Thursday, September 8, 2011

Play with Playdough

Playdough. I mean, who doesn't love it? As a child, I remember designing cakes, shapes, McDonald's fries (remember that kit!?) and having a blast. I waited a bit longer to introduce Playdough to Silas because of his love for placing anything and everything in his little mouth for the first two years of his life. And yes, I know you can make Playdough that is safe and edible, but it's just not the same to me. I can't ever get the consistency quite right and honestly, I really like the outlandish, bright colors of the real stuff.

So, after we made it through the "cram everything not moving (and some things that are) in to my mouth" phase ended, we dove right in to Playdough play. I was so excited giving him the little can and showing him how to roll it out in to shapes. He, however, was less than impressed. Needless to say, I was totally bummed. Then, one day while browsing the discount section of Target, I came upon this little plastic backpack filled with Playdough, scissors and cookie cutters. Of course!

 When we got home, he tore in to his new Playdough and played for hours. Making letters with the cookie cutters, cutting big pieces in to tiny strips with the safety scissors and using his tiny hands to roll long "snakes".

After playing for awhile, I realized Si was much more receptive to learning when he was fully involved in the process. For example, I'll lay the letters our beside a piece of flattened Playdough and ask him to pick a certain letter by it's sound. (ie- "pick the letter that makes the b-b-b-b sound.) He chooses the letter and, if he's correct, he gets to press the shape in to the Playdough. So simple. So worthwhile. 

I did luck up and find the perfect Playdough gift pack on super duper clearance (FYI- it's this one), but all you really need are letter cookie cutters (these are great), a few colors of Playdough and some safety scissors.

Try this with your child on the next rainy day (or super hot day, or boring day, or Tuesday)!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Library Day

About once a week we take a trip to the library. I've found Silas enjoys reading books much more when he has helped pick them out. It is such a blast watching him wander up and down the aisles, pulling books out at an angle so he can check the cover out before he makes his final decision. We're lucky our library has a great children's program, which includes daily story times, puppet shows and plays. Piling in to that big room with all the other parents, babies and toddlers is an activity we enjoy a little more every time.

  All ready for the library.

Awhile ago, while visiting my mom in her (very, very) small town, we got the library itch. A quick internet search resulted in finding not only a story time, but a library play date as well. Feeling encouraged by this library's kid-centered activities, I talked with a few friends from other areas of the country who live in both small and large town and, turns out, all of their libraries had at least one day a week focused on children!

My advice: do a quick internet search or simply stop by your local library and ask for their activity schedule. If they don't have a story time already set up, let them know you would be interested in helping them plan a child-centered activity. Happy reading!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Art of Necklace-Making

Growing up, I loved to make things. Particularly, things I could wear. One of my favorite activities when I was a girl scout was making necklaces. I remember sitting for what felt like hours designing, arranging and stringing beads on to thin pieces of wire. My friends and I would then often trade them amongst ourselves or give them to a family members (mostly our moms) as presents. My mom, being the phenomenal parent she is, would wear my designs with pride. *She still wears jewelry her 5th grade students make her today!

So, when my son came running to me with some random stray beads in hand, I could only think one thing: "Hey! Do you wanna make a necklace?"

An hour later, and we were still sitting cross-legged on the dining room floor, him stringing brightly colored beads on to fluorescent orange string and me, snapping picture after picture of the look of utter concentration on his face.

After he worked so hard filling a piece of string, he simply turned it upside down, dropping all the beads back in to the container. "Mama" he said, "let's do it again!"