Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

applesauce (store bought, not homemade)
cinnamon (bulk)
white glue
wax paper
rolling pin
cookie cutters
one drinking straw
ribbon, rafia, etc. for hanging

You want a one-to-one ration of applesauce to cinnamon.  1/4 cup to 1/2 cup each should be fine.  Measure out the cinnamon and applesauce for your tot, then let him pour it into a mixing bowl.  Let him stir and then finish off the mixing for him.  Add a bit of white glue (up to a tablespoon).

Lay out a sheet of wax paper sprinkled with cinnamon so your "dough" doesn't stick.  Cover rolling pin with cinnamon also and help your child roll out the dough into a thin, flat sheet.  If the dough seems too wet, just add more cinnamon.  Let your toddler cut out shapes with cookie cutters then use a straw to poke a hole at the top where you will hang with ribbon.  You can also use a template and trace around that - try tracing your child's hand!

Dry in a 200 degree oven for two hours (turning once) or let air dry for 24-48 hours.

Hang with a festive ribbon!  Try decorating some with clear sparkle sugars (I used red because that's what we had but the clear/white ones would look SO much better!).  You can also add them to your potpourri dish, they smell SO yummy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fun Crayons for Little Hands

I got this idea from my friend Steph over at Mada's Place.  Following Steph's directions, I was able to reuse my broken and dulled crayons from my younger years. And now have a very fun stocking stuffer for my busy body tot!  This will make coloring so fun for him and the crayons will be easier for his small hands to grab than those teeny tiny Crayolas.  I also was able to find boxes of crayons in the dollar bin at Michaels.  They're princess crayons, but after peeling off the labels and melting them down, they are now sports and underwater animals!

Clean, empty soup cans
Candy Molds (such as Wilton)
Big pot of boiling water

Peel off the wrappers of your crayons and break them into smaller pieces.  Separate by color into each of your soup cans.  Place the cans into your boiling water (water should be high enough to be above the crayons) and allow the crayon to melt.  This won't take very long.

Once the wax is melted, carefully pour it into your molds (or you can use a plastic spoon to spoon it into the mold).  Allow the wax to set a bit and then transfer to mold to your freezer or refrigerator.  Once the wax is cooled, it pops right out of the molds!

This may not be a project to do with your tot, but they will sure have fun coloring with these cool, new crayons!

Find free, printable coloring pages here:
Sesame Street

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interwebz fun

There are several sites designed specifically for your tot.  Sit at your computer with your toddler on your lap and let 'em go at it!  These are not educational sites - but your toddler will have a blast "typing" on the keyboard and making things happen!

Knee Bouncers
Sesame Street Games
Fisher Price Online Games & Activities

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bake Together!

Early toddlers may seem a little young for this, but they will enjoy the quality time they spend with you and can actually help quite a bit!

Use a boxed brownie mix or a simple cookie/muffin recipe.  Measure everything out and show your tot what you're doing.  Help them pour everything into the bowl and have fun! Help them turn the mixer on, teach them how to crack an egg.  Supervise closely and be ready for spills and messes :)

It helps if you have everything out ahead of time and then bring your child in to help.  I try to have all my ingredients and utensils on the counter so I don't have to leave him standing on the chair alone.  With his short attention span, having everything out helps move things along before he gets bored.

Recently, my tot and I made banana bread together!  Click here for my favorite easy recipe.

You can never supervise too closely.  Case in point: In the photo above, we were pouring in eggs.  In the photo below is what happened when I watched but didn't help.  He actually almost dumped the egg into the bowl but as he pulled the cup back, the egg dropped to the floor! Haha!

Homemade Play Dough

This is kind of a "twofer" activity!  Activity 1: make play dough.  Activity 2: play!

Rumor has it this recipe came from Parents Magazine.  I wasn't able to find it online or in my magazines to give credit where credit is due.  It's a great, all-natural recipe though!  Natural, stain-free coloring too.

1 cup flour
3/8 cup salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
natural coloring of your choice:
  • brown = 3/8 cup + 1 Tablespoon hot water + 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • pink = 3/8 cup hot beet juice
  • yellow = 3/8 cup hot water + 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • orange = 3/8 cup hot water + 1 Tablespoon paprika

Allow your child to add the ingredients after you've measured them out.  Explain what you're doing as you measure!  Give them a chance to mix the play dough first and then you can finish combining all the ingredients.  Then, split the play dough in half and play with your tot!  Use rolling pins and cookie cutters too!

This is the orange playdough using a tablespoon of paprika:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

painting with trucks

  • washable paint
  • paper
  • cars/trucks ($0.99 at Toys R Us)
  • frisbee or other dish for pouring paint into

Pour paint into kid-friendly (read: non-breakable) dish.  Dip car/truck in paint and drive along paper.  Have fun making car and truck noises!  Kids love to hear their parents make silly noises and can learn about things like the "backing up - beep!beep!beep!" that will translate to real-life experiences.  Try different vehicles for different designs

Sticker Time

  • stickers
  • scratch paper, newspaper, old envelopes, cardboard box, etc.
I have recently discovered that it really doesn't matter what the sticker looks like - it's the process of peeling and sticking that is fun for my toddler.  I search the dollar bin at Target or party stores, and have also taken to using up those free return address labels mailed out by non-profits.  Be sure to supervise closely so the stickers stay where they should be and not on your furniture and walls!