Friday, February 26, 2010

bug catchers for little people/ sandpit without the pit

Its Friday!!!! Time for a dance!!!

For some reason quite unbeknownst to me, we seem to have a ridiculous amount of bugs at our place at the moment. Currently, its crickets ( yes I could have shot the lot of them last night, they chirped ALL night but we have always got beetles, ants and other pretty wriggly things. The trouble for these little critters, I also have a inquistive 1 yr old who likes nothing better than to squash, chase and generally annoy all things that move. Yesterday, although was a little scary as this little girl of mine was happily annoying something when I realised it was a wasp ( bad little stingers those ones) and she was actually annoying it enough that she was in danger of being given a nasty sting. I yelled for Jumeirah to get the bug catcher and we caught it. ( sorry to say folks I had to kill it, but I did it quickly, it felt no pain) Once caught and "no longer going to attack" I put the bug catcher on the table and walked away to make sure there was no nest as well. When I came back, Amahli had climbed the table and was completely fascinated by it, holding the catcher and turning it around so she could see it better. I figured that this new interest could actually help her to not pick up creatures in the garden and decided to teach her what to do if she sees something...

Later that day, she found a cricket in the kitchen ( noisy buggar, he really couldnt be missed!) and she raced outside to get the bug catcher and we caught him.
I took him ( and her) outside and she sat down and took a closer look, which made the cricket jump. Wide eyes and giggles followed as she picked up the bug catcher to "talk" to him.

Once she had finished looking and chatting, I put him outside in the garden, as far from the house as possible :)

I had a neighbour come over yesterday and comment on our sand arrangements. See, we used to have a sandpit, and sand was constantly being walked through the house, driving me nuts. Then it rained and the sandpit filled with water ( see here for the fun they had in that) which made it impossible to move or really keep protected and so it gets gross. I end up chucking it out and starting again, only to have the process repeat itself not long after... So I solved it by doing this :)

Instead of having one large sandpit, I have bought a few large tubs. This allows my sand lovers to play with the sand and things in it, but not actually get in it themselves ( well most of the time). It means I can pack it away, I can lift it, add different things to it without much effort, and even sometimes, I bring it inside ( yeah its rare but it can be contained :) ).

Its such a better way to have sand play. I made ( with the help of grand dad) this stand a few years ago for Jumeirah so often the sand play can be done standing up. I put water in one side and sand in the other and they can fix it all up to their hearts content. Being a smaller amount of sand it dries quickly when its finished with.

Today, though, we had dinosaurs in it which was perfect for my two and my two 9 month old twin boy neighbours, who were totally happy to sit and sift the sand through their fingers...... :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Peek a boo bag/ popcorn paintings

Love :)

Wow what a disaster last night was... I for the life of me , could not work out what I was doing. 6 disasters later, I admitted defeat and went to bed, only to wake up at 4am this morning and realise what I'd done wrong. Oh how I wish I could take out my brain at night... stupid thing just wouldnt let up!!

Anyway, today I figured out what the heck was going on and finally finished the first of my "keeping kids happy and quiet" activities with this little gem. Its called a Peek a boo bag and contains 25 items hidden in a sea of white pellets. Its not something new, I have seen them before, but the "real" ones are so expensive and I figured I could work it out :) Finally :)
This one is an incredibly rough version... I unpicked the little buggar I dont know how many times but finally I worked it out and have being hunting for things in it ever since.

But the good thing about trial and error and a particularly anal and perfecting person is that I have made two more tonight :) One is for my little travelling friend and one I am giving away!! I know its not very exciting, but the give away I wanted to do for making it 100 posts didnt end up happening so I figured I would give away one of everything I am making for my little travelling buddy to make up for it :)

A yellow pencil
A gold plane

The Peek a boo bag is a great little bag size activity that will keep kids amused while they try and find the items listed on the back. It has a clear plastic window for finding things, and being completely enclosed, contains no losable parts ( is that not the best bit ever???) It has been double layered and double stitched to ensure nothing escapes from it. The one I have made is probably for kids aged 2-7 ( although Amahli loved the sensory feel of it and my little travelling guy is younger. He will no doubt enjoy sitting on mummys lap and looking at the things in it).
So to score a perfectly made Peek a boo of your own just write and tell me "what your folks used to keep you amused and quiet or what you use now to keep your own kids amused and quiet" below and I will pick one at random. Comments close next Thursday ( march 4th) and I will post the next one :) There will hopefully be 4 things to be won in total.

We made pop corn this morning, its becoming a favourite thing to make for both Amahli and Jared who stand under the microwave and count down the seconds. Today I had soe much of it left over I went to chuck it out when I realised it would be fun for a letter activity!
And so, I got out some glue and printed of the letter "P" for Jared to trace and paste with Popcorn.

He thought it was pretty funny to do this... one for the mouth, one for the glue page.

I spent a fair bit of time trying to get Amahli to leave it on the page instead of rescuing each piece into her mouth :) (Probably why I dont do many crafts that look tasty, its too tempting!) But she soon left him to it and began to paste herself. I found on youtube the original "Popcorn Song" and put it on and Amahli had a ball painting to this. She painted and went " pop, pop, pop" through the whole activity. Very funny to watch until she turned and "popped" on me... luckily it washes off :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

bloody simple projects grrrrrr

Sorry all, no blog today.. I am up to my eye balls in ridiculous amounts of cut fabric, NONE of which is doing what its supposed to for my simple (HA!) things I am making for my " how to keep kids happy and quiet on a plane/ in a drs surgery/ in church....." series.

NOTHING IS WORKING!!! and so, reluctantly I am going to bed. ( If I dont walk away form the machine now, I will not only not have a working machine tomorrow, I will also need to ring a glass repairer man :) )

I promise it will be simple.. once I am king of my fabric again. Tonight it may think its victorious, but tomorrow I shall conquer. :)

Yes I am really tired :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

posting boxes/ clothes organiser for kids

Jared, at pretty much any time of the day :) Clothes are so over rated..

Do you have a child thats hard to get ready in the morning? Or really anytime you need to go out? A child that would rather spend the whole day like this:

Amahli the uninhibited

instead of getting dressed?? Yes?? So do I. :)

But they are easy to deal with compared to the other one, WHO IS THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE.

Jumeirah, my gorgeous, anal, precise and meticulous child, has a problem. Getting dressed in the morning, pretty much every day, has become a major " I have to find the PERFECT outfit", even if we are just staying at home. She will have in mind exactly what she wants, from tshirt to shorts, undies, shoes, hair elastics, headband and even lipgloss. Shes painful and frustrating to watch as she runs around like a mad woman trying to find what shes looking for, the total opposite to me who finds whatever is least gross on the floor.
Before preschool started, three days earlier, she had this complete outfit ready to wear, set out on her bedroom floor. And if she cant find what she wants (unfortunately mostly my fault as I normally have at least 4 loads of washing still on the line or ready to be folded at any one time) she becomes a true nigthmare and wont wear anything and locks herself in her room. Shes been like this since she was little, having favourite dresses and tshirts was something I found cute. Now its not so much. Preschool, I had to make sure I knew what she wanted for the two days she attended so it was washed and ready in advance. As shes gotten older, shes learnt to deal with it a bit better, she plans ahead now and often tells me the night before what she will be wearing the next day, just in time for me to panic and wonder if its on the floor of the laundry, or wet in the machine, or still hanging on the line...

Luckily for me, school has a uniform :) She only has two choices, and its one shes made on Sunday and tells me so I can be prepared for the week. The problem we have been having is now after school. The uniform comes off as she hits the front door and it begins (the added bonus of being tired adds to a wonderful post school mix). Too many times since school started she has been a mess trying to find things and getting herself in such a state that it makes the afternoon unbearable.

And so, I found the perfect solution :)

This used to be a toy stacker thing... it wasnt strong enough to hold the toys and kept falling off the shelf but its perfect for clothes. ( It coast about $10 from some cheap storage place.)

And so last weekend, when I finally managed to get EVERYTHING washed, folded AND put away (I needed an award!!) I told her of our new plan for after school. She was to decide all the outfits she wanted to wear after school, pick them out and put them into each section of the hanging shelf. It would save her getting stressed in the afternoon and meant that I didnt have to spend the week trying to pre guess what she was going to want.

The first completed outfit ready to go

SHE LOVED IT and spent all afternoon planning clothes, head bands, and all other paraphanalia she needed. So far ( and its only tuesday mind you) its been great. She comes in, gets undressed, gets out her outfit out, and shes ready to play in minutes :)

Perfectly picked... down to the bracelet accessory

Such a happier afternoon :) Now its time to deal with Jared, and I think I will try the same method. This will give him independence to at least get his clothes out ready to put on in the morning. Should be fun!! Amahli, shes too cute to be clothed :) ( actually she stays nude cos I am so sick of changing her painted, then watered, then painted again clothes!!)

Today, whilst I was dealing with aobve mentioned ridiculous amounts of washing/folding crap, Amahli was busying herself somewhere... and then I found her. With a brand new box of tissues, happily pulling each one out.

I sighed (cos really I should have found her something but at least she was happy and really tissues are cheap :) ) and went to find her something to do with me. I found her old posting box I made for her only a few months ago, filled with scarves that she used to enjoy pulling out. Today it lasted all of a few seconds, she was way beyond simple scarves. Man who siad this child could grow up this fast??? (today she cut her first molar and shes only 15 months old!!)

And so I found this money box. All my kids have spent hours posting coins into milk bottles and then the smaller hole of a money box. amahli by passed the larger hole and spent 20 minutes carefully posting 5c pieces into this money box.. this little one is such a fascination to watch... I sat and watched her little brain work out how each piece would be picked up, then turned and placed in, and then watched her little face light up as each coin hit the bottom.

with help from a big sister

I wish she would slow down so I could watch her more :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

nature painting/body art/easy sling bag

My beautiful big girl gets the first Assembly Award... for neat book work and lovely manners. I thought I would burst :)

It was just me and Amahli this morning... Jumeirah at school, and Jared had a special play at Nannas.
So, seeing as this little one has a total love for all things mess ( well at least one of them is!) I got out some paint. This morning on our walk (not by choice, this little one yells and giggles till someone gets her... starting at anywhere from 5am so I take her out to shut her up :) ) we found a branch broken on a wild lily so we took it to paint on.

I got out yellow and red and she immediately started to mix the colours in the pots.

A few spots on the leaf, she was a bit Meh about the whole experience... until she grabbed the brush with the other hand and began to twirl her fingers through it.

So I grabbed some paper ( we got this huge butchers paper from the moving company when we moved house.. its fantastic!) and spread the whole table with it. Squirting a huge blob of red and yellow paint onto it, she looked at me with amazement that said "you are actually going to let me get completely covered inside the house??" And with that, she was in :)

Using both hands, she spread the paint all over ( great for learning to cross the midline, using finger and hand muscles, colour mixing.... its ALL good ) she then transfered some to her little body. I have learnt with this one, that paint shirts are pointless and they get in the way. While the weather is still warm, she paints in her nappy which allows her to explore more freely and I dont panic about clothes getting ruined :) As soon as I saw her moving away from the table to the walls, I whizzed her into the bathroom to see how she looked and wash her off.

I think this is a much better colour for the walls mum...

The beauty about covering the table in paper, is that once she was finished I folded the whole thing up and straight outside it went. Easy to clean up is a good thing :)

We then had some sticker fun. She loves doing stickers and is becoming quite dextrous in manipulating these sticky things from her fingers to the paper without it getting stuck to everything else on the way. One phone call, two minutes later, and she was sticking them to herself. Cos thats fun too :)

And tonight, I finally finished the bag I decided to make for myself last week ( nice idea, didnt turn out quite right as usual). I found the pattern at Not so Fancy Nancy and loved her simple design and easy to follow steps.

I didnt want mine quite as big as hers, so I cut mine smaller. Its still a little too big, but it wa fun to make and actually except for the size its a nice bag :) (oh and the strap that somehow made the bag hang to my knees... nothing that some lovely scissors and a quick unpick didnt fix :) )

Stay tuned this week.... I will be making and creating some fun activities to do that you can make for kids travelling on a plane ( or any long distances really) that are simple ( I hope) and fun!! These can also be used for Doctor surgery waits, keeping kids quiet in church, or quiet entertainment while you try and visit a resturant:) ( who does that without a bagful of tricks???)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"J" activities

I read a whole heap of other blogs and funnily today most of them were about their little boys getting the first haircuts and losing that "baby boy " and bringing home a "boy boy". Luckily for me, this little guy has such awesome curls on the top of his head it stays out of his eyes and I just cut the sides so its a little boy rather than a girl. Hes got a classic surfer/cool but still my little boy haircut :) LOVE :)

Sticking with the sand-love idea, I put out today a small tray ( one that neither of them can climb into) on a table and added some sand and water so it was firm wet sand ( too much water makes it spashable :) ). This makes for a great consistency for drawing in. I drew a "J" in the sand and Jared exclaimed " its Jared!" and began to trace his finger over the J.

I encouraged him to trace from top to bottom but really it was more for beginning to recognise the letter first. He then found a lid and decorated around it with circles.

I also printed him off a "J" from the computer. Tracing fonts are everywhere on the computer and most are free. I found this font that is the same as the fonts they learn at school here in Australia. Its called NSW Foundation font.

He traced down the J with a crayon and then wanted to make it fancy so I told him we had to find something in the cupboard that started with a J. To his absolute delight, we found some JELLY!!! (Jareds favourite thing in the world is Jelly). We got some glue and pasted the J and then sprinkled the jelly crystals on the glue. It smelt delicious and, of course, required some taste testing. YUMMMM.

Jumping Jelly spots

Amahli wasnt keen ( I KNOW! I nearly fell over myself) to paste today as she had found something that totally engrossed her. I have found this marble activity all over blogs on the net and decided to try it this morning. It requires a suction mat ( ours is a bath toy) some marbles and some tongs.

The aim is for the child to use the tongs to pick up and place marbles in each of the suctions. It takes a lot of concentration, patience and hand eye coordination so its a great activity to do thats quiet and engaging. Jared loved doing this and again was a crane with a claw and carefully picked up marbles and decided where he should put them on the suction mat.

Amahli couldnt quite work the tongs but used her fingers to pick up each marble and place it in the suction cups. She was so involved in this she didnt even notice the sand or jelly!

Good activity that one :)

Anyone else got an activity that has worked well this week?

Happy weekend!!