Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More car wash and cone and tube people

Good clean fun.
Travis using a tiny straw to blow off the foam soap.
Demi decided to wash cars, table, hands, arms, and tummy.

I wrote about our cone people the other day on the homeschool group. That got me thinking about how we haven't made any lately so we (Travis and Demi) made a bunch up. I took pictures but now I can't find them so I will post them another day. Here is a picture of some cone and tube people we made a long time ago. Now that Travis is older and a little better with fine motor skills we add construction paper clothing, yarn hair, ribbons, buttons and such to decorate them. I am sure you get the idea. I will find the pictures soon I hope. I guess if I don't find the pictures we will just have to make more.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Car wash.

Demi got tired of school today but she didn't want to play alone. Zehira was fussy and Travis needed a lot of help with most of his school work. Demi kept yelling to go potty. I would take her then 2 minutes later she yelled to go again. I couldn't stop this crazy cycle of I don't understand this question mommy, cries from baby, and potty please! This went on for about 30 minutes. It was as if my children thought making mommy run in circles was a fun game to play. I got tired of the game and I told Demi that she was a good girl and all done with potty for now. Two minutes later I heard mommy take me potty please! I asked her to please wait a minute so I could help Travis with a problem and she said NO my car is dirty and needs to be cleaned now. Only after hearing her saying that was I able to figure out what she was up to. She was finding all the little toy cars in the playroom and taking one at a time to the bathroom so after she went potty she could wash them. I was so busy with all the children I never noticed we had a different car every trip to the bathroom. I have always let her take a small toy to wash when I take her to the bathroom and I let her wash the toys when she washes her hands. I look at it as good way to kill germs on the favorite toys and remind Demi to go to the potty every few hours. I realized she wasn't trying to make me run around she was trying to wash all her cars. I helped Travis with his question then I tossed this activity for Demi. I told her it was a car wash so she could clean her dirty cars.

I knew a tiny tray with some foam soap on it would not keep her busy for long so I picked up a couple cotton balls and Q-tips I had in a mitten kit on the table and added a small wash cloth. I took the lid from an almost empty bottle of apple juice and put some water in it. She was playing earlier with some thin craft straws so I added a few of them on the tray. I then poured her a cup of juice in a sippy cup to empty the bottle.

Demi was excited with her new activity. Travis could hear the excitement in her voice that made him look over to see what she had. He started immediately correcting the way she was washing her cars. I could see that he was VERY interested in this activity. I calmly reminded him that this is his sisters car wash and that she can wash the cars however she wants. I told him once he finished his school I would give him a car wash to wash cars if he wanted. I didn't think he would be interested in playing with a little car wash but I guess he was very interested in it. He didn't say anything but he did all of the sudden seem to understand the grammar lesson he was having so much trouble with before the carwash was set up. LOL! He finished the lesson very fast and smiled when he saw I had a tray ready for him. He took the tray over to the play table Demi was at and had fun washing his cars. Both children came up with ways to use the car wash themselves. Demi used Q-tips to add the soap on her cars. She then wet the cotton ball to wipe off the soap. The straws she used for the cars to drive along like a road or a track to an automatic car wash. Travis came up with another way to use his car wash. Travis drove his cars into the pile of foam soap on his tray. He then used the tiny straws to blow off the soap. Then he used the Q-tips to get any spots of soap that was left. I guess I put enough things on the trays because neither of them asked for anything else. Well, Demi did need a little more water but that was the only thing she asked for. They played car wash for over an hour! I was able to get the baby to sleep and because the children played quietly for so long the baby got a good nap. Life is good!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mitten madness part 5

Mitten kit #41
In/out sight word activity.

I plan not to point at the words or even say anything about the words. Travis learned to read the words in and out without me having to "teach". I think he must have seen the words so often with games like this he just picked it up. I will say lets see what is IN this mitten. Then ask Demi to take them OUT and set them on the paper near the word out. We will talk about the surprises we found IN the mitten. We will chat about IN and OUT. I will try to sound very excited as we take turns finding new stuff in the mitten. I will let you all know if it works as well as it did with Travis.

Mitten kit #42

Right and left mittens.

If the mittens go on the wrong hands the fingers show and they will get cold (I will shiver until we get it right).

Mitten kit #43
Mitten left right games.
I cut out about 20 mittens and wrote left and right on them. If you flip the left hand mitten over it says right on the other side.

First game I came up with is mitten stomp. I call it mitten stomp so it sounds fun enough for my 7 year old to join in on something he might not want to. LOL! I set all the cards out on the table and as I said right or left they would slap hands down on the correct mittens as fast as they could. Travis felt like he was playing on a game show and the hands are like a button to hit hard and fast. We laughed when we made a mistake. Each round they did correctly they would hand me that mitten so we had one less on the table. It isn't really a game because you have no winner but my children didn't seem to notice. LOL! They are having fun with it so I know they will want to do it again. I noticed Demi quickly learned her right hand from playing the game tonight but she doesn't seem to understand the other hand is her left. LOL! Second game I came up with was right and left hand mitten "twister". Demi tried to join in but she didn't understand that she should keep her hands and feet on the cards until I called out a new move to make. We all had fun and laughed. I know she will quickly get the idea if she watches her brother play another time or two.

Game three is a "treasure hunt". We lay the cards out and turn right and left following the pattern on the floor to find a treasure tonight was a small pack of m&m's hid at the end of the mitten trail.
Game 4 for right and left mittens looks like the treasure hunt but we march and call out the hands we find. Like left left to the left, right right lets go right, right right right again, left left it say left. Children like it when I do silly chants and lead the march.

Mitten kit #43
Sight word mittens.
Once Demi gets good with in and out I will add Up, down, on, and off. I will read the cards and then ask Demi to help me find a place to put them. I remember having so much fun with Travis playing games like this. With him I didn't use paper mittens I used plastic Easter eggs for the first game, but it is the same idea. Below is an example of how I will introduce them with a toy house. If the first mitten is up I will tell her it says up and let her put it someplace up. If/when we mess up we will giggle. I will be sure to make mistakes and show them to her when we play. Then she can fix my mitten that is in the wrong place.
If you are thinking you might like to do this but don't have a toy house or castle to play you can make one with a box. If you don't like that idea below is the same game only using cars.

Car on the mitten and mitten on a car.
Car off the mitten and mitten off the car.

Mitten in a car (this car opens up).
Car goes up and down a block ramp.

With Travis I also remember I used a lot of trains for doing things like this because he loved Trains. I used cars for the pictures above only because it was the first toy I saw. They are small so I can toss cars and cards all in a small bag and add them to our box of kits to play whenever we want.

A sight word game Travis LOVED playing with me was taking a sight word card set like the ones above and using our bodies and the furniture to go with it. He would call out a noun like the couch and then I would pick a card to use with it. If the card said IN I would have to try and climb IN the couch. Seeing mommy getting under the cushions on the sofa cracked him up. I would get UNDER or ON the table, pretend to climb UP the rug, and other silly things like that. He never did know he was learning he always thought it was just silly play. I will play this with Demi soon. I am getting excited about it now that I am remembering all the fun we had with this. Children don't need to read to play this game this is a game you can play with a baby to learn the words in and on. When I do this I will read the cards and maybe Demi will like it so much she might learn the words on the cards when we play together just from playing so much and I won't have to "teach" her. I will let you know how it goes.

Mitten kit #45
Mitten bowling.
Toss a snowball at the mittens.

I took a large soda pop box and cut out 10 rectangles
I used children's scissors to make a score line one inch from the bottom.

I made a fold on the line so they would stand up.
For me the way above is very quick so I picked that one but if you don't like making folds for the stands you could cut little strips and add a slit to stand them up (like the old paper dolls stands).Adding a strip with a staple and a bend also works (picture frame style).

I stapled mittens on the front and added a ball we had. You can make them with normal looking pins or any other thing you can think of. I put numbers on my pins for us to put back in number order but you could put words, letters, shapes, or other things on it them. For an older child you can put the hard to learn multiplication facts on the pins and only have him answer the ones he doesn't knock down. Put the answers on the back for him to check. I find with Travis games like this can make memory work fun and he doesn't notice that school can be hard.

Guess I am not the best bowler. I left 3 pins standing. At least I know it works. LOL!
Later tonight Travis took a roll of newsprint paper (it's like a roll of wrapping paper) and rolled it out to make a lane for his game. LOL! He drew a square at the end for all the pins to set inside of. I should have taken a picture but I didn't notice what he was doing. Before I noticed what was going on Demi drew on his paper and tore it some. After that Travis didn't want to play anymore.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Snow day!

We had fun playing in the snow today. I tried to get pictures of Zehira outside in the snow but I couldn't do it. to be honest she didn't seem to even notice the snow. LOL! I did take some pictures of the other two. I gave them a sled ride. I was trying to hold the baby, take pictures of them and pull the sled all at the same time. The pictures are not as good as the ones my hubby took yesterday but it was the best I could do.
Baby Z. turned 2 months old today!

Mitten madness part 4

SPECIAL NOTE. I hope you are not getting sick of seeing mittens. I hope you all understand I am using mittens because 1. They are quick to draw. 2. They are OK for boys and girls. 3. They fit into the season we are approaching. 4. They do not go with a religious holiday so anyone can use them. 5. Sticking with one thing can keep me focused better so I can share more with you of how I do things. Please don't feel you need to do things in this way. I know what works well for one child or family might not work with another.

I hope this list of stuff gives a mom ideas of things to do on a snow day. Maybe this list of mitten kits will give a mom new to homeschooling some ideas on a place to start with teaching a child or better yet maybe seeing the kits a mom will not be so tempted to spend a lot of money on teaching materials for little children. When Travis was small we spent a ton of money on educational stuff. Most of the purchases we regretted. I felt that I had to make up my own stuff to change around the thing we bought so they would work for us. After all that changing and tweaking the store bought stuff I would find myself thinking how if I would have made it all up myself in the beginning it would have been quicker and a lot cheaper than trying to get the things I bought to work for Travis . I feel that the only reading, writing and math program that will fit a child perfectly when they are little is one a parent makes up for the child. But that is just my opinion from my experience.

Many of my kits have made up have small parts. My daughter does not put things in her mouth and I am always with her. Our house has an open floor plan so she is not out of my view except for when she is sleeping. I don't want anyone to look at my daughters age and think it must be OK to give a child the stuff I do. If I had a house with walls and my child was out of my view I would not let her the things I do now. I ask her if I can wear her pretty string necklaces she makes for a few minutes if I have to leave the room to go to the bathroom or do a load of laundry. I don't want her to know this but I do it because I am worried that she is such a monkey she might get caught on something and choke.

I hope you all can see how when making this stuff it doesn't need to be a mitten. It could be a train, car, gingerbread man, stocking, doll, hearts, animals, or anything else you can think of.

I am not going to post many pictures of my children's projects because in the past I have wanted my children's crafts be done the same way other children did them. I don't want someone else to be stuck thinking that way. I think by not sharing many of my children's finished crafts you and your children can come up with your own perfect way to do them. To be honest many of ours come out crooked with upside down faces. LOL!

Last thing I wanted to say is I hope you all understand my writing. Please forgive my spelling and writing mistakes. I do have 3 children most of the time one sometimes even two are in my lap when I am typing this stuff. I am doing a lot of this very late at night and I am very tired. If I waited to share stuff until I was well rested, with no child in my arms, 2 hands free to type, and time to read over what I write to make sure it makes sense, I know I would never be able to share anything at all until my children grow up. I hope this explains my choppy, confusing, and often poorly written sentences. I am aware of how bad they are, my husband often points them out to me. I am sure that someone like my husband will come across this and be annoyed with my writing. Please either try to understand or just look at pictures and not read my words. I tried to put enough pictures up my words are not even needed. If anyone is confused with how I did something please feel free to write me my email address is

Mitten kit #31
Grammar/Geography cards
Noun mittens.
This activity is fun for younger children.
The noun cards (or even a noun list) can be used with a baby by Mommy touching the objects in a room and telling the baby what it is. Touching table and saying table, floor and saying floor, and so on. My son liked doing this with Demi when she was little. Now Demi does this with Zehira. I carry Z around the house following Demi's lead so she can "teach" her baby sister the nouns in our house (didn't want you thinking the 2 year old carries the baby lol).

By 18 months old my children LOVED noun cards. I would read the noun off a card and my children would run and touch the noun I read. We use words like table, chairs, window, floor, rug, ball, telephone and such. I call it the noun game so they learned without me teaching that things they touched all are nouns. My children thought adding words like hands, feet, arms, and such made it silly so we giggle a lot when we play this.

Around age 2 the children started picking out nouns from sentences in our story books. Asking them what words in the sentence are things they could touch helped them find them. I would make up more cards using the nouns they found in our books to add to this game. My children loved knowing they made up part of the game. We added in people and a photo album for them to touch the people when the name was read. We later added places to touch with maps.

The cards can be used for reading practice when the child is learning to read. The child can read the card and mommy runs to the object to touch.

This card set is an easy way to add geography/map work into the mix. Use a map to find places that you have on noun cards. For little ones you can take pictures of places you travel to often and make your own map (with crayons on cardboard) then put the pictures in the right places or point to them when you read the noun card. My children liked things like streets, towns, and stores for this activity. For an older child they can locate things like states, rivers, lakes, counties and such by using different maps. BTW I LOVE printing out these maps. For maps of places in my area we use websites like map quest or yahoo maps. Google Earth is another map resource we love. An atlas would also work. My son liked picking out and adding places to the list. An older child can read places on the map and write out ones he likes on a set of cards for little sister to learn about and find (works well for us).

This is a small set on regular paper cut into mittens. Our real set of noun cards are not on paper mittens. They are on thicker paper because they are something we like to use a lot. A set like the mitten one above would be perfect for people to try out and see if they like doing this type of activity.

Mitten kit #32
Tick tack toe mittens.
A simple game board made of construction paper and red and yellow mittens for game pieces.

Mitten kit #33
Writing practice mitten.
I had some dry erase writing strips (I bought a bunch back when Travis was little). You could write on card stock and cover it with clear contact paper it will work the same way. If you do that you might want to make sure it gets washed off good when the are done with it. Sometimes my children don't wipe off the marker well on contact paper then it is very hard for me to clean. When that happens I find it easier to make up a new writing set.

This kit is a mitten shape with dots to form the name on lines with a washable marker and a cotton ball to wipe off. I use a cloth for our dry erase boards most of the time but because a cotton ball was right in front of me I added it in so I didn't have to get up and get the cloths.
Mitten Kit #34
Grammar cards/Gym class
Verb mittens.

My children have always LOVED this game! It is a set of action verbs. I read them to non readers and they do the action on the card. My children add more to the list as they think of them. They LOVE seeing mommy do the silly things on the list. It is good reading practice for children who are starting to read. Just like noun cards they find new words in story books to add to the set. When you add enough cards and do it for 30+ minutes it fills in for PE.

here is a short list to get you started.
skip, hop, cry, swim, run, jump, laugh, giggle, sneeze, cough, hug, smile, bend, sit, twist, wiggle, dance, gallop ,and squirm.

My children like seeing me swim in our living room and do other silly things with this game.

Mitten kit #35
Mitten puzzle.
I like to make puzzles for my children. For Demi I always start out very simple just a few pieces. This way she can hear YAY! You did it right away. I then cut more and more pieces to make it a little harder. When it gets so hard she needs a little help putting the puzzle together I help and then she glues it on paper and decorates it. Doing it this way gives her several days of activities with just a simple puzzle.
Mitten kit #36
What happened next card set.
I think you can see it took me under a minute to draw this set. It will work just as well as the expensive card sets. The wonderful part of this set is if she destroys it I am not out any money. We also can add to it if she wants. Once she places them in order she can draw on them to add to the story.
Mitten kit #37
Just in case someone sees the kit above and can't think of any other ideas to make more simple what happened next cards here is another one I made.Mitten kit #38
A third idea for what happened next. If you look I am sure you can see that my cards could be in several different orders depending on how you tell the story. I like this set up better. Demi can tell me a story using the cards and her story might not go in the order I made the cards it will be fun for me to hear her tell them. For an extra activity I will put all the cards from all 3 sets together and have her make up a big story with them . I will also take a turn at this.
Mitten kit #39
Mittens with feelings.
It is OK to laugh! I know I am not the best artist. I will admit I didn't even try to do a good job on them. My daughter will not care. We can get a lot of use out of this silly set. I will use it with our books we have on feelings. We will use them to discuss feelings and use the cards as a game to act out feelings and talk about what makes us happy, sad, and such. My son had a hard time with understanding feelings when he was young. My daughter seems to understand them very well so that might be why I feel OK with making her a quick set like this. I think Demi will have a fun time with them.

Mitten Kit #40
Book mark mitten.
Just a piece of ribbon, a mitten, some markers to decorate and glue.

Making those 40 kits took me around 2 hours. I know they are not all pretty but they will keep my children happy, busy, learning and well behaved for a lot longer than 2 hours. I will not be sad if Demi doesn't like one of the activities. I will not even try to get her to do it. I might set it out in a place she can pick it up and check it out but I don't feel the need for her to learn or do everything I have made. She can let me know what she likes and what she doesn't. I did say this was a two hour project BUT it has taken me a way longer than 2 hours to take pictures, upload them on blogger, and write some instructions. I guess that is why I don't post a lot of things that we do. I hope to someday have a faster computer. I dream of getting a laptop and high speed Internet someday. I do have more kits made up, some others started and lots more (around 100) on paper as ideas to make up when I get more free time. I will post more soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mitten madness part 3

Mitten kit #21
Paint and sticker mittens.
I made up a large bunch of kits just like this one because my daughter LOVES stickers and we have lots of stickers around. They are so quick to put together and keep her busy for a long time. I did have to add a page of construction paper to each of the kits because she wanted to glue her mittens on something after she painted and put stickers on them. The stickers came in a large box that had many strips of stickers inside. Bought it several months ago in the dollar section at the grocery store.

I am running a bit low on paper lunch bags. I am reusing them but I have so many kits made up that need to go in bags I know I will run out with just bagging up what I have done already. Remember I promised not to buy anything so I needed to find a new idea to store them. This was I have started doing. It's just 2 sheets of paper folded a small amount around 3 sides and then added a few staples. The top is left open. The paint strip had to be folded for it to fit inside. The next set of paints I will make on shorter strips. Paint dots that run in 2 rows will fit better inside the envelopes.
Mitten kit #22
cutting practice mitten (2 year old level).
I found a mitten stamp in my son's craft box. I had to find a way to use it!
Stamped out a page of mitten rows.

Cut them into strips so my 2 year old can use her little scissors to cut them apart.
She is still using the spring loaded scissors most of the time. They open back up so she only has to squeeze to cut with them. I did see her using regular scissors to cut play dough last week so she might be able to use regular kid scissors soon. I like giving her small cuts because then she doesn't have to struggle with it.

Below is the kit. It is a paper with the lines on it, the mitten strips, scissors, and glue. I put one on the glue page so you can see the mittens hanging.

I will give her the strip of mittens and her scissors and have her cut them on the purple lines. The strips are about 1 inch across so she will only have to make 2 maybe 3 snips to cut out the mitten. A simple clothes line is on another page for her to glue her mittens on.

Mitten kit #23

I stamped out a bunch of mittens in several colors and cut some small pieces of string. Demi will match the pairs of mittens and glue them on strings

Mitten kit #24
Because I had the stamper right in front of me I put it with some 1/2 sheets of paper and a plate. All it needs is a little paint on the plate and she can stamp mittens on the papers. I like using 1/2 sheets of paper for crafts because they take up less room and work well for little ones.
Mitten kit #25
Remember how I made kit16? When I was making the circles for the snowball outline I was thinking how the cap worked well for pincher grip/fine motor skills. I had to find a way to add it into a kit for Demi. After a little thinking, I came up with a snowball stamper. I glued a cotton ball to the bottom of the cap then put it with a 1/2 sheet of blue construction paper and a paper plate. All I will need to do is give her some white paint on the plate and she can paint snowballs with it.
Mitten kit #26

I was making a bit of a large mess on the table. I needed to pick stuff up so I could keep going. when picking up I came up with this kit. He is just cotton balls, 2 tiny mittens, a Q-tip, and paper punch dots. It is all stuff that was on the table in my way.
Here is another way I made due with what I had, the stapler was not on the table but I had a roll of masking tape within reach. I used a little tape to make little envelopes for the paper dots (I tossed the little mittens in with the dots).
Mitten kit #27

Cutting practice mittens.
Another cutting exercise. Cut out mittens and strips of paper the same width of the mittens. Demi will make fringe for the mittens by cutting simple slits and using glue to attach them. I will show her how to roll them but last time I showed her that she wasn't ready to do it. Travis likes this kind of craft. If he does this on he most likely will cover all the mitten with curly cut tabs.
Mitten kit #28
You are going to know I am crazy when you look at this one. LOL! I often do crafts of this sort but I don't often share them because I feel silly. I tell people how I grab odd things from the kitchen to use for crafts so I guess this one is not all that odd. I was tossing out some of our fall stuff to make room for more winter things (school stuff). I had a set of counting cards shaped like pumpkins and a bag of pumpkin seeds for Demi to put on the cards. I don't think that is odd but I do think not being able to toss them out is! I couldn't toss them because I knew Demi loved using them. That is why I had to come up with a winter craft to use our pumpkin seeds. After a bit of thinking I came up with a pumpkin seed snowflake. You can use buttons, beads, rice, beans,or even paper punch dots.
For my 2 year old I drew 3 lines to mark the 6 points. I will have her glue the seeds on the lines. My older child he can draw his own lines or do it without lines. I had to use the ugly brown paper for this kit because I am very low on blue and I don't want to run out.

Mitten kit #29
Q-tip snowflake. OK, not very exciting but it will keep my toddler busy for a bit. I will give her 3 Q-tips and show her how to break them by bending them a few times. I then will show her this one and ask her to glue her Q-tips on a sheet of paper to make a snowflake. I doubt hers will not be even but it will keep her busy for a bit.

Mitten kit #30
Musical mittens.
I am sure you have all made the paper plate shakers before. The only thing different I did was add a string for a handle on the back and I cut out a mitten for my daughter to glue on the front. I still have pumpkin seeds in a bag so we will be putting some of them on the inside.

This is the front.
The inside.
The back side sorry it is a little dark I guess I didn't have the flash on.

We will staple all around the outside when it is done. I will tell her to put her hand palm side on the plate with string over the back of her hand and we will wave and dance to make music.