Monday, January 30, 2012

Scavenger Hunt

Today my older son did not have school and we were feeling that 3 o'clock boredom hit. What to do,what to do? We decided to do a scavenger hunt!

He gathered items from around the house and we made a list. We took turns hiding the items and finding them. It was a bit funny because we would find an item when looking for something else and pretend we did not see it. Professing out loud that we did not see the baseball or dinosaur.

Our items were:
Baseball, baseball mit, dinosaur, penguin puppet, spiderman figure and a Toy Story magazine.

Have you done an impromptu scavenger hunt?

Our items to find.

Finally we have SNOW!

It has been a strange winter here in Michigan; little snow and mild temperatures. I don't mind it all that much, but I know my kids are chomping at the bit for snow. We got it!

Once little brother woke up from his nap we all jumped in our winter gear, armed for cold and snowy fun.  I wanted to surprise the boys with spray bottles filled with food coloring and water. Boy, they were surprised. My oldest immediately started to make a volcano, then sprayed it down.

The boys from down the street came by and were shocked that we were spraying the snow. They had never seen that. I let them join in and they sprayed their snow balls and watched them break apart when they hit the road. There was lots of laughter and fun involved. I love how something so simple can bring joy.

You cannot see depth, but here is the volcano.

The kids working as a team.

The end result with a blue river around it. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Playing with Water and Ice

If there is any doubt that water and ice are fun to play with; a picture says a thousand words. 

Standing room only!
Our sensory play was with water and colored ice cubes. My friends were wrapped around our table, eager to participate. The room was quiet except for the noise of stirring water and ice cubes.

They watched in amazement as clear water turned blue, green, and red. They excitedly asked for more ice cubes as soon as they melted.

Little hands stirred and poured and dipped and splashed. Little did they know they were having a science lesson and their moms/dads/caregivers were their teachers.


Orange Play Dough Recipe

I had the urge to make scented play dough this week. I wanted it for Friday night when my parenting group meets; we have been meeting for almost six years now!

My little helper helped me mix and mix our orange concoction. It smells so wonderful and is super soft. 

I have searched high and low for the best recipe and I end up using a mixture of recipes. I like to add boiling water to mine rather than cooking it. It is a matter of personal preference. 

The recipe I used is here, but I added more flour to it as it was rather wet. If you need to add flour, do it a little at a time. 

 This is always a hit in my classroom when I use it during sensory play. It is much softer than store bought play dough and of course the smell is fabulous. Too bad Emeril didn't get that smell-o-vision working.

Do you make your own play dough? What is your favorite recipe? Please share. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Rain Boots!

I am not sure why mother nature cannot make up her mind, but I am not going to complain. I normally don't like winter, but this winter has been mild to say the least. Of course now that I said that the cosmos is going to do what it does and bring on the mother of all snow storms. Your welcome. 

I was going to do a snow theme this week, however, all the snow melted. Rain it is. I found the best book at the library, Ooh La La Polka Dot Boots by  Ellen Olson-Brown. It is a fun little book and in it, everything goes with Polka Dot Boots! I own a pair and I agree.

Our craft is a simple not so messy one this week, surprise! We are going to use dot painters to paint polka dot boots. My friends have not used these yet in my class and I am excited to see what they think. Update: They loved it. The movement and the banging noise that was made while painting made this a huge hit!

Our sensory table is full of water. I love it. I let the children place ice cubes that I had colored with food coloring into the water to see what happens. I put out two tubs. One had hot water and one had cold. I discussed with the kids what happens when you put the ice cubes in each. They mixed with spoons and measuring cups. Of course I completely forgot to take pictures of this. Duh. 

I brought in my polka dot rain boots for the kids to see and try on. Below is my little guy reading the book, next to my boots. A couple of my friends even tried the boots on.

We finished off class with parachute play, which is always a hit. 

Have you played with the dot painters? If so what is your favorite craft to do?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I have been trying to survive on little to no sleep for the last three years. Yes, three years!

When my youngest was born it was obvious he was a mamma's boy and a nurser. Oh my that boy loved to nurse. So much, I had to wean him at 26 months. Yep, you read that right. He would still nurse today if I let him. I feel sorry for his future girlfriends. I apologize girls, I created a boob man. I don't regret a minute of it. *I am not against formula, my oldest weaned at 5 months and was formula fed. I am pro whatever works for you and your family. No judging here. We momma's need to support each other.

This got me thinking about the saying "sleep like a baby", which is so wrong. People say it when they got a great night of sleep. That is wrong on so many levels. Sleeping like a baby means you wake up every two or three hours. I sleep like a baby and it sucks.

I want to sleep like the dead. Yes, the dead. You know you are not waking up during the night. Nope, no chance. Dead people do not wake up, well most of the time (I digress). They only wake up in movies Bruce Campbell is in. I love him, he is currently in a show I watch and his name is Sam. That just happens to be my little peanut's name. Again, I digress.

So I am toasting all my momma's who are sleeping like a baby, may you soon sleep like the dead. In the meantime, I am enjoying another cup of joe. Tonight I will be taking my Calms Forte and praying tonight will be a good night.
Almost three years ago, the beginning of my lack of sleep. I wouldn't trade them for anything; not even a cup of joe.

Opposites in Chalk

This week we focused on opposites. You do not realize how much we discuss opposites in class until you create a plan to discuss it! I am always telling my friends how we go on or under, take the balls in and out, etc. 

I read two books regarding opposites. One had a safari theme; I spun off that and had our sensory table full of soft and rubber safari animals.

Our craft was simple, yet effective. We used chalk to draw on a white and black piece of paper. I gave the children the idea to do the sun and moon, however stressed that they could draw whatever they wanted. The focus for me was to have them feel how different it is to draw with chalk on paper rather than crayons, markers, or even paint.

Our theme and craft.

My friends artwork. Gorgeous. 

I wanted to mention if you are out towards IKEA pick up some of their chalk. It is a great price and perfect for little hands. Not to mention some of the colorful frames. You can hang your little one's art work on the wall.

How do you use chalk? On the sidewalk, or in the house?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shaving Cream Painting

Tonight, to keep my boy's occupied while I was cooking dinner I had them paint. I did not use any old paint, tonight we painted with shaving cream and food coloring. Needless to say it was a big hit!

First you put shaving cream on a plate or cookie sheet. Next you put different color food coloring On different parts of the shaving cream. Then you swirl into designs. Let the kids do this and remember there is no wrong way. It is all about the process.

Finally you take a piece of white paper and gently place it on the shaving cream and rub ever so gently.
When you take the paper off it will be full of cream. Gently scrap that off and the original design will be revealed.

My kids took it to the next level and painted their hands, arms and then eventually the table. I decided to let them do it and I am glad I did. it was so freeing to let it go and let them make a mess. We all had a great laugh and our night was so much fun after that.

Just added the food coloring.
Mixing up the food coloring to get a design.

Result after scrapping off shaving cream.
Then the real fun begins!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This week our theme is Pigs. Pigs are fun; not only because they love to roll around in the mud (who doesn't love mud). They are fun to impersonate; snorting comes naturally to me. I snort when I laugh too hard, thanks to my mom. It is a family trait and I am proud to say my youngest son got that DNA from me. Insert snort.

I printed off and laminated pictures of the Three Little Pigs for felt board story time. This is when I really got into telling the story. There is something about acting out a story and having the kids help that is much more rewarding. Now that I got my laminator I am doing this more often. The kids helped me act out the wolf huffing and a puffing. It was the best story time we have had in a while. Every child was engaged.

Our craft is muddy pigs. I cut out a pig on pink construction paper. I then had the kids help me mix shaving cream and brown paint. The kids then painted the mud on the pigs. The sensory aspect makes this so much fun. The paint is fluffy and fun.

This Pig's mud is not very brown, but that is not stopping my friend at all!

I am super excited about my art drying Octopus that I got at IKEA. You can see it holding our muddy pigs.

The pig theme was a hit. How about you, wouldn't you love your little one to come get "muddy"?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hot Chocolate Day!

This week our theme is Hot Chocolate! I don't know about you, but I love a good cup of hot chocolate. I really wanted to incorporate this into our play friends class. I got the idea from Deborah at Teach Preschool. If you have not checked it out, you really need to.

I loved the idea of having the kids paint their own hot chocolate, so that is what we did. Originally I was going to have them paint with brown paint scented with cocoa powder. I changed my mind and we painted with...wait for it...chocolate pudding! Oh my gosh it smelled so good. I cannot believe none of the kids tasted it! I was ready to dive in.

Then I had them paint the marshmallows with marshmallows dipped in white paint.

The finished products.

I also made chocolate scented play dough. Home made play dough is always a hit in my class and at home. I cannot recommend it enough. It is simple and there are a ton of recipes out there.

This picture is showing it more light brown, it really is a deep chocolate brown.

Overall, I felt it was a hit. The kids sat longer at the table then they had in a while. The thick texture of the pudding made painting more fun; not to mention the marshmallows! I think my son was the only one who ate one. 

Finally, my guy helped clean up the room after class. He took this seriously. He wiped down tons of toys! I taught him well. 

Have you played with chocolate/foods in your class or at home?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Angry Birds Live

My oldest son loves Angry Birds, but we limit his time on the phone. Frankly it is too small for him to be playing anything on it, but that is another post.

The other day while his little brother was taking a nap and we were desperately waiting for his best bud to arrive for a play date, he came up with this version of Angry Birds. He simply used green play dough and his wooden blocks. He knocked them down with a baseball, a big ball of play dough, and the big gun - a plastic hammer. Yep, a hammer.

The first attempt at building.

He made them harder the longer he played.

He got real good at knocking them down.

So who needs the online game? Not us, at least that day. He had a blast and it worked his hand eye coordination, gross motor and even fine motor skills without him even knowing it! I even tried my hand at it a few times. It was fun.

What has your little one done that makes you think wow?

Monday, January 2, 2012


I found this great idea over at Toddler Approved; a book nook.

I always have the ambition to read for 20 minutes every day to my boys. When it comes down to it, I forget. It could be my fault with poor time management. Sometimes it is due to craft time that went long, a play room that was highly over used and needed to be cleaned, or really to much blog/facebook time. Been there, done that. Speaking of that, a friend of mine said she set a timer on her computer so she can only be on Facebook for 15 minutes at a time! Genius. But I digress.

Since it is the beginning of a new year and goals are fresh in my mind, I am going to read darn it! We just checked out books from the library (cannot recommend enough) and I set them out so we will see them. We have to read at least one a day. This should be easy since I already have a book/craft in mind for Playaway. I normally test the craft out on my kids, but now I will add the book to the routine.

Now, I must say my reading nook is really my couch and nothing fancy like the pictures in the Toddler Approved blog. I would love to have a great nook, but we have too many books (3 shelves full) and little space. The play room is already jammed packed with toys, art supplies, the kitchen, and costumes. It is easier to read on the couch after bath and right before bed.

Do you have a reading nook? If so, share some photos.

Read on my friends.