Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Eggs

The other morning we decorated Easter eggs. Well, Noah decorated the Easter Eggs while Oscar did other Easter-themed activities.

First, Noah and I dyed some eggs. Last year I used hard-boiled eggs. This year I blew out the inside of the eggs to make them hollow, so that we could do it far in advance of Easter. (I figured I'd better do this activity with Noah now, before the baby comes, just to be on the safe side!) Oscar coloured a large yellow paper Easter egg with marker. Then I helped him paint another paper egg, but he really wasn't into it. Luckily he painted long enough to make a nice decoration for the apartment!

Noah was very gentle with the eggs and didn't break any. Here he is submerging the eggs to get the colour to take, but it takes so long when you're 3 and a half! He became more interested in dyeing his hands. We initially added lemon juice to the water, but switched to vinegar to bring out the colours faster. I would recommend adding vinegar if you are doing this activity with the very young! 

While the eggs sat in their dye, he switched to painting the eggs with a small paint brush. With other eggs, he stuck small Easter stickers on. I'm pretty impressed with his fine motor abilities, since he can get these stickers off their backing without any assistance!

Meanwhile, Oscar was having a great time exploring the plastic eggs and egg carton we use for our "grocery store" pretend play. I think this was his favourite of the activities I set him up with. He took them apart, put them together, arranged them in the carton, and rolled them around his high chair tray. (By the way, he did not want to be free from the high chair, roaming around and playing with toys in the living room. He wanted to be a part of the action at the table! He sat for a long time with this activity. I'm telling you, this kid has great focus!)

Lastly, Noah used his markers to decorate some of the uncoloured eggs. Later, he used marker on the dyed eggs as well. Aren't they beautiful? He apparently wants to give these eggs to family members. He keeps mentioning which ones are for his Oma. He says, "Oma's going to say 'What?!?! You did these all by yourself?'" He's very proud.

Because I had gotten out the plastic eggs that we use for our grocery shopping pretend play, Noah was reminded of this activity and demanded to play it that afternoon. So, we got out the whole bag of pretend groceries, the play money, and set the cash register up. 

I was surprised when I told Oscar and Noah to 'say cheese', and Noah leaned in for a hug! So cute! Oscar has now left the daycare, like his friends Aidas and B., while we wait for the arrival of Noah's little sister. Noah will see his buddies again in May, when I start the daycare back up. I know everyone will have changed so much by then. Keep well, little monkeys!

Friday, March 23, 2012

An Early Spring

I never thought we'd be going to the playground as early as March, but we have been blessed by some very nice weather after a winter that barely was (by Toronto standards, anyway). Noah is a pro at the playground now, and Oscar is eagerly attempting the various play structures.

Noah often likes to play down by the empty wading pool at Lithuania Park, as well. There is a little hopscotch there and a graffiti sign on the concrete that says "Scribbles." Noah always lies down on the word. He says, in a matter-of fact way, that this is what you are supposed to do when you see it. Who knew?

Oscar helped Noah with the number line one day. Actually, it is really nice to see Noah learning how to get along with someone younger than him. He is learning to be more patient and generous with Oscar. I'm hoping this proves to be great practise for Noah adjusting to his up and coming little sister!

I helped Oscar do some beading while playing "Zoominoes" with Noah. Oscar is very focused and determined to learn new things. He's got a great attention span, just like his big buddy Noah.  

We did Play Dough after naps one day (well, Noah has recently given up on naps, but that's another story). It was Oscar's first time with Play Dough at the daycare. At first he was touching it and squishing it, and exploring it in completely appropriate ways. But, like most children his age, he became intent on eating it. (I did give it to him while he was in his high chair. What is he supposed to think?) I had to bring him down and let him stack the Play Dough cups instead. We'll try it again next time. Actually, it was the most successful attempt I've ever had with a 15-month-old, since it took him a good 5 minutes to try his first taste. That's a record!

As mentioned in my last post, Oscar is now walking more than half the time. Even though I didn't catch him walking on this next video, I had to post it anyway, because he's just so darned cute!

I did catch it in this video. Way to go, Oscar!

We took a trek up to Vine Parkette (Choo Choo Playground) on a beautiful and warm spring day. Noah and I had seen workers building a new playground there in the fall, and now it's all finished. I love how there are always toys kept there for the kids to play with, like the ride-on toy Oscar is taking for a spin, below.

It is not enough for Oscar to focus on walking, at this point. He is intent on mastering many more gross motor skills. Here he is trying to teach himself to step down from a little curb at the new playground structure. He was persistently working on this for about 20 minutes! I guess it's good to start setting personal goals at an early age. 

It got so warm out that we were able to take our coats off. Noah seemed to feel so free and happy the moment we took his sweater off, and danced around the empty wading pool, as he often does. He loved pushing this lawn mower toy around, which also belongs to the park. He was mowing the cement for a good half hour! It was too cute!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

High Park Zoo

With the lighter load of kids (2 instead of 4), we are much more mobile. We took advantage of this (and the beautiful weather) this week by visiting the High Park Zoo. 

It was a crowded place, since this week is March Break for the school kids. It was also busy because there were special activities being held to help raise awareness and funds for the High Park Zoo. In case you haven't heard, mayor Rob Ford is cutting funding for it, and unless enough money is raised (which is highly unlikely), it is scheduled to close in June of this year. We are obviously not pleased about this.

We saw Barbary sheep, Mouflon sheep, bison, yaks, peacocks, capybara, Highland cattle, llamas and an emu. 

One of the zookeepers was feeding the animals from the outside of the fence so the kids could get a good look. Oscar and Noah enjoyed watching him feed carrots to the bison. 

Noah said he was scared of the emu, and that he prefers small animals to big ones. He says the same thing about the dogs in our apartment building. "I don't like big dogs. Only small dogs." I told him he'd probably like bigger dogs once he gets bigger than them! 

I apologize for the excess of photos in this blog post. Those who are familiar with this blog know that I have a lot of trouble limiting photos. It is hard to choose which ones to keep in and which to leave out. And I love having lots of pictures posted as a keepsake. I know someday, if and when I have too much time on my hands, I will immensely enjoy taking a trip down memory lane, and the more photos the better! 

The area where the llamas are kept was open and had some fun activities for the kids. There was a man there making balloon shapes and animals for the kids. I bought Noah a flower  balloon and Oscar a monkey balloon. The money, of course, is used to raise funds for the zoo.

The llamas were behind a little fence, and the children could go up to pet them. I'm not sure if Oscar noticed them, since there were a lot of other things going on in this area (and he was a little under the weather on this day). Noah opted not to pet the llamas (probably due to that "I don't like animals that are bigger than me" attitude").

Actually, Noah got a bit of an attitude in general at this point in the excursion, and said he wanted to go. But Oscar was having too much fun shoveling hay! Oscar is just starting to walk. Actually, he could walk as of a few weeks ago, but was not sold on it being a better mode of transportation (i.e. faster) than crawling. This week he is choosing to walk a lot more of the time.

Noah finally decided that what Oscar was doing looked fun. They also had a picnic table set up with pictures of the High Park Zoo animals to colour, but I think the hay was a much more appealing activity. After all, it's not every day you get to shovel hay!

Here are a few more pictures of our beautiful spring day, enjoying the High Park Zoo, which, sadly, might not be around much longer.

#highparkzoo #highpark