Archive for Child's Play

Toddler Craft: Treasure Box

My little explorer loves “discovering” new things. On her walks, it may be stones, leaves, or sticks. Around the house it might be a key chain from her older brother, a hair tie from her big sister, an interesting scrap of paper…you get the idea. One thing all the objects have in common is they are  important to her. Another thing they all have in common is there is no place to put them. Enter the “Treasure Box”.

We took an old shoe box, and glued noodles to the lid. After the glue dried, it was time to break out the poster paint and paint the box, noodles and all. When the paint dried, it was time to decorate with stickers. After the stickers were applied…TADA! a box to store her “treasures”.

We do have two rules for her “treasures” and treasure box. If the “treasure” doesn’t fit into her box, she can’t keep it. Same goes for “treasures” that, um, move.

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Toddler Crafts: ABCs

“A, B, C/as easy as 1, 2, 3″…except to a toddler who’s just learning her ABCs. We’ve been encouraging our future scholar that there’s more to books than the pictures, and it hasn’t always been easy.

We started making “letter wands” last month. Just one a week, and it seems to be a big hit with our little darling.  Letter wands are simply letters I cut out of fun foam, decorated by our toddler, and attached to a drinking straw with packing tape. Oh, sure. There’s a bit of “whacking the cat” with the wand, but she’s also using them in learning activities as well.

Letter Treasure Hunt: My daughter and I take her letter wand of the week to search for matching letters in books, magazines, and other items around the house.

Trace the Letter: Decorating the letter with different textures (one letter may have been decorated with markers, another with feathers, a third with fabric, etc.) encourages her to trace the shape of the letter with her fingers. Just be ready that your toddler may be more interested in “undecorating” the letter.

Singing the ABCs: As we sing the song, we encourage her to raise the appropriate letter wand.

So far, so good! It seems to be working for us. Check out We Are THAT Family  Rocks In My Dryer to see what’s working for other’s today.

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WFMW: Indoor Sandbox

It’s cold in my neck of the woods. Not only is it cold, but it’s dreary. We refer to the sun as “that strange glowing orb” when it bothers to show its self.

We’ve resorted to bringing the outdoors inside for our little tot. One thing she really misses this winter is playing in the sand.  I picked up a trick at her play group the other day that will satisfy her need for grit.

Pour an inch or two of white cornmeal in a plastic tub. Add in plastic spoons, empty plastic spice jars, small funnels, whatever else you have on hand. Place the whole thing on a sheet* that’s spread over a linoleum or tile floor, and viola! fun for your little sand bug. You can store the cornmeal in a Ziploc Baggie when play time is over. If the tub you’re using has a lid, so much the better! Just store the whole thing as is.

*The sheet isn’t just for easy clean up. Spilled cornmeal, like spilled flour, can cause the floor to become slippery.

That’s what works for us when we’re stuck in the house! Hop on over to We Are THAT Family for more tips and tricks from others.

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Toddler Crafts:Making a Snowman…in the house!

My two-year old is a glue stick addict. She loves pasting things together. One day she may need a twelve step program to over come it, but for now we’re indulging her habit.

The other day we made a snowman. In the house. Of course, it was out of construction paper, but she was pretty happy. During her nap, I cut circles out of white construction paper. I also cut out a hat, a carrot shaped nose, smaller circles out of black construction paper for eyes and buttons, boot shapes for his feet, a smiling mouth, and a couple of stick arms. When my darling daughter got up from her nap, I gave her the cut outs, put a figurine of a snowman in front of her to use as a guide, and handed her a glue stick. The hardest part of the project was staying out of her way.  (I was identifying with Picasso’s mother in a big way.) She was really proud of her results, and so was I!

She’ll be making another snowman soon from a recipe for toddler play dough that I found here. Hopefully we’ll be able to take her new snowman building skills outside soon. I’m sure Mother Nature will be cooperating any minute!

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WFMW: Baby Socks and Christmas Gifts

Do you have some socks your baby/toddler has outgrown? Do you have some rice in the cupboard? Do you have some cotton balls? Some thread? A bit of glue? Congrats! You have all the makings of a Christmas gift grandparents will love.

I love this craft!  I first read about it in Women’s Day magazine when my teens were tots. It was one of my first craft projects that actually turned out like it was supposed to, and was incredibly easy to make.

Rather than give you  my garbled instructions, allow me to give you a link for more concise directions.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4453662_make-baby-sock-snowmen.html

A couple of tips: I’ve used fabric paint and sharpie markers to make the face of the snowmen with great success. And I’ve tied off my snowman sections with thread–worked like a charm!

I’ll join you all over at We Are That Family to see what cool projects others have come up with.

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Working the Craft

I’m not sure how it happened. Once upon a time I would attempt these cute little craft projects, and they would turn out looking worse than a preschooler’s art project. Then, not too long ago the impossible happened–my projects started turning out the way they were supposed to.

I’m not questioning the sudden change. Frankly, I haven’t had time to. I’ve been too busy scouring magazines and the ‘net looking for fun stuff to make for the holidays, making trips to the store for supplies, and excitedly shouting to my oldest daughter to look at how great the project is turning out. 

In the past two weeks I have:

  • made turkey magnets with my toddler (I traced her hand on brown fun foam, had her color the feathers with markers, and attached a magnet to the back. )
  • made a Thanksgiving pillow (totally justified–I have so few Thanksgiving decorations. Ahem.)
  • knitted a fuzzy scarf for a friend’s gift
  • got supplies for a couple of wreaths, magnet angels (to make with my toddler),  and a mason jar pincushion

I’ve grounded myself from all craft stores until after the first of the year. I had to. I’m starting to have nightmares of skipping Thanksgiving dinner (that I’m hosting!) to re-attach ornaments to a wreath, or skipping midnight mass on Christmas Eve to make one more pincushion for the mailman’s cousin. Those years of wishing my craft projects would turn out like the pictures are coming back to haunt me.

I am not going to ask if you are planning/have done any holiday crafts this year. Nope. Too tempting. Of course, I can’t stop you if you want to volunteer the information!

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Works For Me Wednesday…Toddler Magnets

Works For Me Wednesday…Toddler Magnets

It’s so simple. So easy. Yet I would have never thought of it on my own…

I hated the alphabet magnets that my toddler loves. They were all over the fridge. That is, when they were not slipping between the doors, making the refrigerator hard to close. Or flying under the refrigerator. Or scattered all over the kitchen floor. Or causing my daughter to disappear into the kitchen when my back is turned.

Then a brilliant preschool teacher showed me a great trick: Use a metal cookie sheet for your toddler to put the magnets on and off to her heart’s content.  As we speak, she’s now happily playing with them next to my desk instead of making one of her stealth missions into the kitchen. Works for me!

I hope you’ll check out the other tips and tricks on We Are THAT Family!

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