Adventures of the Non-Creative Mom

November 29, 2011

Imagination Play With Felt

My daughter had so much fun with our Go Away, Big Green Monster felt activity I started thinking of other felt activities we could do.  I bought this big black sheet of felt and used some of my husband’s velcro tape to attach it to our cabinet doors and it also made for easy removal.  Then I dug out all the little scrap pieces left over from past projects and started cutting various shapes that my daughter could use to create pictures with (she loves it when they do this on Blues Clues and Team Umizoomi).  It worked out really well and she actually really got into it and it turned into a good activity for her to practice using her scissors as well.

Once we had all our shapes cut out she quickly went to work putting together different pictures.

She was explaining how this was the main who lived in the orange house and had a red shed in the backyard.

I didn’t get any pictures but we recently had a play date and my daughter and her friend were both having a blast making pictures on her felt board.

November 28, 2011

Christmas Gift Deals

Filed under: Savings — by dsuzuki @ 10:31 am

I have to admit I’ve been spending way more time on online shopping then doing activities with my daughter BUT I have come across some great deals you might want to check out.

Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics (Scholastic Storybook Treasures) (Thinpak Packaging) Was $99 but is now $37.99!

Planet Earth: The Complete BBC Series Was $79.98 but is now $42.99

Get a year long subscription to National Geographic Little Kids PLUS 3 Reader Series books for just $15!  Available today only!  My 4 year old loves these magazines.

Free Shipping today only at Disney Store

pj pals Disney PJ Pals only $8 Shipped!

The Disney Store is offering Free Shipping all day today!

You can get PJ Pals for only $8 Shipped!!

Plus, you can use the coupon code: CYBER to save:

25% off of $125
20% off of $100
15% off of $75
10% off of $50

Go through ShopAtHome and get  10% cash back added to your account!

Thanks, Couponers United

Tag Reader-We got one last Christmas and love it!

You can score a great deal on Leapfrog Tag Readers again right now! These sold out quickly last time they went this low.

Just head over to Walmart where the Leapfrog Tag is priced at $20 with .97 shipping.

You can also get the purple for the for the same price!

Thanks Frugal Coupon Living!

Pillow Pets-Got one for my daughter last Christmas and she loves it

The deal on Pillow Pets is back again. I posted this a few days ago and many styles are out of stock now but there is still a lot to choose from.

You can either:

Go through Target.com where the Pillow Pets are $19.99- Buy One Get One Free ! If you only need one pillow pet this year, that second one would make a great donation to Toys 4 Tots!  Shipping is $6 unless you have a Target redcard and then it is free.

*Make sure to look for the 18 inch pets and look for the ones that say Buy One Get One Free directly under the image.  You will need to scroll down to see the ones mostly in stock.

You can also check Amazon here for more deals.  They have single Pillow Pets starting at $10 and shipping is free with a $25 order.

Just make sure to look for 18in size.

Thanks My Frugal Adventures

Rockabye Chairs-I’d love to get one for my kids but $65 is still a little too steep for me

Oh I know some of you Mom’s are going to be super excited about this one!  Through tomorrow at 6pm PST you can snag FREE shipping on everything at Totsy!  Just enter code TGIVING at checkout.  I see a bunch of great sales, but my favorite are the Rockabye rockers.  I’ve heard other people rave about the quality and duration of these rockers – it also helps that they are absolutely adorable!  They normally retail for $139.99, but Totsy has them for $65.
Last time they had these guys they sold out super fast, so be sure to head on over here to check them out before the selection gets picked over!
(Thanks Mommy Savers!)

Step 2 Kitchen Set-We’ve had ours for about 2 years and the kids still love it

I just love these little kitchen sets – aren’t they cute?  I mentioned yesterday that I thought Kohl’s had a pretty great deal on this set, but it looks like Walmart has bested them yet again!  For just $59.54 you can have this adorable set shipped right to your front door step.  Even better, pay about an extra $10 and you could score this kitchen plus 101 pieces of play food for just $69 shipped.  That seems like an excellent deal, especially when you consider Amazon has it listed for $84.90 without the addition of the play food.
Head on over here and enter “Step2 Lifestyle Fresh Accents Kitchen” in to the search bar to find these two sets fast.

(Thanks The Thrifty Couple!)

November 20, 2011

Eye droppers, colors & snow flakes

Kaitlyn enjoyed this color mixing experiment so much she’s been begging to do more color activities.   So this time I decided to try out using an ice cube tray and threw in an eye dropper to help with her motor skills.  I added food coloring to come of the cubes and clear water in others and then let her go at the mixing.

It took a few tries to get the hang of the eye dropper but she eventually got it and had a ton of fun mixing up colors.

She made such beautiful colors it seemed a shame to waste them so I tore apart a piece of paper towel and let her drop the different colors on the paper towel and watch how they spread and mixed with each other.

Then I cut up a few snow flakes for her (yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve had to cut snow flakes so they aren’t the prettiest but she was satisfied) 🙂 and she colored those and wanted to hang them up in our play room.

November 15, 2011

November is Picture Book Month-Our Picks

November is Picture Book Month so I just wanted to mention some of the recent favorite books of my 4 year old daughter.  I also have some links of some picture book activities we have done so far at the bottom of the post.

Kaitlyn’s Favorites:

Jan Thomas

I couldn’t pick just one because she has really enjoyed the three books I’ve already brought home for her.  My 16 month really enjoys them as well as he likes looking at the pictures and watching my daughter and I act out parts of the book.  The ones we have read and love so far are:

 

From Beach Lane Books

Another author favorite is Mo Willems. We read a Mo Willems book at least every other day and usually more often.  Even my 16 month old gets into it and cracks everyone up because he just loves saying “aaachooo!” after reading Pigs Make Me Sneeze so often.  Our favorite Piggie & Gerald books are:

 

From Hyperion Book CH

Our latest finds are the Eileen Christelow Five Little Monkey Books.  I picked up Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed at the latest NCIBA conference and it was so cute.  My daughter loves it and I have to admit I may even enjoy reading it a tad more than she does.  She immediately wanted to read more about the monkeys and I had to do enter a slew of library book requests for more of them.  Another fun one that is perfect for helping with counting is Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping.  This book has us laughing out loud and we had to read it several times in a row.

From Clarion Books

Past favorites have been:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury from Little Simon

Check out our activity for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

 

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis from Harper Collins.

Because we all know how much kids love cardboard boxes.

 

Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley from Little, Brown and Company.

Helping kids overcome their fear of monsters.  Activity posted here.

 

Press Here by Herve Tullet from Chronicle Books

Press Here Activity

Other Book Related Activities:

November 11, 2011

Mailbox for letters to Santa & fine motor skills

Filed under: Arts and Crafts,Motor skills — by dsuzuki @ 6:33 am
Tags: , ,

My son has just started getting into this shape sorter toy:

He has the circle down pretty well but is still having a hard time with the other shapes.  So I decided to try taking a step back and try something a little simpler.  I had this spare box and decided to make a “mailbox” for the kids to play with.  I cut a rectangular hole in the top and another one on the bottom front so things would fall out after they dropped them in the top slot.

My daughter decorated it and we labeled it “Letters for Santa”.

Since we had the markers already out I gave a few to my son and showed him how to drop them in.

He had a blast with it.  I’ve also tried giving him some of the linkin log sticks and some of my daughter’s flash cards to drop in.  The cards were the hardest for him and he didn’t seem to enjoy that as much without the heavy thunk and seeing the pens and sticks rolling out the bottom so we went back to the markers and sticks.  Surprisingly my daughter really got into it too.

So this activity seemed like a success and my son definitely got the idea of dropping things in the slot.  I will continue to let him play with the shape sorter but hopefully having this as well will help keep down the level of frustration for him.

November 10, 2011

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Filed under: Arts and Crafts,DIY — by dsuzuki @ 10:21 pm
Tags: , ,

Can you believe Christmas stuff has been in the stores since before Halloween?  Well, I finally decided why not just jump straight into it since money is tight and I wanted to give the kids something new to do.  I pulled out some left over boxes and Christmas wrapping paper I had bought on clearance last year and decided to try my hand at making a cardboard house.

While I was working on this the kids had a blast with some of the packing materials from the paper shredder box my parents had bought.  My daughter made these “bumper cars” for herself and her brother and even utilized some Halloween masks a friend had given us.

I covered up the boxes with some wrapping paper to give it a festive look.  Made some window frames, some Christmas presents and snowmen.

Finally the kids dove in and had a blast.

November 6, 2011

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen + Activity

Filed under: Books — by dsuzuki @ 11:42 pm
Tags: , , ,

Who says kids activities have to be fancy?  I always see such great preschool activities around the web that look like they were professionally staged and designed and shake my head thinking I will never be able to do something that nice.  Then days like this reminds me that kids don’t really care how perfectly done something is as long as they are having fun.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is one of Kaitlyn’s favorite books.  It follows a family who is going on a bear hunt on a beautiful day and they’re not scared.  Along the way they encounter all sorts of obstacles like tall wavy grass, deep, cold river, thick, oozy mud, etc.  They can’t go over it, can’t go under it gotta go through it.  And finally they find their bear which leads to a hilarious backwards trip towards home.  The illustrations and rhythm of the story are catchy and easy for parents and kids alike to memorize and read along together.

Over the weekend it got pretty nippy so the kids were stuck inside and getting a little antsy.  I didn’t have anything planned but I decided to fly by the seat of my pants and throw together a going on a bear hunt course for Kaitlyn.  First I had some green bubble wrap left over from a gift to create something rustly as she walked through the “tall, wavy grass”.

Then I threw one of our blue comforters on the ground to be the “deep, cold river” that she “splashed” through.

I couldn’t find anything brownish so I used one of our sitting pillows as the mud since at least it was squishy walking over it and she actually really liked it.

Then she went through the dark forest.  Again I didn’t feel like venturing outside to get sticks or anything so used some paper towel tubes and other random brown tubes to be the forest.  I at least attempted to make a tree top on one and used our “it’s a girl” flower to be some flowers in the forest. lol.

I skipped the snow storm since we were running out of space and I had no inspiration for what to use as a snowstorm so we headed on to the cave to find the bear…

Then came the really fun part as we ran back through the course and up the stair out of the play room for the running into the house part and then up another stair into our entry way for the running upstairs part and finally we hid under Kaitlyn’s blankie as we pretended to be in bed and deciding we’re not going on a bear hunt again.  But of course she had so much fun we had to do it all over again.  lol.

So yes, it was pretty ghetto and spur of the moment but she had a blast and that’s all that matters to me.

November 4, 2011

Sounding out letters

I was fortunate to have scored an awesome deal on a National Geographic Little Kids subscription awhile back for just $5 (these deals seem to come around quite often so I would keep an eye out if you want one) and it was totally worth it.  My 4 year old loves the little magazines and will sit there with me until we have gone through every page.  They are filled with lots of interesting information like her favorite one right now is about glaciers and icebergs.  There are also cards that you can tear out that show a picture of an animal and the flip side has some facts about the animal written on them.  It’s amazing how much of this information they retain.

She’s also been learning her zoophonics and really getting into sounding out words so there’s the perfect activity where they show pictures of various items and write out the word but is missing the first letter.  She has been improving on this activity and mostly has a hard time figuring out what starts with a “k” vs a “c”.

We were sitting in the play room the other night and she starts pulling out random items from the cabinet where I store things I want to use in future craft activities and wanted me to make something for her.  I was exhausted from days of non-stop meetings at work so I threw together this not so impressive egg carton game for her.

I was initially thinking she could find small things that started with each letter and put them in the carton but quickly found that most of the stuff in our play room was much too large to fit in the carton.  Despite that I was surprised by how much she enjoyed this activity. She had so much fun running around trying to find an item that started with each letter like:

Her bean bag chair “L”adybug

A “F”rog toy

A “T”urtle and “N” was a hard one but she finally came up with…

Her “N”ose!

After she found something that started with each letter in the egg carton we went through again and this time tried to find something that was the same color as the letters in the carton.  She found yellow star stickers, green wheels, a blue book, etc.

I’m thinking when I have more time I may print out pictures of animals and have her sort those based on the first letter or take her outside and have her find things out there to match up with the letters.  There is an endless list of possibilities and as long as she’s having fun why not.  At least it’s a free form of entertainment that keeps her away from the TV!

November 2, 2011

Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley + Felt Activity

We borrowed this book countless numbers of times from the library and I finally got tired of having to request it and having my daughter ask every day if it had arrived yet so I bought a copy for her.  It’s a great book for those with little ones that are afraid of monsters which my daughter has started lately during bed time.  Each page has a die cut of a different feature of the monster’s face until you built the entire face and then you start telling the scraggly purple hair, sharp white teeth, etc to go away until you finally send the entire monster away and tell it to not come back “until I say so!”.  Kaitlyn loves reading it and it never fails to gain a giggle.  Still we were having trouble with her fear of monsters at night so I was debating what could I do to help.

I came across this post on Pinterest that had a pattern for making your own cut out of the big green monster and thought it would be a great activity for Kaitlyn.  Fortunately I had left over pieces of felt from when I made her turtle and hedgehog pillows that I could use for this activity.  It worked out great!  She had so much fun putting together the face.

Then she made the face go away:

And then we had some fun building our own monster faces with freckles, necklaces, red hair, drooling purple mouth, etc. and telling all of them to go away.

This was a wonderful activity that kept her busy and let her use her imagination to create whatever she wanted over and over with no waste unlike stickers or gluing scraps of paper together.  I’ve stored the pieces in a baggie to pull out for her.  In fact I think it would make a great busy bag to take to a restaurant or other places that I need to keep her occupied.

The best part was at bed time we went over if she thought she saw any monsters what was she supposed to do?  Tell them to go away and don’t come back!  Actually acting out the book added this whole new level of depth to the concept and seemed to sink in for her.