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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Preschool Fun

Since I've started staying home one of my favorite things to do is teach Arden.  She loves to play with letters, numbers, and do any game related to learning.  Many times she just works on preschool workbooks or plays learning games on my IPhone, but with the help of Pinterest, Montessori principles, and a bit of creativity we have done a lot of activities, too.  These are some examples of the things we have done.  I only have pictures of a few of the activities. 

I made up a "game."  It really wasn't a game, but if I call it a game then Arden thinks is fun.  My goal has been to use things around the house for learning rather than buying a bunch of expensive learning tools.  So I cut up some yarn, pipe cleaner, and paper into about 1/8" pieces.  I put them in a small bowl and put another little bowl beside it.  I then gave Arden my tweezers.  She worked on picking up each piece from the bowl and transferring it to the other.  This was meant to work on her fine motor skills.  This kept her busy for a good 1/2 hour.  She was clumsy at first, but about the fifth time of playing the game she had pretty much mastered the task. 

Other fine motor skill activities we've done have been stringing pasta and cereal onto yarn, and gluing pasta onto paper.

Another game we played was "walking the line" which works on balance and coordination.  I took about a six foot piece of masking tape and taped it to the floor.  We took turns walking on it like a balance beam.  Then we walked it on tip-toes, backwards, and with our eyes closed.  It was harder than it looked!

For a color activity I took a cookie sheet and put shaving cream in it.  I then let Arden put food coloring in it and mix the colors together.  She learned about how two colors mixed together can make a new color.  This was also a sensory activity since she got to play with the shaving cream.  We also put the shaving cream on a balloon and I let her "shave" it off with a butter knife. 

I took all of the coins from Halle's piggy bank out.  I let Arden sort them into pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.  She then got to put them back one by one into the piggy bank slot.  It took her about an hour to do this, and she had fun the entire time.  This was a great game because she learned about money, worked on sorting, and she also worked on her fine motor skills.

This activity required a medicine dropper, baking soda, vinegar, and a pan.  Arden and Halle both had fun with this.  They spent an hour dropping the vinegar onto the baking soda making colorful eruptions.   

Letters: I borrowed this particular letter game from my neighbor.  She took her left over plastic easter eggs and wrote the alphabet on them.  On one half of the an egg she wrote a capital letter and then the corresponding lower case letter on the other half.  For the game I broke up all of the halves and mixed them up in a pile.  Arden then had to match the uppercase and lowercase letters together again. 

Numbers:  I wrote 1-10 on a piece of paper and gave Arden cereal.  She had to put the correct number of pieces under each number.  At the end of this activity her reward was eating the cereal!

This has been a lot of fun for both of us.  I love the look of excitement a little one gets when they are having fun learning. 



Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Birthday to me

I was born on Mother's Day. I was the best Mothers Day gift my mother could ever ask for! Just kidding. No, really, Mom was probably mad that her fifth child was born on Mother's Day since my brother was born around her birthday and my other brother was born around Christmas. Anyway, that's beside the point. My point is that my birthday and Mother's day are always on the same day or just a few days from each other. Therefore, I LOVE the second week of May! It's my favorite time of year. Me being the spoiled person that I am, I made sure that Brian learned long ago that these were each special and SEPARATE occasions, not to be lumped together into one celebration. Heehee. I'm just kidding again... sort of.

I had a great weekend. My birthday fell on Thursday this year (May10th.) I was woken up at 5:30 A.M. by my entire family. Arden was still in her pajamas with bed head, but she had shoes on. Brian told me to put on some clothes. I asked him if I had to put on a bra and he said yes, so I knew that meant we were going somewhere. We drove to IHOP for breakfast. YUM! There were suppose to be balloons on the table when we got there, but the manager didn't speak very good English, so he didn't quite understand what Brian was requesting on the phone the night before. So no balloons, but we got a free OJ, though, ha! Crystal then came over and spent the day with me. She got me a Groupon gift to paint at Vino Artino. She is a Groupon queen! That evening, Brian made dinner and Sarah and Adam came over for cake. Sarah made a diet cake since I'm trying to shed my baby weight. The cake was basically red velvet cake mix and coke zero. Very good! For my gifts I got a gift card from Brian to Fleet Feet. I love Fleet Feet because they will let you try on a million running shoes and even let you run on a treadmill in them to see if you like them. I need new running shoes since I'm going to train for the 1/2 marathon in November. I also got a fancy new blow dryer and hair straightener. My blow dryer started smoking a couple days ago, so I guess that was Brian's cue to shop for one. Sarah got me a gift card to shop for new clothes, and a bunch of small goodies like a candle, bracelet, etc. I love all of my gifts!

Friday I went shopping for a couple of new dresses with my gift card and headed downtown to House of Blues with Brian, Sarah, Adam, Nik, and Crystal. I'd never been to House of Blues before. It is a restaurant downstairs and a concert venue upstairs. We had a nice dinner there and then walk down the block to Pete's Piano Bar. I love piano bars! The pianists play just about any song that you request. It's so much fun. They made me get onstage a few times since it was my birthday. The first time I had to do the Chicken Dance. The second time I danced to Let's Twist Again. It was a crazy fun night.

All in all I had a great birthday weekend. It made turning 31 not so painful.