My toddler has been dumping out his snacks and I was getting frustrated. I realized, though, that this indicates a need to learn or practice something. Dry pasta sensory tub!
Lately I’ve gotten into doing surveys, product testing, and one of the sites I participate in is Smiley360 (check them out at http://bit.ly/1hCH9aW). I was given the opportunity to participate in an #AirheadsCrafts activity and was sent (for free!) a box full of awesome Airheads products to get creative with! My 9-year-old, Sami, was my (very willing) assistant.
We started off simple and made candy monster lollipops! We molded Airheads into random shapes, then used a variety of Airheads bites, Airheads Xtremes, and candy eyeballs to add the features. Super easy and they got the seal of appeal from Harrison (who laughed hysterically before taking a bite) and Jared (who said they looked like Candy Muppets).
Next, I made sweet sushi. First, I set a white Airhead (rice) on top of a green Airhead (seaweed). Then I cut an Airhead Xtreme into smaller strips for the sushi filling. I then rolled it all lengthwise, with the green Airhead on the outside, and sliced it into pieces. Strips of a red cherry Airhead became the pickled ginger, and I molded a green Airhead bite into wasabi. Sami said it was most delicious sushi she’d ever had (it was the ONLY sushi she’s ever had…).
So Mattel released a new Barbie line this summer (June 2015)…and this headline is about how Barbie can finally wear flat shoes. Cool. However, that’s not the important part. Thankfully, the Mashable article does get to the exciting stuff: “Most important, the new line includes a diverse array of dolls. In a step in the right direction, Mattel will be releasing a wide variety of models in different shapes and sizes, with 23 dolls featuring 14 different facial sculpts, eight skin tones, 18 eye colors and 23 hair colors.” My daughter can finally get a Barbie that looks a little more like her! At least with skin and hair color, anyway…we’re short folks in our house.
I never intended to be a mother. My plan was to let my siblings do the work, and I would be the aunt. Not just any aunt, by any means. The cool aunt. The one that takes the kids out to cool places, eats at the cool restaurants, listens to cool music. The aunt that is cool enough to listen to the complaints about Mom and Dad as I nod sympathetically, my nieces, nephews, and I in our solitary bubble of coolness.
Then my baby girl came along. And I thought I would be a cool mom. I tried, really (who am I kidding, I still do!). We discover diners, farmers’ markets, and hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants. We sing together in the car along with Ingrid, Adele, and the Ting-Tings. We hit up the coffee shop before school (chai for me, hot chocolate for her). We have dance parties in our kitchen (which our downstairs neighbor thankfully puts up with).
But the moment I start to think, “I might be a cool mom after all!” it happens. I sing too loudly, or make a cheesy joke, or pull a dance move that’s just a little too ridiculous (go listen to the Sleigh Bells album and see if you do better!). First comes the giggle. Then the sigh. Then the roll of the eyes. And then (how at 5 years old she’s mastered this already, I don’t know) the “Mo-o-o-o-o-om!” I’ve done it. I’ve embarrassed my kindergartener. I’m definitely not cool. To rub salt in further she adds, “Mommy, you’re acting too crazy,” as she shakes her head. Then she spins around and shows me how to really dance cool. Apparently, it involves lots of spinning and posing and hands thrown in the air. Preferably with pink sunglasses and a twirly skirt.
And that’s when I realize. I don’t care about being a cool mom. I’m her mom. And she’s cool enough for us both.
My 8-year-old suffers from chronic boredom, or so she would have me believe. To fight that today, we created our own light “table” from materials around the house:
- A clear tub with a lid (ours was from IKEA)
- Aluminum foil
- A couple sheets of white paper
- A string of white Christmas lights
First, we taped the two sheets of paper together and taped them to the inside of the lid
Next we lined the tub with aluminum foil, shiny side facing into the tub (we need reflection!).
We put the lights inside the tub, with enough cord hanging out to reach an outlet.
If you want to get real fancy, you can drill/cut a hole for the cord to come out through in the bottom of the tub. We, however, just put the lid on enough that it was basically closed, but the cord still hung out.
Time to experiment! What materials around the house are transparent, or semitransparent? My 8-year-old was surprised how many of her baby brother’s plastic bath toys seemed to glow when placed on the light surface. She then got the great idea to see what plastic lightsabers would look like.
What else can you use on a light table?
Transparent Lego/Duplo blocks, dry erase markers to write letters and words, finger paint (you may need a larger tub to provide more space), thin slices of colorful agate, cut out paper shapes and make shadow puppets, use eye droppers with colored water…so many possiblities!
My son was born in May, so my maternity leave gets to be spent not only with him but also with my 8-year-old daughter. Harrison and Sammi have very different ability levels, obviously, so finding ways to keep organized, maintain sanity, and still have a fun summer is the goal.
Check out our summer control center:
I found some great printables on Pinterest to help give some slight structure to our days while still allowing for flexibility.
The week activity schedule came from Somewhat Simple, and helps us plan simple activities that fit a daily theme.
The “BORED” chart came from Modern Parents Messy Kids, and is where I send Sammi when she whines the phrase, “I’m booooooored!” Since the chart lists earning money as an option, I also hung a paper in which my husband and I list extra chores that Sammi can do to earn money. These are in addition to her daily and weekly responsibilities that she doesn’t get paid for.
Here’s to a great summer!
If you are a teacher, I highly recommend liking the Facebook page of Redleaf Press. Every Friday they post a “Freebie Friday” question, and by answering you are entered into a random drawing for a free book. I was lucky enough to win, and chose the book Ants in Their Pants: Teaching Children Who Must Move to Learn by Aerial Cross. I’ll post a full review once I’ve read the whole thing, but just from flipping through it I’ve seen so many great, practical ideas that I will be able to implement in my classroom, as well as with my own daughter.