Wednesday, June 29, 2011

International Mud Day!

Today we celebrated International Mud Day. Word spread and we ended up with friends and neighbors and cousins all over to get messy and muddy. I didn't have any real elaborate plans. Just get dirt, add water, bring children...done.

The children were given lots of different containers, big and small to explore with.

Friends making use of our mud kitchen. Our neighbor announced that he was making sparkling cake. Sounds yummy.

The first thing Bug did was pick up a handful of mud and stick it in his mouth. It didn't take long for him to decide that mud did not taste good. After that he was happy to just squish.

Mud pies.
Birdy didn't want to get muddy, but she did have fun making channels in the gravel for the water to go down. I felt this was very scientific so I didn't push the issue.

After we were done playing we enjoyed some mud pudding (chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos, and gummy worms) I can't wait to see what other folks have done for their Mud Day celebrations. If you have any fun ideas please leave a comment. I would love to start planning for next year, because this is definitely a new tradition.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

More card board boxes

When the door bell rang today, I opened it to find my dear friend Mary on my front porch with a gift for us, a huge card board box. It was a wonderful surprise. We spent all afternoon playing in it. We brought books inside and read. We closed our selves up and played with flash lights. We got the markers and crayons out and colored all over it. It then occurred to me what my husband would say if he came home to find yet another card board box in the middle of the living room.  So I began looking around for where I could stash it. But unlike the other card board boxes we have been known to play with. This one was at least 3 times larger and I just couldn't see how I could hide it. I began to remind myself of the little mouse trying to hide the red ripe strawberry from the big hungry bear. I finally came up with an idea.

If you unfolded the ends, the box was as big as her whole bed. But with the ends all tucked inside its the perfect size for a little reading nook. Birdy loved it. She wanted to sleep there tonight. Now that is one card board box the big hungry bear will never find!

Sensory tubs

Sensory tubs and sensory tables are used by preschool teachers(and moms) as a way of allowing children to explore using several of their senses at once. They can involve different visual elements, textures, sounds, and smells. I love making sensory tubs for "Birdy" and "Bug" and they seem to love playing with them. Mine are not too complicated. I don't have the stuff stored up to make great ones yet, but I'm on my way. This one is our latest. We made it using split peas left over from our March sensory tub along with a potted succulent plant and some other plastic dinosaur toys. Here is a link to another site with a great collection of sensory tubs and also one of my favorite blogs Counting Coconuts. Aren't they great!? She is so creative.If you look carefully you see that she is very conscious about including something for as many of the senses as possible. For her weather tub, she even found a CD of storms to play while her child plays. Genius! 

For "Bug" it gets a little more complicated. I can't let him play with a big tub of beans, for example because he will stick half of them in his mouth and the other half up his nose. Items for his tub must be safe but they must also be something that excites the five senses, otherwise whats the point? Here is another link to another one of my favorite blogs called  The Imagination Tree. Anna has created treasure baskets and discovery boxes for her little ones and they are just wonderful. Any one who has kept up with what my kids are up to will notice that I have stolen borrowed quite a few ideas from her. If you have babies or toddlers and have never checked out her site, please spend a good long while looking it over. Its wonderful. Here are some sensory ideas I have introduced to "Bug"
 You may recognize these lids and magnets from a previous post.
 Bug loved playing with different kinds of brushes. He would pull them out one by one and tickle his feet and run them through his hair. Then he would turn it around and chew on the wooden handle.
 The bad thing about concrete floors is that they always look horrible in photos. The great thing is that this collection of rolling objects works like a charm. One push and they would go zooming across the room. The metal one was his favorite because it makes a cool metallic ring as it goes rolling.
Here is a metal bowl full of metal objects. This was a particularly loud play session. He discovered after a few minutes that if his scooted the bowl back and forth and all of they things inside shuffled around that he could get some really great screeching noises. He loved that! Even if the rest of the house was reaching for the ear plugs.
This was our wooden bowl complete with wooden spoons, a wooden rolling pin, wooden puzzle pieces, and a string of large wooden beads. It was so fun to see Bug take out each piece and examine it one by one feeling and tasting every inch. Then, when the bowl was empty, he turned it over and began to bang on it with his spoons. Sensory play at its best!
This tub was a garage sale find and it must be the best purchase I have ever made. Here, He kept wanting to crawl in to the bath with his sister so I just skimmed some bath bubbles from the top of "Birdy's" bath and stripped him down and stuck him in the tub with the bubbles. You can see I had to do some creative editing.
And finally, we took our water tub outside to enjoy with all our bath toys. The kids all had fun splashing in the yard and getting all wet.  I hope you have enjoyed some of these ideas and also some of the links. As I said, if you have young children pleas spend some time looking through these sites. You will get some amazing ideas.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lazy days of Summer?

It's funny how things can go so differently that you imagine? I always have big plans in my head and when the time comes they usually go out the window. In my mind, this summer was going to be filled with lazy days of laying around and doing nothing. I was going to have two or three posts a week of all the wonderful creative things I had done with my kids. I was going to use all of my new found free time to get Bug on to a good sleeping schedule, and take my girls to the library and water park. Alas, I have found that free time, like unicorns or tooth fairies, can be pretty illusive. This is my first post of summer and we are already two weeks in. Here are some photos to prove that we haven't been sitting around like lumps.

 Painting is always a winner in our house. We are even building a reputation among friends and neighbors as the house you come to when you want to make a mess. I can't say my husband is thrilled with this, but it is what it is.

We have also started construction of our mud pie kitchen, but being that this is Texas and it hasn't rained for two months and probably won't rain until October, it's more of a stone soup kitchen right now. I added the line for drying clothes. I want to add some shelving and other items to make it more homey. We have also spent countless days at the pool and more countless days at church working on various things. So far not too lazy. But we can still hope.