Jul 3, 2015

'Merica Sticker Resist Print Craft

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It wouldn't be a holiday around here without our requisite print crafts would it? My boys have these adorable shirts from Little Cotton Top Apparel (you can find them on IG - @littlecottontopapparel) that say "'Merica" and they were the inspiration behind this adorable keepsake craft! Check out how cute they are!

Side note: HOW BIG IS BENTLEY NOW?!?! 10 months of adorable sweet lovebug! Can you believe it? I sure can't! This year has FLOWN.

To make our 4th of July keepsake, I gave each of the boys some white cardstock. I used foam letter stickers to spell out 'Merica on the cardstock. The letters we used had glitter on them, and provided a fantastic sensorial component to our project. Bentley had fun feeling each one, while Kingston read each letter aloud to us. (I DID explain to Kingston that America is actually spelled with an A in place of the apostrophe, and that this was just for fun. Because who doesn't like trendy sayings like, 'Merica?!) 

I provided each boy with a patriotic shade of washable paint  and they used their hands to spread the paint all over the paper. I put extra on Bentley's so that he could get the paint in the little crevices around the letters. I was so proud of him for not eating it. (B is my mouthing child. Everything is food to him!) 

When their paintings were dry, I used child safe ink in the opposite patriotic color to ink their hands and have them press them onto the paper. I love the end result! They both had a blast making it. This is the perfect last minute keepsake craft! 

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Jun 29, 2015

Bear Sees Colors Color Hunt

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We love Karma Wilson over here! She is fabulous. One of our favorite series of hers is the "Bear" series! For our Book Club Play Date this month, we read the book Bear Sees Colors and engaged in a fun gross motor color hunt outside. 

I grabbed a basket, and filled it with some of the primary colored pieces from our Green Toys My First Stacker. In the story, Bear sees red, blue, yellow, and green. Then bear sees brown: himself! So I chose the according stacker pieces and bought Kingston's very own brown bear out with us, Mr. Cuddle Wuddles. (I can't make this stuff up.)

I "hid" the stacker pieces and bear, then  I handed Kingston the basket. We started at the top of the driveway, and I asked Kingston if he remembered what color bear spied first. Then he searched all around the yard for the colored disks. 

He was incredibly engaged in finding the pieces and pointing out the colors. This is a great activity (AND book) for brushing up on colors, but for an older child who is already fluent in their colors, it is fabulous for making them aware of the colors that are present in the world around them. K quickly became very aware of which colors were present in the nature around our yard, and enjoyed pointing out and discussing them. 

K was SO excited to spy something brown. He ran right to Mr. Cuddle Wuddles and snatched him up laughing. He thought it was great that bear was outside hanging out on our color hunt!

After we completed the color hunt, K wanted to do it again (a surefire way to know that the planned activity was a success!) I hid the disks several more times!

There are so many different ways to switch up this activity too! For sibling play, you can have older children hide the colors for the younger kiddos. You could also focus on just one color and find all sorts of items of the same color all over the yard. For a true challenge, you could hide multiple objects of different colors and have your little one sort them into different baskets!

Don't forget to head over to my fellow Book Club Play Date bloggers pages to check out their posts:

Snack: Ice Cream Scoop Color Hunt Snack from Sugar Aunts
Craft: Animal Coloring from Still Playing School
Busy Bag: Bear Sees Colors Busy Bag from Craftulate
Game: Bear Sees Colors Color Hunt from House of Burke (That's US!)

Stay tuned for next month's Book Club Play Date! We will be reading Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea  

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Jun 12, 2015

Taste-Safe Kinetic Sand

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Happy Fine Motor Fridays! Kinetic sand is one of our favorite sensory and fine motor mediums to play with. We have used it since Kingston was much smaller because he was never a mouther. However, now that I have Bentley I know just what everyone means when they ask me, "Doesn't he put that in his mouth?" B puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Gross floor crud? Check. Sticks and leaves? Check. Pieces of fabric? Check. Basically he's a goat. With that being said, "taste-safe" alternatives are our new best friend. 

While baking recently, I noticed that BROWN SUGAR has the same texture, consistency, and properties as kinetic sand. And you can't beat the price comparison!! Brown sugar is also a lot safer to use around a baby or a mouthing toddler. So, I decided to test it out. Now brown sugar is something that melts when handled for too long, so I've found that the key is THE FREEZER. If you put your brown sugar in an air tight container in the freezer, it keeps well and remains cool enough to handle for quite a while! 

For our first foray into brown sugar as a kinetic sand alternative, we kept it simple. I gave Kingston a pair of plastic tongs (one of our favorite fine motor tools), and some Construction Utensils (because they are super fun!) He got right to work using the tongs to pinch small bits of brown sugar up. 

He used his hands to form the brown sugar into peaks and then used the tongs to break them apart. Brown sugar works exactly the same as kinetic sand. It is moldable, but also moves in your hands. Our entire house smelled delightfully sweet as K played!

I had Kingston roll the kinetic sand into balls and then pick them up with the tongs. He thought it was great to use the utensils to roll the balls into position and then pick them up with his "crane" (the tongs!) I love how this activity fostered pretend play, fine motor play, and sensory play all in one!

We used the pizza cutter from our Melissa & Doug Pizza Party to practice making straight lines in the brown sugar sand. You could also use a different utensil or a straw to practice letter and number drawing!

Bentley had to get in on the fun too of course! He had fun squishing and pinching the brown sugar sand and working on developing his own fine motor skills. (Side note: check out those delicious baby arms!!) And when he got a little too curious and stuck a fistful of brown sugar in his mouth? Well, I didn't have to worry quite as much!

Don't forget to check out the other awesome Fine Motor Fridays posts: 

Sorting Pom Poms from Powerful Mothering

Fine Motor Fridays Pinterest Board

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99 fine motor ideas for ages 1 to 5
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May 28, 2015

Quick As a Cricket Action Game

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It's Book Club Play Date time again! Our book this month is one of my childhood favorites: Quick As a Cricket  by Audrey Wood. Ironic that this is one of my favorite books since anyone that knows me knows that crickets are one of my least favorite living creatures, BUT this book full of comparisons and positive self messages can't be beat!

Now that the weather is FINALLY gorgeous out, it's been great to get out and run wild! We have been loving bringing our books outside to read in the sunshine. Holding your monthly Book Club Play Dates outside minimizes the mess in the house and encourages little ones to connect nature with literacy! 

Quick As a Cricket  was the perfect jumping off point for a fun action game! This book introduces a lot of different actions and emotions which are perfect to explore further with a toddler. We lay the book out on the ground and went through each page acting out the emotion or action. It was fun seeing how Kingston interpreted each one! 

Check out that awesome sad face below! 

Acting out the phrases in the story incorporated gross motor skills, and allowed K to get some of his energy out! He was running, jumping, squatting, crawling, and up and down off of the ground throughout. 

He was even able to incorporate his little brother in the activity! When we got the pages "gentle as lamb" and "nice as bunny", Bentley received lots of hugs and kisses from his big bro. It was so sweet to watch, and I was happy to see that he equates being nice and gentle with the baby! (Now if only he would remember these phrases ALL THE TIME!) 

He is a fantastic little actor, and gives a pretty mean stinkeye! His interpretation of cold and hot was pretty awesome too. He was full on shivering for "cold as a toad" and wiping his imaginary sweaty brow for "hot as a fox". 

Of course he had no problem acting out STRONG as an ox and LOUD as a lion! Quick as a Cricket would make quite the comedy show. 

This activity required NO set up at all, and was so simple to do. It also held Kingston's attention really well since HE was in charge of acting out and interpreting the actions and emotions on his own. With a larger group, you could all sit in a circle, have one adult read the story, and each child take a turn in the center of the circle acting it out! 

Make sure you check out the other posts in this month's Book Club Play Date series: 

Snack: Cricket Snack for Kids from Craftulate 
Sensory: Quick as a Cricket Sensory Play from Still Playing School 
Game: Quick as a Cricket Action Game from House of Burke (That's US!)

Stay tuned for our book next month! We will be reading Bear Sees Colors ! 

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May 16, 2015

Cooperative Sibling Play with KORXX Blocks

 (Disclosure: We were sent two sets of KORXX blocks in exchange for this post.)

Over here at House of Burke, we like to consider ourselves toy gurus. You name it, we have it. It isn't very often that we are blown away by a new product. Recently, however, we were introduced to KORXX blocks. KORXX blocks are a unique, all natural and sustainable block made out of cork. The cork itself is chemical free and safe for even the littlest kiddos to play with. This is super important to me, especially with a mouthing baby exploring.

Kingston and Bentley are really close in age, but at this point in their lives, sometimes it can seem like they are worlds away. KORXX blocks are a safe toy for both of them to enjoy together. We had a great time using them to facilitate cooperative sibling play.

Both boys were incredibly excited to dive into the blocks when we got them. They were drawn to the combination of both the colorful blocks and the all natural blocks. These blocks are super light weight, which is a dream when you have a baby involved in play. Kingston can be a little bit rough in his play. These blocks are soft, and wouldn't hurt if accidentally tossed at someone. They are also quiet! Babies can sometimes be sensitive to loud noises, so the fact that these blocks are quiet during play is a big bonus. K can even play with these while B naps without any conflict. 

We engaged in several cooperative games with the KORXX blocks. My goal was to get both boys interacting together on a common playing field. I encouraged Kingston to help me "teach" Bentley how to interactive with the blocks. 

Tower Building: 

The first simple game we played was tower building. Kingston built a tower, and then allowed Bentley to knock it down. This had them both laughing and enjoying themselves! I was also able to make it challenging for Kingston by asking him to stack a certain number of blocks, a certain color of blocks, or a specific pattern. Bentley was keen on knocking the tower down and grabbing the first fallen block to chew on!

Picture Building:

The next simple activity we did was picture building. Bentley is learning the words to everything in the world around him, so Kingston and I used the blocks to build simple pictures and designs that portrayed objects that Bentley is learning the words for. Then I had Kingston tell him what each picture was. Some of the pictures we made were: a flower (pictured above), a house, and a car. 

Outdoor Play:

We have really enjoyed engaging in block play with our KORXX blocks outside. KORXX blocks hold up incredibly well to the elements, and I don't have to worry about them getting wet, dirty, or ruined. This truly opens up the possibilities of outdoor play. Not only that, but they are so aesthetically pleasing, especially with the sun hitting them! One of our favorite outdoor games we engaged in was Block Toss. Both boys sat facing each other and tossed the block back and forth. We modeled this for Bentley who thought it was really fun to pass the block back. (As the second child, he is used to getting toys taken from him constantly, so this concept of passing was a pretty familiar one to him!) 

Robot Building: All of our block play typically turns to "robot building". The KORXX blocks were no exception. These blocks stack exceptionally well, so using them to create characters in pretend play works really well. 

Pretend Play: As mentioned above, KORXX blocks can be used for all kinds of pretend play. Pretend play is a fantastic base for cooperative play. Whatever Kingston is imagining, he shares it with Bentley and includes him in his fantasy. Below, Kingston is pretending that he has an icecream cone. We each took turns pretending to eat it! Icecream, robots, skyscrapers, and trees were just some of the objects Kingston and Bentley used in their pretend play. 

These blocks are really so versatile. The colors and shapes included help to facilitate all kinds of different exploratory play. I love the action shot below of Kingston and Bentley building towers and knocking them down. They are truly engaged with both the blocks and each other. 

So where can you buy KORXX?  KORXX products can be purchased HERE! Also, their amazing company can be invested in and supported over on their Kickstarter! By backing their company, you will receive their products at an incredible discount. Head over there to read more about their company. I think you will love what you see. They are an all natural, eco-friendly, family based company who truly cares about their customers and products!

Interested in getting some KORXX NOW?! KORXX has been generous enough to provide our readers with a giveaway! You can win your very own set of KORXX by entering the Rafflecopter giveaway below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out some other fantastic ideas for using your KORXX blocks: 

More or Less Preschool Math Game with KORXX from Where Imagination Grows

Preschool Science Activities with KORXX from Fun-A-Day

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