Thursday, 15 August 2013

Playing with dough

My kids, like many others, enjoy playing with dough. Whether it's real dough (as in bread or buns) or play dough, almost any child will have fun squishing, building and creating things with the dough.

I sometimes like to add other sensations to the dough I make for them to play with.
The other week I set some dough in the middle of the table along with dry used coffee grounds, oatmeal, acrylic seashells and dried split peas.

The kids chose to do whatever they wanted with the dough and other materials they had.
Petit Monsieur reveled in the new sensations brought on by adding the coffee grinds, peas and oats, and DD decided to make a scene with the shells with her dough.

 Get messy with your kids, explore with them and open new worlds for them and be sure to try and enjoy the small things with them.
The end results are not always what matters, but the fun they have and the new things they learn along the way.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cornstarch Magic (and other play)

Wow, we had tons of fun playing with the mixture I made out of sand, water and cornstarch the other day. The two little boys spent a good amount of time squishing, mixing crumbling and burying toys.  Long after the older one got bored, the little guy continued to go back to explore the container I had it in.

I never realized how much different my "cornstarch magic" would feel and mold together when mixed with sand.. I'm under the impression that this mixture is similar to moon sand, but I have never bought or used the store bought version. (As a matter of fact I have never even seen it other than in commercials)
Of course I had to add a little bit of colour while they played to see if it would change, and of course, it did (but it took a lot!)
They had so much fun, I can't wait to see their reaction to my next soft mold-able dough type stuff.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

gooey slime

I tried making slime for the first time today with one of the older kids. She decided she wanted to measure and mix everything, but I just couldn't let her do the Borax measuring. That was really the only thing I got to do.
We gathered all of the ingredients, and I halved the recipe I found on
She did the halving all by herself in her head when I told her the measurements out loud. It was great! Learning math and science at the same time.

After measuring and mixing each solution separately she poured them together and started to mix them. Almost immediately we noticed a difference in the texture of the mixed solutions. It no longer looked like Glue and water, But a slippery, slimy goop.
She played around with it for awhile, adding different colours until she was satisfied that it looked like bloodied body parts.

 She had a great time playing, and kept asking to make more. Going to try another recipe tomorrow with her and the Older Boy.
I'll bet they can come up with great ideas on how to use it, and get messy while having fun.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Reading with your child

Invitation to read
I love to read, so trying to instill a love of reading and books in my family was always important to me. Surrounding my children with books was the first thing I did, and teaching them to respect the books by keeping them on the shelves, not writing or colouring in them, and never tearing or cutting them was a difficult task.  I also have made time for reading nightly before bedtime, and whenever they want to (within reason) during the day.
When they say they're bored, one of the first things I suggest to them is to go read or look at a book. I don't think how long you read to your children per day is important as long as you're doing it, but I have heard that a daily goal should be at least 20 minutes. In our house, we can go over that amount of time (and do frequently) easily.
I think the most loved book in our house (we are on copy number 3 now) is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.  We have also been reading a few books by Sandra Boynton that my youngest received for Christmas. There are other books that make it into our nightly routine, but almost every night for 10 years I have been "reading" Goodnight Moon to at least one of my three children.
I know as they get older, the reading time before bed will turn into their own time, for homework, friends and other activities.
So I will enjoy these moments while they last, and make the most of them because I know it passes way too fast.

Sunday, 11 August 2013


One of the kids favorite pass times is playing with blocks, whether it's legos or good old fashioned wooden blocks. My oldest has always enjoyed building with his lego-type blocks, creating different scenes with his "guys" and completing various sets that he received for birthdays and holidays.

My youngest right now loves to build up  HUGE towers with our wooden and plastic shaped blocks and crash it down with his race cars, or tractors, while my middle child (who is almost 5) likes to try and build places for her little figurines to play before little bro knocks them all down.
Every once in awhile, the kids will use other toys along with their blocks and create new imaginary worlds, full of wonder.

Spend some time with your children on the floor playing with blocks. Make some blocks out of old cereal or cracker boxes stuffed with newspaper. Use old carton-style milk containers (250ml, 500ml, 1l and 2l) filled with crumpled paper and sealed with duck tape. decorate them as you like, and build a castle you can play in!
The possibilities are endless!
Get creative and have fun doing it!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Pom Pom Art

My little artist loves to use almost anything to make a picture, and pom poms with glue are no exception.
Along with her little bro, she used the back of an old cracker box (I love to reuse when I can) to create a monster face. She received a set of already filled brushes for her birthday from a family friend and painted it all up in different colours.
This activity helps develop fine motor skills, as well as opens their minds to be creative beings.

I want to help them open their minds, and sometimes that means opening my house to a little mess! But it is always worth their happy faces when I admire their handiwork.
Don't be afraid to let go and let a little mess into your life!

Friday, 9 August 2013

TV shows for kids (that parents can stand)

There are certain shows that are on TV and video for kids that I cannot stand (not going to mention any purple dinosaurs here) and then there are some I have seen lately that are just downright wacky.  (YO! Gabba Gabba?)
I prefer to watch TV with my kids (or at least know what they are watching) so I often give them shows from my own childhood to watch.
I pick those shows because, unlike many of the shows on TV  today for children, I can stand to watch and listen to them. I used to go often to the library to "rent" movies there like Bill Nye the Science Guy and a National Geographic series my oldest used to love. I like going for educational shows, but of course the kdis need a little bit of entertainment as well. Cartoons and animated shows they like are Thomas the Tank Engine (ever since shining time station for me) and Gummi Bears. I have a lot of OLD videos from when I was a child (yes, I mean the old VHS tapes) and the kids watch them over and over again.
I like to think that they enjoy them as much as I used to when I was a child.

My top four shows on TV today (at least the last time I checked they were on air)
Dinosaur Train
Sid the Science Kid
My Little Pony
Thomas the Tank Engine

The ones I miss from my oldest's early childhood
Big Comfy Couch
Bear in the Big Blue House
Ants in my Pants

There will always be new shows replacing the old, but I do sometimes wish they wouldn't change so much so often. Which shows do you like or not like for your kids and why? Which ones do you wish they would bring back?

Milk Magic

I love trying new things, so when I found new ways to play with milk and colours, I jumped at the chance.
Who knew, when you take a little bit of milk (I used reconstituted powdered instant skim milk here, but Homo works best), dish soap and food colouring you could make a neat reaction?
I had my DD pour a little bit of milk into an old ice cream pail lid, and carefully add a few drops of food colouring to different areas in the milk.
After dipping the end of the toothpick into some dish soap, I had her put it directly into the middle (or close to) of one of the drops of colour, without stirring, and watch what happened to the colours! They "ran away" from the soapy toothpick quickly, making lovely swirls.
She experimented for awhile trying to mix the colours without stirring them. It was really neat to watch her play with this activity, and I'm sure we will try it again when the weather turns cold again.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

All By Myself!

Up the ladder

As parents we are often afraid to let our children try new things, or do things on their own. Sometimes we are afraid they will fall down and get hurt. It's hard to let go and be confident they can do it on their own. As a parent I had no choice, and I had to learn to let my children do things on their own.
Getting up the big snow pile
My middle child is a little daredevil, and she will keep doing it until she gets it right. She has fallen may times, and gotten right back up (even with repeated warnings from mom or dad) and done it over again. Until.

When she was one, it was hard for me to watch her keep trying to climb up the ladder on the climber. I was afraid her little foot would slip off the rung, or that she would miss the rung completely, and fall right through. My worst fear, her little teeth getting knocked right out of her face.
Climbing up to the top and right back down again
But not my girl. She would make sure her foot was in the right place before placing it down, and hold on tight with her hands as she climbed. And she did it. On her own, momma (or daddy) hovering nearby, arms out to catch her when she fell. She rarely did.
Balancing act
As she grows, she is ready to explore more things, climb higher and I will be right beside her, to catch her if she falls, to guide her along if she needs it, and to kiss the boo-boo's when she gets back up to try again.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Ready Set Splash!

Petit monsieur getting into the mud puddle at folk fest
My children love to splash in puddles. I remember times I have even bribed them with "you can splash in all the puddles if you get ready in time".

Of course puddle jumping can become messy, especially when there is mud involved.
I remember as a child, and even as a teen, jumping in puddles, letting go of my inhibitions in the rain and jumping to my hearts content. Seeing how high I could make the water go, whether I could jump over certain ones, and even playing in the early spring with the thin layer of ice covering the first puddles of spring, or last puddles of fall.
the first mud puddle of the spring

I try to make opportunities for the kids to play in the water, and puddle jumping is no exception. We go outside after most rainfalls, splash pants and rubber boots on, and splash away.

Check out this puddle, it's great!
Sometimes the puddles are deep, sometimes they're muddy, but they are always sure to be a hit.
Get outside every day, even when it rains. It's good for everyone.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Going Camping with the Family

DD and Big guy making a game

Wow,  I can now really appreciate now how much work must have gone into planning a two week out of province trip with three children that my parents did now that I have tried camping (real camping) with my children for the first time.
We decided to take a trip to a nearby provincial park over the August long weekend. With 4 adults, 2 pre-teens (tweens?) and 3 little ones under 5, we sure had our hands full!
I'm not sure how it happened, but we all survived the trip out ("are we there yet?" didn't drive the driver too batty), setting up all the tents, and the POURING rain we had that soaked us to the bones on our last night. Finding out the tent leaks is definitely not the best way to end the trip, but I'm sure glad the rain waited until our last night.
We got to spend some time in the water, and playing in the sand.
Petit Monsieur playing with his smurf in the river we built

I'm sure we had enough food to feed an army, and even with all that planning and lists galore, we still wound up forgetting a few things.
My favorite part about camping is sitting up long into the night next to a warm fire, looking up at the stars and listening to all the wildlife that I can't hear in the city. It is so relaxing, worth all the stress from during the day. I think DD's favorite part was getting to swim in the lake so much.

Although I am exhausted after only 3 nights and 4 days, I am trying to make this a yearly event between the 2 families that went this time.Who knows, maybe over the years there will be another family or 2 that also join in on the fun.

Happy Camping!