What Are We Playing With: May 2018

Arya, our 2 year old, LOVES doing dishes. People are constantly amused about the fact that she gets upset when I tell it’s time to stop doing dishes. She will just grab her stool, carry it over to the sink, climb on up, and do her stuff.

You do you, boo.

However, the kitchen sink isn’t always the safest place for her to be. Often times, there are sharp kitchen knives or bacteria from raw meat juices in there, and I refuse to let her play at that point for obvious reasons.

That’s where this lovely little toy came in.

Our friends called to say that they had a present for Ary since they weren’t able to make it to her birthday party. We went over and made a night of it: hung out, had food, that whole thing.

When Ary unwrapped the Spark Kitchen Sink, I think I was more excited about it than she was. I don’t think she fully understood what it was at first. I was excited though because I remembered the hype around Christmas time over this little toy. Every store in the area that sold it ran out.

When we got it set up the next day, we put a folded towel underneath and let her at it.

She, of course, LOVED it.

She has been playing with it almost non-stop: at the kitchen table, on the living room floor, even outside in between playing in the pool.

In addition to playing do the dishes, she will fill up her toy cups with water and drink out of them, so we’ve had to add water while she’s playing because the water level gets too low from her drinking it for the pump to work. She’s gotten so much better at drinking from regular cups since getting this, so that’s a plus.

Downside is that this thing EATS batteries. I think we are currently on the 3rd or 4th set of batteries. We are definitely talking about getting some rechargeable batteries for this.

This sink is great for her to learn so many different important skills: it gives her practice at a rather important skill (doing dishes), it gives her sensory play with water, and it’s helping improve her motor functions like when drinking water.

To see other toys we enjoy in our house, go here.

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Everyday Homeschooling: Exploring Different Creative Materials

Today, Arya and I decided to try some new ways of playing with some old favorites.

Ever since her birthday, we’ve been painting with watercolors, and this morning, I introduced a way to change it up. We took a sheet of watercolor paper and some crayons and drew on the paper before we started painting.

She loved it!

While Arya loves to color and paint in her various coloring books and pages, she loves coloring and painting over the things we draw even more.

For example, one of her favorite things to do at her Dry Erase Board is to tell me something she wants me to draw. Then, she colors over whatever it is that I drew. Some of her current favorites include Monsters Inc characters, Cloud Guy from Trolls, and members of our family. Sometimes, I’ll take the time and do a more detailed drawing that’s worthy of my college art school days. However, she’s perfectly ok with strategically colored stick-ish figured drawings. She doesn’t need some gallery worthy portraits of her favorite characters. She’s just excited to see me drawing things that are familiar to her.

Just look at that face!

This is something almost any parent can do. You don’t need to be an artist to draw things for your kids to color. Stick figures are even better than coloring books for most young kids simply because you are the one that drew it for them.

Anyway, side tangent. I’m very passionate about parents of all skill levels drawing/painting/etc. with their kids. (among doing other things with them of course, lol)

 

This afternoon, Arya decided she wanted to play with playdough. However, she didn’t take out her playdough crate. Instead she brought her toy food over and saw what happened when she pressed the different food into the playdough.

She was very excited to see that if you pressed the plastic strawberry into the dough from different angles, different patterns appeared. She also like that the corn on the cob was shaped like a dough roller. She was disappointed that the broccoli didn’t do much, but the waffle made an excellent knife if turned on its side.

Since we were playing with the plastic food, it slowly evolved into a little tea party when she brought her tea cups over. Her favorite thing to do during tea parties is put the various food that fits into her tea cups in each, and that’s what flavor tea it is. Her favorite would probably be “broccoli tea” which I don’t even want to think about as an actual tea. I like tea, and I like broccoli (cooked or raw). However, I really can’t imagine broccoli would taste good as a tea.

I could be wrong though…

Later on, I pulled out a package of clothespins because we are planning on creating an area to hang up our art. Naturally, Arya wanted to play with the clothespins, so she’d take them off of the paper, and I’d put them back on. Once she got bored with that, we took the watercolors back out and had fun painting the clothespins different colors.

We had fun. I made a cool gradient one from light blue to dark blue to purple. (you can kind of see it in the first picture of this post)

We’re both enjoying figuring out what you can do with watercolors, and how they work. I haven’t really had a chance to explore this particular art medium in years, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy using watercolors as well when we’re painting together.

Anyway, I got my lovely husband to hang up some cord (because he’s much taller than me), and we now have a lovely little art wall for us to hang Arya’s artwork.

Arya now gets so excited when we finish another piece of art. She’ll tell me, “Wall!” because she wants me to hang it up there for everyone to see. I just love that our playroom/homeschool room is shaping up more and more. Once we get a few more things set up, I’ll probably do a little room tour to show you guys.

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Spring Photoshoot

Taking pictures of a 2 year old and a 6 month old is HARD. It was hot. It was so bright that I could barely see the viewfinder. Since we were outside, they wanted to just play….

Especially the 6 month since the world is still brand new to her. Since she’s just now able to sit up on her own (though not very well), I’m only just now putting her completely on the grass by herself (or at least she thinks that), and she wants nothing to do with me. She doesn’t care that I’m trying to make her smile or laugh, or that her sister is trying to pose with her. She just wants to explore the flowers and the grass and everything else in this big spacious world she’s found herself in.

The 2 year old, on the other hand, is a seasoned pro at pictures and videos. She’s used to me snapping a picture while she’s playing or vlogging while we’re doing various things. She still gets a little annoyed after a little bit because of how long it’s taking since we’re dealing with a 6 month old who could care less. She’s trying so hard to be patient though and is such a wonderful big sister.

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What Are We Reading? May 2018

We love books in our house.  We started reading to the girls from a young age, and we will continue to do so. I figured I would share with you guys some of our favorites every month. Some of these are well known and commonly owned, others, not so much. If you ever have any suggestions of books to check out, we’re always willing to find new favorites!

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Gendered Clothing?

With my oldest officially entering toddlerhood, I’ve been thinking a lot more about how gendered children’s clothing is, and how utterly ridiculous it is. While I was only dealing with infant clothing, I of course noticed it in regards to the color and designs (example: dragons vs ladybugs) of the clothing. Once the child is old enough to walk and talk and have opinions, the difference in “boys’ clothing” and “girls’ clothing” is startling.

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Day in the Life

This morning actually started earlier than usual. Iris woke up every two hours last night which is not usual for her now that she’s 4 months. The last time she woke up, around 5:30ish, Arya woke up crying as well. (That has unfortunately been happening more often than we’d like recently.) My husband went go lie in her bed with her while I finished up with Iris. Not long after that, Arya joined me in bed while Richie got ready to go to work since he had some out of town extra training this morning.

As soon as the sun came up, Arya was ready to start the day, so I got up and made me some coffee. I filled her snack cup with cheerios, gave her some almond milk, and put on her choice of tv show, so I could finish getting ready. Today’s choice was Sid the Science Kid. Once I was dressed and had breakfast served for both of us, she was excitedly talking about leaves.

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The Joys of Having Toddler Bookworms

I’ve been a bookworm myself for many years and grew up with American Girl, The Little House on the Prairie, and Harry Potter on my bedside table. I even was envious of the fact that Belle was given her own library, and I decided at a young age that I wanted my own personal library.

Naturally, I had every intention of fostering a love of reading in my own children from a young age. Heck, it has been proven that future ACT scores are for kids whose parents read to them at a young age rather than those that studied their butts off with flashcards and worksheets, so I also had the science to back this up as a great idea.

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What Are We Playing With: March 2018

When Arya’s birthday was coming up, I knew that I wanted the big present from us to be an easel. Arya loves all things creative, and I just knew an easel would be perfect. I looked at a number of different easels including some wooden ones until I found the Step2 Jumbo Art Easel. It pretty much jumped out at me when I came across it, and I just knew this was the one. (Added bonus came when I finally went to buy it, and there was actually a big sale on it going on at the time…WINNING!)

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Homeschooling a One Year Old

Let me start off by saying that there are those who don’t consider what I’m doing to be homeschooling. Many just look at it and say, “Oh, that’s just how you should be parenting your child.” No, there are many ways to parent your child. In my opinion, if you have actively looked into preschool activities for your child, and you wish to consider it homeschooling, by all means, call it homeschooling.

We didn’t actually start actively “homeschooling” until our little one was about 17 months old. Before that, she was more likely to put things in her mouth than to play with them in almost any other way.

That being said, here’s what you are all wondering: What do I do to homeschool my one year old?

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