Monday, June 25, 2012


It's important for all kids to feel different textures. While there are many toys you can buy specifically for this, it's cheaper to just put together opportunities for yourself. Different cloths to touch and rub against their skin, different papers (sand paper, tissue paper, etc) to rub and color on, even simple things like grass, trees, and leaves make great sensory experiences for children.


Playing with sand is a great texture experience. We have a sand/water table that the kids play with standing up, but sitting in sand and feeling it on their feet is even better. Mixing it with water to create different textures even within the sand/mud is fun, messy, and also develops better sensory understanding.


Play-doh is just one of the types of dough and putty we use around our house. Helping the kids pound, roll, pinch, and tear the dough are all great for developing fine motor skills as well.


Water in a bathtub is one thing, but being able to swim in the water is more of a full body experience. The feeling of not touching the bottom and having to stay vertical helps with the sensory and vestibular systems.


We finger paint quite often around here. Many people are afraid of the mess. Here's our process:
1. Make sure all clothes are washable (my kids don't have any that aren't)
2. Put on a smock (or giant bib in this case)
3. Make sure you are over an easy to clean floor (no carpet)
4. Give them a surface around the paper that you know will get dirty as well (sometimes a bigger piece of paper, here an old box that we were getting ready to recycle)
5. Remind the kids to only paint on the paper.
6. Make sure you have baby wipes and paper towels already out and set to go
7. Let the kids paint and go wild!
8. Wrap their hands in the dry paper towels to wipe off the excess.
9. Use the baby wipes to rub off paint in random places (legs, feet, etc)
10. Holding the paper towel surrounding the dirty hands, walk to the sink to wash hands

The whole process really only takes a few minutes. It seems like a lot, but most of it is just setting up the right environment for success.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blog Recommendation

There are only a few blogs that I stalk. You know, checking them regularly and noticing when they don't post for a few days, and the like. Today I want to recommend one of my favorites so you can enjoy it also.

Suitcases and Sippy cups

A family with 4 boys who travel the world and the best part is the mom who writes it, keeps it real. This isn't a fluffy, everything is always perfect blog. This is reality and it's awesome.

Some of my favorite posts and a quote from each so you will understand just how awesome they are:

Childhood Travel Memories
"Clearly, kids can and do remember things from a very early age, and travel especially enhances early memories.  Research shows that being in a new environment and eliminating regular daily interferences actually allows kids to make neural connections that stick."

Open Letter to Kid Haters 
"I have a little speech that I give to my kids whenever we gear up to go somewhere, be it a local outing or a trip around the world.  It goes something like this: “Please remember you are representing your family today.  Please act in a way that reflects positively on the choices we have made.”  Of course those lofty words are really just code for, “please fight your natural tendency to behave like punks, don’t embarrass me, and for the love of all things good, don’t act like one of “those people.” 

Travel Tips Tuesday 
NOT A QUOTE: Each week she co-sponsors Travel Tips Tuesday and people can link their travel tip blog posts, which is a great way to learn from many bloggers. This is one of my current favorites, because we are considering taking our kids on a cruise.

About Me 
"There’s not really anything out of the ordinary going on around here.  We’re just a typical family-a mom and a dad, four kids. All boys.  We are a middle class family living in Middle America right smack in the middle of the suburbs.  We’ve got a house with three bedrooms and 2 ½ baths and two cars.  You won’t be surprised to learn that one of them is a minivan.  In a word, we are average. Average."

"Let me give you a peek at my totally average list of things to do this week.
  1. Take the kids to Little League practice (repeat three times)
  2. Clean the cheetos out from under the couch cushions.
  3. Stain treat and rewash the load of laundry that was washed with a ball of play-doh
  4. Finalize the plans to move the entire family into a camper trailer to travel the country.
Just a typical suburban mom to-do list, right?  Except for that bit about leaving everything behind to follow our traveling dreams- at least that’s what people keep telling us.  They say it’s out of the box.  They say it’s the road less traveled.  Sometimes they say it’s just plain crazy.  They definitely don’t think it’s normal. "

I could go on and on and on. Did I mention how much I love this blog? Go check it out and if you are like me, you will get sucked in and end up reading every post and just wanting more!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Teaching abstract concepts to young children is a challenge. We spent a lot of time talking about "work" when the kids were a year and a half old. We talked about Daddy going to work, things Mommy does (taking care of them), and even the type of work they are expected to do.


As toddlers, most work is fun. They love doing art and we told them that is part of their work. They make the art and I hang it on the wall. If they weren't making the art our walls would be boring. We do stress they are not to decorate the wall, they are to make art and I will hang it on the wall.


Cleaning the garage door is also fun. When is the last time you clean your garage door from the 2ft level down? haha Using the spray bottles is also a great way to develop fine motor skills. This is also exciting when it's hot outside. I don't mind if they spray themselves or each other because it dries so quickly in the heat.

The kids help me cook a lot. Here we are mixing the dough for some whole wheat bread. The only annoying part was cleaning the floor before and after so we could do this cleanly!

Yes, this is a toy lawn mower, but he really wanted to do some work like Daddy and we are all about indulging when they want to work!

We had this conversation every morning. Sometimes with both kids. Sometimes with one of the other. Still, it was a ritual around here.

Kid: Bye Bye Dada
Dada: Bye Bye
<Dada leaves for work.>
Kid: Where Dada goin?
Me: Where is Dada going?
Kid: to work
Me: Why is he going to work?
Kid: make money
Me: What do we use the money for?
Kid: air-dish-nin (air-conditioning)

Then, and only then can we get on with our day.

 Here are the kids walking the dog.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Father's Day

Father's Day is on Sunday and a celebration is in order! Start with two incredibly cute kids who love their Daddy.

Add in one Daddy who loves to play with his kids (and a Mommy who can take a quick photo before he realizes it).

They spend lots of time together on the "reading couch" as my kids call it.

When Mommy tells us to hug each other we look at her like she's crazy, but when Daddy suggests it, we look perfectly posed. (She was refusing to wear anything in her hair to keep it out of her eyes.)

This is one amazingly talented Daddy. He can even teach us guitar!

Anyone can be a father, but it takes some special magic to be a Daddy!

Happy Father's Day

Monday, June 4, 2012

Science Museum

We are lucky to live in an area with more than one Science museum. This is the big one, not the one closest to us. This museum has multiple buildings, each with multiple levels. We spend most of our time in one area - the preschool children's area to be specific.

My son refused to turn his back on the T-rex, really not such a bad idea. How could you not be excited about going somewhere with dinosaurs greeting you in the entry way?

We start our day in the museum at the "farm." The kids use their reusable bags to collect produce fresh from the garden area. We talk about the environment with the bags, the different types of produce - colors, flavors, which are favorites, sorting by fruit/vegetable, etc.

Then they go over to the chicken coop to collect eggs. While these are wooden eggs, we still talk about being careful with them. My kids cook with me enough to know about egg shells, egg whites, and egg yolks.

 Milking a cow is a new experience for these city kids. They loved seeing where cow milk comes from (it was really just water).

A giant table for water play is always fun. I love that they provide the smocks to attempt to keep the kids somewhat dry. 

There are many areas, even just in the preschool area, that I'm not including photos of because there is so much to do. Also, my kids move fast and I don't want to include photos of other people's kids. This firetruck had an area for driving and a slide out the back. They almost didn't leave the truck.

This is how we got them to leave the truck. A giant excavation pit with shovels, sand, and dinosaur bones is quite the attraction. Getting them to leave this area isn't pretty, so no photos of that!