rainy day activity

Summer Bucket List Ideas

My oldest daughter got out of school last week. Granted, it is preschool and a private one at that, so it was a touch early. Nonetheless, ready or not, summer is on us. Summer is always an interesting time for us. My husband works Saturdays which means we don’t have traditional weekends. Combine with that the fact that this summer we are a multifamily household and I am having a baby.  Life feels a little chaotic. Normally I just let summer be “whatever” time. (Heck, who am I kidding?  Up until now LIFE has been a “whatever” time.) This year, though, I am trying to be more scheduled to keep all of us a little more sane. Most days will try to do something that falls into one of each of these categories. *Learn something *Read to self (i.e. look at books) *Mom or Dad reads out loud. *Play outside *Rest *Free play (i.e. it’s NOT Mom’s job to entertain you) *TV time (often first thing in the morning while Mom sleeps and Dad is getting ready for work, before bed after Dad gets home, or during the heat of the day) *Something “special” My 5 year old always wants to know what we are going to DO today and often gets upset if there isn’t something “fun” on the list. To help combat that conversation I have written up a HUGE list of “fun” things to do. Some of them cross over with other categories such as “outside time” or “reading time” and some of them are stand alone and will be in the “special” category.

Outdoor Fun Sprinkler Water fun Skirt guns Water balloons Buckets of water and paint brushes Make Sponge Balls. Outdoor fun/messes Play-Dough outside (way easier to clean up) Sidewalk chalk Finger paint Bubbles Picnic Freeze tag Capture the flag Red Light, Green Light Mother May I? Tent Treasure hunt Catch fireflies Hopscotch Wake up the kids on a clear night to lay out in the front yard and look at stars.

Indoor Fun Construction paper, a magazine, and a glue stick will keep kids busy for HOURS! Glow stick bath. Pick a topic and learn everything you can about it. Finger paint in the bathtub. Make a pillow fort. Color (You can find all kinds of coloring pages on Pinterest and even paper dolls to color) Flash Cards (printable A\alphabet flash cards can be found here and numbers can be found here) Build with blocks Do a puzzle Things to make/bake Popsicles Make no bake (or preacher) cookies. Make cards to send to family. Give a kid a glue stick, some construction paper and a magazine. HOURS of fun! Icecream Color on a shirt with a Sharpie. Make Sharpie Mugs with colored pencils and your kids drawings. Save for Christmas gifts for grandparents/aunt/uncles/teachers. Make a Sharpie Plate Make Pizza Together Paper bag puppets Have your child dictate a story. Type it out for them. Let them color the pictures. Homemade rock candy Color a big cardboard box. Let them play in it as long as they want. Go somewhere Barnes and Nobles across the country have a children story hour every Wednesday at 11:00 am and Friday at 7:00 pm. Library Parks Go to the farmer’s market. Cook dinner using something you bought there. Take Daddy and his co-workers a treat at work. READ!!!! Read "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" and made cookies. Read "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" and make muffins. Read a book about Johnny Appleseed and eat apples (or color apples or something with apples). Read "Flat Stanley" and make a Flat Stanley to send to someone. A great list of books to read to your daughters (I must also add the Betsy Tacy books to this list if you haven’t read them to your little girl yet it MUST go on your summer reading list) Ten books to read to your 4-7 year old 50 Alphabet Books to read to toddlers. Check out Our Cultivated Life for a tutorial on how to make you own summer reading board game!

Make Your Summer Bucket List These are few of my favorite fill in yourself bucket lists available for printing at home to fill out with your own ideas. Bugs Bucket List Simple Bucket List Summer Schedule Ideas Color Your Own Bucket List Summer Bingo Board (Great for vacation!) Keep Track I give my girls notebooks at the start of summer. We put pictures we take from the summer in there as well as let them draw, glue, sticker during free time or “make something time.” At the end of the summer it’s a fun way to look back and see all we did.

Montessori Moods: Transferring, Part 1

One of the subject areas in the Montessori classroom is practical life. These activities, if it’s not already obvious, are all somehow related to real-life, everyday tasks.Practical life activities are not just for learning everyday tasks. They also help with gross and fine motor skills, which include prerequisite movements for writing and even reading (left to right motions). Kids just think they’re fun!

Transferring includes a pretty broad range of activities and you can find lots and lots of variations online. For the youngest ones (even as young as 18 months) you would start with big objects like beans (or even pom poms or cotton balls) and a big spoon or scoop. You have to try things out and see what works for your child. I originally thought a scoop would be easier for my youngest to deal with, but the motion of using a scoop is actually more complicated than just a regular spoon.

When presenting the activity, start with objects in a bowl (or other container) on the left and an empty bowl on the right. Sit to the left of your child. Carefully and slowly with a look of interest and concentration, scoop beans onto the spoon, carefully place the spoon over the empty bowl and pour the beans in. Do this until you’re finished or until your child wants to try. When the bowl is empty, you can either encourage your child to turn the tray so that the full bowl is on the left again, or not. I have seen it both ways. My kids didn’t really like the turning and it seemed to over-complicate the activity, so I ditched it.

Two transferring activities.  The one on the left would be more difficult with rice and a small spoon than the one of the right with cotton balls and big tongs.

If beans are spilled (it is good for you to spill some on purpose during the presentation), point it out to your child and then slowly pick up one at a time using pincer grasp (thumb and forefinger) and put them in the bowl.

A note about trays: In a Montessori environment each practical life activity (as well as some other types of activities) is usually kept on a nice-looking tray. It makes it easy for the child to choose it and take it to her workspace. You can find trays at dollar stores and thrift stores. You can also make use of large plastic food storage containers or even small cardboard boxes. Everything is supposed to be attractive, but sometimes you just need to work with what you have!

As your child gets adept at one combination of objects/tool/container, you can switch it up and make it a bit more challenging. You want it to be the right amount of challenging so that your child is neither bored or frustrated. Just watch your child to see.

My littlest tonging cotton balls.  The rice one proved unpopular with both children.

Here are some more ideas:

Objects: rice, barley, other grains, marbles, little erasers, beads, pebbles, water beads

Tools: big serving spoon, teaspoon, coffee scoop, Japanese soup spoon, big tongs, little tongs, tweezers

Containers: cereal bowls, clear glass bowls, tea cups, ice cube trays (one object in each section)

Notes: Keep close supervision of children who still put things in their mouths!! I let my children transfer beans at about 18 months, but I was always watching and made sure they weren’t putting the beans in their mouths. You also have to demonstrate (by example) how to properly handle breakable objects. Montessori believed that children could be careful with delicate objects and intentionally had them in the classroom and available to the children. They just need to be shown how to carefully handle breakable things. That said, my son did break a bowl while transferring one time, but I wasn’t paying close attention and he was just messing around by that point.