Handmade in the Heartland: Fun with Kids Friday

7/19/13

Fun with Kids Friday

How is your summer going? Ours is good but proving to be a little bit difficult because this summer i am in the dirty trenches of rearing a 2 year old.  That's right folks the terrible twos have come rushing into our house and it doesn't look like they are leaving anytime soon.  Complete meltdown because you've eaten your last cookie? well why wouldn't you freak out about that? Waking up at 5:30 am and demanding that mom come downstairs, why wouldn't she?! Knock down your one-year old sister because she even glanced at your toy, well that's her fault isn't it? Or maybe lets top it all off with high-pitched screams just because you feel like it and all out body thrashing when someone upsets you. Sound familiar to anyone else?  Seriously i think we spend half our day in time out- well Max spends 1/2 his day, i spend it putting him in time out over and over and over and over and repeating sentences that go something like this "Thats so sad, we only show love to sissy.  We don't hit.  We don't kick.  We share.  We love."  Ahhhhh! it's enough to drive you to drink, or maybe eat one too many dove chocolates that hide in your pantry ;)  

So last week i had had enough.  So what do i do when i get frustrated with pretty much any situation? i make a plan.  i needed  a plan.  I know that Max's behavior is better when we go somewhere in the morning for him to get some of his physical energy out.  M-W-F we go to the YMCA (which is also an awesome break for me btw) and then T-TH we usually go to a park or somewhere else.  Well i have started to notice that our afternoons were very challenging, constant picking at his sister and constant time out trips.  I could also tell he was bored.  I decided he needed more metal stimulation as well as the physical play time that we get each morning.  I spent Saturday scouring pinterest and reading tons of blogs coming up with a huge list of activities, similar to the one i came up with HERE last year.  I typed up our schedule for the entire week (hour-by-hour, i know i'm a little crazy) and came up with a fun thing to do with Max each day.  Some activities were bigger than others but regardless they were new things to him.  

I am happy to say that my plan was successful.  I'm not going to lie, it's a little daunting to think that i need to entertain my child with some new activity every day but that's why i'm a stay at home mom and right now that's what my child needs.  I could see a change in his behavior with even the smaller activities.  I'm sure there is some science/study that will confirm that by giving him new things to do it challenged his brain and then also improved behavior. With a little planning and a trip to the dollar store i was set.  Here are a few of the things we did this week.  

1. Dry Bean Sensory Play
All i did was break out a bag of dried beans, put them in a bowl and give him different size spoons and measuring cups and bowls to move them around in.  I was actually shocked that he played with them for 30 minutes.  He eventually figured out he could dump the beans directly from bowl to bowl and enjoyed doing that, and on top of it he never even tried to dump them out on to the table, i did stay quite close while he was doing this because i didn't want huge mess but he was really good about it. 
Toddler Activities: Dry Beans
Toddler Activities: Dry Beans
2. Dinosaur Eggs
I had seen this one all over pinterest- baked cotton balls- we called them dinosaur eggs. I had planned to make them before he woke up from his nap but didn't get to it, so i had him help me make them.  Making them is not for the clean freak mom that's for sure, especially with a two year old.  To make your eggs preheat your oven to 300, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour.  I added a little more water as i was mixing it up to get a good consistency and then divide it into containers and add food coloring.  Submerge your cotton balls in the mixture and then put them on a silpat on a cookie sheet.  If you don't have a silpat then use parchment, i'm sure this would be a nightmare to scrub strait off a pan.  Bake them for 45 minutes.  Our colors turned way dark so i'm wondering if we overcooked them.  The result is a hard shell and cotton ball inside that is really fun to bust with a hammer.  Max enjoyed making them more than breaking them actually.  But i guess kids love to get messy :)

Toddler Activities: Baked Cotton Balls
Toddler Activities: Baked Cotton Balls
Toddler Activities: Baked Cotton Balls

3. Shaving Cream Slip-n-Slide
This was super fun.  We had some friends over and really just went to town.  I pulled out a tarp staked it down and then emptied 3 bottles of shaving cream from the dollar store on it.  The kids loved it.  At first they were a little hesitant but eventually just went to town playing in it and eventually Max started running and sliding- of course he would my crazy child.  We had the sprinkler going and a blow up baby pool for them to play in water as well and every once in a while spray down the tarp so it didn't get too hot.  I highly recommend this one, it was super fun, my only disclaimer is that the tarp does get very slippery so watch out.
Toddler Activities: Shaving Cream Slip-n-Slide
Toddler Activities: Shaving Cream Slip-n-Slide
Toddler Activities: Shaving Cream Slip-n-Slide

What are your favorite activities at home with your kids? Please share in the comments!
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