Monday, March 25, 2013

Apples and Color Red

Who would argue that apples are healthy and delicious? Too bad, this baby is only learning to eat apples. And she doesn't like apple juice. So, I decided to make an apple party for her. It was actually Johnny Appleseed party. The great kind man from Ohio: why not celebrate him twice a year :)

We had lots of fun. I decorated the wall with an apple tree. The red apples are hanging on magnets, they can be removed and put back on.

We made our own movie based on the book "Ten red apples" by Pat Hutchens. This is a great book for staging. Everybody had to be an animal (with whatever animal toys we had at the house). People took turns to come up to the tree, "eat" an apple, and make an animal sounds. The older boy was a main character - a farmer. The farmer kept saying "Oh, no, no! Leave some for me!" At the end he had to "eat" the last apple. We also was singing and dancing together. It is a fun movie!

I made apple cupcakes. Red are red velvet with butter cream, and green are vanilla with cream cheese. Here they are:

We had red balloons dropped from the second floor and played with the balloons for a while. Camilla had to play with them for a while before and after: she loved her balloons. And yes, we still have a couple of them laying around (out of 24 - LOL). She also loves when her big brother plays balloons with her.

The apple hunt was a real quick one: the final practice before the egg hunt. The weather was bad outside, and we had it inside. Everybody took their baskets and collected the paper apples from the floor and furniture. Camilla loves her basket full of apples and plays with it every day.

And of course, the very delicious: apple trees made of a giant marshmallow, Reeses pieces, half apple, and peanut butter.

Camilla eats her apples after the party: Yaayyy! Still doesn't like apple juice :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Imaginative Builders

We just started a new series of play dates called Imaginative Builders. It's once a month attempt to creat an environment that enhances the development of creativity and imagination... in kids... and in adults... at least, I need it to remember how to do it :)

"Creativity is the production of novel thoughts and solutions based on experience." The main idea is to use an item in a new and creative way. This time, we built a farm. The ducks in the pond are made from paper plates and colored with the finger paint by Camilla. And we made apple trees from apple, pretzels, peanut butter, marshmallow, and candies: Yummy Trees! 

Here are some ideas.

Household items.  A variety of textures, colors, and scents.   A plastic container that held cinnamon or vanilla will hold those scents for a long time. Shakers are always fun!  A clear plastic bottle with some oil, water, glitter, and coloring (with the lid securely glued on). Pine cones and leaves.  

Starting at about 18 months, toddlers have better hand-eye coordination. This is a good time to introduce finger paints (or pudding), crayons and chalk.  They can develop their creativity by using paste (water and flour), tearing, cutting, and manipulating play dough or shaving cream. 

Mix familiarity with novelty to keep these materials interesting.  Add toy cars or toy people to the shaving cream.  Small rolling pins, plastic cutlery and cookie cutters along with the play dough. Boxes and tubes of all shapes and sizes.  Figure out what can be done with the new additions. Include as many real things as safely possible. But be careful not to take over or over-direct their play. However, you can ask questions, label objects and be there to smile, admire and encourage the child’s play.
Fantasy play begins somewhere between 18 & 21 months of age.  Linked to creativity and problem-solving, larger vocabularies, and ability to be more flexible and adaptable. Avoid questions like, “What is it?” or “What color is that?” as these are questions with a specific answer and do not enhance creative thought.  Open-ended questions encourage children to think.  Open-ended questions rarely have one right answer.  Ask questions such as, “Why did you put that there?” or “What do you think will happen if…?”