Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Sensory Tub

Ever since I saw the sensory tubs over at No Time For Flash Cards, I have been in love. I think they are a fabulous idea, and I knew that Little E would love them. So I decided to start with this one, since it went along well with our theme of plants and flowers and gardens this month.

You can look over at No Time for Flash Cards for the materials, and I basically got what she had in hers.

DSCN4881I had large white lima beans (I forgot to get some green ones – bummer), white beans (great northern beans), orange lentils (which were actually “red lentils” at WinCo), and some mini farfali (Bowtie pasta). I added some split peas and regular lentils from my own stash of beans, and I found the little pots at the craft store. The little tiny ones were super cute, and I thought they would be easy to use for little hands.

Turns out they were perfect for scooping the mix up into the bigger pots, and Baby even joined in the fun (she loved this activity!)DSCN4875

  DSCN4877Little E loved scooping “all the stuff” into the big pot using the little pot. I tried to encourage sorting by saying, “I’m going to put just the small white beans into my pot.” and then proceeding to sort, but he didn’t really seem interested at first. 

Persistence pays off, though, and eventually he started sorting, too! “The big pot is for the big white beans.”


To add a little math, I put five small white beans into a small pot, and five large white beans into another small pot and asked “Which pot has more beans?” to which he (developmentally appropriately) responded, the pot with the big beans. I then suggested, “Why don’t we line them up together to make sure.” So we practiced one-to-one correspondence and number conservation with our number of the month (5!)

Later after Baby went down for a nap, E kept playing with the tub and would bring me a pot full of one type of something (bean, pasta, etc) and would ask,  “How many are in here?” to which I would respond by counting with him. The time he brought over the pasta, he had fifteen pieces, and he said, “Fifteen is this many.” and held up three fingers. Ha ha. So I held up both of my hands, fingers spread, and had him hold up one of his hands, and I told him “Fifteen is both of my hands and one of your hands!” “That’s a lot!” Little E replied.

Love this kid. Such a smarty smart.

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On the left, he had finished sorting his lima beans so he put a bunch of other “stuff” on top – because that “finished” it off… on the right, he planted a “seed” and a “flower” grew. Little pot = “flower”.

This tub was a great idea!

Have you tried sensory tubs? Do you have posts on your blog of sensory posts that you could share? I would love to see more sensory tubs! These things are awesome!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Muffin Cup Daffodils

I wish that I could link you to my friend’s blog – it’s really very cute, and her kids do such fun stuff! But alas, it is a private blog, and so I will simply show you the idea we got from her blog (thanks, Anna!)

DSCN4893This is the door to the craft room (notice the marker lines on the wall? Thank you, Baby). Yesterday was very rainy, so instead of doing a kid-swap with my neighbor friend like we usually do so we can both run, we stayed inside and made muffin-cup daffodils!

The one on top is mine, then Little E’s, then Baby’s (I helped her with the one that actually resembles a flower, and then I just let her go with the glue and paper and cotton balls.

E was more interested in playing “dragons” with the scrap paper that was left over from cutting out the petals. But he did manage to put down a few petals, the cup, and a stem – oh, and he drew “dirt” at the bottom.

They are really easy. Basically you either draw or glue petals, and then glue down a mini muffin cup. We actually used some little candy cups, too (the cake section at the craft store will probably have some of those, that’s where I got mine). I did a flower with each. The one on the left is with the candy cups, and the one on the right was with the mini muffin cups.

We also decided to add the letter “F” for “flower” since that is our theme this month. I was going to do the alphabet in order, B, C, D, F – but we’ll just skip right to F for this week, and start back at C next week.

What springtime crafts have you been doing? Are you kids more interested in playing with the scrap paper than actually doing the craft? How to you keep them focused? Or do you just let them play?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings – Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival

Wednesday Wanderings is back! Sorry it’s been a while, but we’re here now, and I hope you will link up! (ps your “wandering” didn’t have to take place on a Wednesday, neither does your “Wednesday Wanderings” post need to have been written on a Wednesday – just link to a post where you went somewhere, and tell us how it was!)

(disclaimer: I fully intended to bring my relatively nice point-and-shoot camera and let Little E take pictures of the tulips to enter into the photography contest they were having, but I took the camera out of my other bag to put it in the bag I was taking, and ended up leaving it on the kitchen counter instead. So I took a few pictures with my iPhone – which is only a 3G, so not nice at all – bummer. E didn’t get to enter the contest, but at least you have pictures!)

We went to the Tulip Festival with some good friends of ours, and we really did enjoy ourselves – so much that we forgot to apply the sunscreen that was in the bottom of my bag, and ended up a little roasted!

There were so many displays of tulips, and I really loved how they were arranged. It gave me a lot of really good ideas for our front flower beds – which are in serious need of some renovations – I’ve got lots of tulips out there, but they are growing up in the middle of a bunch of weeds! Here are pictures of some of my favorites:

IMG_0518These with pointed petals where everywhere, and I had never seen this type before! When they are open really wide, they look like stars. They were gorgeous.

IMG_0519These tulips looked more like roses with all of their petals. But they were definitely tulips. These ones are like having roses early – or in our case, having roses at all – most people had to prune their roses back farther than normal this year due to a early warm up, and a late freeze.

IMG_0520These were probably my very favorite. They just looked so… spunky! They had the pointed petals, and the yellow/red combination was something else! These pictures of course don’t do the colors justice, but the colors were amazing (not to mention the very pleasant aroma)

Walking around the garden was really nice. They had acres and acres of grass, and when we first got out into the gardens, one of the attendants asked E and his little friend (who is about the same age) if they would be sure to run around on the grass! I’m sure it was more to make sure they knew the grass was for running in, and the gardens were just for looking at.

IMG_0512We stopped to take a few pictures, but mostly the kids just loved running around. The gardens survived Baby pretty well. She managed to remove a staked sign that was naming one of the trees in the garden, but other than that, and a few “gently” stroked flowers, we didn’t have too many pruning accidents on our hands.

Of course, the water features are always a hit. There was a quaint little broke running through the gardens which we had to cross several times. It was all we could do to keep the kids from jumping in!IMG_0517

IMG_0521Thankfully, after we stopped for a picnic lunch, we found the Discovery Gardens with a little pond and stream for the kids to play in. The first thing they did when we got there was to remove their shoes. at least they take them off when they know they’re going to get wet, right? Little E liked going up to the top of the stream and watching these little plastic toys float down the stream into the little pond at the bottom. IMG_0527Baby was content to throw stuff into the pond. Both of them got sufficiently wet without even having to get in the pond, so I think they enjoyed themselves. The wetter the child, the happier, right?


And of course, the obligatory “brother and sister” picture. I loved these Italian fountains. The kids wanted to play in this water, too, and it was all we could do to keep them from falling in head first.

IMG_0530 The last place we walked on our way out of the gardens was the waterfalls. The waterfalls at Thanksgiving Point are, according to their website, “the largest manmade waterfall in the Western hemisphere.” They were certainly large, and beautiful. The kids were mesmerized. Don’t worry, I’m holding Baby in the picture – no risk of falling in!


Value 4star It was a little pricey at $10 for an adult ticket, and $6 for a child (under 3 was free), but the gardens were so beautiful, and we were able to spend a lot of time there, plus picnic on the lawn in front of that gorgeous waterfall, so I don’t feel so bad about it. You can get a family pass to Thanksgiving Point (the museums, gardens, and farm) for $125/year, which is pretty good, in my opinion. Maybe we’ll ask for a pass for Christmas this year from the grandparents.

Location4star It’s right on I-15, smack dab between Provo and Salt Lake City. Which is actually kind of a remote part of Central Utah, but hey, it’s probably for the best, because that means it is equal travel distance for folks from Utah county and Salt Lake county. It only took us about 15 minutes, which is why a pass would be such a great value for us.

Fun Factor5star It really was a lot of fun. And the fact that the kids could run just about anywhere was nice. It was definitely a kid-friendly garden. Plus, the kids were so worn out by the end that they passed out for naps. I say that’s a pretty good way to rate an activity!

Your Turn! Go write a bout 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>

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May Flowers

“April Showers Bring
May Flowers”

This little saying was the inspiration for our theme this month – which is plants/flowers. Because where we live right now, the earth is coming alive with all kinds of plants and flowers. We have been working outside in the yard (when it hasn’t been snowing or raining – yes, there is still snow in April… and May, even sometimes) and Little E and Baby E have been “helping.”

I have posted our “lesson plans” for the month on a new page, which is linked to at the right. Each month I’ll update those. Also, I posted the form I use for our “lesson plans” over on the “How We Learn” page. Feel free to print it out for your personal use.

To kick off our theme this month, we cut out flowers for The Front Window.

DSCN4872And remember those reusable strips from Scotch? Apparently they really are reusable, and what was once holding up our rainbows now hold up our flowers. I’m actually really glad I found them, because they are clear, so you can’t really see them on the flowers from the outside. The sticky putty stuff would have left a big white blob in the middle of our flowers. So, needless to say, I am very happy with my investment, and highly recommend the little strips.

Well, there are the flowers that will hang out on our window for May. Any ideas for something to stick up there in June? Suns maybe? I can’t think of anything else that reminds me of June. The summer is so sunny here. In July we’ll probably do an American Flag, and then we’ve got August before I can do fall leaves (September) and ghosts or jack-o-lanterns (Oct) and then all the holidays make for good window themes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Animal Workout

Did you know that you can get your workout in and play with your kids? We did this “workout” today. It’s a great way to talk about the ways different animals move, and we get a workout (and our kids get a workout!) at the same time!

I took these pictures with my phone, no flash, so they are a little blurry, but at least you can see that Little Einstein liked to move! I did every action with him, both to show him how they go, and of course to get my own workout. You can do each animal action for as long (or as short) as you want. I think we probably worked out for about 20 minutes, maybe half an hour. The great thing about this work out is that is it a lot like interval training, depending on which animals you move like, and for how long. You are working really hard for a few reps (say with your frog – jump squats) then you let your heart rate come down while you move around like a chicken, or stretch like a dog. Feel free to mix up the animal poses, add a few of your own, or simply let your kids make up their own animal moves. And hey – follow their lead! Chances are their move is a pretty good workout, too.

We started out stretching like a dog (downward dog, anyone? He wouldn’t put his hips up as high as he usually does when I took the pictures – which was after we had already been through all the animals once):


Then we moved on to some slower moving animals, like ducks, chickens, and roosters.


Remember to make the animal sounds. It makes the activity that much more fun!

After that we did a little bit of frog (jump squat!), crab, and horse:

IMG_0493 IMG_0498 IMG_0502  IMG_0503

Don’t forget to run around like eagle (or your choice of bird) – get those wings flapping for some lateral raises!

And last but certainly not least - “slither” like a snake. I could only do this one for a few seconds. Who knew it was so hard to move without arms and legs! We talked about how strong snakes must be. And of course, Little E wanted to “slither” down the stairs… I stopped him before he got too far. Didn’t want Baby trying to follow him!

IMG_0490 IMG_0491

In June, Little E and Baby E are going to do the Piglet Plunge in our local Dirty Dash after I run the 5K Dirty Dash. Last summer Little E and I ran the Dino Dash for Little Rock, AR’s Museum of Discovery. They had a 5K, and then afterward a little 1K for the kids. E has been asking me when he gets to run another race ever since.

It’s easy for kids to stay fit when they learn how much fun it is as a child!

How do you get a workout in with little kids around? Do you include them in your exercise? Do you have to encourage your kids to move around, or do they do it naturally?

I linked up at No Time for Flash Card's Link & Learn: