Archives for December 2014

Day in the Life with Three Year Olds

I haven’t done one in awhile, and now that the girls have just turned 3, I figured today was as good of a day as any! So here’s a day in the life (DITL) as a nanny for twin 3 year olds. Fair warning, DITL posts are always pretty long (and this one has no pictures – whoops!)

8:00 – I arrive and set my stuff down. E is cuddling with her mom, and M is still asleep! This is pretty unusual as both are usually up and playing by the time I get here. She must have been worn out from her birthday party the day before!

8:15 – We hear M waking up so E and I decide to hide under a blanket. When M comes down, E pulls it off and we say boo. M thinks it’s pretty funny.

8:20 – We play. M wants to show me how she colored in Sophia’s purple dress in a coloring book. E works on her name puzzle.

8:30 – We read books. The girls want a few Fancy Nancy books and Frosty the Snowman this morning.

8:45 – Time for breakfast! We all head upstairs to make breakfast. Before I can start, M insists on showing me all of her favorite presents from their birthday party. While the eggs are cooking, I wash the dishes that are in the sink.

9:10 – The girls and I sit down while they eat their breakfast. Today, E is having eggs, pancakes with spreadable fruit, oatmeal, raspberries and water, while picky pants little M sticks with just raspberries, pancakes with spreadable fruit, cereal, and milk. We talk about a variety of subjects including the weather, what shapes they’re making their pancakes into as they take bites, what our plans are for the day, etc.

9:50 – The girls finally finish their breakfast. Usually they finish in under 30 minutes, but we weren’t in any rush today, so we talked a lot, and I didn’t encourage them to eat any faster. I have the girls carry their plates and fork and put them in the sink. This a new “chore” we just started. The girls enjoy helping. Then, I help them wash their hands. [A good trick for proper hand washing is to put the soap on their hands, turn off the water, and have them sing their ABC’s while they’re rubbing their hands together. Once the song is done, then the water goes back on and have them rinse] The girls head downstairs to play while I wash their breakfast dishes.

10:00 – I join the girls downstairs and start folding a load of their laundry. The girls go “monster hunting” while I fold.

10:20 – In between multiple trips to help the girls monster hunt, I finally finish folding laundry. Now it’s time to get the girls’ dressed. E is up first. She takes off her own pajamas and then we work on getting herself dressed. She can do her undies and pants, but still needs help with her shirt. She’s getting it though!

10:25 – Now, it’s M’s turn. She undresses herself and then puts on her own socks, undies, and pants. She’s still working on getting her own shirt on too. [I like to encourage kids to do simple tasks like getting undressed and dressed on their own. It helps foster independence and problem solving, as well as cognitive development. Of course I’m always there to help them if they need it.]

10:30 – Time to do the girls’ hair. E is obsessed with having a fishtail braid every single day and refuses all other options I give her. As much as I want to change it up every once in a while, I fully believe in picking your battles with kids. This is one battle I’m not willing to fight. Fishtail braid it is. M is much more willing to allow me to do whatever my heart desires to her hair. Today I decide on a simple side braid.

10:45 – Potty time. Since we’re about to leave, I have each girl go potty. I also brush their teeth at this point too.

10:55 – We go upstairs and get the girls’ shoes and coats on.

11:00 – We are finally out the door (Note: This wasn’t a typical day for us. Usually, if we’re meeting someone for a play date or heading to My Gym, we need to be out the door by 10:15. But since it was just us, our timing was more flexible.)

11:15 – We stop at the bank. While waiting in line for the ATM, we talk about what the people who work at a bank are called and what their job is.

11:35 – Today, our main adventure is going to Petco. I need to buy dog food and the girls love going here with me. They have mini shopping carts for the girls to push around and, of course, lots of animals to look at. We take our time and visit almost every animal in the store (the exception being the cats up for adoption, since we stop there right before checking out). We talk about why they’re in the the tanks they are in and what they eat. We talk about what they would feel like to touch and the girls pick out their favorites. We also talk about what the worker is doing (cleaning out the cages) and why they need to do that as well as counting how many of each animal we see. After that, we grab the dog food. Just before heading to check out, we stop by the cats for adoption. They ask for me to tell them what their names are, so I do (they have little info sheets on each cat’s cage). We discuss their different colors and what they’re currently doing. Then we talk about how they’re in the cages because they’re hoping to find homes. Then it’s time to checkout.

12:15 – We leave Petco.

12:25 – We’re home and I make the girls’ lunch. They play with different toys while I get everything ready.

12:45 – E finishes her lunch. So we wash her hands and then she heads downstairs to play.

12:50 – M finishes her lunch. We wash her hands and then I send her downstairs to play as well. I wash their lunch dishes and empty the dishwasher.

1:00 – I go downstairs and we start our nap time routine by going potty (I can’t say I miss diapers one bit!)

1:10 – I pick out a book for what we call “milk and book time” (clever, I know 😉 ) I read the book to them and then take E to her room and sing her two songs (she chooses – usually it’s Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Alphabet Song). I leave her room and then take M upstairs. She has chosen a short book and we sit in her rocking chair and read it before I tuck her into bed.

1:30 – Girls are in bed (although not asleep). I take this time to eat my lunch, update my planner, and do some recipe searching and planning activities for us to do.

1:50 – E is sound asleep, but M is still awake (not surprising since she slept in this morning).

2:35 – After lots of singing and playing and talking in her bed, M finally gives in and goes to sleep.

4:15 – The girls are still snoozing away, but it’s time to wake them up. I get M first, and we stop in the kitchen for the girls’ recent favorite snack – yogurt tubes, and their drinks. We go downstairs and put their drinks and snacks down and then it’s time for M to go potty. While she’s doing that, I get E and by then it’s her turn on the potty.

4:20 – The girls sit down and eat.

4:30 – Snack is over, now it’s playtime! We play none other than Frozen. I’m Anna, M is Elsa, and E is Olaf.

4:45 – The girls ask to open up our sensory bin which currently has brown kinetic sand, cookie cutters, stacking cups, and spoons. I open it up and of course they want to bring their Frozen toys in it. I narrow it down to just the plastic Elsa and plastic Olaf since they clean up easier.

5:00 – The girls’ dad comes down and it’s time for me to leave to head to my other nanny job!


Growing Lima Beans

One of my favorite but easiest science project is growing lima beans. I use it to teach about the life cycle of plants and also give kids a “job” (watering and caring for a plant). All you need are dried lima beans (you can find these at every grocery store), a paper towel, sandwich bag, tape, a window, a cup, and soil.

First, talk about what the lima bean looks like now. Is it soft? Smooth? Bumpy? Etc. Then help your child wet a paper towel enough so that it’s pretty damp but not dripping. Have your child fold the paper towel in half with the lima bean in the middle and then place it in the sandwich bag. Tape it to a window that gets a good amount of sun.

Observe the lima bean over the next few days. It won’t destroy it to take it out of the bag and paper towel. Just be gentle with it if the roots start growing through the paper towel. Be sure to keep the paper towel damp. Talk about what the bean looks like and feels like after it’s been in the paper towel for a few days. Here’s what ours looked like after 4 days.

Once your bean has sufficient root growth (see above picture), it’s time to transfer it to a cup. We found our cups in the dollar spot of Target, but any cup will do. Have your child put enough soil in the cup so that it’s about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Encourage them to dig a small hole in the middle of the soil and help them gently put their lima bean in root side down and then cover with soil. Then have them water it enough so that the soil is wet but not soaked.

During the next few days allow them to water it and watch for it to pop up to the surface.

As the days pass, your lima bean plants will grow taller and may need more room to grow. Transfer them to a bigger pot if needed.

Eventually, it will produce flowers and then bean pods.

Extend the activity: Read a book about how seeds and beans grow. This book is my favorite, especially for younger children (even 2-3 year olds can grasp the concepts in this book, but it’s also appropriate for older kids). Print out ***sequence cards and help your child put them in the correct order. Talk about what plants need to grow and how your plant is getting them. You can even discuss photosynthesis.

*** Note: You can take out some of the sequence cards from the link provided to make it more simple for younger children.


Shaving Cream Fun!

One activity that I’ve seen just about every kid I’ve done it with love is playing with shaving cream. There’s something about watching it change from a gel to a foam (if you use that kind) and then spreading it all over a table and making a huge mess that kids just love.

As a bonus, spreading shaving cream also helps get rid of build up gunk and grime on tabletops. It will leave a bit of a film on most tables, but you can easily get that off with a baby wipe or a damp paper towel.

This activity gets pretty messy, most kids have it up to their shoulders by the time it’s over. So, I suggest putting them in old clothes or an art smock.

If you have a young child who would put the shaving cream in their mouth, I suggest using whipped cream or cool whip!

Extend the Activity: After your child gets bored with just playing in the shaving cream, encourage them to draw shapes or write letters and words. You can also add some food coloring or finger paint to color the shaving cream. Add two colors and encourage mixing to create new colors.