Sunday, September 4, 2011

Celebrating 100 posts with 20 Activities!

Though Ty has been under the weather all week with what seems to be terrible allergies (Mama too), we have still been up for a lot of fun. Like most toddlers, it takes a lot to really slow him down! This is what we've been up to:


Although I accidentaly deleted the great, excited photos of Tyler I took when first introducing the Counting Boards with Sandpaper Numbers I made him, these show what he's doing all the same. Though  I knew he was ready, I can't believe how easily he took to this! He already knew the number two before I even said it, and after only one time with the work, he knew the numbers 1-3 the next day. He tends to trace the number after he puts the pegs in rather than before, but he does count as he places them. Seeing that he learned so quickly, tracing afterwards clearly works fine and may make more sense for him. I have a feeling I am going to have to get working on making 6-10 really soon!

I'm not exactly teaching Ty to play Chinese Checkers here, but he does enjoy putting marbles on the board. I started then asking him to place each marble on a specific color, which he does pretty well seeing there is a lot to look at. If you already have a board, this is an easy one!

One of Ty's wonderful birthday gifts was the Classic Memory game.  I keep forgetting to introduce it to him in the regular fashion, but I did create this work for him. Using the card holder it comes with, I placed one of six cards in each place, while the matches are stacked next to the holder. His job is to simply place the matches on top of the other in the holder. He can find the matches easily, but holding the card by the edges and fitting it perfectly into the holder is tricky, which I didn't realize. He try this work on occasion, but I'm looking for something similar to hold the cards in so this factor doesn't get in the way. 

Gross Motor

The most exciting new activity for Tyler this week has surely been playing with balloons. I can't tell you how many times a day I hear him exclaim "Balloons! Yay!". I quickly created several different ways to play with them:
First I drew faces on all of the balloons with a Sharpie. Ty just adores happy faces so this made his whole balloon experience that much for fun! If you don't mind your child getting a little permanent marker on them, drawing on balloons may be a good time! Drawing different emotions and talking about them could be fun too.

We then put small amounts of water in some balloons, and about 1/8th cup of rice in others with a funnel. He gets a huge kick out of shaking these. He also discovered quickly that these balloons fall to the ground much faster. Great little science experiment as well as a fun activity for discriminating sounds!

This little activity Tyler developed all on his own. One night he decided that he was going to throw the balloon up high enough to hit our ceiling fan. He was incredibly determined and has gone back to this many, many times. He has come so close but doesn't quite hit it. I love how he doesn't give up! He has also practiced catching on his own, throwing the balloon up to the fan then catching it on the way down.

As I edit this post, Ty is standing on the bed throwing the balloon into our ceiling fan, which is turned on low. It somehow hasn't popped the balloon, but is instead causing it to fly all over the room each time it's hit. Very entertaining for us all and I'm glad he found a way to meet his goal!

Another activity that we've tried has been balloon volleyball. We strung a sheet between two chairs and showed Ty how to volley the balloon over it. He often wanted to catch it and throw it over, but he definitely began getting the idea of volleying the balloon over the "net" as well. He was so full of giggles during this game!

Another indoor gross motor activity we tried this week was playing with a wiffle ball hung with string from our ceiling fan. He thinks this is quite fun as well, as anything incorporating balls is an instant hit with him! He throws it, pushes it away from him and catches it as it swings back to him. It really works on visual tracking and eye-hand coordination as it swings back and forth and around him. If he had a soft bat, I would love to have him try hitting it with that as well!

Here's another simple activity gross motor activity with plenty of options. I filled heavy-duty juice bottles with water (about 3/4 way) and added colorful beads to one, and pennies and glass gems to another (you could use anything, and food coloring is fun too!) and glued the cap on. These bottles are of course heavy (have you noticed how toddlers love to manage heavy objects?!) which is strength building for joints and muscles, works on coordination, and is just plain fun! Ty picks the bottles up, shakes them, rolls them, hands them to us, and puts them in a basket to push around the house.

Due to the weather (and my husband being home a lot to take Ty out while I get other things done), I don't have a lot of new outdoor play activities to share. One day a bored Mama did decide, much to Tyler's delight, to put his slide into his sandbox though! He asks me to do this all of the time now. Why not?! It's certainly a soft place to land and a nice sensory experience!

Though I don't have photos, I do have to add that my husband and Ty have greatly enjoyed playing catch outside. Ty can not only catch a basketball from a couple feet away, but now a full-sized football too! Good work to them both!


Ty and I have been up to playing some great toddler games lately. I highly recommend all of these!

This is a Discovery Toys game for children 18 mos+. There are six different colored cards and a soft colored die. You simply sort the cards, take turns rolling the die and pick the appropriate card to match what you rolled. The cards give simple directions such as "blink your eyes", "wash your face", "find something blue", "hop like a bunny", "play peek-a-boo", "sit in a chair". Ty wants to play this game at least once a day lately. This is such a great game for following directions, taking turns, color recognition and practicing some of the tasks on each card. A wonderful first game!

After finding the "Goodnight Moon" game at Target and thinking about how much I wanted it for Ty every day for the last few weeks, I found it at a community garage sale in perfect condition! Score! There are several ways to play based on age/ability. At first I gave Ty one of the boards and the matching cards to let him match them by himself.
A couple days later we played one of the Goodnight Moon games together. We each took a board and I put the matching cards in the middle of us, making sure only the cards that we would need were there (there are four different boards with different matches). We then worked on figuring out who had a particular card on their board and matched them. He's having a bit of trouble with taking turns taking a card from the top, but this is a great game to work on that concept. After we played a few times I then gave him the big board with the whole scene and let him match cards to it which he did well with.


I already blogged about a few recent art projects here, but I had a few more art projects planned this week too. Unfortunately, air quality advisories have delayed those until further notice. For now here's two simple ways we created this week, as well as a new place for Ty to do art:

We colored with markers on tissue paper. I thought the colors would bleed the way they do on paper towels and coffee filters for some reason. Not so much, but it was an interesting new canvas! The best part was that Tyler drew two suns, one in yellow and one in black. He was so proud after he drew each, pointing to them and looking at me with excitement saying "sun!". What's not to love?! He did get pretty rough with the markers after a while and tore a hole. I fixed the first with tape, then he wanted to fix others along the way by himself which was a tricky task as the tape kept sticking to his fingers.

I used part of Tyler's Hobby Lobby gift card he received for his birthday on Crayola Oil Pastels. I figured he wouldn't get the idea of blending and all that just yet, but I do like to provide him with lots of different ways to make his mark. He found these interesting, digging at them with his nail and otherwise using them as he would crayons. It seemed that he enjoyed how easy he could mark and how dense the lines were.

Another product I bought at Hobby Lobby was this Lap Desk. We both love it! I always want paper and something for him to draw with available for him on his table, but between that, table toys and eating, his little table had become much too cluttered. This not only solves the issue, but there are places to storage as well. There's a place for his crayons, makers and pencils as well as an area for paper and small notebooks and another where we are keeping stickers and tape. I'm not sure why I didn't think of this earlier!

Much to my delight, my play-doh resistant little guy is really into playing with it now! His biggest love is making "worms" with us as well as balls and using cookie cutters. He doesn't always use enough pressure by himself to make the worms and balls well, but he has the motion down. Counting each worm and ball has become fun for him too. He counted them all the way to twelve today!

Practical Life

I introduced spreading hummus (one of his all-time favorite foods) on crackers this week. Though he didn't want to touch the cracker with his other hand to steady it because he was scared of the hummus touching his fingers, he got the idea. Funny thing is, he has no problem scooping a huge glob of hummus out of the container with his hand, thus getting hummus all over his fingers. Kids are funny!

I had taken away the spooning beans activity a couple weeks ago due to the fact that he started dumping it on the floor on purpose (and didn't care to help me sweep), but this week I tried again with colored rice. He's done well and enjoys the shallow ice cream scoop I gave him to use. If he does spill (on purpose or not), he's more likely to grab the broom himself and do his best attempt at sweeping, so this will likely stay for a while.

Speaking of cleaning up after himself, Ty is now willing to clean-up his drink spills as well. Yay! He has had zero interest in this until now. I feel more confident that when we do work with liquids that he will sponge or wipe up his spills and get everything he can out of the activity.

With my husband often home now, Ty is getting a lot of kitchen experience. I honestly despise our kitchen. I really do. When Ty was four months old, we had to move rather quickly from 15 hours away and with just a few photos of the house from Craigslist. I had no idea the kitchen looks as it does. It is so outdated and just yucky to me. I really think this is why I don't have Ty do more cooking with me. Anyhow, one of the many kitchen adventures they've had was Ty helped Daddy make pancakes. He added ingredients and helped with the blender and just loved every bit of it. When we move soon, I demand a nice kitchen!

I am excited that this is already my 100th post! I have to look-up exactly when my one year blog anniversary is, though I'm pretty sure it's sometime in November. I'm starting to think about doing a giveaway... Thanks to all of my followers and commenters, as well as to all of the other great Mommy bloggers out there who keep me inspired! I'm so glad I've joined this community of amazing parents and educators!

Linking-up with  Carisa's Tot School.


  1. Love it!!!! Thanks for all the great ideas!


  2. I want to thank YOU for blogging! I have gotten so many inspiring ideas from you and always look forward to reading more. :-) Thanks!

  3. So many great ideas here. I love them. Thank you for posting all your hard work :)

  4. Great ideas! I babysit an 18 mo. old boy and we need to find him something to work with! I think I may do some of these activities!

  5. I have already attached a balloon to our ceiling. Love your ideas.

  6. Thank you so much for all your wonderful ideas and congratulations on 100 posts. May I ask where you got the colored rice or if you made it? Thanks.

  7. Thanks everyone! It was a reallly fun week!

    Kristina: Ty would love if I tied a balloon to the ceiling too; I'll have to do that!

    Joylynn: Here's the link to my post about dying pasta or rice. Enjoy! It's really easy!

    Jen [blog owner...with comment issues as usual...]