Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weekly Co-Op #1 (for HLM) and Climbing Critters

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

YAY! I am so excited to be a part of the Weekly Co-Op Link Party for the very first time! Each week you're invited to contribute your fave ideas, and they will be visible on all participating hosting blogs (at the moment, there are over 20)!
No long list of rules, just link up any family friendly, child centred activity from your blog, and don't forget to stop by some of the other blogs and spread some comment lovin'! I have never come across a blogger who doesn't love to find comments on their blog, so why not brighten up someone's day?

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Here's what I am linking up this week:

Last week, I finally got to tick another activity off my seemingly endless list of 'Things I Want To Do With My Kids'... making climbing critters! The aim of this craft is to make cardboard animals that use friction to move up and down some yarn pulleys (for want of a better word). I started to explain the 'craft' to Eden, I told her that at the end we would see if our cardboard animals could climb. Without missing a beat, she said "Of course they'll climb Mum, I'll teach them how". Naturally.
We began with some basic animal shapes which I drew onto paper at Eden's instruction which she coloured in. We then stuck our animals to thin cardboard (from a biscuit box), and cut out the outlines. Of course, you could always do yours directly onto cardboard, but make sure to use a fairly lightweight thickness.

Our animals were laid face-down and Eden cut and taped two segments of straw to the back of each animal. The two segments should be placed vertically on either side of your shape, and should be proportional to your animal (ie: big shape, big straw segments). We learnt this the hard way, as ours were only just sufficient, but it would have worked better if they were a tad longer. Also, make sure that your tot doesn't tape over the straw's openings (like mine wanted to!).

Next, take a bit of yarn/wool - we used about 1.5 metres - and thread upwards through one straw piece, and back downwards through the other. Tightly tape the ends of the yarn/wool to look just like shoelaces to make it easier for little hands to control when threading, especially if your straw segment is long. Bear in mind that your critter will need to hang from something (a hook, a doorknob, a handle) and so the yarn/wool you use will have to be long enough for your child to be able to hold on to the ends easily.

Once the ends are threaded through the straws, attach hair beads or macaroni to the ends of the yarn/wool to prevent it from slipping through the straws again. Tape a small coin to the back of your critter at the bottom, in the centre. The added weight will help it 'climb' better.
Hang your critter up, and away you go! Tug on the yarn/wool ends alternately to make your critter climb, and slacken the tension on the yarn/wool to watch it fall. If your child is interested, you could explain about how friction works to make the animal move, and demonstrate by experimenting with them. Play around with what works best to make your critter move fastest - alternating the yarn, pulling it apart quickly, etc. What happens if you only pull on one end of yarn? Do critters with/without the coin on the back move faster?

I knew Eden would be pretty engrossed in the Climbing Critters once they were made, but it is an interest which has lasted for days. Same critters, same spot. Days of enjoyment. That gets a big tick in my book!

Thanks for reading! ~ L.

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And now, on to the Link Party...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Small World Play: Dinosaurs!

Eden (3) LOVES small world play of every description. Not a single day passes without her playing with Tinkerbell figurines, or Strawberry Shortcake figurines, or Barbies, or Polly Pockets, and it's hard to explain how excited she gets when she enters a room to find a playscene waiting for her. Put it this way: she vibrates with excitement. No joke.
Most of our playscenes centre on characters such as Fairy Land, little Dolls at home, or an Arctic sensory tub, so a prehistoric dinosaur playscene was something of a departure from the norm for us. Eden had just 'won' a packet of dinosaurs (from our reward system) and she did not know what to do with them. Her first impulse was to make them 'doggies' for her Barbies! So, I created this Prehistoric playscene for her as an introduction to the world of dinosaurs.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Does Your Tot Need a Smock? Improvise!

Our eldest daughter, Eden (3) is super-super neat and clean. Our youngest daughter, Ava (1) is super-super messy. Each and every bib of every description ends up on the floor in 0.02 seconds; honestly, Ava won't even start eating until the bib is off!
Most of the time, I just grit my teeth, and clean the porridge up from her face, hands, feet, tummy, hair, ears, clothes, the couch (yep!)... but there are times when containing the mess would be really good for Mummy's sanity!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Positive Parenting

The Road to Positive Parenting
This blog is dedicated to sharing fun and stimulating ideas and activities for pre-school aged children and babies, as the header states, but today I would like to digress from the norm and share something with you about my parenting journey.

Our daughters, Eden and Ava, are happy, thriving, sweet and funny children, but sometimes also headstrong, disobedient and demanding. Even so, they are wholly loved and adored by my husband and I who feel mind-blowingly blessed to have these amazing little people in our care. Any time they have had a 'bad day' behaviour-wise, they have had a fantastic week to balance it out.
Until Eden approached her third birthday.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tonnes - sorry - TINS of Fun!

What to do to engage and stimulate your baby when you draw a mental blank? Raid your pantry! That's what I did anyway, and discovered that Ava (1) rather likes it when I do.
I lay out a stainless steel bread box, a small tub, some utensils, a handful of magnets and an armful of tinned food. Who knew that such ordinary items would be such irresistible playthings to my daughter? Ava dove in straight away, first exploring all the items...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Small World Play: Doll's House

My eldest darling daughter has been a tad on the sick side this week and although she's borne up like a trooper, I wanted to do something a bit special for her. This little project only took an hour total (with plenty of interruptions in there, too) and was made from bits and pieces I had on hand.
Eden loves dolls, doll houses, doll accessories... anything that could be considered 'small world play' and she's all over it! I knew she would appreciate it if I made a house for some of her little dolls (I purchased a pack while ago for $1).

My supplies
I began by turning the shoebox on it's side, with the attached lid lying open and towards me. I stuck some patterned scrapbook paper on three of the inside sides of the box bit to look like wallpaper and added some pictures cut from a home living magazine to be background furniture. To the fourth interior side I glued some felt, for the carpet.

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