Monday, November 29, 2010

Thankful Turkeys

DSCN4104A few days before Thanksgiving, the kids and I made “Thankful Turkeys” – I traced their hands, and then they drew pictures of what they are thankful for on the feathers. I let them glue the feathers however they wanted (and draw their own pictures). Baby E doesn’t talk much, so there was no telling what she’s thankful for, but Little drew some pretty good pictures (one of some airplanes – good stuff). He said he was “thank you” for: lizards, his family, birds, airplanes, water, the sky, family (yes, he said it twice), “all my stuff I put in my drawer”, going to the ocean, going to the museum, hills, and snow.

We also kept practicing our song and after family prayer each night we would all tell something we were thankful for (or, in Little E speak - ‘thank you’ for).

We’ve had a great holiday season, with much to be grateful for. I am especially grateful for the opportunity I have to teach these two beautiful children about the world around them and how to be grateful for the things Heavenly Father has blessed us with.

And now, in the spirit of Thanksgiving:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings – Acord Ice Center

First, a word about Wednesday Wanderings. I started Wednesday Wanderings as a way to talk about the places our family goes, and review them for other families in case they want to check those places out. I rate the outing based on Value (bang for your buck), Location (good neighborhood? easy to get to? easy to find? central?), and Fun Factor (how much fun me and the kids had). I always include explanations for my ratings, too, because not everyone’s family is just like ours.

We use Wednesday Wanderings to get out of the house and explore our neighborhood and community, and to help with our “preschool.” So, if you take outings with your preschooler, then write about it and link up!

Last week we went as a family to public skate at the Acord Ice Center in West Valley City, UT. Mr Einstein and I have our own skates (Mr Einstein plays hockey, and got me skates for my birthday a few years ago). We have two pairs of Babyskates because the smallest size of single blade skates we could find was a size 6 pair from CCM (but apparently Bauer makes one too). The Babyskates are nice, though,  because even the smallest walker can wear ice skates. We took Little E out on the ice with a size 3 pair of Babyskates just after his 1st birthday (he learned to walk at about 10 1/2 months). Baby E had her first night on the ice last week. After LE finished his tantrum, she loved it!

Ice skating is great for your preschooler’s gross motor skill development. It’s also great for them to have a new experience on something other than “dry land.” Exposing them to different “walking” surfaces early I think will help them develop good balance, and help them understand how to be comfortable when the ground under them doesn’t feel quite “right.”

I wish I had checked out some books from the library about ice skating and hockey so Little E would have been a little more prepared. He was really excited to go ice skating, and even did a great job walking around in his skates before we got on the ice, but as soon as we were on the ice, he was freaked out. Next time we’ll do a little bit of talking about how different it feels to be on the ice.

What new experiences have you been giving your toddler/preschooler (or even your older children!)? Do you encourage them to try new things? Do you expose them to different environments so they can learn more about the world and their bodies?


Value 4star At $3.50 for adults, $3 for youth, and two quarters for kids 5 and under, it’s a pretty good deal. We have our own skates (except for Little E – but he’s getting some for Christmas – shh, don’t tell!) we don’t have to fork over another $1.50 per person for skate rental. And, if we get a “Premium” pass to the Salt Lake County recreation centers, public skate is freeeeee! Since we live less than 2 miles from one of the rec centers, we’re going to get a pass in January.

Location3star It’s on a main road, but in West Valley City (which is super far out west of SLC). It’s not too bad for us, so we like it. However, there are several other ice rinks in Salt Lake County. We’ll be checking those out soon. (that pass I mentioned gets you in to ALL the SL County ice centers!)

Fun Factor3star Ice skating with little people is hard. Baby E cried because Little E was crying, and LE spent nearly the entire time on the ice flopping around crying on the ice. It was depressing. Once he was okay with it, though, Baby E was okay, too. Weird how that works...

Your Turn! Go write about your Wednesday Wanderings and link up here! Here’s the html for the button to post on your page:

Wednesday Wanderings

<a href="" target="_blank" title="Wednesday Wanderings"> <img src="" alt="Wednesday Wanderings" /></a>

(copy the html inside that ^ box and paste it in your post)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Graças ao Pai Celestial

For our singing time this month, we are working on the first Article of Faith (in Portuguese), and for this week, we’re learning this song – Graças ao Pai Celestial (Thanks to Our Father). It talks about all the things we’re thankful for, and all the things that Heavenly Father gives us. To help the kids learn the words, I made little signs with pictures to go with each phrase.


The kids caught on pretty well. Baby E of course just sings random sounds, but Little E got at least 10-15 words of the song down after the fifth or sixth time through. To spice things up I let Little E be the “leader” at one point. That helped him get into singing. But you can only sing one song so many times before the kids get restless. To keep them sitting still for the first bit, I took their “snuggles” (their ‘special’ blankets) and folded them up to the size of those carpet samples that Kindergarten teachers use. I had them sit on those – and that worked for a few minutes.

We’ll practice this song again after lunch, and then twice a day for the rest of the week. Maybe I’ll snap some audio of the kids singing once they learn the song.

What songs do you sing with your children to help them learn about gratitude? What tricks do you use to keep their attention on the music instead of running around like monkeys?

Wednesday Wanderings comes to Child’s Play!

I had a meme over at my private family blog, but just realized that it would be more accessible over here at the Child’s Play blog. So tomorrow Wednesday Wanderings will make its debut at Child’s Play with the Acord Ice Center in West Valley City, UT! Stay tuned. I’ll explain how the meme works more on Wednesday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dainty Little Snowflakes


The snow isn’t fully upon us – yet – but in honor of the imminent snowy weather, we made snowflakes to hang on the front window. (Don’t let the sunshine and Little Einstein’s shorts fool you – I believe it was between 30-40 degrees that day). We listed to Janeen Brady’s Dainty Little Snowflakes and used the guide for making snowflakes out of her book.

DSCN4086Making snowflakes is a great activity to do with your kids – they love scissors, right? Mine do. The kid scissors had a hard time cutting through all the layers of paper, but as long as I was helping, it went fine. And look at those gorgeous snowflakes! (please ignore the dirty window...)DSCN4090

Teaching your kids safe scissor skills is probably one of the best things you can do. I mean, really, who wants their kids cutting their hair (or their sister’s hair! Heaven forbid...) 

Little E and Baby E proudly displaying their artwork. And just in time. Saturday night we got nearly a foot of snow, and apparently there is more in store for us! We’ll have to do some more fun snow-themed projects. Of course, there’s also Thanksgiving projects to do this week. The snow will last all season.

Do your kids get to play in the snow in the winter time? Or do you have more mild weather? What kinds of winter activities do you do?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Singing Time

Now that we are back into full pre-schooling (thanks to things settling down on the home front), I have decided to start doing “singing time” every day with my kids. I was raised in a music-centered home, and I’ve always wanted to have music in our home, too. We sing all the time anyway, but I felt like playing some music games, learning new songs, etc would be a good way for me to bond with the kids, and help increase their attention span.

Yesterday was our first day of “singing time” – it went well, the kids were super excited about it, but I quickly realized that “singing time” will require more planning than just singing a bunch of songs. Well, at first. Eventually I want to be able to just pull together some songs to sing – but for now, I will write out music plans for each week on Sundays.

Little E will be attending the church Primary next year starting in January – he’ll be what we call a “Sunbeam” (or “Raio do Sol” in our Portuguese Ward). Each year, at the end of the year, the Primary puts on a special program during our regular worship services highlighting everything they did that year, including singing the songs they have learned. I am hoping to incorporate the Primary songs in our “singing time” as well, so that Little Einstein will have a little head start, and hopefully know all the words by the end of the year. We have access to recordings of the songs, and I have printed music for all of the songs as well (and a piano!) so we should do fine. I’ll probably print pictures to go with the songs, and we’ll play games to learn the music and words. It should be fun, and I think it will really help LE.

Baby E loves to sing, as well, so I am hoping that this will help me help her learn to sing better. She is actually getting really good already.

Today I grabbed a bunch of toy animals from the playroom and tossed them in a bag, then I had LE and BE take turns picking an animal out of the bag and we sang a song about that animal. We had a spider, for which we sang “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” a lamb for “Baa baa Black Sheep” and then most of the other songs came from Janeen Brady’s I Have a Song For You volume about animals. It was a lot of fun, and I think we’ll do it a few more times before I change things up.

Also, my meme from my personal blog, Wednesday Wanderings will be moving here next week. Hopefully it will get more traffic here (as if this blog even gets any traffic!) so check back and link up next week!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Swing

Well, there was a big move, a wedding, and a death in the family - so the schooling thing has been put on hold a little. But we're getting back in the swing of things, and I'll be writing more frequently (I hope - ha ha!)

We've found the local library, and we've been walking there for story time. Even though it's about 30 degrees outside and snowing. We just don our snow gear and I equip the stroller with a plastic weather shield and we usually get there in one piece.

Due to the sudden change in weather (one week it was 80 degrees, the next it was 30 degrees and snowing almost every day) we have been reading about snow. So far we've just been reading books about snow - nothing too deep. We've also been talking about leaves and the color changing. On our last walk home from the library, Little Einstein gathered leaves and this week we'll be making a "Leaf Book" with the leaves. We kind of missed most of the leaves changing colors, what with the move and everything, but the kids still love the colors changing, and crunching the leaves with their boots.

This week I want to work on number conservation with Little E. I'll talk more about that in another post - but that's the big goal for this week. And story time on Tuesday.