Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mr Pumpkin Head

Check out this cool idea ! I have a couple more pumpkins. We might just have to try it. It will be after Halloween but who cares, my kids certainly won't.

I am one of those people who is not so crazy about carving pumpkins and this seems like a super alternative. We have not carved one the last few years but I do want to do fun things to enjoy the holidays. So I am embracing painting pumpkins and makin Mr. Pumpkin Heads.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Make your own Puzzle

Another activity idea from the Busy Book . I made puzzles for the kids out of old boxes. I had macaroni and cheese boxes in the top of the recycle bin so that is what I used.

I wasn't really thinking and I started to do this activity with my 4-year old. The puzzle was way too easy for him the first time I cut it. I cut each piece in half again to make it harder, but by then he had lost interest. I am hanging onto it to pull out at a good time to try again.

So I tried again with my 2-year old and had great success. Well, I guess that depends on how you define success. He did not run off to spend lots of independent time working on and improving his puzzle skills. But we had a fun time playing together with a free and easy toy. He really liked watching me cut the puzzles, so he asked me to make one from all 6 sides of the box. Then, after spending a little time putting them together with him, he found an old plastic butter conatiner to store his new toy in, and carried it around a bit.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Unplugged Project : Painting Pumpkins

This weeks Unplugged Project was to paint pumpkins.

The kids had a super time painting them. We started with some very small white pumpkins but it did not take long until they were covered and starting to look a bit muddy so we switched over to some larger ones.

As you can see, this turned out to be pretty messy. I guess when painting something 3-dimensional the inclination is to turn it around, pick it up to paint the bottom, and whatever else you might could do to get paint ALL over your hands.

Here are the finished products:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ice Cube Activity

We got another activity idea out of the Busy Book today. My husband and I thought it was pretty cool but I am not sure it was the best activity for the kids.

You make ice cubes in the three primary colors - red, blue and yellow. Then you put them into three bags like this red&yellow, red&blue, yellow&blue and wait for them to melt. Yep... wait for them to melt. It takes longer than you think. Maybe this should be a summer activity.

I tried to be really laid back and let the kids play with the bags while we waited but I did not succeed. My four year old was pretty rough with the bags and I was afraid they would bust.

Anyway, once they start to melt, you can see that yellow&blue make green etc. In fact, it is really cool because you can still see the two colors of partially melted cubes, plus the new color water in the bag. Like I said, my husband and I liked it. The kids, not so much!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Source for Fun Ideas

My kids are really good at playing by themselves, or with each other. Of course when they are playing with each other, they tend to need some refereeing. I have recently realized that when things are not going well sometimes they need a little break from doing their own thing and need a little time with mom.

Sometimes I offer to read with them (that rarely gets a no) and sometimes I just pull out a toy they haven't seen in a while, but sometimes it is fun for all of us to do an activity together. Unfortunately, I am way short on creativity, so I appreciate having resources to go to for ideas.

That is why I was happy to see this post from MomUnplugged. I immediately headed to my library's website to see what I could find. I really wanted the Preschooler one but my library does not have it. I ended up requesting the Toddler one and the Arts and Crafts one.

We have started off with a very simple one. There is an idea called "Sticky Feet" where you tape contact paper down to the floor (sticky side up) and then let your kids run, jump, play and crawl all over the sticky paper.

The kids really, really liked it. It lasted about a week and then all the stickiness was gone. I think it was a great sensory activity. My oldest did not like to touch it with his hands at first but over time got used to it. My youngest avoided the whole thing for a few days before he got into the act. They had fun coming up with their own ideas of silly things to do on the sticky paper.

I am excited to see what other activities we can do from these books.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall Leaves Project

Inspired by our successful unplugged project we decided to do another fall project. This one wasn't quite as hands-on for the kids because of the ironing aspect. The boys collected the most colorful leaves they could find in the yard. When the little one was napping, the big one and I arranged the leaves on wax paper and then I ironed another sheet onto the top, making our patterns permanent. Now they are hanging in our kitchen for us to enjoy. They look great on the window with the light shining through.

I got this idea from someone's blog but I am not sure who!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Our Unplugged Project Attempts

We worked on the Unplugged Project and these are the results of our efforts. I only had blue and yellow paint, and we only had about 30 minutes, but I was determined to get in on the inaugural project. I thought it was a great idea of something to do and really wanted to participate.

The picture don't really capture the whole "picture" though. The kids enjoyed collecting items on their walk outside, and learned several new and interesting things about the items they collected. And they really liked experimenting with painting/stamping with the different items.
They used pinecones, helicopters, rocks, berries, sticks, bark and pine needles.

Definitely a success although I want to allow much more time for future projects.
Thanks Mom Unplugged!

Yummy Week

It is funny how some months when Cooking Light comes, I see nothing that interests me, and other months I want to make everything. I have made about 5 recipes from October 2007 already and I am getting ready to make the Dirty Rice again.

My kids absoultely loved it and ate serving after serving of healthy brown rice and beans. It is great to try some good new things. I get tired of eating the same things all the time and hate it when the new recipes turn out to be duds.

One of my favorite blogs

Unplug Your Kids is one of my favorite blogs. I actually rarely meet people who are serious about limiting television viewing so it is so nice to find someone who shares my views. Well, I should disclose that unlike Mom Unplugged, we do have a television and I do allow my kids to watch it - although only 30 minutes per day. Many days they do not choose to watch at all, but when they do, they are only allowed one 30-minute video.

For this reason, I was excited to see this post on How to Get By Without the Electronic Babysitting Box with ideas of fun things for the kids to do. I made trays like the one pictured and it was a hit with both my kids, aged 4 and 2. My 2 year old does not talk much but he learned the word "bean" very fast so he could request his new favorite activity. This amused them for HOURS over the course of a week and was completely free, just things I already had in my kitchen.