SPRINKLER


Silas loves to play in water - it's one of his favorite things to do.  If we go outside and aren't immediately going on a walk or leaving in the car, then I usually make sure that Silas has his swim trunks on, because otherwise he has no problem getting soaked in his regular clothes.

 

With this in mind, I thought a sprinkler would be the ideal summer toy/activity for him!  Much to my surprise, sprinklers are not that expensive.  I found one at Home Depot for less than $7.00.  


Unfortunately, Silas wasn't that big of a fan of the sprinkler.  What I'm learning is that while he enjoys being wet, he does not like being splashed or sprayed in the face.  He can be ferociously splashing the water around and as soon as a a drop touches his face, everything stops so he can wipe the water away.


We resorted to connecting the hose to our garden sprayer for him to hold and control.  So, our grass still got watered. :)




5 MINUTE TOY: BUTTER CONTAINER


I decided to take advantage of our empty butter container and transform it into something fun for Silas.  A shape sorter!


With the exception of buying the random trinkets to put in the sorter (all of which I found at our local Dollar Tree store), this project took me less than 5 minutes to make.


After cleaning out the container, I took a kitchen knife and carved out different shapes that the trinkets could fit through.  Silas' favorite thing to put in the container is the checker pieces.


He sat in our entry way and played with this by himself for a good 20 minutes.  It's still a favorite toy of his to play with - he especially likes to try to take the top off himself.


Our first week of (Pre) Preschool


A couple of weeks ago I decided to start a loose PRE preschool curriculum with Silas.  Before this decision, I'd been trying to stay creative in the ways Silas finds entertainment.  I started researching Montessori themed activities and while a lot of them were great and I used several of the ideas, it felt like we were just aimlessly staying busy, with no real goal or lesson in mind.  One evening I was perusing Instagram and looking up activity ideas through different hashtags.  Instagram and Pinterest are my go-to channels for when I'm dry on new ideas for things to do.  It was through Instagram that I was introduced to the world of "tot school".  Apparently many young moms create a loosely structured curriculum for their preschool aged children and follow it on their own timeline.  That's exactly the type of thing I wanted to do with Silas.


Unfortunately many of the curricula that these moms are making and sharing are geared towards age 3.  Tracing, coloring in the lines, etc.  Things that Silas can work on, but would find frustrating if the entire activity centered on a certain skill that he is no-where near mastering right now.  So I made it up in my mind to create my own curriculum for Silas with a theme based on one of his favorite books right now: Roadwork by Sally Sutton.


On average we did two 10-15 minute activities per day with a construction theme.  We did all sorts of things: reading, painting, water play, scooping and transferring, sensory, play dough, hammering, stickers, field trips.  Many of the activities focused on fine motor skills.


By the end of our week of learning about Construction, Silas was catching on and would go grab his construction book and bring it over to where our activity would take place.




 

I'm getting most of my supplies at the Dollar store and they're slowly taking over our kitchen cabinet.  I'm thanking my past self for getting a library card when I first moved to Pittsburgh and never throwing it out any time I cleaned out my wallet.  This is the first time I've used it in two years, but I foresee using it more because I plan on making our curriculum literary based.

I've been posting updates on Instagram and unexpectedly my local friends have made random comments on what I'm doing and several have asked what the next theme will be.  Although I knew I was sharing my experience, for some reason I thought it would go unnoticed.


How long will I do this?  I'm not sure.  My initial commitment was for the remainder of Summer.  However, my mind is constantly thinking of new themes and lessons that I want to teach Silas.  Everything is new for him right now and for as long as I can think of activities, I'm not sure why I would stop doing (PRE) preschool.

JULY IN REVIEW

This was a busy and fun month.  

Summer came raging in with the hot weather and humidity.   
Did I mention that our house doesn't have central air



The highlights include 

finding new books for Silas

going shopping Silas-sized sleeveless tanks because he starts sweating as soon as it's 72 degrees

eating fresh blueberries right off the bush

long walks in the morning

rolling out the fun summer designs for my shop

catching up on my scrapbook and reminiscing years past

staying in touch by writing letters

netflix with the hubs after the baby goes to bed

starting a fun summer curriculum for Silas


KEEPING THE END-GOAL IN MIND


Being a small business owner, goals and to-do lists are my life.  In other words, it would be hard for me to have accomplished the things I have without making specific achievable goals.   Sometimes though, I'm so short sighted that goals suck the energy and motivation out of me.   I want to taste and reap the benefits tomorrow.

I can't tell you how many ideas and projects have come up in my mind but never make it to paper because I know that the project doesn't bring enough passion.

These are three things that I remind myself of when considering a new venture or product.

1.)   Will I still be just as excited and obsessed with this idea 6 months from now?

It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement of making a new product that you forget the nitty gritty details of the research required, the investment of time needed to produce something completely new, the learning curve, the period of waiting for success to happen.  Soon enough, you realize that maybe you were just caught up in the idea of being successful and you didn't actually have a passion for what you started.

2.) Making mini-goals within the BIG goal is smart

There's nothing more boring than spending months working towards the ultimate goal, only to look up and see how far away that end goal is and wonder WHEN you will EVER reach that point.  That's why it's so important for you to make milestone markers along the way.  It's a reminder that you are making progress.  The goal will be achieved.

3.) The project and goal can evolve into something slightly different from the original idea

Flexibility makes things so much easier in every single realm of life.  It removes the pressure of the expectations you may have put on yourself when you originally started on your venture.  Without flexibility, you force yourself to spend time on something that you may feel isn't worth it anymore.  Before you know it, you'll be months into your venture wondering why you didn't tweak things when the thought to do some originally popped into your mind.  (and who cares if you already told people what your original plan was - this is your goal - you get to make the rules)



5 MINUTE TOY: PIPE CLEANERS


I made a trip to our local Dollar Tree a couple of weeks ago and purchased several random things that I thought Silas would enjoy playing with in various ways.  One of the things I purchased was a set of pipe cleaners.

I read somewhere that pipe cleaners and a kitchen strainer equal a lot of fun for a toddler, so I decided to try that out on Silas.


Sure enough - it kept him occupied for at least 30 minutes.  The trick was to hand him the strainer with the pipe cleaners already in it - some of which I twisted together.  The goal for him was to remove the pipe cleaners.


It was a great lesson in concentration, fine motor skills and patience.


All-in-all, this "toy" cost me $.99 and 2 minutes of assembly time.


The Working Farm



Despite the threat of rain, we visited a nearby working farm this past weekend.  Did it rain?  Yes.  Was it still worth it?  Yes.  

Silas loved seeing the animals in person and up close.  (But not too close)  We learned the names of the horses and donkeys.  We're pretty sure Silas was trying to say the horse's name "Dollar".

Another favorite moment was when we were getting ready to leave and the cows slowly walked their way in front of us from the barn to the pasture.  Lots of shock and awe from Silas in that moment.

Farm animals.  Pretty basic.  But in the eyes of a toddler - amazing.

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