Friday, December 9, 2011

Present Wrapping Work

We spent some time wrapping gifts as a family last night, and now Q is very interested in the process!
I put out a little basket in her playroom with some scraps of wrapping paper, a tape dispenser, and some little scissors. She is LOVING finding things in her playroom to wrap and put under her little tree!
This is great practical life and problem solving--she is using spatial awareness and geometry as she figures out which size of wrapping paper will fit each gift and how the paper needs to be oriented to cover the gift. She is using problem solving to figure out where she needs to tape in order for the paper to stay stuck. For fine motor this uses the small finger muscles in tape tearing, folding, and cutting--thin wrapping paper is tricky to cut without tearing!
After she'd wrapped some gifts I encouraged her to make gift tags and write who each present was for. This is a great time to use environmental print skills in a real situation. Sometimes she'd ask me for help deciding which first letter to write--Honey's grandma (one of her dolls) is named Tilly, so she wanted to know what to write. I told her a T and she went right to work!

Here are a couple of the other labels she came up with. This is for Rosa, of course.

And this is "just an N." It's for nobody. That cracked me up. She doesn't know "nobody" starts with "n," she just got lucky. :)

For younger children/toddlers who aren't ready for paper and tape and scissors, you can put out gift boxes (they can put tops and bottoms together) or even gift bags (with or without tissue paper for accent.). This activity can be adapted to any age! Even babies (old enough to sit up) can have fun putting objects in and out of a holiday bag!
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Playgym and toys

We used to have a hand-me-down playgym--the kind that flashed lights, had moving pieces and made music. As well as a half-dozen interchangable, bright-colored accessories. I always rather disliked it because it overstimulated ME, and I knew it was WAY too much sensory input for my babies. So this time around, I garage-saled it and talked Daddy-O into making the boy a my dream playgym. Matt's a stud-muffin and found some pine boards on sale at Lowe's for a dollar a piece. He used two pine boards and two dowels and finished it with beeswax. The dowels slide out so we can dismantle the gym or slide objects onto it.

I love how easily we can change out objects for Beck to use for gazing and touching. I love EVEN MORE how simple and baby-developmentally-appropriate this is! Yea for woodworking daddies!

At one point with Quinn I improvised and used our laundry hamper for a playgym.

We have a basket of different stuff we put out for him to look at and grab. Small branches and painted acorns (looking), pretty Christmas ornaments (he can reach toward them), a grasping ring (for chewing!), and some felt hangy-things on elastic that I made for him to grab on. All made from stuff we just had around the house. He loves his gym and Quinn loves to "decorate" it for him and help choose what we'll put on it for him each day.

This is another of my favorite homemade toys. An old-fashioned clothespin with jinglebells tied on. Perfect for baby to hold and shake/chew easily! I made this one with different black and white ribbon, but have done them in all colors!

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Drum Tub

Our musical instruments are taking a rotation in the closet for a while and we're enjoying the drum tub. It's an assortment of tins, tubs, and "beaters" that include a dishbrush, potato masher, wooden dowel and a real drumstick.
What fun it is to keep the rhythm to songs, play LOUD and quietly and fast and slow! Also a great way for Q to get some built up energy released in a constructive way!

This is a great activity that is friendly for ALL ages...from babies to Mommies!!
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Friday, December 2, 2011

Toys for little babies

I try not to give plastic toys to my baby. You can read my longer posts on this, but basically plastic provides very little sensory input--it doesn't smell, taste, and provide a wide variety of weight, texture and sound. So I have been making a few little toys for Beck, who is just starting to want to play! His idea of play involves looking and tasting at this point!

One of my favorite baby toys--a crinkle taggie blanket. I use THIS tutorial.
Mine is made with minky on one side and flannel on the other and a variety of ribbons. The inside is a shredded cheese bag I washed out. I also sewed a button on each end to help hold everything in place and provide additional tactile stimuli for older babies.
For now Beck is just learning how to make his hands do what he wants. So he spends his playtime holding and bringing objects to his mouth. You can see him really staring at the ribbons in the first picture, and tasting them in the second!

This is a great toy for little babies because there are so many places to grab--they are highly successful when trying to "Hold" this toy. He hasn't really explored the "crinkly" aspect yet as he doesn't grab onto the main part of the toy, but it will be something he can grown into and will capture his interest as he grows!

I have made these before using a towel and a receiving blanket (I thrown all my fabric items in a laundry basket in the studio to be reused for projects like this!) and it turned out great, as well!!
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More December Changes

We used to keep our playsilks in a basket, but this just wasn't working great, so last night I made two felted hooks to keep them organized. I also added some "wintery" props to the dress up basket (seen on right side of photo)--a hat, scarf and some mittens, of course! And a little basket of clothespins on the small shelf for clipping playsilks--to make capes or tents or whatever strikes our fancy!
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December Learning Room

Q and I spent the morning changing the playroom over to "winter." We took the fall leaves off our branch and added glittery snowflakes and some bottlebrush woodland animal ornaments. I also found some maple shaving scraps from a woodworking project of Matt's and I used scissors to cut them into leaves and glued them onto the branch. They look so beautiful and wintery! I can never get a good picture of the branch because it's in front of the window and backlit.....But this kinda gives you an idea. We talked a lot about what the changing seasons mean and look like.
We changed the tablecloth to a Christmas fabric. I use cloth napkins as the tablecloths and we change them seasonally. We also got out a new teaset (it was in the cabinet as I rotate stuff often) to replace the basket of pumpkins that was the previous centerpiece.

We vacuumed, dusted, rearranged the nature shelf and of course got out CHRISTMAS BOOKS!!

And I put out some Christmas cards we received last year for Q to play with, write on, etc.

We have more seasonal additions, but I need to get pictures of them so I can post those, as well!
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