Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Play! Halloween Fun!

I hope you have all had a Happy Halloween!  Having a little one around makes Halloween so enjoyable again!  I find my play is in the preparation of things -- like at Christmas time, I really have fun with all that goes into making the big day special.  The last time I remember making a big deal about Halloween was in college when my best friend would create prize-winning costumes for the parties she attended.  Needless to say, I've had a blast this year!  Creating Cupcake Party Kits to send home to my nephews, working on Beansprout's costume with my mother-in-law, carving pumpkins, and even just perusing all of the fantastic Halloween ideas on the internet have made it a great month of play for me.

Getting ready for the big night!

I have to admit I'm focusing on my play, because at this point we're just sort of laying the groundwork for Beansprout, helping him get the hang of it.  Though we've been reading books about Halloween and its traditions to bridge the gap, he's not quite at the fully embracing point.  We had to coax him away from his trains to get him to go door-to-door this evening.  Of course, he had a blast at his Halloween parties -- he enjoyed getting special treats, we wondered together what other costumes we'd see, and he loved his costume so much that he wore his hat all day!  I realize even the days where he will be the one so excited for trick o' treating will be far too few, so I am holding these moments dear and not wishing the time away.

I have had a wonderful month reflecting on play.  If you've missed any of my other posts, I hope you'll check them out here! Huge thanks to The Nester for inspiring me to try this challenge!  I also want to send a big thank you to everyone who has made comments, whether on the blog, on Facebook, or in person, your encouragement has really impacted me this month.  I may just have to try another themed month as I continue to get the knack for this!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Play! Songs

I talked about my love of playing music with Beansprout in this post, one of my first about play this month, but can't help but write about it again.  I've been reminded a few times this month how songs have really helped Beansprout in one way or another.  Of course, singing lullabies was a huge part of his babyhood - I learned as many as I possibly could as I'd do anything to help get him to sleep at that time.  Yet, music also came in handy as a distraction when he had to go in for numerous tests as a baby -- I was able to help him stay calm and relaxed by singing some of our favorite Mothergoose songs.  For his first year of life I attended a weekly Mothergoose program with him - if you have a young one, I highly recommend even one session of this program!  The program helps you remember songs you knew growing up and teaches you many more that you can stockpile for just the right moment.  We've been able to encourage him to brush his teeth and get his hair rinsed with songs and I know we've learned a getting dressed song, too.  My friend, Lorraine, and I used to joke that we had a song for everything - much to the annoyance of those around us, I'm sure!

Marching with the Dinosaurs
What I really appreciate is the fact that songs have not only soothed my little guy in many situations, but they've also helped him make connections in his world.  We recently visited the dinosaur exhibit at Science World and he fell in love with them!  We thought he might be afraid of the sounds and the lights and the size of the creatures, yet he wanted to go around and around to see them numerous times.  I half think that it's due to the fact that as soon as we entered the exhibit I started singing, "We are the Dinosaurs", from The Laurie Berkner Band.  Instead of being afraid, this was a signal to Beansprout that it was connected to play!  Whenever he sees or talks about dinosaurs now he always mentions their marching, a key part of the chorus, so it was easy to "march" him around the exhibit to help him take it all in at first.

I love when Beansprout is working to make connections, but songs have also helped avoid major meltdowns (for all of us) when the car ride has become too much for him.  Snacktime from Barenaked Ladies has been a favorite - one of those kids' albums that doesn't make you want to stick a knife in your head after listening to it.  He enjoys participating in "Popcorn" and likes to chime in with his favorite snack on the title track of the album.  The songs are really enjoyable, as many of them have playful lyrics that appeal to adults - lyrics that go over the heads of the young ones, I'm sure.  (Besides, who can resist all the famous Canadians featured on the "Snacktime" song!?!)

I'm always on the look-out for music that will appeal to both me and Beansprout.  Do you have any favorite albums for kids that you love?  Can you still remember those from your childhood?  How have songs helped you or your children?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days of Play! Playing with Pumpkins

As the end of October nears I'm sure it's no surprise that one of my last posts involves pumpkins!  I have had a lot of fun thinking about play this month -- play for my little Beansprout, play for me, and the play of my childhood.  (If you haven't already, please check out my other posts about play here!) Pumpkin carving always floods my brain with childhood memories of our annual October tradition - burning the pumpkin seeds!  Yes, that's right - we burned them.  Every. Time.  Mostly out of impatience, I think.  The thing is, it never mattered then - we claimed we LIKED blackened pumpkins seed and enjoyed them anyway - the important thing was we were hanging out as a family.  Though I don't feel I have any concrete memories of those times, I do remember it was always a lot of fun for us and I can almost hear my dad's laughter as I think about it.  I guess that's the thing with memories -- they sometimes become fuzzy pictures, but the emotion of the moment is strong and clear.

Pumpkins 2011

Now, I begin my annual play with pumpkins with our little guy.  It's the perfect play for any age - the sensory play of scooping out the pumpkin slime and the artistic play of creating a jack-o-lantern make a lovely combination.  I find myself digging right in!  Knowing that his dad hates anything sticky, I had to laugh as Beansprout initially hesitated to help me clean out the pumpkin.  I think he realized it was a bit of sensory overload for him at the start.  After watching me for a few minutes, he did come around to helping sort the pumpkin seeds from the slime and took his job pretty seriously.  And though he eventually bored of the carving, he was still active in the process as he pushed his cars and trucks around and IN the pumpkins.  I'm always looking for a new slant on pumpkin carving, so we tried our hand at cookie cutter pumpkins this year, as seen on Modern Parents Messy Kids.  I liked the idea that Beansprout would be able to help in the "carving" process.  Unfortunately for us, plastic cookie cutters really didn't do the trick, but we managed to finish our trains-and-cars-themed pumpkin anyway.  I'm happy to say we're off to a great start continuing the fun of creating jack-o-lanterns!

And this year . . . Matt was in charge of the pumpkin seeds!

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days of Play! Free expression

Play is the highest form of expression of human development in childhood, 
for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul.  
                                                                      --Friedrich Foebel 

I'm writing about play for 31 days in a challenge to tackle one topic for the entire month!  You can check out my other posts about play here and check out other bloggers doing the same here!  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Play! Un-Toys

At sea

I've often heard parents lament the fact that they've spent hundreds of dollars on Christmas presents only to see the kids playing with the wrapping.  It's pretty amazing, though, what kids can come up with when they let their imaginations go.  At two, my little guy has only just started some of the imaginative stuff with "toys".  Beansprout has been using an arched block as a phone as long as I can remember, but most of his pretending involves re-enacting the world he sees everyday.  Yet, with all of the toys he has, I'm happy to see that he finds our Honeycrisp box from Costco the perfect BOAT!  He's been known to have breakfast, snacktime, sing his own version of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" all while sitting in his boat.  The perfect "un-toy"!  I'm looking forward to more and more play that involves new uses for everyday things.

What are your thoughts on "un-toys"?  Any favorites from your childhood?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Play! Mischievous Play

When things get a little too quiet I know that my little Beansprout is up to something . . . This morning, in the middle of washing my hair, that feeling came over me, and as I peaked out of the shower, I found him squeezing his toothpaste into the sink!  I'll pause here to say how I love that he realizes he's doing something mischievous --  I know this because though he protests when I tell him he needs to hand over the toothpaste, the protest is half-hearted.  Though I now realize why we seem to have run out of two tubes already, I have to laugh at the experimentation of this play!  I figure this might be how it goes in his head . . .

         #1) get more toothpaste (it tastes so good!)
         #2) oh!  can I squeeze the paste out myself?
         #3) I CAN squeeze it out myself - let's squeeze some in the sink
         #4) Well, I can't see it in the sink, but if I reach my hand over, I can FEEL it.
         #5) Yum!

Of course, I am extremely grossed out by the fact that he's eating toothpaste out of the bathroom sink!  Such is the mischief of a two-year old!

I'm writing about play for 31 days!  You can check out an explanation of the challenge here, where you'll find my other posts, too!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Play! Artistic Play

A person might be able to play without being creative, 
but he sure can't be creative without playing.
                                                  -- Kurt Hanks

I can hardly resist those chubby little boy hands grasping the marker!  *CHOMP*  Here's hoping we offer him all the right opportunities for play AND creativity . . .

Only 6 more days of posts about play!  Please check out my others posts here; I've been writing about play all month in a challenge to write about one topic for 31 days.  I've really enjoyed writing every day!  May have to pick a new topic for November???

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Play! Electronic Devices

Beansprout at computer

I am constantly on my computer or iPhone.  I'm one of those people they talk about - you know, the ones who can't live without their electronic devices!?! Until this weekend,  I guess I hadn't realized how much a part of my PLAY they are!  We pretty much lost any sign of a good internet connection for more than a day and I hardly knew what to do with myself!!!  As much as I do actually work on my computer, I also use it to download movies, read others' blogs, Goggle chat, catch up on Facebook updates, and (geek alert!) have even been known to watch a few TEDtalks on a Friday night.  

With our internet deciding it needed a rest, this weekend was completely different - I spent the evening playing with Beansprout's scrapbook project that I've been putting off for who-knows-how-many-months!  I can't say that I loved it . . . when the electricity goes out I often get a sweet feeling of playing 19th-century for the night, and embrace the situation, but this time I found myself quite irritated by the fact that each time I thought of something I wanted to do, it had to do with using the internet!  I have grown completely dependent on these electronics and the thing is, I'm pretty ok with it.  That being said, having gotten quite a bit done on the scrapbooking project, I realize I may need to unplug myself a little more often.  

What are your thoughts on using electronic devices for play?  Do you take time to unplug?  What does unplugging look like for you?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Play! Preparing to Play

Sneak-peek at Beansprout's Halloween Costume

We are quickly approaching one of the biggest days of play! I've heard that Halloween is the second most favorite holiday next to Christmas. This comes as no surprise, I guess, as kids AND adults get to don their play hats. In preparation for the big night of trick-or-treating next week, I had a little playtime of my own! My mother-in-law helped me put together Beansprout's FIRST homemade costume! I've always wanted to make a costume for him and the simplicity of this year's plan gave me the confidence to finally forge ahead. Not owning a sewing machine, I figured handmade costumes were out and I have to say that the affordability of really cute costumes from retail stores makes the decision to diy rather difficult -- I'm sure it's cheaper sometimes to go ahead and buy one!! This year I've been able to use things we already had, only purchasing two pieces of felt and some buttons. Not a bad deal!

Next up, pumpkin carving!!!!  Are you preparing for the 31st?  What do you do for Halloween? Do you enjoy its playful nature? Do you dress up?

I can't wait for the big reveal of Beansprout's costume! Stay tuned . . .

Not long to go in my 31 Days of Play writing challenge!  I've really enjoyed the conversations - hope you'll come back and that you'll check out my previous posts on the topic here, if you haven't already!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days of Play! Thought for the Day

"You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation"

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Play! The Balance Bike

Resting on the beach.

I mentioned yesterday that we spend a lot of time outdoors with Beansprout's balance bike.  It's amazing!  The idea is that kids start out learning how to balance and how to control the steering of a bike.  This is the most difficult part of learning to ride a bike, and once they've mastered it without pedals, the transition is far easier than moving from training wheel assistance to just two wheels.  Beansprout loves it!  He often requests going out for a bike ride and while riding has been known to say, "vroom, vroom".  I enjoy seeing people's faces when they see little Beansprout "vrooming vrooming" on his little bike.  I actually had one woman stop us dead in our tracks to say, "Is he really riding a bike!?!  Isn't he only about two?"  Indeed, he's only twoand he is moving so fast that Matt and I have to race him, we actually RUN, to intersections so he doesn't surprise any drivers!  I feel he's in the making of a BMX rider the way he creates obstacle courses for himself: glide on the pavement, over the gravel, around the parking blocks, and back again.  It's play AND learning at it's best!

Strider with lights at night!

Don't get me wrong, our guy didn't jump on the bike and start racing around!  This is a boy who didn't walk until 15 months, so our hopes of having him on the bike at 18 months were probably reaching a little high!  When he was ready, though, we had him ride on it in the house for months.  We let him get used to mostly walking around with it, and once we took him outside we could almost see his synapses connecting faster and faster right in front of our eyes - a bit clumsy one day and full speed ahead the next!  Today he looks like the kids in the promo videos, as he coasts along with his feet up!

Writing about play has been such a treat this month!  Check out my other 31 Days of Play and an explanation of the challenge here.

edited 12/25/11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days of Play! In or Out?

Beansprout in the only snow last year.
I don't know why, but I clearly remember hearing the words "in or out!?!" a lot as a child.  Most likely said with exasperation by parents and caregivers annoyed with younger ones running in and out of the house letting the door slam each time.  I think the choice was usually "out"!  Most of my memories of playing are definitely of being outside with the neighborhood kids - hide-and-seek games at dusk, games of softball on the side of the house, and tons of bike-riding, which often  involved some racing no-handed down our hill to see who could get the furthest!  (I still have a scar to tell the tale.)  We keep hearing that children need to get outside more, which makes me feel for all parents because I think things have changed tremendously in the last 30 years.  Kids don't just go outside and play in the neighborhood anymore - parents are around and things are usually organized.

On his Strider.

As Beansprout becomes more and more active, the words of my best friend keep ringing in my ears, "We have to get outside and do something every day!"  Her guy is two years older than Beansprout, so I'm now facing the energy she's alluding to.  Throughout the summer it hasn't been a problem - quick trips to the park or even an easy walk around the neighborhood with Beansprout on his balance bike have made it easy to get out and be active.  However, I am beginning to realize I'm facing a whole new world of play as the end of Fall approaches - if we want to go outside, it will take a lot more effort and will not always be as comfortable (for me!) as it is indoors.  Rain gear will be an everyday necessity for certain.  And that makes us lucky!  If we lived in the Midwest, it would be SNOW gear.  To prepare, I've purchased my raincoat with a hood and have my rain boots at the ready.

Nature Scavenger Hunt in the yard.

The trouble for me is getting my head in the right space to take on the weather and get outdoors rain or shine or snow.  I have such fond memories of building snow forts and playing for hours in the snow at the Baldwin's after school and during winter break.  (This was our second home as kids!)  We'd come in with rosy red cheeks and wet gloves, to find hot chocolate waiting for us.  I guess I've lost some of that adventuresome spirit; I seem to prefer the let's-stay-inside-and-be-cozy-with-a-cup-of-tea side to winter.  Not something Beansprout will enjoy, I don't think.

For now, I'll embrace all the days of sunshine I can.  Hopefully you'll think of me as November brings the rains and send me some playful thoughts of splashing in the puddles and "singin' in the rain"!

I've joined a challenge to write about something for 31 days!  Hope you'll stop by again tomorrow - I'll be going on and on about how much we love the Strider balance bike!  You can also read about the challenge and check out my other posts on play here.  Thanks for reading and for leaving comments -- I love making connections with you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days of Play! The Playroom, Part 2

I feel so blessed to have the space that allows me to dedicate a room for Beansprout! Here are the TOP 10 things I love about the playroom in no particular order:

Playroom from the stairs.

#1: There is so much natural light! Though it's the lowest level of the house, I never actually call it the basement because it looks nothing like the basements of the Midwest.

Dress-up station.

#2: We have another space to go to, making it feel like a change of scenery! This comes in handy on the dreary rainy days we get here in the Pacific Northwest.

#3: The space is large enough for movement! I have been known to fly around all of the furniture in the room pushing Beansprout in his wagon.  I'm sure it will be useful for him to be able to run around and blow off energy this winter.

Reading chair.


#4: Family and Friends contributed!  It's nice to have the extra touches that come from family and friends.  Grammy made the alphabet quilt that hangs above the reading chair; Beansprout loves pointing to the animals and I know it will continue to grow with him as he learns his ABCs.  Grandma and Grandpa sent him the pirate tent, which has become a second reading spot.  Play tents are also quite versatile for play scenes- I imagine it will become a vital part of the playroom as Beansprout starts to do more pretend play!  The cars and trucks accessories were also gifted by Grandma and Grandpa - admittedly, I'm the one who loves this, Beansprout will appreciate it, I hope.  Beansprout also received a huge package of play food from Auntie De - he loves cutting all the food and putting it in the basket as if he's out shopping.  The train baskets in the Dress-Up area were gifts from friends when Beansprout was first born.

Staying organized.

#5: The 5-cubby Expedit.  It has been perfect for parallel play.  I also love that we can have the Farm area and the Fire House area - two of Beansprout's favorite things to play with right now.  (It's also a super versatile piece, as we can flip it when Beansprout is older.)


#6: The Radio Flyer Wagon.  Beansprout has been playing with this since his first Christmas!  He pushed it everywhere for months and months and then we pushed him in it.  He now pushed the dolls and stuffed animals, and I love that he'll continue to use it for all kinds of play scenes.

Trains, Trains, and more Trains!

#7: The train table.  Beansprout plays with the trains everyday.  He loves to push them around and around and around again!  His parents love creating new configurations, adding on new pieces whenever we can.  There are some toys of Beansprout's that I don't embrace fully, but the train table is pretty much a win-win for the whole family.

#8: The play kitchen.  I talked about it a bit in yesterday's post, but there's so much more to say.  Isn't it great that Beansprout has "stainless steel" appliances!?!  And that the oven door window was created with a piece of weed-blocker.  Would it be too much to put up a backsplash of sorts?

#9: There's a wet bar.  Now, now, it's not what you think!  Any signs of a true wet bar are slowly being replaced with finger paint and Play-Doh.  What I really appreciate about this feature of the house is the fact that there is a sink right there!  It has made life a whole lot easier.

Plan toys Barn.

#10: The playroom is a YES zone.  I tend to run a pretty child-center household over here.  Even so, I often find myself having to say no to Beansprout as his curiosities can often land him in danger.  The fact that there is so much for him to do and that it's all his without limitations is the best thing about the space.

I'm finding I really enjoy taking pictures of TOYS - guess I picked a suitable topic to write about for 31 days.  Have you checked out my other posts about play?  Playing with Food, Play at Work, or This Mom Loves Music are a few of my favorites.  I'm writing 31 posts on play, one for every day of October; you can find all of them here!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days of Play! The Playroom, Part 1

This is one of 17 posts about play - I'm writing a post about the topic everyday this month. Check out my other posts here and an explanation of the challenge from here!

What's cookin'?

We never had an official playroom growing up - in my circle everyone played in the basement and it was never anything fancy. Yet, somewhere between being a kid and having a kid playrooms became a thing. Lucky me! With the lowest level of the house mostly unused, I was pretty excited by the possibilities for Beansprout! Already armed with IKEA's Expedit and then some, I turned my attention to ohdeehdoh for play kitchen ideas! This website is full of amazing diy play kitchens -- re-creations of IKEA pieces, kitchens made out of old TV stands, and today they're featuring a play kitchen made from a chair! Matt and I were inspired and loved the idea of personalizing a kitchen for our little chef.

Eat, Drink, Make, Create

As the play kitchen was underway, I fretted about what to do for a table and chairs. I always find it so cute when kids know that things are made for them. They seem to be able to spot the little people furniture and zoom in on it. I didn't want to buy something that would fall apart, but also couldn't justify spending money on the Pottery Barn and Land of Nod items circled and dog-earred in our catalogs. I guess I was in a good karma space because a quick look through the local antique market and I found a lovely little table and two chairs made of solid wood for $25. Deal.

Beansprout's Play Kitchen Area

So began the playroom . . . build a kitchen, add some pots and pans, receive the perfect play food as a gift, and outfit a crafting/eating table - let the play begin. Beansprout was thrilled at the beginnings of his play space.

What are your thoughts on playrooms? Could they be the child's equivalent to the man-cave? What would be the perfect item for a playroom in your eyes?

P.S. Happy Birthday, MOM! xoxo

Monday, October 17, 2011

31 Days of Play! The Backpack

Beansprout's bag October 2011:
3 jars of Play-Doh, 2 books, 1 marker, roll of crayons, 1 diaper, diaper wipes,
snack bar, Kleen Kanteen, Grover Enviro Sac,
toy cement mixer, 2 Thomas trains with coal cars, 1 toy tractor, 1 toy school bus
After examining the contents of my purse in yesterday's post, What's in Your Bag?, I thought I should mention that anytime I'm planning on breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a restaurant, I usually try to bring along Beansprout's backpack.  I started stocking his backpack pretty well after our trip to Michigan this last August and (after having seen the contents of my purse) think you may be surprised to see that it's quite organized!  Realizing that I'd elbow my neighbor trying to find anything in his backpack in flight, I decided to try the bag-within-a-bag trick.  The inspiration comes from both a post I read on A Little Delightful about her organized purse, which puts my hodge podge of a purse to shame, and a post on "busy bags" from The Princess and the Tot via Ohdeedoh.  I found make-up bags at the Dollarama that were perfect for the job and I'm still using a few of them to keep things under control today.

It's wonderful to see all the contents of his backpack at one time - evidence of what stage is at in his development and his play.  Cars, trucks, trains, cars, trucks, trains, cars, trucks, trains. He gives crayons and Play-doh a try once-in-awhile, but the only thing he really wants to do is play with all things that GO!

Do you have a bag of tricks for your kids?  How have they differed through the years?  Do you remember taking along a prized toy when you were a kid?

Check out my other posts about play here!  Is there anything you'd love to read about regarding play?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

31 Days of Play! What's in Your Bag? Toys.

Awhile back I stumbled across the blog Dos Family featuring "What's in your bag?"  This 31led me to realize there's actually a whole Flickr group dedicated to taking pictures of the contents of bags or purses to share with the world.  This is the thing about the blogosphere! you find people who are also fascinated by the little things in life.  I can't tell you how many times I've laughed at myself when emptying the contents of my purse or bag . . . talk about odd!  Four-item lists from months back, gum wrappers, empty gum containers, three or more pens, countless receipts, and multiple tubes of lipstick!  Sheesh.  I sure hope you don't do a personality profile on me when you see the photos :)

What's in my bag: October 2011
(Keys for classroom, Toddler hat, Tissues, Sunglasses, Shopping list, tea bag, tampons, lip gloss, receipts,
check-to-be-cashed, snack bar, $1.13 in change, Quarter machine prize, Robin Motorcycle, Elephant tape measure,Chocolate Bunny Grahams, Hair clip, Dental floss, Starbucks gift card, and a pack of gum.  Not shown: empty pack of gum, about 5 gum wrappers, and a pen)

The thing is the contents of my purse/bag have changed quite a bit since having Beansprout.  Don't get me wrong, the litter is still there (something Hubby will never seem to understand) as are the various necessities for primping, but now there may also be a small container of Play-Doh, a diaper, a half-eaten snack bar - who knows these days!  It makes me giggle to myself whenever I happen to be out sans child and open my purse to find Robin on his motorcycle peeking out at me.  Here I am out trying to be a "big girl" - wearing heels and clothes that you couldn't wear to yoga class, having to sift through Elmo stickers and toy phones in order to pay for my glass of Merlot.  Outed.

However, change the scene to dinner at our favorite sushi joint and those stickers, toy phones, Play-Doh, Robin motorcycle, and even the diaper are life-savers!  We have something to entertain the little one while we people watch and talk about the day's events.  Phew!  It's amazing how much fun Beansprout can have with that motorcycle.  Toys to the rescue.

I've been writing about play for over 2 weeks in my challenge to cover one topic everyday for a month.  Check out my other posts and an explanation of the challenge here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days of Play! Little Scientist at Play

I think one of the great perks of parenting is the fact that you get to re-live some of your own favorite childhood experiences!  Though I only have vague memories of the specifics, trips to the museums as a kid were a huge hit; I clearly remember that it always felt magical to be in such large buildings with so many fascinating things to learn.
Science World

Our first visit to Science World was a huge hit!  It's wonderful that something so "educational" is just one big playground in the eyes of my little guy.  Beansprout loved the toddler area, experimented with some of the hands-on stations, and (much to our surprise) went around the dinosaur exhibit FOUR times.  We had a great time seeing the experience through the eyes of a two-year-old!  It's wonderful to know that each time we explore a museum like this Beansprout will be a different kid - that the learning and the play will be new each time.

What are your memories of museums when you were a child?  Do you enjoy them today?  Would you consider a trip to the museum play?

I've joined The Nester in a challenge to write about one topic for 31 days!  Check out my other posts here!

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days of Play! Play = Research

"Play is the highest form of research"
                                      -Albert Einstein

Science World October 2011

Do you love play?  Leave a comment to let me know what you'd love to read about!  Also, check out my other posts in a month-long challenge to write about all things play here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days of Play! Fall Fun!

31 Days of Play is my newest challenge for myself!  I'm writing a post for every day in October - check out my other posts here!

Moms with the Boys October 2011.
Last year we started a new tradition!  On the weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving, we meet up with friends at the local pumpkin patch!  It's nice to be able to spend the time with them on this holiday, especially since they also only have one Canadian in their household -- a two-year-old.  

Pumpkin hunting.

Pushing wheelbarrow.

This pumpkin patch offers so much opportunity for play!  Of course, there's the whole hunting for a pumpkin bit, which is it's own adventure.  The boys are really cute walking through the field in the mud, as they seek a pumpkin of their own.  
Driving the John Deere.

Milking the cow.
These little guys were also thrilled to see that they could ride around on a trailer pulled by a TRACTOR!  The tractor goes around in a fairly small oval track, but they think it's the best thing ever and want to go around multiple times.  I think it's so interesting that they seem to know when things are made for them.  Both of the boys were immediately drawn to this year's newest attraction, a section dedicated to wooden silhouettes of tractors, trains, horses, pigs - all things farm.  We spent a lot of time in this area hopping on and off all of the different plywood creations.  They were completely at home - at play.
It was a perfect day of fun for all of us.  (And the grandmas even got to share in the play!)  What do you make of play at such attractions?  Does it work?  Do you go out and do seasonal/holiday activities that are playful?  I love to hear your comments and thoughts - thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days of Play! Playing with food.

"Looks Delicious" Board on Pinterest!

Have I mentioned before that I currently have over 100 magazines stashed in various places around my house?  It's actually part of my play - I can spend hours pouring over them.  The thing is I just can't seem to let go of them because I'm afraid there are too many ideas I'll forget and once I start cutting out articles, I find myself cutting away the whole magazine, so why not just hold on to it in its entirety?!?  (This is the argument I have with myself when I try to de-clutter.)  I bring this up only because I have found a new solution!  Pinterest!  I know there are more and more people talking about it and I'm thrilled about that because that means there are going to be more and more ideas floating around!  This website is perfect for housing ideas I find on the wonderful blogs I peruse everyday and for finding even more ideas from the people I follow!  I especially love that it holds a picture of what the idea and a link to the original website.

This screenshot of my "Looks Delicious" Board shows how much I'm into the idea of making food playful for the little guy.  Though Beansprout is far from school-age, I've already begun my collection of fun lunch and cute food ideas!  Two of my favorite sites so far are, Meet The Dubiens, where Fun Food Friday and Bento Lunch are featured.  You have to visit her site - the photos are amazing, the ideas are unique, and the directions are clear.  I also like Cute Food For Kids! - she can do some great stuff to make Babybel  into a work of art.

Would you take time to make food playful for yourself or your children?  Do you think it counts as play?

This is my 12th post about PLAY!  Did you enjoy reading?  I hope you'll check out other posts here!