RSS Feed

Category Archives: Practical Life

Our days…March

I try so hard to keep up with blogging. I for some reason really struggle with finding the time (and energy?) to update this as often as I would like. I just don’t get how some moms do it. How can you possibly write a post EVERY day? Or even every week for that matter…What is the secret? How do you muster up the energy to write an intelligent and interesting post after a day of children and errands and cleaning and laundry and cooking and more cleaning?? Even right now I can think of at least 10 others things I should/could be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy writing posts, I just sometimes struggle in justifying its importance over other things that need to get done. But I guess it is important because I enjoy it, and because I get so much out of other “mom blogs” that I feel obligated to give back and share as well….so I will continue to post, whenever I have time.

So, here we are in March….Our weather for the most part is unpredictable and often unpleasant (just yesterday we had 97 km winds making it actually unsafe to go outdoors). We do attempt to go outside at least once a day despite the crazy wind/snow/hail/rain that tries to keep us inside.

20120313-104159.jpg

Our walk to the local coffee shop this past weekend

20120313-104302.jpg

I love how much the girls love to be outside. There is just something calming about a walk in the sunshine or even in the rain.

20120313-104537.jpg

Inside, we have lots of new things going on. Mya is still all about writing and learning letters. I keep out an alphabet tracing white board to encourage her and she always has access to her art shelf so she spends a lot of her time drawing and writing.

20120313-104855.jpg

20120313-104928.jpg

20120313-105002.jpg

Here is an update on some of our current activity trays..

Sorting by color (dark and light)

20120313-105830.jpg

Counting

20120313-105909.jpg

Making Shapes

20120313-110009.jpg

Polishing Pennies

20120313-110053.jpg

Stickers (working on patterns, shapes and letters) – Note: I bought inexpensive canvas from the dollar store. The stickers come off very easily allowing Mya to re-do this activity over and over without going through a lot of paper.

20120313-110135.jpg

Light Box play – Sifting

20120313-110514.jpg

20120313-110528.jpg

Current theme on our felt board for stories is Dinosaurs

20120313-110629.jpg

Sensory Bin – Cloud dough ( 4 cups flour to 1/2 cup baby oil)

20120313-112850.jpg

For Emry, who still isn’t crawling (but is close!!), I have added some mirrors to her play corner. Right now she loves anything that makes sounds. For example, she loves to bang things together or smash things on the floor and is thrilled by the different noises she creates. I put together some “mini shakers” which are small containers (lids are securely glued on) filled with different things such as rice, beans, noodles, lentils etc. I wanted them to make different sounds and are a variety of size and color. Also, the containers stack on top of each other as Mya often proudly shows Emry (and then of course they are promptly knocked over at which time a fight ensues).

20120313-111830.jpg

20120313-111851.jpg

20120313-111910.jpg

The girls are getting along better and better, they bath together and have stories read to them together. Nothing makes my day more than seeing my two girls interacting with each other and playing side by side. It truly is a special bond they are forming and it melts my heart.

20120313-112517.jpg

Some photos from the past few weeks…

20120313-113205.jpg

20120313-113308.jpg

20120313-113324.jpg

20120313-113359.jpg

20120313-113415.jpg

Baby, it’s cold outside!

The weather hasn’t been ideal for outside play lately. We are expecting a snow dump and it has been too cold to play outside longer then 20 minutes or so which means mommy has to find a lot of fun things to do inside.

The girls love being wherever I am in the house. Mya will play independently for up to an hour but Emry is good on her own only about a quarter of that time, so mostly I have a couple of girls wanting to be involved with whatever I am doing constantly. Although this can sometimes be tiring, frustrating, and make getting things done tougher, it truly is a good thing. Its important for them and important for me to spend this time, to slow down, and just be in the moment with my girls.

20120116-101103.jpg

I try to have activities set up for Mya for when she wakes up in the morning and after her nap. She often is excited to try whatever I have ready for her and then usually goes back to playing with her favorite activities we have available to her all the time like coloring, puzzles and reading.

I saw this fun idea on Pinterest, and left it up for a few days as Mya enjoyed it a lot. It took her awhile to adjust to swinging the ball from different angles to knock all the blocks over. She couldn’t wait play this with her daddy as soon as he was home from work.

20120116-102025.jpg

20120116-102201.jpg

20120116-102228.jpg

20120116-102321.jpg

20120116-102441.jpg

We had some quiet time by playing with our transfer and pouring activity. I set up a bowl of salt and provided a cup and spoon and let her use it as she wished.

20120116-102917.jpg

20120116-102958.jpg

We also tried painting with spices which was neat. Mya enjoyed learning the different names of the spices and of course the different smells.

20120116-110717.jpg

20120116-110804.jpg

20120116-110903.jpg

I love that Mya will go off and read to herself. She doesn’t want to be interrupted when she does this. She just likes to sit and “read” to herself. Sometimes she wants you to sit with her and read your own book. She does this at least once a day.

20120116-111433.jpg

Emry and Mya have some playtime together too. Emry loves any amount of attention Mya gives her but but with both being so young they don’t really play together that often. Here is a nice moment where Mya decided to give Emry an “alphabet bath”. I let the girls play alone for sometime then joined them and Mya and I took turns taking out letters and making their sounds.

20120116-111952.jpg

20120116-112041.jpg

Wednesdays for us

Today was a quiet inside day. Mya has just started to attend a Montessori preschool 2 days a week. Wednesdays are our day at home after two days of straight school, so we usually spend it doing whatever fun and calm activities Mya likes best. Her favourite thing to do with mommy is probably reading, followed by painting or playing in her kitchen.

I had a few new activity trays put together ready for our quiet day together.

20120111-202736.jpg

A sorting button tray, fun for working on our colors and fine motor skills.

20120111-202910.jpg

20120111-202940.jpg

Lock and keys, this is a new one for her and she enjoyed the challenge.

20120111-203219.jpg

20120111-203306.jpg

20120111-203337.jpg

Her teacher told us how much she enjoys stringing beads and making necklaces at school, so I added a tray of assorted beads, pipe cleaner and string with a plastic needle for her to work with.

20120111-203611.jpg

20120111-203635.jpg

I also set up contact paper on our window for Mya to decorate with assorted paper and buttons.

20120111-204213.jpg

20120111-204253.jpg

20120111-204348.jpg

Emry notices when Mya isn’t around, our house is much calmer and quieter. Although she gets more quality time with her mommy, I’m positive she prefers her sister to be near.

20120111-204741.jpg

20120111-204816.jpg

20120111-204850.jpg

20120111-204913.jpg

I also set up Emry’s animal cards as part of her room decor, she laid in her crib staring at them for
awhile which suprised me a little as she normally wants nothing to do with being in her crib awake.

20120111-205201.jpg

20120111-205241.jpg

20120111-205306.jpg

<a

Another classic activity that is awesome to have around daily is the sensory bin. Today we added magnets to it, and had a lot of fun while the baby slept.

20120111-205801.jpg

20120111-205833.jpg

20120111-205854.jpg

<a

What's more fun than a foot in your sensory bin??
20120111-205936.jpg

20120111-210029.jpg

Simple yet fun

There are plenty of easy inexpensive ways to create engaging and valuable activites and toys for young children. Some of Mya and Emry’s favorite toys are things we created at home.

Now that Emry is almost 7 months, she is ready for simple open-ended play and activites that promote curiosity and encourage motor skills.

Using an empty wipes container and loose fabric squares you can easily create a great activity for young babies. Emry played with this for a long time, working on grabbing and pulling and was intrigued with the different colors and patterns.

20120110-092257.jpg

20120110-092316.jpg

20120110-092335.jpg

Mya has been really enjoying practical life and sensory activities lately. I put together a classic bean pouring tray but added a magnifying glass to allow her to view the assorted beans more closely. She found this quite fun at first but after a few minutes returned to simply pouring and playing with the beans with her hands.

20120110-092831.jpg

20120110-092851.jpg

20120110-092905.jpg

20120110-092931.jpg

One of the best and easiest open-ended activities you can make is playdough. There are a million great homemade playdough recipes you can find online. I use one that doesn’t have to be kept in the fridge so it is easier for Mya to get to.

20120110-093858.jpg

20120110-093924.jpg

Playdough mats are a great addition to playing with playdough. If you have a laminator (which are fairly cheap and make a great tool for creating activites at home) you can print playdough mats online free, laminate them, and use them as a learning tool when playing with playdough.

20120110-093940.jpg

20120110-094305.jpg

October fun

Happy October everyone! I love this month, so Mya and I got started right away on fun fall and Hallowe’enish activities!

I introduced leaf rubbings to Mya, it took her awhile to get the hang of how to properly hold the crayon, but she enjoyed the activity anyways. After, I cut them out and Mya helped me decorate our mantle for fall.

Mya’s leafs

Mya woke from her nap yesterday afternoon to discover a creepy spider web had taken over her felt board….much to her delight of course 🙂

Mya loves playing with her daddy’s flashlight so this was a big hit for her. She can turn it on and off on her own as well as use the interchangeable covers that display Hallowe’en images onto the wall. This is probably her favorite thing right now.

We use these cute little guys to practice sorting. The chest, wood pieces and the pumpkins all came from the dollar store and cost around $8 total.

A really neat book that has scratch and sniff pictures. You can smell apples, pumpkins, cookies and even a skunk.

Like most toddlers, Mya is a sticker addict. I got her to place the little pumpkins into the smaller circles and the big pumpkins into the larger ones. She did this for awhile, then started placing them in random spots.


Tinfoil and Sharpies drawing

Mya had been getting bored of her sensory bin so I changed it up a little and made a spooning/pouring activity for her. She preferred the scoop over the spoon as it pours more at a time but she did play with both.


Hope everyone is having fun playing and has a great October!

Practical Life : Window Washing

Mya loves to help out. She is very good at putting her clean dishes from the dishwasher into her drawer, and can clean up her toys by herself (sometimes on her own, sometimes when prompted). She likes to help wipe up spills and will try to clean her own face and hands.

We recently tried window washing using our toddler cleaning tray, she loved it of course as it gave her a chance to play with water. According to Montessori, window washing prepares fine-motor muscles, is a sensorial excercise, as well as a practical life work.




Linking to Childhood 101

Play this week

Mya is so eager to try new things, and not to mention, she is shockingly patient when it comes to first learning how to do the activities. Her focus amazes me sometimes! Here are a few of the activities we have been working on the past week…

Stringing Cheerios onto spaghetti


Placing lids on a tape line

Pushing popsicle sticks into slots

Other things we played….

Naming vegetables


Chalk drawings

Colouring

Painting with bingo dabbers

See how others are playing and learning this week over at Childhood 101 and 1+1+1=1