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Friday, March 27, 2015

Easter Photo Postcards

Great jellybeans!

Easter is almost here and I haven't gotten my Easter photo postcards out for my nieces, nephews, friends, and family.

I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland...I'm late! I'm late! Hee hee I photographed Safari Ltd. Hedgehog, Rabbit, and Piglet yesterday with colorful jellybeans.

They will go out in the mail today (hopefully!)

Have a fun and playful day.
Mel

Dreamworks Home movie

We cannot wait to see Dreamworks new movie Home.  We are seeing it today.  I picked up a few of these adorable toys from Target.  Cute, right?

Based on a children's book by Adam Rex, Home is about an alien race called the Boov invade the Earth to hide from their mortal enemy and make it their new home. Convinced that they are doing humans a favor, they begin to relocate them to australia. A teenage girl named Tip  manages to avoid capture. When on the run and looking for the location of her mother, she is accompanied by a banished Boov named Oh who has accidentally notified his people's enemies of their whereabouts. (per wikipedia.com)

So excited!

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Pigeon's Pretend Pet Shop

 The Grand Opening was a success. Lots of pets found good homes.  G asked very good questions of the customers like "What size pet do you want?" or ""Are you a person who likes snakes?" or "This hedgehog needs a lot of care.  Can you do that?"
 "Would you like to hold these baby hamsters? They are sooo cute and were just born." Read this in your head with a tiny, squeaky voice.
 "Hedgehogs need a lot of care.  And lettuce.  They looove lettuce.  I think they might even like asparagus, too, but I am not sure.  I saw in a book once that they like apples and strawberries. Where is that book?"
Baby Chameleon joined up this morning.  He was hiding somewhere.  "Probably using his camouflage, so you couldn't see him."  :)  That makes my heart happy that she knows about animal camouflage and uses it properly in a sentence.  We have been talking about chameleons changing colors - she was listening.

Well, the pet shop is about to open for the morning, so I have to go.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pigeon's Pet Shop Grand Opening

So Pigeon's Pet Shop has been in the planning stages for several weeks now.  But today is the Grand Opening.  Why Pigeon?  Well, because one of our favorite books is Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  G said, "Oh my goodness, can you imagine if Pigeon ran a pet store? It would be chaos."
So we cleared off the bookshelves.
We organized.
We wrote out the prices. (Good writing skills there!)
We placed all the animals in their "cages".
I love the price amounts that SHE came up with.  Huge price difference but oh well.
All (or most) of the animals are from Safari Ltd. Incredible Creatures line.  We love them.  They are bigger than most of the animals out there, so they are the perfect size fora  pretend pet shop.
We do carry exotic and unusual pets as well - a variety of birds, some snails, pet ladybugs, pigs, frogs, eels, and more!
G took hours deciding the placement of each animal.  too funny.
Once all the animals were in place, she added to our inventory (more birds and lizards and Nemos and Squirts the turtle!)
We worked really hard at creating a perfect pet shop after visiting our local pet store. "We need bedding and toys for the animals and food and money."  I think she will be a great store owner:)
We are ready for the ribbon cutting ceremony with goldfish crackers for snack!

Will you be inspired to create a pet shop in your home or classroom's dramatic play area?

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Pet Shop Opening soon

So I follow livesweetphotography.com - her blog is just beautiful, her photography is amazing, her kids are thee cutest, and her pig is adorable.  Yes, I said pig.  Pearl the pet pig.  I always show G the photos on her blog.  So, naturally, when we decided to open the pretend pet shop, G said, "Of course, we have to have a pig."


 Well, course!  Then, I panicked.  A pig??? But then, I remembered about the Incredible Creatures line at Safari Ltd.  I was needing an excuse to buy the piglet and guess what!  I did.
He arrived via mail this week and he is so cute!  G is in love with this little guy and I think Roo is too.  Oops!  Should have bought two!

I will be posting photos from our pet shop soon.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Playscape Play Mats - How Do You Play?

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning.  Play is really the work of childhood." Mr. Rogers
How often had you said to your children or had it said to you when you were a child, "I am busy. Just go play."?  As a preschool teacher, I am trained to know that play is learning.
For example, in the block area, when a child is building with blocks, he or she is learning shapes and balance and scale and spatial thinking and cause & effect and symmetry.  Or if a child is creating with playdough, they are working those small finger muscles that will one day hold a pencil.  Those little muscle need to be strong enough to hold up and control a pencil when writing.  So play is much more than meets the eye.
When I created my playscapes or play mats on etsy, I had all that knowledge of 20+ years in the early childhood field swirling round in my brain.  I needed a project, but I wanted it to have a purpose.  We often in the early childhood field about play with a purpose.
It's easy (trust me, I know!) to put a child in front of a screen to watch that favorite show, but where's the imagination?  Where's the creativity?  I remember playing with my little toys for hours, making up stories, going on imaginary adventures, getting lost in play.
I am glad that I grew up in a time before internet and video games and ipads.  We were allowed to watch very little tv, so we were on our own to entertain ourselves.  I set up entire scenes for the characters in my imaginary adventure to explore, sometimes get stuck in quicksand, and find treasure.
So how do you play with playscapes?  Trust me, if you put one out with a couple toy animals, the kids would know what to do.  They could work in the garden.  They could find bugs.  They could go for a swim in the lake or stream.  They could hide in the hollow log or find treasure in the cave.
Their little imaginations will take over.  A Playscape is a landscape for the imaginations.  "Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein
I think that we need to have less screen time and more imagination time.  Some children will immediately start playing.  Some children may need to have play modeled for them.  Don't worry about looking silly with kids - they love silly.
When I post photos to Etsy of my work, I am limited to 5 pictures.  I try to take 2 pictures of just the playscape then 3 staged for play.
Easter is coming, so I staged a Easter scene with flowers and chicks and eggs.  That's another thing I love to do. I like to secretly stage scenes for play scenes. So when that child wakes up from nap for example, they walk right into a scene that just beckons them to come play.
Or I rearrange their toys when they are napping or doing something else.  They see it, a lightbulb goes off, and their brain thinks, "something is different. let's find out what it is."
So how do you play?  What do you do to engage your children in play?  Play has a purpose.  Play is learning.  Play is important.

Have a fun and playful day!
Mel

Planting a Toddler Garden 2

A couple weeks ago, I did a different version of this toddler garden but with fake flowers (and broccoli, too!).  Roo,age 20 months, LOVED it.  It's a great activity to strengthen those little finger muscles.  (You want strong finger muscles, so you can hold a pencil and control it when writing.)  I decided to do this activity again for a few reasons:
1. She loved making the garden
2. It's Spring
3. I found a Flowers Toob at Joann

This fun, colorful Toob from Safari Ltd has 8 flowers (2 Toobs are shown here).  Their stems easily pushed into the Model Magic dough from Crayola.  Doesn't it loo like a garden in full bloom?

Roo was busy "planting" her garden then "unplanting" over and over.  I think her Babyzilla side took over and she enjoyed destroying the garden as much as planting it!:)  Such a toddler.  Then, Big Sister walked into the room.

"I want to plant a garden, too.  I love working in the garden with Daddy." G, age 4.  So G planted the garden and Roo picked all the flowers.  Then, G had to replant.  It was a cycle - again and again with lots of giggles in between.

Have a fun and playful day
Mel