Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Time with Toddlers!

I love that my kids are at an age to enjoy an activity - sometimes for great stretches of time even!   So while my blog has been pretty dern quiet this summer - don't fret lots of fun is going on!  Need a sampling?   Lots of ideas for you to enjoy with kids of all ages coming up!

SLIME
This activity from creation until it was time to eat lunch kept him in one place, entertained and fully engaged for over 90 minutes.  He probably could have gone longer, but his father had brought home lunch and so he reluctantly put it all away.   I got the recipe from our slime at Tot Treasures.  I got my liquid starch online at Walmart with shipping of only $0.97!


It was more sticky in the beginning but eventually worked itself together into almost rubber ball texture. 
Stored in a ziplock, the next day it was a bit stickier, but after working it again was back to 'normal' :)

ROADWORK 
Yes, playing with oatmeal is a huge hit in our house!  Break out the splat mat and go to town.  This time I dropped in a set of Cat trucks (they sell them at Target/Walmart/BRU for about $6) and while they played I had Ace attempt to follow the 'directions' in the book Roadwork.  The book is chalk full of onomatopoeia that are fun to listen to.  Ace was very patient when his sister was anything but a helper on the building part - she did great with demolition though!
 

On a different day we broke out the black beans and playdough to read through the same book and build different roads.
PAINTING

I recently invested in Colorations Liquid Watercolors and some blotter bottles (bingo markers?) and I absolutely LOVE these paints.   It doesn't take much paint to go far and even if gets all over them and they look like they'll be permanently stained - give them a bucket of water (or a bath) and they're squeaky clean without any scrubbing.    We've made several signs for birthdays, welcome homes, and the one below was the one they worked on for the 4th of July!

FIREWORKS!
Yes, what summer is complete without them!  This year Ace was super excited to be able to light some of his own.  Mae enjoyed a little action with her father, but for the most part was a sideline observer.   Overall it was a nice quiet 4th of July and while it was chilly - Ace's coat is a bit overkill, but he seemed happy enough. 

GARDENING
Breaking out the black beans again and this time they're building a garden.  Using some 'clay pots' that are actually silicone cupcake holders I found on clearance somewhere they played with some silk flowers, garden tools, some seeds (acorns) and some other garden friends.  They had a great 45 minutes spent with all this sensory fun!



BUBBLE BLOWING

Big bubbles, make your own bubbles, no spill bubble buckets!   They are a favorite and they are endless and pretty clean fun. 



MANIPULATIVES

Ace didn't have school this summer and so we still wanted to keep him busy, but not always requiring an elaborate project that requires a ton of prep or clean up work and so I invested in a few types of manipulatives for the kids.    Ace and his fancy headgear are working on tangrams.  I got the pattern cards and then foam magnetic shapes from Amazon, the white board I got at Target - it's back to school season so they're everywhere - I recommend 11x17 or somewhere around there... an 8x10 is too small to really make the pictures.  Mae is playing with some dominos, which she matches colors, stacks, and generally throws around.  :)  Ace uses them to count, set up and knock down (old skool, hehe) and match.
He REALLY likes that red/white shirt... these pictures aren't taken all on the same day. :)
 RAINBOW RICE
I was really excited about this one! :)  Just so much fun.  First after much pricing the Dollar Store is by far the best price to buy rice. I was a bit skeptical at first since they are 1.5lb bags, I though surely a giant bag at the grocery store would be cheaper - nope.  I used about 3 bags so about 4lbs of rice to accomplish this project.  I used the above mentioned watercolors to dye the rice - simply tossed in a bunch of rice into a sandwich bag, dumped in some watercolor (less than a teaspoon at first) and mixed until it was all mixed.  If the color wasn't vibrant enough I dumped in more and so on until the right color was achieved.  If I managed to put just the right amount of color in I was able to reuse the same ziplock over and over to complete the dying process.  I stored them individually in a ziplock tupperware.  I'm told you can use food dye also but then you have to use alcohol (or hand sanitizer) to 'lock in' the color.  We had no color transfer with mine - and some of my rice was dyed within an hour of play.   The tub is a '32 quart' tub that I simply used a piece of cardboard to divide it off so I didn't need MORE rice.

Before the kids started to dig into the rice they sat with great anticipation and read through Planting a Rainbow and pointing to all of the colors that matched.  Ace correctly pointed out that the "red" wasn't red at all but rather pink... I know, bud... sorry the red just was NOT happening.  It would have been ready to eat rice if I had added TOO much 'water'color! After initial presentation and mixing occurred we 'tore down' the fence (I saved it for another project.) 





GEOGRAPHY
When Loving Husband is away on a mission Ace typically is allowed one sleepover night in our bed.   This past mission I saved it for a particularly exciting and important night.  The Opening Ceremonies for the Olympics!   I broke out the fabric panel that I have of the world map along with his placemat of the world and he watched the Opening Ceremonies eagerly awaiting the country of Russia to walk in - it was the biggest! As the countries walked in we looked for them on the map.  I would find it on my map and point to it and then he would try to find it on his.  :)  He did a pretty good job considering the size discrepancy between the two maps! 

Alas in the Opening Ceremonies the countries walk in at the end and it was nearly 10:30 when the M-Countries were parading in and he was fading fast.   He was out by the end of the Ms and I shook him awake (he sleeps like the dead once he's out!) and he acknowledged it - but the thrill was gone.   He still enjoyed popcorn, candy, and lemonade in bed WAY past his bedtime though! :)  Looking forward to doing it again with him for the Closing Ceremonies when the Olympians walking in FIRST! :)


SPLISH SPLASH!

What's more fun that water!   Sprinklers, pools, you can't go wrong!  Got a little play slide, throw it in at the edge of the pool and you have a water slide!  The kids had a great time with theirs!  Happy summer, everyone!

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