Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tumble Babies

MC has been participating in a toddler gymnastics class once a week since September 2013. The class is for the new walkers - 2 years old, so she'll be in this class through June. I have been impressed with how much "real" gymnastics they do - rings, balance beam, bars, trampoline - and also lots of fun songs and games. It's a parent-and-tot class, so I haven't been able to get a lot of action shots since I'm busy helping her, but here are a few pictures from last week.

hanging from the rings

She loves gymnastics and talks about the class and her instructor all week. We can tell how much stronger she has gotten from all the activities she's done in class. She's also become much braver over time with each activity, which has been really fun to watch.

 crawling through the tunnel between the balance beams

As you can imagine with the age of the class members, the time is flexibly structured. The instructor leads them through different activities she has set up for them, but there is lots of free-play time as well. In addition to the planned activities, MC particularly likes the wide window sills that look over into the parking lot. (The gymnastics studio has glass walls on 3 sides, which made getting these pictures properly exposed very challenging!) She climbs up on them in between activities or when she's lost interest in the current activity.

And perhaps her favorite part of the entire experience -- the water fountain!! It might be a tie between the water fountain and the hand stamp she gets at the end of each class.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Playing Inside

I've talked before about how much MC loves to play outside. But obviously we can't go outside every single day - due to weather or timing or whatever - so I'm always looking for fun activities for her to do in the house to keep her entertained. I've found most of these ideas on Pinterest or other blogs for toddler activities; I look for simple activities that use things we have on hand at the house. It's important to me that we have some enrichment activities beyond her usual toys and books - to develop fine and gross motor skills, color recognition, counting, etc. It's all about learning through play at this stage.

We have a set of plastic mixing bowls that are designated for MC's use. These are used for a variety of pouring, scooping, sorting activities. One of her favorites is various shapes of dry pasta noodles and a spoon or scoop of some type. This will hold her attention for quite a while - she scoops and pours between all the bowls, and we talk about the different shapes and sizes; we count the pasta; we sort the pasta shapes - there are many possibilities that combine play and learning.

Another activity with the bowls is also scooping and pouring, but this one is also a sensory experience for her. I put out several different types of dry food - in this pic it's oatmeal, white rice, and yellow lentils. She loves to dig her hands in and feel the different textures. This one is much messier than the dry pasta, but it also provides the opportunity for her to help with the clean up. She has a kid-sized broom and loves to sweep and hold the dust pan. I have to be vigilant to not get smacked with her broom handle, but hey...what's a black eye for Mama in the name of Toddler Learning Experience?!! (Also, on the days I don't have the patience for the clean-up process, I put down a beach towel before we start and then just shake it off into the trash.)

This activity uses pipe cleaners and a plastic strainer. I started off by pushing a bunch of pipe cleaners through the holes in the strainer and letting her pull them out one-by-one. When she got bored with that, I showed her how to push the pipe cleaner through on her own. That takes a lot of concentration and fine motor skills for a toddler! She gets a little frustrated with this one, so we don't do it too often. We also talk about colors and count the pipe cleaners while we work with them.

For another pipe cleaner activity we use an empty Parmesan cheese container. The side of the lid with small holes is perfect for poking the pipe cleaners through. When she's got all the pipe cleaners in, I open the other side of the lid and let her shake-shake-shake the container to get them all out.

I saved up some empty cylindrical shaped containers to make a "race track" for pom poms to travel through and fall into a big bowl. (You can see it is adhered to the wall in a very professional way. Only the best for us!) We have several different sizes of pom poms so we talk about big/little during this activity. And she loves to reconfigure the track using all of the different pieces.

So much fun to be had with just regular stuff we already have around the house!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

We took MC to her first Easter egg hunt over the weekend! It was hosted by the Junior League for league members, so it wasn't super crowded and several of our friends were there to hunt with us. The weather was perfect for egg hunting!

April 12, 2014

She wasn't very impressed with the actual hunting part - but she did pick up a few eggs and toss them in her basket after Daddy showed her what to do.

We were also celebrating our "shared" birthday - I turned 34 years old, and MC turned 22 months old.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Here are some recent pics of our girl; these are March and early April 2014. MC is 21 months old in most of these pics.

Her favorite mode of transportation around the house: a Daddy-back ride!

Having fun at our local Children's Museum. They have a different art project every day. On this day we dipped marbles in paint and rolled it around on a piece of paper inside a pie tin.

Drawing on the chalk wall at the museum.

I don't even remember what we were doing this day, or why she ended up with my twisty towel on her head, but of course I have a picture of it!

We went to Louisiana at the end of March. We had a busy, fun trip - visiting with grandparents and playing with cousins. And it was some nice weather, so we were able to spend a lot of time outside!

BD found some time to do some fishing, but MC wasn't too sure what she thought of the pre-cooked version!

We visited the Life and Science Museum in Durham for the first time last week. Her favorite parts were the animal exhibits and riding the train.