Wednesday, September 8, 2010
We started with the letter "A" and joined my friend Carrie over at The Instant Family she is homeschooling her older son, so she has a great classroom for the kids to work in. And for Nosy Nora, the highlight is playing with her daughter and the dress up clothes after school is done! We had a great time, she is a wonderful host.
Activities: reading books about apples, tracing the letter "A", letter "A" dot a dot, making apple trees, and apple prints (from No Time for Flashcards), eating homemade applesauce (Yummy!).
As you can see, Lulu is really excited about school! I guess it makes it easier to help Nosy Nora if Lulu just sleeps the whole time :) We are definitely looking forward to more school with Carrie and her kiddos.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Today we went to the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach. I love going to art festivals and craft shows, I always feel so inspired to go home and create my own art. Of course, I don’t always find the time, but I do have lots of crafty ideas in my head, and someday they will all come into fruition!
I also believe kids are never too young to be exposed to art. Nosy Nora had a great time riding the trolley down to the festival, making a collage, and listening to the live music. There are so many talented artists at the Sawdust Festival. The weather was perfect, and we had a wonderful day.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tot School is exposing early learning skills through FUN play. As you know from my previous posts, I am all about the simple things in life! Click on Tot School for a direct link to the website and to learn more. I get many of my creative play ideas and learning activities from this website. Nosy Nora is almost past the Tot School stage and will be moving on to preschool activities soon. But for now, she still enjoys these activities.
The activity today was transferring pom-poms from a tray into a plastic jar (Tray, pom-poms and plastic jar from the $1 spot at Target) using toast tongs (I found mine at Bed Bath & Beyond). This activity kept her attention for over 20 minutes. First she practiced using the tongs to pick up the pom-poms and drop them into the container. Then she started sorting them by color, first putting in the blue ones, then the pink ones etc. I didn’t even prompt her to do this, color sorting was her own idea! You could also have the tots sort by size. She really enjoyed this activity, and it will help her work on fine motor skills and color recognition. My intention was for her to also string beads onto cord, but the cord was stretchy and too hard for her to use. I am going to buy stronger cord and try that on another day. Instead she just enjoyed playing with the beads in the blue tray. Using toast tongs to pick up the pom-pomTransferring the pom-poms into the jarA proud tot with her jar full of pom-poms!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Today we joined some friends at Pretend City in Irvine. Pretend City is a great children’s museum that opened in August of 2009. Here is a description from their website: This interconnected city allows children to "pretend" to be the adults. With an entire city at their fingertips, children can experience what it is like to live, work, play and be a part of a community. With over 15,000 sq. feet of educational interactive exhibits and activities, Pretend City brings learning and imagination to life!
Nosy Nora and her friends had a great time. If you live in Southern California, you should definitely check it out.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
We are so lucky to live so close to the Happiest Place on Earth. One of our favorite outings is going to Disneyland. I have an annual pass and Nosy Nora is still free. We pack a lunch and head out for a basically free day of fun. Nosy Nora loves Small World, The Tiki Room and meeting the Disney Characters. I don’t think she realizes how lucky she is. Disney gets a bad rap sometimes, but I think there is something truly magical about the Disney Parks.
Meeting Mickey, Hidden Hedge Mickey, Spinning in the Teacups
Friday, June 4, 2010
I don’t think Nosy Nora realizes how much her life is going to change! She might have trouble adjusting, but eventually I know she will love her sister and they will be good friends. I am excited to take care of an infant again, and have fun adventures with 2 tiny tots in tow!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Nosy Nora fingerpainting. She loves this activity. It seems like she enjoys dipping her fingers in the paint pots even more than the actual painting! I guess she is discovering her tactile senses. Her interest in finger painting only lasted about 5 minutes, even though she was begging and whining for 20 minutes beforehand. Sometimes I am reluctant to set up painting and crafts for precisely that reason, it drives me nuts when I go through all the work of setting up and then she moves on to something else, but I should just let it go. These are great activities, and she is learning and growing through them, so I should be more patient and understanding.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Ok, so I am still on my tirade about exposing kids to basic, simple toys and activities instead of all the loud, obnoxious electronic toys and games. I feel that children can learn through play if they are given the right toys and tools.
On Friday, I introduced a game known as "Sponges and Buckets" As the name suggests, it is really complicated...ha ha...you give your kids some buckets or plastic containers, sponges (preferably new, you don't want to expose the kids to harmful cleaning chemicals) and fill the buckets with water. Instant outdoor fun. Nosy Nora and Bossy Boots spent well over an hour playing "Sponges and Buckets", we also added clean paint brushes into the mix so they could "paint" and "write" on the street or on themselves. Skills they discovered or practiced: pouring, squeezing, filling, writing, puddle jumping. They had a great time, I'm sure we will play many times over the summer months.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
The weather is finally getting warmer, and in Southern CA that means- Fountain Fun! There are 3 or 4 fountains in the area that we like to play in. Thursday we joined Bossy Boots and her mom at the Irvine Spectrum turtle fountains. The girls had the fountains to themselves and had a great time splashing and filling cups and buckets. "D" and I enjoyed Jamba Juice smoothies and conversation. We are looking forward to the summer and heading out to various pools, fountains and the beach!
Ok, seriously, who could resist this face! It was a hot day, and we were headed to the fountains, so I convinced Nosy Nora to let me put in pigtails. I had the white hair bands in, she looked in the mirror and said "But I am wearing purple, I need to be matching!" So, we added purple hair bands too. Silly girl!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Friday I hosted Music Day at the park for our playgroup. We all brought instruments for the kids and I played kidsongs on the i-Pod. The kids had a blast! Since we were outside, they could be as noisy as they wanted to. Here are some photos of Nosy Nora and her friend Bossy Boots "practicing" on Wednesday and of the actual playdate on Friday. Find an outlet where it won't drive you completely nuts, and give your kiddos the opportunity to show off their musical abilities!
Since I have been babysitting since the age of 11, I have basically been around little kids and their toys for 20 years! In those 20 years, I have discovered that I dislike anything electronic, anything with sirens, music, voice commands etc. So much so, that I have been known to remove and "lose" batteries from toys. In my opinion we need to get back to the basics with toys. In the electronic age we live in, kids will have plenty of time to be exposed to i-Pods, Nintendo DS, cell phones, computers, portable DVD players, and television. Why not expose them to toys that actually require imagination, creativity and brain power before we lose them completely to text messaging their friends?
I try to encourage Nosy Nora to play with "basic" toys and find that she has more fun, and is engaged longer than with electronic toys. Most of the time, she doesn't even listen to what the electronic toy is telling her to do, it just keeps making noises and she quickly moves on to something else.
I am not a caregiver who is completely against everything electronic all the time, I admit to putting on the Tinkerbell movie when I need a few moments of peace. And, in moderation I don't think there is anything wrong with age appropriate movies, or TV shows, especially those that encourage learning such as Super Why, Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street. But, on the whole we try to stay away from TV and noisy, unimaginative toys.
Below are some examples of toys and activities that encourage pretend play,imagination, motor skills, creativity and brain power. I don't have any sponsors, or ads on this blog, so any brand name I mention is just a personal preference.
Legos or blocks
balls of all shapes and sizes
play kitchen or house with play food and household items
dolls (even for boys, they need to learn how to be good daddies)
dress up clothes
cars, trucks, trains- a great idea is to fill a plastic under the bed storage box with dry rice or beans and the kids can use it as a road, or construction zone
Little People playsets
large beads to string
cups, buckets, watering can and tubs of water outside
crayons, paper,finger paint, paint dobbers, stickers
Play-doh and modeling clay
Monday, April 26, 2010
All of a sudden, Nosy Nora has been wanting to "talk" to the characters at Disneyland. On most of our past Disney visits, she would just cower behind my leg. This is definately a change in attitude. So, she was super excited to meet my Oregon friends at California Adventure today. Her goal: talk to Minnie Mouse. I love her new found bravery, but I also miss the days where I could just push the stroller past a long character line with no fuss. You can never guarantee a Disney character sighting, or a short enough line to actually get an autograph. Today was our lucky day. On our way out of California Adventure, Nosy Nora spotted Goofy, we hopped into line with only 3 people ahead of us, then 5 minutes later, out came Minnie! Hooray, mission accomplished.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Before Easter, we joined our friends for a fun day at Irvine Park in Orange. They had a fun Easter Egg Hunt, bounce house, the Easter Bunny, crafts and various other events set up. This is a great park, definately worth the drive if you have never been there. Inside the park they have a train, pony rides, a small zoo, playgrounds, paddle boats, ponds (with ducks to feed of course) and concession stands open in the summer. Overall, a great place to explore. Nosy Nora and I always have a great time there.