Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Activity Bins

I wanted to give "Baby" O some Halloween activities, but finding things for a 1 year old can be a little tough.  Then I thought back to when I create her sensory bowl, which she stills plays with.  I looked through my Halloween bin from when I taught Pre-K and found lots of things that I could use in one way or another. 

This is the main idea of what items I used to create fun, entertaining and educational activities for"Baby" O.

First, I added a 2 sets of Halloween cups.  We stack them and knock them down, put items into the cup and nest the cups.

The second activity was a pumpkin basket filled with spiders and a scoop.  We scoop the spiders, put them into the cups or the basket, count them and so on.

Of course "Baby" O is never without books.  We have both board books (pictured) and what we call "Mommy's Books" which are paper back and she is not aloud to play with yet since she has ripped a few already.  She loves to just sit and look at the books and sometimes reads them to us.

Another activity was a little felt basket filled with cookie cutters in Halloween shapes.  We talk aboutthe different shapes, sort them, stack them, make patterns and so on.

This activity was another pumpkin basket filled with mini stuffed pumpkins.  The pumpkins are 2 different sizes so we sort them by size, make patterns, stack or attempt to stack them, throw them into the basket and so on.

There is not much, but this is the start of our Halloween dress up stuff. We will have to add to this activity over the years.

This is just a large furry spider that we play with.  It's legs are bendable so we create different positions for him.

Our last activity is Halloween stuffed animals.  We don't do much with these as far as sorting or anything, but we make them talk and dance.

"Baby" O has enjoyed all of her Halloween activities.  Sometimes I let her choose which she wants to play with or I give her a single basket for more quiet individual play.  Something that I did not take a picture of are her musical balloons.  I filled orange balloons with things such as beads, rice, pasta and so on.  After I blew them up I drew faces of them to make jack-o-lanterns and strung them up with green ribbon.  When she hits them they make different noises and she has a blast with these. 

With Halloween here in just a few days I need to come up with some fall/Thanksgiving activities for "Baby" O.  I gave away a bunch of items for Thanksgiving last year that I am know wishing I didn't because she could play with them, but oh well.  We can just start from scratch. 

Happy Halloween!! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Introducing Colors to Young Toddlers

Well "Baby" O is a litle over a year now and even more interested in everything than before.  I know that she is young, but I want to begin working on colors with her.  I think that I am going to spend about a week or two on each color.  I'm not going to do any crazy colors right now like turquoise or magenta, but instead start with the basic red, blue, yellow and more on to still basic colors from there.

 Choosing the colors was the easy part, but deciding what activities is a little bit harder.  Some of the simpler activities that I am thinking about doing are:
- jello jigglers in the color we are talking about
- wearing a piece of clothing in the color
- playing with that color Playdough
- playing 'hide & seek' with some beanbags of the color
- sorting items of that color such as our ball pit balls 
I am going to try being ambitious with some activities.  I know that they might not work or may need a lot of assistance from me, but we are going to give it a try.  These possibly harder activities are:
 - ripping paper of the color
- putting stickers of the color onto paper ("Baby" O loves stickers)
- finger painting
- decorating colored paper shirts
- something with pom-poms
- something with paint swatches
I know some or all of these items may not work, but we can at least try.  When the time comes for me to begin my color weeks I will post about all of the exact individual that we try.  I am going to continue looking for new activities and ideas are always welcomed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

And the " Playroom" Begins - Before Pictures and Plans

Baby O, I know she is 13.5 months and becoming a non-baby, but for now she is still my baby.  Anyway, Baby O is growing so fast and accumulating toys just as fast.  It is the two of those things together that means it is time to begin creating her "playroom".  Our downstairs/game room started off as my husband's man cave, but add in workout pieces, cat litter and loads of laundry and now it's not so much of a man cave.  He is very big with electronics and wanted a projector so I still let it be his area.  We have a huge screen taking up about half of our second longest wall and he loves it.  Since the downstairs being perfect for his theater room was a big part of why we bought the house I promised that when it came time to make Baby O a playroom that I would not take his theater completely away.  That is why we are referring to it as her "playroom" and not her playroom. 

I have already started moving some things around so the before picture are more like after before pictures or the before pictures take 2.  Either way, they are still before pictures and I promise the rest of the house is not this unorganized.  Now most of the decor that we had down there was red and black so as to not have to redo everything we are picking colors that incorporate red with black as accents in the furniture and frames.

This is the entrance to the downstairs.  That cabinet has movies, video games and all things my husband.  This area will probably stay the same with minor changes if anything.

I know the pictures are a little fuzzy, but I was rushing.  That is also baby O in the first picture supporting her aunt in her Syracuse shirt.  This is the largest wall in our downstairs, but unfortunately the couch has to stay where it is at for safety reasons - to cover all the wires from the projector.  Since the couch cannot be moved the only changes will be new pillows and maybe the blanket basket being moved to a closet.  The couch was recently moved there, before it was parallel to the projector facing the screen.  There is a chaise chair that you will see in another picture that was where the couch is now.  The second picture is the second half of that long wall.  As you can see there are toys just tossed on the floor and that is only a fraction of Baby O's toys.  For that second section of  I want to get large cube shelves that would hold bigger toys such as the foam blocks I want to get her for Christmas.  I also might get some super large totes/baskets for things such as dress up clothes that she will have in the future.  Yes, I know I am thinking about say 2 years down the line, but it is just like gardening - plan for the future.  Oh and of course we are getting new and matching window treatments.  Finally!!

This picture is of the opposite wall from the last pictures.  That is the chaise chair I mention before that was where the couch is now.  Well, I hate the couch, but I really hate that chair!  Good news for me - we are getting rid of the chair.  You may not be able to see it in the picture, but the chair has seen better days.  For this area I want to get a cube shelf bookshelf, it is one that has nine cubes.  I think that will provide nice storage for little items like play food and small wooden blocks.  I also was to put a little chair that received from a friend in the corner to create a reading nook.  I also want to add simple shelves to the lower wall to hold books. 
This is the wall opposite the wall from the first picture.  That is half of the screen, but the area with the dresser is where I want to focus.  I am hoping to move the dresser to the next area I will show.  If I am able to do that then the area where the dresser is will become Baby O's art area.  I am also planning on repositioning the elliptical, but it is going to have to stay in that general area.  Behind those double door to the left is the laundry room in case you were wondering.
Ok this picture is super blurry, but it was the only one I took so I am stuck using it.  Not much about this area, but that is where I am hoping to move the dresser.  That is the cat litter in there, but that will be moving to the laundry room.
I hae ideas for the walls - large letters spelling out words relating to the area (read, create), pictures of Baby O, framed book dust jackets and places to hang art created by Baby O.  I also want to get an area rug, a chidrens table and a play kitchen, but for now lets focus on the main basics.  Check back to see "Playroom" Renovation: Part 1.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Long Time, No See

Ok so I took a decent size break from being on here.  The last time I posted was the beginning of May and so much has happened since then. Let's see . . .
- My first Mother's Day!  We had our families over for a brunch and celebrated our first Mother's Day as Mothers, Grandmothers and great-grandmothers.  Baby O and I had made cards and magnets for all of the moms. 
This is the magnet we made for all the moms.  Everyone had different colors, but all still the same general concept.  The flower was made using Baby O's thumbprints.  Granted it took a lot of help from me and a bit of time, but they turned out so cute!
This is the card we made for all the moms.  She actually sat pretty still for the picture which was a surprise, but the handprints were a little tough.  They might not have turned out perfect, but that is the best part about handmade gifts from children.
- Baby O says dada for the first time!  She had not stopped with the dada since then.
- Baby O begins to crawl!  It started off as kind of a scoot using her face, but quickly picked up into a full out crawl.
- My husband's first Father's Day!  We again had our families over for a brunch.  There were no special little gifts for the dads since /i could not find anything that a very young child could do for a dad.  We did still make cards for all the dads. 
This is the card we made for the dads.  I knew I wanted to do something with her handprint, but trying to think of something for dads was a little harder.  I think they turned out pretty well.  Again, they were not perfect, but that is what makes them special. 
- Our longest time apart!  My husband's work does a trip every year for the top employees.  This year it was in San Diego, but we did not bring Baby O with us since most things were adults only.  It might have only been 5 days, but it was the longest 5 days of our lives.  She stayed with Grammy, Pappy and Aunt Boo both at our house and theirs.  She had a great time while we were gone and even learned some new tricks to surprise us with.
- Baby O's first 4th of July!  She had mixed feelings about everything.  I would say that the bright lights were good, but the loud noise was bad.  As we expected she did not make it to see the real fireworks, but at least she slept like a baby (no pun intended) through the whole thing.
- Baby O gets her first teeth!  They took their time, but the first one has finally popped through.  We are up to 5 teeth now!
- Baby O starts standing, but only while holding on it things.  You have to start somewhere right.
- Baby O started taking a few steps, but only if holding a non moving object like the couch.
- More teeth came in!
- Baby O said mama!  We have heard mamamamamamama before, but this was the first real mama.  I asked her who she wanted to give her a bath thinking she would say dada since that was all she said through dinner.  To my surprise her answer was mama.  We were so shocked!  Not the way I thought she would say it, but I'll take it.

- Baby O turned 1!!  I had the best party planned.  Everything was set up outside and what does it do right before people arrive?  RAIN!!  My sister, husband and I grab everything out of the rain.  After the rain and my tears have stopped we dry everything off and set it back up.  Everyone arrives and we are outside for about an hour before what happens, RAIN . . . AGAIN!  We just have the rest of the party inside and everything worked out fine.  Lesson learned though - always have a backup plan ready to go.
Baby O LOVED the balloons!
Baby O unwrapping her presents. 
 Baby O smashing up her cupcake.

 - Baby O had her first professional photo shoot.  Dawn Biery Photography is wonderful! 
- Baby O began walking while holding onto a moving object like her stroller!  We tried and tried then out of nowhere one evening she just grabbed the handle and went.
- Well we are only half way through October which I am sure will container somemore fun Baby O things.