Monday, October 13, 2014

What's Missing Game? (Halloween style!)

Since my son was about the age my daughter is now we have played the "what's missing game" mostly when waiting at restaurants.  It's an easy game to play almost anywhere and you can use almost anything to play.

I made up a Halloween version incorporating a Halloween hunt for the things that would be used in the game.  This past weekend my kids were in the painting mood, finger painting to be exact.  It's not one of my favorite things to do when we are indoors but I grin and bare it.  I've seen so many fun Halloween hand and foot paintings that I wanted to try one and really thought the one I had seen here was super cute.  Since I had all the paints already out we made these cute pumpkin face bags.

After my kids collected the items I hid around the house and put them in their bags we were ready to play the game!  It's so simple but yet the kids laughed and had alot of fun with it.

On their hunt!

Here's how we played:
They took a good look at what was in front of them then closed their eyes while I removed one of the items. Once their eyes were open they would try to guess which item was missing.  We kept doing that adding things to make it more challenging as we went along.

No peeking!

My kids are 8 and 4 and it can be tough to find activities that they both enjoy.  This is definitely one that they both had fun with!!

To make the pumpkin bags here's what you'll need:
Brown paper bags
Orange paint
Green paint
Black permanent marker
Hole puncher (optional)
Raffia (optional)
Your little one's hands!

Paint your little one's hands with the orange paint and the green and press onto the bag.
Once dry draw your pumpkin's face
This part is optional.  I made small holes on each side of the bag with a hole puncher and strung raffia through it so the bag could have handles.

If you like the pumpkin bags but don't want to play the game, simply fill the bags with goodies whether food or non-food related for your kids or for their classroom if they have a Halloween party. We are also taking our bags on a walk later to collect some leaves!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Candy Corn Mini Flower Pot

For years, actually more like a decade, I've been holding onto these mini clay flower pots.  I had picked them up at a yard sale and they have been just taking up space on a shelf in our garage.  Until now!

Initially, I wanted to use the large size clay pots also hanging out on the shelf but that's a project that will have to wait until Christmas, I hope.  So instead, I shrunk the idea of this craft by using these mini's to make candy corn flower pots.

What I used:
Mini clay flower pot
White paint
Orange paint
Yellow paint
Paint brushes
Googly eyes
Orange pipe cleaner

This diy was so simple.  I cleaned up the pot a bit,  painted on the candy corn colors, added some googly eyes and voila.....Mini Candy Corn Flower pot!

I wanted to make an entire family of these cuties but I didn't have the time so for now we'll adore just this one!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Identifying Letter Sounds

Alot of letter identification has been going on over here and I wanted to do something that would incorporate the different letter activities we have been working on.  This activity would recognize the actual letter, the letter sound and work on fine motor skills.

Here's what we we used:
Popsicle sticks
Stamps and ink pad
Permanent marker

On each end of the popsicle sticks I stamped on a picture of things like a cat, frog, hat, ball, etc.  With permanent marker I wrote 3 different letters on the popsicle sticks in both upper case and lower case letters.  My hope in doing it this was to make my daughter have to think more about which letter was correct.  I asked my daughter to tell me what the stamped picture was and then asked her the sound it makes.  Once she identified both she put the clothespin on the correct letter which worked on her fine motor skills.

choosing letter and sound for Sun

choosing letter and sound for Clouds

Since the supplies needed for this activity all fit perfectly in a ziploc bag I've added it to our busy bag.

If you would like to try this and do not have stamps you could use stickers, print pictures or cut out pictures from learning books and glue them to the popsicle sticks.

For more letter learning you can check out our Bottle cap upper case and lower case letter match game

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Rock Garden

Painting with rocks is certainly not new to us as my daughter really enjoys painting with them.  We had alot of fun with our Creating with Rocks and with our Princess Rocks.  Who knew that the rocks my husband and I once used to accent our gardens would one day turn into craft projects with our kids!

This time around we used our rocks to create a Halloween Garden.  We made a candy corn rock and used tape resist art to create a pumpkin and ghost.  If you've been following along then you'll know we've had our fair share of acorns.  Even after our Acorn Cap Jewels and Acorn Sensory Bin we had more to create with and so we added a few acorn pumpkins and acorn ghosts to our 'garden.'

Here's what you'll need to make your own Halloween Garden:
Paint brushes
Tape (if doing tape resist)
Stick (optional for pumpkin rock)
Black permanent marker
Black Beans

To do the tape resist art simply take some painters tape and make the face that you want on the rock.

Once that's done, hand the paint brush over to the kids and let them paint away!

Once completely dry carefully peel off the tape.  We only did the tape resist with our pumpkin and ghost.  For the candy corn we simply painted the rock with candy corn colors!  It's not shown here but I also added a stick to act as the stem for our pumpkin rock.

For the acorns we just painted them orange for the pumpkins, white for ghosts and added faces with permanent marker.

After our rocks and acorns were painted I knew I wanted to display them outdoors but since I wasn't going to put any protective coating to keep the rain from washing them clean I had to think of somewhere else.  Since most of our Fall and Halloween decorations are on our front porch we added our Halloween rock garden here too. The porch would also keep the rocks safe from rain, etc.

I didn't want to just lay the rocks flat or prop them up so I thought since this is a 'garden' of rocks why not use black beans to act as the dirt and get a container to put them in.  I purchased an orange bin from The Dollar Store, added the black beans and put everything inside.

This Halloween Garden adds to our Halloween and Fall decorations but what I really like is that once we are finished with the holiday I can re-use the beans for a sensory or other activity and the rocks can be repainted after I let the rains get to them.  As for the orange bin I will keep that for future Halloween decorating or I can use it for future Halloween's to hold the treats for trick or treaters!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Toilet Paper Roll Ghosts

Last year around this time as I was getting our Fall and Halloween decorations ready and my then 3 year old daughter wanted nothing to do with anything even remotely scary.  My then 8 year old son wanted everything to do with was a challenge to try and make both kids happy with the decorations.  Thankfully this year my now 4 year old says she wants a haunted mansion house and asks every single day to decorate it so that it looks like the Haunted Mansion in Disney.  Needless to say, my son is in his glory!!

Unfortunately, for both my kids I am more of a fall decorator and not really into the scary stuff. But I will do my best like for example hanging these toilet paper roll ghosts from our fireplace, which are definitely more cute than scary but my kids are happy!  I got the idea to make these toilet paper roll ghosts after seeing Sarah's Dixie Cup Ghosts over at How Wee Learn.

These were super easy to make so even the youngest of children can have a hand in it.  All we did was take some toilet paper rolls, my daughter painted glue onto the rolls, we pulled apart the cotton balls and stuck on.  As a finishing touch we added googly eyes, and some ghost mouths using black construction paper.

I'm trying to get into the 'haunted mansion' mode. I was even willing to hang some fake cobwebs in our trees today.  Tomorrow we're off to the dollar store for more spooky scary stuff......wish me luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Acorn Sensory Bin

If you've seen our Acorn Cap Jewels post you will know that we have alot of oak trees in our neighborhood.  My kids love to collect all these acorns and right now I've got more than I know what to do with!  So, I decided to put together an acorn sensory bin.

Here's what I included:
Popcorn Kernels
Various flowers and shrub pieces
Pine cones

I also put out an ice cube tray, small bowls and measuring cups.

The first thing my daughter was attracted to was a piece I included from one of our shrubs.  Not sure what the name of this shrub is called but it's great for sensory.  This shrub has been bloomed for a few weeks now but it was only since this activity that she took an interest in it.  Awoke her senses to something new!

We poured......

We dug our hands in.....

We did smallest to biggest.....

We played with corn kernels only and filled up each slot in the ice cube tray with different amounts of kernels and then guessed which slot was most full, least full.......

We buried the acorns........

We added toilet paper rolls and filled them up......

As you can tell including the ice cube tray with this sensory bin was a big hit!

I also paired this activity with the book, One More Acorn by Don Freeman and son, Roy Freeman.

Do you have a favorite fall sensory bin or any sensory bin that your child really enjoys?!  If so, I would love if you would share with us in the comments below or by stopping by our Facebook page.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Baby Safety Month - Humidifier or Vaporizer?

It's baby safety month and I've joined in with some awesome bloggers to share some some baby safety tips.

I've decided to write and share about the choices, pros and cons of using humidifiers and/or vaporizers.

If you were to Google which to use cool mist humidifier or warm mist vaporizer a ton of results would turn up.  Their are so many opinions on this that it can be mind boggling for parents of babies and young children. I am hoping I can shed some light on this topic by sharing what I have learned through my research and also through my personal experience.

Cool Mist Humidifer - adds moisture to the air but does not use a heating element.  It is simply cool air that is released that helps when a child has a cough and congestion.

Vaporizier - also adds moisture but uses a heating element that boils the water as it releases steam into the air.  Also helps a child with a cough or congestion.

Difference between the 2 - One releases cool air while the other releases steam but ultimately they both do the same job which is to help relieve a child's discomfort from a cold/cough.

Some parents might wonder which is safer for their child?  For me personally, I use a cool mist humidifier.  My main reason for not using a warm mist vaporizer is due to the heat involved.  My concern is that my children who are 8 and 4 could wander over to the vaporizer in the night, get curious about it and have the potential of getting burned.  Now, if you have a baby who is still in a crib and cannot walk or get to the vaporizer than a vaporizer could be an option for you.

Their are many more questions like how much humidity should their be in your child's room or which is better distilled water or tap and how to properly clean the unit.  This is what I meant when I said it can be mind boggling to decide which kind of humidifier to use.

I want others to walk away from this post with a better understanding of these 2 units but I don't want you to walk away more confused either.  So in a nutshell here's my final thoughts:

Both a cool mist humidifier and warm mist vaporizer both do the same job.  They release moisture into the air to help with cough and congestion.  So, do you prefer warm air vs cool?

Maintenance should be considered also.  Both units need to be cleaned thoroughly and daily.  In my opinion, neither is easier to clean they both need proper attention to cleaning so that what is released will not put bacteria and other bad particles into the air.

Where will the unit  live?  Will you put it on a dresser or the floor?  If your child(ren) absolutely cannot get to it maybe you could use a warm mist vaporizer but if you have to put it in a place where your child can access it you may opt for the cool mist humidifier.  I use a small child's table to put our humidifier on which makes it accessible to them, hence one of the reasons we use the cool mist.

As with most decisions, this is a personal choice depending on the needs of your child, where you will be putting it and cost is also a factor.  Vaporizers seem to cost more due to the heating element so if you are looking to save a few dollars a cool mist humidifier might save you a few dollars.

I hope this post will help parents when deciding on which unit to use for their children.

Links that might be helpful:
Baby Center
Dr. Sears

Please visit these other bloggers to read more about baby safety:

True Agape

Munchkins and The Military

Ramblings of a Marine Wife

This Ole Mom

Krafts & Kiddos