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.

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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 🙂

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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?! 

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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
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*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

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2. Fill eggs

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3. Secure eggs with tape

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4. Hide eggs

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5. Let the hunt begin!

(See my instagram for Louie’s initial reaction)

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

Ways to prepare your baby for rolling

Are you excited now that your baby is nearing the months to reach a really cool physical milestone?! I was so excited once Louie started to become aware of his hands and making more eye contact, but this one, this rolling over one, makes him such a big boy! Ahhh! Babies typically start rolling at 4-5 months, some babies may even start rolling at 3 months. When Louie began rolling, he was very inconsistent. He would roll for one week and then not be interested for days or sometimes weeks, and that was okay. I just continued to use these exercises to encourage him to roll and now he can’t stop!

  • Tummy time: I know you all are tired of my tummy time talk, but it’s just that important! Louie is not a huge fan of tummy time so I always encouraged him in different ways and in the shortest spurts of time. The more we practiced, the more he naturally started to stay in the position for longer periods. Always follow your child’s signals. See my previous post for the how and why of tummy time How to begin early learning with your newborn through play

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  • Laying on sides: To help your baby be comfortable laying on their side, you can use a rolled towel or yoga mat and place it under a blanket behind their spine (not the neck) for support. Placing a book/toy in front of them may invite them to stay in the position for longer. Begin for only a few seconds until baby is happy with this position and then build up more time, make sure to practice side laying on both sides.
    • Another way to encourage side laying is to lay on your side with baby next to you. Turn baby onto their side by gently supporting their back with your hands to face you. This is a great opportunity to have some coo conversations, giggles, and connect with baby. You might already be doing this while cuddling in bed! 🙂

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  • Side to side rocking: Lay baby on their back and place an enticing toy on one side. Using  your hands, gently lead your baby in a right to left motion by taking the right leg and encouraging side movement by slowly guiding it to the left side (and then do the same with left to right). When you are first guiding the leg, the neck/head may not turn immediately but as you continue guiding, their head will naturally turn to the side they should be looking. After some practice, you will notice your baby attempt to rock on their own.

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  • Rolling legs: Place baby on their back and tuck their knees to their chest and roll legs gently in a circular motion. You can also use this time to do bicycle stretch or any other leg stretches. These will also help with digestion- win, win!

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All these movements will help your baby strengthen the muscles needed for rolling (and future milestones too!). They also open up your babies body to become accustomed to movements that they aren’t normally in.

Most importantly, make sure to give your baby lots of hugs and kisses in between!!! 🙂