Shape School Bus

School has officially started everywhere in our area. Our toddler is too young for school, but she loves watching the school bus drive past our house. She loves pretty much anything that moves. We felt like this was the perfect time for this cute little shape school bus!

Materials Needed

  • White computer paper
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Back construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors



As with most crafts, its easiest to start with the prep work ahead of time! For little ones under three, you’ll probably want to do the cutting. You will need one long yellow rectangle, one smaller yellow rectangle, three to six black squares (we cut out four but only used three), one long skinny black rectangle, and two black circles. If your little one is over three, just draw the shapes and let them do the cutting. Cutting is great fine motor skill practice!


Next, just let your little one assemble the bus. We always try to offer as much freedom as possible when putting together shape based crafts and activities. The end product may or may not look as intended, but your little one will get the chance to learn and explore while creating something they will be very proud of. Our child is only 20 months, so we do offer a bit of guidance, but mostly just to make sure no parts of the project get eaten!





If your little one enjoyed this shape activity, they may also love our Open Ended Shape Dinosaur, our Open Ended Shape Fish, and our Shape Truck Activity.

Great Things to Buy This Fall

Fall is coming soon and it is our family is so excited. If feels funny writing this as we sit in the AC hiding from the hot, humid weather outside, but September 22nd will be here before we know it. We have a few things that we think makes the transition from summer to fall more comfortable and fun!

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Fall Clothing

There is something therapeutic about putting away the summer clothing and breaking out the cooler weather clothes. In Ohio, we can go through all four seasons in a single week this time of the year, so we cant put all of our summer clothes away just yet, but we definitely enjoy doing some shopping for the upcoming season change!

Fall Décor

We love decorating for holidays and seasons. Fall is such a fun time to buy new seasonal decorations.

Fall Themed Children’s Books

We do a lot of reading in our house. We try to match a book with the activities we do, so soon, we will be breaking out the fall books! We try to keep our books organized by type so they are easy to find.

We hope these shopping suggestions help get you in the fall mood. If you are looking for suggestions for activities to do with your family, check out this great list from Everywhere With Ella.

We would love to hear from you! What is your favorite part of fall? Do you have a thing you must purchase each year?

Self Portrait Activity

Right now, we are working on teaching our toddler the parts of her face. This activity is great for toddlers and preschoolers. When I worked in early childhood education, each year the class did self portraits at the beginning of the school year. This activity was inspired by the one my amazing former boss did, but I wanted to make something toddler friendly to share with you all.

Materials Needed

  • Piece of White Computer Paper
  • Magazine Clippings of Noses, Mouths, and Eyes
  • Colored Pencils
  • Glue



Start by taking your child to look in the mirror. Point out their eyes, their nose, and their mouth. Next, let your child pick out two eyes, one nose, and one mouth to use. I tried to give my little one a variety to pick from. After your child picks their face parts, let them glue the magazine clippings on the paper however they’d like.






The face might take a little bit to dry, but after its done drying, draw an outline for the face around where your child put the facial parts. If your child is over three, try letting them draw it themselves.




Next, let your child draw their hair and anything else they want. I helped my toddler with the hair a little bit, but then let her draw as she wished.


After you little one is finished, don’t forget to date it! We laminated ours and will try to remember to do another one next year to compare. This simple activity was a lot of fun and is a great way to work on self image and body part recognition.




Toddler Tips: A Survival Guide

We are not toddler experts. Mr. Not so crafty didn’t have much child experience at all before our daughter was born and while I have a lot of experience caring for other peoples children in an educational setting, I have also encountered a lot of surprises on my own parenting journey. As our daughter has settled into the toddler stage, we have noticed a lot of wonderful changes in her personality, but there have also been a few struggles that were not there in the infant stage. It can get frustrating at times. We would like to share a few tips and tricks we have that we hope will help you (and us) survive the toddler years.

baby blur boy child
Photo by Pixabay on


Evaluate Your Expectations

Toddlers are still getting used to the world. They will cry and they will scream. Try not to stress everyone involved out by expecting behaviors or skills that are not age appropriate. Every child develops differently, so just because the three year old down the street has an advanced skill, do not get upset if your three year old can not do the same thing.


Provide Your Toddler a Lot of Exercise

This will not surprise you in any way, but small children have a lot of energy. In order to keep everyone sane, help the little person in your life get the exercise they need to burn off that energy. We try to go away to a park or a museum to let that energy burn several days a week, but on days that is not possible, a fenced in yard or a toddler proofed play room can be a big help too!


Remember, Messes Will Happen

 It does not matter how good of a house keeper you are, your toddler will make messes. They are learning so many new skills and unfortunately, messes and mistakes will happen before those skills are perfected. In our house, we do not scold or punish accidental messes. We do try to discourage food throwing, but do not acknowledge food messes that are made in the process of working towards using silverware proficiently.


Try not to Rush

Toddlers move on a whole different time table than adults do. They do not yet have the concept of time. You may find that you save yourself some frustration by leaving extra time in your schedule. Our daughter loves to help get herself dressed and sometimes even try to put on her own shoes. These are important skills we can not encourage if we are in a big hurry to leave the house.


 Be Flexible

We are all perfect parents, but then we actually become parents, and real children can be a lot more difficult than hypothetical children. We each enter parenthood with ideas of what our parenting style will be like, but sometimes that style does not match up with our children’s personality and ability level. Do not be afraid to change things around a little bit.

child wearing blue and red stripes polo shirt sticking out tongue
Photo by Pixabay on


We hope this brief guide will help make the toddler stage just a tiny bit easier. We also suggest you consider checking out these tips for a happy toddler by Simply Sweet Momma and these parenting strategies from The Professional Mom Project. As always, we would love to hear from you! Do you have a great toddler tip or would you like to share a struggle you have with your toddler? Please leave it below!

Easy Paper Plate Turtle

Today it was way too hot to play outside, so it was the perfect day for crafting! This turtle is ridiculously easy for little ones to make. It is perfect for kids four and under!

Materials Needed

  • Paper Plate
  • Green Construction Paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Googly Eyes


The prep work on this one is super easy! Just cut out a head, four legs, and a little tail. After that, cut the rest of the paper into little squares.



Turn the plate over so the “bump” is facing your child and let them glue on the green squares. We used liquid glue, but if your child enjoys glue and you want to extend the time this takes by about 15 minutes, you can use stick glue and have your child the glue on each piece before putting it on the plate.


After that dries for a little bit, flip it over and let your little one glue on the head, legs, and tail.



To finish this little turtle, just flip it back over and help your little one put on the googly eyes! If you do not have googly eyes, then you can just have your little one draw on a face if they’d like.



If you’d like more paper plate fun, check out our Paper Plate Dog and our Paper Plate Flamingo.


Paper Plate Duck

We really dove into our love for animals this past week. We visited the zoo and a farm owned by the local park system. This paper plate duck is a fun activity to do after a trip to see animals or just anytime you are looking for something cute and simple to keep your child busy for a little bit!

Materials Needed

Paper Plate

Yellow Paint

Yellow Construction paper

Orange Construction Paper



Googly Eye

Large Plastic Sandwich Bag (This is optional, you can paint with a paintbrush, hands, sponge, ect.)


I started by cutting a paper plate in half and putting it and some yellow paint in the large sandwich bag. This is how we paint on days when I do not feel like cleaning up a big mess. If Mr. Not So Crafty is home, we usually embrace the messy art, but when he’s not, sometimes we will use this easy to clean up method!


After the paper plate is painted, we left it to dry while we played for awhile. After it dried, I cut out a head, two feet, and a beak for the duck. If your child is over four, try drawing the shapes and let them do the cutting! Cutting is great fine motor skill practice.


I flipped the paper plate over and let my little one glue on the duck parts where she wanted them.


After the glue dried a bit, I flipped it back over and helped my daughter add the eye. If your little ones like this, also check out our Paper Plate Flamingo and our Paper Plate Pig.