All Toys are NOT created equal!

14425482_1091074100930546_8235252893850052979_o.jpg

All Toys are NOT created equal! Open ended toys like manipulatives provide the greatest opportunity for learning. Manipulatives are things that can be “manipulated”, like legos, blocks, magnets. One of my favorites, that my children still use after 9 years, is “Tall Stackers Pegs Building Sets”. They have built so many variations of structures I couldn’t possibly count! ***Make sure to like our page or follow the blog to receive constant tips and ideas for learning at home

Free stuff on the side of the road…

bike.pngDon’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I have abundance and can buy whatever I want, but don’t think for a minute I won’t drive by and pick up something free off the side of the road… especially things my children can use (like plastic slides, bicycles, kitchens, sleds, snow boards). And it’s because I believe in abundance that I will. I believe in recycling. It’s not because I can’t go buy it new, but in the larger scheme I now have decreased production of one more thing that will end up in a landfill. And when I am done, I leave it on the side of the road at my house for someone else. And every time someone takes it. It is like a recycling community. And if I have extra I drop it off at a local preschool in the inner city, especially bicycles I find. Children outgrow these things so fast and products are often like new. I even share clothes with friends, hand me up, hand me down. And because of this all of my children have a full closet of beautiful, like new clothes. Some bought, some recycled. I have NO SHAME in it. If more of us lived in this mindset our landfills would be less full, and more of us would understand the law of abundance. ‪#‎share‬ ‪#‎abundance‬ ‪#‎recycle #freestuff‬

My water table was one of the best $100 investments!

water.jpg

Water play is such a wonderful sensory and stimulating activity for any age! Children love the water, any kind; rain, baths, sprinklers, lakes, oceans, snow, puddles. It is part of our world and part of us. My water table was one of the best $100 investments I ever made. I started with the small blue one in the link below, then transitioned to the larger when my oldest turned 4. At 9, 7, and 6 they still find different ways to play with it. We use measuring cups, bottles, bowls, and any other type of plastics we can find. Plastic can go a long way! They love anything that can pour or shoot water (like the medicine dispensers from CVS). Often they put the water table on the ground, fill it, sit in it, dump to make a stream to lay in, pretend it’s a pool or boat, and more. We also mix up the activities with bubbles, food coloring, utensils, buckets, and water guns. Water tables are worth every penny!! Just set it up in the driveway full of plastics. A hose and clean recyclables host hours of fun.

The two water tables I purchased:

http://www.environments.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=1540&keyword=water%20table&scategoryid=0&CategorySearch=&Brand=&Price=

http://www.environments.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=1539&keyword=red%20water%20table&scategoryid=0&CategorySearch=&Brand=&Price=

Children’s books are not just for reading…

20160126_190357

We often forget the library is one of the greatest places to explore and learn for a child. A library is full of adventures! Each story contains a new one. Even before a child reads this is important. Children’s imaginations soar as they look at the beautiful colors and artistic creations on each page of a book. Mine often create and make up their own stories. This is the basis of reading and language. I never pushed or focused on the words until developmentally reading became important. My children love to go, and have the same excitement as going to the toy store, every time. For the last 8 years (yes, as soon as my oldest turned 1) I’ve tried to take my children once a week. We leave with a bag full of books. Each one of my children flipped through the pages and immersed themselves in the images before they could read. Reading isn’t the only purpose of a story, or the story itself. Now my 9 year old leaves with a stack of her own Chapter books, and reads at least an hour every night before bed. It is one of my greatest successes as a mother. Every night I read one story to each child (of course we miss nights, and now this time has become “chat” time with my oldest instead) but it has become a transition to dreamland which studies are finding aid in proper sleep and development… The library is a place of wonder and mystery, held in the page of every book. Give that gift to your children. “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” ― Frederick Douglass

Children need boundaries.

20150803_171915

Children need boundaries. It provides not only a sense of security but teaches them where they fit in the world. Children learn boundaries by what we do.  When they are small, they are dependent on us to survive. We feed them, pick them up, help them dress and wash, herd them when we are in a rush, buckle, on and on. But at some point this must change. Many children with behavioral problems suffer because they do not understand healthy boundaries. They hit, take others things, do not want to share, do not follow rules, etc. Even though true autonomy is a slow transition as a child grows, teaching a child he/she is responsible should happen as soon as they understand they are separate from you. This empowers them to make choices and realize what we do matters. We often forget to teach a child that he/she is the boss of his/her own body, and that they are ultimately in control of what happens to them.