Open Ended Shape Snowman

Open ended shape crafts are a favorite in our house! Crafts like this encourage creativity and help with both color and shape recognition! 

Materials Needed

  • Blue or Black Construction Paper
  • Construction Paper Cut into a Variety of Shapes 
  • Glue

The aim of his craft is to encourage creativity, so we offered as little guidance as possible. We put glue on the paper and let our toddler pick shapes one by one. When she picked one, we would say things like “that is a white circle”.  If your child is preschool or early grade school age, you can give them a glue stick and let them do the gluing themselves. Our toddler is too young for that, so we did put the glue where we wanted it on the paper. 

The end product will be as unique as your little one! One of our favorite things about these open ended projects is how much the end result reflects who our toddler as a little person currently!

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Paper Circle Candy Cane

Christmas is coming up fast! Candy canes were always a huge part of my Christmas growing up. Today’s craft is super simple and can be adapted for kids between one and five years old!

Materials Needed

  • Red, White, and Green Construction Paper 
  • Glue
  • Scissors 

The prep work for this one is very easy! We started by cutting out small circles from the red and white paper. If your little one is four or five, try drawing the circles and letting them do the cutting! We cut out eight of each color, but only ended up using five circles of each color. After the circles were cut, we put glue in the shape of a candy cane on the green paper and let our little one get to work. If you have an older child, you can make this a bit more involved by showing them a candy cane and letting them put on the glue to match the shape. 

From start to finish, this took about five minutes, so it is the perfect little crafty for busy days!

Gift Ideas For Children Under One

Last year was our daughters first Christmas. She was just under a year old.  We had to really sit down and think of things for others to get her. We have compiled a list of ideas for gifts to give children one and under!

**This post contains affiliate links. We may get a small commission for purchased made from our links at no additional cost to you. The opinions expressed are all ours.**

Stacking Toys

Stacking cups are amazing for developing hand-eye coordination and for building problem solving skills. As a bonus, once the little one gets closer to two, they can double as cups for tea and such in pretend play. At least one of our dolls gets the privilege of “drinking” from one of these cups several times a week. 

Sensory Toys

Sensory type toys provide colors and unique shapes that will intrigue infants. They will explore them more and more as they grow. 

Soft Books

Soft books are gentle on little fingers and safe to chew on! 

Music Table

Most music tables are safe for children six months and up. They encourage motor skills and many of them encourage language development as well. 

Christmas Sensory Bin

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!

Ways to Encourage A Love Of Reading In Toddlers

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? 

Paper Owl

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. 

Materials

Construction Paper (white, brown, and orange) 

Glue 

A Pen or Marker 

Scissors 

Googly Eyes

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!

My Blogger Recognition Award

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

  1. Kate Kreates. A UK-based abstract/creative photographer who posts about a variety of photography and art related topics.
  2. 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! 
  3. 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 
  4. 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. 
  5. Simply Outrageous Youth. A blog that focuses on 
    teaching children financial and life skills. They have great book lists and activities. 
  6. Jessy Lauren.  A blog that shares tons of tips for healthy living. 
  7. Simply Christa Anne. A mom who shares her love for fashion in a budget friendly way! 
  8. Super Mom Hacks. A great collection of really helpful parenting and life hacks. 
  9. Marjie’s Simple World.  A unique blog that offers recipes,words of encouragement, and so much more. 
  10. Nifty Thrifty Mom. A mom of three shares tips for saving money, recipes, and much more. 
  11. Mommy Soul Conversations. A mom shares her thoughts about life and encourages others to do the same. 
  12. Cakes Crafts and Kiddos. A blog that features baking ideas, kids activities, printables, and much more!
  13. The Peach Kitchen.  A food blog with some really amazing recipes! 
  14. Mimi’s Dollhouse. A blog full of DIY ideas and great product reviews. They also offer affordable custom printables. 
  15. Quit Calling Me Mom. A brutally honest and really refreshing look at motherhood.