So I am on this kick to create instead of consume, so I have been thinking up active inexpensive projects that we can make for the kids to keep them happy during this in between season of cold muddy days that make us all go a little crazy for spring.
Last week I dumped 15 boxes into the play room and watched the kids make them into a balance beam that sadly only lasted twenty minutes, since they were crushing the boxes with each step. So I sent my husband once again to the hardware store and for $3 he brought home a beam and within a half hour him and Max had made a simple balance beam.
So happy to help
Asking for his hardhat!
Trying to get the hang of it
Two at a time
Seeing how long we can stay on
helping balance the ball over the beam
I find I am leaning more towards teaching the children through active play as they are just not interested in a lesson plan at this age. I find that activites as simple as a $3 balance beam can teach them problem solving and cooperation. It invokes curisoty and allows them to work as a group, learning from each other's idea's. The more I observe there interests and fill our classroom with items that encourage the more I find ways to foster there growing curisoty. People often ask me how do we keep busy all day and where do I come up with idea's? The best answer I can give is the children keep busy and supply most of my idea's.
some marbles and some molding from the hardware store
and we have our own Marble Run for under $5
My husband kindly sanded and cut a few pieces of molding for us and kids have been very creative finding things in the toy room to add to the marbel run. So far keeping it low and using the little blocks gives them the most control. This has been a wonderful team building activity.
During our morning snack I always ask the kids a question. Last week I asked them what they like to do with mommy and my son quickly said shopping! Oh how I wish he meant clothing shopping because that would just be a dream, sadly no! He meant grocery shopping, still delightful! He had run to the store with me the evening before and was able to use one of the little shopping carts they have for kids (our regular store doesn't have these) he helped get everything we needed and didn't complain when I denied his request for every Easter candy on the shelf. So when checking out he spotted a train magazine and sweetly said "please mommy" I melted and said yes!
So after he announces to the circle that he likes shopping they all start saying "I go shopping" and this leads into all the things that they are "allowed" to get when they go. A competition starts everyone shouting out "ICE CREAM" "JELLY BEANS" "TOYS" clearly all things they are dreaming of shopping for.
To stear them back in the right/healthy/realistic direction I made a little shopping set for them.
I just made a list with pictures of each of the foods that we have in our wooden set and the corresponding words below.
Then I made price tags and money to help with number recognition.
They come to me with their list and need to find the right foods, and figure out how much money each one cost. They are using little shopping bags and struggle to resist the urge to fill the entire bag with everything on the shelf.
No one seems to miss the fact that there is no candy isle!
Then they drive their purchase home and put them in the fridge.... Adorable
Most of my time is spent planing the day for my 2 year olds but in the last few weeks I have noticed that my little Declan is being left out. He loves watching the kids and wants to be with them all the time. They sometimes have a little craft time in the afternoon at the kitchen table and I always sit Declan with them to watch. This week I decided to let him play as well!
Since I don't have 100 hands sometimes letting go and making messes isn't the best option for me with so many little kids running around.
I decided to let Declan finger paint without getting messy
I washed and cut open a milk bag and put a few globs of paint on some card stock, I used painters tape to seal the milk bag to the card stock and away he went!
It felt to good to let him be part of the craft time
I am continuing my attempt to listen more and direct less with the children, in doing this I have been able to see there interest and watch how each one learns and incorporate that into our play.
They were all into playing house, the tool bench and blocks so I put my handy husband to work telling him that I wanted to put even more holes in the walls (his biggest pet peeve) and make a rope system that the kids could build their own tent structure from. Being the girl that I am I thought we could just hang some hooks from the wall and let the kids get to it! Mr Handy had a much better idea getting wooden cutting boards from the dollar store and door handles from the hardware store, some rope and hooks and voila we have hours of creative play.
This type of play has lead to team work, creative thinking, leadership, support and endless play. I can't wait to see what direction they lead me in next week.....is this really my job? SOooooOOoo lucky!
The kids are really into hide and seek, but at 2 and 3 years old they haven't quite got the idea of hiding and they all want to do the counting. So I made these felt hearts that I hide around the room while they all count! Then they each have something to find and we line them up by counting the buttons on them from one to five!
So simple and fun!
Here is what we will be working on for Valentines week!
Our week at a glance
Valentines day poem
Post office play ( using the mail boxes we made)
Valentines day song
Painting Frames for our parents
Bird Valentines (we are making small bird feeders for our feathered friends)
Heart rubbing ( placing hearts under our paper and rubbing crayons over top)
spooning conversation hearts
Making Valentines for each other
Baking Valentines day cookies