This week is all about finding multiple uses for lacing beads like these from Melissa and Doug.
Since J is into patterns right now, I thought he would find this entertaining. I set out the multi-colored beads and had him imitate the color pattern using …. you guessed it, his cars. Of course you could do the same thing using blocks, magnetic pompoms, or even the solid color beads in the same set.
I’m always trying to think of different uses of the same old toys. This set of lacing beads from Melissa and Doug has found many uses, all of which have been winners for J. This week I’ll highlight some of the ways we’ve used these beads.
J set the number beads in the correct order and then created a “graph” of sorts by lining up the corresponding number of cars beside each bead. In hindsight, I should have set out cars that were all similar lengths. There was no planning involved in this activity though. I just needed something to hold his attention long enough for me to feed his brother. It worked
I found this Fun Food Guide and thought it would work great as encouragement towards healthy eating since J loves filling in charts and graphs and has this innate need to “get all the spots”. So that we didn’t have to keep printing off a new chart, we made it into a reusable placemat.
PREP: I used google images to printout out a ton of pictures of healthy foods from all the food groups. I also attempted a dot-to-dot title using some of the different foods. I had everything precut.
ACTIVITY: He first glued the title in the center of the paper. Then we spread out all the pictures. I called out a food for J to find and glue onto the construction paper. This made the craft a game and also helped me find out which foods he did/didn’t know.
On the other side, he glued down the chart and descriptions of each food group found HERE. He also glued some fruit pictures I found to color.
When all the gluing was finished, I covered the construction paper in clear contact paper. This way I can wipe it clean easily and he can use dry erase markers to write on it.
FUN WAYS TO USE THE PLACEMAT:
- Connect the dots to write the word “Healthy”
- Circle all the pictures of a certain food group
- Circle foods that start with a certain letter
- Circle foods of a certain color
- Check off foods as you try them
- Fill in the chart as you eat each meal
- Color the fruit
We don’t fill the chart in every single day. I usually bring out this placemat when J’s starting to get picky. Since it keeps its novelty, it really helps him to finish his plate so he can color in all the shapes for that particular day.
Age: we started this around 33 months
This activity is great for so many ages. Who doesn’t love bubble wrap!! I must admit that I even still love popping the bubbles just like my 3 year old. This is also a great way to trick your child into showing off what they know, without them realizing what you’re up to.
Prep: All you need is a sheet of large bubble wrap and permanent markers. I filled in the bubbles with numbers, words, shapes, and letters.
During the activity: I called out something on the sheet and J found the correct bubble to pop. Simple as that. I will say that he did have some trouble popping some of the bubbles so about half-way through, I pulled out a toothpick and let him pop them bubbles that way. He thought this was just as fun (probably because he doesn’t get to play with toothpicks too often).
You could adapt this for any age to practice whatever they are currently learning from colors and shapes to addition or multiplication, rhyming or grouping.
Age attempted: 3 years
**ETA: I came across the blog where I originally found the idea. Check out The Activity Mom’s version**
Yes, I am rather cheap and I tend to save everything. I’m always contemplating what activity we could do with would-be trash.
As J finishes sticker sheets, I often peel the remaining border and stick it on a sheet of paper. It’s saved for some random rainy day… or days spent inside with a colicky (but adorable) baby.
I gave J some dot markers and a border sheet of what had been a set of smiley face stickers. Each empty circle was bordered with a different color. I simply asked J to use the dot markers to fill in each circle with the corresponding color. Simple, yet effective in entertaining while I fed his little brother.
This is the season to pick your own fruit! We’ve done this twice now. Last year we picked apples when J was 2.5 years. This month we picked strawberries. This is such a great activity. For someone like me who can’t manage to grow anything, this is the only way he’ll probably ever see for himself where our food comes from (other than the grocery story!)
He’d much rather sleep in his crib.
Of course he loved enjoying the reward of his hard work too!
I’ve found this website helpful in searching for farms where you can pick your own fruit/vegetables. They have maps of each state so you can find farms for your specific county. For those like me who are completely ignorant about which foods are harvested in which season, they also have harvest dates for your region.
Posted in Age Range, Childhood (5+ years), Early Preschool (3-4 years), Holidays and Seasons, Local Attractions/Vacation Spots, My Little Helper, Outside, Preschool (4-5 years), Science, Spring, Summer, Toddler (2-3 years)
Tagged Attractions/Vacation Spots, Outside fun, Science
This is something I wrote on our family blog from last summer. It’s a great alternative to spending money on a store-bought water table. J’s is still just as entertained this year at 3 years old as last!
We’re still playing with water almost every time we head outside. I noticed that they sell water tables at all the stores but thought it was a little ridiculous to spend good money on a glorified bucket! So we made our own water table with what we had. All it required was pulling out a flat storage box (luckily it was just lying there empty under my bed) and J’s wagon. It’s a perfect fit! He loves it. And when there’s no shade, I just wheel the wagon into the garage.
I found that sand/water wheel last summer on clearance for $2. He played with it in the tub until this summer’s homemade water table.
Here he is trying to pour water into a dropper. Smart boy! Pouring is easier than manipulating the dropper to fill it up. Too bad the experiment wasn’t so successful.
He loves blowing bubbles
Pouring is much easier with a funnel!
I made some blue ice cubes that he liked scooping into the tub, stirring them, letting them melt in his hand, watching the water turn blue, and then refilling the tray to make more ice.
Remember this game? It’s really a great game that keeps toddlers and preschoolers entertained quite well. My mom actually taught J how to play while I was in the hospital after his little brother was born.
It’s actually great practice for them in counting, size, gross motor skills and of course following rules since they have to return to start if they forget “Mother may I?” It made me think, if J can follow the rules to this game well, there’s no excuse for him to forget to follow our house rules like saying “please” or “thank you”, “May I get down now?” or “May I go upstairs now?” and the list goes on and on…
How to play: Designate a starting spot and finishing spot. You stand at the finish line and have your little one stand at the start. You call out different type of movements for them to make as they move towards you. For example, “Take 3 giant steps,” “Take 2 bunny hops,” or “Take 6 skipping steps.” Get creative and have fun with the commands! They must first respond with “Mother may I?” before following out your instructions. If they forget to say “Mother may I?”, they have to return to the beginning to start over again (which is sometimes part of the fun for J!).
J and I take turns. Sometimes he gives the commands and sometimes I do. Either way, it makes for great and cheap fun. This is something you can play while waiting in the doctor’s office, in a hotel room, while you’re cooking dinner, feeding the baby,… You gotta love these good old fashioned activities that required nothing! Why do we make things so intricate today?? It’s really not all that hard to entertain kids J
The outside of the card might not seem like much, but it’s the inside that counts the most! For Father’s Day this year, I’m starting a new tradition. I asked J a few questions about his dad and wrote down his responses. When he made his Father’s Day card (this year was just construction paper, stickers and markers), I made sure he left space for me to include his responses. The plan is to do this every year. Hopefully posting this here will help me remember to keep it up!
We also did this for his Grandpa’s card.
My questions were basically geared towards getting a 3 year old to share his thoughts on dad/grandpa. Here’s how one of our conversations went…
What’s your favorite thing about ___?
What do you like to do with ____?
“I like to play with him.”
How would you describe ____?
“He has a head. He has some eyes. He has a nose and a mouth.”
What do you want to say to ____?
“I love you!” and then he says to me, “Thank you!” And then I say to him, “You’re welcome!” And then he says to me, “I love you.” and I say to him, “Thank you!” And then he say to me, “You’re welcome.”
I personally would love to get a card with my son’s thoughts about me, however simple. I’m hoping dad and grandpa love it too.
Posted in Age Range, Birthday, Childhood (5+ years), Early Preschool (3-4 years), Family, Father's Day, Holidays and Seasons, Homemade Cards, Life Skills, Mother's Day, Preschool (4-5 years), Toddler (2-3 years), Valentines Day
Tagged Homemade Gifts