Saturday, 22 December 2012

The antics of Mr. Jingle

 This is Mr. Jingle.  He has come to our house this year to make sure we are getting ready for Christmas and having a fun time doing it!  During the day he sits up on the mantle but at night he gets up to all kinds of mischief.....


This little guy has been a super fun addition to our Christmas preparation and excitement.  L has been searching for him first thing when she wakes up.  I think he will be making another visit next Christmas season!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Some of our Christmas/Advent crafts and activities

The last couple of years I documented every day of our advent activities but I've found this year I just simply don't have the time!  Instead I've decided to just record some of our favourite crafts and activities.
On the first day of December L started off her advent calendar with a bang.  I was super excited to finally be able to take her to the Nutcracker Ballet this year.  I've wanted to take her for ages but it was just way too expensive for us.  This year a local dance school put on the whole production with professional dancers in the lead rolls.  It was spectacular and also fit our budget.  L didn't move for the whole thing and her eyes were glued to the stage taking it all in!  A definite early highlight.
We've also been crafting up a storm.  I wanted to make special ornaments for L and Baby J this year and found this adorable one for Baby J on the website Atelier Pippilotta.  She makes the cutest things!  I just love how it turned out.  So soft and gentle yet still masculine.  Perfect for baby's first Christmas.
 We've also been making a ton of these cute felt Christmas trees.  I found the idea from on Julia Crossland Art.  She uses thick felt but we just used cheap felt from the Dollar store and double up each color.  Now that L has learnt to sew they make the perfect presents for teachers and family from her.  We have a little Christmas tree assembly line going!
 Our Christmas nature scene.  This year we decided to add some gnomes and some cute little wooden penguins that Santa brought me last year.  L's favourite part is skating the skater around the tin foil pond and making marks on the "ice".
 Another advent activity was to make some Christmas art for Baby J's room.  We recycled the black and white star canvases and painted them with red and green.  L did the red one and I did the green one.  We just glued colored strips of construction paper onto the canvass and then put some jewel sticker on for ornaments.  I love how simple yet effective they are.  I found the idea on Pintrest somewhere but I'm afraid the reference got lost in the Pintrest black hole!  If this was your original idea please let me know and I will credit you!!
L also received How The Grinch Stole Christmas one day for her advent calendar and she loves it.  She loves having different people read it to her and reading it herself!

Another advent activity was to decorate the gnome home for Christmas this year.  I will have pictures soon!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Treasure Baskets

When I first decided to do Montessori from the start with Baby J I was impressed but also a bit intimidated by the simplicity of it all and also the lack of stuff!  When I was pregnant and explaining to my friends that the only thing the baby would have to entertain himself was a series of mobiles and a string with a ring or bell on it they raised an eyebrow or two and even I was slightly concerned.  Would this be enough for the baby?  I decided to trust the Montessori method since it hasn't failed us yet and really it's just based on common sense. I also thought if it didn't work we could always make a trip to BabysRUs! 
I needn't have worried.  As I have documented in previous posts Baby J couldn't have been happier and more perfectly stimulated.  He LOVED his mobiles and also the ring and Takame ball for kicking.  These things were perfect for each stage of his early development.  He didn't need anything else!  No bouncy chair, no swing, no entertainment saucer, no jolly jumper or flashing buzzing get my point.
Now as Baby J has moved onto another stage of development and has been sitting up on his own I have enjoyed introducing Treasure Baskets or Baskets of Known Objects to him.  Once again soooo simple and inexpensive.  They are just made up of objects that you already have around your house.  This enables the infant from the very earliest stage to become familiar with his real environment.
Our first basket contained an egg timer, metal braclet, wooden spoon(the ultimate favourite and now has to be included in all baskets!) and a toy elephant which L wanted to contribute from her collection.  Baby J explored this basket for about two weeks and then I made him another one with a small shampoo bottle, loufa sponge, teething beads and something else I can't remember at the moment .  At first he was not impressed at all!  He emptied the basket and then started crying.  I quickly brought him the wooden spoon and he was happy once again.  He then explored the rest of the basket.

This is our latest basket with a kind of Christmasy theme.  It contains a Christmas hand towel, wooden nail scrub brush, a red wooden piece from a stacker and a bean bag.  Of course he also has the spoon which isn't shown here.  When I am considering items to add to a basket I really have to think if there is anything that may be dangerous for Baby J as of course he instantly puts everything in his mouth.  
These baskets are awesome.  He doesn't need toys and can entertain himself for sometimes half an hour exploring all of the items.
Since he has such a love affair with the wooden spoon, I brought out one of our large pots for him.  I demonstrated how to hit the pot with the spoon to make a noise and then gave him the spoon.  He caught on right away and now this is his all time favourite activity.  He can also turn the pot over and we will put some of his objects inside it for him to take out.  With the new basket L also loves to show Baby J how to scrub the bottom of the pot with the brush and then wipe it with the towel.  Baby J follows suit!  Too funny!

Ahh the beauty and simplicity of Montessori!

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