Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The letter S

We've been going to a preschool rotation thing once a week. Each week they focus on a letter and this week it was our turn so here is what I did.

First I read the "S the snake" story from our flip book here.

Then I used these flannel board cut outs from DLTK to tell the story of Stone Soup. I laminated the food and passed them out to the kids then when we came to the food that they had I would have them put it in a pot. It worked really well.

For our activity thing we made these snakes. I cut out the tongues and the ovals ahead of time. I wrote and S on most of the ovals but then I put a few different letters on some of them. Then I laid them out on a cookie sheet and the kids had to find ovals that had S' on them to make their snake out of and then they glued them on the paper.
For our snack I made bread stick snails. You can find the recipe here at It's very simple. I forgot pesto though so I just brushed them with butter and rosemary.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Minnie Mouse Party!

We had a Minnie Mouse party for May on Saturday though and I thought it turned out pretty good. I got a lot of my ideas from At Second Street but I changed a lot of them because she is way more creative and talented than I am.

Here is her cute Minnie outfit. She is wearing this for Halloween too. I made the skirt (the tutorial is in the link At Second Street) and the headband and then just bought her a pink shirt. And of course she is wearing her sparkly pink shoes-can't leave home without them

Here are the invitations. The inside was basically the beginning lines to Mickey Mouse Clubhousebut we changed it to come to my party and "Maylie Mouse" instead of Mickey Mouse. If I had a bigger budget I would've got pink M&Ms but regular ones just had to do.

I made the cake. For Minnie's face I used a 10" round and her ears are 2 6" inch rounds. I used 2 cans of chocolate, a can of vanilla, and a can of cherry frosting. I sized a picture of Minnie so that her face was 10" then I cut out the black parts of the picture. I would post where I found the picture but I'm not sure if it's copy righted or not. I just googled Minnie Mouse though and it came up. I frosted the 10" with white and then laid the picture on the top and filled in the detail areas. The ears are just frosted with chocolate and then the pink cake is just another 6" to add some color and some cake. We had about 25 people and we only had a few pieces left over so it worked out well.

I made a fabric banner. I cannot find the original tutorial I used for the life of me but here is another one that looks great.

Aren't the poofs adorable? So easy and pretty cheap. They are just made out of tissue paper and I love love love them. The tutorial is At Second Street but she takes you to the Martha Stewart website.

This is our pinata. The kids were such good sports about going in the rain to hit it. We don't have any pictures because cameras don't mix well with rain. We made the kids wear Mickey Mouse gloves ( you know the big squishy ones you get from Disneyland) so that it was hard to grasp the bat. I made the older kids wear a blind fold too. Funny story. Morning of the party and I'm looking everywhere for the table clothes I bought and suddenly I realize that I probably glued them into the pinata. Way to go. Everyone was a little confused about them when they came out.

Zach shaped the pinata but I think he did the hard way. Check out At Second Street for the easy way. She also tells you how to decorate it this easy peasy way with crepe paper. The bow I sewed from material leftover from May's outfit.

We gave everyone a "toodles" bag that had mouskatools in them that we used throughout the party. For example-stickers and markers to decorate hats, blindfolds and tape for pin the bow on Minnie, candles for the cake etc. When we needed a mouskatool we'd call for toodles! This will probably make no sense to you unless you've seen Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so go watch it and realize what cute idea it was. :)

Here is everyone in their mouse ears hats. I found plain hats at the dollar store as well as a pack of foam. I drew the circles on the foam and then had them decorate their hat and cut their ears out. Then they brought them to me to hot glue the ears on the side. I love our family. Everyone decorated and wore a hat. What good sports.

We played pin the bow on Minnie. I used the same picture of Minnie for this as I did for the cake and then cut out bows from pink paper. This is May's 94 year old great great grandma pinning the bow on Minnie. What a sweetheart huh.

We went pretty simple for food. We bought Mickey Mouse Chicken nuggets from Costco and then just got some fruit and veggies with dip for both. It turned out great we had fun!

What's Your Name?

I would love for May to be able to respond to the question of, "What's your name?" Partly because I hate when people ask her and wait for her to answer-they look like fools (yes I said fools!!). And partly because if she ever got lost it might be nice if she knew her name (our names our next on the list followed by our phone number).

So we played a game with her stuffed animals. We set up all the ones that she has a definite name for, like Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Lemur, Puppy, Baby, etc. up at different places on the couch. Then I would walk up to them and ask them their name. Then make them respond. May caught on quickly and would ask "syur name" funny. Then I would ask her, "What's your name?" and if she didn't answer I would say, "May May!" I think she knows the answer now but she doesn't always say it so we'll have to keep practicing.

E is for...

E is for egg...

We did an egg hunt for these puzzle eggs. We found the pieces throughout the house and then put them together at her table.
We did this egg shell craft. I've been dreading doing this but it actually was really great. This was the first time May has actually understood that glue makes things stick if you leave them there long enough. I just rinsed out some egg shells and then dyed them with food coloring. May mixed them up in the bag and glued them on the E paper.
E is for elephant...
We did some stuff from Confessions of a Home schooler although not very vigilantly. We also did just some regular coloring pages that we had in our coloring book that had elephants on it.

Our flip book animal was an elephant. May had a really hard time making the "eh" sound and she didn't really recognize it when we came back to it later so we'll have to revisit this one soon.

E is for envelope...

I have some bright colored envelopes that I put the numbers 1-10 in and put them around the house. I taped different numbers and envelopes up on the wall. When may found the envelope then she would take the number inside and match it to the number on the wall and then match the envelope to the other one on the wall.

Z is for...

It was hard to think of things to do for the letter Z! Here are the few things that we did.

We made a Zebra puppet found here.

We played Zebra dominoes and did some coloring pages from Confessions of a Home schooler found here. She has a cute little game that is similar to the cootie game which I think would be fun to try.

We practiced zipping up the zippers on our jackets.

Our crowning event was going to the Zoo. Can I just say our Zoo is terrible. I got half price because we have an aviary membership and M* is free- would never pay full price to go to our zoo. There are hardly any animals!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sprinkle and Wipe

I saw this super great activity here on Chasing Cheerios. So simple but M* was enthralled.
Salt Shaker
Baking Pan
Fill the salt shaker with water then let your kiddo sprinkle it into the pan then show them how to suck it up with the sponge. Repeat...repeat...repeat...and again.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Finger printing

We used ink pads to make some finger print art this week. I think next time we do it I'm just going to put a big piece of paper on the table instead of giving her little ones.

C is for...

C is for clothespins.
We practiced putting clothespins on things a lot this week. M* didn't quite get it but she had a lot of fun pretending to clip things on and of course she knew exactly how to get them off. I cut some clothes shapes out of felt and we made a mini clothes line for her to clip them on. She had fun just trying to put them on but I would also ask her to find me the one that was pink or blue etc... and then ask for a specific clothes item like a sock.

For this activity you need clothespins circle stickers (like the garage sale stickers) and bowl or a cup. I used a cool whip bowl and put paper around the outside. Stick different color stickers around the outside and have a coordinating clothes pin for it. I put sticker on the inside and outside of the bowl. M* wouldn't turn the bowl or let me turn the bowl so this way she could do all around it without upsetting her.

C is for cake. We made a cake this week. M* loves to bake. She is a pro and dumping all the ingredients in and stiring them up.

C is for camping.
We set up a tent in my mom's backyard for the day. (I am greatly looking forward to the day when we have our own backyard to set things up in). The first thing we did in our tent was put together a simple puzzle. I used this picture here and cut it up into about 5 pieces. Then we did our caterpillar activities that we had been doing through out the week (see below). And then we went on a "C" hunt. I clipped some papers with the letter C written on them around the tent (using clothespins) and had M* find them and put them in her bag. To finish the camping fun we made some smores in the microwave.

C is for caterpillar.
I found this new great website. This gal is amazing I can't believe how talented she is. We will definitely be using her things as part of our letters. The blog is called Confessions of a Homeschooler. Here is the link to her letter C stuff. Some of it was a little too old for M* but we used the color matching caterpillars, the letter lace card, and the lacing cards for the story "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". All of which M* was able to do with to problem (she is almost 2 just to give you an idea).

Also, just out of pure happenstance we made this cute chicken at the library story time.
You need a cup, a piece of string, a small piece of felt, a small piece of sponge, and something to poke a small hole (we used a skewer). They also gave us eyes and an orange nose (that was torn off before I took this picture) but you could just draw those on.

Poke a small hole in the top of the cup. Thread the string through and tie a knot onto a red piece of felt.
Tie the small piece of sponge onto the bottom of the string. Then let your child color it and decorate it however you want.

When it's done you make it make a noise by wetting your fingers a bit and pulling down on the string. It actually makes a chicken noise it's pretty cool.

I-Spy Bag

Have you seen these? They are so cute. Here is a tutorial here.
Just as a side note I filled mine with rice and it turned out so heavy so don't skip buying the poly fill beads.

Dinosaur Land

This idea came from this super spectacular idea here. Mine is way scaled down compared to the awesomenes that the idea came from but oh well. I must apologize for being terrible and giving tutorials. I don't think to take pictures a long the way until it is done. I found the pack of dinosaurs for this in the dollar bin at target.

First thing I did was cut out to pieces of brown felt for the ground you can make them as big or small as you want.

Cut out the shapes that you want for your grass, water, and whatever else you would like to add. That brown bump in the back of mind is supposed to be a cave but its a little flat. Sew these pieces to your top piece of felt. Also if you would like yours to fold up then put a piece of velcro on each side (You can see mine in front of the the cave and behind the water).
For the trees on mine I glued them to a piece of felt and then stuck some velcro on the bottom of it. That way when it gets folded up you can take them off an lay them down.

The next step is sew the two pieces of the big felt together. I sewed mine wrong side together and then turned it inside out but if I were to do it again I would just put them together right side and sew around the outside since the felt won't fray.

This works great fold up into your bag and take to restaurants especially if you have a toddler that isn't terribly interested in the crayons and paper.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

G is for... and B is for..

G is for garden.
We went to the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. We looked at the flowers for a little bit but spent most of our time in the children's garden. M* had lots o' fun hiding in the trees and running in and out of the bear cave.
G is for grow.
I found these at the dollar store you put them in water and then they grow. M* wasn't terribly impressed with the growing part but had lots of fun putting the beans in the water and then taking them back out.
G is for green.
We did a "green" scavenger hunt where we looked for things in the house that were green. M* decided about 10 mins into it that she was done finding green things and wanted to find pink things instead. What a girl.
G is for goat.
We also got a book from the library on goats and made a trip to the farm to look at them but of course we mostly looked at the bunnies instead.

Other things I wanted to do but we didn't get around to was make a giraffe puppet here are the instructions here, plant some flowers (garden), and make gingerbread men.

B is for balloon.
We did a couple things with balloons. The first thing was I hung balloons from the ceiling and let M* hit them with a bat. In the picture below though she had decided that the golf club was a better tool for the job. She was quite distracted by the static electricty. You will notice her small amount of hair is sticking up.
We also painted some balloons. It was a nice change to just painting on paper. I taped ours down onto bigger paper it was easier for her to paint and easy clean up for me. I also saw an idea on perpetual preschool that said to tape a few balloons (not full of air) to a dowel and let the child use it as a brush but we didn't try it so I don't know how well it works.

B is for bird.
We did some bird watching outside our complex. We live right by a canal so there is nice variety. We also took some bird seed out there and threw it out for them.
B is for bubble.
The library had a bubble party (this was my sole reason for doing b on the week we did). M* had lots of fun. We were going to try an activity at home where you tape a clear lid (like on a pringles can) to a flash light and catch the bubbles on it. It's supposed to make it easy to see all the colors in the bubble. I bought cans just for the occasion and threw them out without thinking about it.
Other things I had planned but we didn't have time to do were float some boats in the bath tub (you could make your own or just use a toy boat), and go bug hunting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

D is for

D is for drip. We did a fun art activity with eye droppers.
paper towels
paper or Styrofoam plate (if it's paper it needs to be a higher end one that repels water not soaks it in)
3 bowls with water
red, yellow, and blue food coloring

This has 2 parts to it. Put a few drops of food coloring into each bowl. First set up the paper towel on top of the plate and let your toddler squeeze the water onto the towel, it makes a pretty cool painting. Then once he or she is done with that then just let them squeeze water directly onto the plate. The colors will mix to create new ones! As you show them how to squeeze use the word drip as you drop stuff onto the plate and talk about what colors are on the plate.

Just a side note- If you have leftover eye droppers from an empty liquid medicine bottle use that instead of real ones. Why? Because they are plastic. If you have to use the glass ones just make sure they get put away so your toddler doesn't get a hold of one the next day unbeknownst to you and proceed bite and chew the end off while you're not looking...What's that you ask? Why no this didn't happen to us why would you assume that?....okay maybe it did happen.

...and a p.s. I know she looks super unhappy in this picture but this is her concentrating face-it really was a great activity.

D is for dinosaur. We checked out a few dinosaur books and colored some pictures of them. I think some great books are the "How do Dinosaurs..." series M* paid the most attention to them. We also went to the dinosaur museum where we got a dinosaur puzzle to put together. M* hasn't ever really been too exposed or had much of an interest in them but she picked up the word about 30 seconds into the museum. I found a dinosaur egg at dollar tree that you got to dig at and find dinosaur bones. It was a little bit hard for M* but she still had fun with it. I saw a recipe at that was edible that you can make eggs out of too but we didn't have time to try it this week.
D is for digging. We dug in the dirt and made mud pies this week too. M* loves Snow White so we sang the "dig dig dig dig" song while we dug.
D is for dressing up and dancing. M* put on her tutu and cut a rug. She loves dancing and our letter this week was "D the dancing dinosaur" so we made the sound that D makes while she dances (ddd) while we danced!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A if for

We worked on the letter A and our colors this week.

For colors I took the bottom of an egg carton and colored the pockets each a different color. Then found things for each color for M* to sort out into the cups. She did the "sort the colors" thing for about 10 mins and then she just played with the little things and had a good ol' time. When your child masters the 6 colors then you can add 9 then 12 etc. A is for...
Airplane- we flew paper airplanes around the house on Monday. Make 4 or 5 for your toddler to throw some where and pick up.

A is for...animals. It is currently 2 dollar Tuesday at Thanksgiving Point so I've been planning our letters around what we can do there. We went to the petting zoo and looked at all the animals.

A is This was super simple. The tree is just construction paper taped together with small pieces of velcro glued to it. The apples I just cut out of felt and wrote "A" on some "a" on some and "apple" on others. M* then picked them and put them in her basket. Also check out for some fun apple songs and crafts.

A is for... Alligator. I didn't take a picture of this one-maybe one day I will and I will get it up here. I just painted and Alligator with an "A" on his back on a piece of cardboard and cut out a hole for his mouth and the center of the A. Then I made some quick bean bags and had M* play a toss it in game. Just for the record it looked more like a lizard with a shark fin on his back but M* humored me and called it an Alligator anyway.

We also did our rice pit with the letters in it. Remember when you are doing these activities to emphasize the word that starts with the letter.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

F is for...

We are starting doing things using the Amazing Action Alphabet book. You can check our their products at The idea is to do their flip book and then do activities with the letter. You introduce a letter every 2 weeks or so. Along with all these activities we always looked at the flip chart before we started them to review the letter and the sound.

The first thing we did with the letter F is a rice pit. You make a rice pit by buying a small container with a lid I bought a 16 quart and pour a bunch of rice in it. I used 3 bigger bags. I also used beans but I would recommend just using rice. We started with things that are the letter F or start with F, like magnets, cookie cutters, frog, farmer, feather, flag. As your child digs things out say the name with emphasis on whatever letter you are doing it with. After we do the letters M* likes to play in it with spoons, bowls, and measuring cups.

F is for feather.
In the morning we did a craft with feathers. I drew a bird on a paper and then M* glued feathers on it and painted it with water colors. That afternoon we visited the aviary and I pointed out all of the feathers on the bird.

F is for fort and flash light.
We built a blanket fort and played under it all morning. We played with flashlights under it and read books.

F is for fish.
In the morning we did a fish pond. Tie string onto a small dowel or pencil and then glue a magnet onto the other end of the string. Cut out fish shapes and place paper clips on them. On the back of the Fish you can write things like, "jump up and down 10 times" or "sing wheels on the bus". You can spread the fish around the room or I put them in a small basket to keep it a little contained and easier to catch a fish. That afternoon we went to the aquarium. If you don't live by and aquarium you can head to the pet store to look at fish.

F is for face.
I drew different eyes, ears, noses, and mouths and taped them on the wall then had M* move them around to create different faces. Another way to do this would be to put them on flannel or Velcro and use it on the flannel board.

Road Trip

Well vacation season is upon us. We took a nice vacation to the west coast and here are my tips for what they are worth.

The car ride:

First of all I think everyone with kids should have a car vacuum, vacation or no vacation. They are small and they plug into your cigarette lighter. On a vacation where you are in the car a lot it's so nice to be able to get rid of all the crumbs from snacks.

Pack lots of snacks. If you are taking fruit cut it up and put small portions in small zip lock bags. We put all of our cold food in a insulated grocery bag with some frozen water and it worked really well. Make everything able to just be able to grabbed and passed out. Take plenty of wipes for cleaning up the snacks.

If your budget will allow buy some new toys and books and put away until the day of the trip. If you can't do that put some toys away about a month before the trip so that they have a newness about them. You can grab books your child has never seen at the library. Pick interactive books, like the simply look and find books, books with flaps, turny wheels, fold out pages, etc. I would recommend "Curious George Discovery Day" my daughter loves any of the Curious George board books (the board books not the regular books) and "Pat the Bunny Hide and Seek." Also sticker books are super good. I bought some at the dollar store and also bought a vinyl sticker book that worked well.

We bought a car seat tray because there were rave reviews about them. M* wouldn't have anything to do with it and we got along fine without her using it. So I would say save your money.

Break up the drive. Plan on stopping about every 3 hours. We even broke it up bigger by stopping halfway and staying the night.

The Hotel:

If you have you or your partner go upstairs to the room before your kid and childproof what you can. For example we were in our room for 5 minutes and M* broke one of the coffee mugs they put out, almost crushed herself with a table lap and called china with the phone (alright maybe a little exaggeration but not much of one).

Bring the toys in from the car. Subconsciously I thought we would just relax in the hotel room but reality said, "Hello! Have you met your daughter? She doesn't know how to relax." So take something to entertain in the hotel room.

If possible take a pack and play. Especially if you plan on staying in more than one hotel. Having a little consistency in where they sleep will be a big help. Not to mention that hotel cribs look like something out of a horror film.


You know your toddler best, if they aren't the type to wait patiently for something don't plan on going somewhere where they are going to have to wait a lot unless you are willing to deal with the tantrums that ensue.

We bought a harness backpack. This is one thing that I saw before I was a mom and scoffed at but M* is a runner so we bought one. People pointed and laughed a little at it but I say it's worth the peace of mind.

I had trouble deciding whether to take our big stroller that folds down so M* could take better naps and our cheap umbrella stroller. Due to space constraints we took the small umbrella stroller. M* only slept for 1/2 hour in it and there wasn't really ever a time I was glad I had the small stroller so I say if you can pack your nice one with the basket and fold back seat.

Speaking of nap times bring the lovey with you everywhere if it's small it'll help your little one fall asleep better.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Website

Whilst surfing the Internet I cam across this super duper site. It is geared to pre-schoolers but they have some great stuff on there that under 3 could definitely have fun with. When you get there you may want to check out some of the stories but you should for sure check out the parents activities they have for each theme.

And for those of you interested they have an equivalent for elementary school age.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Little Gym & Gymboree

Both of the mentioned above have a free class offer where you can go try their class out without any obligation to sign up, (of course they want you to sign up else they wouldn't offer it, lets not kid ourselves this is a marketing ploy).

We went to a trial class at both these places and we had a lot of fun. They both have tons of locations across the United States for kids of all ages.

Gymboree has a different theme every week. The theme for the class we went to was "on and off". So while we played with the equipment, balls, parachute, and bubbles the instructor emphasized "on and off". The pros about Gymboree is that they are just a bit cheaper than the little gym, they offer different types of classes (Ex: music, play and learn, art), and they have an open play that you can go to at certain times. The cons about Gymboree is I felt like we were just at an indoor play ground and was glad I hadn't actually paid for it because I can go to the park for free. Here is the website where you can schedule your free class

The Little Gym is different in that they let the kids play but they incorporate basic basic basic gymnastics. Rather than being an indoor playground it's pint size gymnastics equipment padded to the nines with fun little niches made everywhere. Which when I went I was thinking, what can they really teach my little girl who just learned how to walk but wow! they really do teach them some great stuff. And it's not like a gymnastics class with older kids where you stand in line and wait your turn to do something, your child gets to wander and then throughout the class your instructor shows you how to use the equipment and how to spot your child and let them do it when they are ready. They also do the group activities like bubbles, balls, parachutes, etc alternatively every week. Here is their website where you can schedule your free class

I only compare the two because these are the only parent-child classes I could find in my area. We signed up with The Little Gym, I had every intention of signing up with Gymboree because they were cheaper but after going to their class it was obvious to me why it was cheaper. Different people like different things though so maybe Gymboree is for you. Even if you don't want to sign up for a class, the free class is still a nice 45 mins away from the house.

Playdough and Shapes

M* got Playdough in her Easter eggs. She loves to have play with it but doesn't quite grasp the concept as to what you are supposed to do with it. So to make things more interesting for me and perhaps a little educational for her I quickly drew out this...

Then she can match the shape the playdough is in to the shape on the paper. I think she mostly likes picking the playdough up and then pounding it back down on the paper but hey, one day those triangles will match up.

Feet-er Paint

We have been so excited for spring at our house. Unfortunately we thought it was here, unfortunately winter hasn't gone down without a fight, so we've been inside more than we would like. But we've done a couple fun things, this one is definitely the messiest-and the funnest (is funnest a word?).

Butcher paper (I've been saving the paper they wrap your things in from Thai Pan for a while just for such an occasion)
Washable Finger Paint (I know it says washable but are you SURE it's washable?)

Tape the paper down to cover a spot or your whole kitchen floor. I would somehow barricade the carpet areas-our kitchen has a very small entrance so I just put a chair there so M* couldn't escape easily. I put the finger paint on plates but I think it would work even better if you just put it straight onto the paper. Let your kid go to town walking with the paint all over the paper. Towards the end she sat in some and then scooted down the paper, that was a riot, then we just painted with our fingers. Be sure when you are walking to keep fresh paint on your little ones feet because once it becomes a little dry little feet start to stick to the paper.

Alternative: Put on some music and dance whilst feet-er painting.

Just a tip have something to at least wash your feet off so that you can carry you and your child straight to the tub.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ashby Fundraiser

Hello readers that as of right now don't exist-oh well. I've got some new ideas with pictures to post but I have been too darn busy (or maybe lazy) to get the pictures off my camera. But look for them soon.

Right now over at there is a fundraiser going on for the Ashby family. Their Dad was in an accident. He was the main bread winner for the family and is disabled. So they have medical bills that have amounted up to 1 million dollars plus they have to make they house wheelchair accessible. They have some really great stuff that has been donated and all the proceeds are going to help this family. Go check it out!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Jar

Glass jars or clear containers with wide mouths (including lids)
Favorite toys or brightly colored fabrics

Place a toy in each jar or container and screw the lid on just a turn. Show your child how to unscrew the lid to get the toy out. As he or she gets better at unscrewing the lid you can screw it more and more.

M* had a good time with this but this but all the while I sat there thinking, do I really want her to know how to get into jars? Hmm....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Particular Shopping Day

My wallet is regularly unpacked. It doesn't matter where I put my bag or how far down I try to hide my wallet M* always seems to find it and then proceeds to tear out all the cards and throw them around the house. It only took me once missing it at the cash register and having to send all my food back to check for it before I leave for the store.

On a particular shopping morning I searched for it everywhere and could not find it. Realizing we had absolutely nothing to eat and I needed to go I pulled out a credit card in hopes of finding the missing debit later.

My daughter used to do really well at the store but lately she just has NO patience. Some days she'll play the, "put this in the basket for me game" and other days if I ask her to do that she throws the food on the floor. Some days she'll hold the shopping list and other days it's ripped to shreds before we get past produce. This particular shopping day she did not want to do either. All she wanted to do is play with one of those plastic bags you put your veggies and meats in. I know know it says on the bag keep away from children but I let her.

So we finish shopping and I take away this bag and substitute them for the car keys which hurray it worked. And then it happened, M* had found a hole in the check out stand where some wires came through and dropped the keys down there. "Where go?" she says in her innocent little voice. AGH! They had to take apart half of the belt to get the keys out and it took forever. I didn't even know those belt things came apart but apparently they do. This whole time I am just red with shame and embarrassment. Luckily they were able to find them and get them out and they didn't ban us from the store.

We get home and M* helps by pulling all the groceries out of the bag-it's hard to stay mad at her when she is so sweet. After groceries are put away she wants to go play with toys so I open her little people house for her and there is the debit card. She grabs it and hands it to me, "Here go mama." What a stinker.

Your turn, what do you do to survive these public crazy kid moments? Do you sometimes let them do things that probably aren't the safest to keep the screaming, crying, and kicking monster at bay? When they really mess up at this age do you try to explain to them they messed up or do you just let it go? I feel like at this age when you are encouraging them to explore their surroundings it's hard to be upset when they drop keys into the dark abyss, but maybe I should have told her that was naughty. I don't know, what do you think?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hats off to Hats

Hats and other random things to place on your head

Place different hats on your head and on your child's head. When you put thing on that don't belong tell your tot how silly it is-don't you love the word silly? Just saying it erupts smiles at our house. Make noises with each hat you put on; for example sirens when you put on a fire hat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bubble Blowing

So I don't want to be all about, "buy this for your kid", "oh, this is great buy this for your kid" this for your kid. My tot LOVES bubbles but for some reason she's not like the other kids and can just pop them she has to be holding the container, which big open bubble containers in her hands means lots of spilled bubbles. These things by Little Kids Inc are genius. It's like a sippy cup for bubbles only it works way better than any sippy cup we own. We got one at Target for $2 and it's totally worth it with all the money you save on spilled bubbles and all the time you save changing clothes, and now we can blow bubbles inside anytime we want. They also have big buckets with multiple wands in them if that sort of thing is your cup of tea.
As a side note has anyone seen or used one of those bubble pipe things? Were you blow into the end and then out the other end comes bubble-delight? I wonder if they are easy enough for a toddler to blow their own bubbles. Maybe, we'll have to try it one day.

Blanket Wagon

Blanket or Sheet

Have your child sit on the sheet. Gently pull him across the floor. That's it! Pretty simple eh? After we had gone up and down our hallway a couple times I gave M* a stirring spoon and showed her how to "paddle" while I sang "Row Row Row Your Boat."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Farm Themed Day

What kid doesn't love farm animals?? there in the pink, your kid doesn't? Well...weird...

Have a farm day! Eat only things from a farm (if you stretch enough you could really make anything come from a farm). Talk about what animal lays eggs, what animals make milk, how crops grow etc. Your child may not understand exactly what you're saying but exposure is key.

Go visit a farm. If you don't have a farm in your area chances are you do have a petting zoo. Check out this website for help finding one. They have a lot of states missing so try google if you can't find one.

Follow the visit up by some quiet story time about farms. Hit the local library if you don't have any.

If your child is old enough make a craft that has to do with a farm animal. Keep it simple like turkey handprints or make a yellow pom pom into a chick.

Sand Box


Sand or Dirt
Buckets, bowls, know the basics.

Ahh spring how we've missed you! I found this bucket and shovel at the dollar store and thought might as well try it (I think I saw the same thing for $1 at target if it makes you feel better buying it there). We spent an hour loading up the bucket and dumping it in. If you don't have a sand box around get a pot of dirt and set it up on your porch, it'll be just as fun and just as messy.
Does anyone have any cool things they do with their toddler in the sand? I just don't feel it's true potential has been unlocked at our family.

A Day on a Matteress

I hesitate putting this on here but it really is a great activity. I just took the bumpers off of our crib and thought it would be easier to pull the mattress all the way out to change the sheets without the big hinderence there. I was right it was easier, just in case you were wondering. My daughter thought the matteress on the floor was the COOLEST thing ever.

Matteress on the floor
Pillows (I would say NOT optional but I suppose they really are optional)

Of course the first thing she did was jump up and down on it. I grabbed some pillows to put on the side once this first...I guess...maybe I should've put a helment on too.

Next she looked through many many books, while on the mattress.

All her stuffed toys were brought to the mattress given a bounce and laughed at as they fell dejected on the floor.

Then she stood on one end of the mattress and threw her doll to the other end. If it didn't make it off the mattress she stood where it landed and threw it off-I promise we didn't teach her that.

I was on one end and she was on the other and she would drive her car down on the mattress and then I would chase her back down the mattress with it. Bring on the giggles.

She was pretty upset when I put it back and I was worried she wasn't going to go to sleep on it now that she had found out its great playing potential but I guess once it was in the crib it wasn't cool anymore.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mail Box

Shoe box
Paper and/or Stickers (optional)

Cover shoe box in paper. I taped and glued mine in hopes that it would last a little longer but I don't think it's going to make a difference. Cut a slot in the top of the box. I put letters on the top that says mail, they were promptly torn off. Make "letters" to go in the mail box. I had M* put some stickers on some 3x5 cards for our letters. I think it would be fun to put a new letter in every so often. Maybe some days put some "packages" in, like some dollar store toys or a treat.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Edible Playdough

I'm a big fan of edible playthings, mostly because I'm a big fan of eating. Here is a recipe for edible play dough.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 c powdered milk

Mix it all together and mold!

Bubble Bath-Outside the Tub

Remember the good old days of bubble bath beards and hair-dos? I sure do. Unfortunately now days (or maybe I just didn't get the news until now days) putting your kid in a bubble bath is like bathing them in poison, I haven't decided which is more frowned upon. Anyway, I can't shake the feeling that M* is missing out on one of the finer things in life, so instead of bringing her to the bubble bath we will bring the bubble bath to her!

Dish Bin, Bowl, or Bucket
Bubble Bath or Dish Soap

Fill dish bin full of bubbles and water. Plop in toys, preferably toys your child doesn't see in the bath everyday, get some that float and some that sink. It was like a treasure hunt trying to find the things at the bottom. Alert:Drowning hazard. Don't leave your toddler alone with this.


Paper Plate

Punch 1-3 holes in a paper plate. Slide ribbon through the hole so just a little bit is hanging out. Show your toddler how to pull the ribbon out from the hole. When they get the hang of it then you try to help them thread the ribbon themselves.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cardboard Kitchen

M* Loves playing with pretend kitchens. That is all she does at her cousins house. Unfortunately I just can't justify spending $100 on a toy "just because." I was so excited when I found this idea in Family Fun. Their rendition is much prettier but this works for us. I'm not terribly great at writing tutorials but I think the pictures are pretty self explanatory.

Cardboard box (you need a pretty good size box but you can make it as large or as small as you want)
Extra Cardboard
Two pieces of paper (different colors)
Paint (optional)
Milk Carton Lids or Similar

First decide where you are going to put your "sink" trace outline of bowl onto top of box. Using a razor blade cut 1/4-1/2" inside the circle-so your bowl should have something to hang onto. From separate cardboard cut out the shape of your sink-like a candy cane. Cut a big enough slit into the main box so that you can slide the sink down into it.

Trace 2-4 circles on one piece of paper, cut out, glue onto the other piece of paper to make the "stove". Secure milk caps for knobs on the stove (I think it would be cool if you had long brads to secure them with so they could turn but we just used glue).

On the front of box cut out shape of oven. You can cut out a window out of the center if you would like. If your box is smaller you will want to cut it to the side so you will have enough room for your cupboards in a future step. Cut a strip from your extra cardboard and secure on as the oven handle.
When you cut out your cupboard be sure to leave enough of a boarder (the part in blue) so that your box is still supported. Cut two parallel horizontal lines and then a vertical one to divide them.

If you have enough extra cardboard you can cut out a panel to insert between the cupboard space and the oven space. We also added a shelf to our oven by gluing it in between the two walls.
On the opposite side of the cupboards make two holes line up with each other. Secure a ribbon using the two holes to use as a towel holder.
Paint. Then insert bowl into the hole you cut out for the sink.

Hopefully you haven't lost your mind reading my (terrible) instructions. M* has really had a lot of fun with it and it only took me about 45 mins to make. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Children's Museum

A children's museum is a place where kids get to touch everything, perfect right? If you live near one take advantage of it! Check out this website to find a museum in your area.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Slide Show

Camera or computer filled with pictures of your toddler, or printed pictures.

Look through the pictures with your toddler. Tell them about what they are doing in the pictures. Little kids love seeing themselves!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Garden

Paper cup (I used one of those big yogurt containers)

Cover pot with paper using tape. Cut out flower shapes. Depending on the age of your toddler you can do this before hand or let them help. Use stickers to decorate pot and flowers have your child help you tape straws on the back. Then put them in the pot.

This didn't take us long to put together but M* has spent tons of time taking the flours out of the pot and putting them back in. I think maybe next time we sit down to do something crafty we'll make some "bugs" to tape to straws and add them in. Also, we pulled out pipe cleaner to wrap around he straws but M* wasn't interested but maybe your child will be.

Valentine Cards

Paper (folded for cards)
Stamps (I would say already inked stamps are the way to go. First because then you don't have to have a constant battle with your toddler over who gets to hold the ink pad and second they don't ink all over little hands as easily)
Markers (only if you are brave!)

Pretty self explanatory. Usually if we color we only use crayons or stickers but for this we pulled out everything. My daughter was actually interested in it for a good hour, which I contribute to the variety of things she had to use. We made our cards for Dad and Grandparents.

Flour Power

2-3 bowls
Cookie Sheet

Place a handful of flour in a bowl. Show your toddler how to stir the flour and how to transfer it to another bowl with a spoon. Then let them cook up their creation. Another variation is to put flour on a cookie sheet and show them how to draw things in the flour.

This activity is like a miracle in a bowl. I pull it out quite frequently while I'm cooking dinner and it keeps meltdowns to a minimum. So, Hurray for it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nature Walk

When we go on walks and M* is not in the stroller she loves to pick things up. had a great idea of taking a basket for your toddler to put things in that they find. Don't let the cold weather scare you off this could be fun bundled up or in the sun. Point out things like sticks, leaves, rocks and acorns. Also, it's been fun to have her show daddy her finds when he gets home.

Feed the Birds

Here is a good thing to do on a nice winter day. We have tons of birds in back of where we live. So we went out and fed them. We didn't even have any birds come near us M* just had tons of fun throwing the bird seed. We've fed bread to ducks too which is kind of fun because they'll come closer.

The picture is not the greatest which is probably good or you would notice her eyebrows are red with spaghetti sauce...awesome.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Flannel Board Stories


Sturdy Cardboard (I made my board about 15"x12")

Enough Flannel to Cover Front of Board

Felt or Flannel to Glue on Back of Story Pieces

Story pictures (check out the sites below or if you child can let them draw pictures for the story themselves)

These sites have free content:

This site has stories from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and D&C if you're not LDS don't let that turn you off to the site the Bible stories are still the same:

You can buy from these sites:

Jumping Gym

Couch Cushions

You can make this as simple or complicated as you want. Our "gym" consists of our couch cushions stacked on top of each other and some pillows. I think M* likes crawling on the couch without cushions as much as she likes crawling on the cushions with no couch. Variation: Use the same materials to set up an obstacle course for your child to crawl through.

Water Games

(Possible) Materials:
Dish bin
Cups of all colors and sizes (I think half a stack of nesting cups would be perfect)

Gather materials. Fill dish bin with about 2 inches of warm water. Have at it! Don't leave your little one alone with this as it poses a drowning hazard. Have towels on hand to wipe up spilled water. Obviously everything in the vicinity is going to get soaked so don't put your child in the outfit she is wearing to Aunt Mod's 93rd birthday party that night.
Please try to ignore my mangy dog poking his head in the picture.