Monthly Archives: July 2016

When I was a kid we played a game in the pool called Wolf Over the River. It’s a tag-like game. One kid would be it and would start naming colors. When your color was called you swam across. The person who was It had to swim and pull you to the surface before you tagged the wall. It was such a fun game. 

This is NOT that game. 

Why I called this game Wolf Over the River I don’t know. It just popped in my head. A couple months ago I needed Kora to get some energy out before bed. I grabbed a couple of towels, threw them on the floor in the hallway, and asked Kora if she wanted to play Wolf Over the River. “Of tourse!,” she said. 

I demonstrated that to play you had to run to the towel and hop over it. Then move to the next towel. My husband, Kora, and I all played that evening and got her all ready for bed. As we played we used Kora’s go to sound effect for jumping/throwing/kicking, “Hut!”  
Today we decided to play Wolf Over the River again. I threw down some hand towels and we started running and jumping over them. 

Of course each jump came with its own sound effect. Kora sounded like an NFL quarterback: “Hut! Hut!”

Kora managed to steal my camera from me and got a shot of me mid jump!

This game, made up in the spur of the moment, is a quick and easy way to get out some energy. Kids don’t need fancy toys – they need a silly game with a funny name!


“Again, again!”
 I hear these words A LOT! I have to make sure that if I do something silly with Kora that I am prepared to repeat it over and over again. It’s amazing how you can repeat the same thing what feels like a million times and kids don’t tire of it. 

This morning before breakfast, Kora was playing on the couch. I started pretending I was really tired – yawning and stretching my arms. I narrated that I was so sleepy and was going to go lay on the couch. 

I walk over to the couch, pretending I can’t see Kora (she has a huge grin on her face, waiting to see what I’m going to do). I start to sit and as soon as I make contact with her she starts to giggle. I jump up and squeal, “I didn’t see you!” This makes her laugh again. 

“Again! Again!” We replay the scene over and over. After probably the tenth time or so, I started to make breakfast. I hear Kora asking for something, but I’m not understanding her two year old words. Then it hit me. She was saying, “Sleep on me.” How cute is that? And how could I refuse?

She started hiding under my nursing pillow, so after laying on her I would scream “What are you doing under my pillow?!” She was eating my overacting up! 

The longer we played the longer she could go before laughing. I always waited until she made noise before I ‘woke up’. Sometimes I would start snoring which really got her giggling. 

I only managed to get a couple of pictures since this activity was really Mommy doing all the playing! Even though it was very repetitive, I enjoyed every giggle and smile from my baby this morning. Try this with your little one and they too will be asking for more: “Sleep on me!”

Why do kids like knocking things down so much? We build a tower of blocks, Kora knocks it down. We build a sand castle, Kora knocks it down. Knowing how much she loves to knock things down, I knew she would love Tin Can Bowling. 

We used six food cans from the recycling bin and a easy to grip ball. The can opener I used is a Kuhn Rikon Safety Can Opener, which cuts around the side of the can. The top is more like a lid so no sharp edges. 

Just like the carnival game, except without the rigging, I lined up three cans, stacked two on top, and then one on top of that. I originally asked Kora to try to knock the cans over by throwing the ball. What high expectations I had! I wasn’t thinking about how “accurate” Kora’s aim can be. She couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn much less a tin can pyramid. 

She tried kicking the ball, but her kicking aim is worse than her throwing aim!

In the end we settled on rolling the ball like bowling. She started out rolling it too softly and the ball didn’t even make it to the cans. It only took a couple more rolls before she connected. 

The way she celebrated you would have thought she just won the Super Bowl, the World Cup, and an Olympic Gold Medal all in the same day! She was twirling and jumping and screaming. She even ran to Curious George for high fives!

Each time she knocked cans down she went to reassemble them. She’s so independent she didn’t want my assistance. As it turns out, it’s fun to knock the cans down no matter their configuration. 

Tin Can Bowling is easy to throw together and easy to clean up – just toss the cans back in the recycle bin! And don’t forget: it has the thrill of knocking things down! It doesn’t get much better than this. 

(On a side note: The only wearing one shoe thing was completely her idea. She refused to put a second shoe on on take the first one off. You pick your battles!)

The stall tactic has been a part of the sport of basketball for a long time. Your team is ahead and the seconds are ticking away. You don’t want the other team to score so you just dribble and pass the ball around trying to run out the clock. Today I needed to run out the clock with my toddler. It was almost nap time, but it wasn’t nap time yet. I needed a quick activity to fill the time before the buzzer. 

Enter Magic Grow Creatures. I picked these up at Kroger a few weeks ago and have been waiting for the perfect time to use them. 

Kora got so excited when I asked her if she wanted to grow some animals. We opened the package and I had Kora identify each animal. She even made a neighing sound when she got to the sea horse!

We poured water into two bowls and then Kora started placing the animals. This took a while. She placed all the animals and then had to reorganize them. And reorganize them. And reorganize them. (She gets this from her father!) At one point, the octopus was in one bowl and all the other animals where in the second bowl. 

She also had to make the fish and turtle swim around in the water! After playing with the animals in the water for a bit, I put her down for a nap. I told her we could check on the animals when she woke up. 

The package claims that the Magic Grow Creatures grow four times their size in a few hours. Perfect! As soon as she woke up, “Check Animals!”  

The animals were bigger but they weren’t yet full size. When I asked Kora if they were bigger she said ” nope.” I wish I would have left one out so we could compare sizes. 

I decided that I’d put the bowls out of her sight and we could check on the animals the next morning. The next morning, still in pajamas, “Check animals”. 

This time she could see a difference in size. Of course, we had to play with the animals again. This time the sea turtle gave the other animals rides on its back!  

Magic Grow Creatures are fun, but if you’re looking for immediate results, this is not for you. It definitely takes some time. The great thing about these animals is that they are reusable. They will shrink back down as the water evaporates and you can grow them again!

My husband and I, along with our two girls, recently moved into an RV and we are in the process of getting our old house ready (cleaned/painted) for renters. The house is mostly empty; only a few things remain that haven’t been moved yet. 

Two of Kora’s cousins came over today to play with Kora while I was prepping the walls for paint. They found a box that contained a variety of racquets and that’s how Imaginary Tennis got started. 

Each girl got a racquet and we divided into two teams. I served the ball like I was one of the Williams sisters. Was my serve an ace like I was expecting (I mean, I’m playing against two little girls whose combined age is six)? Nope. Would you believe that BOTH girls returned my serve?!?

The great thing about Imaginary Tennis. No one ever misses the ball. All serves go over the net and the ball never goes out of bounds! It’s so much fun. 

While we were playing there was a lot of “I got it!” as the girls hit the ball. They also made sound effects as the ball hit their racquet! 

I have always thought that I would try to get Kora interested in competitive swimming when she gets older, but we might have to try tennis out. Check out her stance! She might be a natural!

She always keeps her eye on the ball and she has a powerful swing. 

I must admit that I had just as much fun playing Imaginary Tennis as the girls did. We will definitely have to try out some other imaginary games in the future – catch, double Dutch, volleyball, etc. I love the idea of being able to play without the need of any toys (We don’t have to have the racquets to play). Then you could play anywhere anytime! 

On a recent trip to the grocery store I picked up a JELL-O Pudding Pops Mold Kit. I decided that today would be the day that we tried it out. 
Kora has always enjoyed “helping” me in the kitchen so I knew she would love this activity. Since I put Kora on top of the counter I like to have all ingredients and utensils out and ready. 

It’s very simple to make these Popsicles. First, pour a package of pudding into a bowl.

Pour in milk and whisk. 

Then pour the mix into the mold and insert the sticks. 

Freeze at least 5 hours. We decided to wait a couple of days and eat them when Kora’s cousins came to visit. The girls loved the Popsicles. Both of Kora’s cousins told Kora that she made yummy Popsicles! What a sweet compliment. They’re ready to help make some chocolate Popsicles. 

As a teacher I learned that simply by changing the writing utensil or the writing surface made learning the content more exciting for students. I used this approach today with Kora.

Kora always has fun drawing with markers but I decided to liven it up a bit. I gave her a couple of dry erase markers and set her up on the bathroom counter. She got really excited when I told her we were going to draw on the mirror. 

The fact that I could only find two different colored markers didn’t slow Kora down one bit. She drew rainbows and butterflies and lots of other scribbly things. 

I guess because she had such a large canvas, she decided to use both markers simultaneously. She was pretty proud of herself! 

She also felt the need to stand up so she could cover more ground. 

Dad came home from work and caught us drawing on the mirror. Busted! When he asked her what she was doing, she answered very matter of factly, “Drawing”. 

After drawing for a while and covering the mirror, Kora asked for a towel so she could erase her masterpiece. She wiped the mirror clean and went right back to drawing. 

Using dry erase markers on the mirror was a huge success! I did make sure to stress that we were using special markers – I don’t want her to develop a habit of coloring on walls! Kora had a blast drawing on the mirror and I got some cute pictures to prove it!