Monday, June 30, 2014

Motor Skills Monday with some Beads & Pool Stunts!

Because 90% of the things I do with my kids I find on Pinterest, why not share another great fine motor activity?! And this one also encourages counting skills. Super easy (& inexpensive) to make too!

Counting with Beads and Pipe cleaners

I came across this on Mess for Less blog, via Pinterest.

5-6 pipe cleaners
2 pieces of paper (I used card stock)

I actually had a great pic of the materials but my little wanna-be photographer (ahem...Myla) accidentally deleted it.

Anyway, you take the 2 pieces of paper and tape them together for a wider page.
Cut the pipe cleaners in half (or a little more than half) and tape only the top ends to the paper.
Leave the bottom ends free so the littles can place the beads on that way.

Then write the numbers 1-10 across the top ends of the pipe cleaners.

I love that this activity required very little instruction from me. She saw the numbers, beads and pipe cleaners and said, "Oh! We are going to make mini caterpillars!"

Sure, honey, sounds good. 

I just told her to match the number with the beads and she was all set. 

 I placed the beads in a small bowl because I wanted her to count out what she needed for each one. 

Turned out that she just grabbed some and counted them in her hand to see if she was right. A couple times she was!

About halfway through she complained that she was poking herself with the pipe cleaner. It was all because of how she was placing the beads on. She was pushing her finger into it to get the bead on instead of holding the bead on the sides and threading through. Does that make sense?

It was a great chance for me to say, "Ok, figure out a way where you won't do that anymore." By pipe cleaner #8, she had figured it out. :)

She did it and she's so proud! 
She also thought it was neat that the beads didn't fall off when she lifted the paper up. 

"So, mom, can we make mini caterpillars now?" 
(Great idea for the leftovers, btw!)

I liked that this encouraged lots of counting as she had to count the beads from the bowl first, count as she placed them on and we went back and double-checked her beads to be sure she had them correct. 

Extension ideas???
*Take the beads off one by one and count backwards(we may do this tomorrow as I just thought of it)

*See how many beads the pipe cleaners can hold

*Make color patterns with the beads

* Make mini caterpillars with your leftovers! ha ha

*I'm sure there are more...let me know if you try it!

Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I really like for the things we make to last longer than a day, so I plan to keep this around for M to do again and again. 

That was the extent of our motor skills activities for the day and that happened before 10am. 

We spent some time at the library...

Playing on the computer after checking out our books...

 Once we left the library and were headed to the car, N stopped and said, "Mommy, TOP! (stop), let's take a picture!!" Poor kids are so used to posing for the camera. 

AND we spent some time in Nana's pool. 

Someone was super excited...

Don't feel bad for N here, he is a mad man and absolutely loves these stunts with Daddy.

Myla and I worked on somersaults in the water. Guess we did work on some motor skills after all. :)

The kids really love hanging on daddy. 

I mean, he is the biggest kid out of them all. 

What?! You didn't know that I had 3 kids??

Well, I do. And I love them dearly. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fun & Family Friday Flashback!

So this week, we changed the name of the day to "Fun & Family" instead of "Fun and Friendly" since we didn't schedule any playdates with friends. My bad. Kinda snuck up on me.

Luckily, we had a great day with Family and Myla got a playdate after all with her cousin after VBS!

Last Day of VBS!

They had a great week!

Myla loved spending time with Miss Miranda :)

MEANWHILE, Jeff and Noah were off "shopping" at Stonebriar Mall, spending a little father-son time. Can't get a whole lot of shopping done with this guy right now but they sure had a good time!

Jeff sent me these pics while they were out.

I love how he lights up when he's with his daddy. Although, Jeff said he was asking for me the whole time. He likes to tell whoever he's with that he misses the other. Figures.

MEANWHILE back at our house, the girls and I ate lunch and put in a movie. Olivia's choice since she was our guest. Olivia wanted Shrek the Third and Myla wanted to watch Frozen. Then Myla wanted to play upstairs but Olivia wanted to play downstairs with the Sophia Sing-a-long toy. ETC. 

This presented a great opportunity to remind Myla that sometimes we don't get to watch or do what we want, we let our guests choose. This brought on a few tears. We also talked about how we can compromise and take turns doing what we want. 

Here they are, Olivia was happy singing, Myla had just dried her tears and was faking a smile for me. 

Once they were done downstairs they went up to Myla's room. I could hear them talking together and could tell they were working on something. When I went upstairs, I overheard Olivia saying, "Ok, let me try" and then Myla was singing some, "Teamwork, Teamwork...that's how it gets done" song. Never heard it before. 

They were trying to put her cheap My Little Pony castle back together.

 Way to go girls!

 Later that day, Jeff had been working on repainting my old toy box that my grandfather had built for me. It had been in storage for YEARS and my mom thought Myla would like it in her room. (YES! All of her toys could be in the toy box instead of all over the corner of her room!)

Myla helping daddy paint.

 Teamwork :)

After dinner we went to one of our favorite places, Bahama Bucks. 
We have a goal this summer to try all the flavors! We will see how that goes. 
Right now, Birthday Cake is a clear fave with the kids. 

After we indulged in our snow cones, we spent some time playing. Really, right now, what they love is daddy throwing the ball at them and tackling them to the floor. Didn't get a pic of that but it's always a fun time.

After awhile M came up to me and said, "Mom, I wanna go pray upstairs...come with me and take a picture of me praying."


Not sure where this came from but alright!

 So cute and sweet.

I recorded part of her prayer...

 "Don't make any animals bite us...send this message to all the good people and bad people so they can be really happy in different countries..and please make all the bad people be nice. Amen. "

Love it. 

And then Noah wanted a turn...he said our dinner prayer. ha!

Love our family days together. I woke up this morning feeling so grateful for each one of them! 

Blessed beyond words. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thinking Thursday: Turtle Research & Tiny Trucks with the Cousins!

Look at the cute little turtle we made today. :)

Today was a special Thinking Thursday since we got to share it with our cousins! My sister had lunch plans with friends so we kept her crew for a couple hours.

After a delicious lunch of PB&J and peaches, the girls and I started our Turtle Research. Last Friday when we went to the turtle pond, a few questions came up..some from the kids but also from my sister and me. So this was a perfect topic for Thinking Thursday. 

I figured we would research 3 questions they wanted to find out and then make a turtle something. Snagged this cute idea on Pinterest HERE.

Got the materials ready while they played for a bit. We had checked out a couple of Turtle books at the library earlier in the week. 

Then I asked the girls what they wanted to learn about turtles...
I wondered about the last question...I knew it was a long time!

I had my Macbook and iPad available but I wanted them to look thru the books first! I told them to think about their question and then look for pictures that might show their answer. 

They enjoyed looking through the pictures. :)

The books told us what they ate and we could assume what turtles do. We watched a few turtle videos too. The girls really wanted to see baby turtles racing to the ocean after they hatch. 

Learning is fun!

O wrote that turtles "swim". 

We did research and find how long they lived by using the iPad. 

A healthy turtle can live to be 80-100 years old! Crazy.

The girls took turns writing that down on our board.

After we found our answers we talked a little bit about it. 

Here they are telling about what they learned... (just excuse the noisy little brothers in the background!)

After sharing our knowledge, they were excited to make their turtle. I had shown them earlier a picture of the one similar to what we would make. Myla really wanted to make a turtle purse but this had to do. :)

Easy Turtle Craft


Green and yellow Card stock Paper
Paper bowls (green would be best)
Double-sided tape
Masking tape
Yarn or string

Since we did not have green bowls, I had the girls color their bowls with a green marker to make the turtles shell.

While they were coloring, I drew the face, legs and tail on the green paper for them. 

Then I sketched out the pattern to glue on top of the bowl to make the shell. It was AFTER this that I noticed that the blog I found it on had a pattern to print out. Oh well...this worked just fine!

We colored the whole bowl green for the shell...

And added the legs to the underside of the bowl using double-sided tape.

Myla drew her face (red eyes with eyelashes, of course) and we taped that on too.

Then she started placing the shell pieces on the top.

Olivia did such a neat job coloring. She made sure to take her time!

Last step was punching a small hole in the "shell" above the head and tying a piece of yarn (so the girls could pull it behind them and "take them lots of places"). I used masking tape on the underside of the bowl so it would stay better. It came off twice as she was playing with it before I figured that out. 

Now Olivia's was almost done too!

Done and taking their new turtle friends for a walk. 

So fun!

The whole activity was pretty easy and they could do most of it on their own. It took about 30-45 minutes to complete! 

Now, I knew better than to involve the boys in turtle research and crafts, but I still wanted to do something with them for Thinking Thursday. Something that would hold their attention and be something they would enjoy....TRUCKS!

I found this online and printed on card stock...

It has a set of 9 trucks on one page and the same trucks on a separate page (which I cut out to make cards) only tinier. The objective was to have the boys use the magnifying glass to match the tiny truck to the big truck. This was using their thinking skills, right?!

First we just noticed the big trucks and named them. 

 We then explored a little with the hand lens to see them up close. 

 Taking turns looking at the little cards and placing them on the matching big truck.

 So serious...

They were so good at this....
 It's a match!

One more!
 Way to go, E!!
 Got them all...took a whole 4-5 minutes which reached the max of their attention span. Noah actually checked out a little earlier!

Olivia came by the table and snapped this cute pic of me and Myla. 

Just love having this time with them. 

Teachers HEART summer break!

Tomorrow is Fun & Friendly Friday but we don't have any playdates lined up. Kinda snuck up on me so we might change it to Fun & Family Friday and make it a family day. 

Unless anyone wants to meet us to play...let me know!!