Friday, November 15, 2013

Goin' Fishin'

I realized the other day that I never posted one of the activities we made while we were staying with my parents this summer. It was pretty easy to throw together, and is a lot of fun!
This is just your classic fishing game, the inspiration for which came from here. Mine are not anywhere near as adorable as hers, especially my fishing rod (hers is awesome), but they get the job done. For the fish I just cut a fish shape out of different colors of felt, and jazzed them up a bit with puff paint. To make them magnetic I put a roll of wire in the mouth of each fish. Honestly, I can't give you any more detail about what kind of wire it was, it was just something I found laying around.

For the fishing rod I tied a piece of yarn around the end of a dowel rod and hot glued a magnet to the end of the string. Easy Peasy! Depending on whether Erik felt like sitting or standing, sometimes the string was too long, so we just twisted it around the end of the rod and it worked great. I liked having a bit of extra length on there to give us more options for where to play with this. 
This activity takes some practice when you first get started. We haven't played with it in months, and so today when I pulled it out it was like it was brand new again. Erik struggled to control where his "fish hook" was swinging, but he eventually got the hang of it and we sat and fished on the living room floor for quite a while. It really was a lot of fun! This is a great way to work on hand/eye coordination, talk about colors, and kill some time while you're waiting for your laundry to finish. :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sticky Spider Web Flop

As with the majority of the activities we do, this is one I saw on pinterest a while back, and when we were bored this morning I decided to give it a shot. It seemed simple enough. Make a "spider web" out of tape (we used painter's tape, since it was already handy and would come off easily), throw wads of paper at it, and enjoy watching your "bugs" get trapped in the web. 
We tried putting the tape up in a doorway, but I was having trouble getting the tape to stick well enough to the door frame, so we moved to the space between our two arm chairs so I could wrap the tape around the chair frames. This should've been my first hint that things weren't going to go as planned.
Once we'd made our web, I grabbed a few sheets of paper and had Erik help me wad them up. I excitedly told him to watch while I demonstrated how to throw the ball at the web and make it stick. Except it just bounced off the tape. Hmmm... that's odd. Brushed it off and encouraged him to try with me, sending two wads of paper into the web (double the chance of success, right?) They both bounced off. I tried just sticking the ball onto the tape, and it held, but just barely.
It was obvious that this wasn't going to work. In desperation I tried rolling up a ball of tape (sticky side out), and we threw that at the web. It worked, but in order to get the ball big enough to keep the difficulty level down, it became pretty heavy, and started pulling our web down with it.
That's when I gave up, pulled the web down, and added it to our sticky tape ball. Erik enjoyed playing with the wad of tape for a moment or two before we just threw the whole mess away and turned on Sesame Street instead. At least there's always Elmo, right?

*I went back to the original blog post and read through the comments and it looks like most people who tried this had the same problem. At least I know I'm not too stupid to make tape stick!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Water Bead Sensory Bin

So I know you've all seen these all over pinterest and the internet in general. These water beads are super popular right now as a sensory material, and I can totally understand why. They're fascinating little buggers, even for adults! I had never given them a try, but I've seen them around for a long time now and have wanted to play around with them.
A while back I decided that it would be fun to hit the dollar store every once in a while and just wander through to see what I can find. I think last time I spent about $10 and got enough fun stuff to keep us busy for a while. One of the things I found was a box of water beads, and for a dollar I was willing to give them a try. They are such bright pretty colors and look like candy, so Erik and I had a nice little talk about how we CANNOT eat these, and for the most part he did really well with that. I think the only time he moved to put them in his mouth was to get a reaction out of me, not because he actually wanted to eat them. We talked about how small they were, and tried to squeeze them to see if they were hard or soft. Then we added in the water and waited for them to grow. And waited. And waited.
 We went and played for a while, but kept coming back to check the progress of our water beads and to talk about how they were changing and growing. Erik has been interested in colors lately, so we talked a lot about the different colors we were seeing. After several hours they'd finished growing and we spent a long time just playing in the tub of beads. Erik loved it!
 When he seemed to be losing interest, I added in a few cups and scoops and we got to practice scooping and pouring. He was really enjoying discovering this new material, even his toes had to get involved...
This was  a great, inexpensive way to keep my busy boy out of trouble and engaged in something. If you want cheap, easy, low-mess fun than water beads are for you. I loved all the opportunities they gave us to develop language as we had a natural conversation about what we were seeing and feeling. They were beautiful and interesting and a whole lot of fun!