Monday, July 30, 2012

Small World Play: Outdoor Olympic Arena

After falling in love with The Imagination Tree's Olympic Sports Small World Play, I knew I had to  create something similar for Sweet P. I dragged my feet a bit in purchasing the Playmobil Sports & Action dolls, but when I saw them in person at a friend's house (she loved The Imagination Tree post too!) I was hooked.

While the Farmer and Sweet P were out on a walk, I drew a chalk road (Sweet P had been asking for one) and a large space for an outdoor Olympic Arena. I used chalk to draw the area, and added details with the Playmobil items and sand.

Here's what I included:


  • Track with shotput/discus circle, long jump and high jump areas
  • Soccer Field
  • Swimming Pool
    • I created the backstroke flags with a piece of yarn and colored stickers
  • Sand Volleyball Pit
  • Gymnastics Floor




Sweet P rode in from their walk on her tractor and said "Look what mama made!" She went straight for the pool! After Missy Franklin's backstroke race (named for the US swimmer), Sweet P went to watch the sand volleyball match. 


The soccer player came with stickers you could write on and numbers to put on his jersey. Sweet P chose #15, The Farmer's old number and she wrote his name on the sticker for the back of his jersey!


I love that the dolls can hang from the bar! And I totally staged this shot!


I found 2 other toys that were small enough to be part of the arena and we used them as the Track & Fielders. After showing Sweet P how the long jump worked, she thought it was pretty funny to make them run and jump into the sand. And please ignore Sweet P's shoes - they are her outdoor shoes because she drags her feet while riding her tractor. Those shoes are well loved!

I also noticed a new sport in the arena: Synchronized Uneven Bars! After Sweet P figured out how to get their hands on the bar, she couldn't stop adding more people!

And everyone ended up in the pool after a long day of Olympic competitions.


Gotta be honest, I love these toys as much as she does. I love them so much, I want to share some with YOU!

The Story Behind the Giveaway:
I went to a local learning store to pick up 1 Playmobil gymnast and 1 soccer player. Sadly, they were out of female gymnasts so I settled for a female swimmer and a male soccer player. Auntie K was a collegiate swimmer so I'm glad we ended up getting the swimmer. I took a picture of the swimmer and sent a quick text to Auntie K and Gammie saying we got the swimmer, but they were out of the gymnasts. Fast forward 2 days later: 2 packages appeared on our doorstep. Both held 2 female gymnasts. Whoops! Auntie K AND Gammie both sent the female gymnasts! Are my kiddos blessed with generous aunties and grandmas or what? So we decided to share the extras with one lucky reader! Giveaway completed August 6th, 2012.

For more Olympic ideas check out our ring activities, Recycled Medals and Soccer Jersey Match & Dress-Up Dolls.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Sunday Showcase: Sensory Play



So glad you're back for another week of The Sunday Showcase! We've had an awesome week of Olympic activities and loved so many that were posted. Pop on over to Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas to see her Olympic features this week.

This week I'll be featuring some fabulous Sensory Play ideas:

How seriously awesome is this Whipped Cream Sensory Bin from We Made That? Ummm I want to play with it! And look how much fun she is having!

MamaSmiles created sensory trays for her kiddos using cornstarch, water and paint. Love the photos of her kiddos exploring the trays!
sensory play with corn starch and water and paint

This guest post on JDaniel4sMom discusses some great points of learning with sensory play. Love all the concepts covered in this post!


And finally, how great is this Popcorn Sensory Bin from Learning to be a Mom? I bet those kernels feel great and I love that she used cotton balls as popcorn. Too fun!

What we've been up to:
We've been busy with Olympic crafts this week! Check out our the 3 activities we did this week: 3 Olympic Ring Crafts, Recycled Medals and a Soccer Jersey Match activity!

Were you featured today? Don't forget to grab a button!







Now it's your turn to link-up! If this is your first time, please read this informational post for details.

This is a fun and relaxed linky with a few guidelines:
  • You can link as many kid friendly or child-centered posts as you'd like, however, links for giveaways, shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. will be deleted. 
  • Please try to visit a few other posts if you are linking up. Everyone loves comments, feed-back, pins and shares!
  • I'll share some posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google +, while commenting on and pinning others.
Please NOTE: By linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section! If you prefer not to be featured comment below or e-mail me.

Thanks for joining us and I look forward to seeing what you've been doing this week! Don't forget to visit my co-hosts for additional features this week!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Soccer Jersey Match & Dress-Up


Sadly, this is the last week of the MeMeTales Readathon. We hope you had a great time with all of the ebooks you read and please know that by participating you've helped donate over 6500 meals to hungry kids via FoodforEducation.com!

And just in time for the Olympics, this week's theme is Global Culture. Books this week include Mandy and Pandy Say "Ni Hao Ma?", Cora Cooks Pancit and Good Fortune in a Wrapping Cloth.

I had a lot of different ideas for this, including animals of the world, some puppets and a multi-cultural puzzle. But when I was getting ready to set up the map of the animals of the world, I suddenly remembered some soccer jerseys.

A few weeks months ago the Farmer had an idea for one of his soccer magazines (they come by the 100s at our house...okay, maybe not 100s). "You should make paper doll clothes out of the jerseys." I said it was a good idea and even got as far as tearing out the jerseys, but then they sat and sat and sat. Until today! 

The Farmer didn't think they were National Team jerseys, but guess what?! They were!!! 

I cut out 13 jerseys and had the Farmer explain to me which one represented which country. The Farmer helped us set up, then went into the living room to play with Sprout (he wasn't in the room to make sure I kept my jerseys straight!).

NOTE!!! I somehow mixed up the Mexico/Spain jersey. It was a Spain jersey and I kept telling Sweet P it was Mexico. Something tells me I'm not making many friends with Spain/Mexico soccer fans. 

Countries represented:
  • Argentina
  • Croatia
  • England
  • Holland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • USA

World Map Match

We spread out a World map and Sweet P and I talked about each country the jersey represented. I'd show her where the country was and she'd lay the jersey on top of it. I think she liked looking at the map more than anything. 


Dress-Up Dolls

After the map match, she moved on to dress-up dolls. We used two sticker dolls from our Melissa & Doug Fashion Sticker Collection as our paper dolls. I gave the Sweet P the option of using tape or a clothes pin to adhere the jerseys.

Soccer Jersey/Country Match

Once she finished playing with the dress-up dolls we did a match game with the names of the countries and the jerseys. I'd say "This is the USA jersey, can you find USA?" and she'd go hunt for the letters. It was a challenge, especially since we had Poland and Portugal, and Ireland and Italy, but she figured it out. 

Another NOTE: Soccer plays a big role in our household, especially since the Farmer coaches 2 teams, so this was a really fun activity for us. The Farmer was really excited about it and it was a really fun way to teach her about other countries with something other than flags. 

MeMeTales is giving away 6 "What Does it Mean to be Green" books and posters AND 6 Let's Go Chipper Activity packs! Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recycled Medals


Last Saturday we created an Olympic Obstacle course (more on that coming soon) for Sweet P complete with an Olympic torch, medals and rings. We made our medals on Saturday morning while the Farmer was at class, and I was having a hard time coming up with what to use.

My original idea was to just use paper and paint it Gold, Silver and Bronze, but while I was in the basement rummaging through the recycling products I keep for crafts, I found a gold lid from a jar of pickles. It was PERFECT for the gold medal. So I decided we'd use that for gold and paint the others. Then I picked up a plastic lid the same size as the gold lid and thought YES! we can cover this one with tin foil! There were two of those so I decided we'd use tin foil on one and paint bronze on a piece of paper for the bronze medal.

After Sweet P'd painted a bronze circle on a piece of paper and it was outside drying, she made the silver medal with tin foil. When I looked it I realized we could simply PAINT the tin foil with the bronze paint and it'd be perfect! I mixed up another batch of bronze paint and she painted the tin foil (not as easy as it looks!). She ended up having to do a bit of a sponge method to get the paint to stay without smearing.

The Craft: Recycled Medals

What you need:
1 Gold lid
2 plastic lids
tin foil
bronze paint (or a mixture of yellow and sparkly pink)
beads (color of your choice)
glue gun
  
Fold tin foil around the 2 plastic lids until fit to your liking. 

Set aside the Silver medal and paint the other with bronze paint. Set aside to dry. 

Hot glue beads to the inside groove of each lid. Wear with pride!


Check out our 3 Olympic Ring Ideas and stayed tuned for Kids Bloggers Go Olympics! The Blog Hop beings July 27th! We hope you'll join the fun! Visit these introduction posts by Rainy Day Mum and Angelique Felix for more information on how YOU can participate!
Celebrating the olympic Games

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Monday, July 23, 2012

3 Olympic Ring Activities

Are you getting ready for the Olympics?! We are so excited about the opening ceremony this week!

Last week Sweet P made 3 different sets of Olympic rings. I read an excerpt from an Olympics website about the significance of the rings and explained to Sweet P that they represent the five major regions that participate in the Olympics: the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. The colors are not linked to a specific continent and are present on the Olympic flag, which made its debut at the 1920 games in Belgium.

 Sweet P made the first two sets with paint and recycled materials.



TP Rings:

  • Toilet paper tubes
  • Red, black, blue, yellow and green paint
  • Paint brush
  • Glue gun
Sweet P painted the outsides of the rings (in hindsight, we probably should've done the insides, too!) and I glued the rings together with a glue gun.


Egg carton Rings:
  • Empty egg carton
  • Red, black, blue, yellow and green paint
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
I cut out the carton so that there were 3 in a row for the top row of rings and 2 in a row for the bottom row of rings. I showed Sweet P a picture of the rings and she painted them accordingly. I glued the two rows together when the paint dried. 

To hang TP Rings and Egg Carton Rings: Punch a hole in the top and string yarn through the hole. Hang to display. 

Sprout LOVES the Olympic Rings mobile we have hanging in our kitchen!


Do-A-Dot Rings:
  • Do-A-Dot markers (or any type of markers) in red, black, blue, yellow and green
  • Large piece of drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Lid or circular object to trace
I traced the rings onto the paper in pencil and explained the activity to Sweet P. I again showed her the picture of the Olympic rings and she dotted the rings in the colored order. On some of them, she decided to trace the ring instead of dot along the line, which turned out pretty neat! I wasn't sure if she'd be able to tell the difference in the rings since they overlap, but she did it without a problem.

Are you ready for the Olympics? We are! In fact, we're pairing up with several other fabulous bloggers in a series called:
Celebrating the olympic Games
Visit these introduction posts by Rainy Day Mum and Angelique Felix for more information on how YOU can participate!

How are you celebrating the Olympics?

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Sunday Showcase: Outdoor Play



Have you checked out last week's Sunday Showcase?! If not, you missed out on some pretty awesome kid-related ideas! This week I was inspired by some fabulous outdoor play ideas. 

The messy water balloons from Praises of a Wife and Mommy look like they were a huge hit with the kiddos! We've used cornstarch, water and food coloring before, but never in a water balloon! 

We love sidewalk chalk so I thought this Paint by Number Sidewalk Chalk Paint by Little Wonders' Day was an awesome idea! Can't wait to try it with Sweet P! 
Sidewalk Chalk Painting

The Good Long Road shared this fabulous list of sand play ideas! Many of these can also be used for indoor play! Super excited to try some of these!

What we've been up to:
Check out what's been going on with the MeMeTales Readathon! It's Week 5, which focuses on Earth-friendly activities and Being Green!


Were you featured today? Don't forget to grab a button!




Now it's your turn to link-up! If this is your first time, please read this informational post for details.

This is a fun and relaxed linky with a few guidelines:
  • You can link as many kid friendly or child-centered posts as you'd like, however, links for giveaways, shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. will be deleted. 
  • Please try to visit a few other posts if you are linking up. Everyone loves comments, feed-back, pins and shares!
  • I'll share some posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google +, while commenting on and pinning others.
Please NOTE: By linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section! If you prefer not to be featured comment below or e-mail me.

Thanks for joining us and I look forward to seeing what you've been doing this week! Don't forget to visit my co-hosts for additional features this week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pretend Play: Composting

Guess what?! It's Week 5 of the Readathon and it's all about being kind to the Earth and being Green! We are lovin' the 2 free ebooks this week, Let's Go Chipper: Into the Great Outdoors and What Does it Mean to Be Green? Both books have some fabulous ways to love the Earth and reduce your carbon footprint.

I had a few ideas on what we might do as an activity this week, but Sweet P beat me to it. Read on to see how:  

Pretend Play: Composting might sound a bit weird, but composting around our house is as common as throwing something in the trash or recycling bin. So while it sounds weird, it should come as no surprise that when Sweet P plays in her play kitchen, she also composts.

We use plastic bags we've saved (even though we use reusable bags, somehow plastic bags still find a way into our house!) for our compost because it's what works best for us right now. The Farmer takes the bags out to the farm and puts them into our compost bins. At some point we hope to get a bin for our compost instead of using plastic bags in the house, but right now our kitchen is a wee bit cramped. Anyway, the plastic bag hangs on the door to the basement and we've taught Sweet P to throw apple cores, banana peels, orange peels, etc. into the bag.

One day I hauled a bunch of stuff up to her room using a plastic bag and after we put the stuff away she asked for the bag.

Sweet P: "I need it for my compost."

And pretend play compost began.

Monday we were playing upstairs and she was cutting fruit, veggies and bread (while Sprout was eating it) from 2 different sets of Melissa & Doug wooden food when she said, "I need a compost bag." Instead of going to find a plastic bag, I said "Why don't you use your reusable bag?"...so she did!


As she cut up her fruit, she'd drop pieces she deemed unworthy of consumption into the bag. She also took a whole tomato and said, "This is all moldy" and tossed it in.

I have to be honest that I never thought we'd be playing "Composting" with our kids, but there I was!

Here are a few other things we do around here (read more in What Does it Mean to be Green?) to reduce our carbon footprint:
  • Recycle (you can read more about that in this post)
  • Grow our own vegetables and buy local as often as possible 
  • Eat produce that is in season
    • This was hard for me until we had our own garden, but now I refuse to buy fresh tomatoes out of season. Nothing compares to garden fresh tomatoes!
  • Walk to the library (we can't walk many places from our house, but the library is super close so we walk as often as we can, even in snow!)
  • Save clothes for future siblings
  • Turn off the water while we brush our teeth
  • Draw on recycled paper (I save any and all scrap paper so she can draw on the back)
  • and we DEFINITELY eat our ice cream out of a cone! (read the ebook if this is confusing!)
One we're working on:
  • Shutting off the water while we rub the soap on our hands

Check out the MeMeTales Pinterest Board for more Earth Based Books, Activities, Crafts and Learning Curriculum.



Join Readathon 2012


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camp Sunny Patch Honor Counselor

I remember the first time I heard about Melissa & Doug. Sweet P was 4 months old and we were in a toy store with Gammie looking for wooden toys. The owner of the store directed us to a product line we'd quickly grow to love.

Fast forward 3 years later and our Melissa & Doug collection has grown to include a variety of toys including puzzles, stickers, magnetic dolls and wooden pull-toys. I can honestly say Sweet P and Sprout play with M&D toys on a daily basis, so I was beyond thrilled when I was asked to be an Honor Counselor for Camp Sunny Patch, Melissa & Doug's virtual summer camp!
Here's what you can expect throughout the summer, or the rest of it anyway! (July & August):

Each week one of M&D's Blog Ambassadors shares new crafts and activities to do with your kids during the summer. This week Allie from No Time for Flashcards is sharing a great activity/craft project involving splat-painting, the Earth and gross motor skills!

Each month you can download a camp calendar with weekly activities to do with your kiddos at home!

AND!
Each Thursday Melissa & Doug host a Campy Sunny Patch giveaway on their Facebook page!

Want to learn more about Camp Sunny Patch? Visit this handy Camp Sunny Patch guide or sign up for email updates!

I'll also be sharing an activity created by one of the Blog Ambassadors later this month. The Farmer and I are SUPER excited about the activity and can't wait to share it with you!

A few ways we use our Melissa & Doug toys:
Teaching Emotions
50 Travel Tips & Activities
The Very Quiet Cricket

Disclosure: I will be compensated by Melissa & Doug for participating as an Honor Camp Counselor at Camp Sunny Patch. All opinions expressed regarding Melissa & Doug products are my own and unswayed by compensation. The personal thoughts and opinions in this post may differ from other Melissa & Doug product users. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

DIY Baby Wipes

I've posted about homemade baby wipes before, but I switched up our recipe after I started getting nauseous from the smell of our old ones.  think it was the vinegar/Dr. Bonner's combo.

We bought wipes for quite awhile and then one day while dawdling in Trader Joe's, I picked up tea tree oil and brought it home. It stayed in the toiletry closet for a month before I finally said, "Ok! It's time to make a batch of wipes." (Or maybe because we were out of wipes and I didn't want to buy more).

The Recipe: DIY Baby Wipes

What you need:
1 roll of absorbent paper towels
2-4 cups of water
2 tbsp shampoo/soap
1 tbsp coconut oil
5 drops of tea tree oil

Cut the roll of paper towels in half so that you have 2 rolls that are about the size of a roll of toilet paper. A sharp knife helps, but it takes some elbow grease! Place one of the halves in a tall container (ours is from Target) and the other in a baggy for your next batch.

 Boil 2 cups of water for 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of shampoo, 1 tbsp coconut oil and 5 drops of tea tree oil. Whisk until combined (may get a bit soapy). Pour mixture on top of paper towels and close lid. Allow the paper towels to soak up the mixture for 30 mins, then turn the container over. Store in a cool, dry place.

TIPS:
*You may have to add more water depending on the absorbency of your paper towels. Remember to boil it first.

**The tea tree oil should work as a disinfectant and keep the wipes from molding (yep. they might.) We haven't had a problem with ours, yet (and it's been WAY humid).

***If you have trouble with the wipes molding you can store them in the fridge. Sweet P didn't mind the coolness of the wipes, but other kids might!

I also take ours on the go in an old wipes' package or you can place them in a baggy.

Did you try this recipe? How did it go?

Do you make your own wipes? What are your ingredients?



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Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Sunday Showcase: Playing With Food



Welcome to another week of The Sunday Showcase! Thanks for visiting and linking up! This week I'm featuring posts related to food because playing with your food makes eating more fun! 

JDaniel4's Mom shared their fun 4th of July snack! How adorable is that little pin wheel?!


How cute are these hard boiled egg mice that Mama Miss shared?! She made breakfast, lunch and dinner mice for her little one, and she shared a cute little mouse maze printable!



Lovin' this Firework Bento that Biting the Hand that Feeds You made for her super star! Love the peas!

These book inspired lunches by Keitha's Chaos are sure to be a hit with any kiddo! I especially love the wolf she made! 

What we've been up to:
Check our our Box Monster we made last week! We had tons of fun!





Were you featured today? Don't forget to grab a button!




Now it's your turn to link-up! If this is your first time, please read this informational post for details.

This is a fun and relaxed linky with a few guidelines:
  • You can link as many kid friendly or child-centered posts as you'd like, however, links for giveaways, shops, or downloads for purchase, etc. will be deleted. 
  • Please try to visit a few other posts if you are linking up. Everyone loves comments, feed-back, pins and shares!
  • I'll share some posts via Facebook, Twitter and Google +, while commenting on and pinning others.
Please NOTE: By linking up you are giving us permission to use a photo (with proper link to you!) in our featured section! If you prefer not to be featured comment below or e-mail me.

Thanks for joining us and I look forward to seeing what you've been doing this week! Don't forget to visit my co-hosts for additional features this week!