Sensory Play

Sensory play has just been one of those things that just makes sense to me. To me, sensory means experiencing. It's like the difference between 2d and 3d: making the environment, concepts, and milestones stand out and come alive.


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Sensory play is simply play or activities that 
engage the senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing.
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Using the senses is a good way to gage where your kids are at developmentally and it has been helpful for me to understand each of their different personalities better. In our home, my four kids handle sensory play really differently. I have discovered that Laura Kate is EXTREMELY sensitive to sound, Shepherd greatly benefits from play with different textures he can touch and manipulate (like a sand or rice box), Fischer, while frequently making messes, doesn't like to FEEL messy, and Archer is extremely sensitive to the introduction of new flavors and tastes.

When it comes to sensory play, a good place to start is to think through your child's activities: what does he see? what does he hear? what does he smell? feel? taste? And then think through things that you can add to daily play to help engage their senses. 

These are some of our favorite sensory activities:

1. Making Play Doh

Making play doh is a very fun, inexpensive project that can have multiple purposes.

My favorite recipe is mixing 1 cup of hair conditioner to 2 cups of corn starch. (Sometimes we add glitter, because Laura Kate.) It feels super silky and smells wonderful too!

You can play with the dough like normal play doh with cookie cutters, etc. or you can even put a little bit inside a balloon to make a stress/squeeze ball. 

2. Colorful Pom Poms

We use these things for so many things. They are cheap and you can find them at the dollar store or sometimes on the dollar aisle at Target.

We frequently use them in our rice box, sometimes we use them for craft projects, or we have used them for motor skill projects. Oftentimes, my kids just like to count them or hold them or carry them around with them. 

3. Sand/ Rice/Bean Box

This is our most popular sensory activity. We play with these boxes all the time. They are really easy to make. Simply fill a sturdy sterilite container about halfway full with rice, or dry beans, or sand. We currently have a sand box and a rice box. For the sand, our favorite is kinetic sand. While the kinetic sand is pricey, it is absolutely worth it (a good second place would be moon sand). I also find it helpful to have small shovels or spoons as well.

My basic rule for the boxes is that the sand/rice/beans must stay in the box (accidents still happen, of course!). Sometimes I have specific activities with the boxes, like hiding alphabet letters and letting them dig and search for them. Sometimes we make pictures with the colored pom poms. Most of the time, I just have them gather random small toys that they want to play with in the boxes like hotwheels, figures, dinosaurs, and army men. 

4. Musical Instruments

This might seem to simple or obvious, but we try and have musical instruments available for play to engage the sense of hearing. For my own sanity (this Mama can be sensitive to the competing noise!), this is not a free play opportunity, but we have times for music play.

You can also make musical instruments. Make egg shakers from rice and easter eggs, or tambourines from two paper plates attached together with beans inside.

5. Cooking

I think the sense of taste is often overlooked when it comes to sensory play. One easy way to engage this sense is to allow for help in the kitchen. This is really difficult for me sometimes because it means more work on my behalf, but I know that my kids really love it and its good for them too!


For more sensory play ideas, check out my sensory play Pinterest Board:

               Follow Carrie's board Sensory Play on Pinterest.

**Sometimes children need extra help with their sensory development. If you have concerns about your children, I would highly encourage you to discuss with your Pediatrician or Primary Care Physician. 


It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on the topic of play:

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Homemade Toys

Today for the BFBN Week, Kimberly from Team Cartwright is giving us a whole post FULL of great ideas for homemade toys... right up my alley.

She says: "I love being able to fashion toys out of items around the house.  Honestly, kids love to play with the 'real thing' sometimes more than their toys.   I think it inspires creativity and allows me to save some money. If they break or get worn out, I don't really care.  Most are easily replaceable.  A final plus is it allows me to be more creative when we are out and about.  Every so often we find ourselves out somewhere with nothing for Ben to play with.  Being able to scrounge up something safe and fun can be a lifesaver. "

Read all of her ideas here: Homemade Toys. 

Check in with all the ladies in the network for more ideas and valuable resources for play! 


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This post may contain affiliate links - which means that if you clicked on a link and purchased an item, I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU for supporting this blog! 


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25 Ways To Bond With Your Kids That Don't Involve Play

One thing I love about Emily from The Journey of Parenthood blog is how real and honest she is about life as a parent. It makes her extremely relatable. I love this post from her today because I think as adults relating to children, it can be awkward at times, even when it's just playing.



Emily says: "When I try to get down and play I feel silly and awkward and just tend not to fully enjoy myself or the moment. I catch myself thinking of all the things I "should be doing" and am left feeling even more guilty than I do when I just don't play with toys at all. I'm awesome at setting up things for my kids to enjoy but am less awesome at being IN the moment with them!"

I feel similarly about being great at coming up with ideas and setting them up for them, but not so great at engaging in the moment with them. 

Read Emily's full list of 25 Ways To Bond With Your Kid That Don't Involve Play

Check in with all the ladies in the network for more ideas and valuable resources for play! 


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Be sure and "like" the Wiley Adventures page on Facebook right HERE

And follow me on bloglovin! 

This post may contain affiliate links - which means that if you clicked on a link and purchased an item, I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU for supporting this blog! 
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Independent Play For School Aged Children

It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week and this week we are all writing about play!



Today, Val is kicking off our week talking about Independent Playtime for School Aged Children. As you know, we are big fans of Independent Playtime (we call it room time). I am so thankful that Val wrote about this topic because it is something I have struggled to know how to implement with LK since she started school.

I like how she says that "Just because you don't do it regularly through the school year doesn't mean you can't reinstate it when you need it". Because we have built such a foundation of this time, it is easy to reinstate it from time to time. 

Read Val's Full Article here and check in with all the ladies in the network for more ideas and valuable resources for play! 



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All The Questions I Was Asked Before Naptime

I decided to try and keep track of all the questions I was asked in one day. BECAUSE THIS IS MY LIFE. I lasted till naptime when I curled in the fetal position and cried "make it stop! make it stop!"

You wake Mommy?

Can I have a drink?


Where's my pen?


Will you put Elizabeth's hair in a pony tail?


Can I not wear a bow today?


Can I have a snack?


Can I have a treat?


Can Fischer come with me for room time?


Where's iPad?


Can I have candy?


Where's my drink?


Where's sister?


Archer asleep?


Can you help me?


What's that smell?


Why?


Why are you wearing that shirt?


Why are we going to the store?


Why do we have to get groceries?


Can we get a prize?


Can you help me get not stuck?


When are we leaving?


Can we go now?


How old is Daddy?


How do you make a 32?


How old are you?


How do you make a 31?


Is this me?


Is that a 1?


I am 3?


Did you tear it?


Are you done?


Can you help me?


What are you doing?


What is this?


Can I walk?


Why? Do we need this?


What's an apple core-ER?


What's that noise?


Where are we?


Do you like that?


Can we get that?


Baby Archer need that?


We need milk?


What is it?


Can we get some orange juice?


2 Orange Juice?


Is that orange juice?


Is that orange?


You like queso?


What is queso?


Fischer you like this?


Are those potatoes?


Tomatoes?


Is that all the things we need?


What are these?


What's a slim Jim?


Is this a slim Jim?


Can we have this?


Can we have pretzels ?


What can we eat?


Can I have some of those chips?


Can I hold the chips?


Can I hold the apples?


Can you open that gate?


Can we eat that?


Can we go?


That white gate?


Can you buckle me?


Can I go potty?


What's that?


Can we eat now?


Can I have chips?


What's the red thing in there?


Can I have ketchup?


Can I have orange juice?


After I eat my chips can I have more chips?


Guess what?


Can I see my picture?


What is it?


Can I have a hot dog?


Can I please have some hot sauce?


What is it?


What's this?


What's this?


Hey This pears?


Does this have pears?


Is this a pear?


Is this a pineapple?


Now how many do I have to eat?


5 more?

Can I sleep with Fischer?

Can I have reading time?

I awake Mommy?

I go potty Mommy?

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Be sure and "like" the Wiley Adventures page on Facebook right HERE

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This post may contain affiliate links - which means that if you clicked on a link and purchased an item, I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU for supporting this blog! 


** All of the ideas, thoughts, opinions, rants, cries, laughs, pictures, and words from this blog belong only to me and are mine alone unless otherwise notated. Please don't steal. It's not nice.**
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A Day In The Life Of Me!

Today, I'm linking up with the Momfessionals Blog for Show and Tell Tuesday: A Day In the Life Of.

Monday mornings come EARLY for me. Most other days of the week Kyle is up before me and gets the kids breakfast going while I peel myself out of bed. On Mondays, Kyle's Small Group Guys meet at 6:30 (AM!) and he leaves the house at 4:30, like a crazy person, to go work out before his group. 

Our kids are early risers, but they aren't allowed to come out of their room until 6:30. LK cheated and crawled in bed with me at 6:15 and the bros shortly after. I was able to snuggle till 6:45 and then got up, threw on some clothes and started breakfast. 

Don't I look ravishing and thrilled??


Breakfast on Monday is AS EASY AS POSSIBLE. Yesterday it was pop tarts, yogurt, and orange juice.


I feel like every time I turn around someone spills something. 2 times out of the 3 Fischer is the culprit.


While the kids are eating, I try to lay out the kids clothes on their beds. (Though yesterday, the boys had a PJ day since we didn't go anywhere) (I know, I know... at some point I should get better about that... goals....). 

I got Archer up at 7:00, changed him, nursed him, and fed him breakfast (he gets really excited about food as you can tell by his dancing).


During this time I had Laura Kate get dressed and I fixed her hair.


We usually leave to take LK around 7:35. Shepherd is so sweet and opens my door for me every morning. Loading the kids is a chore. LK can buckle herself and the bros can each halfway buckle themselves, but still require help and adjusting, and Archer still hasn't gotten the hang of buckling himself either ;). 


On the way to school, I try and play praise music and I have the kids take turns praying over each other's days. Even though sometimes this is like pulling teeth, it has become one of my favorite times of the day. ( I got in my seat and took this picture before I realized I forgot to buckle the Squish. Don't worry... I buckled him before we went anywhere!)


We dropped LK off in the carpool line (which is not for the faint of heart), and headed back home.


When we got home I started a load of laundry and cleaned up after breakfast. 



I also finally fixed myself a cup of tea for the morning. (Isn't my electric kettle fun?? Kyle surprised me with it just because one day! You can get your own right here.)


The boys' show was still on so I made my bed and did my hair and makeup. Archer and his toy bucket typically tag along with me. 



I played with my boys a little and then it was time to get Archer down for his morning nap, and Room Time for the bros. (You can read about how I typically do room time here.) Lately, I have been starting Fischer in the play room and Shepherd in his room for the first half, and then letting them have the last half together. 

Fischer decided he didn't want to have his picture taken so he hid in the corner. 


During room time is when I try and sit down and have my Quiet Time. My favorite spot is my back patio. I've been going through (again) this book right now. I love it so much and is such a good reminder and encouragement for living out the Gospel every day in real ways. 


After that, I got dinner in the crock pot which just happened to be Fun Jen's Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos... my favorite. 


I went to get the boys out of room time after that, and discovered that Fischer had sniffed out a crayon in their room somewhere and fancied himself a mural. Y'all. Just, I just can't even deal with this anymore. Just praise the Lord for magic erasers. Praise Him all ye little children. 


After scrubbing the walls, someone was ready to get up for lunch! I changed and nursed him and then got lunch going for the bros.


And of course.....another spill... Shepherd this time. 


After the boys ate, we played for a little bit and at noon, they went to their napping beds for Reading Time. (Read about why and how we do Reading Time here and here).  While the boys are reading in their beds, Archer had a little bit of Room Time in his bed.



I took advantage of them being occupied and vacuumed the rugs yesterday. (This is not a daily occurrence, lest you think I am one of those clean people, it just happened yesterday).  


I love living so close to Kyle's office so he can come home for lunch! He played with Archer a little after room time and got the bros down for their naps, and I got to run out and get a coke since I was barely hanging on after Halloween and the Time Change! 


During nap time, I worked on the blog a little and finalized my stuff to be part of Amazon's affiliate program. (You can now shop my own amazon store right here! )





Archer was the first boy up, thank you time change, so I fed and changed him just in time for Fischer to wake up. 


Normally Fischer never wakes up happy, he's a very cranky waker, but yesterday he was all smiles. And boy do his smiles just hit me in the gut!


Yesterday, the serviceman was supposed to come clean our couch and might have arrived during the time I needed to pick up Laura Kate, so I asked Kyle to pick her up for me. Love seeing her sweet face walk through the door.


I got the kids a snack and turned on a show so I could sort and put up the clean load of laundry.


Then Archer and I moved to kitchen to work on a couple things for dinner. 


I made some of our favorite salsa, that I affectionately call Texas Neighbor Salsa because we got the recipe from our Texas neighbors (Hi Steve and Colleen!!). Pretty much you throw the following in a blender: 2 cans of Stewed Tomatoes, 2 or 3 Jalapenos (seeded for mild... I leave in approximately 3 seeds because I'm a wimp), habanero peppers if you like to burn your mouth for fun, a bun of cilantro, 3 garlic cloves, and salt to taste. YUUUUM. So good you can drink it. 


Also my friend Amy told me about cooking raw tortillas at home so you can eat them fresh. Since I no longer have a Rosas down the street to buy fresh tortillas, this is AWESOME. Amy gets hers at Costco, but my Costco doesn't carry them. I did, however, find them at Walmart. They are in the refrigerated section right down the aisle from the refrigerated biscuits. This has seriously changed my life. 


We ended up eating dinner a little early because of the time change and we were all starving and it was pitch black outside and felt like midnight. Also because the couch cleaning guy still hadn't shown up yet. 

He did finally end up showing up and thoroughly stressing me out. I feel similarly about this kind of thing as I do going to the dentist. Here's the thing about furniture warranty's... even if you follow all of the requirements to the letter of the law, you will still do it wrong. But I adore my couch and I am still so glad I got it and now I will just file claims for every single little thing so that nothing can be considered "accumulation" and the Service Guy and I will be BFFs because that's what I paid for and that's essentially what he told me to do and should have been doing all along. Mercy! Excuse my rant and run-on sentence. 

In the middle of the cleaning process, I bathed Archer. The big kids got a skip night since my couch cushion covers were drying on the shower curtain rods in both bathrooms. 


After my new BFF left, I nursed Archer and got him down for the night, and headed out to meet MY small group girls. So thankful for our church and being able to connect so quickly with new friends here! 

(Also, we used the timer on my phone camera for the first time! fun!)


When I got home, Archer woke up early for a dream feed... thank you time change. Kyle had so sweetly put away dinner and the dishes for me. I swept the kitchen floor (does anyone else feel like they could do this 37 times a day and it would still need to be swept again??) and packed lunches.


Then, I decided to skip my bath because it was Monday and Dancing With The Stars was waiting for me. So I plopped down in my chair (because my couch had no covers on the cushions) and watched. I cried three times because it was icon night and Andy danced for his mom, and Nick danced for his wife who after a year of trying is pregnant with their first baby, and because in spite of the slip ups, Mark's choreography to David and Goliath for Alexa's Argentine Tango was one of the best things I have ever seen in my whole life!





I fell into bed around midnight.... whew! 
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Be sure and "like" the Wiley Adventures page on Facebook right HERE

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This post may contain affiliate links - which means that if you clicked on a link and purchased an item, I may receive a small commission.  THANK YOU for supporting this blog! 


** All of the ideas, thoughts, opinions, rants, cries, laughs, pictures, and words from this blog belong only to me and are mine alone unless otherwise notated. Please don't steal. It's not nice.**
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2015 Fall and Halloween Fun

I'm a little behind on posting Fall activities so I just decided to do a giant post!

At Laura Kate's school they have an annual book character parade. Every student chooses a favorite book character to portray and then they have a big parade outside behind the school. It was so fun to get to be apart of this with my girl. I got to eat a picnic lunch with her and hang out in her classroom for about an hour before the parade started. I was so thankful for that time just with her.

LK chose to be Anne of Green Gables because we are reading the book together right now. I was mistaken on the day of the parade so I ended up having to really scramble to come up with a costume for her. Nonetheless, I managed to turn a bed sheet into a dress and some red yarn into braids. I thought she looked darling!!




Later that week, the boys had a field trip to the Pumpkin Patch at their school. Shepherd loves Halloween and Fall so much because everything is orange. He, no joke, asked me every day for weeks when it was Pumpkin Patch day. Fischer was excited too and they both ended up having a blast!

The Pumpkin Patch is actually on the property of the church where the boys school is. There is a bouncy slide, they had a story reading, and learned about the pumpkin plant and how they grow from a seed. Then they were allowed to pick out a pumpkin and decorate it.

Kyle met Archer and I up there and it was so fun spending the morning with my boys!


























Halloween is a favorite holiday for us because we really like to invest in our neighborhood and have fun with our neighbors. It's a tradition we started years ago in Texas and were excited to continue here as well. 

This year I collaborated with our neighbors next door and across the street as well as friends from our church. We were worried about the rain so we didn't have our traditional bounce house, but the rain held out long enough for a front yard party (complete with hot dogs, chili, chips and all the dips, cookies, cookies cookies, and of course candy!) and trick-or-treating! 

My kids dressed up as the four Ninja Turtles this year and were adorable. They all love the show, especially LK believe it or not. I had grand plans for Kyle and I to dress up too as April and Casey Jones but it just didnt end up happening. So we were just Texas Tech fans (sad sad game day, sigh). 

All in all, it was a fantastic party and we all had a blast! 






















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Be sure and "like" the Wiley Adventures page on Facebook right HERE

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** All of the ideas, thoughts, opinions, rants, cries, laughs, pictures, and words from this blog belong only to me and are mine alone unless otherwise notated. Please don't steal. It's not nice.**

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