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Robert’s Age: 2-3/4

Success Rating: Robert LOVES to play in the bath!

I know for some parents bath time is a production line… get them in, get them washed, dried, and dressed. For Robert it’s one of his favorite play times. So I usually run the bath while he fetches is whales, then pull up a pew (aka, the toilet) and sit back for a half hour or so…. sometimes he wants me to join in, but usually he’s quite content to play by himself so I’ll read a book or play a few turns of Words With Friends on my phone šŸ˜‰

Sometimes he’ll do some pouring, as shown above, but his favorite bath time game is with his whales. He’ll have them breaching, diving and splashing their tales. Sometimes he asks to take a bath two or three times in a day just so he can have more play time with his whales in ‘real water’.

And what’s his favorite whale? The Humpback Whale. Sometimes he’ll even sing like a male Humpback, or have the mommy Humpback nudging her baby to the surface to breath (thanks to a David Attenborough’s documentary on Humpack Whales, which he loves.)

Bath time is definitely one of our favorite times of the day!

Playing with Whales in the Bath

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Robert’s Age: 2-3/4

Success Rating: Moderate – he likes it when I wear the puppet and make it talk but isn’t interested in wearing it himself yet – maybe when he’s a little older. But if you’re little one likes puppets, this one is sure to be a hit!

Koala Puppet Completed

I was born and raised in Australia, so I figured my first puppet should be something from ‘home’. Stay tuned for a lion and a frog puppet, coming soon.

Materials

  • Koala Puppet Pattern (PDF)
  • 2 sheets gray felt
  • 1 sheet white or cream felt
  • 1 sheet black felt
  • A pen
  • Sewing pins
  • Gray thread
  • White/cream thread
  • Black thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (or, if you have a little time, you could sew it by hand)

Instructions

  1. Print theĀ Koala Puppet Patternand cut out the pattern pieces.Koala Puppet Pieces
  2. On the front of the body, position the whites of the eyes on the felt, then place the black eye centers on top of them, and position the nose beneath the eyes. Pin the nose and one of the eyes to the koala. Stitch a small cross in the black center of the other eye to attach it to the body, then repeat with the other eye, then stitch around the edges of the nose.Koala Puppet Eyes and Nose
  3. Now position the belly on the front of the body, pin it, and stitch it in place.Koala Puppet Belly
  4. Take the left white inner ear piece, and place it on top of one of the left outer ear pieces, then stitch the inner ear to the outer. Repeat with the right ear pieces.Koala Puppet Ears - Front
  5. Take the second left outer ear pieces and place it behind the left front piece. Stitch around the edge of the outer ear with gray thread to secure the two pieces together. Repeat with the right ear.Koala Puppet Ear Backs
  6. Take the back body piece and position the ears, pin them, and stitch them in place.Koala Puppet - Ears Attached
  7. Place the back body piece, with ears attached and facing up, and place it on your work surface, then place the front body piece, on top, with eyes, nose and belly facing up. Pin the two body pieces together, then stitch around the edge making sure not to stitch the bottom edge (where you hand will go inside the puppet.)Koala Puppet Completed

They also make great party favors.

Koala Puppet Party Favors

Enjoy!

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Robert’s Age: 2-3/4 but this activity would be great for 3-5 year olds to help them learn their fish
Success Rating: Excellent! Hours of fun catching fish off various surfaces around the house, dragging them down hallways and up the stairs.

As my husband is an avid fisherman, and Robert is sooooooo into whales and fish, I’ve been contemplating making a fishing game like the one posted on How the Sun Rose for a while. At first I was going to make some nice bright tropical fish out of felt, but wanting to incorporate more ‘sense of place’ educationĀ  I decided to investigate what it would take to make some local fish species instead.

The problem with local fish is that they do not have as many color variations as tropical fish, and I decided sewing something that would have any chance of being identified was going to be too difficult and time consuming, so I decided upon a ‘printable’ fish game. I hope you enjoy it!

I trolled the web for public domain images (i.e., ones that are not subject to copyright) of local fish, and after several hours of searching and Photoshop-ing, developed twelve fish for the game:

  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Channel Catfish
  • Green Sunfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Materials

For the Fish

  • 5 sheets copy paper for printing the fish worksheets (or, if you wanted to make them more robust you could use printable card stock or photo paper)
  • A color printer
  • PDF Fish Worksheets
  • Scissors
  • A glue stick
  • Clear contact paper
  • A sewing needle or similar sharp instrument for poking holes in the fish (a compass point would also work)
  • 12 paperclips

For the Fishing Pole

If you already have another fishing game or puzzle that includes a pole, feel free to use it. If not:

  • A stick, or piece of wood dowel, about 18 inches long – a bit shorter or longer doesn’t matter
  • A knife for notching the stick (I just used a serrated kitchen knife)
  • A piece of fishing line, or string (length will depend on your child’s height, but I cut mine about 28 inches long)
  • A magnet that can be secured to the end of the string with a knot

For the Water

  • A piece of blue or green fabric works well. For a greater challenge you might want to put the fish inside a deep bowl (so your child can’t see them while fishing) or drape your fabric over (and inside) a big cardboard box to conceal the fish – you could also paint the box blue.

Instructions

For the Fish

  1. Print the worksheets.
  2. Roughly cut up the worksheets to separate the fish, then take a fish and fold the two halves together along the fold line so that the picture is facing out.
  3. Lightly apply glue to the back of one side of the fish and press the two halves together. If you use too much glue the paper will rip when cutting.
  4. Cut out the fish (it doesn’t matter if you don’t cut out every tiny detail, it’s just a game.)
  5. Cut a piece of contact paper twice the length of the fish, then fold it in half, with the back sides of the contact paper facing each other.
  6. Peel off the backing paper and place the fish on one half, then fold over and press to seal.
  7. Cut away the excess contact paper, leaving a good quarter inch (half cm) strip of contact paper all around to help protect your fish.
  8. Take the sewing needle and push through the fish’s mouth to create a small hole.
  9. Thread a paperclip through the hole.
  10. Repeat with the remaining fish.

For the Fishing Pole

  1. Cut a small v-shaped notch about 1-/4 inch (0.5cm) in from the end of the dowel or stick, then roll the dowel and repeat on the other side (of the same end.) This will help hold the line in place.
  2. Tie your line to the end of your dowel, making sure to cinch it in the notch (I just used a reef knot), and cut away the excess line.
  3. Attach your magnet to the other end of the line, and cut away any excess.

Now set up your ‘water’, place the fish on/in it and you’re ready to go fishing!!!!

Feedback on the worksheets is always welcome. I hope you enjoy the game!

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Robert’s Age: 2-3/4

Today we took Robert to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ. Knowing how much he loves all things aquatic, we were sure that he’d get a kick out of seeing the fish – which he did – but the unexpected highlight of the day? The Hippos….

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