Friday, June 29, 2012

Stamps! Stamps! Stamps!

Oliver loves anything associated with the alphabet, so anything I can find with letters on it, we find a way to play with it.  Today was stamps.  I found these great little letter stamps in the new craft aisle in Walmart.  They were perfect.  He had his first experience with a stamp pad.  

 He tried it out on his arm...
And on his fingers...
 It was fun to watch him figure out the whole mirror image thing and having to use it upside down to get a print from it.  He really had fun.  In the end, we were having a ball and learning all at the same time!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Letter of the Week - B

Oliver has mastered the alphabet, along with letter recognition and letter sounds.  In an effort to continue his language learning, I've decided to do a "letter of the week" series with him.  Last week, letter "A", went well.  We had all sorts of printables, coloring pages, activites, etc.  This week is off to a slower start (hit a bump in the road when the printer ran out of ink!), but we are still having fun!  

 Oliver enjoys coloring with Do-A-Dot markers, so I found some great printables for the upper and lower case alphabet here.
 As he changed colors, he read the colors, sounded out the first letter and then twisted off the cap.  He is getting better at twisting and turning things and gets a kick out of the fact he can open and close things without help.  It's the little things that make his day!
 We also use Wikki Stix Alphabet Cards to "build" each letter.  You can see the "B" card on the table next to his coloring sheet.  If you have never used Wikki Stix... they are awesome!  (This is one of those things I think I like more than he does.)  I also put the card into a sheet protector and he can use dry erase markers to practice writing.
Other activities to focus on the letter "B" include finding things around the house that start with "B," building "B's" with Play-Doh, tracing letters on our chalkboard and focusing on anything "B" related throughout our day.  It's kinda fun trying to come up with all sorts of words that start with a particular letter.  Try it... at first it's hard, but you will find it gets easier as you go.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rainbow Rice

I've discovered that Pinterest is an awesome site.  There are so many amazing crafts and activities for toddlers... I want to do them all!  Sometimes I think the activities are more for me than for Oliver!  Rainbow rice and colored pasta intrigued me enough that we made some of our own!  It was fun from start to finish.  Even Calliope had some fun (not with the rice itself, but in the making of the rice).

Let me warn you... if you decide to do this, be prepared for a MESS if this is the first time you have worked with this sort of material/sensory box.  Have a broom or dustbuster handy.  You will need it.  My MIL said that I was "the best mommi" for making rainbow rice.  I told her to remind me of that in 10 years when I'm still finding rice in the corners of our playroom!  
What you need: 
-Rice: I used 2 cups per color and it was plenty
-Food coloring
-Rubbing alcohol (I used vinegar the first time and it is still stinky!)
-Ziploc baggies (I later used glass jars and they worked MUCH better)
-Pans lined with foil
-Container for the finished product
-Scoops, bowls, tubes, funnels...  

What you do:
Place 2 cups of rice in a ziploc baggie.  Add a minimum of 12 drops of food coloring (if mixing colors, use 12 drops of the color that requires more and then add the appropriate number of mixing color).  Add 2 Tbs rubbing alcohol to the baggie, zip and start mixing!  Be careful if you have finger nails as they can snag the bag.  Oliver enjoyed doing the mixing and Calliope loved the noise it made!  Mix until colors are evenly distributed.  Then empty bag onto foil lined pan to dry.  It took only about an hour for our rice to dry.

Our rice before Oliver got his hands in it...
Mixing our rainbow...
Scooping and pouring... and making a mess too!
 Some notes:  The jars below are actually alphabet pasta.  I found that the rice took the colors much faster than the pasta.  If you plan to do pasta, I recommend using airtight jars.  The longer the pasta remains in the jar, the more vibrant the colors.  We left ours overnight, shaking every once in a while.  If you leave the mixture in plastic baggies for long, the plastic will give and you will have a big mess.  If I do this again, I will definitely be using jars and not baggies.  Also, I tried vinegar the first time and it is still so smelly!  The alcohol batch is not smelly at all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Cow Says "Mooooo"

Trying to find activities that I can do with both of my littles is about to become my biggest challenge.  Oliver is 2 1/2 and Calliope is 5 months old.  This really hasn't been a problem until now.  Calliope is sitting up and interested in the world around her.  She wants to play!

Tonight we broke out the Little People and had a barnyard blast.  Oliver already knows his animals and sounds, so we were working on "where does a pig sleep?", "what does a horse eat?" and "what is a baby sheep called?".  Calliope enjoyed watching and Oliver would tell her what each animal was and make the appropriate sound.  He even shared one of his horses with her and she went to town gumming it's little head.  So sweet to see them interact with each other  :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tummy Time

Since all our Littles now go to sleep on their backs, it's super important that we have Tummy Time as often as possible.  I'll admit, we don't do it as much as we should.  Calliope gets maybe 10 minutes a day.  

She is showing off her stuff!  She is trying her hardest to get her little hands on that way cool and colorful toy in front of her... and believe it or not, she made progress!  She loves playing on the repurposed changing pad and staring into the mirror that's placed at her level.  (Maria Montesorri would be proud!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

... and this is why we do oatmeal OUTSIDE!

At least once a week, I will pull out some sensory materials... today was oatmeal!  Oliver just loves running his fingers through the soft, powdery, fluffy feeling of oats.  And as you can see, it makes a bit of a mess.  He practiced his mountain building, scooping, pouring, and of course, clapping full hands of the stuff together.  

What Am I Doing Here?

In the last couple of days, I have had 3 other mamas ask me about the activities that I do with My Littles.  It was suggested that I start a blog.  Hmmm.  I thought about doing just that many times while on maternity leave with Calliope.  So, here goes it!  I have no idea where this is going to take me or who will be reading and joining in on all the fun, but I'm sure it will be a fun experience.

The title, Zayit and Ziva, is based on the Hebrew names we have chosen for Oliver and Calliope.  To start, I will refer to My Littles as Oliver and Calliope, but if I find that this blogging thing takes off and I have others reading, I will switch to Zayit and Ziva in my posts.

Since I really have no idea what I'm doing, I'm going to start by posting a picture a day, maybe even two!  Wish me luck on my journey and enjoy!