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Showing posts from April, 2012

Focused on Creativity - It's Screen Free Week!!

Screen free for the toddler will be much easier than Screen Free for me. TV will be easy. I don't really watch much. But limiting screen time (AKA computer time) will be more of a challenge. To help, I'm going pretty wordless all week with daily photo posts on the blog that are focused on nurturing creativity!

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Cinco De Mayo-Inspired: Diego Rivera & Mural Painting

In looking for Cinco De Mayo children's books, I stumbled upon this amazing book about Diego Rivera - Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh, winner of the American Library Association's 2012 Pura Belpre illustrator honor. With my book posts, I love to share 4 ideas the book inspired us to do: 

1. Physical Activity: Dance! Two pages in the book talk about Diego Rivera painting dancers and tell of traditional Mexican dances. Check out this video for inspiration. I love any excuse to dance with my toddler! 

2. Art Activity #1: Paint a Mural I put an old torn bed sheet and another piece of fabric I had on a section of the fence and set out some homemade paints and other interesting objects to paint with (no paintbrushes because all we had were small paintbrushes that wouldn't be ideal for a mural). 

3.Art Activity #2 - Cubist Play-dough Art Shapes interest my toddler a lot. He always talks about them and looks for them, so when I read him the page about Diego Ri…

Weekly Kids Co-Op: Mexican Cookie Rings, Celebrating Cinco De Mayo

I wanted to make Mexican cookies with my toddler, but (of course) didn't have some of the ingredients for a lot of the recipes I found online. Then, I found this recipe.

It included making thumb indentations in the cookies as well as sprinkles, so I knew it would be a hit. I'll be honest in saying I have no idea how authentic this recipe is or isn't and that ours weren't pretty, but we had fun! 

My 2 1/2 year-old kept taking the camera, so I didn't manage to get any very good photos. If you're curious about his photos, check out his "plog."

And I LOVE this 5-minute pinata from our friends over at Toddler Approved shared by Carrots Are Orange on her Cinco De Mayo pinboard -- Check out it for other activities and resources.

Cinco De Mayo - Move, Eat, Draw, Learn with My Abuelita

Cinco De Mayo is a great opportunity for multicultural learning. In that spirit, I'm highlighting 2 children's books this week: My Abuelita written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Yuri Morales and Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh. 

My Abuelita won the 2010 Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor, and the artwork definitely stood out for me and for my toddler. The vibrant, warm and inviting images pulled him in and the added activities we did in relation to the book made it a favorite library book for a couple of weeks. Here's 4 ideas this book inspired us to do:
1. Physical Activity: Stretch and bend like abuelita does. 
2. Cooking Activity: Make Huevos Estrellados like abuelita does. 
 Huevos estrellados or starry eggs were new to me, so I looked up recipes.
When I discovered that many people refer to them as eggs over fries, I was completely sold -- what kid wouldn't like that?
I made them two ways: eggs sunny side up (which is more traditional) for me (re…

Ten for Tuesday: Screen Free Tips

Screen Free Week (April 30-May 6) beckons, taunts and perhaps frightens as it approaches. Formerly, TV Turnoff week, it's now been expanded to be called Screen Free Week, which I suspect for many of us poses much more of a challenge than TV Turnoff. Earlier this month, in anticipation of this week, I decided to give it a whirl. 

Here's ten suggestions based on my 4 day experiment with our toddler: 

1. Make pancakes (or whatever fun cooking/baking activity your child/family enjoys).

2. Play! (Duh) Big hits/time takers for us included: playdough, magnet letters and, of course, trains. 

3. Socialize -- the local kid-friendly coffee shop ranked high and lunch and dog-walking with a friend helped too. 

4. Schedule a playdate -- when kids have other kids to play with, watching television or playing games on the computer becomes less necessary (unless, of course, you have a video game/texting obsessed pre-teen or teen. Still, I think they also enjoy spending time with their friends …

The Morning After (Earth Day)

For Meditation Monday this week, I've selected #9 from Marc and Angel's List of 20 Things to Stop Doing to Others. #9 says "Stop being selfish: You get what you put into a relationship. Nothing less, nothing more." 

While this is an important reminder for our relationships with others, I've selecting it for the morning after Earth Day because it is equally important in our relationship with Mother Nature. If all we do is take, take, take, eventually there will be nothing for us in return. 

Thus, on this morning after Earth Day, I am focusing my meditations this week on not being selfish. I will concentrate on respecting the Earth, and I will pass this respect onto my children. 

These are 5 of my favorite simple earth-friendly tips:

  1. Drink tap water - filter it if you prefer, but drop the bottle. Bottled water generates a lot of waste (not just the bottles, but the resources to produce the bottles). Plus, bottled water is typically not any cleaner/better than your…

Simple Sunday: Nature Arrangement

Featuring a simple nature arrangement on Earth Day seemed perfect. A friend of mine made this arrangement. Some people, like to use a glue gun and make their arrangements permanent and even frame them, but there's also something nice about arranging, appreciating and rearranging. 

I also love this simple activity because it can be enjoyed with your children or on your own. It would be a very nice, quiet moment/relaxing activity for mom (assuming a nice quiet moment is ever possible.) 

Also, if you're a pinner, check out this great Earth Day board for wonderful activities that you can do today, or any day for that matter!  

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Weekly Kids Co-Op: Plastic Bottle Activities

As I continue my Making Something Out of Nothing Series leading up to Earth Day, I thought I'd focus on plastic bottles. We rarely have plastic bottles at home because I long ago decided not to buy water: saves money, waste and emissions. (We drink from the tap, and I'm in love with my reusable stainless steel water bottle). However, I know many of us have plastic bottles coming at the wha-zoo (from other beverages or because we may not be able/feel comfortable drinking our tap water).

When I ran an after-school program, our recycle bin was always full of plastic water bottles, so one day we decided to make fish!

Here's the 411: Take off the bottle cap and twist the bottom to make the back fin; Spread glue all over the plastic and paste squares of tissue paper of different shades for the fish scales. (I recycled tissue paper leftover from Christmas presents and baby gift bags); Cut fins out of construction paper and glue to the sides; Add google eyes.

Plastic bottles…

Earth Day Scent-sory Bin

I'm new to sensory bins, so I may not have "done it right." I provided my toddler with natural elements with an emphasis on the sense of smell: flowers, grass, lavender, rosemary, mint, spring onions and purple garlic. (Perfect for my  Making Something Out Of Nothing series leading up to Earth Day - a sensory bin from our own backyard).

The scent component didn't really captivate him, but seemed more like something he did to appease his mother. What attracted him was the possibility of putting the items in a bucket of water to create a pond. (We went on a nature hike Sunday and the pond made a big impression). 

After emptying the bin of everything except the sand, he decided he needed more flowers for it and began picking flowers from the yard to add to the pond creating a truly lovely pond that the baby had to explore too. 

I always love it when I plan an activity, then my little guy takes it in a whole other direction. Aside from the pond creation, he also got really…

Wordless Wednesday: Earth Day

Recycled Art and Nature Projects from Earth Arbor Day in Santa Clarita. Hopefully, you get inspired to make art from your recycle bin!

Ten for Tuesday: All You Need Are Sticks

It's my S.O.O.N.'s (my making Something Out Of Nothing son) fault that stick-mania hit our house. He picked up the branches/sticks my husband had cut down for a project and started hitting them together and singing -- what a great idea, I thought. So, here's our tribute to the wonderful stick. What a perfect way to Making Something Out Of Nothing for Earth Day!!

1. Musical Instruments. We had some sticks/branches cut for a project of my husband's. My toddler picked them up and discovered the great sounds they make when clicked together. Another day, he discovered the great sounds they make on an upside down bucket. Sticks are awesome instruments!

2. Painting. Put down the paintbrush and use a stick instead, or go with bark. Dipping bark in paint and "stamping" is also fun and interesting. (For other cool paintbrush alternatives, check out No Paintbrushes Allowed over at the Nurture Store). 

3. Tic-Tac-Toe Board. My husband and I debate what the perfect…