Monday, May 24, 2010

My Crazy Life

Hopefully new blog posts will be up in June. I have been working 2 jobs, six days a week and moving! Crazy times right now, and as a result I have a horrible cold. I will post again when my life calms down a bit. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Artist At Work

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

The Simple Things Part II

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 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

Fountain Fun

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!

Nosy Nora

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

Music Day at the Park

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!

The Simple Things

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
lacing cards
dolls (even for boys, they need to learn how to be good daddies)
musical instruments
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
shape sorters
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