Wednesday, November 30, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part K

Day 25: Small World Play
This day's challenge was all about pretending, creativity, and fun! For our small world play scene, Baby Bear and I pulled out his Little People barn along with some animal finger puppets and Mega Blocks. We played with the barn for a while, and then we added to the scene by building other things to go with it.

I built a tree and Baby Bear built a tower. Then, Babyzilla paid a visit to the farm and uprooted the tree!

Baby Bear helped me build a zoo for the zoo animal finger puppets. This structure didn't last long because Babyzilla came back.

I guess this zoo was more acceptable because it stayed up for more than 5 minutes. :) We also built a little house for Farmer Jed and more towers.
Day 26: Play in a Box
This activity took place on the perfect day because it was right before Papa Bear broke down all the boxes for recycling! Paired with the Christmas tree box, we had some great boxes for making a train in the living room!
A bunch of Baby Bear's stuffed animals played the parts of the passengers.
Then, Baby Bear became a passenger, too!
Just a couple days before this, Papa Bear and I introduced Baby Bear to "The Polar Express" because he likes trains. On this day, he got to ride the Polar Express in his own living room!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 23: Printing with Objects
Baby Bear loves to paint! If he sees a paint brush, chances are he will point to it and say, "Do?" Knowing how much he loves painting with brushes, I was excited to hand him a few other objects to paint with and see how he reacted.

I started him off with a paint brush, which he was keen to grab and dig into the paint with. I also handed him a plastic frog for him to make frog tracks in the paint. It was hard to pull him away from his brush, though.

He did like when I handed him an empty tape roll to make circles with (his favorite shape). I printed a few to show him how, and then he printed a few. Baby Bear also liked rolling the tape roll across the paper.
I must have failed to accurately explain and demonstrate how to paint with objects because Baby Bear seemed to think he was supposed to paint the objects. He sure had fun, though!
 Day 24: Let's Get Playful
Seeing as how this play challenge took place on Thanksgiving, the challenge was vague, simple, and family-friendly. Play, tickle, chase, etc. with mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, whomever! Papa Bear, Baby Bear, and I enjoyed a peaceful Thanksgiving at home with just the three of us. Chase and tickle is one of Baby Bear's favorite games, and we play this game almost every day. The evening of Thanksgiving, we also set up our Christmas tree, so Papa Bear and I let Baby Bear play and explore with the lights and plastic ornaments as they went up.

helping set up the tree

Baby Bear actually held a conversation for a good 5 minutes with a strand of lights! It was all Papa Bear and I could do to not bust up laughing so he wouldn't get distracted and stop.
He LOVED the lights!!!
Baby Bear's favorite part was pulling the tops off the ornaments. Papa Bear tried to teach him to say, "Grenade!" every time he did this.

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part J

Days 20 & 21: Paint Paint Paint and Have a Party
Baby Bear and I paint quite often, but on this occasion I decided to combine two challenge activities into a longer play time to mix things up a bit. First, we had a little party that included Baby Bear, Papa Bear, and myself. We ordered pizza (a new love of Baby Bear's!... cut into tiny pieces, of course), and I made cupcakes. We also wore party hats! OK, so Baby Bear kept taking his off and putting it on Papa Bear and me. Later that evening, rather than frosting Baby Bear's cupcake, I sprayed some onto a piece of construction paper and let him paint with it a while! Then, I handed him the unfrosted cupcake to eat over his frosting painting. He quickly got the idea that if he dipped the cupcake in the frosting it tasted even better. Finally, we played a bean bag toss game with a leftover Halloween decoration. This turned into a family bean bag fight! We all laughed like crazy! It was a lot of fun to have a party for no particular reason!

Day 22: Investigation
For this play challenge, we were supposed to answer some of the hows and whys that children ask. The thing about most 15-month-old children is that they don't ask how or why, they ask what. One of Baby Bear's favorite questions is, "What's that?" So, I adapted this activity into an all day Mommy Answers Every, "What's That?" Question Challenge! I presented Baby Bear with as many new things this day as possible. New textures, books, pictures, etc. We also went shopping, during which time I showed Baby Bear as many things I thought he would be interested in as possible. Shopping is almost a guaranteed, "What's that?" time! Thank goodness he hasn't reached the point where he throws fits if he doesn't get something. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part I

Days 12 & 19: Field Trip, Music Making
After Baby Bear was feeling better, our schedule was full of play dates and shopping trips, so it took us a while to take our field trip. This actually worked out pretty well, though. I was planning on taking Baby Bear to a local library for Music Time anyway, so we combined those two activities!

Notice how all the other kids are sitting nicely with their parents, but my Baby Bear is up in the middle of the room. (Granted, he was the youngest participant this day.) He just loves music and gets excited being around other kids!

Up in front of everyone dancing, squealing, and running around merrily

Baby Bear snuck up to the player while I was taking a picture. Sometimes going out into public with a toddler means playing traffic cop. ;)
Day 18: Get in the Kitchen
 For this task, we were supposed to get in the kitchen and make something together. I wasn't quite sure what my 15-month-old would be able to help with. I decided to try a couple of semi-simple activities with him. Part of this went well, and part of it not so much.

Stirring the tuna and mayo together. He loved this! Now, whenever he has a spoon, Baby Bear thinks he needs to stir. I will let him help me stir things in the kitchen more often from now on!

Later in the evening, I had Baby Bear help cut shapes out of sugar cookie dough. Of course, he had to squish the dough in his hands to see what it was!

Helping Mama Bear roll the dough. Mostly, he just wanted to play with the rolling pin.
Helping make a tree cookie. He was interested in this process for about 30 seconds. The rolling pin and cookie cutters were new to him, so he didn't like being shown how to use them the right way to make cookies. He just wanted to play and explore. I think I'll have to let him do just that a few times before this cooking activity will go as planned. Oh, well... I guess I'll just have to make sugar cookies more often until he gets the hang of it! ;)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Traditional Handprint Turkey

What Thanksgiving arts and crafts list is complete without the traditional handprint turkey? For this activity, rather than tracing around Baby Bear's hand, I painted it brown and helped him make handprints on paper. We did three in hopes that one of them would turn out. Once that was dry, I painted on a beak, legs, and gizzard as well as added thumbprint wings (the thumb made up the head and neck, and the fingers made up the turkey's feathers). Baby Bear was painting his own picture while I did this, but at one point he reached over and wanted to help, which I let him, hence the green and brown smudge marks along the top of the page. Finally, I added small googly eyes. This will be a good keepsake picture for a scrapbook to look back some day at how small his hands once were.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family Hand Print Turkey

Here's our family hand print turkey and how we made it:

Baby Bear painted a paper plate using his hands and a paint brush with flour paint plus cinnamon:
  1. Mix flour and water until mixture reaches desired consistency.
  2. Add food coloring. We used 1 1/2 parts red to 1 part green to make brown.
  3. Mix in cinnamon until paint reaches desired texture and shade of brown.
I used sticky-backed foam to cut the face, nose, and gizzard. Then, I added googly eyes.

Tail (the best part!):
Papa Bear and I each traced our hands onto different colors of construction paper. Then, we worked together to trace Baby Bear's hand onto another color. He didn't like this so much, which is why we only used his hand once and added our hands for the other tail feathers. I like it better this way, anyway. I glued the hands together at the palms, and then I glued them to the body. Next time I will use different colors, though, because Papa Bear pointed out that with these colors it looks like the turkey is on fire. I was just trying to choose fall colors. =)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part H

Day 16: A Hunt
 For this day's play challenge we were supposed to go on a hunt of sorts. I thought about hunting for a particular letter, number, color, or shape around the house (Baby Bear already recognizes a few of these), but that seemed too broad. I knew that if our hunt was house-wide, or even room-wide, that Baby Bear would lose focus and go off to play with something else he noticed along the way. So, I pulled out our sensory box, and we did a color hunt!

Baby Bear was a little energetic during this time, so I did most of the sorting myself. I said the name of the color with each item I placed in a pile, though. Baby Bear did help with the blue, which is the color he recognizes and says most consistently.
Adding the yellow items to the box
Yay, red!
Day 17: A Reading Tent
This idea is actually one that is on my list of things to make for Baby Bear's playroom, so I was very excited when I read about this play challenge! I love those tents that hang like a canopy from the ceiling, and I used a real camping tent in my classroom at my reading center when I was teaching. There's something about getting to read in a special place that makes books all the more fun.

Papa Bear and I actually already had some PVC pipes on hand because we planned on making Baby Bear a fort or tent of sorts anyway. Papa Bear was such a sport and ran out to the garage to cut a few pieces for us to use right away. We used three for the frame, attached them together with a couple of T-joints, and threw some blankets over two of the sides. We still plan on making an improved version of this, but it worked perfectly for this day's challenge.

Touching the animals' soft fur in his animals book
Laughing at ourselves making elephant noises

Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part G

Day 14: Act Out a Story
First of all, let me just say that, as a teacher, I love that this activity was included in the 30 Day to Hands On Play Challenge! Reading books to your kids is awesome, but making them come alive and really having fun with them... well, that's just phenomenal!

For this activity, I decided to stick with something familiar for Baby Bear. With books, he likes to look at the pictures, so instead, we used our flannel board to tell the story of The Three Little Pigs. This is something we've done at least once a week since making the flannel board, so he was able to help with the pieces as I told the story.

Adding the Big Bad Wolf to the flannel board for the story

Baby Bear almost always helps with the huff and puff parts.

When I get to the part about the brick house at the end of the story, Baby Bear likes to reach up and feel the bricks around the fireplace.

 Day 15: Playing with Junk
When I first read about this challenge to create something out of junk, I was interested but at a loss as to what Baby Bear and I could create. Visualizing something out of nothing doesn't come as easily to me as it does to Papa Bear, so we waited until he got home.

I thought for sure Papa Bear would make a robot out of the recycling, but instead, he opted for simple hats. Whereas I had hoped for more, Baby Bear liked this and kept trying to put the hats back on when they fell off.

As soon as I grabbed the black crayon to start drawing, Baby Bear excitedly grabbed it and began drawing on every piece of paper trash he could get his hands on.

While flipping through ideas to entertain my toddler, I came across this idea for a no-sew tail on Irresistible Ideas. The blog name said it all, and I used some of our recycling to make Baby Bear a tail! I filled a nylon with scraps of junk mail (haha!) and tied it off with a piece of leftover ribbon.

Of course, Mama had to wear the tale, too. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part F

I'm a little late on posting about these Challenge activities because we did not do them on the designated days due to illness. But, the way I see it is that it's never too late to play with your kids. So, we're going back and doing the activities we missed! Day 12 was a field trip, and we haven't quite been up for that one yet, so we'll probably do that some time this weekend.

Day 11: Outdoor Adventures
Baby Bear was still a little under the weather, but we figured a little fresh air would do him (and us!) good.

It was really windy this day, so we spent some time playing with his box clubhouse in the garage.

Baby Bear made a game of spotting every stick in the yard and examining it closely.
The good part about the wind was how it made the leaves fly up into the air as we ran through them!

Day 13: Sticky Art
For our family's sticky art time, we pulled out the foam stickers and made collages on a variety of backgrounds.

Papa Bear and I cut some shapes out of sticky foam sheets to make a collage on paper. Baby Bear's favorite part was pulling back up the ones Papa Bear and I added.

Baby Bear quickly lost interest in the paper, but when I pulled out the dinosaur foam stickers, he thought they would look great on an empty diaper box sitting in the recycling pile.

Baby Bear then moved on to the big kitchen window with his dinosaur sticker. He didn't realize that he had accidentally decorated himself, too. =D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Challenge on Pause

Sorry I haven't been posting about the challenge lately. I thought Baby Bear was doing better, but as it turns out, he's still pretty under the weather. He has not been interested in participating in any of the most recent challenges, but he has enjoyed going back over some of the old ones time and again. We've been playing with blocks like crazy, he still loves his sensory box, and water play continues to be a favorite around here. Even though it is disappointing to me to not keep trying new things with Baby Bear, I love knowing that he has a few new favorite activities to fall back on. They have sort of become a comfort to him since he hasn't been feeling well.

Meanwhile, I will keep trying to introduce Baby Bear to each challenge of the day as well as try to go back to old ones we missed. Who knows, maybe he will discover another new favorite?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

30 Day Challenge Part E

Day 10: Mixing Concoctions
For this challenge, Baby Bear got to see what happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda! I was curious what his reaction would be. Surprise? Amazement? Confusion? Maybe a little of these, but mostly, Baby Bear was intrigued.

 I knew this activity would only last about 5 minutes, so I planned a painting activity for afterward. I was so disappointed that I didn't read about this day's challenge before heading to the store, because Baby Bear and I would have mixed cornstarch with water (what my science teacher called "Goo Yuck") instead of painting. I was out of cornstarch, though. Oh, well... another day! :)

Baby Bear adding a handful of baking soda to blue vinegar

Playing with the foam that erupted

He really liked watching it bubble over the top of the container!

Days 11 & 12: Outdoor Adventures, Field Trip
Normally, playing outside is a daily activity for Baby Bear and I if the weather is nice, and sometimes even when it is not. On this day, though, Baby Bear was running a high fever and didn't want to do anything but snuggle and build with blocks, so we skipped playing outside. Today, for Field Trip day, our "field trip" was to the doctor. You better believe we'll be coming back to these activities later, once Baby Bear is feeling better, though! I think these are great play time activities!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Toddler Cleaning Caddy

Since I mentioned Baby Bear using his cleaning caddy in my last post, I figured I should probably share about it. I'm not a neat freak, but my house being more than just a little dirty bugs me. With a clingy toddler who's still going through pretty bad separation anxiety, cleaning just doesn't happen at my house as often as it should. Baby Bear does show an interest in helping me when I do clean, though. So, I made him this caddy based on an activity I found on the Disney Family Fun Website in hopes that I can get a little more cleaning done around the house while still interacting with Baby Bear.

I was a little disappointed in how boring the cleaning caddy and supplies were that I found. The caddy, brush and dust pan, and squirt bottle were all translucent white. Baby Bear and I did what we could for the time being and added animal print stickers to the caddy. I'm still trying to find a way to spice up the other boring-looking objects. I already added blue water to the squirt bottle. I think I might hot glue some colorful fabric or ribbons on the handles. Besides these contents, I also added a Swiffer duster, a lint roller, and a yellow dust rag. We'll see how well this works for helping our house stay a little cleaner while still having fun!