Another week at home has come and gone and I’m completely shocked that we’ve been in this routine for four weeks. I know that the days are long and exhausting; but does anyone else feel like the past four weeks have just flown by? I’m back with another look at our highlights from the week as we geared up for Easter tomorrow. Hopefully, this week’s post brings a smile to your face and provides a few simple ideas to try if you have a tot at home too.
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It seems as though this was the week of the art project in the Gavin household. I plan very few activities for Dessa. I’ve learned from experience that Dessa has a mind of her own and it doesn’t matter how fun my plans are – if it’s not her idea or she’s not in the mood, it’s a waste of my time and energy. But day after day this week, Dessa requested art. She always told me exactly which art tools she wanted to use and then I quickly threw something together to keep her entertained. I happen to love crafts and art projects, so I wasn’t complaining! Especially since doing art with her brings me back to teaching kindergarten and sharing my experiences on my teaching blog, Kinder Craze.
Our first project of the week was a simple watercolor Easter egg painting. I saw the idea online a week or so ago and made a mental note to try the activity with Dessa. I cut out an egg shape, used washi tape to create individual spaces and handed Dessa her box of watercolor paints. The spaces were big, so I traded the little junky brush that came in her paint set with a larger brush (it’s a great way to help little ones fill a really big space – I love this set of Crayola brushes from Amazon). I gave Dessa the freedom to choose her own colors, but I really didn’t want to end up with a black or brown Easter egg, so I placed a little washi tape over those two colors and let her paint a masterpiece.
Another super simple project that we worked on was using Do-a-Dot markers to work on Dessa’s name. There were so many great skills built into this simple activity, including fine motor development, letter recognition, and color matching. I got Dessa started by writing her name in various colors across a sheet of paper with markers. Then I handed Dessa the dot markers, guided her in dotting the D with blue ink and let her take over from there. She loved the activity and was completely engaged.
Later that day we did a rainbow painting with Kwik Stix.
This project was also incredibly easy. I simply used a black Kwik Stix to draw the outline of a rainbow and she “painted” all the spaces to fill in the rainbow. I didn’t want to overwhelm Dessa with all the lines of the rainbow, so I drew one space at a time and we gradually completed the rainbow.
And, PS, if you have never heard of Kwik Stix, you are absolutely missing out. They are mess-free tempera paint that has the texture and feel of a glue stick. Except that you’re not applying glue, your spreading paint that dries in 90 seconds. I fell in love with Kwik Stix paint while I was teaching kindergarten and appreciate them so much more now that I have a toddler.
I also finally got around to gluing the paper plate flower Dessa painted last week and completing that project. Don’t let her appearance in the photo fool you – Dessa was actually very excited to see her flower after it was complete.
Another morning, Dessa walked into the closet we use to store her craft supplies, pointed to her foam shapes and told me she wanted to do shape stickers. I grabbed the box of foam shapes and Dessa pulled out the black shapes that I had cut from cardstock months ago. It was an easy way to work on shapes and practice sorting. All that Dessa had to do was peel the stickers and place them on the matching black shape. The first time we did the activity, Dessa put a few foam stickers on each shape and quickly lost interest. I saved the shapes and placed them in the box with the foam stickers so we could complete the task another day. When we revisited the activity this week, Dessa was excited to pick up where we left off and loaded up those black shapes with the corresponding foam sticker. It just goes to show that a dud one day may be a hit the next time you try it.
I could tell that Dessa was done with the activity when she started playing with one of the discarded papers that she removed from the foam shape. Since she was so interested in playing with that silly little piece of paper, I thought I would try to channel that interest into an actual activity with a little novelty to it. I gave Dessa a straw from the pantry and demonstrated that she could blow through the straw to make the paper move across the floor.
That little activity held Dessa’s interest for approximately 15 seconds, and then it evolved into this:
I guess you win some and you lose some!
We also took some time to head outdoors this week. It’s always interesting to try to find the perfect time to go outside. I really like to bring both kids outside, but Harvey tends to nap smack dab in the middle of our ideal outdoor time. Sometimes I put Harvey down for his morning nap, give the video monitor to Rob, and head outdoors with Dessa.
When I am able to get both kids out the door, I’ll either pop them into the stroller so that I can get some exercise while I take them for a long walk, or wear Harvey in our Ergobaby 360 carrier so that Dessa can run around and get some of her energy out.
It rained one day this week and I knew Dessa would love splashing around in some puddles after the rain had stopped, so we geared up and got ready to head outside.
First, Dessa had to check on her toys in the yard.
Then it was time for some fun! One of our neighbors had a sizeable puddle on his sidewalk that we went to investigate. Dessa was pretty reserved for about one minute; then she had a blast running, jumping, and making the biggest splashes that she could.
When it was finally time to head back home, Dessa was completely drenched from the waist down and we had to pour out the water that had collected in her boots from all the splashing. She was soaked and a mess, but it was totally worth it.
We also had some fun dry experiences outside this week. I taught Dessa how to play hopscotch in an attempt to help with number recognition.
She was interested for approximately two minutes.
Then we opened up the sandbox and Dessa was completely lost in her own world. In other news, I’m still sweeping up sand from my kitchen floor.
Sometimes when Harvey naps, we just stay inside and wait for him to wake up so we can all go outside to play together. If I’m desperate for a little peace and quiet, I sometimes put on an episode of Daniel Tiger and I try to get as much accomplished as I possibly can in a 30 minute window. During those moments, the house is every bit as peaceful as it appears in this photo.
At other times, it’s absolute chaos.
I don’t write much about food, but it’s always a fun part of our days at home. We had nachos for dinner a few nights this week and Dessa loves loading up her chips with meat, refried black beans, and dairy-free cheese before I put them in the oven.
And Harvey continues to do well with solid foods! He wasn’t exactly a fan of rice cereal, but we introduced Harvey to green beans this week and he gobbled them up!
All the fun bean-eating experiences in his high chair also helped him learn to enjoy eating rice cereal too. Rumor has it that the Easter bunny put some pureed carrots in Harvey’s Easter basket for him to try tomorrow.
Harvey doesn’t really have much other news – except the fact that he is so stinkin’ cute. I took both of these photos within a minute of each other.
Right before that, Dessa and Harvey were quietly doing parallel play with their toys. Harvey had his elephant, and Dessa was putting a stuffed bear to sleep in her toy cradle.
We’ve also been busy getting ready for Easter. We usually don’t have the energy to do any sort of outdoor seasonal decorations, but I have come to appreciate the houses we walk past that have even the simplest Easter decor right now. Our walks are a lot less fun these days since we can’t go to the park, but Dessa always loves to see plastic Easter eggs and bunny decorations in someone’s yard. We decided to join the Easter spirit and hung plastic eggs in our Rose of Sharon tree.
At first, Dessa just supervised while Harvey and I did all the work.
But then we had Rob bring out a ladder to reach some higher branches and Dessa instantly became much more helpful.
Last night, we dyed our Easter eggs. It was an Easter tradition we were happy to continue during a holiday where everything feels so different.
Harvey sat on Rob’s lap for most of the experience and was fascinated. I don’t think he cared very much about the eggs, but he’s always fascinated to watch his big sister. He looks like such a little man in this picture!
By the time we were finished, it was getting pretty close to bedtime and Harvey was done. I really wanted to try to get a quick family photo, so I set up the tripod, adjusted the lighting, set the self-timer and ran to join the others. Somehow we nailed the perfect family photo on the very first attempt. That NEVER happens.
One of Dessa’s eggs rolled off the table during the frenzy to take a family photo and she really wanted to eat it. She also really wanted to peel the egg all by herself. That little girl spent the next 10 minutes carefully removing every bit of shell and membrane from her egg. Never in a million years would I have guessed that my two-and-a-half year old would be so careful and meticulous about peeling an egg, but she’s always full of surprises. Dessa savored every bite of the egg that she had dyed and peeled all by herself.
And that just about wraps up our fourth week at home in quarantine. I am so thankful that our family has stayed healthy and safe during this time, in addition to the people we love. We sincerely wish all of you a Happy Easter, filled with the traditions you love and perhaps even a new tradition that you start this year.