Young Children and Unschooling
from an online chat held January 29, 2009

The chat transcript and notes below were from an especially great online chat.

There were over two dozen participants over the course of two hours, from New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, England, North Carolina, Montreal, Texas, Oregon, New York, Minnesota, Colorado, South Carolina, and other places no doubt.

Other resources added to the site later:

"Connect the Drops", about what Pushpa's daughter Veda has learned from her fascination with rain, puddles and thunder.

Physicality—lots of indoor and outdoor ideas for kids who need extra physical activity

TRANSCRIPT
Edited by Bea Mantovani

sandradodd (owner): Yesterday one problem I had was that I became invisible. It was very odd. So today if anyone feels invisible, you can try to send me an IM.

beamontreal: hello

sandradodd (owner): Bea, what's your name?

beamontreal: Bea is my name (Short for Beatrice, it's pronounced Bay-a)

sandradodd (owner): Okay.

beamontreal: : )

sandradodd (owner): I'll probably figure out this chat format about the time someone finds a better one for us to try.

beamontreal: can we start asking questions, or are we waiting for more people to join?

thisschuyler: Hello

sandradodd (owner): Schuyler are you the same Schuyler as usual?

thisschuyler: I will be flitting between the computer and the deep fat fryer

sandradodd (owner): the deep blue sea

sandradodd (owner): Okay.

thisschuyler: Yes, I am the same Schuyler, but someone else claimed my name

sandradodd (owner): Go ahead, Bea.

beamontreal: I'm typing this while my daughter watches Dora on the same computer, so I have delays sometimes

mandaroo63: hi, will "flit" (I like that word) in between making some breakfast and chatting : )

dragonrose42: dragonrose42 is actually me - Pam Sorooshian

mandaroo63: I'm Mandy Sicard

beamontreal: I don't have so much questions as... concerns that I am doing this right... where I come from (France) every body puts their children in day care by the age of 3 or 4 months old, and preschool is free by 2 and 1/2 years old, so I'm having a lot of doubts, that maybe my daughter should be in preschool (she turned 3 in september) if I can't be 100% there for her and I'm 7 months pregnant, so not always full of energy I feel maybe she should be with other kids more.....

rulerofelves: Hello....just testing

alexpolykow: Its me Alex Polikowsky Hi!

sandradodd (owner): Time out. Bea, have you tried cutting and pasting? I can't seem to do it.

beamontreal: yes, I just cut and paste, it worked

sandradodd (owner): I can cut the whole thing but not select a part, it seems.

beamontreal: remind me to do that once in a while,

zadreanalinez: Hi Adrean clark here : D (Hey alex!!)

beamontreal: no, can't select parts, just get the whole thing

alexpolykow: : )

sandradodd (owner): I'll know more by tomorrow (I hope; I usually expect to), so ignore that intro about food you might be getting; sorry.

dinasign1: hi dina here

sandradodd (owner): Bea wanted ideas for things to do with (for, to, around?) a young child and a baby, I think.

pamsorooshian: I'm now myself - Pam Sorooshian, I think

sandradodd (owner): Interestingly, some people ask only other people with "pre-schoolers" instead of asking those longtime unschoolers whose children were also all once babies and toddlers and three year olds.

sandradodd (owner): So cast your minds back, ye who have teens and tweens, to yesteryear.

jillparmer: I remember the book Whole Parent Whole Child had many great ideas for things to do for and with young children

dinasign1: i'd love to hear what you all did with young kids. i have a 2.5 year old son, logan

sandradodd (owner): I loved that book except for her anti-TV bit. Kirby's life was better because of that book!

thisschuyler: Simon was 3 when Linnaea was born. He really liked some television programs at that point. He liked Blues Clues and Bear in the Big Blue House. Sitting with him was good with Linnaea on my lap asleep.

pamsorooshian: Most of what we did when my girls were little seemed to be under the heading of "maintenance" -- got dressed, ate, took off clothes, put clothes back on,

jillparmer: I skipped around in it, so I don't recall the anti tv part.

sandradodd (owner): We sang a lot.

jillparmer: I took mine in the stroller a lot, and strolled at kids pace.

pamsorooshian: Everything was time-consuming - cutting an apple took a while with help of little fingers.

jillparmer: got out and in a lot

sandradodd (owner): Singing can happen while dressing and driving and making food, so I worked to produce multitaskers. : -)

beamontreal: ok, that was my question... do I have to make every moment interesting, or is it ok to just chill out watching tv and respond to her requests on some days, and be more proactive on other days

lylawolf: what we did in general?

pamsorooshian: we talked and sang pretty much constantly - and I also have singers (and talkers) now.

thisschuyler: I remember reading in some parenting book that you should expect it to take an hour to walk a block with a toddler.

lylawolf: i tried to spend as much time with friends - at houses, at parks, cooking together, etc.

jillparmer: Yes, that was our pace!

alexpolykow: I have the same experience as Schuyler. MY son liked TV when the baby was born so we bonded a lot watching TV while I nursed the baby

pamsorooshian: I remember one "walk" where we got on our knees and looked at the sidewalk for a long time. It had sparkly stuff in it.

sandradodd (owner): I'm ordinarily a hyperactive type of person, and taking an hour to do anything is difficult. But when I had babies and I was nursing, the prolactin or whatever stupified me perfectly. sandradodd (owner): We would start out for a walk but a bug or an ant bed could be the destination, and we'd stay there a while and then go back to the house.

thisschuyler: Putting a big sheet on the floor and fingerpainting on it with sparkles and other things was a regular deal.

lylawolf: yes me too. although it was defintely always a struggle. interestingly enough, now i have a teen and a tween *i'd* rather be lazy more often!

jillparmer: My youngest like to play with any food or untensils while I prepped and cooked by him.

pamsorooshian: But - maybe just the daily kinds of things we do don't seem like enough to moms these days. They are under pressure to "educate" those little ones.

jenstarc4 Hi all, I decided to join afterall!

jenstarc4: It's Jenny

lylawolf: hey jenny!

sandradodd (owner): A couple of times I gave my boys paint brushes outside and tempera and let them paint an unfinished wall and their own feet or the concrete. Holly painted cinderblock walls with tempera when we moved.

jillparmer: The biggest thing that helped me with young kids was just to slow down.

sandradodd (owner): Some colors stayed for years but others washed off.

rulerofelves: it is very hard to slow down when there are so many other things going on

jenstarc4: How little are we talking right now?

jillparmer: paint...oh yes, colored water in spray bottles for snow.

pamsorooshian: I was aware of offering lots of things of different textures for them to play with - soft, rough, ridged, slick, etc.

beamontreal: yes pam, that's the way I feel. I feel I should be doing *more * than ^preschool, but I don't even know what they do in preschool

jillparmer: Rule....drop things don't do it ALL.

sandradodd (owner): Bea, how old is your older child again?

jenstarc4: ok, preschool

jenstarc4: sensory things were always big

beamontreal: dd is 3 and almost 1/2, she'll be 3 and 1/2 when the baby is born, in March

pamsorooshian: We made a lot of homemade playdough - and added weird things to it like oatmeal or pineapple flavoring or peppermint or seasonings like curry powder.

sandradodd (owner): It's odd to say "preschool" seeing as how my 17 year old is still preschool.

dinasign1: haha

rulerofelves: funny!

sandradodd (owner): We just made a lot of homemade playdough. I wasn't as creative. But I did get fancy Wilton cake colors so we could have black playdough, and pinki.

sandradodd (owner): pink

dinasign1: i like what jill said about slowing down.

pamsorooshian: Oh - and my kids really loved playing with water - anywhere, any kind.

sandradodd (owner): My husband used to tell me I would have to slow down when I had kids, and as each next came he said that, and I honestly, truly didn't understand what he meant.

alexpolykow: a sheet and dry pasta and rice and bean with lots of little spoon, mesuring utensils and containers is a lot of fun

sandradodd (owner): I wasn't very good at slowing down.

jillparmer: Ditto on the water..creeks, spraying the back yard, the bathtub.

beamontreal: dd likes to dress up a lot. She watches TV shows and wants to dress up as one of the characters, so we make costumes (usually out of construction paper, very simple stuff)

jenstarc4: we used this book a lot! http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Book-Kid-Concoctions-Wacky/dp/0966108809

dinasign1: hey we just got that book! its great

cncnawilloughby: ha! my 5 and 9 year old girls are already planning the river they are going to dig at our new place

alexpolykow: my kids loved the sandbox in the warm days

jillparmer: Slowing down for me was, breathing while I got everyone dresses, or shoes on and giving us extra time to do things.

sandradodd (owner): We made a sandbox with railroad ties, just a hole in the back yard up against a cinderblock wall. But then we bought sand and filled it. That and a hose were GREAT fun. But regular mud works too, if you have a good place to hose kids off.

cncnawilloughby: one thing my 5 year old loved ... I got a bunch of pringles cans and small balls and a big piece of plywood covered with material velcro attaches to

cncnawilloughby: then put velcro on the pringles cans

dinasign1: i meant that when we're out and walking to the park, logan finds everythingon the way interesting. and i have a hard time just enjoying that. i'm focused on getting to the park

cncnawilloughby: she would make all kinds of mazes and such to see if the balls would go through

alexpolykow: my sandbox is kind of like that Sandra

jillparmer: Dina that was a difficult and rewarding shift for me to make.

bwalyalynn: The trick is probably not to go to the park, just set out to walk in that direction.

jillparmer: Since I was there for my kid.

zadreanalinez: what kinds of activities would be apartment-safe? we have white carpet. : (

cncnawilloughby: dina I'd have trouble with that sometimes and have to allow myself to just enjoy the here and now

jenstarc4: I remember one time we were walking with an adult friend and Margaux was tired of walking, so I pointed out all the cool stuff on the way, and we used that as a distraction, so it's definitely a benefit to be able to stop and smell the roses

cncnawilloughby: dalworth clean : ) !!!

jillparmer: White carpet....cans filled with diffent shakey things, and taped securely.

sandradodd (owner): Move away from white carpet. White carpet and unschooling are a very bad combo.

choose2bgr8: This says 4/5 year old activities, but can be done with all ages, well, except babies maybe. http://whatmykidstaughtme.blogspot.com/2008/07/45-year-old-activities.html

sandradodd (owner): But if you have to live with white carpet, kids could still play with beans and Duplo and yarn

thisschuyler: white carpet, buy lots of throw rugs

cncnawilloughby: dress clothes are fabulous for little girls and boys imo

zadreanalinez: We don't want to give up the skyways -- within walking distrance to 2 museums (1 children's) and 1 central library. It's a tradeoff : )

dinasign1: can you do things in the kitchen? we used to live in an apt with light colored carpet. found ourselves doing things in the bathtub too

jenstarc4: We throw big sheets down on the floor for easy clean up

jillparmer: white carpet, put down a very good and large drop cloth....playing with paper, tinfoil, tape.

cncnawilloughby: it dosent have to be expensive sets of them

bwalyalynn: I find picnic rugs, the kind with plastic backing, save carpets fairly well.

thisschuyler: Thrift stores have great clothes for dressing up

zadreanalinez: great ideas -- last night DS5 cut up candy wrappers to make confetti : )

sandradodd (owner): Maybe go to the children's museum LOTS to get away from the carpet and let them do a messy thing. are you in Minneapolis?

zadreanalinez: St. Paul

jillparmer: I knew one kid that just loved cutting things....paper, foam (craft) sheets, magazines, etc.

mandaroo63: we do a lot of crafting (5&9), scrapbooking little one likes to cut and glue alot, use the crinkly scissors, hole punchers

thisschuyler: Bathtub paint is great. Linnaea loves using crayons to draw on the bathtub still

zadreanalinez: true re: children's museum. They have crafts every day. We also disovered deviantart to be a great resource for printing out kids' favorite characters

zadreanalinez: regular craons?

mandaroo63: lots of drawing supplies on hand

sandradodd (owner): Okay! Time out! We have a Montreal and a St. Paul. Let's think for a bit of things to do where it's really cold and people might likely live in apartments.

thisschuyler: Yeah, regular crayons

jenstarc4: both my kids have enjoyed scissors a LOT, leaving little trails around the house

zadreanalinez: washes off well?

thisschuyler: I have to scrub a little if it gets on the grout, but it comes off

zadreanalinez: yeah it's 13 degreets out

dinasign1: cold here in nyc today too

bwalyalynn: My eldest liked making jigsaws when she was four or five.

mandaroo63: when little one was 3 cut her birth certificat : ( ...don't leave bc around LOL

jenstarc4: the book I mentioned has some neat recipes for stuff like bathtub paints

cncnawilloughby: what book was that?

zadreanalinez: (btw I loved Montreal when visiting last spring)

lylawolf: flubber

jenstarc4: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Book-Kid-Concoctions-Wacky/dp/0966108809

jillparmer: Cold weather places.... build forts, dress up, play in bath tub, mess around with odd plumbing store items...

jenstarc4: fort building is always a hit

thisschuyler: You can get clips for cardboard forts, octa clips

jenstarc4: lots of soft blankets and pillows and a cool hang out place that's easy to clean up

jillparmer: Spray bottles with colored water to spray on snow.

lylawolf: potions. one of the best gifts my daughter got was from an unschooling friend - a potion "kit" and a big silver potion bowl with a special spoon

beamontreal: Montreal is nice, but not easy getting around while 7 months pregnant, with a 3 year old and no car. Public transportation is not bad but we have to get in and out of snow suit everytime we inside

lylawolf: she was maybe 3-4

marinnyboo: my son likes to help me cook simple things

mandaroo63: Usborne has some great kids crafts books and the Williamson little hands books are great too, especially for indoor stuff

lylawolf: the potion ingredients were lots of little bottles - with dishsoap, perfume spray, herbs, etc.

unscoolsupermom: Claire likes to wash dishes

sandradodd (owner): Chats go by very quickly. I'll make a list of good parts and post it soon.

marinnyboo: he loves to crack eggs and make sandwiches with cookie cutters..he is almost 5

mandaroo63: my 2 had fun having a top chef quick fire challenge yesterday

sandradodd (owner): But Jill mentioned plumbing parts, and I have an article (old one) called "Gifts for guys to buy," but women can do it too!

marinnyboo: I mean that he likes to cut his sandwiches into shapes with the cookie cutters

thisschuyler: Building block towers and knocking them down with bdaman marble shooters has whiled away many an hour

jenstarc4: I think I would find myself staying home a lot if I were with a 3 yo with lots of snow and no car

sandradodd (owner): SandraDodd.com/gifts

mandaroo63: they took some tortillas and covered them with choc pudding, peanut butter, cookies, nuts.....it was fun to see them throw together a bunch of stuff and they had fun eating it (well some of it)

cncnawilloughby: I wish they still made those baby wipes that each baby wipe box was a large duplo block

cncnawilloughby: remember those?

jenstarc4: I've never seen those!

unscoolsupermom: we had those wipes with the building blocks too

dinasign1: yesterdya we played with bubblewrap for hours. happened to come in a package that arrived yesterday

beamontreal: yes, we stay at home a lot... although I found a really nice Korean restaurant nearby, so we go there once a week, and than go shopping, and we also go see friends once a week

jenstarc4: bubble wrap is fun to tap dance on

unscoolsupermom: My dd 14 said still loves bubble wrap

marinnyboo: hee hee ...me too

beamontreal: 2 outings during weekdays, and more on the week end with dad, is that enough? Am I supposed to go out everyday?

sandradodd (owner): Those of you who have the good fort-building ideas and such, if you have photos you could send me that would be wonderful.

jenstarc4: oh, yes! So does mine!

cncnawilloughby: when we were in an apartment with little ones we would take them out on the balcony even if it was cold

sandradodd (owner): In case anyone found us directly and doesn't have my e-mail address, it's Sandra@SandraDodd.com

cncnawilloughby: sometimes they just needed to be outside for a little bit

jenstarc4: I'll see if I can find any

jenstarc4: Sometimes we set a tent up in the living room

unscoolsupermom: I dont have fort pics but my hubby made a spiderweb with the kids one weekend

zadreanalinez: cool, with string?

sandradodd (owner): We have chairs with posts on each side of the back (I don't know chair-part-terminology for it) and the kids would put sheets over them and then rubberbands or hairties to hold them there.

thisschuyler: http://www.superdairyboy.com/Toys/Octa_Clip_Photo_Gallery.html has pictures of octa clips, not of Simon and Linnaea in octa clip forts. d(see photos in side column)

unscoolsupermom: Yes, with twine across one of the bedrooms

thisschuyler: We have a system that predates octa clips, from David's childhood.

sandradodd (owner): When I was little my mom would put a sheet over a card table.

dinasign1: got a tent, really its an igloo from ikea really cheap. not as creative as homemade fort but fun nevertheless

jenstarc4: last week my dh took Margaux's mattress and lined the front with cardboard so they could shoot arrows down the hall into a target

thisschuyler: Before Linnaea was born we set up our camping tent in the bedroom for Simon to play in.

sandradodd (owner): My kids never did that yarn thing, to web up a room, but I've seen it at other houses and it looks wonderful (as long as they don't pull over lamps into a big old yarn web, I guess)

thisschuyler: Linnaea's done that to amuse the cats

cncnawilloughby: I want to find the round bowl shaped part of one of this wicker "moon chairs" and attack sheer fabric and stuff to it and hand it upside down in the girls room as a tent

jenstarc4: it was temporary to do, but it makes a difference when you are willing to go all out for something like that

sandradodd (owner): We've put a little pop tent up inside. Sometimes you can get those very inexpensively, the two-person dome tents.

zadreanalinez: oh yeah cardboard is great -- we have a big dumpster downstairs for cardboard recycling. I need to go spelunking soon

sandradodd (owner): I've seen some of those chairs for sale at Goodwill, but if you have something like Freecycle in your area you might ask for a broken one.

unscoolsupermom: Yeah, we have tents that we put up in the living room too, the kids love that

jenstarc4: amusing cats is a fun thing all in itself!

sandradodd (owner): Jenny, were they using arrows that pierced the mattress? Or toy suction cup things?

bwalyalynn: Our mosquito nets were netting sewn to small hula hoops, hung from the ceiling - they made great tents, or princessy four-poster beds when we were in the mood.

unscoolsupermom: They are called papasan chairs, I had one for about 12 years then gave it away

sandradodd (owner): There are suction cup nerf darts.

thisschuyler: spit balls have always been good amusement

jenstarc4: they were sharp enough to hit a target at a semi long range, that is why he lined it with cardboard

dinasign1: lol

thisschuyler: Pixy sticks make good launchers

thisschuyler: Pixie sticks?

jenstarc4: yes

jenstarc4: the second

thisschuyler: Leave the country and I forget all my American

jenstarc4: I definitely know that for sure, we are huge pixie stix fans

dinasign1: havent seen one in a long time

jenstarc4: and straws, can't have enough straws!

cncnawilloughby: i have to go work on packing more. It was nice talking to everyone!

sandradodd (owner): Wet paper towels or folded up tissue paper (like tissue wrapping paper, though kleenex might work too) and putting drops of food coloring can make something wonderful. If you can very carefully unfold it afterwards, then you can use that to

zadreanalinez: how do you keep them from getting soggy?

sandradodd (owner): wrap gifts.

sandradodd (owner): Aim for damp and not soggy.

thisschuyler: Straws are cool for making blow paintings where you put a blob of watery paint on a piece of paper and blow it around

jenstarc4: margaux always liked to put food coloring in odd things, like cotton balls

zadreanalinez: I have a friend with a papasan chair -- sitting in it was exciting, never knew when it'd tumble over

thisschuyler: Linnaea recently made sculptures with soy based packing peanuts

jenstarc4: soggy is good too!

jenstarc4: very tactile!

jenstarc4: oh, we save those too!

jenstarc4: were they the kind that dissolve?

thisschuyler: Yeah

thisschuyler: They stick to each other easily

jenstarc4: I have a bag of them in the kitchen at this very moment, waiting for an "I'm bored" moment

jenstarc4: good question!

unscoolsupermom: Sandra, do you want me to send pics of the web directly to you?

jenstarc4: we've been huge fans of books on tape and cd

jillparmer: http://www.amazon.com/Mudworks-Creative-Modeling-Experiences-Learning/dp/0935607021

jenstarc4: tea parties that include sugar cubes are always a hit!

jillparmer: and small cakes or small anything.

dinasign1: we had our 1st tea party yest. logan, me & some rubber ducks. he said they wanted tea

marinnyboo: can anyone tell me what they said to folks who start the, "Oh you are 5 and ready for kindergarten," speech?

thisschuyler: I'm not seeing all of it. Leaving the room and coming back brought up a lot of stuff I was missing

marinnyboo: we are unschooling for sure and I am never sure what to say

jenstarc4: we had to refresh the room yesterday too, and I found that if you remove pop up blocker it works better

jenstarc4: You could just answer "yes" and let them make whatever assumptions they like

dinasign1: i've already gotten those ?s from friends abt preschool. son is 2!

marinnyboo: right....it seems like I always get the question from teachers

jenstarc4: weather

marinnyboo: yeah, that happened to us too but my son is nearly 5 so we are getiing the school question a lot

beamontreal: I get the question from all my friends in France: what, she's not starting school yet? (She's 3)

rulerofelves: we are too with my 5 year old...and she is on the fence about wanting to go to school

sandradodd (owner): It's noise and not communication. It's friendliness without desire to really know details.

pamsorooshian: Sometimes it helped my kids for me to tell them exactly what they might say. Give them some exact words.

beamontreal: I've started saying. No, we plan on homeschooling, and school in Quebec is not until 6 anyway : )

sandradodd (owner): Bea, say "not yet."

rulerofelves: i cringe when people ask her how she likes school or whatever

pamsorooshian: They sometimes feel pressured by adult questioners.

sandradodd (owner): And smile and ask them about something

bwalyalynn: When I was a student people would ask where I went to school - "I didn't" was a bit of a conversation killer.

jenstarc4: The one I never like is "what grade are you in?"

jillparmer: Cold weather indoor ideas....color designs (regular crayons) on white paper, can outline with a sharpie, with an oiled cotton ball rub the back of the paper. Makes a nice stained glass effect.

rulerofelves: sometimes she tells them how much fun we have at home and how we can do whatever we want and other times it turns into a "can I go to school?" conversation

bwalyalynn: My daughter sometimes says she wants to go back to school, but if I ask her why she says she wants to have lunch there.

jenstarc4: how old is she?

bwalyalynn: Their cooking was better than mine, apparently.

marinnyboo: ha!

sandradodd (owner): Yes. Find out what about school kids want. It might be to ride a bus, or to eat in a cafeteria or to own a lunchbox.

sandradodd (owner): Do those things before you put them in school.

bwalyalynn: She's nine, was only at school for a few months.

sandradodd (owner): It might satisfy the urge.

rulerofelves: ewe! i always hated my schoool lunch...it was the only fun time when you got to hang out with friends

jenstarc4: colleges have cafeteria style food courts and are often open to whoever stops in

sandradodd (owner): In the summer in Albuquerque there used to be (maybe still is) a free lunch program in some neighborhoods.

dinasign1: don't mean to sidetrack chat but was curious where everyone currently lives.

sandradodd (owner): Sack lunches for anyone under 18. And my kids would go there sometimes, for the surprise sack of food and the experience of lining up and eating with other kids.

sandradodd (owner): Albuquerque

rulerofelves: oklahoma

jenstarc4: it's the same here in the summer, free lunch program

thisschuyler: UK

marinnyboo: north carolina

beamontreal: Montreal

b38040: ny

bwalyalynn: England

jakesmome: Texas here

jenstarc4: Oregon

pamsorooshian: I loved standing in line waiting to go into the school cafeteria - weird. But I remember so clearly the smells and the anticipation and all that.

zadreanalinez: Didn't someone write that people tend to follow a script in talking with kids -- then feel threatened if that script is broken?

rulerofelves: i saw that there is a fulltime RV family on here....that is what we are trying to get to do.

suisaidhburke: They also have the free lunch and breakfast program here in some towns in NH.

zadreanalinez: "How's school?" "What'd you learn in school?"

sandradodd (owner): I think not "threatened," but "embarrassed" maybe.

zadreanalinez: Minnesota (moved from NC last fall)

jillparmer: Colorado

jakesmome: rulesofleves...it's probably me

pamsorooshian: Southern California where it is warm and sunny today .

sandradodd (owner): There's a discussion list for RV families, right? Could someone put the link so we can stay more on the topic of younger children?

rulerofelves: yep it is you, how do you like it?

katherand: South Carolina

jenstarc4: The way adults talk to kids is interesting, I've been dropping the neighbor girl off at her school and get to see it

dacunefare: It helps to give kids possible answers that won't confuse the questioner. (chicago) or answer for them

jenstarc4: Margaux made a very accurate observation about all the kids pushing and shoving to get into the doors at school

dinasign1: u wld think they wld be pushing to get OUT

jenstarc4: it was very surreal, since our world isn't like that at all

jenstarc4: well, they didn't want to be tardy ya know

rulerofelves:

Jakesmome....Are you familiar with bare naked family? they full time RV too and dateline I think did a story on them a few years back. We have been striving to break free ever since

sandradodd (owner): SO back to not-even-school-age, please...

b38040: I'm sorry I missed the beginning of this chat, my daughter is 18 months old and I have been wondering a lot about unschooling at this age. Is there a way to get a copy of the earlier part of the chat?

thisschuyler: What would you like to know about unschooling an 18 month old?

sandradodd (owner): There will be a summary, B38040

thisschuyler: The early part of the chat was ideas of things to do, largely with an apartment with a white carpet in mind.

jenstarc4: I parented my second child very differently than my first one because of unschooling

jenstarc4: that shouldn't be past tense, sorry, I'm still parenting!

sandradodd (owner): Please everyone post the ages of your children.

sandradodd (owner): 22, 20, 17

jenstarc4: 14 and 7

thisschuyler: 11 and 8

beamontreal: 3 1/2, and one due in March

marinnyboo: almost 5

bwalyalynn: 9, 7, 5 and 3 next week.

dacunefare: 30,24,16,16

mandaroo63: i'm back.....5&9

zadreanalinez: we have a medium box filled with mcdonald's toys and little toys. the boys like to go through it every once in a while

pisecobabe: 26 months, 6 1/2

katherand: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UnschoolingFOTR

beamontreal: I'd like ideas about what to do with a 3 year old while being pregnant and low on energy

dinasign1: 2.5

alexpolykow: 3 and 6

katherand: That the link for RVing unschoolers

beamontreal: oh, low on energy, no car, and snow outside and -10 degrees celcius or lower

mandaroo63: going back to boxes...providing empty cereal boxes, tp rolls, packaging...kids come up with amzing stuff....mine have made fairy houses, time machines......

pisecobabe: My 26 month old is much more musically inclined than my son was, so I'm looking for some interesting musical activities beyond just simple instruments or dancing. Ideas?

sandradodd (owner): DVDs. Happy little-kid DVDs and warm food and smiling mom and a nap.

jenstarc4: we used lots of recyclables to make marble shoots

dinasign1: we have a lot of packing tape lying around from a recent move. movers left it. we've been having fun with it

jenstarc4: egg shakers?

thisschuyler: Make sure that you are eating enough. Energy bars were good when I was pregnant with Linnaea and playing with Simon

sandradodd (owner): When my kids were five and under we almost always had a bed (blankets on a futon) in front of the TV in the front room. They'd play there and it was easy to fall asleep there.

thisschuyler: Role playing games helped

pisecobabe: @ jen starc 4 - yep, we've got egg shakers! : ) We make more every year when the plastic easter eggs are out - soft and loud sounds - cotton balls, rice, beans, pennies.

marinnyboo: my son loves the Sing a Long DVDs and tapes for music. Also, we bought a cheap piano at Target that has provided lots of fun

thisschuyler: Simon would be a super hero and I would tell him the danger he needed to fight or who needed rescuing

jenstarc4: kids that are musically inclined might enjoy real instruments to fiddle around with

thisschuyler: Off he'd go and fly to where ever and come back for another story

bwalyalynn: Recorders are as simple as the child needs them to be.

marinnyboo: if you are low on energy can watch a movie and cuddle together?

pisecobabe: @ marinnyboo... thanks, I don't have those DVDs yet, I'll have to look for them.

beamontreal: ok, that's what we do a lot of: cuddle and watch TV/ Dvds .. just wondering if that's... enough?

pamsorooshian: did anybody mention mini-trampolines yet?

jenstarc4: Margaux likes to run around without clothes with only a cape and call herself superman

beamontreal: I mean, we do get out sometimes, but not everyday

thisschuyler: Blues Clues computer games were great on my low energy days. We had a laptop and I would sit next to him and we'd play a game together.

pisecobabe: @ jen starc 4 ... LOL we do those too, as she's able - she plays around with my keyboard, recorders, snare drum, etc

marinnyboo: we have found some at the thrift store and some we borrowed from an older relative and a few we bought at target

dinasign1: isn't that called my couch? ;)

sandradodd (owner): Recorders aren't simple beginning instruments. If they're just going to use them as whistles, get a whistle. But little xylophones can make real music. They're loud, though,

pamsorooshian: we also used to make pretend "stepping stones" all over the house - just sheets of paper, but nobody could walk anywhere except on them.

sandradodd (owner): Electronic keyboards can be very inexpensive these days.

jenstarc4: kids are really fascinated with mandolins too since they are small

pamsorooshian: there are virtual keyboard sites - you can play keyboards online.

suisaidhburke: Here here to the electronic key board suggestion, we have one we picked up when she was a baby, she loves fiddling around and making her own music.

mandaroo63: @jenstarc4 sounds like my LIvie, she has quite a collection of capes : )

suisaidhburke: There are tons of fun games online too, and sometimes she goes to a site called girlsgogames.com

pisecobabe: @sandra... I've found that as she watches her 6 yo brother and I play recorders, she's starting to get the idea of producing different tones. Yes to the xylophones!

dinasign1: u can make a rain stick. that's an instrument, easy to make

sandradodd (owner): A friend of mine bought a ukelele from amazon.com and it's a pretty nice one.

marinnyboo: I have to get going..thanks for all the good ideas

pisecobabe: pam... oh, she's always lusting after the laptop, I bet she'd love the online electronic keyboards.

sandradodd (owner): A tenor, so the four strings are like the four highest guitar strings.

mandaroo63: my 5 yo enjoys nickjr games on computer, pbskids, starfall

pamsorooshian: Really good sources of fun activities for young children are the Daisy Girl Scout book and the Brownie Try-It Book.

jenstarc4: yes, we've used those too

suisaidhburke: there are netflix movies available to watch online without waiting for the dvd to come in the mail.

jenstarc4: the GS books

beamontreal: my 3 year old is starting to be able to play games on her own on NickJr... that's very exciting to me!

dinasign1: we're a big fan of you tube around here

pamsorooshian: oh my - just remembered - hours of fun tapping music on glasses filled with different amounts of water.

pisecobabe: pam, Of course! We haven't done that in ages, not since she was too small to really be in on it... she would love that!

jenstarc4: we have a finger piano, that has been a huge hit with lots of kids

zadreanalinez: real drumsticks are pretty cheap and can be banged on almost anything

sandradodd (owner): There are some beautiful interactive baby games on the boo-bah site at PBS kids

thisschuyler: Boobahs has a great site for games

thisschuyler: jinx, almost

sandradodd (owner): JINX

sandradodd (owner): DOH!

jenstarc4: or taking apart music boxes to see the inner working happen when you are playing it pamsorooshian: make drums out of almost anything too - chopsticks on oatmeal boxes. pan lids for cymbals, etc.

beamontreal: Netflicks is in the US only, unfortunately. I download tv shows and rent movies on Itunes (the Canada store has those, I'm not sure other countries have those yet, except for the US)

thisschuyler: http://www.boohbah.com/zone.html

pisecobabe: @ sandra AND thisschuyler... thanks - those were the kinds of games my son wasn't interested in, I bet she'll enjoy that.

sandradodd (owner): There are music boxes--just the mechanisms--at crafts stores (Michael's, Hobby Lobby--what are the Canadian or Brit equivalents of places like that?

katherand: I am really happy to see al the musical ideas. Karl is nuts for that. We have a big keyboard, a little one, xylophone, shakers, and other percussion. Saw a drum set like Wii has for $18 at Freds the other day

jenstarc4: we go around putting it on different surfaces to hear the sound change

thisschuyler: In the UK there is LoveFilms for DVD rentals via mail

crazyzeus1: I'm probably already stating what's been said, but we've found SO many things from Freecycle!

pisecobabe: I'll have to look at hobby stores & also keep an eye out at thrift shops (and freecycle) - I would love to have a whole basket of different music box workings...

zadreanalinez: freecycle is great but it seems like we keep getting beaten to the good stuff

sandradodd (owner): There are sharp parts, so be careful with babies.

sandradodd (owner): Fisher Price used to make a record player that was a music box.

thisschuyler: There really aren't crafting equivelant shops in the UK to Micheals of Hobby Lobby

mandaroo63: we recd a book Play me a song by tormont pub which has nursery rhymes and a keyboard attchd, both of mine had hrs of fun with it has keys in colors in the songs

crazyzeus1: Did someone already mention tearing apart small appliances (like a toaster?) obviously not something for REALLY littles, but my son at 4 & 5 loved seeing the inner workings of "stuff" while we worked together on it

mandaroo63: looks like a mini piano keyboard

pisecobabe: @ sandra - I had that record player! : )

thisschuyler: Tearing stuff apart is fun. Someone mentioned cellophane candy wrappers.

pamsorooshian: whoever said they were in canada and no netflix - you do have a few netflix-like companies - one also rents video games, not just movies.

pisecobabe: @mandaroo... oh, we don't have a book like that - she'd love it

thisschuyler: Making confetti out of old phone books

crazyzeus1: We asked on our local Freecycle for an old toaster & got one right away!

katherand: What about visual ideas for a kid who likes both audials and visuals? Karl has no trouble coming up with sounds to make. : 0

sandradodd (owner): Those record players were flat out music boxes. The metal "sprongs" were inside the "arm" and you can look at the record to see when each not's about to hit.

pamsorooshian: canflix - is the movie and video game renting-by-mail place I've heard of in Canada.

jenstarc4: Oh, I totally need something to do with old phone books!

jenstarc4: I usually toss them in the recycle bin the moment we get them

thisschuyler: Robyn Coburn makes beads out of paper

dinasign1: bet u cld use paper like plaster of paris and make sculptures.

jenstarc4: I had an old record music player when I was a kid, I loved it soo much

sandradodd (owner): Spitwads were mentioned earlier. papier mache over a balloon can be fun. You can make full-head masks or banks for money or piñatas

crazyzeus1: if anyone has kids that are interested in paper folding/rolling, we found some awesome ideas in the Big A** Book of Crafts (yes, that's the title) that used old magazines

jenstarc4: o yah and papier mache

zadreanalinez: for visual kids the computer and tv helps a lot

beamontreal: Thanks Pam. there are a few Netflix equivalent, but for now it's easier for me to rent stuff online (ie not get it in the mail) and none of the Canadian companies have that option, at least as far as I know

crazyzeus1: My 5 year old helped me roll paper "tubes" out of magazine pages & then we flattened them & made a bowl out of the strips!

beamontreal: but I have Itunes, and rent and buy stuff on there

zadreanalinez: cool

sandradodd (owner): If you have a fireplace or woodstove, saving the torn up paper to start fires with is fun. Just don't save it where it can start a fire on its own.

crazyzeus1: After being sprayed with Krylon, it's pretty sturdy & I use it in the laundry room to collect loose change & clothes pins!

pisecobabe: Old phone books can make good book vaults... cut the paper out of the middles, mod podge the edges shut... a great hidey hole for kids' special treasures

dinasign1: yeah that's what i meant. papier mache

beamontreal: I have bought all of the Dora shows, Diego, Backyardigans, etc from Itunes.

jenstarc4: I'm totally going to make a book vault!!!

sandradodd (owner): gYou can make tubes of the rolled up paper, too, and use them to build things with, with tape or more paper and glue

crazyzeus1: Pisecobabe....that's a GREAT idea! what did you use to cut the paper in the middle? A small saw? electric?

zadreanalinez: what's a book vault?

sandradodd (owner): Is making a book vault like making a butter fly?

mandaroo63: we're going to go out and collect twigs, bark, rocks to make fairy houses in a few....will have to sign off again, lot of great ideas!!! bye

zadreanalinez: ohh n/m

pisecobabe: I used an xacto knife, about 25-50 pages at a time to cut out the middles...

sandradodd (owner): That's not a good thing to do with babies.

crazyzeus1: I LOVE the idea of a fairy house! we made one at a local plant nursery with the gardener, & the kids LOVED it!

sandradodd (owner): TOPICS, people!! eep to the topic.

jenstarc4: no, but I'm going to do it!

crazyzeus1: : )

sandradodd (owner): eep=Keep (sometimes; that time)

pisecobabe: here was our spring one: http://piseco.homeschooljournal.net/2008/04/07/unplug-your-kids-books/

jenstarc4: A small child could definitely appreciate a book vault

pisecobabe: @sandra - you are right that it's not best to MAKE this with a babe, but my daughter delights in finding things to put in it, putting it on & off the shelf, etc.

sandradodd (owner): Would probably love to get hold of a Xacto knife too, but..

crazyzeus1: babies....ok.....has anyone mentioned going to a modern art museum? I was amazed at how much my son at 1yo LOVED seeing all the art

jenstarc4: balloon rockets are fun

thisschuyler: balloons are fun

thisschuyler: bubbles are fun

pamsorooshian: okay - activities for little kids -- we used to take all the old crayons and I'd chop them up - put them between two pieces of wax paper and iron them - cut the paper into pretty shapes - stars, etc., punch holes and hang in windows.

crazyzeus1: Ohhh...Pam...that was probably my favorite, ever, craft we did in school! That would entertain a big age range too!

gothl0kinfem3808: IM me if you wanna cam

thisschuyler: The Explora Museum in Albuquerque had a great bubble display where you could pull a bubble up around you.

crazyzeus1: I think I still have two Christmas ornaments I made in preschool with the wax paper/crayons katherand: I think we have plenty of old crayons worn and too small to hold anymore.

crazyzeus1: and spread so pretty!

sandradodd (owner): Pam Sorooshian's idea for additives in homemade playdough would be good for that.

pisecobabe: Drop crayon gratings (like Pam was making) onto a piece of warmed aluminium foil... they'll melt on a bit, fun to watch, feel & smell.

jillparmer: Crayones....you can also melt different colored bits in a muffin tin, and then use them as multi colored crayons, (not like a stick crayon, though).

katherand: food coloring?

zadreanalinez: I'm nervous when taking my kids to the art museum -I'm not sure if they're too loud or touch feely

sandradodd (owner): One of the museums in town has a place where you can stick your hand into a hold in a wooden box and guess what's in there. We used to do that here, with a paper bag

zadreanalinez: what do you all do when you go? rem I'm deaf so I don't usually catch on to social cues

pamsorooshian: you know - art is EVERYWHERE - you don't have to take little kids to art museums.

crazyzeus1: If you can go during a weekday morning, they're often empty (museum)!!! You can call ahead & see if they have Mommy & Me time...lots of them do around here

thisschuyler: We've only ever been asked to be calmer in a museum once. And we've gone lots

pamsorooshian: Look up "urban art" and find a place where there is a fountain or statue they can even climb on.

sandradodd (owner): Just don't put gross things. But for kids who are just learning words, it's fun for them to see if they can tell that something is a glove or a rock or a crayon by touching only

katherand: sandra.. the food coloring was a comment about additives in playdough.. is that the kind of additive you meant?

jillparmer: Our museum allows individuals to check out themed boxes...mountain man, animals of the west, etc. They have some cool stuff to look at and touch in there.

pamsorooshian: we did that stick your hand in a bag thing at a kid's museum once - then we came home and spent the next week doing it at home.

sandradodd (owner): Museums and very young children: don't plan to see the whole thing. Go in for a while and leave when the kids are restless

thisschuyler: You could call the museum before you go and ask if they have areas that are specifically for children

thisschuyler: If they do it probably means they want families to come

crazyzeus1: Re: Museums....most of them have online information about what's on display. You can check out a library book about the artists if there are any

jillparmer: Visitor Centers are fun to go to...not crowded, things to see and touch, smaller space, takes a very short time.

crazyzeus1: Even if they don't have a children's area per se, I've never found museum staff to be unwelcoming.

sandradodd (owner): Visitor centers like where, Jill?

sandradodd (owner): On the highway?

katherand: we have a new children's museum opening this summer I hope. Karl has loved going to those.

sandradodd (owner): State parks?

jillparmer: Yes. we are a few miles from the interstate.

jenstarc4: around here there are lots of Lewis and Clark things

jillparmer: State parks too.

pamsorooshian: paint rocks

jenstarc4: little stop asides off roads and such

pisecobabe: Telling items by touch... a similar activity my kids love: I pull a stocking cap down over her eyes and carry her into a different room, see if she can tell what room we're in.

pamsorooshian: (not in state parks - don't paint the rocks there)

sandradodd (owner): For local things to do, find a local parenting list or homeschooling list and find out what their kids have liked.

jenstarc4: and you can get brochures and stuff, which my kids always liked to do

sandradodd (owner): We used to play "hide the music" with Kirby.

sandradodd (owner): We would wind up a little wooden music box and put it somewhere in his room and he would go in and find it by the sound.

sandradodd (owner): Interestingly, he would always look where it was the last time right away, without listening first.

katherand: There are also historic reenacting places. Carl Sanders is a big one near here..

pamsorooshian: You can play a version of what's that tune with little kids - hum the song, without words, until they start singing along.

crazyzeus1: Sandra--great idea with the music box! I've never thought of that

jenstarc4: Margaux and I play hiding games all the time. I hide objects and she has to find them, and vice versa

pisecobabe: @ sandra - oh, good idea! I used to do that with my son when he was younger, only we'd use a ticking kitchen timer. My daughter would love the music box twist.

sandradodd (owner): They used to give maps away at some of the rest stops, but I haven't seen it lately jenstarc4: me either

pamsorooshian: I have to go - but, Sandra, this is very cool and brings back GOOD old memories of our AOL days. I like the synergy that comes from live chat.

thisschuyler: Simon loved treasure hunts with maps

sandradodd (owner): OH! Forest service ranger stations!

(I'm missing a chunk here) We moved on to talking about what to do to entice kids to take a bath: ----------

sandradodd (owner): We put a towel over the drain when the kids didn't want a whole bath. If they were just playing in there, but a towel in that end keeps some water in, and not all of it. It might help if a kid feared the drain.

jenstarc4: real kitchen utensils in the bath?

sandradodd (owner): Plastic, not metal

sandradodd (owner): ICE in the bathtub.

beamontreal: Linnea has bathed in more than a month. she doesn't look dirty, and doesn't really smell... I just don't understand why she doesn't like baths anymore

beamontreal: has not bathed I mean

jenstarc4: funnels and wire wisks and such

crazyzeus1: Right now in Reese's tub is a plastic mixing bowl, a bunch of measuring cups, & a funnel

sandradodd (owner): Freeze some in advance. We have a fish mold. The ice fish was good. (It was really for jello or casseroles)

katherand: make it really decadent and if you can set it up.. play movies in the bathroom during bath .

crazyzeus1: he LOVES that!

thisschuyler: Wow, another Linnaea, well, without the extra a

mrsdebus: the quickest way to get my not-wanting-to-wash kids in to the bath was to try and have a bath myself...alone

sandradodd (owner): Rings, though, like in a bundt pan, for ice too

sandradodd (owner): Like they do for punch bowls.

beamontreal: yes, another Linnea. I'm the one on NING too

sandradodd (owner): And you can freeze things into it. toys. Soap

thisschuyler: Oh, cool.

sandradodd (owner): colander, in the bath.

thisschuyler: There isn't a need for her to bathe

jenstarc4: oh, yeah, of course that would totally work!

mrsdebus: I think my dd was about 3 when she wouldn’t go near a bath...her hair eventually did look disgusting...I ended up buying a (very nasty) chemical spray, so I could feel better about the lack of washing...I wouldn’t worry now

thisschuyler: The Victorians went ages without a bath

katherand: True mrs debus.. Karl likes to be included in my baths. He's getting so big too.

sandradodd (owner): But even regular ice cubes--they clean themselves up. They float. They bob up if you hold them down and then let go

mrsdebus: but they reeked, lol

thisschuyler: Only after they hit sexual maturity

thisschuyler: I doubt their 3 year olds reeked

mrsdebus: doesn’t kill anyone though...and as they grow, you can talk about the unpleasantness of being near someone who is smelly from lack of washing

mrsdebus: sure : 0)...you’re exactly right : 0)

sandradodd (owner): the victorians went ages without a bath, and now they're dead.

lisberning: Let them wear their bathing suits in the tub,,,my girls loved this!

sandradodd (owner): I had skin problems as a kid that I wouldn't have had if my mom had kept me cleaner. : -/

mrsdebus: my son now 10 went for ages without showers, then hit about 9.5 and likes to shower twice a day now

mrsdebus: I can’t believe it

crazyzeus1: Would she be up for "cleaning the tub" with an old toothbrush? while full of water?

katherand: kids don't notice that kind of smell or don't seem to mind it... so the comments about smell don't work until it really is offensive to the kid.

sandradodd (owner): That question mark came from a face that wasn't a smiley. Sorry

mrsdebus: yeah- i'm thinking of my older children, where I would say, "Honey, you’re a bit smelly, how about a wash?"

sandradodd (owner): My boys all came to a shower-every-day phase on their own, too, but I think had I "Made" them shower, they would have shown their "manhood" by refusing

thisschuyler: And if she's comfortable with spit baths, as my dad used to call a warm wash cloth clean, then she's cleaner than many Victorians may have been...

sandradodd (owner): Keith kinda has done that, my husband. There are still things he doesn't want to do because his mom was so controlling about it.

sandradodd (owner): She makes people wash their hands before they eat, even now at her house if the people are 60.

jenstarc4: wipes are good for keeping clean

beamontreal: yes, warm wash cloth is ok for now. once in a while

sandradodd (owner): So at home Keith doesn't. It's minor, but I can see the total reactionary part of it

katherand: I was bad about bathing on up into my teens. Thankforully it was only required for us once a week. I didn't like showers. Still don't.

beamontreal: another thing that is a bit worrisome (thank god she doesn't go to preschool) is that she wants to wear the same thing everyday

jenstarc4: I always wash my hands before eating, but I often forget to remind my kids

sandradodd (owner): We have less than ten minutes of the scheduled chat time. Is Bea still hear?

beamontreal: and this is a specific thing: a cat costume I made her , so I finally made another one, and now we just alternate between the two

thisschuyler: Linnaea at 8 still likes wearing her favorite things for days on end. Simon does too

beamontreal: yes, I'm still here

crazyzeus1: at that age, wanting to wear the same thing always is normal! : )

jenstarc4: Margaux rotates between a couple of outfits and there are only 2 pairs of socks she will wear

sandradodd (owner): Marty wore a tiger costume for about a year.

sandradodd (owner): Are there other questions you have that we didn't cover?

crazyzeus1: I had a friend in Kindergarten who wore his superman cape to school every.single.day.

jillparmer: When I was 12, I wore the same thing everyday for about a year.

bwalyalynn: Emily usually doesn't wear anything, unless it had Charlie and Lola on it, and even then not for long.

mrsdebus: Tommy literally doesn’t wear anything, lol

crazyzeus1: our kiddo hates clothes in the house : )

crazyzeus1: our deal is he wears clothes when company is over, otherwise Mommy & Daddy don't care

sandradodd (owner): Deb Lewis lives in Montana and there's a list she made of things to do with kids in the winter here: http://sandradodd.com/strew/deblist Not all for tiny children, but some

mrsdebus: we don’t have a deal with 2yo Tommy...he is naked, and I ask if he would like clothes, and wait until he agrees

mrsdebus: i say clothes for when we are out

mrsdebus: or at least undies

katherand: my mom gave me a dress she used to ear when she was a girl. she had saved it or something.. I never let her wash it I was so busy wearing it.

lisberning: My 8yr dd still loves dress-up ..it's a huge part of play

beamontreal: well, I'm sure I could come up with tones of other questions, but I'll be ok if we stop in 10 minutes

beamontreal: : )

bwalyalynn: Emily wears clothes to go outside without a fuss. Indoors it's only dressing up and doesn't stay on more than ten minutes.

sandradodd (owner): The room will continue to exist, I guess. I wish I'd just called it unschooling now. This might be what we need to use tomorrow night, but please go to http://sandradodd.blogspot.com before the chat to see if I have a better, different place.

sandradodd (owner): Thank you all VERY much for being here. It was fun.

sandradodd (owner): Bea, please e-mail me about what you collected. I have some stuff saved too.

jillparmer: Thanks, great chat, mostly stayed on topic.!

jenstarc4: I'm glad I was able to join!

mrsdebus: This is great...I’d love to try again : 0)

sandradodd (owner): Anyone with photos to share of inspiring little-kid moments, please send them or a link

katherand: Karl absolutely hated clothes when he was 1 1/2 to 3.. for a looong time. He liked ( and still likes) staying home to going out and having to change clothes. These days it's jammies all day, which is great.

mrsdebus: Did anyone mention gloop? cornflour water and food colouring (or not)?

beamontreal: Sandra: ok, I'll email you what I've collected

mrsdebus: Gloop...my kids all love it

mrsdebus: best outside though

hippyshire: since my kiddos weren't cooperating today and i just got here...any chance you'll have a copy of the chat text posted anywhere?

sandradodd (owner): http://sandradodd.com/youngchildren

zadreanalinez: I am so looking forward to the temps hitting 40+

sandradodd (owner): There's nothing there yet, but will be

sandradodd (owner): hippy, there will be a summary, at least, with links and ideas

hippyshire: okay, great!

thisschuyler: It was fun, thanks for arranging this Sandra. I don't know if I can make tomorrow, it may be too late here.

sandradodd (owner): Everyone please go forth and be sweet to your kids! If anyone wants to stay in here that's fine, but there won't be anyone to ban the nasty-talkers. Sorry.

jenstarc4: I'm off all, it was fun remembering all those fun things we used to do, and some of the ones we haven't done in a while and would still like!

sandradodd (owner): I'm going to go and work on that page.

jillparmer: Bye All. Thanks a million, Sandra, it was fun.

beamontreal: thanks everyone!



SOME OF THE GOOD PARTS

Suggestions of things to do, interspersed with useful links to books and sites mentioned in the chat.

(some of the)
Questions addressed within the chat:

"Do I have to make every moment interesting, or is it ok to just chill out watching tv and respond to her requests on some days, and be more proactive on other days?"

"I feel I should be doing *more* than preschool, but I don't even know what they do in preschool."

"What kinds of activities would be apartment-safe? we have white carpet. : ( "

Whole Child, Whole Parent, Polly Berrien Berends

The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions: More Than 65 Wacky, Wild & Crazy Concoctions

Gifts for Guys to Buy (ideas for real-world tools and objects kids might love to play with)

Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough and Modeling Experiences

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts

Octa Clips (for construction with cardboard)
Website says they're discontinued, but here's what they look like, so you might be able to find some used, or something similar.



NOTE RECEIVED DECEMBER 2011:
There is another company that makes similar reusable cardboard fasteners called:
http://mymakedo.com/
...if anyone is interested. We've made some fun forts and costumes using these.

Karen

Unschooling FOTR list (Unschooling Families on the Road)

B-Daman

4/5 Year Old Activities (collected by Amanda from several unschooling parents)

Things to Do in the Winter (a list by Deb Lewis)

Suggestions:

  • Watch TV with older child while nursing the baby.
  • Stroll at a kid's pace.
  • Sing while you do other things.
  • Expect it to take an hour to walk a block with a toddler.
  • Spend time with friends—at houses, parks, cooking...
  • Let a bug or an ant be the destination.
  • Slow down.
  • Put a sheet on the floor and fingerpaint with sparkles.
  • Let young children play with safe kitchen utensils or food while you cook.
  • painting outside or in the bathtub, maybe naked
  • Spray bottle with colored water on snow.
  • Offer lots of things with different textures to play with.
  • Sensory things (different senses in play)
  • Add things to homemade playdough, like oatmeal or flavoring or seasonings
  • Water play
  • a sheet and dry past/rice/beans with little containers and measuring utensils
  • Dress-up (items of construction paper, or from thrift store)
  • river, digging, sandbox
  • cans filled with diffent shakey things, and taped securely
  • tape, paper, maybe scissors and glue, but lots of paper, crafts foam, to rearrange
  • bathtub paint (recipe in the concoctions book linked up top)
  • build forts in the house with sheets, blankets, tables, cardboard
  • cooking, cutting sandwiches into shapes
  • putting stuff on tortillas—pudding, peanut butter...
  • bubble wrap
  • set up a dome tent in the house or a sheet over a table
  • spiderweb with twine, yarn or string
  • spitballs and pixie-sticks (or straws)
  • make gift wrap from paper towels or tissue paper
  • soy-based packing peanuts for structures **
  • tea parties with sugar cubes and little foods
  • "stained glass" art (search for "stained glass" in the transcript)
  • free lunch programs
  • box of little fast-food toys to bring out sometimes
  • build with empty boxes, cardboard tubes, packaging, tape...
  • egg shakers made of plastic Easter eggs
  • mini trampolines
  • musical instruments, kiddie keyboards, xylophones
  • lay sheets of paper down for "stepping stones"
  • online games, like girlsgogames Virtual Keyboard
  • Nick Jr.
  • Boobah games
  • Boobah coloring game
  • tapping on glasses filled with different amounts of water
  • music boxes to play with or take apart or hide and find by listening
  • make confetti of an old phone book, or beads or papier maché
  • get rental-by-mail of DVDs and maybe games
  • appliances to disassemble and examine
  • beads out of paper
  • papier mache over a balloon
  • plaster sculpture
  • iTunes for music and videos
  • make fairy houses from bark, twigs, rocks...
  • balloon rockets
  • balloons
  • bubbles
  • chopping, melting crayons
  • museums
  • visitors centers (rest stops, state parks)
  • visit ranger stations
  • paint rocks (not public rocks)
  • "name that tune"
  • hide objects (like easter egg hunt?)
  • hide a ticking timer and find it before it goes off
  • treasure hunts with maps

BATHTUB IDEAS

  • wash toy dishes
  • put a towel in the end instead of the stopper
  • ice frozen in shapes or rings
  • regular ice cubes
  • freeze plastic toys or little soap bars into ice
  • kitchen utensils
  • collander/strainer
  • funnels
  • measuring cups
  • bowl
  • music or a video in the bathroom
  • wear bathing suits in bath or shower

A RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH

1 C    flour
1 C    water
1/2 C    salt
2 t    cream of tartar
2 T    oil

Mix all ingredients in a pan, and cook over low heat, stirring, until it forms a ball. Cool. Knead.

Jill sent that recipe and we had this little exchange:

SANDRA: I used to put the food coloring in with the oil. When do you do your food coloring?

JILL: Oh yeah, I forgot about food coloring. I put mine all the dry ingredients first, then added the liquid ingredients including food coloring. I saw a friend once divide the cooked white dough into however many parts and knead thick gel food coloring in then.

It just takes a six drops or so of liquid food coloring. If you're using Wilton (gel or paste food coloring), stick a toothpick and get just a little blob about as big as the head of a sewing pin. If you want more color you can add more but if you put too much it might stain things. Hands at least. —Sandra
Click for an easily-printable recipe


"Nuudles" (and a good on-sale source, if you don't live near a crafts store with kids' stuff": Oodles of Bright Nuudles
Sometimes that company has discounts: http://verified.codes/Discount-School-Supply

Simon and Linnaea when they lived in Japan


Tammy in Australia wrote:
I was reading the transcript of the "Young children and unschooling" chat and saw you requested pictures of forts. This is one we built for the kids when my husband was going to be away for the weekend. We often build cubbies, but this one was extra special, with fairy lights strung up inside, and lots of snuggly blankets and pillows. A special spot to play in, especially when the kids started missing Daddy.

Most times we just throw a blanket over the dining room table. One of these (shown from the outside & inside), we put the dining chairs in a circle around one end of the table and threw the blankets all the way over, to make a more open cave kind of section. That's my husband reading to my daughter inside that one.

The other one we pushed our two lounge suites together. We wedged a mop and a broom at opposite ends and put the blankets over, so it was kind of tent like. The kids had fun snuggling inside, and in the photo here they are hanging over the edge watching a movie. It was a real novelty for them to watch TV this way :)

Click to enlarge:)



SandraDodd.com/toddlers