Saturday, June 15, 2013

Maddie's Project

I recently read a New York Times article on Melissa and Doug and their story of the company that makes toys that promote an imaginative spark. As I read the article, I wondered if we are too materialistic in our house. Do we rely on the easy toy to entertain?
And then yesterday, Maddie said, "I want to make a car." I back-seated this conversation* and tried to see if she could own her craft project.

(*back-seating a conversation: you know, when you hold your breath and see what they'll say next and try not to steer. Comments like "wow" and "and then what" are key to the back-seater. Man, I should TM this team.)

I was shocked to see that she could establish her own plan to build a car. And here it is.
How-to-Build a Car by Maddie

First, you need a big box.
Then you stick on paper using tape.

Next you color the inside. (We used bingo dabbers which worked out amazingly!)

Paint two sides blue for the windows.

You might need to get under the hood.

Cut out four big, black circles and four little, white circles. Glue the white circles on the black circles and you have some tires. Stick two on each side with tape.

Cut out a cardboard circle and color it.

This will be your steering wheel. You can stick it on with yarn. (I interpreted this as make two holes in the wheel and the box and thread it on as you would a button.

Cut out a hole for your feet. (I suggested yarn suspenders to help her carry it around.)

And that's a car. (Wow, my house is a mess. But look at that cute kid!)

Look out! Here she comes!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Gone Fishing

Rob got Maddie a fishing pole for her birthday. After she opened it, she said to me, "Mom, thanks for my fishing pole. I've always wanted one."

This weekend, she put it to the test.

First, she fished off the porch.

Then she hit the water with Dad. Rob showed her how to cast the line once and now she's a pro.

We've already broken it three times in two days. Turns out fishing for rocks is not such a good idea. Luckily, Rob just bought a back-up.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Boredom Busters

I think I'm finally starting to figure out three-year-olds! This is great news as Maddie turns four this week. It means my learning curve is exactly one year behind.

I think the secret to threes is being prepared to direct a three to something that will keep them interested. Sometimes it's a kick start for independent play so you can get stuff done. Sometimes it's just shake all the energy out with something really active.

I found a lot of help with this book:

Unplugged Play by Bobbi Conner, available here.

Unplugged Play is all about promoting old fashioned play --the simple games and activities we used to do as kids. Before Toys R Us convinced us we needed 10,000 toys and Siri became my nanny.

One of the things I love about this book is the cupboard list. I have two boxes in my house where I collect play possible items: toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, old TV dinner trays, etc... But Conner suggests some things that I never would have thought about and helps you get a vision for what to do with them.

When I first read the book, I started folding over corners, but I would forget about the things I wanted to try.

So I made this, my boredom buster bottle.

All of my favorite activities were written on large, colored Popsicle sticks. The sticks are color coded: red, easy independent play; yellow, needs some mom help; and green, outdoor play ideas.

Each stick has the name of the activity in bold. On the back is the page number of the activity description and the materials needed.

That way, I can tell Maddie, "Pick a red one!" Then I can read the instructions and know that I have all the necessary items (or tell her to try again.)

And hopefully this will keep us happy for a while, because Conner has activities all the way through school ages.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



It's nice living next to one of the wonders of the world. It's even nicer to have family visit and have them take your photo!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Glass Slippers

One last hold out from Maddie's princess party. My niece ended up missing the party because she was sick. So we saved this activity until she felt better.

A while back, my mom gave us this book full of craft ideas for kids. Maddie has desperately wanted to make the glass slippers you can see on the cover.

For the party, I scored some faux ballet slippers from Target as well as some adhesive gems and glitter puffy paint.

The girls got to decorate their own slippers adding all kinds of bling.

Fairly easy for four-year-olds!