Arts & Crafts

Rainbow Easter Eggs

With Easter next weekend, I promised Eleanor that we would colour eggs. That being said, colouring eggs with a toddler can be challenging. I found this kit while shopping, I and thought I could do the same thing at home without needing to buy the kit. This turned out to be a simple, mess-free way to decorate eggs that anyone could do with a little one at home. 

Easy Watercolor Coffee Filter Snowflakes for Kids

In my girls' bedroom we have large sliding glass doors that lead out onto our back deck. This is wonderful in the summer as it provides them with easy in and out access to play in our fully fenced backyard. In the winter the large windows provide lots of natural light and a view of our winter wonderland. The girls and I love to decorate these large windows with various seasonal suncatchers like our Beaded Snowflakes. A few weeks ago, Malia and I decided it was time for some new window decor and made beautiful, yet very easy, coffee filter snowflakes.

Sensory Activities for Children Ages 0-2

Babies are born prepared to experience their world around them. Our babies can hear their mothers’ hearts beating, their fathers’ voices, or the music on the radio. After being born, they mouth, chew, and nibble on objects as there are more nerve-ending in their mouth than any other place on their body. Toddlers learn about their foods by mashing, pouring, or squishing it through their fingers, which support their understanding of texture. They intensely look at highly contrasting colours in a painting or book. By using their senses, our little ones are familiarizing themselves with their world and comforting themselves. All of this comes naturally to them!

Our children’s brains develop because of these sensory experiences. Therefore, we want to support them by providing them with opportunities to activity use their senses. Below are a number of ways you can encourage your baby's/toddler's sensory development.

Play Eclectic Music

I like to think we listen to an eclectic range of music in our home. But, I was recently surprised when Eleanor went nuts rocking out to “Cut Me Some Slack,” performed by Paul McCartney and Nirvana at the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy benefit. Now, we’ve started listening to more alternative music.

Bake/Cook with your Baby

Since I’m at home with Eleanor all day, I spend a lot of my time cooking with her. We turn many meals into an experience where I allow her to feel, smell and taste the ingredients.

DIY Wooden Spoon Puppets for Kids

Each month my girls excitedly wait for their new Chirp and Chickadee Magazines. Did you get those as a kid? I remember getting mine in the mail and devouring the articles on science, nature, memorizing the goofy jokes and ogling over the monthly craft projects (and begging my mom to help me complete it). My girls go through the same giddiness when their magazines arrive each month.

This month’s craft project was Wooden Spoon Puppets. It was the first thing the girls showed me, followed by “When can we make some of our own Mama?”

DIY Sensory I Spy Bottles for Kids

I Spy was one of my favorite "quiet" games when I was a child. It was the perfect anytime, anywhere game. I remember playing it our living room, in the backyard, in the car, at the playground, EVERYWHERE! My brother and I would always try to find new ways of making the game more and more challenging the older we got. No matter where we traveled our eyes could always find something new and exciting to spy.

When I started my teaching career I remember finding a the Find It! game at a teacher's supply store. It was a large clear bottle full of colorful beads and many small treasures hidden inside. The bottle came with a card that showed a picture of all the treasures that were hidden inside. I desperately wanted one of these bottles for my pre-kindergarten class but as a first year teacher with limited budget for my inner city classroom I just could not justify spending $50 on one game (no matter how awesome I thought it was). Now you can pruchase these games for about half the price but if you are crafty and frugral like me you can make your own for much less!  

Sensory Balloons: Sensory Play Craft for Babies and Toddlers

During the last Intellidance Babies class of every session, we have a sensory day. There are finger paints, a ball pit, a sensory blanket, musical instruments, and an assortment of other sensory-related materials. As my fall session was coming to an end, I wanted to start to prepare for our sensory day. I thought it would be novel for the babies to have something they could hold in their hands that felt different. It needed to be about the same size as an egg shaker since that’s about all they can hold in their hands, and the sensory objects inside it needed to be protected from tiny mouths.

Eleanor and I decided to create sensory balloons. Now, I know that a balloon doesn’t exactly sound like the safest object to be giving a baby, but they aren’t inflated, so they can’t pop. And, they are also being supervised by their caregivers, so there is little risk of the babies injuring themselves. That being said, I would never leave a baby alone with one of these sensory balloons! Here’s how we went about creating them:

Pipe Cleaner and Bead Snowflakes: Fine Motor Craft for Kids

Sometimes the simplest craft activities are the most engaging for young children. This is great news for parents! Less mess, less prep = HAPPY PARENTS! My experience working with young families has reveled that specialty materials and big clean ups are usually the biggest obstacles stopping most parents from doing art and crafts with their children on a regular basis. Simple craft activities are a fun way to support your child's fine motor development, practice school readiness skills such as following directions, taking turns/sharing, and exploring seasonal themes at home

Edible Snow Painting

Last winter, Eleanor was 6-9 months old. Needless-to-say, she was too little to truly experience winter. We tried to get outside with her often, but the results were her lying in her snowsuit in the middle of our yard “making snow angels.” She didn’t mind the snow, but she certainly was too young to play in it.

This year, Eleanor has decided that winter is not for her. In order to go outside, she has to be covered from head to toe in thick layers of bulky fabric that restrict her movement. When she’s outside, she has to battle walking through the snow, which wouldn’t be such a struggle if she wasn’t waist-deep in it. Where there is no snow, she is challenged by walking on ice. And, she has no desire to deal with the whipping wind and bitter cold we experienced last week. 

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