During Times of Tragedy, Why Not Hate Less, and Love More?

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My Heart Breaks

A controversial subject I know, and I usually stray away from controversy, but it is something that is weighing heavy on my heart, as I see this same situation play on repeat. During tragic events, why can we not hate less, and love more?

You see, there have been two tragic accidents, yes, accidents, that I have seen in the news this week. Though I am sure there are hundreds more that have happened around the country as well, these are the two that had my heart breaking:

The first tragic accident happened in Jackson, Mississippi. A sleeping, six year old boy was left by his mom in a running car sometime after midnight. She ran into the store, and when she came out, her car was gone. Three young males had stolen her car with the child in the backseat. When they found the car, the young boy had been shot and killed. This breaks my heart.

The second tragic accident happened in Houston, Texas. A two year old child drowned in her home pool when she wandered off. There are some reports that say the parents were asleep at the time, and there are some reports that say they were talking with friends when it happened; however, it has been reported that there was no foul play. It doesn’t matter to me the circumstances, as the results are the same. A poor child lost her life, and again, my heart is broken.

My heart breaks for the victim’s families, the lives lost, the suspect’s and their families, and for our country.

Hatred

You see, I didn’t even have to read the comments below the articles to know what they said, but I did, just so I could be factual in my writing. Here are just a few:

“…complacency is how things like this happen…”
“…It seems like this ‘tragic accident’ was preventable.”
“…died as a result of stupidity!”
“…it was her fault. Bottom line.”

Y’all, I had to stop reading. Those are just a few of the hundreds of comments on these articles. Given, not all of the comments were negative and placed blame. There were several kind hearted people offering their condolences and prayers, but it made me sad that the hateful comments were there to begin with, as you know these were the comments that were focused on the most.

It Could Happen to Me… and You

Maybe there were bad choices or mistakes involved in these accidents, but we all make mistakes, and I am sure these parents are putting enough shame, guilt and blame on themselves without us doing it for them. Can you imagine what that’s like? To know that if you would have done one minor thing differently, your child could still be here. Those parents will replay those tragic days in their heads over and over again for years to come. I know I can’t imagine what that’s like, and I pray I never have to know, but the thing is, I am human, I make mistakes, and it could indeed happen to me. What everyone needs to remember, is it could happen to anyone. We have to stop responding with, “I would never ______.” How would you like people to respond should it ever happen to you? Grace, compassion, love, and respect are only a few of the emotions that come to my mind.

You may be saying, “Well, I would never leave my child in a car,” or “I have a fence around my pool.” That’s great, really. I commend you for those precautions you are taking to keep your child safe. But what about the thousands of other choices you could make that could ultimately cost your child their life? What a difficult question to think about. Sure, most parents would never do anything intentionally to harm their child, but that’s why we call so many tragedies, accidents. The intent was not for someone to be harmed, or in these cases, killed.

Just the other day, I was unloading the car. I had brought both boys inside, and the back door that opens up to the garage was open as I was carrying things in. Well, don’t you know one child locked the door, and the other child shut the door. Want to know where I was when this happened? I was outside with one child, and the other child was inside and couldn’t unlock the door. Sure, he was only in there for 5-10 minutes, but do you know all of the horrible accidents that could have happened to him during those 5-10 minutes?

Regardless of the baby proofing in our home, the boys still manage to get in every single cabinet and every single door. What would people be saying about me should something horrible have happened? Do you think I intentionally locked myself out of the house with my 17 month old inside? It was an accident, much like these, that thankfully left no one hurt.

We Don’t Know the Facts

I understand that there is anger, frustration, and sadness, as their should be, but why should one choose to be hateful in their words and actions to the parents that have just lost their world? How will that help them? What will that change? It will only make them feel worse. Is that the goal of the hateful comment? If so, that is very disheartening. If not, why make the comment to begin with?

The fact is, 99% of us do not know all of the facts of either of these stories, and we probably never will.  That is ok.  And it is also ok to be upset and angry.

Be angry with the suspect’s that ended a child’s life, sure, but even then, should we spew anger towards them or their families? I don’t think so. And I’m sure by now, many of you are red in the face with disagreement and anger towards me. You know what? That’s ok. God created us to have these emotions and feelings; however, there’s a right and wrong way to show those feelings, there’s a right and wrong way to disagree with someone, and there’s a right and wrong way to react to stories as these. The right way is not to show hate. The right way is not to place blame. The right way involves grace, compassion, love, and respect.

The Church

Immediately after reading the comments on these articles, the following verse came to my mind:

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you which is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'” – John 8:7

Another thing that really saddens me about this is the public claims these people make about their personal lives. I’m not going to lie, I did a little bit of social media stalking on the people that were making these comments just so I could see exactly what I thought I would see. These are people openly saying they are Christians. These are people with First Communion pictures posted. These are people saying they’re “born to love.” Ironic isn’t it? No wonder Christianity gets a bad rap. Had I not already had knowledge of the Church and a relationship with God, I wouldn’t want to be a part of a Church either whose first instinct is to run and place blame instead of to run and show love and empathy.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am a sinner. I have judged others. I have shown hate. I am horrible at forgiving people, as I tend to hold a grudge. I know I have not always shown a great example of Christianity. I want you to know I don’t think less of these people for the comments they made. I don’t know these people, and I wish them no ill will. I will chalk it up to they made a mistake in their words. They let their anger and sadness get the best of them. I am simply saying that the way our world has decided to handle such tragedies breaks my heart.

Hate Less, and Love More

We would be in a much better place if we stopped saying, “that would never happen to me,” and start saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss. You must be devastated. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.”

You know what the best part of that statement is? You can say it to everyone involved. Clearly you can say it to the heartbroken families that lost their child. You can say it to the suspect’s families, as they are no doubt heartbroken over these events as well. And you can absolutely say it to the suspect’s themselves, as they have undoubtedly lost a lot, such as their freedom for starters. If they aren’t clinically diagnosed with a mental health issue, they are probably devastated in some form, and they probably need your prayers more than anyone. Sure it wouldn’t be easy, but then you can pray for yourself that you may find the strength to forgive and the heart to show compassion. I know I have had to pray that same prayer myself and will have to continue to pray it in the future.

Let us be the change we want to see. Let us hate less and love more. And most importantly, let us show our children how to treat others with grace, compassion, love, and respect. 

As Ellen Degeneres says at the end of every show, “Be kind to one another.”

Rocking Motherhood

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Some Days

Some days, I feel like the day is never going to end. Some days, I am counting down not only until bed time, but also nap time. Some days I feel like I am nothing but a WWE audience member (sometimes in the ring), mediator, and a robot programmed to feed, change, clean up and repeat.

But then there are the days that everything goes right. The days where no one goes to timeout, there are no tantrums, and everyone is happy for the most part. Those days are few and far between, but by the grace of God, they do happen every now and then.

Rocking Motherhood Challenge

On Mother’s Day, I was approached by an amazing mom blogger, Beautifully Imperfect Mama, to be a part of the Rocking Motherhood Challenge. I’m not going to lie, I may have possibly accepted the challenge before I fully knew what it entailed.

You see, the whole basis of my blog is to be real and authentic. I strive to show the reality of parenthood through our everyday life. It’s not pretty. It’s not sunshine and rainbows. We definitely don’t have it all together. We don’t even have half of it together. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. I yell too much, I lose my patience, I hide in the laundry room (just til I count to about 30 and regain my cool), and I usually have no idea what I am doing.

So when I realized that with this Rocking Motherhood Challenge I would have to write down ways I am in fact rocking motherhood, I panicked a little bit. It was too late to back out, and that meant I would have to brainstorm. I mean reallllly brainstorm. It is far easier to think of ways I am failing motherhood than rocking it. Added note: I hate compliments. I don’t take them well, so to give myself a pat on the back makes this even more challenging.

Reasons I’m Rocking Motherhood

So after my brainstorm session, these are the reasons I came up with as to why I am Rocking Motherhood:

  1. I am teaching my kids manners, and they are indeed polite. We strive very hard around here to teach and demonstrate how to use our manners. We have taught please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, I’m sorry, it’s ok, and a few more. We are from the Deep South, so we also teach our kids to say ma’am and sir. The reason I know I’m rocking is because one, we were in the grocery store the other day and ran into someone turning the corner. The first thing our two year old said to the person was, “I’m sorry.” It was completely unprompted. Also, we were in Hobby Lobby yesterday, and as we passed each person, he would say, “excuse me.” Mom wins right there y’all.
  2. I am educating them, and they are learning. When we moved to Houston and decided that I would start staying at home with the boys and no longer teach, I felt like I lost my identity a little bit. It was not an easy choice, as I love to teach, but it was best for our family. Over time, I have realized that I am still teaching, but now, I am teaching my own children. What a special opportunity I have been given. The most rewarding part is when you see what you’re teaching them actually sinks in. When James busted out with “diamond” the other day as we were practicing our shapes, or when Weston all of a sudden makes a new animal sound, I realize I am succeeding.
  3. They’re loved fiercely, and they know it. Through our good days and our bad days, I try to tell each child multiple times throughout the day that they are loved. I also will ask them, “How much does momma love you,” and they will respond with arms opened wide saying, “thiiiiiissss much!” That turns all bad days around. More importantly, we teach them of God’s love for them and the relationship He desires to have with them.

My Challenge

So even though this was absolutely the true definition of a  challenge for me, I am grateful to Beautifully Imperfect Mama for nominating me. It allowed me to think of the ways I am actually Rocking Motherhood, and I know if you sit down and think about it, you are too! Let me know how you are rocking motherhood.

To continue this uplifting challenge, I am nominating some fellow mom bloggers out there to tell us how they are Rocking Motherhood:

Bohemi Mama
Brooklyn Boy Mom
New Adventures in Mommyhood
My Own Unexpected Journey

Click on their names to visit their awesome blogs and follow their motherhood journeys.

If you want to learn more about the Rocking Motherhood challenge or would like to take it yourself,  visit White Camellias for more information.

Shape Activities for Toddlers Using Our Learning Tubs

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Learning Tub Series

Next up in our Learning Tub Series is a look inside our Shape Tub. If you missed the others posts thus far, you can get a look inside our Alphabet Tub here and our Animal Tub here. Also, I have written about shape activities a couple of times in the past, but many of those are larger activities that don’t necessarily go in our Learning Tubs; however they are super fun for little ones!  You can check out those fun shape activities here and here. We could spend a whole day just talking about shapes around here!

Sidenote

Sidenote: Can you just take a minute to celebrate with me that BOTH of my boys are playing independently right now?? And they’re happy doing it. That NEVER happens. They always want momma right there with them. If I get more than three feet away from my two year old, he always asks, “Momma, where are you gooooinnng?” Insert why I need Jesus and wine many days.  Love them fiercely, but wear and tear y’all.

Want to know how I achieved this? I simply emptied their toy baskets on the floor and let them go. They have all of these toys and never play with the majority of them. Sure, I have a GIANT mess to clean up, but they’re happy, and I’m getting things accomplished. Sometimes, the mess is worth it. Instead of feeling guilty about this, I’m going to remind myself that them learning to play independently is an important skill.

Shapes are Fun

Shapes are fun because you can see them everywhere! To help your little ones learn about shapes, you can simply go on a Shapes Hunt around your house. I use to do this when I taught first grade. It’s really fun when they get to be about six, as they’ll start learning about 3D shapes, and as you know, there are many 3D shapes around us; however, if you have toddlers like me, you can simply look for those flat, 2D shapes.

A Look Inside our Shape Tub

I am all about simple, easy activities that allow me to teach my child an important skill. Let’s face it, I don’t have the time (a one year old an a two year old) or energy to create anything too fancy. I am also all about using what you have at home. It’s not easy to put everyone in the car just to buy one material to create an activity that will probably be eaten or destroyed at some point. As always, should my kiddos master what’s inside the Shape Tub, or simply need something new to engage in, I can rotate the activities inside them to spice it up a bit. I never thought I’d being saying “spice it up a bit” in regards to shapes… my how life changes when you enter the kid phase of life. Without further ado, here is a look inside what we have in our Shape Tub right now:

  1. Books – If you’ve read any of my past posts, you know I try to always start activities with books that relate. It’s the teacher in me. Literacy is sooo important, and I want my boys to love books like me. I actually don’t have many shape specific books, but that’s ok because there are many books that don’t necessarily pertain to shapes but have illustrations that provide great shape practice.These are the books currently in our Shape Tub: Brainy Baby Shapes and Colors (Use this link and this book is only 25 cents right now! Added bonus you can work on colors too!), Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses (This is not a shape book, but on just one page alone, I found ovals, rectangles, a pentagon and a circle. Not to mention, I LOVE  Pete the Cat books!), and Little Dino’s Egg. The last book is not a shape specific book either, but it is one of James’ favorites right now, and as you can see by the picture below, it has lots of shapes you can talk about in the illustrations! If you use that link for this book its less that $1.50, which is a STEAL! Such a cool book.
  2. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks – My boys love these blocks, and they teach so many skills besides just shapes. They help with fine motor skills, they help teach kids how to sort, and they’re different colors, so you can work on not only shapes, but colors as well! We also have used this blocks to make shapes out of play dough in the past. I would use play dough more if my boys would decide to stop eating it.
  3. Craft Stick  Shapes – All you need for this activity is some craft sticks (I like the jumbo size) and some velcro (I like the precut round velcro – less work for me). I simply put the velcro dots on the ends of the craft sticks, and James puts the sticks together in various shapes. Clearly, we can’t make a circle or an oval, but we can make squares, rectangles, rhombuses, pentagons, trapezoids, etc. The trick here is to make sure you have the correct velcro pieces on the sticks to make sure they can match up to form a shape. I suggest preparing by making one shape at a time yourself so you can make sure they can be put together as a shape. You can then keep the pieces sorted in baggies to make it easier. If you get the colored craft sticks, this would make the process easier, as you can know all the blue sticks make a square for example.
  4. Sweet Shapes – Again, another activity in which you only need two materials – toothpicks and marshmallows. Depending on the level of your child, you can either build shapes yourself out of the toothpicks and marshmallows and have your child identify the shapes, or you can have your child create the shapes themselves. You can even start off doing it and showing them and then make they would be ready to do this themselves. Added bonus: they get a yummy snack along the way. Simply use the marshmallows at the corners of the shapes to connect the toothpicks together. The toothpicks will act as the lines of the shapes. Go over shape corners and lines as well as an extra lesson with learning shapes.
  5. Shape Sorting – The last thing in our Shape Tub is an activity that I found on Pinterest here. The materials I needed: sharpie, construction paper, card stock, and glue. We started off doing simple shapes like a circle, triangle, and square, but as your child learns more, you can do the same activity with more difficult shapes. Again, discuss lines and corners or how circles and ovals have neither. This was fun and allowed James to practice gluing which was great fine motor skill practice.

As Always

As always, I hope you enjoy! What shape activities are you doing with your little ones?

Animal Activities for Toddlers Using Our Learning Tubs

Learning Tubs

Incase you missed yesterday’s blog, I have decided to do a series this week about the Learning Tubs that I do with the boys. Yesterday, I gave you a look inside our Alphabet Tub, and today, I am going to give you a look inside our Animal Tub, which includes several activities you can do to help your child begin to identify animals and their noises while also working on their literacy and motor skills.

Meeting Children’s Needs

I think one of the biggest adjustments going from one child to two is that you can’t meet every need of both children at the same time or at the exact moment in which they want or need something. Sure, I meet their needs, but one child might have to scream and cry for a minute or two before that need is met. Or said child may have to play independently when they don’t want to while I’m working with the other child. They both want my undivided attention all. the. time. I need a clone.  

Go ahead and cue that Mom Guilt; however, I have become very good at blocking out crying and tantrums over the past 17 months. I’m totally ok with that because to me, you don’t want to give attention to negative behavior anyways.

With all that being said, I have found it more and more difficult to teach James and Weston at the same time. Y’all, they’re only 15 months apart. Again, how do those homeschool momma’s do it?? Weston can’t do the things James can, but he WANTS to. This means if James is working on something at the table, Weston is pulling it off the table. If I am sitting in the floor showing James something, Weston is sitting in my lap knocking it out of my hands. If I give up and try to give Weston the same thing James is doing, Weston eats it. Jesus. And. Wine.

Differentiation

Oh it takes me back to teaching. Differentiated Instruction. For all 23-30 students. You are to meet every child’s needs, by yourself, without the resources you need, with kids on a minimum of three different grade levels, but you better get it done and you better make everyone happy in the process. It’s called differentiation. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED teaching, but that is the reality of what a teacher does day in and day out.

One of the things I loved most about the last school I taught at is that we truly did do whatever it took to meet the needs of every child. We wanted to meet those needs, and we did, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Some days though, that seems easier than meeting the needs of my own two kids. At least no one was throwing things at me, having a toddler tantrum, or throwing down because I gave them a blue plate instead of a purple plate.

Animal Tub

So within our tubs, I try to put activities that either both kids can do and enjoy, or I put in activities on different levels (differentiation – see what I did there) so that they can be doing different things at the same time – ha, in a dream world anyways, you know that doesn’t actually happen. Animals are a little easier to do this with, as it’s a great skill for Weston to work on, as it’s more on his level. It’s much easier for me to enrich an activity for James, as there are some things that Weston just isn’t cognitively ready to learn yet.

Here is what we have going on in our Animal Tub this week:

  1. Books – As always, I start off reading the boys books on whatever subject matter we are discussing. I’ve been doing this with James since he was born, and now he loves to read! Weston isn’t to that point yet, but hopefully, he will be the same way. We are really enjoying Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Noisy Farm, baby’s very first noisy book farm, and I Spy in the Jungle (Jellycat Book). The boys especially love the two books with the noisy buttons they can push, because well, toddlers.
  2. Puzzles – We have multiple animal puzzles the boys enjoy, but we have two specific puzzles that are great for younger toddlers to start off with: Fisher-Price Growing Baby Animal Activity Puzzle and a Melissa and Doug FarmWooden Chunky Puzzle similar to this one, only with different animals. We also have this puzzle, which is made of several mini puzzles. It is better for James, as it is more difficult. Not all of the mini puzzles are of animals, but I sort the animals out and have James piece them together. There are only 3-4 pieces per mini puzzle, and it allows him to see the different sections that make up the animal as well as the spelling of the animal.



    You probably can’t tell, but this is an example of brother pitching a fit he can’t get on the table to do what James is doing.
  3. Fisher-Price Little People Farm Animal Friends – These have been great for both James and Weston. Weston uses them to practice animal recognition and noises, whereas James using them to match the animal to either animal flashcards or the animals we are reading about in a book. For instance, if we are reading a book and it shows a cow, James will pick out the cow farm animal and show Weston that they correspond with one another.
  4. Beach Ball Animals – So we use a beach ball because it’s what we had, and I’m all about using what you have. Don’t reinvent the wheel people! But you could also make a cube out of paper if you’re crafty to have the same results. I simply put a picture of a different animal on each section of the beach ball (just google a picture and hit print). We throw the ball back and forth and which ever animal it lands on (aka whichever animal James feels like doing), has to be named, and he has to tell me what noise the animal makes. I also have him act out how the animal moves. This is an easy activity to differentiate as well, as you can interchange the animals and make them more difficult as they progress. WARNING: If your kids like to destroy things like mine, there will be a small window of time before they rip the pictures off. Shocking, I know. Just being real. 

These are the things making up our Animal Tub this week! I will alternate books, puzzles, and activities as the boys start to master them or disengage in the current ones. What animal activities do you do with your little ones?

A Look Inside Our Organized Learning Tubs

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Teacher Voice vs. Mom Voice

Since I’m staying at home with the boys now, they aren’t in school daily, so I try to make sure that I am teaching them the things they would be learning if they were in daily school. Let me tell you from experience, I think it is much easier to teach other peoples children than your own. You homeschool mommas deserve a medal. Isn’t it amazing how with someone else’s kids you can totally mostly keep your patience?

I definitely had my “teacher voice” when I was in the classroom.  Just ask my husband. He didn’t like when I used it on him, unbeknownst to me that I was using it.  Anyone that has ever taught knows what I’m talking about. That voice where you don’t have to scream or yell, but the students know you mean business and willingly comply. Why can’t there be a mom voice? Oh wait, there is, it’s called yelling at your kids and they still don’t do what you ask of them. Sounds like a double standard to me. So you’ll listen to the teacher, but not me? Ok, cool. Even though in all reality, I would MUCH rather my child listen and behave for a teacher than for me if they can only choose one.

Teacher Supplies

This past weekend, Chad and I started going through our garage. Our house in Houston doesn’t have as much storage as we had in our previous house, so we had a lot of boxes stored in our garage. To get rid of some clutter, we pulled out all of my teaching boxes (the majority of the boxes in the garage to begin with), and I started going through them. It’s hard to get rid of stuff if you teach because you are always thinking about the fact that one day you may need that binder filled with materials from a specific program at that one school you taught at five years ago. The struggle is real.

I was excited to go through the boxes, because I was looking for two specific things: my flair pens, and my hot glue gun. I didn’t find the hot glue gun, but I did find my beloved flair pens, and that made my day. If you don’t have any, they’re amazing, and you should definitely invest in some. I found some other exciting things that I pulled out to use with the boys, and that made me start thinking of different ways I could work with them at home.

Teacher Mindset

One of the easiest ways for me to get in the mindset of teaching my own boys at home is to remind myself of things I did when I taught in the classroom. Many teachers, myself included, would do what we called “tubs.” When I say tubs, think of centers. It is basically different activities that students are doing pertaining to a subject you have taught them. They are called tubs because the materials you need to do the activity are in a plastic tub type container, or in my case, plastic green baskets.

I mostly did tubs during math time. For instance, if we were working on multiplication there may be six different multiplication tubs. Each tub would contain an activity that would help the students practice the skills that were taught, i.e. multiplication on the iPads, a multiplication game with dice, a multiplication art project, etc.

Most teachers do tubs their own way depending on their teaching style and what works for them. I am super Type A and like routines and an organized classroom, so my students didn’t rotate, the tubs did. That way, everyone did every tub at their own desk and I didn’t have to worry about how everyone got to the next place and if they had all their materials and if so and so went through their desk, etc. Trust me, you have to think about these things, or there will be total chaos. Side note: Just typing this out and talking about classroom management really makes me miss teaching. I’m a dork.

Our Toddler Tubs

I started thinking about how implementing tubs with my boys would be a good way to keep things organized and also a good way to make sure they are working on the skills I want them to be learning. I keep the tubs packed with the materials we need to learn about a certain topic, and I can easily change out the materials when the skill is either mastered, or the boys need a change up. I of course make sure to include books on each topic as one of our tub activities.

Instead of focusing on one skill in my tubs such as a specific math skill, I created one tub for each of the topics I want to focus on with them at the moment: shapes, colors, letters, animals, and numbers. Now, throughout the day, we do other activities that focus on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, independent play, arts, etc., but those aren’t in the tubs.

With all of this being said, I thought I would break our tubs down and tell you what we have in them and what we have been learning about lately. Today, I’m going to give you a look inside our Alphabet Tub. Subscribe here to make sure you see the next blog post with a peak inside the other tubs!

Alphabet Tub

It always seems so easy to find skills to work on with James and so difficult to find things to work on with Weston. Weston can’t do the things James can, so I have to keep him occupied when I try to work with James. Then, when I try to give him an activity to do, it inevitably goes straight to his mouth. I’m just telling myself he is hearing everything I’m telling James.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, so don’t tell me otherwise.

Clearly, Weston isn’t quite ready to learn his letters yet, but he can listen as we sing the ABC’s, read the books with us, and he enjoys playing with some of the activities in the tub while I’m working with James, even if he is just chewing on the cards or throwing the letters.

Here’s a look at what’s inside our Alphabet Tub:

  1. Books – We always start each tub by reading books that go along with the topic. Here are some of the alphabet books we are enjoying right now: Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom, LMNO Peas, ABCer’s, and Litter Critter’s ABCs. The best part of all of these is that they are great for toddlers, and they are all less than $10 on Amazon!
  2. LeapFrog Magnetic Letters – These are great because you can change out the letters, and each letter sings a song using the sound(s) that letter makes. I have been working on letter sounds with James lately, so this is great for him. They are meant to be used on the refrigerator, but I let the boys play with them on a cookie sheet so that we can use them during our tub time at the table.
  3. Little Hands ABC Flashcards – These are amazing because they aren’t just your typical flashcards. They are touch and feel cards, so it is a great sensory activity as well.
  4. ABC Matching – This activity is super quick and easy to make. You simply need wooden craft sticks and wooden clothes pins. I wrote uppercase letters on both the craft sticks and the clothes pins. If your child is older, I’d write uppercase letters on one and lowercase letters on the other so they can learn to match the corresponding letters. I wrote the letter on the clothes pin going sideways so that when we clipped it on the matching craft stick you could see both letters to reinforce that the letters matched. Added bonus: this is a great fine motor skills activity. It is difficult for Jame to open the clothes pin, but it’s great practice, and he loved this activity! Although he isn’t identifying his letters yet, he is becoming familiar with them and is recognizing which letters look the same.
  5. DO-A-DOT Markers – If you’ve read some of my posts in the past, you know I love these markers! They can be used for so many different activities. I simply take a piece of card stock and draw a large, uppercase letter on the paper (top to bottom). I then have James pick a DO-A-DOT marker and have him dot along the lines of the letter to help him practice making that letter.
  6. Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Splash Cards – Y’all, I know I put these on my Rainy Day Activities post, but that’s how great they are. Not only are they mess-free, but they also have this set of alphabet flashcards that your child can “paint” and the card reveals an animal that begins with that letter.

ABC Activities

I hope you enjoyed a look inside our Alphabet tub! What letter activities are you doing with your little ones?

 

Rainy Day Activities

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Rainy Day

So, one of the worst things around here is when our two very active boys cannot get outside. They would live outside if they could, especially James. I’m not going to lie, I love being outside too, so it makes me go a little stir crazy when I’m stuck inside all day.

Today is going to be one of those days where it is supposed to rain ALL. Day. Long. Not only that, but tonight is a night where Chad has to work late (past the boy’s bed time), so that means an already long, rainy day is that much longer.

Passing the Time

I hate those days where you look at the clock and it seems like time is creeping by so slowly. Sometimes, I have to find activities that make the time pass a little more quickly. Seeing as we will be stuck inside all day, I knew I was going to have to come up with some rainy day activities for us to do to make that clock tick a little faster. I know, I’m horrible for even saying that, as I should be “enjoying every second” because time goes by fast, but y’all, let’s be honest – sometimes as a toddler mom, you do wish time to go by a little lot quicker. That’s the reality, so let’s not sugarcoat it. Add a very grumpy, teething toddler into that mix, and I’m counting down til naptime too! Just give me all the Tylenol, people.

Rainy Day Activities

So here are some activities we have on the agenda today. Some we have done before, and some are new, and I’m most certain that a few, or all, will not go as planned and have a few tantrums along the way, but hey, that’s life as we know it.

  1. Oobleck – I loved making Oobleck with my students when I taught first grade. Dr. Seuss books are some of my favorites, and when you have a fun activity to go along with a book, that makes it all the better. Now, trying to read Bartholomew and the Oobleck to my one and two year old would be a nightmare in itself, as it’s long and their attention span is not, however, they loved playing with the Ooblck, and what a great sensory activity! For older ones, it is fun to talk about how it is both a solid and a liquid.The recipe is very easy – it’s a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch and water. Two parts cornstarch, one part water. I used 1 cup of cornstarch (that’s all I had on hand), and 1/2 cup of water, and that was plenty for my two boys to play with. Of course when I did it in the classroom, we added green food coloring to go along with the book, however, I let James pick what color he wanted, and he chose orange, so we played with orange Oobleck. A fun activity that took time off the clock!

  2. Let’s Go Fishing! – James has really been into fishing lately, which is kind of funny, as he’s never been fishing, and my husband doesn’t fish. I’m  not sure where he picked that up from, but regardless, we put these fun fishing poles in the boys Easter baskets this year, and they are loving them! They’re meant to be used in the bath tub, which we do every night, but today, I just plopped the boys in the empty bathtub in their jammies, and they went fishing!
  3. Painter’s Tape Highway – I. Love. Painter’s Tape. It is amazing, and I find so many ways to use it with the boys. I originally saw a picture on Pinterest that I piggy backed off of. I would link it, but the link no longer works. The picture showed painters tape going over the furniture and carpet like it was a road for the cars. We happen to have a large open space between our kitchen and den that was perfect for making a road with painter’s tape. So, I made a road, a garage for the trucks/cars, a helipad for the helicopter, and I put the boys play tunnel on the road for the cars to go through. The boys loved this activity! James even rode around on their Mickey car like he was driving on the road. Help us all when that kid can drive.



  4. Painting – Pretty simple, get out some paint and create a project. We use this paint, and it is a very easy cleanup. We do handprint/footprint art all the time because their little hands and feet are so cute I figure I might as well do as much as I can now for keepsakes down the road. Plus, they love to have the paint on them!
  5. No-Mess Painting – We have three great no-mess painting activities that James really loves. We have the Melissa and Doug On the Go Water Wow! Reveal Pads Set, Melisa and Doug Water Wow! Splash Cards Set, and the Crayola Magic Water Paint set. All of these are amazing and they only need the brush and water!
  6. Window Markers on Pyrex Dishes – We have these Window Markers, and the boys love them! Now, they aren’t quite responsible enough to take them and only draw on the windows, so I let them draw on a Pyrex dish. The clean up is pretty easy if you wash it off as soon as they’re finished. Then, just stick the dish in the dishwasher for additional cleaning.
  7. Tupperware – Y’all, my boys LOVE to play in my tupperware cabinet. When I’m cooking or need to get something accomplished, I let them pull it all out, and it keeps them busier than most any activity I can do with them. They stack and build and create and honestly, I think it’s a great hands-on, creative learning experience for them. Without prompting, James told me he was building a castle. I didn’t see it, but he did, and that’s all that matters! It allows them to use their imagination and their problem-solving skills. Win-win for mom and kids!

  8. Popcorn and Movie Party – Let’s not forget what a rainy day is best for – popcorn and a movie! I know, I know, this involves screen time. A little is ok, sometimes a lot is ok if you’re having one of those days, which around here, happens. If yours aren’t ready for popcorn, just substitute their favorite snack. Make a pallet on the floor and enjoy some quality time. Attention span around here isn’t very long, but I have found that my boys LOVE this movie, and this movie, so maybe yours will too!

What Rainy Day Activities Do You Do?

I hope y’all enjoy some of these activities on your rainy days! What activities do y’all do to pass the time when it rains?