Category Archives: Toddlers

Tot Time–If You Love Something, Set It Free

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Four of our butterflies “hatched” from their chrysalis (what is the plural of this?) this week. Two were beautiful and healthy. I always release butterflies as soon as they hatch as they have such a short life span, I hate for them to spend even one day kept in the small enclosure that comes with the set. The photo above shows one of the healthy butterflies. Unfortunately, this set of butterflies has not been as healthy as previous sets we have raised.  One butterfly still has not hatched and I am beginning to doubt that it will. Another butterfly had one deformed wing. Yet,another was greatly deformed (note the photo below). It’s torso was very short and its wings were curled up such that they could not open. I still opted to release these two butterflies as they did not seem capable of getting to any food that we set out (they kept falling on their backs and were incapable of turning over without our help), so it seemed better to let Mother Nature take care of them as she saw fit. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I finally wrote Insect Lore to ask about our ladybug larvae, which still have not arrived. Supposedly they will ship next week and have continued to be delayed by extreme weather. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         In celebration of our butterflies hatching, we made a butterfly-shaped stepping stone for our side yard. Dora decorated it with a handprint and glass shards. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Dora also suddenly decided that she likes play dough after all and kept asking for it, so we made some spring-colored play dough using the basic recipe that we have used in the past.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tarter
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • Food coloring

Directions: Combine all ingredients, except for food coloring, in a nonstick saucepan. Stirring constantly, cook the mixture over medium heat until it forms a ball. Turn the dough onto a non-stick surface (I use a silicon cutting board, but your counter is fine) and let it cool slightly. When it cools enough that you can handle touching it, knead the dough until it has a smooth texture. Add food coloring as desired (if you are just making one color of dough, it is actually easier to add the food coloring before you cook the dough, but I wanted a rainbow of colors).

We read several spring-themed books, though the only one that really stood out this week was one I just happened to find at the library. It’s called What Does Bunny See? and teaches color through flowers (i.e. yellow primroses, red poppies, and so forth). The text is more poetic than most children’s books and the drawings are soft and gentle, though as soft and gentle as many of the other spring books we have read recently. Dora really does not seem to care for the soft, ethereal type of illustrations that are so popular in many books about seasons and nature.She likes flowers a lot, so this book really captured her interest.

Finally, we spent at least one hour every day this week at a park, even when it was raining. Dora has become my outdoorsy child again, now that it is not so cold. We played on the playgrounds, but we also just explored some woods and meadows. She has become enraptured with sticks and collects them wherever she can. We also have spotted a lot of birds recently, particularly getting close to some pileated woodpeckers, who treated us to some songs, aerial ballets, and pecking.

What about you? Have you been able to get outside this spring? I’m linking this post to:  Shibley Smiles Tot School play academy We Play  

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

April Sensory Tub

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This month I started off thinking I would use paper Easter grass as a foundation for Dora’s sensory tub. I learned that this was not a good idea! All of the other items in the tub sank to the bottom since the grass was so light. Also, the grass tangled up in everything. So I had to make a last minute improvisation and bought more of the gems, which I was already using and Dora was loving, to use as a foundation. These gems were much more expensive than I would  normally use in such a large quantity, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Things I used in this month’s sensory tub include:

  • Pastel colored gems (from Michael’s)
  • Easter-themed, miniature clothes-pins (from Michael’s)
  • Paper mache Easter eggs (from Michael’s)
  • Yellow and pink chicks of varying sizes (from Michael’s)
  • Multi-colored, rubber, spikey balls (from Target dollar section)
  • Rubber bouncy Easter eggs (from Target dollar section)

Dora really liked the gems and immediately began spooning them, much to my surprise, as she had never expressed an interest in spooning before. She also spent a lot of time clipping the clothes pins on herself and others, which was another first. I guess she must have entered some sort of new developmental stage in regards to her fine motor skills…

She had begged for the chicks when I was originally buying the materials for this tub, but then has not done anything with them since I set them out. Go figure!

Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

A Note on Sensory Tub Sensations

After reflecting some on the link-up I started, Sensory Tub Sensations, I’ve decided to discontinue the link-up. My main reason is that I did not know about an already ongoing link up for sensory tubs that was being hosted on Our Worldwide Classroom. I just do not see the need for two such link-ups, so decided that I would rather participate in an already established link up than try to start my own. I encourage you to hop on over to Our Worldwide Classroom and check out their link up with lots of wonderful ideas for sensory tubs.


Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–April 1

 

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Our caterpillars formed chrysalis this week. It’s kind of hard to believe they’re going to become beautiful butterflies. We read a couple of good books about the butterfly life cycle to celebrate this transformation. The Crawly Caterpillar, a touch-and-feel book with a pop-up ending, is part of a series by Scholastic that also has books about the life cycle of sunflower plants, frogs, and ducks. We also read the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
 

Children's Museum March 025This week was a very rainy week here, which meant we weren’t able to get outside at all. One day I took Dora to the children’s museum, but unfortunately, it was insanely crowded due to the weather and it being spring break for some districts. Dora did a good job of holding her own in the crowds, especially with some of the more rambunctious boys.
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We also recently started hanging out at a local mall, which has some rides for little ones. At a quarter a ride, it is a cheap way to have some indoor fun.
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Dora also decided that she wanted to make the castle cake in her Dora and Diego cookbook. This proved to be a very messy endeavor. She did not have the patience to add the doors and windows, so the cake looked more like some four-horned creature than a castle.

I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School
We Play

 

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

HSV Garden Challenge

image I decided to take part in The Homeschool Village’s garden challenge. It officially started yesterday, and though I did not post these yesterday, I did take the photos of our garden as it was on March 31st. We are not actually planting a vegetable garden as we have had trouble with them attracting rats. We have a retaining wall that abuts the street and I guess rats live under the street and come out of the retaining wall. As long as we don’t grow a garden, we never see rats, but the minute we try to grow anything that resembles food, we start seeing them. Rats totally freak me out, so even though I REALLY, REALLY want to have a vegetable garden, it’s not happening.

So we’re focusing on flowers. As I posted last week, Dora planted a lot of flower seeds, none of which has had a chance to bloom. So, here is…. drum roll please…. some dirt!

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I also posted last week that Dora also helped pick out some of the flowers in the front yard. Here is the potted flowers, which also have the gnome and mushroom figurines that we purchased from Target.

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Elsewhere, my bulbs have not bloomed yet. I try to get later blooming bulbs, otherwise it always seems like we get a freeze that kills off the flowers as soon as they bloom. My primroses, which I got at Costco, have started to die off, though still look pretty good. As you can see, we have a lot of moss currently, courtesy of the wet winter we had. I also have yet to get out to weed, due to nasty weather.

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The side yard is covered in fallen cherry blossoms and those small green plants are ground cover that I am hoping will help control weeds once it has taken off.

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Labels: This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time – Butterfly Mania

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This week we continued with a “spring” and “insects” theme. Sadly, our ladybug larvae still have not arrived. I guess they are the ones that couldn’t be shipped during cold temperatures. Our worms continue to thrive, though Dora is no longer interested in them. Her interest has transferred to the caterpillars, which are growing nicely. It may be that they will be ready to form chrysalis some time next week.
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In preparation for our new butterfly friends, I took Dora to the Pacific Science Center, which has a year-round butterfly display. Dora was very interested in the butterflies and enjoying herself until one of them decided to take up residence on my foot. Every time I gently shook the fellow off my foot, it flew right back to me. This really freaked her out, so we had to leave at that point. Fortunately, we had spent quite some time there already. Some of the butterflies in the display will land on the ground, so one needs to be careful not to step on them. I was very happy to see Dora actually taking this seriously and not running or poking the butterflies. She does not always exhibit such tender care when dealing with our household pets, so I had been a bit worried.

Additionally, I brought out this 5-layer butterfly puzzle to do with Dora. It was too complicated for her to do all the layers, but she enjoyed seeing the stages of a butterfly’s life. At first, she didn’t want to look at the caterpillar and chrysalis, but then her eagerness to learn about them overcame her squeamishness.
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We made coffee filter butterflies for a butterfly-themed craft. I had planned to paint the coffee filters with watercolors, but Dora was not interested in watercolors, having recently used them in a painting book. So I tempted her with markers, which are a treat for her as I have to store them out of her reach, since she writes on the walls and furniture with them otherwise. The method we found that worked best to use markers was to stack 2-3 coffee filters together, color them well, and then mist the filters with a squirt bottle. The colors ran together in a nice abstract way. Gohan even got in on the action and did a lot of experimentation with misting lightly vs. more heavily. We found that if we didn’t stack 2-3 filters together, all of the ink would run on the table and the design would be washed out. We then used pipe cleaners to form the body and antennae.

For butterfly-themed reading, we enjoyed the variety of fact and fiction that these books provided:
 

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In addition to studying butterflies, I learned that Dora really likes working with plants. We went to Molbak’s, which is a lovely nursery near us. It is actually a bit of a tourist attraction, complete with its own café, if you are ever in the Seattle area. Dora’s favorite part of the store was the fountains and we had to spend quite a bit of time looking at them. She also really enjoyed picking out her own flowers and seeds. Later, she enjoyed “helping” me to plant them and the other flowers I bought. Unfortunately, she doe not quite grasp the concept of planting flowers and burying only the roots. She seems to feel that we should also cover the actual flowers in dirt, so I had to spend a great deal of time rescuing our flowers from her efforts. Still, it was nice to see her so excited about gardening. I can’t wait to see her face when her seeds begin to grow. She and Gohan picked out these gnome and mushroom figurines at Target, which I thought were just too cute.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Finally, Mr. Mo introduced her to the sounds of crickets and frogs, which we have an abundance of around us, since we live right next to two water retaining ponds. Mr. Mo taught her that if she wanted to listen to them, she had to be quiet, which was quite a challenge for our little chatterbox. When she got too loud, all of the crickets and frogs got quiet. She found this fascinating and proceeded to take the rest of us outside to observe this phenomenon.
I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School
We Play

 

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Getting Wormy

Worms 060I had a really nice plan for Dora for the month of March. Unfortunately, it was messed up by the weather. I had planned to study a different bug each week, by having different live specimens arrive each week. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I received a not informing me that my bugs would not be arriving on time, due to the extremely cold temperatures we had been having (the bugs would die in transport). So this week we had caterpillars and worms arrive the same day. Dora hasn’t been too interested in the caterpillars, but she and Gohan have been fascinated by the worms. We have a Worm Vue Wonders kit for the worms to live in.Right now, we got the worms set up in their house and have fed them. Gohan is taking them out every day and Dora likes to look at them in his hand. She won’t touch them though. We haven’t done any of the experiments yet.
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Mostly, we spent every free moment we had this week with my mother-in-law and/or outside since we had some nice weather.

I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School
image We Play

 

 

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time – It’s Flubbertastic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I still haven’t gotten back into a real grove with Dora. I finally went to the doctor and learned that I have a nasal polyp, which is why it seems like I can’t shake this cold. My doctor is trying me on steroids, but I may need to have it surgically removed. In the interim, I’m feeling a bit run down.

I did take Dora to gymnastics this week. I may not go to this gymnastics school anymore, however, as they have a whole bunch of junk food machines right outside the door of her class. Dora doesn’t even like candy and so forth, but the bright colors are a major temptation to her. I’m not super health conscious, but I have some issues with taking my child to exercise at a place that has candy, chips, soda, etc. right outside the door of the classroom. It seems like making a buck is more important to them than promoting a healthy lifestyle – like we don’t get enough of that elsewhere.

I decided to forgo on making play dough this month as Dora just doesn’t seem to enjoy playing with it. Instead, we made flubber, using a recipe from CanTeach. I had thought that we would make it green for St. Patrick’s Day, but Dora insisted on blue. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Elmers Glue
  • Food Coloring
  • 4 tsp. Borax
  • Warm water

Method:

In one bowl mix in 1 1/2 cups of warm water, 2 cups of Elmers Glue, and food colouring. In another bowl mix in 4 tsp. of Borax and 1 1/3 cup of warm water. Pour the glue mixture into the borax mixture. Do not mix or stir, just wait. Then just lift out the flubber. Store in baggies.

I did find that we needed to wait a bit longer than I expected, before all of the flubber was ready, maybe five minutes. Dora enjoyed playing with the flubber for a while, but like the play dough, not for very long. I think part of the problem is that she is sensitive to textures, so doesn’t really like touching things like flubber and play dough. We went through this with Primo, who actually has Asperger’s Syndrome, which often is associated with sensory integration issues (I also have some pretty major sensory issues).

I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School

 play academy

 

Labels: Arts and Crafts, High School, Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

March’s Sensory Tub Link-up

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It’s that time again! It’s hard to believe a whole month has gone by. The theme I used this month was St. Patrick’s Day. Thus far, this has been the most played with sensory tub ever. I partly owe this to Kylie from Our World Wide Classroom, who gave me the idea to use split peas for the “foundation” of this month’s tub. I had originally planned to dye some rice green, as I had never even thought of using split peas, which are naturally green, of course – so much easier! Well, Dora just loved playing with the split peas! In addition to our monthly sensory tub, I always have a tub of dried beans on hand. She uses the beans to scoop, spoon, and pour. It is her absolute favorite “toy”. She played with the split peas in the same way, but was very excited to have the different texture and color.

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In addition to the split peas, I added a small St. Patrick’s Day hat, leprechaun “gold” that I found at a party store, St.-Patrick’s-Day-themed erasers, green gems, green bells, green pom poms, felt shamrocks, green rings, shamrock bracelets, and green frog rubbery, spikey ball thingies (how is that for a specific description?). The bells and gems are left over from Christmas actually. It was nice to be able to start re-using some items and not have to start completely from scratch.

What about you? Did you set up a sensory tub for March? What was its theme? Please join the link-up up you did set up a sensory tub. And feel free to grab a button. It’s a great way to share your ideas with others.

Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

A Year Ago on Homeschool Mo–Language Arts and Toddler Internet Games

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I kind of started this post series and then forgot about. I think I will try to just do it once a month, instead of weekly. Last year, in January and February, I was posting a lot about resources for teaching language arts. Now, I have a whole language arts page. The page is static, meaning it stays the same, and is always available at the top of my site. I update the information as I can, it is a work in progress.

In addition, last year in January, I posted about internet resources for keeping your toddler occupied while you are homeschooling. I have to say that most of these do not actually keep Dora occupied, she is not much into screen time, be it a computer, video game, or TV (of course, as I say this, just this week she has been sick and we just discovered Caillou, so she has watched gobs of TV). Also, Kneebouncers, much to my disappointment, has become a subscription service. Given how little Dora plays on the computer, I personally cannot justify paying for a subscription for her. Anyway, my post includes many other websites for toddlers and preschoolers, if you have a child who enjoys playing on the computer.

Labels: This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff