Our toddler loves sensory bins! We recently made a Christmas themed sensory bin with things from the Dollar Tree. The whole bin cost just $5!
We started with a clear food storage container. You can pick any container you’d like, but we picked this container because we loved that it had a lid so we could keep it closed when not in use. We also used crinkle cut paper filler, half of two different packs of pom poms, and cut up Christmas garland!
Once it was all in the container, we just mixed it up and let our little one dig in!
This bin has been a huge hit in our house and we hope it is a hit in yours as well!
Most toddlers are a long way off from reading independently, but it is a great time to help encourage a life long love of reading! We have come up with a list of easy ways to enhance early literacy.
Encourage Quiet “Reading” Time
Provide your toddler opportunities to explore books on their own. We always set some books next to a chair in our playroom and put one or two in her playpen so that she can look at them when she is ready. Now that she is getting close to two, she will sit with a book and point to pictures while babbling away.
Go To The Library
We visit the library weekly! Not only can we check out new books to see if we like them before buying them, but our library also has a great weekly toddler time that helps with social skills. A lot of people get a little nervous visiting a library with toddlers, but it will be fine! A majority of libraries have a little area set up just for smaller children.
Read Out Loud To Your Toddler
It can be super hard to get toddlers to sit still long enough to read with them, but it is so important. We read at least one book a day, but try to read two or three. Try not to read faster just because your toddler is being wiggly. You can always take a break and come back to the book later.
Pick Books Based On Your Toddlers Interests
Your toddler is much more likely to want to engage with a book if they enjoy the topic. Our toddler is all about unicorns and sharks right now. When we get books with pictures of those two things, she cheers and claps her hands.
Point Out Words in Every Day Life
Words are all around us, but sometimes we forget that toddlers do not yet know that. This can be as simple as pointing out that a stop sign says “Stop” or reading the names of stores as you drive and talking about how to spell them. The more exposure a child gets to letters and how they work, the easier reading will come when it is time.
We hope that these tips can help you encourage your toddler’s interest in reading! We would love to hear from you. Do you have any additional ways to encourage early literacy? What is your favorite book to read to your little one?
Night fall is coming early now, so yesterday, a little owl felt like the perfect late afternoon craft. It is easy, fairly mess free, and can be adapted for kids between the ages of one and five.
Construction Paper (white, brown, and orange)
A Pen or Marker
Start with the super easy prep work. Cut out an owl body like shape from the white paper. Neither Mr. Not So Crafty or I can draw at all, so if we can manage to pull off an owl, so can you! From the orange paper, cut out a triangle for the beak and feet. Cut the brown paper in half and then cut the half into squares. If your child or the children in your class (the simplicity of this one makes it perfect for classroom use) are four and above, try just drawing the feet and beak on the orange paper and let them do the cutting. If you want a slightly more rugged look for the owl, you can also let older preschool aged children tear up the brown paper instead of you cutting it.
Next, help your little one glue the brown paper onto the white paper. After they are done, its time to add the feet, beak, and googly eyes. Try to offer as little guidance as possible.
After this, your little owl will need to dry a few minutes. While it is drying, trace your child’s hands on the other half of the brown paper. For older preschoolers, you can try letting them trace their own hands. When I was working in an early childhood education setting, I was so surprised with the amount of children who had never traced their own hands at home!
Next, flip the owl over and have your child glue on the hand prints.
The finished project will be a cute little owl that you (or the parents in your classroom) can use to look back on how small your little ones hands were!
Today’s post is a bit different than our normal posts. Our blog has been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award and we want to pass it along to some other great bloggers! Jennie from Failure To Thrive No More has nominated us and it we are so excited about it! We can not thank her enough for thinking of us!
When nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award, there are rules to follow to accept the award and keep the circle going: · Thank the blogger that nominated you · Write a post to show your award · Give a brief story of how your blog started · Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers · Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to · Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created
How Our Blog Began
I worked in early childhood education before becoming a stay at home when our daughter was born. I have been doing daily art projects and learning activities with our little one since she could sit up, so one day, I decided to share them with the world. My husband, affectionately referred to on here as Mr. Not So Crafty, offers his tech support skills, post ideas, help with our affiliate links, and occasionally his crafting and photography skills.
Advice for New Bloggers
Blog about your passion! If you are not deeply passionate about the subjects you choose to theme your blog around, it will show! Writing will not always come easy, but it will be much more enjoyable when you enjoy your subject matter.
Sometimes you just have to wing it! I belong to several wonderful blogging groups that have been a huge help. I have learned a lot from others, but sometimes, I have also learned a lot from just changing things up and seeing what happens! I started out only blogging about children’s activities, but then I decided to branch out a bit into some other topics and do not regret it!
My Nominees for The Blogger Recognition Award
Kate Kreates. A UK-based abstract/creative photographer who posts about a variety of photography and art related topics.
Son Shine Kitchen. A boy mom who writes about cooking, baking, organizing, and so many other family based topics! Her recipes always make us hungry just reading them!
Mommy & Mia Homeschool Chronicles . A blog filled with tips for homeschooling families, recipes, and much more. This blog is great for anyone with children, not just those who homeschool
Modern Moms Club. A blog that is focused on parenting and life related topics for moms, no matter where they are on their parenting journey.
Simply Outrageous Youth. A blog that focuses on teaching children financial and life skills. They have great book lists and activities.
Start by cutting out your turkey body from the brown paper, feet and beak from the orange paper, and the waddle from the red paper.
Next, let your little one glue on the leaves. I try to let my toddler glue with as little guidance as possible, but i do put the glue in the general area i’d like whatever she is gluing. If your child is preschool or early elementary school aged, let them control the glue bottle themselves!
After the leaves are glued on, have your little one glue on the turkey body. We used construction paper to make the turkey body, but if you have brown foam, you could use that too! After your little one does that, they can glue down the eyes, beak, and waddle.
Lastly, let your child add the feet. My toddler just loved making this turkey and it is even easy enough to do in a classroom setting!
Thanksgiving is just over a week away! When we sat down to work on this turkey craft, I had something completely different in mind. However, I value child led learning and my child had her own ideas about what she wanted to do!
Paint (We used four colors, but you can use more or less)
Two Pieces of Construction Paper
A Picture of Your Child ( For best results, use one that shows their face well)
I started by putting paint on two paper plates. I let my little one mix the colors around with her hands, then move the paint around the construction paper. Originally, I wanted to do hand prints for the turkeys feathers, but my toddler was in more of a finger painting mood.
Once she covered as much of the paper as possible, we let it dry. The paper took several hours to dry. While I waited, I cut out just the head of a picture of my daughter and a turkey body.
After the paper is dry, I cut out four feather shapes from each piece of painted paper.
Next, it was time to build the turkey! I helped my little one glue on the feathers, then the body and the head, with as little guidance as possible. This was much more her creation than it was mine.
After the glue dried a bit, I drew on the waddle. If you’re child is preschool aged, try letting them draw the waddle on their own. The final project is an adorable turkey keepsake!
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! Unlike Halloween or Christmas, Thanksgiving is often not a holiday that is directed towards small children. Our toddler loves to eat, so her second Thanksgiving will likely bring her some joy, but we also have to entertain her during what is usually a pretty hectic day! We have come up with up a few fun things you can give little ones to keep them entertained and occupied on Thanksgiving that we would like to share with you.
Never under estimate the power of play-dough. You can use store bought Play-dough and some fall themed cookie cutters, but for a really interactive experience, try making these pumpkin spice play-dough cupcakes from Firefly magic. Your little one will love playing with them and they will smell like Thanksgiving!
Coloring and Activity Sheets
Coloring is always something we turn to when we need to occupy our toddler. We still have to keep an eye on her just in case she decides to nibble on a crayon or the paper, but that happens less and less as she gets older. If you need some great print outs, look no further than Simple Mom Project’s printable activities. There are some simple coloring pages for smaller children, but also some great pintables for children who can read as well!
I know what you are thinking, I must be crazy. Who wants to let their small children paint on Thanksgiving? Do not worry, it will not make a mess! This one takes a bit more effort than the other two ideas on this list, but it is so much fun. We love mess free art in our house. They can paint while you cook, then you can help them finish the craft after the Thanksgiving meal is over with! This Mess Free Calico Corn Painting is perfect for Thanksgiving! If painting isn’t your thing, you can also try this Fall Paper Plate Wreath.
We would love to hear from you! What do you give your little ones to keep them busy while you are preparing a holiday meal or doing other holiday activities that are not geared towards children?
In a busy world, the book Quiet by Tomie dePaola is the perfect bedtime or naptime story!
**This post contains affiliate links. We may get a small commission from purchases made from our link, at no additional cost to you. All opinions expressed are our own. We will not be directly compensated for this review, nor were we asked to give it.**
Tomie dePaola’s recently released book, Quiet, is a wonderful book. Quiet takes readers on a walk with a grandfather and his two grandchildren. The grandfather points out how everything around them seems to be in a hurry. After that, they take time to sit, be still, and just be present in the moment. In the end, they realize that it is important to just be quiet and calm sometimes. The illustrations are colorful, but simple. There are very few words, but the message is powerful.
This book is a must read for busy families with young children. It is a great book to relax with. The publishers recommend this book for ages four to eight, but our almost two year old who has a very short attention span, really enjoyed the simplicity of the words and the illustrations.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you read the book? If not, do you have any other book or activity suggestions to help children learn to enjoy quiet moments?
Fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving will soon be here. This is always the time of the year we use calico corn to decorate with. Today, we let our little one join in on the fun by painting her very own!
Brown Construction Paper
Plastic Sandwich Bag
Start by putting small drops of paint all over the white paper. We used craft paper that we buy by the roll, but white construction paper would work as well.
Next slide paper in the plastic bag and let your little one squish down the paint. This is a great sensory activity for babies and toddlers. We have been painting this way since our little one could sit in the highchair.
After your little one is done squishing around the paint, take it out of the bag and let it dry. Ours took about four hours to dry. Once the paper is dry, cut out a corn shape or if you have room, you can cut out two! We decided to cut out two corn shapes because we had the room.
Next, we cut out brown leaf shaped shapes. We had cut out four for each ear of corn, but we only needed three. If your child is a preschooler, you can try drawing the shapes and letting them do the cutting!
After the cutting was done, we helped our little one glue the brown paper on the back of each ear of corn.
Handprint wreaths hold a special place in our hearts. They are easy, require very few materials, and create an amazing keepsake. This one was made with fall in mind!
Construction Paper (We suggest yellow, orange, and brown)
A Piece of Ribbon
I started by cutting out the middle of a paper plate.
Next, I sat my little one down and traced her hands on brown, orange, and yellow paper. I did not get pictures of this because Mr. Not So Crafty was at work. This activity would have went quicker with two adults, but our schedule last week just didn’t allow for that.
Next, I helped my little one glue on the handprints. I have tried laying the paper plate both ways for crafts like this, but find that if you keep it like you would to eat on it, the handprints are easier to glue on.
After that, I let it dry for awhile. Once it was dry, I flipped it over and taped a piece of ribbon on the back so we could hang it up. If you do not have tape, you can glue it, but it might be a bit messy!
The end result makes a perfect gift for grandparents or just a nice keepsake to remember how little your child’s hands were!