Monday, February 17, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Arts and Crafts

If you have a toddler, you know they don't sit still.  Any moment you're home you are brainstorming ways to keep them occupied.  These are some of those ways. 

Sir Marks A Lot: Don't overlook the obvious.  The easy.  You know - coloring implements and paper.  For the very young I recommend the Crayola Magic series.  Which will ensure your walls and carpets survive your budding artist. These paints and markers ONLY work on the specialized paper.  We've only recently evolved past the Banksy stage and introduced actual markers.  Crayons are still a bit problematic, as they break easily which is both enticing "I BREAK!" and upsetting "BROKEN!"

Science Tricks:  These get a lot of mileage around here.  They're like "magic."  A lot of these are from my childhood, but some are simple innovations.  Ooblek is from my childhood (2:1 ratio of cornstarch to water).  Placing a ball-pit ball on top of a hairdryer and making the ball float?  That one is all me.  And if you want to entertain your child for a very long time, fill 2 small cups with colored water, and then let you child help combine them in a larger glass to learn about how 2 primary colors can make a secondary color (repeat over and over and over).

Hands On: Toddler hands (and feet) make the best tools for crafting.  We've been taking advantage of this for quite some time.  This works especially well for gifts for grandparents.  But even if you don't use it for gifts, kids love "making" something, even more so when they get to do it "themselves."  So place some paint on a plate and let them get to creating.  Recently we've made snowmen on a hill with white paint, and many many balloons with thumbrints and multicolored paint.

One Man's Trash: This is probably my favorite arts and crafts recommendation.  Use your garbage.  Now, this doesn't have to be fancy.  For the past 2 days, Thatbaby has been wandering around the house with the cardboard insert from a roll of wrapping paper, pretending it's a baseball bat.   But it can get more creative.  Last week, when I was home sick, Thatbaby dug a milk jug out of the recycling bin.  Because without something to do, they WILL get into your trash.  Rather than freak out (because who has the energy?) I decided we would turn it into a project.  Thatbaby helped decide he wanted to make a "ball game."  So we did.

We cut off the bottom of the jug, and attached a balloon filled with rice to the jug with kitchen twine.  Voila - throw the ball up and try to catch it with the jug.

And if you're anything like us, you have diaper boxes coming out of your ears.  So what do you do with those boxes?  Turn them into trains!  Or cars.  
For this, I cut the top and bottom off the diaper box, then let Thatbaby pick out the colors of construction paper.   I glued them on to the diaper box and let him decorate the whole thing with stickers.  I punched holes on the sides and ran some ribbon through to hold his "train" on his shoulders.


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  2. OMG you make me look like a horrible parent!!

    1. Because you don't let your toddler dig in the trash for things to do?

  3. Proof that you don't need lots of expensive toys to make a kid happy!

  4. I need to invest in Sir Marks a Lot! Our problem is that Nathan bites/eats the crayons, and then they break. Double whammy.

  5. Awesome ideas, lady! Lu is only 8 months so we don't have a ton of craft times yet, but she LOVES getting into our recycling so I think we'll definitely put the trash idea to use!