I spy!...Arrrr, I'm a pirate...bird watching...nature hunts...binoculars are usful for so many fun things

Here's how to make them for your little ones!

As strange as this may sound, the better the toilet paper the worse the toilet paper roll actually is. So if your wanting these binoculars to last more then 15 minutes with little hands I suggest the cheapest kind of TP you can get...the one I bought is in a pink and white wrapper it's called bathroom tissue K-500...these rolls are so strong!

The binoculars on the top are from nicer more expensive toilet paper and the ones on the bottom are the cheap kind :)

First poke two holes, one in each roll and make sure the holes are lined up evenly.

Next, stand them up and lace ribbon or string through one hole starting from the inside and pulling it out.
Next, put the string through the next hole starting it on the outside going in.

Next pull both string down through the tube and pull them out at the bottom.

Next turn the tubes over ans tie the strings together tightly this will keep the rolls from separating.

Tie the ends around your child's neck and let the fun and imagination begin!

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!!!

Picture Joy Christmas
View the entire collection of cards.


Turkey Handprints!

It's that time of year again, time to share with the world all of the things you are Thankful for! I am Thankful for so many things in my life, my health, my job, my family, my Hubby and most if all our healthy happy growing boy! I just adore being his Mommy!

My son is 20 months old and this year I felt adventurous, we made hand print turkey's cards for all of my sons grandparents. As always I got everything set up before hand. I put a trash bag down as a drop cloth, set out all the papers that I wanted his little prints on and got the paint and brushes out ready to go. I sat him down and showed him the paint and opened his hand and rubbed the brush on his hand before I put paint on it. I didn't want to startle him.

What to do:
Paint your child's palm and thumb with brown and each finger a different color.

After the paint dries draw on a beak, feet and a 'gobble'

I wrote Happy Thanksgiving and my sons name and the year on each one and mailed them out to the grandparents! We also made another one on white paper that I put into a frame I had. It will get stored with all the Thanksgiving stuff and pulled out every year for wonderful memories!

The hand print on the pumpkin was from last year when my son was 8 months old the turkey hand print is from this month and he's 20 months now...I Love to capture his
little growing hand!

Baking with your toddler!

So first and foremost I need to address my son's ridiculous outfit...yes he is wearing stripped PJ pants, a batman tee and a crazy sweatshirt, and yes those are toilet paper rolls around his neck LOL but those I can actually explain it's a little project we did that will be in my next post but as far as the outfit as a whole I can't even say 'oh he dressed himself or he picked out that outfit out himself lol...nope that's just the kinda day it was lol

Anywhoo, back to baking with your toddler...I am by no means Miss Betty C. or old Martha what's her name but even I can do a little baking and make it fun for my little man.

This particular day we made Pumpkin muffins, I bought pre-made mix from Trader-Joes because I knew I wanted to included my son in this adventure and all we needed to add was water, oil and eggs.

I cracked the eggs in a big bowl first then pre-measured the water and oil out into measuring cups and lined it all up on our kitchen floor. I then helped my son poor each of the cups into the bowl and let him stir for a few minutes then we added the mix and I stirred it to smooth it out then let him take over again. This lasted for quite some time. He loved pulling the whisk up and out of the mix and watching it drip down. This is great for hand-eye coordination and the beginning concepts of cause and effect.

When it came time to fill our mini muffin molds my little man was not happy that he couldn't stir all day so I traded him for another bowl and put in a little water and gave him another spoon to stir his little heart out!

After the muffins were in the oven for awhile I turned on the oven light and showed my little man...he said 'whoa!' and he soon those mini muffins were all gobbled up!


Play dough and Fingerpaint

As parents of toddlers we tend to focus on communication, we are so focused on how many words our child is saying and labeling everything a thousand times! Don't get me wrong these are extremely important things to work on but sometimes with so much focus on language development, motor development gets put on the back burner. It is important to set aside a little time in your week to work on your child's fine motor development. Often times as children get older and start to 'write' letters or their name they struggle and it's not always for the same reason but the majority of the time it's because the muscles in their fingers are not fully developed and have not been strengthened. Play dough or clay is one of the simplest ways you can strengthen those muscles. The toddler age is the perfect time to start! In an earlier post I put up a recipe on how to make your own play dough, so if your toddler is at a stage of oral fixation, you won't have to worry about them digesting anything harmful.
This time we played with play-Doh brand.

Squishing, pulling, ripping, squeezing, poking and pushing objects into the dough is all contributing to strengthening those little muscles in their fingers. Just as we work on teaching the names of objects to help their vocabulary to grow in the future, working on strengthening their fine motor muscles now will help with their writing and penmanship in the future.

Now if your feeling a little more adventurous, finger painting is also a wonderful way for little ones to have sensory stimulation as well as strengthen their fine motor muscles. Finger painting also is great for improving hand-eye coordination. Finger painting isn't really as scary and messy as you may think. If your little one is still in a high chair then it makes things even easier. We do the majority of our projects in the high chair, it allows for easy clean up. Just put a piece of paper down on the tray and squirt a few drops of different color paint and let the fun begin. Finger-painting paper is the best to use because it wont tear but we just used regular white printer paper. If you see it starting to tear then just give them a new piece.

Life's to short! Don't stress the mess!

Crayola Model Magic

Any type of textural manipulative is a great thing for toddlers. It helps to strengthen their fine-motor skills. Without developing and strengthening the muscles in their fingers now it will be harder for the child to hold a pencil and write or to hold scissors and cut when they get older.

I think that Crayola Model Magic is a wonderful product. I love making my own dough but this stuff is such a wonderful texture it is so light weight and molds so easily for little hands. The best part is that it does NOT fall apart or stick to anything! I buy the individual packs because this dough does air dry so I have found that it's best for one-time use.

We used corks, rocks and other objects to push into the dough. Cookie cutters would work great too!

October fun! Pumpkin Painting

When you have toddlers carving pumpkins isn't always fun. The knives are dangerous, the insides are messy and really there's not much for them to do. So why not paint the pumpkin?

Whenever painting a great art tool is a drop mat or art cloth of some sort. A great re-usable one like a thick table cloth work great because after paint falls on it you can either hang it outside to dry and re-use the next time or wipe it down after each use. For a quick drop cloth take a trash bag and cut it down the seams/sides. If you want the trash bag to stop sliding on the table wipe the table down with a damp cloth and the trash bag will cling to the table. (a little preschool teacher trick)

I use an old white T-shirt as a smock so we don't ruin our clothes.

toddler marble art

Traditional marble art is not age appropriate for toddlers because of the small size of marbles but that doesn't mean you can't do it with bigger balls.

Things you will need:
* a box of some type
(When you buy large bundles of paper they usually come in big boxes with tops...the tops work perfect, you can always go to your local costco or smart and final to find a box that will work also.)
*paint (if you don't have washable paint you can always add a few drops of dish soap into any paint to help it to wash off easier)
*Paper (any color any size)
*large plastic balls (these will wash off the easiest)

First place the paper inside the box

add paint

let your little one hold both sides of the box tilting it side to side to roll the balls back and forth and watch the paint make tracks across the paper

If your little one is anything like my son, cars would also be a very fun object that would make fun tracks across the paper.

Color bags!

Color bags are a great tool to have for creating those teachable moments.

In our house we are working on the colors Yellow, Blue and Red. I went though our toys and picked out objects that are those solid colors. Blocks, cars, balls, legos ect. and put them in ziplock bags for easy storage but color bins or fabric bags would work great as well. (Please not if you use plastic ziplock bags like I did please do not leave them within child's reach)

Everyday I takeout one of our color bags and I take one object out at a time. "This is a ball, a yellow ball." We (meaning I) talk about the object and color. I say it and my son repeats it, then we move onto the next object. Once we have done each bag a few times each I take out two bags and two colored bins. I dump out all of the yellow objects and all of the blue objects and we sort them. We put the blue items in the blue bin and the yellow items in the yellow bin saying each color. This helps with color identification as well as sorting which is a preschool early math skill.

This is a fun and simple way to learn colors. For older kids or more advanced toddlers you can start to introduce A/B color patterns such as yellow blue yellow blue.

Leaf Project

With fall right around the corner this is a fun and simple craft to learn about nature and colors.

Collect leafs with your child.

With a sheet of contact paper let your child stick the leafs onto the contact paper.

We stuck ours on the fridge and worked on saying 'green' and 'yellow' and 'leafs'. My son kept walking up to the fridge pointing to the leafs. For older children you can work on early math skills and have them sort the leafs by color or size.


On The Farm

Sadly summer is over but I am excited to be back at work with my preschool class. I only work until 12:30 everyday so I am able to come home and spend time with my little man! Two days a week in the afternoon I nanny for a little girl who is the same age as my son. I love to find fun practical activities for them to do. Today our theme was 'On the Farm' at 1 1/2 these little ones are strengthening so many skills from verbal to fine motor there is a lot going on in their little minds.

I bought these peel and stick foam pieces at walmart for about $6 I have seen them other places as well including the dollar tree. These are great for hand-eye coordination and for strengthening fine motor skills.

I found that if I started to pull the white backing off then handed it to them, the kids were able to pull the rest apart by themselves.

The kids had a fun time making their pictures.

I added their names when they were all finished. (not sure why the pictures are uploading upside down...but you get the picture)

After this fun activity we(meaning me because they are 1) sang Old McDonald had a farm and colored a picture. (please excuse the horrible drawings...I drew them in 2 minutes while one year old's were trying to color on the paper at the same time)

By the end of our fun farm activities the kids were saying 'pig' and 'cow' pretty well and they would giggle every time I would make the animal sounds. It is all about repetition at this age. The more you say something or set an example they will follow.I hope you enjoy this quick and fun farm activity.