Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ribbon/Movement Chants/Songs

We've been having fun with our RIBBON STREAMERS trying out some new songs and chants. Here are the words to them:

Wave it UP HIGH

Wave it DOWN LOW



Wave it by your EYES

Wave it by your NOSE

Wave it by your CHIN

And swipe it across your TOES!

Roly poly, roly poly

up, up, up. (move ribbon up)

Roly poly, roly poly

down, down, down. (move ribbon down)

Roly poly, roly poly

in, in, in, (move ribbon in toward body)

Roly poly, roly poly

out, out, out! (move ribbon out away from body)

I have used these two chants with all ages--from infants--with me performing and them watching, to preschoolers--their favorite way is to first sing it slow, then repeat singing it faster, and faster and faster!

You can also adapt other songs to use with ribbons--Head and Shoulders, for example!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Yeaaa! Love the bright, bold colors and wonderful sensory experiences!
There are great "make your own" recipes out there. This time we used Crayola fingerpaint and paper.

This activity can be introduced as soon as infants and toddlers aren't heading straight for their mouth with those fingers....and even a little before, as it's non-toxic. Little ones have fun just rubbing their hands all around. Preschoolers can try making different things with finger and handprints and painting pictures, writing letters and numbers with their fingers.

For infants and younger toddlers, covering the table with a large piece of craft/butcher paper works great to give a HUGE space for painting.
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


For Valentine's Day I gave Q a box of watercolors. Just the crayola ones from Walmart. I wanted the smaller package of just the basic colors, but all they had in stock was the bigger set, so I settled for that. I did take out the teeeeny brush and replace it with a more substantial, toddler-sized brush I already had at home.

Q loves her paints! I always insist on following a "water-paint-paper (repeat)" series with watercolors and I govern it pretty strictly until my kiddos get it down. This reduces getting the colors all mixed up and ending up with a set of brown paints. I am a firm believer in not introducing art materials until children are capable of using them correctly, and then EXPECTING that they are used correctly. Whenever this process is not being followed (both in my classroom and in our kitchen) I give one warning and the next time the paints go up for the rest of that day. Surprisingly my little ones have never had trouble following this process and actually enjoy repeating the "mantra" as they paint.

There are so many possibilities for watercolors. For now we're just exploring simple painting with them.....but my mind is wandering to our next projects!!
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Lovin our newest decorations in the playroom....

Courtesy of my lil' one and her box of watercolors.
I have been looking for a good way to display her art other than the fridge because everytime we open the back door a breeze clears the fridge front....The Daddy has vetoed any plans that require holes in the wall (he's no fun, huh! ha) and finally I decided upon two simple tacks and some twine. Easy peasy and gets the job done! I had some tiny clothespins that hold the art on the twine and allow for easy changing.
Typically child development theory calls for children's artwork to be displayed at their eye level. Unfortunately eye-level is pretty much filled in this room, so it is up high.....forgive me this once. ;)
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's NOT just a Pot!

We've started giving Q her bath in our bathroom so we can multitask and put away laundry or clean up our bedroom while she bathes. This means stepping onto a mob of bath toys every time we want a grown-up shower, though.

We've tried the bags that hang on the tile with suction cups....they stick about 2 weeks, even when we clean the suction cups frequently. I think it's the bumpy texture of our tile. We've used a big colander to corral the toys, but I don't like it sitting out beside the tub when we shower to leave a puddle on the floor and it was too wide to sit on the tub ledge/corner.

I am also a little protective of the little "me space" I have, and don't want my shower decorated with a giant frog toy holder or the likes....fine in her bathroom, but not for ours. I finally HAD IT with the toys littering the bottom of the tub. Time for some googling for creative bath toy storage. And, as Google never fails me, I found the perfect solution for me!

Lindsay, smart online poster, suggested a plastic flowerpot (YES!! I already have one!!) with holes drilled in the bottom (easy peasy). Decorative enough to meet my requirements, perfectly functional to hold and drain toys, and best of all, it fits on the corner ledge just so! Lindsay added a stand to hers, but for me just the pot was enough (and metal puts rust stains on my tub).....

AND....because the pot I happened to already have wasn't super huge, I had to practice one of my mantras and limit the number of bath toys to fit in the pot. What? Limit bath toys, too? Yup, just like any other play area, there can totally be too much of a good thing, and I was noticing this happening lately. Q spent the whole bath time just knocking all her toys into the water or fishing them out of the bubbles to see what was there. She had stopped the imaginary play we'd been seeing via her "tea shop" or "ice cream making" or other imaginary games of the like. So I scaled back the toys and put the excess away in the linen closet to rotate through in good time.

Just in case bath toys are taking over your world, thought I'd share today! (that's mine, pictured. Hers is prettier!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bubble Valentines

An easy and fun Valentine activity-

I cut bubble wrap into 4X4 inch squares (or about that size).
I put red, white and pink paint on a paper plate.
I cut a bunch of black hearts from construction paper.
I showed Q how to dip the bubble wrap (bubble side down) in the paint and press onto the hearts.

The paint colors mixed up eventually, and on some hearts she "swirled" more than "pressed" and after a while she just took to fingerpainting them without using the bubble wrap at all, but the end result was a big stack of pretty hearts that we used for Valentines. They could be made into a garland, taped in a window, or all sorts of other pretty uses! Just a little twist on regular painting that turned out to be a lot of fun!

No bubble wrap? What other textures can you use? Wadded up plastic bag? Crumpled paper? Foil smashed together?

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Toothpicks and Playdough

I have a little shaker container of colored toothpicks that Q has enjoyed this week. She likes to shake them out and then put them back in the little holes--Fabulous fine motor!

We also incorporated them into some playdough play....they can be birthday candles, flag poles, and even legs when some playdough is added to them! I often save new, interesting items (yup, to a two year old toothpicks are pretty interesting!) like this for that crazy hour from 5-6 pm when she is cranky, Daddy isn't home yet, I am trying to cook dinner, and I just need to keep her entertained. I have a few random things on top of the fridge that I only let her use during this time. little angel did throw the entire container of toothpicks across the kitchen floor at the end of her play time. In case you want the real story. :) And yep, there are like 200 toothpicks in there. We are still finding toothpicks in that kitchen.

Skills: pretend play, fine motor, artistic expression, spatial awareness (working with building materials), sensory exploration

Extensions: These little toothpick containers (with 8-10 toothpicks in it and the lid taped shut) would make a great shaker for a baby! Older infants/young toddlers can practice putting the toothpicks in the holes with supervision. Colored toothpicks can be sorted by color.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Washing Baby

Doll washing is a classic toddler/preschool montessori activity that is a big hit with little ones. Q was gifted with a hand-crocheted washcloth (it is actually a potholder for her little kitchen, but she decided it was for washing pink for us!) and she wanted to give Pink Baby a bath with it. I put about an inch of water in the bowl of her sink (or any bowl would work). We get a towel for drying ready and then a washcloth. I love this crocheted cloth because it doesn't soak up too much water. Regular washcloths get too soppy for my little one, who doesn't know how to squeeze out excess water yet. She LOVES this activity.

For older infants, give them a moist washcloth or a wipe and let them wash their baby.

For preschoolers you can add more elements. Provide a very tiny bottle of soap. Teach them to pour out one drop into the bowl of water, mix to create bubbles, and then wash and dry baby. They can be in charge of filling and emptying the bowl themselves, if taught the steps. I often drew a line on the bowl for my preschoolers so they knew how much water they could put. They always got to pick if it was hot or cold. Big decision. :)

This activity teaches direction following, practical life skills and enhances sensory exploration as they play in the water.

Trucks, toy dishes, and plastic animals also like baths! And the best part--it's just water. Even if a mess is made, a quick sponging takes care of it!
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