Thursday, May 29, 2014

Princess Rocks

We paint alot but one of the painting sessions that stands out in my mind the most is when we painted river stones.  On this particular day I set us up outside as it was a cooler morning last summer in late August. My son had already started back at school so it was just me and Tiffany.  I laid down a large blanket on our patio, collected some rocks from our garden, included lots of different color paints and of course glitter, can't forget the glitter!!

Nothing compares to painting outdoors!  Personally, when we paint indoors even when I'm careful with covering our work area I'm a bit on edge!  And I feel that I stifle my daughter in her work because I'm worried about what the paint will get on.  But I take a deep breath and hope for the best.  This is why, for us, painting outdoors is the best way to paint and create and without worry!

Tiffany painted SO many rocks that we ran out of the river stone rocks we had in our garden (and we have alot!)  Of course the rain eventually washed our rocks clean and so we still have those rocks available to paint again in the future! Tiffany painted away and poured glitter until her little heart was content!  And when I say poured glitter I mean poured glitter! For this activity we used both the shake on glitter and glitter pens.  Tiffany was very proud of her pretty and very 'girly' rocks!  We literally spent 3 hours painting and I know this because my son had just started back at school and only had a half day.  We went out right after dropping my son at the bus and we stayed out until 30 minutes before picking him back up!

Tiffany was calling her rocks 'Princess rocks' and so I gave her a wand that I had picked up at Michael's and let her decorate it.  I thought it would be a nice addition to her 'Princess rocks.'  She spread on glitter, glitter glue and decorated it with lots of beads!!

What a great way to spend a summer morning!  Even though this painting session was almost a year ago I remember it vividly and fondly and now that the weather is nice again I can't wait to get back to our outdoor painting sessions!

I would love to know about your favorite painting projects that you've shared with your children or in your classrooms! Comment below and for more kid friendly activities and parenting tips stop by our facebook page


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Storing our Summer Essentials


How do you store your seasonal essentials?  

At our house we use baskets that are kept in our kitchen near our garage door which is also where we enter and exit the house.  Our patio door that leads to our backyard is also right off the kitchen so our baskets are kept in an area that we can easily grab and go. For way too long I scrambled to find hats and gloves in winter or sunscreen and swim shoes in summer.  Since we have a very small coat closet I was in need of somewhere else to gather these seasonal must have's!  

We were using a shoe cubby that I no longer needed since I moved our shoes to our coat closet.  A light bulb went off and I thought if we took the 'guts' of the shoe cubby out and just left the 2 shelves I could slide in 2 baskets!!  Yippee, a way to store those things I had always scrambled for!   

 So, with the warm weather finally here I was able to switch out our winter baskets to our summer baskets! Their may not seem like alot here but when you need just one of these things and can't remember where it might be even those few minutes of searching can become frustrating. I'm sure we'll be adding things but for now here are the things my kids will be grabbing for as we head outside.

Once shoe cubby now basket holder!

Everyone's needs will be different so what is considered our summer essentials may not be yours.  What I hope this post will do is give ideas on how to be ready for your outdoor fun! I've learned a few things over past summers and tried to remember those things so that I would be better prepared.  Things like forgetting towels when we were playing in the sprinkler or slip n' slide or when the garden hose just happened to make an appearance. Here's what's in our summer baskets:

1. Hooded towel - (will add one for my son as well)  This way, if I forget to bring the towels outside at least I will only have to run into my kitchen to grab it.

2. Goggles - We don't have a swimming pool but our slip n' slide has a little pool at the end and Tiffany likes to splash around while wearing goggles!  Now we got the goggles covered too!!

3. Sunscreen - Normally we kept sunscreen in our downstairs bathroom cabinet but it made more sense to keep it near all our other outdoor stuff.

4. Sunglasses - Somehow my kids have inherited  way too many pairs of sunglasses!  I included a pair for each so that I don't have to run around the house trying to remember where I seen them last.

5. Swim Shoes - even tho no pool swim shoes are great for protecting those tootsies from bumble bees or when the pavement gets too hot!

6. Sun hat - (will also add one for Jonathan)

I am considering making one basket Tiffany's and the other Jonathan's.

Anything that I felt my kids would use while playing in our yard is what I included.  I am also preparing a beach/pool bag that I will keep stocked with all the essentials needed for heading off to the beach or pool.  Some of the things will be the same as what's in our baskets but duplicates so that I won't have to take from one to put into the other.  Basically, our baskets are meant for when we play outside in our yard.  The bag will be for when we leave the house.

My hope for sharing this post is that it will help give ideas on how you can be better prepared for playing outdoors in the summer. No matter what the activity when one is prepared it's that much more enjoyable!

I hope you'll share in the comments below what your summer essentials are and how you keep them all in one place!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Patriotic Craft

As I type this we leave for Disney World in just a few hours.  I have been packing us up for what seems like an eternity!!  At about yesterday afternoon I needed to do something other than pack and plan for our trip. Although, extremely excited about our vacation I desperately needed a distraction.  What to do?  A craft, of course!

 I needed to do something without alot of prep and time.  So, with the upcoming Memorial day holiday I thought we would do a patriotic craft.  Here are the supplies needed for this craft:

Star shape cookie cutter (or freehand)
Red, white and blue construction paper
Popsicle/craft sticks
Yarn or clothespins

The first thing to do is glue your craft sticks together to make a square.  After cutting out your star shapes simply have your child glue them around the frame of the craft sticks.  I love how my daughter was so particular with the glue spots on her stars!  Great fine motor activity!!

To make this more of a learning craft you could have your child make a pattern with their stars.  We did not even though Tiffany enjoys her patterns!

Take your white paper, we used cardstock, and glue to the back of the craft sticks.  I used a glue stick to write the letters U S A  on the cardstock and Tiffany shook glitter over the letters.  The very last thing to do before displaying your USA sign is to either use yarn to hang or in our case I used some cute baby clothespins.  I picked them up after Valentines day when Target had their Valentines items on clearance.  I thought the red glitter clothespins were perfect for this patriotic craft!

As an alternative in place of putting the letters USA you could turn this craft into a photo frame and put a photo of a loved one who served in our armed forces.  In honor of Memorial day that would be a sweet way to remember a loved one.

However you may choose to use this craft it was exactly what I had hoped for quick, easy and fun!  If you try it I hope you'll share with me on my facebook page


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tell Me About It Tuesday Linky Party

If you shared with my readers last week, THANK YOU!  You all have such great ideas so why not share them! 

 Here is my feature from last week's entries: Emma from P is for Preschooler

Today is your day to 'Tell Me About It'!  What crafts, activities or other children related things have you been up to?  Take a minute to share up to 2 of your blog posts at the link below.  Lets remember to show love to others who are also linking up by clicking on the post before yours (or more posts too is always great!) and commenting or sharing.  It's always nice to hear positive feedback!

Please no giveaways!

If you are linking up and haven't liked us on Facebook yet, stop on over with a like and I'll like ya' back!

Now, lets share!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Learning About Mixing Colors

My 4 year old has always showed an interest in mixing colors to see what other colors they can make. When we finger paint she loves sticking her hands in 2 different colors, rubbing her hands together and making hand prints.  If we use paint brushes she'll always put 2 different colors on the brush to see what color will appear on the paper.  It's definitely an activity that keeps her interest for quite some time!

One day while I was using my blender Tiffany asked if she could use her blender.  Actually, this blender was purchased for my son when he was about my daughters age. My son is 8.5 now and this toy blender is still being loved!! Gotta love toys that keep on givin'!  Anyway, Tiffany asked for water and simply turned on the blender and watched it swirl around.  Since we've used food coloring for other activities she asked if she could make her water a different color.  Since I make shakes in my blender what she actually said was, "can I make a blue drink?"  This is how are color mixing with water and a toy blender started. 

At least once per week Tiffany will ask to make a drink and now I know exactly what she means. I'll take out her blender, provide her with a cup and the process begins.  First, Tiffany uses the cup and puts ice in it by using the ice dispenser on our fridge. She usually adds one ice cube at a time and I encourage her to count each ice cube as she takes the ice from the cup and puts into her blender.

Next, Tiffany takes the cup back to the fridge uses our water dispenser and fills her cup with water and then pours that water into her blender.

To avoid food coloring getting all over the place I add in a few drops of the food coloring.

This is the fun part as Tiffany turns on her blender and watches as the colors swirl together.  The blender is really cool because when you turn it on not only does it offer the sense of sight by seeing the the colors swirl around but it also offers the sense of sound as you can hear the blender mixing just like Mommie's!

Once the water is mixed together Tiffany removes the blender cup from the base and pours the water into a cup for Mommy to drink.  We continue the same process using different colors as she makes 2 more drinks for big brother and Daddy!

The fun didn't stop there! Once Tiffany finished mixing colors she wanted to add 'something else' to her drink.  I gave her some sprinkles, a measuring spoon and she began adding the sprinkles and mixing away!

This activity teaches:

What our primary colors are and what happens when mixed together.

Life lessons, like pouring from one cup to another.  This is a skill that requires practice and patience. One day, sooner than later, Tiffany should be able to pour her drinks....with less spills.

Counting and measuring as Tiffany uses one to one correspondence when counting the ice cubes and measuring out the sprinkles.

Communication, as we talk about how and why the water changed color. 

Sharing and Responsibility, as Tiffany makes drinks and shares with her family.  It also gives a sense of contributing and responsibility to the household as we usually share these drinks with the family at dinner time.

This activity turned out to be more than just mixing colors.  Gotta love when one activity can lead into another!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tell Me About it Tuesday Linky Party!

Today is your day to 'Tell Me About It'!  What crafts, activities or other children related things have you been up to?  Take a minute to share up to 2 of your blog posts at the link below.  Lets remember to show love to others who are also linking up by clicking on the post before yours (or more posts too is always great!) and commenting or sharing.  It's always nice to hear positive feedback!

Please no giveaways!

If you are linking up and haven't liked us on Facebook yet, stop on over with a like and I'll like ya' back!

Now, lets share!~

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Diorama Fun

What I love about making a diorama is it's 3D effect and how it brings the creation to life.  The possibilities of what your diorama can be are endless!  At the end of my post I will include some sites that share ideas for making a diorama. Creating a diorama works on fine motor skills, imagination and encourages recycling, especially if you use a shoe box.

When my son was about 4 years old he became interested in making diorama's.  Jonathan is now 8.5 but at the time he was a fan of the Sprout television network and Sprout features a viewer with their diorama during commercial breaks. Jonathan asked if he could make one and send to Sprout.  Here are some old pictures of Jonathan with his 'Sprout' diorama creations.

This is Jonathan's winter scene which still airs on Sprout during the Christmas season!
Supplies for winter scene:
cut out snowman from construction paper
cut out snowflakes
fabric for scarf
plastic tree
construction paper for mountains
string for hanging snowflakes

If anyone is familiar with Sprout then you'll know this is Star from The Goodnight Show!
Supplies for Star diorama:
cotton for clouds
construction paper for stars, moons, background and for Star 
napkin for Star's blanket
straw for toothbrush
bottle cap for moon
tinfoil for some other stars
pipe cleaner for Star's hair
string to hang stars and moons

Summer scene
Supplies used:
popsicle sticks for swing and pool ladder
cling wrap colored with blue marker for pool water
cardboard for pool
paper umbrella
toothpicks for flower stems
construction paper for flower cut outs and background
foam for swing seat

Spring scene
Supplies used:
construction paper for background,sun and mountains
pipe cleaner for flower and handle on pot of gold
paper plate for rainbow
string/yarn to hang rainbow
shredded paper for grass
popsicle sticks for fence

Looking back at these pictures reminds me of how much fun we had putting these together!

Once Tiffany was old enough I wanted her to also experience making a diorama.  We haven't made as many as my son but here are the 2 she did make.

Shapes and 123 Diorama
Supplies used:
box lid
construction paper for shapes, numbers and mountain
markers for coloring shapes and numbers
string for hanging shapes

Our most recent Springtime/Flower scene Diorama

recycled a toilet paper roll dipped in yellow paint for our sun

adding glue so that we could stick on our grass (shredded green paper)

Recycled more toilet paper rolls and painted them green to act as the stems for our flowers

We also added a butterfly which is attached by a pipe cleaner.  I punched a hole into the top of the shoebox, pushed through the pipe cleaner and added our butterfly.  I wanted Tiffany to be able to interact with the butterfly by being able to make it fly!  We keep this diorama on a cabinet that Tiffany can easily reach and from time to time I notice her stopping by and making her butterfly, fly!

Many elementary and middle schools will offer children the opportunity to make a diorama for a class project or to re-tell a story.  Museums also like using  diorama's to explain a certain time in history or the background of a specific animal.

Preschoolers, as you can see, can also have fun with them! For us it's all about creating and exploring art in a different way.

Here are some sites with more ideas for making your very own diorama:

I love that Sprout t.v. encourages creativity by featuring their children viewers diorama creations! If you have Sprout t.v. you may want to check out how to make and send them your diorama!

What could your diorama be about?
African animals
Sea creatures