Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guess the Baby!

Some of these babies are mine.  Some are not.  Would you like to take a guess?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Living Room Soccer

It was too hot to play outside and once it cooled off it was too rainy!  We've resorted to indoor sports to burn off a bit of energy.
This is soccer in the living room.  The ball, from Ikea, is soft enough that I don't need to worry about it in the house.  Another great aspect of the gave is that we can play after supper, when it's dark out and Daddy is home to join in!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Train on the Brain

During the past month we've had some great train experiences, including the chance to ride the shinkansen (bullet train). However, the experience that amazes me the most is seeing the leaps and bounds that have been made in train building at home.
At the beginning of the month the Little Guy started making simple circles by himself. Previously he always waited for help.

During the past week though he has expanded to larger loops and even including bridges.
I love the way this simple wooden set from Ikea has survived the past year.  It is one of those toys I could see keeping until we have grandkids one day!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bubbles are Back

In between heat waves we did sneak outside for a little bit.  Let me tell you, bubbles are back!  In the spring the novelty started to wear off but we are over that now.  The Little Guy is all about taking his turn to blow bubbles and then having a turn to catch them.  His sister, however, was not so keen on the bubbles.  Maybe that's because a few landed on her head?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Boredom Buster

This week has been very stressful and it is only Tuesday.  Some of the stress is a carry-over from Saturday when we had an "everything that can go wrong, will" kind of day.
The main reason for the stress is toddler boredom.  The main reason for the boredom seems to be that the Little Guy has mastered all of the activities I have on hand.  Until I have time to make/get some new ones I'm pulling out a few of the classics to keep him occupied.

balance moon game
This is great because you can play it by yourself or with a group.

magnifying match
I saw this on another blog but can't remember where.  The idea is to use to magnifying glass to look at a small picture and them match it to the corresponding large picture.

pattern practice - using colored spools to follow a pattern on the card and the recreate it on a b/w card (this counts as preschool math... I wish algebra had been this much fun!)

Having something new to do made such a huge difference in the way we started our day.  It set the tone and pace for a nice, productive day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Children's Bible こどもバイブル

Bilingual Children's Bible バイリンガルこどもバイブル

I was looking around on and came across one of our favorite books.  It is the Beginner's Bible Japanese-English edition.  The same book is on here.

My son loves the pictures.  He's noticed that the characters keep wearing the same colors even as they age.  An example would be David from boyhood to becoming king he is pictured wearing red.  He also enjoys taking the Children's Bible to church to read along with the rest of us.

I like that the book has hiragana on any of the kanji that appear so even young or inexperienced readers can follow along.  Being bilingual makes this a great way to practice your Japanese, English or both!

Brother Teacher

Big Brother has taken over supervising tummy time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Very Hungry

We recently came across these in a store.  My first thought was "Why didn't I think of that?"  They would make a great treat for someone who is reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  

This pastry has a little bit of each fruit jam in it.  It is formed with little circles with the jam in the middle so it looks a little like a caterpillar.

This is the butterfly bread.

Here's what the butterfly bread looked like.  

Anyone want to try and make their own?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Different View, Different Use

Tummy time with big brother's things...
The Little Guy was using the lacing cards when the Little Lady came over to "watch". She seemed very interested in the patterns and designs on the cards.

She's so small!!!

This is the Little Guy's activity rug. He uses it when doing an activity on the floor or to keep his toys in out from under our feet (contained to the mat) when playing in the living room.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Making Room for Kids

One of the ideas Maria Montessori had was that spaces for kids should be arranged in a way that the kids can use the space without adult help. Our house is small so there isn't a play room but the kids are welcome to enjoy using the whole place for their leaning and exploring.
Here are pictures of two of our activity areas.
This is the bottom half of the kitchen/dining room shelf.
On the floor are boxes with supplies that are too big/heavy to store elsewhere.
The 1st shelf from the bottom has "baby books" on the left. They are board books which are very durable. I rotate these according to season and interests. The tan containers with brown handles are CD cases. Our CD player is in the same room as the shelf so in addition to adding weight to the bottom to stop the shelf from tipping, it also makes changing music an activity that the kids can help with.
The second and third shelves from the bottom are home to various activities. Each one has a basket or tray of some kind. When the Little Guy wants to do an activity he takes the tray/basket to his work table, lays everything out, does the activity, cleans everything up and finally returns the tray to the shelf.
My husband once asked "how do you know where everything goes?". Since you only take one tray out at a time it is easy to figure out that it goes into the open space on the shelf. No labels needed!

This is part of our tatami room. It is about half of the living room so again, this is a shared and multipurpose space. The basic rule here is that toys stay on the tatami. The other side of the room has a lot of foot traffic so we try to limit the number of things to trip over.
On the left you can see the keyboard and guitars. This part of our house is where I feel we can be the loudest without disturbing our neighbors so we use the space for music times.
Next to the guitars is the bookshelf. The books are arranged generally by topic and series with the *special* books on the top shelf. I have a number of books which are fragile so they are kept up top where they can be requested and enjoyed with adult supervision.
The four wooden boxes are home to three cloth boxes numbered 1,2,3 and a space for books. The contents of the boxes are rotated according to interests at the time. On top of the boxes is a lamp which the the Little Guy is in charge of turning on/off and a box with various kid size instruments.

We have other kid-friendly spaces throughout the house. As I have time I'll take pictures of those too.

As a mom with a newborn and a toddler I can tell you that having a prepared environment has made my life much easier. Since the toddler can reach most things he is able to be independent rather than relying on me to do/reach everything for him.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Painting with Watercolors

It's been hot outside, too hot to play on most days so we've been enjoying some inside activities. One of the Little Guy's favorite is painting.
These paints came with a Care Bear painting book from Grandma and Grandpa. We don't have an art corner set up right now so art activities are usually on request at the table after supper. The Little Guy can see where some of the art supplies are kept so he is very comfortable asking for them. Eventually I hope to get a full art area arranged.