Toddler Games: Alphabet and Name

This tub was so much fun! Emily asked to play with it all the time, which I consider a huge success. Some days she wanted to search for the letters and some days she wanted to play with the beans only. And since she knows to sit on the blanket I lay out, the mess on the floor is minimal (mostly).

photo 3

Alphabet:

Alphabet: Tub:  colored beans, tongs, funnel, measuring cup, alphabet (capital letters), letter mat (both capital and lowercase)

The first time I pulled out the tub, I just let Emily play with the beans. I had put all of the letters under the beans, and she was so surprised and delighted to find the letters. After she just played for awhile, I showed her how to use the funnel and transfer the beans back and forth. We practiced using the tongs, but she got frustrated pretty quickly. By the end of the two weeks, she was picking all sorts of things up with them though!

photo 2

Okay… teacher moment… When you’re creating alphabet games, use both capital and lowercase letters. I know most activities show capital ones, but learning lowercase letters is even more important in learning to read. Think of how many letters are lowercase versus capital. Which is why one side of my alphabet mat is matching capital to capital letters and the other side is matching capital to lowercase.

Idea from Hands On As We Grow:  Letter Scavenger Hunt photo 1-2

Puzzles

Alphabet Books

Magnetic Letters
photo copy 3 I saw this idea on Pinterest but the link was only to a picture (if you know what blog it came from, please pass it on so I can give them credit). I never did find the oil pans at Walmart but did at Auto Zone for about $10. I’m not sure how we’re going to attach it to the wall, but that’s Logan’s problem now…

Name:

Emily Letter Match
photo 3-2 For this game, I found Emily’s name in different types of letters. She has to match the letter she draws out of the bag to the mat. Then there’s another set of letters for her to order independently.

Idea from Toddler Approved:  Name Stegosaurus
20140612-142520-51920844.jpg20140612-142520-51920010.jpgShe LOVED this activity! Using the clothespins took some practice, but she’d match the letters and have me put them on the butterfly until she could do it independently.

******************************

I loved doing this tub with Emily! She got so excited about “school” time. We’d usually do two or three of the games at a time–a total of about 10-15 minutes. And the sensory tubs are so much easier to put together than busy books (I have to admit, I never made Emily a busy book. I always meant to get around to it and felt a little guilty that I didn’t. So finally I deleted all of the idea on my Pinterest boards. I feel so much better when I go through my Toddler Games board now. Silly, I know!).

Leave a comment

Filed under Toddler

Toddler Games: Sensory Box Fillers and Tools

This summer I’m trying to keep Emily as busy as possible. She’s going to summer preschool two times a week (that’s been a tough transition!), but that’s still lots of time that she’ll be with me. I’ve already planned Museum Mondays (we have a membership to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis–love) and story time at the library on Wednesdays. We’re part of two reading programs so reading books will be happening all the time.

Petting a tortoise at the library's Critter Chat

Petting a tortoise at the library’s Critter Chat

I’ve also put together some sensory boxes and activities to practice letters, Emily’s name, colors, numbers, and shapes. My current plan is to keep each set of activities around for two weeks, which will last until the end of the summer. So during middle of the night nursing with Piper, I made lists and pinned ideas…

Step 1: Sensory Box Fillers
You can find all sorts of filler ideas on Pinterest. I narrowed my list down to things I already had around the house or could be picked up in a trip to the dollar store.

*colored beans
*tissue paper (cut into squares)
*scrap cloth (cut into strips)
*pom poms
*pasta

Other ideas:  rice, ribbons, feathers, sand, dirt, beads, popcorn kernels, pebbles, cornmeal, oatmeal, lentils

Colored Beans:
I got the tutorial for coloring the beans from Fun at Home with Kids. Super fast and easy. One thing to note now that Emily has played with the beans for a few days–the color will bleed onto their hands. Since the food coloring is water based, those sweaty little hands will cause some of the color to rub off. We’ve had no problem getting the color off in the bath, but make sure your child is wearing play clothes.
*I used three bags of white beans for about 18 cups of beans–plenty to fill a tub.

photo 1

Step 2:  Tools
I gathered all of these into a large bag and will randomly put them in the sensory boxes. I’ve also pulled them for play dough, water play, “cooking,” etc.

*rolling pin
*practice chopsticks (I wanted a big pair of tweezers but couldn’t find them)
*tongs (Walmart had a cute pair of small ones)
*clothespins
*measuring cups
*measuring spoons
*spoon
*funnel
*scoop
*shovel
*paint brushes
*plastic knife
*popsicle sticks

*Step 3:  Box
Find a large box with a lid. This way you can leave your supplies in there, store it easily, and keep the moisture out (for things like the beans and pasta). I also have a blanket around that the box has to stay on. That way I don’t find beans all around my house!

**************************

Whatever you decide to use, make it easy and inexpensive. Don’t use anything that would be difficult to replace. Most of the supplies you’ll be able to use for another sensory box, but make sure it’s all things you’d be okay tossing if you need to!

***************************

The first box and activities we’re doing are to practice the alphabet and Emily’s name. Next week I’ll post the activities we’re using.

photo 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Crafts, Toddler

My Two Girls

Okay, I’m sure you’ll eventually get tired of seeing my girls… but a little quiz for you. Which girls is which?

 

 

photo copy

DSCN0342

 

***************************

Piper is the top and Emily the bottom. Both pictures were taken when the girls were about 3 weeks old. Pretty similar, aren’t they?

Leave a comment

Filed under Baby

One Month Old

Dear Piper,

One month ago you finally decided to make your debut. To say that you’re loved, sweet girl, is an understatement. In four short weeks, you’ve brought so much joy and so many snuggles to our lives. Obviously, Daddy and I love you so very much. But your biggest fan is probably Emily… She loves to hug and kiss you. And whenever you start crying, she brings you a paci and starts singing the ABCs to you. Little besties already!

20140503-194932.jpg

You love to eat… you gained two pounds in two weeks! But just as much as you love to eat, you love to sleep at night (not so much during the day). The last few nights I’ve had to wake you up to eat in the middle of the night. But yay, that the pediatrician said today you could sleep as long as you wanted! We’ve gotten into a pretty good routine in the last week. You want to eat at about the same time and start a nap around the same time each day. Too bad you’ll probably change that now!

IMG_2431 Your favorite thing (besides eating) is snuggling. If you could spend the whole day in my arms you would! I get so little done, because I just sit and stare at your precious little face (of course, that’s changing now that Emily is home with us–she doesn’t let us just sit and stare at each other very often!). Or hold your little hands. Or your little feet.

IMG_2401

Thanks for all the joy you’ve already added to our lives. You and Emily are such blessings to our lives. Much love little girl!
IMG_2550

**********************

photo

Leave a comment

Filed under Baby

Creative Collections: Mother’s Day

So with a new baby and being at home, I’m having a hard time keeping track of what day/date it is. Which means that I only realized today that this Sunday is Mother’s Day (luckily, I gave my mom her gift when she was here watching Emily).  Last year I did a Creative Collection for Mother’s Day. And here are some more great handmade gift ideas…

Terrarium by Front + Main
4-17-making-it-lovely-terrarium-01

Photo Pendant by Saving with Sarah
DIY Photo Pendant

Coconut Lime Moisturizing Sugar Scrub by Smart n Snazzy
DSCN9826

Freestanding Photo Gallery by The How-To Gal
MD Gift FInal copy

Text Art by Keep It Simple, Sister
cover

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day celebrating the moms in your life. And as fantastic as handmade gifts are, don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful card. Just make sure you tell her how special she is!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Crafts

Piper Grace is Finally Here

Piper Grace Mastain
May 2, 2014 at 12:46 am
8 lb 12 oz, 21 3/4 in

20140503-184534.jpg

Clearly this sweet girl has her own timeline–3 days at 46 minutes past her due date. My water broke around 11:00 am May 1st, and we went to the hospital shortly after that. After lots of waiting and walking, I had to get some help from the pitocin. Even then, it took awhile for labor to really start. But when Piper decided she was ready, she didn’t mess around!

20140503-194932.jpg

 

She’s fantastic. Eats like a champ, snuggles, naps through lots of noise, puts up with her big sister showering love on her. She does have her days and nights mixed up, and we started working on her not needing someone to hold her to sleep. Last night was our first night back at home, and it was a tough one. Piper was up every half an hour from 2-7. Oh my, I wish the hospital would send home one of those wonderful nurses who snuggle her at night and then bring her in to nurse. But lots of naps, caffeine, and chocolate will hopefully get us through the next few weeks while we figure this out.

20140503-194951.jpg Emily loves her baby Piper. Tons of hugs, kisses, pats, and soothing. She’s constantly wanting to hold Piper and is really pretty gentle with her. Emi is testing some limits, and I expect that will get worse before it gets better. I love watching my two little girls together, and I can’t wait to watch them become best friends.

20140503-195005.jpg I’m so thankful for all the help our friends and family have given. We really couldn’t have made this transition nearly as well without all their love, support, and prayers. From watching Emily to bringing meals to sending encouragement. You realize just how much you’re loved in times like this. Thank you!

20140503-195033.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Creative Collections: Repurposing T-Shirts

I know there are lots of people who are cleaning out their closets and finding all sorts of t-shirts that aren’t making the cut for the spring and summer. And these are some great projects if you have some shirts that you’re like “Well, MAYBE I’ll wear them…” Yeah, you’re not going and they’ll get lost in the back of your drawers. So here are some ideas to spruce up tees that are still in good shape.

Ruffle Waterfall Tee by In Honor of Design
waterfalltee2+copy

Anthro-Insprired Hip Cinched Blouse by Recycled Lovelies
1314794789

V-Neck into Gathered Cowl Collar by Trash to Couture
photoforcollar

Lace T-Shirt Refashion by Ma Nouvelle Mode
Lace-shirt-refashion-before-and-after

Ruffly Shirt Refashion by Ruffles and Stuff
shirt1

Emma Pillsbury T-Shirt Refashion by iCandy Handmade
2

Pencil Skirt by Trash to Couture
skirt

Leave a comment

Filed under Repurposing, Sewing