Monthly Archives: January 2011

Snow-themed Breakfast (or snack)

Since we woke up with tons of snow and dad got to stay home this particular morning, I decided to break the rules and have fun with breakfast. I can’t say this is the healthiest breakfast, but it was a fun twist to our normal routine.  I say there’s nothing wrong with letting our hair down a little!

I made Snowman donuts, marshmallow snowflakes, a bucket of snow (yogurt topped with nuts and berries) and snowman soup (aka hot cocoa). 

J thought it was lots of fun and of course finished EVERY bite.  Surprise, surprise!

To make the Snowman Donuts:

I used a Cheeto for the nose (the original post  used an orange slice which would be the healthier way to go), chocolate chips for the eyes and mini chocolate chips for the mouth.  These were just set on top of the powdered donut, so of course they fall apart easily.  Check out the original idea here to see a more lasting version. I decided to take the easy route and J had no problem deconstructing it as he ate.  This is also something you could get an older child to help with.  Lining up the tiny chocolate chips would’ve been too difficult for J at this stage. 

To make the Snowflakes:

Use toothpicks to attach the mini-marshmallows together in whichever snowflake design you want.  I’ve also seen this done with gumdrops.  Again, older ones could help create these too.  J could likely accomplish a toddler version of this, but I also envision him stabbing himself with the toothpick while forcing it through the marshmallows!

Other ideas are for your snow-themed meal :

Snowballs (boiled eggs… this was on my list for breakfast until I realized DH ate all of them!)

Snowman on a stick (a good way to include some fruit)

Snowman Rice Crispie Treats 

Snowball Surprise Cookies

Our other snow-themed activity for the day was Snow-Painting and I’m happy to report it’s a success with two year olds too. 

A few changes this year were more colors, two trays of snow (both needed to be refilled a few times), and medicine droppers along with paint brushes and sponge brushes.  The medicine droppers were huge hits (which I love because it adds fine motor skill practice).  In all honesty, he spent about 15-20 minutes on actual painting and another 20-25 minutes on color mixing (I even replinished the colors for him since they eventually all turned brown).  But he was occupied and having fun!  I did have to remind him how to paint in the snow because he got frustrated at first (you can’t make simple strokes but have to dab the snow).  TIP:  I use a waterproof table cover as a “blanket” to protect my floors.  It’s worked great for 2 years and keeps my floors nice (last year cheap linoleum and this year nice hardwood floors).


Mini Car Wash

I recently read Val’s post about surving the winter with extra fun at bath time (see it here) and was reminded of how I used to set up a car wash for J’s cars.  It keeps him busy.

You could do this in the bathtub, near the kitchen sink, outside in the summer or wherever you’re brave enough to try.  J gets a “dirty” bin, a wash bin, and rinse bin.  When he’s in the tub I leave off the rinse bin and he just rinses them in the tub. Our bins come from the Target dollar section (or maybe their $2.50 section??). 

The cleaning supplies he gets is random, a spray bottle, sponges, a dipper (measuring cup), a medicine dropper and a toothbrush all work well though they definitely don’t need all that.  He typically lines up all the cars, spray them down, soaps them off with a sponge, rinses and then line them back up (either to be washed again or to “dry”).

You could have them wash their “pets” (plastic animal figures) or girls might like to give their dolls a bath.

Age attempted: These photos are when J was 29 months old; this could easily be done by pretoddlers and might even be entertaining for preschoolers (no experience there yet!)

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!

Favorite Snow Posts

Here’s a reminder of a few of our fun winter activities from last year.

Snow Painting






New Page: Winter Activity Index

Check out the list I compiled for winter activities in my new Winter Activity Index page.  Hopefully sharing it will help you cut down your own searching time.  You will find links to printables with winter themes to reading, writing, and math practice as well as fun crafts, recipes, and games. Most of the activities can be altered to fit the developmental level of your little one.

I’ll be highlighting some of the activites we try and really enjoy over the next few months in posts. 

The Winter Activity Index page will be up through the winter season, afterwhich I will trash it and replace it with my Spring/Easter Index.

Happy Searching!

Christmas Index 2010

**Before I remove the Christmas Index Page, I wanted to store it in a post for safe keeping next year. Check out the new Winter Index Page that shows some of the activities I will be choosing from over the next couple months.**
How I Use an Index:
I’ve learned that if I don’t organize my online finds, I forget about them.  I created the indexes to keep that from happening.  I create the ongoing list of  potential activities that I then pull from when planning.  Sometimes I have activities planned out way in advance.  And then there are the weeks I get behind.  The index works great to pull ideas from quickly.  We DO NOT accomplish each activity on the list, that is not even my goal.  I can always use the same index to pull from next year, hopefully lessening my prep work in the future too.   For now I am only posting my seasonal indexes. 
I hope you find these lists helpful too!  
Christmas Index 2010

Toddler Made Calendars

I kept putting off working on calendars with J, honestly because I wanted to create a cute calendar first. I’ve seen tons of cute ideas online and wanted to do something along those lines. After months of that project getting put on the back burner, I finally remembered J doesn’t need a fancy homemade calendar.  He’s two!  He’s fine with the plain and simple and honestly doesn’t even notice mom took the easy route.   

So I printed off a blank calendar from my computer and J started learning.  Simple as that.  I had no plan.  All it really took was labeling some special events and crossing off each day.  Over the past few months I’ve developed my simple calendar lessons to this:

Obviously still not too impressive for a blog post I guess, but J likes working on them and learns from them… that afterall is my goal for the activities we do. 

Each month J gets to decorate his calendar using stickers, pictures and stamps. This gives us the opportunity to discuss the season that each month falls in as well as important events.  We label important dates, color the days of the week and then cross off each day throughout the month.  I’ve also found that this is great practice with counting since J sees the numbers in front of him daily.

We sing some cute songs that help make memorizing calendar info a little more fun.

Months of the Year (sing to the tune of 10 Little Indians)

 Days of the Week (sing to the tune of Oh, My Darling): 

There are seven days, there are seven days, there are seven days in a week. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

Today Song (Sing to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Today is _______,
Today is _______,
All day long,
All day long.
Yesterday was _______,
Tomorrow will be _______,
Oh what fun!
Oh what fun!

I got those last two from Littlest Learners.

These calendars  now work as a daily reminder to me that I don’t have to spend lots of time planning extra cute activities.  I obviously don’t see anything wrong with doing those cutesy projects, BUT my priorities are off if I put off working with J because my expectations for myself are out of place.  Maybe there’s someone out there that will also benefit from this too!

Age attempted: 30 months

Our Most Used Supplies

I was hoping to post this before Christmas as a helpful guide for shopping, but obviously that didn’t happen.  So instead I’ll present these as great supplies that can help you make it through the winter.   These are the activity supplies that get the most use in our home.  I think they would be worth the money in any toddler home. 

  • Play-doh (cookie cutters are a nice addition, but not necessary)
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Clear Contact Paper
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Pompom Balls
  • Dot Markers
  • Package of colorful foam paper
  • Cardstock
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Food Coloring

The Usual Suspects (There’s a reason these are considered common craft supplies!)

  • Crayons
  • Stickers
  • Glue/Glue Sticks
  • Construction Paper
  • Markers
  • Paintbrushes

Around the House

  • Empty containers with lids
  • Cotton balls
  • Q-tips
  • TP and Papertowel rolls
  • Magnets (save the ones you get in the mail)
  • Ice
  • Measuring spoons/cups
  • Cardboard (from old boxes)

Really these items alone would allow you to create almost anything.  Each item in the list will also last you a long time.  In most cases, we are still using the packages I bought when J was around 14 months (with the only exception being stickers).  I basically roamed the craft aisles one day and fortunately came out with almost all winners.  I’m not normally that successful with my shopping!  The one thing I bought and still haven’t used much is the colorful felt.  I imagine some moms would use this up in no time, but as of now I’m still working on how to put it to good use.  I’m open to suggestions on that one!

Stringing Buttons

Iphone photo from plane trip

This is an activity J has done both at home and on airplanes.  I found a big bag of colorful buttons, in different sizes.  Set out some string and he was focused threading them for 30 minutes at least.  This is a good fine motor skill activity.  J is a very organized little boy so he typically wants to sort the buttons by color, matching each with the corresponding color string…. which meant mom had to track down string to match each button 🙂 

We’ve also tried stringing the buttons by size but this hasn’t been J’s favorite activity.  He’d much rather sort colors.  It’s still a great practice activity to try.  I’ll bring it out again after awhile.  If you do plan on sorting by size, I would start with a just a few buttons and as your little one excels increase the number of buttons to sort and/or decrease the difference in sizes. 

Traveling:  We started using this activity on planes when J was old enough to keep track of the buttons.  We keep them in a ziploc and he takes out one at a time.  I only bring the larger buttons with us and he strings them on  pipe cleaners instead of string.  I like multiple uses for travel toys and pipe cleaners offer lots of other uses.

Lesson learned: Using pipe cleaners to thread is much easier than using string.  This makes activities like this (or stringing beads, stringing sponges ) possible for younger ones. You can bend down the sharp ends of the pipe cleaners.

Age attempted: 27 months

I’m Back

and hopefully with a little more consistency than over the holidays!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years and are now getting back to normal.  We’re slowly getting there after traveling for a few weeks.  It’s good to be home again and hopefully I can get back into a groove around here.