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Showing posts from July, 2012

Ten for Tuesday: Hotel Room Boredom Busters

Wild Thing has energy - all the time, so a hotel room can be a big challenge. We've come up with a few great hotel room boredom busters ourselves and from other bloggers who've put their techniques to the test. 

1. Free Maps-Wild Thing loves maps. The brochure section of most hotels/motels have area maps. These work well. He likes adding stickers to them and driving his cars on them. One map that showed nearby airports and hiking destinations was enjoyed by him so much that I grabbed a couple of extra and we still play with them at home (very helpful when I'm cooking dinner).

2. The Educators' Spin On It used the free hotel brochures to keep her baby busy, and has other great tips for baby-friendly hotel fun!

3. Mama Pea Pod suggests stickers (which works like a charm for Wild Thing at hotels and restaurants) and I loved her tip of saving spoons and ice cream cups for a ice cream shop pretend play!

4. Gina at Famiglia and Seoul has special travel sensory bins for trips…

Bees Sensory Bin & Honey Painting

Wild Thing likes bees - it initially came from his love for Winnie the Pooh who always gets chased by bees as he tries to get honey. We have several Pooh books that we read (many with plots related to bees and honey). 
Then, he saw a Thomas the Train video where Thomas looses the bees they need to make honey and has to lure them back with flowers. I discovered that this concept stayed with him when we did our Earth Day Scent-sory bin back in April. 
With all of his interest in bees, I decided to make him a Bees Sensory Bin and to get some bee books from the library: UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings and What If There Were No Bees? by Suzanne Slade were his favorites.

The Bees Sensory Bin truly has elements for all of the five senses: Smell - Lavender Taste - Honey Sticks (He loved tasting the honey).Touch - Dried Black Beans (that feel slick), Yellow Pom Poms (that feel soft), Black Pipe Cleaners (with their unique feel) and the Lavender and Corn Meal were also interesting …

3 Ingredient, No-Bake Cookies!

Summers in the valley areas of Southern California where we live can get rather hot, and our kitchen (in particular) can become a sauna, so turning on the oven to bake cookies -- no thank you! However, Wild Thing and I love to make cookies, so I came up with this easy, relatively healthy recipe for no-bake cookies using: 
 1-1 1/4 cup of rolled oats1/3-1/2 cup of peanut butterJust under 1/3 cup of maple syrup (I suggest real maple syrup) These cookies happen to also be gluten-free, vegan and free of refined sugar. I want to try a batch using honey instead of maple syrup and think agave nectar would probably also work. 

Dump the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well (incorporating all of the oats) - at this stage it's easy to tell if you need more oats or not.

Next, clump the ingredients together by hand to make cookie balls (that's how we like to do it, anyway). I sprayed my hands with cooking spray to make it easier and Wild Thing took this picture (he's 2.5). It came out …

Simple Sunday: Storytelling Board - Hush! Thai Lullaby

When preparing my guest post on Thailand for one of my favorite blog series, Exploring Geography by Mama Smiles, we came across Hush! Thai Lullaby, a Caldecott Award-Winning children's book. We really loved the book. I decided to do a simple storytelling activity with Wild Thing (my toddler). 

In the book, the mom goes around telling all of the animals to Hush! because the baby is sleeping. (One of the reasons, I like the book so much is that Wild Thing has a baby brother, so helping my energetic toddler learn to be quiet so the baby can sleep can be a challenge). 

We looked around at what animals we had that were in the book and retold the story with these animals, adding each one to our storyboard paper.

Storytelling with toddlers encourages literacy and early reading skills. Plus, it's fun! Carrots Are Orange has a great storyboard activity on her site as well in which she and her toddler told their own story! 

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Kids Co-Op: Link Up & Play! Series Featured: Kids Get Arty

Once again, it's time for the Weekly Kids Co-Op, which always has so many creative activities linked-up. Lately, I've focused on sharing blog projects or series that I enjoy from another blog who participates in the Kids Co-Op.
This week, I'm sharing Kids Get Arty from Red Ted Art. These link-ups focused on Exploring the Great Artists with kids are held every two months and feature great art ideas to do with children of all ages.
Our latest project in participation with this series was inspired by Van Gogh and was so much fun.

Exploring Great Artists with Kids: Van Gogh for Toddlers

For the 4th of July, I did a post of Ten Art and Science Explosions to do with Kids. In the process, we discovered a milk/dish soap/food coloring science experiment that creates the effect of magic paint as the color moves through the liquid. 
Some of the effects made me think of Van Gogh's Starry Night, one of my favorite paintings. It seemed like a great way for Wild Thing (my 2.5 yo) to create his own Van Gogh-ish masterpiece, particularly since he loved the milk activity the last time we did it. 
I thought this would be perfect for Red Ted Art's awesome Kids Get Arty link-up!

So, I pulled a photo of the famous painting up on my computer for us to look at as we did our experiment. We discussed the colors in the painting and the way they swirled.

We put the foil sculpture in the pan first and added some black paint. Next, we poured the milk on the cookie sheet. Then, he looked at the painting and selected food coloring drops and placement based on the painting. Finall…

Summer Virtual Book Club: Audrey Wood

Since Wild Thing loves anything (and everything) that goes, especially fire trucks, this Audrey Wood book suited us perfectly. Plus, Wild Thing shared one night as I put him in bed, "I love letters." So, this book has 2 things he loves: fire trucks and letters. 
We used an empty juice box and egg carton to make the fire truck. Then, we brought a pared down version of his Alphabet sensory bin to add to the mix so that we could re-tell alphabet rescue ourselves.

After he played with the firetruck and letters for awhile, he (accurately) said he needed water for his firetruck, so I gave him a spray bottle with water in it. This led to pretend play in the backyard as he ran around putting out pretend fires.

Audrey Wood was another author we discovered through the Summer Virtual Book Club. Please join in! The link-up is co-hosted by these other fabulous blogs: Toddler Approved, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Rainy Day Mum, Reading Confetti, Inspiration Laboratories, Play Dr. Mom, Momm…

We Love Elephants & Messy Play!

While working on my Exploring Geography: Thailand guest post for Mama Smiles and including some photos, books and art activities related to elephants, we decided we wanted to do more with elephants.
So, I went to the dollar store thinking we would do paper plate elephants, but then something else caught my eye and our elephants went a different direction.
After we made our African elephant (with big ears), we started to turn our attention to our Asian elephant. Asian elephants have smaller ears and more of a dome on the forehead. Plus, we were noticing in the books that the elephants liked to play in muddy water and their skin kind of looked like mud, so we took our second elephant making project outside. 

When Wild Thing found this stick and used it as a trunk, I knew that a mud-covered Asian elephant would be perfect, but Wild Thing also wanted to use the glitter. So, we mixed up dirt, water and glitter and glued it on to make our elephants skin using the stick as a trunk. The resu…