Adventures of the Non-Creative Mom

April 27, 2013

Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems + Craft Activity

Filed under: Arts and Crafts,Books — by dsuzuki @ 10:24 pm
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Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems

All the Piggie & Gerald books get a good laugh out of our family but this is one of our favorites.  Gerald gets an ice cream cone and must decide if he is going to share it with Piggie.  He wavers back and forth until the entire cone melts and he is so sad.  Lucky for him Piggie comes along with an ice cream cone of her own and offers to share it with him to cheer him up.  It’s a hilarious story that we read over and over.

This book also lent itself to an easy craft activity for both my 2 yr old and 5 yr old.  I’m not a very good free hand drawer but I managed to cut out some ice cream cone like shapes.  We have a bunch of left over pom poms from Target dollar spot clearance sales and some other random trinkets I keep handy for projects like this.

Decorating ice cream cones 158

It was also a great way to sneak in some writing practice for my 5 yr old who dislikes writing with a passion.  She wrote the title of the book on her cone and signed it as a gift for her old preschool teacher.

Ice Cream Cone

As you can see my 2 yr old has yet to learn restraint using glue but he still had a great time.

Fun with glue

Once both kids were done we let them dry and then they took them to school to give to their of their preschool teachers.  So yes, they chose to share their ice cream. 🙂

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January 26, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle & Craft

Filed under: Arts and Crafts,Books — by dsuzuki @ 10:36 pm
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a much beloved book in our household (as you can tell by how well chewed up it is!).  It has been a favorite of both my 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son.  It’s a great book for practicing counting as the caterpillar eats his way through various numbers of foods, the bright colors are eye catching for the little ones and the little holes in each page are just fun for the kids to stick their fingers through.  It’s a book that we have read over and over and over.

Since my daughter constantly begs for crafts and experiments to do and I just happen to have a handy, empty egg carton we decided to make our own caterpillars.  I just split it down the center so each of my kids could make one.  I poked two holes in one end to stick a pipe cleaner through for the antennae and glued some googly eyes on.  Then I just let the kids at it with paint.

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You can probably see that I use whatever is available to put the paint out and I find for crafts like this the top of the egg carton makes a handy paint tray that I don’t have to worry about washing out when we’re done.  I did have to break out a tray as my 2 year old insisted on mixing all the colors together and my 5 year old wanted them separate.

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The kids were so proud of their caterpillars when they were done.

November 17, 2012

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Filed under: Arts and Crafts,Books — by dsuzuki @ 10:39 pm
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Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

I can’t recall where I heard about this book but I requested it right away from the library. Ish is such a cute story for the kiddos and both 5 yr old and 2 yr old loved it!

Ramon is a boy who loves to draw.  He draws all the time and everywhere (my kids love that he even draws while on the potty).  One day his older brother laughs at his drawing because it doesn’t look like the vase of flowers he was drying.  Ramon feels so bad that he starts to crumple up all his drawings because they don’t look “right”.  He’s about to give up drawing when he catches his little sister snagging one of his crumpled drawings and chases her into her room.  There is is stunned to find her walls plastered with his discarded drawings.  She mentions that the vase of flowers is one of her favorites and he complains that it doesn’t look like a vase though.  She tells him no but it looks vase-ish!  This revelation frees his creativity again as he embarks on an ish drawing journey.  Not only does he draw things that are fish-ish and sunset-ish but also feelings like “peace-ish” and even starts to write poem-ish poems.

By the end my kids were cracking up over all the ish drawings. It also helped when my 5 yr old would get frustrated over her own drawings I would mention they look house-ish or bird-ish and she would giggle and be okay with her drawings.  This is a wonderful book to encourage kids to keep their creative juices flowing.

November 12, 2012

Christmas Shopping-Usborne Book Suggestions

Filed under: Books — by dsuzuki @ 1:49 pm
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With my email being flooded with the Black Friday ad scans I have started thinking about what to give the kids.  A lot of my friends have mentioned how many toys their kids have and how they really don’t want to get any more toys.  So I figured why not get them some new books?  They are both educational and fun plus the Usborne books quality are so much better than most other books and have held up well from all the abuse from my 5 yr old and 2 yr old.

Here are some of the latest books that have become favorites in our house.

Big Book of Big Machines: my 5 yr old was a bit disappointed that this book didn’t have the flaps like the See Inside and Look Inside books but my 2 yr old can’t get enough of it.  He is a huge fan of construction trucks, airplanes, etc. so he loves going through this book and talking about all the machines.  There are a couple pages that fold out to show some big planes which is neat.  I’ve found my son a number of times sitting somewhere flipping through this book and “reading” it to himself.

See Inside Your Body by Katie Daynes

See Inside Your Body: this is one of my 5 yr olds favorites.  It was one of the first non-fiction books I purchased from Usborne back in May or June and we still go back to it.  The first thing that appealed to the kids were of course the flaps.  There are over 50 flaps throughout the book but the other neat thing was just learning about your body.  Each set of facing pages covered a part of the body like your muscles, your bones, your senses, etc.  You learn about what red blood cells are and how they help your body, how your brain tells your hand to swat a fly, etc.  It’s fascinating for both kids and adults and will keep you busy for a long time.

Wind-Up Pirate Ship: I earned this book a few months ago and am glad I did because I normally would not have bought it myself and it’s a wonderful book.  There is a story but the thing that my kids both loved about it was the windup toy that came with it.  There are pages throughout the book that have groves cut out so that you can wind up the boat and let it travel along the page.  One was a treasure map and the kids loved seeing where on the map their boat would stop.  Would it be in the shark pool? On a deserted island?  For those worried about losing the toy the book is designed with a plastic covering that fits around the boat and when you close the book it holds the boat in.  I’m debating getting the train wind-up book for my 2 yr old for Christmas since the kids love this book so much.

See Inside How Things Work

See Inside How Things Work: this is another book in the See Inside series that have interesting facts and a ton of flaps for the kids to lift.  The most surprising thing about this one is that my 2 yr old has taken to bringing it to me each night for bed time.  It’s listed as for 7 yr olds+ though I have found my 5 yr old enjoys them just fine.  She enjoys describing to me now how each thing works like how airplane wings help it fly or how does velcro work.

Busy Truck: this book is listed for 1 yr olds+ but my 2 yr old really enjoys it and even my 5 yr old comes and sits with us when we read it.  The truck you see on the cover is actually a thick cut out that is attached to the book by a red ribbon.  As you read the book you move the truck along and fit it onto each page like a puzzle piece.  When you get to the last page you have to flip the truck over to get it to fit into the slot and you see all things the truck has picked up along the way.  It’s a lot of fun and great for the kids manual dexterity.

Brush Your Teeth, Max and Millie: this is just one of the books in the Max & Millie series and is my kids favorite.  There’s a little clean teeth song and a catchy rhythm to brushing your teeth which my 2 yr old will sing while he brushes his teeth.

I could go on and on but then this post would just get too long 🙂  Here are links to some of our past favorites:

Farmyard Tales

The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales

That's Not My Car

That’s Not My Car…

Sophie’s Big Bed

A Baseball Story by Richard Torrey

A Baseball Story

Picture Word Lotto

Picture Word Lotto Game

September 28, 2012

What Are We Reading?

Filed under: Books — by dsuzuki @ 10:56 am
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One one of my online book club boards someone asked what are we all reading to our kiddos.  I realized we read so many awesome books that I never get to highlight since I tend to stick with the ones we have a related activity for.  Some of these other books are wonderful and favorites of my kids.  So here is what we have been reading and the kids are going crazy over.

My 5 year old is hooked on our Usborne Look Inside and See Insider series.  The Look Inside books are geared towards 3 yrs & up and the See Inside are supposed to be for 7 yrs & up but both series fascinate her.  Right now we are on the last couple pages of See Inside How Things Work.  I love these books as well because honestly a lot of it is new to me or a refresher of my long ago science and history classes.  We typically do 1-2 pages a day because there are so many lift the flaps on each page and so much information that my daughter likes to discuss.  One of the first topics was about pulleys which we spend a ton of time on because she wanted to read all the flaps, go through the pictures on each page and try and figure out for herself where the balls started and where they would end up as the pulleys and gears moved them along.

See Inside How Things Work

Up next is Look Inside Space which we had started before but my two year old had hid and we recently found it again.  My 5 yr old loves reading about the planets, solar system, rockets, etc. so we are excited to get back to this one.

Look Inside Space

My 2 year old is on a Dust Bunnies kick right now.  We started off with Rhyming Dust Bunnies which was a favorite of my daughter as well.  Since he loved it so much and we were reading it about 10 times a day I borrowed Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny! from the library to mix it up a little.  He has both books memorized and has to have it nearby at all times.  He was so upset and constantly walking around the house looking for “big, mean dust bunny” after I returned the library copy I finally bought him his own copy.

Rhyming Dust BunniesBig Mean Dust Bunny

So that’s what has been filling our reading time with the kiddos lately.

September 25, 2012

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

I don’t know about where you live but the leaves on our trees have started to change colors and that means my 5 year old is asking why.  This book is really neat as it takes you through the four seasons and you follow a boy and his mama as they go out on leaf hunts during each season. They talk about the leaves they find and what is happening as the buds change into leaves, what makes leaves green and eventually why do the leaves change color.

This had my daughter asking to do one of her favorite activities…going on a nature hunt.  This is our second time doing this and she loved it as much as she did the first time.  Instead of painting the egg carton this time my daughter colored each well a different color using crayons and then we headed out.  We were on the hunt to see what we could find in nature that fell into each of the colors and collect a sample to bring back home.

Nature Hunt

Our front yard yielded lots of the colors thanks to our rose bushes.  And our neighbor was doing yard work so we came across lots of leaves on our walk.

I just had to share a picture of the nature hunt dance my daughter also came up with on our walk.

Nature Hunt Dance

We finished up our hunt at the park.  For the second time we had no luck finding anything blue other than the sky. Never realized just how hard it could be to find blue in nature around here.

Once we had all our nature items of course she wanted to do an activity with them.  So the next day we decided to do a collage.

Collage

My two year old initially wanted to paint Kai-Lan but of course once he saw glue he had to glue leaves as well.

Gluing Leaves

And the final collage!

Nature Collage

We did a couple other leaf/nature activities with our collection that I will post in the future.  If you are looking for other leaf/nature books we also did a nature hunt back in January and read There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves.

September 17, 2012

We’re Off to Find the Witch’s House by Mr. Krieb

Filed under: Books,Holidays — by dsuzuki @ 1:04 pm
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We're Off to Find the Witch's House

It’s not quite that time of year yet and my daughter asks me every time we go into Target why are the Halloween decorations up already but she still picked this book off her shelf for reading time.  It gets pulled out each year and it never gets old.

A group of children are getting dressed up in their costumes and head out to find the witch’s house. Along the way they encounter a shirking, lurking Dracula, a ghastly ghost and a host of other frightening creatures.  Will they make it to the witch’s house or will their fears get the best of them?

The book ends with the kids reaching the witch’s house where a party is going on and the kids are playing my daughter’s favorite party game, hit the pinata!

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and we notice something new each time we read it like the first few times through I didn’t realize each child loses some part of their costume when they encounter one of the creatures.  Then in the end the “creatures” turn out to be other children in costume and they show up at the party with all the lost items.

This is the perfect book to get into the Halloween spirit with the little ones without it being too scary for them.

August 24, 2012

Dancing Raisins (Bobbing bouncing raisins)

Filed under: Books,Learning,Science Activities — by dsuzuki @ 6:51 pm
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If you saw my post yesterday about the layered liquids experiment then you know I found it in a book we got recently.  Well on the opposite page was the bobbing bouncing raisin (or as I’ve seen it called elsewhere the dancing raisin) experiment and just so happens we had a container of raisins handy.

First we started off with this small spice container and 7-Up but not much luck. I figured we needed more soda and more fizz.

Dancing Raisins

Unfortunately our only bigger glass wasn’t totally clear but we still had fun watching what happened.  I wasn’t sure what to really expect and dropping the raisins in was like dropping those alka-seltzer tablets into water.  Instant fizz.

Fizz

And then the cool reaction started as the raisins which had sank to the bottom slowly started getting covered in bubbles and next thing you know they were rising to the top and then falling back down.  The book we were using explained how the bubbles stick onto the raisin so when they rise they take the raisin with them and as the bubbles pop at the top the raisin sinks again.

Dancing

Soon the experiment turned into a game of whether or not my daughter could catch the raisin before it sank back down.  It was surprisingly hard to do it since as she stuck her fingers in the bubbles would pop and the raisins sank like a rock.  That kept my daughter amused for awhile until the soda started to lose its carbonation.

Game Play

This is the book we used and you can purchase it through my store if interested.

Big book of science things to make and do

The Usborne Big book of Science things to make and do

August 23, 2012

Layered Liquids

Filed under: Books,Learning,Science Activities — by dsuzuki @ 10:44 pm
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Have I mentioned how much I love being an Usborne Books & More consultant?  One reason is that I get to try out some amazing books because I really don’t like to sell books I haven’t read and enjoy myself.  Today my soon to be 5 year old and I busted out our new book, Big book of Science things to make and do, for our afternoon activity.  She picked out the Layered Liquids experiment.

First we had a cup full of cold water and food coloring. Note that I didn’t realize we should have been doing this in a separate cup and not the container we were going to be making layers in so after coloring the water we poured it back into the measuring cup.

Layered Liquid Water

Next came the cooking oil.  The directions just say to add 4 TBSP to the jar but I thought it would be fun for my daughter to see what would happen if you add food coloring.  It was neat seeing how it stayed in a little blob like in a lava lamp instead of mixing with the oil.  Even stirring wouldn’t get the food coloring to mix and I had her explain her observations about the difference in behavior of the food coloring in the water and oil.

Layered Liquid Oil

Then we slowly added the water to the jar (pouring it down the side of the jar) and watched as the water sank below the oil.  How cool right?  Thankfully since I’m rusty on all my science knowledge the book had a blurb explaining about the difference in density between oil and water caused the water to sink.  I did have to simplify saying that the water was just heavier even though I know it’s not the most accurate description but oh well.  You can’t really see it too well in the picture but it was also neat to see how the green food coloring we had put in the oil got sucked down into the water layer as well.

Layered Liquid mix

Finally we added some corn syrup to the bottle and watched that sink below the water and created three distinct layers. The green is the corn syrup, the black (it was supposed to be purple) is the water and the yellow is the oil.

layered liquid

After that we just played around with the mixture like stirring it up and watching them separate again.  We also tried adding more food coloring and watched as it slowly sank through the oil into the water layer.

Layered Liquid Play

Not long after this my 2 year old woke up and wanted to play as well.  It didn’t take long for the concoction to be spilled and that was that for this experiment but we had a blast.  Even when daddy came home he was watching the experiment and making suggestions on things to try out.

This is the book we used and you can purchase it through my store if interested.

Big book of science things to make and do

The Usborne Big book of Science things to make and do

August 16, 2012

Another Brother by Matthew Cordell

Filed under: Books — by dsuzuki @ 4:01 pm
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Another Brother by Matthew Cordell

I know I’ve been MIA for awhile but I was taking a killer class for my post-MLIS certificate that took up every waking hour.  But I’m back and wanted to mention this really cute book.  For anyone with more than one child this is a must read.

Life was good for Davy with doting parents who adored everything thing he did and then along came a bother…I mean brother…and then another…and then another…until he had 12 little brothers.  They followed him everywhere and wanted to do everything he did and it drove him crazy. That is until one day they developed their own interests and no longer followed him. Suddenly Davy was feeling very lonely when along came a baby sister! And she followed Davy everywhere and wanted to do everything he did which made Davy very happy.

This was an extremely cute book and I enjoyed reading it along with my daughter who is almost 5.  She has a 2 year old brother and this was the perfect book for her as she’s now dealing with her brother wanting whatever she has or wants to do whatever she’s doing.  I’ve found when she’s about to have a meltdown after fighting over chairs, books, etc. with her brother or angry because he keeps following her I just have to mention Davy.  I tell her “aren’t you glad you have just one brother and not 12 like Davy?!”  It never fails she laughs and says “Yes!”.  She’s amazingly good with her younger brother and I’m glad we read this book to help her deal with her younger brother.

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