Easy Toddler Easter Egg Dye!

I saw this simple egg dying project during one of my preschool visits. It’s really great for all ages!

Materials:

  • Eggs
  • Vinegar
  • Gel food coloring
  • Cool whip
  • Pan

Directions:

  1. Boil eggs.
  2. Let eggs cool in a bowl with vinegar for about 10 minutes (helps color stick).
  3. In the pan, mix the cool whip with the food coloring and then place the eggs in. Show your little one how to roll an egg and then let them explore.

img_9395                img_9392

Louie used his egg as a spoon to scoop the cool whip into his mouth- this was his favorite part (insert face palm here!). Thankfully, this sensory filled activity is also completely edible if your child decides to give it a taste 🙂

img_9394

After the eggs were completely covered, I squeezed a little more coloring directly onto them and let Louie keep rolling. It did stain his hands a bit but we made sure to do bath time next. When we were all done, I rinsed the eggs off and dried them with paper towels.

The final result is so beautiful and made by the sweetest little hands!! 

Egg Dye

Easy enough to give it a try, right?! 

Advertisements

Easy Snow day toddler activities!

Here in NC, schools have been closed for two days because of snow! Don’t worry, I’m all stocked with bread, milk, wine, and plenty of snacks that are surely not a part of the eating habits I’m trying to instill this new year! Oh well, it’s all about balance, amirite?! Being stuck inside means I get to be with Louie and do some fun, new activities with him! 🙂 Click on a picture to see activity details!

unnamed-3unnamed-1unnamed-14unnamed-15

Snow sensory table

We played in the snow yesterday, however, it was a bit of a challenge since the snow was falling in our faces. It was absolutely beautiful but we played in it for just a bit. We got over 8 inches of snow which rarely happens here in NC!

unnamed-18

 

Today, we decided to stay in and bring the snow to us. I brought in the outdoor water table and we used it as an indoor sensory bin.

unnamed-16

Materials:

  • Clean snow
  • Water table or any bin
  • measuring cups
  • spoons
  • bowls
  • Long sleeved bib (our favorite kind of bib! We use it for everything, find similar bib here)
  • towel (optional- to catch any snow that falls)

I found different kitchen items that I thought would be fun for scooping and pouring.

Louie had a blast! We made snowballs, and he even ate some a lot of snow. We pretended to make each other a bowl of snow and practiced whisking in our cups. I did put a towel under our feet, but to my surprise, the snow stayed contained in the table for the most part. I had to redirect Louie, who wanted to walk around the house with the snow- to stay at the table. He was also surprisingly compliant! haha!

unnamed-17

 

Snow Ice Cream!

We didn’t get a chance to make this ice cream yesterday when it first snowed, so it was a bit slush today since it has started to melt (womp, womp). So forgive my final product pictures, they don’t do the ice cream justice. It tasted great and I don’t think my toddler even noticed that it melted quickly! haha! He ate every bit of it!

unnamed-11

Ingredients:

  • 4-8 cups of clean snow (save this for last)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Whisk
  • Ice cream scoop or spoon
  • Sprinkles (optional)

First, I measured out all the ingredients (except snow). I love these OXO measuring cups because they are toddler size friendly and have spouts for easy(ier) toddler pouring hands. You can find them here .

We then mixed the milk, sugar, salt, vanilla in a large bowl and then set it to the side.

unnamed-12

 

I quickly put snow into the bowl and gave it a final mix.

 

 

Scoop into bowls, top with sprinkles and voila!

 

It all happened so quickly, we forgot to put an apron on! It was well worth the mess! 🙂

 

What flavor snow ice cream do you love?

Snowflake painting

Materials:

  • Foam snowflake (you can cut one out from paper too!)
  • Non- toxic blue paint
  • small cup (for paint)
  • Paintbrush (or fingers)
  • Smock
  • Craft paper/newspaper to protect your table from the paint.
  • tape (to tape craft paper to table)

Have everything prepared before you invite your child to paint. Preparation is key. 

  1. Tape the craft paper to the table.
  2. Put “just a dot, not a lot” (I’m such a teacher!) of the paint in a small cup. Refill as needed.
  3. Place one snowflake on the table along with a paint brush (feel free to make it a finger painting activity!)
  4. Help child put the smock on.
  5. Get down to child’s eye level and model dipping the brush into the paint and guide your hand to their snowflake “paint”.
  6. Let those little artists create their masterpiece!
  7. When finished, wash hands and place snowflakes to dry.

Louie is a very active toddler, so our art time typically lasts 1-3 minutes. He also was very curious about the paint and had himself a taste of blue (facepalm #toddlerlife).

What art projects did you try while being snowed in?

unnamed-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice tray “snowballs”

I put this activity together with items we already had in our home (I keep a stock of those trays from the dollar tree). I thought it was a perfect activity while we wait for the snow to arrive in NC. It’s a great fine motor activity and also helps children develop order, concentration, coordination, independence, and one-to-one correspondence.

Materials:

  • Ice cube tray
  • Tray to hold all items
  • Cotton balls (enough for one in each compartment)
  • Container/cup (to hold cotton balls)

Put it together like the picture and ta-da!! Model placing a snowball in a compartment and then let your child try.  A super easy and fun activity!! After your child fills in the compartments, model “clean up” by placing a snowball or two back into the original container.

 

Helping your child learn to express their emotions

As adults, we often forget that children don’t naturally know how to express their emotions. Why is this important? When your child can identify emotions, they are more likely to be empathetic towards others, have self awareness, and manage their emotions in an appropriate expressive way. These are skills that are so important to instill in our children, especially during these times in the world.

I’m going to share with you a few tips for helping your child express emotions. These help ALL children, from the non-verbal, to the easily frustrated, to the ones with strong verbal skills.

Model by giving them examples. Your child looks to you to see how you handle and react to situations. I try my best to be mindful but I can tell you, I have handled certain situations in ways I’m not proud of -but it’s also a great lesson to teach your kids. Admit to your kids when you’re wrong and when you’ve made a mistake because it’s real and it happens. Guide them early on so that when they make mistakes (like we ALL do) they learn how to handle them in a healthy way.

Here are a few examples of daily modeling:

“I spilled milk but it’s okay, I can clean it up” 

“It makes me so happy when we take turns”  

” Oh no! All the cookies are gone and that makes me sad” (true story) 

Listen AND help identify their feelings and others.  At times, your child may not have any idea how to express their feelings in words and so it’s important to help them identify the feeling. “You seem angry, you are crossing your arms and stomping your feet. It looks like you are angry because you didn’t get to be first in line” or “You are smiling, are you happy to see grandma?” or “I understand that you are sad because it’s time to go home and you were having so much fun”. If you did not see the occurrence, try your best to help your child identify why they are feeling the way they are. Also, help your child identify the feelings of other children “Molly fell, how do you think she feels?” “What can we do to help her feel better?”.

Books. Books are just so amazing! Aside from learning language and vocabulary, use books to help you facilitate different issues/situations. The visuals and discrete lessons that don’t come directly from you is a fantastic way to start a conversation/ask questions. For example, if your child has difficulty sharing or making friends or taking turns, there are several books that you can search that cover these topics (spoiler alert: I will be starting a book topic series- more details to come soon)

DO NOT PASS JUDGEMENT! It is so important to always validate a child’s feelings. Do not ever call your child a cry baby or tell them their feelings are wrong or to “get over it”. Does it feel good when someone dismisses your feelings?? No. For children, it crushes their spirits and makes them feel unimportant.

Encourage your child with lots of love. Remember that your child is learning. Get down to your child’s eye level to listen and talk with them especially when the situation gets hairy. Most importantly, give them comforting hugs and reassurance.

Mother’s Day Giveaway to Bloom!

I am so excited to giveaway a ticket to BLOOM! This one is very special AND for you locals!

The Raleigh Moms Blog is hosting BLOOM, an amazing event for triangle-area new, expecting, adoptive, & foster moms or women planning on growing their family soon on Saturday, May 20th from 1-3pm at The Bridge Club, A venue from the award winning Chef Ashley Christiansen.

 Bloom guests will:

  • Sample crave-worthy small bites
  • Enjoy a mocktail
  • Mingle and listen to a panel of local baby and birthing experts from Baby+Company and WakeMed Hospitals
  • Meet a family chiropractic care group, lactation consultants, nutritionists and more.
  • Enjoy a Mommy-in-chair massage from Skin Sense Spa sponsored by WakeMed Hospitals
  • Explore cloth diapering
  • Explore baby wearing from BuyBuy Baby
  • Have complimentary Baby Bump and Mommy and Me photos taken
  • Receive a Baby Swag Bag filled with great items for mom and baby
  • Enter to win big Grand Prize Giveaways + a Push Present Giveaway

Tickets are $30, for purchase on Bloom Eventbrite Page but entering the giveaway gives you a chance to win a ticket! wohooo! 

Here’s how to enter the BLOOM ticket giveaway:

 *You must be able local or able to attend in Raleigh, NC*

  • Subscribe to my newsletter, right here on the blog!
  • Follow my instagram page @theminimama
  • Go to my giveaway post on instagram and Tag 3 friends (in separate comments) that you would love to share my blog with and let me know you have done all steps!
  • Mail me a box of cookies! Jk! If you’ve completed the first three steps then you’re all set but if you do decide to mail me cookies, you’ll have a new bff! 🙂

Winner will be announced on Thursday, May 11th and will be chosen at random, Good Luck!! 

For more details on BLOOM, visit Raleigh Moms

Fun sensory egg hunt for babies!

So, in honor of my first DIY, I’m going to let you in on a little secret…most teachers think dollar stores (and thrift stores) are the most amazing stores ever created! Yep, it’s true! Along with our many talents, teachers are great bargain hunters! Why, you say? Well, most teachers you meet will tell you that they make purchases for their classroom with their own money. When you have to dish out the dollars, you’ve got to be resourceful and love to recycle–sometimes too much (every roll of toilet paper, spoons, tissue boxes, grocery bags, etc.) because you never know when you might need them for a project! 🙂

I’m always thinking of ways to make works, the Montessori word for “activities” (sorry, my brain is wired already) for Louie. After all, it’s been my dream for years to be able to do these things with my own child!!! Yay! We were invited to an Easter breakfast/hunt where my friend and I joked that Louie is so little that he would just be sitting and playing with one egg. It’s adorable and true but it made me think…how can I make this interactive for him too….so during one of my dollar store strolls, I came up with a sensory egg hunt for babies!

Each egg is a different color and each shaker makes a different sound. Your baby will love digging in to make a mess with the “grass” and listening to all the fun sounds, they may even try to shake them depending on their age. This work can definitely be adapted for all ages! All items were either bought in the dollar store or found in my home (casually hoarding collecting).
Materials:

  • Painters tape (or washi tape)
  • Scissors
  • Basket/bin (I recycled a Melissa & Doug one)
  • Shredded “grass” or paper
  • Plastic eggs
img_2107-3
*all materials not pictured*

Egg fillers: You can use any fillers. Play with types and the amount since you want to make sure some make soft sounds and loud sounds. Here’s what I used:

  • (2) Pipe cleaners (cut into about 1 1/2 inch pieces)
  • (5) Googly eyes
  • Several Paper clips
  • (2) Large Pebbles
  • (2) Straws (cut into about 1/2 inch pieces)

Steps:

1.  Fill basket with shredded paper

img_2108-1

2. Fill eggs

img_2109

3. Secure eggs with tape

img_2110

4. Hide eggs

img_2111

5. Let the hunt begin!

(See my instagram for Louie’s initial reaction)

img_2163

Please remember never to leave your child unsupervised during your play! I hope you and your baby enjoy! 

Surviving your first day back to work after maternity leave

I think I cried for two weeks on and off before my first day back to work. The mere thought of leaving my baby for a full work day gave me extreme anxiety! I’ll never forget the last bedtime before my first day of work, talk about a river of heartbroken tears!!!!! It was SO hard but the light at the end is that it DOES get a little better as you adjust to your new normal, again. I am so thankful that I had the first three months to myself with Louie because I took advantage of every possible moment to form a strong bond with him. I would have preferred for it to be longer, but let’s not get started on how ridiculously heinous the maternity leave situation is here in the United States of America! I know we could all be here for days!@!&%$^!

I digress…

So, here are some things that helped me survive that first day back to work:

Surround yourself in the love of your support group–girlfriends, spouse, neighbor, family, whoever they are. They will be sure to cheer you on during this transition, especially if they’ve been through it too!

Wear waterproof mascara. You may think of your baby often and randomly start to cry while reading your emails, but just a ::WARNING:: All of your extremely sweet, loving, caring, coworkers are going to ask about your baby and how your day is so far, etc. this might make you cry and then ironically help you become even stronger since you will have repeated it several times. Either way, aren’t you so lucky to have people care about you!

Pictures and videos of your little one/s. Look at these often (because you know you have 46788 in your phone already). I still do this -every. single. day.- and now I smile instead of cry.

A Calendar. Look forward to a long weekend, a spring break, or whatever holiday is near. Cross those days off for the countdown!! THIS helped me so much! I went back to work December 1st and one of the things that kept me going was to look forward to my 10 day Holiday Break.

A box of tissues 🙂

• If you wish to pump, don’t forget to pack your pump bag! For those that may not be aware,  “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” is a law that requires employers to provide you time and a quiet place for pumping. Click on the link to read more.

Your favorite lunch and beverage 

Treat yourself: get yourself a cookie or your favorite Starbucks drink whatever it is that floats your boat! You did it!!!! You made it through the day and that makes you amazing and you totally deserve this!!!!!

The guilt will be there but be gentle with yourself. A very supportive friend once told me, “You are a working mom in order to give your baby all that he needs.” It was a sentiment that helped me (and continues to help me) get through rough days.

How did you survive your first day? Share your tips with us in the comments!