Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Part 4

Good Bye 2014 and Hello 4th addition of Toddler Tuesdays! I thought it would be a good idea to spend this week doing "New Years" activities (even though our New Year eve tradition is to take down the Christmas decorations and go to bed). Our sensory bin has some noise makers, black beans (night sky) and sheep. Sheep? That's right 2015 is going to be the year of the Sheep. Chinese New Year is still a bit off, I figured it couldn't hurt to add them in now...
 Plus I came up with a few sheep books, but no New Years books for this week. 
We are beading some necklaces (some with jingle bells for noisemakers), and while it's not pictured we also are bending some pipe cleaners. While he bends and twists them I'm making some funny glasses for us all. 
This is part of an ongoing picture we are working on. Sunday I traced Panda's hand to make the sheep and cut out the hills. Then he helped glue them down. Monday Panda dipped his fingers in white paint to make the sheep's wool and snow/stars, today I had him dip his fingers in glue and dot the page again and then I put gold glitter on. He was pretty impressed that the almost invisible glue dots turned gold when the glitter was shaken off. We still have cotton balls to add and then some dye for the wool, and likely a party hat.
 This activity is a bit beyond Panda, but he is enjoying it and giving it a good go. We are really working his hand eye coordination and fine motor skills by wrapping a sheep figure in yarn to give it a fluffy white coat. 
Last of all, what would New Years be without a Ball Drop? This was the best picture I could get; if that gives you any indication of how much Panda loves this activity. Instead of cars we are dropping five sparkly pom poms down his car ramp and shouting  5..4..3..2..1! As they fall. It's my sneaky way of working on numbers with him, not to mention cause and effect. I've seen lots of cardboard tube pom pom drops on Pinterest, but the last time I built him a drop wall it took him less than 15 minutes to tear it down. This, he loves!
 That's what is going on in our classroom this week. What is going on in your home this week?
 Happy New Year! 
Shine on!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Part 3

Welcome back. This week we are keeping things pretty low key schooling and in general. With Christmas this week, I don't want to over stimulate my son. Panda has an advent calender that for lack of a better word we filled with "objects of wonder". He was allowed to play with each object for only one day (some only while supervised because of choking hazards), so I thought it would be fun to revisit them this week for his pre-pre-school (I need a better name than that). I filled his stocking up with these objects (and his winter animals) for him to pull out and explore again. We only use our stockings for Saint Nicholas day, so it was also nice for him to get to play with his stocking again. 
We brush a stuffed animal's hair while talking about self care.
This could be easily recreated with felt, wrapping paper, floor tiles.. But basically all we are doing here is putting animals on top of the snowflakes on this blanket. It''s a good activity for toddlers teaching placement., a very rudimentary form of learning to follow directions, and doing repetitive actions.
Our sensory tray this week is a low tray filled with water , winter animals, and ice cubes. Panda really likes this tray. The ice cubes are cold, slippery, and slide around when he tries to stack them and the water makes for a splashy good time.
That's it for this week. I would love to hear what you are doing with your toddlers or have done in the past. Please leave a link in the comments below,
 and Shine On!

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Moment

 These are all simple, special, extraordinary moments of what learning looks like in our home. Moments I want to pause, savor, and remember.
 Inspired by SouleMama
 Sharing a bowl of snow with a few good friends. 
 Neighborhood gingerbread decorating party.. Pre-sugar rush ;)
Squirrel watching
 Sensory/light play
Thanks for visiting, Leave a link so I can visit you. 
Shine on!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Part 2

Welcome Back to Toddler Tuesdays. My son's Pre-pre-school. These are the books we are looking at right now. See the one in the middle? We used that for inspiration for our first activity. 
I'm not overly fond of plastic toys, but I make an exception for legos (when Panda is older) and  Papo and Schleich figures. We pulled out all our winter animals and the light box. I scooped some flour onto the Light Box we made and showed Panda how to make animal tracks in the "snow" just like in the book. He loves this activity. Things got a bit messy. Next time I will put a sheet down and NOT do this over the heat vent.. Ooops. 
Of course we go for nature walks; this week gathering fallen pine branches as we go (with gloves on).
When we got home yesterday I put tape around the pine branch "paint brush " to make a handle (I can't touch the sap for allergy reasons, but Panda seemed to do ok)...
And made some art!
Every day this week we will be doing a different type of painting exercise. They will be used as Christmas Cards. Here are some other neat ideas I found on Pinterest:
From Surviving a Teachers Salary: Snowflake stamping with a soda bottle 
From Living with Four Hobbits and a Giant: Painting snowflakes with pine needles
Beneath the Rowan Tree.: Fingerprint Christmas Lights 
Once we cleaned up we started working those fine motor skills dropping our clothes peg people into a jug 
And pinning matching felt mittens together on a "Clothes line". Working the tiny clothes pins is a new and challenging experience for Panda. We work on colors and matching with this activity as well. He LOVES this one! When we are done I plan on making a fun garland with the mittens. 
And in the evening we calm down with sensory activities. I opted for a tray this week instead of a full table. It is filled with rice, blocks covered in tinfoil, tiny pine-cones, a spoon that looks like a shovel (buried), and felt penguins. I posted the pattern for the penguins yesterday if you are interested in making some for yourself. Thank you for joining us again. Please let us know what you are doing in your home and leave a link in the comment section so we can visit you.  We will be back next Tuesday with more fun. 
Shine on!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Penguin Pattern

I wanted to make Panda a wintry penguin themed sensory tray for this week, but I needed Penguins. I couldn't find a pattern I liked on Pinterest. It was about 3am and I could not sleep,  so I made this pattern and am sharing it with you. Need a quick last minute stocking stuffer idea? This would work well ; )
This pattern is a gift for your own personal use. Please don't use this and items made from it for profit. 
Copy this onto your computer and enlarge it to be as big (or small) as you like. I thought it might be fun to later make some larger penguins out of fleece. They would also be adorable with little red scarves. If you make a larger penguin, you might want to double up the wings to make them thicker and more sturdy.
For these penguins I used felt. They stand approximately 2 1/2 inches tall.
Sew the wings on first. I used a pattern piece so you could see wing placement in this picture. They are sewn just at the top hump so the wings can stick out a bit, but they might be cute completely sewn down as well.
 Sew from the tip of the beak, around the back of the head and down to the bottom. I used a whip stitch and black thread. Leave the front open. 
 Next sew in the chest piece. I used white thread, and the whip stitch again, but a blanket stitch might look nicer on this part. This is a good time to stuff the penguin. I used wool and weighted it down with some beads so it would stand nicely. Rice, gravel, plastic pellets, washers, also work.. you get the idea. 
 Sew the bottom piece and feet on. 
And you are done! Wasn't that fast? I made a small army of penguins in one hour. 
Enjoy, and Shine on!

Friday, December 12, 2014

This Moment

A Friday ritual. A single photo-no words- capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."SouleMama".

Thursday, December 11, 2014

DIY Light Box

Light and color are great educational tools. I've been wanting to set up a light box for Panda, so I made one. This light box is made with items I had on hand around the house. We will be using it a lot in the next few weeks, so please check back later with more ideas on how to use a light box.
I want a larger box one day, but for now this will do. This box is slightly larger than a shoe box.
I cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and lined the sides with tinfoil (shiny side in) to help reflect light.
The box is filled with "Christmas" lights I've been storing since our wedding. They have not been just sitting all these years. They have seen a lot of use at several weddings and parties since we've been married. Bear got a laugh this morning when he saw that they would be used for yet another project. They were wrapped in tulle so I just left it on to help diffuse the light., but it's not necessary.
I covered the lights with more tinfoil to help block light on the sides. Then I put the lid on and flipped the box over. I didn't need to cut a notch because the lid was loose, but a tighter lid might need a notch or hole cut into it so as not to cut the cord. 
Here it is!
Then I made 6 rainbow colored jars of water with food coloring, and set them out as an invitation to play for Panda.. Now I'm just waiting for him to wake up and then the fun will begin : )
Thanks for visiting and Shine on!
Well, He LOVED it! He woke up, saw the glowing light and made a Beeline to the light box. He loved the colored glowing water sloshing around and the tiny bubbles. Panda played for a good 20 minutes putting the jars on the light box and taking them back off again. And for an almost 20 month old tot, that's not bad! : )

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Part1

We're starting something new. Panda is almost 20 months and wants to learn. So we are starting a pre-preschool with him. We will be doing several activities throughout the day and repeating them for 3 or 4 days before switching to new ones. I will post what worked and what didn't. These are also great boredom busters for people with toddlers who are trapped inside with cabin fever tots. This weeks activities are winter themed... more or less. Some of these objects are very small. Panda is pretty good about not putting things into his mouth anymore, but I was still with him closely supervising while he worked.
 Pushing pom poms through a small hole in Tupperware`
This is an old activity for us that I made new by making some yarn pom poms to use instead of the craft pom poms and cotton balls we've been using. He liked the new texture. I thought they looked a bit like snowballs.
 Beading pony beads onto pipe cleaners. Panda has been beading large wooden beads onto a shoe string lately. This was a little more challenging and worked those fine motor skills. I used wintry colors to keep with the theme. 
He really enjoyed working with the tiny beads and the tinkling sound the pipe-cleaner made when he hit it on the ceramic bowl. He also really enjoyed pulling them off the pipe-cleaner and watching the pony beads clatter and dance around the table as they fell. Notes, next time don't use clear beads. They were hard to find in the carpet later. 

 Wrapping blocks in icy looking tinfoil. More fine motor skills, sensory, color, and shape play.
Panda tried wrapping a few blocks, but he really enjoyed crumpling the tinfoil into little balls and manipulating them. Facepalm moment, why didn't I think of this before. This is a great activity for toddlers. 
Clipping clothes pins to a bucket. There are 10 little winter gnome people here. Later this will become a counting exercise, but right now it's  all about fine motor skills, and cause and effect. 

We had to take the tinfoil off of the bucket because it made it a little hard to put the pegs on for Panda. He also liked that he could slide the pegs back and forth on the bucket rim like  a rail.
Of course there was some outside play before nap-time.
After nap-time it was time for some sensor play. We played with  Snow Dough from Growing a Jeweled Rose. He loved it! He dug spoons in it, crumpled it, smashed it, and so forth. He did try a tiny taste, but  was quick to figure out that this was not for eating... Next time I will be sure to put a mat under the table. Oye!
Bear was late coming home from work so Panda had extra sensory time. Here is his winter sensory table.
And that is how our day went. I hope you enjoy this new venture we are attempting. I would love ideas and to hear what you have done Join us on Tuesdays, leave a link in the comment section. Lets see where we can take this. Shine on!