Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, No!

Unfortunately, my laptop is broken, so I will be without a computer for awhile until I can afford to get it fixed or get an new one.  So if you happen to stop by, I'm so sorry that I won't be able to post for some time.  Please stay awhile and look over my archives or search my blog for ideas on encouraging curiosity and creative thinking in your children! 

Take Care!

Jen

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Swagbucks, anyone?

Search & Win
This post doesn't have much to do with being creative or curious, although I was curious about swagbucks and so I joined.  And I'm curious if any of you have joined?  If so, what cool things have you purchased with your swagbucks?  Also, if you are curious like me- check out swagbucks here and if you join guess what- i get more swagbucks!  This is all new to me, so we'll see how I do with it.  From what I understand, you can earn swagbucks from using their search engine.  I usually use google, but I'm going to try it out.  I love freebies! 


Let me know you thoughts.


Jen

Disclosure- I wasn't given anything to write this post, although I can earn swagbucks if I refer my readers. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

p''''']]]]]]]]]]]]\ (First Ever Blog Post!)

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Little Man's first blog post
Age- 7 months
Date: August 5th, 2010

Don't believe me? See for yourself!  :0



























Little Stinker got at my computer when I turned my back for a second!  Made me laugh when I saw typing on the screen and even a title, too!  I'm impressed. 

Hope you got a little chuckle this morning! Enjoy your weekend!

Jen

Friday, August 13, 2010

Try Something NEW- Grocery Shopping With Kids


Often I'm grocery shopping with all three kids, which some would say is just about as crazy as it can get. So to help the kids have a little fun while we were out during our last trip, I told them that they can search around the produce section for something brand new to try. They loved this idea! It was a good opportunity for them to do some reading as they were searching as well.

So what do you think they picked? I thought that they might pick out something exotic or different like a star fruit or a pomegranate. They chose....

A COCONUT AND A ....












A GRAPEFRUIT.



Now I need to figure out how to get into that coconut! A new experience for Momma, too. There are so many opportunities for learning in the super market. Since they were tots, my girls loved weighing the produce for me. I'd have to lift them up to read the scale and then we would talk about how much the apples weighed and how much they would cost, etc.

Here are a couple of ideas for super market learning:
Preschoolers- go on a letter hunt. Find fruits and veges that begin with A- apples apricot asparagus, etc
Grade school kiddos-
Have child weigh items and try to estimate the cost of the fruit or vege based on the weight. Bananas are 49cents a lb. The bunch weighs 2 lbs. How much will the bananas cost?
Estimation with Addition- let your child estimate different products as you put them in the cart. The cookies are 1.89, so we'll round up to $2 and the milk is $3.30, so we'll round down to $3. About how much did we spend so far? 2 + 3 = 5. Around $5.


GREAT POSTS
Learning on the Go: Games for the Grocery Store
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Grocery_Store_Reading/


Learning Adventures in the Grocery Store
http://homeschooling.about.com/od/preschool/tp/pregrocerystore.htm


How to Make Grocery Shoppping fun for kids
http://kidsactivities.suite101.com/article.cfm/how-to-make-grocery-shopping-fun-for-kids

GREAT BOOKS
Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z (Harcourt Brace Big Book)
Eating the Alphabet-Fruits and Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert
Great for Preschool learning or any age, really. Fun and bright picture book!

Supermarket
I haven't read Supermarket by Kathleen Krull, but I wanted to share it, because it looks like it would be great for learning.
Synopsis: Explains modern supermarkets and how they work, discussing how they organize, display, and keep track of the items they sell.


And if your child picks out a coconut..... the book-
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.



Before going to the Supermarket- Kid activities:
-Cut coupons (fine motor)
-Make a shopping list (beginning writing)
-Look over ads and discuss prices.


After Shopping:
-Play store with pretend food to practice beginning money or more advanced $ skills for older children.
-Have kids help sort groceries into categories- by letter, by color, by dry, frozen, etc.


Happy Shopping!
Jen

Shared over at....
KFF





Thursday, August 12, 2010

Last Chance- Enter My Wii Game Giveaway!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my Wii Jumpstart Get Moving Family Fitness Giveaway!  Fun game for the whole family or to give as a gift! If you haven't done so already, be sure to stop by today and enter.

Enter Here- Wii Jumpstart Get Moving

Jen

ps.
Any family fun giveaways that you'd like to link up?  Add your giveaways below!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Little Man in the Box

LM's big sisters have been playing with boxes this week (see post), so
I couldn't resist letting LM have some fun, too!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
For more, visit 5 minutes for mom.
Feel free to link up here as well.  Glad to have you!

Jen

The Baby Times! 16th Edition: Newspaper Play


Welcome back to The Baby Times! I hope that you are enjoying this weekly post. 

Oh no! Mom caught me!!
Newspaper play? You might be wondering why in the world I would let my child play with newspaper. Well,Little Man discovered it the other day and was having so much fun exploring.  Not the best thing to be playing with, but a neat sensory activity for touch and sound.  Just be sure that baby doesn't use his sense of taste and take a bite!  My suggestion would be to crunch some newpaper at your baby's feet and let them kick away.  Take a peek a Little Man in the video and see how much fun he is having with his new discovery!


video

Enjoy your day playing with baby!
Jen

Looking for past editions? The Baby Times!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Silly, Silly, Silly Bands!!

Are you sitting there as you watch this newest fad - kicking yourself and asking, "Hey,why in the world didn't I think of that?" Well, if your kids are part of this craze, we might as well use this opportunity for learning.  I've noticed a few posts around the web focusing on just that- learning with silly bands.  My daughter was doing her own creative thinking with silly bands this morning.

Sunshine: Mom, did you know that every silly band has more than one thing in it? 
Me: Oh, yeah. What do you mean?
Sunshine: Well, look at this moose.  If I stretch it this way, then it becomes an alligator.
Me: Cool,your right and so creative.
Sunshine: Look at this one mom, if I turn it this way, it looks like a lady.

She proceeds to take off her silly bands and show me different figures in each band.  I love when she is freely creative without prompts from Momma. 


Do your children go ga ga over silly bands? Do you have any learning ideas?

How about-
sorting
counting
addition/subtraction
categories
shapes
colors

Silly Band Fun Around the Web-


Silly Bandz Game for Preschoolers-School Age Kids

Silly Bands- Storytelling

Want to make your kids smile? Buy your own silly bands for you and hubby.  We bought reptiles for mom and pirates for Dad.  Then sit down and trade with the kids! 

Enjoy your Monday!

Jen

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shapes, Shapes, and More Shapes!


My fun library find this week was Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh.  I checked it out to read to little man, because I thought that he'd enjoy the bright colors.  He's a bit young for shape recognition, but I wanted to share the book with you, because I think it would be great for toddlers and preschoolers.  If you have shape foam stickers or cut out shapes with construction paper, your child could do a quick and easy shape craft after reading or just use tangram shapes for creative play.
 
Another fun find for all ages:

Shapes, Shapes, Shapes
Go on a scavenger hunt in Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban. Look for arcs, circles, hearts, hexagons, ovals, diamonds, rectangles squares, stars, trapezoids, and triangles in this wordless picture book.   After reading, do a real life hunt in your house, backyard or around the neighborhood!


Great resources around the web:

Twiggle Magazine : literacy activities connected to the book Mouse Shapes and print-outs.

 No Time for Flash Cards :  other shape books suggestions and craft.

Have fun with shapes- there are so many possibilities for creativity and learning!
Jen

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Magic of a Box

What is it that makes a simple box so magical? Is it because there are so many possibilities? It can be whatever you want it to be! Maybe a car or a house, a puppet theater, or a bed, or a plane or a .... The list is endless.


Yesterday, I bought a vacuum. (I've been going crazy without one for weeks. Yeesh!) Sunshine was so excited when she saw the empty box, but not so thrilled when Dad was about to throw it away.


"Stop! I'm creating something with that box!"


Dad mumbled something.
Daughter whined.
Mom intervened.
Dad rolls eyes.
Child smiles.

All is happy in just a minute after I remind Dad about my philosophy regarding creative thinking! In his defense, we do have A LOT of clutter around the house, but how can I say no to a brand new BOX and it's fun for FREE.


Well, what did Sunshine do with this box-




First, she laid in it like it was a coffin with a pillow and all. I asked her if she was a vampire. What was I thinking, because then she walked around the house acting like Dracula for part of the morning! Then Peanut had to get in on the action...




Another lesson that this "box" taught Sunshine, was persistance and teamwork. She had to take all of the shiny paper off of the box before she painted it. This peeling took forever, so Mom decided to join her team and help her with this tedious job.




More Box Fun: A Blast from our past...

Sunshine- age 1

Sunshine-age 6
Peanut-age 4

Do you have any posts that focus on creative play or play with boxes?  If so, I'd love for you to link up below and show off your kiddos having fun with boxes or other items around the house!  I linked up two past posts relating to free play and creativity. 

Take Care,
Jen




Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Rock Star!

He might even be a ROCK STAR! 


For more W.W., visit 5 Minutes for Mom!

Enjoy your Wednesday!
Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Jen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Baby Times! 15th Edition: Babies and Television?

Do you ever put Sesame Street on for you baby or a Baby Einstein video?  I'll admit that I've done both for all three of my children, even though the American Pediatric Association recommends 0 television for babies under 2 years of age. 

Recently, I've read that there are studies that have shown a delay in language development for children under age 2 who watch TV and baby videos.  I have to wonder how much television is being watched for these studies.  My first child watched all of the baby Einstein videos and Sesame Street.  I also played a Raffi video to calm her when she was teething.  I would joke that Raffi music video kept Momma sane during those difficult times.  The reason why I wonder how much TV delays language development, because my first child's vocabulary was ridiculous.  She was saying words like turtle at 9 to 10 months old and actually had a vocabulary of 100 words by the time she was one.  Her doctors would tell me that she would worry the other parents in the waiting room because she was speaking full sentences at a year in a half and parents wondered if their children were developing properly.  My second child's development was similar, maybe not as extreme, but above average for sure.  Beside letting my children watch TV, though, we also sang together,danced to music, talked, read, took walks, played, etc. 

Studies have also shown that early television exposure has been associated with attention problems at age 7. Now this I've often wondered about, because my first does get distracted very easily and I've asked her teachers about it.  They never felt it was a serious issue and she continues to be a mostly A student.  Another thing to keep in mind is that ADD runs in my family, so her mild attention problems could be genetic as well.  My 2nd child doesn't appear to have any attention issues and is functioning above grade level. Again, I haven't seen the study to see how much television and how much other enriching activities are taking place in the subjects lives.

I continue to try to limit TV time for my children, but I haven't quite got to the hour of screen time recommended by the American Pediatrics for their age group and the 0 television time for the baby.  Some days are better than others.  For example, if we rent a movie on a Friday night- there's 2 hours of screen time there and then they probably watched PBS in the morning, so add on that screen time.  Often, I tend to take a happy medium when it comes to issues- not an extremest, but not lax either. 

What is your opinion about television for babies and children?  Does your baby or child watch television or do you follow the APA's recommendations? 

Take Care,
Jen

Resources:
The New York Times: No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/education/24baby.html

Health Alert- Baby TV
http://pediatrics.about.com/od/yourbabyweekbyweek/ss/baby_wk_twelve_8.htm

Have you missed any past editions of The Baby Times?
Don't fret, you can find all 15 editions here!  :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Art Zone

Here's a fun website that we found today-The Art Zone.  The girls experimented with the Brushter and enjoyed being creative with "paint." Online paint that is!  If you'd like to paint with the kids, but want to take a break from the traditional messy painting- that we love by the way, you'll have to check out Brushster. It has a lot of cool options for creating.  We still need to explore other applications on The Art Zone such as....

Faces and Places- a 2 part exploration of American folk art

Photo Op- an introduction to digital photography and image editing

Collage Machine

and more!!

Can't wait to learn more about art with the kids.  If you've been on this site or if you get a chance to check it out,(being you have sooo much time on your hands while you are parenting- lol) let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear about your experience with this website from the National Gallery of Art.

Jen

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