Thursday, August 30, 2012

Invitation to Blow Bubbles

This set-up was part of the girls' joint birthday party that we had the other day .  We filled the sandbox with homemade bubble solution (corn syrup helps the bubbles to not pop as easily).

The bubbles kept some of the kids busy while others played the one and only party game  (more about that later!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Spray Away Chalk Letters

We use spray bottles a lot around our house.  Most often we use them to help de-tangle and de-frizz our curly haired girls.  (we also use them to spray out wrinkles because we hate to iron!)

One problem though...spray bottles are just too fun.  It's hard for little girls to resist spraying them all around the house.

The last time one of them gave the playroom floor a good soaking and caused the other one to slip and go flying I inwardly vowed that I was going to find some fun outlets for spray bottle spray that wouldn't make me grumpy.
For our first non-grumpy spray bottle activity, I tried a simple literacy idea.  G is often better at telling me the sounds that a letter makes than remembering its name.

So for a little review, I wrote out the letters of the alphabet in chalk on our back patio and gave the girls each a spray bottle. When it was their turn, I named a letter and their job was to find and spray it away.  We went back and forth until all the letters were erased.

 Simple, fun, and no grumpy mom at the end= what I was shooting for.

Do you have any more spray bottle ideas for us that fit this equation?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Travel Game: I Spy Treasure Bags

Well, we're back.  We lived a crazy three weeks visiting lots of relatives and friends up North, and now we're settling back in to our daily routine.  When I planned this trip I originally had all kinds of good intentions for making busy bags and learning activities to make the time pass like these magnetic puzzles or these fun marble maze bags.

But when it came right down to it, after all the packing and last minute errands I only ended up with about 15 minutes to spare for that kind of thing.  I tried to make the most of it, and in the end, I think we got very good mileage (no pun intended) for the time and effort spent.

I Spy Treasure Bags

First, I brainstormed to come up with a list of things that we were likely to see on our trip but that weren't too common.  Things like:

a moving train
a barn with a silo
a suspension bridge
a car-carrying truck
45 speed limit sign
a school bus
something that said the word "Tennessee" on it

Then I did quick google image searches to find a picture for each item.  I printed off a large size of each picture and pasted them onto lunch bags.  I put treats inside of each bag.

I also cut and pasted all of the images in smaller version onto a single document.  I gave one paper to each girl to refer to as she looked out the window.  If she spotted one of the items she let us know and I found the bag with that picture on it.  Inside of each bag was a set of surprise treats for everyone.  Some of the bags had food treats (fruit leather, granola bars, etc).  Other bags had little toys or books.  

Since we were going to be on the road for almost three days straight, I waited until the second day to introduce the I Spy Bags.  It took the girls longer to spot the items that I thought it might, which ended up being just fine.  It spread the treats out over two days, and until the last item was spotted they always had something they could do.  

I think they noticed a lot more scenery than they might have otherwise, and learned a few things along the way.  (now they know what a suspension bridge is, for example!)

What other fun travel games or tips for road trips with kids have you tried or heard of lately?  On our next road trip, little J will likely be old enough to get restless and we'll have THREE fidgety kids on our hands!