Category Archives: Kid Activities

Simple Easter Activity for the Preschooler in Your Life

If you’ve read anything I’ve written in the past few weeks, you’ll probably notice that simple is my motto. The only way that I’ll accomplish anything is if I keep it short, sweet, and a little bit flawed. And I kind of like it that way.

With it being Holy Week this week, I wanted to do at least a couple of things to make the specialness of Easter stick in Dash’s head. Based on the sweet fruit I’ve seen come from our simple activities and conversations, he is starting to get the true meaning of Easter. My heart could not be more full as I listen to the questions he’s asking.

I used to worry so much about trying to create the most adorable crafts and plan the coolest activities the online world had to offer when it came to teaching Dash, but life and grace have taught me something far greater. God truly makes everything beautiful in His time. Just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for me or my child. That doesn’t mean I give up completely, it just means I stop hyperventilating and teach as we live life.

For us, that’s meant a lot of conversations where I relate something he’s interested in with truths from God’s Word. It’s also meant making sure he’s involved in the wonderful classes and programs our church offers for kids his age. I’ve seen him really flourish from being in that environment. In the end, what I want is for his faith to be real. If that means we don’t have dozens of cute crafts to show how we celebrated each of his early holidays, that is okay.

This Christmas and Easter have been the first holidays he’s acted interested in anything “project” related, so I was very excited when I found this idea on Pinterest. It was something that I could prep as we talked and cut paper together plus I had all of the supplies on hand. (As a side note, don’t you love all of the dinosaurs covering the floor in the background?)

Easter

This project was a culmination of several conversations we’ve been having about Easter over the past several weeks. It was really neat and funny to watch him put it all together here. If you’re in the mood from some adorable 3-year-old chatter, you can watch the video of him telling the Easter story here. I drew some stick men on paper to represent Jesus & the angel. See? I told you that simple and flawed were part of how I roll.

It wouldn’t be a complete Easter story from a three-year-old’s perspective if I didn’t tell you that after I drew the “bad guys” he requested at the end of the video, he proceeded to draw a sword for Jesus to use to fight the bad guys. Or that Jesus then saw fit to knock the poor, innocent dinosaur setting next to him on the table onto the floor. But the main facts have been planted in his heart, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch them come out in the midst of silliness.

Happy Easter everyone! What special thing(s) are you doing to celebrate with your family this year?

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

Since finding the recipe for peanut butter playdough last year, I’ve whipped up more than one batch. This is a fun, simple, and extra-sweet yet still edible activity that a child of any age would love. I will again be using a post I did on my family blog last year because I’m lazy such a good manager of time I don’t want to recreate what was already created. I found the recipe here.

This activity again met my two main requirements: cheap, easy, and inexpensive plus all of the ingredients were in my cupboards. To make enough for 2-3 kids, you will need:

1 c. peanut butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. honey

I was originally going to halve this recipe, but then I decided I’d go ahead and make a whole batch so we could play with it again. If you’re just making this for one child, halving the recipe will still give you more than enough. While you can refrigerate and use again the next day, it is not as pliable and fun to play with after getting cold.

I heeded the advice of the blogger who originally posted this recipe and mixed this up in my mixer. I dumped in the ingredients then let Dash turn on the mixer and watch it do its thing.

Next it was time for a taste test.

Super rich and a little heavy on the honey flavor, but not bad. I definitely ate more of it than I should have.

Dash had a blast squishing this stuff! It was a really nice texture. 

As long as there are no peanut allergies in your house, this activity is perfect for kids! Oh, who am I kidding? I love the entire process, too. There’s something fun about being able to eat playdough.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Beating the Heat with Goop

I have kind of avoided looking at the forecast for a few days, and when I finally got around to doing it this morning, I was greeted with a whole bunch of triple-digit temps glaring at me. That’s when I know it’s time to pull out some of our trusted projects from the past to make the time inside on these hot afternoons pass more quickly.

On today’s agenda? We’re going to do a science experiment by making goop – that fascinating substance that is both a liquid and a solid at the same time. I’ve adapted this post from one I did last summer on my family blog. After having a couple of “awww…look how much my baby has grown!” moments when I skimmed over what I wrote and took pictures of last year, I decided to just use the same post instead of re-inventing the wheel.

I have two requirements when I come up with our special little projects for days such as today: 1) Something fun, easy, and inexpensive to whip up and 2) something for which I have all of the ingredients on hand.

I remember making goop with some little boys I babysat when I was in college, so I went online and found an easy recipe.

Here’s what you need if you decide to try it yourself.

1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
A mixing bowl
Spoon
A surface you don’t mind getting messy. (This stuff is messy, but it cleans up easily.)

Mix and then get creative with your concoction.
He didn’t believe me when I told him it wouldn’t taste good until he tried it himself.

I never cease to be fascinated by goop. How does it manage to have so many conflicting qualities to it?

I attempted to get a picture of the two of us with our goop-covered hands by setting the timer on my camera. This is the comical result when you throw
in all of the messy factors of playing with goop with a toddler who could care less about posing for a picture and a mom who doesn’t know when the camera is for sure taking the picture.

We will definitely do this again! I was not really looking forward to the clean-up, but it actually came up quickly and without a lot of effort. He even managed to sling some onto the carpet, which I was seriously dreading to clean up, but it came up easily with a damp wash cloth.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Beating the Heat with Small Children: Bring the City Inside

Let’s be real here. It’s hot. Pretty much everywhere in the USA. My part of the USA also has a lot of humidity, so it feels extra hot!

Let’s be real again. Extreme heat can drive energetic little people crazy because they can’t run off their energy in the usual manner. That’s when it becomes necessary for us moms to get creative and plan activities besides the usual daily ones.

My three year old does a million times better on the days I have something new for him to try than on the days we just suffer through the hours inside together. So I’m going to share a few things that have been fun for us in hopes that another mom of an energetic little one will be inspired to find ways to more than just “survive” these brutally hot conditions with their squirming youngsters.

I didn’t come up with all of these ideas on my own. You may have seen a few of them floating around on Pinterest, and some of them came from friends of mine who are just amazingly creative.

Last week’s big success occurred when I transformed our dining/living area into a city for my son’s cars and trains. Here are the supplies you need:

  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Old boxes for buildings
  • Optional – Street signs (Dash just received the Stop sign & RxR sign for his birthday last month, but if you don’t have these, you could easily make them by taping the design onto the floor or using some old cardboard or card stock to draw them.)

To say he was elated when he first ran in the room was an understatement. Every picture I took of Dash playing is blurry because he was constantly driving his trucks and trains to their proper locations.

I was hoping for an hour’s worth of entertainment, but he played with his streets and railroad tracks pretty much the entire day. I even left the tape on the floor for a couple of days, and he still excitedly “drove around town” each day.

You can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. I’ve done more simple railroad tracks with tape in the past, and he always enjoys them as well, but this day called for something more elaborate. I gladly gave up the normal state of my living area for a couple of days of extra happiness for my little guy.

For you moms of girls out there, you could use this same concept to “build a house” for your daughter to play in. Just frame out the house and the rooms and let her be the queen of her little roost for a day.

I’ll share some more ideas next week. In the mean time, I would greatly appreciate any ideas that you have tried with your kiddos as well that have been successes. We moms are all in this battle against the hot weather together, and the more ideas, no matter how simple they seem, the better. I personally prefer the simple ideas that I have supplies for already and can throw together in a few minutes. I kind of get stuck sometimes trying to come up with new ways to use what resources we already have on hand to make days that could be miserable fun instead.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

5 Simple Activities to do with your Toddler or Preschooler

Do you ever forget about the simple things you used to do to entertain yourself as a child? I’m convinced that this world has gotten far too complex. In the quest to always get better, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty that comes with tried and true activities that have brought joy to children and adults alike for decades.

While I’m all for improving upon things, I’ve learned one incredibly profound thing when it comes to doing activities with my son. He loves the simple things. He isn’t impressed by cute fonts or the latest idea for teaching him to count.

I like cute things, and I’m sure he will too as he gets older, but in the meantime, I need to relax sometimes. So I’m working to find a balance between embracing the old-school ideas and occasionally adding some new flare to them. Here are some of our favorite classic things to do together.

1. Playing with playdough. The possibilities are endless with this ball of squishiness! If you want to make your own, a friend of mine passed along a recipe that is superb. I know she found it on a blog somewhere, but unfortunately I do not know which one. If you know, please let me know so I can give appropriate credit.

Playdough Recipe

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tbs. cooking oil
2 tsp. cream of tartar
food coloring if desired

Mix all the dry ingredients.  Add cooking oil, water, and food coloring.  Cook in an electric skillet on low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.  Continue cooking until the dough becomes a large ball.  This process takes no more than 3 minutes.  Empty the dough onto waxed paper and knead until smooth and cool.  Store in a plastic bowl or zip-lock bag.

2. Hide and Seek. All participants have so much fun playing together that they forget more is happening than fun. Kids are learning counting skills and critical thinking skills by coming up with new hiding places as well as memory skills by remembering your tricky hiding spots from last time.

3. Make and fly paper airplanes. There are a million tutorials on YouTube if you need a refresher course.

4. Create an original picture. Put away the printables and agendas for making something specific and get out the crayons, paper, and glue. Help your child make the masterpieces they have stored up in their minds.

5. Cook together. Is it messy? Most of the time. Will you feel a bit stressed? Probably so. But it is so worth it to share those memories with your child. I’m grateful that my mom wasn’t afraid to let me get in there and help in the kitchen as a little girl. Learning to cook was not intimidating to me because it was something I had always done. I try to do the same thing with Dash. We have had egg on our floor and milk poured all over the counter instead of the mixing bowl, but honestly, this only happens rarely. He generally shows incredible self-control, and in the meantime he’s learning skills in following directions, sequencing, and math.

I love and appreciate the millions of creative new ideas out there, and we do incorporate them into our list of things to do. In fact, I’m hoping to share some of our favorites finds from the minds of creative, loving moms out in Internet land sometime soon. But in my quest to spend quality time teaching my child, I pray that I never forget about the simple things. Learning and joy can come without laminating, pinning, or planning.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar. Have a blessed day!

 

Advent Activities – Part 2: Our 2011 Advent Activity List

Source

To see my design ideas (okay somebody else’s ideas I swiped from Pinterest) for this year’s advent calendar and to get the rest of my back story to this advent activity list, click here. Here’s what you should know before you get too excited about an elaborate list of activities. It’s not elaborate. It’s based mostly on what I already have on hand or could get at the library or online.

Things to Note: 1) This list is tailored to my child who loves trains, so you’ll notice that several days’ activities include trains. 2) If there’s anything “big” I’d buy if I were you and you have the extra money, I’d consider the toy nativity set. But if that just doesn’t work out for you, do not despair! Improvise with what you have. Go online and find ideas if you can’t come up with a nativity set idea on your own. 3) Use YouTube! I was amazed when I started looking for Christmas carols. I found not only the songs, but tons of cute little Christmas story shows, most of which are the perfect length for a small child to sit through and enjoy. I plan to use several of them to enhance our activities. 4) I made it a point to pay attention to what day of the week a certain day fell upon. I made sure that my Saturday activities were things that would be fun to do as an entire family since Dad will be home then, too. When I’m being realistic, I can envision us not getting to any activity at all on Sundays, so I made those days free days where we could go back and do something we’ve already enjoyed if we have time.

Without further ado, here is the list of advent activities that our family will be doing this Christmas season.

1. Open a gift that explains all you need to know about Christmas. (Last year for Christmas, we got the Fisher Price Nativity Set. This year, I plan to re-wrap it and let him familiarize himself with it.)
2.  Meet a new Christmastime buddy. (Introduce Elf on a Shelf)
3.  Meet our snowy Christmastime pal, Frosty. (Watch Frosty the Snowman as a family.)
4. Everyone loves Christmastime – even trains! (Open Thomas Christmas book. I found it at Lowe’s and couldn’t resist getting it because of Dash’s love for all things Thomas the Train and the fact that it plays Christmas carols.)

(For days 5-7, we will be revisiting the nativity set and focusing on one part of the story each day.)

5. Let’s go on a donkey ride. (Incorporate the first part of the Christmas story – entering Bethlehem.I’m pretty sure I’ll be the donkey and Dash will be Mary, but I’m okay with that.) Color page
6. Away in a Manger (Learn the Christmas carol & tell the story of Jesus’ birth.) Color pages for all parts of the Christmas story can be found here.
7. Meet the shepherd boy. (Make sheep craft & dress up like a shepherd. I’m so excited to pull out the towel and headband for this!)
8. Instead of words, draw a picture of a star for today’s clue. (Tell this portion of the story and make a fun star ornament like this one.)
9. Make an edible Christmas tree (Thank you, Pinterest, for this idea)
10. Send some holiday cheer to those we hold dear. (Make Christmas cards for family )
11. Pick your favorite activity! (Sundays are super busy for us, so I decided to be realistic. If we do anything at all on Sundays, it will be an activity that’s been a hit thus far…like playing with the nativity set or reading the Christmas Thomas book.)
12. Dress up your tree with some candy canes. (Make pipe cleaner candy canes to hang on his tree & eat some real ones while doing it!)
13. Create some extra sweetness. (Make some sweet holiday treats.)
14. Share your sweetness with those around us. (Deliver treats to our neighbors.)
15. Learn about our good friend, Santa (Unwrap and read Santa story books. I’ll probably get these from the library or see what we have on hand.)
16. What’s that choo chooing I hear? (Unwrap and read The Polar Express book.)
17. Let’s watch that Polar Express come around the corner! (Watch The Polar Express movie as a family.)
18. Pick your favorite activity! (It’s Sunday again!)
19. Make your Christmas tree even prettier! (Make salt dough Christmas ornaments.)
20. Add some yummy decorations to the tree. (Make a popcorn chain.Note to self, get some large plastic needles for this!)
21. What’s that? Another Christmas movie? (Watch Santa Clause is Coming to Town.Or something else. We’ll see what we’re feeling on that day.)
22. Help Frosty get ready for Christmas! (Insert cute snowman craft here. I’m thinking it will involve gluing cotton balls onto circles of paper.)
23. Jesus’ Birthday Party! (Make cupcakes and a card to celebrate baby Jesus coming to earth.)
24. Wrap a present (Wrap a simple, small shoe box-sized gift together. My other idea is to gift wrap Daddy. Another Pinterest-inspired idea.)

I hope you are able to use some of this to create a fun, memorable holiday season for your little ones! Let me know if you do. I don’t care if you use any or all of it, but please be sure to link back to my site if you choose to share it online anywhere.

I’m linking up with

Advent Activities – Part 1

I’m excited to begin celebrating the Christmas season with Little Man, whom I have decided should be called Dash from now on because of his incredible speed. Christmas has become more and more special to me each year since becoming a mother, but this year is really the first year that Dash will be joining in on the excitement. At two and a half, he’s becoming so much more involved in everything that we do and say around here, so when we pull down the boxes of decorations and begin fluffing out the tree, I think it could very well be even funnier than last year.

Last year

Now that he’s reached an age where he will be storing away a few more long-term memories, I want to start teaching him some of the important and fun stuff to know about Christmas. I’ve adored numerous advent calendars and considered trying my hand at them, but then I came to a realization. Every time I try to go all out on something new like this, it blows up in my face. I want it to be perfect, or at least close to perfect, and when I add in all of the factors of unexpected illness, having an active boy who doesn’t want to sit  and paint for hours, and overall holiday busyness, perfection never happens.

So, I’ve decided to get my feet wet in the simplest way possible. Each day’s advent activity will be short and uncomplicated, and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just abandon it and move on with our day. There’s not going to be someone secretly grading me, and I’m not even going to make a point to take a picture of each day so I don’t get caught up in that mindset. It will just be fun, and if the fun stops, then we will too.

Since I’ve spent some time compiling my list, I thought I’d share it for any other moms of young children who might be interested in doing something similar. To start with, let’s talk design of the advent calendar.

I thought long and hard about this because I knew the amount of time it would take to create one of the beautiful ones I’ve seen displayed online.I pictured what would happen if my child got excited around one those beauties, and it involved quite a bit of torn paper and some held-back tears from me. So I kept looking for other options, and came across this genius, far more age-appropriate one.(Thank you, Pinterest!) I love it because it involves working on fine motor skills, which is something we’re needing to do anyway. Plus, I can hang it out of reach and lift him up to choose the advent activity of the day.

Tomorrow I’ll share my activity list with you if you’re looking for inexpensive ideas of how to spread the holiday cheer throughout the month of December.