Friday, August 17, 2012

Candy Art

I saw this activity here on the Play at Home Mom blog (they have the BEST ideas!) and I knew that Katie would love to do it.  Then I thought, why not have some friends over to do it too?  It could be a cool fun play date!  So a date was set, supplies purchased, and a couple of neighbor friends invited.

Then...I started getting cold feet. What if the chocolate chips (the background) didn't melt the way they needed too?  What if it took too long to melt the chips and one kid was done before the next was?  What if...?  AH! I decided to do a practice run earlier in the day so I could smooth out any problems or come up with a plan B if I needed too.  The practice run went very well so I set up the invitation for Katie and her friends.  I was super excited about the whole activity.  I was imagining the kids faces as the walked in to this:

The invitation

The framing: She decided not to use the pretzel rods to frame her picture, she preferred to use gummy worms. 

How much candy can I put on this?

The one downside of this activity is that it didn't take very long.  They were done in about 15-20 minutes but managed to stretch it to 30 by putting candy on every. single. millimeter. of "canvas".  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  We did this a couple weeks ago and we STILL haven't finished eating ours!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Developmental Milestone Alert!!!

No, he's not walking yet, but today, Christian pulled himself onto the sofa by himself.  Yikes!  He had an easier time of it when he had my leg to grab on to in order to pull himself up but he was also able to do it just by holding on to the cushions.

He also had a great time at the playground today.  It had rained last night and it was muddy and wet so he only spent a few minutes crawling around the playground, the slippery slide, and the sand volleyball court.  He spent at least 15 MINUTES crawling and walking (holding my hands) up and down the hills to and from the playground and volleyball court and then crawling across the parking lot.  He especially loved climbing on and off the curb of the sidewalk into the parking lot.

Yes, I let my toddler crawl on hands and knees all over the (empty) parking lot, something I would never have done with Katie.  However, Katie was full on walking by the day after her 1st birthday.  I find, with a 15 month old non-walker, staying inside or on nicer crawling surfaces all the time is impossible.  He has the same energy depletion needs that other 15 month olds have who can walk and run and jump and climb playground equipment.  Since he doesn't do most of that, we have to punt.  He had a great time and I literally had to strip his dirty clothes off and hose the mud and sand and grass pieces off when we got home before taking him in the house.  I think I am going to wish I had an outdoor shower attached to my house with this one!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Christian loves the sand!  It is one of the few things that almost always keeps his interest for a long period of time.  He likes to dig, throw, taste, and squish.  He especially likes matching it with water so I made these two sensory bins for him to play in.  

 Eventually, he got tired of just playing with his hands and he started to get the rest of his body involved!

So, I bowed to his desires and created a poor man's sand box.  This is an under the bed box full of sand.  He loves it!  Katie also loves the fact that they can both play in the sand at the same time.  :)

Yay for sand!  Now I want an outdoor shower so I can rinse him off before he comes back in!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sensory Play

As Katie was play cooking, I set up a sensory bin for Christian to play in with rice, pasta noodles, and colored shapes in it.  It was great but I think he would have liked it better 6 months ago before he was as mobile as he is now.  He absolutely loved it, for 5 minutes.  I am still working on coming up with activities that he will enjoy and can do (without walking or putting it in his mouth) but I'm not succeeding quite yet at coming up with good activities that will engage him for a longer period of time.

The invitation

The approach:  Hmmm, what's this?

Hmm, that looks kind of different.

Can I eat it?

Yes I KNOW you just cleaned the floors but really they needed an extra once over anyway.

The Dump: One of my favorite activities!

Oh, is that how you play with it?

You know, that's kind of fun!

Despite the number of pictures, this fun truly last a very short time.  We were vacuuming up rice for DAYS though! :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Play Cooking

I set this invitation up on a Friday night with the idea that Katie could play with this on Saturday morning while Jim was there and I got to sleep in.  The ingredients here are real spices and foods and lets kids practice "cooking" with something more interesting than just plastic foods in the play kitchen.

Side note: Since this uses spices, it could get very expensive.  I tried to minimize that by using old spices that I rarely use (ground mustard comes to mind, I've had the same bottle for about 15 years...), spices that are less expensive because they come in larger quantities (I get large bottles of cinnamon for example), and using other foods that are pretty cheap like quick oats.  Katie loved the different smells and textures of the ingredients.

The invitation

Starting to explore

Time for a bigger container!

Can I have more ingredients Mom?

How about some more? (When she wanted more ingredients, I used this as an opportunity to use up the last little bit of some different things that were taking up fridge space like the barbecue sauce bottles in this picture.) 

As an added bonus, I had given her cider vinegar as an ingredient and Jim offered her baking soda so her concoction bubbled right after she also added hot sauce to the mix.

Chef Katie!

Another good way to minimize the cost of this activity would be to use Dollar Store spices.  Katie LOVED this.  She spent a good hour on this activity and would have kept going if I had heeded her call for more ingredients.  I finally drew the line and she decided to finish.  Then she was too tired to help clean up but, after a short break, was able to help. :)