Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Box Car

Sometimes I find myself asking, "Why do I even bother to buy toys?" If your child has ever spent more time playing with the box the toy came in than the toy itself, you probably know what I'm talking about. This is especially true with large boxes, like the ones you get when Amazon combines several items in one shipment. Baby Bear loves these big boxes because he can climb and hide in them. The other day, he also started to pretend one such box was a race car. So, we worked together to make it a race car! I grabbed some paper plates from the pantry (used more for crafts than for eating on around here) and some brass fasteners, and we made a race car! All I did was poke some holes for the fasteners, and then he helped me attach four plates for tires and one for a steering wheel. Baby Bear thought it was brilliant that he could actually turn the wheel and tires on his car! Later, I also handed him a pack of markers, and we sat down together to decorate the car. Now, he has his own personal, custom designed race car sitting in the living room.

Driving along in my automobile... my toys beside me at the wheel.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shapes Unit

Baby Bear knows a lot of shapes for his age, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge every chance he gets. Something about recognizing shapes, both drawn and in the real world, gets him excited. So, we spent about a week and a half doing shapes activities to reinforce his old knowledge and expand it with a couple of new shapes, which he now loves to point out as well. Aside from playing "I Spy" with shapes out in the backyard (which is hard to capture in a picture) these were Baby Bear's favorite activities from our time studying shapes.

I drew some shapes on a piece of construction paper in crayon, and Baby Bear helped me make water colors for some crayon resist art. All we did was mix a little tempura paint with a little water for the water colors.

Baby Bear's favorite activity, and the one he was most proud of, was the shapes collage he made using foam stickers. We already had the stars, ovals, and circles leftover from a couple of store-bought sticker packs. I made the rest of the shapes by cutting them out of sticky-back foam sheets.

As seen on many linkups around Valentine's Day, Baby Bear and I did some heart stamping using an empty toilet paper roll creased in one place to look like a heart.

Baby Bear and I also made up a shapes game while outside playing with sidewalk chalk. We drew a large shapes wheel and hopped around it like we were playing hopscotch as we called out the shapes we landed on. There weren't actually any rules to the game... we just played!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Light Box

A few months ago, I read about this homemade light box on The Imagination Tree, and I was smitten. I have wanted a light box for Baby Bear for soooo long, but they are very expensive. I thought he would like one, but I wasn't sure, so I couldn't justify the cost. Papa Bear and I were able to throw this box together using supplies we already had on hand, though!

  • storage box with a clear or see-through lid and/or bottom
  • white Christmas lights
  • transparent or translucent, colorful manipulatives (for example, I used some of my old overhead projector teaching materials like counters, coins, and geometric shapes)
  1. Put the Christmas lights in the storage box.
  2. Set the box clear-side-up. For us, this meant turning the box upside down.
  3. Plug in the lights if they're not battery operated.
  4. Play with the manipulatives on the box! That's it!
As it turned out, Baby Bear thought the light box was OK, but not great. He plays with it a little here and there, but I am so glad I did not invest in a store-bought box! As for me, I thought it was fantastic. :)