Saturday, June 21, 2014

A quick update...

Life is such a grand adventure! Almost 2 months ago now my husband got a phone call that has changed our lives. He was offered a new job that is more in line with his dream career path and we couldn't say no. They wanted him to start at the beginning of the upcoming pay period which meant we only had about 2 weeks to pack up and move to our new home. We worked hard and were ready to go just in time. May 24th we moved in to our new home in the Gila mountains of southern New Mexico.
We love our new home! There are birds singing in the trees all around our house (which has a HUGE fenced yard for Erik to run and play in; a first for our family) and deer grazing on our front lawn almost every morning when we wake up. A pretty mountain stream runs by just a short stroll from our front gate, and down the road a little ways is a pond filled with fish and frogs and surrounded by fruit trees and berry bushes. It's more than an hour's drive from the nearest town of any size, so it's fairly remote, but we love it. We have been slow getting our internet set up, so I haven't been able to blog (I'm actually staying the night at my sister's house tonight and using her computer, thus you get to hear from me) or facebook or anything or that sort. I can't wait to get things up and running at my new home so I can share pictures with you of all the great things we've been getting to enjoy and the new activities we've been trying out. For now I'll just have to leave you waiting while we go back to our mountain paradise where Erik will be rolling in the dirt and splashing in the creek and living life as every little boy should, while I sit in the hammock in the front yard and watch him frolic.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Colorful Bubble Eruptions

Here is the part 2 of Wyler Week, Hope you enjoy!!

Carolyn says:
I've seen different versions of this on Pinterest and Facebook.  I just threw it together from memory.

I took a 9x9 inch baking dish and covered the bottom of the pan with baking soda.  I then filled a glass with vinegar and food coloring (first time I did this I did two different colors)
 I used 2 syringes (that came with our baby Tylenol) I wish I had eye droppers, then this would be something Wyler could do on his own, but he doesn't quite have the finger strength to fill a syringe easily yet.  I filled a syringe with the yellow vinegar, passed it to him, and we watch the foaming bubbles as he shot it into the vinegar. 
 While he emptied one syringe I would fill the other, as he was too excited to wait for me to fill only one, he didn't want to pause the bubble action at all. 
  After we had emptied the vinegar into the pan he stirred it up with the syringes to get the last of the vinegar and baking soda to react.  He would have kept at this activity longer, but he ran out of the baking soda. 
  Next time I'll use a larger pan, and hopefully have the eye droppers for him to use.  And the syringes are going to make an appearance in the bath so he can practice filling them, and strengthening his fingers.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Toy Matching Game

So you may or may not remember Erik's cousin Wyler that we met a while back through this post. Well, this week is going to be Wyler Week, and I'll be featuring a couple of activities that his mom Carolyn put together for him. These are things I've been wanting to try with Erik and just haven't gotten around to doing, so I'm super excited to see someone enjoying them. 

Here's what Carolyn had to say:

This was inspired by some matching activities that other moms set up for their kids on a Montessori Facebook group I'm in.
I gathered up a handful of toys and traced them on a sheet of computer paper, then went over the lines in permanent ink so they would be easily visible.  I called Wyler in to check it out, and showed him how all they toys had a matching outline.  He caught on pretty quickly and had everything nicely matched.  He pulled everything off and did it again.  Only his hammer got turned around.  It was backwards according to the outline. 
He started to rotate it in different directions, but didn't realize he needed to flip it.  After a couple tries I flipped it for him, though he probably would have figured it out pretty quick. 
 I have it set up on a tray (cookie sheet) on a book shelf so he can go back to it when he wants.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Painting with Cars and Trucks

Erik loves to paint and he loves to play with his trucks and tractors, so I thought we'd combine the two and have some fun. Here's the set up:
 When we do activities like this I try not to give him instructions so that he can figure it out on his own. It didn't take more than two seconds before he was going to town on this.

 As with most things we do, it didn't take too long before he was exploring just how big of a mess he could make. Painting always results in bath-time at our house, but that's okay.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Introducing...

...the newest member of our Playing to Learn crew: Sharli.
We're pretty busy adjusting to another kiddo around here and enjoying getting to know our new little girl; hopefully it won't be too long before we have some new activities to post to show you how much fun we're having with her.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Field Trip: Rio Grande Zoo

A while back we took Erik on a trip to see the local zoo. It was really a lot of fun! We spent a couple of hours wandering around looking at and talking about some of his favorite animals, most of which he's only ever seen in pictures.
He LOVES elephants, we watched these guys for a long time!
 It was fun to expand his vocabulary as we talked about the names of the different animals, many he already knew, but some he'd never seen or heard of before. We were there in the early morning when many of the animals were just getting started on their breakfast, so we got to talk about what the different animals each eat. 
We worked on gross motor skills running and jumping and climbing our way around the zoo.
 We also bought a few handfuls of food to feed to the ducks and fish in the pond. Having to pinch up the little bits of food was good for his little fingers.


Outings like this are such a great way to work on so many valuable skills with your child, as well as build their self esteem by making them feel like they're a special part of your family. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sticky "Stained Glass" Art

To be completely honest, I'm really not sure where this idea came from originally. I've wanted to do this for a while, but didn't want to go buy tissue paper just for this. I wound up with several different colors of tissue paper on hand after a baby shower, and decided it was time to give it a go. 
I started by taping a piece of contact paper (sticky side out) to a window, and cutting up several colors of tissue paper into small pieces. I didn't give Erik any instruction, but by now he's pretty familiar with contact paper and he jumped right in. 

 We both really enjoyed the bright sunshine coming through the colored papers. It was really pretty!
 This was a fun activity! Erik got to create a work of art while enjoying some sunshine despite the cold weather outside. We talked about the different colors, worked on the fine motor skills needed to stick the little bits of paper to the window, and just had fun. In case you haven't already guessed though, things did get a bit messy...
Weeks later I still occasionally find a bit of paper in some dark corner somewhere. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever have them all cleaned up. Oh well, he had so much fun, I'd say it was worth it.