Toddler Activities

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1. Flash Cards.  The Wingman has loved these flashcards that I purchased on Amazon.  Usually we keep it pretty low key.  I’ll hand him one card at a time, telling him the word, and he will stack them in the cardboard box they came in.  Sometimes he just has fun stacking (still a win as he learns better hand control!), sometimes he’ll repeat the words, and sometimes he’ll stare at the picture and soak it in.  (BTW, his favorite card is the one with the cookie on it. 😉 )

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2.  Bowling.  Get some plastic cups and set them up like bowling pins.  Then roll a ball from a couple feet away and watch them fly!

3.  Chores.  Wingman loves to help.  The first task he took an interest in was emptying the dishwasher.  He likes to help with the silverware specifically, but also anything else he can reach on the bottom rack.  He now knows where to put the silverware, my mixing bowls, and my cutting boards.  Other jobs he likes to help with are sweeping, dusting, and spritzing things with a spray bottle of water.

4.  Spray bottle of water.  Sometimes this is helpful (such as when I’m mopping)….sometimes it isn’t so much.  But he already knows the routine…now when he grabs the spray bottle, he’ll grab a towel for the other hand. 😉

5.  Puzzles.  He loves Melissa and Doug chunky puzzles!  He’ll put the pieces in, then say, “More!” and we’ll start over.  He’s even started to play games with it and pretend to put a piece in the wrong spot, then we’ll giggle and say, “Nooo!!!” and then he’ll put it in the correct spot.
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6.  Little Baby Bum.  This one is his favorite.  I used to be against toddler usage of technology….but I have been surprised, amazed, and impressed with how much he was truly learned from these videos.  He has learned colors, shapes, counting, and singing.  Obviously, movies and videos should come in moderation, but I am now definitely an advocate of intentional video watching. 😉

What are some of your toddlers favorite activities?

-Bonnie

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DIY Sharpie pen plate

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Homemade Christmas presents! 😀  I kept seeing awesome tutorials on Pinterest for making mugs or plates using Sharpie pens and baking them in the oven.

I finally gave it a shot!

I got all the supplies at The Dollar Tree….plates and some permanent markers.

Then I let the Wingman have at it.  He was much more fascinated with taking the cap on and off the markers, but every now and then he would give the plate a swipe with the marker.

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After he decorated them all, I put it in the cold oven, then turned it to 450.  Once the oven was completely heated, I set the timer for 45 minutes.  It only lasted about 30 minutes I think, though, because there was a horrible smell (I’m wondering if it was the stickers that I had forgotten to take off the bottom of the plate??  😦 ).  I then turned off the oven and let the plates remain inside until completely cool.

The colors definitely faded a lot in the process.  I don’t know if it’s because I used cheap markers or if that is typical.

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One of the finished products

All in all it was fun and pretty simple!  I would definitely try this again with some other awesome designs.  Pinterest has some great design ideas!

-Bonnie

Foam Shape Puzzle Busy Bag

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When I made my 101 in 1001 list, I decided I wanted to make a busy bag for the Wingman.  When my sister suggested doing a busy bag swap, I was so excited!

My sisters and I each made three sets of two different busy bags.  One set we kept for our own kids and the others we mailed to each other.

After scouring the internet, I finally decided on the two that I wanted to do.  This post was my first inspiration and what made me decide to make foam shape puzzles.

Supplies needed:

  1. Construction paper
  2. Foamie sheets or self-adhesive foam shapes
  3. Scissors
  4. Pen
  5. Elmer’s glue

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I couldn’t find self-adhesive foam shapes, so I just bought a pack of half sheets.  I definitely understand why the lady in my tutorial recommended the self-adhesives, though!!  It was painstakingly time consuming trying to trace and cut out these shapes.

Being the uncreative person I am, I based most of my patterns off of the ones shared at Tot School.  When I ran a Google image search, I came across this post at Vista Woman.  I love her patterns as well!

I was able to get two puzzles out of each sheet of construction paper.  If I had it to do over again, I think that I would purchase full sheets of foam (unless I can locate self-adhesives…then I would definitely do those!!) and use full sheets of construction paper.  Some of my foam puzzle pieces ended up being quite small and I can imagine they might be easily lost.

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Here are my final puzzles!  I folded them in half, which served to help me to keep the patterns  only on one half.  Plus it makes for more compact storage.

Wingman is still a ways away from being able to understand how to do this project.  But I am excited for when he is able to!!

-Bonnie

 

Tugging Box

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While Googling and Pinteresting for activities to do with a one year old I came across an idea of making a tugging box!  I followed this tutorial and it was super easy.

I had a shoe box from several months ago when I bought some heels.  Ribbon was left over from our wedding.  At Walmart I purchased three sheets of felt (23 cents each) and a package of pipe cleaners (97 cents).  So it was very inexpensive.

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All my supplies

I used a pair of scissors to poke holes into the box.  I wasn’t sure how many to do, but I just poked a decent amount, figuring I could add more if necessary.

After I made the holes, I simply threaded the items through two holes.  Some of them, like the shorter pipe cleaners, were placed close together.  Since the ribbon was longer, I threaded it through holes on opposite sides of the box.

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In order to further encourage hand-eye coordination, holes were left empty on top so the Wingman can stick pipe cleaners in there if he wants.

It took probably a total of 10 minutes to make.  Super easy.

I made it late at night.  While I contemplated waking the Wingman up to try it out, I managed to wait until morning.  I was so excited to see what he would do!

He was definitely intrigued.  He loved pulling on the various pieces.  He has yet to notice that when he pulls on one end, the other end gets shorter.  But we’ll get there.  For now he just enjoys pulling on them.

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Definitely a success!!

-Bonnie

DIY “Guitar”

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When I saw a blog post mentioning this idea, I had flashbacks to similarly playing when I was young.  I knew I had to try it for the Wingman!

Total cost?  $1.00.  The Dollar Tree had a bag full of rubber bands of various sizes.  I sorted through it and found the biggest ones, which I then put over our loaf pan.

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Yay!!  Now to see how it passes the baby test.

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At first he wasn’t too interested and he started to play with his dinosaur toy.  Daddy gave it a couple “twangs” and the Wingman looked up with a big smile.  Now he was interested!!

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He never quite got the hang of twanging it himself, but he enjoyed pulling off rubber bands and banging the loaf pan on the ground.  Definitely a toy that will need supervision, since the rubber bands are quite easy to pull off.  While the first go at it wasn’t super successful as far as “music”, he enjoyed it and I know he will keep having fun exploring it.

-Bonnie

Baby toys – The Necessities

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There are so. many. options. for things to purchase for your baby.  So many ideas on what is appropriate and necessary for baby to play with.  So the question is….what do you REALLY need for baby?

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During the first year of the Wingmans life, we did buy him some toys.  He had a couple stuffed animals, a couple toys that had the big rings for babies just learning to grip, some books, etc.  He had an exersaucer and when he was 10 months old I won a wooden block set in an online giveaway.  A friend gave us this fun dinosaur toy hand-me-down that has different slots to put some balls, which then bounce down stairs, swing a pendulum, or roll down a slide.  It’s pretty fun and I am very thankful it was gifted to us, because it sells for $80 brand new!

But his favorite toys were not toys at all.  His favorite toys have been…

  • Water.  He loves to touch and splash in water, whether it’s in the kiddie pool, the bath, or a bowl I fill for him.
  • Water bottles.  He loves to crinkle them and shake the water around.
  • A spatula.  I don’t know why this is so fascinating, but he loves it.
  • A shaker.  A friend got a small clear medicine bottle, filled it maybe a quarter of the way with beads, and glued the lid shut.  Wingman loves it!!!
  • An envelope.  You know those envelopes that come with the clear window to see the address through?  Wingman had so much fun with this, crinkling it and turning it.  It doesn’t even need the clear, crinkly window….he likes to play in general with the mail.  We often give him the junk mail to play with.
  • Anything outdoors.  He loves grass, wood chips, rocks, etc.  Just be careful of course with what goes in the mouth.
  • Tissue boxes.  If we let him, he would pull tissues out all day.  This only happened once though. 😉  I have plans to make him a tugging box like this one.
  • A bottle brush and nipple brush.  He loves the textures on it.

It really is true that sometimes the best toys aren’t even toys.  Personally, I think that not only does it save money, but it can develop the child’s imagination and cognitive skills better than a lot of marketed toys.  I have been really surprised to see how so many non-toys hold his interest a lot more than some of the developmental toys we have bought him.

Of course there have been manufactured toys that have helped him in reaching milestones or working on hand-eye coordination.  This stacking train, for instance, and this Sit-to-Stand Walker.  So I definitely give manufactured toys their place, too!

What did or do your babies play with?

-Bonnie

Water Fun!

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Wingman loves bath time.  He has so much fun splashing and playing with the toys.  Some of the Moms on my Mom’s page talked about getting a bucket of water for their little one to play in.  Since Wingman seems to love water so much, I decided to give it a try!

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Here’s what I had in our bucket.  A Planes airplane, a teething ring,
a monkey toy, a cap from one of his bottles, an easy grip
holder that had been around one of our cups, two of
his bath toys, and a spatula (not pictured here because he was holding it).

He loved it!!  He enjoyed being outside and got distracted by the grass
and leaves.  His favorite “toy” was by far the spatula.  He
enjoyed reaching into the water and feeling it.  He liked to
try to catch the water when it drained out of the holes in
the penguin cup.

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We will definitely be trying this activity again!

-Bonnie