Snow Glad We're Friends

I gotta just say that I was pretty darn excited when I came up with this idea. I knew that I wanted us to make cards for Sweet P's friends as part of Toddler Approved's 100 Acts of Kindness Project, but wasn't sure how or what we should do.

I finally decided we'd make snowmen out of small paper plates and some leftover white circles from our Santa Advent Calendar. I just needed something witty to say. Then, one night on my drive home from teaching, I had a YES! THAT'S IT! moment. And these cutie patooties were born.

Sweet P made 5 in all and we gave them to friends over the course of 2 weeks.

I wrote the phrase "Snow Glad We're Friends" on each plate while she drew the faces on the circles and glued on the hats.  Then, I stapled the head to the body and she put 3 stickers buttons on the body.

She did an awesome job on the faces and was so excited to give them to friends. We gave some in person, put one in a friend's mailbox and I gave one to a friend's mom (mostly because I forgot we'd see him the next day). It was such a fun way to tell a friend we are glad they are in our lives.

Please share any Acts of Kindness you've been doing in the comments!

Pretend Play: DIY Grocery Store

I've been meaning to post this for a LONG time and here I am finally getting around to it!

One day last fall as I realized Sweet P really loved shopping carts, I had the idea to create her own grocery store. I started saving boxes and containers from food we ate and her grocery store was born.

We have a little blue cart from IKEA that worked great as a cart, but she got her very own shopping cart from Papa Ray Ray for Christmas (now she uses both).

I threw in an old giftcard to serve as her credit card (she even signed the back while playing with The Farmer one day) and a few little bags.
She loves to play grocery store. She puts everything she wants in her cart (yogurt is ALWAYS in there) and comes to check out ("Will you check me out please?"). I scan all her stuff, tell her the total and help her bag her items. After it's all bagged, she pushes her cart with her bag on her arm to her "car" (aka the futon in the basement). And she ALWAYS has a baby in the cart as well.

This was such an inexpensive way to make play food for her and the containers are great for opening and closing activities. And as we do more with math this will be a great way for her to learn adding. I like to think it also shows her how we can reuse containers and boxes from our food.

Last week we put another shelf in the basement (read more in this post) and now she has shelves for her groceries! We'll eventually fill that shelf with other things, but for now it's a great place for her store.

Tissue Paper Art

This craft is featured in The Heart Project. Find out how to get your copy of this gorgeous crafts book, which is raising fund for an important cause {here}.

I've seen many, many ideas using contact paper so last week while Sweet P and I were on a mini-date to Wal-Mart (do I know how to do it up or what? Actually we call just about anything we do with just the 2 of us a "date") we picked some up.

And last Saturday we went to town creating an art project with contact paper and tissue paper. I grabbed a few pieces of tissue paper we had in our gift wrapping area and brought them down for her to tear.

The Craft: Tissue Paper Art

What you need:
Contact paper
Tissue paper (various colors)
Tape (packing tape or scotch)
Construction paper (optional)

Tape the contact paper sticky side up to the table or working area. Tear tissue paper into little pieces (you could also cut them if your child wants to) and stick them all over the contact paper. When finished, place the construction paper on top of one side of the contact paper (on top of the tissue paper). Fold over the other side of the contact paper so it is all stuck together.

The construction paper covers any open areas on the contact paper. Tada! The finished product!

I don't have pictures of the project in action, but I LOVE the final product. The neatest part is that the little pink heart was an accident! When we folded it together and looked at it, I saw the little heart. We're going to frame it and I can't wait to hang it in Sweet P's room!

Crack the Egg Activity

I've been wanting to let Sweet P play with egg shells for awhile, but never could remember to save the shells for her. I wanted to do it even more after I saw this post at Linda's Pre-K. Well finally while making cookies recently, I accidentally hit the top of an egg on the mixer and it made a perfect little hole in the top. I carefully dumped out the egg and washed out the inside. It was still intact and perfectly hollow for her little hands!

I set up a tray for her and the striped container was Humpty Dumpty's wall. That kid is ALL about Humpty Dumpty. She sat the egg on the wall, then let it fall on the tray. I asked her if she could put him back together after the egg was in pieces. And she said, "Nooooo."

Playing with "Humpty Dumpty's" pieces

Examining the pieces

Cracking the egg into tiny pieces 

Sprinkling egg shells into cookies cutters to make shapes

Sprinkling egg shells on her tray

She had so much fun and really wanted to throw it everywhere. It was such a neat sensory activity for her. Next time we'll take these outside! I also want to try it with hardboiled eggs as well. Dying the eggs would be even more fun, but I'll save that for an Easter activities. 

Have you ever played with eggs?

Wordless Wednesday: Visit to the Duck Pond

The Farmer was holding her hand SO tight while she threw food to the ducks. She was all about just leaning over the edge to throw it!

On MLK Day we took a walk to the duck pond near our house. It was pretty darn cold (it snowed that night) and about a mile walk round trip (the Farmer carried Sweet P most of the way home). The pond looked amazing because it was all frozen except for the middle part. The ducks and geese were walking on the ice and waddled on over to see what we had for them. These birds are usually overfed during the warm months so it was nice for them to actually want what we had instead of snubbing their noses at our offering. 

Linking to:

Outdoor Play: Digging in the Winter Garden

My great aunt Betty was trying to get rid of some leftovers from a garage sale while we were in Texas so we went over one afternoon to see what she had. My favorite find was these tiny garden tools. They are for an indoor garden, but PERFECT for Sweet P's little hands. She also had 2 sets of child gardening gloves!

The weather last week was unseasonably warm for Iowa so me and my girl set out for the raised garden beds and did some digging. Just because digging is fun. I think I may go out and hide some things in one of the garden beds and we'll do this again!

We found pecan shells, sticks, leaves and rocks, but no worms. We also dug far enough down to find frost on the dirt! Again, one of those times I was more impressed than Sweet P! We also did some raking and talked about the grass on top of the garden beds. So glad she inherited the Farmer's love for gardening.

Build-A-Snowman Muffin Tin Monday

I was so excited about this idea and Sweet P loved it! It's a Build-A-Snowman Muffin Tin Meal! Playing with food at its finest!

After I told her it was a snowman and explained the different parts, she went to town and made several different snowmen before gobbling it up! I chose cottage cheese because the pieces wouldn't sink in like they would in the yogurt we use (it's really thin for some reason). This was so much fun, we may have to do it again!

Clockwise from top left: blackberry eyes, soynut mouth, carrot noses, fig eyes, raisin mouth, celery noses and cottage cheese snow.

She was so excited about her snowmen!

Coffee Filter Snowman

This might just be the simplest art project we've ever done! And you probably have all the supplies around the house! I think it came out super cute!

The Craft: Coffee Filter Snowman

What you need:
large or small coffee filter
small piece of black construction paper/cardstock
small piece of orange construction paper/cardstock
1 piece of blue construction paper/cardstock

Cut 7 small circles from the black construction paper for eyes and the mouth. Cut a triangle from the orange paper. Use a gluestick to adhere all pieces to the blue construction paper and WAH-LA! Coffee filter snowman. So simple!

Lid Ornaments

The inspiration for this project came from these Nature Collage Ornaments posted by The Golden Gleam. We tried several times to collect nature pieces for this project, but the first time we forgot about the berries and they got thrown away. Then I kept forgetting to have her bring acorns inside during her walks with daddy on vacation. We still plan to do the nature version when the weather warms back up.

While we were crafting with TK, Blair and Gammie, we had her sensory bin from last year out. There were PLENTY of small pieces perfect for making ornaments similar to the Nature Ornaments. We liked the first one so much - we made 3! 

The Craft: Lid Ornaments

What you need:
Elmer's glue
Small beads, rhinestones, pompoms, jinglebells or other objects
Lid from a glass jar or tin can lid opened with the proper can opener (it doesn't leave a sharp edge)
Yarn or ribbon

Pour Elmer's glue onto the top of the lid, then stick objects in the glue. Allow to dry overnight or until the pieces no longer move around. Glue yarn or ribbon to the back to hang the ornament on the wall or on your tree at Christmas. 

Gammie has a fancy hole punch so our tin can lids had holes punched in them for easy hanging!

Collaborative Heart Project Fundraiser


I am currently working on a project, created by Jamie at Hands on as We Grow, who is pulling together a “Heart Project eBook”. This collaborative project, involving more than 50 bloggers, will be a fundraiser with all proceeds going to the American Heart Association.  The Heart Project eBook will be available by making a $5 donation.

Many participating bloggers will also host giveaways in conjunction with the fundraiser to raise awareness.

You can also participate in this great fundraiser by submitting your own heart project by January 25th or by donating to the American Heart Association and receiving a copy of the eBook when it becomes available in February.

For complete details on this event, visit Hands on as We Grow. More information to follow!

Pretend Play: Cardboard Car Wash

Sweet P is OBSESSED with the car wash. She tells me every time we run errands, "We need to wash the car." And half the time she is right! Especially since we don't have a garage and it snows! One day she was talking about taking her toy cars to the car wash so I decided I'd whip one up for her.

I found a medium-sized box and got to cutting. The hole had to be adjusted several times to accommodate larger vehicles that also needed a wash. 

I'm not lying when I say this activity has seen HOURS of play. And it is SO simple. 

One of her favorite things to do was line up all the cars at the entrance, then drive them through and park them on the sides of the box. The Farmer and I had a great time with it, too! 

We didn't, but this would be so fun to decorate with paint, paper or markers! We're doing that next time!

So what are you waiting for? Go get a box!

Wouldn't want to wait in that line!