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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random Lacing Things!

I don't know about you but I have a little collection of toy parts that have no real home anymore. I noticed that a lot of them had holes in them so I put together this little lacing basket. I played with it too and the result was a chunky, funky neakalce. Caden calls this, "Sewing like Mommy". So cute:)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Memory Game Board

Caden Loves Memory!! I love it too and it's so fun to play with him. It's the first game where he really understands the rules and takes turns. He will even play it by himself sometimes so I made the board for him so that he can set it up easily. It's just a white piece of cardboard form a box. I used a pencil to trace the cards and then went over it with an orange sharpie:)

Drake is NOT good at the game of memory but he loves the cards so I cut a slit in the plastic lid of this can and he busied himself stuffing all of the cards in there. I sat with him after he had played alone for a little while and started naming pictures as he put them in and I also pointed out "Different" and "Same".

What's Out Wednesday!

Floor Toys (block area)
Trains (just enough to make a circle), Ball rolling thing(it used to be some other toy that someone was throwing out so I snagged it and the boys love rolling random balls down it), Big Legos, Golf Clubs and Balls.
Table Toys
Memory Game with New Cards, Giant Marble Transfer Activity with Tongs, Random Lacing Objects, Puzzles(always rotating), Rubber Bands w/ Peg board.
Sensory Tub
Back to beans, this time with homemade funnel
Caden is still playing Blaster for the most part during his computer time but, today he decided to paint on paint brush. He was really enjoying it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Drake is Potty Trained!!!

At almost 22 months Drake is Potty Trained!!!! And the best part is that it was so easy!!!!! I think because he had Caden as an example. It's taken him three weeks but that is only because he hated underwear. He didn't have any accidents from the day I decided to take off his diaper. He loved running around naked and ran to his potty all on his own and didn't tell me until after he was done! He loved being naked so much that underwear were a bit of a struggle and he had a few accidents (wet). Once he got past that it has been smooth sailing. We are working on being out and about now. I have a little side note for any moms who are thinking that they are ready for this next step: Drake was READY! He has been taking of his diaper for over two months and talking about the potty and wanting to sit on it, and hating being messy. He was ready! All kids are ready at different ages. If anyone wants to know in detail my method for potty training the boys, leave a comment and I'll post soon:)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!...

Activity Mom!!! Read about what she did and then the pics will make since.

Caden and Drake were waking up way too early so I had to do something! It was as early 4:00am!!!!!! I couldn't take it anymore! I set up the light and timer(5 bucks each at Target). I did just like she said and got him all excited that he could run into my room in the morning when the light turned off and it's working!!!! It's only been a couple of days so I think it will improve. We also put his peter potty (totally recommend it) next to the light so that he can easily find it at night.

Bean Pool!

So I was browsing my local grocery store summer clearance section and I found this pool for a 1.50!! Normally 8.99! I snagged it knowing I couldn't use it as a pool with water yet but figured I would think of something or save it till next year. So we were playing in the sensory tub and I wanted to do something fun with the boys so I blew it up and we dumped the tub into the pool. Me and the boys spent the rest of the morning playing in the beans (like an hour and a half!!). There were also river stones which were fun to fish out and collect.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Connect Four!

Caden has been playing with this Connect Four game since he was about 18 months and now Drake loves it too, so I thought it was time to show them how to use it together. We sorted out the checkers so that Caden had red and Drake had black. They took turns at first each placing one in at a time and then it turned into them just filling it up together. I really like pulling out simple activities that get them working together cooperatively. It gives them practice and opens their minds to the idea that they can play together and enjoy it!
After Drake lost interest it turned into a sorting activity for Caden. He would fill it up and then dump it. Then he would sort the black from the red and start all over. It's out on the shelf now and it is very popular but they haven't worked on it together on their own yet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's Out Wednesday!

Caden has been playing Reading Blaster. It came with Jumpstart Preschool that I got for Caden at Costco. It was a bonus and it is meant for 4-6 years old but Caden loves it!
Sensory Tub
Colored rice with home mad funnel and milk Jug. I adapted this idea from The Wonder Years
Table Toys
Memory Matching Game, Little Pom Poms in Bacos Container, Large Wooden Lacing Blocks, Puzzles, Play Doh with Rollers and Extra Trays.
Floor Toys (block area)
Pretend Sandwich(very popular with Drake), Walkie Talkies, Fire Truck, Antique Tractor Set, Small Wooden Blocks, Dinosaurs (another Drake Fav!)
I didn't post about these wagons last time but they are always out. These are by far the boy's favorite things. All through out the day they are hauling things around in them. I love when they each stuff their blankets in them, So Sweet. The older one is Caden's but they fought over it so much that we just had to get Drake one:)

First Art "Project"

Canden and I worked on our first art project and it was very spur of the moment! I asked him what he would like to do because we had already worked with numbers and counting and he said stickers. I got him out some little circle stickers that we had from the dollar store and he stuck them on the page. That was great fine motor practice and we talked about colors and the shape. Then I asked Caden if he would like to paint the paper and he said yes.

He asked me to paint with him so we painted together.

After we painted we took off all of the stickers and it had this cool little effect:)

Water Colors!

Water colors haven't been a big hit with me for awhile because water ends up spilled every time! It's not their fault! They can't help but tip the cup when they dip their brush in the water. I had an "Ah-ha" moment when I got out these little silicone backing cups. They are so forgiving to those little toddler stumbles.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cheap Baby Gym!

My Dad made this for jack because like most babies he loves to bat at toys! He used PVC pipes. It's not much to look at but it has been Jack's fav toy for months!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Our Lizard Friend!

I was cleaning out some books out from the reading corner and I found a little lizard! With the exception of roaches and spiders, I love creepy crawly things! Drake was taking a nap so I took the opportunity to teach Caden so observation skills. We caught the lizard in a clean jar and looked at him for a while. We looked from above, the side and below. After we looked for a few minutes I started asking him about the lizard.
Mommy- "How many feet does he have?"
Caden- "1-2-3-4!" (counting each foot)
M- "Does he have a tail?"
C- "Yeah"
M-"How many tails?"
C- "One. He has 3 eyes!"
M "Really! Let's cont and see!"
C- "1-2 eyes!!"
M- "Just like you! Do you want to draw a picture of him in your Journal?"
C- "Ok"

I wrote down all of our observations and Caden drew this adorable little lizard! I was so excited because this is the first time he has every drawn anything that actually looks something like what he says it is!! You see it right?? I wrote the word lizard at the top of the page and we talked about the sounds the letters make. Caden picked up the Jar and held it to the paper, "Look lizard, that's you. L is for l-l-lizard, like you!" It was adorable!

I then told Caden that Heavenly Father made all living things and that we need to be gentle and loving to them like Heavenly Father would want us to be. i asked caden if he thought the lizard would like living in a jar and he said "We gonna let the lizard go home to his father." lol we took him on to the patio and he jumped out of the jar and on to Caden's shirt! It was so cute because you could tell Caden liked but was also nervous!

I loved this experience!! It was only 10-15 minutes of our day but we covered so much:

It's moments like these that make me so glad I am homeschooling!

My First Quilts!!!

I made each of my twin nieces a quilt for their 3rd birthdays! I was so excited to complete them and give them to the girls!

I just wanted to share some of the unique things I did to help me complete these quilts. The first thing I did was draw up a plan in paint brush.

The second thing is I pined up the rows as I was working on them so that I wouldn't screw up:) This also saved me space and kept it away from the boys.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Think Caden Likes His New Computer??


We made scented play dough for the first time and we Love it!!
We had a lot of fun making it together and here is the recipe we used.

1 c. flour

1/2 c. salt
2 Tbls Cream of Tartar

1 Packet of Koolaid

1c. boiling water

1 Tbls Oil

Mix Dry, add wet, cook on medium heat in a pan until it firms up into a ball. Let cool. Knead and play!!!

It was so therapeutic to kneed the warm dough and it smelled of sweet cherry! We will definitely be making this again!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mirror Fun!

I gave Caden a little mirror from my purse so he could explore the reflections on the wall using the sun coming in from the window.
It was a lot of fun!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's Out Wednesday!

I've decided to start a little weekly thing! Every Wednesday I will put up pictures of what we have out in our play room. I usually change things out more then once a week but this is just an idea of some of the activities we play with.

Floor Toys: Wild Animals, Tonka Cars, Movie Cars, Fire Truck, Movie Cars, Peg Hammering, Big Foam Blocks
Table Toys: Tonging river stones into a wooden Jar, Tree Trunk Peg Board with Rubber Bands, Puzzles, Magnetic Connectors.

Train Table: My Husband made this for the boys.

We also have two new areas in our play room!!! Drum Roll Please.........

The Sensory Tub is Back!! The boys are so excited. With all of the changes we had been going through these last few months we didn't have the time(and I didn't have the patients:) for things like this. We are starting out simple(so they can get used to the rules) but I will be putting some new sensory activities in it soon.
Sensory Tub: Beans with a variety of scoops

Our other new area is the "Computer Area". My sister no longer needed this computer so she gave it to the boys! We were so excited! It is about 5 years old but it has Windows XP and it easily took a couple games. Caden is so excited about it! I set it up so that it is plugged in to the outlet that has a light switch hooked to it. Now if I turn off the light switch they can't turn on the computer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Q & A

So, I'm really wondering if you have time to answer question. I want to follow the principle of putting each toy away after they play with it but I'm struggling to teach that. How did you get your boys to do that?


I am with Angela, I have great goals for structure and routine. I pull a fun activity out - step away to do something that is nagging at me and by the time I get back to them they aren't playing with 'it' they way they should and they have moved on to something else. I too struggle to get THEM to clean up before moving on!
What is the secret. Sometimes just remembering to tell them is hard to do.

I don't know if my method of teaching the boys to clean up after them selves is much of a secret but here it is:) The first thing is organization. The play room is organized into "Areas": (click the Area title to see a post on each area) Table Toys, Floor Toys, Reading Corner, and Busy Toys. You could have more areas if you child is old enough like, Art area, Music Area, writing Area, Computer Area, Sensory Area, Pretend Area or Science area. Also areas can be combined like Table Toys and Art Area could be on the same shelf while sharing a Table. Music Instruments could be with the Floor Toys. Each Area has a designated space in which to play with the toys. By having the work space close to the toys it makes cleaning up easier.
After I establish the areas I put on a little performance! It may sound silly but it works! I have the boys follow me to an area and I say, "Watch Mommy! I want to play with this puzzle" I then take the puzzle off of the shelf and carry it to the table. I take out a few puzzle pieces, put them back in and announce, "I'm all done with this puzzle, I'm going to put it away on the shelf!" I walk over and put the puzzle back and move on to a new activity. I do this several times with different toys the first time and it seems to keep their interest because I am a little dramatic:) Any time I put out a new activity I demonstrate how I would use it and then put it away. Keep in mind that Caden has got this down but Drake is about 75%. I still remind Drake whenever I see him leaving a toy without putting it away. Occasionally one of the boys will get a little stubborn and I will take the extra time to make sure they don't get out another toy and then they reluctantly clean up their other toy. It takes a lot of work and attention right now but It has already gotten so much easier over the last 2 months and Drake is catching on faster then Caden did when he was his age because Drake has Caden as an example. I'm hoping that this will mean that Jack will just follow right along when he gets to this age:) A girl can dream right:) Even though it takes a lot of work I have good reasons for taking it so seriously:

  • Teaches responsibility

  • When they know they have to clean it up it makes them commit to the activity before they get it out.

  • Eventually it will make it easier on me

  • It makes it so that no one child can hoard all of the toys

  • It also teaches them to respect and care for their toys that Daddy has bought for them therefore, showing respect towards Daddy.

Hope this helps:) If any one has any other tips I would love to here them:)

Busy Toys!

I call these busy toys and there is one basket of them in the boys room, not in the main play room where all of the other areas are. My definition of a busy toy is: they don't need help from me to use it, there are no small parts and it is easy to clean up. The boys go to their room and play with these when Nate calls me to tell me he is on his way home so that I can have a chance to clean up and start dinner.

P.S. Yes, I arranged the toys in this picture:) Usually they are just piled in there:)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Art "Area"

At our pre-school we had an art area. As much as I would love to have an art area right now it is just not possible with my boys. Instead I've made up a couple of baskets that I got at the dollar store and they are up on a shelf where the boys can't reach. When they ask to color(like never!) or I suggest it, I grab down the drawing basket and two sheets of paper and they go to it. We also have a Dry erase basket, a GlueScissorTape bassket, and a special interest basket that includes water colors and window crayons. More on those later.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Floor Toys

Floor toys are what I have named what will one day be the "block area". When I was a teacher we had a block area that had wood unit blocks and then things that would enhance the block play like, cars, people, animals, small balls, other types of blocks like see through or castle. It was the most popular area for the boys in our class room so eventually I want to recreate it in my home. The problem is that I can't shake the image of Drake clobbering Caden on the head with a 2 by 4:) So for now it looks like this.
From Left to Right: (top) Elmo ABC Bus, cars, pretend sandwich, trucks, Africa animals,
(bottom) big Lego's (in a laundry soap bucket), giant solar system floor puzzle.

I rotate out everything often but there is always a building material (big Lego's, foam blocks, small wooden blocks). The other things are meant to enhance the block play. Other things like floor puzzles and letter games are thrown in until the boys really get into building.

Also a tip on boys who love cars! I have a huge bucket of cars! Some are from when Nate was a kid, most were gifts and quite a few are potty present from when Caden was potty training. I keep them all in the closet and then only put out one type in a little bucket. For instance he has 5 cars from the movie, Cars. Or he has a set of Tonka cars that are working vehicles. It helps because when I pull out a new set they are excited all over again!

Name Practice

This was kind of Caden's idea. He loves these rocks I got from the dollar store. He wants to use them for everything and he said he wanted to make letters so I drew out his name and he went to work. I also drew out a D for Drake and enjoyed trying to place them on the line. I liked this because it was so simple and easy and another way to practice letters and recognizing his name. He's holding his little cup of rocks in the piturure and i didn't get a sholt of his name completed. I think this would be fun at snack time with raisins, cherrios, or any other small snack food:)