Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Flowers Sensory Bin

With spring comes gorgeous weather.....and rain. Lots of rain. We're on day 4 of rain here in Iowa (very thankful it's not snow!). I've been trying to come up with some new ideas for sensory bins and play this week. We've been talking and reading books about spring, growing flowers (we've even grown our own indoors and soon enough we'll be planting our veggies to enjoy later this summer hopefully), birds, rain, and how the rain makes things grow. To go along with this topic, I created a Spring Flowers Sensory Bin.

I didn't quite know what I was going to put in the bin, but after hitting up Dollar Tree's floral aisle (really half of an aisle and part of the craft section), I was able to create this bin for under $15. My finds included:

8 different types of fake flowers (only 4 are pictured)

1 baggie of rocks
2 clip on fake birds (I took the clips off)
1/2 bag of white rice

I started by coloring the white rice green:

Once the rice was dry, in the bin it went, and the creating began.

While the kids enjoyed this bin, they mostly enjoyed taking the flowers out of the bin (they later played flower shop with them), running their fingers through the rice and rocks, and tweeting the bird in each other's faces. I love seeing how they can take an activity like this and create something new and exciting in their own way. Big bonus: between the flowers, rice and rocks, and the birds, this bin created an entire day of play for the kids.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

We LOVE Our Weekends

Another busy weekend filled with birthday parties, errand running, Easter celebrations, playing outside, furniture shopping, El Rodeo, and a rainy Sunday afternoon:

We went to a cousin's birthday party at Teddy Bear Connection Saturday morning after errand running. The kids got to make little stuffed animals and my sister in law had the cutest picnic lunch set up. The kids had a great time and want to go back to make more animals.
So proud of my little big guy Harrison. He didn't like the loud noise of the stuffing machine, but despite his fear, he bravely went up and stepped on the pedal and made his doggie.

The cute picnic lunch.
We finally got to celebrate Easter with Grandma and Grandpa Harmeyer and Aunt Jenny. Everyone was sick Easter weekend so we had to wait until everyone was at least semi-better. The kids got to do an outdoor/indoor egg hunt, open Easter baskets, play in the backyard, eat grilled chicken, and play their favorite hide n' seek.
Elizabeth holding her new dolly.
Digging in the yard at Grandma and Grandpa's. This explains why they attempt to dig in the middle of our backyard!

Max's new hiding place.
Little bit of relaxing on the deck.

Sunday morning was off to late start thanks to 3 of the 5 of us sleeping in. The 3 of us would be daddy, mommy, and Elizabeth. "Despicable Me 2" kept the other 2 entertained while I dozed on the couch. We then took a walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise before the afternoon rain hit. I love our neighbor's magnolia trees.
The boys showing off their new shoes.

Elizabeth eating her lunch like a dog.....I had no idea how to react when she started doing this in the middle of the crowded restaurant!
Furniture shopping with 3 kids was......interesting. Thank god the kids all had on new shoes since they went a bit crazy sitting on couches and chairs at Homemaker's.

We ended our weekend by throwing bread for the birds. That's exciting stuff when you're 3!

In between our fun and busy times, I spent my time getting things ready for the week ahead. Next weekend we'll be hitting up the first downtown farmer's market of the season and hopefully getting around to doing something on our To Do List. The kids are ecstatic for our first hike of the season one of these days.

Week In Review: April 21 - April 25

I wasn't too sure about how this week would go considering we started our Monday off with all three minis at the pediatrician's office and MANY antibiotics prescribed. Despite the unplanned illnesses and rough start, the week wound up being great! The beginning of the week was rainy, so the kids enjoyed numerous crafts and sensory activities. The kids thoroughly enjoyed showing off their knowledge of daycare rules and routines when we had a new daycare child join. We ended the week with a FULL day of outside activities in the sunshine.

Here are some highlights from the week:

Waiting at the pediatrician's office.

Max helped me bake dinosaur chocolate chip muffins on his sick day.

The kids love the Circus color forms. These were the Walmart version of Color Forms. They were a bit flimsy, but they got the job done and provided a good hour of entertainment.

Painting tulips.
The kids have been playing school by reading each other books and taking turns being the teacher who bosses everyone around.
All of the kids made and decorated chocolate cupcakes for my mother in law for her birthday. They were rather confused as to why I had them decorate cupcakes that weren't for them, but something about letting them go crazy with sprinkles seemed to cheer them up.
Dino-land sandbox (see Dino-land Sandbox post for details).
Paint egg cart shells to make them into:
Flowers! These turned out really cute and the kids loved seeing their final project. 
New glitter markers the Easter Bunny left for Harrison. The kids loved these but they run out of ink rather quickly.

A favorite lunch: Veggie and pepperoni tortilla pizza, corn, and green beans.
Sealife sensory bin. A couple of the kids were scared of the larger whale and shark figurines, so I had to break out the smaller ones. The kids got pretty wet while playing, but the floor stayed dry surprisingly. We will definitely be putting these in the water table for playing this summer.
Foam stickers on their suns.

The kids colored paper plates with the scented markers (their favorite and only markers they want to use lately) to make "flowers."
Harrison colored a picture of himself on his flower because "I'm kinda like a flower mommy."

Max brought this journal entry home from school. I'm so glad the teacher's helper in his room can spell "watched" correctly......
The kids loved this 3-in-1 game center. Perfect for a dreary, cool afternoon.
Play-Doh + dinosaurs = endless fun! To keep with our dinosaur themes, we rented "Walk With the Dinosaurs" from Redbox. It informed the kids of lots of "cool" dino facts like how mom's would feed their young regurgitated plants, all about dino poop, and how meat eaters would kill each other. So here you have Max's dinosaur's explained to me by Max himself:
"The triceratops standing on the red play doh was just eaten alive by the other dinosaur who is also throwing up all over him while the large dinosaur poops on them." I don't exactly recommend this movie....
The kids have also been playing "vacation" this week. They pack up every single small bag we own, stuff it with toys, books, or an entire box of Kleenex (thankfully this time it was not torn into little shreds so it would fit into multiple bags), pack it in a laundry basket, use the strollers as carseats, and then "drive away." This week they drove and drove until they were "in the middle of the ocean on our own planet."
Elizabeth got a new doll whose eyes open and close. She enjoys trying to gauge the dolls eyes out with her little fingers. For this reason, I thank god she is our youngest!
A pineapple, banana, mango fruit smoothie for morning snack for the kids. It was wonderful!
Finally nice enough to play outside! We started our Friday morning with sidewalk paint on the driveway.
To keep the kids from running in the street, I make two blue lines in the driveway. I inform the kids that they have to stay within these two lines or they won't be painting anymore. I have a chair set at one end (closest to the street) for any strayers, but I luckily I have kids who listen and follow directions superbly. They make my job easy!

Elizabeth got bored with painting and was told to sit on the front porch. She made her own fun:

At the end, the kids dumped the bowls of paint out and painted with their hands.
Finally playing with the Dino-land! It was a hit!
Ended our week with some ice cream on the front porch and picking "flowers from the yard." We're stellar parents and display these flowers proudly in a shot glass.

Next week looks to be quite rainy, so there will be lots of sensory activities. I'm also going temporarily insane and letting kids use Sharpie markers for coloring t-shirts. Always interesting week's when there's little ones around!