Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sensory Play: Snow Dough

Since nearly all of our snow has melted outside over the past two days, we made our own snow inside this morning!  Making snow dough is very quick and easy and it is so much fun!  Here is the recipe that Jack used:

4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of lavender scented baby oil

Simply mix the flour and oil together and have fun with the soft, silky and smooth texture of the dough (and it smells wonderful too)!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting Ready for Groundhog Day!

Grace, Jack and Eve love Groundhog Day!  Every year they look forward to making their own groundhogs, which they bring outside on Groundhog Day to see if a shadow can be seen.  This year the tradition continues!  Grace, Jack and Eve have been busy paining groundhogs this week.  Grace decided to make a groundhog for all of her classmates at school too.  I'll be sure to post pictures over the weekend of our Groundhog Day.  I'm secretly hoping for an early spring but we have three little ones here who love the snow so we'll have to see!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our Biggest Sensory Bin!


I love sensory bins.  I love how they target all of the senses.  I love how they teach so many educational and developmental skills (fine motor, transferring, matching, measuring, patterns, sorting, classifying, etc.).  I also love how much they encourage imaginative play!

Once the cold weather arrived I knew that we would be spending much more time inside, especially upstairs in our playroom.  I really wanted to set up a permanent sensory bin that would always be accessible during the winter months.  It occurred to me that our outside sandbox would be perfect to transform into an indoor sensory bin.  Grace, Jack and Eve talked about what type of materials they would want inside of their sensory box.  Some choices discussed were beans, rice and pasta but they ended up deciding on corn kernels!  What I love so much about this sensory box is that it is always accessible, that it is big enough for all three of my children to use at the same time and how each child uses it in a very different way!  Jack typically uses the sensory box as a construction zone, Grace uses it for cooking and baking and Eve uses it to practice measuring, scooping and pouring.  I also love how they each choose their own materials/toys/items to use inside of the sensory box.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. by Celebrating Diversity

I feel that it is so important to teach children to value and celebrate diversity.  Every year we honor Martin Luther King Jr. on or near his birthday.  This year we decided to make a paper link chain using different shades of white, brown and black to represent all of the beautiful colors of skin in our world all linked together as one.  On each individual link we wrote a word, phrase or quote which celebrates who Martin Luther King Jr. was or something that he represented.  Some words that Grace, Jack and Eve chose were love, peace, kindness, respect, sharing, same, harmony, wish, friendship, together, equal, Rosa Parks and I Have A Dream.  After writing on each link we put the links together to make our paper chain.  Here are some pictures...  

 Grace cutting links for our chain

Eve working hard to help cut links for our chain


Grace writing words on the chain links 

Jack helping to assemble the chain links together 

 Our finished paper chain!

Here is our finished paper chain.  We decided to hang it in the entrance to our art room.  It will remind us all of every day of how very beautiful everyone is in our world.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh goodness...I can't believe it has been a week since my last post.  I'll be back to posting tomorrow!

Today we remembered Martin Luther King Jr. and celebrated President Obama's second inauguration!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Green Smoothies!

I have been making green smoothies nearly every day for my children since they were babies!  Over the years I have experimented with a variety of combinations of fruits and vegetables.  Making smoothies is such an easy way to ensure that my children get in their daily servings of fruits and vegetables....oh, and they taste great too! 

Here is my smoothie recipe:
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 ten ounce package of frozen organic strawberries (fresh when in season)
  • A cup or so of any other fruit I have on hand - usually blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, kiwi or pineapple
  • 3 very big handfuls of organic kale (I figure one big handful for each of my three children!).  If I run out of kale I use organic spinach -- fresh or frozen.
  • 2 tablespoons of Chia seeds
  • 1 four ounce container of yogurt or keifer 
  • Sometimes I also add a little flaxseed or wheat germ 

Blend it all together and enjoy!

Grace, Jack and Eve each get an eight ounce canning jar full of smoothie at breakfast and dinner.  At dinnertime I also add probiotics (I use the RAW Probiotics Kids by Garden of Life brand) to their smoothie for an extra immunity boost. staying healthy this season!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Fun Science Experience: Gravity Free Water!

 Jack loves science and conducting experiments.  One morning last week I presented Jack and Eve with their own bin full of water and gave them each some cups and pieces of cardboard.  After some water play time I showed Jack and Eve how they could defy gravity by keeping water inside of their cup even when turned upside down!

Here is how we did our gravity free water experiment:
1.  We filled a cup to the top with water.
2.  Next, we placed a piece of cardboard over the mouth of the cup - making sure no air bubbles escaped.
3.  We carefully turned our cup upside down while holding the cardboard piece in place.
4.  Finally, we took our hand away that was holding the cardboard and watched how the water stayed inside of the upside down cup -- defying gravity!

Jack LOVED this experiment and he did it over and over again for almost an hour.   Here is why this experiment works:  With no air inside of the glass, the air pressure from outside of the glass is greater than the pressure of the water inside the glass.  The extra air pressure holds the cardboard in place and keeps the water inside of the glass!

I really loved this experiment because it was simple and fun!  It was a great way to learn about air and air pressure. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Open Ended Art

Many times we do projects with a specific end result in mind.  I try to balance out our more structured activities with open ended ones as well.  One morning this week I taped long pieces of paper onto our art table and had Eve choose whatever she wanted to do with it.  Eve ended up choosing paint, a variety of paint rollers and brushes, a heart sponge stamp, a rubbing plate and her own two hands to leave her mark on the paper!


Here is one of Grace and Jack's favorite outdoor winter activities -- snowmobiling together around our yard!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our New Year's Pajama Party at the Children's Museum!

We celebrated our New Year's Eve at the Children's Museum again this year. Every year the museum hosts a New Year's at Noon Pajama Party that is full of craft making activities and special events!  There was a countdown to 2013 at noontime in the Museum's gallery, where at the stroke of noon hundreds of balloons dropped down on us! It was so much fun.

Eve, Grace and Jack working to make masks for the New Year's Eve celebration!

Grace coloring her mask

Eve coloring her mask

Grace wearing her mask (Grace has lost another tooth since then...5 in all so far!)

Jack making a party shaker to use in order to make some noise at the noontime balloon drop!

Grace and Eve making their shakers

Jack's finished party shaker!

Eve driving the tractor "really fast!"

Grace and Eve studying the sea life in the museum's touch tank

Grace reading a story while Jack and Eve act it out in the stage room

 Jack having the whole world in his hands!

 Eve playing in the stream!

 Grocery shopping with Grace

Astronaut Eve

 Grace performing for us on stage!

 Handsome Jack

 Eve climbing through the lighthouse

Eve milking Maggie, the cow!

Got Gracie, Jack & Eve?