Posts from the ‘Activities’ Category

Enjoy the Outdoors With an Autumn Nature Walk

Many of us around here are lovers of autumn —it’s the winner of “most popular season”by far! With the cooler temperatures, crisp air, and colorful leaves, fall brings the opportunity for so many fantastic activities. If you’re looking for some great ways to enjoy the outdoors this season, check out these ideas for an autumn nature walk to bring a smile to your little one’s face!

  • Visit an orchard. Apple orchards are lovely places for a walk, and many allow you to pick your own apples. Toddlers can get involved in the apple-picking action too, as long as you’re supervising!
  • Crunch through the leaves. Children of all ages love to run through fallen leaves, crunching them underfoot!
  • Collect colorful leaves. Leaves that haven’t yet gotten crunchy are perfect for collecting. Yellows, reds, and oranges all appeal to little ones.
  • Listen for the animals. Young ones can learn animal sounds as they listen for the pattering feet of squirrels, the chirping of birds, and the ribbitting of frogs.
  • Feel the textures of natural objects. Bark, sticks, river stones, grasses, and flowers all have different textures that can be explored.

What are some of your favorite autumn activities?

More Than Fun and Games: 8 Ideas for Sensory Play

Although diagraming sentences in English class may have given us the idea that school is boring, we’ve all figured out by now that learning can be fun! And sensory learning is especially enjoyable for little ones.

Sensory play teaches children to investigate and explore using touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell. And it helps them to develop cognitively, physically, emotionally, and creatively.

We’ve gathered some fun ideas for sensory play that you can enjoy with your little one!

  • Play with musical toys.
  • Toss stuffed animals.
  • Color with child-safe markers.
  • Make a touch book of different textures from your home.
  • Sit very quietly outside and try to guess the sounds you hear—birds, children laughing, etc.
  • Read a book, using different voices for different characters.
  • Ply with colored blocks.
  • Take a nature walk and feel leaves, branches, and grass.

And don’t let baby have all the fun! Jump right in and join your little one — he or she will love it even more!

Tummy Time: When Laying Around is Actually Working!

Although crawling seems simple to us now, it’s a complex process that babies have to learn as a first step to walking. Experts say your little one’s style can be all his or her own — what matters is that he or she learns movement. And that movement starts with tummy time.

By playing on their bellies, babies develop core muscle strength that helps them learn to crawl. When you’re playing with your little one, you can place a toy slightly out of reach so he or she can experiment with moving toward the toy.

Supervised tummy time makes for happier babies and teaches them valuable skills at the same time!

Rub-a-Dub Organizing for Easy-to-Access Bath Toys

Babies are tiny, but the amount of toys that usually accompany them isn’t! Organizing regular toys is pretty intuitive — toy boxes, plastic crates, fabric bins. . . the list of options goes on and on! But when it comes to bath toys, organizing can be a little trickier. There’s not a lot of room in the bathroom for crates, and no one wants baby’s toys lying on the floor.

We scoured the web for some creative solutions to use and share. Here’s what we found.

Froggy StorageThis cute little frog-shaped organizer attaches to the wall of the tub and has drainage holes to prevent mildew.

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The TubbyThis storage solution is a stretchy pouch made from neoprene with mesh panels, and also attaches to the tub wall. 

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Shower Totes — You don’t have to get fancy to get organized. Simple shower totes are great for storing toys.

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A Colander — And you can make it even simpler with a plastic kitchen colander! You can keep the colander in the tub, ready to go for bath time.

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We all know bath toys make for happy babies, and organized bath toys make for happy parents. What solutions have you come up with for storing bath toys?

Image Credits (from top): Gerber Childrenswear, Boon, Inc., Apartment Therapy, The Container Store, Mega Housewares

Make a Hide-away Tent for Naptime or Playtime!

Making tents is a part of just about everyone’s childhood. Whether pretending you were camping, playing house, or imagining you were in an ancient land, you likely loved making tents when you were small.

You can help your little one make happy memories of his or her own by building a tent together! If you want to go beyond the standard sheets-and-blankets tents, check out these fun ideas we found on the web:

A Crafty Tent — Make your tent into art!

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A Collapsible Fabric Tent — You can take this one outside!

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A Reading Tent — For little bookworms!

Share your tent-making memories! We’d love to hear them.

Photo Credits (from top): KidsomaniaWhat Does She Do All Day?, Stitched by Crystal,

Recycled Memories: How to Make a Keepsake Quilt from Loved T-shirts

Quilts are cozy, and when they’re hung on a wall they make a wonderful keepsake that can be passed down through the family. And what better materials to construct a keepsake quilt from than well-loved clothing?

You can make a full-sized quilt from your own old clothing, or you can make a baby-sized quilt from items your little one has outgrown! If quilting seems intimidating, don’t be afraid. We found a fantastic, easy tutorial online from Missouri Star Quilt Company that teaches how to make a quilt from t-shirts. The tutorial uses full-sized t-shirts, but you can adapt it to make a smaller quilt by using your little one’s t-shirts.

Let us know if you try it! 

photo credit: clumsy kristel via photopin cc

Make Mealtime More Enjoyable! How to Cutesy-up Bibs and Burp Cloths

Plain bibs can be kind of blah. When you’re ready for something a little more exciting, you can make DIY fun and fancy bibs and burp cloths! Here are a few tutorials we found online that show step-by-step how to create some cute ones. (These would also make great shower gifts!) Gerber

Fabric-covered Bib: This fabric-covered bib by Lady by the Bay is so customizable, and it doesn’t require complicated patterns! 

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Artsy Bib: Crayola has a fantastic idea for creating a work of art on a bib

Appliqué Bib: This appliqué bib by StuffStephDoes is adorable, and you could appliqué any number of designs—monogram baby’s initial, illustrate his or her favorite animal, or do an abstract design.  

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Fabric Scrap Burp Cloth: Decorate burp cloths with fabric scraps you’ve got squirreled away!This tutorial by Thriving Home shows you how. As this tutorial demonstrates, Gerber cloth diapers make a great canvas to work your magic on!

Bibs and burp cloths don’t have to be boring! Have you customized a bib or burp cloth? We’d love to hear your ideas!

photo credits (from top): Gerber Childrenswear, Lady by the Bay, Thriving Home

Starry Nights for Sleeping Tight: How to Create a Star-filled Nursery Ceiling

Little ones love lights and stars! What better way to make bedtime more fun than shining stars onto the nursery ceiling! Star lights are also relaxing, helping your little one fall asleep more easily.

One simple way to transform your baby’s nursery into a magical star field is to use stick-on glow-in-the-dark stars. You can find these online or in some home improvement stores.

Or, simply buy glow-in-the-dark paint that can be found at any hardware store along with star stencils to create a starry-night effect in baby’s room!

If you only want the starry sky to appear at nighttime, you can use a projector to shine them onto the ceiling. This one is designed just for kids and looks like a cute turtle.

Have you created a star-filled ceiling? How did you do it?

 

photo credit: darkmatter via photopin cc

Useful Tech for Busy Moms & Dads

We’re living in the age of tech, where 6-year-olds are teaching their grandparents how to use cell phones and tablets. So why not take advantage of it? There are some super-helpful apps out there that make our lives easier. Here are a few of our favorites. What are yours?

Baby Pack & Go — If you do a lot of traveling with your little one, you’ll love this app. Baby Pack & Go makes it easy to gather everything up and make sure you don’t forget anything for your trip! Available for iPhone and Android devices.

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Potty Time — Every parent knows that potty training can be a challenge! This app helps parents by helping teach little ones about potty training in a fun way, and gives parents the ability to track their little ones’ progress. Available for iPhone and Android devices.

WebMD — This is a great free app that features hundreds of articles and videos by doctors. Besides learning health and safety tips for your baby, you can also manage feeding, sleeping, and growth schedules. Available for iPhone and Android devices.

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RedRover — Having trouble getting everyone together for a playdate? RedRover makes it easy to get everyone over! Find fun age-specific things to do in your area. Available in the iPhone App Store.

Magic Sleep — Babies need their sleep! If your little one has trouble falling asleep, this app may be able to help. Magic Sleep mimics the sounds of the womb to soothe little ones. It also works for adults! Available in the iPhone App Store.

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What are your favorite apps as a parent?

 

photo credits (from top): fekaylius via photopin cckersy83 via photopin cc,  

Time for Friends! Fun, Easy Playdates and Other Socialization Ideas for Your Little One

Friendships are one of life’s greatest gifts! We know it’s been true in our lives, and we want the same for our children. When your little one starts to get interested in playing with others, it’s time for friends!

Playdates are a great way for toddlers to play with others and learn important socialization skills at the same time. Setting up a playdate is simple if you know other moms with little ones — just send out an invite (or text!) with a suggested date and time, and ask each one to bring a snack along.

Playdates don’t have to be a big production. They can be as simple as putting on some music and dancing with the little ones, taking a walk around the neighborhood, playing ball in the back yard, or pulling out the child-safe markers and some paper. If you have more time, you could plan a craft.

What if you just can’t seem to coordinate schedules with other moms or you haven’t met a lot of other moms yet? Playdates aren’t the only way for toddlers to get socialization!

Here are some other ideas:

  • Storytime at the library
  • Ballet, swim, other lessons
  • Picnic at the local park — there may be other moms with little ones there you can get to know
  • Take your little one with you! Wherever you go (the grocery store, the doctor’s office, the post office), your little one can learn how to interact with others. Socialization is a skill that needs to be applied to a variety of ages, so everyday places are the perfect way to teach these skills. Let them learn from you!

How do you feel about socialization? What do you do?