Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dollar Store Fun: Sponge Ball

Ever since I first entered the world of Pinterest -- you know, back when you had to be "invited" to join because it was some crazy elitist internet sensation -- I have been seeing this on my feed:
Sponge balls.
They looked way too good to be true. It really can't be that easy to create something so cute and fun. And for only one dollar? No way!
I pushed it off, and pushed it off.
Finally, at my most recent dollar store trip, I bought a few sponges. They came in packs of two brightly colored sponges for -- you guessed it -- one dollar.
I picked up three packs, each with one green and one orange sponge. Not everything has to be pink, okay?
I cut each sponge into 4 long strips, trying to make them uniform in size. Then, I stacked them together to create a checkerboard pattern: 4 across, and 2 high.
I secured each stack in the middle with a hair tie, and voila! I was done.
Annabelle headed out to her water table, ready to play with her new toys.
She had a blast.
She loved squeezing the water onto the sidewalk.
And just throwing the sponges into the water.
After about an hour of play, one of the sponges tore. It was only $1, so no big loss there.
I'm sure more expensive, sturdier sponges would hold up to more abuse, and would be more appropriate in a larger group setting.
But it served its purpose for us.

If (when) I do this again, I may do a few things differently:
1. Involve Annabelle in the stacking and patterning of the sponge strips. Allow her to build sponge structures, and learn about patterns in math.
2. Use an actual rubber band, rather than hair tie for better elasticity and tighter hold around the sponges.
3. Stack together 3 sponges for a fuller look.
4. Maybe add scraps of pretty ribbon or fabric for additional flair.

Hazel also enjoyed the activity, since I let her ride in the Moby wrap while we played.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On The Move

I haven't made time for writing these past few weeks, so I thought I would give a little Hazel update.
She's crawling!

Sort of. It's more like an Army crawl, bear crawl combo. I honestly didn't believe it when I first saw it. I thought it was a fluke. There's no way my baby is crawling already at 8 months!
Sure enough, as the days passed, it became more evident that my little Hazelnut is indeed mobile. I love watching her get up on hands and feet, rocking herself back and forth, finally pushing her little body forward for the toy that is just out of reach. She squirms the right side of her body forward, the the left, and right again. Nothing is safe anymore. Once she reaches her desired toy, she grabs hold of it, and effortlessly flips to her back, bringing the treasure in for a taste.

Just three months ago, she was barely holding her head up. She would only roll over when her neck became wearie, and her head flopped over to one side.
Just one month ago, she was laying on her tummy, bringing one arm out from under her (being supported only by her other arm) to reach for toys.
And now this.
Hazel is a very determined little girl, and I am so proud of her hard work.
Sunday night, she spied a standing toy that she wanted to play with at church. My heart broke a little as I thought she wouldn't be able to play with it.
But she didn't know that.
She wriggled her little self across the room to the toy. There was a spinning rattle piece with colorful beads that was so inviting to her.
She moved closer and closer, until she was almost under the toy.
She reached one arm up, then the switched to the other.
Stretching as much as her elbows would allow, she finally got it!
She laid there, spinning the rattle, watching the colorful beads dance around.
Never underestimate your children.
Never doubt what they are able to do.
Sometimes, it's best to sit back and watch. Let them figure it out.
Hazel is very determined to do whatever she wants.
And Hazel is little and loving it!
P.S. Be sure to check out the Facebook Page for more photos and videos!