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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What's more fun than a foot in your sensory bin??
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Toddler Pre-writing

Mya has always loved to draw and color. She is almost 29 months now and her interest in coloring is evolving into an interest to draw and write. She purposefully draws an image and then excitedly tells us what she drew, or she pretends she is “writing like mommy” and reads aloud to us as she pretends write words.

We have been playing with letters for quite sometime now. We sing the alphabet and use our sandpaper or foam letters, but just recently I noticed Mya showing a huge desire to learn what sounds letters make and starting to recognize letters visually. She knows how to spell her name orally, and then pretends to spell other peoples names.

To help encourage this new interest I printed out a writing practice sheet allowing her to trace her name. I put it in a $3 picture frame from Walmart so she can easily try this activity again and again with a dry erase crayons instead of going through a lot of paper.
You can print your own printing paper here…

http://www.first-school.ws/theme/printables/writing-paper/handwriting

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I also bought an activity book of mazes to see if Mya was interested in that, and to help her with her pre-writing skills. She enjoys this activity, and especially likes to wipe it clean herself and start again. A quick tip, if you use dry erase pens or crayons on laminated sheet or in a picture frame that isn’t glass, the best way to remove the pen marks is with a white eraser.

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Playing this week – ramps and chutes

I found a great idea through Pinterest of making ramps and chutes with toilet paper and paper towel rolls. I decided to make ours with a pizza box and it turned out pretty good.

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We set it up in the hallway and used all different types of toys to see what rolled the best and went the farthest. In the end Mya decided cars and marbles were the best choice.

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Our home – set up for learning and play

I haven’t had a post on our home set up for quite some time and decided to update. Our home is not large and so staying organized and making use of space is important. For the most part I follow a Montessori prepared environment, but not in every aspect. I believe imagination, creativity and pretend play are hugely important in a child’s development, which does not always mesh with some of the more traditional Montessori beliefs.

Our blocks and building area: Here we have Lego, Mega blocks, homemade tree blocks and Wedgits. We also have a bin of assorted blocks, towers, and a great train set that we bring out to play with often. On the shelf is also where we keep our books, which are rotated frequently.

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The shelf in our play area does not have a specific theme. It switches from practical life, to puzzles and sensory bins. To the right is our felt board where we tell fairy tales or make up our own stories.

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Our table is where lots of different things happen. I often have different activities for Mya to try set up on here. We also do lots of coloring and other crafts here. If Mya gets herself a snack or some water to drink, this is where she sits.

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Our play kitchen: A favorite in the house. To the left is where we practice hanging socks and baby cloths, or hang a new painting to dry. On the right is bulletin board where we post different thing we are interested in, or pictures that apply to something we are learning about.

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In the kitchen is a drawer Mya can get her cups, plates, bowls and utensils. She can get her own water and help herself to fruit throughout the day.

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Mya’s room: She has a bed on the floor she can easily get in and out of and make herself, although soon we will be getting her a bed frame as she is big enough to safely use and sleep on one. In her room is also where we keep a lot of her imaginary play toys, baby doll items, puppets, dress up bin and games.

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Mya is able to pick out her clothes and pajamas from her drawers or closet. She also knows to put her clothes in her laundry hamper. She still needs help getting dressed but is getting better at that all the time. She has hooks by her door where she hangs her bath towel and school bag.

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Emry is 6 months old. She has her own play corner with her toys. She has just become very good at sitting so she loves being in her corner reaching and playing with whatever is set out for her.

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In her room everything is still rather simple. It is however set up for when she can crawl. It is a room at is safe for her to moe around in. Everything in her reach is safe items she can grab, play with and out in her mouth.

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At this house we do not have much of a yard and it is shared. We have a small deck which has a table and chair for Mya and her play barbeque . However we are super lucky to be around the corner from the beach and a large playground. We walk there almost daily in about 2 minutes, and the girls absolutely love it. It is about another 4 months wait for warm weather, until then it’s blankets and toques!

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Happy New Year!

It has been a long time. Everyday I intend to start blogging again but there is a million things that seem to come in my way……or maybe it is just one thing that feels like a million? Either way, I am not going to mention any names…..

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That being said, here I am, I did it!

I was fortunate enough to be given an IPad for Christmas and so I made the decision to switch from my original Blogger website to a WordPress one, as there is an app allowing me to create posts right from my iPad.Yay! I’m hoping this convenience will make it easier for me to blog more often…(if not I will try to picture my daughters disappointed face for incentive)

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So for now I will sign off and try to get back on track with my posts this week. Go me.

Happy New Year everyone!

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!