Family Medals

We are a very outwardly affectionate family with lots of hugs, kisses and loving nick names , Stink Bug is loving right? But this activity isn’t so much about celebrating what we all love about eachother it’s about thanking , praising and even boosting self esteem. Although I wrote the specific awards my son dictated them and it was interesting to see what he valued most for both my husband and I as well as himself.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic ( metal will work too) lids, double stick tape ( glue is fine we are trying to keep glue to a minimum while we sell our house), card stock , a black permanent marker, colored markers , scissors, ribbon, glitter glue and strong tape.
  2. Start by tracing the lids on the card stock.
  3. Ask your child who they want to make medals for and what they want to write. If they can write have them do it. My son dictated them for me to write, his writing is too big and he would get very frustrated when it didn’t fit. Always ask though, don’t assume they want you to do it.
  4. Time to color the medals.
  5. Add some bling ( glitter glue). Let dry.
  6. Cut out.
  7. Add double stick tape to the lids.
  8. Stick the medals on.
  9. Add ribbon to the back with tape.
  10. Present to your family.

You may notice we didn’t make one for my daughter, she is simply too young to have anything around her neck even while supervised. Let that be your reminder to closely supervise kids when they have anything around their necks.

DIY Board Book About Feelings

make your own board book for babies

My son and I had a blast making this photo board book for my 9 month old daughter. Not only is the book entertaining for her , creating it was a lesson about emotions and giving to others for my son.  All in all it was a family project that gets played with a lot.

  1. Gather your materials .To start you will need to take photos of different emotions .  This is a great chance to talk about each of these feelings with your kids. I sat my son on the couch and we chatted between pictures. It was such a wonderful talk , we shared what makes us happy, sad, worried etc… and really listened to each other. We also made lots of silly faces!
  2. Now after printing out the pictures you will also need an old board book, contact paper, card stock , scissors, a marker and double stick tape. Let me explain why I used a book and paper instead of just laminating sleeves like I have before like for the Eye Spy Book.  My daughter likes to put the book in her mouth. I don’t let her just chew on it but the laminated pages can be really sharp if you get it at the right angle on sensitive gums. So I opted for the board book. If you are making this for older kids a simple laminated book would be great.
  3. Next write out the emotions with marker on the card stock ( of course if you have a printer you can just use it). Cut.
  4. Time to do the layout. My son helped choose the paper from our stash and I taped pieces of card stock on each page to cover the existing illustrations. Add the photo and emotion.
  5. Cover with contact paper . I cut mine so it covered the paper but didn’t go all the way to the edge .
  6. Fill the whole book.
  7. Make a cover page, I tried to get my son to help but he was busy playing pretend spy( Oh and that is my art closet packed up behind him… we are down to the basics until we move).
  8. Let your baby explore!  She lit up and unlike most books she didn’t immediately try to eat it. She gently explored touching her brother’s photos. Success!

** Safety Notice : Only you can decide what is safe for your baby. This book is made to be used with an adult caregiver , it is not a baby toy. **

Plate For Santa – Crafty Field Trip

All I wanted was to make a keepsake plate for Santa’s cookies! Ever get an idea in your head and you HAVE to do it? Yeah I get like that during the holidays a lot. I had the idea of my son painting a plate for Santa for ages. I was planning on getting a kit and doing it at home , but all the kits were sold out . We drove around to 4 stores, with both kids, in the rain. I ended up close to tears, with no plates. So instead Monday we packed up and went to a paint your own pottery place and should have just done that to start with. It was the perfect day!

We picked our plate . My son chose a small one saying ” Santa eats a lot of cookies all night, let’s only give him 1 or 2.”

We painted it however we wanted. I did a mug, since Santa needs milk too.

The back was an homage to Ichiro and Tatupu my son’s 2 favorite athletes who share the number 51 . We both thought Santa might like them too.

We even used the numbered bottles for a fun ” Find the number game” . Hey I can’t help it , I see lessons everywhere, as long as he is into it I play.  He loves numbers so he was way into it.

Baby girl slept the whole time. It was precious and I will post the final product when we get it back next week, but wanted to share the idea in time for others to find a local pottery studio before Christmas. More than once my son proclaimed ” This is the best day ever Mama!” and it was, truly a holiday memory I will cherish.

Letter of The Week : Family Letters

Alphabet Craft

I often get asked how and when to start doing letter crafts.  My best advice is to start when your child starts paying attention to letters, pointing them out and enjoying alphabet books and toys.  The other question that normally follows that is which letter to start with? I suggest starting with a letter they are confident recognizing, and a theme they enjoy. This is why this family letter craft is so fun and perfect for beginners. Kids are narcissistic and  crafts with their own smiling faces are often sure fire hits! This uses your child’s initial as the letter of the week, my son decided we should also make M for mommy and D for daddy. We used lowercase because that is what we are working on but either upper or lower would be fine!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need pictures of your child and whoever else you are making into letters, a sheet of construction paper for each letter, and one for the backing, scissors, glue , a marker and crayons. Alphabet Craft
  2. Start by writing the letter on the construction paper.Alphabet Craft
  3. Color the letter with crayons. We did this as a family so Daddy came and made his too !  Alphabet Craft Alphabet Craft
  4. While they color cut out the pictures.  Alphabet Craft
  5. While you cuts the letters out your child and husband can  play puppets with their picture cut outs  !Alphabet Craft
  6. Add glue  to your cut out letter and glue it to the backing. Alphabet Craft
  7. Add glue to the front of the letter- we did a little counting here , first counting the picture cut outs and then adding that number of glue globs to the letter.Alphabet Craft
  8. Add the picture cut outs.  Alphabet Craft
  9. Let dry.

Alphabet Books

I have many alphabet book reviews here but these three are my 3 favorites for beginners.

Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming is a wonderful example of what an alphabet book should be. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers learning their first letters, the text is short , the letters are front and center and the illustrations are fun and interesting. My son loves this book, I grabbed it at the library after remembering how much my Pre K class loved it too! Many alphabet books are too long to read entirety at circle time or in one shot with a toddler but this my 19 month old will sit through Z every time!

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is a fantastic board book and shorter version of the longer book. My son loves this book and it’s the perfect amount of text for a toddler, the illustrations by Lois Ehlert are so bright and bold that even very young babies will respond to it! A must have for all bookshelves.

Baby's Alphabet by Jean Marzollo
Baby’s Alphabetby Jean Marzollo will appeal to your baby and toddler, we were given it as a gift and my son has loved it since about 9 months on. The photographs of other babies will keep your little one interested and you will be surprised how soon they will anticipate the next page, I know I was. Sadly our copy is now flying the friendly skies , we took it on a flight with us last week and forgot it. Hopefully someone with a baby finds it !

Pretend Play- During Dinner!

Pretend Play

My husband commutes into the city everyday and we are left with little family time during the week. So to fit some family fun in we decided to turn dinner time into play time ! My son and I planned the meal, the menu and even met my husband at the door “in character”.  It was a blast! Pretend play is a major part of preschooler’s play and there are ample opportunities to learn or simply connect with your kids within pretend play.

  1. Gather your materials.  Grab some paper and a marker to make a menu and get your food cooking! A you can see our menu was kind of spendy! Let your child set the prices. Pretend Play
  2. Make some table settings that are appropriate for the restaurant you are pretending to be, for us it was a local fish and chips shop so we gathered up some ketchup, tartar sauce and set the table with the obligatory water.  We rolled our silverware in paper towels and taped it with some paper.  Pretend PlayPretend Play
  3. We prepared the bread and butter. Pretend Play
  4. Met our customer at the door… that sign is sitting on our Recycled Music Stand we made a while back. Pretend Play
  5. Took his order Pretend Play
  6. Then I took his order- hey there are no rules to pretend play the waiter eats with the customers at our restaurant. Pretend Play
  7. Enjoyed some appetizers and ate our food.
  8. Then presented him with our bill.  If you have older siblings this would be a fun part to practice addition, explain taxes etc… Pretend Play

Remember to have fun even if the only time you have to do it is dinner time on a busy weekday!