Today was a great day. (gel glue batik)
I’ve wanted to get my girls a light table since the moment I saw one at a local nursery school. They are so awesome it’s kind of ridiculous. Unfortunately, however, they are majorly expensive so I’ve been waiting and waiting to take the plunge. I ended up finding this one on ebay for Gigi’s second birthday. It’s definitely not cheap at 150, but it was less than a lot of the other ones and I like how simple the design is. I think it might be someone’s DIY project because it kind of seems like an Ikea Hacker job. Regardless, we love it! It was super easy to put together and the light works great. Very pleased so far. We’re two days in.
First night I set out some magnatiles and a big crystal, which was pretty cool. We LOVE magnatiles in our house.
The next day, I covered the table with white butcher paper, filled a cup with paint and put down some plastic stencils. Gigi had a blast. We talked about the different shapes and she filled them in with paint to see the stencil. Her favorites were the bottle and the teddy bear. She’s only two, so she didn’t cover all the white space to make the stencil, but it didn’t matter at all. She loved lifting the stencil and looking for the design.
It looks like the listing for this light table is down on ebay. Maybe they make one at a time. If you want to get crafty and make your own, here is a really thorough tutorial and here is a way more basic tutorial. If you just want to go ahead and buy the real deal, this one and this one come highly recommended. I bet they come up on Craigslist from time to time too. Enjoy!
Ok, so not the most creative, but still pretty good. I just wrapped rubber bands onto a bunch of Gigi’s toys and set them out on her play board, along with a jar of a thousand rubber bands. She wasn’t too keen on her toys being wrapped up. I think she has to be a little older for that one. But she did love dumping the rubber bands out and covering Dolly in them. (Dolly, is Gigi’s favorite doll, who I can NEVER EVER lose because we don’t have another and that would be REALLY REALLY BAD.)
So after G made a huge rubber band mess we cleaned them all up. Or I should say Dolly cleaned them all up because she wouldn’t let me touch and she manipulated Dolly’s hand to put all the rubber bands back into the jar. It was actually pretty awesome.
I’ve been wanting to make Gigi a Stay Gold tee ever since a friend commented on the pic below that she looks like she’s about to be in a revised version of The Outsiders. I thought it was such a funny comment and this picture totally captures Gigi’s personality. I wasn’t sure how to do it until my friend Lauren (big shout out!) suggested contact paper. What an easy way to make stencils. I wanted the font to look like it was carved into a bathroom stall in a high school somewhere, so I used a box cutter to make the stencil. I’m really happy with the way it came out. I ended up making one for D too.
Here’s how you do it. Tape a piece of contact paper to cardboard, or a cutting mat. Cut out the stencil you want with a knife or box cutter. Cut a box around the stencil so you can fit it on the tee or whatever you’re stenciling. Place a piece of cardboard inside the tee so the paint doesn’t seep through. Paint inside the stencil. I used Tulip Gold Glitter Fabric Paint for mine. You have to wait 4 hours to take off the stencil and then another 72 hours before washing it. I haven’t washed mine yet. So we’ll see how that goes. The paint didn’t seep through at all or bleed around the edges. I used it twice so far and it’s still sticky. I think I want to get some totes or bandanas to stencil on as well. Stay Gold everybody.
Man oh man, salt dough is easy. It’s 1 cup salt, 1 cup water, and 2 cups flour. That’s it! Just mix it up and add food coloring if you want. Gigi and I made it together and it was so much fun. She doesn’t have the whole mixing thing down quite yet but she’s getting there. She loves to add food coloring to absolutely anything so that part was a hit. We did a mix of blue, green and purple.
After we made our dough, I set up a carousel of art supplies including toothpicks, popsicle sticks, wood shapes, beads, sparkles and gems. By far the biggest hit was the toothpick dispenser. Gigi loved shaking it to get the toothpicks out. She also managed to get a few beads on the toothpicks which was a nice surprise. Almost two!
I’ve read about water beads and seen them countless times on different mom blogs over the past few months. I can finally say I get what all the fuss is about. These things are freaking awesome. First of all, they are gorgeous. I just kept staring at them in the bowl. They look so juicy and delicious. Second, they bounce, which I definitely didn’t expect. I’ve been brainstorming all day on how to create some sort of plexiglass bouncy box for them. Third, they feel so mushy and slippery you just want to jump right in the bowl. As you can see, I couldn’t resist putting my foot in the tub. Gigi did too but she wasn’t as into that part as I was.
I’m not totally sure why I think this is science but I do. I guess because Gigi was exploring new materials and watched a chemical reaction when water was added to these little suckers. Yeah, that’s why.
*Note* If you are going to use water beads, I highly recommend doing it outside or putting down a sheet underneath your child. This can get really messy and you want to enjoy them, not want to kill them. I’ve read they are also super fun in the bath with or without water, but don’t let them down the drain. Enjoy!
Ok, this was seriously fun. Again, I am so thankful to Play at Home Moms. Their “Invitation to Play” post really changed things over here at our house. It’s the weekend (yay) so I have plenty of time to set something up for Gigi before she wakes up. I had ordered these great measuring containers and droppers on Amazon and have been waiting all week to use them. I just added some food coloring and water to each container, cut up some water color paper to look like litmus paper and set out some square papers as well. I love putting everything on a bench. It’s the perfect table for toddlers! When we do this again I will use liquid water colors but I didn’t have any so the food coloring worked fine.
Gigi had the best time playing with all her science tools. It was a little difficult for her to use the droppers because she didn’t want to let go once she squeezed but it didn’t hinder her play. Her favorite was definitely pouring the different colored water together and moving it around from container to container. I had set up a shower curtain I used to use for verymeri displays behind her for pics. About halfway into her science play, Gigi turned it into a whole play area for hide and seek. She ran behind it over and over yelling “mas, mas.” I love when she speaks spanish. It kills me. After peek a boo I was thinking maybe she’d be ready to move on but she got right back into the pouring. It was really fun. I am already brainstorming more ways to do science invites. Any ideas?
It was super hot in LA this weekend. Perfect weather for gardening and swimming. Saturday morning we took a family trip to a local nursery and Gigi and Ev picked out plants and flowers. We got oregano, cilantro, dill, lettuce and a purple flowering plant (Gigi’s pick.) Gigi had a blast in the nursery running around all the flowers and putting her hands in all the fountains. I wasn’t quite as enthused since I was carrying d and it felt like it was a million degrees outside. I thought we were both going to pass out. Poor little d.
After a good nap for everyone, we got out all the supplies. I try to use real tools with Gigi as much as possible. I know she prefers it and I think it adds more depth to her experience. I know there are real philosophies about this, I just don’t know what they are but I’m sure I’d agree with them if I did.
The planting was a huge hit. I think what will be even better is the ongoing learning and enjoying we will get from the garden. I can’t wait to use some of the herbs in our cooking. This is a project I’ve wanted to do for so long. We got these amazing metal planters at an estate sale over a year ago. So happy to put them to good use. I think the second one will be dedicated to just moss so Gigi can play with little animals and gnomes on it.
I finally got my new edition of The Artful Parent in the mail this weekend. What a great book! I had pre-ordered it months ago and am happy to say it was well worth the wait. If you’re not familiar with Jean Van’t Hul and her amazing blog, definitely check it out. Her new book is equally as amazing. In addition to over 60 awesome projects for little ones, she dedicates a whole section to hosting toddler art groups. I can’t wait to get one going this summer!
This project is directly from Jean’s book. It was great for my almost two year old and I’m sure we will do it again as she gets older. First I put a grid of washi tape on water color paper. Then, Gigi “painted” the whole paper with water. After, I got out the watercolors and Gigi went to town. We set it aside to dry, which didn’t take long at all. I hung her art on the wall at arms length to see if she would be interested in peeling the tape on her own. She wasn’t, so I demonstrated for her and she freaked out and kept saying “no mama” over and over at the top of her lungs. Ha, gotta love toddlers. The next day when I got home from work I noticed she had peeled off some of the tape strips herself. I asked her to show me but she didn’t want to pull anymore off. So for now, it’s half taped. The picture below is actually her putting back the tape I had peeled slightly. Every time I pass it I have the urge to pull the tape off myself and then I say to myself “what’s wrong with you? just leave it.” Ha, gotta love mamas.
I am a huge fan of the blog Play at Home Mom. The moms who write the blog believe in play based learning and are really inspiring. I recently came across their post about “invitations to play” and it made a huge impression on me. ”An invitation to play is a way to either build upon existing knowledge and delve deeper into the interests and curiosities of our children, or a way to inspire engaged exploration.” I have been doing so many activities with Gigi that I knew were worthwhile, but somehow reading this really helped me understand a deeper level of the importance of her play. The idea of an “invitation” has challenged me to create interesting open ended activities and to be less attached to the outcome. It’s been really nice. I’ve been using a white board to set up different materials that I hope are engaging to her. It’s really nice because I can set them up in the morning while she’s still sleeping, which gives me time to have a clear head while creating the board. I used to set them up with her waiting and watching. This works so much better. When she sees the board she gives out a big “oooooh,” and it’s the cutest thing going.
Gigi’s grandma Libby is responsible for this invitation. Thanks gram! She sent the girls these great abc blocks from FatBrainToys. Fortunately for Gigi, maybe not the environment, they came individually wrapped in tissue paper. I thought she would enjoy unwrapping each one and playing with the tissue paper. She did and it added an enthusiasm to the play that I think would have been missed if I just placed the blocks on the board. After she unwrapped all the blocks she stacked them up and knocked them down, her favorite part of course. We talked about the different letters and colors on the blocks and then moved on to who knows what. I’m really looking forward to future invitations and am constantly on the lookout for new materials that might be interesting. Tomorrow’s invitation will start with old game pieces and a spinner. I have a feeling the spinner is going to be a big hit.