This is how we learn and play.

I feel like this post should come with a warning label that says something along the lines of "Warning: Happy Mess Ahead!"  I want to document (for my own sake and to share) a few ways lately we've been learning and playing.  Those two go so well together, don't they?  Even as adults.  That's why posts like yesterdays get me so excited.  As I "play" with new kinds of art I just know it's good for me to learn new things also.   I believe God made our brains hard-wired for learning new things.  

And so, about a week or so ago I realized I'd gotten a bit off track with my goal of introducing the girls to new activities.  At our house we have moments where I'm doing chores and laundry and the regular stuff all mamas do, while the little girls play with their toys.  They need that time and so do I.  But I was noticing that every time it was "play time" they were having to play with the same things.  So, time to mix things up a bit.  Admittedly, every afternoon after nap is sluggish for me....not quite dinner prep time yet but not the energized morning either (when we usually make art).

I decided to make this lull of the day our special activity time.  
It only took a day or two for Anna Ruth to catch on and start waking up asking what our "tivity" was for the day.  I planned several activities to do for the week that weren't rocket science or anything that required an unrealistic amount of prep.  So, let's take a look at some of our favorite ways to play!  All of these activities were a big hit and allowed me to include both girls as much as possible.  Some days we'd engage in the activity for an hour, other days 15 minutes.  I remind myself that the quality of each activity, not the quantity is what matters.  And I always, always do these with the girls.  This isn't chore time for me, it's fun for me to join in too!  
1.) Play restaurant:
I gave the girls a few dry ingredients from the kitchen and we pulled out all of our play food to have a pretend restaurant.  We pretended the walker was a cash register and taught Betsy Grace how to "feed" the baby.  Which she did over and over and it was one of the cutest things I've seen. Ever. 

This was MESSY, but such a happy mess.  I quickly swept up afterwards and it wasn't a big deal. I loved leading the pretend play this day, showing the girls how to make pretend sandwiches.
Betsy Grace sat and played the whole time with us this day! That is a major big deal.  Proof that it matters (so, so much) to take time to sit down with our kiddos and play! Forget the to do list for a few minutes....

2.) Egg Carton Owls: 
The name pretty much sums these up.  Betsy Grace took big bites of the marker, but other than that it was really fun for all. :)  Anna Ruth helped me name the owls-"Clementine, Bouncy, and Go Go".  We talked about how owls fly at night and say "Whoo, Whoo."  I also showed the girls a picture of a real owl on the computer.

 3.)  Tree Stump Painting: 
Ok, so maybe we're the only ones with an abundance of these sitting in our yard but we painted some tree stumps one day and it was the MOST fun!  I'm hoping to ask Brett to move them over in a play area to be used for little tables or chairs.  Both girls loved this!  It was messy but we just washed up when we got back inside.  When we weren't looking Betsy Grace took a few swipes at the cat and painted him.  Hahahahahaha :)

4.) Piano Playing:
The girls love it when they get to sit and play the piano and especially love it when I play with them!  

Ok, your turn!! If you have fun kid activities please share in the comments! I would LOVE more ideas! I usually get ideas from my sisters, playgroup friends, or Pinterest!
(We also made a neat terrarium I'll post more detailed instructions to soon!)