Tag Archives: Great Products

Beads and Pompoms

This week is all about finding multiple uses out of these beads from Melissa and Doug. 

For this activity I brought out the magnetic pompoms which are always a winner in our house.  Check out this post to see how I made them. 

J used the pompoms to recreate the multi-colored beads.  This is great practice with shapes, colors, and size.  We started with the circle beads since they were the easiest.  He tried starting with the outside color and working his way into the center.  Of course judging the size correctly was difficult and he ended up with empty space between each circle.  I showed him how to start with the center and work out.  Even this simple step added a level of difficulty to the activity since now he had to remember which comes first, second and third. 

We moved onto the square beads next.  These proved more difficult for him to create on his own.  His squares kept looking like circles which frustrated him.  I try to sit back and let him trouble-shoot on his own since that is part of the learning process.  This particular time he eventually asked me how to make them look like squares.  I showed him how to make the corners first and then fill in the rest to create squares.  This provided the perfect opportunity to emphasize the 4 corners and 4 equal sides of a square.

**If you don’t own this set of beads from Melissa and Doug, you could easily draw your own design on cardstock to have your little one imitate.**

The circles were easily within his ability and the squares pushed him a bit.  We didn’t even attempt the star beads because that was too far out of his ability level. A little frustration during an activity can be good (like he had when creating the square beads).  It helps them learn how to deal with it appropriately, keep trying, and even ask if they realize they truly need the help.  Too much frustration however would most likely mean the activity is too advanced for them.  I knew that would be the case if I had asked him to recreate the stars.

Great Read: The Jesus Storybook Bible

“The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every story whispers His name”

…exactly the purpose of the Bible, presented in a kid-friendly way.

This is BY FAR my favorite children’s Bible.  Most children’s Bibles tell a simple story of Noah building the ark or Jesus healing the blind man and leave it at that.  They give no attempt as explaining WHY these stories are important for us.  They miss the meat of the message God has for us in the Bible.

“There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story.”

The Jesus Storybook Bible goes above and beyond others by giving the big picture.   Starting with God creating us to “share his Forever Happiness” to God remaining firm in His “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” even after Adam and Eve’s sin to His promise to come back for us, to rescue us, and finally to His arrival on earth, putting His resuce plan into action.  “He was going to get His people back.”  Each story foreshadows the coming of Christ, explains the reasons for His coming and  the purpose for this time we live in today, between His ascension and His final return.

Honestly, that’s a deep message.  Amazingly the author, Sally Lloyd-Jones, explains this message in a way a child can understand. 

“The Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes.

The Bible is most of all… an adventure story about

a brave Prince who leaves his palace…

to rescue the one he loves.

The best thing about this Story is – it’s true.” 

I am confident you will adore this children’s Bible as much as I do and as much as J does.  Oh and they also have an audio version if you purchase the deluxe edition.  I don’t have this yet, so no personal experience with that portion.  It’s on order though, so stay tuned for my thoughts on that too!

Seeds Family Worship CD Update

Seeds of Character Pre-Order - Give the Gift of Scripture MemorizationI just realized that our Seeds Family Worship coupon is soon to expire!  You have 4 more days to get the 20% discount with our coupon code ENGAGINGTODDLERS

These are excellent cds for kids (and adults!) that put scripture to song.  They are extremely well written so that really any age group would love them. I love to hear my toddler walking around singing God’s Word.  These would be great gifts for practically any age, family or friend.  In fact, I’ve given them myself as gifts MANY times. 

Don’t forget, you also get a free cd for every one that you purchase, so really the 20% off is icing on the cake.  Great songs, divine lyrics (literally), free cd AND 20% off.  If you want to know more about their ministry or their music, check out my other posts here or visit their website.

They’re soon to release their new cd, Seeds of Character.  You can preorder the cd now and also receive 6 songs from the new cd to download now. 

Be sure to use the coupon code ENGAGINGTODDLERS at checkout for 20% off your purchase!  This code expires December 14, 2010.

Great Products: Vinyl Sticker Books

SOLD OUT! RUSH HOUR MINI PLAY SCENE               This is a GREAT travel toy.  I bought one about a year ago and have brought it on every flight we’ve taken since.  It is always a winner.  It’s light weight (a must for a travel toy IMO).  We have the Rush Hour version shown here.  There are a TON of choices out there.  Here’s a quick list, though it’s really only showing one particular brand. They are a little more expensive but we have more than gotten our money out of this toy! I’ve found other examples at Ross, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx too.  I just bought a couple new ones and am excited to show them to J.

This would also be great to take on a road trip, to the doctor’s office, and to restaurants. 

TIP:  Don’t toss the empty sticker sheets!  J spends just as much time returning the pieces to the correct spot as he does putting them on the actual board.  And it’s great matching practice since he really has to focus on the outline shape of each piece to find where they go. 

Age attempted: started between 16 and 18 months (if your little one can handle stickers, they can handle this toy), still a winner at 2.5 years

20 Month Old Busy Box

I put together these activities for a friend’s little girl.  While mommy is serving in Iraq, I thought this busy box might help to keep her little one busy and hopefully even allow her dad some much needed time off from entertaining.  Most of the activities are homemade, repurposing items from around the house as is my norm. I housed them in a simple decorative box.  J’s own “busy box”  is kept in a closet and the activities are only brought out at certain times throughout the week.  This helps keep it’s novelty.  Some of the activities are repeats from the 1 year old Busy Box I made my niece awhile back, though I tried to make them a bit more difficult for the older age.  You’ll also notice that these activities are mostly ones I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  When I make a busy box, I try to pick the most successful activities from J’s experience, many of these are motor skill activities.  Some of these activities are things Ella can enjoy now and some she will grow into in the next few months.

You’ll have to excuse my poor decorating abilities.  That is certainly not my forte.  Most of the original toys that I made for J aren’t decorated at all.  J never seemed to mind, so hopefully little Ella will look past the covers and still enjoy the meat of the activities!

1.  Pushing Puff Balls – this is a fine motor activity and has always kept J entertained; see this post for more info

2. Color Sorting Pipe Cleaners – again a fine motor activity and I added practice with colors; this is probably the favorite homemade toy for J; see this post and this post for more info

3.  Color Wheel – practice with colors and fine motor skills; you can use the wheel in other ways too. See this post and this post fore more.

4. Puzzles -These foam puzzles were one of the best buys for J. They were just $1 at our local grocery store and I picked them up on the fly one time.  When I saw them there months later, I bought a few more as gifts. I bring the color puzzle on plane trips sometimes since there are few pieces and it’s very light. 

5. Family Bag – this is similar to J’s family magnet pics.  I added each family member’s name to Ella’s pics, laminated them (with contact paper) and gave her a little purse to carry them in.  J has loved his family pics since before he was one.  I thought adding the names could encourage name recognition.

6. Seed Family Worship CD – I had previously sent one of their CDs to my friend while she’s in Iraq, but thought her daughter might like one too.  These cd’s are really great and not just for kids IMO.  They are an excellent way to help us write God’s Word on our hearts.  See this post for more.

7. Fish Counting and Matching file folder game – J has a similar matching game, I just made this one a bit more durable by adding it to a file folder for safe keeping.  The envelope holds the laminated fish cards to match as well as the fish to place on the counting page.  I found the counting template here from Tot school and have used it many times with J.

8. Sponge Jewelry – a fine motor activity and again a favorite of J’s, simply thread the sponges onto the pipe cleaners.  I found a greater variety of sponges for Ella’s jewelry.  A girl needs to match!  See this post for more info.

Read This: Because a Little Bug went Ka-Choo!

Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo! by Michael K. Frith, Rosetta Stone (1975, Hardcover)“Because a Little Bug went KA-CHOO!”  is such an adorable book that I had to mention it here.  It’s probably been J’s favorite for the past 3 or 4 months.  The book is in The Cat in the Hat’s line called Beginner Books.  It was written by Rosetta Stone (gotta love that name by the way!). 

The story is adorable, all about how a little bug’s sneeze causing a chain reaction that ends with mayhem in the nearby town.  The pictures are adorable too.  J loves that he can find all the characters on basically every page.  My aunt gave J this book, saying it was her daughter’s favorite almost 20 years ago and the first book her daughter learned to read.  Well, it’s still a winner today.  J has much of the chain reaction memorized already.

Why Didn’t I Think of That? Pencil Topper Stamps

Ok, so pencil topper stamps don’t sound all that impressive.  But for my 1 year old, they are the absolute coolest!

I originally bought some regular wooden stamps (I found on clearance) for J to try out.  I have never been brave enough to try them.  :)

So I happened across these pencil topper stamps at Target in their dollar section.  (By the way, it was genius for Target to add a dollar section!  The person who thought of that needs a huge raise!)

These stamps are perfect…. a perfect fit in J’s hand, easy to use (don’t require a separate ink pad, so they’re really no different than dot markers), colorful, and they have really cute designs.  J currently has 3 sets already (vehicles, valentines, and aliens/monsters).  There are six stamps in a set, so $1 brings more than enough enjoyment.  I keep my eyes open for more each time I go to Target.

I will say, I bought one set at Michael’s craft store (in their dollar section) that looked like they were made identically… but they are not!!  Three of the six fell apart immediately and the ones that worked didn’t last long.  They were awful.   So I’m sticking with the Target brand, every one of them still work after a ton of use. 

As for how to use them… I have no creativity here.  J loves just stamping away!  He also loves taking them out and returning them to the clear packaging they came in. Gotta love one year olds!

Age attempted:  around 14 or 15 months at first; he still loves them at 23 months

Teachable moments:  having fun doesn’t have to cost a lot (my personal teachable moment); J has learned that you only stamp on paper, not fingers, clothes, tables,…  and to have fun :)

Try again?  over and over and over

Why Didn’t I Think of That? Children’s Scripture CD from Seeds Family Worship

** Edited to add:  They’ve just offered a coupon code to my readers.  Enter ENGAGINGTODDLERS at checkout and you’ll get 20% off of your cd purchase. This coupon expires  December 14, 2010.  If you would like to hear some of their songs check out this link!**

Have you ever noticed how it’s so much easier to memorize to music? 

I’m gonna assume you answered yes :) 

Somewhere in my search for activities, I discovered a BRILLIANT set of CDs from Seeds Family Worship.  They put scripture to song and they do it BEAUTIFULLY!  The songs are great for kids, but they’re also great for adults.  I listen to their CDs even when J isn’t with me.  I would have ordered them even if I did not have a child at all.  They are that good. 

I absolutely LOVE this product (can you tell?).  J absolutely LOVES this product.  It will be my new gift for family and friends.

I currently have two of their CDs, but will soon order the remaining 3 in the series.  Each CD has scripture focused on a specific topic.  We have “Seeds of Purpose” and “The Power of Encouragement”.  The other choices are “Seeds of Faith”, “Seeds of Courage”, and “Seeds of Praise”.  The lyrics are direct quotes from the NIV Bible.  Each song has the scripture reference and the text; the text is repeated (in a praise song style).  The repetition is not annoying like many of the children’s songs. 

For now, J and I just listen to the songs in the car and while playing at home.  When he’s a little older and can speak a little better, I will use these CDs to help him memorize scripture.  To me, scripture holds the greatest lessons I could ever teach J.  Anything that will help me accomplish this is something I want to promote!

**Oh and one added benefit, the company sends TWO CDs for every one that you order!  You get one to keep for yourself and one to give away to friend or family.  I have already decided who is getting my 2 extra CDs! I can’t wait to give it to them!!

Why Didn’t I Think of That? Piggies in a Blanket

Check out this link http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2010/03/prodcut-review-piggies-in-blanket.html

This Piggies in a Blanket would’ve been perfect for J!  Had I only known earlier!  I was always so annoyed with how often J’s blanket would fall off his stroller. I ended up rigging his grocery cart cover to stay on a little better, but it took so much time to set up and was never completely successful.  So long to dirty blankets and cold toes!! My next little one will be so lucky!