Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer Sensory Bin

This has been our Summer Sensory Bin. The Beach. We have been busy reading and exploring the sand and ocean this year so I thought it would be fun to bring the beach home with us. Buga likes writing her letters in the sand with the driftwood and I love the calming sound of her sifting the sand.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mama May i Blog has moved!

I am very excited to announce that I am now hosting Mama May i Blog at my new shop website! You can follow along with all my learning through play posts at:

Friday, August 17, 2012

July Kiwi Crate

I'm a pretty crafty mama. And I do projects with my little ones a lot. As you know, if you read my blog. So when I heard of Kiwi Crate I was enthusiastic, but skeptical. A craft, to my door, once a month. But, hey...the thought of having a "present" delivered monthly was exciting. And I knew Buga would glow with excitement when a package arrived at our door with her name on it...every month. Like a magazine subscription, I thought it would be something to look forward to I am so happy I gave it a whirl. Just as I imagined, the package arrives to open, excited hands...and we both enjoy peeking inside to discover what the theme is. Yes, theme. I think this is really what holds it all together for me. Sure, I can create these little projects myself...and I do. But it takes a lot of time. And I don't always have the time available to get it together. With Kiwi Crate I don't have to. I get a free pass 1-2 times a month (if I stretch the projects out.) on a rainy, do nothing day...on a mama's-to-busy-to-think kind of's nice to know I have a go-to box filled with learning and creative fun. Who doesn't enjoy opening a mysterious package? Sometimes I hoard the past two months. We have been so busy with Summer that we haven't really had any project time - or home time for that matter. I put them in the learning closet and pulled one out this week when we needed a little something to get us through the day. It was perfect. A surprise project, even for Mama. Something we worked on together. A safari of animal fun while Boo took a nap. A little one-on-one crafting time. And memories to share.

And Kiwi Crates Past....

Wind and Motion (sometime this Spring)

Pirate Themed (February I think)

Robot Themed - August
(We just got this box yesterday. 
We did a project while Boo was sleeping then, and 
another one again today during her nap time, too.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Children's Home Art Studio

Buga is still completely enamored over her Art Studio...and there have been more art projects made since its inception than ever before -- which makes me enamored with it too. Take up precious row-home space for a children's art table, you ask? Absolutely! It's already gotten more traffic than my china cabinet ever did. It's functional space. Real estate in my home is a commodity...but, I do not regret this investment one iota. Paint. Stickers. Tape. Pens. Pencils. Crayons. Conte. Collage. Brushes. Oil pastels. Scissors. Glue. Stamps. Ink. Do a dot. Beads. Pipe cleaners. Pom poms. Gemstones. You name it. So much use. I would have LOVED something like this when I was a child....or a high school student. Who am I kidding? It still makes me giddy inside to see all those writing utensils and craft supplies at our fingertips.

1. Wooden scratching supplies, sticks, stamps, ink pad
2. Tissue squares, construction paper cutouts, paper fragments
3. Oil pastels, do-a-dot, homemade crayons, recycled crayons
4. Random paper cutouts, leftover paint swatches for collaging, wooden squares
5. Foam pieces, parts, clothespins, collage goodies
6. Stickers galore

1. Washi tape roll. I love wash tape for packaging, collaging, sticking, adhering....There are schmencils, colored pencils, smelly markers, color slicks, oil pastels, glitter glue, paints, twisty crayons, regular crayons, thin markers, thick markers, black-paper markers, glue sticks, scissors, pencils, pens, brushes
2. Beads, pipe cleaners, hole punched shapes, straw bits, popsicle sticks
3. Beeswax crayons, beads, pipe cleaner flower vase
4. Toddler Tools - large crayons, crayon chunks, and veggies to work on our "still life" drawings
Artist, hard at work. Buga and Boo have both spent SO MUCH TIME crafting, creating, playing, and imagining in this little art space. I absolutely ADORE watching their creations unfold. The unusual space above the art table is shaped like a triangle, so it was difficult to think of an easy, convenient way to turn it into an art gallery. I opted for the little wax-backed teacher clips (for now). I really want to put up picture frames to make her artwork look super special....but for now, it's been nice to easily change these pictures as she makes them (especially because the size paper she uses changes every drawing....and if I need to rearrange the wax clips to accommodate a size change it's super easy - without damaging our walls).

These are my favorites right now :) 
 The penguin up top. A monster. A Family portrait. A Horse. A Rainbow. A glimpse of her pond on black paper with gold fish. A picture of her as a flower girl. A Palm tree. A Tree.

We have made restaurant menus, party decorations, welcome signs, alphabet collages, gifts, pictures, mail, market has been the catalyst for a lot of pretend play.

If you are considering creating an artsy space in your home for your little ones to play with, I say go for it. You will be delighted by the creations they make and inspired by their creative vision. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cardboard City

Sometimes I get loads of cardboard boxes in a week...and they overflow our recycling containment area. I move and re-move them until recycling day...the girls love it. They love a box. And on this rainy afternoon I needed to figure out something to do to occupy our time.

So...we used construction paper shape cutouts to add windows and doors to the boxes to make a city. It was super easy and Buga did most of the collating and gluing. I like that it's not perfect...I think it adds character and charm. We used cars and little people to make our city come to life. Buga loved pretending with her artwork. It was beautiful to watch :-)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Train Engineer

Train tracks are like building blocks. You have to sort them, fit them, turn the, connect them, coax them, fix them, problem solve them. I was lucky enough to find some amazing Brio brand trains at Toys R Us for about 75% off...they were still expensive but I know they will be around for a loooong time and I, myself, have wanted trains since I was in elementary school and went to Hammet's Teacher Store and played with the train table. Perhaps it was an impulse but, but we, as a family, spent the afternoon today playing, connecting, and reconnecting with this amazing set. Totally worth it. Buga still wants help to play with these...not because she can't do it, because she can, but she needs some help engineering and I couldn't be happier to oblige in her request to play. They are a grow with me, play with me, learn with me classic that will meet many developmental intricacies. I can't wait until she incorporates playing with these and her blocks at the same time to create cities and houses and tunnels and archways...this is what we did before Sim City. And it's so monumentally important to have time to problem solve and play like this. Creativity at its finest.


These are the moments that melt my heart. Pretending. Exploring. Imagining. Together. 
Both my girls exploring the creativity of their own minds. So many toys and learning tools in my house - but a favorite by far, is a box. In this case it's a desk turned over and a chair. 
Can you guess what they are pretending? 
Riding a roller coaster. 
Buga has her hands up high...and Boo looks like she's holding on for dear life. 
Heart melts <3

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Alphabet Collages

When we are done with our phonics box, we look at the letter-objects and make a collage of the letter. We draw some of objects we see, add stickers of same sounding images, letter stickers, glue letters, scratch art letters, etc. Buga really enjoys this tangible. I have been putting them in an Alphabet book for her when we are done. Eventually she will have one of each letter...her own drawings...and pictures of words she can "read" for each letter of the alphabet. I write the word next to each picture and she identifies the picture and/or word to "read" it. It will help reinforce her letters, sounds, and literacy. I think it's already turning into an amazing momento of her preschool imagination, creativity, and ability. Her little drawings make me super happy to see :)

Phonetic Box

I am so excited to introduce this little phonics box. It is a work in progress. It's not so easy to find teeny things to fit in the drawers for each of the letters, but we started our collection. And little people like collections. Buga is excited to search the drawers for little miniatures to sound out. We work on one letter at a time. Pull out the drawer, match them to our sand paper letters, and bring a felt mat to the learning table. We lay the letters out and identify them. We trace the sandy texture with our fingers. We make the sound. We pull each of the items from the drawer, one item at a time, emphasizing the beginning sound. "b-b-bear". "b-b-ball". It's fun to identify the objects, take them out, and put them back into the box. Then we can move onto another letter. It's been helpful reinforcing the capital and lowercase letter combinations along with the sounds of the letters. Buga has gotten better at drawing her letters now too. And sometimes we pull the sensory bin out when we are done to practice drawing our letters in the sand or rice when we are done. You could hide the miniatures in the sensory bin too and reinforce the sounds of each object as you excavate them.

The Months of the Year

I did not make this game. I just laminated the months of the year...for our calendar. Buga, however, found them and wanted to "read" the months...and then put them in she lined them up and we talked about each month, who's birthday was when, and the season. Certainly this was a teachable moment. And she created her own little learning game.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Summer Bookshelf

Children's books have always delighted and excited me. I have many fond memories of curling up with a book while my Mom read to us. I hope this is something my children will fondly cherish as they get older. I have a collection of children's books that is consuming my house. We have cubbies here, shelves there, bookcases throughout....I try to "pair it down" every once in a while, but it never lasts long. I always find a new one that I adore add to our collection. We have a seasonal book shelf in Buga's room - picture shelves where the books are placed cover out so she can choose whichever one appeals to her most - a front facing library. I love seeing the illustrations and I love incorporating the seasonal theme into our everyday lives. Below are some of our favorites this Summer....and I will later post some art projects to go along with a couple of them.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beach Play Dough

We have been making Play Dough seasonally, which seems to work out well. We choose a different color and scent depending on what we are exploring for the season. This Summer we chose to make Yellow Play Dough with Gold Glitter and Coconut Extract (it smells like suntan lotion and the beach!) I rotate out the cookie cutters and stamps to make them seasonally appropriate as well. I also try to put out some letters to write a "word" that would fit with our theme.

You can find the Recipe here: Play Dough