Chasing Cheerios

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Fun Fine Motor Activity

Here is a fun way to get your kiddos to practice their fine motor skills, and it was very simple to make.

To make this toy (I don't really know what to call it), you need an empty water bottle (cut in half), duct tape, pipe cleaner, and 3 bottle tops.

I cut the bottle in half, put duct tape around the cut edge for safety, made holes in the side of the bottle for the pipe cleaner, put pipe cleaners through the holes, made holes in the bottle tops, and put the other end of the pipe cleaners through the bottle tops. I used an ice pick to make the holes in the bottle tops...unfortunately, I was a little hammer happy, and I hammered the ice pick through the bottle top and into my kitchen table. I was pretty surprised when I lifted the ice pick up, and it stuck! Oops!

The idea for this activity came from Julie K in Taiwan.

This post was written a loooooooooooong time ago...July, I think. O wasn't very enthusiastic about this activity, and I eventually put it away. When I took it back out in December, she was very excited and she has really enjoyed working with it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Loving the Olympics

We've been letting O stay up late every night to watch the Olympics, and she has thoroughly enjoyed it! She especially loves to watch ice skating. I recently printed an ice skater coloring sheet and an Olympics flag coloring sheet for her to color and cut. Thanks to Laura from My Montessori Journey for the link to the flag coloring sheet!

Friday, February 26, 2010

O's Job Chart

O and I recently made a job chart for her to follow each week. The job chart is from Mod Eco Kids, and you can find it here. After downloading and printing the chart, I laminated it so O can mark off her completed jobs with a wipe-off marker. O has done great with her jobs, and she even stopped me when she saw me cleaning the bathroom sink. She said, "Mama! That's MY job!" I love it when I hear those words :)

It's been about 6 weeks since I wrote this post (it's been hiding out in draft since then). O has been great about completing her jobs, especially feeding the cat. However, we almost always forget to mark her completed jobs off of her chart. I need to put the chart in a more central location so that we can remember to check them off!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Handmade Fairies

We love fairies! My mom made faires for the girls from pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, silk flowers, and felt for Christmas (with a little help from me). She followed the directions from Wee Felt Folk.

My mom put the fairies in an unfinished box that she will finish with the girls to make fairy houses. She made specific fairies to match a series of stories that she tells the girls at bedtime. She plans to eventually write a book of the stories for the girls, and we've started planning how we'll illustrate it. She also gave the girls unfinished dollhouse doors to make into fairy doors. O has had a wonderful time playing with her fairies, and we've recently had some fun new additions to our play that I'll be reviewing next week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Fun 1st Piano

CSN Baby sent us a "My 1st Piano" to review. Although the ages for the piano are from 6 months to 2 years, both O (3 and a half years) and E (5 months) really enjoy playing with it. It is a sturdy, well built piano that will surely be handed down to O and E's children one day.

The piano features a 25 key, two-octave keyboard. It comes with a songbook and a removable color strip that fits (not very well...we had to cut ours to make it fit) behind the keyboard for play by color teaching. O enjoys playing songs of her own creation, but I'm hoping she'll develop an interest in using the color strip to play "real" songs. I think this piano is great introduction for O and E to the world of music, and I'm hoping it will spark their interest in taking piano lessons one day :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

E's Treasure Basket

I'm SO excited that E is big enough for a treasure basket of household items to explore. The idea for a treasure basket full of different textured items came from How To Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin. This was one of the 1st Montessori books I read and one of my favorite.

I had a lot of fun gathering objects for E's first treasure basket. The items include a small, velvet pillow, a toilet paper tube (I let her mouth this for a few minutes before removing it...I didn't want it to come apart and get in her mouth), a silver rattle (that belonged to Elliott when he was a baby), one of O's unit blocks, a baby food jar filled with mulitcolored pony beads, a sea sponge, a small metal whisk from O's play kitchen, and a plastic bottle with a marble inside. E LOVED exploring (tasting!) all of the objects in her basket. She even threw the velvet pillow about 3 feet. O and I were amazed, and I think E was surprised, too :) E was happily engaged in her play for about 15 minutes or more which is A LOT for her 5 month old self! I'm looking forward to putting new objects in E's special basket each week!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Learning to Sew

Guh-guh has been teaching O to sew on the sewing machine. They made an Angelina Ballerina pillowcase for O, and O was so excited that she insisted that they make one for Baby Sister, too. She's such a sweet big sister!

Lately, O has REALLY enjoyed watching the dvd that came with my sewing machine. When I was sewing a few days ago, she came and sat on my lap so she could show me what to do. She already knows more about my sewing machine than I do!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Texture Board Memory Game

O and I had fun playing memory with her texture boards this week. We felt them before turning them over to see if we had matches, and then we turned them over to see if we were right. I had no intention of saying who won because I try to de-emphasize competition. However, O had other plans. She immediately started counting the boards to see who won after we finished the game. She had 10 boards, and I had 8 so she determined that she had more, so she won. I decided to turn this into an impromptu math lesson, so I asked her how many more she had. She didn't know, so we lined the boards up in 2 rows with hers on the top and mine on the bottom. I showed her how her line of boards was longer by 2 boards, so 10 was 2 more than 8. It was still a little over her 3 and a half year old head, but it was a good introduction to higher level math skills :)

A Simple Baby Toy

E LOVES her new toy! I put 4 of O's beads onto a piece of elastic and knotted it at both ends. E grins, laughs, waves her arms, and kicks her feet in excitement when I pull the beads apart and clack them back together. More than anything she loves to chew on the elastic knots :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Boca Beth

Boca Beth sent us several bilingual products to help us learn Spanish quite a while ago (and I'm FINALLY getting around to writing a review!). We have the Boca puppet, the I Like Animals dvd, the My First Songs in Spanish cd, and the Boca Beth coloring book.

O LOVES to watch the dvd, and she especially loves the 5 Little Monkeys song and the bonus songs at the end of the dvd. I like that the Spanish words are written at the bottom of the screen during the dialogue, which makes it easier for me to read and follow along with the dvd. I REALLY wish that the words to the songs were printed on the screen as well.

The cd and dvd pair English and Spanish vocabulary and are great for learning basic Spanish vocabulary. We practice our Spanish during circle time in the mornings, and the cd is a great way for us to sing and learn at the same time.

O always makes sure that she has her puppet when we play the cd or watch the dvd. Sometimes she won't say the Spanish words, but the puppet usually will :) This is the only Spanish dvd we've watched, so I don't have anything to compare it with, but we enjoy it, and I feel like O and I are both learning from it. I really prefer the method of pairing English and Spanish words together rather than the immersion method which is why this program appeals to me. Check out the Boca Beth website for more information and for free Spanish flashcards and activities.

Phew! Glad to get this review's long overdue. I stopped taking products for review for a while, but I've started accepting products again. I've got some GREAT things to tell you about over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Matching Stenciled Shirts

O and I made matching freezer paper stenciled butterfly shirts for O and E last weekend. O chose the butterfly stencil from a set of nature stencils that she received for Christmas. I traced the pattern onto the freezer paper, cut out the pattern, and ironed the paper (shiny side down) onto the shirts. I mixed fabric medium with acrylic craft paint, and O and I painted the shirts. This was a fast, fun, and easy project with great results!!!

O was very excited to have matching shirts with her sister since they have both grown out of their matching appliqued shirts.

O has had a great time pretending to be a witch lately...she wears her orange witch hat and high heeled "glass slippers." She's quite a sight :)

We made these shirts a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised by how much the butterfly faded in the wash. Maybe cheap acrylic craft paint and fabric medium isn't the way to go...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun in the Snow

It rarely snows here, so when it does we get VERY excited. We had almost 6 inches of snow on Friday night, which is more snow than we've ever had in my lifetime. I think Elliott and I were more excited than O. Here are a few highlights...

Elliott pulled O around the yard on water skis. They were perfect for snow! O was thrilled that she was snow skiing!!!

Our inner tubes were also perfect for sledding down hills!

O and I made snow paint...I filled 3 bottles with water, and O put a few drops of food coloring in each bottle. I had a lot of fun painting our snow man. O was much more interested in eating the snow. When I asked her to help me, she said "I can't. I'm eating the snow. Snow tastes gooder than food!" The snow tasted even better after Elliott insisted that we sprinkle organic sugar on it for O to enjoy (it's healthy if it's organic, right ? :)

Our snowman building skills are pretty pathetic, but he looked pretty cool once we painted him...he looked tie-dyed :)

We made snow cream. O filled a mug with snow, and I poured half and half and a couple of drops of vanilla extract in the mug and mixed it up. She said it was delicious!

Elliott collected a bowl of snow, and we poured warm maple syrup over it. It doesn't look that appetizing in the picture, but it was VERY good.

I was surprised to see this snow sculpture on our fence...a pregnant belly and boobies :)

We played in the snow for a couple of hours, and I was SO grateful for the Beco...E was nice and cozy and slept the whole time we played.

A Simple Storytelling Game

O and I have had fun telling stories together using this storytelling game lately!

To make the game I borrowed these wooden figures from her phonics bags and put them together in a drawstring bag (from IKEA). To play the game we take turns taking one figure out of the bag at a time. The first person starts the story, and we keep adding to it using the figures as prompts. I was surprised by how much O enjoyed this game, and I was happy enough with it that I bought more figures from WM. You can find these (already painted) wooden figures at WM, Hobby Lobby, and Michaels. They cost about 50 cents each.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Walking the Line...Valentine's Day Style :)

This is the last Valentine's Day post, I promise! For this activity, I used a long piece of red yarn that I shaped into a heart on the rug. O REALLY enjoyed walking the line that was shaped like a heart! She's very into balancing lately, so she had fun balancing beanbags on her head as she walked. We really need to walk on the line more often!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Paper Dolls

O has enjoyed these fun Valentine's Day paper dolls that I printed on magnetic paper. Although, I admit that I was more excited about them than she was :) I'm looking forward to making more magnetic paper dolls for her soon. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marshmallow Heart Art

O made marshmallow heart art this afternoon while warming up after playing in the snow all morning. She had a great time and said she wants to do this every Valentine's Day.

To prepare this activity, I drew a heart on a piece of cardstock. I gave O a muffin cup full of mini marshmallows. We bit the marshmallows in half, ate one half, and placed the other half on the line to make the heart. O loves marshmallows, but doesn't get the opportunity to eat them often, so this was very exciting for her :) This art didn't last long...within a few hours she'd eaten all of the marshmallows off of her paper! I guess that's a good I don't have to figure out how to preserve and save this piece of artwork :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

No-Sew Felt Fortune Cookies

I had fun making felt fortune cookies for O and my niece for Valentine's Day. I saw lots of no-sew felt fortune cookie tutorials on various blogs, but for some reason I just couldn't make sense of them. I decided to just try to make one on my own, and it was so easy! Here's what I did...

First, I traced around a drinking glass and cut the circle out of felt. Then I put about an inch long strip of fabric glue on one side of the circle, folded the circle in half, and held it together with a clothes pin.

I waited a day before doing the next step. I folded the cookie and put a drop of glue on either side and held it together with a clothes pin. I hope the pictures make sense because I'm not explaining it well at all :) The clothes pins were stuck to a couple of cookies, but it worked well overall.

I cut small strips of paper and wrote messages on them. I slipped them into the cookies and was done! I think the girls will have fun writing their own messages and sharing the cookies with their family and friends :)