Posts Tagged With: fun

Superman Party Ideas

Isaiah turned 4 last month. We waited to have the party until this month, but I wanted to share some of the things we did, in case anyone else is trying to plan a Superman party.

Food

Our food was pretty simple. My mom and I fixed everything for tacos and laid it out so everyone could build their own. Between the taco ingredients and some fruit, it makes it pretty easy, even for picky eaters, to find something everyone likes. I put little signs by the food that listed a super power that the kids would get if they ate it.

Superman Party Superman Party

Cake

Isaiah specifically requested cupcakes for his party, so that’s what he had, though I had great ideas for a cake, too. I bought Wilton’s food coloring (well worth it–the colors are so much more vibrant without thinning the batter or icing) and colored the cake batter bright blue. I baked the cupcakes in red paper and topped them with bright yellow icing. I printed off Superman logos and glued them to toothpicks to stick in the tops of the cupcakes and got a “4” candle for Isaiah’s cupcake.

Superman Party Superman Party

The Floor Game

I want to start this section by saying: I’ve seen similar games online in the last couple years, but this is the original. My mom came up with it on her own, long before blogs, when I was Isaiah’s age. We’ve done it at every kid’s party ever since because it’s such a huge hit. Many of my friends started using the game at parties, as well.

To make the floor game, you need to collect a few images that match your party’s theme. In this case, that was Superman pictures. You’ll also need a simple design, like a smiley face or basic outline (I used the Superman logo). Print a few of each kind of picture, making sure there are more of the basic one. For older kids, you’ll want more basic cards, while little kids will need lots of picture cards. The more kids you have, the more pieces you need, to give them room to spread out. These need to be big enough to stand on, so I use a full sheet of card stock when I make it. My mom’s original version was squares made of mat board with smiley faces; pictures were coloring pages that she’d carefully colored herself and taped to blank pieces.

You’ll also need a small prize of some sort to hand out. You’ll be giving out a bunch, so keep it simple. I usually use either tickets (made with theme-appropriate pictures) or M&Ms.

Set up the game by arranging the cards in a large circle on the floor. It’s quick to set up, so we usually set it up when we’re ready to play, rather than stepping around it for the rest of the party. Space the picture cards out randomly through the circle.

The rules are pretty simple. Have all the kids stand on a simple square, no pictures yet. Give the birthday child a large die to roll. When they roll, everyone moves according to the number rolled. If anyone is standing on a picture, give them a prize. Let the kids take turns rolling the die and play until the kids are done or you run out of prizes.

Superman Party Superman Party Superman Party

Find the Bad Guy

This is a simple treasure hunt game. I printed off a cute little characters in the classic black and white jail uniform and hid them around the room before the kids got there. Since we were renting my parents’ church, it was easy to hide them in a different room so no one saw them before it was time to play.

Superman Party Superman Party

Obstacle Course

I gave the kids some simple “flying lessons” and taught them how to leap tall buildings. I made a couple buildings by wrapping cardboard boxes in solid paper and attaching blue squares for windows. The kids jumped over those a few times, then I put them out with a very simple obstacle course. It had them jumping the buildings, walking along a piece of tape (balance beam) and doing a bean bag toss.

Superman Party Superman Party

Decorations

The kitchen has a big window into the fellowship hall where we were holding the party, so I hung red, blue and yellow streamers from it with balloons at the top. It was a nice way to add some color, while also serving the purpose of hiding the kitchen and the food stuff. I also got a Superman birthday banner that I hung along the counter.

Superman Party Superman Party

I made a cupcake display by wrapping boxes in blue paper and stacking them. This allowed me to put the cupcakes on different layers, instead of just putting them on the flat table. Between the stand and the logos on the cupcakes, it turned the special dessert into a decoration.

Superman Party

I put Superman decorations on the table and had Superman logos on the floor that doubled as targets for the bean bag toss. The buildings the kids jumped over in the obstacle course were arranged on the prize table when they weren’t being used in the game. I opted to keep the decorations pretty simple, since we were using the church and everything had to come down before we could go home.

Superman Party

The kids’ party favors had a few Superman themed toys in them, along with snacks. They also got super hero suckers–Tootsie Pops with capes attached to them. Each kid got a cape to wear during the party and take home with them. I was able to get them in a couple different colors at DollarTree.

Superman Party Superman Party Superman Party
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Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wave Bottles

Isaiah and I made a couple of wave bottles tonight. The goal was to make one that glowed under a black light. Our first one did not, so we made a second.

Wave Bottles

Well shaken wave bottle

Instructions

supplies
Empty plastic bottle
Water
Highlighter (make sure it’s fluorescent)
Oil (we used baby oil)
Confetti

Wave Bottles

Supplies for Bottle #1

Take apart the highlighter and put the foamy ink cartridge out. Put it into the water to soak. You can squeeze it to make the ink come out faster, but beware–you may end up with dyed fingers. I used a fork to press the ink out, though I still ended up with some on my hands. Isaiah even, somehow, managed to get it on his face. Once the water has a good bit of ink in it, take the foam out and throw it away. Pour the water into the water bottle, filling it about two thirds of the way. Drop in a bit of confetti and top off the bottle with oil. Hot glue the lid on and you’re ready to play.

Wave Bottles

Soaking the ink

Wave Bottles

Finished bottle

As I said, our first bottle didn’t work. My pink highlighter (Isaiah’s color of choice this week) wasn’t fluorescent. Oops. We also didn’t put any confetti in that bottle. It still makes an awesome wave bottle. The color from the highlighter looks really nice and very different from what we would have gotten with food coloring.

Wave Bottles

Isaiah says it makes really good waves

Wave Bottles

Waves

For our second bottle, we used a yellow highlighter. We tested it with the black light before pulling it apart to be sure it would glow. I let Isaiah put some confetti into this bottle, which he was pretty excited about. Then I turned him loose to try it with the black light. My dad propped it up against the side of the tv so that Isaiah could do whatever he wanted with his bottle, without someone having to hold the light the entire time. Isaiah raced back and forth, putting the bottle in front of the light, then moving away for quite a while. He decided to test a few other things under the black light, too.

Wave Bottles

Looking through the glowing bottle

Wave Bottles

Floating confetti

Glowing Boy

My glowing boy

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Science, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lesson Plan: China

Topic: China

Books: China ABCs

Objectives:
•See items from China
•Be introduced to important aspects of Chinese culture
•Develop an interest in learning about another country, such as China

Vocabulary
•China
•Country
•Culture
•Dragon

Supplies Needed
•Desert sized paper plates
•Dragon face
•Crayons
•Scissors
•Strips of crepe paper
•Objects from China (paper fan, Chinese coins, dragon)

Large Group Activities
•Pass around objects, telling students about each one as they look at them
•Read China ABCs, taking time to explain unfamiliar topics
•Allow students to ask questions

Table Time Activity
•Have children color dragon faces and cut them out
•Glue dragon faces and crepe paper to plates

Dragon Face for Craft

Here's the face we used for the craft

Categories: Homeschool, Lesson Plans | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Spy Bottles

I made an I Spy bottle years ago at a 4-H day camp. I kept it for years and really loved it, so I wanted to do one with Isaiah. There was only one small catch… Isaiah can’t read the list of items to find. I went ahead and got supplies to make the bottle, then, as we were making it, I realized that I could easily take a picture of the items to attach to the bottle. It worked great!

I Spy Bottles

I Spy bottle

In the end, we actually made a few bottles with different things inside. We’ll probably make more later. It’s easy to get things that go together and make bottles with different themes. We can try different fillers, too.

Here’s what you need:
Plastic bottle
Filler: We used rice for two bottles and birdseed in a third. You can also use sand, colored salt (or colored rice) or beans.
Trinkets: This can be just about anything that will fit into the mouth of your bottle. Ours had shaped erasers, buttons, a crayon, rubber bands, bobbie pins and beads.
Glue: White glue works fine, though hot glue dries much faster and tends to be a bit more secure.
Ribbon: I tied the list onto the bottle with ribbon. I only actually attached a list to one bottle, since Isaiah is more interested in shaking it to make cool sounds and seeing the treasure inside than he is in deliberately searching for an object.

I Spy Bottles

The list of treasures

I let Isaiah fill the bottles himself, which was pretty exciting for him. He filled them about halfway, added the trinkets, then put in the rest of the filler. Once everything was inside, I helped him put on the lid and shake the bottle to spread the toys throughout. It’s really important to make sure there’s some extra space left in the bottle when you fill it or nothing will move when you turn or shake it.

I Spy Bottles

Carefully filling the bottle

I Spy Bottles

He's pretty proud of his bottles

I Spy Bottles

Shaking his finished bottle

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sensory Bottle–First Attempt

Isaiah and I made a sensory bottle last night. I only had one bottle, so we just made a very simple one this time. Here’s what we did.

Sensory Bottle

Our finished bottle

What you need:
Empty bottle (we used a Gatorade bottle)
Water
Glitter
Food coloring (must be water based)
We also used some stickers because we didn’t have confetti

Sensory Bottle

Isaiah with his bottle full of glitter and stickers

I let Isaiah put the stickers and glitter into the bottle before adding the water. Once he was done adding glitter and stickers, I carefully poured some of the water in. With very close supervision, I allowed Isaiah to add food coloring to the water. Giving him control resulted in a really dark color, but he liked the independence of doing it himself. I added the rest of the water and glued on the lid. He’s been playing with it ever since. Next time, we’re going to try using baby oil for some of the bottles.

Sensory Bottle

Excited that there's water inside

Sensory Bottle

Dye mixing

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lesson Plan: The Best Nest

Topic: The Best Nest

Book: The Best Nest

Objectives
•Learn about birds’ homes
•Learn about what birds may use to build a nest
•Learn places birds can put their nests

Vocabulary
•Nest
•Build

The Best Nest

The Best Nest

Supplies Needed
•Bowl
•Nest Building Supplies
•leaves (base material, we used palm branches that were left from Palm Sunday)
•twigs
•hay
•yarn (for sweater string and stocking string)
•thread (for horse hair and man hair)
•straws
•stuffing (for mattress stuffing)
•Feathers
•Washable paints
•Paper

The Best Nest

Isaiah posing with the supplies and book

The Best Nest

All the nest-building supplies, ready to use

The Best Nest

Feather painting supplies

Large Group Activities
•Talk about birds and where they might live. Ask students for their thoughts. Ask what they might make nests from.
•Read The Best Nest.
•Bring out nest building supplies and pass out a few pieces to each student.
•Have the students help assemble a nest like the one the birds built in the story.

The Best Nest

Excited about his leaves and twigs

The Best Nest

Playing with the leaves

The Best Nest

Soda straws for the nest

The Best Nest

Adding the ''horse hair''

The Best Nest

Isaiah's finished nest

Table Time Activity
•Hand out paper and feathers. Give each student at least two feathers.
•Put paint on trays and allow students to use the feathers as paint brushes to create art.
•Encourage the students to try different techniques, such as stamping or dragging the feather across the page.

The Best Nest

Happily settling in to paint

The Best Nest

Making careful marks

The Best Nest

Showing off his finished painting

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Lesson Plans | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sensory Table

Just for fun, I set up a table with a bunch of sensory toys for Isaiah. He thought it was amazing. I put a water bucket on the floor so he could rinse his hands when he felt a need, too, which made him happier to stay for a while. He switched between activities constantly. I think I’ll set him up with a different set of sensory activities soon. It was certainly worth the effort of setting it up!

Sensory Table

All the sensory activities on Isaiah's table

Activity 1: Water Beads

I put his water beads in a pan with some plastic hearts that I got around Valentine’s Day. I also put out some cups to scoop and pour the water beads. Of course, he also had the option to try to sort out the hearts, but he was much more interested in pouring the beads.

Sensory Table

Water beads and plastic hearts, waiting for Isaiah

Sensory Table

Scooping water beads

Activity 2: Beans and Cars

Isaiah adores cars, so I put a set of little plastic cars in a pan with dry beans. Again, I gave him cups and scoops to manipulate the beans. He was more interested in the cars than scooping, though, which was fine with me. He tried to make roads to drive the cars on. After a while, he tried burying the cars, too.

Sensory Table

The cars and beans

Sensory Table

Driving a car

Activity 3: Shaving Cream

The last activity was a pan of shaving cream. I put some red hearts in the bottom of the pan before I added the shaving cream. They were completely covered, so Isaiah didn’t even know they were there until he stuck his hands deep into the shaving cream. He didn’t stay with the shaving cream for very long because he wasn’t in the mood for messy play. He was more interested in having an excuse to stick his hands in the bucket of water.

Sensory Table

Shaving cream and carefully hidden hearts

Sensory Table

Shaving cream doesn't pour very well...

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fluffy Stuff

I came across this recipe about a week ago and decided to give it a try. I didn’t have as much cornstarch as it called for, so I just made a small batch. It’s been a huge hit. The best part is that it can be put in a bag and saved for another day. It’s lasted us a week so far.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Fluffy Stuff

Recipe
2 boxes of cornstarch
1 can of shaving cream
Optional: dye/food coloring (we didn’t add any color)
Mix together until the shaving cream is spread evenly through the mixture
Play!

"Fluffy Stuff"

Helping mix it and totally amazed

"Fluffy Stuff"

Deep concentration

The shaving cream makes the concoction cling to itself just enough to be able to form balls (or rocks, as Isaiah called them). If you pinch them or poke them with a spoon, though, they turn back to powder. Isaiah thought this was great fun. He also loves just burying his hands in the mixture and scooping it.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Sneaking a taste. He says it tastes like chocolate. Not so sure I believe that one...

"Fluffy Stuff"

Having tons of fun

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Choose Cloth?

I got this question over and over again when I decided to switch from disposables (‘sposies) to cloth diapers. My mom remembers using cloth–the old-fashioned kind. She hated every minute of it, but did it to save a little money. The only praises she had for cloth was that it was the only kind of diaper that could contain a poopy blow-out. From other friends who are in the same age range, I heard similar reviews of cloth diapering. “It was so frustrating!” “Wet pails are gross.” “They looked silly on the baby.” On and on, not much good to be heard. From friends in my age group, I got a different set of concerns. “You mean you’re actually going to use diapers where you’ll have to deal with the poop??” Umm… I already deal with the poop. It’s smeared all over his bottom no matter what kind of diaper is containing it. “Why would you want diapers you need to wash?” “‘Sposies are cute, too! They have Disney characters on them!” So, aside from some online-only relations, there really was no one who thought cloth was a good choice. I took the risk anyway, mostly because a couple of my online friends were so enthusiastic about theirs (and I owe them a debt of gratitude to this day)!

Cloth diapers

Sleeping in his new cloth diaper

So, why did I choose to switch? I actually had a lot of reasons. I really liked that they were cheaper to use. For the first several months of Isaiah’s live, cost wasn’t an issue because I’d been given diapers in various sizes as gifts at my baby shower and my grandparents had been buying them whenever they were on sale. When I started having to get my own, though, I realized just how much they were costing me. I hated that, without fail, when I put him in a clean diaper, Isaiah would poop within a matter of minutes. That meant he only wore the diaper for a few minutes! It seemed like such a waste of money. With cloth diapers, no matter how many Isaiah used in a day, I didn’t have to pay any more. I just wash every two or three days and we’ve got enough diapers to last a couple more days. Running the wash cycle for a dozen or more diapers costs me about the same as just a couple disposable diapers. That equalled huge savings!

Cloth diapers

Helping fold diapers

Another thing I love about cloth is how they look. They come in so many cute prints! I got my pocket diapers from a work at home mom who makes custom diapers with any print imaginable. Isaiah never wears the same print twice in one day! Something else I like about the appearance is that they’re “fluffy.” The size of cloth diapers are what earned them the nickname “fluff.” Since cloth is thicker than the paper and chemicals in a disposable, they’re bigger on a baby’s bottom. Isaiah moved up an entire size in pants when we switched! That was ok, though. I still thought it was cute that they gave him a big butt. I have known people who didn’t like this aspect of cloth and actually chose to give it up because of it, so this part is just a matter of personal taste. I must admit, though, that I’m guilty of letting Isaiah run around in just a diaper every chance I get and I hate onesies because they cover his cute diapers. I’d much rather put him in a regular shirt that shows off his diaper.

My Diaper!

Think he likes the diapers?

Isaiah has some mild allergies. I’m starting to really see them as he spends his days outside more. He appears to be allergic to some chemicals that are sprayed on plants and possibly to some plants. He has reactions to cheap ‘sposies, too. He’s alright in Huggies and was fine in the smallest size Pampers, but when he moved into “Cruisers” there was something different about them that had his little bottom covered in a rash. His rashes never got too horrible because I immediately started treating whenever one would start to show up. If I forgot to put vaseline on him even once, though, every part of him that touched the diaper turned red. I’d been told that cloth diapers are better for babies with sensitive skin or allergies, so I was hoping that the cloth would clear that up. It did! Just a few days into cloth and his rash was gone. Every once in a while, thanks to our hard water, he’ll start to get ammonia burn, but that’s easy enough to fix by stripping the diapers.

Cloth diapers

Wearing a diaper this afternoon while enjoying his water table

There are lots of other great reasons for using cloth, but for this post, I’ll leave it at what my reasons for the initial switch were. I’m so grateful to my friends who told me about cloth diapering and taught me how fun and easy it could be! To all those skeptics out there, who didn’t think I’d last very long, I just wanted you to know that, while I’m not a fan of diarrhea in any diaper, I actually don’t mind dealing with poopy diapers and washing them every few days isn’t that big a deal to me. I always know when to do it because I only have three night diapers! When the last one comes off, all the dirty diapers go into the wash. I have every intention of using cloth for every future baby. I also hope to try out other styles of cloth diaper. Since I was new to the whole idea, I only bought pocket style diapers. If I had the money, I’d try out others now. I’m just dying to test out fitteds! I’d kind of like a little experience with prefolds before trying them on a newborn, too.

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