1. Paint a child’s palm with tempera paint.
2. Press palm into glass several times, until all paint is gone.
3. Wash hand.
4. I you feel particularly creative, you can add grass.
Voila! Instant spring flower garden!
We set out to make some of these. Is that not a fun, fun idea? For some reason, ours did not turn out so beautifully pastel. I don’t know why. But it was still a great craft! Simple and effective, and something they absolutely could do with minimal adult intervention. Perfect!
We made a whole raft of hearts, but do you know what? Printing paper with shaving cream was interesting … but short-lived. But! When we were done, there was an ENTIRE COOKIE SHEET OF SHAVING CREAM on my dining room table.
I wish I could show you all the pictures! Oh my, oh my. Terrific sensory play: the colour! the smell! (lordy, the smell, phew) the TEXTURE!!!
They tapped, they touched, they smeared, they oozed, they squeezed. They talked softly, when they talked at all, so mesmerized were they by the amazing feel.
Whee, fun! The had so much fun, completely absorbed. I was able to do an entire sink full of dishes while they were completely consumed by this activity. We are definitely going to do this again!
Yes, we will.
In the summer.
And in a pool.
With ready access to a hose.
The colour! The smell! The texture!
Valentine’s Day is coming, a scant three or so weeks away. I have gathered the supplies I need to make six of these, and that was that, or so I thought.
However, I was shopping on the weekend and found this! How adorable, and really, I think that makes a theme, don’t you? If I can get the local children’s bookstore to order in six copies for me, they’ll get those, too.
So it seems the tots are going to get not one, but TWO Valentine’s gifts this year. Lucky little so-and-so’s.
And ALSO, because for kids of daycare age Valentine’s Day is about family love, not romantic love, they also make cards to give to their parents.
Oh, and their grandparents, too. I am a big fan of grandparents, as they so routinely take in children who are too sick for daycare, but not sick enough for a parent to stay home with them. Or they keep a child home just to play. Or they pop around at a moment’s notice to collect a child whose parent is unavoidably delayed. I love grandparents.
I think all the cards for adults will be on a Monster Love theme. I’ll have to see what I can come up with. Oh, fun! I love holidays that give me a chance to come up with cute crafts that will be loved by all.
Our theme this month is Winter. What will we be doing?
A fun sensory bin, with cotton balls and plastic ice chunks, some snowflakes, a couple of polar bears and a snowman.
Coloured ice cubes for outdoor building. (We did this today. It would have been better had my ice cube tray been nice and square, like the one pictured in that link, instead of with rounded corners. Still, the kids had fun!)
Indoor skating using big wooly socks over their own socks.
Edible snowballs, made with meringue. (Easy, tasty, and fun!)
Squirt bottles of coloured water for painting the snow.
Matching games using real mis-matched mittens on an indoor clothes line
Matching games using paper mittens and stickers
Pattern-making on paper scarves
Make snowballs from white socks stuffed with rice. Toss these into baskets and through holes in a box lid.
Polar bears made from salt dough
Stick the carrot on the snowman (like pin the tail on the donkey, only with carrots and snowmen)
String snowballs (Yes, those instructions make tree ornaments, but if you use white string and add some opalescent glitter, why, you’ve made pretty snowballs to hang around your winter-themed home!)
Linked snowman garlands
Rainbow month turned out to be a lot of fun. What did we do?
Rainbow wands (shown in the slideshow yesterday), which the girls promptly began using as brooms, to sweep the floor. I am reminded of the old Nancy White song, “Daughters of Feminists”.
The first lines are:
“Daughter of feminists love to wear
Pink and white, short frilly dresses
That speak of successes
Further into the song, we get this:
“They say, ‘Please mommy, can I do the dishes?’
or ‘Let’s bake a pie for my brother!’
Are they sincere? Are they crazy?
Or are they just trying to stick it to mother?”
(The CD is no longer being made, which is a shame. Happily, I have the entire thing on my iPod!!)
We had rainbow rice in the Sensory Bin one week, and primary-coloured homemade playdough on the same table the alternating weeks. (This week is playdough week, and I am very happy to be stepping in squishy playdough bloblets rather than crunching in rice. Playdough falls and stays where it falls. Rice gets everywhere, and no dropsheet in the world stops it.) But it’s so pretty, and so fun! We do it anyway!
We brought out the Rainbow Clothespegs again. Though Grace and Jazz can manage the activity with an appropriate level of challenge, it turns out to be a bit too complicated for the two-year-olds. Today I will be making a simpler version for them. Pictures may follow.
Rainbow manicures were a big hit with Jazz and Grace. Daniel and Poppy declined, and they weren’t offered to Rosie or Josh!
Froot Loop rainbows were enjoyed by all. (No, they didn’t eat them. None of them have seen them at home, evidently, and I didn’t let on they were edible. Besides, have you ever smelled those things? It’s gross. Who’d be tempted to eat them?? Blick.) It turns out there are no blue Froot Loops. Who knew?
Actually, I know who: both Emma (19) and Adam (23) reacted with delight when they saw the box in the grocery bin. I had to warn them off: “That isn’t food. That’s a craft supply. Don’t touch it!” Now the crafting is over, they wouldn’t let me tip the rest of the box into the compost bin — with me wondering if that stuff were really organic enough to rot — but pounced on it for multi-coloured, super-sugared evening carbfests. I cringe, but they’re adults now. Bleah…
(I’m playing it up a bit, here. When the children were small, ten and under, once a week we’d buy a box of “junk cereal” to be eaten as snacks. I figured they were healthier than candy, but if we identified them as “junk”, they wouldn’t be misled into believing that those things — Froot Loops, Captain Crunch, Count Chocula, you know the type — were actually food. They got one box between the three of them, so there was careful pre-planning for the junk cereal week, pre-planning and negotiations … and Froot Loops were probably the most frequently chosen. Seeing the box after all these years probably brought back warm, fuzzy memories of their Happy Childhood. )
We painted rainbow raindrops.
We enjoyed our rainbow-maker. Chasing the rainbows as they skittered around the house was a favourite activity.
I dangled streamers in rainbow colours from my ceiling. They loved streeeetching up to touch them. We played a game in which I would call out a colour and they would race to find the nearest streamer in that colour.
We painted rainbows, fingerpainted in primary colours, and made them from construction paper.
Failing to find any in the sky, we looked up rainbows on YouTube. (Including, for my entertainment, the stoner guy, though we didn’t manage to stick with that one for the entire three minutes… Did you know there are stoner guy knock-offs on there, too? And that the stoner guy appeared on a talk show??)
There was more. I’m sure of it, but it’s not coming to me just now…
Next Friday, the last Friday of the month, we will be having a Rainbow Party. I’ve asked the parents to send their children dressed either entirely in one colour of the rainbow, or all of them! That’ll be cute. We’ll do rainbow manicures again that day, and I have face paint for those who’ll allow it. There are games planned, and for food? Well, a fruit salad, of course! In all the colours of the rainbow. We’ll shop for it the day before.
Fun, fun. This has been one of the best Novembers I’ve enjoyed in years.
November. Oh, how I hate November. My second least favourite month is March, and I dislike them for essentially the same reason: They are Eeyore months, grey, gloomy and sloooow to pass. Add damp and chilly. There may or may not be snow in November in Ottawa, but there’s certainly chilling, icy-cold rain, and endless grey, grey, grey, grey, grey.
I truly loathe November weather.
So! What does a sunny little optimist like me do when such a bleak month looms over her? She defies reality, that’s what!!
Well, now. Denial? Not really. I know it’s a stinky month. Didn’t I just say that? No, what a sunny little optimist does is create an alternative focus. Why fixate on the gloom — the gloom which is undeniably there, I know, but you don’t have to fixate on it! Why fixate on the gloom, I say again, when you can give yourself something else, something nicer, something FUN and PRETTY and COLOURFUL and FULL OF LIGHT to focus on?
November is a rotten, bleak month. Sooooo… in the daycare, we are having RAINBOW MONTH!
Four weeks of colour! Four weeks of all the colours! Four weeks of pretty! Fun! Light!
(And then doesn’t this turn out to be the sunniest November I can recall, ever. I will be astonished if we don’t break records for the hours of brilliant sunshine this month. It’s been SPECTACULAR!!! I attribute this, of course, to all the positive vibes coming from my little House of Rainbows. Of course.)
Here’s a peek at some of the activities we’ve enjoyed this month:
I’ll tell you about them in more detail, and add a couple that didn’t make it to the slide show, tomorrow.
Jazz and Grace are painting toilet roll tubes. Each of them securely bibbed, their brushes seeped in green paint. They are making Frankenstein’s monster heads, which will become napkin rings for our Halloween party later this week. Each of them has several tubes in front of her, but it is not until we reach the last tube that I realize I have provided them with an odd number of tubes.
Oops. Nine tubes for two girls, means that one girl will get to do ONE MORE tube than the other! This, as you all know, is a toddler catastrophe.
In this case, though, it has an easy fix. We’re going to be cutting the tubes in half anyway, so I’ll just cut the last one in half. Then they can each have one!
“I don’t want you to cut it in half.” Jazz, who finished her last tube before Grace, eyes the now-intact tube. Obviously, she’s working on the “first come, first served” principle, so close in mindset to the other toddler favourite, “finders, keepers”. Neener, neener to you, Grace. That’ll learn you to be so contemplative and careful, immersing yourself in the experience. Serves you right for putting quality above SPEED!
I set a long, level stare on Jazz. “Okay. I won’t cut it in half. I’ll give it to Grace. I’ll give it to Grace, and you won’t get anything. Is that okay with you, or shall I cut it in half?” My tone isn’t hostile, pushing, or sarcastic. Nor am I trying to coax or wheedle. I’m just stating facts. This is What Will Happen, missy.
Jazz recognizes Implacable when she sees it. Her eyes widen, she smiles and nods. “You can cut it in half, Mary!!”
Good on you, kid.
I am not a sentimental person. I don’t save many mementos and souvenirs. I don’t have overflowing folders of my children’s art work cluttering up my home. (And that’s a telling word, isn’t it? “Cluttering”, rather than, oh, “enriching”, or “filling me with happy memories of wonderful ages and stages”.) I rarely get weepy when a daycare child moves on.
But once in a while, I understand the urge. I get what drives it. Or perhaps this is only my version of the sentimental drive, I couldn’t say.
AKA “Fatfish”, the name carefully inscribed on the bottom of this little gem. What is it? Well, it’s a fat fish. A fat ceramic fish, made at a lovely local DIY ceramic place. What does it do? Collects dust, mostly. It’s hollow, and so too light to be a paperweight. What is it for?
GOD ONLY KNOWS. It’s a fat fish, people. Just a fat fish.
And it sits in a place of honour in my kitchen, because … because it was made for me, by one of my children. And I keep it because …
Not because it reminds me of her when she was a sweet and lovable 7-year-old. (Much like the charming and affectionate 19-y-o she now is.)
Not because I remember how she gave it to me, her blue eyes wide with love and excitement. Because I don’t remember, not at all. When did she give this to me? Was there an occasion? Was this a birthday gift? A Mother’s Day offering? Christmas? I have no idea.
No, I keep it because when I consider throwing it out … It’s as if that 7-year-old is standing right in front of me. I could no more toss this odd, sorta ugly, utterly useless fat fish than I could tear up a crayon scribble in front of the toddler who lovingly gave it to me. (Would I sneak their artwork into the recycling bin when they’re not looking? Absolutely. I do it every day, pretty near. Without a second’s hesitation, without a particle of remorse. Because I’m not sentimental.)
Throw out fatfish? It would hurt her feelings!
It wouldn’t, you know. My kids are about as sentimental as I am. “That weird old thing? You don’t need to keep it for my sake!” Because, see, she isn’t that 7-year-old any more. She doesn’t remember that seven-year-old, at least, not nearly as well as I do. She doesn’t feel the need to protect that little girl, because, for her, that little girl is ancient history. No longer exists, really.
Factually, that’s true, of course. But in my heart, that seven-year-old is alive and well … and gave me this beautifully hand-crafted piece of, er, art with all the love in her little-girl heart.
Looks like I’m stuck with the damned thing.
I couldn’t be happier.
How about you? Are you sentimental? Even if you’re not, is there a particular thing or two you couldn’t part with?
A craft featured a while back on One Pretty Thing, and a tremendous hit with the daycare! Pretty, aren’t they?
Jazz and Grace can manage to match colours. Poppy and Daniel find the mere squeezing of the clothes pegs a sufficient challenge. (First you have to squeeze the right end, then open over the card, then let go at the right moment. It’s trickier than you might think!)