How to Entertain a Toddler on an Airplane

The following post contains affiliate links. 

Don’t Do It

Alright y’all, I am about to give you some very good advice. If you have more than one child, especially more than one young child, you really need to listen to what I am about to say. I can’t really relate if you only have one child because I don’t remember what that’s like. Did we ever only have one child?? Oh yeah, for about 7 months until I found I was pregnant with baby boy #2. 

Needless to say, I don’t remember much about that concept, but I’m sure if you only have one child you may be able to relate to what I’m about to tell you as well.

Ready? Ok, here goes. If you have a trip planned, and it is in drivable distance, DRIVE. For the love of all that is holy, do not fly with those people (i.e. your kids) if you don’t have to. And when I say drivable distance, I mean anything up to around 10 hours or so. For real. I drive ten hours with my one and two year old’s on a regular basis, by myself, and it is quite doable. Flying with them, with my husband there to help = JESUS. AND. WINE. It is not doable.

Ok, it’s doable, but it will seriously make you rethink this parenthood thing, only, it’s way too late to rethink this parenthood thing, so just don’t do it. 

Y’all, if you drive, they are RESTRAINED!! Need I say more? And if you tell me there are seat belts on planes or that you can put your child’s car seat on the airplane, you’ve never had two toddler boys where one has his own seat and one is “in arms.”

Exceptions

Exceptions to this rule: You have one child, or you have girls. I have quickly learned yes, there is a huge difference in boys and girls, and unless you have both or have been around both on a consistent basis, you probably think I have no idea what I’m talking about.

I keep telling myself that boys are hard while they’re younger and will grow up to be easy, but girls are easy while they’re younger and then their parents will have to deal with all their nonsense when they’re older; therefore, I’m just getting the nonsense over sooner rather than later. Sorry parent’s of girls, I forewarned ya. If you have both and know this actually isn’t true, please don’t rain on my parade and tell me I’m wrong. Thanks in advance.

Seriously?

My husband seriously asked me if I wanted to meet him in Orlando at the end of his conference so we could take the boys to Disney World. Yeah, that sounds great and all, except for the fact that I’d be flying with them both by myself. No thank you. Have you ever tried to change a toddlers diaper on an airplane? Much less two toddler’s diapers because let’s face it, I’m not letting the “potty-trained” toddler wear underwear on the airplane. And y’all, that’s just the diaper changing issue. Don’t get me started on all the other issues. I’m pretty sure I looked at Chad like he had about six heads. He got the memo pretty quickly. Next time, Disney World. Next time being when they are capable of going to the bathroom by themselves on the airplane, and, or when we live somewhere that is in the before mentioned drivable distance to Disney World.

Believe it or not, the whole point of this article is how to keep toddlers entertained on an airplane, if I haven’t scared you from trying it yet. Both of our boys have actually flown several times, so you’d think we would have it down by now, but not quite so much; however, I have had a few friends recently ask me how they should keep their kids entertained on their upcoming flights, so I started thinking I should just write down my suggestions and share. 

Can I add that one of those friends kids did well and one of those friends kids slept on the first flight? Maybe it’s time I just start coming to terms with the fact that maybe it’s just my kids? 

Airplane Activities

Now, I must say, I personally think these are all great ideas, and if we had one child, or only girls, or toddlers that weren’t uh hmm… spirited, they may work better. I must say though, I really think for our upcoming flight next week (please start praying for us now), I am going to rock this whole flying with toddlers thing. Side note: the only reason we are flying is because it is a 15+ hour drive to see my husband’s family in Kentucky, so that’s when I give in and we fly. 

Here’s what I have in the Mary Poppins’ Airplane bag for our flight:

  1. Finger Crayons – Ok, I mean these are just way cooler than regular crayons, and they’ve never used them before, so they’ll be amazed by them. Don’t forget a coloring book or paper – mental note to self, I haven’t packed that yet! We always take crayons with us wherever we go, and we always get at least a few minutes of entertainment out of them.
  2. Grab and Go Book to Color – I know I just said crayons, but if you can’t find finger crayons, get one of these grab and go color books. They’re already in a bag that zips, which is perfect for a plane ride!
  3. The 3 Little Pigs Felt Book – So this was actually a steal I found at Target, and I can’t seem to find the same one online, but you can google “felt story books” and there are many things that come up. Plus, if you’re super creative and a mom of the year, you can make your own. In this house, ain’t nobody got time for that!

  4. Felt Counting Pizza – This was another Target steal that I can’t find online, but this one would be super easy to make, and even though I said, “ain’t nobody got time for that,” I could/would make this one pretty quickly. Motor skills, math, interactive – check, check, check! Toddlers love to learn new things, so learning activities are great for little ones. If you have an elementary kid, maybe not so much. Just give them your iPad.
  5. Play N’ Learn Puzzle Pairs – So I know you’re thinking a puzzle on a plane, no way, but hear me out. These are puzzle pairs, meaning there are only two pieces to each puzzle, so you can give your child 2-3 puzzle pairs at a time, let them match, then give them 2-3 more pairs. We have these and these.
  6. Glow Sticks – New pack of glow sticks? Yes, please. They can enjoy popping them to make all of the colors show up, they can connect them and make bracelets, they can wave them in the air like they just don’t care. Bottom line, kids love glow sticks. This will knock a few more minutes off of our in air time countdown.
  7. Gel clings – Ok, this one is a must. Get a window seat and give the child these! If you have a Target, you can usually always find some in Bullseye’s Playground. This will knock more than a few minutes off the clock, unless your toddler puts everything in his mouth like our 19 month old, then they may eat them all, but really, this one has been a lifesaver for us. Get over your germ issues, they will drop them on the floor, and they will be nasty, but let’s remember the end goal here: minutes. off. the clock.
  8. Painter’s Tape – I’ve written a few times about painter’s tape and how my kids love it, but really, they love it. Give them pieces of painter’s tape and let them stick it to everything around them. It comes off easily with no residue. Cheap entertainment.
  9. Don’t forget your go-to’s that you know your kids love – Download some apps on your phone, download their favorite movie on your iPad, buy a sticker book, and let them put stickers all over you. They think it’s hilarious.
  10. SNACKS – When all else fails, bring out the ridiculous bag of snacks you always carry with you as a mom because snacks are always a win!

Bonus Tips

I also must say that I think part of what will make this successful is that the boy’s have not seen the majority of these activities yet, and they won’t until we get on the flight. New things are always more exciting than things they’ve seen before!

Also, I bought this handy, dandy, organizer that has these great pockets to put everything into! All I have to do is put the folder down into our carry on, and we are set to go! Think about all of the stuff you’d take for entertainment, and one folder organizer really doesn’t take up much more room.

For more great ideas, go check out my mom blogger friend at Beautifully Imperfect Mama, and see how she entertained her little one on their last flight when reality set in!

Wish us Luck

So wish us look, say a prayer or two, and I’ll let you know how our next plane adventure goes 🙂 How do you keep your toddlers entertained on an airplane?

Disclaimer: I don’t really think I have it harder than girl parent’s or parent’s of only one child. Parenthood is hard regardless of the gender of how many there are! I’m simply bringing humor to the reality of life with wild, toddler boys. 

The Greatest List of Summer

The Greatest list of Summer Must Reads

Hey y’all! I have teamed up with some awesome bloggers to bring you some summer blogs you must read! This is a list of great summer recipes, activities, travel advice and more to help make your summer months easier and more enjoyable. Scroll through the list and be sure to click the links below to see their amazing summer blogs!

Recipes

 

Easy Peasy Pinwheels | A Boy and His Mom

Link: http://aboyandhismom.com/recipe/pinwheels/

With summer parties and BBQs in full swing, here’s an easy recipe that the other guests will not only enjoy but ask you to bring again.


Quick and Easy Freezer Pops | Happily Ever Hauser

Link: http://www.happilyeverhauser.com/2017/06/10/freezer-pop-party-favors/

Summer is here!! This means celebrations, birthday parties, BBQs and more! Here’s a quick and easy party favor idea to add to your next summer gathering!


Summer Italian Treat: Affogato | Viva la Dolce

Link: http://www.vivaladolce.com/2017/06/summer-italian-treat-affogato.html?m=1

The summer is here and that means sunshine and lots of gelato (ice cream)! Check out this delicious recipe for an Italian twist on the classic summer treat!


Summer Crab Salad Recipe | Ordinary Stephanie

Link: http://ordinarystephanie.com/summer-crab-salad-recipe/

Summer is here and the temperatures are already rising!! If you are looking for a yummy and fresh salad recipe check out this one out! After all, who wants to turn on the oven or stove on these hot summer days? Enjoy!

Summer Activities

Disneyland Time-Saving Tips from a Local Mom | Mom and Carrot

Link: https://momandcarrot.com/disneyland-time-saving-secrets-from-a-local-mom/

Are you heading to the Disneyland resort this summer? Here are great tips from a local mom for seeing the resort when you are short on time, including how to beat food lines and how to go through security check-points quicker. This post will help you see more and do more on your next trip!


Minimalistic Beach Days | Live Love Learn Gracefully

Link: http://livelovelearngracefully.com/minimalistic-beach-days/

Whether you live at the beach or visit one throughout the summer, beach days are a blast on hot summer days! If you add kids to the mix, you’ll more than likely be taking everything but the kitchen sink with you! Here are some tips and my top 5 favorite things to take to the beach!

Disney Summer Play Days | New Adventures in Mommyhood

Link https://newadventuresinmommyhood.wordpress.com/

The summer is a great time to take on new adventures and try some new activities; specially as the kiddos start to get restless.

Did you know that the Disney Store offers a free annual summer long weekly event?


5 Things to Research Before You Head Out This Summer | A Life with a Little

Link: http://www.alifewithalittle.com/2017/06/19/5_things_research_summer_activities/

This summer means fun in the sun, barbecues and hot dogs, cool drinks, exploring with the kids, and enjoying some much needed relaxation. But before you get out in the sun, check out this list of 5 things you should research BEFORE you head out on your summer plans! Here are 5 things you might not think to research about the places you’ll go, so give it a look and see what you need to think about before the kids drag you out of the house!

Fun Activities At Home

#PayFunForward Summer Fun – Surprise Packs | Travels With Tots

Link: https://travelswithtotsblog.com/2017/06/12/payfunforward-summer-fun-surprise-packs/

Summer is finally here and it’s a great time to spread some cheer around your neighborhood! Here’s how we did it and how you can, too!


Summer Activities for Kids at Home | Jesus and Wine

Link: http://jesusandwine.com/summer-activities-to-do-at-home/

Summer is officially here, and we’re celebrating by listing 10 different summer activities you can do with your kids at home this summer! The best part? They’re inexpensive, involve little prep work, and they’re great for kids of any age! Keep your kids entertained and enjoying summer with these fun activities!


Top 5 Best Water & Sensory Tables of 2017 | Little Bit of Learning

Link: http://www.littlebitoflearning.com/top-5-best-water-sensory-tables-2017/

It’s hard to stay cool during the summer and keep your kids actively engaged in play. That’s why I love these water tables! Your porch will be the hit this summer with these engaging water tables plus some ideas for great sensory add-ons!

 

I hope you and your family enjoy these great summer ideas! What are you doing fun this summer?

10 Summer Activities for Kids to do at Home

The following post contains affiliate links. 

Summer is Here!

Summer is officially here! Even though I stay at home with the boys, there is still something special about summertime actually being here. Vacations, family, and friends all come to mind as just a few of the exciting things to come, however, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns all the time.

Keeping the Kids Busy

I have said for awhile now that I totally have James pegged as to what kind of student he will be. He is going to be the kid that if he is finished with what he is supposed to be doing and you don’t give him something else to do besides read or free time, he’s going to be in trouble. God bless his teachers. Really. They’re on my permanent prayer list.

I know this because the same is true at home. If he is not kept busy, trouble is only a second away. This could be anything from playing in the “baby proofed” cabinets to hitting his brother to jumping off the tables or more. Yesterday, I went to change brother’s diaper and came back to a room that smelled like Febreeze. James was sitting nicely in his chair with a very innocent look. He calls Febreeze “spray,” so I asked him why he sprayed. He very matter of factly told me because it stunk in here. Insert mega eye roll. I guess I should give him bonus points for having everything put back up before I made it back into the room. I guess he thought I’d never notice.

Trying to keep him busy every second of the day can be exhausting because let’s get real, who can plan something every minute of every day to keep their children entertained? Not this girl. If you know someone that can, please give me their info.

Summer Activities to do at Home

Of course we look forward to the big, fun adventures we have planned, but the majority of the time, we are at home per the norm. This means I have to be prepared to entertain the little ones at the house, so I’ve come up with a few, inexpensive or free activities you can do with your kids at home this summer. Not only are these ideas great because they’re cheap and easy, but they’re also great because you can do them with your kids regardless of their age.

1. Have a picnic in your backyard or at a park. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle of loading both kids into the car to go to the park for Weston to simply put all of the litter in his mouth. In turn I have a slight anxiety attack thinking of all the diseases he just contracted, so we opted for our backyard on this one.


2. Make ice cream in a bag. This one is so fun! The boys and I have done this several times, and it never seems to get old. The great thing is nine times out of ten, I have the ingredients/materials I need already on hand, which makes this an easy impromptu activity. There are so many different recipes out there, but they all pretty much consist of the same ingredients. I have been using this one. I will say that it calls for rock salt, but I have been using kosher salt instead because I didn’t have any rock salt.

3. Play water balloon basketball. We have a toddler basketball goal which is perfect for this activity. Simply fill a bunch of water balloons and pretend they’re basketballs. Kids always love water balloons! If you have more than one child, have one sit under the basketball goal so the balloon will pop on them, which of course, they love because they get wet. It could just turn into a water balloon fight, which is always fun too!

4. Paint outside. So originally, I had it set up for my kids to finger paint outside, but they quickly decided it was much more fun to body paint. I didn’t care because while yes, it was messy, it kept them entertained! Since I had everything set up on a tarp, it was an easy clean up. I just hosed them down, which of course they loved! It then turned into a slip and slide which you can read about in my next activity.

5. Grab a tarp and make a slip and slide. If you have an actual slip and slide, that obviously is great too, but I’m all about using what you have, and we don’t have one, so I grabbed an old tarp. I sprayed in down with water, put the sprinkler on top of it, and the boys had a blast. This kept them occupied for a good 45 minutes, which for a one and two year old, that is AMAZING! We’ve done this a few times, and it never disappoints. I will say I made the mistake of adding soap the last time to make it a little more slippery. If your kids aren’t old enough to figure out how to keep the soap out of their eyes, don’t. do. this. Just trust me. They also thought it was necessary to put all of their toys on there with them, but hey, who cares? Time off the clock, remember?



6. Play in the sprinkler. You can always forgo the tarp completely and just have your kids run through the sprinkler. I remember doing this all the time with my sisters in the backyard. Seriously y’all, kids love anything that will get them wet and dirty, so this is an easy one that is sure to take some time off that clock of keeping them busy all day long.

7. Plant flowers! We took a trip to Lowe’s the other day, and I let James pick out a packet of flower seeds he wanted to plant. I already had a pot to plant them in, so the only other thing we needed was a small bag of potting soil. I had the boys help me plant them this week, and we get to water them daily. This is always a great way to teach them responsibility and how to take care of things. James has asked me every day where his flowers are, so the only downside to planting the actual seeds is that a waiting game is involved. You could always buy some plants that have already bloomed and have your kids do the same process.







8. Make a bird feeder. We seem to have tons of birds in our backyard, and the boys love to watch them. There are so many different ways to make your own bird feeder, but the simplest way is to take an old toilet paper roll, cover it in peanut butter, and stick bird seed to the peanut butter. You’ll either want to attach a string to the toilet paper roll to hang it, or you can simply put the center of the roll through a branch itself and hang it that way. My kids have short attention spans, so I am all about easy, however, if your kids are a little older and better at crafts, this website has LOTS of cool ways to make homemade bird feeders.

9. Make homemade popsicles. My boys are loving popsicles this summer. Of course more of the popsicle melts on them than they actually eat, but they enjoy them nonetheless. Here is a website with tons of homemade popsicle recipes to try. I am excited to try some, as there is an adult popsicle to make to where you add your favorite wine. Mom win!

10. Make treats for those who provide you a service. It is so important to teach our kids to be kind and to think of others. One way to do this is to talk to your kids about those important people that provide you with a service: the postal service, waste management, recycling services, etc. These are just a few that come specifically to our house each week, so they’re easy for my kiddos to associate with. If your kids are older, it would be a great lesson to teach about people that provide products vs. people that provide services. My boys LOVE our mailman, Mr. Jason, so we try to have a treat for him every so often. When we bake cookies, we will put a few in a bag for him as an afternoon treat, or on extra hot days, which seem to be every day here in Houston, we make sure we have a cold bottle of water for him when he comes by our house. James has already gotten to the point where he’ll ask Mr. Jason if he needs some water today, and that makes my heart happy. He’s two and already learning to think of others. I try to do this anytime a repairman is in our house as well. I remember my mom always doing this, and it is something I want to teach my kids too.

Enjoy

Hurricane Cindy is catching up with us this week, so we will have lots of rain which makes these activities difficult. If you’re getting lots of rain too, be sure to check out my Rainy Day Activities post for some indoor fun! I hope you and yours have a fun summer doing some of these activities. What are you doing at home to keep your kids entertained?

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

The following post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are 100% my own.

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

The following post contains affiliate links.

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?

Color Activities

The following post contains affiliate links.

Teaching at Home

I like to think I am teaching my kids things while I’m staying at home with them. Sometimes I do a good job at this, and some days, Mickey Mouse, Zooptopia, and “independent play” take up our time. We all need days to relax, right?

James has pretty much mastered his colors with the occasional mix-up between red and green. I’m pretty sure my grandfather that was color blind mixed up red and green too, but we just won’t worry about that right now.

Being a “Fun Mom”

I see all of these, what I consider “fun moms,” doing fun, messy things with their kids, and I think, “Wow! They’re such a better mom than I am. I would never let my kid do that because I don’t want to have to clean up the mess.” So, against my better judgement, I tried to do a couple of “fun mom” activities, and let’s just say I was quickly reminded that I’m just not a “fun mom,” and I’ll have to be ok with that. The levels of Jesus and wine that were needed after our first two color activities were through the roof. Needless to say, I opted for a low-key, no-mess third color activity. I will say, the boys loved all three activities, which may make me consider doing them again should I have some soothing worship music on and a bottle of Moscato next to me.

Color Activities

  1. Bath Time Painting

    First, let me say that this makes a HUGE mess, yet I have done it more than once because the boys like it so much. The positive: it is contained to the bath tub, which is semi-easy to clean up. I would make sure to do this activity right before bath time, as if your kids decide to paint their entire body’s head to toe like mine did, they’ll need a bath promptly after.I have read in the past that people have mixed food coloring with shaving cream and let their kids paint in the bath tub. Sounds like a great idea unless you have a 16 month old like me that eats EVERYTHING. I certainly didn’t want him eating shaving cream, so I tried to think of something else with a similar consistency but was also edible, so I quickly came up with whipped cream. Maybe not the healthiest choice, however, it gets the job done.

    I took a muffin tin and put whipped cream in each muffin section. I would recommend using a large muffin tin sheet (12 sections) if you have one, as the paint will go quickly! I had one with 12 sections, so that is what I used. I put a few drops of food coloring into each section of whipped cream and stirred it in.

    Before I let the boys paint in the tub, I made James name the colors, and I would ask him throughout the painting session which colors he was using… until they all became mixed together and became a very ugly orange/brown color combo. Lots of fun, but lots of cleaning up!







  2. Color Sorting with BlocksLet me preface this one by saying I think I made this one more of a mess than it had to be. Weston was napping, and I like to use what I have at home for activities, and what I had was corn meal. Bad choice. dumb choice. Something like sand or uncooked rice would work much better, be a little less messy, and wouldn’t get in your toddler’s eyes like corn meal. Duh.I took a plastic tub I had and filled it with our beloved Mega Bloks. These blocks are great for so many things! Once I put different colored blocks in the tub, I covered them up with the corn meal. This is where next time, I would cover them with sand or uncooked rice. Although it would take a lot of rice I suppose. Anyone have another suggestion?

    Once the blocks were completely covered, I took James outside. Outside is key to make sure you don’t have the mess inside. He  immediately started digging through the tub to find the colored blocks. Every little boy’s dream. He seriously loved doing this!

    When he would pull a block out, he had to tell me the color of the block, and then he had to place the block on the matching color of construction paper that was on the ground. Eventually, he sorted through all of the blocks and matched them each with their corresponding color. When he was finished coloring, I gave him some measuring cups and funnels to play with in the corn meal for a bit. He did a great job, and it was fun, but cleaning up the corn meal that blew everywhere was not.

    Added tip: Do not do this activity on a windy day. Whatever you choose to cover the blocks with will blow everywhere, as will the construction paper you’re using to match the blocks to. Next time, I will know this. Hey, you live and you learn.








  3. Beach Ball ColorsAfter trying the first two activities, I needed something simple and mess-free. My boys LOVE any activity that includes a ball to play with, so the beach balls were a hit. I had two extra beach balls lying around from James’ 2nd birthday party, so I blew them both up. It was important that I had two because they must each have one, or WWIII is going to break out.I started by making James point to each color on the beach ball and name it, which he could do successfully. We then simply would throw the ball back and forth and say, “I spy _____,” and name/point to the color we saw. After a few rounds of this game, I would pick a color on the beach ball, he would name it, and then I would make him find an object in the house that was the same color.

    The best part: the beach balls: they are providing lots of entertainment beyond the color games!

Overall

Overall, each activity was fun, kept the boys entertained, and as much of a mess they made, I would do them again just because the boys were happy, and I do feel like colors were practiced/reinforced. I guess maybe I have fleeting moments where I can call myself a “fun mom.” Enjoy, and be sure to share any color activities you are doing with your little ones!

Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed

The following post contains affiliate links.

The Day From You Know Where

After about a month long hiatus, I figured it was about time I get back to blogging. We have had a fun-filled month with family and friends visiting, and then we capped it off with an Easter trip to the beach with more family. Fun, fun times, with a few glasses of wine, and many a times of me asking Jesus to just help me make it one. more. minute.

Yesterday was the day from you know where. We had to literally take it one minute at a time yesterday on our way back from the beach. It quickly, or I should say slowly, turned into a 10 and a half hour drive with two not so happy toddlers. Lots of crying. Lots of whining. Lots of crying. Lots of screaming. Lots of tantrums. Did I say lots of crying? I had to take a minute to pray a few times to ask for help to not completely and utterly lose it on my children.

Don’t worry, we finally made it home, and would you like to know what happened next? Chad went to pick up our bulldog from the vet, so I was trying to be helpful and unload the car while he was gone. Well don’t you know our sweet, little 16 month old decided to lock himself in the house. Yep, that meant James and I were locked out. My keys and phone were inside. Thankful for a nice neighbor that let me use her phone, and Chad was home shortly after to let me reunite with that sweet baby. I was pretty sure he was inside eating dog food, however, instead, he just completely destroyed the laundry room with emptied puzzles, straws, and flash cards. On the positive side of that, I was thankful that was all he got into. He naturally wanted nothing to do with me and clung to Chad. You know, I just have to maintain that Mom of the Year status.

If I wouldn’t have had a headache from that fiasco of a day, I would have had one, large glass of wine, but instead, I thanked God the day was finally over and went to bed.

I Have My Own Monkey’s

Needless to say, I feel qualified to write a post on five little monkey’s because I have two monkey’s in my house every day. Wild monkeys at that.

Today, we are trying to get back into somewhat of a routine which means story time, music time, free play, and lots of timeout sessions. During our read aloud this morning, I read two different versions of the popular story, Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed. We read this book and this book. Since teaching, I’ve always loved reading different versions of the same story. It is a great way to working on comparing and contrasting. Obviously, my kids are too young for that skill, but we still have fun reading the similar stories.

Activities Related to the Story

This book has a lot of different activities/skills you can do with your kids of various ages. As said before, with your older ones, you can work on comparing and contrasting if you read different versions of the book. For your little ones, this is a great book to practice counting and repetition. This is a repetitive story, which simply means the same phrase is repeated throughout the story. See if your little one catches on to the phrase and can repeat it each time with you. Also, it was a good book to practice body parts with my 16 month old. Every time we read “bumped his head,” we would practice patting our head to reinforce this body part we have been learning.

Once we read the story, I turned on our Apple TV and clicked on YouTube, which I love so much, and searched for, “Five Little Monkey’s Jumping on the Bed”. Several songs/videos popped up, so just choose one you like best. My boys like this one, and I know it is appropriate which can sometimes be a concern on YouTube. Not only did we sing and dance which are great Arts to incorporate into a lesson, but we also acted this story out using our monkey craft, which I will explain next!

Monkey Craft

Let me preface this craft by saying, under no circumstance should you tell your child what you’re preparing for. AKA, don’t tell them you’re making a monkey. They’ll just sit there and say, “I want monkey! I want monkey!” until you’re ready for them to do the craft. Also, for the love of God, just prepare this craft when they are nowhere around – nap time, bed time, whatever works for you. This will take care of the previous issue as well. It does take a few minutes to prepare, so if your kids are anything like mine, they will be torturing one another, going through all of your cabinets, and making you stop to put them in timeout while you’re trying to get everything ready. Which in turn, makes it an even longer process. So take my advice, and prepare ahead of time.

Materials:

Construction Paper 
Scissors
Glue
Cardstock
Popsicle Stick (I used plastic forks)
Tape (I used painter’s tape)
Bandaids

Directions:

I used this picture as my monkey inspiration as far as how to draw it out.

  1. Get two pieces of different colored construction paper. Preferably a dark brown and a light brown. I used a brown and a tannish, yellow color. You need two different tones to complete the monkey’s face.
  2. On the darker brown, draw a similar shaped monkey face as pictured below, and cut it out. (Ignore the poor lighting. It looks orangish, but it is just a standard brown.)

3. Using the lighter color of construction paper, draw the inside of the monkey’s face as pictured below, and cut it out. Once it is cut out, draw two eyes as seen blow, and cut them out as well. The monkey will end up being a mask.

4. Also with the lighter colored construction paper, cut out two monkey ears as pictured below.

5. Once all pieces are cut out, you will want to start gluing the monkey face together. Now, since my boys easily destroy all crafts we make, I decided to glue the face onto card stock to make it less flimsy, and harder to destroy. Stay posted to see how long card stock takes to disassemble. With that being said, once the darker/larger part of the monkey face was glued onto card stock, I again had to cut out the monkey’s eyes to get the mask effect. See pictures below to see how I glued the face together.

6. Next, take a black sharpie and draw the monkey’s features on the face and ears to make it pop.

7. Turn the monkey face over and tape or glue a popsicle stick to the back of the face in order to make the mask. I did not have popsicle sticks, so I used a plastic fork. I used painter’s tape instead of regular tape to help enforce it a little more. Elmer’s glue probably won’t hold the stick on very well, but if you have a hot glue gun, that would work well and definitely be harder to take off.

8. Then, it’s time for the fun part for the kiddos. My son loves a bandaid, and I’m convinced after teaching, all kids do. And, they think it fixes everything. This is when I started asking James some comprehension questions from the story. It’s never too early to work on comprehension! Definitely a much needed skill for your child to learn. We talked about what happened to the monkey and that he got a boo boo. We talked about where his boo boo was and how we could fix it. He put two bandaids on the monkeys’ head as pictured below.

Disclaimer: Before James and I made his mask, I made one for my 16 month old, as I knew he couldn’t do the craft, but he could play with the mask and do the other activities with us. For his monkey, I used standard colored bandaids, and you can see in the picture below they kind of blended in with the monkeys’ face. So for James’ monkey, we used some Lion King bandaids I had, and they popped a little better.

9. Last, sing the song and act out the story with your child as they use their fun, new mask!

Pete the Cat Number Activity

The following post contains affiliate links.

Two Things I Love

Two things I love: Pete the Cat books and counting with James. It has been so fun to watch how his counting has developed over the past year and sometimes frustrating when he refuses to do it right when I know he knows how to do it.

Counting with James

We started teaching him numbers 1-10, and of course, it took practice, and he would skip several numbers. Then it turned into 8 being his favorite number, so it would go something like this: “1, 2, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8…”. That was fun for a hot minute until I couldn’t get him to really count for me even though I knew he knew how.

Then, it went something like this: “1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10…” Well kid, you’re a prodigy, you can pretty much count by two’s. Help me. He is so stubborn.

Then we moved on to this: “1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10” and he would skip five Every. Single. Time. Getting closer right?

Once he finally got the number 5 down pat, we started counting 1-20. Now, it goes something like this: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 20!” One day, we will count to 20. I’m pretty happy with this point because I think its pretty good he can count to 14 by himself. Just don’t tell me your less than 2 year old is counting to 30 or anything. Let me be proud of our counting to 14.

Bedtime Counting

Now that he will consistently count semi correctly for us, I try to do more number activities and books with him. Also, since he continues to play around in his big boy bed during naptime and bedtime, I often hear him counting and saying, “14, 14, 14, 14, 14.” That’s a great time to practice because if he continues talking out loud, who knows, he might actually go to sleep.

Last night, he was having full conversations with himself. In fact, he was repeating every conversation he had had with us throughout the day. Sponge. I hope his memory is always this good, however, I’m sure it won’t be, and soon are the days of misplaced shoes, homework, and book bags.

Pete the Cat

Because I love all Pete the Cat books, and so do my boys, I wanted to do something fun with one of the books we were reading. If you haven’t heard of these books, look them up. You won’t be sorry. James has really started loving Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. I think it’s because he likes the song in the book. He dances on the couch while singing, “My buttons, my buttons, my buttons, my buttons…” It’s a sight!

This specific book is great because it focuses on numbers and subtracting those numbers. Now, given, we are nowhere close to being ready for subtraction, but it lets him see what happens when something is taken away and then you have less of that item. This book also shows the numbers largely printed in the book which is great for practicing number identification.

Number Activity

To begin, I read the book to the boys. Once we finished reading, I went to this website that is printed on all of their books. I love some free resources! There are all kinds of songs, videos, and printable activities on this website that you can use for your child.

The boys watched some of the songs and videos as an extension to the read aloud, while I prepared the activity.

I only needed four materials for this project: glue, construction paper, scissors, and a black sharpie. I looked at a picture of Pete the Cat using the book and drew his head, eyes, nose, neck, and shirt onto construction paper. They were fairly simple to draw, as I am certainly no artist.

Once they were drawn I cut them out, and I outlined them in black sharpie and drew the eyes in black sharpie as well. As I’ve said before, outlining in sharpie makes everything look better! After the pieces were cut out and outlined, I let James help me glue them together. This is a great time to help your little ones figure out where the different body pieces should go.

Next, I cut out 8 circles – 2 light blue, 2 dark blue, 2 green, 2 red. I used a medicine cup to trace the circles because heaven knows I absolutely cannot draw a circle that looks like a circle. I don’t know why that is so difficult for me.

I know there are only four buttons needed, hence the title of the book, but this is where the number part of the activity comes in. On four of the buttons, I wrote the number form of the numbers 1-4. On the corresponding color of the other four buttons, I drew dots to represent each number, i.e. 1 dot to represent the number 1, two dots to represent the number 2, 3 dots to represent the number 3, and 4 dots to represent the number 4.

We glued the buttons with the number form written on them down on the shirt first. I practiced the numbers with James, and he identified each one. Then, he had to count the dots on each of the other buttons. Make sure when they are counting the dots, you have them put their finger on the dot they’re counting.

He then had to match the buttons with the dots on them to the buttons with the numbers on them. It helped that the buttons also matched in color – the button with the number 1 written and the button with the 1 dot were both light blue and so forth.

Once he figured out which buttons matched in numbers, we glued them down. You want the dotted buttons to be on top, as the dots are what make them actually look like buttons, even if they each have a different amount of dots on them. Not only did this activity help him practice his number skills, but it also let him practice his fine motor skills by placing the buttons directly on top of each other.

The Results

Overall, this was a super fun, easy project, and James loved his finished results! I would even go as far to say as this is one of my favorite art projects I have done with him, and it had some of the best results. He keeps pulling it off the refrigerator to show everyone and in turn, ripped part of his head. Naturally. Nothing stays in one piece around here. I certainly plan on doing more Pete the Cat activities with him, and I’ll be sure to fill you in on how those go as well. Enjoy!

Transportation Shapes

Houston Living

Since our move to Houston, one thing I have come to love about living here is all the cool things to do. There are amazing parks for the kids, a great zoo, a children’s museum, and tons of events throughout every week and weekend, just to name a few.

One of the cool things we are getting to experience for the first time is the Houston Rodeo. How fun! Chad and I had the opportunity to attend the rodeo cookout last weekend, and it was great. With all of the music, food, lights, and drinks, I told Chad I kind of felt like I was walking down Bourbon Street, of course with less promiscuity and more flannel, hats and boots.

Since the time we told my family we were moving out here, last March (wow, that was a year ago??), my five year old nephew has been telling us he was going to the rodeo. Every time he has seen us since we moved he brings up the rodeo. He’s been walking around in his cowboy hat and just got some new boots, so you know as soon as those tickets went on sale, we grabbed a few!

Cleaning with Toddlers

With all that being said, my whole family is coming out here for the long awaited rodeo, and we are SO EXCITED. Whether they’re family or not, we all know that when people are coming to your house you like to clean up a little and at least make it semi presentable, but with toddlers, that’s nearly impossible.

What takes me all day to clean, they can destroy within minutes, so I must wait until the very last minute to thoroughly clean the house. Does anyone else feel like this? Yesterday, they pulled out all of the cookie sheets and muffin pans. As one of my friends told me one time, sometimes, it’s just worth the mess. That was one of those times. I was trying to get something else finished, so I figured I’d just let them go to town.

Later, I went to clean up the cookie sheets. Imagine how long that took, ok? Seriously, under a minute. Would you like to know where I found them when I finished? Pulling out every drawer of our desk and every item in the each drawer. Jesus and wine y’all. I can’t get ahead of them. I clean up one mess, they make a bigger mess. How on Earth am I supposed to get an entire house cleaned with a one year old and a two year old hurricane coming behind me? I figure it’s probably just easier to apologize for the mess, so I’m sorry family, welcome to the circus!

Internal Motors

In the midst of the “cleaning”, we paused to work on some shapes this morning. If we are working on something, that means they aren’t destroying something else. I wanted to do a new shapes activity with my two year old that would keep him engaged and from running all around the house for at least a few minutes. To see my previous blog about other shape activities we have completed, click here.

I think boys are seriously born with internal motors. When I was teaching, there were always the boys that couldn’t simply walk to get in line, but pretended they were cars, trucks, etc. My two year old doesn’t ever walk, he runs. Needless to say, they love anything with wheels and anything that goes.

Shapes that Go

I started thinking back to when I was student teaching in a Kindergarten classroom. I had such a great supervising teacher to work with, and I still think she was probably the most patient teacher I have ever seen. She never showed frustration, never raised her voice, and always had the calmest demeanor. Anyone that has ever taught in a classroom knows that even if you love your job and have a great  class, remaining patient 100% of the time is a tough thing to do. Not only do parents think about #jesusandwine moments, but I’m sure there are some teachers out there thinking of their own #jesusandwine moments, especially as we approach Spring Break.

While I was working in her classroom, the students were working on a transportation unit. In one of the centers, the students got to make a mode of transportation out of pre-cut construction paper pieces. They turned out so cute, and I started thinking that I could piggy back off that idea a little bit. So, this morning I started cutting out shapes to make these modes of transportation. James loves anything that goes, and it would be an activity to help him learn his shapes – win, win!

The Project

This is a very easy activity, and it didn’t take long to complete. The longest part of the activity is the prep work you need to do, which simply involved cutting out the shapes for each mode of transportation that you choose to create. We created a fire truck, a car, a sailboat, and a train.

Materials you will need: 
Construction Paper
Scissors
Glue
Sharpie

  1. Firetruck – To create the fire truck, I used one red rectangular piece for the long part of the truck, a smaller, white rectangular piece for the ladder, a red square piece for the front of the truck, a black square piece for the window, and five black circle pieces for the tires. I drew black lines with a Sharpie on the ladder to add a little bit of detail. You can see the picture below to see how I put the fire truck together.
  2. Sailboat – To create the sailboat, I used one brown rectangular piece for the bottom of the boat (you could do a half circle of half oval if your child is able to understand that), a skinny white rectangular piece for the pole, and a green triangular piece for the sail. We simply glued it on blue paper to make it look like it was in water, but you could have your older children draw waves, a sun, birds in the air, etc. You can see the picture below to see how I put the sailboat together.
  3. Car – This one was a little more difficult, as the shape of the car isn’t really a normal shape, however, you could change that up if you wanted to. I used a long, black rectangular piece to create a street at the bottom of the paper, small, yellow rectangular pieces for the lines in the middle of the street, a red piece for the car, a white piece for the window, and two black circles for the tires. You can see the picture below to see how I put the car together.
  4. Train – To create the train, I cut a black piece out to make the engine. This isn’t a normal shape, and honestly, mine looks more like a shoe than a train engine, but I’m sure you’re more artistic that I am! I cut out five different colored rectangles for the train cars, five small, black rectangles for the pieces that connect the train cars together, and twelve black circles for the train wheels. I made a train with five train cars because “James” has five letters. I wrote one letter of his name on each train car in black Sharpie so that we could practice the letters in his name. This was just an added learning activity that I chose to do along with the shapes, you certainly don’t have to do that. You can see the picture below to see how I put the train together.

Results

James loved this activity, and he kept asking to do more and to see his car. He also continuously told me that he wanted to drive his car, which I informed him he could not do. That kid. He has a daily breakdown when I put him in his car seat because I won’t let him drive – #jesusandwine.