Thursday, June 27, 2019

12.5 Month Learning Shelves and Activities

Here were Archer's shelves for 12.5 months.
I've really been trying to model matching for him, so I had out a few of the Who Lives Where game pieces.  He isn't ready to fully match on his own or to put the animals in the slots himself.  However, he can sometimes match correctly and enjoys doing the activity together.
This little basket had some small maracas and an iced tea bottle.  We practiced matching and colors with the maracas and Archer spent a TON of time putting them in the bottle.
A shelf had his nesting garages.  It's the first time he's really seen this toy and he really enjoyed it.  He liked to put the boxes into each other and take them apart.  He also put the cars in them (although not "correctly".  He carried the cars around the playroom a lot and loved knocking over any towers I built for him.
Another shelf had Wave Hello, Wave Bye-Bye (we LOVE this series of books) and a bunch of Toob animals to go with.  We practiced waving to the animals and finding the toy to go with each page.
Another basket had his magnetic gears.  I actually got these from Lakeshore Learning, because they had the best reviews.  Archer liked putting them on and taking them off the marker board.  They stick even better to our dishwasher, so I took them into the kitchen while I was cooking a few times. 
I found this little magnetic shapes book for a dollar at a garage sale, so thought I'd set it out.  Archer really liked pulling the magnets out, but not so much putting them back in.  I ended up finding the magnets in random places all over, so at least he had fun hiding them.
This vehicle sounds puzzle was a love/hate thing with Archer.  He was fascinated by it, but also a little scared of it.  We ended up putting it on his lap desk and playing with it together.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Shaving Cream and Penguins

Archer was 12 months
Hooray!  Summer weather is here and the rain has finally stopped!  That means I definitely wanted to do some outdoor sensory play.

I ended up just spraying a bunch of shaving cream into a container and adding our Penguins Toob.
Archer liked getting the penguins, but surprisingly, didn't like having the shaving cream stuck to his hand. To fix it, I ended up dumping the whole bin into the water table.  Once he had the water to wipe off his hands, he liked it much better!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Greek Mythology (Percy Jackson) Party

Oop!  Xander's birthday was in November, and I totally forgot to publish the blog post I wrote about it.  Blame it on a baby who hated(s) sleep?? Regardless, here it is.

Last summer Xander made his way through pretty much everything written by Rick Riordan.  He completely fell in love with mythology and devoured every mythology book I could find for him.  In sticking with this obsession, he decided he wanted a Greek Mythology Birthday Party.

Xander was Poseidon for Halloween, so that ended up working out perfectly.  I bought this costume, this headband and then a cheap devil's pitchfork that I wrapped in blue and gold duct tape. Our family members also went all out!  His grandparents dressed up and many cousins came in togas!
I made these "Camp Halfblood" shirts using transfer paper and $2 shirts from Michaels. My dad and husband were great sports and wore them proudly! (Amazon has some you can buy if you aren't feeling crafty)
I was originally thinking pitas, but since Xander doesn't really like them and a lot of our guests were little kids, we ended up just doing BBQ chicken sandwiches.  I did have some hummus and pita chips, to add a little bit of Greek influence. We also had "Poseidon's Punch" that had Sweedish Fish in the bottom. I also set out of a bowl of chocolate "drachmas."
For the cake, I got a Poseidon figurine and a hydra.  Luckily, I was able to get the hydra with a coupon from Michaels. I put Poseidon in some blue frosting for the "sea" and used chocolate buttercream with graham cracker crumbs for a beach under the hydra. Both toys have gotten a lot of use since the party!
Games and Activities:
We played "Pin the Eye on the Cyclops." Full disclosure, I did NOT freehand this.  My husband had an old projector from work and I traced the outline onto a poster board.  Coloring it in ended up being very therapeutic for me!
We also had a Toga Contest.  Everyone got in groups of 2s or 3s and I gave them each a couple rolls of toilet paper.  They got two minutes to make the best "toga" on a team member and then we had a mini fashion show.
I found some diamond shaped slime and little glowstick swords as Poseidon's Prizes.
I made a game for shooting various Greek Monster.  I wrapped some empty soda cans in gold duct tape and taped on a picture of a monster. 
I set up a table for shield decorating. I found some large gold paper plates and used a hole punch to make a place for string. I put out lots of stickers and crayons for the kids to use.
After tying the string through the holds, I put a little duct tape on the back to keep it from tearing out.
I set up a gold foil backdrop and had a jar with a bunch of printable props (some I made and some I bought on etsy).
Party Favors
I ordered some inflatable swords for the kids. They were soft enough that I didn't have to worry about injuries with sword fights.
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Monday, June 24, 2019

Books on the Shelf: Evolution

Books on the Shelf: Evolution
This set of books is much more geared towards Xander, Archer is much too young.  However, I LOVE these books.  Yes, I will always be a science teacher, so I am biased, but they are all so BEAUTIFUL.  I wish all of our non-fiction could be illustrated so nicely!

Note: From Lava to Life and Mammals that Morph are part of a series that starts with Born with a Bang, which kind of hints at the start of life.  I did not get that one out, because I lump it more with Earth Science than evolution.
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Friday, June 21, 2019

"Let's Have a Ball" Birthday Party!

Last month, I posted about my attempt to have a "Greener" birthday party.  However, I never actually posted about the party itself!  I wanted something fun and simple so went with "Let's Have a Ball!"

Here's the picture I sent out with the message "Archer is having a BALL! ROLL on over and BOUNCE this way! It's time to celebrate his first birthday! Join us for food, cake and some outdoor fun!"
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Xander decorated the marker board for us.
I used fitted sheets for reusable table cloths and decorated with a vase of ball pit balls.
I made this "ball" birthday banner, which I plan to reuse for other birthdays (I can share the PDF if anyone is interested).
I also made a banner of all pictures I took with his monthly milestone blocks.
I wanted all the food to be spherical, but decided I just wasn't a fan of meatballs. For the main course, we did pulled pork sandwhiches, but I had lots of spherical sides.  We had apples and oranges, grapes (with a knife to cut in half), blueberries, cheese balls, Poppable chips (which a lot of people thought were Chex cereal, but ended up liking once they tried), M and Ms, and cereal bars.  I used the Red, White and Blue Captain Crunch instead of Rice Crispies. (The open spot in the middle was for a tray of veggies, including cherry tomatoes.  They were just still in the fridge).
For dessert, I did cupcakes and round sprinkles. The smashcake was a giant cupake (I explain how I made it and the liner here)
We set up a lot of outdoor activities (since we had a big outdoor lawn party for our wedding reception, we have lots of outdoor games and most of the toys were things we had). We had out a parachute and some GIANT polka dot beach balls (Easter basket gifts).  Xander set up the stepping domes into a path (while Archer crawled along behind him and threw them all).
I set up a baby pool with lots of ball pit balls.
Not quite ball themed, but we also set up the giant connect 4, bags and ladder ball.
I also had out this tub of I got these little knobby balls for the kids, which were also the party favors.  The sign said "Thanks for BOUNCING by my party!  Take one so you can have a BALL at home!" They ended up thrown all over (and have a been a big hit in our house since).  
 The Outfit:
I got  this adorable polka dot shirt I got from BowDacious Baby on Etsy. We all wore raglan shirts to match (because I'm THAT mom, haha).

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