Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

Miss O is 2 years and 10 months.
This week in Tot School:
Daddy led the kids in a bit of pretend "dance class" while I made dinner one night:

Miss O clipped the correct number onto the correct pie slice:
Daddy helped Miss O count these heart cards from My Montessori Journey and then clip a clothespin on the appropriate number. She did really well with this!

Little Bean cut out these slips of paper with matching stickers on them and he, Miss O and I played a matching game with them:
Miss O used her safety scissors to cut a straw. I can't tell you how delighted she was with this!
Miss O and Little Bean listened to TJ Bearytales tell stories as they followed along in the book:
Miss O spent some time with the lentil tray:
Here she is doing Silly Putty on the flight back from Tulsa:
Reading with Daddy:
Using scissors to cut playdough. She has shown a lot of interest in cutting this week:
Here she is playing with this foam number puzzle:
Stringing beads on the plane:
And open and shut:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Yellow (and a pink!) Submarine

I saw these sweet little submarines on this blog, and thought we would try them out. Instead of fingerprinting our fish, we used some cute stickers from the dollar store to decorate the background of our sub. I was so proud of the faces Miss O drew on the little white dot stickers on her sub (hers is the pink sub). It was the first time she really was intentional about drawing something. Of course, the man in back looks a little seasick, doesn't he? ;)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Activity Packs

I first saw these activity packs for traveling here (sorry, I couldn't find the exact post she made about them, but she does have a search feature, so if you are interested, do take the time to look at her post about it because she did a wonderful job with her kits), and knew it was something I would like to try one day when our family had a chance to travel, so I filed the idea away for a while, and was finally able to try it this week on the kid's first airplane ride. The trip included two plane rides, the first for about 4 hours, and the second close to 2 hours, so we had plenty of time to see what worked and what didn't.

I managed to fit quite a few activities into these two tiny backpacks, and the kids were able to carry their own toys for the entire trip. We also came home without having lost any of the pieces--amazing!
Here are the activities in their ziplock bags. I stuffed half into Miss O's backpack and and half into Little Bean's backpack. In addition to what you see here, I included their tiny blankies and some silly putty (the silly putty was a big hit with the both of them).
In one bag, a tiny potato head and some parts. This was brought out only once and only for a few minutes; I've definitely decided not to hang onto these much longer:
Some colorforms--silly faces. This is part of a new game I purchased on Amazon for them. They enjoyed this one both on the plane and at the hotel.
A purse filled with goodies. This was a favorite with Miss O. She played with the contents for over an hour on one flight.
Stringing. I thought I'd give this a whirl, but Miss O only played with it for a few minutes, and Little Bean, not at all.
A magnet board and some fish and silly face magnets. The silly faces didn't get played with at all, but Little Bean played with the fish magnets for a LONG time on the way home.
Rush Hour. I thought Little Bean might enjoy just playing with the cars or arranging them according to the cards. He did try this a few times, but not a whole lot.
A mini homemade felt board and some felt. This came in handy several times, both on the plane for Miss O, and in church last Sunday for Little Bean.
What kinds of things do you bring on trips to keep the kids busy?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Late Tot School

We were traveling from last Thursday to this Tuesday, so we had only a partial Tot School week last week. I usually post Tot School on Sundays, but since we were gone, it didn't happen until today. Enjoy our late Tot School post! FYI, all the printable games and books you see in this post came from here and here.

Tot School

Miss O is 2 years and 10 months.

This week in Tot School:

Daddy told another felt bedtime story:
Miss O matched up letters on this homemade Sequence board that DH made with letters from a alphabet puzzle we have:
Miss O spent some time with the lentil tray:
And matched up Easter eggs. She does okay with this as long as there is only one color of each side of the eggs:
Here she is Sequencing monkeys I printed off and laminated:
And matching foam letters to the Sequence game:
Here she is with the sequencing puzzle:
And circling shapes that she sees in her shape book. Both of these I printed and laminated as well:
Miss O played with the magnetic foam structures:
And lastly, she, Little Bean and Daddy played this homemade version of Sequence, using letters I printed off the internet:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pretty Sweet Dollar Store Toy

While traveling in Oklahoma this week I came across these letter and number stamps at the dollar store. The kids had a good time trying them out this morning. Miss O even pretended that that they were candles on a birthday cake. :) The dollar store is such a great place to find inexpensive school supplies and toys.
Which dollar store do you like the most? And what are some of your great finds?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Playroom

I always enjoy seeing posts about toy storage/school supply storage, that kind of thing. Since I finally have our playroom exactly how I want it, I decided to do a little "behind the scenes" post showing off our little play space.

First off, I know we are really blessed to have an extra space that we can make into a playroom. This is our third place since the kids were born, and the first time we have had a playroom. It's so nice at the end of the day to have all the toys stored away and to have a normal, adult-friendly living room. But, it's always nice to have a pretty play space too, so I've spent the last several months periodically purchasing stuff to make our playroom a special and inviting place for the kids.

Here is our toy storage system, which I bought from ABC Distributing. I'll be honest and say that this product took about two and a half months to arrive at my home, so I wasn't too pleased with the customer service. However, each storage system, including the cloth boxes, was only $14.00's a piece (I bought two), so to me the wait was worth it. I do like this system because it is very compact; the boxes are pretty small and are perfect for storing all their small collections of toys--magnets, blocks, felt, foam shapes, cars, etc. One complaint is that it is a bit fragile, so I really had to warn my kids not to attempt sitting on it or climbing on it because I know if they did it would collapse. So far, it hasn't been a problem!
This is our kitchen set up close. This is on the left side of the room, as you come in, opposite the toy boxes. It's a KidKraft kitchen that we got at Walmart when Miss O was about 18 months. I love this kitchen. It's about the same price as the colorful plastic ones (or maybe less?), but in my opinion so much more attractive and durable. I also love that it has so much storage. I bought little cloth bins at Target that fit perfectly in the fridge portion, so I never have to see the play food when it is not being played with. :)
Here is the room as you come in the door. The frames were old frames from my room growing up that I just removed the glass from and hung. I hammered a few well-placed nails in the wall and then hung up their artwork with binder clips that hang from the nails. I *think* I got that idea from Let's Explore.
Following it around clockwise, here is the next wall. My husband installed these inexpensive shelves from Home Depot on either side of the window.
The curtains shown here were on sale at Walmart for $14.00's--I was lucky they went perfectly with the "theme" of this room. Below the window is a homemade felt board. I simply wrapped some inexpensive felt around a piece of thick posterboard and glued the back. To attach it to the wall, I used sticky back velcro.
This is the other side of the window. The white baskets were 40% off at Michaels Craft Store. These I picked up only recently.
Here is the third wall. It consists of a hand-me-down chair from my mom, our toy boxes, and art on the wall. To display their artwork here, I used two eyelet screws, a clothesline and some clothespins, all of which were on hand. Since I cloth diapered, I had my own clothesline in the backyard for a while. :)
And this is the last wall. There is only one narrow piece of wall here. It's sandwiched between a boxy closet, which is pretty much empty, and the doorway. Here, I used sticky back velcro to attach our magna doodle and a magnetic cookie sheet to the wall for magnet play. There is also a white rug with colored circles in the center of the room, which I also bought at Walmart.

So, that's our playroom! I'm really not much of a decorator--most of my home is blank walls with a few frames here and there, but I'll be honest--decorating this room brought me a lot of happiness! :) I love it when things look nice and organized, and I really love it when I can do that without spending an arm and a leg. As I said at the beginning of my post, this room was decorated over a span of several months. Each month I would add something new, and sell something old on craigslist in order to buy something new! I hope you enjoyed the tour. I'd love to see your playrooms or play areas too. If you'd like to share, please do leave a comment and share your room with me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fast Food

No this post isn't about poor eating habits--it's about a pretty nifty (if I do say so myself!) children's book titled Fast Food. Authors Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymenn write a sweet little book all about transportation, but here's the best part--all the illustrations are made using photos of real fruits and vegetables!

A pudgy little mushroom man in his cucumber car. A few lean celery folk on an orange slices trike. A red bell pepper fire engine with two brave radishes at the wheel. I absolutely loved this book, and I know you (and your littles ones) will too!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus

Tot School will be posted a little late this week as we are out of town visiting relatives, so all my posts are scheduled out, and I won't be able to do the Tot School post on time. So for now...

Little Bean drew this school bus for me a while back. If you can see, the top of the bus runs along the top of the magnadoodle; and look at all those wheels! I love how proud he was of this drawing(can't you just see his pride in the photo?!), so I took a picture. Oh to be a child again, finding such joy in the smallest of things!
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