Toddler Book Club: September Books

September is here, folks…and you know what that means!

Back to school time, leaves changing colour, the air gaining a crispness to it, and an abundance of pumpkin everything.  I love all of it! September is my absolute favourite time of year and a wonderful time to be outside exploring all the changes with your little one.

For September’s book club the four books I have selected are:

  1. The Foot Book (Dr. Seuss)
  2. When Autumn Falls (Kelli Nidey)
  3. Curious George Builds a Home
  4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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Magic Paint!


Out of all the painting that I did as a child, I remember magic painting the best. It was my favourite activity to do. It was simple yet exciting!
Magic paint, for those who don’t know/don’t remember, is where you paint with watercolours to reveal a secret picture! Think of those paint-with-water colouring books you can buy. Same idea, just way cheaper, customizable and super fast and easy to create.

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August Book Club: Week Four – One

This week has been all about One, by Kathryn Otoshi.  I haven’t had a chance to post about what we’ve been up to, but here’s a rundown:

We’ve of course been reading One, which is a book Little Bear is very familiar with and a book that he loves!

Then there’s been the painting/finger painting…surprisingly, Little Bear didn’t want to start out finger painting and insisted on a brush.  He mixed colours, had fun painting with the brush for a little while, and then he handed me the brush and opted for his fingers! I wanted to use red and blue since we had been talking about those colours so much, and asked Little Bear which colours he wanted to add to his palate.  He chose only one colour: orange. Continue reading

Portland Children’s Museum

When in Portland...

Last weekend Arun, Little Bear, Arun’s parents and I all drove south to Portland for a long weekend away from the city.  We explored downtown, did a bit of outlet shopping, and checked out the Portland Children’s Museum in Washington Park.

When we were researching what to do in Portland, we came across a few options that we thought Little Bear would like.  One was the zoo, which is also located in Washington Park, next to the Children’s Museum and the Discovery Museum & World Forestry Centre.  We ultimately decided against going to the zoo because of the allegations of abuse against the elephants there.  We’re total animal lovers, and I’m sure Little Bear would have loved seeing the animals, but we just weren’t comfortable going there.

Choosing the Children’s Museum over the zoo was not a mistake at all! I know that if I lived in Portland, I would definitely buy a family membership to the museum.  If you have never been to a children’s museum, think of it as learning through play at its best. Continue reading

Relaxing with Buddha and Cloud Dough

It’s raining again today.  August and raining.  And you know what? I don’t mind one bit.  I’m a true Vancouverite, I suppose, but to me there’s something supremely comforting  about hearing rain drops hitting my rooftop.  I live for sweater weather.  Even Little Bear can’t wait to pull on his rain boots at the first sign of rain clouds!

BUT. What do you do when it’s pouring rain all morning? No more gallivanting to the beach or the park.  No sunny picnics.  No playground play dates.  And do you know what that means for Little Bear? Major cabin fever.

As part of our routine, Little Bear and I usually have an outing in the morning.  When it’s pouring like it was this morning though, it’s hard to get outside.  And since I had lots to do inside, I decided we’d have a fun, relaxing and comfy day at home.

All was good for about an hour and a half.  It was at that point that I noticed Little Bear starting to get restless (read: he was trying to dive off the couch onto Ziggy).  I decided he needed a little help in the relaxing department.

The first thing I did was put on some beautiful Buddhist chanting.  I wish I could tell you the name of the CD, but I can’t since it’s in Chinese so I can’t read it!  My mother recently showed Little Bear and I around some local Buddhist temples, and this was a CD we picked up from the Ling Yen Mountain Temple in Richmond. While we were there, Little Bear was completely mesmerized by his surroundings and was quiet and peaceful. I had been worried about him making too much noise, so I asked someone there if it would be a problem if he was too loud.  They chuckled and told me there would be nothing to worry about and that he would stay quiet.  I had my doubts, but boy, was I wrong.  Little Bear followed the example being set in the surroundings and was calmer than I could have ever imagined for a 2 year old.

Little Bear recognized the CD as being from the temple and while he sat and listened to the chanting, I grabbed a few supplies to make this super easy and fun activity: cloud dough!

cloud dough 3

Cloud dough is a soft, silky, sand-like dough, made from common household ingredients.  Think of it as playing with soft, somewhat pliable sand.  Tactile relaxation at its best! To make our cloud dough more relaxing, I added in a few drops of lavender essential oil. Lavender has a zillion benefits, just a few of which include:

  • antiseptic properties
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • eases anxiety and restlessness
  • eases depression
  • eases insomnia
  • good for digestion
  • and of course, it smells great!

Making the cloud dough takes minutes, at most.  First, gather all your materials:

  1. 4 cups of flour
  2. 1/2 cup of oil (any oil…I used vegetable oil, but you could use baby oil or whatever else you have around)
  3. Your favourite essential oil.  I used lavender.

Next, put all the ingredients in a bowl or basin and mix (use your hands…your fingers are the best tool).  Your kids can help put this together.

When you’re all done, add measuring cups, spoons, scoops, sand molds, or whatever other toys you want!  Little Bear enjoyed scooping the sand back and forth between measuring cups and then later I gave him some plastic farm animals which he happily buried into the cloud dough.

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cloud dough2

Final step: enter Nirvana.  Perhaps this Mama Bear can have a cup of tea while Little Bear sculpts a mini Buddha in his cloud dough.  😉

August Book Club: Week Two

Welcome to our farm week, all centred around Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. This is our second book for August.  To find the first book, click here.  To find the August schedule, click here.

If you follow us on Instagram, you saw that yesterday we started by reading the book a few times and then got out into the yard before it got too hot. I had some weed wrangling to do, so Little Bear helped pull weeds, mowed the lawn with his toy lawn mower, and picked flowers for me! We talked a lot about what we saw in the garden. He asked some great questions and really impressed me when he asked about what bees do to flowers. We have two large bushes in our front yard which get these amazing orange flowers every August. There are drones of bees working in and around the bush, collecting pollen. We talked about what pollen is and what bees do to it. He was surprised when I told him that was how we got honey. Continue reading