Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Colorful Textured Rice Shape Craft for Toddlers and Preschoolers

   Lately our toddlers have been learning about colors and shapes. So, I decided to combine the two. They enjoyed the feeling of the rice sprinkling from their fingers onto the paper.  As they decorated, we talked about the different shapes and colors.

The rice adds a nice texture to the shapes.

Colorful Textured Rice Shape Craft For Toddlers and Preschoolers
You will need:
  • Construction paper in a variety of colors
  • Scissors
  • Uncooked rice
  • White Glue
     Cut out a variety of shapes for toddler or have preschoolers cut out shapes that you draw or print onto the construction paper.  Have the children glue each shape onto a background paper.  Then, add glue to the shape in a spiral following the shape (as pictured).  Or, have your preschooler do this.  Then, have the children sprinkle the rice onto the glue. Shake off the excess and allow to dry.  

Xayden loved to sprinkle the rice onto the triangle

while Ryder liked to see the rice clinging to the glue.

Capri sprinkled handfuls of rice

and joyfully reached for more.

Grayson touched the glue and was surprised by the rice stuck to his fingers.

     It is interesting to see how children react to the rice and glue.  In our small sample, Grayson has the most reactions to sensory experiences which can be seen in the photo. This activity is great for learning shapes and is a a wonderful activity for sensory input.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Make a Soda Can Sticker Stamp Perfect for Toddlers

     I have seen several posts online about using foam stickers as stamps.   Most of them are too small for toddlers, so I decided to make one that worked for toddler hands. They enjoyed using the stamp and were fascinated to see that pushing on the can left a heart shaped print on the paper.  I worked with our toddlers individually and designated one shirt as the smock.  In the end, to my surprise, the 'smock' was clean.  Three out of four spontaneously put the can up to their faces.  I thought this was interesting as they did not see their siblings do it first.

Make a Soda Can Sticker Stamp for Toddlers
You Will Need:
  • A piece of cardboard big enough to wrap around the can as shown in the photo
  • Tape (I used clear tape)
  • 3 foam stickers in simple shape of your choice.  We used hearts.
  • Tempera paint (for when you are ready to use it)
     Wrap the cardboard around the can and cut it to size as pictured above.  Cover the opening of the can with tape and then with the cardboard so it does not pose a hazard with the sharp edge.  Tape the cardboard onto the can.  You need not cover the bottom surface with cardboard.  Attach one sticker to the stamping edge. Then attach two more stickers on top of the first sticker so that the stamp is thicker.  You are now ready to start stamping!  I recommend covering your surface with paper. We have a roll of butcher paper for all kinds of arts and crafts projects.  It also makes great homemade wrapping paper when stamped by your little ones!

Grayson was intrigued

and joyful in his process.

Ryder was pleased by his prints

and paused for an imaginary sip.

Capri loved to create hearts on the paper

and the feeling of the cool can on her face.

Xayden marveled at the heart he created

and made a funny nose with the stamp.

    Our toddlers all loved the stamping project.  The nice thing is the stamp can be used again.   Have you tried using foam stickers as stamps?  What did you use as the stamp base?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Block Party

     We took the babies to a local block party sponsored by the church.  There were lots of people who braved the heat to get out and do family activities.  There was a big blow up water slide for the older kids and carnival games.  They had a bounce house for kids of all ages.  We approached it, knowing that the babies could not be in there with a bunch of big kids jumping.  They offered to do a 'baby jump time' with no jumping.

      We were excited to have the babies in a bounce house for the first time.  They were intrigued by it but were cautious in their exploration.  Capri was the only one brave enough to try standing up.  Ryder melted down at first and Greg took him out.  Then he put him back in and Ryder sat right by the entry to the house the whole time but clearly enjoyed watching the other kids.  I do not imagine we will have many opportunities to put them in a bounce house with no jumping allowed, but we were grateful for this chance.

Xayden loved to watch the other kids walk around the bounce house.

Capri bravely stood up slowly while Grayson cautiously stayed at the edge.

The babies had fun and were all smiles before the ride home.

     They each enjoyed a mini cupcake as a highlight of their time at the Block Party.  They loved to watch all the people playing games and listening to the band.  Ryder danced in his seat as soon as we got out of the car when he heard the music play.  What have your families been doing to beat the heat or enjoy yourselves despite it?  Maybe you are already enjoying cooler temperatures.  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Friday, August 17, 2012

County Fair Fun

     We enjoyed going to various county fairs, just the two of us, before we had the babies. I remember early on in our dating going on a ride that spun us upside down and shook us. Greg had bought a fist full of tickets for hours of rides. After that ride, it was all I could do to not get sick in the nearest trash can. We ended up finding a family full of kids and giving them the tickets.

     Now that the babies are here, we wanted them to experience the county fair. They are too young for rides. Greg can take them on the ones that spin when they are older. For them, it is all about the animals, sights and sounds.

Their hands were a blur as they pointed in all different directions.

A camel flashed the babies a dazzling smile

before a whimsical insect stared at them with beady eyes.

A garden clock  lit up the hillside with color

as the babies watched the ferris wheel spin round and round.

     We had fun at the fair.  It was wonderful to see the babies with wonderment on their faces as they took it all in.  Has your family been to the fair this summer?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Enjoying Oatmeal Play Dough

      I was inspired by Love Play and Learn's post on Oatmeal Play dough and made some while the babies were napping. It was an easy recipe which required no cooking.  If you try this, make sure you have the flour open within reach to get the dough to the right texture.  As Love, Play and Learn's post points out, it starts out very sticky and then transforms into nice, workable dough.

Cutters designed for holiday pies worked very well in the dough.

Ryder enjoyed the texture as he worked the dough in his hands

and Xayden enjoyed trying out the pie crust cutters.

Grayson joyfully squeezed a bit of dough between his fingers

while Capri cut out shapes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Beachy Keen-Enjoying a Day at the beach with toddlers

     We were inspired by a post from In Lieu of Preschool and decided to make a baby pool at the beach.  The timing was spontaneous, so we used what we had at home, which was a plastic sheet designed to cover the floor or furniture when painting instead of going out and purchasing a shower curtain.  We learned that we could still have a whole lot of fun with a pool made from a thin plastic sheet, though the shower curtain would have made for more durable leak-free fun.  The babies revisited their appliqué shirts from the 4th of July for our day at the beach. 

They waited in a pack'n'play under an umbrella for Daddy to make a baby pool

and then got in while Daddy filled the buckets in the ocean multiple times.

They were keen on the beach baby pool

and loved to feel their feet in the cool water.

Xayden foreshadowed a five o'clock shadow

as the thin plastic broke through and signaled that it was time to go.

Ryder surveyed the beach one last time.

     We placed the plastic sheet in the recycling bin and Greg filled the hole from the baby pool back up with sand.  This was the longest time the babies have spent on the beach and they loved it.  It was nice for us to escape triple digit temperatures and allow any stress to melt into the ocean.  We got our workout pushing the loaded quad stroller, which was not designed for off-roading, across the beach back to the car.  Have you been to a lake or the ocean this summer?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sipping Sauce Through a Straw

     The babies are not saying much yet, though they do speak in their own multiples' language. Perhaps some day I will capture it on video and add it to a post. They know what they are saying, but we do not have the secret language decoder to figure it out. Since their secret language is not in English, they are all in speech therapy. They say Mama and Daddy and a few other words but are behind other toddlers the same age.

     Last week in speech therapy, the babies' therapist suggested that they sip apple sauce through a straw. I was skeptical at first because I pictured them simply dipping their hands in it when the straw became too difficult. She suggested I pop the straw right through the foil of the small apple sauce cups. So, I gave it a shot and the babies took on this novel task with concentration. They enjoyed it very much and we were told it would help develop their oral motor skills.


     Many parents have told us that if we talked to the babies on a regular basis using adult speak, that they would just start responding back. This has not happened though I do a daily monologue hoping that it will turn into a dialogue. If I make a request, however, I can see that my monologues have had an impact. They show me where their sibling's lost shoe is or delight in taking off their socks, upon request, all by themselves. It is in those moments, that I realize that my monologues are heard.

Ryder practiced his sipping skills

while Xayden focused on seeking the sauce.

Capri practiced a two handed straw maneuver

while Grayson had a hands free approach.

     Sipping sauce through a straw was a challenge and it added a sense of fun to lunch time.   I imagine that most kids would enjoy shaking up their routine by sipping their apple sauce through a straw.  Have you tried this with your kids?  What have your families been doing lately?  I would love to hear from you.  As always, comments are welcome.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Xayden Proof

     We can attempt to child proof our home but our clever toddlers often find ways around or over our barriers.  The best way for us to make a room child proof is to do our best and then let them loose and see what they do.  We have been surprised to see child safety locks removed and baby gates opened.  We have learned that when it comes to getting into things or escaping barriers, Xayden is the leader of the pack.

Xayden (photo by Susana Bates)

     One day, I was unloading the dishwasher right next to the playroom.  The baby gate was in place, so I decided it was safe for me to run to the restroom.  When I returned, I found Xayden inside the kitchen smiling up at me with a knife in one hand and kitchen scissors in the other.  He had found a way to open the baby gate and he went straight for the open dishwasher.  He did not go for the dozen or so spoons or the plastic cups or any other safe items in plain view.  No, he found the most dangerous things in the dishwasher and stood there happily holding them.  I did not stop to capture this moment on camera as I carefully seized the sharp items from his hands.  I now make a point to close the dishwasher and my husband worked on making the gate Xayden proof.

Xayden (photo by Susana Bates)

     The babies do not watch TV or use the computer so, in theory, they should not know how to operate either of these devices.  When we had the babies in the family room, Xayden went straight for the remote and pushed the correct button and turned on the television.  On another occasion, he went right up to the TV itself and turned it on.  He has also gone into the office and headed straight for the mouse which lights up the screen.  We let him go for the television remote on another occasion to see if his first success was a fluke.  It wasn't. 

Xayden (photo by Susana Bates)

     Inside the playroom, we have cabinets with child locks on them.  Xayden, who has the shortest legs of the bunch, finds ways to compensate by using anything he can find as a stepping stool.  He has stood on just about every toy in an attempt to obtain things outside of his reach.  One day, he stood on a little storage tub he had turned over,  removed a child lock and opened the cabinet.  He giggled as he began to grab the canned food inside.  By this time, I was already stopping him.  My husband then engineered his own child locks to make the cabinets Xayden proof.  We no longer worry about making the house toddler proof.  Nothing is safe until it is Xayden proof. 

     I would love to hear your stories and thoughts.  As always, comments are welcome.

This post is linked to:  Mischievous Mondays
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