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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Acorn Cap Jewels

These acorn jewels are so pretty and I knew I had to try them since I first spotted them on Kiwi crate.

It's getting to be that time of the year again......acorn time! Our neighborhood oak trees start dropping tons of acorns around the first to second week of September.  Now is the time to start thinking about what to do with all the acorns that might start to fall in your neck of the woods!

Ever since finding out about this fun craft my kiddos collect not only the acorn but the caps too!

The acorns my daughter picked after just one outing!  We added many, MANY more!

My kids after their 'acorn challenge.' Counting and picking out the good ones!

Here's what you'll need to make your own jewels:
Acorn caps
Play dough or rice
Patience.....see below!

This craft is super duper easy.  Simply pick your caps, color the inside with a marker, fill the cap with glue and press the acorn caps into play dough or rice so that the caps have a place to live without falling over for the next 2-3 days, as this is the amount of time it will take for your acorns to dry.  This is the part that requires patience! It is SO worth the wait because once these beauties dry they look so pretty!

We simply display them as an autumn decoration but I've seen how some people will play match games with them or use them as counters. Your kids might also decide to share their jewels with friends or family!

Whatever you may decide to do with them one thing for sure is they will look pretty and add a festive touch to the autumn season!

These are our acorns displayed on one of our tables.  

Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Learning About Our 5 Senses

I pick up so many great things at yard sales.  My most recent find was the book, My Five Senses by Aliki, snatched it up for .25 cents!  I had been wanting to teach Tiffany about the 5 senses and thought this book would be a good start. After not being able to get the book from our local library I was really excited with my find!

We read the book before we even got out of the car after the yard sale!  We both really enjoyed it and I was even more motivated by Tiffany's positive response to get started with our 5 senses activity.  I had a few ideas on how to do this activity and finally opted with using poster board to make a kind of graph.  Here's what we used:
  • Poster board
  • Photos found online
  • Laminator
  • Glue
  • Permanent marker
  • Stickers
First, I started off by gluing photos that signify our 5 senses; hand, nose, mouth, eyes and ears.  I glued them across the top of the poster board.  To separate each sense I drew lines going down so that each one had it's own column.

Next, with more photos found online, I printed and laminated different things.  I used clouds, drums, books, ice-cream, feathers and flowers.  I put these photos into a basket to use for when we were ready to play.

Because I also wanted my daughter to physically touch, see, hear, taste and smell I collected some things from around the house and put them in a bag to include with our lesson.

Now we were all ready!  We used the laminated photos first and as we took them from the basket I asked Tiffany which sense she would use for each.  She then took some small round stickers and put the sticker under the correct sense.  The reason for this part was to chart which sense we use most often.  Once we were finished with the laminated photos I brought out the bag of things I collected.  She pulled one item  out at a time and used the same process as above.  The only difference with this part was that she physically got to use her senses.

Once finished she counted each sticker and wrote the number at the bottom of the chart.  From this activity we learned that the sense of sight was used most often.

When we were all done we read the book, My Five Senses again and hung up our chart, which she was very proud of!!

Learning about our 5 senses doesn't stop here.  We continue to talk about which senses we are using like for example when we are taking a walk or when we are eating, etc.

If you would like to introduce your child to their senses simply talking about them on a daily basis will be a great way to start!