Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seek & Play Puzzle

Zilla is 4 years old
Miss Mega is 1 yr. 4 mo. old
For his birthday Zilla received the Seek & Play Puzzle: Huckle's House.  

Since he really enjoys the Richard Scarry books and learning videos (DVDs) that we have I thought this would be a real treat for him.  We saved the "first play" for a time when Mega was napping and Daddy was home.  He waited a month but it was worth it.  
The thing I like the most is that this is more than just a kid's puzzle.  The house design with familiar characters is a natural conversation starter.  
The puzzle also comes with question cards which ask you to look for various items.  Emo and I were very impressed with the vocabulary that Zilla can understand.  Of course some things, like lawn mower and attic, which we don't have and he hasn't seen in years, were a little tricky for him to figure out.  Even though he can't ready yet he was able to understand the pictures on the cards enough to ask us to look for various things.  
The paper that the cards are printed on would be fine for older kids but with a toddler wandering about I went ahead and laminated them.  Hopefully they will last until Mega is old enough for the kids to enjoy this puzzle together!

I think he might enjoy the Busytown Seek & Play Puzzle for Christmas!

ママごと Playing Mom

Kids notice everything... even the small things
And they will copy anything!  Miss Mega and Zilla like to pull their kids (the dogs) around in a "stroller".  Often they also have one of their back too.
This is the way we travel home from our Baby Signing Time lesson as the return trip coincides with nap time.  Zilla cane nap for an hour+ in the stroller, Mega naps on my back and I have a fairly quiet train ride home!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Playing Car

Miss Mega is very observant and recently has started copying, in detail, things that other people do.  One of her favorite activities when Zilla is not around is to play "car" int eh kitchen.  Keep in mind that we do not own a car so the number of times a year they ride in one can be easily counted.  It is amazing to me how much they both pick up!
Here is a little video that shows what happened before the picture...

Please note that the crying in this case is just her expressing frustration.  Not every cry a kid makes is a cry for help.  Also, the car steering wheel and sounds come from the Cars book that Grandma and Grandpa gave to Zilla last summer.  The arrangement of the chairs and cart to make the "car" is all kid planned!

Pie Baker

Zilla, 4 years old, loves to lend a hand in the kitchen.  Thanks to the various Practical Life activities he's been doing he is actually pretty aware of how to do the basics.  So, when he asked to make a cherry pie I was willing to go for it - as long as his little sister was napping!
Rolling out the crust is a lot like playing with play dough!

I mixed the filling as my recipe called for ingredients we don't have so I made it up as I went along.

Zilla was very intent on doing this part himself.  He didn't want me to even touch the table! 

In the end we made a great treat together.  While I don't think he is ready to make a pie all on his own, I know that next time I can let him do some of the work while I take care of other things!  
He's already requested to make an apple pie next!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful Hands

We have many things to be thankful for this year, as in years past.  To help us remember life with 4 little hands in the house we made this turkey.  While some days are challenging, we know that this is a special time in the our lives and I feel especially blessed to spend each day with the kids, learning and playing together.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Work Week

Miss Mega is 1 year 3 months old
Zilla is 4 years 1 months old
During this past week our schedule was thrown off by a number of things. On some days the school work (as Zilla calls it) didn't get touched until supper time.  On the one day we didn't do it at all Zilla asked at bedtime if he could do just his cutting activity before going to sleep.  He really felt like something was missing since we didn't have school time that day!

Zilla's math activity - putting the right number of clothes pins on each number from 1-10
Miss Mega enjoy using the clothes pins for an impromptu transfer activity.  Her favorite activity continues to be whatever Zilla is working on at the moment!

 We read The Pumpkin Gospel and a number of other books with fall themes.  To top them off we carved a pumpkin.
We managed to do this project while Mega was napping.  I expected Zilla to be a bit more hands one but he had no wish to ouch the "guts" and help clean out the pumpkin!

 Miss Mega checking out my examples for the leaf rubbing

 Some letter stamping

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin nomenclature cards from Montessoti For Everyone

More pumpkin life cards

 With the cooler weather we can spend more time outside.  Here you see a bike path drawn on with chalk, a soccer game going on and the lacrosse-like practice session...

 A great pip cleaner activity borrowed from a friend.

We made these last week as part of the food theme.  This week we're putting them to good use as the kids take over more of the table setting responsibilities.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tiny and Tinier

Kids love small things. Moms hate having small things all over the place, getting sucked into the vacuum, put into mouths or stepped on. Here is one solution which allows the kids to explore tiny objects yet keeps those objects from wandering around the house.
2 clear, plastic containers (these are recycled food containers) one for small items and another for tiny, are the new homes for all these little things. When I come across a small object I just drop it into a container and forget about it... until the kids need something to engage their minds and hands for a few minutes.
Miss Mega still sometimes puts things in her mouth so I keep a close eye on her.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pencils and Dominos

Miss Mega is 1 year 2 months old
Zilla is 4 years 0 months old

Both kids have recently found new hobbies.  Zilla's came in the form of a birthday gift - a set of dominos.  These are not the playing kind, though you could probably use them for the game.

We learned pretty quickly that this is an activity best done while Mega is napping!

Here is a quick video of the first domino arrangement we made.

Miss Mega's new hobby is putting (unsharpened) pencils through small holes in the lid of a Pringles can.  To make this simple toy use a hole punch to put about 3 holes in the lid of a Pringles can.  If the hole is a bit small for your pencils you can stretch it our by pushing a pen through the hole.

She see is hard at work.  This has been on the activity shelf for nearly a month now and she still spends 15-20 minutes a day with it. This video was taken when she was just starting out, now has figured out how to open and close the lid on her own too.
In this video Mega signs "please" (flat hand making a circle on her chest) as well as "thank you" (flat hand going from her mouth down) as she tries to share with us what she is thinking.