Friday, September 30, 2011

B Week- A Big Ball

I bought a large exercise ball when I was pregnant with Trip. It was a great seat when I was uncomfortable and then got deflated sometime after Trip was born since we didn't really have room for it. Since then, it has been in a box since we moved last summer. Knowing how much Trip likes balls, I figured that B week was the time to finally pull it back out.

I made a B on it with masking tape and presented it to him. He was quite impressed. The tape B didn't last long (which I expected), but it made its point and we had fun playing with such a large ball. Unfortunately, I was too busy keeping Trip safe that I didn't get any pictures of the fun. He liked lying on it and rolling it around. He also loved me bouncing it to him and it bouncing on him arms, legs, or whole body. He wanted to do that again and again!

B Week- Letter B Walk

We were out on a walk this week, and I started noticing how many things we were passing that start with the letter B, so I took the opportunity to point them out to Trip.

First, we saw the house down the street that has two large bees painted on the side of it. Then, we came upon these barrels.


We spent some time watching the football and soccer teams practice on the baseball fields.

We found a pile of broken bricks

and then some neatly stacked bricks.

After that, we saw six school buses.

We also saw birds, bees, branches, and went over lots of bumps. I love it when simple teaching opportunities like this arise and am working at making sure that I take advantage of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

B Week- Balloon Buddies

Whoever came up with the idea of putting playdough in a balloon was a genius! It creates the smoothest stress ball ever. In fact, the adults around here have been enjoying these balloon buddies more than Trip. I made Daddy and Uncle Erik each one to use while they coach their middle school football team and our friend Carrie one to enjoy during her long hours in the car as she and her husband travel the United States.

I used some homemade playdough but I'm sure that the store-bought kind would be just fine as well. The Jell-O playdough that I used is very smooth and squishy, so it's extra nice. Getting the playdough in the balloon is a bit tricky. Having a helper to hold open the balloon or to stuff the dough inside is definitely a plus, but not required. I found that if I had small balls of playdough ready on the table, I could hold the balloon open with my first two fingers and stuff the little balls in one after the other with my pinkies. We also discovered that you have to use fresh balloons (I used a couple of old ones and they broke) and that it's best to fill one balloon with playdough and tie it, then stuff that inside another balloon. That way, if the first one breaks, the other is there to contain the mess.

These can be left plain or decorated with permanent markers. I also super-glued some googly eyes to one. Just be careful with little ones if you use googly eyes since they could come off. When Trip gets older, he will be able to make a face of his choosing to decorate his balloon buddy.

B Week- Simple Beanbags

On my long mental list of craft projects is a set of alphabet beanbags for Trip. Since I was not going to get that accomplished by B week, I decided just to make a few super simple ones out of felt. I cut two squares of felt for each beanbag and just hand-sewed them together with red thread. I could have sewn them on the sewing machine, but hand-sewing allowed me to work whenever and wherever I had a spare minute. They came together so quickly that it only took a few short work sessions.

I had envisioned Trip tossing these colorful beanbags into buckets, baskets, and boxes and having a fantastic time doing so. The reality is that he didn't really care about them. I tried to get him to do some tossing, but to no avail. What he did enjoy was when I started throwing them at him. We had a little beanbag war, which he loved. I'm sure he will like them sometime and we will have fun playing games with them in the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

B Week- Homemade Bread

Although I don't make bread very often, I enjoy doing it and thought that Trip might like to play with some dough. I tried a new recipe that I found on called Honey Wheat Bread. I was quite pleased with it. It has a mix of whole wheat and white flours and a nice honey flavor.

Trip wasn't too sure what to do with the dough at first. I prompted him to play with it like playdough.

He mostly poked at it,

and then started licking it!

Once he realized that it tasted good, he pinched off little pieces and ate them.

Meanwhile, I formed these super cute bears. I have great memories of my mom making loaves of bread in the shape of a bear. I considered doing that, but figured that Trip would enjoy little bears. He has a funny relationship with bread: he asks for it often, but doesn't really eat much of what we give him. He ate part of a couple of bears, so the rest of us enjoyed them!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

B Week- Bubble Bath Paint

I found a recipe for bubble bath paints on Pinterest from a great blog called Meet the Dubiens. I decided to adapt the recipe a little so that it would create even more bubbles, since Trip has become quite fond of bubble baths as of late.

My adaptation requires four ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup baby bubble bath or body wash
  • 1/4 cup dish soap (I prefer an all-natural kind. I used Seventh Generation Free & Clear which makes great bubbles and is kind to Trip's skin.)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • food coloring

Simply mix the ingredients together in an airtight container and you're done. I only made one color, but if you want to make more colors, just pour the soap and cornstarch mixture into several different containers and then add the food coloring to each one. This recipe lasted us for two baths, with a little extra left for a third.

Trip had a fantastic time painting the wall of the bathtub. I held the container of paint for him so that it didn't accidentally end up getting dumped in the water. He would paint with one hand and then spread it around with the other. He also enjoyed watching the paint drizzle off of the paintbrush into the water.

I wrote a B for him and he was not too pleased that I was using his paint.

Little by little, more and more bubbles started to form in the tub.  

Toward the end of his bath, I gave Trip a sponge and let him clean the walls. He wasn't too interested in that, but it provided an easy opportunity for me to give the walls a good scrub.

Monday, September 26, 2011

B Week- Hide and Seek Bowl

For our hide and seek bowl this week, I changed things up a little and used beans to cover the objects rather than different pastas as I have in the past. Trip enjoyed the beans but had a much more difficult time keeping them in the bowl and on the towel than he has with the pasta. He really just wanted to scatter them all over the living room!

I rotated a few things in and out of the bowl this week and didn't get the plastic banana and small board book in the picture. I've discovered that it's fun if the contents are slightly different each day. Trip loves to discover something new and sometimes wants to keep something out of the bowl to play with longer.

B Week- The List

With Trip's love of all things sports and especially of the balls used in those sports, B seemed like a good next letter for him. My list of words that start with B and of potential activities is here.

I will be sharing about the following activities this week:
  • the hide and seek bowl
  • bubble bath paint
  • homemade bread
  • super simple bean bags
  • balloon buddies
  • our letter B walk
  • a very big ball

Saturday, September 24, 2011

F Week- Growing Foam Farm Animals

I found a set of foam farm animals in capsules a few weeks ago and was excited to try them with Trip. I had enjoyed watching those capsules dissolve and cool shapes appear when I was a child, so I hoped Trip would too. I was slightly apprehensive, though because Trip received a baseball, a football, and a basketball for his birthday that turn into washcloths when you put them in water. We thought he would love it, but he was just mad that they weren't balls anymore and kept wanting us to "fix" them. 

Fortunately, the capsules were a hit (probably because they weren't ball-shaped)! Trip loved putting them in the water, feeling how slimy they got, and then seeing the animal that appeared.

What will it be?

Sharing a bite of apple with the blue duck that unfolded.

Friday, September 23, 2011

F Week- Apple Frog

Trip absolutely loved the apple frog I made him, not that I was surprised since it contains three things he will always eat: apple, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. The example I saw online used grapes as the legs, but without any on hand, I just used more apple.

Of course the eyes came off right away, although he didn't eat all of the marshmallows, which was just fine with me.

Once the eyes were off, I quickly swooped in and took out the toothpicks so that he could eat the apple.

This snack was such a hit that the next day, Trip asked for another frog. The second time around, I used one marshmallow torn in half for the eyes, which worked just as well. That also helped the chocolate chips to stick better. I have a feeling that these frogs will have to make their way to our table again sometime soon.

F Week- Fizz!

I have done baking soda and vinegar experiments many times during my teaching career and children always love them. When I saw this pin on Pinterest for colored fizz, I thought it was a fun twist on the idea. All you do is pour some baking soda out on a tray or baking sheet, then use a medicine or eye-dropper to add small amounts of colored vinegar to the baking soda. Just like that, you have colored fizz.

I figured that Trip would like this activity, which he did, but it was a larger mess than I had anticipated. I poured some baking soda onto a pie plate and then put a small amount of vinegar in a baby food jar. I let Trip look at the food coloring and decide which color he wanted to make the vinegar. Fortunately he chose yellow, the least damaging of the four colors, because as soon as I let him try to use the medicine dropper, he was flinging yellow vinegar all over. Now this wouldn't have been such a big deal if I had chosen to do this activity outside or in the kitchen sink or bathtub. No, I had just put the pie plate on the table (which has carpet under it). He didn't do any real damage and I cleaned up the table and chair quickly, but the activity didn't last long because he got frustrated that he couldn't get the vinegar in the dropper himself and didn't want any help from me. I had hoped to add more colors, but we'll have to save that for another time.

Either way, it was fun to watch the chemical reaction and Trip liked the fizz.

This has also made me realize that a medicine dropper and some water will be a good motor activity to have Trip work on.

A more successful experiment with fizz were the fizzing bath salts that I made. I used this recipe from eHow. I had made something similar in the past, so I had all of the ingredients (bath salts, baking soda, citric acid, essential oil) and was able to whip it up just before bath time. I then spooned small amounts of it into the water. Trip loved to watch the fizz and kept asking for more. We will definitely be repeating this game in the future.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

F Week- Funny Face Magnets

I wanted to make some sort of magnets for Trip that have different parts of a face and can be put together in various ways. I saw this pin on Pinterest with Mr. Potato Head that had some fun options so I printed out the page on cardstock and got to work. Trip hasn't yet discovered the wonders of Mr. Potato Head, but the eyes and noses reminded me of some of the characters on Sesame Street, so I figured he would like them. I colored each piece, then cut them out and laminated them with clear contact paper. After another round of cutting, I glued small pieces of magnet to the back of each one.

The faces did indeed remind Trip of Elmo and Super Grover in particular.

He wasn't so fond of putting the faces together, though.

 I think he needs a little more time, so for now, this activity is neatly tucked away for us to try again later.

In the future, this could be another fun activity to do in the car, in a waiting room, during a meeting, or some other quiet time. The same type of magnets can be made with face parts clipped from old magazines, with a child's own artwork, or with a parents' drawings.

F Week- Football Matching Game and Book

I created my first matching game for T week when Trip was really liking Thomas and Friends. A couple of weeks ago, I made a welcome sign for our door that has the logos of our favorite sports teams. Each time Trip sees it, he likes to say the names of the teams and he's actually quite good at it. 

With that in mind, I took those same logos, plus a few more, and made him another simple matching game. I usually put all of the cards out and ask him to find a certain team. Sometimes he sees a team he wants to start with and just goes for it. He caught on to the concept quickly with the Thomas game, so when he saw these new cards come out, he knew just what to do. Eventually, we will be able to play "memory" or "concentration" with these same cards, but at 25 months, we're just not there yet. You can find my cards here if you would like to make some of your own (please limit these to your own personal use- thanks!)

The other thing I did was write a simple book about the football teams that we like. As a teacher, I created mini-books all the time, so it was fun to make one for Trip.

I bound the book with an adaptation of something I saw on Pinterest. It's super simple and easy, but very effective. Just punch holes in the paper, put a rubber band through two holes, and slip the rubber band ends through a paperclip. Done!

I put the paperclips in the front, but they could also go in the back so that all you see in the front are the clean lines of the rubber bands.


I included the teams that all of us like,

as well as Daddy's favorite,

Mommy's favorite,

and our housemates' favorites. Trip loves to look at the book and is getting pretty good at saying whose team each one is.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

F Week- Hide and Seek Bowl

One of these things made this week's hide and seek bowl extra special and made Trip ask to play the "towel game" multiple times a day. Can you guess which item it was? The fruit snacks. He absolutely loves them and doesn't get them all that often, so when he discovered that first packet hidden under the pasta, he was thrilled.

Trip also enjoyed making the frog hop around,

and the firetruck drive on the container and the pasta.

This particular afternoon, Monkey joined us for our game and Trip showed him the toys he discovered. It was so fun to watch him teach Monkey the name of several items.