Bug Movie

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Travis got to stay up extra late tonight to watch a special movie. Not one on TV… a real live bug show!

Before it got dark, we headed outside and put up two sticks (actually, a stick and one toy microphone stand!) and I tied a piece of string tight between them. Then we carefully draped a pillowcase over the string.

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(Note: for a “big screen movie” version of this, tie a thicker rope between branches on two trees and use a whole sheet instead of a pillowcase).

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As the sun set, we headed outside. Set a toy lantern at the foot of the pillowcase or sheet to illuminate it. And now sit back and wait!

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Travis was so excited and couldn’t stop asking questions about when it would be dark enough, and if the bugs were sleeping, and what kind of bugs we might see.

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The waiting and anticipation, honestly, were the most magical part about this activity. Travis felt so special staying up late with me, and watched the darkening sky as much as he watched our glowing lantern.

I wish I could tell you we saw something spectacular like a moth or a giant beetle against our sheet. The results were more ho hum: mosquitoes, gnats, fruit flies.

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But Travis wasn’t disappointed in the slightest! He was so thrilled with each insect that found our lamp and hummed around. We loved this activity so much we’ll definitely do it at least once more before summer is out.

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What bugs came to your “movie”? Please share in the comments!



Teddy Bear’s Picnic

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s real (breakfast!) picnic, today Veronika and I moved the play inside with some teddy bears (and other stuffed friends).

I’ve often tried to follow a gender-neutral parenting method, and Travis and I have had our share of tea parties (sometimes with cars as guests). But I have to admit, I’m excited for moments of being a “girl mom” and imagining many tea parties with Veronika to come. Today was our first!

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Nine months old is definitely not too young to introduce imaginative play; in fact, it’s perfect timing! Your baby won’t “get” it yet, but will love imitating your motions, and the concepts will start to sink in.

First, I just laid out the tea set. Veronika was intrigued…

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I set out a cup and plate for each guest at the party. Hmm, who were these new friends?

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Then I made made a big show of pouring tea for each guest, and making sure everyone had a sip.

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Now Veronika loved it!

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Then everyone got yummy real snacks.

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(Although sometimes plates are even yummier).

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She was so happy with the whole interaction, and kept playing even after I walked away.

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Moving Objects

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Ladies and gentlemen, we’re on the move around here! And by that I mean first and foremost that I have a crawler. Not only is Veronika fascinated by things that move, but now she herself is on the go!

But I also realized the other day that Veronika was making a motion of vrooming a car along her mat. How quickly babies pick up on things! The timing makes sense; at this age, babies are fascinated by anything that shows cause and effect, and moving objects are the perfect example. You can cater to that fascination with moving toys.

First, I set her up with a bunch of toy cars, and simply let her vroom.

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This is a fun time to introduce types of cars (firetrucks, school buses) even thought that’s a bit beyond comprehension.

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Another great toy to show this movable cause-and-effect is a bead maze. Veronika has shown interest and expertise at these from a young age, and loves moving the beads over…

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…and just twisting them in place.

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So if you’re looking for a way to pass the day with your nine-month-old, get moving!