Saturday, August 27, 2011

the construction site

My child has been interested in tools, heavy machines (here and here) and construction for a long time. It must run in the genes because my husband was in the body and fender trade for 20 years before he became an iron worker.

Anytime we come across construction it's a given that we stop to check out what's going on and what machines and tools are being used.

Today at the park we say a cement truck pouring some concrete. We watched the operator set up the chute from three different parts. We listened as the truck beeped as it backed up trying to get into position.
What you can't see are some orange cones and men with shovels and leveling tools. We talked about those and when daddy came home from work he pulled out the cones for J to make his own construction site.
Nearby is a pile of fine grained gravel (because who doesn't have a pile of that nearby? Ah, the joys of having a 'handy' husband).
J used his gardening shovel and rake to move some gravel around the cones of the construction site.
I love the dramatic play component of learning, don't you?

The end!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

J's dramatic play area

With a few new purchases from the Goodwill, I'm happy enough with J's dramatic play area to share some photos with you. His "kitchenette" is located in a little space in between the dining room and living room. 

My parents were kind enough to purchase this marvelous kitchen play set for J when he was about a year and a half (its nicer than my real kitchen, that's for sure):
It came with small plastic plates and cups and stainless steel utensils. Over time I've added stainless steel pitchers and pots from rummage sales, measuring spoons and cups, a small scale and even a tiny plastic potted plant I found at the dollar store. In the cupboards are an empty box of Annie's noodles and an empty container of that nasty processed Parmesan cheese my husband and child adore so much. Shrug. Currently J is sauteing a cluster of googley eyes. 

Counterclockwise from the kitchenette against the sofa is his table and chair set, a gift from his Titi (Aunt Katie). 
J likes to actually eat snack or dinner a this table from time to time, and I let him depending on how messy it is. He would love for his father and I to join him but alas, we don't fit! I like to let J play with things like the  pom poms or large dried noodles or other objects that 'pour' instead of plastic food.  I even add a little water to his teapot because it's only a couple ounces and it's easy to clean up if it spills. 

On the opposite wall from the kitchenette is one of J's shelves of toys. 

My husband (a union iron-worker) looks at me funny when I bring home things like the baby doll, stroller, and cradle but I remind him that J needs to practice being a good dad, too. (P.S. the iron has the cord cut off- J is obsessed with electrical outlets).

Well, J and I hope you enjoyed the tour! 

The end. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

planting a flag garden

My mom ordered dozens of these American flags from Oriental Trading Company for the Fourth of July celebration at their lake house. J got a hold of some and decided to plant them in the raised garden bed.

Happy 4th everyone! 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sorting flowers

I bought this egg holder at a garage sale and thought we'd use it as a sorting tray. So I gathered up different flowers and offered them to J on a plate along with the tray.

He got busy and we talked about the different colors and textures of the flowers as we went.
The end!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

bricks and sticks

This is my first attempt to blog via my mobile and let me tell you, I'm being outsmarted by my smartphone.

Anyhoo, J and I are spending the holiday with my family up at my parent's lake house. It's the perfect opportunity for some activities that involve nature.

After the mega-storm system that ran down Lake Michigan yesterday, the ground was littered with sticks. J was gathering some up so I offered him this brick with holes in it.

He immediately got the idea and began placing the sticks in the holes (very Montessori -ish, no?)

It's a good thing I didn't wait until the end to take a picture because immediately after he placed the last stick he knocked them all down.

Oh well!

Ok I'm about to publish. Lets see if the photos end up in the right spot. I'm not convinced.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

blowing out the candle

Ok, this wasn't really J's birthday but he so enjoyed blowing out his candles on his birthday cake (he is really attracted to fire in all shapes and forms) I decided to recreate the event for him with one of Grandma's cupcakes. 

At first he wanted to blow the candle out without waiting for me to sing Happy Birthday, which was fine with me. 
But after I kept relighting the candle and he was assured he'd get as many turns as he would like he waited until the end of the song. Then he experimented with blowing from different distances (of course in between takes he took a little bite of the cupcake).
Happy 2nd birthday, my little angel! 

Touch a Truck

The other day we took a field trip to our local Touch a Truck event. It's pretty neat. They park a whole bunch of trucks in a parking lot and the children get a hands on feel for the different kinds vehicles. They got to sit in the drivers seat, honk the horns and fiddle with all the buttons. J loves anything with a motor, so this event caused him to be in heaven!
He got to experience a front end loader:

A tractor along with a school bus, a fire engine, a police car, a tow truck, and an ambulance among others:

It was a fantastic day:

rocks in a wooden display case

I bought this wooden display case at a city-wide garage sale (and wow does it need a dusting). 
The owner told me it came with his wife from England when she moved into the area. I wondered why she felt it was so important that she would bring it all the way across the ocean only to later sell it out of the garage, but I didn't ask. Anyway, I was in the market for such a thing, and thought it was good luck I should come across one for $2. 

At first J and I used this to sort his vintage cars from his father's old collection. This was in May, right before his 2nd birthday and he showed a brief interest in the activity.
This was about as far as he got, so I snapped a photo but I couldn't help completing the set. 
I love to organize things like this and as a child I would have spend hours rearranging some collection or another. 

Anyway, I cleaned up and tucked the wooden display case under the couch until yesterday when I wondered if J would like to sort another type of collection so I brought out my jar of black river rocks. 

This time he was eager. 
He filled up all the spaces as we talked about little, big, long & short, skinny & fat. 
When we were done we cleaned up and J enjoyed the sound the rocks made when they clattered to the bottom of the glass vase. 
Then he dumped them out so he could feel them under his feet. I love how children learn about the world with their whole bodies. 
I had pretty much chalked this activity up as being over when on a whim I set the case upright. J thought the new perspective was pretty cool and began adding rocks again (again I thought I should really dust but I didn't want to stop):
He did't last quite as long this time, but I was happy he was interested at all:
I like how he chose to pile some rocks on top of each other. It was so fun for me to watch this process!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

making noodles

J loves to eat noodles and watches intently when I am cooking them. A small empty pasta box inspired me to create a dramatic play activity for J's kitchen. 

I filled the box with dried pasta and put it in J's pantry. It was a perfect fit. I told J there was a surprise in his cabinet and to go and see. He squealed when he saw the pasta box! He said, "Noodles!". 
I reviewed the process of cooking noodles with J step by step. First we put the noodles in the pot to boil. J said "Cook."
He spontaneously took a spoon out to stir:
Then I reminded him to strain the noodles in the sink(this photo didn't turn out for some reason). Next we put the noodles on the plate and pretend to eat:

After we cleaned up our kitchen and put the noodles back into the box and on the shelf:
J really enjoyed this activity and has cooked noodles a couple more times since! 

The end! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

nurturing the babies

The other day I noticed J had lined up his "babies" and covered them with his beloved blanket. Then he gave each of them a bottle or sippy cup:

I provided him an opportunity to extend his dramatic play by giving him a cup and spoon so he could feed his babies:

Then we burped the babies:

J will make a great daddy one day!
The end!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

finding hooks

J has been mentioning hooks a lot lately. He came into my bedroom and when he saw I had hung my sports bra on the dresser knob, he cried, "hook! hook!" He then proceeded to try and hang it on the other dresser knobs. 

After a few more hook mentions (he hung is art bib after window painting on my dresser hook too) I realized he was (duh) showing an interest in hooks.

After his nap today I offered J his book bag and asked him if he wanted to find some hooks. I apologize in advance for the poor quality of these photos. I used my camera phone and little J is quite fast and often looks like a blur.

The first hook he found was the one holding up the diaper bag. He couldn't reach and moved on:
Next his changing table knobs: 
The bathroom door where we got distracted by his makeshift ball pit:
(We stopped a minute to play)
When he got out he was happy to resume the activity:
When he got to the buffet, he said, "Hook? No." But he gave it a shot anyway:
We were on our way downstairs when he found the door handle worked:
After this he had a tantrum because he couldn't go outside yet. I suspected he was hungry so we stopped to have a snack (another tantrum ensued because he couldn't have chocolate). After he calmed down he happily ate his banana with peanut butter and graham crackers. Then daddy came home from the auto parts store and hanging out with him in the garage fixing the truck became more attractive. 

To be continued in the basement!

vinegar and baking soda experinment

An oldie but goodie. We used a pipette and a salt shaker bottle to transfer vinegar into a tray of baking soda. (I use Colorations liquid watercolors instead of food coloring because it doesn't stain).

J was delighted with the bubbles it made. He said, "bubbles" and "izzy" (fizzy). Eventually we had to refill the vinegar and replace the baking soda (three times). Then we reversed the process and added baking soda to a cup of vinegar. He liked this process better. 

The end!

transferring beans

These beans reminded me of TicTacs. So I thought I'd set out my empty container for a transferring activity. 

I poured all the beans into the cup because I wasn't sure how many he'd want to do. Apparently it was too much, or the container I put them in was too tight because he dumped them on the tray either in frustration or for better access, I'm not sure. He hasn't been interested in doing this activity again, so I think it was a bit too much (though he put about 10 beans in). 

The end!

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