ready, I gave them beans and tweezers. Jumps did well with the tweezers for a few, but Monkey only placed one on his train when he decided that it was quicker work with fingers... and of course, Jumps followed soon after...

They both loved smooshing the beans into the dough... and it kept them occupied for quite some time... :)

Here are the finished products... (mental note: must start gimping photos before posting them - I am a LOUSY photographer!)

I am anal about store bought playdough - I only let the boys use one color at a time... (why I don't know, since its not like I even LIKE store bought playdough, but there's just something that screams out at me NOT to mix them up...) So, when Monkey asked me "what makes orange" - even though i KNOW he KNOWS what makes orange... I asked him to pick what he thought made orange and mix them up to see if he was right. He was a little hesitant at first, but Jumps hopped right on that bandwagon and demanded red and blue to make purple and once Monkey saw the mess that Jumps was making... he got a little more into it! Gotta love the sheer force with which Jumps embraces everything - he is truly an all or nothing kind of kid. No testing the waters before jumping for him...

I found a soup mix of beans at the market last night when I went, so we may attempt a traditional mosaic of beans on cardboard (the sheer amounts of glue my boys use will destroy any paper short of poster board). We'll see how brave I become this afternoon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

our beach souveneir

Our beach trip was cut short due to the lovely weather we were having... cold, windy and rainy does NOT a beach trip make. We were able to gather some good craft materials though, and we are busily combining a few different craft projects I've seen around the blogosphere to create paperweights. I'm sorry - when I saw the ideas, I wasn't intending to blog about them so I just noted the idea - I didnt keep a reference so I can't send you back to them! If I'm using one of your ideas, please let me know and I'll add a link!

Anyway, first we had to clean the sand off of all of the shells and rocks we collected...

Then we painted the insides of the shells... the boys get sooo intense when they are doing one of their "projects" -- its probably the only quiet time I get around here :)

Then we heated up the rocks and melted crayons on them. I love how they turned out, and the boys were totally into it. I was a lil scared to do this since the rocks were hot, but i put mittens on them and they were fine. We were all fascinated with how quickly the crayon melted and how it pooled around the rocks - we literally colored them until they were too cold to do any more. Not wanting to tempt fate and burned fingers, I didn't get any pictures of the process but they came out well, no?

So today we made our souveneirs... I gave the boys each the shells that they painted and half of the rocks that we decorated to use in their mosaics. I mixed up some plaster of paris (3c. plaster, 1 1/2 c. water) and let sit about 5 min. I poured it into a plastic plate (its what I had on hand) and let the boys add their finds. (PS - You can totally see their personalities come out in this project... I don't even have to label who's whose... if you get to know us, you'll know what I mean...). For future reference: You don't have to overfill the plates - I made way too much plaster mix. And, 2 year olds REALLY like to push stuff way down - great for a texture activity, not so great for keeping things neat. And, since we had a lot of sand left in the bag that we collected their treasures, we sprinkled sand over the top it all... and voila, beach treasure paperweights! :)

I was a little worried that they wouldn't come out of the plates, especially Jumps - but they easily popped right out. ;) I think they came out awesome!
(Jumps' is on the left, Monkey's on the right)

We're going to give one to Grandpa C who requested a shell from Monkey and a rock from Jumps while we were at the shore, and the other will go to Grandma B for her birthday this weekend. I LOVE kid-made presents!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My First Post...

I have been so inspired by so many great mamas out there that I figured I would give it a try... We are heading to the shore this weekend, but after that we are going to start doing some theme weeks and this seems to be a great place to keep track of what we're doing.

If you actually see this post and want to, please feel free to share any blogging secrets, tips, or tidbits you've discovered along the way!

Wishing you happiness,