April 26, 2015

New Series - What We Did Last Week!

I need an easy way to keep track and organize activities and ideas for the girls and my prior methods (pinterest boards and a notebook) are just not working anymore. So I'm going to start blogging my ideas and results as a way to document what works and what doesn't and help others in their adventures of helping kids learn, play and grow!

As the girls get older I am so excited to help them learn and discover their world in so many different ways. I am an advocate for learning through play and allowing children to explore their surroundings and gain understanding of the world naturally and at their own pace. It's much easier to practice this with just my two than it was at the daycare with mixed ages from 1-12!

Playtime is becoming so much fun and it's amazing to watch them blossom and learn. Just in the last few weeks they both learned how to clap toys together, bang them on the table, switch hands and take each others' toy, reach and roll to get what they want. They are wanting to sit up all the time and will spend long periods of time exploring anything you put in front of them.

I'm really excited because I can now introduce Exploration/Discovery/Sensory bins! For now we just do a weekly bin of new things to explore, with a common thread (seasonal, holiday, colors, shapes, textures, etc.). This week I put together a red box and a green box. Choosing from items what we had on hand each bin had a red or green cup, bowl, blocks, a soft ball, a hard ball, some of their letters from their name stools and crinkly books. The green box had a bunch of frogs people have given me over the years with their toys and the red box started with a winter hat and glove that I removed because the wool reacted with their drooly chins. I love using loose parts and random household objects on top of the toys they are safe to use when I'm not sitting right there.

I laid them down or sat them up with the boxes nearby and just let them find them, dump them, swish around the toys, taste everything and swap them and then toss them then put them back in. They were amused for nearly an hour each time and I got a taste for what their favorite items are.

Right now they love anything that makes a good sound when it bangs, makes an audible clap when hit with another toy or that they can chew on well, thanks to teething and of course they will forever love anything that crinkles. I've tested some different types of paper (parchment, sturdy tissue, etc.) but they just want to eat it so we're sticking to things they can't rip for now.

They also like things they can toss and reach for or that they can pull to themselves while leaning and getting into the crawling position. I will switch the toys out each week so they get new sensory experiences and don't get bored.

As they age I will add other elements like pasta, beans, rice, jello, oatmeal, water, sand, snow, hay, rocks, etc. and add a wider variety of items, sometimes with holiday or seasonal themes or exploring concepts (sorting, finding objects, different textures, etc.) I'm collecting an array of cups, spoons and other randomness to go into them as well. My niece Jillian's first bin was at my house with macaroni noodles, a cup and a spoon at 11 months old. We are so close, I can't wait to get to that with them!

I also made them shakers last week when as they've started shaking everything. They're a little heavy and I need to decorate them still but I just used dried beans and brown rice in old jelly squeeze bottles. I would rather water bottles but we don't buy them often so I need to get some. I put two sided tape on the inside of the cap to catch the beans and rice for when they figure out how to open it. 

We will hopefully be spending more time outside this week. We're always looking for signs of spring, I'm hoping to find a few flowers they can look at and touch soon and maybe even a worm! We're a little young to try puddle jumping but if we ever get a warm sprinkle of rain again we'll be outside to enjoy it!

I hope to update every week on Sunday or Monday with what what we did last week. Here are some more pics of last weeks fun!
Selfies, no-clothes time, letter blocks pluzzles, banana pancakes and playing outside!

What are your favorite activities with your little ones?


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