Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fun and Games

We are continuing our round-the-block walks, at least once a week. Aidas and Noah get to walk half of the way around the block, while the other 3 enjoy the view from the wagon. Then, when we get to the tennis courts, we know it's time to switch. Noah and Aidas get into the wagon, and Lucas, Maya and B. get a chance to walk. They're all really good about holding hands and staying safe. We have been working on what to do when you get to a driveway. The kids are getting pretty good at the drill. We stop, look both ways for cars, and walk quickly across if it's clear. It is helpful, teaching-wise, that sometimes there is a car coming into or out of the driveway, so that the kids can see why we need to check.

Some days we go straight out back with the Spider Man backpack of toys. The kids are becoming more interested in the skipping rope. They enjoy turning the rope. Because they are beginners, I'm encouraging them to jump over the rope when it is still or moving (Snakesies) on the ground.

One weekend, Dan, Noah and I were returning to the apartment building after an outing. In the garbage area, someone had left a child's play kitchen that was in nearly perfect condition. I almost left it alone, since we have little space left for more toys. In the end, I just couldn't leave it, knowing that many children besides my own would get to enjoy it. I made room. They love it!

The kids manage to find or create muck even when it isn't raining. Sometimes the sloppy goop still hasn't dried from a rain storm the night before. Sometimes they gather dirt, and then hold it under an outdoor tap that has a slow drip. One day when it was drizzling out, the kids scooped up mud and then painted an outside wall with it. It looked like graffiti on our building, yet I just couldn't bring myself to stop them. I was captivated by the focus they showed while creating their art. It looked like an incredible childhood experience for them, making a mural with mud! The next day, when Aidas was trying to add to the masterpiece, the superintendent to our building walked by and basically told us "Not cool." I completely understood, but was glad they had the chance to do it at least once!

We visited the library again a couple of Fridays ago. B. accidentally locked himself in this little chair and needed to be rescued. The children and I talked about the fact that they are big kids now, and that this little chair is for babies. We found a dolly and all the kids doted on her, giving her lots of pretend food to eat and many toys to play with.

Here are a few of the kids dancing during music circle at the library. They love this "Throw the Beanbag and Catch" song! 

I bought this great ABC puzzle from a neighbourhood garage sale. Each puzzle piece is a different letter of the alphabet. Singing the alphabet helped us to place the letters in sequential order. Then we tried to match pieces from our wooden alphabet puzzle to the letters on this jigsaw puzzle.

The kids are also learning how to play games. Noah got "The Nose Game" from Maya and Lucas for his 2nd birthday. Whenever we take out this game, we spend some time just playing informally with the pieces and matching the noses to the right animals. Then we play a game, where each child takes a turn reaching into the bag (without looking) in hopes of matching the noses on his or her cards. They are really good at waiting their turn now, and also keeping their cool when the awaited for turn doesn't result in any nose matches. The last time we played, the game was long because none of us were getting matches for our cards. I was amazed that all the kids remained focused and continued to participate right until the end of the game!

After this game though, most of the kids were done with such formal play. It was just Noah who wanted to play another game, so we played the "Memory Game". He mostly understands this game, though at one point when my attention was on the other kids, I found him flipping over every card until he got a match! 

One of the kids' favourite activities is playing with both the wooden (Thomas the Tank Engine) and the plastic train tracks. Maya is particularly good at making both interesting and extensive train track routes. Thank goodness we have accumulated enough of the wooden train cars (some from IKEA, which is where my mother bought the wooden track) so that all the kids can have at least 2 each!

Pretend play is increasing around here, and getting more creative too! The newest game is pretending that the doors between the kitchen and dining room are elevator doors. I was washing dishes after lunch one day, watching them play this. Way. Too. Cute.

There is a lot of arguing over toys happening lately. At least they are starting to see that having a ball all to yourself isn't nearly as fun as playing with a partner! Lucas and B. rolled the ball back and forth to each other for quite some time, without needing me to help coordinate things. This was especially good because I needed to get dinner on the table!

On June 30th, just before the long weekend, the kids coloured in print-outs of the Canadian Flag. I got the printable from the internet at http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/pdfs/coloring_flag_canada.pdf. Lucas coloured his yellow, and Aidas coloured his orange, just to give it some flair!

By the way, in the photo below, Noah's holding the one I coloured; he's not that advanced! He did bring both the one I coloured and the one he coloured on our outing on Canada Day, and waved them around proudly!

Look out summertime, cause here we come!

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