Nurturing Creativity, Inspiring Play

Tuesday
Aug262014

August 1st-7th was an exciting week at Mama & Me, as we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week 2014! The festivities began on Friday the 1st with our kickoff “Milk & Cookies” event, part of the Global Big Latch On. The Big Latch On is a multinational effort to set the world record for the most women record to be breastfeeding at a time. Women all over the world latched their babies on from 10:30-10:31am local time and registered locations sent in their numbers in for counting. Mama & Me counted 19 babies latched on for the official time frame, but only 18 breastfeeding moms. How can that be? One amazing mom was nursing not one, but TWO toddlers at once! What did she do after she was done with her toddlers? Why, latched her third baby, of course! Cookies were eaten, milk was consumed by lots of babies, and fun was had by all. Thanks to the talented Arielle Doneson, who got some fantastic photo footage of the event! 

The queen of the Big Latch On- A TRIPLE tandem nurser!

The following Sunday evening, we screened Breastmilk—The Movie, a fascinating documentary on the culture of breastfeeding in the United States.

On Monday the 4th, we held our Breastfeeding Story Slam.  Seven brave mamas got up and told gripping stories with titles including “Breast Intentions,” “A Tongue-Tie Tale,” “BF BFFs,” and “The Last Latch.”  We laughed, we cried, we broke down stigmas. Toddlers were underfoot and throwing bouncy balls everywhere. It was overwhelming in the best ways.

Here is an excerpt from our story slam winner, Bonnibel:

But, Monday, June 23rd 2014, you said goodbye and I didn’t even know. There were no family, no cameras, nothing to remind me about that day except for that feeling. You know, the one where you feel left out. Suddenly, my breast friend club card was revoked and I lost the privilege to whip out my nipple and shout to the world, “Look! This is what these are for. Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you ever saw?” Your small but strong hand pushed me away and it was as if my super hero cape was ripped off my neck while I was mid-flight. I went spiraling down, flailing my arms, trying to reach for anything that would keep you latched.

But Monday, June 23rd 2014 was your final latch. And the only tears at this goodbye event were my own. Your small but strong hands were lifting you up to new places. You were moving on. And it was up to me to move on too. Maybe my super hero cape was just replaced with a new one. Because bringing you into this world was our epic adventure that will always keep us connected. Latch or no latch, I can still look at you and say, “Hey, look at us! Aren’t we beautiful?

We ended the week with our Thursday Lactation Support Group, which was free during Breastfeeding Week (normally $10 drop-in), followed by a discussion about Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy. The room was packed full of nursing toddlers and their moms, as we shared our experiences, asked questions, and received guidance from Certified Lactation Counselor, Divya Kumar. 

We can’t wait to celebrate again next year! Thank you so much to all the moms, babies, toddlers, dads, and community members who joined us for these fun events!

Thursday
Jun142012

Idea's For Water Table Fun!

Summer brings many new and exciting opportunities for letting your child explore the outdoors. Aside from those trips to the beach, family bike rides, and long hours at the park... get creative about exploring some things in your own back yard! Water tables can be a never-ending source of fun for toddlers! Whether you buy one already made, or just make it yourself, you won't be sorry you did! 

To liven up your child's water table add a few drops of liquid watercolor or washable tempera paint to dye the color of the water. Then swap out various toys and instruments daily to keep it interesting. Recently we made giant ice cubes by pouring water into small plastic cups. We thought it would be fun to add plastic bugs to the center of our ice cubes as an extra surprise! We dropped the giant ice cubes into the water tables, one by one, giving each time to melt. The children loved guessing what was frozen inside, trying to figure out how to get the bugs out, holding the ice cubes up to the sunlight, and floating them around the water table. This was definitely a success and a nice way to cool off on a warm summer day!

Here are a few ideas to try in your child's water table:

  • Ice Cubes
  • PVC piping
  • Plastic bugs
  • Rubber ducks
  • Stacking cups
  • Plastic sea creatures
  • Squeezable bath toys
  • Plastic tubes and a funnel
  • Magnetic fishing poles/fish
  • Plastic baby and sponges to bathe it with
  • Farm animals and sponges to bathe them with
  • Marbles (with close supervision and older children)
  • Kitchen utensils... turkey baster, hand mixer, strainer, etc.

 

 

Thursday
Jun072012

DIY: Homemade Play Dough

We like to make our own home made play dough at Mama & Me and often people ask us how we do it. The truth is, it's easy!

Why bother making it yourself? 
Home made play dough is softer than the commercial brands you find in the store, making it easier for your little one to squish between their fingers and mold into shapes. Plus, you can feel confident knowing that all of the ingredients come from your kitchen...so there's no need to stress when the inevitable taste test happens!

How long does it keep? 
If properly stored in an air tight container, your home made play dough will keep for about 6 months.

Listed below is one of our favorite play dough recipes. Try making several batches to hone your play dough making abilities. It's a great rainy day activity or creative party favor for your child's next birthday!

HOMEMADE PLAY DOUGH

Ingredients (4 Cup Recipe)

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 tsp cream of tartar
  • food coloring

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large pot. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky (pulls away from sides of pot). Dump onto table or allow to cool in pot for about 30 minutes. Knead large mound of dough while adding small amount of flour if sticky until desired consistency.

If you would like to add food coloring you can choose either method:

  1. Add food coloring into the pot while cooking until it reaches the desired color; or

  2. Color the playdough after cooled by dividing large mound of playdough into six equal sections. Add approx. 5 drops of color into a small hole you poke in each smaller section. Close hole and knead the dough until color distributes. Repeat until you reach desired color. Continue with each section until you have all of the colors of the rainbow.

Variations:

  • Add cinnamon, orange extract, lemon extract, vanilla extract, ginger powder, peppermint extract, almond extract, or one package of unsweetened powdered Kool-Aid to your playdough to give it a great smell. You can even make each section a different scent for each color.

  • Try offering the playdough with small plastic animals, popsicle sticks, play dishes and utensils, beans, rollers, spatulas, measuring cups, small cars/trucks, sparkles, cookie cutters, seashells, or stones.

Tuesday
Dec272011

Winter Collage on Contact Paper



Contact paper can be a unique and interesting surface for your little ones to collage on. Not only will they love sticking their hands to the surface, but there are many other items you will find around your house that will be sure to fascinate your toddler. Try pom, poms, stickers, foam shapes, cotton balls, q-tips, ribbon, buttons, yarn, fabric, tissue paper, and more!

To add interest to this activity, or re-introduce this activity in a new way, try creating a theme around your collage. For the collage on the left, we created a winter scene by placing lace behind the contact paper. Then let the kids collage with pillow batting, cotton balls, ribbons, paper tree cut-outs, stars, snow flake shapes, etc. on top. Once the scene had been set, we pulled out some cars and toy trucks for the kids to roll across the paper, through their snowy winter scene. The kids enjoyed the sound of the cars rolling across the sticky paper! 

Here are some simple steps to getting started on your contact paper collage at home:

1. Peel back the paper off a roll of contact paper.

2. Placing the sticky side up, use masking tape, to tape the contact paper down to a table.

Tips:

Can't find contact paper? It is available at most arts and crafts supply stores. But if you can't find any, try using cupboard paper, flip it so the sticky side is up for the same effect.

 

 

 

 

Friday
Oct282011

Ideas for Halloween Fun!

Who doesn't have a favorite memory of a costume they once wore... trick-or-treating, carving pumkins, and all the fun that comes with the creativity and silliness of Halloween?!

Aside from the costumes and the candy, here are a few of our favorite ideas to adding some seasonal flair to your Halloween rituals!

FROZEN FLOATING HANDS

We made these creepy looking frozen hands for our sensory tables in class today, they were a hit with our little ones! After they melted, we brought them to our light tables for some more exploration and fun.

Try this at home:

Fill a rubber glove with water. Add a few drops of food coloring and tie the opening of the glove tightly. Freeze overnight. Add them to a bathtub or simply let your child explore how they melt in a sink full of water. Have some fun with it, see if you can engage your toddlers sense of humor... try "high fives" with the spooky hands, get them to "shake" the spooky hand, tickle your toddler with the wobbly, melting fingers.


JELLO WORMS? YUM!

Try serving these Jello worms as a special after-dinner treat this Halloween... not only do they look like worms, but they feel like worms too!

Make this at home:

Place bendable straws into a can. Make Jello as indicated on the box. Pour into straws, bendable side down and chill. After refrigeration, run under warm water to pop the "worms" out.

Read detailed instructions

GLOWING BATHTUB

As if bathtime wasn't fun enough?! Try adding a few glowsticks for a magical evening activity. Let your child explore the light and shadows in the water with their favorite bathtime toys.