Monday, January 31, 2011

Tot School ... Sort of

K is 37 months and J is 16 months
I have been pretty lame about tot school lately.  Right after the holidays, we took a trip to Disneyland, and when we came home the boys passed the stomach flu back and forth a couple of times .... so it has been a crazy month. This past week was a little better, not much organized stuff, but I did take some pictures.  One thing we did was take a trip to our local zoo.  We had some beautiful weather for a few days so we took advantage!
This was the first zoo trip we've taken where J was old enough to be interested in the animals.  He had a blast.  I ended up buying a zoo membership before we left, we had such a great time.  I'm hoping to take the kids back at least once or twice a month.
Here is K (dressed up as Iron Man) playing with our stirring sticks.  These have been one of my best finds for Tot School; K and J both like them and there's so much you can do with them.  See this post for ideas of how we've used them.
J is very into books right now, so we spend a lot of time each day reading, or he'll just pull out a book and look through it on his own. His favorite of the moment is What Do You Say? by Mandy Stanley.  It's a simple book about the sounds animals make.  He's getting really good at making animals sounds now. :)  It's funny, this was my 6 year-old's favorite book at this age, too.
One of the toys both boys have been enjoying:  Playskool Busy Gears.  This was a Christmas present for J, but K plays with it just as much!
We finally put some new batteries in our Busy Ball Popper toy, and J has been loving it.  He gets all excited and says, "Ball! Ball!" and loves to chase the balls when they pop out.
We got out our new Winter Sensory Box and the boys have been enjoying it.  You can read more about what's inside it here.
I have some fun Valentine's Day themed ideas, so hopefully next week I can get my act together!  Go to 1+1+1=1 to see lots of other tot school posts.

Family Picture Puzzle

 I made this Family Picture Puzzle for J for Christmas.  He LOVES to look at pictures of family members (this book that my mother-in-law made is one of his favorites) so I knew he'd like it.  The puzzle is this Melissa and Doug puzzle.  I found it at our local TJ Maxx store for about $7!  All I did was print pictures of each family member (including J), used the puzzle piece to trace the correct shape, cut them out, and then used Mod Podge to adhere them.  I used a coat of Mod Podge over the top of the photos, too, so they'd be a little more resistant to baby drool and such. :)  I originally saw the idea at Pink and Green Mama.  She used a rectangular shape puzzle, but I liked the idea of using the house puzzle since it's pictures of our family and we all live together in a house. :)  I made one for my nephew's first birthday, too, and it was a hit!  I think it might become my new standard gift idea for 1st birthdays.

Winter Sensory Box

 Last week I FINALLY got around to bringing out our Winter Sensory Box (or Snowy Sensory Box, as K calls it).  The filler is packing peanuts - I was going to use cotton balls, but happened to get some of these with something we had shipped to us, so decided they would make great snow.  I just have to watch the boys very carefully with them, but I always do with Sensory Boxes anyway.  It also has a soft snowman, some snowflakes, clear colored fake jewels, and some penguins that came from this Toob (we got ours at Joann's).
 Digging in!  The silver container on the right is from Christmas, and the boys like to fill it up with the "snow" or the penguins.
 K's favorite part is digging in the snow to find all the penguins.
 He had to see how the snow felt on his "piggies."
I gave him some toothpicks and let him stick the peanuts on them to make snowmen.  He did this for a while.  Then he decided his Batman toy wanted to play in the snow, too. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Batman Birthday Party

My oldest turned SIX this month (they grow too fast!) and chose to have a Batman birthday party.  I found lots of fun ideas for games here.
One game we played was "Pop the Villain."  We put a piece of candy in each balloon before blowing them up, and then my awesome, artistic dad drew "villains" on them for me.  The kids were each given a balloon they had to pop by stepping on it, sitting on it, etc., and then they could have the piece of candy inside.  The kids loved this game!
 I made an Oreo Batman cake.  The birthday boy chose the type of cake (we found the recipe here), and then I made a Batman logo stencil out of wax paper and sprinkled on yellow sprinkles.
Another one of the games was "Beat the Batcave."  My husband made our big under-the-stairs closet into a dark "batcave" using lots of black crepe paper, and then the kids had to crawl in and retrieve a "Batcave illuminator" (AKA glowstick).  They loved this and ended up just playing in the batcave for a while after the game was over.
 My son really wanted to have an obstacle course, so we set one up in the garage.  The kids had to crawl through tunnels, jump over the "mountain" (footstool), bounce on a bouncy ball, swing from the rope, and walk over the "hot lava" (kiddie pool with red streamers in it and a board going across). This was such a hit!  My hubby hung the rope from his pull-up bar, and I think it is going to be a permanent fixture in our garage from now on because the boys LOVE it!
 While waiting for all the guests to arrive, the kids decorated their own party hats with Batman stickers.  I think K was as excited for the party as A was!
 Here is A crossing the "Hot Lava."
 Singing "Happy Birthday" to my big 6 year-old (sniff, sniff) ...
 The kids playing "Vaporize the Villain" (shooting silly string at pictures of villains).  We made Batman capes for the boys to wear and take home with them - they looked so cute!  I made the capes out of felt so there was no sewing required (except sewing on the velcro in the front where the cape attached) and used Heat and Bond to iron on the Batman symbols.

All the kids at the end of the party.  It was Bat-tastic! :)
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