## Tuesday, July 31, 2012

### In the Kitchen: Baking & Measurement

Correct measurements are an integral part of the baking process. Not only will this help you bake a moist muffin, you'll also be learning some important math skills.Since both of my girls love to help me bake, we've been learning about making those correct measurements.

Measurement Basics: There are three basic measuring devices. nesting measuring cups for dry ingredients. Glass measuring cups for wet ingredients and measuring spoons. If you live and bake outside the US, you'll also use a kitchen scale for measurements. I keep all three types of measurement devices in my kitchen.

We've learned the basics of what device to use and when to use it. I've also taught the girls to spoon their dry ingredients into the measuring cup and how to level it off. We've learned how to pour liquids into the measuring cup while watching the lines on the cup. We've practiced measuring and pouring many time although neither girl has mastered this step. Yet, we keep trying.

Ways to Practice and Play: The easiest and most obvious way to practice is by baking together. Muffins are always a good, basic recipe. In these pictures, we were baking yummy banana chocolate chip muffins from Weelicious. We've also baked Swedish Almond Bread and basic scones. Relax a bit while working with your kids. Yes, measuring is essential, but allow the kids to have some control. Allow some baking times to be about the process; your muffins don't have to come out perfect every time!

Water play. Allow your kids to experiment with the measuring devices by using water. Set out a bowl of water and several measuring cups and spoons. Let your kids pour and spoon as much as they want. Even toddlers can get in on the fun this way. Older kids can start learning about the different measurements. Ask them to measure half a cup or a quarter cup. How many quarters does it take to make a cup?

Measuring rice. Try measuring dried rice with your cups and spoons. Practice leveling off your dry ingredients. Have your kids measure specific quantities. Again, your toddlers can get in on the fun. There's no need to try and teach them how to measure. Just let them get the feel of pouring and scooping.

We've now learned some basic kitchen safety, knife skills, and basic measuring. Next up, we'll start talking about nutrition and healthy eating.

What are your best tips for cooking with kids?

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## Monday, July 30, 2012

### Get Crafty: Painting Rocks

On a particularly nice day recently, we decided to tackle one of the items on our summer bucket list, painting rocks. We set up outside and spent a lovely afternoon creating.

Since our rocks were just laying about our yard, they were quite dirty. So, I filled a plastic bin with soap and water. The girls started washing... and washing. After I was beginning to wonder if we were going to forgo the painting for washing rocks, the girls decided their rocks were clean enough to paint.

So we painted. We each took a pile of rocks (even me) and started painting. There were no directions or rules to this activity. We just painted. We talked and we painted. We enjoyed the summer sounds all around and we painted. We painted the day away.

Some of us (AJ) decided that their rocks should be all the same color. Others went for stripes, polka dots, and even rainbows. In the end, we had a very colorful pile of rocks.

We spent a lovely afternoon painting outside. It was relaxing, creative and we enjoyed each other's company immensely. I'm so glad we added this to our summer bucket list!

Did you make a summer bucket list? How many things have you crossed off the list so far?

Linking up to the Outdoor Play Party

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## Saturday, July 28, 2012

### 10 Ways to Play This Weekend: Week 3

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## Friday, July 27, 2012

### Nocturnal Animals at Playful Learning

Today you can find me over at Playful Learning where we made simple booklets to help us learn about nocturnal animals.

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## Thursday, July 26, 2012

### Kid's Co-op: Let's Paint!

It's time for the Kids Co-op! I posting the Kid's Co-op a little early this week so you can get a head start linking up your favorite kid-related posts. Make sure and check out all the fun that has been linked up from other bloggers.

There was so much information shared last week! There was also sensory play ideas, baby play ideas, book recommendations, kid-friendly recipes and more. Today, I'd like to share three posts with some fun painting ideas.

Love, Play, Learn shared a super, simple pudding paint... that's also edible!

Learn With Play at Home shared an awesome idea for comb painting.

Growing a Jeweled Rose share some fun and very messy magnetic name painting.

Now it's time for you to share all the fun you've been having! Please join up and share your favorite post. (And, we'd love you forever if you'd link back to us!) Your link will show up on all of the hosts blogs. It's time to link up, visit some new blogs, and have a lot of fun!

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## Tuesday, July 24, 2012

### Story Time: Counting Books

There are so many counting books to choose from. We love to find a new one at the library and I truly believe counting books are the reason that both of my girls learned to count to 10 at a very early age. Recently we went on a quest to find some fun counting books to share with you.

My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone and Christopher Corr was voted the favorite by the girls. In this story, Granny travels the world picking up items starting with one flying carpet in Istanbul to ten llamas in Peru. We loved our trip around the world with Granny and it was fun to see the items she chose on her journey.

One Big Building: A Counting Book About Construction by Michael Dahl is a perfect counting book if your kids are into construction vehicles. Counting along as a building is built starting with one big plan and ending with a twelve story building.

We're big fans of Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin, so their book Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure was a natural fit for this list. Once again all the animals fool poor Farmer Brown. Your kids will love what happens after they see one farmer sleeping and two feet creeping.

A little lion cub is looking for friends to play with in Roar!: A Noisy Counting Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards. Unfortunately, his roar tends to scare everyone off! He scares one red monkey and two pink flamingos. Will he ever find a friend to play with?

Do your kids have a favorite counting book? Tell me in the comments. I'd love to check them out!

## Monday, July 23, 2012

### Sewing Circles: Simple Shapes to Sew

After learning all about squares, we moved on to the circle. One project I set up for the girls was this simple sewing projects. I was able to combine two things in one project, learning shapes and fine motor skills.

Awhile ago, I had purchased a package of foam circles from the dollar store. When we started talking about circles, I pulled them out. I knew we would find a way to use them. One idea I came up with was these sewing circles. I took my hole punch and punched holes around the outer edge of a few of the circles. Voila, the circles were ready to go.

For the needles and thread, I cut a length of yarn and tied a thick knot in one end. I made needles from a small bit of pipe cleaner. I made a small loop of pipe cleaner at one end, threaded the yarn through, then twisted the looped pipe cleaner nice and tight. The "needle" won't come off and it helps the girls with their sewing.

I packaged it all up in a cute little basket. Now the girls can grab their sewing basket anytime they're in the mood for a little sewing.

Linking up to It's Playtime, The Sunday Showcase, and Show & Share Saturday.

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## Saturday, July 21, 2012

### 10 Ways to Play This Weekend: Week 2

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## Friday, July 20, 2012

### Kid's Co-op: Outdoor Fun

It's Friday and you know what that means? It's time for the Kids Co-op! Link-up your favorite kid-related post and make sure and check out all the fun that has been linked up from other bloggers.

There was so much information shared last week! There was also sensory play ideas, baby play ideas, book recommendations, kid-friendly recipes and more. Today, I'd like to share three posts with some wonderful ideas for outdoor play.

Taming the Goblin shares a fun science lesson from the beach.

Little Wonders' Days had fun painting by number on the sidewalk!

Now it's time for you to share all the fun you've been having! Please join up and share your favorite post. (And, we'd love you forever if you'd link back to us!) Your link will show up on all of the hosts blogs. It's time to link up, visit some new blogs, and have a lot of fun!

If you liked what you read, I would love it if you would join me on Facebook and Pinterest!

## Thursday, July 19, 2012

### Let's Pretend: Garden Center

I decided to surprise my girls recently with a pretend play garden center. All it took was a couple of dollars at the dollar store, some recycled items around the house, and a brand new batch of play dough. After I presented it to them, they spent the next couple of days playing exclusively with their garden center. No other toys were needed!

I made a batch of play dough for the girls to use as dirt. I used this recipe for chocolate play dough from NurtureStore since I already had all the ingredients I needed at home. It came together easily and smells wonderful. The money I spent at the dollar store was for the flowers. I spent a few dollars on several bunches of flowers and then cut them apart into separate flowers. For just a few dollars we had plenty of flowers for our garden center.

I made a few seed packets from construction paper, added some colorful craft sticks, a pile of glass marbles and several small cups to the garden center. I also cut apart a couple of egg cartons so they had some 4-part containers just like you would find in a garden center.

The girls played and played. They turned the glass beads into seeds and boy did those seeds grow fast. They made flower arrangement after flower arrangement. They turned a chair into a delivery truck and started delivering flowers to everyone they could think of. I can't even count how many flower deliveries I received! Their imaginations were running wild and I loved every minute of it.

For just a few dollars and a bit of effort I gave the girls a toy better than any you can find in a store. I know we'll be doing this again and again.

How would your kids play with a pretend play garden center?

Linking up to For the Kids Friday

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## Wednesday, July 18, 2012

### Creative Family Fun Nights: Family Olympics

Is your family excited about the 2012 Summer Olympics? We are! If you're looking to get in the spirit and celebrate the games, try hosting your own Family Olympics. After only a little bit of preparation, our Olympics were ready to go.

Medals:
Our medals were easy to make. I cut circles from a cereal box out of the recycle bin. We didn't have gold or bronze paint, so I used yellow and orange instead. For the silver medal, I covered my circle in aluminum foil. I drew the numbers on with a black Sharpie, punched holes in the top, and strung some yarn through the holes. Nothing to it! Our medals were ready to go.

Flags:
Before the games begin, you'll need flags. Instead of representing countries, we drew flags to represent ourselves. All it took was paper, a ruler, and a box full of crayons. This is a great time to get started talking about the Olympic games. Talk about the sports, the ceremony, and the athletes. Mom and dad can share stories of their favorite Olympic moments. Use this time to get in the spirit of the games.

The Events:
Once you're ready to go with your flags and your medals, draw up a schedule of events and have fun. Here are some suggested events for your Family Olympics.

Foot Races: Your races can be long distance or short distance. Set up a starting point and a finish line and see who can run the fastest. Have one race or three. It's all about having fun.
Balance Beam: Use a scrap length of wood, your garden hose, or even rope. See who can keep their balance the longest. Can you stand on one foot? Hop? Turn in a circle?
Long Jump: How far an you jump? Grab a tape measure and see who can jump the furthest.
Disc Toss: We used hula hoops for our targets and tried to toss frisbees into the middle. Whoever gets the most inside the hoop wins. If you don't have hula hoops, make circles with rope or even the garden hose.
Javelin Throw: Use pools noodles as fun javelins that are safe and that anyone can throw. See who can throw their pool noodle the furthest. Or, try to throw them in your hula hoop targets.
Obstacle Course: Set up a backyard obstacle course. Incorporate your balance beam, add obstacles to jump over or crawl under. See who can get through the course in the shortest amount of time.

Make sure and have plenty of water on hand to hydrate all your athletes!

Have fun! Enjoy the Olympics and your family at the same time.

What events would you add to the Family Olympics?

Linking up to The Olympics Linky, The Sunday Showcase, and It's Playtime.

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## Tuesday, July 17, 2012

### Get Crafty: Cardboard Baseball Bats

After our salt dough baseballs, we wanted to have a little bit more fun with baseball. I found the book Players In Pigtails by Shana Corey at the library and knew the girls would love it. Players In Pigtails tell the story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. We learned that "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" was originally written about a baseball-crazy girl named Katie Casey. This book was the story of the fictional Katie Casey. The girls were thrilled to read about girls playing baseball and loved the story of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. After reading the story and singing a few rounds of "Take Me Out To the Ball Game," we designed our own baseball bats.

Supplies Needed:
Cardboard (recycled cereal or cracker boxes work well)
Scissors
Paint
Glue
Glitter
Stickers

Before we started, I cut a few simple baseball bat shapes out of the cardboard and then set out a fun selection of supplies for decorating our bats. After we read the book, I asked the girls to design a bat that they would like to use while playing for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Off they went! They painted, glued, and glittered.

And glittered... a lot!

And when they were done glittering, they stuck stickers. We had some leftover 4th of July stickers that worked well for the project. It took awhile, but they were finally satisfied with their bats. I don't think I've ever seen such flashy bats!

Ask your kids to design their own baseball bats. It would be fun to see what they come up with!

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