Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Homemade Finger Paint and First Finger Painting Experience!

Sophie and I had our first real cooking together experience last week and we both really enjoyed it.  We decided to make fingerpaint to use in our God Made Everything color book.

I searched Pinterest for a recipe for homemade fingerpaint and found a fabulous recipe at Easie Peasie.  Fortunately I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so I gathered them up and put them all on Sophie's table.  She helped me dump all the ingredients into the pan and stir it all up.  She really loves helping and did a great job!

She also had a great time playing in cornstarch that spilled on the table in the process!

While I was heating and stirring the paint on the stove, I gave Sophie some ice cubes to stir on the ground.  I kept wondering if heating it was doing anything to the liquidy just didn't seem to be thickening.  But maybe about 5 minutes in it started getting gelatinous and when it thickened it did it quick!  I divided it out, mixed in our colors, and let it cool.

The whole process was really easy and took maybe 15 minutes (plus cooling time).  And I love that if (...when...) she tries to put it in her mouth there are no ingredients in it that will hurt her.

Now for the really fun part!  I put her yellow sun page out along with a container of the paint and showed her how I dipped my finger in and rubbed it across my paper.  It didn't take long for her to figure out how it worked!  I was worried she wouldn't like it because she's not usually a fan of having messy hands, but she really seemed to enjoy it.

I'm glad I braved the mess to try this fun activity!  It's definitely one we'll repeat.

This post is linked up at:
Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers at The Chaos and the Clutter 

Monday, July 29, 2013

God Made Everything! Color Book

EDITED March 1, 2014:  A printable version is now available at The Activity Mom!  Be sure to check it out!

I have been brainstorming a while for some creative ideas to teach Bible truths to Sophie, even at such a young age.  I wanted to make sure that I was speaking truths about God as often as I was telling her that something was red, blue, yellow, or green.  I knew that in order for me to be consistent with it I was going to have to be intentional and have a plan.

For several weeks I've been using "God Made Everything" as a Bible theme to talk about with Sophie.  I figure this is a pretty concrete idea for her considering we see all the things that God made all around us every day!

As a way to have activities for this theme and tie it to our weekly(ish) colors, I decided we were going to make a God Made Everything color book.  For each color we explore, I'll pick something that God created to help her remember that color.  So far, we have red ladybugs, blue water, yellow sun, and green trees.   I am trying to choose things that we might encounter pretty regularly (although as we get into more challenging colors we'll have to branch out more).

The pages are simple.  I am SO not an artist.  I got my inspiration from online coloring pages (links below) and made images as simply as I could.  The words are repetitive and simple.  For example, "God made red ladybugs.  God made everything!" Then, during our day when we need a crafty distraction, Sophie will decorate the pages, either with her do-a-dot paints, crayons, or finger paint.  I laminated the pages, had Sophie help me make a cover, and tied it all together with ribbon for now.  Eventually I may spiral bind it, but we have many more colors to explore and add first!

I also made a piece for her flannel board for each of these objects.  These stay on her board all week and we talk about all the things God made.  I ask her if she can find certain items and she enjoys putting them on and off the board.

Most importantly, we talk about these things and look for them during our day.  When we go outside and see the green trees, I talk to Sophie about how God made the green trees.  We go touch leaves and tree trunks and count trees in our neighbors yard.  I try to bring everything back to the idea that God made everything.  It has been really good for me to have a focus to share with her.

Check out one way we use the book during Tot School during Orange Week.

It would be easy to do a similar book for shapes, animals, alphabet, or numbers.

Feel free to use my cover to make your own version of the book!
(After I made mine I decided vertical stripes would be cuter - so the printable has vertical stripes instead of horizontal!)

Here's a close up of the pages, flannel board pieces, and links to the coloring pages I used for inspiration and templates.

Blue Water 
(I didn't really have a pattern for this one...I just made some waves!)

Green Trees

Orange Fish (added 8/10/13)

Purple Flower (Added 8/17/13)

Rainbow (Added 9/8/13)
(PS. Drawing a rainbow is harder than it looks - don't judge!  Never claimed to be an artist! ;))

Pink Pig (Added 9/20/13)

Brown Bear (Added 10/4/13)

I'm excited to read this with Sophie as we continue to add pages!

For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Theology Thursdays at My Teacher's Name is Mama
Tot School Tuesday at See Vanessa Craft
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child
Trivium Tuesday at Living and Learning at Home
Tender Moments with Toddlers and Preschoolers at The Chaos and the Clutter 
Sunday Showcase at Learn Play Imagine

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tot School: Red, Blue, Yellow and Green Week 2

Sophie is 14 months old.

Sophie is absolutely loving Tot School.  She pretty much wants to play with the trays all day long (and most days I mostly let her - I love that she loves it!)

We didn't introduce any new colors this week but just kept enjoying red, blue, yellow, and green with a few new activities.

Sensory Bin

I tried my hand at dying rice for this week's sensory bin and was surprised and just how quick and easy it really was!  I used these instructions with slight modification (I doubled the amount of rice and food coloring, but not vinegar - it worked perfectly!).  It dried much quicker than I thought it would, even in the rainy Florida humidity.

Sophie really liked the rice, and this was the first week she seemed to be more intentional with her sensory bin.  She would grab a handful of rice and slowly sprinkle it into the yellow pitcher.  Then she would grab a handful and sprinkle it into one of her shapes.  She went back and forth between the two for long periods of time and started to explore pouring from the pitcher.  She still doesn't have much interest in using the scoop, but I'll keep including it for whenever she gets curious!

Tot Trays

Once again, Sophie loved her Tot Trays this week (I think this has less to do with the quality of the trays and more to do with the fact that they are hidden behind a curtain and therefore seem super special, but I'll take it!)

Her first tray was this really neat Busy Farm Duplo (affiliate link) set she got for her birthday.  My super sweet early childhood educator sister took me shopping to get Tot School stuff for Sophie's birthday and this was one of the treasures we found!

It goes through this cute story about the farmer doing his daily chores starting with the rooster waking everyone up.  Then it shows you how to build the rooster using the blocks that come with the set.  There are just enough blocks to build four little animals.  Sophie can't do this by herself yet, obviously, but she likes playing with the animals and helping me build and take them apart.

Her second tray was playing with laminated family pictures.  I had done this activity before with my side of the family and this week we played with pictures of Clay's side of the family.  We play all kinds of little games with these pictures:  "Can you find Papa?", "Is that Dada?", or "Give kisses to Aunt Kristen" type games were her favorite.

Her third tray this week was the Ladybug Color Sort activity I shared earlier this week.  Sophie seemed to enjoy this activity even though sorting by color is still too difficult for her.  But we would talk about the colors and I would encourage her to "put the blue ladybug on this blue leaf" while pointing to the correct leaf and she would place it there.  She also enjoyed just putting ladybugs on the leaves and on the little plate, so she spent lots of time just playing with them as well.  (She also discovered that it was pretty funny to put herself on a leaf.)

Slow and Steady

Sophie's activity from Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready this week was exploring sound containers.  I put a marble in a metal water bottle, water in a clear plastic bottle, and glass beads in a jar.  She played with these a lot, especially the one with water in it.  We played with the bead shaker when I put on music.  The book suggested trying to get her to guess which one made the sound when I played it behind my back, but Sophie had zero interest in that.  I wasn't surprised. ;)  But my little music-loving diva loves anything that makes a good instrument, so these bottles were a hit.  I may try to look around to find some other unique sound bottles she can explore another week.

Other Activities

Sophie's favorite game lately has been to pull the pillows off the couch, lay them all out on the floor and fall/roll/crawl into them.  She giggles and flops herself around for a good twenty minutes, especially if we start adding tickles, chases, or (very gentle!) pillow fights into the mix.

She also really started enjoying her I-Spy quilt my mom made her for Christmas.  It has images of all kinds of animals, shapes, and colors for Sophie to explore.  She likes to point at a picture and have me tell her what it is.  She also points to an animal and makes the animal sound.  She did pretty well playing I-Spy when I would ask her where a certain item was (as long as she was already pretty close to it).  We will have lots of fun with this quilt as she gets older!

I just had to include this picture of our little fashionista.  She has decided that she really likes wearing Daddy's shirts anytime we are folding laundry.  Of course they are HUGE on her, so I have to tie them up, but she went around wearing this one all morning long.  Silly girl. :)

We won't have any new trays next week for Tot School, because I'm teaching a Fine Arts Camp at church and we'll be gone all morning.  But I will share several fun activities we are working on in the next few days!

Want to see how other families do Tot School?  For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Tot School Tuesday at See Vanessa Craft
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ladybug Color Sort

The past two weeks we've been focusing on the four colors Sophie has been exploring so far: red, blue, yellow, and green.  When I stumbled across an adorable ladybug color activity by way of Pinterest, I had to try it out!

A Little Bit of Quiet has a fabulous tutorial of how she made her ladybug color sort game and shares her templates as well!  Her version is absolutely adorable!  (Note: when you click the download link it will have you request permission to view the documents.  She sent me an email quickly to access the documents.  I, however, had waited until the last minute and had been planning on using this activity the next day, so I ended up making my own templates.  Hers are way cuter - just plan ahead a little better than I did and she'll save you some work!)

I decided to put mine together a bit differently, because I didn't have a button maker and my goal was for it to be a flannel board activity, so I modified things slightly.

I printed off my ladybugs on white cardstock and cut them out. Then I laminated the circles, hot glued them onto my felt, and cut around them.  It took me maybe 30 minutes to get my ladybugs all ready to go.  It would have been faster if I'd had a circle punch the right size, but I didn't.

Then I freehanded my leaf pattern (I wanted all four leaves to fit across my flannel board so I went the long skinny route) and cut them out of my flannel.  I think the stitching on the leaves of the original project was what mostly sold me on the adorableness of this activity!  I enjoyed getting to pull my sewing machine out and do some really simple freehand stitches to embellish my leaves.  I know that Sophie totally won't care, but it made me really happy.  Lol.

This was my first project for Sophie's flannel board and I have learned (at least) one thing the hard way.  The 5 mil lamination I had at the time is too heavy for the felt to hold for toddler play.  I don't know if the 3 mil would do better, but I'm hoping so.  I'll let you know the next time I try it!  So this has ended up being a floor game as opposed to a board game. Oh well.

Sophie seems to enjoy it, even though the matching is still a bit advanced for her independently.  She really likes playing with the ladybugs and we'll be able to use this to review our colors for a long time! As A Little Bit of Quiet shares as well, they would be great for counting, simple addition and subtraction, and imaginative play down the road.

I started another flannel board project this week which I will share on the blog soon!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tot School: Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green

Sophie is 14 months old.

I decided to spend a couple weeks just practicing with the colors we already had focused on and do some fun multicolor activities.  We had fun exploring red, blue, yellow, and green!

Sensory Play

The sensory bin this week was filled with colored poms and plastic ice cubes (red, blue, yellow, and green, of course).  I also threw in a couple of her colored koosh animals (which were her favorite part of the bin) and a scoop.  She discovered the fun of stirring this week between this bin and one of her Tot Trays and spent most of the week stirring the bin (or dumping and filling - which I could let her do this time since it was just poms and not something messier!).

We also played in ice cubes several times this week, which meant my kitchen got cleaned!

Book Basket

Our book basket was the same as last week since we didn't make it to the library, but the books are still well loved.  She really enjoyed Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown.  I'm shocked at how long she sits through this book - we still don't quite finish it but she lets me read most this longer book.  She really likes all the animals.

She also specifically asked for Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.  She couldn't find the book, so she had me read Doggies really quickly (she kept turning the pages without letting me make the dog noises - which never happens!) until we got to the back cover.  Images of several other books are on the back, including Blue Hat, Green Hat, so she pointed to that picture until I figured it out and went to find the book.  She squealed with delight when I pulled it out from the other room.  It was precious! :)

Tot Trays

She really loved her Tot Trays this week!  We seriously "played Tot School" at least three times per day this week.  

Her first tray was putting stickers on paper.  We had done this several weeks ago during our first Tot School session and it was amazing to see the improvement on this skill since then!  She was able to put the stickers on all by her self once I held it out for her to grab.  I would hold the sheet and ask her which sticker she wanted and she would point to the one she wanted.  So sweet!  She also really got a kick out of putting stickers on herself - her nose, her head, her toes.  It made her giggle when I put one on the bottom of her foot!

Her second tray was her new peg board.  She liked this but had trouble getting the pieces completely vertical to put on the board.  She was much more successful just connecting the pieces separately from the board.  This was probably the least loved tray of the week.

Her last tray was hands down the winner this week.  I put some counting bears in a little bowl with a spoon to work on our spoon skills.  We mostly ended up stirring instead of transferring with the spoon (which is fine with me - we just really started using a spoon and she gets so frustrated when she wants to do something and can't!)  She liked it when I sang a little stirring song we do every morning when I stir up her yogurt (don't worry...your not missing any spectacular music by not having this one in your repertoire).

Side note:  Okay Montessori Mommas....I started out with glass bowls and immediately knew that was not going to work for us at this point.  She only wanted to clack them together because they make a great noise.  And then she wants to throw them.  How on earth do you use glass with your young toddlers?  Help a sister out! :)

I also included her shape sorter with just the circle, square, and triangle on her shelf this week.  We played with it a bit and at one point I would ask her to "give momma a blue" and see which one she would hand me from the bucket.  She did better than I expected with this - better than the statistical chance of handing me the right one, but definitely not mastery.  She seemed pretty proud when I made a big deal about giving me the correct color.  I think she's starting to associate the names with the colors.  It's so neat to see her brain figuring all this stuff out!  
Trying to put everything in our shape sorter bucket.

Other Activities

I don't have any pictures of these things, but this week we also climbed mountains of pillows, went on a color scavenger hunt around the house (ex: looking for anything blue we could find), had some colorful snacks eating yummy fruit, went on a couple family bike rides and danced to lots of music.

I am loving the sweet memories we are making by trying to be intentional with our time with Sophie.  I never get to all the ideas I have listed for the week, but just the fact that I've made a list means I get to much more than I would have otherwise!

Next week we'll stick with these four colors and do more fun activities.  I have been working on a new project this weekend that I can't wait to start using with Sophie this coming week!

Want to see how other families do Tot School?  For tons more ideas be sure to visit these sites I'm linking to this week!
Tot School Tuesday at See Vanessa Craft
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Link and Learn at No Time for Flashcards
Show and Share Saturday Link Up at I Can Teach My Child

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Occupy a Toddler and Get a Clean(er) Kitchen!

Anytime I'm trying to accomplish something in the kitchen Sophie wants to be right there under my feet.  She's so curious and most times I love that, but there are sometimes just things I need to do without her right at my feet (like opening the hot oven!).  She has a cabinet and a shelf full of things that are toddler-approved for play like tupperware, plastic lids, her bowls and plates, etc., but these lose their thrill after a while.

The other day I accidentally dropped a piece of ice while I was getting her a drink and she chased that little piece of ice around the kitchen for several minutes.  So when I needed a few minutes to prepare dinner later that evening, I got three ice cubes from the freezer and put them in one of her bowls.  
She worked at picking up the cubes and pushing them around on the floor. She loved it!  

She kept trying to get my attention about the water on the floor - it was really bothering her.  So I asked her if she wanted to "clean" and gave her a towel.  She loves moving a clean rag around when I am dusting or cleaning around the house, so she really loved having something to really clean.

My little Cinderella wasn't content to clean the floors - she noticed my cabinets needed some work done as well.  Such a sweet girl! 

Needless to say, this one is going in my bag of tricks for when I need to take care of something in the kitchen!  Sophie had a blast and my kitchen floors sure aren't gonna be harmed by the extra love and attention! :)