Archive for July, 2009

Awesome Indoor Water Games

Today it was so insanely hot that we wanted to play in the water, but the sun was so bright and the air so humid we didn’t really want to be outside…instead we brought the waterworks inside!

We started pretty simple…good old fashioned spray bottle mister. Filled it with cool water and let him decide what to do with it :D

Hmmm…how do you work this thing?
I think he figured it out ;)
A water park without the puddles :)
He can’t get enough!Who needs a shirt? Time to get really wet!Now time to try a great idea we found in Family Fun magazine…make your own “bubble snakes” with the Foamerator!! :D This was so cool we’re going to use it at VBS in a few weeks! We’ll probably have races…who can make the longest bubble snake without its tail falling off?Ooops…the tail fell off! We used a straw and soapy water to make this bubble soccer ball.And a giant bubble in a bowl :D Super easy, super fun! Happy summer, everyone!

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Big Wheels and Waterworks!

For a super-free and super-fun summer adventure, little Biscuit and I found a new park we’d never been to, thanks to a handy water-play reference list I found on KidsinStl.com. Then we loaded up his big-wheel and headed off for some splashing good times!

We ended up at Creve Coeur Park, where we found a beautiful lake, lots of paved walking/biking/blading trails, tons of picnic tables and 4 playgrounds, not to mention our favorite part, the spray pool with squirting fountains!!

vortex button at spray pool
First we figured out how to use the ‘vortex’ button….!vortex button at play fountainsWe watched with anticipation to see what would happen…toddler with big wheel at spray fountainThen got set to enter the wild ‘n wet zone!! Here, he plans his approach…toddler taking a wet big wheel rideHe decides on waiting for more toddler-sized fountain sprays just perfect for a big-wheel wash ;) toddler's big wheeling fun at play fountainsHis back tire needed a scrub too…toddler washing big wheel at spray fountainsWatch out for that bucket!toddler playing in fountainsTime to get really wet now!!toddler's wet and wild big wheel ride

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Free Festivals…Another Family-Friendly Local Activity


This past weekend we decided to check out the Festival of the Little Hills on the riverfront not too far from us. Of course it was mostly vendors but little b just likes to meander aimlessly anyway, pushing his stroller … anything to get out some of that rambunctious toddler energy. So we visited the barbecue n burger kiosk for lunch, stopped by the stage to listen to the local municipal band (he is a huge music fan so little b ate it up!), got a free balloon for him from First Baptist Harvester’s tent, visited the engine club’s exhibit of spitting tractor and old truck motors (he liked seeing the displays but the noise made him skittish to get to close), visited the kids corner where inflatables, rock walls and other carnival-type were in action. But his favorite part of all was the hands-on craft tent where he got to paint his very own wooden snake. we didn’t take many pictures of the day’s festivities but we did get a few of the snake-painting…

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Going Green…(taking a toddler biking on a greenway)

Now that the weather has started getting cooler, we decided to go for a family bike ride down a local greenway that connects a pair of parks near us…it made for a fun and scenic evening mini-adventure!

Hooray for greenways…want to come along next time?

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Consuelo

My son Jorge was born with club feet. I had two part-time jobs, but he needed me. There were so many medical procedures and doctor appointments that I had to stop working to take care of him. To do that, I needed a car that would work – but I couldn’t afford it.  We used to have a flat at least once a week, and many times, the car wouldn’t start at all.

Last year, I went to HPP to get my taxes done through SingleStop USA. I got ,000 in tax credit, and knew exactly what to do with it. We really needed a reliable car, and this money was going to make that possible. Now, I can get my kids where they need to go safely and get to work on time. Thanks to HPP’s Community Health Worker Training Program I have been working full-time at the Mission Neighborhood Health Center for the past year.

I’ve also been seeing the financial counselor, who is helping me understand my credit and create a budget. I know I need to save for my kids so they can go to college one day. I am so grateful to HPP and SingleStop for opening the door to so many opportunities and for reducing the stress single mothers with families like mine face every day.

Homeless Prenatal Program

Playroom Makeover

With colder weather coming up fast, we needed to make some adjustments to the playroom so there’d be plenty to keep us occupied indoors this winter. The big room of toys didn’t have much organization to it, so I gave it more structure and hopefully now it’s more practical to use.

Here’s the book nook…it features a fun new lounge chair and ottoman we got on clearance at big lots,  a cozy bear for snuggling up for reading, ABC foam playmat, a bookshelf full of newbery medal books, puzzles and word cards and alphabet/phonics posters, a basket of lil biscuit’s favorite stories, and of course, the plush icons of children’s lit, Corduroy (biscuit’s best bud!), Brown Bear…and Clifford, the best-read dog on the block ;) As you can see, lil boy has already made himself at home in his new toddler chair!

Next there’s a center for playing cars, where all the radiator springs and hot wheels heroes cruise around. It has a playmat, race track, wooden parking garage and bin for storage. And beside it sits a small red table for building with blocks
 

The playroom playground has his pop-up tunnel (he loves pushing his cars through it), bounce house and slide; it’s sitting on more foam playmat and carpet remnants.

Then there’s the music center for pounding away at his keyboard; the box holding it doubles as storage for his ball pit balls; and the bins hold more toys that he doesn’t play with all the time.
The last area is the art center, which has his new craigslist easel (it has dry erase/chalk board/roll of paper for painting) and toddler table/chair. The little drawers hold his crayons, colored pencils, markers and chubby chalk; the sand pail is play dough and accessories; the clothesline with pins for displaying his masterpieces; and the bin is for coloring books, aquadoodle, magnadoodle, sticker books etc.
Here he is, trying out his hand at watercolor…or, more accurately, trying to put his hand in the cup of water…

Anyway, clearly it’s a low-budget production, but it should keep us a little more organized and occupied when the frigid air hits later on! In the meantime, it’s “something different downstairs” and is already working as a nice boredom busters. So maybe we’ll just keep re-arranging as needed to keep things interesting ;)

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Leaf-Looking with a Little One

Today we had the delightful combination of beautiful foliage and warmer weather so me and my little guy couldn’t resist a trip to the park. In fact, we heard about a new one we had to check out, and it was paradise for a toddler ;D

Of course, the new playground was fun, but the best parts of all were not man made!!

He absolutely LOVED this little creek. And the gravel pile beside it of course! The colors of the trees near there were breathtaking! A photo does not do it justice.

The fuzzy “caterpillar” weeds made his day too!

He called them “tickle weeds!”

He also found some deer tracks…this place looked like Heaven for wildlife.

Then it was time to run through the fall fields!

Look! We found a scenic trail hidden behind a field.

Hmm…I wonder if there’s a tree house to play in up there?

“See the pretty grasses mommy?”

And a bridge too? Wow, does it get any better?

Yes it does! Ladybugs!
And ladybug kisses!!
And holes to throw pine needles and rocks inside!
The quiet babble of the brook was so relaxing to us both.
I wish the leaves didn’t have to fall off…but until they do, we’ll probably be back to this place as often as we can!

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Our House 2010 Videos

Our House 2010: Tune In to Our 20th Anniversary Celebration

And more to come soon, including video interviews with James Head, Interim CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, Alma Vasquez, a current HPP Community Health Worker, and Liz Vaughan, long-time HPP supporter!

Homeless Prenatal Program

Plush Alphabet Project

So, a friend I met through MOPS had a set of super-cute felt alphabet toys for her toddler son. She couldn’t remember where she got them and I couldn’t find any the same size to buy in a store or online (I wanted them stuffed-toy size not magnet size) so over a vacation I decided to try to wing it on my mom’s sewing machine. They turned out passable – not as cute as the originals but they’ll do for letter games and early phonics and reading lessons…and just plain imaginative play, which is what little Biscuit likes them best for right now :)

We use them to make some of his favorite words…
CAR, of course!

FROG…
and just for fun, a little rhyming lesson using the “at” words…
All you have to do to make your own set of plush ABC’s is get 26 full felt sheets (8.5 x 11) in fun colors. Fold each sheet in half and draw on a big bubble letter to fill each half sheet using sewing chalk or washable marker (a template for the letters adds more hassle…just hand draw them, it makes them “yours!”).  Cut out any holes in letters like A, B, D, P, etc. Then sew carefully around each letter outline leaving an inch hole for stuffing (consider leaving two holes on complicated letters like M, X, W); cut each letter out; stuff ‘em with fiberfill (use a pencil or dowel to stuff hard-to-reach areas) and sew up the loose ends. Trim any loose thread and there you are…all done! Have fun!

Toddler @ Play! // New Games. Activities. Outings. Fun.

Protecting Prenatal Care is the Right Thing To Do…

And just about everybody knows it….

Voices for Children in Nebraska testified in support of protecting prenatal care at the hearing for Legislative Bill 1110 last week in front of the Health and Human Services Committee.  LB 1110 will restore access to prenatal care for babies of low-income mothers, protecting a long-standing policy of prioritizing the health of  soon-to-be Nebraska babies. See Voices for Children in Nebraska’s Testimony here: http://www.voicesforchildren.com/pdf/Legislative/2010/LB_1110_Testimony.pdf

Voices for Children in Nebraska was joined by an impressive array of child advocates, all supporting access to prenatal care.

Proponents at the LB 1110 hearing included:*

Alegent Health

Bryan LGH Health System

Building Bright Futures and the Nebraska Children’s Healthcare Alliance

Building Bright Futures Early Childhood Services

Creighton University and Creighton University Medical Center

Dr. Richard Raymond, former NMA President and former Chief Medical Officer in Nebraska

Senator Lowen Kruse

March of Dimes – Nebraska Chapter

Mexican American Commission

Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest

Nebraska Catholic Conference

Nebraska Children’s Home Society

Nebraska Dietetic Association

Nebraska Hospital Association

Nebraska Medical Association (NMA)

Nebraska Right to Life

One World Community Health Center and the Nebraska Federally Qualified Health Centers

Public Health Association of Nebraska

State Auditor Mike Foley

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Voices for Children in Nebraska

*This is not an exhaustive list of all supporters of prenatal care – nor is it the official list of all supporters at the hearing, only those captured in my notes.  Many individuals/organizations may have submitted written testimony or indicated support in other ways.  If I left anyone out, it is unintentional.  Please let me know.

Notable Opponents:

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services CEO Kerry Winterer and Governor Heineman opposed protecting prenatal care for unborn children in Nebraska, which would overturn a long-standing policy of prioritizing prenatal care for all low-income children that has been in place in Nebraska for at least 20 years.  A letter signed by Mr. Winterer and Governor Dave Heineman indicated their opposition, saying “The key issue to be resolved is whether illegal immigrants should be receiving taxpayer-funded benefits…After a careful and thoughtful review of the various aspects of this issue, we are opposed to illegal immigrants receiving taxpayer-funded benefits.”  You can see the letter here: http://www.voicesforchildren.com/pdf/Legislative/2010/Governor_Heineman_Letter_to_HHS_2.25.10.pdf

Voices for Children in Nebraska respectfully disagrees with Mr. Winterer and Governor Heineman -  the key issue to be resolved is whether soon-to-be Nebraska babies should be given every opportunity to be born healthy. These babies will be American citizens upon birth, and they are part of Nebraska’s future.

If you want to be associated with this great group of prenatal care supporters above, check out Voices for Children in Nebraska’s website that is dedicated to helping you take action to protect prenatal care, www.voicesforchildren.com/babiesbornhealthy.htm.

Tiffany Seibert
Policy Coordinator
Voices for Children in Nebraska
tseibert@voicesforchildren.com
(402) 597-3100

babiesbornhealthy.com