Thursday, March 28, 2013

Searching for Buried Treasure

I found this idea on a list of baby games on sparkpeople. My immediate reaction is that it's genius! So simple and yet so much fun. And, as you may have noticed if you've seen my last few posts, you can stretch it out and turn it into several different activities. We started with our bowl of wadded paper from our previous bit of fun. Paisley would've been content to just keep playing with the paper. 
We went ahead and took this game to the next level and added a toy (a stuffed monkey) to the mix. I showed her the toy and then buried it in the bowl of paper. She was not real happy about it disappearing and wanted it back. She dove right in after it. 

There it is!
As soon as Paisley got the monkey out of there, she started smothering the thing with hugs and kisses. It was really cute!
"Oh Mr. Monkey, I love you so much. *kiss kiss* I will never let that mean lady bury you in there again *kiss kiss kiss*"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wadding Paper

While this is an activity that Erik loves to do (and that I've tried to facilitate often to help build those hand muscles), we actually hadn't planned on doing it as a post. That is until I got my hands on some newspaper that needed to be wadded up for an upcoming activity. So we made an event of it and took pictures, and here you go!
While Paisley contentedly played with our pile of newspaper, Erik and I started wadding up some pieces of paper (I had already torn these to be the size I wanted so they were manageable for his little hands).
Erik had a blast. He got lots of compliments on his big strong muscles, and got to smash and "destroy" stuff to his heart's content. 
As we finished wadding up the balls of paper we started filling up my biggest mixing bowl (I will admit that after he was done I gave the wads of paper an extra squeeze because I needed them to be somewhat tightly packed). It turned into a bit of a race because Paisley thought it was super fun to try to pull the balls of paper out faster than we could put them in. 
Erik and I finally prevailed and got our bowl full of paper. He loved getting to throw the balls into the bowl. 
Once I knew I had enough to fill up the bowl, I just let the kids go to town on it. They had a lot of fun playing in them, and when Erik lost interest and Paisley became obsessed with eating them, I finally put them away to wait until I was ready to do the final activity that all this was leading up to.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Playing with Paper

Hubby brought home a newspaper the other day, and we decided to have some fun with it once he was done reading it. I had an activity in mind for the paper but I need smaller pieces, so I turned Paisley loose with a pile of paper and let her explore it while I tore it up into a more usable size. It was fun to watch as Paisley worked her way through the pile. At first she just touched it to see what it felt like. It didn't take her too long to discover that it was easy to throw, and soon there were clouds of paper drifting through the air. 
 She thought tearing it like I was doing looked pretty interesting, so she gave that a try too. The paper made great noises for her enjoyment when she'd crawl on it, or tear it, or crinkle it in her hands. I let her explore until she decided that it was time to let her little taste buds get in on the game. Once she started trying to eat it I had to put it away.
I love that something as simple as a newspaper can create so much fun and learning for a little one! We didn't even start the "real" activity right then and we still had tons of fun.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tunnel Time

Remember I said that we took the cardboard box from our ramp and turned it into another activity? The whole time we were playing that game, Erik kept trying to open the box up and climb inside. That led to us using the box as a climbing tunnel, and then inspired by this pin, we took the fun to another level. We took two or three more boxes and taped them together and Erik and Paisley went to town with it. 

Our finished tunnel.
 Paisley wasn't so sure about it, but once we got her to give it a try, she loved it. This turned out to be a fun way to build those large motor skills, and develop a sense of spatial awareness. We kept this thing around for a few days and really enjoyed it!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Rolling Ramp

Another great idea from Productive Parenting, this is an activity I just knew Erik would enjoy. He loves playing with balls, so anything that incorporates that love is a hit. It's super easy. All you need is a ball (or two, or three...) and something with which to build a ramp. We used a flattened cardboard box leaned against a chair, but you could use a cookie sheet or a stack of books or anything else you can find. Productive Parenting suggests setting up an empty milk jug at the bottom to try to bowl over, but I didn't want to wait until we'd finished one off. You could just skip this part or do like we did and put a basket at the bottom to catch the ball. 
 Erik really enjoyed rolling the ball down the ramp. He did it over and over again. He also really loves cardboard boxes though, so next time we try this I may need to come up with something else to make our ramp out of that will be less distracting. Every time Erik had to chase after the ball, he was working those gross motor skills, as well as visually tracking the movements of the ball.
We did end up taking the cardboard box and turning it into another activity for both Erik and Paisley to enjoy. Stay tuned next week to find out what we did.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Reading in a Fort

Today was the first day of our Spring break, and it's sure been fun. Erik and I have enjoyed a lazy relaxed morning doing whatever we want. Hubby had to go to work, but we did get to meet up with him for lunch, so it's been nice. 
The best part of our morning was when we decided to build a fort. I decided to go the cheater/super easy route and instead of using a bunch of chairs and the couch to hold up our sheet, I just tossed it over the kitchen table. Tada! Instant fort! Or so I thought. Erik wasn't so keen on hanging out in some semi-dark place where he couldn't see anything else around him. So, we pushed the table into the corner to form two walls, and then left the two remaining sides mostly open. 
I actually moved the sheet out of the way so I could get a better pic of the interior, so just imagine it with the sheet NOT wrapped around the table leg. It still didn't completely cover either side, but it was much more cozy. 
Erik wasn't super excited about hanging out in the fort until I brought over the pile of blankets and pillows. And a pile of books. At that point Erik was sold. He lounged around on pillows and read books for a really long time. It was super cute!
He was not a fan of the flash on the camera and WAS NOT going to smile for it.  Daddy came to get us for lunch and got to hang out in the fort for a few minutes too. 
 Anything I can do to encourage my kid to love to read is a big deal, so we loved this! It was also nice to just spend some time cuddled up with Erik enjoying all our old books in a new way.