Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Painted Snowman

We woke up this morning to a beautiful snowy wonderland and of course took advantage of it by building a snowman! I had actually toyed with the idea of bringing snow into the house to paint it, but came to my senses and decided that we would take the painting outside. 
1st, we built our snowman.

I made "paint" by coloring water with food coloring then
putting the cups in the snow while we made our snowman
so the water would get really cold. That way the water wouldn't
melt the snowman as we painted.

Then we painted 
It was game day, so I added some flare to the back :)
Busy gathered some snow in a bag (which was
really cute) so I let her bring it inside to make
snow dinner. Apparently I hadn't come to my
senses after all ;)
Daddy threw some food coloring in the pot with the snow
and the kids got to 'cooking'

Friday, December 28, 2012

Balloon Games

Since Busy was a baby she has loved balloons! Every time we walk into Kroger she scouts out the new seasonal balloons then asks if she can get one of those or if she can get a white 'Kroger' balloon (the free kind). Every holiday we get her a crazy big balloon that lasts for what seems like weeks.

We got some regular balloons the other day for some experiments and you would have thought she won the lottery! This is what we did with them today....

We made a zip line - 
What you need
1 balloon, tape, a drinking straw and yarn
What to do
1. Tape one end of the yarn to the wall 
2. Thread the yarn through the straw then tape the other end of the yarn to an adjacent wall.
3. Blow up the balloon just a bit and tape the straw to the balloon.
4. Let the balloon go letting the air propel it across the yarn to the other side of the room :)                                    

We also made a pouf popper - 
What you need
a paper cup, 1 balloon, poufs ( like the kind we used in the candy corn craft) and some scissors
What to do
1. Cut a hole in the bottom of the cup
2. Blow up the balloon just a bit and tie it off
3. Cut off the top 1/4 of the balloon and stretch it around the bottom of the cup.
4. Put a pouf in the cup, pull the tied end of the balloon back and let go, sending the pouf across the room :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Week in Review - A Christmas Story

Christmas with a 3 and a half year old is simply the best! Seriously, the best! Everything is more magical, more exciting, more entertaining and well, just more everything. 

As you know, Scout has been here for a few weeks showing up in various places around the house but staying out of trouble. Every morning Busy would wake up and start her search of the little elf that had returned from the North Pole from reporting to Santa. Once she found him she would say "Hey Scout! Welcome back! I had a good nap." And every night before she went to bed she would say "Goodnight, Scout. Be careful on your trip to see Santa. I'll see you in the morning!"

Friday Busy and I went to a playgroup gingerbread house party - Beansie was at home with Daddy with a case of bronchitis :(

We had "fake Christmas" on Sunday night when Uncle Daniel and Aunt Karyn were in town.

Being silly with Uncle Immy
Busy sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn so they could find our house.

When I was a kid, my brother and I were allowed to open one gift each on Christmas Eve - Christmas pajamas. We would change into them and hop in the car for a pajama ride to find the houses with the best Christmas lights. Omar and I decided to continue that tradition once we had kids and since Busy was 6 months old (and now Beans), she has gotten Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve, put them on and hopped in the car for a pajama ride :)

This year their jammies matched which made for some super cute pictures!

Uncle Immy came over for the annual Christmas Eve
slumber party and brought more gifts!

Bentley guarding the tree (he had some wrapped cookies
that I think he could smell and didn't want to miss out)

Christmas morning was so much fun! The Beans thought the wrapping paper and boxes were far more fun than the actual gifts, but Busy was so excited that Scout had told Santa everything she wanted and loved all of her gifts under the tree. It was exciting!

Busy got a singing toothbrush in her stocking.....
so of course she has to dance while brushing!

Beans trying on his new still wrapped bike helmet.

And although it was freezing, we still managed to get outside for some fun on Christmas day.

Playing with her new Stomp Rocket!

 Nana and Baba came over Christmas morning for breakfast. Obviously Beansie had no fun ;)

The holiday season was definitely one for the memory book. And as Busy said as she was going to bed Christmas night, "It's okay that Christmas is over. We get to do it all again next year!"

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sight Word Activities

In a previous post I talked about the pre-reading books and sight words that Busy is working on. Someone recently had asked me about another activity that they could do with the books for sight word practice. There are a number of things you can do to keep learning fun and provide a variety of learning opportunities for a variety of learners. Here are just a few...

Sight Word Bingo

To play sight word bingo, you need to make a game board like this one that includes all of the words you have been working on. I used both sides of the card stock paper.

Read each word with your child before you begin the game for practice. I called out each word but you can make small index cards with the words on them so if she gets stumped, you can show her the word and she can find it on her game board. When she finds the word she stamps her pencil eraser in the ink pad then stamps a circle on the correct sight word. She can also use a real stamp or her finger for variety. 

Once you have called all of the words you can start to repeat some or simply turn the paper over for more words. Keep the paper so you can practice again using a different color in the next time. Then she can count the dots to keep track of how many times she has correctly identified each word.

For extension, you can help her graph how many times each word has been stamped. 

Cap Spelling

I save the caps from water bottles, juice bottles, milk cartons and so on. You can play lots of word games with caps. Simply write one letter per cap and place them in a labeled snack baggie. This way she can see the word in front of her and match the caps to the letters to make the word on the baggies. For older children you can do this with spelling word as well. 

Dry Erase Word Practice

Busy loves to write on dry erase boards! Here she put her board on the floor and began copying her sight words off of her word wall. I encourage her to write anything on her boards. This way she gets practice writing letters as well as words and shapes and numbers too. 

Shaving Cream Writing

This is exactly what is sounds like. We have a coffee table with a lip to it that we sometimes use for shaving cream projects or for when we add food coloring, we use the red tray. Let them spread the shaving cream around and explore for a while before the actual writing begins. 

Water Painting

You need a chalk board for this activity. You can get a small one at any school supply store or make your own like we did. Ours is chalk board contact paper. 

Write the sight words on the chalk board. I gave Busy a small paint brush and a cup of water and showed her how to write with the brush tracing over the chalk written words. She likes this activity and after writing her sight words, she enjoys drawing shapes and "squiggles" with the water.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Playgroup Reunion

Here's how it happened...

Busy was 6 months old when I decided that we needed to join a mommy and me class at Gymboree. When we started, she wasn't crawling yet but started soon after. I somehow convinced a couple of my good friends with kids the same age to join as well. Now I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but sometime in that first few months we managed to "attract" some other cool moms with cool kids (and yes, I am aware of how awful that sounds). We decided to get together outside of class to talk babies and girl talk. Over the past 3 years others have come and gone, but the originals have stayed the course. Our babies are now big - Connor will be 4 in February, Everest in March, Caroline in April, Wip in May and Busy in June. We don't all get together much anymore, due to the crazy number of kids we have collectively and to ever changing schedules, but we do small gatherings between two of us at times.

This afternoon, we all got together for a gingerbread house party at Wip's house. Connor and his two sisters were unable to make it :( but the rest of us had a blast! It was really special to see the kids playing together. They have all changed so much and all have such different personalities that it's interesting and cool to see how they all interact as little people.

After playing for a bit, they all sat at the table to begin the mess decorating.

Busy decided she would drink the icing right out of the tube while
D looked at me like she was crazy...which she is.

Take 1

Take 2

Take 3

And a little kiss under the mistletoe ;)
Times are good and the kids are cute. I miss our playgroups, but when we do manage to get together, it makes it all worth it. I'm already looking forward to next year's gingerbread party!!!