Monday, August 30, 2010

Finger Alphabets

This is a great way to get your children to practice writing their letters.  Set up a cookie sheet or pan with edges (shorter edges are good but you don't want a flat cookie sheet unless you have a really awesome vacuum) by placing a thin layer of cornmeal on the bottom of the pan.  Show your children how they can use their fingers to make letters or pictures, then roll up their sleeves and let them go!  If you want to try other materials such as flour, sand, or rice you can do so but cornmeal is a cheap option that works really well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kitchen Play

I understand how frustrating it can be trying to get dinner ready with little ones underfoot.  They want to know what you are doing, what that pan is for, why you're doing that, and can they help?  A great way to get them out of the kitchen while keeping them involved is to give them one or two pans with dried rice or dried beans and some kitchen utensils.  They can use the utensils to practice their measuring, make a pretend dinner, or just dig around.  If you are brave enough to give them two pans, they can scoop from one pan and pour into the other pan.  This will normally buy me enough time with my 2 1/2 year old that I can finish dinner with a shred of sanity left!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Painting Easel

I have always wanted to buy an art easel for my kids but it takes up too much space, there's a huge waste of paper, and the paint makes a mess all over the house when the little one is not supervised.  I think I have stumbled across a solution: use a window, door, or other glass pane.  Using washable paint, this will be easily cleaned.  It can be set up outside (if you are really brave you can use your own back door!).  The only expense becomes the paint and brushes which you can purchase nice jars for paint at Lakeshore Learning or Learning Palace and it will help keep the paint a little more contained.

While visiting a children's museum in Seattle I saw this idea in use and I immediately thought of going to ReStore and finding a used window at an affordable price.  It would be easy to add a base of some sort (depending on the base you find.  Also, a picture frame might work if you hung an old frame on your fence your children could use that to paint.  The frames would have to be weatherized but there are stains or sprays that make that really easy.