Sunday, October 21, 2012

Seasonal Fun!

When walking into any grocery store these days, you will easily find all you need for a fun, sensory/fine motor experience for your little ones.

Today we will be working with dried corn on the cob that is often used for decoration this time of year.  Along with the corn, you will need a small tub and some plastic cups or other form of small containers.

Begin by simply allowing your children to explore the corn.  With a little prompting from you, they will discover that the individual kernels of corn can be popped off quite easily. 

This task supports fine motor development in young children.  Sean was very devoted to removing each and every kernel from the cob. 

Once your children have liberated a good amount of kernels from the cob, you may introduce the plastic cups.  At this point it's great to simply stand back and let them figure out what to do. 

Isabel quickly discovered that the kernels made a tapping/rattling noise when they dropped into the cup.  She carefully began shaking the cup to make music.  For children not as careful as Isabel, closed containers may be beneficial for shaking opportunities.  Sean enjoyed the sound the kernels made as he dumped them from his cup into the larger tub.

This activity provides such a rich sensory experience, touching and feeling the corn, smelling the corn cobs and hearing them tap, tap against the plastic cups and container.

Unfortunately Isabel and Sean also felt the need to give this corn a taste too!  They quickly decided that it was not for them.  Isabel then discovered a new challenge: spitting the kernels into the cup.  She had great aim!

Take advantage of nature's bounty this autumn and introduce your children to this fun sensory experience.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bring the Outdoors in: Leaf Prints

It's time to go collecting again!  For this month's activities, we will be taking advantage of the beautiful fall foliage.  To complete this activity you will need: leaves, paper, a flat working surface, tape and crayons with the papers removed.

Hand your children their collecting baskets and ask them to collect as many leaves as they would like.  Encourage them to notice the new colors of the leaves and the variety of shapes and sizes.

Once you are satisfied with your leaf collection, head indoors for this simple art activity.

If you are working with children under the age of 3 start by selecting a couple leaves and taping them to your work space.  Older children will be able to keep the leaves in place on their own.

Tape a piece of paper or two down on top of your leaves.  Now that your station is set up, invite your children to join you.

Demonstrate to your child hold to hold the crayon sideways to rub over the leaf.

Once complete, you will get a print that looks something like this!  They are great for framing and using for festive fall decoration about your home.

 Before or after completing this activity, here are a few great books about leaves and fall that you can read with your children:

Fall Leaves Fall

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf

Look What I Did With a Leaf
(This book has some other great leaf activity ideas!)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Upcycle Monthly: Featuring Kellie from The Indigo Forest

Let's all take a moment to welcome Kellie from The Indigo Forest on Etsy.  Her shop features beautiful items for children, parents and even a few things for your family pet!  I've sampled some wool dryer balls from her shop and have even converted my non-ecofriendly husband over to using them with some essential oils.  Be sure to check out the links at the close of this post to find Kellie online.

Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Kellie and I am the owner of The Indigo Forest on Etsy. I live in beautifully lush, central North Carolina with my husband, two little boys with another little one on the way!

What was your inspiration for using upcycled materials for your craft or art?
Simply knowing that you can make something new out of something that someone else had discarded is inspiration enough for me. The possibilities are endless! I try to see something new in every bit of recycled material I find.

What is your favorite upcycled medium or material?
My favorite upcycled medium definitely has to be wool. There are just so many different kinds of wool out there! For example, some are very soft - those types are great for stuffed toys for children.

What are some challenges you have encountered using upcycled materials?
Hmmm…I would have to say that finding my favorite material, wool, can be hard at times. Usually it’s only to be found during the colder months in my local thrift store.

What is your current favorite upcycled item you have created?
When I used cloth diapers for my children, my homemade wool longies were my favorite thing I’ve created to use! They work wonders with cloth diapers and they double as pants. You just can’t beat that.

Any tips for those looking into the use of upcycled materials:
The best tip I can suggest is to check out your local thrift stores/garage sale/yard sales/etc.. I am very fortunate to have a truly amazing thrift store in my town. (one that I visit very often!)

Kellie can be found online in the following locations: