I must admit that my blogging has taken a bit of a backseat over the past week or so. We’ve been super busy seeing everyone here in Texas. It’s been a year since I’ve seen most of our family, so there’s lots of catching up to do. We are finally getting settled in a bit, but I realized that I don’t have much to post! I haven’t really been doing many “activities” with J because we’ve been so busy traveling around the metroplex playing with family. So….I’ll just take this moment to remind you that….
Monday, November 28, 2011
Last week I took J outside to play in all the leaves in our backyard. I raked a pretty good pile of leaves and hoped that J would want to play in them. Well…the rake was just too much fun for J and that the pile of leaves was quickly forgotten. Oh well…we still had fun.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I made J a fort in the car! The road trip to Texas was long, but J did great. This was one of the many activities that we did along the way.
J is still rear facing so it was super easy. I took his blanket and used his car seat and the head rest of the back seat to make the fort. J just giggled and giggled! He thought this was the most amazing game ever!
Of course this is great to do during nap time to cover the light, but it’s such a fun game too!
Saturday, November 26, 2011
J has enjoyed playing with this toy for months now. It’s come in and out of our toy rotation, and J is so happy it every time it makes an appearance. Like most of his homemade toys, it’s changed as he has changed.
When I first introduced it…maybe around 12 months….he just took the lid on and off and dropped the pipe cleaners inside.
I noticed lately that he wasn’t playing with it as much as he used to, so I made it a bit more challenging. I punched a small hole in the top of the lid for the pipe cleaners to fit through. Presto! It’s once again a favorite toy.
It was a great car toy for our road trip too! This little toy kept him busy longer than any other toy we had…except for the Magna Doodle (that thing rocks!)
This toy is great for hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, and problem solving.
To make it yourself, you’ll need an empty container…I used an old Gerber Puffs container….and pipe cleaners. That’s it…easy!
His favorite toys have always been the cheap homemade ones I’ve thrown together. It makes me seriously question buying him toys at all!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
We made it to Texas and had J did wonderful in the car. I have spent the day helping my mother cook and get ready for Thanksgiving. It is amazing to be back home with the people I love. This year I’m thankful for my family. I am so grateful that I am able to stay for an entire month and spend good quality time with all of them.
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
December 1st is a week from TODAY! Starting then and for the rest of the days in December, I’ll be blogging all about PLAY! I hope you’ll join in and spend a few moments with me learning about play. I’ll challenge you to then take that knowledge and spend a few minutes every day being fully involved in your child’s play.
Here’s what we’ll be up to:
~Play for all ages – Baby, Pretoddler, Toddler, Preschooler, and School-Aged kids
~Dancing along to Musical Play
~Learning Mathematics Skills, Literacy and Science Through Play
~Why Playdates and Independent Play are Both Important
~Cooking with Kids
~Using Nature in Play
~Playing as a Family
~Plus Much, Much More!
I hope you’ll follow along and join in on the fun!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Well, when J turned 14 months old and went down to one nap, I decided to start doing more activities with him. We started off by doing a lot of good hands on activities, like finger painting and painting with water. J had a blast and I was happy.
Then I noticed that J wasn’t really talking and that’s when I started the comparing him to other kids…read here if you want more on this story. So, I decided to do a theme each week and work on J’s vocabulary. Basically, this is where I took all my education and experience and threw it out the window. I worked hard with J to discuss farm animals, zoo animals, pets, things that go, etc. I even had J make a different zoo animal each day and we had an entire zoo after two weeks! This was a great idea for a 3 year old…not a 15 month old! We had a color of the week and I tried really hard to get my son to make animal noises. I was pushing and our activities weren’t fun anymore.
I had broken my own rules:
- Stay within your child’s abilities – I was pushing him to make things that were way too advanced for his age.
- Don’t push – Your child will develop in his own time and at his own speed. Again..I was pushing.
- Let your child lead – I was forcing J to do the activities the way I wanted him to do them. I didn’t really let him make things the way he wanted to make them.
I am not proud and actually feel horrible about my mistakes. However, I thought it was important that I do write it. I want others to see that even someone who understands kids and has spent a large part of their adulthood learning with and working with children can mess up so majorly. Now that I’ve gotten my head screwed back on right I have started playing with J in a more appropriate away. J and I are now enjoying our activity time, and each other, much, much more.
Anyone else do this or break your own rules when it came to parenting?
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I probably should have put a limit on the amount of shaving cream we used, but J kept asking for more and I couldn’t resist!
Monday, November 21, 2011
Here’s how I did it. I gave him the glue and did give some instruction on how to use it. I then gave him some old spices of mine and let him shake.
The spices came from a spice rack I received as a wedding present 5 years ago. I had yet to use them, so I figured that after sitting for 5 years it was their time.
This activity is great because it’s not only about making artwork…it’s a sensory experience…and a good one too. He was able to touch the sticky glue, got spices stuck to his fingers, and felt the different textures of the spices. He was also able to see how the spices got stuck to the glue. He got to taste the spices. He could listen to the spices hitting the paper. Plus! The spices had a heavenly smell! It’s sometimes tough to find activities that use all the senses, but this one absolutely does.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Today’s the day we’re heading out. I’m excited and looking forward to the adventure. J’s a pretty good traveler so I’m not expecting any major issues along the way.
There are thousands of websites out there that talk about how to keep a toddler happy while on road trips. I’m not going to go through everything that I’ve read, but I’ll give you some info that’s worked for me.
- Take food….lots and lots of snacks. I care a lot about the food I give J on a daily basis, but the goal here is to keep child happy. I still provide healthy snacks, but I don’t care if he eats all day long, as long as he’s happy. Cheerios are my friend.
- Buy new toys. Go to the dollar store and buy some cheap kids toys and have enough for at least one new toy an hour. Give the child something new to play with every hour or so to keep him interested.
- Sit in the backseat with him…if you can. J is still rear facing and it would be difficult for him to go hours without seeing someone’s face. You can play games and sing songs to keep them happy. Plus, you’ll be there to pick up thrown toys and snacks instead of having to reach behind the seat from the front.
- Technology. I don’t really let J watch tv…maybe once every couple of months. So, any screen time is a thrill for him. We download movies onto our tablet and let him watch as much as he can. Again, the purpose is a happy toddler.
- Take frequent stops and let him run! I like to find a place to eat with a park nearby so that we can have a picnic outside and let J play for a bit. When you stop for gas, take him inside the station to look around a bit.
I always have the best of intentions to put together some great toddler busy bag to keep him happy, but I hardly ever have the time to make something. I’m too busy packing, cleaning, making lists, etc. But, there’s a ton ideas out there. Check my pinterest “kid-ideas” page for some toddler busy bags, or just do a Google search.
Happy traveling and wish us luck!
Get ready! Coming your way December 1st. Make sure to follow along and join in on the fun!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
He quickly fixed that. He went straight to where I keep all my fillers for the trays and asked to see it…aka, incessantly pointed at it until I gave it to him. After he picked out everything he wanted in his tray I helped him open all the baggies that the fillers were in. He went ahead and made his own tray. The kid new what he wanted to do!
Spiral shaped pasta, bouncy ball eyeballs, Halloween rings, all 6 Halloween pumpkins, and white canister for filling.
Friday, November 18, 2011
We are leaving again on Sunday for a two day road trip to Texas. J and I will be staying in Texas until after Christmas when we make the drive back. Talk about a packing nightmare! Not only am I packing for myself for an entire month, but my toddler too!
We did this when he was 7 months old, so I already have some ideas on how to make it easier on me…and I’m going to share them with you! I know….you’re thrilled!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I have always been very persistent with J about cleaning up after himself. I found that as he’s gotten older (you know the ripe old age of 18 months) he’s started to need less help placing his toys in the correct place. He’s at the age where kids start understanding how to sort objects, so I guess this makes since.
Here’s a pic to show you what I mean.
He was able to sort out the gems from his blocks and place them in their correct container.
Children learn so well by doing everyday things. I’m glad he’s starting to understand how like objects go together. It’s so cool when you see your child have a light bulb moment when they’ve learned something new.
Have you noticed any “light bulb moments” with your children?
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
My little family is leaving on Sunday for a two day road trip to Texas for the Holidays. J and I will be staying until after Christmas while my hubby flies over seas for work. This week is going to be super busy getting everything together. Do you have any idea how much stuff a toddler needs for one whole month away from home. Plus all my shoes?
I’ll try to keep the posts coming, but I might miss a few days here over the next couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll get in a couple posts about our “adventures” along the way. Should be interesting…two long days of driving with an 18 month old in the car. Who’s idea was this anyway?
I’ll be up and going again on Dec 1 for my 31 Days of Play. Just hang in there with me until then.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I emptied the entire can of whipped cream into a bowl and added some red food coloring. The mixing pretty much got rid of any foamy goodness of the whipped cream.
I decided to just dump it onto the table and give J a rubber spatula and let him go at it.
First he just poked it…not really sure what to do.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Since we are still stuck at home due to J’s sickness, I decided to make him a fort! We do small forts with a little blanket upstairs all the time, but I decided to make this one a bit bigger.
I stacked up boxes on our coffee table and couches and draped our king sized sheet over everything. I put a huge box with pillows and books for a reading nook. I added the lightbox, a flashlight, and toys inside. It was loads of fun.
Playing with his gems and the lightbox.
Big box “reading nook” with pillows, flashlight and books.
Forts are always a hit and never a disappointment with kids!
Have you done a fort lately?
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I actually don’t have ice cube trays…weird huh? So, I used my mini muffin tins. The cubes came out looking almost like tablets.
They start melting and giving off color as soon as they hit the warm bath water.
I’ve been talking a lot with J about hot and cold lately, so this was a good way to bring in that lesson. It’s also a neat science experiment to talk about the properties of water with preschool and school aged kids, and of course discussing colors!
I was a bit worried about the water getting too cool, but I didn’t notice the temperature change too much.
Has anyone else tried this? Any other bath time activities you’ve done with your kids?
Friday, November 11, 2011
I’ve had a few readers ask me how I made my lightbox. Well, I found everything I needed at Walmart.
Plastic storage container: I got a long, shallow one because I wanted it to be lower for J and with a bigger work surface. $7.00
Under counter light: I like this because the light is more uniform than using twinkle lights. I got the longest one that would fit inside the box. $7.00
White tissue paper: I wanted to distribute the light a bit better and not make it quite so harsh, so I threw in a piece of tissue paper. I was worried that it would make the box a fire hazard, but it doesn’t seem to get too hot and I don’t leave the light on for extended periods of time. $1.00
I just let the cord run under the lid and snapped the lid on.
There you go…a lightbox for under $15.00!
Here’s J figuring out how it works.
Lots and lots of games and sensory activities….that’s what.
We started off the day on a nature walk around the neighborhood. J kept going to do the door wanting to go outside, so I figured why not? We had a fun walk and made a small stop at the playground (there were no other children there to catch his germs). Along the way we gathered lots and lots of pretty leaves, pinecones, and pinestraw. The leaves are just now changing here in the South and there are a ton a beautifully colored ones to choose from. J spent several minutes picking leaves off trees and then insisted on a piggy back ride so that he could get the leaves that were out of his reach.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Here’s another one of my thrown together activities…sand and tape! J loved doing this and it kept his attention for a long while. Sand, tape, and paper plates…who knew that three simple things could be so much fun?!
This activity is great for fine motor skills, learning new textures, and cognitive development. Oh, he was 15 months old when we did this activity.