Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dart Knockdown


 Dart Knockdown!

This activity is great for summer or winter.  It can be played out doors or indoors.
We did both.


























I honestly wasn't expecting to play indoors at any point but Little Dragon loved this set up so much he asked me to set it up all week.  That meant during rain or during moments when he was the only boy outside, and I don't let the dragons play outside alone.

The set up was easy and best of all cheap!
I had all of the supplies needed on hand.


Materials: 
  • nerf gun
  • darts
  • cups
  • table/desk
To set up you just put the cups in a pyramid and designate a place to stand to shoot, point blank would be cheating and not as fun.  Then pull the trigger. 

It took a couple tries but Little Dragon got the hang of this game quickly.  Doll Dragon tried a few times but didn't enjoy this activity as much.  


Little Dragon practiced hand eye coordination and by the end of the 1st day he was able to hit them all one right after the other until the desk was clear of cups. 


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Monday, January 9, 2017

6 Months

We have now reached the halfway mark.  Halfway to a year.  Halfway to the first birthday!
I am also looking at it in reverse.  It has been 6 months since I was in the hospital, since I was pregnant and bloated.  It seemed to fly by!

But we have captured countless moments on video and many more on camera so we won't forget these precious moments.

There are a few milestones baby is reaching now but things are going to really start speeding up in the months to come!


  • Speech
The months leading up to this have given baby the tools and confidence to start trying to speak on their own.  At this point in development you should be hearing two letter sounds such as 'ma, da, ba, etc.'  You may have heard some of these sounds before the 6 month mark but baby probably has more understanding of what she is saying now.  

One way we have encouraged our daughter to not only say 'mama' and 'dada' but recognize its meaning is by refereing to ourselves in 3rd person.  "mama is playing with Larana" or when she touches my face I say "mama's face, mama's nose".  
My husband and I also ask our daughter often where the other one is to help with name recognition. "Where did dada go?" as we walk through the house.  

Even if your baby has started using words don't stop talking to them.  Talk is still very important for future speech.  As are books.  Read! Read! Read!

The same as all the previous months, reading is very important to language development.  

One thing my little one loves is when I read to her with puppets.  She finds this very entertaining and it keeps her engaged a little longer. 

At this point you may be bored of reading the same simple books over and over, especially when baby has a favorite.  To help with this just talk to the baby about the pictures, letter, or numbers on the page.  You don't have to read it verbatim every time, the baby won't know the difference.  The point of reading to the baby is for the baby to hear you talking.  
For example, I will say 'look there are 3 blue flowers on the page, one, two, three' while pointing with her finger.  If there is an animal you can describe it and practice animal sounds.  
Not only is this expanding vocabulary but it gives a little more depth to reading.  You are exploring each page as you point, feel, and look at smaller details. 

Baby is developing a relationship with books every time you read together.  My mom told me when I became a mother to 'do your best not to say 'no' when reading it can form a negative impression of books for the baby'.  This is one reason to read board or fabric books to the baby to allow discovery of the book.  If it isn't board or fabric try leading the baby's hands if she wants to touch to avoid paper cuts and if she wants to put the book in her mouth instead of saying 'no' say this book is for touching, like this.

Speaking of books, we subscribed to a wonderful book program by Dolly Parton.  It is called Imagination Library.  It is totally free and the program sends out 1 book a month until the child is 5!  If you sign up for this you won't have a shortage of books :)


  • Play
Babies learn most things through play at this stage or a better term Discovery! 



























Discovering the world around them is so entertaining and full of opportunities to a baby.

While playing baby will use both right and left hands.  While baby is playing with something offer something new/different and see if they will hold 1 toy in each hand.  If so offer another toy giving baby the chance to use her problem solving skills.

To help baby discover give them a wide range of safe things to play with, and they don't have to be from the baby aisle. 
Things like:  
Pots and pans
tupper ware
spoons and spatulas
buckets
plastic bottles
and many more!

There are many advantages to toys made just for baby but if your baby is like mine she wants anything she isn't supposed to have.


  • Crawling
We didn't see crawling until almost the end of 6 months.  During 6 months there was a lot of rocking and lunging.  But once crawling starts the baby will be on the go almost always.  
It is important to baby proof your home before crawling and to still keep a close eye on baby even if your home is baby proofed. 

Also, easy to crawl in clothes are appreciated by baby.  If you have carpet baby's can get rug burns on their little knees if they are not wearing pants when they crawl.
Pajamas are hard for my daughter to crawl in.  Mostly because she likes to take her feet out of the feet slots and then she ends up tripping on the fabric.  This frustrates here and she isn't as inclined to crawl.













  • Leg use
If not in the previous months then this month you should start to see baby using her legs a lot more.
Jumping and bearing weight on her legs to prepare to walk in the coming months.

Many muscles have been developing the last 6 months and some babies may be able to pull themselves up into a standing position using a little assistance, this being your hands or nearby boxes they can crawl to.

This is enjoyable because babies get much joy out of jumping!  Big smiles always accompany this new learned skill.

One thing I read in my research about 6 months was to stay away from walkers.  They are not needed by babies and may cause babies to walk on their own later rather then sooner.



  • Food 
If you haven't already then this month is when baby gets introduced to food.  Now if your baby is anything like mine she is ready to try this activity the rest of the family has been doing in front of her for 6 months.  

It's important to start baby off slow with foods so you can track any allergic reactions.  As far as what to introduce first and the order thereafter I don't have definitive advice.  Research has different ideas on what is best.  Some articles state that at 6 months babies are ready for finger foods.  
We just started baby on solids and so far so good but she has only tried a handful of soft foods so far.  I for sure am not ready for finger foods!  Our doctor also told us to keep things runny still.  So I am ok with our decision.

Also, changing food babies diet changes the poop so be prepared for new smells and colors in diapers! 


  • New Friends
Stuffed animals and puppets are new found favorites for baby starting around this month. You may notice cries of protest when taking a favorite stuffed animal or when said stuffed animal falls out of reach.  

This attachment is good and shows baby is becoming more independent and separating from parents a little. 

Baby is also going to start reaching for other known faces.  Being more social.  Some babies may reach for anyone that smiles at them.

Although some babies may have chosen a favorite toy or stuffed animals some babies cling to a blanket.  My daughter will not sleep without one of two of her favorite blankets.  She loves to snuggle with super soft fabrics.


  • Attention
6 months and baby knows that you will listen to her and talk to her and she doesn't want you to stop. 
Actions and consequences have started to make sense at this young age.  The idea of right and wrong is starting to develop.  This is developed mostly from your reactions to her actions.

But remember how I said attention, well baby will do anything for you attention.  Wether it is something she has knows will get a smile or a frown. 

It is good to remember that when baby is looking for attention and does something you don't approve of to give positive reinforcement or redirect in a positive manner so they don't seek negative attention.  Also when they stop what they were doing that didn't make you happy be 'over the moon' when the action changes.  This encourages better choices.  

Baby does want attention but they would rather have smiles and interaction then anger and separation. 

I also love that facial expressions for different moods are really showing now.  Mimic games are a ton of fun!







Enjoy the halfway mark to 1 year with your little one! 

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Tic-Tac-Toe



This is a fun easy game to play with the kids.  
I love this version because it is so big, it doesn't waste paper, it's quick, it's easy to store, and easy to clean up. 

The rules are standard tic-tac-toe rules no changes there.  
All you need is a flat surface and some holiday themed manipulatives for your 'x's and o's'.  

This year we made a board out of 1 piece of paper or a cardboard box.  In the past we have used ribbon or yarn. 

I cut out my own holiday shapes from some foam I already had in the house.  

The kids love playing this game with daddy! 

Our Elf on the Shelf also played this game with some stuffed friends :)


Merry Christmas! 

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