A couple posts ago, I mentioned the book-and-craft combos I kickstarted each week, inspired by my fellow quad mom, Amber, who also shared her own literacy-based craft ideas on her blog, Four to Adore. Things have sort of taken off for us from there and last week we did an ocean theme with various associated crafts, books and activities.
Before you start thinking I'm all organized and on top of things, please know that just because I'm showing you photos of all these things we did in a week that the rest of the time my house is clean, my kids are well-behaved and I live behind a white picket fence. Some of these activities lasted five minutes while others lasted an hour, some were met with smiles and unfettered interest and others were met with cries and protests and throwing of things. So, you know, to each his own and stuff like that. ;)
I am no chalk artist but I did try to get a little creative with our chalkboard fireplace cover! I figured I might as well find as many ways as possible to incorporate the theme or lesson or book I'm focusing on each week in as many ways as possible. So I drew a couple sea animals on the board and was one proud momma when my little red-head, Trystan, could easily identify each one by the end of the week!
We read our beloved Pout Pout Fish books several times that week...
And I also went out on a limb and tried an activity I'm not normally drawn to, which is to make any kind of "goop" for my kids to get all over them, much less one that required I use my kitchen accessories to do it! But the sea foam activity proved a success and the kids loved it. I put 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup dish soap, 1 tablespoon corn starch into my mixer and put it on high for several minutes until it got nice and foamy. I used washable finger paint to add a little color without running the risk of staining everything within reach of 40 little fingers. Then I realized that my leisurely pace wasn't going to cut it as foam began morphing into soppy colored water in the bottom of my plastic bin, so I churned out enough bowl fulls of whipped soap as fast as I could and hauled the bin to my front porch for the kids to explore.
I hid some sea shells, plastic sea animals and plastic spoons in the bottom of the bin for them to find, and also switched bins halfway through my foam making-process because a shallow, longer container worked better for toddler access.
Another afternoon, while Granddad read Pout Pout Fish, I gave each of the kids an empty water bottle, some small sea shells and little colored gemstones (which were a buck for a sack from Wal-Mart) to start their ocean bottle craft. They spent a good ten minutes emptying the shells out of their bottles then putting them all back in.
After both books had been read, I turned on a slideshow of underwater animals that I'd quickly compiled on my laptop and played this ocean wave soundtrack while I went down the line and helped them each scoop a few tablespoons of sand each into their bottles. (Yes, we got sand elsewhere besides the bottles and yes, I tried not to sweat all the sand that Bam Bam managed to sling everywhere in 2.5 seconds!) Then I added a little glitter, two drops of blue food coloring and some water to finish it off. I used a hot glue gun and squeezed some glue to the inside of the cap before screwing it back on so that the quads couldn't open their bottles and tie dye the carpet in their play room! When I handed each one back their bottle, I also gave them a small sheet of fish stickers to add to the outside since I couldn't find any small toy fish to go inside the bottles. They actually really enjoyed decorating with the stickers, even if they started peeling them off their bottles a few days later. Whatever gets the longest attention span and keeps these toddlers happy!
After the craft was completed and while I vaccumed up some of the wayward sand, the kiddos each got a Bubble Guppies cup of goldfish—I know, so theme-perfect right?!—and settled in on the couch in the play room to watch The Reef, a cute little animated underwater adventure.
We also watched a couple Bubble Guppies episodes throughout the week that dealt with sea animals or the like as well as our Baby Einstein Baby Neptune DVD, our Baby Genius Underwater Adventures DVD (where they learned about seals and can now identify those as well) and any other show I could find that coincided with the ocean. All this replaced our usual afternoon animated TV watching since we try to keep the TV off during the morning and save that little nugget of entertainment for post-naps. Momma needs all the help she can get!
Other activities that I'd considered but did not get to included these adorable handprint crabs, seashell matching, a construction paper underwater scene and a fishbowl paper plate craft.
All in all, I think the quads really enjoyed the activites and I felt good knowing we'd do some new things and new experiences for both sensory and learning. Look forward to sharing our color series with y'all!
Up next: a delightful Weekend Recap...