Friday, January 29, 2016

Watercolor Heart Art for Toddlers

Hello all!
Bug and I decided that we wanted to try using watercolors! It was the first time using real paint for him (I've only ever let him paint with edible paint made from yogurt and food coloring since he loves to stick everything in his mouth). I couldn't find any regular paper in my house, but I did find tissue paper so we went with it. Since the weather has been so lovely here lately, we chose to do this project outside, which was lucky because Bug ended up spilling one of our water cups. He mostly painted with just water at first, not really catching on to the paint part, but after watching me dip my brush in the water and then in the paint and seeing the different colors appear, he started trying it. We had a blast, so much so that I forgot to take any pictures during the fun! But I guess it's better to live in the moment then worry about recording it. Anyway, here was our final product:

It may not make it to any art museums, but we sure did have fun! As you can see there are some tears that happened, which is to be expected with a toddler wielding the brush with tissue paper. As Valentine's Day is just around the corner, I had an idea to take our masterpiece and turn it into Valentine's decorations! Once the paint dried, I fold the paper in half, then in half again, and one more time in half. I then used the old symmetrical heart cutting trick.

After cutting out two sections of hearts I folded the paper in half again so that I could cut out some smaller hearts.

I ended up with a mess of fun, colorful hearts! 

Which I then used to add to my front door decor.

So while this craft wasn't just for my son (I did most of the work in the end), it was a fun way for me to incorporate something that we made together into something I could use to decorate my house! And now every time I walk through my front door I think of our fun painting adventure. 

Now that I've shared our fun, what are some fun Valentine's activities that you plan to do with your little ones? 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Felt Christmas tree fun

I love this time of year! I have been seeing so many pictures of everyone's Christmas trees and I can't wait to go cut ours this weekend! Last year was Bug's first Christmas but he was too little to really appreciate it. At 16 months, he's more excited about the fun decorations and tasty treats.
I am a little concerned about the tree. He's at the stage where he likes to take things apart or down. For example, one of his favorite activities it taking all the alphabet magnets off the fridge and throwing them around the kitchen. I don't mind so much with the magnets but I'm not sure I want that happening with the ornaments on the tree. I have a feeling that our gate we use to keep him corralled in the living room will be moved to protect our tinsel and bulbs.
While I will have him help decorate the tree, I wanted to make him something that he would have free range over. The solution: felt! I made Wiley a felt picture of  jack-o-lanterns around Halloween but there were too many small pieces and he wasn't really into it (though the kids at library story time loved it!). I wanted to make him a felt tree with ornaments that he could put up and take down as he pleased and I wanted to make it big (well, in toddler proportions). I got lucky and found felt cutouts of snowflakes and Christmas shapes (tree, star, ornament, etc) at Target in the dollar section, which saved me the hassle of making them. Then I bought a 36"x36" piece of green felt from Amazon for the tree. And voila, a toddler Christmas tree! 
At first he just pulled all the 'ornaments' off and threw some at me. Then he would put one on the tree, look at it, then tear it down. Then he'd put two up and repeat the process. It was pretty cute. While I don't think this will stop him from wanting to tear down our real tree, at least he can have some fun with this one without hearing the word no or giving me a heart attack that the whole thing is going to topple down on his head.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rainy day toddler fun

So it's raining (well sprinkling) which is great for dry Nevada! We sure do need it! But bug is feeling pretty stir crazy being inside all day (we did go to the library this morning but that's just not enough for this wild kid). I would bundle him up and let him go for it outside but I think he might be getting sick and would rather not chance it. So instead we make inside as fun as outside! Or at least close ;) We just took the couch cushions and pillows and made a big pillow pit!
He's now having me toss him into the pile over and over and over and over again. What a fun rainy day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mental math guess my number

It's math time! Here is a game I play with one I tutor and also a variation of it to practice mental math. Guess my number is a great game to have in your teaching arsenal. All you need is a hundreds chart.

 I had one in my favorites on my starboard (cheaper version of a smart board) so I could pull it up quickly when there was a free moment in class and I needed a time filler. So to play you (or whoever is running the game, I'd usually start and then whichever student won let them take over) have to have a number in your head. Then students take turns guessing. They can guess specific numbers (such as 2 or 67) or they can ask any question that can be answered with a yes or no (such as is it an odd number). Before we played the first time, we brain stormed all the different questions we could ask. Here are some examples: even or odd, greater than or less than, place value (is there a 2 in the tens place?), perimeter. As they guess I cross out any numbers guessed to help us keep track. Pretty easy, right? My students always loved it and it was simple and got the kids thinking. We even dove into what question could you ask that would knock out the most numbers? If I remember correctly, asking if it was a two digit number when it wasn't took out the most numbers. 
I have used this game now with the boy I tutor but I changed it a little to help him practice his mental math. Instead of me being in charge, he was. He picked a number (and whispered it to his cousin in case he forgot) and then I started asking questions. However my questions were a little different. I asked him mental math question like, is it 20+4? What about ten less than 67? Could it be 5+4? Usually he complains when we do math but since it was a game it was fun! And after a while he started to get really quick!
That's it! Hope I helped you learn a new way to use one of my favorite tools in our math toolbox, the hundreds chart!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What to do with those cute, monthly baby pics

So I did the Pinterest thing and took pictures of my son each month until his first birthday.

See, isn't he cute! (By the way, this is my favorite chair. It was my mom's and Chris had it recovered for me for Christmas.) I love being able to see how much he's grown each month with each of these pictures. Of course I shared them on the Facebook so all my friends and family could see how adorable my little man is, however I wanted to put them up somewhere in my home too. I searched for a picture frame that had twelve spots but I couldn't find one I really liked or didn't cost a fortune. But a friend of mine did this super cute bunting banner with pictures of her son at each month for his birthday party (crazy- she and I had our babies on the same day in the same hospital!). Well it inspired me to do something similar with my photos. Here was the end result:

Way cheaper than the frames I was looking at and cuter too! All I did was use some jute and these tiny clothespins I found at the Walmart. Easy peasy! Hooray for creative, cheap solutions!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Domino math games

This summer I did some one-on-one tutoring. During that time, I came up with lots of games, trying to make it fun and hands on since math during the summer isn't every kid's dream. I tried to incorporate lots of different manipulatives, and dominoes are a great one. They are good for practicing subtizing and can be used for plenty of math fact games. Here are a few games that involved dominoes:

Make Ten Dominoes

It's the same as the basic domino game except instead of matching the same number together, you match together numbers that make ten. For example, if I had a six I could put a four next to it. This could be done for any number that you want to work on for math facts actually.

I Found, You Found

For this one, we picked a number to work on, such as 7. Then I would find a domino that added to 7, like 6 and 1. Then she would find one, like 3 and 4. I would try to make sure we say the pairs aloud too, I found 6 and 1 which makes 7, what can you find?

Domino Parking

I used a white board but this could be drawn or typed on paper too. I made squares with numbers 3-10 (any number range that you want to be working on would do) and then we 'parked' the dominoes in the correct place. For example, if I had a domino with 2 and 2 on it, I parked it in the four square.

How do you use dominoes for math?

Friday, May 11, 2012

a glimpse at where I work

Here is a quick video of some of the staff and trainees at the place I work, Open Doors Centre. Please don't judge my video making skills, ha ha. Enjoy!