Wednesday, November 24, 2010

spooning chick peas

J had a good time with this Montessori-type activity, using the spoon to transfer chick peas from one container to another. He worked for about 10 minutes, and the bottle didn't seem to get in the way! He knows not to put the chick peas in his mouth (they are choking hazards).

Of course, this activity ended like this:

The end!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

cooking, or "kooky" with J

Little man has been so curious about what I'm doing in the kitchen lately. He knows when I am cooking (he says I'm "kooky") and wants to be lifted up so he can see. This morning while I was making breakfast (whole wheat waffles topped with peach puree, yum!), I gave him a bowl of flour and a spoon and instructed my husband to supervise.  My husband is more of the old school sort, so these kinds of activities blow his mind.

At first J wanted to walk around with the bowl, but after a little convincing (and a little crying) he was satisfied sitting on the floor. J immediately started to spoon flour onto the floor so I gave him another bowl for him to fill (children do so love the idea of transferring things). 

To spice things up (ha!), I handed him a small jar of oregano.  I think there is nothing more irresistible to children than the mysteries of mom's spice rack. In no time at all that little jar was empty so I just refilled it with the flour/oregano mixture from his bowl.

I would say J was pretty content with his first experience with "kooky"

The end!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

the mini mechanic

My child is never happier than he is when he is helping his Dada in the garage. My husband was in the body and fender trade for over 15 years before he switched professions and his mechanical skills have helped us on many occasions. It seems my child has that interest and knack for mechanics too. 

Here he is getting a close look underbody of the car as his dad installs a new transmission (I'm not going to lie, this terrifies me): 

His daddy lets him use all kinds of tools (he prefers the unsafe ones of course) Here he is fixing the bumper with a mini screw driver:

Sticking tools into the hub caps: 

Enjoying the mancave:

We then transferred our knew automotive knowledge to our dramatic play by jacking up his car and fixing it, too:

He and Daddy checked out the underbody (Joey wanted to see it from a different perspective):

The end!

Monday, November 1, 2010

the car wash

I think every child I've ever known has owned one of those Little Tikes covered cars. J is no exception, although I was fortunate to get ours used from a friend whose son had outgrown it. J likes to sit in his and watch Sesame Street. He also likes to use my old ipod as a car phone (although I have to add, I don't drive and talk on the phone):

Anyway, I thought it would be fun for J to wash his car. I handed him at wet rag and he knew just what to do. He began by getting in and washing the interior with such seriousness and intent, I was shocked!

The next day I thought it might be nice for him to have a bucket of suds. While I was filling the bucket with water I added a dab of dish detergent. After the bucket was full, I tipped the bucket spilling out all the water leaving behind only the suds. If I was outside and it was warm I would have let him get everything as wet as he pleased but this activity occurred on my living room carpet, hence my prudence.

I gave him his rag and he was delighted to have "bubbahs." 

This is now his new favorite activity and I have to replace the "bubbahs" every 10 minutes or so!

The end!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

discovering ladybugs

If you are from the Midwest you can expect two things on unseasonably warm fall days: yellow jackets and lady bugs.  While the bees stayed away from our deck, the lady bugs were swarming. J wandered around running toward me as fast as his little legs would carry him when I would shout, "Look! Lady bug!" He would repeat "D-Ug!" and squeal in delight.

I would have loved to snap a photo of every lady bug we found but by the time my camera phone would take a picture our little winged friend had fled. Which makes me sad as I would have loved to make a submission to the Lost Ladybug Project. Oh well, there is always tomorrow!

beans and funnels

I set two containers on J's high chair/work station. One contained dried garbanzo beans and the other contained a funnel. Garbanzo beans (like anything you put in your mouth) could be considered choking hazards. I made sure he knew they were not for eating (or tasting) and obviously supervised throughout. 

This activity would have worked without the funnel, too, but I felt it would be enticing. I was going to use one of my husbands empty sports drink bottles which had a thinner opening at the top but it was a little wet inside from washing so I used a mayo container instead.

After J dug his hands in the beans to get that initial sensory experience I showed him he could drop the beans into the funnel:

He quickly got down to business:

He had to stand up and lift off the funnel to get a really good look at what was happening (the beans were coming out of the bottom of the funnel and into the container). 

Until finally with a squeal of delight he picked up the containers and threw them onto the floor. Ah, children. So predictable. He then got down and helped me put them all back in. Then tossed them back out. Then helped me put them back in again, etc. etc.

The end! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

found objects at the park!

While at the park the other day, we discovered someone had left a whole bunch of matchbox cars on the slide. When J approached the top of the slide, I showed him how to roll them down.

He enjoyed this gravity activity for about 20 minutes!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

play-dough impressions

It looks like this is becoming a play-dough inquiry. I set the play-dough out and rolled it flat for J. I offered him a variety of objects and showed him how to make impressions in the dough. I then re-rolled the dough so he could work with a fresh slate:

All finished: 

In all this activity lasted about 5 minutes, but he enjoyed it while it lasted. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

play-dough (with a poking tool)

Today j walked up to his art table (high chair) and demanded "UP!", an indication he wanted his play-dough. I didn't have any as we brought it outside the previous day and he ended up tossing it into his "boom" area.

He insisted, so I made him a fresh batch really quick, but this time I gave him a chop stick and showed him how to poke holes into the dough.

He took a close look at his work:

He thought about mouthing a piece, but remembered not to (a HUGE milestone!)

 When he was finished (close to 15 minutes later...another HUGE milestone), he offered his dough to daddy:

When Daddy din't take it right away, he intentionally dropped it on the floor and said, "uh oh" (note the appropriate look of concern, lol):

The end!

Friday, August 27, 2010

:: the phone book experiment ::

One day J tore a page from one of his books.

I quickly removed the book from his hands and out of temptation. I didn't scold him because it is my fault for leaving a non-board book accessible to his busy little hands. However, this incident reminded me of the importance of letting children explore the properties of materials. This got me thinking of things he could tear. Then I remembered the stack of outdated phone books we have.

So, I set one outside and opened it. After he looked at me inquisitively, I tore a page out to let him know that this was a book he could rip.

He quickly got busy:

He tore out a few pages:

Lined a few up in a row:

Then he decided to experiment. He tossed the paper off the edge of the deck as he did in the BOOM! project and watched it float to the ground:

Ah, back to his true passion! After tossing a few more, he decided to toss the entire phone book:

He couldn't figure out how to throw it off, and as it didn't seem to upset him I didn't interfere. He then moved on to opening and closing the screen door. 

I just love his scientific mind.

The end!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

:: the bath mat ::

I have a colleague who affectionately known throughout our center as a hoarder. You know it has to be pretty bad for a fellow teacher to call you a hoarder, but I won't mention any names...BETH.

She bought this bath mat a few years ago because she thought it had an interesting texture. Here is a profile view:

After she thought about it for a while, Beth decided that with hip-length hair, it would get gross pretty quick. Fast forward ten years later and its on a table in a bag with the original receipt. She cheerfully let me bring it home to my baby so that it would finally get some use as a sensory  mat.

I love how lil' man stops to smile at me before any new experience. I almost feel as if he is saying, "thanks, ma!" Either that or, he's just mugging for the camera. One of the two.

Anyhoo, he stepped on and began almost kneading his toes into the textured bristles. Its soft but it does feel strange.

Then he hopped back and forth on his feet:

I'd say he enjoyed it!

The end!

Monday, August 16, 2010

:: it's about the journey, not the destination ::

I love our local library. Well, it's the library of the city where we used to live. But my library card is still valid until 2011, and I can't let it go to waste!

There are many reasons why we love this library, most of them having to do with the children's section, which is never empty of children for little man to engage with. But for little man, he also loves the stairs.

Here he is on the library stairs giggling because I pulled out the camera:


You have to climb up three long flights of stairs to get to the children's section. I think they must look like a mountain to a toddler. And I let little man climb up every single one of them by himself. I do this because:
  1. he likes it
  2. I have no desire to carry him up there and
  3. it wears him out so night time isn't a struggle. 
If that last reason isn't enough I don't know what is. 

Today at the library, to his surprise and delight, there were orange cones on the landing:

He had to knock it over a few times:

Then I showed him that you can see through it, which had him side stepping to see me when I rotated my torso around:

I can't believe I didn't think to use it as a magaphone!

Ah, children: so easily and joyfully amused.

When I stop to think about it, this interaction would never have emerged if I had carried him up the stairs to the place were were I intended us play. I am so grateful I did because, lets be honest, sometimes it's just easier and faster to do it our way, especially when we are harried. But I really want our lives to be an adventure together. And as they say, it's about the journey, not the destination.

The end!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

:: checking out the bob cat ::

While staying at my parent's lake home my dad noticed a huge sink hole in the ground. Apparently the ancient septic tank collapsed. This is a huge problem in itself, but to make matters worse, the only way to get the septic tank up the steep hill was to winch it up with a tow truck.

Lil man, my sister, and I took notice from inside I opened the screen so we could get an unobstructed view: 

J loved watching the the bucket and arm of the bob cat dig and swing back and forth. The old septic tank was the size of a barrel. The new one was humongo:

I love all the men standing around outside the huge hole watching:

He lost interest after they started burying it. Then he went down for his nap and I left to do errands. I didn't get to see them fill the hole back up and winch the machine back down. Too bad!

The end! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

:: a quick study of the nightly rainbows ::

The front of our house faces west. Light streams in every evening.

When the rays refract off the beveled glass in the door, rainbows burst forth splattering the wall and puddle on the floor. Their mysterious allure is not lost on my child, who stops to touch one:

The end!
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