DOUGH-ble the Fun!

As you can see, play dough has been a constant component in our home. Today, I would like to share two other simple recipes and activities you can do with your kids.

After learning about the Solar System and memorizing them, I wanted to teach Micah the different things that men use to explore the moon. When I first presented the lesson, I noticed he wanted nothing to do with it. He got bored pretty quickly and wanted to move on. This is very unlikely because he is usually engaged in concepts that are new to him. I thought about how I can make this exciting.

Again, the sensory bin came to life. The next day, I got him involved in making cloud dough for the moon surface. It is really easy and fun to do. As we knead and played with the dough inside the bin, I started introducing the different space objects once again. It sparked his interest and he paid full attention.

IMG_9262As we manipulated these objects around the bin, he quickly learned the names and their functions. This activity kept his attention for over an hour and by the end of the first 15 minutes, he was able to articulate the lesson back to me. I left him alone, busy with his new found interest in space objects for another hour or so while I got things done around the house.

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To reinforce the names of the objects, I created picture cards for each one and had him play a matching game with them the next day. I had him bury all the objects in the “moon sand” and placed all the cards face down. He then had to flip a card, name it, find the object that matched it, and place it on top of the card.

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Once he got the concept, he started playing the game by himself. I think he got it because he created his own rocket with his magnetiles during his afternoon play time. He excitedly showed me his creation and said, “Mama, this is the Saturn V Rocket!” I realized that going an extra mile to make learning more fun for your child goes a long way.

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Creating the dough and making it an exciting concept allowed him to not only enjoy learning but also encouraged him to correlate his knowledge with his imagination.

Cloud Dough Recipe Cloud Dough2 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups of oil

1. Pour the flour in a bowl.

2. Make a hole in the center of the flour.

3. Pour the oil into the hole.

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4. Mix the oil and flour together with your hands. The nice and smooth texture makes it fun to knead with your hands.

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Another fun activity we did was the volcano eruption and dinosaur sensory bin. We made the volcano with an herbal tea play dough recipe. It was the best smelling volcano I’ve ever seen erupt! As we read and learned about the dinosaurs, I saw a volcano in one of the pages and thought how fun it would be to teach him what a volcano can do.

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We quickly got our ingredients together and made ourselves a volcano. I placed some cloud dough in the sensory bin and used it as the land the dinosaurs played on. I added the volcano on the side and created a hole to represent the crater. I placed baking soda inside the hole and sprinkled a few on the outside to extend the “lava” explosion effect. As I taught him about volcanoes, I poured vinegar into the crater and kaboom! It exploded! I think it caught him off guard but his shock was overruled by amazement. The volcano erupted a couple more times after that before it was time for the dinosaurs to evacuate.

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The three of us were entertained with this experiment, even though we’ve done it multiple times. Some things just never get old! It was fun to see both of them so engaged and entertained by this simple activity. Of course, I couldn’t reuse the tea dough volcano after the eruption but since it was so easy to make, I think we will be having it around again really soon. Micah already wanted to make a new one right after that! It made our kitchen smell really good too!

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Don’t forget to clean up once you are all done. 🙂

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Tea Dough Recipe

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2 tea bags (the more bags you put, the more vibrant the color)
1 1/2-2 cups of water
1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoons of oil (you can add more if you want it to be softer)

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1. Boil the water and steep the tea bags for about 5-8 minutes.

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2. Remove the tea bags.

3. Add the flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil into the pot. (Have you child help you pre-measure the ingredients.)

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4.Cook and stir over medium heat for a couple of minutes or until it forms into a ball. You can add a little water or oil if you need to.

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5. Once your ball is in the center of the pot, take your dough out and place it on a lightly floured surface.
(Warning: It can be hot!)

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6. Squeeze out the extra water from the tea bags unto the dough, tear open the bag and knead the tea leaves into the dough to add more texture.

7. Have fun!

I used raspberry tea for my volcano and it smelled really good! I should have added more tea bags but I just used up what I had. I will try with another flavor for our next one and see how that turns out. Don’t forget to share yours with me, too! You can always bust out those cookie cutters and make fun creations! Get your hands kneading and have fun!

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The Reading Habit

Even while I was pregnant with my firstborn Micah, my husband Chris had always expressed how much he wanted our kids to love reading. Not only that, his next goal was to make them understand and comprehend what they are reading. He would read a bible story to our boys while I was still pregnant. We admit and regret that we read more to Micah than Titus while he was in the womb. We kinda figured, Titus was “read to” a lot because he hears all the books when we read to Micah. Back then, we would either read a chapter a book that we go through as a couple or just a bible story to Micah right before bed. We wanted to get into the habit of reading to him every night even while he was growing in the womb. After he was born, we would continue to read to him every day. We practically memorized some of the board books because we’ve repeated it so many times! It was an investment worth making!

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Quiet time (bible reading) can be establish even at his age. 🙂

As Micah grew older, we noticed he was drawn to books more and more. He would choose to have some quiet reading time on his own after naps and before bed. He would look forward to reading time with Daddy after dinner and bible stories were a must before lights out. A few weeks ago, I noticed Micah “reading” to his little brother in the living room while I was making dinner. I heard him repeat the words on the page pretty accurately and I was totally caught off guard! I thought he was reading! But after a few minutes the words would dwindle down to something else. I realized he wasn’t reading the words but due to countless repetition of certain books that he absolutely loves, Micah has now memorized the words on the page. He was reciting the words (in surprisingly the right order) to Titus. As he turned the page, he continued on. He would even recite it with the tone or voice changes his dad would do while reading that certain paragraph. It made me realize how important it was for us to keep this great thing going. I admit, sometimes I am tempted to just say, we can just read tomorrow.

Micah and Titus reading together

Reading the book The Day The Crayons Quit!

I praise God for my husband’s wisdom and persistence in making sure we were intentional in making reading a priority in our home. More importantly we are delighted to see that he is so enthusiastic about reading God’s Word. He would not go to bed without reading a bible story no matter how sleepy or tired he is. Indeed, he is a great reminder of how we need to improve on our bible reading and the enthusiasm we put into it. If we want our boys to love reading God’s Word, we need to do a better job modeling it to them.

Bible reading before bed.

Bible reading before bed…

Here are some ways to help encourage a love of reading in your child.
1. Encourage and expand their oral language.
Depending on his or her age or level, your child can read a story, have a story read to him/her or even take turns reading and listening. As you read, ask your child questions about the details you just read. Keep them engaged by having the little ones point out the characters being discussed on the particular page.  When you are done, invite them to identify their favorite part is.

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The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen

2. 1 to 10 and read them again!
The more exposed they are to different kinds of books, the more their love for reading will grow.  We have enjoyed several authors whose writing styles are completely different yet each of them bring something great to share. Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to understand the content. If you think some words are too “big” for him, explain it! Check out our list of favorite authors whose books are quickly filling up our shelves.

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3. Sing a song and recite a rhyme.
Name that tune to your favorite nursery rhyme! Rhymes and songs are creative ways to encourage memorization, rhyming, and melody. It’s a great way to introduce poetry and other creative writing styles. Sing together on trips, on walks, and even in the shower! Add hand gestures or dance moves or start a rhyming band to enrich the overall experience. My husband loves to make up words to familiar songs and Micah just bursts out laughing!

Sandra Boynton books are so much fun!

A family favorite!

4. Have a book nook and hang out there!
Micah can hang out here for 30-45 mins after he wakes up and just read all the books on the shelf. He would look at the pictures, make up words or recite the ones he has memorized and time just goes by, while I get my chores done. Make the area inviting and fun for your little reader. A couch or bean bag, a rug and a shelf make a great little space for some quiet reading time. Designating a “quiet reading time” encourages them have a special time with their books. You can do solo silent reading or reading aloud together there, too. Reluctant readers may be encouraged to read more in a fun and unique environment.

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The book nook in his room.

5. Be a literacy advocate!
I need to do this more! My dad is an avid reader and so is my brother, but for some reason, I didn’t get that gene. I only read about the things I am interested in. I need to learn to broaden my literacy choices so I can encourage my boys to do the same. If you have an older child, you may want to encourage your child by setting reading goals and when they achieve them, recognize and reward their efforts. Get the other members of your family to read with your kids too!

Auntie Kim reading with Micah

Auntie Kim reading with Micah

6. Add creative intonations!                                                                                                                                                  Intonation refers to the rising, or falling pitch in a person’s voice as one says words or phrases. Stress the different ways you can read the questions, commands or conversations in the book.  Make different sounds or change your voice or accent as you read aloud. We noticed that Micah would copy our intonations when he reads the books to himself or to his brother. Echo reading is a great way to encourage paired reading as well. (Paired reading can mean alternating sentences while you read aloud together.)

7. Make it a habit! 

The reading habit is one of the best things we can pass on to our children. In an age where everything is digital and kids can easily get sensory overload from media, books have a way of opening their eyes, increasing their imagination, and making them appreciate some down time in those magical pages amidst this fast-paced world. Read on! AND don’t forget to teach your child about the author and illustrator of the book he is reading too.

Titus enjoys reading time too!

Make it a part of your routine!

Our Top 13 Authors & Their Books
1. Kevin Lewis & Daniel Kirk: My Truck Is Stuck-This is the first book Micah memorized.

2. June Sobel: The Goodnight Train– love the rhyme and sounds in this one

3. Alice Schertle: The Little Blue Truck; The Little Blue Truck Leads the Way- Who doesn’t love Blue? The sounds the characters make just adds to the fun.

4. Drew Daywalt: The Day the Crayons Quit– Brings back great moments with Crayola box! My husband and I were laughing while he was reading it to Micah.

5. Sherry Dusky RinkerSteam Train, Dream TrainGoodnight Goodnight Construction Site- She does a great job teaching the different kinds of trucks and trains

6. Mo Wilhems: Elephant and Piggie Series: These are just hilarious!!! You will just fall in love with these two!

7. Amy Krouse Rosenthal:Little Pea; Exclamation Mark; Spoon; Chopsticks- Simple concepts, great points, fun & entertaining for the whole family!

8. Chris Van Dusen: Circus Ship; Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit; If I Built a House, If I Built a Car (our first one); Camping Trip with Mr. Magee, Down by the Sea with Mr. Magee, and more- I think we have all his books! We love all of them! Illustrations are great and the rhymes are just incredible! His characters are funny & the conversations are witty.

9. Watty Piper: The Little Engine That Could– A great classic and must have on the shelf!

10. Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are– Micah just loves this! Let your imagination lead you to the wild things.

11. Eric Carle: We read through a lot of his books for different stages in their lives. The shorter ones like Polar Bear Polar Bear, What do you see?, Head to Toe, etc- we read from 0-12 months. The longer ones like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug and The Very Busy Spider are great for 18-24 months and up and perfect for lessons & activities.

12. Sandra Boynton: Dinosaur’s Binket is our favorite. We have a lot of her books too! We read her board books when Micah was 0-12 months. He still enjoys them when we read them to Titus. Who wouldn’t fall in love with her adorable illustrations?

13. . Audrey Wood: Silly Sally: He memorized this book and loves reciting it to his little brother. A fun, silly and entertaining book. I first read this with my 3-6 old students in my classroom and they loved it. I knew it was a must-have for my own kids.

What’s in your shelf?

Dough it yourself!

Who doesn’t love play dough? Squishy, bright, fun, and cheap! Come and enjoy this homemade project with me!

What you need:

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons oil (you can add a pinch or two more if you feel like it’s still a little too sticky)
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 package of sugar-free jello

1. Have your little one measure and mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan-even if takes a little longer and a little messier. Not only is it fun for them but it also encourages them to work on those motor skills! Whisking is can be challenging for their little hands but it’s a great way to exercise those muscles. Keep going until those lumps are gone!

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2. Now it’s ready to hit the stove!

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3. Get those muscles moving! Cook it over medium heat, stir continuously until it thickens to a ball of dough.  This step takes a while, so be patient and keep stirring until it doesn’t stick to your fingers.

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4. Once it is done cooking, place it on a mat to let it cool for about 20 minutes and you are set for hours of fun! Once you are done, store the dough in an air tight container. If it starts to get sticky, just add a little more flour.

5. HAVE FUN! There’s a whole lot of squishing, rolling, kneading, cutting, and endless exploring with this simple and fun sensory activity. 🙂 You can even use cookie cutters to make shapes! Check out my other post for how I used these for our lesson on land and water and on fine motor skills activities.

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If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it! I think my husband does too!He even made himself some taro ice cream!

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Sensory Bin Success!

My interest sure has shifted from tiaras and tutus to trucks and trains after having a little boy. I’ve driven by construction sites countless of times but it has never caught my eye. I never even stopped for a glance. Heck! It wasn’t even on my radar! But having boys has definitely diverted my attention. Now, I would spot it from a distance!

After I saw how much he loved his construction book “Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site” (great book by the way!) I thought it would be fun to make it come alive by allowing him to have his own little construction site. A couple of weeks ago, we were also fortunate enough to get up close to a real bulldozer when we saw the tow truck drop it off onto the site. I asked permission from the driver if we could get close and take a picture with it. Micah was “truck-struck.” He couldn’t believe how gigantic the machine was. It never looked that big in the pictures!

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Thumbs up indeed!

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I gotta admit, that was pretty cool even for my husband and I!

 

We built our own construction site sensory bin. A sensory bin is a small container with a variety of materials placed together to stimulate the senses. Sensory bins give your child opportunities to assume the role of a scientist and explorer as he handles, manipulates, sorts, and examine the items in the bin. They also increase your child’s ability to be attentive. The potpourri of items in your bin will give him the ability to make decisions on how he may want to use them. Creativity and imagination are given a free reign. Self-discoveries allow for new concepts to form such as new vocabulary, sorting, and integrating old and new knowledge. You are also giving your child the opportunity to develop the essential sensitive period of refining his senses. For those of you who have a couple of children, it gives them a chance to work together. As an added bonus, did I mention that it is so much fun?

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Micah enjoyed these sensory bins so much so that not only did it occupy him for 1.5-2 hours in the morning, he asked to do it again after he woke up from his nap. It fostered lot of independent work, exploration and self-entertainment. I observed how he worked with his materials and used his imagination. Phrases, sounds, and memorized paragraphs of books that contained those items were being recited. He even got the books that he associated those items with and integrated them to his activity. He also cleaned them all in the sink after he was done because the coffee beans made them a little sticky. 

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He even asked to wear his crane truck pjs to match his work for the day!

 

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He was reciting the lines he memorized from each page as he matched each truck.

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Clean those trucks!

After seeing how much he enjoyed the trucks, I decided to do it with dinosaurs too. I was able to find a book that included the dinosaurs and had information about them (which made it so much easier for me since I don’t know what they are called). He had a blast and I did, too! It brought me joy to see that such simple things can bring such delight to him. Best of all, we used everything we had at home and incorporated them into the activity.

Materials:

Construction Site: plastic bin, Toy State Caterpillar Construction Mini Machine 5-Pack Target about $5.89 (vs Amazon $15), old Folgers coffee, pearl barley


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Can you see what I picked up? The bulldozer, excavator and the dump truck all had their share of fun…now it’s your turn!

 

Jurassic Park: plastic bin, Junior Groovies dinosaur book with dinosaurs inside, small container with vinegar (as lake/”bath tub”) with a drop of vanilla extract, blue food coloring (to make it look like a lake), baking soda, marbles, trees collection from Safari Ltd.

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Check out both their smiles! These two are such eager learners!

Micah loved being in his Jurassic Park dream world. My original thoughts were, the baking soda would be the ground, the vinegar would be the lake and the marbles as the rocks. But he had a completely different idea in mind. He pretended that it was a dinosaur bath party! The baking soda was the soap that he covered the dinosaurs in and he gave them a bath in the vinegar tub. The fizzle effect caused by the reaction of the vinegar and the baking soda really entertained him. I would hear him say words like dinosaurs take turns, wait in line, and “Yehey! Bath time!” It was fun to see and hear him use his imagination and get creative. I changed the vinegar every 20 minutes when it stopped fizzling. Towards the end, Micah asked for two containers with different colors, he used it to sort out the marbles from the dinosaurs.

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Concentration and fascination at its finest!

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Vinegar + Baking soda bubble bath was a real dinosaur treat!

I hope you’ll get inspired and create your own little spaces for your little ones to enjoy. Feel free do share your ideas here, too!

Teaching the Creation Story the Creative Way

Teaching my boys about the Lord is a top priority in our family. Raising them to love God’s Word and obey it is our desire and prayer for them. This week, as we went through our Bible study, I decided to teach them about creation. I wanted them to know and understand how great our God is since I knew that at the end of the week, we would be visiting the Cal Academy of Sciences. We went through each day following what God had created. I came up with these activities to go with our lesson to make it more fun and exciting for Micah and Titus.

Genesis 1:2-3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

Materials: flashlight and a dark room

ACTIVITY: I would shine the flashlight on different parts of a dark room. As the flashlight is on I would say, “light” and if it was off I would say “dark”. He also learned day and night. He had a lot of turning the flashlight on and off and shining it on different parts of the room.

Genesis 1:6- 8 Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” 7 And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. 8 God called the space “sky.”

Materials: clear glass with half-full water, blue food coloring, and shaving cream

ACTIVITY: I had a lot of fun with this one too! I got a clear glass and filled it half way with water. Then I filled the top half with shaving cream to represent the sky. I asked Micah to drop blue food coloring to emphasize the difference. Then later, we learned about the different kinds of clouds as we continued to experiment on it.

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Genesis 1:9-10 Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.”

Materials: play dough to represent land; a cup of water with blue food coloring, a tray/container, globe

ACTIVITY: I showed him the globe and had him point out the land and water areas to me. He recited the continents as we did it. I purposely made green play dough so I could use it in this activity. I took a chunk of the green play dough and placed it at the center of the tray. I told Micah that it was land. I recited the verse to him and while we were doing so, I asked him pour the water into the tray. He noticed that it went around the “land”. I made him feel the top of the play dough and he told me it was dry and I said, that was land. He then pointed to the water and said, “seas.” I’d like to think think he got the point somehow. 🙂

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Land & Water!

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Genesis 1: 11-12 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

Materials: soil, seeds, shovel, watering can

ACTIVITY: I took him outside and had him touch the soil and water the tomato plant that his auntie had helped him plant a few weeks ago. He pointed out the flowers that were on the table and he said, “God made plants.”

Genesis 1:16-18 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

Materials: Oreo cookies!

ACTIVITY: I prepared the 4 cookies and I ended up using just the full moon and new moon because the quarters were a little hard for him to understand. I took it away and focused on the two he concepts he was able to grasp. Of course, you guessed it. He ate the cookies after! But only the bottom part of the full moon without the cream (I didn’t want him to get hyper! Haha!). When we were done, we went outside and sang the song Mr. Sun as he pointed the sun to me and we even got his sunglasses because he said it was too hot.

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Who doesn’t love oreos?!

Genesis 1: 20; 24 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.”24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.”

Materials: different kinds of animals, a container of water with blue food coloring, one tray with shaving cream (sky) and a green placemat (our veggie chopping mat)

 ACTIVITY: I had him lay them all out and name the animals one by one as I shared the verses with him. He had to put the birds in the “sky” (shaving cream container), land animals on the green mat and sea creatures in the tub of water. Then of course at the end, we had to wipe down the sea creatures before putting them back in their proper containers. We sorted the animals according to their habitat, (farm animals in one container, jungle animals in another, etc) and as a reminder to which container they go, I placed a picture on the outside.

Even Titus got to do it!

Genesis 1: 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Materials: Titus, Micah, Mama 

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 ACTIVITY: We thanked God for all that He has made and Micah said God made Micah and Titus and Mama and Papa and He started naming everyone he could think of that God made—all the family and friends he could recall. We close in prayer after each lesson and throughout the day, we talked about what God had made. Now, when we’re driving he would be pointing things out and telling us that God made it. We finished off our fun week with a visit to the Cal Academy of Sciences and it was great! He was able to acknowledge what His creator has done and appreciate the beauty of all that He has made! He even got the fish guide and pointed them out and said, “Mama, God made the fish!”

Teaching your kids about God can be done in a fun and exciting way. I hope that these activities will inspire you to make Bible stories come to life in the eyes of your child. 🙂

CAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE was a great way to end our lesson! Everyone had a blast learning about the beautiful creation of the Lord!

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Titus was mesmerized by the fish.

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Stick your hand in the touch pool!

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Titus touched the sea urchin!

I love how he attributed it to the Creator!

Mama! God made the fish!

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Grandpa and Titus!

Micah & Grandpa

Everyone learned something new that day!

Everyone learned something new that day!

Fine Motor Skill Activities that Your Kids Will Enjoy

Fine Motor Skill Activities that Your Kids Will Enjoy

Almost every parent feels the pressure to make their children write right now. But teaching your child how to write isn’t as easy as putting a pencil in his hand and showing him the alphabet. Children greatly benefit from experiences that support the development of fine motor skills in their hands and fingers.

They should have strength and dexterity before being asked to manipulate a pencil on paper. Working on this first can eliminate the development of an inappropriate pencil grasp. This happens when children get engaged in writing experiences before their hands are really ready. The following activities involve the use of practical life materials that will support your child’s fine motor development and help build the strength and dexterity necessary to hold a pencil appropriately in the future.

All these items can be found either at home or purchase from the dollar store or at Ikea. They have child-size items that will make it easier for the child to handle. These simple practical life activities may seem “easy” for us but it goes a long way with your child. These are indirect preparations that help in the coordination of your child’s movements and development of concentration.

Friendly Reminders:

1. Demonstrate how to do these activities next to your child so they can see what you are doing. Usually, you have your child sit first and you sit to the child’s right.

2. Name the objects you will use before you start.

3. Try to use as minimal words as you can and let your movements do the talking.

4. Make sure he/she is watching how you manipulate the items you are using.

5. Your goal is to demonstrate these actions clearly so the child can repeat the activity successfully and independently.

6. These activities aim to develop his/her coordination, concentration, gracefulness, and independence.

7. Repetition is important. If your child wants to do it over and over, encourage him/her to do so. It helps your child master the skill involved and allows your little one to gain more confidence in himself/herself as well.

8. Make sure to watch out for these important skills: concentration, hand-eye coordination, patience, and hand control.

9. Don’t forget to have your child clean up!

10. HAVE FUN!

Now let’s look at some easy activities:

SPOONING GRAINS:

Materials: Tray, 2 identical bowls, spoon/ scooper, grains (in this case, I used expired popcorn)

STEPS:

a. Wrap your three right fingers around the handle and firmly grip the handle.

b. Make sure the child sees you positioning the oval mouth of the spoon in the center of the bowl, so the grains fall into the bowl and not onto the tray.

c. If the grain falls, show the child how to remove the bowls and pinch the grains one at a time and replace into the bowl.

Variation: You can use jars to practice pouring grains, too.

Spooning Kernels with a Scooper

Spooning Kernels with a Scooper

Spooning Grains with a Spoon

Spooning Grains with a Spoon

POURING WATER:

Materials: Tray, 2 identical glass cups, sponge/towel to wipe off the spills, apron

STEPS:

a. Pouring water from the right hand jug into the left-hand jug then from left jug into right jug.

b. A cloth is to be used to wipe the spills.

Pouring Water Variation: You can have different size jars, some may even need a funnel.

Pouting Water

Pouting Water

SQUEEZING WATER FROM A BASTER:

STEPS:

a. Show your child how to hold the baster by the bulb to draw up the water by squeezing it and releasing the pressure on the bulb.

b. Move the full baster over to the second container and squeeze the water out.

c. REPEAT!

This was a little tricky especially with learning how to manipulate the baster so it took him a few rounds of spills and practice before getting the concept of releasing it after he puts it over the other jar. Micah also realized that it was easier for him after he held the bottle in place by moving it to edge so it wouldn’t move while he squeezed the water out. A towel close by is very handy because this takes a while to get used to. You can use a medicine dropper too. But because of the size of the baster, it makes it easier for their little hands to start with.

Squeeze me Baster!

Squeeze me Baster!

SPONGING:

(See the smile? He loved this!)

Materials: 2 buckets or 2 different containers (mixing bowls are good for these too)

STEPS:

a. Take the sponge and dip it in the water.

b. WAIT a few seconds for the sponge to absorb the water.

c. Pick it up and move your hands with the sponge over the other container.

d. Squeeze the sponge with both hands over the other container.

SPONGING!

SPONGING!

PLAY DOUGH:

We made homemade Jello Play Dough! They smelled so good and I wasn’t too worried if he tried to eat it. (Thank God he didn’t! haha) Squishing, squeezing, stretching and moulding play dough helps to build muscle strength in the fingers and hands.

Providing small items like buttons, sequins, pasta, pebbles and shells with the play dough will also encourage the child to use his/her hands when picking up and placing these objects in the dough. Put out some shape cutters, a grater, blunt plastic knives and tweezers which can all be used to mould and transform the play dough.

In our picture, we used the Melissa and Doug set I found at Ross for $5. Rolling pins foster the development of the precision muscles of the hands. The precision muscles of the hands are the muscles that support the pencil grasp and teaches the child how to adjust the amount of pressure when holding a pencil.

Mold & Make Me Something!

Mold & Make Me Something!

These are just some of the many things that your toddler can do to exercise his/her fine motor skills. Show excitement and delight when your child accomplishes these tasks! Encourage them to continue doing it. As parents, be in the moment and pay full attention to your child. Developing motor skills is the first step to writing without stressing your child and yourself, too!

The Sorry Story

I came home one Saturday from brunch with one of my girlfriends and I found my husband watching TV on the couch with my newborn. I greeted him with a smile and asked him how the morning went with the boys. I asked him where Micah was and he said he was napping already. I looked at the clock and realized he put him to sleep a little earlier than usual. I also noticed that my husband had a frustrated look on his face. He told me that he put him down early because Micah didn’t want to eat and was throwing a fit about it.

Our little boy is typically a good eater and has no problems finishing his meals on his own. I was surprised because he was served peanut butter and jelly, which was a huge treat for him, yet he barely ate a bite. I could see that Chris was clearly frustrated about the situation. After an hour or so, Micah woke up crying. I went to his bedroom to check on him and found out that he had thrown up. He looked weak and sick. He called out to mommy for comfort. My heart sank when I saw him looking helpless and miserable. His eyes were watery and he did not look well. He said, “Look…I’m sorry, Mama.” while pointing down at the yucky stuff on his bed). I said, “It’s okay honey. Mama will clean you up and take care of this.”

I quickly cleaned him up and brought him to Chris so I can change his sheets and throw them in the wash. When Micah saw his dad, he knew Papa was still upset. He said, “Sorry papa, no eat lunch.” Chris said, “Yes, Micah did not eat lunch. Not okay, Micah. You can have it for snack.” in a stern voice. I looked at my husband and signalled him to drop the issue. I knew Micah didn’t eat not because he was trying to be disobedient but because he wasn’t feeling well. However, Chris didn’t acknowledge this.

I prayed about how I could break it to my husband lovingly that he was wrong about how he spoke to Micah. I knew in my heart that he was aware of it but needed a kind reminder of the truth. God prompted me to speak to him privately as Micah played in the other room. I reminded him of the verse, “Fathers do not exasperate your children” from Ephesians 6:4. I told him I knew that he just wanted Micah to eat his lunch and obey Daddy. His intentions were right but his delivery was wrong. Praise God my husband was sensitive to the Spirit and acknowledged his fault. He knew he had to apologize to his 22-month-old son. He called Micah, put him on his lap and said “Micah, Papa is sorry for getting mad at you during lunch today. Please forgive Papa.” Micah said, “Okay papa” and gave him a hug. Chris wondered if Micah actually got the point because that was all he said and it was over. I reassured him that even if we couldn’t really tell if Micah understood it, there will be a benefit to his act of humility. If we want to teach our boys to be humble and admit if they are wrong, we need to model it ourselves and this includes apologizing to them, too.

A few days later, Micah got really frustrated and started hitting Chris in the face. Chris quickly looked Micah in the eyes and told him, “Micah, you need to stop. This is not okay. You are hurting Papa.” Micah immediately stopped but we could tell he was still pretty upset. Chris asked him to calm down and apologize but Micah was hesitant. He didn’t want to say sorry initially but eventually he did. As they talked about the situation, Micah admitted that he was sorry he hit his papa. He knew what he did was wrong. His dad hugged him and told him that he still loves him but does not approve of his actions.

As I prayed with Micah before bed that night, he mentioned all the people he was thankful for. I prayed for him but right before we said amen, he said, “Mama, I sorry I hit Papa. Micah sorry Jesus.” My heart melted. I knew God was working in his little precious heart. I told him that daddy forgave him but that Jesus did too.

This incident made me realize that our boys are watching our every move and if we want to teach them humility and forgiveness, we need to model these ourselves. We want them to know that no matter what they do, we will always love and forgive them. As much as they are accountable to us and to the Lord, we are also accountable to God for how we are raising our children. It is our hearts’ desire to raise them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Therefore, we need to walk the talk and practice what we preach. We pray that we will live out God’s desire for our children. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” We believe that every parent should live by this truth if we want our children to grow up in a way that honors God. ☺

Father & Son moment: praying and studying God’s word together.

I am so blessed to raise my boys along side a man who loves and fears the Lord. What a great privilege it is to watch him model God’s character to them everyday. He is not perfect but seeing him grow in faithfulness, wisdom and godliness makes me feel so proud to call him the father of my children.

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Happy Father’s Day to my dear husband and also to all the fathers out there. May your children see the love of Christ through you everyday.

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