Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coloring With Wet Chalk


Do your kids ever forget to pick up their sidewalk chalk? Have they ever left the pieces out overnight only to discover that they have been rained on? Don't fret! Wet side walk chalk is tons of fun to color with.

Your chalk takes on a totally different color...

 ...and texture.
It becomes smoother and silkier and it glides across the drive way like hot butter. In fact it is a lot more like painting than coloring.

So the next time your children accidentally leave their chalk out in the rain, relax! Go out and enjoy your wet chalk!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out Door Sensory Table: Dish Washing Station

I love practical life activities. I think children enjoy it too. My kids love to pretend to be mommy by joining in cooking and cleaning. They love to help in the yard, they love to wipe windows. I wish I loved these things as much as they do!

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Today I set up a dish washing station in our outdoor sensory table. I filled one bin with soapy water and one with fresh clean water and at the end of the table I gave them a drying rack. I filled the tub of soapy water with plastic dishes and sponges.

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Birdy jumped right in and began scrubbing, placing each washed dish in the drying rack. Bug took a different approach. He stacked all the sponges up as high as they could go in the drying rack, then splashed away in the water. I found these two plastic containers with built in colanders. They use to hold pasta. (I keep finding myself buying products based on what container they come in.) Bug carefully filled each container with water and then watched it all sprinkle out.

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This is a terrible shot of the water sprinkling out. So hard to get those action shots!

Both kids had a bunch of fun with this table. I think next I'll let them do the laundry!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Baby Play Friday: Climbing the Walls

I remember when Bug first learned how to walk. We were all so proud, but it wasn't long before he was climbing everything.

This mom has a creative solution...Let em!

Check out this awesome indoor climbing area that Growing Together has created for her 14 month old! Bug would have had a blast!



I saddens me to say that this will be the end of Baby Play Friday. It has come time to focus on other things. If you are looking for baby play ideas you can click here for all of post in this series. Thank you to every one who linked up and please keep playing with those babies!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Five Senses Garden: Sense of Touch

When I was envisioning the five senses garden and I thought about what we might do for the sense of touch, I had in mind plants with fun textures. Maybe some that were waxy and some that were smooth.
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What I did not envision was snails. But that is what happened. Slugs and snails are not something that a gardener looks forward to seeing in their beds. They eat your plants. But for the children, these slimy guys were just about the best toys they could find. I decided that as long as they were rounding them up and getting them away from the tomatoes, then it was just fine with me.
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This mint tin was the snails "bathtub" according to Birdy.
When you garden with kids you have to let go of the idea of perfection. You want it to be a place where they can connect with nature. You want it to be a place they can explore and touch and feel and smell and see and hear new and exciting things.
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Birdy is using our loose parts to create a snail house for the garden.
Include loose parts for your children to play with and manipulate. Don't insist on perfection and perfect order, or your kids will lose interest fast. And most importantly, don't let them see you squirm. Worms and snails are all a part of nature. Let them get familiar. Let them get up close. Let them get their hands dirty (and their arms slimy!)

If you are gardening with your children, link up and share! This link will be up for a whole year, so what ever your growing season, you will have a chance to participate!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Make Cascarones! (Confetti Eggs)

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I know I am getting this post up late with Easter just a day away! I just wanted to share these cute little cascarones or confetti eggs that we made for Easter. I had been collecting the egg shells for a while now. You can blow them out, but I am not for wasting and my kids all like to eat the yokes of the eggs whole, so I just cracked the tippy tops off of the eggs when I was cooking them, then washed out the shells and let them dry. I gathered the rest of our materials which included square pieces of tissue paper, confetti, paintbrushes and white glue mixed with water.

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We took each egg shell and filled them with confetti. I got our confetti at the dollar store.
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Then we covered the whole with tissue paper and painted the glue on to the paper. The girls covered their whole egg with tissue paper and painted the glue on top of the paper.
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Once her whole egg was wet with glue, Birdy decided to roll it around in the confetti. That is the fun part of crafting with kids, they always come up with a new take on the project. I love seeing what they decide to do to mix it up.
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Once your glue dries you will have fun colorful eggs full of confetti to  crack over someones head! Happy Easter!

Baby Play Friday: Let's Paint!


People tend to shy away from painting with babies and toddlers. It's messy, they don't always keep it on the paper, they try to eat it. But if you give them the opportunity to get accustomed to the materials, babies love to paint. It is a great example of that cause and effect that babies and toddlers are fascinated with.

So I loved seeing this post by The Three Bears Get Crafty. You can just see the little wheels turning as he dips his porcupine balls in to the paint. And I love that it is all over the place! The great thing about babies is they are totally washable!




What have your babies been up to? Do you have a baby or toddler post to share? Link up with Baby Play Friday! Any baby and toddler posts are welcome. And don't forget to grab a button from the side bar!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Play for All Abilities Park

Did you know that your preschooler should be getting 90 to 120 minutes of gross motor activity daily? Unfortunately study after study is showing that children are spending less and less time outdoors than ever before. In an effort to make a dent in that 120 minutes, we have started a new segment here at Casa de Sense of Wonder. We will be touring the parks in our area and reviewing them. Our goal is to try and explore 15 playgrounds, parks, nature trails, splash pads, and state parks and review them here for you. We will visit each park, and I will tell you what the favorite parts were, what parts we weren't so impressed with, and then I will give them a rating. Each park will have a chance to earn 4 out of 4 stars.

The first park we reviewed was the new Play for All Abilities Park in Round Rock. This park was amazing! The city of Round Rock recognized that with 1 in 10 people having a disability(physical or mental) there was a need to provide a place where all people could play and interact. This park is designed to be accessible to children with all manners of special needs, while remaining fun and challenging for the most active and able bodied.

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The park is divided into "pods" or sections which are intended to focus on developing certain skills. There is a Life Skills area set up to look like a city block. It has a hospital, fire station, grocery store, construction zone, school, garage, and house.
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Bring your tricycle or scooter and ride the streets of this "city" which is car free but full of real life street signs and traffic lights.

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In the Sensory Pod there are way too many fun areas including the sand pit which may have been my kids favorite. There was a sand table too, which is wheel chair accessible.
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There is also a water table in the Sensory pod as well as this fun contraption below. The bed of this table is on rollers so if you sit on it you can use your arms to propel yourself across. It is perfect for children who may not be able to use their legs, but also tons of fun for my kids who dragged themselves back and forth along the rollers for the longest time.
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The Retreat Pod was designed to be secluded from the rest of the park and the  business of the other pods. It is quiet and relaxing. The activities are spread out and not crowded together. It is a great place to escape if your child is easily over stimulated. This swing that you see below is in the Retreat Pod. I watched as a boy was lifted from his wheel chair and placed on the disk. He laid on his back as his caregiver slowly pushed him. Many children who have physical disabilities can go there whole lives with out being able to do something so simple as swing, because playgrounds simply aren't set up for them.

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My children loved this play ground. It was fun and challenging. Bugs favorite part aside from the sand pit was the All Abilities Playscape, which he didn't want to leave at all. He could have climbed all day.
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The only Pod that wasn't a huge hit was the Rock Band Pod. A huge amphitheater like stage was set up with musical stations which could have been a lot better. Maybe I have just seen too many out door music walls in my blog explorations, but this one just didn't hold there attention. There was so much else to hold there attention that it was just fine. We give the Play for All Abilities Park 4 stars!



If you would like to find playgrounds and parks in your area, just use the simple playspace finder tool here at KaBoom!

And stay tuned for more playground and park reviews!