My Week in Review

Happy Friday!  This week we:

  • Tried to blow frozen bubbles (it looks cooler on TV).
  • Went back to school, finally!
  • Are getting back into the swing of things.
  • Really love our new minivan!

My kids have been much happier now that we’re settling back into our daily rhythms.  My daughter (1) has been waking up before the sun again, which I thought we had broken her of.  I’m beginning to think that I will need to adjust to her, because I think she’s just and early to bed early to rise kind of gal!  My son (3) is happy to be back at school with his friends.  It’s incredible how much more sleep he needs on school days.  Can you tell I am dreaming of more sleep for myself? ūüôā

Hope you had a lovely week and the weekend is all that you hope it will be.

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom & Letter Fun

To give ourselves a new focus for the new year, I have decided to put our weekly art and sensory projects together around a new theme each week.  For a few months now, I have been making a point to give the kids 1 sensory activity per week and 1 organized art or crafting project each week.  Of course we encounter many experiences with art and things that engage our senses throughout our daily rhythms, but these are more incidental like coloring with crayons when my daughter wants to help me pay bills or kneading dough with me while I make bread.

As an early childhood teacher, I have always loved to build lessons and activities from books so I think I will try to start with a new book each week.  I am also considering adding a special game or activity with my son (3) to reinforce the skills that he is picking up so quickly.

This week I chose “Chicka¬†Chicka¬†Boom Boom”¬†by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archembault¬†for our book.¬† I chose it because my son has begun to show interest the letters in his name and my daughter has begun trying to sing the ABC Song.¬† If you’re not familiar, “Chicka¬†Chicka¬†Boom Boom” is a silly poem about all of the letters¬†playing in¬†a coconut tree.¬† We have been reading this book each morning after breakfast.¬† We have also been singing the ABC Song a lot!

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Sensory Activity:¬† Several months ago I died white rice green.¬† This is an easy project.¬† All you need is a bag or 2 of white rice and a few drops of food coloring.¬† Mix several drops of food coloring into about 1/4 cup of water per 2 lb bag of rice (I think I used 1 bag) in a large bowl.¬† Add rice and stir.¬† Kids love this part ūüôā¬† You could add a little more fun and place everything in a sealable¬†jar or plastic¬†baggy¬†and let the kids shake, shake, shake!¬† Once all of the rice is covered spread it out thinly on brown paper (I cut a grocery bag) or paper towel to dry.¬† This takes a while.¬† Plan to let it dry over night.¬† I keep our rice in a plastic container with an airtight lid.¬†¬†(One day I spiced it up by adding¬†the last few¬†orange lentils from a package that I wanted to clear out of the pantry.)¬† When we want to play I simply open the lid.¬† We’ve added lots or enrichments to the rice like small plastic frogs, small people, we’ve hunted for gold treasure in the rice; but this week I added some wooden letters from my son’s Melissa & Doug word puzzle set.¬† I added a palm tree from a play set and voila, we have a “Chicka¬†Chicka¬†Boom Boom” themed sensory box!¬† Both kids loved it, I even heard my son telling his sister (1) that he had found a letter from his name.¬† Something about the rice can really mezmorize young children.¬† It’s worth the bit of sweeping that is required to clean up.

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Art Project:¬† I used¬†several full 8×11 sheets of construction paper in varied colors¬†to draw a large block letter for each letter in my children’s names.¬† Then I gave them markers and encouraged them to fill their letters with color.¬† To my surprise, my son drew a line through the inside of each letter (essentially writing each letter).¬† He then embellished a couple of letters with different designs.¬† All of the letters turned out beautiful and when hung together they make fun name banners on each child’s bedroom door.¬† I am a huge advocate for giving children loose directions and a limited choice of materials for art.¬† They almost always surprise you with what they produce!¬† And it is always more beautiful than you could have predicted.

Happy day to you and yours!

“A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer”. ~Author Unknown

Books and Knitting in January

We hit the library last week!  My oh my, I had forgotten how much I love using the library.  We will definitely make this a monthly excursion this year.  I picked up The Jim Henson Biography for myself and the kids picked a couple of picture books for themselves.  I added a couple of winter themed picture books that looked nice.

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I’m about 50 pages into the Henson biography, and I love it!¬† It is taking me right back to those warm, sweet, loving feelings I had while watching the Muppets, Sesame Street, and Fraggle¬†Rock as a young girl.¬† What an important figure he was for a generation of young people ūüôā¬† I have also been working on The Wonder of Boys by Michael Gurian.¬† This book I am struggling through.¬† While it has some valid and thought-provoking points about raising boys to become happy men, I am often getting angry and having to put the book down!¬† Gurian¬†makes some provocative excuses for absent and deadbeat fathers that I find offensive when given by the same¬†author who places a lot of responsibility and blame on¬†mothers (namely single mothers) for the emotional well-being¬†of their sons.¬†¬†Basically I¬†find¬†the book interesting¬†and influential in my approach to raising a son, I am often offended¬†by many of the authors societal prescriptions for lessening fathers’ roles in unwanted pregnancies and raising children with estranged partners.¬† I vow to finish the book ūüôā¬† I have also been enjoying the Winter/spring issue of Renewal from the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America) and leafing through my seed catalogues, planning for spring.

I am finishing up knitting¬†the lace cowl that I¬†gave up on before Christmas.¬† It’s more of an infinity scarf really and I think¬†it will look lovely on me when I finish ūüôā¬† ¬†I also ordered yarn for a sweater for my mom.¬† I will share my progress on that next month, I hope.

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The kids’ book basket is filled with¬†winter themed¬†picture books and a couple of fanciful stories too.¬†¬†“Over and Under the Snow” by Kate Messner¬†is charming book about a child and her father skiing through the woods on a snowy day.¬† It explores the animals and their homes for the winter.¬† This is something my son has been very interested in this year!¬† “Jack Frost” by Kazuno¬†Kohara is a whimsical story about a boy who befriends Jack Frost and learns to love the winter.¬† It pairs really well with this old cartoon about Jack Frost

Then I added an imaginative book about walking with the moon on a leash, “I Took the Moon for¬†a Walk” by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay.¬† I also included our copy of “Puff the Magic Dragon” illustrated by Eric Puybaret, which both of my kids have really taken a liking to ūüôā

Happy reading and knitting to you all.¬† What’s keeping your imaginations and hands busy this winter?

My Week in Review

Happy New Year to you!  The first week of the year always feels strange and refreshing after all of the Christmas festivities.  This year has not been an exception.

  • We played with lots of new toys.
  • Took down the Christmas tree.
  • Cleaned up Christmas decorations.
  • Cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more.
  • Donated lots of old toys.
  • Ate lots of leftovers.
  • Bought a new car.

My kids have been so much more manageable with all their new toys and the lack of Christmas excitement ūüôā¬† They are playing so nicely together with my daughter’s new kitchen set and dress-up clothes.¬† My son is playing independently much more frequently with his new knight castle and cars.¬† And I am enjoying more opportunities to clean and cook and plan with out kids arguing and pulling on my legs.¬† It was a joy to watch my son make and give gifts to his dad, sister, grandparents and me.¬† He was¬†almost as¬†excited for us to open our gifts as he was to open his!¬†But I have to say I’m glad it’s over and we can start to settle into winter with a clean house ūüôā¬† All the decorations feel so cozy in December, but by January it feels so good to clear them all out!

How is 2014 treating you so far?