One gorgeous day we went for a walk in the park down the street. I've learned that talking a small bag with us is important, otherwise my pockets will quickly fill up with goodies we find along the way. This walk, however, I encouraged Ladybug to collect lots of different things, which we then brought home and glued onto a piece of cardboard. She loves looking at it (yes, it is displayed in our living room!) and we often talk about the different things she glued on there - their names, colors, textures, etc. And yes, Peanut does have to help, with everything we do. He's not a dog you know, he's another kid.
I already shared with you that we made a fun fall playdough (with glitter!), and we have played with it a LOT. We used lots of fun cookie cutters in the shapes of leaves, pumpkin, apple, a squirrel and an acorn. Its still got lots of play in it, and we've managed to keep it mostly dog-hair free (hey, at least I'm honest) so I think I'll keep it into November, too.
Sensory bins are a BIG hit with Ladybug. If you are unfamiliar with what a sensory bin is, I suggest you check out Counting Coconuts, do a google search, or Pinterest has tons of ideas, too. But basically, they are bins filled with lots of different sensory items - different colors, materials, textures, smells, etc. You can make them for all age ranges, and for different themes or seasons.The little ones can then scoop and play to their heart's content. I usually ask questions like "Can you find something rough (or smooth, red, shiny, etc)". Our fall bin was filled with birdseed as a base, and then we added in sticks, rocks, acorns, buckeyes, some dried flowers (black eyed susans and purple coneflowers, the kind with seeds), some silk leaves, silk flowers, plastic gourds, plastic jack-o-lanterns that opened up (perfect for scooping into!), a few cookie cutters, and a plastic horse (that was Ladybug's addition, haha). I also always include something to scoop and stir with (a spoon and a wooden tongue depressor this time), and something to scoop into. I love watching Ladybug play with her sensory bins, and how she decides to incorporate other toys or bits of nature into them.
We normally play with the sensory bin outside, but when weather keeps us indoors we play in the kitchen. Which eventually leads to an exercise in learning to sweep!
In preparation for Halloween, I cut out a simple pumpkin out of felt, as well as different mouth, nose, and eye pieces so Ladybug could make her own Jack-o-Lantern. She loves playing with this, constantly changing out the different pieces to make new faces. I love how the simplest (and cheapest!) of toys can bring about the most fun.
We also did some stamp-painting. Painting is a BIG thing at our house, so I'm always trying to figure out new ways for us to explore painting. During nap-time one day I cut a potato in half and carved a pumpkin on one half and an apple on the other half. Armed with a plate of red, yellow and orange paint, Ladybug went to painting heaven! She had a lot of fun stamping, smearing, and mixing paint. And we got some awesome new art work! (Yes, we hang up every. single. piece. of art.)
We also did a fun leave painting one day. I drew a tree on a big piece of paper (go to your local newspaper and ask if they have any "end-roll" you can buy. You can get a huge roll of paper perfect for drawing and painting for just a few dollars!) I gave Ladybug some cotton balls with red, green, yellow, orange and brown paint and we spent quite a while painting leaves on the tree!
I got ideas for these activities through pinterest and other blogs - The Imagination Tree, The Artful Parent, Living Montessori Now, and the Nurture Store are some of my favorites, but there are literally thousands of blogs (probably more than there are cooking blogs!) about raising kids and homeschooling out there, and they are all full of wonderful ideas to do with your kids! Whats more, it doesn't take a lot of time or money to set up activities like these for your kiddos to do. Let's face it, we're not made of money. Pretty much everything we do comes from either what we already have at home, the dollar store, or the craft store (with coupons!), or...my mom! She is a Montessori teacher and awesome at finding the perfect addition to and inspiration for our activities.
So, that's what we have been doing - what have you been up to?