Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Get Outside to Learn and Have Fun! Great, Educational Activities To Do With Your Little Ones!!!

Spring is here and that means its time to go outside and enjoy the weather!!! Our kids were born and raised in Minnesota so if its over 30 degrees thats nice and we play play play!!!! But now that its warming up I am breaking out all the fun toys and activities for lots of outside fun!!!

Bubbles are a must-Use this as a counting opportunity.

1. Each time they pop a bubble have them count!
2. We also purchased those butterfly nets from the dollar store and had to swipe up the bubbles!
3. If you have a bubble machine put it need your drawing or just about walking one and this motivates them to get moving:)

Chalk also a must! So many things you can do

1. Create a dot-to-dot picture help them learn their numbers or letters
2. Draw a plain body and have them add on the body parts
3. Fill in the blanks are a good way to build sentences. So if you write d_d have them fill in the missing letter
4. Sight words are fun with chalk makes it more entertaining
5. Make a good old fashioned hopscotch-good for agility and number counting
6. Playing hangman is also fun-helps to piece the letters together and form words

Plastic Eggs-also a favorite

1. Put sight words written on paper inside the eggs-they remember them more when they are hands on
2. Great to use for counting addition and subtraction
3. Play toss the egg and count how many times you catch them without dropping and then each time ask them which number was higher and lower
4. You can write letters on them and have them  place them on an object that begins with that letter-T on the tree, a for an apple

Plastic Sand Buckets: Love them always

1. Create a carnival like game by writing a number on each from 1-5. Grab some tiny plastic ping pong balls. Try to have them throw them in order and count forward then again backwards starting at 5
2. Or maybe tell them to throw two balls into bucket 2 and three into bucket.Then have them take them out and count them
3. Have a few buckets out and put some objects under each one. Cover them up with the bucket and see how many they remember

Hula Hoops-I still love these!

1. Throw a few right next to one other and have them skip and count as they jump in each one
2. Count how many times you can swing them on your arm or waist
3. Put objects in each one and have them count them and tell you which has more or less-when kids are hands on they retain the information

Plastic Food and Dishes-an inside-outside favorite

1. Create an outdoor tea party-have them bring their stuffed animals or dolls
2. Create a dinner setting but don't put them all out, like leave out a plate, cup or fork and have them find the missing pieces and put them in their place-good problem solving
3. Play grocery store and have them add up the food
4. When old enough give them plastic coins and have them figure out how much they owe-if all the food is $1 and they have 5 things let them think about it and tell you how many coins they need to pay

Bug Nets, Magnifiers, Butterfly Houses, Plastic Bug Catchers

1. Grab grass, bugs, leaves, sticks and have them look at it through the magnifier. Ask them if its different than they thought, ask if they saw something you didn't see before, bugs are fun to do that with-have them count the legs!!!!
2. That is good for them to learn to be gentle with the bugs and place them back gently after they take a look-thats my policy anyway.
3. Butterfly nets are fun to watch the butterfly grow-talk about the different life cycles how it started in a cocoon and turned into a beautiful butterfly-it was fun to watch it grown then unleash to watch those wings go!

Leaves and Sticks-still great!

1. Leaves are great for sensory-have them crunch them up and tell you what they feel like
2. Sort them by color or size
3. Make letters out of the sticks

Water and Rocks!

1. Have them sort by size and color-or add them up
2. Make fun shapes
3. Take regular paint brushes with a bowl of water and let them paint away-we would sometimes use real paint which is fun
4. Stack them up until they fall-ask them along the way what they think will happen-saty there of fall-problem thinking
5. Put water and safe dish soap in a bucket, hand them a washcloth and let them wash their toys or vehicles-my girls would wash their cozy coupe, trikes, whatever they could get their hands on
6. Water tables are fantastic for imaginary play and sensory

Other Fun Things!

1. Grab some confetti and spread out here and there and send them on a treasure hunt!
2. Hide some gold coins or small trinkets in the sand and let them find the treasure
3. Balls are great for large motor skills-and throwing and catching can also be an opportunity to count each time you do it

I hope you enjoy this list and get outside!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Listen To Your Body-When I Almost Died

As we get older we come to really understand our own body and signs. Now wether we act on them quickly is another. Like when Im getting a sinus infection or flu-I know what medicine I need to get through it, but on more severe cases I would put things off and see how it goes.

We have 3 healthy children, but after the birth of my third I almost died. When she was about 5 days old I noticed my feet and ankles were pretty swollen. I called the OBGYN office and they told me its common to get that after birth. Then one night I could hear and feel fluid in my lungs. I knew something didn't feel right but I chalked it up to just having a newborn and 17month old.

She was one week old and I went into seizures and had to be rushed to the ER. My heart was pounding so fast it was skipping beats, which isn't good. After being in the Intensive Care unit for a bit they transferred me by ambulance to another hospital more equipped to deal with this. I even got a Mayo Dr., which was the best. They told me I was having rapid heart beats that were dangerously high and needed to control to get them more evenly. After several treatments and medication they were able to stabilize my heart and spent the next week in the hospital.

That day in the hospital where my mom is holding our 17 month daughter freaking out about what they would do with a teenage son, 17 month and 1 week old-my hubby sure felt that stress, having that if I don't make it talk was scary. They told me they were not sure if they could get it under control in time. I was breastfeeding and the ER Dr. said we need to treat you and you will no longer be able to do that between the test and medications. This made me very sad but I knew I had no other choice. In the midst of my going in and out I asked to feed her one last time and cherished every minute of it. I cannot even describe the feeling of looking at your family and knowing this may be the last. Its gut wrenching and puts things into perspective.

For the next 6 months I would wear heart monitors with leads all over and send my signals every day by phone and take the heart medication that made me so tired. Thank goodness my husband is so hands on and my mom stayed for over a month as I was not physically able to take care of the 3 children.  There is nothing more saddening than when my  3 month old baby would jump out of my arms for her daddy. It was that moment when I realized I had not bonded with her. Needless to say I really stepped it up pushing myself to do more. Now she is 5yrs old and is my glue, even more than our other daughter which I didn't think was possible.

 The point is I had that gut feeling something was not right and instead of listening to my body I went along with others telling me its normal. I knew it wasn't normal for me and still I didn't listen. Had I acted when I started that feeling it may not have escalated to the point of beating so fast it was going to stop. As a mother of 3 and a wife I tend to put myself on the back burner, but not until a life threatening situation comes up do you realize that you can't afford not to act immediately. I understand I am a very important person in our family and like to have everything going, but if I take the time when it starts it may not get worse and take more time in the long run. So when you have that gut feeling don't ignore it, even if it turn out to be nothing, don't ignore it. A peace of mind is a great thing to have. Enjoy your life and take care of yourself.