October 2009

Leaf Rubbing

As soon as the leaves started to fall, I had been planning this one. We finally got a few rainless days, and gathered some nice leaves to use for leaf rubbing.

You just need a paper, a leaf, and some crayons.
Place the leaves under the paper, hold the paper in place, and rub over the leaf with a crayon, to get the leaf pattern on the page.

Spaghetti Squash

The other day I spotted some Spaghetti Squash at the grocery store and thought it would be a great opportunity to get my preschooler involved with cooking dinner. It's pretty cool- when it comes out of the oven (and after you scoop the 'guts' out) it looks like this:

Then you take a fork to it and gently scrape against it like this:

And then you have spaghetti-ish squash! It's pretty cool! You can even eat it with spaghetti sauce, like regular spaghetti :)

Unfortunately the day that I tried this, Talia was sick & less interested in participating than I thought she would be. I'll have to try it again another day when she's more in the mood!

Foam Pumpkin Art

My husband (Ken) is great at finding fun things to use at dollar stores. He bought these foam sheets & Hallowe'en shapes there and he & Talia had fun creating Hallowe'en "cards" together. It was Talia's idea to use the little white punch outs for the Pumpkins' eyes :)

Apple Pumpkin Stamps

I have seen this activity before but I can't remember where.

You just cut an apple in half, dip it in paint (or paint it with a paintbrush) and then use it as a stamp. We used them to make pumpkins.

We did the stamping in the evening, and since they used a lot of paint,we let them dry overnight before adding googly eyes & paper jack-o-lantern faces. (I cut out the pieces & Talia arranged them).

abc button

Magic Paint Pictures

I found this idea on Learning Vicariously. It's great for Hallowe'en, but could be used for anything! I like the idea of having Talia draw some pictures or designs herself & then painting to see what she did. I think we will do that another day, but this time she was ready to stop by the time we finished the page of Hallowe'en pictures I had drawn ahead of time for her.

How To Do This:

- draw pictures on a white paper with white crayon
- use watercolour paints to paint over & reveal the pictures!

Tissue Ghosts

This morning, Talia & I made ghosts out of tissues.

To make one of these you need:
2 tissues
1 marker
1 ribbon or pipe cleaner or string

You just crumple up one tissue, wrap the other around it (creating the head), and tie the ribbon (or string or pipe cleaner) around the neck, to hold it in place. Then add the face with a marker.

We made about 70 of them this morning (a whole box of tissues worth). We are using them for invitations to a Hallowe'en event, so we needed a lot of them :)


Talia was able to do everything except tie the knot in the ribbon (pipe cleaner probably would've worked better for her).
She would do one 'job' for a while & then suggest that we switch jobs.
She went from crumpling the head, to cutting the ribbon, to putting the finished ghosts in the bag, to wrapping the ribbon (I got the knot ready, then she pulled the ends to make it tight).

Bee Study

Talia's insect of choice yesterday was the Bee. We read two books about bees, and then made a paper Bee similar to the ladybug she made the other day.

This time I let her make more choices and do more of the work on her own.


She liked being "the cutting person" :)
She wanted me to help her with gluing a few of the things, but seemed to enjoy doing it herself as well.

Note the long tongue for drinking nectar (it is not a stinger-and did you know only females have stingers?) It was good to let Talia do the cutting because not only did she enjoy cutting, but we were able to discuss how many legs we needed, how big the tongue should be, how many wings a bee has, etc.

Handprint Turkey

We have our Canadian Thanksgiving coming up this weekend, so today we talked about turkeys, sang a turkey song, and made a handprint turkey.

Talia LOVED making the turkey (she loves working with paint & getting messy, so she was practically bouncing at the idea of paint :)

She chose the paint colours she wanted to use, I smeared the paint onto her hand generously, with a paper towel. She stamped a couple of turkeys, and then did a freestyle painting while we waited for the turkeys to dry a bit.

After washing her hands, I showed her where the turkey needed legs, eyes, etc. and she added them on. She loved the googly eyes, and added some large ones onto the paper insects that she had made so far throughout the week.

Note: Please excuse my photos if they are dark or weird- my laptop is in the shop, so I don't have my regular photo imaging software. I look forward to its return!

Catch a Glimpse ButtonPhotobucketWhipperberryFor the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.com

Ladybug Study

Yesterday I took Talia to the library in search of bug books (her topic of choice). We came home with an armful of books plus the Paper Bag Princess movie.

I'm going to see if we can get to the library as often as once a week, and choose different topics to find books for, each time. This way we can have a "topic of the week" to focus on.

Today she chose the Ladybug book and we read it together. I was impressed with how much she learned from it when we reviewed it. The plan is to teach Daddy all about ladybugs later (the babies are called Larva, the children are called Pupa, their feelers smell, in the winter they sleep, etc.)

I've already noticed this blog being helpful to my own motivation to do more with Talia. After we read the book, I thought to myself, "well that was a good, educational thing to do with her... too bad I don't have a picture to share it on the blog." And then I thought of something that I could post a picture of, and the idea of an activity to do with her, related to our Ladybug study, came to mind.

So, I prepared some pieces of lady bug out of construction paper, and she put it together. It allowed us to review again about the the different parts of the ladybug's body.

This next photo demonstrates her idea to bend the legs so that the ladybug could crawl :)

Things I Would Change:

I would probably let Talia cut out the dots, legs, etc. next time so that she could do more of it herself. I think she enjoyed doing it a lot, but I want always to reinforce her own creativity and abilities. It would probably be more of a "thinking" activity for her, if I had discussed with her about "what else does the Ladybug need?" for example, and helped her figure out how to make it.

Flyer Shopping

Another idea from Emily at Learning Vicariously, I got out the grocery flyers and a marker and had Talia circle the foods she liked and cross out the ones that she didn't.


I was interested (& pleased) to find that after discussing her dislike for pickles, she didn't want to cross them out- she asked me if I liked pickles & when I said yes, she wanted to circle them for me, so that I could have them :)

This generosity continued as we came across shampoo that she recognized as the kind that Daddy uses, bodywash she has seen in the shower, etc.

I also observed that she was more interested in colouring them in than circling them- although she did circle them before completely blacking them out with marker :)


This post is an example of why I wanted to start this blog- sharing ideas is so helpful!

I have an online friend who I met through our love for photography. She is a great mom and is one of the inspirations for starting this blog. You can find her on her blog, Learning Vicariously. Her most recent post was on making patterns with beads. As soon as I read it I knew that my daughter would love working with beads on pipe cleaners just as much as Eloise.

So, last night I went out and bought some beads from the dollar store, some pipe cleaners, and a little plastic organizer. Today when Talia had a friend over, we made little bead bracelets together- Talia was very focussed on them! She kept remarking about how she had never done this before & she was so glad I went shopping to buy the beads because she really loved to do this! :)


This was a good opportunity to practise sorting as well. After filling a pipe cleaner, she emptied it of beads to start over, and placed each bead in its spot in the organizer.

Things I Would Change:

Next time, when it's just the two of us, I think we'll spend some more time talking about patterns, now that she is used to stringing the beads.

Baking A Pumpkin Roll

A couple of evenings ago, we went to our friends' house for dinner and I wanted to bring a pumpkin roll along for dessert. I could see that I wasn't going to get it done on my own because Talia was very energetic and definitely needed something to do.

So, I pulled out her apron, she pulled out the stool, and we got to working together. She loves cracking the eggs herself, so I let her do it. This generally results in some shell in the mix though, so it's good to do the eggs at the beginning to make shell removal a little easier!

I've learned that it's best to forget about making things perfect and just enjoy smiling and laughing about things that go wrong, and use it as an opportunity to teach about problem solving.

This is a great opportunity for me to learn some things too!
Like patience, and letting go of perfection ;)

After helping me with mixing everything, Talia was ready to play while I baked the roll and took care of frosting and rolling it later. It worked out well for both of us. :)

In The Beginning...

Over the past year or two, I have found myself longing to simplify my life. I've worked on "purging" my home of the unnecessary clutter that so easily seems to occupy it (& I continue in my quest to purge, organize, and simplify our home- I don't think the process will ever end). I've thought long and hard about what is most important to me, which things are priorities, and which things need to be eliminated from my life. There are far too many good things for me to fit into each day, week, year, or lifetime! So, I have felt the need to focus on the most important things and eliminate the rest. It's a process and I'm still working on it.

One of the things that is most important to me, of course, is being a mother! I frequently think to myself that I ought to be doing more things with my preschooler to teach her and exercise her creativity. This is becoming a strong focus for me right now, and in my efforts to remain committed to planning new and exciting activities for us, I've decided to create this blog. I may also share some things I'm doing with my other daughter who is currently 9 months old.

Its purpose will be to share what we're doing, to get ideas out there for others who are in the same position as I am, but also just to keep me going- if I need content for the blog, then it will be one more motivating force in keeping me committed to doing this!

I hope you will share your thoughts, ideas, and resources with me as I will mine with you. And leave comments so that I know you're reading! :)

Note: Photo credit for the photo of myself in the "meet the blogger" section, goes to Amanda at Living Proof Photography

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