Thursday, June 5, 2008

We're Starting Today

While browsing the web for toddler craft ideas, I came across the blog, Unplug Your Kids. Regrettably, we are not an "unplugged" family...we have Dora, we have WonderPets. We have toys that play music, count in Spanish, flash, giggle and spin. But we also take walks, play in the sand, paint, hunt for treasures, camp, and chase butterflies. Two weeks ago, we walked to the park and flew a kite. I'm pretty proud of the balance we have in our lives, but I sometimes need a kick to move us out of the living room and into the world.

The Unplugged Project gives a theme every week which families use as a guide for some activity away from the TV set. Then everybody blogs about it and shares a link to their stories...I'm in. We missed "paint" last week, but I was excited to see the adjective "sticky" for this week. When I told M about it, he responded as I thought he would..."So, we're starting next week, right?" Nope, we're jumping right in to sticky. Sorry, hon.

I decided to revisit an activity we first tried about 6 months ago...cornstarch peanut sculpture. You know, a lot of those packing peanuts you get nowadays are made of cornstarch. They dissolve when you put them in water. But if you just wet them a little, you can stick them to each other and build things. When we first tried it, it was a little too advanced for E's fine motor skills, but I thought she might do well with it now. So I set the kitchen table with a pie tin full of peanuts and one with a little puddle of water and we sat down to work.

She really enjoyed it, but it was still a little advanced for her. She had the will, but not the gentle touch required. I asked her if she wanted to make snakes, but she wanted to make squares. "BIG squares." So together, we stuck together about 20 peanuts in the shape of a square. That one wasn't big enough, so we made a BIGGER square. Then we wet our hands and mushed them both into a sticky, mushy mess on the table. It was really pretty fun, but we had no product at the end. I ended up dissolving all the partly used ones and scraping the residue into the trash, and reminding myself that it's all about the process.

I think we'll try this one again in another 6 months. Oh, and by the way....after she was done with the cornstarch, she did another "sticky" activity quite by accident. She asked me for stickers, and then peeled off every last one and stuck them to her right leg. There they stayed for the rest of the day. Good girl. Way to get into the spirit of things!

10 comments:

Piseco said...

Good for you to jump right in! We're also not an all-unplugged family, but like you I encourage my kids away from screens and battery toys whenever possible... and I love doing interesting projects with them, besides. (The kids are a good excuse for me to get more chances to fingerpaint!)

Did your cornstarch peanuts come as packing material, or did you buy them somewhere? We don't get many packages with peanuts so if we wanted to try this, we'd have to find another source!

Heather said...

I only got these peanuts once and we had fun building with them but I wish more places used them.

Gottfredsen said...

I have been meaning to try this project. We actually have a huge bin filled with packing peanuts. So I think that I am going to finally have to get to this. Thanks for sharing.

morningstar said...

Very cool! I have always planned to get some of those!

amy said...

Great idea! I've got some of those peanuts in my garage right now just waiting for a project. Glad you joined in! :)

Julie said...

oh-la-la! Very fun. Glad you're joining us.

Kari Wright said...

WE are SO going to do this next time I get a batch of peanuts...thanks for idea!!

Christy said...

Sticky was our first Unplugged project too. We made Flubber.

I have a huge bag of packing peanuts, so we'll be trying out your project too.

Mom Unplugged said...

This looks fun! I didn't know that they often make those peanuts out of corn starch now. I'll have to check it out next time I get a package with these. Thanks for the idea!

Welcome to the "Unplugged Project!" I am glad you enjoyed yourselves and I hope we'll see you again next week for "plastic!"

Michie said...

Welcome to the group. That looks like a fun project!

 
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