Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Sorting with water beads

After we had had fun playing with our water beads, I asked DD to sort them into separate containers to put them away. Away she went, sorting out the green beads from the blue and clear ones, then onto separate the blue from the clear ones.

At first she used only her fingers to sort them, then used a small set of pincers or plastic tweezers to grasp each slippery, squishy bead.
As she sorted, she would tell me what colour she was putting into which container (yes, each bead. was a long process) and she even tried to keep count. Of course there were too many for her to do that at this time. In the end, she and her brothers all had a fun time playing with the water beads and I hope I can find another non toxic alternative to use in the same way soon.
Happy playing!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Sensory Play with Water Beads

This is something I have never even thought of until I came across it at one of  the local dollar stores. Playing with the water retaining beads you put into a vase! I wasn't so sure they would be great to play with at first. But the package said non toxic, and my children don't often put things that aren't food into their mouths anymore so I picked up a package.
I had to try it out myself first, so I put the beads into a cup and filled it up with water, skeptical about whether they would grow at all because they were so tiny and hard. After only a few minutes, I noticed a difference in size and in their shape too! They seemed to be getting bumpy, getting little grooves in them. But since the instructions said they could take up to 6 hours to fully expand I decided to wait before writing them off. It was worth the wait!
All evening, mommy and daddy kept on going back to the beads to check them out, often touching them and playing with them too. After a couple of hours (we couldn't wait) we took the beads out and drained the extra water. They were bouncy, smooth, soft and squishy! the kids picked then up with spoons and little plastic tweezers and fingers. they bounced, tossed and felt them with their feet.
After having so much fun playing with them all in a bunch, I had DD sort them out into the separate colours. She had fun, and with "help" from mommy, Petit Monsier and Big Bro, we had them all organized for another play adventure on a different day.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Some of our quiet games

Do you ever play games with your children? I don't mean video games, I'm talking about board games or other games away from the screen.

I try to make sure there is quiet time every day, whether we read some stories, listen to music or just sit around and talk as a family. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but I also try to make sure we play a game as a family (or as a portion of the family) at least a couple of times a month.

While my oldest child, who will soon be 13, enjoys playing chess, and the middle child can now sit still long enough to play a co-operative game such as Harvest Time or Scrabble jr., the youngest can't yet sit still long enough to play any games yet, unless they involve a lot of movement which sometimes involves some creativity.
One sit down game he did enjoy was "Feed the Penguin", and even that got a little rough near the end.
The latest games we like to play are matching up games. My youngest, being 2 and obsessed with Thomas the train, loves to play a railway matching game I bought when my oldest was only about his age (so 10 years ago now).

There are a few "official" ways to play, but most of the time right now I just lay out the cards, give him a board and let him try to find and match the cards to the pictures on the boards. There are times I will call out an engine or other vehicle name and let him search, other times we just see how fast we can find the matching pieces and fill up the boards. As he learns to sit still and listen to direction I will add more games to his play.
Until then he enjoys trying to play the other games alongside as a "team" or just doing his own thing while the older ones and I play. I can't wait until he can join in and play with the rest of us.

Happy Playtime!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

3-2-1 magic cake in a minute

I have seen "make a cake in a mug" packets before, and at nearly 3$ per serving, I cannot afford to buy enough for the whole family (imagine, spending 15$ on 5 servings of cake that doesn't even satisfy us all?)
I found instructions online on how to make your own microwaveable mug cakes, and it's as easy as 1-2-3.  Especially if bought on sale this is also very cost efficient. I have even thought about giving small jars of the mix away for the holidays as hostess gifts! Splendid!

The first thing you need are packaged cake mixes, one of whatever flavor you choose (we chose rainbow confetti sprinkle) and one MUST be angel food cake.
Mix the 2 cake mixes together and store in an airtight container. When you want to make the mug cakes, take 3 TBSP of the mix, add 2 TBSP of water and stir in a microwave safe mug or bowl.  Place in the microwave for 1 minute on high power

. VOILA! an easy, sweet treat almost anyone can make.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Homeschooling: the first months home

As any of you who may be following along on here, we have decided to school at home this year.
 It was suggested by other home schoolers in my community to "de-school" my oldest, who was attending public school for the last 7 year. De-schooling, to my understanding, is basically teaching the child (and sometimes the parents as well) that learning doesn't always have to happen at a desk or in a classroom by staying away from formal learning activities as much as possible (workbooks and lessons) and to just relax.
So far, I am learning a lot about what my son knows and doesn't know yet and am starting to find out what he is actually interested in doing. 
In public school, I found that so much of what he was doing was basically getting away with doing next to no school work, just fooling around and "socializing" every chance he got. I would attend the portfolio nights and parent teacher conferences and when it came time to show work, it was almost never there. The teachers comments were almost always something along the lines of "needs to focus on schoolwork" and "needs to better manage his time in class".
Now, I can focus on what he likes, and find a way to incorporate the core subjects into that.
I hope that over the next few months my son and I will both learn what it means to love learning again and will be able to find something to focus on to motivate his learning to reach the next level.

Fall Theme Sensory Bin

I like to provide as many sensory activities as possible for my younger children to explore. Here is a look at the fall themed sensory bin I made after we spent a week collecting various nature items to add into it.
The children enjoyed the gathering as much as playing with the leaves, nuts and seeds (among other items) in the large bin.

They used their toy cars and other items in the bin, as well as enjoying the feeling of the rice and pasta running over their hands and fingers.
We always love to play with our hands and get messy while exploring and this was no exception!
The contents of the bin ended up mostly on the floor at the end of their play, (even with the shower curtain!) but all in all I think it was worth the mess.
Until next time, Happy playing!

Canadian goose crossing

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Sensory Play

We have a little bit sensory play every day, whether it's with water in the sink, sand in the sand table or mud in the garden. I never realized that the things I have been doing with my children over the last 12 years are considered sensory play!

The thing they like most of course seems to be the water play. There are days I will just let them play the day away in the bathtub with their toys and little bottles of soaps to make "potions" or other imaginary food or drink.

Being comfortable in the water is very important for me to instill in my kids. I want them to feel at home in the water as much as possible, and I have a feeling that all this bathtub play has got my sweet DD, who is almost 5 years old,  into swimming in a big way!
She now shows me (and her 2 brothers) how long she can hold her breath underwater and how many bubbles she can blow in the water. Of course she has also learned to squirt water out of her mouth at her little bro, and he is learning to get her right back with his buckets.

 On a semi-regular basis we trek to the local YMCA with friends and go swimming in the "big pool" as my sweet DD calls it. She enjoys getting into a pool that she can barely touch the ground in, and has a blast sliding down the small slide set up just for the little kids. I love the family pool at the YMCA because it's just the perfect size to get comfortable in the deeper water.

She loves going to all the splash pads in the summertime and we have now explored 3 different splash pads and 2 different wading pools this summer and already have a list to try out for when the warm weather comes around again.

I can't wait to get her into actual swimming lessons so she can learn to really fly in the water, but for now just getting her in and exposing her is good enough.