An ABC Egg Hunt

I would say one of the hardest things about being a parent to more than one kid is the need to remember that your third kid needs just as much of your time, energy, attention, and patience as your first one (or second, or third…).  Because there are so many people around to entertain her–her days spent with me, afternoons with brother and sister or friends, bedtime with Em–she isn’t the best at playing independently, but she’ll get there.  Her constant need for attention sometimes has the undesired effect of me just throwing up my hands and saying, “Can’t you just go play!?” instead of encouraging me to dream up some fun activity for the two of us.  I have been working on renewing my teaching credential–a process which has kept the blog low on my totem pole of priorities–so I have been even busier than usual, fielding emails and requesting transcripts during time that I used to spend perusing Pinterest for fun literacy activities like I did for Jax or Em (cue the Mommy guilt).  I could have just as easily spent this morning encouraging Little H to keep herself occupied, but with the recognition that both she and my blog were being grossly neglected, I pulled out an old favorite to meet the ever-increasing needs of my very bright three-year-old.

Alphabet Egg Hunt Matching Game @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I have come up with many upcycling uses for last week’s plastic Easter eggs that help my kids with various needs–spelling, counting, rhyming.  Little H already knows her letters, upper case and lower case, but I thought this would be a good exercise in letter sounds.  First I wrote all the upper case and lower case letters on egg halves, like so, and spread them all over our front deck.  Hooray for a warm spring day!

Alphabet Letter Matching Game @ Rub Some Dirt On It IMG_6452

Then she and I hung out, matching letters, matching colors, talking and smiling.  Since she does already know her letters, we focused on the sounds they make.  She would find a letter, I’d point out what color it is so she could find the match, then we should brought it to me she’d tell me what sound the letter makes.

Alphabet Egg Hunt @ Rub Some Dirt On It Alphabet Egg Hunt @ Rub Some Dirt On It

For a three-year-old, she’s one smart cookie, my Hannah Hummingbird.

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Last kids deserve all the love and enrichment and attention as the first ones.  I’m lucky enough to be home with her, and I need to make every day matter, in big ways or small.

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 It’s good for both of us.

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Number Gnomes!

Last Christmas, I had big plans to make some number gnomes for my kids to help them with their number recognition and basic math, like I had seen on Etsy.  Well, up until a few days ago, those unfinished wooden peg dolls sat in a box for the past twelve months! So one Sunday afternoon, while we watched football, Em and I decided that the wait was over.  Time to make some Number Gnomes!

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

My kids LOVE these, especially Jax! I’ve kept them on the kitchen table and he plays with them first thing in the morning.  Yesterday, he came up with a different idea, to put the answer to the math equation inside the equal cup.  So creative!

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Autumn Button Branch

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Autumn Button Branch @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Note To Self: Paint More

Any other parents out there have a love/hate relationship with the easel we all get sucked into buying at some point?  It’s so…unwieldy and such a…how should I say this?…process.  I love how nicely the kids play together when they’re painting (as long as they are in the mood to share) and the colorful photos I can get of them while they are so engrossed are some of my favorites.  But the pain to get it out of the closet, take out all the paints, get water, paper towels and paint brushes handy…hold on, am I seriously complaining about art supplies?  Even as I type this I want to slap myself upside the head and get a grip.  Sure, dealing with kids and paint can be a serious pain, but that’s crazy talk for something that can be so engaging and beautiful.  Note to self: I need a reality check.  This is what I signed up to do all day.  I need to embrace paint more often and just be thankful my commute is from my art supplies to my front porch.

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Sometimes it’s easier to just say, “Put on another show,” or just have them play upstairs in their bedrooms, certainly.  But looking back on our summer and the number of times we made a conscious decision to explore our inner artists (not very many), I think that I need to stop assuming the kids get enough art in school and start devoting a little more effort to getting our hands good and colorful more often.

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Parenting, like art, is definitely a process, and why is that a bad thing? I know that if the only thing this blog provides me is a place to reflect on which choices I make are good ones and which ones maybe not so much, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  Just like busting out the old easel every now and then.

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After all, with mornings to myself with this girl, what better parenting can I provide than to let her explore her inner artist?  Sometimes books and errands and lunch and naptime just have to wait.

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Duly noted, self.  Time to get our artist on.

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Simply Busy Sensory Play

I love spring, and I love the rain.  I even went running in the rain yesterday afternoon–how refreshing!  But day 3 of rain with kids who are just starting to savor the pleasure of being outdoors everyday is a bit…mind-numbing.  So I pulled out an old favorite for the first time with Hannah, just to see how it goes: sensory play with beans and dried peas.  Did she love it!

As I look back, the last time I did this we did it outside to minimize the mess (which may be wise) but this time we had no choice but to give it a go on the kitchen floor.  I was hoping for ten uninterrupted minutes of work while I sent out emails, so I brought out a cookie sheet, various plastic containers, a spoon and a few miniature CAT vehicles.  I dumped three bags of beans and peas onto the cookie sheet, gave the spoon to Hannah and told her to have fun.  No helicoptering, no instruction.  Just explore and investigate and experiment!

Sensory Play @ Rub Some Dirt On It-2   Sensory Play @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Like I said, I was hoping for ten minutes; well, she played by herself for ten minutes before big sister joined in and then they played together for 23 more!  I sat at the table and supervised from afar because even though Hannah isn’t putting things in her mouth anymore, Emmy was constantly introducing new kitchenware into the equation to extend the fun.  Some things were good–measuring cups! spatulas! rubber brushes! the bottom of a turkey baster!–others were not so good–No, Em, let’s not use the cheese grater. 

Sensory Play @ Rub Some Dirt On It Sensory Play @ Rub Some Dirt On It Sensory Play @ Rub Some Dirt On It

When they finally looked like they were about to quit, I grabbed them and reminded them it was time to clean up.  While I put away the accessories, they attempted to scoop beans into a plastic container where they will live until the next rainy day.  Then it was a battle over who would sweep, with everyone getting a turn to “help” and Mommy finally finishing the job.

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Painting With Cars To Welcome Spring!

Painting with cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

With all these color choices at her fingertips, it was no surprise what Em decided to paint.

Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Little H was a little more abstract and mostly just thrilled to get her hands dirty.

Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It Painting with cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Even Mommy made one. I couldn’t resist!

Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

And don’t forget about the added bonus–they get to wash the cars when all the artwork is done, taking this springtime craft to a fabulous new level!  Your house has new art, the mess is cleaned up, and everyone has had a ton of fun.  It’s spring!  Let’s celebrate!

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Roll-A-Rainbow Game!

Roll-A-Rainbow @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Finally! You are ready to play!  Give the kids each some dice (be careful of the choking hazard) and let the good times roll!

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I love getting ready for spring this way!  Lots of colors, high spirits, and fun for everyone.  Life is sweet!

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