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My kids are incredibly irritable these days.  I'm sure the constant cold weather is partially to blame; they are so tired of being inside, but with the high hovering around -20C most days, we haven't ventured out much lately.  The usual activities are not capturing their interest (even dancing!), so I've been turning to the one thing that never ceases to engage my tactile kids: sensory play.


 
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Now that the days are shorter, my early-to-bed kids are able to see the night sky more often. The moon and the stars have always been a source of beauty and excitement for Yummy.  She never gets tired of racing to the window to wish on stars or to see the moon, whether it is night or day.  With this month's full moon happening this Sunday, I decided that now would be a great time to start a themed unit for the kids to explore the wonder of the night sky.  You can check out your local moon phases at almanac.com

This is the first post in my series of three: here are Part Two (Art Appreciation & Painting with Van Gogh) and Part Three (Full Moon Artwork, FREE Counting Stars printable, & Galaxy PlayDough)


 
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Poor Dooter has had croup the last few days, and unlike his sister, he is a cranky, non-sleeping kid when he is sick, so neither Mr. Man or I are getting much sleep either.  We are all a little exhausted!  My sensory bins have been such a help in distracting Dooter from his woes and also for keeping Yummy busy while I don't have the energy for entertainment.  

 
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What do you do with an inherited roasting pan?  Why, you make it into a sensory bin, of course!

Fill it full of balls and enjoy five minutes of hands-free time because your son is distracted and doesn't need to be held.  Dooter is especially tired lately and is sleeping more than usual; he must be growing or fighting something off.  Whatever the case, he is no treat while he's awake, crying and needing to be held more often than not.  I had this enormous roasting pan (passed down from my grandparents) in the kitchen for an art project with Yummy (coming soon!).  After I cleaned it out, I remembered how fond of lids Dooter is and how he might find 3 minutes of joy from playing with it.  I gathered all the balls I could find from the toy baskets, plopped them in and set Dooter in front of it.

 
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Every August, my cousin, sister-in-law and our kids all get together at our Grandma's place to pick crabapples from her trees and enjoy a potluck lunch all together.  I love this yearly rhythm that has developed and can imagine the warm memories that Yummy is building from this growing tradition.  It surprised me that she had visual memories of putting apples in baskets and following her cousins through the tree rows from last summer (a whole year seems very long for a four-year-old), but she mentioned these things before I did, after I told her we would soon be going to pick apples again.  

 
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Pretend cooking with real ingredients has been a popular and recurring acitivity in our household ever since I saw a post on PlayCreateExplore last year.  Yummy gets into a phase with it, asking to "do cooking" every day several times for about a week, then we both forget about it for a month or so until she remembers and gets back into again.  

 
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Happy Canada Day!  On this hot and sunny holiday Monday we are enjoying an icy AND edible red and white sensory bin.  Yummy helped me put this quick bin together: some fruit punch flavoured ice cubes in fun shapes, frozen raspberries and strawberries, and a bag of cubed ice.   

 
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I love the idea of having a Summer Bucket List -the season is so very short here and there are so many things I want to do with my kids.  Having those ideas posted on my fridge reminds me to find the time and just do them!  And it is a list, so of course I can't resist.  I created this template last summer, but prettied it up a bit this year for maximum list-making enjoyment.  

Click on the image below to print yourself a copy.     

 
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Today is Dooter's half-birthday!  A whole year and a half old!  My own birthday is the day after Christmas, so my mom invented Half Birthdays when I was young, allowing me to have a summer party with my friends and not have the event overshadowed by the winter holidays.  Dooter is a Christmas baby as well (December 21st)  so the tradition continues on.  It's a fun little celebration that makes for another special day in the year. 

 
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Yummy loves exploring the pasture, and so do I.  Whenever we go out, I am always amazed by the many wildflowers, grasses, sages, and lichens.  The other day we brought back these treasures: