Monday, July 30, 2012

Art - Mixing Colors

One of the great things about art is seeing things change and interact. (It is also part of the fun in Science and cooking.) The simplest form of this is finger painting with two different colors. I let each kid choose one color and then they got to use both.

 She selected white, which was her favorite color for more than a year. He selected blue, but his favorite color changes daily.

You can see a difference in technique. While she uses her entire palms, he uses fingers and knuckles. They both enjoyed mixing the colors.

Here you see bread, colored milk, and clean paintbrushes. They simply paint the bread and once finished, it is toasted for a colorful snack.

They both use the two handed painting technique and only mixed colors minimally. This is great for a new painting experience though.

Here's another great color mixing activity. It's just colored water and then let them loose to paint the sidewalk.When they are finished, hose off the area and there is no permanent stain. It's difficult to see the colors in the photo, but they could clearly see where it was yellow, red, blue, and green. Also, our sidewalk isn't flat, so if I would have put more thought into this I would have had them sit at the top of the slant. As it was they both ended up sitting in the water and making a huge mess. It was fun and their clothes didn't stain. This is a great activity for when it's hot outside (they are in the shade).

A non-art discovery was made by my son around the same time. He came to me holding a magnet toy. I love this toy because even though it has small parts, they cannot get to any of them! They can't swallow the magnet and each item is contained so it is safe for younger kids.

Sweet Son: "Maanet boken?" (magnet broken)
Me: "The magnet isn't broken."
Sweet Son: "No pick up beans. Maanet boken."

This was the start to a conversation of what make something magnetic or not. :) If I had tried introducing this concept to him, he wouldn't have had any interest at all, but because he made the discovery and I was able to help him make sense of it, he was interested and learned about magnets.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Balanced Parenting - take 2

Last year I wrote about balanced parenting. The importance of having a life outside of children has not changed. Learning to balance my needs with the needs of my kids is still a challenge, but it's getting better.

This year for my birthday, my husband took me to try the silks. At this point I'm hanging upside down with the silks wrapped around my arms. I'm desperately holding on with my feet and the instructor told me to just find my balance and let go with my feet. She said it so simply and yet, finding balance in life and on silks is never as easy as it sounds.

At the end of class, we got to choose which of the skills we learned that we wanted to practice on our own. This was one of my favorites - the starfish. I love the feeling of flying through the air and the fact that getting into this position required flipping upside down and back up just made it more fun. Just like last year's birthday experience, this was just for me.

When we were on the way to the place for me to try the silks, Daddy tells the kids we are going to the gym.
Sweet Daughter: "Little gym?"
Daddy: "No, this is a gym for Mama to exercise."
Sweet Daughter: "Big gym?"

This doesn't mean the kids weren't having fun. There was a great play area right next to the silks so they could play while I was playing. My husband was in charge of taking photos of me and watching the kids.


The kids didn't even seem to notice what I was doing. Last year they were more contained when we did the trapeze and they were fascinated. This year no containment and no fascination, but still fun for me.


 The day after the silks I wasn't fond of moving. There is a reason the silks are considered an exercise class and the people who do them all look muscular. I was sore for a couple of days, but not nearly as sore as the days after the trapeze. Still, my kids joined me in bed for a relaxing morning - at least until they started jumping on me to "help" me get up.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Tale of Two Beds - Part 2

In case you missed it here is A Tale of Two Beds - Part 1. For awhile the kids did great in their beds. It took almost a full two months before they started to get... creative.

As you can see, with a little team work they can lift up the mattress. Here they are standing balanced on the slats. Sometimes they weren't so lucky. If a foot/leg goes between the slats they get stuck. Using typical toddler logic, they let go of the mattress to use their hands to pull the leg out. Then the mattress falls on top of their heads. Once again you would think that would help them learn the lesson to leave the mattress alone, but no. They did find something even more creative to do next though.

There are two children and one adult (part of an adult anyway) in this photo. You can see my son sitting on the floor pointing to my daughter. We told her to "get in bed." She took us literally. She is on top of the mattress and under the fitted sheet. All 4 corners are still hooked and she is wiggling around under there. I have no idea how or why, but when asked, she pointed out she was "in bed" not "on bed." We have never told her to get in bed since. Now we only tell the kids to go lay on their beds.

Once again I can assure you this is not the end of this series. They continue to do new and unique things to/with their beds. A Tale of Two Beds - Part 3

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Video - Giveaway! - Winner posted

WINNER!!! Mommy2KKMT Congrats! Contact me so I can send you the video! 

Copy-Kids was kind enough to give me a copy of their Eat Fruits and Vegetables video to review and give away to one of my readers.

The concept behind the video is positive peer pressure for eating healthy. Copy-Kids says the video is for ages 6 months to 5 years. The video itself is divided into 12 chapters each focusing on a different type of produce. They start by showing the vegetable (or fruit) and then show a few different children eating and enjoying each.

My kids will happily eat all of their fruits and vegetables, so we aren't the target audience, but I was interested from a child development perspective and based on the interest of my children. Here is our review.

Each chapter is 6-8 minutes long and they don't need to be played in any certain order, so you can just watch part at a time. This is great for short attention spans.
The kids eating the produce are all toddlers or preschoolers so they were able to get my kids attention.
It's like a longer version of a commercial for healthy foods. I wish it would be shown instead of the junk food commercials during kids tv shows.
There is part of the video specifically for parents, with a pediatrician offering many facts about healthy eating.
Sweet Son (34 months old)says, "It was great. People were eating foods. I like eating foods."
Selected as one of the 10 best Audio/Visuals for 2011 by Dr. Toy.
Approved by the USDA and added to their Education and Training Materials Database for pre-school nutrition.  

We don't let our kids watch TV before the age of 30 months, due to all of the associated problems. I know many people don't mind this, but it is odd for a pediatrician to recommend a video for ages younger than even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.
There is no plot or story line. This is just a video of kids eating their produce. It did not maintain my kids attention.
You can't put on the video and go take a shower because it will stop after 6-8 minutes.
Sweet Daughter (34 months old) says, "It was no good. People were just eating. That's all."

I would suggest this video for someone with a child between 2.5 and 5 years old who doesn't eat much produce. Ideally I would set the child(ren) at a table where they could see the tv and serve them a plate of one of the featured items. I would show the video for the featured item and one other item. I think if the child can mimic (Copy-Kids) what the child on the screen is doing at that exact moment, it would hold their attention longer.

Now for the giveaway details! There are two ways to enter to win a copy of this video.

#1 Comment on this post telling me what your child(ren)'s favorite type of produce is.
#2 Like Parenting With Research on facebook. Leave a second comment here letting me know you like me!

I will use to select a winner on July 20th.

I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Little Gym

Another option during the hot Summer is going to The Little Gym. We love ours. I actually drive past My Gym, Gymboree, and a couple of other kids gyms just to go to this one. Some gyms and other mommy and me classes require one adult per child. That's just not what happened for us. There are two of them and only one of me.

They start the class by playing with bells and doing a warm up which always includes music.Then comes the time to explore. They basically just let the kids go free with the equipment.

My kids have a thing for balance beams - especially once they figured out they could climb on and off by themselves and didn't need to hold a hand.

They also like hanging and swinging from the bars and even tumbling and flipping on the mats. Once again, I have very limited photos because my kids aren't the only ones in the class.

I have one fearless child who will do anything. This is not a photo of her. She had done this tons of times, but refused once she saw the camera. This was the first time he jumped to catch the bar that was just out of reach. He made it and was able to swing back and forth. 

After the excitement of jumping to catch the bar, it was back to the balance beam. Each class they learn an independent skill and a challenge skill. They get to play with balls and bubbles before closing circle. There is always music playing and even after not attending for 9 months they still remembered how much fun it was. This is quickly becoming a Summer tradition for us to attend.

Monday, July 2, 2012


Like all kids, mine love going outside to play. We tend to have exceptionally hot Summers here so we are only able to play outside in the mornings. We have many local parks, though the one within walking distance doesn't have any shade. In the Summer, we explore other parks that offer ways to stay cool.


Grandma bought these outfits. Technically the outfit sweet daughter is wearing she bought the year before, but it took awhile to grow into it. Charming son couldn't figure out why in the world I would want him to help hold the flag up when she clearly had already done it.

This is part of a huge park. It's almost impossible to get photos of my kids without others in it, so there's only one photo. They love climbing the mountain and going up and down everything possible. This playground is part of a large park that we go to fairly often. It has an off road bike trail that my husband enjoys. It also has some basic hiking paths so we can wander through the woods to find a pond with ducks when the playground gets too crowded.


We have two splash parks within a very short drive from our house. This is the closest one. While there's no shade on the water or playground side, the water is cold and they have a blast.

What are some ways you stay cool outside in the hot Summer months?