Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weekly Read Wednesday: Imogene's Antlers

A favorite blogger of mine mentioned Imogene's Antlers by David Small a few weeks ago. As it's one of our favorite reads as well, I had this in my mind as a book that should be highlighted one of these Wednesdays!

Imogene wakes up one day to find herself in an interesting predicament.

She's somehow grown antlers overnight and now has to figure out how to adjust to this new situation.

Understandably, her family's quite surprised!

Professionals are called in to investigate, but no one has any solutions to this unusual dilemma.

This is my favorite picture in the book! The maid and the cook find ways for Imogene's antlers to fit in and be useful.

When her family decides a hat is needed for the antlers to hide underneath...

...her mother faints at the result. I love Imogene's mom. She faints three times in the book!

I also love how Imogene is so relaxed about life, and not even giant antlers bother her in the least!

She wakes up the next morning and find herself back to normal.

Almost. :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rainy day scene

After a stretch of beautiful, warm, sunny weather, we've had several rainy days in a row. I guess that's bound to happen in the spring, and it makes us more grateful for those sunny days when they come!

You will need:
  • A piece of construction paper (light blue, light purple, gray... whatever color you want your sky to be)
  • Cotton balls
  • A lightning bolt or two (yellow construction paper)
  • A few rain drops (blue construction paper)
  • A couple aluminum foil puddles
  • Glue

Have your child pull apart the cotton balls.


Add cotton to make clouds. I asked my daughter if she wanted to make one or two clouds, and she chose two.

She chose which cloud to attach the lightning bolt to.

She also chose where her rain drops would go... notice that the direction of some of them are a bit crooked. :)

Aluminum foil makes great puddles at the bottom of your weather scene.

Here's her finished product! This was a fun project that went right along with our day, and we also got to talk about how we don't have to be scared when it storms because Jesus protects us. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Young reader's clubs

Shortly after the first of the year, I signed my daughter up for a young reader's club through a local organization. Four times a year, three age-appropriate books are mailed to our home. At only $20 for the entire year, this program (which I discovered through our local library) is quite a bargain!

Our first batch of books came last week. I was excited, and even more excited that we didn't have any of these books already!

Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri has very few words, but the pictures are beautiful. It was a Caldecott Honor book in 1985.

The missing duckling is hiding in each picture, so it's fun for your child to see if they can find it.

Clifford, The Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell is a classic! I know we have other Clifford books, but I don't believe we had the original in the series.

What's not to love about a giant puppy? It's two-year-old approved. :)

Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins is a book I hadn't heard of. Rosie (a hen) walks throughout the barnyard, narrowly slipping away from the sly fox who follows her throughout the story.

It's a very simplistic story with detailed pictures. The cause-and-effect theme builds right into a toddler's sense of humor and imagination!

Search out reading clubs for your little ones in your area, and please let us know if you find anything you love!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DIY water table

I'm dying for a sand and water table for my girl to use this summer. Unfortunately for her, I'm as cheap as the day is long, and I REFUSE to pay full price for one! So while I watch for some amazing sale or a steal on Craigslist, we did a little improvising. :)

There's something about kids and water that just go together, isn't there?

You will need:
  • A large-ish tub/tote/bin (how's that for specific?) of some kind. I purchased this plastic (pliable) yellow tote from Walmart for $2 last week, and it has yet to actually serve the purpose for which I bought it... because this is just too fun. :)
  • A mishmash of kitchen utensils or objects. See here are: two tupperware containers, a ladle, a strainer, a sifter, a coffee scoop/measuring spoon, and a syringe leftover from what was probably a Penicillin prescription at one time.
The directions (as if you need them!!):
  • Fill tote with water and warm in the sun for one naptime length. :)
  • Add one or more small child(ren).
  • Stand back and watch the fun!
  • Have your camera on hand for cute (and hilarious) moments. :)

I made sure to do all the preparations while my two-year-old was napping. I like to give the water a chance to warm up a bit before having her splash away, but if it's a super hot day, maybe that's not needed! As I was finishing getting all of this set up on our deck, I noticed that this tote is apparently... three galons? Way to spell check, manufacturers of Walmart.

One tote of water and "toys" + one excited toddler + iced coffee and magazines for mom = an HOUR (or more!) of enjoyment! She LOVED this activity. LOVED it! We will absolutely do this again on the next 80+ degree day. Clean-up takes no time at all, and that's a good thing, considering we had an unexpected call from an out-of-town family member who was passing through and wanted to drop in to say hello... as we sat half drenched in sweat and water... ahem.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Weekly Read Wednesday: Each Peach Pear Plum

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg just looks "springy" to me. Doesn't it look like a happy book?

It's very simple text...

...and adorable pictures.

Each page has details to spot.

The book continues through various familiar fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters.

You'll see each character on their own page (Bo Peep, in this instance),

but you'll also be able to "spy" the upcoming characters in some way. This is Jack and Jill falling down the hill (of course).

At the end of the story, you'll "spy" everyone hiding...

...and then all out together!

Very cute, very simple. We like this book!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring butterflies

A couple days ago, my girl wanted to do a project. Specifically, she wanted to glue. I didn't have anything in particular planned for that afternoon, but she was persistent... so this is what we came up with in just a matter of minutes!

You will need:
  • Paper or cardstock with butterflies traced on them (if you're even a slightly better artist that me -- and it's VERY likely you are! -- you can draw them freehand... I printed one online and traced it)
  • Tissue paper, any color (I had some still handy from our cherry blossom trees)
  • Glue
  • Scissors

I cut hot pink and teal tissue paper into manageable squares, but it doesn't have to be neat. If they're able, you could even suggest that your child tear their tissue paper rather than having it pre-cut.

Start gluing and attach the tissue paper however!

She first thought this would look nice laying flat...

...but then decided it would be much better if it were crumpled up a bit. :)

A lesson in symmetry? Try it with older kids!

Here was her page when she was finished. Yes, I know there's tissue paper glued completely outside the butterflies. I tried to explain... but not very hard. :) She wanted it THAT WAY, and you know what? Who cares?! :)

The bonus of this activity was that she did it almost entirely by herself, which fellow moms of toddlers can appreciate! I mopped the kitchen while she worked.

It was glorious.

When they were dry, I cut them out and taped them up in her play room. I had big plans to have her make a few more of these over the course of a week or so, and then hang them with ribbons from the light fixture in her play room... but then I decided she wouldn't really get to see them up close, so I changed my mind. My choice was confirmed when she came down from her nap on the day that I taped these up and gasped with delight when she saw them! I love how doing these simple little projects with her (and allowing her to do them by herself, to the best of her ability) builds so much confidence and pride in her work!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Do you have any scarves lying around your house? Pull 'em out and let your little ones imagine with them! My toddler likes to use them as blankets for her "babies," a fancy addition to dress up play, or just twirl them around while dancing. Lots of entertainment for ZERO dollars! :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bringing inside activities outside!

This week, the weather has just been gorgeous. It's been warm and sunny nearly every day. We've played outside, had picnic lunches in the yard, gone on walks, and just spent as much time outside as possible. When I wanted to get some work done in the yard this week, I wanted an activity that would keep my two-year-old entertained and occupied for a decent amount of time, so I didn't have to worry about her running off. She's getting better about staying in the "safety zones," but at two, she's not great at understanding that yet.

Enter: the sensory tub. I was introduced to this idea a couple months ago, and we've used it nearly every week since. Spread out a large blanket or beach towel, plop the sensory tub (or whatever inside activity you're bringing outside) in the middle, and let them have a ball! The best part... when you're finished, just gather up your blanket or towel and dump the spilled beans back into the tub! Clean-up takes no time at all. :)

This activity kept her busy for at least twenty minutes, and she would have continued had it not been lunchtime. And I got almost an entire flower bed weeded while she played! Love that!

What are your favorite inside-turned-outside activities? I'd love to hear some new ideas! :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cherry blossom trees

I really can't express how happy I am for spring to be here again. I'm sure my excitement level is the same from year to year, but really... I was so ready this time around. And, I have to say, one of my very favorite things about spring... seeing this in my backyard. It's a cherry blossom tree that we planted last summer. It didn't bloom at all that first year and looked rather sad. In fact, I was beginning to think we may need to exchange it for something else... until just a couple weeks ago when I noticed tiny pink buds on it for the first time ever! I literally screamed in my excitement! Those buds have continued to bloom, and now there are these gorgeous, delicate, pale pink flowers all over the tree. Don't the blossoms look like they're made of tissue paper? They're so dainty that they look like they'd wither away if you so much as breathe on them! It's almost ridiculous how much happiness this silly tree is bringing me this spring, but it's just about my favorite thing right now. :)

I wanted to bring a little springtime inside to hang on my refrigerator, and let my toddler make her own "tree" just like Mommy's. This is what we came up with:

You will need:
  • Brown paper/construction paper/cardstock
  • Another sheet of paper/cardstock in a different color (any color you choose is fine)
  • Pink tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Begin by tracing your child's hand and most of the length of their arm on the brown paper. If you're out of brown construction paper (as I was), try using tan or brown cardstock. If you don't have any of that on hand, grab a brown paper bag!

Cut the hand/arm out for your child and have them glue the back.

She was really "into" gluing today. Maybe we haven't done anything with glue in a few days!

Attach to the other sheet of paper you have waiting.

Get out your pink tissue paper. I cut/ripped ours into manageable squares for my daughter. Crumple up a square...

...and use glue to attach it to your "tree."

Continue adding cherry blossoms until they decide they're finished. :)

Here is her completed tree! She thought it had enough flowers on it.

But that didn't stop her from asking for another piece of paper to glue MORE flowers onto! :) This project was definitely a success for us!