Category: Blog

Building Block Activities

Building blocks, also referred to as “blocks” or “toy blocks”, have been around for decades and for all good reason. Their simple design and construction encourage a host of developmental skills, which make them the ultimate educational toy. In order to maximize the educational benefits of building blocks, try these 10 building block activities to aid in building your child’s development:

Building Blocks

  1. Stack em’–The most obvious way to use building blocks is to allow your child to simply stack them or build with them (it doesn’t matter if it is in an ordinary or extraordinary way)
  2. Knock em’ down–Small children, in particular, are known for their enjoyment of knocking things down. Building blocks are no exception.
  3. Sorting–Learning how to sort objects, or categorize objects, is a fundamental skill critical for understanding the world. Sorting with building blocks can be done by color, shape, or size. Building Block Activities
  4. Experiment–A great way for small children to learn the laws of physics is to experiment with objects. Building blocks are great for this purpose because they are shaped like many of the objects found in our daily lives (sippy cup=cylinder, toy box=cube, etc.). Experiment by testing each block to find out if it: slides, rolls, can be stacked, teeter totters, etc.
  5. How do they fit?–Not all blocks are treated the same. Using an empty, clean and dry juice container, have the child test each block to see if it fits through the mouth of the bottle. This activity not only teaches patience and perseverance, but the child will learn that some blocks have to be rotated for passage through.
  6. Make faces–This is my favorite activity using building blocks. I love that it allows for creativity, but it also teaches the parts that make up a face and the spatial sense involved in where those parts are in relation to one another. Building Block Activities
  7. Mathematical operations–Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. All can be taught with a simple set of multi-colored building blocks.
  8. Counting–What a simple, versatile, yet completely appropriate activity that couldn’t be more crucial to a child’s development. With a set of multi-colored building blocks in hand, the counting opportunities are virtually endless–count how many blocks in all, count how many by shape, color or size, count according to how it moves or doesn’t move…should I go on? Count backwards, skip count by 2’s, by 3’s, or by 4’s, play a game where some are taken away and then count to see how many were taken. I think that’s enough for now…
  9. Form letters–Create individual letters or create simple words. This is a great phonics activity for young ones. When teaching letters, it is always best to begin with the capital letters. Although you may find it difficult to create some of the letters using building blocks (I was not able to create the curved ones–“S”, “G”, “C”, etc.), the majority of them can be made.Building Block Activities
  10. Pretend Play–By far, the best way to use building blocks is to engage your child in pretend play. Boys and girls alike enjoy pretending and it is through this symbolic play that they learn about the world around them and develop their language.

Building Block Activities

 

 

Sensory Play With Watermelon

Since this week is going to be all about watermelons, I thought it was appropriate to begin our fun with some sensory play. This took place by simply cutting a watermelon into slices and then watching my toddler explore. It turns out that watermelon is a great “material” to use for sensory play. Not only does it have texture and is edible (a must for my toddler), but it is colorful and has many dimensions–the rind (which is hard), the “flesh” (which is squishy) and the seeds (which are slimy). Although I did let my toddler explore the seeds, I had to be on guard so that he wouldn’t eat them (because like everything else, he wanted to). Sure, the seeds wouldn’t harm him if eaten, but why would I let him eat the seeds when I don’t? The caution about this sensory play is that it is super messy and the “water” is actually sugar water so it is super sticky. Try to aim for a warm day when you can head outdoors : )

Nathan's First Taste of Watermelon
Nathan’s First Taste of Watermelon

Monthly Meal Plan

Now that I am pregnant, I am trying to think of ways to make my life even more organized. By establishing efficient habits now, I am hoping to ease some of the stress I may feel as a first-time mommy. One thing that I have started implementing is the use of a monthly meal planner. (more…)

Knitted Flowers

Knitted Flower

Back in the fall, I found a neat little book at my local library in N.H. on how to knit flowers. With all of the life changes we have endured since then (we now live in another country), it has taken me a while to complete the few projects I chose from the book. I still have a couple more I am working on-a knitted daisy, a knitted cactus plant, and several small knitted cherry blossoms. Here are some pics of my completed projects. I think they turned out to be pretty cute. Each one was knitted in pieces and then hand sewn to form a specific flower.

 

Knitted FlowerKnitted FlowerKnitted Flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first project is a knitted tulip. I knitted the stem and three petals. I then used black pipe cleaners for the stamens.

The last two projects are knitted roses. I made the pink one for a niece of mine and the red one for a friend. I personally like the red one better. I think the yarn was more pliable so the rose turned out to be not as stiff. The goal for the red one is to embellish it with some small translucent sequins to give it a little sparkle. I left two tails on the rose so that it can be added to a lovely black scarf I made my friend for Christmas.

 

[amtap amazon:asin=1844484939]Here is the book I used for my knitted projects. It offers twenty different knitted flower patterns with colorful illustrations of each. I would recommend this book for an advanced beginner. The book does not offer any insight into the terminology used, so you will not find descriptions on how to complete various stitches or techniques. If you love to knit and are searching for some fun projects that are not time-consuming, get this book!

Sewing Books

Here is a list of some of my favorite sewing books for beginners. All of these offer some really cute projects for those learning how to sew. You will find that each one presents the directions for making each project in simple, user-friendly language to meet the needs of the beginner sewer to even the highly advanced. Some of these books also provide sewing patterns for each project directly in the back of the book! Happy sewing…

[amtap amazon:asin=1580176259]

My sister-in-law gave me this book (thanks Sara!) that offers 16 different styles of skirts to sew. Cute, creative designs offered in a user-friendly language. Love it!

[amtap amazon:asin=1603420924]

Of course I would include a book devoted to bags! I just love making them and you will to with this helpful book!

[amtap amazon:asin=0761139737]

This is by far the BEST sewing book I have ever come across! It is in essence a “sewing for dummies” book. It explains all of the sewing lingo, offers trendy and cute sewing projects, and it provides free sewing patterns! This is a must have for any sewer!

[amtap amazon:asin=1603424490]

This book has the cutest projects to make for kids. Who knew one could make so much with a yard of fabric?

[amtap amazon:asin=1589234340]

This book has everything you need to know about sewing and the pictures are great for us visual learners!

[amtap amazon:asin=0307347214]

Another great book for beginners. I love that this book teaches “the basics” in a basic way : )

[amtap amazon:asin=1564778770]

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the projects in this book! (Of course, many of them are bags.) I also love the choice of fabrics the author uses.

[amtap amazon:asin=1584796758]

Cute projects using creative fabrics-that’s Anna Maria Horner.

[amtap amazon:asin=0811851591]

Love her projects and fabrics. This book is crisp, clean and thorough. I like that it offers actual concepts about design.