Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dream Jar

My five year old has pretty awful dreams. All night he will be calling out, thrashing, kicking, and hitting. Luckily, sleep walking hasn't came into the equation yet! I always feel so bad for him. As a parent it is one of those helpless situations.

All though I have read many books to help "A" with bedtime fears none of worked as well as The Dream Jar by Lindan Lee Johnson. An older sister helps her fearful little sister by making her a "magic" dream jar. That way if the little sister has a nightmare she can wake up, pick a dream from the jar, and change the nightmare to fit her new and better dream.

Next "A" and I got busy brainstorming so happy memories or thoughts that he may want to use to change is bad dreams into good ones. We wrote slips that include riding roller-coaster rides, Mom's kisses (my favorite), playing with Daddy, magic wands, etc. and then rolled them up like in the book. I got a baby snack jar and "A" decorated it with some happy stickers. I added some fun confetti to the jar for a sprinkle of magic. "A" loves his jar and every night he picks a slip to help him have good dreams. It has been working-so far! At least the feeling of helplessnes has ceased.
One of his worst dreams is of dinosaurs out to get him. This way he changes the scary dino into a sweet pet.
2nd major dream is normally vampires (not sure how he even knows about them). This way the teeth are gone and they can be friends. This was his ideas
And of course every boy should dream they have their own car to drive away in.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tape Roadways

I am working on being more of a "Fun Mom", which doesn't always come easy to me. With my long hours of work and school I am trying to sneak in play times that my son won't easily forget. When I saw this on Pinterest I knew I had found a winner. I just bought masking tape and proceeded to make roadways all through out the living room and dining room. The more furniture you tape up the better. Then matchbox races here we go!
"A" driving on his road
Don't you love the randomness of things on my floor-like deodorant. Ahh-life with a 15 month old.
Parking Lot
He is such a ham ;0)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Madness

Here is the Pacific Northwest even the mention of snow gets us giddy. Over the long weekend we did some snow learning/craft activities to summon the snow. Wishful thinking I suppose. However our snow dreams paid off because we are enjoying our first (and probably only snow day of the year) We even got up and played before the sunrise, just in case it melts!

Snow Crafts:
Noodle Snowflakes "A" made
I attempted to make Borax Crystals. They would start to form but then stop. I must not have got the ratios right or water hot enough. Sort of a bummer! I will have to try it again one day!
"A" drew a picture of a snowman and made labels. Here he tried to write snow.
"A" put the snowman on ski's. Here you see his label sce for ski. Nice sounding out the phenomes!
Snow Reading:
Gibbon's writes a ton of terrific Non-Fiction nature books for younger children that are in picture book format. There are some great facts in these books. This one discuss how snow is made and more!
Terrific book about a farmer who was the first man to take microscopic photographs and discover no two snowflakes are alike. Excellent picture book biography suitable for any age.
Some of Snowflake Bentley's photographs of snow crystals.
One of "A's" favorite snow books. The pics are so sweet and soft they will melt your heart.
What do snowmen do when people go to bed at night. Read Snowmen at Night to find out.
Snow Day Fun:
"B" enjoying the snow (for about 10 mins)
The boys in the snow at dawn
My street. Already melting and sloshy. We called school for this-gotta love the Pacific NW
Me and "B"-did I mention I wasn't fully awake yet and it was before sunrise!
"A's" feeble attempts to make a snowman
"A" settled for a tabletop snowman. He is so proud. I think he looks terrifying, but I would never tell "A" that!
Ahhh....all warm with hot chocolate. That is more like it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Literacy Bags

I am slightly obsessed with the idea of literacy bags. I heard about them a few years back and hope to write a grant to make them when I have a class of my own one day. A literacy bag is basically a book bag that is themed. In each bag are books that fit the theme, a manipulative that fits the theme, an activity or journal to do something hands-on, and more. They are a great tool to encourage reading with families. Imagine my surprise when I found out my public library just made them for the public to check-out! I can't be more excited!!!

About a month ago our library started Sophie Reads. Sophie is our library mascot (don't as me why). There are over 25 different themes ranging from siblings, feelings, trains, dinosaurs, pond, bears, and more. The literacy bags include 4-5 picture or board books (geared for ages 1-5), a video or music CD, a manipulative (like a puzzle or dolls), a book for adults (normally parenting related), and a page of songs to sing or finger plays related to the theme. Here is the one we just got for Transportation:

The books
The puzzle included (just right for my little tot)
List of songs and finger-plays, along with a DVD
The book for adults FYI: This book has great ideas
The bag all the materials go in. This is considered only ONE check out!
This literacy bag is perfect for my toddler and can get me back on track with implementing 5 A Day Books in a easy way. To read more about 5 A Day Books go to the Imagination Tree to learn more. That being said my 5 year old also really loves the bags (he normally picks the themes). If your library doesn't have them you can make them yourself and adjust them to the age that works for you. As I mentioned I want to make them for my class of upper elementary students. For example, I may make a cloth bag with a Ancient Egypt theme. I could include various levels of Non-Fiction books and some easy fiction (I am thinking something they could read in a week), Ancient Egypt Toob toys (Toobs are great for these), and maybe an activity where they write some hieroglyphs.Their really is no limit to ideas. Most of the things you could get at garage sales or used book stores. I'm getting all excited again! Here is an amazing website with fabulous ideas from a teacher named Mrs. Madden.
Mrs. Madden's bags she made for students. Can't wait to do this!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

O-Shogatsu New Year Festival

Yesterday, at the Portland Japanese Gardens, we celebrated O-Shogatsu New Year Festival! "A" and I have been studying Japan a lot this year because my sister moved to Okinawa last year. We have had fun receiving care packages from her and researching here at home. You can see our Japan Lapbook in my post here. When I saw the New Year Festival I knew we had to go.
I don't know what the arraignment represents but my sister says all her neighbors have the same thing on their doors.
We had a great time. They offer a scavenger hunt for young kids with pictures of garden features. For the festival we saw a calligraphy demonstration, "A" got to write in Japanese "New Spring", and I got to try some traditional Matcha (Green Tea) with sugar cookies made in the traditional Japanese way and served by kimono wearing ladies. I love introducing the boys to different cultures and am so lucky to live in an area where that is a possibility.  Not to mention by learning about Japan it makes us feel a little closer to Aunt Katie!
ShiShi Dogs
Zen Garden
Learning Japanese Calligraphy
New Spring (or close too ;o)
Making Green Tea
Kimono in motion
I love these Cherry Blossom buds hanging on during Winter
Boys near Patagonia