Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Bugs

 This week we are continuing to work in the gardens. Our sensory bin was supposed to be noodles, but I never made it to the store. So instead I turned our dirt bin from last week into a buggy filled mud bin.
After playing in the mud it was time to clean up with a warm soapy bug wash.
Our days this week are filled with a lot of heavy outdoor work. Panda responds well with physically active work in his therapy for a Sensory Processing disorder. Here he is helping with the gardens. After helping me clear out all the old plants he decided to go plant a few dinosaurs ; )
These are our books this week. Log Hotel is a wonderful book. It is about the stages of a decomposing log. The words are short and the pictures are exquisite.
Last of all I made a Log Hotel for Panda to play in. He has stuffed bugs in a basket that I always leave out. They are his "Acceptable toys for throwing" that I try to redirect him to when he gets into the throwing mood. This week they are being thrown and crawling through his tunnel. That's it for this week. I'm in a bit of a hurry this morning. A woman from the district is coming over to assess Panda, if he qualifies he may be getting some help for his speech delay. Fingers crossed for us. Have a blessed day, and Shine on!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Garden

Hello, We are a little late posting in the day because we just have not been up to snuff today. Panda has a bit of a cold and well.. Things have been stressful around here lately to put it mildly. For this week's sensory bin we used potting soil (note this is outside this week), garden tools, pink flamingos (because everyone needs pink flamingos), and silk flowers for planting. He liked this bin, but a freak hail storm drove us inside for today.
A few garden books to set the tone for the week. 
 Panda helped plant the seeds for the garden yesterday. I sprung for peat pellets this year so things would be slightly less messy. Panda enjoyed helping to sort them into their separate compartments (reminiscent of the ice cube tray and pom poms we played with last week).
 Once the peat pellets were hydrated, he helped poke the seeds down into the peat with a chopstick. Each day we will check on them and and he will help water them if needed. We will be watching for the first sprouts wake up and raise their heads. 
 I found this cute scrub brush at the dollar store. Bear came up with the idea of using it as a paint brush this week. 
Good call Bear. It worked well. When Panda is feeling better we will work outside in the big gardens each day prepping them for planting. We still have a ways to go. Planting does not start till mid May in Minnesota. Thanks for jointing us.  Have a blessed day. 
~Shine on~

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Birthday Special!

 Today a special little boy turned two!
We threw him a Tinkerbell birthday party with special figurines. Today he opened the last one; a Gruff figure from the latest Tinkerbell movie. 'The Legend of the Never Beast'. 
There were lots of Tinkerbell decorations and cupcakes with green grass frosting and white butterflies.
They were very yummy.
Special wings and crowns were made, but Panda didn't want to wear his this year.
His very sweet friend loved hers and was thrilled to be able to take them home.
There were many friends, and many thoughtful gifts. Thank you everyone for coming and sharing in this special day. 
 We even had a surprise visit from a sweet neighborhood girl who made a guest appearance as Tinkerbell!!! An idea all of her own. Thanks A. That was and incredible, thoughtful, wonderful surprise!
Happy Birthday my beautiful boy! May this next year be filled with light and love. 
Shine On!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Toddler Tuesday: Fairies

 Welcome Back! It's so good to be blogging again. I had a fun post planned for Saint Patrick's Day, but things were just still up in the air last month. Next week is Panda's birthday and we have a special Tinkerbell Birthday party planned for him, so to build to that his daily activities will all have a fairy theme this week. I know I know, Tinkerbell is Disney and we don't watch much TV in this house, but Tinkerbell is one of those rare movies I don't object to, and It's Panda's favorite thing. For his sensory bin this week I used soap scented split peas, rocks for a path, pine-cones, felt flowers, bells, and a few special new figures. He had so much fun wiggling his feet in the peas and making Tinkerbell swim through them. He played with this bin for almost an hour yesterday!
 I borrowed a butterfly punch from my sister and made several construction paper butterflies for sorting. This activity was a flop till Bear got home. Bear started scooping the butterflies up with a spoon and dumping them into the bowls. Panda was only to eager to help out. So it's not what I intended, but this activity did work out in the end.
 Fairy dust ball sorting. All this is, is a ice cube tray and pom poms, but Panda loves stuffing the pom poms into the holes. It works on his pincher grasp and focus. He played with this activity for about fifteen minutes. He filled and dumped them three times.
 Fairy hockey! One of the things we are dealing with is a diagnosis that Panda has a sensory processing disorder. He craves motion, movement, and impact. Whacking this ball around the house with wooden spoons fills some of that need.
Another activity we've started doing each morning to help fill some of his sensory needs is to have tunnel time. We are still so new to figuring out what will help Panda so I can't write to much on that right now, but Toddler Tuesdays will now have a few special sensory items added in each week as we try to unravel the mystery that is my sweet boy. Soon he will be getting a platform swing and a small fort to hide in when his senses overwhelm him. For now, This is our start. Any suggestions are more than welcome. Panda loves little sensory things (like his sensory bin, clay,  ripping paper, and painting), but it's the BIG things that he craves. Finding peace with loosing most of our furniture while he learns what is safe and what is not all over again has been a difficult transition for us. Currently he is seeing four occupational therapists a week, which while helping, is also frustrating and interferes with our natural rhythms. We are slowing figuring this one out,.
Again, I'm so happy to be back and will be visiting blogs again as time allows. I've missed you all. Have a blessed week, and shine on!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Toddler Easter Recap

Hello, Some people asked me how I keep Easter small and meaningful for a toddler, so here is our Easter recap. We started the day by baking bread. The house smelled heavenly and it was a nice soothing way to start the day. (Sorry, no pictures).
 Our Easter basket is pretty small compared to some. We don't have a lot of candy. There are some gluten free cookies, and one piece of candy in his basket. Egg shaped chalk, a new plate and cup, a book about spring, and a small stuffed lamb. We also have a christian Easter book that I've been reading to Panda all week in preparation for today. This helped lend meaning to what we were doing for him.
 We do an egg hunt outside, but we use wooden eggs. Bear's family used hard boiled eggs when he was little and I don't see the point in having extra treats and goodies in plastic eggs if there is already a basket. My son gets overwhelmed easily, so using wooden eggs works well for our family. I don't use hard boiled because I don't want to attract animals.
This year Panda painted eggs. We used non toxic finger paints. 
 They turned out beautiful! Next year we might try the trick where you put the egg inside a whisk and have the toddler dunk the whisk in dye, but this year needed a more tactile approach.
 Then we packed ourselves up (and our fresh bread) and headed over to my sister's house for a family dinner. They surprised Panda with a small adorable Easter bucket. There were gluten free dairy free cookie bars and organic gummy bunnies for treats, caterpillar socks, a new book, apple scented bubbles, sidewalk chalk (it's a thing with my family), and a sweet little duck for Panda. My sister's family was watching an adorable 4 year old girl for the day (yes, she also got an Easter bucket). She and Panda are best buddies. Being able to play with her might have been Panda's favorite treat of the day. All in all, it was a lovely Easter. While we packed a bit in, it was still slow and smooth enough to avoid over stimulation and sugary melt downs. There was one melt down, but that was more due to a needed nap than anything else. What did your family do for Easter?
Shine on!