Chasing Cheerios

Monday, May 31, 2010

1st Embroidery Project

O recently completed her first embroidery project! She was so proud and excited, and I loved watching her intense focus and attention. For her first embroidery project, she chose red thread and did not want to follow a pattern. She just wove the thread in and out to make lines on her cloth. She was very engrossed in this activity, and we are both looking forward to more embroidery projects for her.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Planting E's Tree

We FINALLY planted E's Pear tree last weekend! We plant fruit trees for each of our children when they are babies, and I was relieved to get E's tree planted before she turned one! We planted a peach tree and a fig tree when O was a baby, and we planted a plum tree on the due date of the baby we lost. We now have trees full of peaches, figs, and plums, and we are so excited to have fresh, organic fruit picked straight from our yard this summer. I can't wait to have pears next summer! Elliott and O worked hard to plant the tree. E and I held it steady while they shoveled dirt, and E really wanted to get down and eat some dirt!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sick Kids

My girls are sick, and they've both just had their first antibiotics EVER! I know we are so lucky that they have been so healthy so far, but the last 2 weeks have been rough. We've been trying to fight their colds naturally, and they were both doing better for a while. Then they both started coughing more on Tuesday and last night was terrible. We took them to the doctor this was O's first EVER sick visit to the doctor, and she is almost 4 years old. I'm hoping that the antibiotics will work their magic quickly, so my girls can feel good again very soon!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Exploring a New Basket of Treasures

I gave E a new treasure basket this week. It's filled with coral that her grandmother brought over for E and O, and she loves it! I watch her carefully since she puts everything in her mouth. I don't like for her to gnaw on the coral, but I let her put it in her mouth to experience the taste and texture (and I even tried it myself to make sure that the coral wasn't too abrasive for her tender gums).

I love to watch my girls play with natural objects, such as rocks, shells, and coral, and it's nice to know that they actually prefer these things to junky plastic toys (usually!). I love how E has her sweet feet propped on the basket as she explores the coral!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Playing Drums

After playing What's Inside? E enjoys playing the tin like a drum. We make drums out of empty mixed nut containers and other random containers. She also thinks it's hilarious to slap my stomach like a drum :)

A few days ago I took out several pots and pans to use as drums. I enjoyed playing these drums even more than the girls did!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Snack

We've recently discovered dark chocolate almond butter, and O loves it! She's spreading it on whole grain Wasa crackers to make a cracker/almond butter sandwich in this picture. Right after I took the picture, she started intentionally smearing the almond butter on her fingers as she spread it on the cracker so that she could lick her fingers. Silly girl!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Finger Update

I just wanted to post a quick update on my finger since several of you have asked :) It has healed completely, and I was so glad that it healed before our mini vacation a couple of weeks ago so I was able to enjoy the pool with the kiddos. I can't straighten my finger, but I'm not too worried about that. It looks strange, but I'd much rather have a bent finger that won't straighten than a straight finger that won't bend! It's only a problem when I try to put my hands in my pockets, and it just doesn't quite work :) Thanks for all of the well wishes...I'm off to chase my newly crawling baby now!

Friday, May 21, 2010

What's Inside?

E loves to play What's Inside?!!

To do this activity, I put a toy (block, rattle, lamb, etc) in a tin and shake it up and ask "What's inside?" E gets SO excited...she grins, waves her arms, and kicks her legs. I then help her open the tin to see what is inside. We talk about the concepts of in/out and open/closed. O joins in on this activity and guesses what is in the tin. This is a fun, simple, and quick activity for babies and toddlers!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Touchy, Feely Books

Several people have asked about the different activities that I do with E (she is 8 months old), so I am going to try to post more baby activities.

Our primary activity with E is reading books aloud to her. Lately, we've been reading more touchy, feely books. She touches the texture, and we talk about whether it is soft, bumpy, etc. O also loves this activity :) In addition to reading aloud to her everyday, we recite nursery rhymes and do fingerplays with her daily. She especially loves "Itsy, Bitsy Spider," and she has even made the sun motion a few times.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fabric Pillow Matching

Here's a fun and simple activity I made for O a few months ago...I made small fabric pillows out of differently textured fabric for her to match. I made 2 pillows using each of the following fabric...fleece, flannel, satin, corduroy, velvet, and cotton (a couple of pairs of pillows are missing from the picture). O wears a blindfold to match the pillows. (I originally planned to make beanbags, but I decided to stuff them with pillow stuffing rather than beans so that the texture of the beans wouldn't distract from the texture of the fabric). These tiny pillows were simple to make and fun to use!

A Book Garland

O LOVES to read! She has known her letter sounds for a while (I give most of the credit for this to her watching the Letter Factory once or twice a week for a couple of months), and suddenly something clicked (while playing with the spinny speller, paint chip word game, trap door readers, and watching Talking Words) and she was reading. (It almost seemed like magic...I guess she was just ready). She quickly transferred that knowledge into reading books. She is so proud of herself, and I thought she'd like to hang up the books she has read.

I strung a piece of yarn from the mantle, and she puts each book that she has read on the yarn. She loves to add new books and then counts them all to annouce the total...she's up to 9 so far. In the past 2 weeks she has lost interest in reading books by herself. That's okay with me. As long as she doesn't lose interest in having us read books to her, I'll be happy. (When she read her first book, she said "Now you don't have to read books to me anymore." I told her that would never happen because I love to read to her. She'll be a grown woman, and I'll still be coming over to read aloud with her and her sister.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Initial Consonants Practice

I downloaded and printed this initial consonants activity from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I laminated the cards, and joined the cards together with a book ring.

To do the activity, O labels the item on the card and then circles the correct initial consonant using a wipe off marker. She loves this simple and fun activity!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fun with Knobbed Cylinders

Whenever O gets out the knobbed cylinders, she always pretends that the cylinders are people. On Friday morning, we took all of the cylinders out and pretended that the spaces were their beds. We had fun taking turns placing the cylinders in their correct spaces.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sound Cylinders

Our sound cylinders needed revamping, so I thought the yogurt smoothie containers would be great for this activity, too.

To make the cylinders, I filled each pair of cylinders with the following materials: rice, lentils, black beans, and sand. I glued red and blue cardstock circles to the tops of each cylinder. The cylinders have matching stickers on the bottoms for self checking.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Learning to Lace

O has been interested in lacing and tying her shoes lately. I don't think she's ready to learn to tie her shoes (she disagrees), but she's done well learning to lace.

After she had difficulty with a lacing board, I put these shoes in a basket on her shelf. I left one shoe laced so she would have it as a guide. O was excited to see this work on her Montessori shelf. However, we've recently been reading Fancy Nancy, and she thought she should lace the shoe right up her leg "just like Fancy Nancy." Silly girl!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Weighted Cylinders

I've been trying to figure out how to make weighted cylinders for a while, and I finally made a few. I recently started buying yogurt smoothies for O, and I realized the containers would be perfect for this. I hate buying individually packaged snacks, so this made me feel better about it :)

To make the weighted cylinders, I filled them with plaster of paris. The first pair have 1 tablespoon of plaster of paris (mixed with 2 tablespoons of water), and the 2nd pair of cylinders has 2 tablespoons of plaster of paris (mixed with 4 tablespoons of water). I glued red and blue cardstock circles to the top of the bottles.

To match the cylinders, you pick up one bottle and feel the weight of it. Then pick up a second to see if they match. (You match a blue topped bottle with a red topped bottle). I was surprised by how difficult this work is. There are stickers on the bottoms of the cylinders for self-checking.

I plan to make a few more pairs when I have more bottles. I'm not sure if the plaster of paris is the best material to use for making these cylinders, but it works for now. This activity was simple to put together and fun to do!

Friday, May 7, 2010

DIY Letter and Number Stamps

These stamps are simple, fast, and inexpensive to make. Here's how to do it...

To make these letter and number stamps you need 6 wooden blocks (1.5 inches square), foam letters and numbers (sold at WM for one dollar), and glue. O and my mom punched the letters and numbers out of the foam puzzle while I glued them (backwards)to the blocks. Simple, fast, and fun, and O was excited to have a new set of stamps to play with!

The inspiration for these stamps came from Ohdeedoh.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Embroidered Tulip Fairy Doll

Since O loved her Peppermint Fairy pillow doll so much (and I put it away with the Christmas stuff), I decided to make a Tulip Fairy pillow doll for her for Easter. The pattern came from Wee Wonderfuls. I love the sweet embroidered dolls from Wee Wonderfuls, and I'm looking forward to embroidering more of these sweet dolls for my sweet girls.

The Montessori Goldmine

The Montessori Goldmine

If you are in need of Montessori inspiration head over to Jo's new blog, The Montessori Goldmine. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Geometric Solids Extension

O has enjoyed working with the geometric solids lately. For this activity, I put out each geometric solid. O had a stack of cards with pictures of everyday objects that represented the different geometric solids. She matched the cards to the appropriate shape. She enjoyed this work, but I realized after she completed it that it would have been better if we had lined the geometric solids from top to bottom so that she would be placing the cards from left to right. I'll remember next time...

I downloaded and printed the geometric solids cards from Our Montessori Story.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sensory Beanbags

I made E a set of sensory beanbags for Easter, and she LOVES them!!! (O has started choosing E's clothes in the mornings...just in case you were wondering :)

To make the beanbags, I chose several different types of materials...cotton, fleece, satin, corduroy, flannel, and velvet. On one side of each beanbag is a textured material and on the other side is a visually stimulating material. I cut 4 inch squares out of the material, sewed 2 squares back to back, trimmed the corners, and turned the beanbags. I filled 3 of the beanbags with stuffing, so they are actually mini pillows instead of beanbags...I didn't want to put beans in the fabrics with a looser weave because I was afraid that the beans would come out and be a choking hazard. Three of the beanbags are made from materials with a tighter weave, so we filled them with rice, lentils, and beans (1 material in each bag) so that she would have different sensory experiences with each bag. The beanbags were so easy to make, and I'm thankful to my mom for finishing them for me...I don't have the patience to sew the openings closed after flipping and filling the bags :)