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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May 8, 2015

Barrel of Monkeys Fine Motor Painting

(Affiliate links included for your convenience!) 

Happy Fine Motor Fridays! Kingston has been quite smitten with the classic game Barrel of Monkeys. Barrel of Monkeys is the ultimate fine motor game in itself. The gentle balancing of the monkeys requires some serious skill. We decided to spring these silly monkeys from their barrel and get them messy! 

We removed the monkeys from the barrel and counted them as we balanced them on each other. It took Kingston several tries before he was able to balance the monkeys. Once he had a hold of them all, he dipped them in the washable fingerpaint provided.  

The monkeys fell off as he painted with them, and he had to pick them up and try to balance them again. Every time he did that, we would count the monkeys aloud to make sure we had the right amount! 

After he painted that way for a bit, he used the monkeys on their own. His imagination has been running wild lately. I am in love with listening to his elaborate set ups and schemes. He immediately dived into pretend play with the monkeys and pretended they were going "swimming" in the paint and jumping in "puddles". He dragged their crazy arms and legs through the paint and even printed their faces.  

The last thing we tried was balancing and painting with ALL of the monkeys in the barrel. That was certainly challenging! We ended up in peels of laughter trying to keep all of the monkeys together. 

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

Straw Painting Fine Motor Butterflies from Still Playing School
Play Dough Invitation with Ants from Stir the Wonder
Button Music Note Art from And Next Comes L

Fine Motor Fridays Pinterest Board

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99 fine motor ideas for ages 1 to 5
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Apr 30, 2015

Dinosaur Sensory Swamp Snack

(Affiliate links included for your convenience!) 

It's our favorite time of month again: Book Club Play Date time! Dinosaurs have always been a huge hit over here. Since K was a baby we have been surrounded by dinosaurs. He even went through a phase where he had to choose a new dinosaur to join him for dinner every night. Yup. SO, combining dinosaurs with food is NOT a new thing for us at all. This month we read Dinosaurumpus! and made a simple and interactive Dinosaur Sensory Swamp Snack!

This snack was simple to make, and is perfect for feeding a crowd of hungry book club play date tots! Kingston has never really eaten Jello before, so I thought it would be fun and different for him. To create the gelatin swamp, I used Lime Jell-O. I made it according to package instructions, but took it out of the refrigerator right before it reached the "setting" point. (About an hour using the quick set method). This made it just runny enough that it was the perfect swamp. 

While it was setting, I dyed some coconut flakes with green and yellow food coloring. I had to get some fine motor work in there, so Kingston helped add some plastic mini dinosaurs and sprinkled coconut flakes all over the swamp. We pretended they were leaves and foliage for the dinosaurs to eat. We added a pretend tree for extra ambiance and admired our work.

For a larger book club playdate, you could add enough dinosaurs so that every little one got their own piece with their own dino to take home! Kingston was super excited to have his very own dinosaur on top of his snack. We recited some lines from the story before he tasted it and he made his dino dance around the swamp.

We sang, "Shake, shake, shudder.... near the sludgy old swamp. The dinosaurs are coming. Get ready to romp." K made his dinosaur dance around (and he may have munched on the swamp a little bit!) When we were done playing with our food, K was ready to try it.

This is toddler speak for: Yummy!

Don't forget to head over to my fellow Book Club Play Date bloggers pages to check out their crafts and activities! 

Snack: Dinosaur Sensory Swamp Snack from House of Burke (That's US!)
Sensory: Dinosaur Small World from Craftulate
Craft: Triceratops Craft for Kids from Still Playing School
Busy Bag: Dinosaur Math Busy Bag Ideas from Fun-A-Day
Game: Dinosaur Gross Motor Movement Game from Sugar Aunts

Stay tuned for next month's Book Club Play Date! We will be reading one of my childhood favorites: Quick As a Cricket  

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Apr 9, 2015

House of Burke: The Shop!

Have you been wondering where we've been lately? We have been super busy underneath piles of fabric preparing to open our very own shop! House of Burke: The Shop, is now live and currently featuring bandana bibs for your little ones, with more exciting baby and toddler accessories on the way. I have been sewing since I was a young kid, and opening a baby boutique has always been a dream of mine! I love shopping small and supporting other small businesses, so I am so excited to bring all of our handcrafted goodies to you and your family. 

What is a bandana bib you ask? It is both a stylish and practical way to combat drool and/or add some flare to your little ones outfit!

Although Bentley may be my model above, they are certainly not just for boys! Girls can rock bandana bibs too! 

We have opened our ETSY SHOP so go on over and check out our fabric choices! We currently have over 40 choices. We will be adding a variety of different baby/toddler accessories in the coming months, so stay tuned. 

Now without further ado, OUR GIVEAWAY!! To get House of Burke: The Shop off it's feet and to get some of our amazing bibdanas onto your little ones, we are having a giveaway. This giveaway is centered around Instagram! We are trying to grow as a small business over on IG, so head on over to HouseofBurkeTheShop on Instagram , FOLLOW US, like this image, repost it (we think screenshotting and reposting images is the easiest!), and make sure that you tag us in it and #houseofburketheshopgiveaway ! I will be choosing one random winner when we reach 250 IG followers!! 

Thank you so much for your support! Head on over to our Etsy shop to pick up some bandana bibs for your littles! Watch our IG and Facebook page for shop updates (as well as our regularly scheduled programming!!) 

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Apr 5, 2015

Displacement Experiment for Toddlers

Happy Easter! Today we are participating in the A-Z Science Experiments for Kids series (click the link for more info and to see some of the other posts!) hosted by Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails. We have been trying to incorporate more science and math into our toddler homeschool days over here, so this series was perfect! We chose letter D for Displacement. I set up a simple activity for Kingston using eggs.

First we took 4 glasses and filled them up with 1/2 cup of water each. Then I set out an empty plastic egg, a plastic egg filled with beads, a hardboiled egg, and a raw egg. (Note: Make sure that your little one is extra careful when handling the raw egg!) I also provided a ruler and a dry erase marker so that we could control and measure our experiment. 

I started by giving Kingston a brief lesson on displacement. I tried to use toddler terms to explain that when you put objects in what, the water has to move out of the way and is displaced. We talked about how small objects may move the water a little while big objects would move it a lot. (This of course prompted Kingston to want to put his giant tractor in the glass of water, but he got back on track once we took the ruler out! Oh toddlers!) 

We measured the water in the glasses with the ruler first. K told me that the water came up to the 2, so we marked our glasses and wrote 2's. Then, I had Kingston gently place each egg in the cup and we measured the amount of water that was displaced. 

Kingston hypothesized that the two plastic eggs would float and that the hardboiled egg (which was still warm from the stove) would sink because it was "berry berry hot!". Our displacement activity was clearly a sink or float activity in his mind. I loved seeing his wheels turning and that he was thinking scientifically, even if he wasn't quite understanding the displacement concept yet! 

We observed that the plastic egg floated and didn't displace any measurable water, the egg filled with beads made the water rise to 2.25 inches, and both the hardboiled egg and the raw egg displaced the water equally to 2.5 inches. We used our ruler to measure all of these and determined that the raw and hardboiled eggs displaced the most water. 

Once we were done observing, our science experiment quickly turned into a water play activity. . . because what toddler can resist water play?! He was pretending that the beads inside the eggs were his seeds and he was planting the seeds in the water. Pretty clever and scientific if you ask me! ;) 

Interested in seeing the other posts in this series? Head over to the A-Z Science Experiments for Kids Landing Page to read the posts and follow along! 

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