Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Smorgasbord of Fun

So, I haven't posted much lately because, frankly, I don't have many ideas, hence the reason for creating this blog- to force me to be more creative and fun with my kids. I have done a few things lately that were fun. They're pretty simple, but maybe they'll be fun for you too. Sorry, this post is going to be long.

I went to Utah Idaho Supply (something I should have done a long time ago- what a cool store!) and bought a couple activity books for N. One was more geared for things like tracing, matching, recognition, numbers, etc. We've only worked out of it once, but N seemed to like it. The other is a Halloween activity book with puzzles, coloring pages, crafts, etc. The other day we made a spider bracelet. N had fun because he likes to cut and glue things. He didn't wear it long. It went straight to the refrigerator. Here are the instructions:

Fold a sheet of black construction paper in half.

Place four fingers along the fold and trace them with a white crayon.

Cut out and unfold. This is a spider with a eight legs.

Roll the legs around a pencil to make them curl down, and glue on googly eyes.

Staple a 1" wide strip of black paper around your wrist, big enough so it can be slipped on and off

Accordion fold a small strip of paper and glue one end to the top of the bracelet.

Glue the spider to the other end of the folded paper.

Make the spider creep and crawl with a back and forth rocking motion of the wrist.

After we made the spider bracelet N wanted to make a cat out of pink construction paper. I did most of the cutting, but he did all the gluing. He used so much glue that when we put it on the fridge, well, see for yourself.
  • N loves Hide and Seek. He watch The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (like 10 million times) and that got him hooked. I know this is a classic game that's been played for hundred of years I'm sure, but sometimes I forget about the simple games. Once it was introduced to N He loved it! Something they do at Kindermusik, which I'll talk more about later, is they pretend to be missing roosters. The person looking walks around crowing like a rooster. Your child is supposed to echo the rooster sound. Deliberately take a long time to find the lost rooster, and when you do, delight in making rooster sounds together. It's a fun addition to the game that N really likes.

  • Here's a game we played once that N really liked. I cut up strips of paper and on each one I put something to imitate- an animal, a flower growing, etc. I put the papers in a cup and each paper N would draw out we would imitate the animal or thing on it. He had a lot of fun, and I was really impressed with his flower impression. I think I might have gotten the idea for that game from the book The Toddler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner.

  • You can also use the above idea and apply it to singing time. I put the names of songs on pieces of paper and each song we draw from the cup we sing.

  • Kindermusik! It's great! N loves it! C will start it soon, and I'm sure she'll love it too. If you don't know what it is, it's kind of like a music preschool. You can find out more about it on their website. In N's class they're teaching musical concepts through the weather. Right now they're talking about the rain. Last week the kids made rainmakers. You can make one using an interesting container and fill it with small items, like paper clips, beans, rice, marbles, etc. You can tell stories using your rainmakers- "I woke up to the sound of thunder...boom! boom! (stomp your feet). I felt the wind on my face, and it started to rain (when you say "rain" have them use their rainmaker)" You can make up whatever story you want. You can talk about temp by saying it rained fast and have them shake their instrument or say it rained slow.

  • More music stuff: C likes music too. Yesterday we had some fun. The three of us all had a musical instrument: N had the classic wooden spoon and pan drum set, C had a rainmaker, and I had a small hand shaker I bought at the music store and some jingle bells. We sat down on the living room floor making music together. I talked about tempo, making fast or slow music, and we talked about dynamics, making quiet music growing into loud music. It was really fun, and all three of us had fun. C was so dang cute, I'm not going to lie!

  • Again, more music stuff (have you guessed that I'm a music nerd yet?): This is similar to the rainmaker, but we made a kind of tambourine. I remembered doing this in elementary school, you might too. N and I each had two paper plates, and we colored each one on the backside. Then we turned one right side up and put dried corn (you could use beans, or rice or whatever) inside. Then we glued (you could probably also use staples) the two sides together. We ended up with our very own tambourines. We used them in singing time for a while.

  • Last but not least, is there anything better than taking your kids to the park? N LOVES it, as I'm sure all kids do, and C is old enough now that she likes it too. She loves going down the slide, and she loves it when I help her climb things- it makes her feel so big. Today she sat in a swing and had so much fun. All three of us were swinging together, and I had a blast. I love doing things with my kids that are fun for ALL of us. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing fun things, like all the things I've talked about in this post, but sometimes those things stress me out. You know what I mean? Some activities require a lot of effort from Mom to make them fun and entertaining to a 4 year old, and that can be mentally exhausting. That's why I love doing things where I can sit back and just enjoy the moment. So, don't let this post, or this blog for that matter, fool you into thinking that I'm a mother who spends every waking moment of my day entertaining and teaching my children. If I were I would go insane. I feel pretty good about life if at the end of the day I have succeeded in not losing my patience with N, there was a somewhat smooth routine followed, I laughed with my kids, I sat down and played with them a few times, they were fed, were read some stories, and go to bed happy. Trust me, that's not an every day occurrence, but each day that is the goal. I just have to learn to not beat myself up for when my day doesn't turn out the way I hoped. Just make the best of things, I guess. Anyway...I digressed a little. Uh, parks...they're fun aren't they. Yay for parks...and children.


Little Miracle said...

When Bradley was about Noah's age I went there too. I bought some paints that are in a bottle kind of like a really fat marker. The tip is a rounded sponge so that you can either draw or make dots. I got a dot-to-dot book to go with them that made the shapes of all the letters in the alphabet. He had a lot of fun with the book, and I thought it was great practice. But truth be told, he liked just doing his own thing better. I think I need to go there again. It has been too long.

sharlee said...

Thanks for all of the great ideas, Marianne. You inspire me! Wish you lived closer so Jonah could join your music time at home and we could hang at the park together.

The Orton Family said...

I wish that too Sharlee. That would be so fun!

The Johnson Family said...

Hello! I'm not sure how I found your blog but I love it. I too am inspired by what you post. I'm always looking for ideas to and things to do with my first son. It seems I'm NOT so creative...LOL.

I think I might have to check out the Toddlers Busy Book...have you used this in church? Sacrament meeting? I have been tying to find things for my toddler to do in Sacrament meeting to keep him busy...he's not very good at sitting there...but what toddler is...right??!!

Also, for you FHE nights what do you usually do? I have a few FHE packets that I have made that I absolutely LOVE but I haven't put anymore together. I should post some on my blog so you can check them out sometime. I just wondered if you had any different ideas?

Thanks for all the posts I love to read them....