Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Corn Crayon Rubbing Art

     If you saw my post about the Alphabet Letter Sounds Obstacle Course, you know I am now doing a home preschool for the Sugar Snaps. One of the Fall art activities I did with them, was corn crayon rubbings.  I remember doing many leaf rubbings as a child and being fascinated by the beautiful images that appeared like magic by simply rubbing a crayon.  I love putting decorative corn out in the Fall.  It brings the season alive with color.  I wanted them to experience the simple pleasure of crayon rubbing using the corn.  

Fall Corn Crayon Rubbing:
You will need:
  • One ear of dried corn
  • One sheet of white paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Crayons 
  • Scissors

     Cut the paper to fit the ear of corn and tape it on.  The rubbing comes through better when the paper is not doubled up.  Then, have your child rub the crayons over the corn until the picture is finished.  Unroll and enjoy.  This is great for practicing coloring and using a 'helping hand' to hold the corn.  Have you done any crayon rubbings yet this season?  What did you use?  I'd love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

* This post was shared on Share it Saturday, Thanksgiing & Fall Activities Link-up

Monday, October 28, 2013

Awesome Parenting

     Sometimes, parents start out having their first child, and they work hard to do as much as they can to raise a healthy, happy well behaved child. And, to their pleasure, it works. They go out in public with that child and people marvel at how well behaved he or she is. They get compliments from strangers on their parenting. They begin to think they are pretty good at this parenting thing. These parents see other children out in stores who have meltdowns in public, and think to themselves that those parents probably do not do the same parenting techniques that they do at home. If only they practiced good parenting, then they too would have a well behaved child who would be complimented by strangers in the mall. 

     These parents know all about awesome parenting. Then, they have child number two. They do all the same awesome parenting techniques, but this time, their child is not as well behaved as child number one. This child tries to run away at the store and shrieks loudly when he or she is told it is time to go home. They were used to getting looks of wonderment from strangers and now they are getting looks of irritation from the awesome parents who have children who would never behave in such a way.   Then they start to look at the children screaming in the mall a little differently.  Maybe it is not about awesome parenting after all. Maybe the temperament of the child is part of the mix. Sure, there are parenting practices that are better than others. But, a well behaved child is not simply the result of awesome parenting, but a combination of parenting, temperament, and time of day.   We all try our best as parents and sometimes our children are the ones people compliment and sometimes they receive the annoyed looks. None of us are really that awesome as parents. We do the best we can,  and hopefully, we look at the parents with the screaming child with a look of solidarity. They are not giving in to the screams to prevent the looks of annoyance.  Those parents may be feeling like they want to melt into the floor because none of us like to be the ones on the receiving end of righteous stares.  Thanks to them, their child is less likely to become an adult who screams to get what he or she wants. 


     If Capri had been our first child, we may have fallen into the awesome parenting trap.  She has never had a true public meltdown.  Ever.  She has had small private ones every once in a blue moon. She learned to use the potty pretty easily.  We could have thought it was the result of our great parenting.  But, we have the experience of having four at once, some of whom have had epic public meltdowns, the kind that made us want to melt into the floor and be invisible until it was over.  Having four different personalities side by side in our home has given us a true appreciation for the joys and struggles that parents face. We have been recipients of dozens of compliments from strangers about our 'well behaved children.'  We have also received the looks of annoyance that suggest that perhaps we have too many children and they are out of control.  They may be thinking that they could give us some awesome parenting advice.  Rather than judging, let's do something to make the world a little more awesome.  We can bring a meal to a friend who is working long hours or give a date night to some busy parents we know.  We can smile at the busy parents around us and they may be more likely to smile at someone else. While giving back may never seem convenient, it helps us to be a community...and that's awesome. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Alphabet Letter Sounds-Preschool Obstacle Course

     After looking into the costs of preschool for the Sugar Snaps, we determined that we could not afford it and so I have started a home preschool.  We have had the benefit of Early Intervention services since they were six months old.  As a result, we have had many obstacle courses set up in our house.  I learned a lot from our therapists and can now come up with my own courses.  I have also been taking preschool educators' courses (and have already taken lots of child development classes in my path to become a psychologist).

     The Sugar Snaps are learning the alphabet and letter sounds and I thought combining an obstacle course, which increases memory and problem solving skills, with letter sound and recognition practice would be a lot of fun.  They all enjoyed it and were able to remember a long sequence which you will see pictured in the video.  The great thing about this kind of activity is it can be adapted using whatever you have on hand, indoors or out. It can also be changed to suit your preschooler's or toddler's developmental level.

The steps to our Alphabet Obstacle Course were:
  1. Run and get the ball (which was balancing on top of a shape sorter).
  2. Roll the ball down the slide and through the tunnel.
  3. Slide down the slide on your stomach and crawl through the tunnel.
  4. Find the ball and put it back on top of the shape sorter.
  5. Go to the magnet board/oil pan and pick out a letter.
  6. Announce the name of the letter, the sound it makes and one or two words that begin with that letter.
  7. Run across the room and place the letter on the magnet board/oil pan on the other side of the room.
     It is exciting to see them learn and progress.  What alphabet activities have you done with your toddlers or preschoolers?  I would love to hear from you. I enjoy reading each comment.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

You're not the Grayson

     Before I had children, I wondered how much of children's behavior and personality were due to genetics and how much was due to environment (probably because I'm a psychologist).  I have had the chance to get a firsthand answer to my question (at least from the small sample of my own children).  While we have four who are all the same age and in the same environment, their personalities could not be more different.  I have talked about Xayden's natural curiosity and ability to escape most barriers.  Now, I will share a little more about Grayson.  He is our mini-adult.  I love this picture of him below, taken by Susana Bates.  She really captured his quirky grown-up face when he was still a baby.

Grayson (photo by Susana Bates)

     Recently, Grayson was telling his siblings what to do.   I promptly informed him, "You're not the Mama. I'm the Mama."  He looked at me in a perturbed display of disagreement.  The next day, he stared at me with a dead serious face and said, "You're not the Grayson. I'm the Grayson."  It was all I could do not do burst out laughing.  The other day, Capri announced that she saw an overpass on the freeway.  Greg said, "Yes, Capri.  We are going under an overpass."  Grayson replied, "You're right Daddy!," with enthusiasm.  He often congratulates us on what we know.
Grayson is able to be a 'kid' when he's upside down.
     When the Sugar Snaps were in the church nursery, we were told that Grayson and Ryder both wanted the same toy. After a short tug of war, Grayson announced that he was going to set the timer and that it was his turn for five minutes. He went over to the pretend kitchen and "set" the microwave timer (just like I do at home).  The pretend timer never went off to give Ryder a turn and by then, he had forgotten about the toy. 
     In the morning, I sometimes eavesdrop on the Sugar Snaps as they converse (while they are still in bed).  Grayson often takes on the role of teacher.  He asks, "The A says?"  Then, his siblings all answer, "Aaaa!"  He continues through the alphabet with his letter sounds quiz and his brothers and sister seem to enjoy his lessons.  Teachers are on both sides of the family and I think he inherited those genes.

     Have you noticed big differences in your children's personalities?  Do you think personality is shaped more by environment or by genes?  I'd love to hear from you.  I enjoy reading each comment.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cars at the Pumkin Patch

     We visited a local pumpkin patch with Grandma and Grandpa.  It was the first time the Sugar Snaps really understood that we were getting pumpkins for Halloween.  It was so much fun to see them enjoy the sights and sounds of the pumpkin patch.

 They crawled into a large jack-o-lantern and touched the hay.

They compared large pumpkins

 to small pumpkins

and enjoyed seeing the scarecrow driving the tractor.

Ryder loved petting the goats and sheep in the petting zoo.

Capri was not sure which car to pick

and then opted to drive the taxi

while Xayden enjoyed the beetle car.

The cars were one of the surprise hits of the pumpkin patch.

Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed watching them ride around.

 Finally, it was time to pick some pumpkins and head home.  

     Have you been to the pumpkin patch this year?  When did your children begin to understand that Halloween was approaching?  I'd love to hear from you. As always, comments are welcome.
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