October 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
The weather was WILD today.
Each time I thought I’d see about making a run to the shops for groceries, before I’d even finished the thought the rain would come lashing down again.
So I was actually really grateful that the boys asked (asked! of their own accord!) to do some making. They wanted to make clay hands to go on top of jars, like they’d just seen Mister Maker make. I couldn’t get that set up for them unfortunately as we didn’t quite have enough time, but we DID have their clay dragons to paint, plus a few other bits. So we got the paints out, the dried models, brushes and water, and started painting. I had fun. I got to paint some of my bits!
It wasn’t long before all the bits were painted but they wanted to keep painting. So I brought out some big pieces of paper (thank goodness I’d thought to cut several pieces last time we did some painting!) and set them out. Bean’s painting has really changed over the past year. He asked to do foot painting but we can’t really do that at Grandma and Grandad’s house just before lunch!
Once they’d had enough of painting it was lunchtime but the creativity didn’t stop there. Bear wanted playdough, and Bean wanted to make something with eggboxes so out came the eggboxes and scissors and glue.
Pompoms were required and the tin that holds the pompoms is full of little cut squares of coloured tissue paper – perfect for some colourful sensory craft!
I had fun decoupaging a jar and a vase, Bean decoupaged the Turtle he’d made out of pieces of eggbox, and Bear had a tissue paper confetti explosion when he dropped a cupcake case full of tissue squares.
Diggers were requisitioned to come and scoop up all the tissue paper which brought a whole different avenue of play to explore! All in all, a messy explosion of colourful creativity.
Even the tidy up operation gave great pleasure to the boys – they found toys they thought they’d lost!
June 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
Oh what a glorious day! Here is our way of delaying the boys’ demands to watch more TV. I’d seen this idea floating around, of making holes in a bottle and using it as a paddling pool toy so I got Steve to drill holes in one for me. And it was the only toy we needed! Bear couldn’t cope with Bean’s exuberance to begin with so they had to take turns in the pool (Bear seems to have some issues with water which we’re dealing with slowly) but it wasn’t very long before they had figured out a way of playing together to make them both laugh.
And it’s supposed to be just as glorious tomorrow! I don’t think we’ll be going much farther than the back garden again tomorrow 🙂
May 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
We go to Creation Station on a Thursday morning, which normally means that the boys aren’t interested in any more painting for the rest of the day. However today they were both looking at the paper mache balloons which have been drying on top of the piano (we have started making some big planets) and I remembered the polystyrene balls that were in the box waiting to be painted – and Bean decided that yes he would LOVE to paint them!
Thankfully we’d had a miraculously early dinner, and had some time to spare before bedtime so we got the paints out. It’s not often Bean is interested in painting actual things, so it was an opportunity not to miss. Bear was properly happy. He could hardly wait! He has grown in confidence at Creation Station and knows where everything is now, and really looks forward to painting and getting creative and messy! (Here’s hoping that he does just as well tomorrow when I’m starting work there – he’ll have all morning to wander around and get involved as little or as much as he wants, let’s hope he copes!)
So: Bean painted his planets. At our Wednesday home-ed group they showed us how to stick the poly balls onto wooden skewers and poke the skewers into the bottom of a vegetable tray so that the balls could be painted and dry without touching anything. Genius!
While he painted his planets, Bear had a large caterpillar to paint and LOVED it.
I used masking tape to see if we could create some stripes in the painting, while helping keep the caterpillar steady on the table. Very handy that the colours we were using for the planets were good colours to start the caterpillar off with!
A happy manic half hour, and my craving to do painting with boys at home has been satisfied for now. Hopefully we’ll either get more into the swing of going to a different group every day or we’ll figure out where to pare things down soon before we all get far too tired!
April 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
I made some olbas scented purple sensory rice the other week when we all had colds, thinking it would be a nice calm activity for us.
Honestly I didn’t dare get it out, knowing my two’s love of spreading this everywhere!
Today, the sun shone so I took it outside. That was a Good Plan! The Bear was interested in it for a while, preferring hands to pick it up with rather than the scoop, but enjoyed tranferring it between a few of the different containers.
Then I found a digger and a baking tray (which lives in the garden for some reason) and he had a go at scooping with the digger. (Still preferred his fists!)
This was too much for the Bean who wanted a go too! He’d been digging in the digging patch, making soil castles.
He played happily, scattering the rice everywhere, and then learnt how to use the dustpan and brush when he realised that keeping the rice on the sheet meant he could play longer.
I’m thinking I need a sand tray or something for the rice playtime, something they can sit in, and I can line it with a sheet to collect all the rice up with afterwards…!
Good fun though, and even more so because they were outdoors getting fresh air as well. Do your children play with sensory rice? What kind of things do you get up to?
March 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
We made an Easter Ressurection Garden today, inspired by Sun Hats and Wellie Boots’ Easter Garden.
Bear was asleep in the wrap on his daddy – it was the perfect moment for some Mama and Bean time.
A growing tray (didn’t have any food trays to hand)
A plastic cup, cut in half
Skewers and wire ties
Found treasures from last year’s digging
A tiny fushia plant (it was reduced at the store and begged to be bought!)
Following Sun Hats and Wellie Boots’ instructions, we filled the tray with compost. Bean used his hands for this until he decided it might be useful to try a scoop. He tried using one half of the plastic cup but it was too flimsy. He thought a spoon might be better, which it was.
Then we put the plastic cup in place and covered it with more compost to make a tomb in a hill.
Once the hill was done we made the crosses. I’d already cut them to the right lengths, but Bean found it quite fiddly tying the pieces together – so did I, but we managed together! Bean poked the skewer crosses into place behind the tomb.
We planted the fushia off to one side, used bits of our found treasures (pebbles, a couple of old dead (and dried) geranium trunks, a shell, broken tiles and crockery and a couple of pieces of dulled broken glass) to make a path and scenery.
Then Bean sprinkled cress seeds over the hill, round the bases of the crosses, and around our scenery. We were careful not to get any in the tomb or on the path! Finally very very carefully we took turns at dribbling water onto the soil and seeds and the plant so that the soil over the plastic cup didn’t wash away.
The Easter Garden will get one of Bean’s big stones to seal the tomb on Good Friday, and on Easter Day we will roll it away again.
You don’t have to plant cress or a shrubbery 😉 I did because I couldn’t help myself (!), and have got some leafy salad seeds to plant too for once Easter is over so we can carry on growing things!
SH&WB has some great suggested Easter reading too. We might attempt to actually make it to the Library this week and see if we can borrow some books!
March 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s not often the boys need an emergency bath after dinner but there is only so much a wet cloth can remove. Sticky rice and gloopy sauce beat me last night.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the boys so delighted to have a bath! Bean declared they were Sea-Dinosaurs and they raared and roared their way through bathtime. Loudly! Brilliant 😀
February 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
It’s only taken 30 years but I finally know how to go to sleep.
Don’t laugh – it’s been a big problem! My insomnia hasn’t been as bad as some people’s I know, but it’s been enough to be a bother. Lying awake in the dark, listening to my husband snoring, wondering when I’d simply switch off and wondering why I could never consciously find the switch myself.
Until I had my children! And no it’s not sleep deprivation exhausting me, either! When Bean was two, or thereabouts, I tried to teach him how to fall asleep by himself. It was one of the best lessons we ever gave him. He doesn’t use it very often but it’s the most useful one when it’s needed. I taught him to close his eyes, and listen to his breathing. And I would sit holding his hand or resting my arm on his back, and we would breathe together. Sometimes I’d sing. A lot of the time I’d play Twinkle Twinkle to him on my iPhone (the version by Fredrika Stahl is our favourite), and I’d sing along. And he would relax, and fall asleep so quickly.
He has been for sleepovers at his friends’ houses since turning three, and they often report back that he will say he’s going to sleep, lie down, and be asleep within seconds – and doesn’t stir til morning. I’m yet to experience this for myself 😉 Only once has this deviated from the norm, around 5am one morning my friend say she’d woken up to find Bean snoring gently beside her – he’d made his own way into their bed in the night 🙂
Bear is still at the stage where he wants helping to sleep, whether that’s a boob in his mouth lying in my arms, a snuggle in the wrap, or a hypnotic ride in the car (the car thing has taken him a while to accept – completely unlike his brother who was used to it within a few weeks. Bear took a lot longer and really put us off long-distance journies for a while.). But that’s ok. Today he listened when I suggested he close his eyes for a bit while he was in the wrap. Small steps, I’m not pushing him. He’s not at the stage where I can tell him it’s bedtime so he should go to sleep and expect him to – especially if he’s slept extra during the day, like today!
So how have I learned to go to sleep?
I lie in bed with my babies either side of me, cradling their heads as they nurse to sleep themselves. And no matter what kind of a day we’ve had, whether it’s been a great day, a busy day, an exhausting day, a stressful day or a sad day, once they are snuggled in to me peacefully I can’t help but feel gratitude, thankfulness, and love.
Gratitude for the gift my babies are. Thankful that we have had the day together. Thankful that they are with me on this earth. (That one, particularly much at the moment.) Thankful for their being, for their characters, for what I am learning. And love. Rising up from inside, such love for my babies, no matter how much they have tested me during the day. Lying there with them dissolves my frustrations and I suspect it dissolves much of theirs too.
And I have nothing to do except be there with them. I listen to their breathing deepen. I listen to their contented little suckling noises. I feel their hair tickle my face, and bat their wandering hands away. And I fall asleep. Every. Single. Time.
Stillness, gratitude, thankfulness, and love: a perfect recipe for falling asleep!