Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Toddler Valentine Trail Mix

I won't lie and say that I wasn't super excited when I realized Little D was starting school a week before Valentine's Day...our first Valentine's Day party! ...with real Valentine's. So of course I jumped on Pinterest to look for toddler-appropriate Valentines, and I found so many great ideas. Even though I am all about taking on the class-mom role, I also don't want to seem too over-eager with this whole crafty mom thing, so I checked with the teacher to see what the Valentine's Day protocol was in her room. Much to my disappointment, she said the parents don't do Valentines at this age and also that they will have a small party with some basic snacks. I signed up to bring in the cheese...so of course it will be the best darn Valentine's-themed cheese ever! ...blog post to come... But I just couldn't help myself. How could I not send Denver in with Valentines?! So here's what I came up with...inspired by a lovely blogger from One Step at a Time.

Toddler trail mix! The variety from One Step at a Time is much sweeter and has a little bit more variety, but I put together a very simple mix that should meet most parents' approval. All I did was combine Cheerios, freeze-dried strawberries, and Gerber strawberry yogurt drops. 

Then I just added a note from Denver that said he was happy to have so many new friends...seemed appropriate since he was the new kid. So what do you think? Is it too much? Did I just help, or hurt, Denver's friend status?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Shake, Shake, Shake!

This is one of the best projects I made for Little D. To answer your question...of course I found it on Pinterest, so to give credit where credit is due...this great find came from Heather who writes a blog, The Little Moments.

In case the picture isn't clear, these are just little mini containers filled with various items for Little D to shake...that's it! The little containers are from the Dollar Store; I had a lot left over from my baby food-making days. Then, I looked for things to put in them that made different sounds. I decided to use...

                    - Tic Tacs
                    - Pennies 
                    - Rice
                    - Coarse salt
                    - Cut up sponge
                    - Small rocks
                    - Wooden beads
                    - Elbow macaroni
                    - Beans
                    - Miniature sleigh bells

I tried to make them even better by letting Ian draw different colored numbers and shapes on them, but these are starting to rub off. I love these shaker boxes because Little D will like them for different reasons as he grows and develops. As a baby, he enjoyed simply shaking them like rattles. As he's gotten older, I've noticed him shaking them, looking for different sounds. He's even started stacking them just the hear the sounds they make when they fall. Maybe one day we can play Guess the Sound, or he can write songs with them. And the best part...all 10 little boxes fit perfectly into his first shoebox! Now the sentimental pile of mush in me can justify hanging onto this silly cardboard memory.

**Bit of advice...try to seal the edges with hot glue. One time, I let Little D play with these in his high chair. I only turned around for a second, but he had opened the salt box and was trying to eat the salt! I felt pretty bad, but his face was totally worth it.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Color Crazy

Poor Little D...I will think of any way to sneak in a learning opportunity. It's going to be a looong 18 years, kid. I came across this wonderfully colorful idea on MumCentral. It was super timely because I was just trying to think of ways to teach Denver his colors, beyond repeating the colors of things over and over again...and again... Then I came across a Pin that had the perfect idea.

On MumCentral, I saw an idea for color baskets. I immediately started thinking about what I would need to go buy to make the perfect color baskets...isn't that terrible that I first think of what I can buy?! But then I realized that I had everything I needed! I took bins from Little D's toy shelf and just filled them with colored toys. It was actually kind of fun...like a scavenger hunt! So here's what I ended up with...

I wanted there to be a nice mix of toys so that Little D wouldn't get bored. You could include...
                                            - blocks
                                            - animals
                                            - craft materials
                                            - cars
                                            - small books
                                            - fabric
                                            - letters
                                            - kitchen utensils
                                            - clothes
                                            - trains
                                            - balls

Something about them just makes me happy!