Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dr. Seuss's Birthday Celebration

Take a peek and our wonderful, wild, and wacky Dr. Seuss activities this week.  Much fun was had by all of the youngsters.  Learning has never been so fun.

I had an incredible time planning and executing this playdate/ sneaky preschool learning time on Wednesday.  My friend, Lauren brought her cuties over for lots of fun and learning.
Nick and I started the day out by getting in our swimsuits, hopping in the bathtub and playing with some homemade Oobleck (cornstarch, water, and food coloring). It has a super soft texture that Nick loved. He let it run through his fingers, got it all over his legs, and even wanted to stick his toes in it. It was really fun to watch him play with it.
When our friends arrived we had many activities (learning, learning!!!) set up to explore.  A Ten Apples Up on Top felt board for stacking the numbers in the right order on top of the tiger's head, ABC magnets and a cookie sheet to go along with Dr. Seuss's ABC book, a sheet that I drew Pop on for them to Hop on Pop, and a fish bowl sheet with numbers written in each fish bowl for them to take pretzel fish and put the correct number of fish in each bowl.
The kids loved the activities.  I was so happy and relieved (after spending a lot of time preparing).  We read each of the books that went along with the activities, and sometimes more than once.
Afterwards, we enjoyed apples and cheese sliced to look like Cat's hat, more pretzel fish, Green Eggs and Ham snacks, and the Yink's Pink Ink (from One Fish Two Fish) which was vanilla milk with a drop of natural red food coloring stirred in.
So, Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss! You continue to inspire and teach us all.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Non-Cooking Cooking

The set up.
A little dab of this...

A dash of that...

Spooning ingredients into the mini-pitcher. 
Why not?
Note the cool blue concoction on the right with the pastry brush.

Time lapse, probably 15 minutes later.

I'll just use my shirt here to wipe my hands.

What an amazingly good time!  Pretend cooking with real food is fantastic fun for little ones.  My son is 35 months now and has cooked quite a bit with me over the last year or so and enjoys it from time to time, but it is fair to say he enjoyed this way more.  No need for exact measurements. No waiting for mommy. Touching and spilling allowed- cool!

I set up the table with various containers, utensils, and cups.  Then I added water to little cups. The mini-pitcher contained just plain, clear water and the measuring cup had water with some blue food coloring added.  I chose lentils, oats, and flour for the ingredients, as I wanted the textures and colors to vary, and how water would effect them (would it dissolve, make paste/mush, etc.).

Nick poured, dumped, scooped, whisked, measured, and transferred all morning long, and kept asking me for more water and ingredients.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  This is a gloriously messy good time. It is a guaranteed success: your child will love it.  To ensure that you love it too, here are a few hints based on what I have learned.   Pick a day (and time of day) when you don't mind your child, and most likely your kitchen, getting a little dirty.  The hardest thing to clean is the flour and water combo (makes a goop-y paste) and the flour makes dust too, so if that is hindering you, choose dry beans or peas (or something else), they will be far easier to clean.  Another thing that helped me too, is keeping an eye out for boredom and/or overstimulation. I have found out this is when the biggest messes are made and materials are flicked, flung, thrown, and momma gets frustrated/mad. It took about two messy activities for this to sink in, and now whenever I see a hint of boredom setting in, I announce "two more minutes" and then close shop.  He has fun, and I do too, without the titanic mess and me getting angry. So, I hope that helps you try the activity with your tot, and not regret trying it in the end. 

Note: I found this cool idea at which is a great resource for toddler/ preschool activities.