Just Keep Swimming: Mess Free Sensory Bin

Sensory comes in all shapes and sizes and as we get towards the end of a beautiful summer, I would like to introduce you to a fun in the sun, or in the living room, sensory bin that is sure to please. With no water needed your little one can go on an under sea adventure to find Nemo and Dory!

My daughter was obsessed with this activity and her friends enjoyed finding the multiple Dory and Nemo figures we placed in the bin.

To get started you will need a long and shallow bin. I love the ones that fit under the bed or crib because I can leave my sensory gear in there or put things like diapers and clothes in them later! Here is the one I like best, and use often.

You will also need a good amount of blue toys. I love the ball pit balls we have for my daughter because I can use them for multiple sensory bins and they are just fun to play with! They are also great for little hands! Think of all the cool stuff you can do with these! I also put all our soft blocks in this bin to give a few textures and they built blue “water” cities with them.

Finally, you will need at least one Nemo and Dory toy. If your child is as obsessed as mine this will be an easy find, which is why we had multiple Nemos and Dorys in our box. You can get a bath toy set (great for real water fun) or this figure set to find even more friends!

Now just have fun under the sea finding all your fishy friends! And don’t forget, “Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, What do we do we swim, swim.”

 

Show me some of your sensory bins and interesting things you put in them!

 

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Reminders of Victory-Joshua 3-GMG

Remember how when God goes before us good things happen? Well chapter 3 is a great illustration of that! The Ark of the Covenant (God) literally went before the people. Did you catch the part where God was going before them because they hadn’t been that way before? (verse 4)

He was paving the way for them to take the Promise Land and claim victory. They just had to show up and follow God!

God goes a step farther and parts the Jordan so they can walk across on dry land, not muddy ground—dry ground. Water moving and it being dry instantly if a big deal! I think this was really to remind Israel how and by whom they gained their freedom from Egypt, as well as foreshadow victory for the nation.

How are you reminded about God’s victory in your life? Is there something special that reminds you? Is there a moment you will never forget?

For our family it is moving into our house. My husband and I were not sure we would ever be able to own a home with me staying at home with the littles and him working his way up the ladder. It was stressful renting and moving and renting and moving again. We felt like we were stuck! But you know what, God came through in His timing. If it had been my timing of what I thought was right, we would not have found our perfect house, we may have had a roadside baby (crazy right?!), and it may have taken us a lot longer to move.

Thank God, God is God and I am not! I had nothing figured out the whole time, everything happened and there is no way we could say it wasn’t God. I still walk in the door and can’t believe that this place is ours!

But enough about me, I want to hear your story… Comment below and tell me what reminds you of the victories you’ve seen in your life.

Holy Ground Flashbacks-Joshua 5-GMG

Did anyone else do a double take at the end of this chapter!? When I read that Joshua was told to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground, I had a flashback to Moses with the burning bush. Isn’t it cool that God was making Himself so known to the people of Israel!

I find it interesting that He is also the Commander of God’s army (Jesus?). We know Joshua worshipped Him and (at least in my NKJV Bible) every term referring to this Commander is capitalized, which references God, so either God is the Commander of God’s army, OR Joshua is totally meeting Jesus face to face (which is more likely because 1. Joshua calls Him Lord, 2. Joshua worships Him, and 3. Joshua doesn’t die at the sight of His face{Exodus 33:20})

(Humming “I’m in the Lord’s Army)

But, back to the first part of the chapter… Joshua is commanded to circumcise all the men who were born in the wilderness because it had not been done yet. This is part of the new beginning we talked about before, and it was a reminder of the covenant God made with Abraham, which is where the circumcision started.

Another important quick detail is that the manna stopped coming. This was one of the first steps of taking in the land because they were able to eat of the land that whole year.

These last few chapter, in hindsight, are preparation for the people before they take over Jericho.

Music and Movement Sensory Play- 2 & 3 Year Olds

Music is a wonderful thing that can be soothing at any age. When it comes to sensory play, music can be used in a variety of ways to help your child further understand the world around them.

For example, singing to your baby and doing finger plays helps your child develop rhythm and vocabulary. Today we will focus on 2 and 3 year olds and their need for music and movement simultaneously.

This activity will use a variety of senses including touch, sound, speech, and sight, which will make the play fun as well as educational.

For this activity you will need:
~A device to play music on, such as a phone, CD player, etc.
~Children’s Music
I suggest Raffi, The Laurie Berkner Band, or if you are looking for more music video songs Praise Party by Yancy is fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Instruments-you can always use pots, pans, and spoons as well or here is a set I like from Melissa and Doug

 

~An open space

Directions:
You will want to have all your materials together before you tell your toddler what you are doing so they don’t get distracted. Have them stand in the middle of the room and turn on 2 or 3 of your/their favorite songs. (Or more if they like it!) Have the instruments out so they can play with them as you

Some of the ones I like to do:
We Are The Dinosaurs– The Laurie Berkner Band

For this one you can march around like dinosaurs and pretend to be a big dinosaur or a little dinosaur! Littles have a great time making big dinosaur roars as well!
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)– The Laurie Berkner Band

This song goes back and forth between fast and slow, which helps your toddler understand opposites. When you are talking about the turtle walk, dance, and skip very slow, and when you are talking about the rabbit run, dance, and skip really fast!

Junior Ragtime– Raffi

I love this as a way to introduce fun styles of music that kids do not usually hear and it is so fun to dance to! Maybe you can teach your little how to do the Charleston!

Shake My Sillies Out– Raffi

I use this in almost every class I teach to toddlers because it is a great way to get them moving and then settled down right before you start talking about something else.

This is a great activity to do to get your child moving, get that little extra energy out, or a fun thing to do inside on a rainy or snowy day!

What songs did you use? What part of this activity did your child like best?

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

Playing Together: The Importance of Sensory Play (Guest Post Featured on Rookie Parenting)

As a parent helping your child learn is one of the most important things to you, and sensory play is a fun and engaging way for your child to excel in many different areas. Sensory play encourages scientific processes because problems are solved using the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. By stimulating your child’s senses, you are helping them develop creatively, socially and emotionally, cognitively, linguistically and physically through simply playing with them.

You have probably seen your child play with the most inexpensive “toys” like a paper towel roll, a pot and a spoon, or straws. Your child is using anything and everything to explore the world around them and encouraging this behavior will benefit you and your child by letting your child explore and create and giving you the opportunity to discuss what is happening in any given project.

boy-958457_1280By stimulating your child’s senses you are helping their brain develop because when a sense is engaged neural pathways are being created to assist with further learning in later years.

Sensory play is not only important for babies and toddlers, who often have the time to play and explore at home, but also for preschoolers and elementary children. When your child is allowed to use multiple senses to accomplish a task, they will learn more from the experience and retain more information. This ideal does not change as you get older, even adults retain more information when multiple senses are engaged! Even you are creating new neural pathways in your brain when engaging in sensory play, which can help negate Alzheimer’s(1), assist in creative thinking, problem solving, and time needed to respond to a catastrophic situation (2). Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health.

Creating time for your child, of any age, to engage in sensory play is imperative for their long-time learning and health. Click To Tweet

IMG_20160826_064459

So how do you start integrating sensory play into your everyday life? The good news is it is simple! By taking objects that you already have in the house you can create many fun experiences for you and your child. For example, take a colander and spaghetti noodles (or pipe cleaner) and challenge your child to put the noodles in the holes. They will be drawn to this experience and will start to develop basic motor skills as well as problem solving skills when they break IMG_20160824_210528the spaghetti noodles.

 

For older children play-doh and fondant are great ways to teach sensory play, as well as skills that your child can

use in the future such as baking a cake. Fondant can be used to make beautiful designs, but it takes time and patience to get the results wanted, both are needed skills in everyday decision-making and life.

 

 

Don’t be afraid to try something new and make a mess! This is a great time to bond with your child and create fun memories that will last a lifetime!

For tips on handling the mess, more sensory ideas, and using American Sign Language with your child (also great for sensory play!) visit imaginationsigning.comis designReferences:

(1) How to Help the Ones We Love Symptoms and Strategies for:. (2016). Retrieved August 25,
2016, from http://www.alzheimershope.com/stop_delay.php

(2) Center for Brain Health. (2013, September 9). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from
http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-finds-brain-training-enhances-brain-health-of-adults-over-50

Other Resources:

Good Habits Make You Feel Like You’re Gonna Die. Published on May 31, 2012 by Loretta Graziano Breuning, Ph.D. in Your Neurochemical Self

Getting Messy: Childs Play, the Mess It Creates, and How to Handle It

What is Sensory Play?

0-3 Months Sensory Play: Lighting

Babies are really fun to play with, if you know what to do. One of these technics is using different variations of lighting to let your baby explore visually the world around them. This will also help your child start to develop the idea of night and day based on the lighting in the room and outside.

This sensory play topic is very easy because you only need what is in your house already!

Day Time:
Place your baby in a safe place, like in a bouncer, and turn off all the lights. Open the curtains at different lengths and let your baby look at thelight on the wall. It is great to talk to your baby about the light as well explaining

whether it is dim or bright. They are getting to the point where they will start to coo and have “conversation” with you so have a camera ready because it gets pretty cute!

Night Time:
This one is really fun in our house. If you have a bathroom attached to your bedroom, turn on the light in the bathroom and the light off in the bedroom. This will create a different atmosphere for baby to explore with the room half dark. The light will be making shadows on the wall that you can talk about with your baby. If you do not have a bathroom attached you can always turn on a light of an adjacent room as well.

When Enough is Not Enough: Fighting to be Mommy

 

At the request of my mother-in-law my husband, daughter and I tagged along to a party with some of her lifelong friends. The promise of good food, no dishes, and leaving early for bedtime sounded like a great idea to an almost seven month pregnant Mama and an overworked Daddy.
 

My mother-in-law had asked me to make some decorated sugar cookies for the party like I had the year before and, since there was free food and $150 involved, I agreed. Everyone loved the cookies and was very excited about the cute bunnies, lambs, and chicks that decorated the silver tray.
 

However, a complement soon turned into a Mommy bash when the hostess said, “Kabrina, you have to go to pastry school! We all love your cookies and they are so cute! You can’t be a stay-at-home mom forever! It’s a waste of your talent!” I tried really hard to let it run off my back like the baby oil I put on my daughter at night, but it stuck…
 
for days…
 

it stuck.
 
Her words and my mother-in-law reminding her that I finished my degree through a pregnancy and a half kept replaying in my head because I knew, many people thought I was wasting my time on my children and my start-up business.

I knew, many people thought I was wasting my time on my children and my start-up business. Click To Tweet

This wasn’t the first time I had heard something similar, but in the heat of being pregnant and my husband bringing up that he had wanted to retort back later that evening made it sting just a little more. It was as if our family planning, for me to stay home and raise however many children we decided to have, was a mistake and we had missed a valuable piece of information along our research path.

 

It was as if our family planning was a mistake and we had missed a valuable piece of information along our research path. Click To Tweet

Now don’t get me wrong being a stay-at-home mommy is wonderful, but is DEFINETLY not all I do. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time you can see that I started my entrepreneur lifestyle with a camera in hopes of becoming a full-time photographer, and then moved on to a more viable start-up teaching American Sign Language classes along with writing this blog that supports sensory and ASL. So as you can see I don’t get to just play and clean my house all day, which is what everyone who is not a stay-at-home mom imagines us doing. And whether you blog, work part-time, or just stay at home it is still not butterflies and roses to be a Mommy.

 

Whether you blog, work part-time, or just stay at home it is still not butterflies and roses to be a Mommy. Click To Tweet

I want to encourage you though! You are a wonderful, needed, exceptional part of this world! You are a mom! You are strong! And what other people think right now in the poopy diapers, long nights, missed romances, throw-up, and exhaustion time of being a mom doesn’t matter.

 

What other people think right now in the poopy diapers, long nights, missed romances, throw-up, and exhaustion time of being a mom doesn’t matter. Click To Tweet

You are doing something that only you can do, raising YOUR children. Yes, it can be thankless work, but there will be moments like your little one being attached to you at the hip and laying their sweet little head on your shoulder every time you hold them, that you can never replace with job success or more money. It may take longer to buy a house or get into a place that is your dream home, but those sweet pleases and thank yous that you have been teaching and showing everyday will pay off.

 

I’m not saying you have to be a stay-at-home mom forever, but don’t miss the sweet moments that drip like honey from time with your kids. Not everyone has the opportunity to do what you do, and not everyone is built for it. But even if you are an OCD overachiever, in need of fulfilling work like me, take a step back and watch you baby sleep, go to the park, take it all in as they asked to be ticked one more time because these are precious moments that they will outgrow and you will miss.

 

But also dream big! You have lots of potential and being a mommy is adding to what you can do. Think about it, if you were not good at conflict resolution, with siblings, you are now! You may have had no idea about empathy before you had kids, but now you can understand where people are coming from, from a whole new light. It’s like Atticus Finch said in To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” And don’t we do that everyday?

 

Finally, don’t compare yourself to other women; moms or not. When you look at someone’s life on social media or in a coffee shop conversation, you are getting the super, “How do I look to the world” edited version. You will never know how many nights she went to bed exhausted, only to get up an hour later for work or how her marriage is flimsy at best, although he brings home what they need and she sells her beautiful masterpieces on Etsy. Just like you may view your talents as something menial (Well I can do it so anybody can) they aren’t.
 
Think about it this way, there are more than one kind of company that sells smart phones. You may prefer Apple over Android, and others will prefer Android over Apple, but they make the same type of thing. Each business brings a certain value to their customer that only they can bring in their way. If you prefer one over the other you may disagree, but if another famous person would have only thought about all the rejection and hurtful things people said he would have never created the empire we know today as Disney.
 
Walt Disney was rejected for a business loan by 302 bankers before he finally got the money needed, and, when he was younger, was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor thought he lacked creativity.
 
In hindsight we all can see he knew what he was doing and followed his dreams, but he also made mistakes along the way.

Give yourself a break, you may be super mom, but you are still human.

Give yourself a break, you may be super mom, but you are still human. Click To Tweet

Enjoy everyday and comment with some of the comments you’ve heard and how you used them to drive you forward not drive you down.

 

 

happy mommying

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