Friday, January 23, 2015

Dano's new desk and rotating toy boxes

 Dano's Custom Art Desk
During our remodel we also started building a desk that was less bulking then any square one. I was inspired by this bright color scheme Ikea one.  I know ours is just 2 shelves but we LOVE it and it fits 4-5 kids!  Perfect for our small house and nannying small messy kids.  We bought all of our supplies at home depot.  Daniel did all the wood working for it and I sanded and painted it.  Here are the dimensions:

NO NAP=Deperate Organized Activities!

So, the sad realization of no more naps has hit me.   Danagan still takes naps but it is a screamfest on both of our parts and ends up feeling like this for both of us...

I have created over 8 themed boxes that we are going to rotate.  When the weather is too crummy (which seems to be a lot in Washington!)  we get one of these out.  I also intend to use these if we are skipping a nap but he needs to be quiet for the Piper.  Most of these items I created myself or found them at garage sales for pennies! A lot of the boxes I know are repetitive activities but some have variations.

The only problem with this system is space!  I have seen someone use hanger bags with activities stored in their closet also though.  For your sanity figure out a system that works for your home. We use big plastic totes with lids in our garage.

We have taken out 90% of the toys of our house by sorting and creating these themed boxes.  We have seen the following results:

-They don't get bored with the toys that are rotated
-Less broken toys
-More imaginative play
-Less mess or at least a mess small enough so the child doesn't get burnt out trying to clean up
-More laughter and less stress...I can't put my finger on it but our kids body language and attitude exhibits less stress
-Clean weekends! (theme totes go away before daddy gets home Friday night and return Monday morning which make literally no cleaning on the weekend!)
-They open books on their own more
-They are more courteous and thoughtful (They seem to be more aware of the people around them with out so much clutter)

With that being said we do have random toys we keep out at all times.  Some of these are:
A bin of dupolos
A bin of train tracks
A empty wooden kitchen (they have to ask for a picnic set to come down and then pick it up when its done but they usually create imaginative toys with legos or blocks)
Angry birds with wood blocks
2 Rody bouncy toys
1 bag of babydolls with clothes, crib and stroller

*Even these get turns in the garage at times though if they get out of hand.

Our homeschool daily goals for him this preschool year were the following:
Read a little bit of a chapter book and regular books everyday
Letter recognition activity which has quickly turned into sight word games and reading activities.
Practice writing letters, words  and name
Counting to 10 or counting to 20 activities (It has turned into counting to 100 and skip counting)
Establish a morning routine and ownership of how he is going to help our family through family chores.

Here are some of our themes from when Danagan was 3 years old:

We have moved on to creating continent themed shoe boxes for this year for him.  I will have to post that one later....

Theme  Solar System
5 educational space books which includes THIS pretty sweet pop up book
Rocket launchers
Fun Facts Poster, Large Planet cut outs w/ names found HERE
Glow in the dark stars to make constellations on the wall
Assortment of space figurines (toob kind)
Fold out space mat with moon rover See it HERE
Glow in the dark planets that can hang from his desk. Like the ones HERE (Don't have this yet...soon)
Electronic Educational planet  like HERE
Space Bingo by little Einsteins
Malissa and Doug over sized puzzle found HERE
Marks and Spencer puzzle HERE
Small Ravensburger solar system puzzle  HERE
Buzz light year suit  and NASA jumpsuit both fits ages 3-6
Ski helment (thought it actually looked more like a space helmet)
Little toys: Dollar store space kaleidoscopic, MOBIL rocket man (found HERE),

5 Laminated games: 1.  space flash cards, 2. space themed shadow match-up, 3. clothespin the beginning letter cards, 4. puff dot color matching sheets, 5. Blast off game; sort rocket sizes

assortment of stickers of rockets, planets and stars for a fast craft when needed to prevent melt down
Wood rocket to color and display (the ones you find at check out at JoAnns)
Shaving cream galaxy HERE- In order; put shaving cream (only white) on tag board, drop drops of food coloring, swirl with a toothpick and then scrap it off.  It leaves cool swirls like a space galaxy!
make a rocket out of your name like HERE
TP roll rocket(you know the type with tin foil and streamers!)

Theme 5 Ocean Life

Felt board ocean scene
Sea shell and sand shakers

Ocean hide and seek box: blue bubble wrap pieces, blue scarves, fish/ocean creatures, shells, sm beach balls,
fish game
BIG Ocean Puzzle
2 chunky ocean puzzles
Melissa and Doug 4 in 1 seal, walrus, whale and seahorse wood puzzle
beginner 4 pc ocean puzzles
ocean memory - peices taken out from a regular memory game OR
DIY Fish Feelings memory cards HERE
Quiet reuseable writing binder
j is for jelly fish HERE
j is for jelly fish (2) HERE

Felt fish in a bag (just like the pet store)  HERE 
Jelly fish in a bottle HERE
painted/colored octopus with crate paper
Crab craft - Body outline HERE...... extra legs HERE
Octopus tp roll HERE
octopus w/ paper plate and crate paper HERE
Sensory play with jell beads HERE

Ziplock sensory bag.  CHECK THIS OUT!
Octopus Hats
paper plate see through aquariums with cyran wrap
Play with frozen crabs in ice in the sink or bath tub with blue water
Make sea life mural by coloring and cutting out variety of coloring pages:
-1 Jelly fish HERE
-Sand Dollar HERE
-Crab worksheet HERE

Online games
Jelly fish jigsaw - HERE
Crab jigsaw HERE

Theme 1:  Dinosaurs
Dinosaur cracked hard boil eggs HERE
Dino foot print cookies HERE
Paper decoration dinosaurs to put on the wall of our bench desk and poster of the real sizes of dinosaur eggs 

10 books with dinosaur themes some include: pop up books, definition books, fun story books, dinosaur anatomy book and jigsaw books for older kids.

Homemade dinosaur memory game

Foam dinosaur stamps

1 big over sized jigsaw floor puzzle of dinosaurs

felt dinosaur book with felt pieces

4 chunky puzzles for ages 1-3

Coloring worksheets and a reusable binder of beginning handwriting worksheets.  By using plastic sleeves and a dry erase marker you can reuse work sheets and save on printing!  Here are some great free sites I used for my binders.

D is for dinosaur HERE
D is for dinosaur (2) HERE

Online Jig saw- HERE
Some art activities include:  freezing toy dinosaurs in a big block of ice or little ice cubes and having them chip them away, build a homemade volcano or use food colored vinegar in droplets over baking soda for the little ones.
Awesome colorful printable diorama HERE

Theme 4 Things that go!
DIY Denim quiet road  example HERE
DIY Tavel pack for hot wheels
Build able wooden train (This was driving me nuts with all the pieces so, its been great to have it as a once in a while toy) 

Little tykes train with fold able mat.  Even though he places with his train table non-stop this is a new toy for him so, its exciting.

10 books with various things that go.  Some examples are emergency cars, construction vehicles, airplanes, and trains. 

3 chunky puzzles with transportation themes

1 big over sized jigsaw floor puzzle of construction vehicles

Theme  Insects
Dragon fly, frog, lady bug puppets
Bug sensory bin with paper grass and plastic insects like HERE  You can also add a magnifying glass.
2 Insect puzzle with magnet net
10 bug themed books
2 bumble bee puppet
1 LARGE bubble bee stuffed insect

HERE is a great website for some AWESOME easy craft projects

Theme 3: Farm Animals

Old McDonald farm hand puppet
felt animals for board
animal magnets
Matching game of plastic animal and what kind of food it gives us such as:
-cow: milk bottle
-chicken: chicken thigh and egg
-sheep: mini barbie sweater
-pig- bacon and ham

Melissa and Doug oversized barn puzzle HERE


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