Thursday, January 26, 2012

I LOVE this kiddie art!

My mom asked that the boys color something for her for a Christmas present.  Um. No. Don't pretend like all the scribbles don't start to look the same!

I did some searches and landed on my usual go to activity sites:

Chasing Cheerios
Play at Home Mom

Colorful glass rocks in a frame to hang in the window.
Here We Go.

 washable clear glue (white glue is fine but doesn't dry quite as clear)
foam paint brushes
small clear suction cups with metal hooks (came in packs of 4 at walmart)
fishing wire
small metal screw-in loops (not sure how to describe them.  they come in picture hanging kits)
5X7 and/or 8X10 glass frames from Dollar Tree
glass beads/rocks from Dollar Tree

Before hand: Take out the backing on the picture frames so they only contain glass. You may also want to secure the glass to the frame with hot glue or more clear glue.  I did not secure it except for the metal tabs already there. Also, split up or count out the rocks you'll offer the kids.  I set out way too many and they were upset when the project ended with so many rocks left!

Pour glue on the front of the glass.  I had my kids use their foam paintbrushes to spread the glue, after a little demonstration.  I ended up spreading most of the glue for them, though!  Be sure you have a place ready to put the glue brushes aside.  And plan on using a lot of glue.

I set out little cups of the rocks, separated by color and placed one on the glass frame for them.  Then they got right to it!

They did a great job but eventually wanted to take the rocks off and put them back in the cups!  To help them realize they were all done when the frame was full, I had them lift it up and show their dad their work and let them set it up on a taller table (with some assistance). We talked about the fact that we had to leave it alone for a while to dry.

Right after, we did a second round with different rocks. I didn't take the backing off of these frames until they dried later but some of the glue leaked and stuck to the paper!

They were so proud of their work.

After they dried (I let them sit for a few days), I drilled small holes in the top and screwed in the little metal loops.  Then I tied doubled up fishing wire through the hooks. The suction cups stick to the window and you can hang it up with the fishing wire.  So bummed I didn't photograph the hanging technique!

We gifted a set to my mom since she asked for some art and a set to Brad's sister, Krissi who is an abstract artist.  She lives on a boat so won't have room to hang them there, but she has a small art studio with a large window to display them!

I really like these and really want a set for my own house! I bought WAY too many rocks and still have some extra frames so we'll definitely make another set for momma!

Suggestion: You may want to add more glue once the rocks are on the glass.  We shipped all of ours and some of the rocks came off.  At least they are easy to fix!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let's Learn the Letter A

More activities from these mom blogs:
Play At Home Mom
Chasing Cheerios

Letter Lessons:
A while back I got all pumped to do these week-long lessons for each letter of the alphabet. I figured I could do one little thing a day to represent that letter.  Well, I have this personality where I want to get it all done right away. I like to get to the end result quickly.   Well, we did a day of letter A for what was supposed to be A week. And that's all we've gotten to! I think I tried to do too much for one day then lost my enthusiasm for it. Maybe I'll get back on it soon. Anyway, here were our A activities:

A scavenger hunt:  I taped little papers with As on them all around the house. The boys collected them.  I kept these out for a few days and kept hiding the letters at night.
I put a large letter A hanging over the table, with an Angel ornament below. I also put away all the fridge letters, except for the As.  We talked about them for a few nights at dinner.

I let the boys dress up in all my aprons. (I collect them and have been wondering what I'd ever do with so many. Who knew?!?) They particulary liked the aprons with pockets. They loaded the pockets with cars! 
I did most of this with them one evening after work, Brad was working late but I told him all about it. That evening they were saying the letter and pointing to it and all that good stuff (I swear!).   The next morning, when they boys were having breakfast, I said, "Boys, tell daddy what letter this is." They shouted with such confidence, "Peeee!" 

Wow. A is for Awesome.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fun in the Tub

More ideas from these mom blogs:
Play At Home Mom
Chasing Cheerios

Bath time does not just have to be part of bedtime routine.  It is the quick winter alternative to swimming afterall, right?

All of these are really simple fun things to do.  And it may sound weird but I really did just have all of these things in my house already, except for the bath color tablets.

Bath Time Fun:
Water balloons in the tub were a hit! You should fill some with water and some with air so they see some sink and some float!

You can buy color tablets for bath time. My kids love them! I let them throw the colors in after they try to undress themselves without help.  Here is a blue bubble bath with blue toys. (maybe that could count for a letter B activity!)  We I sorted through all our bath toys to find only the blue ones. Not sure how well the color lesson worked because they think every color is blue now!

Glow sticks in the tub, with the lights out. Serious awesomeness! (The lights were out for this pic. That is all the camera flash!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Water Bead Play

More activities from these mom blogs:
Play At Home Mom
Chasing Cheerios

Fun with Water Beads:
I had no idea how these things worked. Play at Home Mom uses them all the time and LOVES them so I had to give them a try.  My father-in-law also had recently, randomly just given me a light box he found at a thrift store, thinking I may find a use for it. (um, yes!). I bought a clear plastic bin and taped the light box to the bottom, knowing how my kids like to discover! I dumped all the water beads in the bin. They come as teeny tiny balls in little plastic packs in the fake flower section.  So I poured water over them, thinking they would just start growing before my eyes, absorbing all the water. I dimmed the lights and turned on the light box then brought my kids in to play and explore.  Oops! Should have read the instructions!  It takes hours for the beads to fully expand.  I think my kids were like, "Okay, this isn't all that cool, mom."  So we bailed for an hour or so and played outside. 

When we revisited, the beads were somewhat larger.  Still not full size.   They were pretty cool at this point though.  You can see them almost full size in the last picture.  They feel a little slimy and are so interesting. I gave the kids spoons and containers to fill and spill. I kept urging them to keep the beads in the bin but that began to exhaust me, so I let them splash some. I had previously spread an old blanket over the floor (not knowing what to expect). So whenever one of the boys dumped a bowl of the beads on the floor, we'd put them all back in the bin together.  I tried to just let them play freely but I'm such a control freak and fear having a giant mess to clean when we finish!  I guess I'm telling you this because I was tired after the water bead play!!!  I guess the more they use them and I enforce a rule to keep them in the bin, the more they'll know what type of play is acceptable. I don't even know if they would stain the carpet. I don't think so.  But then I kept thinking if a bead went flying and was never put back, one of the boys would later find it and think it was a fruit snack! 

Anyway, we played with them again later that evening. When finished, I saved all the beads in a mason jar.  Since this first day, we've played with them one other time and I hope to get a few more uses. I have no idea how long they last.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Making Ornaments:

I first have to say that all of the supplies for this activity were given to us as a gift from a Parenting magazine rep. (My husband is in media planning).  By the way, I thought that was an adorable gift idea!  The ornaments and all the little supplies were in a cute little bag.

The pictures describe the project pretty well. I set all the supplies out like you see below, hoping to encourage the boys to know what to do without too much guidance from me.  But....ya know....I definitely had to guide them so that "Let's throw the supplies" didn't become a good idea. I also took most of the fluffy balls out.  When they were in there, the bells and other noise makers were too muffled.  I do have to suggest that you glue the ornaments closed when you finish! We let our kids dance with their new ornaments and two of them popped open spilling the fake snow all over. Oh well!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Re-purpose old Christmas Cards

Brad says, "Why do our kids always have to be entertained?"
I say, "They are toddlers! Did you expect something different?!"
Actually, they play pretty well on their own or with each other when well-rested and not hungry.  But....since they are in daycare all week, and don't get enough sleep there, our evenings can be quite frantic.

I always say how great they do when they are directed in some way, whether it is an organized activity or not.  The only problem is that it takes effort, whether organized or not.

I'm going to post a few blogs about some of our little activities. Some are big. Some are small. Some were awesome. Some failed.   Some I could pull together on a weeknight after work. Others were done over weekends or Thanksgiving or Christmas Breaks from school.

Just about all of these activities or projects come from one of these blogs:
Chasing Cheerios
Play At Home Moms

Christmas Card Puzzles/Matching Game:
Great way to re-purpose.
We keep all of our photo cards but next year we'll start a new tradition of putting them out in a basket each year to flip through and watch the families grow and change.  This year, I took the regular, non-photo cards and cut the back off of them, then cut a small rectangle piece out.  Then I set all the cards out on the table and gave the boys pieces to try to match.  My kids may be a little young for this but they did okay.  After some guidance, Carter "got it" and could find the matching card but got very frustrated when he couldn't make it fit just right (but that's his personality!).  Nolan was more focused on getting the piece into a card spot whether it was the matching one or not.  We've played a few times and they get better each time.  Fewer cards and pieces to choose from helps!