## Play – It’s Their Job

One of my biggest concerns about publishing No Time For Flash Cards is that all the content could give readers the impression that we are advocating strict, structured learning day in and day out for the very young child. Does this look strict or structured?

When readers see our children make crafts, dig in tubs of beans and participating in adult driven activities daily on the blog it can give the impression that we are all doing this all day but really what our kids do for the majority of the day is what kids should be doing, playing.

Today I am devoting this post not to a tutorial of any craft, tips for sneaking adult directed learning in to a game or activity instead it’s just pictures of my kids at  play. No mom directed agenda just kid directed ( sometimes mom RE directed though) fun and learning. Learning? Yes learning! Children are always learning and you don’t need to have a strict agenda all the time, take time to  just play.

I admit having taught and lead children through directed and facilitated play for so long I revert to teacher mode a lot ( especially if I have an extra kid at my house) so I have had to chill out and just follow. It’s awesome.  We do mama directed activities most days , sometimes we do 3 or 4 but then sometimes we go days and days without, but we play every day. Remember that play is their job! Let them get to work .

So I ask you:  What did you play today?

## Math Lesson: Unpack it & Graph it !

I love online shopping. With a handful of small children, you have to love online shopping (because browsing in the stores will make you insane). I never knew what to do with the packing peanuts.

Did you know that when packing peanuts get wet they “melt”?

Here is a fun way to use them to teach your child math. They make quite a perfect fit for counting and graphing. You just need a piece of paper, small bowl with water, a marker, packing peanuts, and glue (not in the picture).

Draw a space and then write the numbers you wish to use. I used 1-5, but this can be a great way to introduce counting by two’s (or anything else).

Have your child dip the ends of the packing peanuts in water. Press the ends together. They will “melt” and fuse to each other. Don’t use too much water or the peanuts will dissolve too much and become mush. You can have your child count out the peanuts as he fuses them together.

Place some glue on the paper and attach the coordinating stack of packing peanuts to the numbers.

The end result is a neat graph that clearly shows which numbers are greater. It is a fun way for children to learn number recognition, counting, graphing, and whatever else you can think of.

The stack in #4 really does have 4 peanuts, but a little too much water was used and one of the peanuts melted down into almost nothing. We still had a great time and learned a lot.

## Back-to-School Crafts

Kids are heading back-to-school and it’s time to celebrate whether you wave goodbye as they get on the bus or sit down to teach them at the kitchen table. These are fun crafts for a new school year!

School Bus Craft

Kissing Hand Necklaces

Need some alphabet activities for homeschooling? Try my ebook!

## Simple Fun Outside!

Today’s Guest Post is from Janna who blogs at  The Adventure of Motherhood , we met at a conference and immediately bonded over our love of activities and linking them to books.

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Mountains of toys, video games, movies, and computers were either non-existent in my childhood or almost non-existent. Three of my favorite toys really weren’t what most people would consider toys, but they gave me hundreds of hours of enjoyment.

Outside is where I wanted to be. I wanted to be in the dirt, playing with water, or up in a tree.

Dirt

• looking for roly polys or “pill bugs”
• making mud pies
• squishing my toes in mud
• digging a hole in an empty lot
• burying things
• riding my brother’s dirt bike

Suggested Book: Jeff Foxworthy’s book of poems Dirt on My Shirt.

Water

• swimming
• spraying the hose
• the sprinkler
• water guns and balloons
• dancing in the rain
• splashing in puddles
• observing earth worms

Suggested Book: Mo Willems Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

Trees

• to hide
• to rest
• to challenge
• to swing from a branch
• to pick some fruit
• to dream big dreams

Suggested Book: Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree

When it comes to having fun outside, I still find myself in the dirt, spraying the hose, or attempting to climb a tree. These are three things I intend to share with my daughter, and joys I hope to never outgrow. What things will you never outgrow from your childhood?

If you have children’s books that you love and would like to share them with other moms, please consider linking up to my weekly meme called Feed Me Books Friday. It’s kind of like an online book club from moms, and a great way to compile a stellar library list.

If you’d like to learn about a project to record the stories of  YOUR youth join me at MommysPiggyTALES.com.