Monday, November 7, 2016

Contact Paper Dolls

 Sharli has a hard time adjusting to being alone when Erik leaves for school. It took her a couple of weeks to finally get settled in. I tried to find ways to keep her busy so that she wasn't just following me around all day whining about being bored. I was digging through my stash of supplies and thought it was time to make another Sticky Story Board. In a flash of inspiration, I decided to draw people (they're supposed to look like Sharli and Erik) on the non-sticky side of the contact paper before taping it to the wall. Thus were born our Contact Paper Dolls.
 Each figure has 2 outfits, one more casual and one more dressy. Sharli specifically asked for "church clothes" so of course we had to come up with something!
She LOVED this! It got played with constantly for a couple of days until all the stickiness had worn off the contact paper.
When Erik got home from school he was delighted to find his "mini-me" on the wall. He had just as much fun with this as Sharli did.
 I love finding new ways to use old materials and ideas. Go buy yourself a roll of contact paper and some craft foam sheets, you won't regret it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Keep your Toddler out of Trouble while Feeding the Baby

I was looking back through some of my recent-ish posts on here and realized that there are several activities in a row that I did with the kids while I was breastfeeding the baby. And I mean while I was actually sitting in the chair with the baby latched on. It was nice to have a way to keep the "big" kids busy while I was unable to get up and chase them around. I figured that surely I'm not the only one who has needed to corral an older child or two while wrestling with a nursing newborn. So, I've compiled a list of activities that might be just the thing some desperate new mom needs.
Most of these require little prep and make very little mess. Some may take a little more prep work or mean a few minutes of easy clean-up once you've got the baby settled, but (for me at least) it was worth 2 minutes of vacuuming my floor to have the kids entertained for half an hour. The term "toddler" covers a fairly large age and abilities range, so these may not all work for your kids.

Low Prep, Low Mess
For when you need that toddler occupied NOW and you won't even have 2 minutes for cleanup afterwards.

Pom Pom Play 
Hammer Practice
Sensory Grab Bag
Soap Sud Sensory Jar
Color Wheel
Magnetic Exploration Tray
Walk the Line
Pinching Pom Poms
Tunnel Time 
Discovering Textures 
Mixing Bowl Madness
Basket Pull 
Piggy Bank Play
Muffin Pan Sorting
Egg Carton Fun

Low Prep, Some Mess
For when you need that Toddler occupied NOW, but you can handle 2 minutes of easy clean-up in exchange for some great fun. 
Cutting Practice 
Shoe Sorting
Oatmeal Sensory Bin
Rice Krispie Sensory Bin 
Full vs. Empty 
Simple Sensory Bin 
Piles of Pillows 

Some Prep, Low Mess:
When you've thought a few minutes ahead and have time to put together a simple activity. Most can be assembled in less than 15 minutes, some in less than 5. If clean-up is needed it shouldn't take more than 1 minute.
Color Mixing Discovery Bottles
Color in a Bag 
Chunky Lacing Activity
Jingle Bell Magnetic Sensory Bottle 
Sticky Name Game
Clothes Pin Counting
Shape Jump 
ABC Stomp 
Toy Matching Game
Sticky Wall Adventures
Fishing Game 
Lacing Cards 
Ocean Discovery Bottles 
Sticky Story Board
Balloon Free Play
Sorting Box 
Poking Play 
Magic Kleenex Box

Some Prep, Some Mess:
When you've thought a few minutes ahead and have time to put together a simple activity. Most can be assembled in less than 15 minutes, some in less than 5. Clean-up will be easy in under 5 minutes.

Blanket Fort 
Rainbow Rigatoni 
Noodle Threading
Favorite Playdough
Stained Glass Window Art
Christmas Playdoughs