Farm Sensory Box

farm sensory box

With the start of Summer and outdoor weather, I thought the sensory  box would be put away for awhile.  But alas, Rain-a-geddon ensued so we needed to find some new indoor fun. Or rather, just upgrade some fun.  Last Summer I built Matthew this barn and farm, and I added a sensory box and toddler-approved game this year.

Sensory Box

farm sensory box activity toddler

Inclusions:

  • Popcorn for the base (already had)
  • Schleich animals (our animal of choice)
  • Tractor (a gift from Grandma!)
  • “Hay bales” (TP tubes cut in half)
  • “Stables” (Melissa and Doug play food crates)
  • Mini scoop (already had)

Total Cost: Free 

** I already had all the materials, but I suspect you’d be able to put this together for around $10-$12.  A large jar of popcorn kernels runs about $3 at Walmart, and these animals are also a good choice.)

farm sensory box

farm sensory box

farm sensory box

farm sensory box

Books

farm books

1. Sheep in a Jeep. Matty is obsessed with jeeps right now. Sheep in a jeep? Oh my.  It’s on constant repeat around here.

2. Let’s Go To the Farm. We have two copies of this book. Both gifts. Both givers know a little something about kids. We’ve read this book at least a few times a week for the past year (at least).  It’s a lift-the-flap book, so we keep a copy in the car for road trips or restaurants.

3. Chicks and Salsa. I had to review this book for a college class years ago, and I loved it. It’s hilarious. I didn’t quite know if Matty would get it, but I guess it really is all about how excited the reader is, because it’s one of his favorites now, too.

Activities

  1. Try these Montessori inspired nomenclature cards.
  2. Matty is loving this farm-themed game on the Kindle.  We’ve been traveling a lot–so he’s soaking up the app time lately.  He’s actually learning too–he surprised me the other day by pointing to a picture of a moon and saying “creshent” (crescent). Play on, Buddy. Play on.
  3. Of course, we listened to Old MacDonald a lot. A lot.  We have this download with this version of OMD, which gets a little silly at the end.
  4. Farm Picture.  I printed two each of a variety of farm-themed coloring sheets.  I cut out certain parts of the picture, such as the tractor, barn, animals, and crops, and colored 1 copy.  On a large sheet of paper, I glued the remaining uncolored copy. Then we matched and glued the colored parts onto the uncolored outline of the pictures.

farm activity toddler

toddler farm activity

toddler farm activity

He’s still loving farms and farm animals (and tractors!!!)–any recommended activities?

Halfway There

reading challenge

I almost included Bon Jovi lyrics.  Almost. 10 points if you name the song,

Anywho, June is over. How did that even happen?  2013 is halfway over, which seems cray-cray but looking back, we’ve actually gotten a TON done.  Including reading. I’ve read 18 books thus far, with a goal of 34 by the end of the year. That’s 2% ahead of schedule–I love being ahead of schedule…that rarely happens anymore. 🙂

reading challenge snapshot

So, if you’re still looking for a few good beach reads (take me with you, please!), or just looking for a few good laughs, tears, or angel-demon love, here’s what I’ve been reading.

Parenting Books

Review

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

Like the title suggests, the book explores how character building and character education lead to more successful outcomes than academic goals.  For far too long, children have been looked at as input x and y will come out; that is, drill vocabulary and sight words, and your child will score high on his SAT’s.  Obviously, that’s not the case, and there’s many factors influencing outcomes for kids. I especially liked that there was an emphasis on bonding with your kids and treating them with respect without being preachy.  It was  reminiscent of Jonathon Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, and a little Freakonomics-ish.

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Honest Toddler Review

Honest Toddler: A Child’s Guide to Parenting

If you haven’t read Honest Toddler, go right now. No seriously. Go, come back later.  I think we could be good friends in real-life.  I looked forward to this book all year, and it didn’t disappoint.  Though, I am a bit disappointed that I talked about writing a book like this a couple years ago.  Always one step behind…

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crappy pictures

Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures

Another blog favorite.  Check it out.  I read this book after reading I Just Want to Pee Alone, and I loved this positive tone of Crappy Pictures over Pee Alone: yes, parenting is hard, but it’s hilarious and totally worth it.

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I Just Want to Pee Alone: A Collection of Humorous Essays by Kick Ass Mom Bloggers

Again, I just thought this book came off negative.  More of like, kids are horrible, stay away.  Although the first essay was hilarious, like can’t catch my breath pee my pants hilarious, the rest of the book left something to be desired.  I really felt like a lot of authors wished they hadn’t had kids or resent their kids, and that’s never a good place to be.

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Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic

If someone asked me to describe my child, I’d just hand them the title page of this book. Nailed it! I read this back in February, which I shall now deem “the dark days”, and I think I almost cried in relief while reading: you get it, you really get it.  There’s a line in the book that says something like, “Do people often describe your child as Dennis the Menace?” Yes! Yes, just today that happened actually.  Matthew often gets compliments about his behavior, development and people question why I’m so tired and stressed, but I swear to God I feel drained at the end of the day, like I’m parenting 10 times harder than I should need to be. Does that make sense? No? This book isn’t for you. Yes, you feel me? This book will help!

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Montessori Madness: A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education

Yes, we’re those parents. You know, the one’s who stressed out about schools before Matthew was born.  The good news is that we’re open-minded.  The bad news is that we’re no closer to a solution.  But we like the idea of Montessori.  The idea.  Not so much the cost, the sense of elitism, or the way it is implemented in most “Montessori” programs.  Did you get all that?  It doesn’t really have anything to do with the book, but if you’re in the same boat as us, this book provided an interesting perspective.

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Raising Boys: Why Boys are Different And How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men

The title pretty much sums up the plot of this book. Ha! Lots of talk about how boys are different than girls (duh!), research on what they need to make them happy and successful.  I highlighted a bunch in this book, and was really inspired by the fact by when Matthew hits 7-12, he won’t really need me much anymore and will latch on to Eric. Huzzah! 🙂

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NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

I talked about this book here.

Random Non-Fiction Books

Bossypants

I’ve read numerous reviews on how hilarious this is.  I needed a few good laughs.  I think I was short-changed a bit.  I didn’t really find it that funny.  It read more of a defense against her decision to do Sarah Palin on SNL.  Maybe I’m not liberal enough or funny enough to “get” it.

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Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think We Do

Most of the book was interesting.  I think the problem was that too many of the studies outlined in the book have already been talked about in mainstream media, such as the study where the soup bowls were continuously filled up from under-the-table tubes, and *gasp* people kept eating.  This study always made me chuckle because pretty sure if my bowl kept refilling, I’d keep eating, too. Mostly because I’d think I’d gone crazy or something.  But there were a few helpful tips spread throughout.

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The Milk Mem0s: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business With Babies-and How You Can Too

Again, disappointed with this book. I thought it was going to be chock full of inspiring moments and tips for new moms, but alas, there was such literary greatness as, “I brought in a box of tissues, help yourself”. Aka, not very helpful, not very inspirational, and very generic in what could have a been a very personal and encouraging book.

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

This book got a bit long and winded at points, but I found it really interesting.  Probably because I’m an introvert.  And like the author, I’ve trained myself to be able to give kick-ass presentations, speak in front of large crowds, heck, I’ve even sung and acted, but put me in a room and tell me to talk to people, and I freak.

Fiction Books

Blackberry Winter

Why would one read a book they know is sad? Because they’re gluttons for punishment.  If you haven’t heard about this book yet, you’re probably not reading your blogs close enough or scouring your Pinterest boards with a discerning eye.  Back in March, Eric and I went out for the evening and stayed in a hotel to celebrate my birthday.  What did I do for fun?  Shave my legs and read this book.  Which resulted in crying all night.  This would not have happened pre-baby. Now? Now I cry at commercials and random facebook posts.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, but you’ll snuggle your littles ones a little closer at night.

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Daughter of Smoke & Bone & Days of Blood and Starlight

Ahhh! These books are so good.  This is not normally something I’d read, but after reading this review, I decided to give it a shot.  I think I read both books in two days. I just found out the 3rd book in the series, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, has been pushed back to April 2014. Scroll down to the comments here to see how I feel about that. Definitely some of the best books I’ve read in awhile.

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Calling Me Home

I just finished this and I would say it’s good. Just good. Which isn’t a bad thing. It started off a little slow for me, but picked up by the middle.  It was also a predictable, but again, that’s not a bad thing.  I really enjoyed just being able to sprawl out in bed a night and read a few chapters at a time without feeling riveted to stay up until 2am reading.

Home & Life Books

Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love

Like their blog, lots of good ideas here.  And it looks cute and trendy sitting on the coffee table. 🙂

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Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: The Quick Start Guide

Lots and lots of little ideas to get and stay organized.  Since this is an e-book, there’s lots of links to blogs, inspiration pictures, and products.  At only $4.99, it’s a quick read and I found a few new blogs to follow out of it.  Also written by the blogger behind Modern Parents Messy Kids.

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I haven’t decided what to read next…any suggestions?  Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Let’s Go to the Zoo: Sensory Play

zoo sensory box

I love the zoo! And apparently, this little guy does, too.

We bought a membership last May, and went once last Summer. It was very exhausting.  Our membership technically didn’t expire until the end of May this year, so we wanted to fit in a trip this Spring, too.  And…we’ve already gone twice. With no crying. No whining. No running away. Generally lots of fun.  I love this age.

We have an awesome zoo in Cincinnati, complete with a petting zoo (where you can brush the goat’s hair!), and a train.  We weren’t sure how Matthew would like the train, but we’ve been hearing “more train” nonstop for the past few days. Actually, we’ve been about nothing but the zoo (and Grandpa) for the past week.

The first time we went, he got a bit freaked out when the elephant actually started moving (ha!), but quickly warmed up once the elephant shot water out of his nose (like his new favorite book).  He was also totally freaked out that the giraffe got close enough to touch, but once we backed up, he was happy again.

The hands-on exhibits were an obvious favorite, too.  No fear about running around with goats, petting lizards, being surrounded by thousands of bugs and butterflies, running towards alligators, or feeding birds from his hands.  The playground doesn’t hurt either–I was so proud? that he climbed to the top of  the “big kid” playset while Eric and I sat on the bench. He even went through the tunnel, which is HUGE for him because he seems to be scared of small spaces and usually avoids this at gymnastics. Actually, he maneuvered his way around the entire playground for about 20 minutes before even realizing we weren’t right there with him–then he just sauntered over, said “hello” and ran away again (to try to get in another mom’s wagon…).  Getting so big!

Needless to say, we needed some serious “zoo play” at home.

Sensory Box Table

zoo sensory box

Yeah, we took over the whole table for this one.  After all, the zoo has a train, people, and little trucks that drive around (he was enamoured by this too).  I was going to add little roads and and such, but this is as far as I got during naptime. He was very happy with it when he woke up, so I let it be.

zoo sensory box

zoo sensory box

zoo sensory box

zoo sensory box

zoo sensory box

zoo sensory box

Apparently, the bear needed a transfer.  And we might need to have a chat about why polar bears and rhinos can’t hang out.

Inclusions:

  • pea gravel from the rockbox
  • landscaping rocks from the yard
  • faux moss vase filler
  • twigs
  • tupperware
  • oats
  • water
  • Toob Wild animals
  • Toob Zoo Babies animals
  • Whittle World people
  • Train track, Thomas, trees, and cars are hand-me-downs, so I don’t know the origins

Total Spents: $10

The only thing I had to buy was the animals, which I got from Hobby Lobby.  They’re originally $8.99, but I used a 50% coupon.  Not a bad toy investment since these things will last for years and can be used for a lot of activities.

Books

books about zoo

1. Dear Zoo.  Animals! Lift-the-flaps! Zoo! It’s like the toddler trifecta.

2. Put Me in the Zoo. This book doesn’t actually have much to do about the zoo,  but it says “zoo” a lot and I contribute that to Matty learning the word.  It also lends to some fun crafts, like the one below.

3. From Head to Toe. We have this Big Book, which is exciting on its own.  Each page shows the way a different animal moves and encourages kiddos to do it too. Lends well for animal charades!

Activities

zoo activities

1. Animal Count & Sort. Umm, just a fancy way of saying, “play with the animals!”.  I took them out to his rock box, and grabbed a few things from the house I thought would make it fun.  This is where he surprised me.  First, he put them in the tray, one in each spot, counting, “one, two, two, six”.  The fact that there was 12 animals and 12 spots was just a happy accident!  Then, he said they need a “dink” (water), because he noticed all the animals at the zoo had water.  This really held his attention for awhile.

2. Put Me in the Zoo Craft. I just traced the bear-thing character onto paper, then gave him “garage sale” stickers to make his spots. We did two colors of his choice before he moved on to bigger and better things. 🙂

3. Animal Charades. This stemmed from reading From Head to Toe.  Then I added crawl like a bear, crawl like a turtle, swim like a fish, gallop like a zebra, etc.  I think his favorite part is watching me do it.

4. Visit the Zoo! Did you see the first part of this post? He had so much fun!

5. I’m Going to the Zoo Sing Along. I remember singing this in 1st grade, and started singing it to Matthew in the car.  I had to brush up on the words, and this video helped.

6. Coloring Pages. I put these out on his coloring table for him to do what he wanted.  Just a little something different than plain paper.

Questions:

1. Zoos…love ’em or hate ’em?
2. What’s your “must see” animal when you go to the zoo?

Play Theme: Squirming Worms

exploring worms--activities for toddlers

What’s Spring without a little worm play?  While preparing the garden for Spring flowers, I came across a family of worms.  I called Matthew over to take a look, and let’s just say he was enamored! He kept asking to go outside to look for worms, so of course, I decided to take it a little further and put together some activities involving worms.

Sensory Box

worm sensory box

Inclusions:

  • Coffee Grounds (dirt)
  • Rocks
  • Cooked Spaghetti (worms)
  • Fake Moss
  • Paper Grass (carstock folded into zigzags)
  • Artificial Tulips (trimmed)
  • Shovel
  • Bucket

Total Cost: FREE (I already had everything from other sensory boxes or from around the house!)

I put a piece of styrofoam under the flowers and grass; this way, the flowers can be stuck into the styrofoam to help them stand up.  Matty likes to pull them out then push them back in.  And shovel the “dirt”.  And put the worms in the bucket.

Books

books about worms

1. Are You Ready To Play Outside? I love all the Mo Willems books, but I was afraid Matty might be a bit young to understand a book based completely on dialogue.  I don’t know if he “got” the plot, but he loved it from the first page, which starts of with “Piggie!”.  He giggled every time I read a word.  This book is about Elephant and Piggie upset about the rain ruining their plans to play outside, until they notice worms having fun in the rain.  Worms! Yay! Cue requests to go outside to dig in the dirt…

2. Worms. This was a $.99 Kindle book.  I’m trying to introduce more non-fiction books, especially when dealing with science themes, but I forgot to get worm books at the library.  But this Kindle book did the trick.  Lots of neat pictures to look at. Plus, it was on the Kindle.

3. Baby Loves Spring.  Again, love these books. And there’s worms squiggling in the dirt. Which Matty reminded me of when he came running in the room yelling “borms!!!!” after discovering it on the shelf.

Activities

 

 1. Dig in the dirt for worms, of course! I considered doing a Worm Farm, but I figured we’d have to keep it forever or risk meltdown.

2. Worm in Apple Cupcakes.  I had everything laid out to make these, then bam! A month of sickness, including 2 stomach bugs.  We’re definitely on a bland diet around here that doesn’t involve cupcakes.

3. Playdough worms

4. Rhymes and Songs.  Here’s two of my favorites, mostly because they’re easy to incorporate movement.

worm songs

Anybody else got a little worm lover?  Ever tried a worm farm?

Psst…I’m linking up @ My Healthy Happy Home for Toddler Tuesday. Check it out!

Color Theme: Purple

allaboutpurple

This is the last of our color themes.  I was going to do white, black, and brown, but he’s picked those up already.  Actually, I’m 95.7% sure he knows all of his colors, including pink and tan! Yay!

Color Learning Tip #6

Kids will be able to point out or pick up something purple before saying “purple”.  To check for understanding of color learning, give children opportunities to “show what they know” instead of asking them to tell what they know.

Sensory Box

purplebox

Again, with my experiment to try new types of containers, I decided to use an oversized  cooking pot.  This actually turned out awesome!  I kept it in a corner on the kitchen counter, and brought it out when preparing meals or when I still had a few bites left and Matty was all done.  He thought it was great, and meal prep went better.  I’ve actually been keeping a small bowl of toys on the counter for this exact purpose now.

Books

purple books

1. Purple Little Bird. Purple Bird lives in a purple house with purple decorations.  Something’s not quite right, so he explores, and discovers many other colors to add to his house.

2. Harold’s ABC. Yes, yes. Harold and his damn purple crayon.  I planned on using that book for this theme, but I think my little rascal would have thought he was totally hilarious and colored on the wall.  So we used this alphabet book instead.  The letters are incorporated into the illustrations, with some common words, c for cake, and odd words, a for attic.

3. Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes. We got a Pete the Cat book for Christmas, and Matty loved it.  So we got this one for colors.  It explores all colors, too, so it’s been out for a few weeks.  It’s got a cat, so of course it’s a hit!

Activities

1. Blueberry painting. Slightly thaw a small bowl of frozen blueberries. Poke with toothpick. Paint!  Matty loved repoking the toothpick (fine motor), and ate the entire bowl of blueberries (the first time he ever ate them!).  Great activity.

2. Purple snack. Try raisins and grapes. If you’re more adventurous try eggplant and plums. Even more adventurous? Track down purple carrots!

3. Purple People Eater.  This song was on our Halloween mix, which we still listen to…toddlers know no bounds when it comes to holidays.

4. The Regs. Purple playdough, markers, stickers, and crayons.

Questions:

Has your kid had a “Harold” moment? Aka, coloring on the wall?

Psst. Interested in more color themes?  Here’s a color recap:

Blue          Red         Yellow       Green        Orange 

             Getting Started with Sensory Boxes

 

 

Color Theme: Orange

allaboutorange

Orange juice and goldfish crackers.  It’s theme heaven!

Color Learning Tip #5

You can never provide enough examples of colors.  Kids need to learn that orange has no shape and no size, but may come in different hues.  The only way for them to build this knowledge is by exploring various examples–inside, outside, through taste, and seeing how colors are used everyday.

Sensory Box

I wanted to “practice what I preach” so I set up a couple of sensory boxes in containers other than the norm.  This was a bulk wipes box, and it was lots of fun and a nice change of pace.  This box was awesome because Matty could stick his entire arm in the beans (the fun part), and I was able to put this in a different room which was a like having a brand new toy!

Inclusions:

  • dried beans
  • sea horse rattle
  • octopus squirter
  • Mega Blok (for dropping beans into…plink plink!)
  • ball pit balls
  • letter links
  • paintbrush
  • measuring cup for scooping
  • flashcard (never too early for environmental print!)

Total Cost: $3.88 for beans

Books

orangebooks

1. The Big Orange Splot. OMG. I remember this book from second grade.  I saw it at the library and had a moment.  I remember the teacher reading it, I remember the name of the character, and I remember the activities–design your dream house.  I remember what mine looked like. Crazy.  Anywho. Fun book!

2. Orange Pear Apple Bear. Such a cute book.  The whole book is made up of those four words (orange, pear, apple, bear, plus “and”).  Each page is different combination. First, orange, with a picture of an orange.  Later an orange bear.  Simple and effective. Loved it.

3. Colors.  Grandma bought this book for Matty waaay back, and it’s always been a hit.  Each color has a fold-out page with pictures of common objects.

Activities

1. Cones. We have these.  I called out a color and Matty ran to that color.  Or hopped like a bunny.  Or marched.  A great way to reinforce other colors, too. Beautiful 75 degree weather optional. 🙂

2. Homemade orange juice.

3. Or store-bought juice in a special cup.

4. Orange Snack. Goldfish crackers  or Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies and Cuties.

5. The Regulars. Orange markers, crayons, playdough, stickers and stampers.

Questions:

Anybody else remember a random book or activity from elementary school?  What was your favorite school activity? (recess and lunch don’t count!)

Color Theme: Red

all about red

This theme had beans and Llama Llama. Needless to say, it was a hit.

Color Learning Tip #4

Provide multiple examples and non-examples of the color.  Show an apple that is red and an apple that is green. That way, kids don’t focus on the shape or texture of an apple and think that means “red”.

Sensory Box

Inclusions:

  • dried red beans base
  • pom pom craft balls
  • wooden blocks
  • sensory ball
  • red crab tambourine
  • magnetic letters
  • counting bears
  • red flash card
  • cup
  • scoop

Total Spent: $3.79 for beans & scoop

The little scoop was new this time.  I found it at a local plastic manufacturing store for $.49. Score!  He loved it.

Books

red books all

1. Llama Llama Red Pajama. In a knock down drag out fight between this book and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, I’m not sure who would emerge victorious as Matty’s favorite book.  Even Eric can recite this from heart, and he is not the reader of bedtime stories.

2. Lemons Are Not Red.  Matty loves anything that has a negative–“no” or “not”, so this was a hit.  The awesome illustrations/die cut pages didn’t hurt either.  I liked that it promotes critical thinking and isn’t just another silly story.

3. Red Truck.  Again, the illustrations are great, especially for teaching colors.  Most pages are set with a gray background, with a bright red truck.  There’s also a bright yellow bus, which is nice since we finished our yellow theme right before this.

Activities

playdough texture

1. Playdough textures.  We’re very into playdough around here, so I decided to jazz it up.  We took beaded bracelets, play animals, buttons, golf balls, a comb, etc. and explored pushing them into the dough.

2. “The Regulars”. Stamping, markers, crayons, and stickers on large easel paper.

3. Red Snack. Strawberries, red bell peppers, and apples with Raspber-wee Sauce for dipping.

4. Hearts.  We cheated a bit, and covered red a little during Valentine’s Day.

There’s tons more books we could have used for red (Clifford anyone?), and also many more activities.  But I think we’ve found a good process in terms of switching out basic items like crayons and stickers and playdough each week.  I’m about 99.9% sure he knows all of his colors at this point!

Play Box: Little Blue Truck

Little Blue Truck

We used Little Blue Truck with our blue theme,  but of course it’s stuck around much longer, i.e. we’ve read it 100 times.  After so many readings, I had the epiphany that I could change it up a bit.  We had everything we needed on hand to turn this into a fun, interactive read along.

I set it up during naptime, and let’s just say excited didn’t begin to describe Wee One when he woke up.

I used coffee grounds for the “mud”, and added all of our Schleich animals from the play barn.  Except the toad.  The only frog/toad I had was an Ikea finger puppet. Whatever works.

This was his favorite.  In fact, after this box, I put the book away for awhile, which Matty found this week.  He demanded asked for the toad before we could finish the story.

This was a great way to pass some time during a rainy afternoon (in which we apparently stayed in pajamas for).  And the coffee grounds made my entire house smell wonderful. Note to Self: Put out fun sensory box before guests come over; look like super-mom and have a fresh smelling house. 🙂

Color Theme: Green

allaboutgreen

I planned our “green week” to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day.  My original thought was to fill our sensory box with coins, shamrocks, and other holiday items, but then I realized I didn’t want to buy a bunch of trinkets that we only usable once/year.  So I tried to use only things we had around the house.

Color Learning Tip #2: Instead of saying, “this is a green ball”, say “this ball is green”.  Putting the noun first ensures the child focuses his attention on the correct object, so that he  can then focus on the attribute (in this case green).  If you say “green” first, the child is looking around for “a green”.

A really interesting study…read more here.

Sensory Box

Inclusions:

  • Tambourine
  • Stacking blocks
  • Counting bears
  • Cup
  • Flash card
  • Teething ring
  • Feather
  • Ball pit ball
  • Flashcard
  • Rice

Total Spent: $0 (I had a large bag of rice leftover from making rice heat packs).

Books

GREENBOOKS

1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Can you even survive parenthood without this book?  We have 4  copies: my copy from when I was a kid, a small board book, a slide-and-find book, and the Kindle version.  Of course, this teaches all colors, but Matty’s favorite is the green frog, so I included it here. Ribbit.

2. Green. This book is parent-friendly and kid-friendly.  Exploring all shades of green, this book provides wonderful pictures depicting sea green, forest green, forever green (planting a tree!), cut-outs that lend to the imagination, and a positive message that’s about more than just colors, without being too in-your-face.  I can’t recommend it enough!

3. Do You Like Green Eggs and Ham? Another classic.  Matty liked it because it included “not” a lot, and that means the same thing as “no”, which is his favorite word.  We cook eggs most mornings, and now he likes to scream “green” at them; thankfully, he hasn’t actually insisted on having green eggs (though that could be fun).

Activities

1. Tissue Paper Shamrock Mosaic. Could do any shape!
2. Green Playdough
3. Baking–green spinach cupcakes
4. Try these Green Fruit Kabobs!
5. Get started with Green Smoothies
6. Green Markers (a treat!)
7. Stickers–look for frogs, leaves, alligators, dinosaurs
8. Snow Painting
9. Stars & Dots. Place two shapes a distance apart–run from one shape to the other, or hop like a bunny, or jump like a frog, or crawl like a bear, or march, or walk backwards, or go really, really fast, or go really, really show…the possibilities are endless!  I found these felt shapes in the craft section at Walmart for $.97 each.

He knows green! I didn’t really think he cared to know until I was writing this post with him next to me, and he started pointing at the screen yelling “geen”.

Question:

Any other tried-and-true movement learning games? We are not getting any Spring weather in Ohio yet, so we’re still trapped indoors.

50 Shades of…

Crapt. Poop. **EARMUFFS** Shit.   Seriously?  This is what is driving millions of women to attack their husbands with reckless abandon? This outsold all the Harry Potter books combined in the UK on Amazon UK? Combined?!!!   All I know is I paid $9.99 for it, and I want my money back.

I didn’t even finish it.  I can’t.  I’ve tried like 7 times.

And it’s not even the “crazy” sex scenes…most of  those are laughable.  It’s the writing. Oh, the writing. It’s so bad. 

About three pages in, I cried foul.  Plagiarism if you will.  WHHHHHHY does this sound exactly like Twilight?  BECAUSE IT IS. Did you know that? I didn’t.  Yep, 50 Shades was written as Twilight fanfiction.  Complete with the names of Edward and Bella.  After some questions about the sex stuff, James pulled it off and went to publishing it herself.

The internal chatter of Anastasia was one of the most obnoxious things I’ve ever read…”OMG! He’s so hot! Oh my…!”. What 22 year old says “Oh my?”  And I feel like James decided to use a thesaurus only every 3rd page.  There’s random “big words” thrown in all like, “look, I’m a real writer! OMG!”  And I don’t think I could take reading the word “belly” one more time.

I liked Twilight (mostly).  But that was about a High School girl (brain development not complete!) and mythical beings.  You can choose to overlook the dumb…because it’s true fantasy. It’s never going to be real.  But the dumb in this book?  Scary. Creepy.

Run away, Girl–he tracked your ass down at a bar–in a city he doesn’t even live in.  This is a real stalker.  This shit happens in real life.  Then they find your body in a river.  He bought rope and tape and looked at you with crazy eyes.  That’s not sexy.  Call the police.  Let him use those sexy eyes in prison and see what happens.  

I’ve heard spoilers so I know how this all ends…THIS IS NOT REAL, LADIES.  YOU CANNOT SAVE THE DAMAGED MAN.  ESPECIALLY BY GETTING PREGNANT.

And the sex scenes.  I mean, I knew this was BDSM inspired so I was prepared.  But it vacillates between horribly gross and laughably ridiculous.   “He lifts my foot by the heel and runs his thumbnail up my instep.” Ha. Hahaha. Ah yes.  I love when my instep gets touched.  The Hubs and I were reading this together and we were doubled over laughing.  Our new inside joke is to walk up to each other and yell “Don’t touch my instep!”

Perhaps most disturbing to me is the junior-high aged girls reading this. Waaay too impressionable to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate ways to be treated (or how to treat women).  Or this. Actually this is just sickening.

shades of grey

And please, can someone who has finished tell me…is there any significance to the Converse?  We constantly read that they both wear Converse.  Is this relevant or just some lame attempt to show how “cool” the characters are? Does the baby chew its way out? I may keep reading for that.  Does anyone morph into an oversize dog?  What am I missing?

And just because…here are some really good examples of fanfiction.  I came across these after reading The Hunger Games–definitely worth the read.

Oh, and funny story.  The Hubs thought I said this was Harry Potter fanfic, so he’s reading and all like, “Who’s Harry again?” And I’m like, “What? Nobody is hairy.” And then there was talk of big wands and riding dragons and so forth.  So maybe I got my $9.99 worth in laughs?